“Working, building, never stopping never sleeping”

I’m on my butt in my bed, mug of coffee beside me, and some loud music blaring from a car parked outside my window. The usual morning in Harlem.

Yesterday, after therapy, I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up my weekly groceries, then headed home and chilled out. I haven’t really worked out at all this week, even though I’ve had the time. A part of me says, “Normal people exercise, even when they don’t feel like it. Plus you want to feel self-confident and look good. Make yourself go.” But another part of me says, “Give yourself a gift. You’re really enjoying being lazy. You WILL want to go again. Let it come. Don’t give yourself undue stress– that is triggering for you. Focusing on not bingeing is your priority.” It’s hard to know which voice is the “healthy” voice. But at least I’m at the point where I’m taking the time to think about it, right?

Last night, well, first, last night I ate intuitively (until I binged in the evening… but I am forgiving– I knew what was going on and I just didn’t do the work). BUT, what I was going to say was that last night, I mustered the motivation to really put together my table. It has about a trillion pieces (three part base plus swinging leg, table top, two stools, and two drawers), and I had only finished enough to have the table. So, I turned on the showtunes (well, Next to Normal and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and got out the screwdriver. Complete success!!!

P.S. First comment when I posted this on Facebook, within ten minutes:
” i’m consistently blown away by your many talents.” Guess who. What the fuck?!

Next week is SPRING BREAK!! At last! Ugh I am so relieved. It’s funny… I’m nowhere near as busy as I have been, but I still want a break from school. Plus I’m desperate to get out of NYC somehow over the next week. I’ve been thinking about getting a room at a B&B on Long Island or in Southern Connecticut for a wee rest, probably solo. As Kander and Ebb say, I am my own best friend. Well, I have other friends, but if I’m going to create a vacation for myself, I think it might just be mine. I’ll go on other people’s vacays. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It’s not a break if I feel the pressure of planning it and living up to it, maybe? So far, the only things on the schedj are:

Saturday and Saturday: Theatre company meetings. One is a planning meeting with the whole board, and the other is a production meeting.
Sunday: Dinner party with some of my BFFs.
Monday: Massage!!
Tuesday: Work for a few hours.

I’m a free agent (except for Thursday-Appointment-Day) for the rest of the break. Yahoo!! Let’s go team.

B.

Today, no quote, just love and prayers for Japan and the rest of the Far East that is currently being struck by a tsunami. Stay safe.

And, the hilarious and terrible continuation of the terrible/hilarious saga of Spiderman on Broadway:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/theater/julie-taymor-spider-man.html?_r=1&ref=theater

Nostalgia

A quick update:

The reading on Monday went great. The play has its issues and needs a good editor, but it’s funny and scary and surprising. People seemed to really enjoy it. Plus, it’s a fantastic part for me, and, frankly, reading plays out loud is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Add an audience in a theatre where I saw a show I LOVED, and you’ve got a very happy girl.

Tuesday is a sassy day for me… I have my least favorite class, a singing class, and the stress of prep and performance for that class just irritates me beyond all get-out. Perhaps a year ago (well, perhaps my entire education career prior to this) I would have put my feelings aside and just work 123% to impress the teacher. I would have studied what she wanted so that I could give it to her and acted like her advice was the be all and end all.  Now, though, I know that what she is saying is ridiculous. I get more nervous than I was before the class before I sing, but I also have a stronger sense of myself as an actor. I know that I can act. I won’t let her push that out of me.

Lately, with Spring Break approaching, I’m getting ridiculously antsy for woods, mountains, lakes, and clear, crisp air. New York ain’t got it. This is where I’m from:

I’m also homesick for where I went to high school. In other words, this:

That is me and my ex-boyfriend, my first love, my first time, and all that good stuff. This photo, while lovely, makes me sad because it was indescribably hard to leave that place. I mean, imagine: you’re a loner in your high school. No one understands what your dreams are, and there’s no way to fulfill them. Then you spend two years living in what amounts, basically, to an artist’s commune. You live with the same people, you train with the same people, you kiss and fight and dream with the same people. Then, when May rolls around, you are handed a diploma and a golden tassle. Your family swings into your sacred place and sweeps you home instantaneously. Suddenly you realize that there’s no going back, and that you may never see these people again. There is no way to go “home” to this place. It’s lost.

