Proverb for the Day Archive: December 2018

I really don’t have time to learn from my mistakes, I am too busy making new ones.

I am not like you and I never will be.

Some people should use a glue stick instead of chapstick.

Decisions are not forever.

Every day is the end of the world for someone.

Don’t let the day be a total waste of makeup.

All I ever really needed to know, I learned from the Twilight Zone.

Other people will judge you. Don’t do it to yourself.

I could be who you want me to be, but it is better to just be myself.

There should always be enough time in your life for yourself.

When you have nothing it is easy to risk everything.

Just because you are struggling, does not mean you are failing.

Sometimes our priorities shift because our mood shifts.

Learn to admit when you fuck up.

Solve problems instead of just complaining about them.

It is not really hoarding if you have cool stuff.

If you’re not on, you’re off.

Housework won’t kill you, but why take any chances.

Anyone who thinks we need more eye contact has never been a woman alone on a bus.

When I am tired of shopping I sit down and try on shoes.

Follow your dream. Unless your dream is to live next door to me and have loud screaming children.

Holidays are a good time to visit family and spend a lot of time with their pets.

I would leave Santa cookies and milk but my Santa likes vodka and petit fours.

I remember the words my mother always said to me: “What the hell is wrong with you?”

My alone time is for everyone’s safety.

No one ever notices when you are provoked, only when you retaliate.

We must all do things that do not use our strengths.

Let each year bring more wisdom and experience and not just more grey hair.

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The Rabbit, a performing arts story (based on The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams)

There was once a performer named Rabbit, and in the beginning she was really splendid.  She was curvy and yet sweet, as an ingénue should be; her hair was a lovely brown with a bright glossy sheen, she had long naturally dark lashes, and her cheeks were round and pink.  During the Christmas season, when she played roles suitable for a sweet ingénue, the effect was particularly charming.

There were always other performers on stage.  Performers playing various roles in the Christmas program: a rat king, a nutcracker, some fairies, but Rabbit was quite the best of all.  For at least two hours the audience thought they loved her, and then the show was over, the families went to dinner, and the great hustle and bustle for Christmas preparation began and in all the excitement, the ingénue Rabbit was forgotten.

For a long time she lived in the world of extras and the background chorus, and no one thought very much about her.  She was naturally shy, and not having a degree in the performing arts, some of the more formally educated performers quite snubbed her.  The technically trained performers were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas and pretended they were Real.  The Shakespearean fight choreographer who had performed in London for two seasons and lost most of his hearing, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his swords in technical terms.  Rabbit could not claim to be technically trained in anything, for she didn’t know if what she really wanted to perform even existed or if there was training involved and she thought that anyone without a formal degree or certification program must be quite out-of-date and never be mentioned in modern circles.  Even Timothy, the veteran military performer with the limp, put on airs and pretended that his military experience gave him special insights into the performing arts.  Between then all, poor Rabbit was made to feel herself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to her at all was the performer known as Horse.

Horse had performed longer in this theater than any of the other performers.  He was so old that his brown hair was bald in patches and showed the age spots through his sparse hairs, and most of the joints in his body were creaky from performing previous tricks or movements of amazement on the stage.  He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of technical performers arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by crack or break and leave the performing arts, and he knew they were only amateurs at heart, and would never turn into anything else.  For the magic of the performing arts is very strange and wonderful, and only those performers that are old and wise and experienced like Horse understand all about it.

“What is REAL?” asked Rabbit one day, when they were sitting side by side in the green room, before the others got there to get ready for the show that night.  “Does it mean having a television show or an Oscar or a lot of awards?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When an audience loves you when they see you performing onstage – not just watches you, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said Horse, for he was always truthful.  “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” Rabbit asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your naivety has worn off, your fresh perspective has dropped out, and some even get loose in the pants and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said Rabbit.  And then she wished she had not said it, for she thought Horse might be sensitive.  But Horse only smiled.

“The audiences made me Real,” he said.  “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again.  It lasts for always.”

Rabbit sighed.  She thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to her.  She longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing old and, perhaps, shabby was rather sad.  She wished that she could become Real without these uncomfortable things happening to her.

There was a person called The Producer who ruled the stage.  Sometimes The Producer took no notice of the performers hanging about, and sometimes, for no reason whatever, The Producer would go swooping about like a great wind and hustled them onto or off of the stage and sometimes even out of the theater.  The Producer called this “casting” and the performers all hated it, particularly the aging ones.  Rabbit didn’t mind it so much because so far she had only been thrown about inside the theater, even though the places weren’t particularly good ones.

One evening, when the show was about to go on, The Producer couldn’t find a dancer that always closed the first set of the show.  The Producer was in a hurry and it was too much trouble to hunt for someone entirely new at show time, so The Producer simply looked about, and seeing that the green room door was open, The Producer made a swoop.

