If You Don’t Like What You’re Hearing, There’s The Door

Holy hell! Ever since I quit my job in order to make space for writing, I’ve been working more than ever and have absolutely no time or energy to write anything other than ranty facebook status updates. 

My last day at PF looks to be sometime during the second week of June. A replacement has been found and I’m already training her in my sleep. I keep waking up stressed out over dream-conversations about finance reports. I am SO ready to get out of this day job and into whatever the world brings me, which at the moment looks to be bar work.

Lately the lessons have been flying hard and fast and I am so grateful that most of them come through joy now, rather than through hurt, anger, loneliness, mistakes and confusion the way they once did. I can see how much my decision-making played into having to learn that way, and that finding and then following that deep inner voice is the only way to step out of a bad cycle. It took me a long time to be able to hear it. Sometimes you have to act like you’re a healthy thinker, even when you’re not. And then eventually the thoughts align and things get easier.

My latest lesson is this little bar shift I’m doing at Bowery Electric. Jesse gave me the shift so I could get used to bartending again and have a foothold into earning money once I am out of my current job. I expected to suffer a bit, talking to afternoon drunks or forcing my friends to keep me company, but it has been so much better than that, and I know this has to do with my energy at the moment. I am sharing it with you now not because I want to brag about how smooth things are going, but more to talk about how when we are aligned with our inner choices, the outside world follows suit. I want everyone to experience synchronicity and lead the fullest life possible.

Someone said to me recently, “I’m so glad you’re putting yourself out in nightlife again because you belong in the public and you’ve been hiding in offices for too long.” This struck a chord.

I landed onstage “back in the day” not because I had major self-confidence. It was the opposite. I had a deep secret fear that I was a bad, useless person, so like many people, I created a persona that seemed more interesting, and I put that persona out there. I found I felt more comfortable on a stage than in one-on-one situations, much like many performers. The adrenaline of that overrode everything else, and on top of it I could garner positive attention that belied the way I truly felt about myself.

I was never a true musician or singer. The world can survive quite happily without ever hearing me sing again. I was able to get out there because of charisma, looks, and probably destiny. Although as much as I craved the attention, I think there was a part of me that felt overwhelmed by it, and I ran from it in the end. And once I did that, I had to find work.

I can see (NOW) that I purposely chose situations that mirrored those bad feelings about myself, not just with relationships, but with jobs. I chose to work with people who saw me as old in my 30’s, plain when I once had been told I was beautiful, not skinny enough in a size 6 (yay…fashion!), and for the most part not relevant in my taste or opinions. I believed this to be true and felt older than I do now. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted and the outside world reflected my confusion and fear. I went into hiding.
I thought that I wasn’t important unless I gave something someone required. I felt that I could only earn what I received if I worked twice as hard as everyone else for it. Can you imagine? I have this “rock star” history that I can call upon to feel cool, and it was that hard for me. What about the people who don’t have that? What if you never feel cool? How susceptible are you to someone telling you you’re less than? I would imagine very.

I recently heard Bishop TD Jakes say something fabulous. He said (I’m paraphrasing): “I am sitting on this speaker and it is serving me as a chair quite well. But it is not a chair, and that is not its higher purpose in this world. It was created for something else.”
I frigging LOVE that. I can do bookkeeping. I like certain aspects of it and I can administer the fuck out of insurance and bank statements. But is it my destiny? Maybe for a time it was, for the lessons it taught me. But if I am a speaker, I don’t want to serve as a chair.

So shut your eyes and picture yourself doing anything, ANYTHING in the world. Swimming with turtles. Singing onstage. Kntting tents. It doesn’t matter. It might not be possible. But it might be possible. And maybe the journey toward whatever that is could lead you somewhere you hadn’t even thought of, that unknown that might truly be where your happiness lies.

So, back to the bar shift, my own personal lesson in alignment:

I put in my notice at work, freaked out solid for a couple of weeks about doing something so rash, and about how bar work was gonna drive me crazy, about how confused I feel about who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing, about how I would die broke and alone, the oldest living bartender. And then slowly a sense of freedom crept over me as I realized whatever it was, it wouldn’t be the same old thing that I hated. It might be something new that I hated, but at least it would be fresh.

The bar shift started off mostly with friends keeping me company. My friend Christa, who works in real estate, strong-armed her co-workers into joining her there after work most weeks. I owe her a dinner. Then my old friend and Squeezebox/Coney Island High comrade Tim Greer stopped in on the third week. He said, “I have time, and I want to DJ for you.” I told him I had no budget to pay him, to which he responded: that’ll come, let’s just shut up and do it.