So here’s to a little writing and some nostalgia.

It’s already dark as midnight when you push your way through the double doors of the theatre complex into the five o’clock evening. The air is sharp and clear, the nip on the tips of your nose a sure sign of early snow. You’ve had a full day of classes already, and the night has only just begun. The morning began with an early alarm set to Shostakovich and the perfectly timed morning rituals of showers and hair dryers and alarms that is necessary for four teenaged girls sharing one bathroom. I still can’t stay in the shower for more than five minutes.

The groggy stumble into the cafeteria, fluorescent lights the only barrier against the still-dark, bitter-cold early morning. Breakfast is the quietest meal here, with only the most dedicated breakfast eaters willing to rise before the sun and trundle, bundled, into the bright, hot cafeteria. Here the best meal is the bagel breakfast sandwich, closely followed by the omelets. You don’t think about what’s in the food you’re eating– you eat. Strangely ungreasy donuts are dunked in burnt coffee, and the sun begins to rise beyond the lake. I reminisce on the days when food simply existed– all you had to do was get up, put it on a tray, and eat it with your friends. It was a part of the routine. I never thought about it.

At ten til, you find your way out of the cafeteria, following a small girl with a cello case across the main quad. The early morning light seems to shine almost blue in the thin morning air, cheeks and noses burned with the sharp drops and rises in temperature. The classes blend smoothly through the morning– 8am Tales of the Jazz Age, in the room that’s cloyingly sweet and warm with freshly brewed coffee, 11am Acting Shakespeare, where suddenly the weight of the Complete Works and lexicons you’re carrying become light and your brain begins to whirr, 12pm finds you trudging across campus in the flurry of gossip towards lunch, sneakers crunching and spinning over gravel, and with barely a moment to stride up the stairs towards your dorm room to throw your books on the bed and glance at your email, your sneakers are again whipping down the pavement until 1pm, Senior Seminar, a circle of ten bright seniors who love to journey through the world of knowledge and produce 40 page essays with dozens of citations which are gleefully shared, and by 3pm you’re in rehearsal. It’s the day of your big monologue, and your nerves spark in time with your heart. As you work through the text, the director talks to you– his words, his thoughts, penetrating into your own, gently guiding. Soon he is on the ground with you, whispering, provoking, and the two of you traverse through the monologue together. It’s brilliant, and suddenly you realize you’re no longer scared.

Dinner passes in the same flurry as lunch, and again you find yourself moving through the chilled, dark evening across the quad. This time of day, music floats in the air, buoyed by swells of warm air that drift past and dissipate. You find yourself in the library behind the desk, your community service job. This library is new– ceilings high and beamed, windows wide and clear,  carpet as-yet unruffled. You watch as students come and go, spread their books out over a table, and lean distractedly towards the computers. You check out, or check in, the books that come your way, but mostly, you lay your Complete Works flat on the desk, lexicons at hand, notebook pages freshly turned, and you work. The brain whirr returns. You’re good at this. You’re good at it, and you love it.

Faster than expected, 9pm arrives. You hear a “Hey,” as a pair of hands rest on the desk in front of you. You look up, and it’s him, smiling at you, come to pick you up, to relish your sparing moments together. You grin, and it feels like your heart wraps twice around itself and squeezes tight. In an instant, you gather your things, kiss his lips, twine your fingers around his, and you set off.