“Here,” The Producer said, “can you dance?”  You’ll do to go on at the end of the first set.”  And he threw a costume at Rabbit, told her the music choice, and when the time came, Rabbit was thrown by herself out onto the stage.

That night, and for many nights after, Rabbit danced a solo at the end of the first set.  At first she found it rather nerve-wracking and uncomfortable, for she didn’t really know what she was doing or how well she was doing it (or not.)  Sometimes Rabbit was so nervous and discombobulated that she could scarcely breathe.  And she missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the green room, when the focus was on the stage so the back rooms were silent, and her talks with Horse.  But very soon, she grew to like it, for the audience used to clap and applaud and sometimes even recognized her and gave her flowers after the show was over.  After The Producer had gone home for the evening, leaving the theater for the stagehands and performers to ready for the next show, some diligent audience member might hang out at the performer stage entrance to catch a close-up glimpse of a performer or ask for an autograph.  And when the nights were cold and the audience had vanished from the theater, Rabbit loved to snuggle into her coat and scarf and dream how it might be one day to be on a really big stage in a really big theater with a really appreciative audience.  She would still be dreaming when she reached home and snuggled into her little bed with her blankets up under her chin and her arms gently clasped around her body all night long.

And so time went on, and little Rabbit was very happy – so happy that she never noticed that her hair was getting thinner and starting to grey, that her legs were getting creaky and her toes popped, that her eyes were developing wrinkles, and that her costumes were losing their beads and rhinestones.

One Spring came, and there were long daytime rehearsals for a new show put on by The Producer.  They had dances, and singing, and lines to be learned for this lovely magical new show that was about to be produced.  And once, when The Producer was called away suddenly for a meeting with his bankers, Rabbit was left with some time on her own in the theater.  She was there very late and overheard The Producer coming back, bringing the bankers with him for a tour of the new theater improvements and stage sets.  They were talking about the new production.

“Must you have your aging Rabbit in the role?” the banker said. “Fancy all that fuss for an old dame – and an amateur at that.”

The Producer gritted his teeth and tried to talk politely to the banker.

“Give me Rabbit anytime!” The Producer said.  “She isn’t an amateur, she’s professional.  She’s REAL!”

When Rabbit heard that she was happy, for she knew that what Horse had said was true at last.  The theater magic had happened to her, and that she was an amateur no longer.  She was Real.  The Producer himself had said it.

That night she was almost too happy to sleep and so much love stirred in her little heart that it almost burst.  And in her wrinkle-surrounded eyes, that had long ago lost their naivety, there came a look of wisdom and beauty, so that even The Producer noticed it next morning in the theater, and said, “I declare if Rabbit hasn’t got quite a knowing expression.”

That was a wonderful summer.  The Producer opened the new show and every night when the audience came to the show, Rabbit would perform to rapturous applause.  She felt wrapped in the love of the audience throughout the whole show and then afterwards she would be content knowing that she was Real through the love of the audience.  Daytimes were spent in new rehearsals with The Producer planning new shows or sometimes just going for walks, or tea, or going to the costume designer to discuss and fit new costume ideas.  One afternoon, while Rabbit was as the costumers, she saw two elegant beings walk into the shop.

They were performers like herself, but quite young and well-toned.  They must have had a lot of personal funds or a very wealthy producer because they had very fancy clothing which fit them like a second skin, instead of staying a floppy rumpled mess like hers often did.  Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to her, whispering back and forth to each other behind elegantly cupped hands while Rabbit starred hard at them to try to find some flaw in the seemingly perfect façade.

They stared at Rabbit, and Rabbit stared back.  All of the time their lips were twisted in a smirk.

“Why haven’t we seen you performing in the big theater?” one of them asked.

“I don’t feel like it” said Rabbit, for she didn’t want to explain that she was not technically trained.

“Ho!” said one of the performers. “It’s as easy as anything, with the proper training,” And he a gave a big jump in the air and slid effortlessly into the splits.

“I don’t believe you can!” said the other performer.

“I can!” said Rabbit.  “I can jump and do the splits higher than anything!”  She meant in her dreams, but of course she didn’t want to say so.

“Can you dance en pointe?” asked the performer.

That was a dreadful question for Rabbit had no formal dance training at all and couldn’t even abide wearing those uncomfortable pointed shoes, let alone dance in them.  She sat in straight-backed chair and tried to tuck her feet out of sight.

“I just don’t want to!”  Rabbit said.

But the performers had very sharp eyes and this one spied her feet and looked.

“Look at her huge feet!” He called out.  “Fancy a dancer with such big feet.  Do they even make pointe shoes that large?”  And he began to laugh.

“I do dance en pointe,” cried Rabbit.  “My feet are not big!  It is just the angle you see them!”

“Then stretch out your feet and show me, like this!” said the performer.  And he began to twirl and spin until Rabbit got dizzy just watching him.

