Return To Me

There are certain times of your life that shape you, challenge you, and maybe even torment you to become the person that you will eventually be. The life lessons, the failures, the small triumphs, even more so than the larger ones. These moments prepare you, and often, in ways that you’d have no idea.

I wanted to be a doctor…a heart surgeon, to be exact, but chemistry made other decisions for me.  I thrived in musical theatre, loved it beyond imagination, and was a “triple threat” but stature made it difficult to be cast, and, no matter how great I was told my dancing was, I just wasn’t cast, again and again.  I held on…for a long time….rejection after rejection, and statements like “it’s too bad you’re not taller; you’re really good!” Which killed me. I could change lots of things, but, my height was not one of them. My parents, not so gently,  suggested I back myself up, so I duel degreed…musical theatre and sociology/criminal justice. I continued to perform, and supported myself by teaching dance.   I was very comfortable in front of people, and was told that I would be a great courtroom lawyer,  so, again, I changed paths.  I was wait listed for law school, so I began working in private practice and the court system.  When I was finally accepted to graduate school, I was interested in making changes and advising, and not just prosecuting, so I added an MSW to the path. I left the court system 10 years later, but missed performing more than I realized.  It didn’t seem responsible by that time to audition on an ongoing basis….I was now married, had children, and was paying a mortgage, so I “dabbled”….  An audition, here and there, a local show here and there,  I sang with a wedding band, did a choreography job, now and again, all while watching my peers on national tours, auditioning, being cast, doing commercials, bit parts, getting their big breaks and  gigs, and sending my students on auditions for intensives, jobs, and my nemesis, the rockette line.  I’ve supported friends through all of their successes, envious and yet super proud, and all the while I didn’t realize how far I had come from being myself.  The desire was still there.  I thrive on a stage, as a character that can be strong or emotional, but will break out in song when there are no words left to say.  For me,  It’s not the applause; It’s the freedom. It’s a chance to let go…to let it go…to rejoice…or question…or be. It’s a chance to say what you need to…and be listened to.  And yes, it is also an escape…from the ordinary, the mundane, and the responsible…. From whom I have become, and back to whom I once was.

I’ve had a few opportunities this year to “go back” — literally.  I’ve performed back on the stage where I spent four years as a musical theatre major, on a traditional or, so much more often, a raked stage, on the main stage –God, did it feel great.  Coming home can be absolutely amazing.  And, just this past weekend, I got to do it again, but in a different performance space on the campus, along with the honor of performing, not only amongst some fabulous alumni, and current students, but, with a more recent graduate whom I barely knew.  We took a risk because of our similar range, and hoped it’d work out.  Not only did it work out, but we ran our number with accompaniment just once to rehearse, and were truly amazed at how well we sounded together. Yes, we were trained by the same department, years and years apart, but HOW does that even happen?! It’s pretty amazing, and felt pretty amazing.  (Thank you Jenny!) image.png  The energy brought me back, each time, to EVERY time.  And I realize now, how much I truly miss it.  I’m grateful the opportunities have resurfaced, and am hopeful to do more…and I don’t mean in my car with an original cast recording! (Though carpool karaoke is my jam!)

i know that the opportunities and the new connections have resurfaced for a reason, and their timing couldn’t be more spot on, because every day, I am returning to me.

Look out world…here’s me!!!   (Cue the Broadway lights and marquis!)

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A Year In The Making

I’ve finally arrived home! … from camp, about two weeks ago, and from DC, about three days ago, but I wasn’t really “HERE” until now~ Not physically or spiritually, that is, until RIGHT now.

It’s pretty obvious, at this point, especially if you follow my blog, that I’ve made a series of major life changes in the last, oh, I don’t know, maybe 12 to 18 months. Or, at least, I THOUGHT it was pretty obvious, but Facebook still baffles and intrigues me by what some people state on there…(However, I  think that’s a whole other blogpost.)

Some of these changes have gone down with quite a battle, and yes, there has also been some shrapnel in the process, and, of course, some wounds. I’ve lost people along the way…those that have removed ME from their lives, without even consulting me, and, I’ve gotta say, that hurts…a lot.  It really REALLY caught me off guard too.  But, I guess, no matter how many decades I was a part of their lives, maybe I was never all that important to them, and the joke was really on me.  I pride myself in relationships, and keeping in touch, showing interest, showing support, sending cards, checking in, and being there, but, I realize now, that I just can’t do that alone…in ANY kind of relationship.  It takes investing. And, maybe it’s just easier for them to toss me aside than to do the work that it takes to keep a relationship active and stay in touch.  Did they NOT realize all along, that i was the one doing the work? …cheering for family, making time and sacrifices for it and its importance? Did they REALLY  think that my, then, spouse was the one doing it?  Maybe it’s easier for them to cast blame, than to  take responsibility for anything on their end.  And, believe me, age plays no part in that wisdom, whether that happens or not, and, apparently, neither does the number of years invested, or even being family.  It’s heartbreaking.                                   No, it’s not heartbreaking…it’s  soul crushing.

I’ve decided to “let go”.  Not of everything, but of the pain it has caused. I found a magnet today that said ” let go, or be dragged”.  I also don’t think it was a coincidence that IT found ME in the market while on line, purchasing flowers and dessert prior to going to someone’s home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah…the Jewish new year.

But,  I’m not going to stop being whom I’ve always been. I’m going to continue being the thoughtful me, but because it makes me happy to do those things, because it’s who i am. It’s whom I’ve ALWAYS been. That won’t change.     I’ve, more recently, embraced change, more than I ever have before.  First,  quite honestly, out of not having a choice, but then, BY choice.  I keep a gratitude journal; I have, for years now…before anyone thought it was vogue…you know, therapeutic milieu  and all that because of me being a therapist,  and I try to be positive (afterall, that’s  a part of my bloodtype) and some changes  really just had to happen. But, then I did an assessment…a baseline, if you will, just to have something to compare it to, and, I realized, I could really USE some change. so, when it began to happen organically in some situations, I just let it.  Job change…location change… heck, even the dining room at camp that  I ate in for years…what an AMAZING change THAT was…thanks Jenn! My home, my commute, my clothing, my personal preparation before going out.  Even my skin has changed (for the better).

