Every Day, a Little Gratitude

I am working. Not only that, but I am working at one of the top theatres in the country, making LORT B (second only to LORT A when it comes to regional theatre) pay, and playing two leading roles. It’s a three month contract which means I will get another six months of health insurance. I am housed. I have a car I share with two other actors. This is the DREAM.

Which means I want to remember this feeling when I go back to NYC. I’m already dreading it… that discomfort of not working, that pain of not auditioning, that hurt of wanting so hard you think you might break.

But right now?

This.

Folks? This is the dream.

Winter vacation. One day in Salem, MA, one day in Portsmouth, NH. One day in somewhere, Maine. One day in Old Sturbridge, MA. Tucked into our bed and breakfast in York Harbor.

He’s reading a used book. Today we met a cat named Peter in in the oldest American homestead of all time. I petted him. Tonight we drove out to the Nubble Lighthouse and stood on the rocks looking at the stars in 15 degree weather. Tomorrow we’ll go past the land where I spent the first six years of my life– where my first dog and first cat are still buried or sprinkled, where we had bonfires, where my parents used to wake me up to look at fireflies. We might ice skate. We have dinner reservations.

The only thing I wish we had was the cat.

Otherwise… This is it.

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My Year in Numbers

1     friend I lost

1     job I lost

2     jobs I got

3    plays I did

6    friends of mine who got engaged

10     places I visited

Idaho, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Waynesboro, PA, London, Scotland, Amsterdam, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine

25    days it took to find an apartment in NYC

26    plays I saw (in NYC and London only)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Mothers and Sons, Richard III, Big Fish, Murder for Two, The Oldest Boy, Our Lady of Kibeho, A Delicate Balance, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Sex with Strangers, The Village Bike, Hand to God, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Under My Skin, Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic), Fast Company, The Substance of Fire, The Killer, Cinderella, Mala Hierba, American Hero, Hotel, Bring up the Bodies, Showboat (NY Philharmonic), You Got Older

34    blogs I posted

Better than I thought, actually.

73    books I read

My favorites: The Invisible Front, The Circle, NOS4A2, A Tale for the Time Being, Into the Darkest Corner, Dept of Speculation, Tenth of December

365   days I got up in the morning and went to bed and night and existed on this earth.

Update (feeling the feels)

So, apparently the main administrator for the Theatre & Visual Arts Depts, plus the main administrator for all adjuncts in the entire undergraduate school, have both been FIRED. Like yesterday.

All of a sudden, my job has tripled, at least. And of course I’m not making any more money.

Also I’m in a fight with A.

I had a good holiday, but sorta feel shitty.

Oh and I’ve started mentoring with mentorconnect, so I may be here less.

I don’t know.

Just feeling the feels.

I have an idea.

I have an idea.

Let’s get a credit card. Doesn’t really matter what since someone else is gonna pay it off.

Let’s board a plane and fly somewhere beautiful.

Like the British Virgin Islands, perhaps.

Here:
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We’d be sure to pick up enough food to keep us going for a week. Fresh island foods. Fish to grill.

We’d wake up in the morning to the sun rising over the bay. Breakfast on the veranda– coffee, and fruit, and eggs.

We’d while away the mornings reading by the pool. When the sun is too hot, we’d drop ourselves into the pool and lap about, splashing.

Lunch is eaten half wrapped in towels. We probably have hot, damp sex that smells like tanned skin.

In the afternoon we walk the beach. We stop to admire the way the sand sparkles in the sun. Our feet skim the shallows.

Hunger, and the taste of crisp white wine, drives our wander home. The sun is setting over the bay as the smoke from the grill drifts into the air.

The bed waits.

We don’t close any doors.

We never worry about how to pay.

Never feel guilty for what we’re “missing” in our lives “back home.”

Sound good?

My Universes

I am a participant in so many tiny universes.

Today is A’s 28th birthday. Over the Labor Day weekend, we were at his parents’ house in PA. We drove to Annapolis to see his brother compete in a drum corps competition, we golfed nine holes at the local course, ate a lot of shitty food, played board games, and dipped in the little pool. This has been a world I never could have expected to be a part of– one that is in countless ways different from the others. It’s a humbling place to be.

On Monday night, I went to see L’s play. This is the girl who, almost two years ago, was diagnosed with Aggressive T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. I was there for her diagnosis, I was there when she checked into the hospital, I was there on her 23rd birthday when she was so frail and thin that she looked like a ghost, tubes coming out of her arms and chest, food pumped directly into her stomach. I was there when she wrote a short scene, very Ruhl, very Fornes, about a year ago. And now, that scene is a play, and that play was accepted into a festival, and I saw the closing performance, with L in the lead. I cried the whole way through, not meaning to, but unable to stop. It wasn’t sadness, either… more like pride. Admiration. I’m not sure I would have the strength and momentum to throw myself into life after the terror of the last two years. But L did it, and it was magnificent. I feel privileged to live close to her heart.

My parents are coming up for Thanksgiving. My dad hasn’t been to the city since I graduated over two years ago. I’m looking forward to it. I do miss them, but I also want them to feel like a part of my life. Whether or not I’m calling every other day or telling my secrets, I am a part of their universe as they are a part of mine.

I have a universe at work, where the students know me (some as an administrator, some as an actor, some as a peer), and the faculty know me (partly as an administrator, partly as a student, partly as a colleague). I waft through the halls in perfect comfort here, sometimes remembering as I pass ID services the night that I sat with a boy as he played his uke for me, drunken nights in the studios, crying with frustration in acting class in the black box. I have been many things in these places, but they are now mine.

My high school friends, my roommates and peers, sometimes close and sometimes just seen from a distance, live on in social media posts. They also live on television, onstage, in the news. Beyonce’s sax player lived on my hall. One of Buzzfeed’s hottest twins played my brother in a Shakespeare play. One of the princesses in Shakespeare in the Park this summer ate cheerios from the box with me in bed one night. Even people I wasn’t with in school inhabit the same small universe.

Looking at A’s Facebook page today, loaded with those lovely “Happy Birthday!”s that pop up through the day, I noticed my universes converging. That’s how life goes, I guess, and love is the catalyst for it. Actors I worked with last summer post greetings after friends from college share their blessings. A knows these people and they know him because I exist. I love A, so I bring him places. I love my friends, so I make a point to go to those places.

I know I’m not the only one with these many orbiting galaxies, meshing and meeting, with only me, my strange and special life, at the center. How did I become someone whose world has so much variance? It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I exist.