“ I don’t like dancing,” Rabbit said.  “I do other things as a performer.”

But all the while, Rabbit was longing to dance and she felt like she would give anything in the world to be able to dance beautifully.

The perfomer stopped dancing, and came quite close.  He came so close that his long luxurious hair brushed up against Rabbit’s cheek, and then he opened his mouth and jumped backwards suddenly.

“She isn’t a performer at all!  She is not a professional performer! She isn’t Real!”

“I am Real!” said Rabbit.  “I am Real!  I am Professional!  The Producer said so!”  And she nearly began to cry.

Just then the door opened, and The Producer came inside, and with a stamp of feet and a fling of hair, the two performers disappeared out the door.

“Come back and perform with me!”  thought Rabbit.  “Oh, do come back!  I know I am Real!”

But there was nothing voiced and there was no responding answer.  Rabbit felt all alone.

“Oh dear!” Rabbit thought.  “Why did they run away like that?  Why couldn’t they stop and talk to me?”

For a long time, Rabbit stayed, pretending to look at costume designs and hoping that they would come back.  But as the day progressed and show time neared, the performers did not return, and The Producer took her back to the theater.

Years passed, and Rabbit grew older with more wrinkles, but The Producer loved her on stage just as much.  Rabbit’s hair was dyed to keep away the grey, and her wrinkles were hidden with makeup and sparkles, and in some places she began to lose her shape a bit, as she was no longer an ingénue, except to The Producer.  To The Producer, Rabbit was always young and beautiful and that was all that Rabbit cared about.  She didn’t mind how she looked to other people, because theater magic had made her Real, and when you are real, shabbiness doesn’t matter.

And then, one day, The Producer was ill.

His face grew flushed, and he grabbed at his chest.  The paramedics came and rushed him off to the emergency room.  They said it was a heart attack and it was very bad, but The Producer was still alive.  Rabbit went to the hospital, when she could, because she knew The Producer needed her, but she knew The Producer needed her more on stage because they needed to make money and The Producer would have to pay the bills and now pay the hospital, as well.

It was a long weary time, for The Producer was too ill to plan new things, and Rabbit found it rather dull with no new shows and costumes and acts to plan.  But she settled down patiently into the current production, and looked forward to the time when The Producer should be well again, and they should have rehearsals for new shows and plan new costumes, and make new art for theater.  All sorts of delightful things Rabbit planned, and while The Producer lay half asleep in the hospital, Rabbit would creep up close to The Producer’s pillow and whisper them in his ear.

But presently, The Producer got worse and then The Producer died.

The funeral was a bright, sunny morning, and the windows stood wide open.  After the funeral, the performers and stage crew gathered together in front of the grave talking about the future of the theater.  New Producers were going to buy the theater and produce new shows.  They were coming by the theater tonight to talk about plans for the next production.

The New Producers were a triumvirate, and very young, and very decisive.  They told the performer cast about the plans for the next show, involving an ingénue, and pirates, at the seaside in the summer.  “Hurrah!” thought Rabbit.  “The next show will be featuring the seaside!  I would love to portray the seaside.”

Just then the New Producers caught sight of Rabbit.

“What about this old thing?” The New Producers asked.  “That?” said The New Producers. “Why, she can never play an ingénue!  Fire her at once!  What?  Nonsense!  Get a new ingénue!  We can’t have that performing here any more!”

And so after the show that night, Rabbit was handed her severance pay and a box for her personal items and then she was escorted out of the theater with her meager possessions as she was not allowed to keep her rhinestoned costumes, even though most of them were worn and shabby by now.  She would have to find a job as rent would come soon enough and she didn’t know what she would be now that she wasn’t an ingénue anymore.

That night The New Producers were pleased.   They would create a new show and find new performers.  Real perfomers.  Professional performers.  They would have splendid talent in the new show and that was a such a wonderful thing that The New Producers could think of nothing else.  And while The New Producers were dreaming of the new show, Rabbit sat in her home thinking.  She felt very lonely.  She was scared and shivering a little because she had always performed in this little theater, never anywhere else.  And now she was no longer wanted.  She thought of those long hours in rehearsal and the long hours performing – about how happy she and The Producer had been – and a great sadness came over her.  She seemed to see all the rehearsals and all the shows pass before her, each more beautiful than the other.  She thought of Horse, so wise and gentle, and the wisdom that he had shared with her.  Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become a Real performer if it all ended like this?  And a tear trickled down her wrinkled face and fell to the ground.

And then a strange thing happened.  She decided she would audition for other shows.  At the bigger theaters.  So she went, without her rhinestoned costumes and without her own musicians.  And she auditioned.  She came onto the stage in the big theater and she did her thing  – a little dancing, a little singing, a little talking.  She performed.  Because she knew, because the audience told her many many times, that she was Real.  And then she finished, but there was no applause.  Only silence and then a “Thank you,” as she was dragged offstage by the stage manager.