I’ve learned a lot…about other people, and about myself. I’ve learned who it is that is really there for me, and if you want to reciprocate, that’d be great. But I’m not going to badger myself as to what I did that made the relationship fizzle…that takes another party’s participation as well.  And, I know that life is busy, but, if you feel that I’m worth it, reach out, or, at least, reach back.  I’ve learned to embrace change when necessary, and I’ve learned that where I NOW live, is finally home…but I had to leave, to find that out. A year ago, I was in a very different place….it’s truly amazing what can change in a year.  Here’s to the new year, and to the new and improved me.  If you’re not with me, you’re missing out!

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Home Free

The last 48 hours, (plus 2 years, and 4 months) has been a whirlwind!
I’ve probably slept a total of 4 hours, and,  though I’m honestly trying to nap, i somehow began writing…maybe my eyes will just droop shut?!
It’s so hard to believe all of the time (and testing) (an advocating) it took to get here, not to mention, the crazy timing.
I’m home (from having been at camp) sitting next to my daughter, watching her sleep off anesthesia and listening to her softly sigh in her sleep from the pain…pain, in which I pray is the start of healing, and the beginning of much less than she’s had to endure until now.
I marvel at all that she’s accomplished while in this pain, like her final year of college, her honors thesis, her research, her sitting for the law boards, her graduation from college,  her first year of law school, all of the acquired awards, and the list goes on and on and on.
I can’t help myself as I capture a photo of her– sleeping…with a briefcase,  just to the left of her, and “benny”, the bunny, to her right. Life,  afterall, is about a balance…
I’m still recovering from my own procedure merely 5 days earlier, but I’m mom, and that’s just the way things go.
I watch the clock, at the ready, to medicate her, hydrate her, check the incisions, provide the tiniest snack, or anything at all that I can do, since I’ve not been able to do ANYTHING before.
I thank this new found surgeon, and second gastrointeroligist, again and again, under my breath, having heard us, when no one else has before.
I revisit, again and again, what he told me as she was leaving the OR…how we have now been confirmed that medical testing is far from perfect, how an opinion is just that…an opinion, how sometimes additional information just complicates things, and how managed care creates it’s own scenarios, much like jurassic park.
The money alone that I’ve spent going from specialist to specialist, the testing and retesting, the hospital ERs, the pain meds, the side effects, the homeopathic regimens, the different diets and supplements, and all that she reluctantly did,  like a trooper, again and again, in the hope of some, or any, at all, relief, while being bounced around,  and back and forth between 2 states like a basketball goes to and from each side of the court.
My fingers and toes are crossed that this exploratory procedure, ending in the removal of a torsed gall bladder, badly stretched out and covered in scar tissue, and the removal of part of her liver, causing a hematoma that almost sent us right back to the hospital, will end this horrific pain and be the answer we’ve been hoping for through all of the many tests, scans, and mris, having been done numerous times,  over and over again….the costs, more than financial.
I wonder what she could’ve accomplished pain free in that same time. How different her demeanor would’ve been. Her experience.
I watch her, amazed at the woman that she is…so young…so focused…and so full of promise.
It’s been such a long journey and I hope that we have reached our destination and are truly home free.

But, for now, we rest, and wait, and hope.

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Rebel

The word has a certain ring to it…
A noun…a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler. A person who resists any authority, control, or tradition.
A verb…the rise in opposition or armed resistance to an established government or ruler.

I’ve always been one to try to fit in…to blend in…not one to stand out.
I got my education in very specific programs.
I loved singing in the chorus, and the cohesiveness of different vocal sections blending together to form one great sound.
I was my strongest, dancing in a group, or duo, rather than as a soloist.
I stood strong in theatre ensembles, and marveled in moments that each audience member and individual theatre goer felt from the empowerment of the group and their story behind their voices.
I have belonged to a fabulous sorority, many professional organizations, and staff groups with a common ground, or purpose, always for the greater good.
I conduct groups as part of my therapeutic practice, and
even my yoga practice is based upon a specific group of yogis.
True to the theory that there is power in numbers, I  am empowered by those around me and take comfort in belonging. And, true to form, I am an absolute  sucker for tradition, especially those traditions that are carried through for decades, no matter how corny they might be.

I’ve never thought of myself as rebellious in any way, and tend to follow the rules, even lacking flexibility at times. I have always hesitated to stray from the masses for fear of being rejected or scorned. Yes, I was often a leader, but, a leader is only as good as their followers who hold them up, and vice versa.
I’ve often been put into leadership positions because of my ability to multitask, or speak well, and often because I felt strongly about a cause.
And sometimes, just because no one stepped forward, and I felt obligated to the group to represent them.
…Not quite your “Evita”, but more likely,  one of the people of Argentina who picketed on the front lines for their cause and for a new Argentina.

However, as of late, I have taken on a different role of sorts. A risk, so to speak, to stand alone, and stand strong. It is no easy feat, believe me, not by any means. It is not something familiar to me, nor had I had the opportunity to rehearse for it, or not that I had realized at least  beforehand, but it was time. Maybe even more than time. So used to belonging, following what was expected and even what I had hoped would all work out in the end, as it was foreign to me to take a different path. I belonged to a unit, a partnership, a group, and in a role that I did well, and perfected.  But, some roles must be played alongside a strong scene partner to make their impact. A monologue moves the audience to think, and even the actor….to seek purpose and explore their role, their choices, and their next steps. I had lost my scene partner, earlier than I had realized, and no matter how hard I worked at it, the scene had become ineffective; the show, a flop, with bad reviews. Did the audience realize what was happening?  I really don’t think so. And, honestly, it doesn’t matter. Even now, there is still much surprise…to myself as well.
I have realized now,  that I WAS standing strong, standing solo, and for much longer than I had realized.
I am now building an empire, finding myself, healing myself, loving myself, being passionate, getting fit, growing friendships, meeting new people, making memories, and even performing more often, and yes,  finding my happiness. I’m open to new experiences and new roles, and new relationships,  and,  if that makes me a rebel…so be it.  Welcome to a new Argentina.