There’s only an hour before you need to be in your dorm, so time is not on your side. It’s cold, and the dark has seemed to spread, like an inkblot, over the campus. Coat lapels flipped up, shoulders leaned against each other, you slowly walk towards the east side of campus, past the main concourse, past the row of dorms and the film building, to a grassy patch with a perfect view of the stars. You lay down, the sides of your bodies bonded together, backs to the earth, which feels as though it’s frozen over. You talk, about nothing in particular. Perhaps about the stars. Perhaps about your irritations. Perhaps about each other. It doesn’t matter– you’re good at talking. Talking turns to kissing, and kissing turns to five-to-10pm. You peel yourselves from the frozen ground, link together once more, and skitter down the path towards your dorm. Before you round the corner to go in, you stop, and you kiss him. You laugh, and you kiss him. You smile, and you kiss him. And then you turn the corner and he is gone.

In your room, you curl up into your desk chair and open your textbooks and notebooks. Your roommate, a violist, is scratching dedicatedly at a piece of sheet music. You work for a bit, and then crawl out of your chair, through the bathroom (which smells like recently Febreze-d smoke) and into your suitemate’s room. They’re gossiping, laughing, eating Japanese candy, and soon you are too. There’s work to be done, sure, but also massages to be had, Veronica Mars to be watched, and boys to be discussed. The minutes tick by, and soon you can feel your eyelids grow heavy. It’s time for bed. You hug your suitemates, swing around through the bathroom, and jump into your bed– the top bunk. Your fingers dig into the side of the mattress, where you keep your cell phone and your glasses, and you plug in your alarm. You have a text message from the boy– he’s the only one who texts you. You call him. You talk, about nothing in particular. Perhaps about rehearsal. Perhaps about your mother. Perhaps about each other. It doesn’t matter– you’re good at talking. But you’re also tired, and soon, the conversation slows to a crawl and you say good night. Your roommate, getting into bed below you, sighs and whispers her goodnight to you and to him (she knows the routine and loves the sweet night chats), and as you click off the lamp and settle, squeakingly, back into your wooden bunk bed, you whisper, “I love you.” And sleep comes within moments.

Oh boy! Thanks for indulging me, guys. Sometimes, a girl’s gotta write!

B

Who woulda known?

A few years ago,

Who woulda known that I would be a founding member of a 501C-3 non-profit theatre company in New York City, producing two productions in spaces off-off Broadway this summer?

Who woulda known that I’d have fallen for two really attractive boys at different times, kissed both of them, and then be told by each of them they couldn’t be with me? (and that one of them would still Facebook chat me all. the. time. (i.e. now))

Who woulda known that I would have been the girl who ate shrimp poppers and donuts without a care to a girl recovering from EDNOS? (well, the girl that knew that an eating disorder is simply a symptom of my other psychological issues woulda known)

Who woulda known that I’d have had a great deal of money stolen by a women I was subletting from earlier this year?

Who woulda known that I could spill coffee on a play and not feel anxious, wear sweats to school and not feel stupid, touch wet food in the sink and not want to puke, and lay in bed all day and not feel guilty?

Who woulda known that I’d have a B.A. in Theatre Performance in May?

Who woulda known that I’d play leads in three “plays with songs” in the span of six months? And that I’d actually do it?

Who woulda known that I didn’t do a single Shakespeare play after high school until this last summer, after growing up being the “Shakespeare girl?” And who woulda known that I have more premieres on my resume than anything else?

Who woulda known that the braces didn’t work? (fuck you, Dr. Calhoun)

Who woulda known that I take more meds (or at least the same amount) now than I did when I was first depressed and manic from ages 8-14?

Who woulda known that that place from Sesame Street that seemed like a strange, otherworldly land would now be my home?

Who woulda known that the actor I was in love with back home for my entire childhood would now be considered a “friend” in NYC, and is trying to get me work with his theatre company?

Who woulda known that people like me just the way I am?

Amazing to look backs. More of these “Who woulda known”s to come. What are yours?

“Someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.” –J.D. Salinger

Back in Action

Hey y’all,

I know I’ve been a bad blogger (boy, I don’t really consider myself a blogger… weird), but it’s been a whirlwind couple of days. Let’s ge to it.

Sunday was my last day at work. Sad! But also really good. It has been almost a year, and although I love the people and the food and the mission, I’m ready for a break. I felt pangs of nostalgia and sadness, ut it mostly just felt right. The people at work left me a card signed by everyone (including all the chefs and the delivery guys), a bottle of framboise, and a box of chocolates.

Super cute, right?

That night was the Oscars. I made “Je-sesame Cucum-berg in the Soba Net-wok” (i.e. Jessie Eisenberg in The Social Network). It was a recipe I’ve made before from one of my favorite recipe websites, 101 Cookbooks (sorry, I don’t know how to hyperlink). Soba noodles, cucumbers, green onions, and a light dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame and olive oil, hot sauce, sugar, and ginger. Yummy! The ceremony was… really weird, but weird in a kind of fun way. I was pleased with how the evening went in terms of awards, although I wanted Bening, Fincher, and The Social Network.

Monday was a loooooong school day and then my audition!! School was fine, although I was dead tired all day. Also, my scene for Acting for the Camera went really well (from the movie Gia, ya know, the Angelina Jolie dying-of-AIDS-model movie? Yeah, SO me). Then I rushed down to okay my headshot proofs at Reproductions (lovely!), then hopped in a cab and headed to my audition. EEK! I was about 45 minutes early, but that’s sort of my MO. I was really nervous… plus I hadn’t really eaten all day, which is bad, but the adrenaline rush has actually worked to my advantage in auditions in the past (note, I never TRY to not eat before an audition, but it tends to happen when I am running around). Before my audition, the director came out, saw me, and gave me a big hug. She remembered me distinctly, and seemed really interested in how things were going for me. I met the casting director, who was wonderful, and the reader (a woman, unfortunately, as my side was to a boy), and another guy who was in the room. We chatted, joked, and hobnobbed for a minute or two, and then I did my side. I messed up some of the words, but it went well! They seemed to like what I did. And then, I left! That was it! Crazy how that buildup just ends in five minutes and you go straight home.

Tuesday I had a ridiculous night of sleep (more on that and the crazy-ass dream later), but made it to work at 11am. At 2:30, I had my singing class, which I hate. The teacher is a fantastic actor and singer, but she’s not a very good teacher. I’m highly self-conscious about singing, and don’t really know how to prepare (although, thank god, I can read music), yet the class really doesn’t teach me how to do these things– I’m just expected to come into class having the song fully prepared and ready to sing with an accompanist. Huh? Aren’t we supposed to be learning here? Sorry, but you don’t need to teach me how to act– I’ve been training for six years now. I need you to teach me how to sing.

Whatevs. Anyway, afterwards, I ran down to pick up my final headshot prints (yay!) and then headed uptown to meet a girl I went to high school with– not the performing arts school, but the random tiny community school I went to for the two years of high school when I lived at home. She goes to Barnard, so we met on 116th and went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Community. The whole point of the dinner was so that she could give me this art book that is going to be passed between alums of our school, who each fill out two pages about “A Day in My Life,” which will then be sold at the school’s auction. I really wanted to do it even though this school treated me like crap (I was escorted off campus when I tried to return after transferring to say goodbye to my friends), mostly to prove to them that I didn’t need them in order to be super successful. The dinner was actually a huge blast, and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. When I got home, I immediately did my page. It’s below, with some info covered up:

Hmm… Don’t know why it’s sideways…

Anyway, it was a really pleasant evening. It also involved me getting asked to do a reading on Monday at the Barrow Street Theatre– a really amazing part in a new play, and a really great theatre. Hooray! I feel like a real person.

Anyway, this entry took a bajillion years.

Talk later!
B

“”I need the thing that happens when your brain shuts off and your heart turns on.” –Elizabeth Wurtzel