Flight.

JaneSome musings on the week after my birthday.

When I look back to where I was a year ago and where I am today, well, the first question that popped to mind was really, what’s the difference? Sure, I’m a year older and the names and faces of my problems have changed some, but overwhelmingly the questions at the root of them are still the same. And there’s still Graham. Sometimes I think I really need to either give him the boot or tell him to commit…… but ultimatums never really work, do they? I suppose because, “ultimately”, there’s still you at the center of the issue, never taking a side one way or another, just letting someone else’s stomping tip your scales in the next direction.

And which direction is that? A circle can be deceptive. It seems like you’re going to new angles and directions, but really it’s all just different flavors of one arc. You’re not really going anywhere at all, except perhaps closer and closer to the center of whatever you’re winding yourself around, making it increasingly difficult to extract yourself and chance course. But sometimes, by the time you notice that, you’ve completed a few rotations and are well settled into the cycle.

The circles match the path of the earth, so whose to say when they’re wrong and when they’re right? But what I want to know is, if there is a way to travel in circles, where each circle gets larger than the last? Where you experience more with each rotation instead of less? Where—instead of becoming more firmly pulled down by gravity—if one can reach closer and closer, year after year, to the stars?

I suppose then the danger becomes being flung wildly off-course and shooting off in a single straight line, forever. But then again, it seems that in that case you would finally be flying.

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Why not?

JaneThe thing about spring is it just makes me want to dance. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well nothing, unless you’re strapped to a desk typing at a rate of 70 wpm. And why does it always seem that the most beautiful weather comes with the most excruciating deadlines?

Still, there was some good news. I heard from my friend in Greece, and she told me all about this incredible program where you travel the countryside putting on shows. Sounds like a dream job! I’m so impressed with all she has done since graduation. I feel like while I’ve hidden behind a computer screen and shrunk from life, she’s gone out and grabbed adventure and her dreams by the reins and told them where to go! It’s inspiring to see, really.  But it does make me feel like a little chicken.

Something she said to me really got me thinking. And it was a pretty simple thing to say, too. When I told her I was so proud of her accomplishments, but could never do them myself, she simply said, “Why not?”

Well. . . why not?

All Dressed Up

JaneIt’s always at this time of year I catch myself switching from secretly looking at pictures of wedding dresses to covertly flipping through pictures of red carpet gowns. Oh sure, I pretend not to care about all that garbage, but let’s face it: I love a good dress.

Growing up, it was so fun to play dress up! Even today, as a culture we’re obsessed with it. But why? Why not?

Adornment. It’s got the word “adore” in it. We all want to be adored, don’t we? It’s tough to admit, and yet I have to admit I do. None of this humility BS—I want to decorate myself in feathers or sequins or pearls and run dancing into the sunset!

But what happens when you get there? I don’t know. I wonder, if Graham and I ever get married—will I still look at pictures of wedding dresses? Will I still watch “Say Yes To The Dress”?

Do the actresses who parade the red carpet the Academy Awards still long for the next time? Once you get there, once you are the muse, what do you long for? I wonder, if I ever got there whether it would be enough. Or if I would be compelled to want something else.

I hope if I ever do get there, that I won’t just want a bigger, flashier, more expensive adornment. I hope that if I ever get there I’ll want the opposite—the gift of silence: nothing but trees, sky, and the crashing of waves upon the shore.

But that’s probably bogus and romantic of me to imagine. Probably I’d want the dress.

Feburuary 13th.

So here it is, Valentine’s Eve again. Or as Barney Stinson calls it, “Desperation Day.” Thanks, Barney. And it’s not that I’m lonely, I mean I do have someone. He’s just not here. And I know I’m not going to see him, we agreed not to do these “stupid commercial holidays.”

So why am I sitting here, staring at the DVD cover to my copy of When Harry Met Sally, not even remotely fooling myself?

He didn’t say it, but I know he’s spending the day with his wife. As I suppose he should. If I was his wife, or a wife at all for that matter. . . I’d expect to see my husband on Valentine’s Day. Even if I knew he was a high-fallutin’ intellectual elitist snob who wouldn’t know romance if it kicked him in the face.

I shouldn’t call him. I shouldn’t call. And I won’t. But it’s not going to keep me from wishing he would.  “I think I should hear her out,” he said. That’s what he said to me the last time I brought it up. “She wants to talk to me about us. . . and I think I should hear her out.”

That was six months ago. How have I become this passive? What did she say? Did she even say anything? Or maybe the whole point is that there’s nothing to say. It will either happen or it won’t. He’ll either leave her or she doesn’t. And I’ll either sit here, or. . .

Or what? Sit here? Is there an alternative?

I clearly need to make one.

The next story.

JaneIt’s around this time of year I get to thinking. . . what use have I made of the past year? And the answer I get from myself is usually, “You did pretty well, Jane. Could have done better, but look what you had to work with.”

Well…….. mediocrity no more! I picked up the pamphlet for that acting school in Greece again. Just holding it in my fingertips gave me goosebumps, like I could feel the energy of the program leaping right off the page into my veins. It made me elated, excited—gave me a fleeting feeling of empowerment that I could do it; that I could do anything.

Of course, like all fleeting feelings of empowerment, this one was quickly replaced by gut-punching fear. But unlike with other bouts of gut-punching fear, this time I held my ground. I marked my calendar with the application date. I’m going to do it. Or at least try. I’ll never regret giving it a try.