 

 

 

Delayed, But Right On Time

Yesterday, at 3 pm, I left for the airport.
Armed with my glittery Rollie suitcase, my Vera weekender, and a gallon sized Ziploc bag filled with almonds, dried apricots, corn nuts, frozen grapes, two turkey roll ups, and an empty water bottles awaiting filling.
I parked my car at a friend’s house, transferred my belongings into her trunk, gave her my lettuce and some fruit, (it would just go bad in my fridge) hopped in and was at the airport in no time, though it was lightly raining and very, very breezy.
Having checked with the airline earlier by phone, I knew my flight was already delayed by two hours, but, I was advised not to come any later than originally scheduled because it was likely to take off on time, should the weather change. By the time I made it to security, the sun was shining bright, as I took note of my gorgeous view and snapped a photo of the plane just to my side as I awaited my turn and I marveled at how beautiful it was outside.
The line for security was manageable. I removed my sneakers and zip front hoodie, and placed it in a bin. I placed my two bags on the belt next to it, and then took an additional bin for my iPad, phone, and passport. I was advised to grab another bin for my small quart size bag of liquids, and snack bag. I joked with the TSA agent that I was willing to share, she smiled, and the scanning continued, uneventfully. I walked through, collected my belongings, put on my shoes, and headed on my way to gate 16A.
When I arrived to my area, there was a very long line for the ladies room, which I got on immediately….”always try”, I thought to myself….having heard this, and said this parentally, in turn, for years.
I then made my way to my gate, where two other flights were posted as delayed but expected to arrive and depart prior to mine. I asked the attendant at the desk, and was informed that my flight was still two hours delayed, coming from Orlando, and they would post this and an update, after the other flights departed. I looked around…very few seats available, but I found one, and luckily, right next to an outlet for my phone charger.
I settled in, grabbed my phone and charger, and a snack, got comfy, and waited.
The more I looked around, the more I realized the abundance of others awaiting their flights. I glanced at my watch, and knew that I already had two additional hours ahead of me. I listened as numerous cancellations were announced over the PA system. The guy next to me asked which of the two flights listed I was ticketed for, and when my response was neither, he told me he was on standby for either, and was hopeful for the first one. We spent the next couple of hours chatting, sharing our plans for each of our trips…him, meeting a friend and cousin for a few fun days in Miami, and me, checking on my parents and cousin…mom recovering from several crazy months and a recent procedure, and my cousin, in a cast, recovering from surgery.
There were numerous announcements further delaying each of his possible flights, and nothing regarding mine. After a couple of hours more, he checked in, and was bumped, as clearly noted by his thumbs down gesture to me from the desk. By now, I was really rooting for him. The first flight, now 6 hours delayed, came and went. He settled back in next to me, and advised me to check regarding my own flight; Nothing had changed, but I was becoming Leary.
There were children running around, tiring themselves, and I was pretty impressed with how cool most of these people were who had already been waiting for hours. People shared outlets and even chargers, and moved belongings and seats for other travelers, with the exception of one older, barefoot woman, who had to stretch out across three seats. (There’s always one in the crowd, and you KNOW She’ll be on my flight because you just know…)
Nonetheless, “Will” and I formally introduce ourselves, knowing we will now be spending even more time together. We marvel at this “seat needy” woman, share snacks, and pass the time. Finally, an announcement is made that my flight is further delayed, and they’re awaiting news as to what gate we will probably be moved to because of the high winds and limitations of airspace to depart and land. I’m just hopeful that I’m still flying and won’t have to go through security yet again. I have my doubts; I’ve seen this happen before, and then, in the end, the flight gets cancelled. Fingers crossed, that this is not the case, and I will fly and land safely way before my 82 year old father has to pick me up at some ridiculous hour. I know he’s keeping in touch with the airline, having forewarned him about the high winds. At this point, i won’t arrive before midnight, and I’ve already lost the entire day.
Overhead, they announce the other flight is also further delayed, having been rerouted to AC to refuel, which is really silly, but, given the scenario, that “fuel and go” adds another hour delay to Will’s hopeful flight. They also mention that they’ve put out water bottles and snacks for us, and apologize yet again. Everyone grabs snacks; Will brings back choices for both of us, and I swear that Phil Donahue is sitting across from us, but Will has no idea whom that is, and there’s so many people using the wifi, that I can’t show him a pic, or even verify if Phil is still alive. I worry about how Marlo Thomas is doing without him, and then chuckle out loud. After an hour of glancing his way, I just ask him if anyone’s ever told him that he looks like Phil Donahue, and he grins, but tells me no, and then smiles again. (I’ve GOT to get on that wifi!) it HAS to be him!
And then, after hours and hours, we get the news…my flight is taxiing to the gate, and will leave in the next 45 minutes once they clean, refuel, restock, and board us. There are applause, and I bee line for the ladies room to avoid the rush once on the plane. I return, collect the rest of my things and stand by. My flight is JUST now being put up on the board at the original gate. It takes longer than expected, and boarding is slow, but we do finally begin boarding.
Will requests a hug goodbye, as we’ve now spent 7 hours together, and we do so, wish each other safe flights and good trips, and I head for the line for boarding.