She put on her coat to leave and a woman came up next to her.  “Rabbit,” she said, “don’t you know who I am?”  Rabbit looked up at her, and it seemed to Rabbit that this woman was familiar, but she couldn’t think where.

“I am the BIG and Powerful Producer,” she said.  “I take care of performers that the audiences have loved, that audiences still love.  When you are no longer the ingénue, then I come and take you into the theater, because you have developed skill and wisdom and strength, you have mastered your craft, and I give you other roles, and I turn you into something Real, I turn you into a professional performer.”

“Wasn’t I Real before?” asked Rabbit.

“You were Real to your audiences,” The BIG and Powerful Producer said, “because they loved you.  Now you shall be Real to every one.”  And The BIG and Powerful Producer took Rabbit into rehearsal.  It was still afternoon.  The rehearsal room was large and well lit and did nothing to hide the wrinkles around Rabbit’s wise eyes.  The cast was rehearsing, dancing in sparkling shoes on the hard wood floor, but when they saw The BIG and Powerful Producer they all stopped dancing and stood round in a ring to stare at her.  “I’ve brought you a new cast member,” The BIG and Powerful Producer said.  “You must be very kind to her because she is wise and talented and has a lot to offer us in this theater.”

And she shook Rabbit’s hand and then held it in her own.  “Perform, Rabbit, and prepare for the world.”

But Rabbit stood quite still for a moment and never moved.  For when she saw the cast members dancing around her, she suddenly remembered that she couldn’t really dance, and she wasn’t trained, and she had big clumsy feet.  Then, as someone gently brushed against her, she looked down at her big strong legs, her dancer’s legs, that she worked hard at developing in rehearsals at the other, smaller theater.

She could dance!  She was beautiful!  Maybe she wasn’t an ingénue, but she was amazing and talented, and she had so much to offer to the world from her experience in The Producer’s theater.  She gave a leap and a spin and the joy of moving was so great that she danced and twirled around the room as the others did and grew so excited that when at last she stopped to look for The BIG and Powerful Producer, she had gone.

Rabbit was a Real Performer at least, at home with the other real performers.

Autumn passed and Winter, and in the Spring, when the days grew warm and sunny, the New Producers went out to the BIG theater to come up with new ideas for their productions, because the audiences were not what they should be and their performers where new and unfocused.  And while the New Producers were watching the show, one of the lead performers came on stage.  She had wrinkles on her face and places where it looked like the grey hairs were peeking out near her hairline.  About her face and voice there was something familiar, so that The New Producers talked to each other:

“Why, that looks just like Rabbit that we fired when we took over the theater!”

But The New Producers never knew that it was their old Rabbit, on stage as a Real Performer and more fabulous than ever before.

Giving Thanks

While I am not an unthankful person, I realized this Thanksgiving that I really am not very good at being a thankful person. Periodically throughout the day I received email and text messages wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving, which I returned, of course. But, I wouldn’t really have thought of sending out these messages and texts to people. I noticed on Facebook how many people were giving thanks for people, for their dinner, for a myriad of things. Instead, I was cooking, cleaning, laundering, costuming and wondering why I wasn’t getting more stuff done and thinking about how I could make my day off the most productive AND have a kick-ass meal with Mr. Velvet, as well.

This is not to say I didn’t take some time to relax. I slept in. I had guinea pig play time. I watched a movie with Mr. Velvet. But, I didn’t think about giving thanks, I thought about what I needed to do and what I could get done.
I am not proud of this mindset. Last year, during my show “Just Another Zombie Holiday Show,” teacher, mentor, and friend Kel Wil sent me a lovely voice mail. She told me how much she enjoyed the show and asked me if I was reveling in my accomplishment of creating it and putting it on stage. I was not reveling. I wish I had been reveling. I was worrying. About the next show, the next project, the next thing to do on my list. I don’t take much time to appreciate what is around me or to appreciate myself.

Again, it isn’t that I am not grateful for what I have in life, but, like a lot of people, it is easier to focus on the things that I didn’t get or I didn’t achieve or the stress I had to deal with than the actual things I accomplished, the good times I had, the great things that happened to me. I always see the flaws in my own work, think what I do is not good enough, seek perfection (whatever that is – somewhere in my brain I know other people must have it), and sometimes I even forget that I am supposed to be enjoying what I am doing and not punishing myself for not doing everything even better. I sometimes have to stop listening to music just because my brain starts telling me I need to find something to choreograph, because I can’t just enjoy some brain off-time while driving in my car listening to tunes.

