It’s always right now.

As everyone knows, Robin Williams was found dead of suicide yesterday. His son went to my high school. He was 63.ROB MC EWAN

Less people know that a costume designer I worked with died yesterday too, from complications from breast cancer. She was 41.1798508_10151940610942213_1498390837_n

Everyone is about to learn that Lauren Bacall passed away today. She was 89.20140611125457-lauren-bacall-white

Life is so delicate. I’m doing a play called Steel Magnolias, and the title is hitting me very hard today. We are all always on the edge of it, you know? Depression is a terrible disease. So is cancer. And aging? We’re all on our way, every day.

I whine occasionally because everyone I know (it seems) is getting engaged. It makes me feel behind, in a way, but simultaneously closer to old-maid-dom (even though I’m in a very serious relationship anyway). And isn’t that the thing? We are all things at once– past and future selves, behind in some ways and ahead in others.

As the boy (now a man) from Richard Linklater’s film Boyhood states at the end of the movie, “It’s always right now.”

I am grateful for my right now— more today than usual.

Patience and Time

As I may or may not have mentioned here, I’ve joined up on MentorConnect to serve as a mentor for people who are working through recovery from eating disorders. Basically I just serve as someone to talk to who has been through what my “mentees” are struggling with. It’s a great site for anyone who is working on their recovery, or for anyone who wants to “give back” after getting to a stable point in recovery.

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Anyway, I have four mentees, all of whom are in different periods in their lives, different points in their disorders, and different needs from me as a mentor. However, I have found that one platitude keeps repeating itself over and over:

It takes patience and time. Patience and time. And things WILL change.

Today I had an audition for a great regional theatre gig in Florida. Then I came to work. Tonight I have free tickets to see a show on Broadway. I may start rehearsals for a small show on Saturday (if I don’t get this regional gig). This is the dream. Truly. It has been MONTHS, if not YEARS, since I felt like I was actually working.

And what has changed?

Nothing. Really. No classes, no haircut, no new outfit.

Patience.

Time.

I think this is probably the case for all things in life. We live 80 plus years these days– there’s no rush to get everything accomplished by 25. Especially these days, with the surplus of workers and the lack of work.

I’m going to celebrate this moment, where I don’t NEED to be patient. I’m going to soak in this feeling as long as I can. Because all that patience and time leads up to moments like these. It’s what makes it worth it.

In all things, patience and time.

This is my cat in Christmas pajamas. Because you DESERVE to smile.

This is my cat in Christmas pajamas. Because you DESERVE to smile.

All she has to do is exist.

“‘You have the luxury of time. You’re young. Young people are doing something even when they’re doing nothing. A young woman is conduit. All she has to do is exist.’ You have time. Meaning don’t use it, but pass through time in patience, waiting for something to come. Prepare for its arrival. Don’t rush to meet it. Be a conduit. I believed him. I felt this to be true. Some people might consider that passivity but I did not. I considered it living.”
The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner

One of the strangest things about day-to-day life is how mundane it seems. I get up. I go to the gym. I go to work. I go home. I make soup. I watch bad TV. I try and get auditions. I go to bed. Ostensibly, “nothing” is going on in my life.

I never really listen to music, except when I’m doing something else, like playing a game on my iPad or cooking, and it’s even more rare that I listen to music while walking down the street. But the other night, I did. I was on the train, and an Iron & Wine song came on shuffle. Now, there are LOTS of songs that bring up memories for me. But all of a sudden, this song jerked me into taking a step back and actually looking at what this “nothing” really is. And I’m shocked to discover that these days– morning to night– that feel so devoid, so par for the course, are the building blocks for an amazing life.

Sometimes I feel that way in New York. This place is idealized by so many people (I, for one, never really did– I guess I just always assumed I’d be here, and didn’t fantasize about it at all), and this is where my “nothing” life takes place. The capital of the WORLD. I have to stop myself, often, and marvel at this city. I literally stop in the street sometimes, and look up at the skyscrapers, like a nerd, and think to myself, “I am living a life that others dream of. No matter what else I’m doing, being here is a success.” Because it is. Because New York is fucking hard.

Also, because I am someone who comes from a state with two professional theatres (yes, I said “state” and “two”), I can’t forget my artistic life here. I don’t know how many Broadway and off-Broadway shows I’ve seen for free. This year alone, examples include but are not limited to: Hands on a Hardbody, Romeo and Juliet, The Nance, The Testament of Mary, Little Miss Sunshine, Golden Boy, Picnic… I have seen Julie Andrews in a bathroom, given Liam Neeson back the hat he forgot in a theatre (he was so sweet about it), and seen Patti LuPone, Phylicia Rashad, James Earle Jones, Dianne Wiest, Ellen Burstyn, Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Christopher Lloyd, Fiona Shaw, Daniel Radcliffe, Richard Griffiths, Zosia Mamet, and ENDLESS MORE live onstage, often from a few rows back. How cool is that? And I’ve met some of them too. I did a reading with Anthony Rapp. I did a reading directed by Shirley Knight. Stephen Sondheim saw me act. (sorry, Braggy McGhee just got excited).

L received news that she will receive her last chemo treatment on December 17. That’s literally two years and ten days after her initial diagnosis. She texted me and asked me to be there. I will. And I’m can’t believe it. Walking with L down this path has been so strange and awful and important and… it’s hard to talk about. When I talk about it too much, I feel like I’m being a “poor me” jerk who thinks she was more important than she actually was. But I have to be honest– I was there for a LOT of it. Probably more than anyone else besides her parents. That’s not nothing. And cancer, like all diseases, is powerful. It is a nuclear bomb, and anyone who is nearby when it explodes is infected with radiation. And those of us who bear it, and live with it, uncomfortable though it is, emerge with superpowers. Like Spiderman. (someone shut me up)

Then “Now We Can See” by the Thermals came on as I was trudging up the subway stairs. The last song in the first show “my” company ever produced. 2010. We were very young, kinda dumb, but with enthusiasm and self-confidence, poured to overflowing into this strange group of young people. What a strange, wonderful first New York theatrical experience. We won awards and got raves, yes, which was amazing and thrilling and great, but even more special was the feeling that washed over all of us as we sang this song, stomping, clutching the mikes, shaking our styled hair, in one of the most historic theatres in New York. What was that feeling? A strange mix of confidence, hope, and more than anything, joy. We overflowed. Regardless of what would happen next, those moments in the Ellen Stewart Theatre were unforgettable.

I spent four years with my therapist, and now I’m phasing out. I think I have two more sessions. WHO KNEW I’d ever get to this point? I sure didn’t. I frankly didn’t know what I thought, but in the last four years, I’ve felt so far from “stable” that leaving wasn’t even a thought. But here I am. Moving forward, out of therapy, because I have done so much goddamn work. And that’s the most amazing thing– not, “oh my god, weirdo me is leaving therapy! Crazy!” but “Look at all this SHIT I had to fight through, tooth and nail, to get to this point. Look at how hard I worked. Look at all the time I spent fighting for the life I have now. I battled an eating disorder, crushing anxiety, self-hatred, depression, mania, self-injury in every way you can imagine, and I’ve come out the other side. And I have confidence that I can care for myself, for the first time in a long time. Isn’t THAT crazy?”

My life is nothing special to me, as I walk through it. And yet, I realize that I have walked through incredible forests, forded wild rivers. I am lucky to have it, and I am grateful. Overwhelmingly.