 

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It seems as if everyone has a reason for priority boarding, as does the “seat needy woman” who manages to quickly cruise her way forward when those who are disabled or need extra time are asked to slowly, make their way forward….#nojudgement.
The attendants thank me for my patience, and I, in turn, thank them for theirs, and they are stunned and grateful. Hey, they don’t make the decisions, they just deliver the news.
I make my way onto the plane…people take their time stowing their belongings, but are actually helping each other. Having just recently seen “Come from away” on Broadway, I wonder how many of them have as well. It’s all about the kindness of strangers, and the planes that were welcomed to Newfoundland, to Gander, specifically, when the air zone was cleared during 9/11 and all flights were grounded.  Oddly enough, later on, I spy a commercial for just that Broadway show on another passenger’s inflight screen.
I’m proud of my fellow travelers, and feel a strange camaraderie and kinship with them for some odd reason that I can’t put my finger on, but I’m MORE than ready to go. I buckle myself into the middle seat (of course, and it’s a completely packed flight) and the older woman to my right, whispering on her phone begins sobbing. I’m not really sure why, or what to do, but I find my packet of tissues (always the therapist/support supervisor) and hand it to her. She takes it, continues to talk quietly, dabs her eyes, and hangs up. She thanks me profusely, and gives me the remainder of the packet. I hand her one more, just in case, and she smiles. She says nothing throughout the remainder of the flight.
The older gentleman to my left settles in next to me and next to his wife across the aisle, and then we hear the PA crackle.
We are welcomed aboard by Zach, a very young flight attendant, maybe 21?….maybe…. 18?….who introduces the flight crew, who all appear to be old enough to have parented him. He’s excited to have us aboard this plane, which he refers to as “the big blueberry”.
He apologizes again and again for the multiple delays, cancellations, and says that he feels solely responsible and will do what he can to allow us to rest, regroup, and safely arrive at our destination. I realize then, that our captain, Brooke, is a female, and with the exception of one flight attendant, the rest of them are all males, and I’m thinking how cool this flight is. Again, I’m proud, but now, proud of the flight crew too.
I can’t help but think that this is a great combination of people and marvel at where I now am, and where I was not.
But, it gets even better. They truly have fun through the safety presentation, immediately offer free movies on 3 or 4 channels, and pass out water bottles and snacks as soon as we are sky-bound. Naturally, only our 3 screens don’t work, but I am content watching Eat, Pray, Love on my iPod classic, which was my initial plan anyway, but they offer the three of us some kind of voucher by email, and complimentary wine. (Perfect!)
More apologies, limited turbulence, wine, water, cranberry juice, pop corners (my new favorite snack) and Julia Roberts on a 3 inch screen, living my adventure.
The plane full of people settles down in the night sky, and then Zach comes by to check on each and EVERY one of us, reintroducing himself, shaking our hands, and apologizing again, and asking if there’s anything at all that could make us more comfortable. I’m really fine…no….good, and I’m grateful. This young (very young) man, who clearly is challenged by, and working VERY hard on his social skills, is a pure delight, and really feels badly. He tells me how upset he is that things like this ruin people’s plans and this airline really strives to create just the opposite. I thank him for his attention to detail and intention, and he thanks me for chatting with him, before he moves on to the next row of people. He’s authentic with every person he chats with. This clearly isn’t protocol, but rather, personality. I’m so glad the airline chose him, and clearly, because of his heart, and my faith is restored in big business.
After three hours, we begin our dissent, and he apologizes for waking us, but needs to be sure we are safe and he knows we’ve all had a long day, want our bags, connections, and easy access to exits. Our landing is effortless, and Zach leaves us with a proverb. He says it’s “his thing” that he likes to do at the end of every flight, and then reads something right out of the end of one of my yoga classes. The other flight attendants seem to be listening as well for his words of wisdom, and nod along in affirmation when he is done. The woman on my right is astonished and says she will never fly any of the other major carriers again, who could care less when she’s been inconvenienced, and her faith in humanity has been restored on numerous levels after this flight, how it was handled, and, specifically, this in-flight crew.
No one rushes for the exit. Again, everyone is helping others retrieve their belongings from the overhead compartments, women are discussing chivalry and heart, and I realize, that it’s not just me that feels this camaraderie. We all exchange niceties, allow each other to pass, and head down the aisle to leave the plane. The last person I see as I leave, of course, is Zach. Proud, content, beaming, as he’s accomplished his mission to make us comfortable, and get us to our destination, as if he, single handedly, guided the plane. He looks like he’s barely old enough to ride a bike, but he’s clearly meant for this job, and I make a mental note to email the airline and let them know. He wishes me a nice night, and now, after almost 11 hours, it’s around 1:30 am, and I roll through the deserted airport, having safely made it to my destination. I make my way through the airport, down two levels, and toward the exit, and there’s my mom, super excited that I’ve arrived, and acting like I’m “right on time”, and we embrace, and head to the curb where my dad awaits, and is beaming with contentment. He asks how my flight was, and I tell him it was really wonderful, and he mentions how amazed he was that I even got off the ground. I agree, and then mention a bit about my flight. They are both as amazed as I am. I am here, safe and sound, with both of my parents, and have not just flown the friendly skies, but have been lifted higher than I thought possible after such a long haul. It’s odd, but I feel like I’ve truly arrived…and right on time.