It is a dirty, never-ending-spiral when you focus on the negatives. Because you can’t see the positive, you think everything is bad. You have improve, you have to get better, you have to do more, you can’t say no to yourself or to anyone else because you may never recover from that missed opportunity, assignment, or task. From the negative, I think, stems the striving, the doing, the accomplishing, instead of the being. I have always told people that I am not the friend that people have fun with. I am the helping friend. The doing friend. As if my lack of being useful would make me invisible or even hated. It goes to the saying, “What have you done for me, lately?” Which may not be said out loud very often, but which is emblazoned in my brain. Note: I know that I have some true friends – people who are there for me regardless of what I do for them – and I have a caring, loving husband. Who I also do a lot of shit for, but who would love me even if I didn’t.

So, I am working on it. Some days better than others (as working on things usually happens.) I am trying to write down good things (which I am behind on doing, because writing this was apparently way more important.) and focus on positives more and negatives less. Focus on me. Give thanks for what I have and what I have accomplished. Revel in what I have done and revel in just being me. This doesn’t mean I am going to change who I am, but sometimes I (and that is probably a lot of others out there, too) need to appreciate and admire what I have done and not just worry about what needs to be done next. I hope you already take the time to give thanks and to revel in yourself. If not, maybe you can take the journey with me.

Proverb for the Day Archives – November 2018

It is better to fail early than to fail often.

I dreamt of a world where everyone minded their own business.

Create an environment that promotes inspiration not insecurity.

Women are tired of having to do 100% more to be seen 50% less.

Slow and steady progress is still progress.

Even fabulous people have unfabulous days.

I heard you, and I don’t care.

Yes, the world is our playground. But you don’t have to be a bully to have fun.

Of course you have a right to be an asshat. And I have the right to slap the shit out of you for it.

Sometimes it is too painful to reveal needs that are never met.

Sometimes I hate that I’m a procrastinator … but I don’t want to deal with that right now …

It is hard to feel sorry for someone when they get what they deserve.

There is nothing wrong with being paranoid when everyone is out to get you.

Loving yourself as you are doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision for change.

I can be the rainbow arching over your heads or the lightning in your storm cloud. It’s up to you.

Go be unintelligent somewhere else.

Be honest. Be kind. Be silly.

You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.

There are times you do have to take “no” for an answer.

Fine food and fine drink are best consumed in fine company.

Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.

You only sound stupid when you talk.

I’m not confused. I’m conflicted.

Real men love books.

You didn’t trust me and now I can’t trust you.

Just because it isn’t broken doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

I didn’t catch up today, but at least I didn’t get further behind.

Proverb for the Day Archive – September 2018

Of course I can deal with one more thing. But please don’t make me.

Sometimes it is better not to speak my mind, but I can think whatever I want.

I am not saying you are selfish. I am saying you have no capacity to care about anyone but yourself.

Without context nothing means anything.

Sometimes the inability to share the difficult times in your life makes them that much worse.

Collusion can overcome almost all controls.

Once upon a time a woman said, “Fuck this shit,” and lived happily ever after.

Sometimes you need to escape from reality and other times you just need to understand that reality can be overrated.

Equal rights is not the fight to take away the rights of those that have them, but the fight to give those rights to all.

In darkness, find your own sunshine.

The first commitment you should make is to yourself.

Find your true family. They may not be related.

Before performing it is always good to ponder- Pee now or forever hold your pee.

Cookie cutters are great for making cookies.

Everyone lives. Some people learn while they are doing it.

Power and social ignorance makes a bad combination.

If hating yourself was effective you would be perfect right now.

You can’t appreciate life if you never live it.

You will never know the full impact you have on someone else’s life.

Sometimes the best thing on the menu is not that great.

Proverb for the Day Archive – October 2018

Some days my brain works better than others.

Please don’t encourage snarky behavior when I am trying really hard to be nice.

Fuck off to many of you and thank you to others. If you don’t know you are in the second category, you are probably in the first.

Cream rises to the top. But so does fatty shit.

Deception can provide a false sense of reality.

Your real friends will try to fix you when you are broken. And then, if you can’t be fixed, they will play with you anyway.

Moral suasion only works when you are talking to people who have morals.

You are all out of favors.

If having a penis makes you more important, I am more than happy to wear one.

Life is too short to worry about pleasing other people all the time.

Some people spend decades trying not to change.

Change can’t happen if we don’t lead it together.

Sloths are the cutest of the seven deadly sins.

Be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to…😉

Cheaters always cheat.

If you can’t agree, I will be willing to make a decision that everyone will equally hate.

The opposite of love is ambivalence.

Being truly creative requires vulnerability.

The weakest part of the computer system is the part between the keyboard and the seat.

Monday didn’t beat me, but I didn’t beat Monday, either.

No one mourns the death of a tyrant.

It is never good to have the desire to win at all costs.

Give yourself the same compassion you give to others.

No man is completely useless; he can always serve as a bad example.

The person you seek is likely just yourself.