Well all right! So he started playing great music for me, and showing entertaining videos over the bar that keep people guessing or reminiscing or laughing. And then he named it “the Ho and the Mo” and began making flyers. I know, I know, heaven sent, this guy.
Each week it’s gotten more crowded and more fun, I believe primarily because Tim and I are enjoying ourselves and that rubs off. People I haven’t seen in years have stopped by to visit, and that brings great happiness. I’m so grateful to be re-connecting. And because I’ve been buried in offices for well over a decade, I’m in a mood to socialize and open to meeting new people in a way that I wasn’t for many years. I’m friendlier than I was when I quit the clubs 15 years ago, because I feel better inside and ready for it.

My friend Sami Yaffa, a bona fide lifetime achievement rock star, said, “Lemme come down and DJ for you one week, just for fun.” So Tim and I were like, hell yeah, let’s get a guest star in here. 
Sami came on Friday and rocked the house and we had an amazing time. He also came up with our new tagline, which is: “If you don’t like what you hear, there’s the door!” Which in a way, can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Anyway, he had so much fun he’s coming back for two more weeks before he leaves town again to play music with the Mike Monroe band.
I was so busy that I couldn’t stop to talk to anyone, which I didn’t necessarily love, but my wallet liked it. As I looked around the room at people smiling and talking, I could see that Tim and I had managed to create our own little rock and roll clubhouse. Because it’s happy hour, it’s early enough that all the “straight” people haven’t come out of their expensive caves yet. It’s not jammed, just comfortably populated with the rock and roll crew. It’s our space for those few hours, to mold in whatever fashion we want, hear the music we want, then get out and have a life by 10pm. And now I’m ringing enough at the bar that Tim can get some pay for his effort.

So the lesson for me has been that if I bite the bullet and do what my inner voice tells me to do regardless of how fearful I feel, the Universe responds in kind. I finally understand that fearlessness is more about taking action to push past, rather than about quelling feelings of fear, which will probably always be there. I don’t know how long this particular gig will last, but for now it’s great and I’m making a bit of money, and I think that’s the point of the exercise.
My time of unhappiness is done and now I can pay it forward in some small ways through this blog. I know I have certain things in my toolbox that others don’t have which might make it look easier for me. But it’s not that simple, and you have things that I don’t have as well. 

We were not created to feel shitty, we just don’t know how to make a move all the time. So just make a tiny move. Take a small step in the direction your heart is crying for and see what happens. Then when you’re comfortable with that, take another step. It’s not about making this giant goal and jumping from here to there. Thinking that way paralyzes people. It’s more about following that voice regardless of the panic that dances around in your head. Fear and resentment are the enemy, an open heart is the path. If you step out, you will be rewarded. 

And if you need a drink to calm your nerves, you know where to find me. Just don’t ask the DJ to play Gaga.

Nightlife Report!

I’ve had so much fun the last couple of weekends that I feel the need to blog about it. Is New York getting better again? I doubt it, but there are pockets of awesomeness to be had.
Last Sunday was one of those extremely rare cases where I didn’t feel the presence of anything other than creative forces. Not a frat boy in sight, not one Nicki Minaj song to be heard. Ode to joy.

I never go out on Sunday nights because I have to work on Monday morning, and it’s the only day of the week that Drew and I usually have to hang out at home. But there was a lot going on and me and my partner in crime, Ms. Zoe Hansen had a list of things to do.
I met her at the bank where I found her trying to cram a pair of shoes (gold glitter, covered platform, gorgeous) into her overstuffed leopard bag. Zoe already had another fabulous pair on her feet, but as she had to do a reading later in the night, she thought a second pair might be in order.

First up, Michael Alago and Mina Caputo did a reading of their poetry at the Munch Gallery. For you non-New Yorkers, Michael worked in the music industry and discovered/signed some of the greats (Metallica, White Zombie, Nina Simone). He is a photographer and a major gay and we love him. Mina is formerly Keith Caputo, lead singer of Life of Agony, and a supremely talented performer who is audacious enough to currently be gender transitioning in the face of a very hetero fanbase. I don’t know her well enough to ask how it’s going, but I think it’s an interesting story and probably a good life lesson for some mooks in the periphery. Zoe and I went to a Life of Agony show last year and the audience was rough. I had my ass grabbed within the first five minutes of being there.

Poetry readings can be tedious, but I loved everything they read and the setting was intimate and small, consisting of friends only really. It was wonderful. I love that I’ve been able to set up my life in a way that I am constantly surrounded by talented, creative people. It is inspiring and makes me feel happy to be alive. Of course Zoe and I showed up late and interrupted the flow with a noisy entrance. Zoe’s shoes fell out of her bag and we refused to sit separately so Michael and Mina had to stop reading and rearrange chairs for Patsy and Edina. At least we didn’t fall over anyone.