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

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It’s April 1st, a holiday weekend, celebrating Easter and Passover, we’ve just had a beautiful blue moon, and apparently spring is in full swing, according to my allergies.
I’ve packed up all of the snow decorations in my home, boxed them and put them away until next year.
I’ve cleaned, deodorized, changed sheets, duvets, done laundry, changed up decor, candle scents, repotted plants, and decorated for spring, including having personally crafted a new sign for the front door, in vibrant colors, complete with mini butterflies.
Costumes are coming in, left and right, at the studio, and I’ve already steamed, puffed, and tweaked lots of them for performances. Glitter is on the floor and in the air, (and in my hair). Friends are posting their kids’ graduation photos and college commitments for the fall. Grad students are posting accepted internship placements, numerous religious rights of passage pics are all over Facebook, and stores are all a buzz with formal ware for dances and proms, as well as beach themed decor everywhere.
I’m unsure when this really happened, as we, of course, are expecting more “unseasonal snow” in the next couple of days, and, as tradition has been, we’re usually on our way down south, in a car for too many hours to connect with extended family. However, things have changed….so many things…from the ages of our children to whom is around, to whom is no longer on this earth. It just wouldn’t be the same.
But, this time of year is also a time of cleansing, rebirth, and new traditions, and one that I had to adjust to and embrace, wholeheartedly.
I’m amazed at the growth in such a short time…
Change certainly brings growth, but, it does take time. I tell my campers and their parents that this is called “adjustment”. No one is exempt from adjustment, it’s just that each person does it in their own time. Some people move on quickly, whether or not it is healthy for them…they just move on to the next scenario and brush the rest under the rug. Some agree to deal with the task at hand, and some of us need to explore, taste, and process, sort of like dipping a toe in the water to test whether or not the water is fine.
I’ve realized that I go beyond that….I process and reprocess to see if things will actually stand the test of time, but I’m an original. I guess that makes me sort of like….”Velveeta”!
You know, that over processed cheese that comes in a box, but it’s always there, within reach. It’s resilient and great for melting; It can even create some really quick and tasty meals and snacks.
Is this a bad thing? I really don’t think so. Though I’m not huge on over processed foods, and tend to go the more natural and often, organic route, I’m forever reminded that life is a balance. Life is a song. Life is a journey. Life is for growing.
And, often, you need to grow where you are planted.
Sometimes, we end up exactly where we are meant to be, even if it is not where we have chosen to be.
How many stories do we hear about programs and schools not accepted to, trains missed, flights cancelled, roads closed, events that cause us to run late, only to hear of something more negative occurring that we were then NOT a part of because of an earlier mishap?
I judge traffic differently these days…and wonder if I will be blessed enough to find out later, why I am not where I had hoped to be. And lately, life is no different…the two hoped for homes, lost to other people, previously to finding this one that is perfectly suited to me, with a different feel; more spacious, more light, closer to the town I was looking to move to, and creating a whole different perspective, geography, and new start.
The cleaning out of things, to make room for less things or even a few new things to reinvent who I am and whom I used to be.
The resurfacing of old friends, brought into closer proximity whether it be physical or spiritual. The reconnecting through shared experiences, the lifting (and schlepping) and the support. The finding of new places, new foods, new laughs shared, and also finding out that things will be even better and more than okay.
The seasons change, and change can be very, very scary, but we also need to remember that after the cold of winter, flowers bud, and bloom, and often, these blooms are much bigger than the season before. So maybe, just maybe,  we need to learn to bloom where we are planted.

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Can You Move It Like This?

A close friend of mine just sold her house wayyyyy faster than she could’ve ever expected. The house sold in less than a week, and, of course, the buyers wanted to be in ASAP.
Moving is a seriously daunting experience even in the best of circumstances. Believe me, I know it well, having experienced it several times, and more so, just recently, for which I am still recovering. Throw in some major repairs needing to be done in the basement, prior to closing, and the necessity of removing in excess of 25 years of stuff to do said work, and you pretty much have a disaster…or do you?
It’s a ridiculous task to take on, more so, single handedly, and the thought of it just wore her down. But, it was a favor in disguise, much like life throws our way, to get the ball rolling and the stuff moving.
…enter…the village…
The boss who connects her with the repair company and the dumpster, the moving boxes from the last friend who moved, the friend with the big SUV, the friend that drives in from out of town to help schlep, and the other friend who knows how to organize it all. Oddly, every one of them has a derivative of the same name, with a variation on the spelling. Coincidence?!
Now, I’ve blogged before about the power of women, the caring for others, how when there’s a woman, there’s a way, but I was intrigued by this team of women, thrown together on behalf of a mutual friend, in a group text, having come into her life in completely different ways and at very different times. And how is it that our names are so similar? Do people collect those with duplicate names that will eventually come together with a purpose to fulfill a role in that person’s life when they need it most? I’ve had a similar experience with a completely different name. Is it like a sign of what path you ought to choose in your journey? People certainly come into our lives for different reasons, at different times, and fulfill different roles, but put them together, and it’s mind blowing. None of us stepped on anyone else’s toes, (not that I am aware of anyway) nor conflicted in style, and the humorous jokes and positivity was just a part of the package deal, as was our low maintenance lunch break. No one had to motivate us, and no time was wasted for the tasks at hand. We worked together like we had done it before, and independently when necessary taking our lead from our host or each other. A couple of days later, we are still joking by text, interacting about things joked about while together….the life supply of gallon sized ziploc bags and boxes upon boxes of instant hot chocolate, needing its own shelf in the, now organized, pantry.
We left our friend tired, yet fulfilled, and in tears of gratitude, not once, but at least three times that I can recall. She expected to be left with a huge transfer of boxes and belongings, but, instead, she was left with a home that could function from the get go, and even handle having a legitimate meal made in her kitchen with the tools needed to make it happen. There’s something truly heart warming and fulfilling seeing a friend, who is so gracious that she has friends out there to share the load, when the load is too heavy to bare alone.
It made me realize that I, myself, should just be on the lookout for new friends to add to my life who have this skill. So, if you’re looking for me, because I fit your name category, you can find me! I’m out somewhere, drinking hot chocolate and looking to add to my Barbara collection.

 

 

Going solo

I went to the movies the other night. I finally took myself to see a movie that’s been out for some time. I hadn’t had the right timing, the right person to go with, or the opportunity to see it before, though I did try. When I saw that it was still in the theatre, I thought, what the heck, I’m unexpectedly free tonight, so, I went. 

–Bonus, with my rewards card, it was 5 bucks!

I must remember that I have that card, and that its benefits are only at weird, unexpected times….and so, I digress. …back to the movies… 

I didn’t ask anyone to go, didn’t see if anyone was available, didn’t ask who hadn’t yet seen it, or where to go…I just went. When I purchased my ticket, the cashier told me that there was only one other person who had purchased a ticket, this was the only showing, and the theatre was quite small, three rows, to be exact, because the flick had been out for some time. Assured that it would play regardless, I picked my seat, purchased my ticket, headed to the bathroom, (one must always “try”… It’s a mom thing), purchased some fries (from Nathan’s; no judgement) and then headed into  theatre number 11.

My seat, of course had an issue; the recliner didn’t work. So, I went back, told her, and was told to just move over a seat, as they didn’t expect it to be an issue.