When the racists and misogynists eradicate their competition, they may finally learn that the only party responsible for their own misery is themselves.

You are never wrong if you never open your mouth, but you are never right either.

Life’s too short to worry about matching socks.

It’s all fun and games until zombies eat your brains.

On Turning 50, Stress, and Politics. (not necessarily in that order).

So, you may have noticed that you have not received a news letter from me in awhile. Or maybe you haven’t. Regardless, I have been on unintentional newsletter hiatus for the past couple of months. Life has been a hectic stress-hole and something had to give. The newsletter was one of those things.

So, happy November! In October, I hit a milestone. The big 5-0. Not that I guess it should be much different than 49, but it feels like it. And I am letting everyone know. Why not? After all: 1) I am fucking fabulous at any age, 2) I should not be afraid to hide my age, 3) I would rather have people know I am 50 than think I am the most decrepit 25 year old that they have ever met.

Would I want to go back to 20 or 25? Hell no. Would I like my more flexible and non-injured body? The one that requires no warming up, can go into the splits without effort, and doesn’t have inexplicable muscle pains? Of course!!! But, even all that is not worth giving up my 50 year old brain. Sure, I forget shit sometimes. (Who doesn’t?) But I have a lifetime of knowledge, judgment, love, relationships. My brain is so much more than it was at 25. I am more self-assured, more confident, sexier, and I know what I (emphasis) want – not just what everyone else in my life wants for me or from me. Am I perfect? Of course not. But I have learned a lot and I learn more all the time.

Now, do things stress me out about turning 50? Definitely. I worry about being a less skilled performer as my body continues to age and it takes more effort to do the moves I do. I worry about getting hurt as my body recovers from injuries (or even just really exhausting performances or dance workouts). I worry about losing relevancy as we get younger and younger performers and audiences. People who have never used (or perhaps seen) a rotary phone, don’t know a childhood without their smart phone or computers, and have never seen Schoolhouse Rock or any of the re-runs I grew up watching on TV that helped form my demented brain… (Favorites: Bewitched, The Addams Family, the Munsters). So, yes, there are some stressful issues around aging.

So, talking about stress, yes, it has been a really stressful year, a really hard year – or maybe just a hard six months. Whatever it is, it has been too long that I have been stressed. Ridiculously stressed. I have been more stressed in my life than I am right now, I think, but not as intensely for as long a time period. And, no, the stress is not caused primarily with me turning 50. Do I want to be stressed? No. Do I try to calm down? Yes. But it is difficult to get rid of layer upon added layer of stress. Though I make efforts to dissipate it, prolonged stress is hard to dissolve in one afternoon or weekend. The good days are still a higher stress level than normal, and that makes Velvet a very manic woman.

The problem is that stress leaks into everything. Work is stressful, but dance makes me happy. If I can get myself up to do it. And creating makes me happy, but I have no time to create because work takes up too much time, so then I am stressed because I am missing internally set deadlines for acts or costumes I want to create. So, then, I feel like a failure because I am not creating enough or too slowly or I am not meeting commitments, and I get more stressed. And then I am stressed because I am a manager at work and I don’t want to be stressed in front of my staff and my boss tells me “You have a great life, don’t be stressed.” (Note: in an effort to try to make me less stressed.) So, being stressed becomes an unshareable problem, which also adds additional stress. I am not saying this to be overly dramatic, just to share how the stress spiral can so easily take over everything in your life. And it has for me, lately. Not that I don’t love my life. I do. I like my job even though certain situations are making it super stressful right now. I know I have so much positive in my life. But that doesn’t make me not stressed.

Talking about stress, the political situation is absolutely not helping the overall standard stress level. While I think a lot of people are feeling it, certain populations (POC, Trans, Women) are likely feeling it more. As a victim of sexual assault, watching the whole Kavanaugh debacle – including people’s insane and insensitive comments on Facebook and elsewhere was stressful and painful. It is still pretty painful. Who else but a privileged white male can act like that in a job interview and still get the job? No one. And people comparing this to Clarence Thomas also made me ill. I remember the Clarence Thomas hearings. He didn’t yell, scream, rail against Republicans, or attest to his love of beer. And yet, even as a Democrat, I didn’t think he should take the position on the Supreme Court. Because the simple fact that he was accused and that he was dealing with this situation could hamper his impartiality. And there are so many people out there qualified for this job, why taint the position with the shortcomings of the man? And this was worse. So much worse.