Next up, with time to kill, we ran in the pouring rain to Lucien with my ex-bandmate Vas Kallas and our good friend and another music industry veteran Ms. Diana Mahiques. Diana knows everything about everything and always gives us great astrological advice. She’s a genius. And Vas is my family and has a total rock and roll soul:

But she’s still a girl so we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay and got down to some serious gossiping over French onion soup. Good friends + shit-talking + food + wine = HAPPY.

Next up, on to Bowery Electric to see Motochrist, featuring my old friend Danny Nordahl. Danny and I have been friends since the 80’s when he was in the Throbs and I was in CSFH. We’ve played many shows together and he is the loveliest person you could meet, and it’s been years since I’ve seen him as he lives in LA. He tours with Faster Pussycat pretty regularly but I haven’t gotten to any of the shows and I was determined to at least make an appearance at this one.

Zoe and I started at the upstairs bar (bands are downstairs) and got happily situated with (now vodka) drinks in hand. My ex-boyfriend and dear friend Jesse M. showed up and I was very happy to see him until he announced that he was there to meet someone I’m not crazy about. An arch-enemy, if you will. I rolled my eyes very dramatically and huffed, “All right, guess we’re going downstairs!” We collected our things and marched off with noses in the air as Jesse shouted sadly after me: “What about UNITY??”

Truthfully, I don’t care that much anymore but I’m a Scorpio so I don’t feel that I’m doing my job properly if I don’t stomp out of a room now and again. And it was fine that he sent us running downstairs as it was a full on rock and roll scene in that basement room, Jaster Leon DJ-ing all my favorite songs, everyone in a great mood, drinks flowing, and a happy reunion with Danny:

The guys in Motochrist were SO nice and generous, everyone in the room was someone I was happy to see, the music was pumping, and I reaaaaally wanted to stay until the bitter end. Alas, Zoe had to read across the street, so we were forced to cut our visit short. Danny gave me one of his guitar picks, which featured the image of Charles Manson on one side, the words “I ❤ Crystal Meth" on the other, stating that he got sick of people asking him for picks and now he's got something good to give them. I ❤ Danny Nordahl. Regretfully, we ran out while the band was still on.

On to Bowery Poetry Club, right across the street, where the Faceboyz Follies were in full swing with a lot of peeling of clothing going on:

I realize this is a crap photo but it was taken at 11:30pm and I’d been drinking since 7pm. I just want to give you a feel for the cheerful nudity around us everywhere. This was my first time at Faceboy’s popular night, and it didn’t disappoint. He advertises it as: “Daring Burlesque, Live Music, Creepy Films, Great Writers and Crazy Fun!” Which is exactly what it was, lots of ladies in their underwear, a truly demented film made by Reverend Jen’s adorable boyfriend, Courtney (didn’t catch his last name), some killer readings, and then Zoe got up and did a stellar reading, with film clips edited by Glenora Blackshire rolling behind her. 
The event reminded me of nights we used to see at the Pyramid, back in the dreaded day, where one creative person after another would get up onstage and experiment with whatever moved them at the moment. Sometimes it would be great, sometimes you’d walk away scratching your head, but you were always glad to be there.

Alas, work in the morning so after picking a fight with some poor shmo who kept insisting that his band played the Wah Wah Hut (they never had bands) I staggered home and tortured my sober night-in boyfriend with a drunken rundown of every single thing that happened, while peeling off eyelashes and kicking off shoes. Then I accused him of not loving me and passed out covered in cats.

Okay, so bear with me as I know this blog is getting long and is already pointless, but I had ANOTHER awesome night two days ago on the following Friday, when the girls picked me up after my happy hour shift at Bowery Electric. Let’s take a break for a little self-promotion on that happy hour courtesy of DJ Mr. Tim:

Tim and the ladies and I walked over to The DL, which is the place that Motherfucker NYC alum Georgie Seville is involved in that was originally called Ludlow Manor and featured Luc Carl as one of the partners. Luc is out but I absolutely adore Georgie; he is a beautiful person and I’ll show up at anything he’s endorsing.
We drank wine and ate delicious food (fancy mac n’ cheese, yes please!) in an elegant setting at a table with Sami Yaffa, Rob Carlyle, David Ilku, and a host of other EV rock and roll types. Sophia Lamar wrangled some twin twinks with bleached hair and great bone structure at the table next to us, the music was fabulous and I truly enjoyed myself. I highly recommend hitting this joint as soon as you can: it’s in the hood, the food is great, and because they’re just getting back on their feet after some licensing problems, it is not jammed with those types, but merely comfortably crowded with our type. No entitled trust fund cases or screaming sorority girls–meaning that people said excuse me when bumping into you. God, how I’ve missed that.
Okay, end of report. Game of Thrones and Mad Men on tonight so I’ve got to get the chores done asap in order to relax properly in front of delicious Don Draper and Daenyres and her dragons.

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