I put my pocketbook and coat on the broken chair, settled in, reclined, (what took so long for this logic?) and the preview messages began. In walks a woman, with popcorn, and she heads right to the broken chair. I assure her that I can move my stuff, but tell her that the chair doesn’t recline. I also tell her that I moved over, per instructions, and baffled, she asks me how I know it’s broken if I’m sitting next to it. I tell her that I originally attempted to sit there and when it didn’t recline…yada, yada, yada, and relay the story. Still baffled, I realize we must’ve been sold the same reserved seat. Again, this is not a real issue, as we are the only people in the theatre. I offer to move, and she says that’s silly, and takes the seat just to my left, introduces herself, and offers me popcorn. I thank her, show her my fries, and confirm that there is nooooo way I should be eating them, but I’m thrilled she is my only witness. She replies with, witness? I don’t see anything!

We laugh and tune into the screen. In walks a somewhat older gentleman, and he sits two rows in front of us, and then, yet another, who sits directly on her left. (I mean, really?! There are a ton of seats.)  moments later, she whispers to me that he smells like moth balls, and apologizes for leaning in. Then, not much later, his cell phone rings…loudly and continuously, ironically, just seconds after we have all watched the instruction message for quieting a cell phone and not ruining the movie for others, and yup, he was there, but, he takes the call, jumps up, and exits. Moments later, he returns, reclines,  and resumes watching. Fast forward 20 minutes or so, and his phone rings again. He repeats the same scenario, returns, no apology, and resumes watching. 10 minutes later, we are exposed to round three of the cell phone, and my non moth ball loving neighbor on my left, can’t help herself and says something to him, in which he offers to move his seat, and she clarifies that we’d still hear his phone ring. They exchange inaudible words, he leaves, returns, and moves over TWO ENTIRE SEATS TO THE LEFT OF US. woooo…BIG move!

I’m into the movie, and we quietly compare notes of where we might’ve seen actress A vs B before, but nothing big. The movie ends, somewhat more abruptly than we both expect and we both say it out loud during the credits. The lights are coming up, we exchange niceties, where we are both from, and she starts asking specifics as to where I live, and I hesitate to be that specific. When she names my development, she says she lived there years ago, asks about real estate prices, etc., and somehow both reveal that each of our parents reside in Florida. I’m not even sure how that happened… Possibly relating about the mother/daughter relationship in the movie?….but they’re not in the same areas, although living similar scenarios. I presumed she was older than I am, but I’m not good with ages, as I really don’t think ages matter amongst friends, but the life scenarios appear similar. We head out together, she hands me her card, tells me she’s single, and if I’m ever heading to the movies again, she’d love to join me. I give her my card as well, and then I realize we work in similar circles. She gives me a hug, reminds me that the phone rings both ways, and we leave in separate directions.

I’m a little baffled…I’m not really sure what just happened here. 

Crickets…. Crickets… Crickets.

I mean, did I just get picked up? Seriously? By a woman? Or is this just another woman, like me, free on a weeknight, that caught a movie, and also didn’t ask a friend beforehand?  I’m really not sure. Was i giving off some kind of vibe of some unfamiliar sort?

I sit in the car for a sec, pondering. I talk with my daughter on the phone; she has no opinion either way. I speak to a friend the following day, and she assures me it’s probably the latter, reasoning that this movie has been out for a while, and any likelihood of someone trying to meet someone is grossly limited with this particular scenario, and she probably was in the same boat as I was, just seeing it now. Hmmmm.

Today, (two days later), I receive a message from my office manager, that blankety blank called and can be reached at said number. Whoa…yup….It’s the non moth ball loving movie goer. Okay, now I’m stunned. I’m really not sure what to do with this, so I sit on it until lunch. I text my same friend regarding my hesitancy to return the call, and she tells me to trust my instincts…of course…how can I not? Though I’m really not sure what they are… I have NEVER been in this situation before. #mygayfriendswillNEVERletmelivethisdown 

So, I call her from an undisclosed line. She picks up right away, assures me that she called because she wouldn’t be heading to the movies anytime in the next week, as she’s booked a trip to Florida. I tell her I am considering the same, to check on my folks, and she asks me when. I assure her I’m just in the thinking stages. I can’t help myself and ask if she is “newly single”, thinking she’ll tell me she’s recently divorced or widowed, or something, and she assures me that she’s been single “for a long time”,  having been engaged, and it not working out. (This doesn’t give me much clarity.)  We talk for a few moments, and she mentions her concerns regarding being in Florida amidst the teens and the chaos of late, because of her different opinion regarding the whole right to defend yourself, and I allow her to talk. We agree to let this be, not knowing each other, and possibly having different opinions, and I’m thrilled it doesn’t become heated. We’re all feeling lots of vulnerability right now, and for many reasons. I’m trying to keep myself calmer overall these days, and be true to myself.  We therapists don’t take care of ourselves as well as we should… we care for others. 

I do need to eat lunch and return to working, so I wish her a safe trip, and tell her I presume we might talk when she returns. She is friendly, and passionate, and shares her passion for her friendships and talks about how things like this happening in the world should remind us to reach out to our friends while we can. I feel oddly, like she is some kind of messenger for me.

I’m still not clear about any of this “chance” meeting? I can’t figure out how professional adults are supposed to meet other people, besides all of the standards. But, maybe she’s just been doing it for longer, or is more skilled at it, or whatever. Maybe her intentions are otherwise…I’m not sure. I know I have been intentionally spending time with more female friends from my past. Our families and lives have limited this for so long, and I enjoy their company, miss our hang outs, and am enjoying the reconnection of those whose souls remain with me, from when life was not as complicated. It’s a return of sorts, to whom I was, and to whom I am becoming. I treasure these friends.

I know I’ve lost some of myself along the way, throughout the years, and I’m even enjoying spending some of that time with myself and my own thoughts and choices. Maybe I need to take myself to a movie more often. I wonder what else has been out for months, that I haven’t seen…hmmmm. 