So, yes, the politics under Trump, with Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, that has increased my stress level, too – undoubtedly. It makes everything else just a little bit harder, a little more painful, a little more vulnerable. Of course, change is stressful. All change is stressful. But change is so much more stressful when you have rich, white, powerful men trying to take away human rights and human dignity. Because that is change that just should not even be happening. So, yah. Stress. And, given all of this, I am thankful that I am now 50. The one overriding issue I have focused on for presidential elections every election since I could vote is: retaining Roe vs. Wade. And now we will lose it. Undeniably. And, while I cry for the women who fought for themselves and who fought for me, and I cry for the women who will lose the rights we have, I can at least be thankful that at 50, my womb will not be directly under attack as it is way too old for that baby stuff happening. But I cry for the loss of rights, I cry for the loss of humanity, I cry for the loss of equivalency, and I just fucking cry.

So, go vote. Just go vote. Vote for people, vote for conscience, vote for equality.

Proverb for the Day Archives – August 2018

Let’s make many amazing plans together and actually accomplish some of them.

Be grateful for what you have.  You can always have less.

If you think someone is out to get you they probably are.

Good art pries us open without ripping us to shreds.

Dream it, then be it.

No news is no news.

Inaction is still an action.

Don’t be a puppet.  And if you are going to ignore me and be a puppet, be a muppet, because they are the best puppets.

Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the zombies from following.

Some people never recover from seeing the making of a sausage while other people go on to develop better ways of making sausage.

Keep some space in your heart for the unimagined.

It is easier to be happy on the days my body feels good.

If you cut off a part of yourself to fit into the slipper, people will eventually notice that you aren’t all there.

If you cut off part of yourself to fit into the slipper you will NEVER walk the path you were born to.

When I count my blessings, I count some people twice. Others are a clear subtraction.

If your expectations are low, you will never be disappointed.

If it isn’t broken, you can always break it.

Don’t cry over spilled assholes.

You can’t lose respect for someone you never respected.

Ten percent of the people require 90 percent of the effort.

People hate it when sentences do not end the way they orange.

Always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

Talk to me when you have something valuable to say.

I am under no obligation to make sense to you.

I don’t arrange vendettas, but I will grow and harvest the occasional grudge.

Yes, you are a lovely person, but I don’t have time for your neuroses right now as I am dealing with my own.

The winners write the histories.

Do you have Attitude or Gratitude?

I can be a snarky bitch… Now, a lot of people think I am nice. I try to be nice. I really do. But my closest friends see the snarky that pops out a little too frequently and a little too often. And sometimes I am snarky in front of others. By snarky, I also mean “truth-telling…” or maybe more accurately, “truth-telling that no one wants to hear.” And, to be truthful, truth telling can also be defined at times as “being a total bitch.” But sometimes we (me included) develop attitude because it feels like our savior in the moment. We put on our snark, our attitude, our nasty comments, and we feel like we are wrapped in armor. We are protecting ourselves. But from what? From the risk of letting people know us, see us, love us, hate us, or, maybe more frighteningly, be apathetic towards us. We desperately want and need to be seen but we fear it at the same time. So, by attacking others we can step out to be seen but hide behind these negative comments which push the focus off of ourselves and onto someone else. We can bury ourselves in a protective cocoon, lashing out with our claws like a hermit crab snapping and snarking away before anyone has the opportunity to get close to us. But, as most of us know, snarky isn’t the best way to be and sometimes I forget (and need to be reminded) that I have many other emotions to put on other than “attitude.”

When I was in Toronto for the Toronto Burlesque Festival, I took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to take a private lesson with the talented Sydni Deveraux. I had an hour. I could have picked a lot of topics. But what I chose was confidence. And, as part of that discussion (which I will talk more about next month), we also talked about gratitude. Gratitude – and how important it is to be thankful, respectful, and have gratitude as part of one’s development and exuding of confidence. What a beautiful concept, I thought. I usually am so busy having attitude I forget to think about gratitude.

But, how much more do we open our fragile selves up, pry our hearts open, when we feel and express gratitude to those around us? (Note: it can be A LOT.)  How does it change us when we notice and then feel gratitude to our audience for showing up, for being present, for screaming and clapping and going crazy in their seats? How does it change us and change what we represent to the audience and to others around us when we take time to notice the audience, to actually respond to them, to feel them? Wow.

We often take so much for granted. I know I do. I frequently spend more time lamenting the people who couldn’t be bothered to come to my show than to be grateful for the people that came to my show. I need to spend more time being thankful to my dancers, my spouse, my coworkers. Instead of lamenting that one of my dancers forgot to point their toes, my husband left his dirty socks in the middle of the living room, or that my coworker wrote a sloppy memo, I need to remember to be grateful that I have sweet talented people who want to dance with me, I have a husband who loves me and supports my artistic endeavors, and I have coworkers who are smart and work great as a team. Does that mean I don’t strive for improvement around me? Absolutely not. But, I can strive for improvement, both in myself and those I work with (and live with) while trying to notice the positive things instead of focusing in on the negative things. Focus is defined as having clear visual definition, but frequently we are so busy focusing on some tiny issue that we lose sight of everything else around us. The microscope helps us see tiny amazing important things, but if we looked into a microscope all the time, we would be bumping into the walls because we would never be able to find the door. We don’t have to forget about specifics, improvement, and making things better, but if we only see that all of the time, we lose perspective and increase our potential to lose our shit… We can’t be focusing in so much on the microscopic that we lose the importance of the big picture, fail to see the positive things around us, and fail to have gratitude for the positive things in our lives.

