Thanks Dan Lorenzo!
I know it’s been a while since the last blog, people have even been kind enough to send me little internet nudges to get back on it. But I’ve been very busy since the hurricane, doing things like posting photos of rock stars in CSFH tees on facebook:
I’ve been videotaping the cats:
I’ve been using my headset to play Borderlands 2 online with my brother:
And scads of other important stuff like researching people on facebook that I’ve met once or twice and didn’t like but wanted to see what their lives are like just to piss myself off more, making soup, shopping for Christmas gifts that I can barely afford, forcing friends to give me a little more work (three days a week bartending now–gainful employment!), studying the now-required-for-bartenders online safety course (one chapter a week, because, you know, don’t want to overdo it) and manufacturing arguments like this with Drew:
ME: I just realized you have four 7’s in a row in your phone number and I have four 8’s. This makes me better than you because 8 is a higher number than 7.
DREW: No, it doesn’t, because 7 is a sacred number, so as usual, I’m closer to God than you are.
ME: 8 represents infinity, which is equally holy, so I win, because it’s sacred AND a higher number.
DREW: The only thing infinite about you is your mouth. It goes on and on and on for eternity.
I did get a couple of perfect-for-me management offers and I turned them down, with a twinge of guilt. I am unused to refusing that kind of work, and used to doing everything in my power to make sure that bills are paid with a minimum of stress. And in the past I think I have relied on the status of being in charge to keep my ego comfortable. I haven’t wanted to be thought of as “just” someone who is serving.
But that doesn’t move me so much anymore, with maturity comes the realization that no one is “just” anything, regardless of whether they are cleaning your toilet or running the country. Plus I am not mentally or emotionally prepared to sit in an office five days a week just yet, and I know that at present I would not bring my full self to any work of that type, although there are aspects of it that I do enjoy. For now, I am genuinely elated to not be the keeper of the keys. I show up, pour drinks, try to be nice to strangers and keep the credit cards straight, and go home with some cash in my pocket–sometimes less, sometimes more.
The lesson, this time, has been about choice. I choose who I am, what I want to do. I have spent my life assuming that our job is to ask the Universe to provide what we think we want or need. It’s only recently that I’ve realized that we, and only we, make the choices for ourselves. We set life in motion for ourselves. This feels both daunting and freeing.
Anyway, so I haven’t been hit with any major inspiration for blogging, which is why things have been a bit lax here in Ye Olde House of HIgh Drama. I never worry about the blog too much because it’s my own thing, no one’s paying me to do it, and eventually something always pops into my head that feels worthy of mention. But I’ve also not done anything on the book since I quit my job with the intention to write more, and that has felt like a genuine and constant pressure. Recently I’ve had to admit to myself that the book may never happen. Or it might, who knows? I’ve certainly got pieces of it down, but it comes and goes in my brain and there is a resistance somewhere that I don’t fully understand as of yet. I only know that I can’t stress about it anymore.
I’ve probably mentioned this before (too lazy to look at old entries to check): This summer I got a reading from a psychic friend and the gist of the reading was that it’s my time to have fun and to stop worrying about the fact that I’m not producing anything immediately amazing. He said that I have been stymieing my own creative process with a constant mental self-abuse about being lazy or unfocused or whatever, and the time had come to let go and enjoy myself. When Drew heard this he rolled his eyes and said to our friend, “Well, how much more fun is she supposed to have? She has been having a pretty good time ever since the job ended.”
Which was true, and remains true til now. I’ve had a long five months in which pajamas, old movies, video games, laying in bed reading the Game of Thrones series, and wine with friends loomed high on the priority list. Though even after hearing it from a reputable source, I continued to feel guilty. That shitty voice that we all have in our head:
You should be writing. Why aren’t you writing? Other people put out books. Half of your friends have put out books. Everyone in the world is more creative than you are. Did you quit your job to sit around? You are so lazy. Are you going to end up being the oldest living bartender in Manhattan? Is this what you’re going to do with your life? You’re not getting any younger you know.
Sometimes my abusive inside brain voice sounds much like the narrator in the Pepe Le Pew cartoons: “Fabrette, do you want the others to think you cannot get a boyfriend??”
Then all of a sudden, as late as last week, it stopped. I thought, I’ve already been told by a number of people to enjoy this rare and fortunate opportunity to decompress. And beating myself up isn’t working, so why not give not giving a shit a try? Maybe I’m not meant to be super “productive” right now. Does it matter? Maybe that’s all ego, thinking I’m supposed to prove something to the world. Maybe the lesson is something different. So every time that voice came up I told it to fuck off. Yeah, I’m organizing my entire day around a soup recipe right now, go fuck yourself guilty voice. Fabrette doesn’t need a boyfriend.
This morning, before I was fully awake, a character formed himself in my head. And then his girlfriend appeared, and then his job and his apartment. It was kind of awesome. I got up and fed the pets (because nothing gets done when pets are hungry), and then went straight to the computer to write him down before he faded away. A couple of times the voice popped up while I was opening cans: You can’t write fiction. Who is this guy? What do you know about the male point of view? You don’t even have a real story in mind. You suck…
It is true that I have never thought myself a fiction writer, and this imaginary character may never go farther on the page than he did this morning. But I told the voice to screw itself again, because I already got the real message from a deeper source. And it’s not so much about the end result right now. Creativity and joy don’t come with self-hatred. They come when you’re not paying attention to that doubt that is always there in one form or another, they come with living your life, with experience, with making a soft place for yourself to land when you don’t perform perfectly.
So my blog message for the time being is to stop beating yourself up, regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve–lose weight, get a new job, form a family band and tour the countryside, etc. Sounds simple enough on paper, maybe not so much in real life. But really, aren’t there enough people out there that want to tell us that we suck, without adding our own voice to that mix? It only serves to freeze all forward motion anyway, that fear of revealing imperfection, and if we aren’t on our own side, how can we expect it from the rest of the world?
So if anyone needs me, I’ll be putting this theory into practice with my friend Tiny Tina.
Oh, and PS. I should add that the kind folks at Steppin’ Out Magazine printed my last blog about the hurricane, and are featuring me in their next “Seven Questions” section, so if you’re in New Jersey make sure to pick it up.