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LaDucas And Stilettos

 

I got up wayyyy too early today for a Sunday…
I work Monday through Saturday, and many Sundays throughout the year, for performances, competitions, costume shows, meetings, and dance workshops. Oh, and also for some camp events, here and there. Sunday is my only real “day off”, so it’s a rough one after a long week.
I was registered for a dance workshop today, not realizing that my team was not required to go. However, I’m a member teacher, so, I attend. Years ago, I went solo, once a year, but it’s been a long time since. When my team is there, I do get to dance, most of the time, but I’m responsible for them, get there earlier for them, settle them in, get them to classes, check on them, care for them, and then hang around until each is picked up by a family member. It’s a whole different day than going it alone.
But, I didn’t really want to go, especially once I knew I didn’t have to….
I also had made plans to meet a friend from the area thereafter, having not seen her in months. I figured, I’d add some fun to an adult responsibility.
…But I really, REALLY didn’t want to go…didn’t want to get up early, get dressed, prep snacks, drive out of town in the rain, struggle to find parking, move through the crowds at the hotel, stretch, and then pretend to be enthusiastic about moving my body. Especially when I didn’t have to be an example for anybody. I could’ve hit snooze, ignored the whole thing, cancelled my plans for thereafter, and just gone back to sleep, and I truly contemplated doing just that…but I didn’t. I drove the whole way, wipers on, annoyed at my decision, and annoyed that I was being responsible.
I got there on time, made my way to the teachers’ room, which was FREEZING, by the way, put on my t-strap character shoes, barely stretched, and then succumbed to the inevitable. In walks the spunkiest girl, all 5 foot, 10 inches of her, with red jazz shoes and hot pink, long braids, and I’m thinking, Oyy, I am SO not ready for this.
She asks us to join her on the floor, assures us that she will torture us, which gets mixed responses, and then counts us off as 1s or 2s. Now, I know this is a precision class…it’s pretty much why I’ve come…I adore precision, teach it, and find it amazing to create interesting formations, with no variation of the moves on every individual in the choreography, no matter how many dancers there are. It’s what drove me to dance. Yes, I loved ballet as a child, but knew it was the foundation for everything else, and vowed after going to Radio City Music Hall, to work my way there.
Well, I’m 4 foot, 11 or so inches (yes, my license says 5 feet), so, ummm, no…that wasn’t going to happen. I did dance on a junior Rockette line, but that’s a whole other blogpost. And yes, musical theatre was my next option…and yes, another blogpost, at another time. So, there I am, in the middle of the line, knowing that us shorties get placed on the end because of the drawing of the eye to the center, and the appearance of height, Blah, blah, blah…so I ask…”um, clearly I’m the shortest one in the room, so, do you want me on an end?” And she smiles, and says, “I put my weakest dancers at the end, give or take height, but if you can keep up, you’re welcome to stay there.”
I’m a “2” , so I look to the “1” at my left, who looks pretty friendly, and is less than 5’8″, and then the “1” on my right, who looks about 5’6″, but ready to let me go, and I decide to stay. I know, very well, that we short girls do the most traveling on stage from the ends, so I figure, I’ll have to hustle less, and if she wants to move me, she will, and so I settle in.
Then the conversation begins with her giving a little background, and she’s a FLIPPIN’ head rockette, who teaches their intensive program, where I’ve sent my students to audition for and have had friends picked up for the line! She warms us up…very, very similar to my warm up, and then gets right to work. In no time, I’m sweating…I mean REALLY sweating. Actually, dripping down my back. There’s not a second to think about where else I can be, and I marvel at my luck, having been unable to attend the Rockette experience with my team, merely weeks ago. This is even better. Close up. Personal. And now, she’s a colleague. And I keep up…kicks and all. I know the series they use, the height, etc., and their style, and I just go for it. I’ve spent so long doubting myself at these kind of things, and more so lately, but I have nothing to lose. In fact, I can contribute, but don’t need to. I have no responsibility, except to the audience watching, and the 1s on my left and my right. It’s like years ago, when I was performing, and I realize, right then and there, how much I’ve missed it. I mean, really missed it. When did that moment happen when I started doubting my performance skills? I know when it evolved, in a theatre department chock full of talent, and some not so supportive professors, but I don’t know when it started. I remember dancing because I loved to dance, but not when that began to change.
Now, I’m caught up in the moment; if only height had been on my side…well, at the end of my torso, and at the bottom of my legs, but, you get the idea.
We finish, and we look good–really good. She’s very enthusiastic and grateful, explaining that she feared we’d all sit around and take notes, and not dance. She’s relieved to have had a group who really gave their all. We’re all flushed, tired, and sweaty, but we’re all beaming and talking about how much fun it was. I go to thank her, and she takes my email to send me the video, which I’m really appreciative of.
Having truly enjoyed that, I’m glad I did come, and with several more classes to go, I’m feeling pretty fulfilled.
But then, that ain’t nothing!
Later on, we put on even higher heeled shoes for a stiletto heels class, and I’m thinking….. “This really can’t be right; were going to just learn a bit of that style, but in flat shoes, and then talk about the trend in the industry…”
But nooooo…that’s not what happens at all. I know the instructor. I’ve taken her classes once or twice before, but they were commercial jazz. I like her. She’s fun.
But it’s been years.
I could not be more wrong. What follows, is an hour of strutting, booty shaking, seductive improvising, and a lot of body rolling….in heels.
At one point she mentions a need to be a little more subtle, and “leave them wanting more with a tease”. It takes me a minute to realize that correction is for me.
(I mean, #seriously) and the others applaud and giggle. I’m pretty modest in my dancing, amongst other things, and I’m a bit surprised at myself. I mean, is it the shoes?! Have I found a whole new freedom in this never before, explored by me, genre?! Or is it just me…changed in some way, with less of a load to bear, finding a new internal drive? I’m really not sure what it is, but I like it; I’m enjoying myself, and, more than anything now, I’m SO happy I’ve come today.
We run it a few times, even splitting into groups and I become very comfortable with it…surprise! But the kicker is when everyone is leaving, and a few of the other teachers ask me to do it with a few others so that they can record it. I’m stunned!
And I do it again, and it’s still comfy, and still fun. I’m drenched in sweat (again) and I’m pretty sure I need to keep heels on for the rest of my life. Oddly enough, I’m wearing lip stick more often in the last couple of months…coincidence?
Does it really only take a couple of props to play the part and BE the characters?!
Where have I been all this time! First face cream, and now this?!
Look out DSW, I’m coming for some really high heels! REALLY, REALLY high heels!