In feeling gratitude, we open ourselves up and have the potential to reveal more of ourselves and reveal our vulnerabilities.   When we open up to positives it can mean that we are opening up to a lot of our other emotions and vulnerabilities as well – opening up our fear, opening up our uncertainty, opening up our hearts and minds to new feelings and new emotions. But, if we don’t open ourselves up, we can’t show or even feel our strength, our confidence, or our power. We have all of those, too. But, if we are too busy protecting ourselves and shielding ourselves with negatives and bad attitudes, we can’t feel the good things and the power and the confidence either. Gratitude is a stepping stone to positivity about yourself. And if you can feel grateful to someone else, to your audience, to your coworkers, maybe you can love and forgive yourself enough that you are grateful for yourself, as well.

Let me give you some examples: At the Toronto Burlesque Festival, I was very positively impressed by the talent on the stage, so much so, that I was feeling a little apprehensive about my number and abilities. Based on conversations, I am sure other people were feeling that way, too. But one woman chose to have negative reactions. I didn’t know her very well, but had met her at previous festivals. We saw each other, we hugged. She immediately starts bad-mouthing the performer on stage to me. And then the next performer. “Well, this is like the premise of so-and-so’s act. If you are going to copy another person’s act, you should at least do it better than they do.” Me: “I doubt she has seen so-and-so’s act and probably doesn’t know her or the act.” “She has no energy. My friend can do that move so much better than she can. And what is that costume.”

Wow. Bad wow. I was in shock. I thought, she is doing this because it makes her feel better about herself and her performance. (She didn’t need that as she did a great job.) And I was shocked that she would snark so strongly to me, someone she didn’t know very well. But, then I also saw myself doing the same types of things to people I know. Instead of showing gratitude and graciousness, she was being negative and bitter. Fine, maybe she wanted to look through that microscope, but, even in the microscope everything you look at shouldn’t be a germ.

In Ohio, the performers I interacted with were way more positive and supportive. The festival is put together with a mindset of diversity and inclusiveness and they have a very talented show that is also very diverse. Most of what I saw was gratitude and appreciation of other performers. But, even there, one performer saw fit to make body shaming comments to another performer. Why? Do you really need to bad mouth’s someone body to make yourself feel good? Can’t you be appreciative of other bodies? Body size, weight, length, sex, are NOT what makes a good performer. If we have to make other people to feel bad to feel good about ourselves, then what is wrong with us?

So, I am going to strive to let go of some (not all – because I have to be honest with myself) snark and have more gratitude. I don’t pretend to be an expert in this by any means – I am learning. I will screw up. I will be snarky and bitchy and lament. But I will try to lament less and be more positive, too. It will take time. The snark is strong. But, instead of lamenting that we don’t have enough performance opportunities, let’s be grateful for those we do have. Instead of crying about the negatives all the time, we need to identify and be grateful for the positives, at least enough to balance ourselves out. Open up, be brave, let people in, shine outwards, and be grateful. We have so much to be grateful for…

 

 

 

Proverb for the Day Archives – July 2018

If your mind is there, it isn’t here.

Working harder now can make the work easier later.

Intellectualism is a bad thing if you want everything you say to be believed and followed absolutely. People who think do not tend to mindlessly obey.

Better than relying on superheroes: Voting.

Reading can damage your ignorance.

This isn’t hell. It just feels like it is.

You can do things that are legal and simultaneously be doing things that are wrong.

Discussion of god in temperatures over 100 degrees does not make me think of heaven and does not make me fear hell.

Sometimes I revel in the disapproval of those I don’t respect.

You can try to stop the idiocy but there are times you just have to get the hell out of the way.

You aren’t helping.

I was not raised to inherently trust people.

I don’t know what the rules are, but I do know this is not my fault.

Ask questions, don’t just regurgitate answers.

We need more investigative reporters and less parrots masquerading as reporters.

I hate those mornings when I don’t just get out of the wrong side of the bed – I get out of the wrong bed.

Some people never change – they only age.

That which we do not document we are doomed to re-create.

I could decide for you, but you really don’t want me to.

You don’t know if you don’t ask.

Everyone drops balls sometimes. What really matters is whether you pick them back up again.

Those that bend in the breeze are less likely to break.

Some minds are more moldy than moldable.

Fight for what is good in the world.

If you don’t want to drown try swimming.

Your Demons, my hobbies…

It is difficult to reach out for support when you don’t trust anyone.

Once upon a time I didn’t care. I still don’t.