One nagging question already, however. Who’s going to write a recommendation for me? Yikes. Certainly not Graham. He’d flip out if he knew I was so much as thinking of leaving, let alone leaving him without a new manuscript. Maybe I’ll have time to write both, my application and the next story. I should probably let the dust settle from the holidays, before I make any sudden movements.

Actually, on second thought, I should probably take action before inertia slows my heart rate back down again. I need to choose whether the next story I create will be his or my own.

All Tied Up.

When I was in my twenties, I thought that in my thirties I would have all the answers. That I would have figured it out by now.

Now that I’m here I have to laugh. Have I figured out anything except that I haven’t figured it out yet? Does that even count?

Heh. Maybe that I analyze so much is what’s holding me back. How do you stop analyzing? Certainly not by writing about it. Maybe I should stop doing this! Maybe I should take up watching sports?

Or what if the point is that we never figure it out, that we’re always just pushing forward. Sometimes the current is with you; sometimes you go upstream. All I know is I’m over 30. Come on . . . something!

I know, I know…. It’s just a number. But still! When am I going to feel like I’ve grown up and gotten it all together? Where’s the nice little bow to wrap around my life?

I hear they were having a discount on bows at Target. I should probably just go pick some up to stick around my apartment, after all, it’s the holidays. . . no one would think it strange.

I remembered why I don’t like it.

JaneSo the universe is putting me to the test yet again. I recently took yet another ghost writing job. So close, yet so far from acting.

I took the job, feeling like I NEED THE MONEY!!!

Well a few days into it, I remembered why I don’t like it, how my boss keeps me in a repressed little box, and is at this point just utterly degrading my full potential. His version of being direct is being ungrateful, while I’m performing miracles making wine out of water with 24 hour turn-arounds and he is still focused so hard on what’s wrong or could potentially be wrong that he makes you feel incompetent while all you are doing is the best you can, with the resources he has chosen to give to you. I’ve asked for better, he says no….apparently doesn’t understand the concept you get what you pay for, and the icing on the cake…is the few little things he tries to make me wrong for, was Actually in REALITY right & efficient, it just wasn’t HIS WAY, and I’m being made to deal with his fears, and anxieties for making promises to his client that HE can’t live up to. YET I’M AUTHENTIC IN MINE!

And this time I know it’s not just me. It’s time to be the “stars” we are meant to be!!!

And I’m finally promising myself, NO MORE! I’m walking through the terror of my final test.

And so I’m throwing my hands up in the air and asking whatever is out there….”tell me, what now?”

Please, give me a sign.

Ambrosia and Cocktails

In the theatre of Ancient Greece, nearly every drama was saved at the end by a deus ex machina, the “God from the machine.” Suddenly, when things are at their worst, a plume of smoke and flash of fire rains down from the sky, and everyone’s problems are solved. Kind of a hokey idea, right? Today’s critics would call it a “simple” or “predictable” resolution. The easy way out.

Try as I may, I can’t help but love the idea of a deus ex machina. I mean, why can’t regular mortals call upon a deus ex machina in their everyday lives? More specifically, why can’t I, right now?

I guess it’s something like having a super-power. If you could have one, which would it be? I think I would choose to have the power of flight. Or no, scratch that. I would want the power to fix problems. To be my very own deus ex machina, and descend from the clouds at just the right moment to save the day, all the time, every day, or whenever I felt like it. Then carry back on with my dinner of ambrosia and cocktails like nothing had happened.

Wait a minute. . . did I just write that I wanted my super-power to be that I’m a god? Hang on there a minute Jane, that’s a little entitled, even for you. No. That can’t be what I mean. Just that I want to solve problems. And that sometimes a bird’s-eye view can be the clearest view.

But I suppose even birds must feel trapped, sometimes. Do they look at the clouds and wonder, “if only I could go higher things would be better?”  Or do they gaze from the air at the sea and think “If I could live where the fish I eat swim, then I would have no problems’?

Maybe I just have the classic old Cinderella complex. I’m waiting for my fairy godmother to come, wave her wand, and set the coach into motion. Maybe I should move out of New York City. Then I’d have to learn to drive.

 

Graham.

Is this it?

Sometimes when we argue I can almost feel myself breaking away for good. Like I’m a bungee cord stretched to the breaking point and about to snap. And sometimes, I truly believe I’m going to do it, too. Snap. Leave. Move on.

That’s usually about the time I arrive home from fighting with him, or hang up the phone, or delete the offensive email.  I look up and see myself in my apartment, and suddenly I feel so trapped. Stuck. Staked in place. For what am I really? Not the bungee cord, no. I’m not flexible, or strong, or liable to break away. I’m the figure tied to the end of the cord, and he’s the one holding the string. I can see him, standing on my rooftop, stringing me along like a puppet as I bounce up and down at his request. And I bounce up and down, peeking in the windows of my neighbors apartments as I go, wondering if their lives are like this too. And all the while I hope he’ll reel me in and that when I get to my roof, it will just be him waiting there.

No strings, no games, just him.

And then, just when I give up all hope, just when I think he’s going to polish his ring and head home, his hand reaches down and pulls me up to the ledge.

And there he leaves me, hanging on for dear life, clinging to the ledge. It’s the perfect vantage point to see him turn around and walk away. But not before he clips my bungee cord to the chimney.