 

It’s All In The Bag

 

So, a few months ago, my daughter started talking about this little bag she was treating herself to, that she was getting every month by mail, as were her roommates, with little goodies in it.
I really didn’t think much of it at first; There are a gamut of monthly things online that you can order, and most of them are pretty pricey. Sure, there were discounts being offered because of the holidays, but, many of these boxes contain lots of “stuff” like mugs, gym bags, makeup compacts, scarves, etc. in them, and I’ve been trying to keep life lighter, having purged and downsized. I was somewhat intrigued by how many there are, and did look into a few, but I just couldn’t validate spending money to receive a box full of stuff, most of the items being surprises, and probably things that I wouldn’t use. I’ve recently told my friends, that anything I now bring into my home has to be consumable…you know, like food, wine, and chocolate…no more “stuff”…
…(I wasn’t kidding about the wine or the chocolate.)
I nixed the majority of these kits…monthly clothing kits, picked for you by your own personal shopping consultant, shoes and boots each month, to add to your collection… Believe me, I LOVE me some shoes, but I’m MORE than equipped there….work out clothing, which I also have plenty of, being a dancer, choreographer, and ashtanga yogi, not to mention the half dozen pairs of “buttery soft” Lularoe leggings that I’ve acquired in the last year or so; They are cozy for sure.
The average gift box is about $40 per month, and that’s really just too steep for me, and, unnecessary in my world. I mean, I’ll splurge, once in a great while on something that I know someone else would really appreciate, but, if it’s for me, I have to really think long and hard. I’d rather go see a Broadway musical than spend money on anything else, and I pride myself in finding discounts there for sure. If it’s just too pricey, I’ll wait. A good show with tickets that are hard to find, will be around for a while.
So, when she went into more detail about this little bag that’s $10 a month, that contains 5 makeup items in it, I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I was worth 10 bucks a month…$120 bucks a year….and it wasn’t even a monthly commitment, unless I chose for it to be. I came up with every excuse NOT to do it for myself…I hadn’t really been wearing makeup often at all, hadn’t been getting out much in fact, and working out or dancing, I don’t wear makeup, unless performing. I also looked at my collection of makeup…two or three lipsticks, one blush, from who knows when, 1 or 2 applicator brushes, a bunch of liners, a foundation and a concealer stick for teenage blemishes….yeah, I’m no teenager. I do, however, love mascara, and had several of those, having replaced them recently, and bought some extras for readily replacing…mostly good ‘ol maybelline, like I’ve been using since…forever.
I also looked at my skin…it looked tired. I do use a moisturizer every day, but I haven’t really paid much attention to my face on an ongoing basis; It’s clean and moisturized, and —it’s a face. I do know now though, that over the last stressful year, my eyelashes had thinned, but I thought it was age, or the weather, or the age of my mascara, so I just bought new mascara.
And then, my friend, whom I have known for many years, left me a little goodie bag in my master bathroom, after a get together, and it was eye cream. Yup. Just eye cream, 0h,  and a note, that said “every girl needs a good eye cream”.
Did she think I looked tired too? Did she know I wasn’t taking time for myself?
Of course she knew…because she’s made from the same mold! The one that produces women who care for others, but not ourselves.
Well, rather than take offense, I took note, literally, and I used that eye cream that same night. In fact, Over the next few days, I went out and bought myself a new moisturizer…a better one for nighttime, and a couple of makeup applicators. And then…I ordered that little bag for myself.
The first one arrived, containing 5 small makeup items, which seemed frivolous to me, and many of the items were a sort of orangey clay color. I’m petite, with short auburn hair, and I tried two of the items in that color, together, and decided this might’ve been a really bad idea. Not the trying them together, but having ordered the bag at all.
Who decides what colors I should wear when no one has even asked me anything about my features? There was a brief questionnaire, but it was more about likes, and hair type. Believe me, I told them I have very curly, dry hair, and a love for mascara…and, lo and behold, one of the items WAS a mascara…oh yeah, and under eye cream! What did they know? Who, of my friends had they been talking to? WHAT’S WITH THE EYE CREAM?! I don’t even think they knew how old I am. Soooo, I got drastic, and I threw away the teenage blemish concealer. Somehow, some way, they were onto me.
I decided now, that it was time to really take action…I bought a facial scrub.
And then I bought a fancy, schmancey exfoliant body scrub…oh, and some body butter. Was this a sneaky way to get me to support the rest of the sales market?!
I stepped away from the clay colored stuff, and indulged in my new face care regimen. And, in about two weeks, I began to notice something…I looked less tired, and people were also mentioning that I looked better, and I still wasn’t even wearing makeup.
And then, I decided with the next little bag just about to arrive, that it was time.
I took my newly cared for skin, a few applicators, some time and some care, and those clay colored shadows and blush, and I applied them as suggested before going out one evening. You know what? I looked pretty good. Better than pretty good.
I even took a selfie to send to my daughter, and she agreed. Those two darn orangey/clay shades have now become my go to makeup shades. Yup. Pathetic.
My next little bag arrived with an eye liner, a lipstick, a hair serum (Yahoooooo!) another orange shade (I kid you not) and something else that I cannot recall for the life of me. The little bag itself, was cuter this time, (shiny, silver, wintery looking; if it’s shiny, it’s for me!) I checked out each item carefully, having reviewed what I had liked and did not, and it was more customized to my liking– bonus! The bags get better!
I’m addicted to the hair serum; it’s perfect for my curls, tames them, and smells like coconut. I love that! (They should send a piña colada with it.)
And I’ve now received my January bag… When I saw that shiny, pink, puffy envelope in my mailbox, I was overjoyed….not because of what might actually BE inside of it, but because it was for me. Okay, yes, it’s REALLY, REALLY shiny, but it holds such promise, such possibility, and a reminder that I need to do FOR myself, that I’m worth it, and that I deserve to take care of my “foundation” to be able to build upon it.
And yes, it’s all in the bag. image