Saturday, October 28, 2006

My Dog Hates the Rain...

It's one of those lovely-to-stay-in-bed days. Raining off and on and kinda dreary outside. This means trouble.

My dog is not fond of rain. He would rather burst his little bladder than go outside in the rain (and he would never deign to have an 'accident' in the house). So rainy days are tough.

Today however I got him out around 1pm and our timing was great. It had stopped raining and out we went. He was perky so I got him to walk around the block. Another herculean task as he isn't much on walking any where that takes him where he can't get home in two seconds flat. We were half-way around the block when it happened: the sky opened up and TORRENTS of rain came down! I had no umbrella, Basil had nothing (poor nekkid doggie!) and we were caught in the rain.

Me, I like getting caught in a downpour, I think it's fun. My dog disagrees.

But today was different! He actually continued sniffing around, he didn't bolt to run home, we actually walked about a 1/2 block before he even seemed to be bothered by the rain!!

"Hey, what did you do with my dog????" I asked him.

"....." he answered. C'mon, he's a dog. He doesn't talk.

We came around the corner of our street and though he'd usually run through traffic to get home rather than be in the rain, he plopped himself down under the awning of the restaurant on the corner. Curtains of rain fell around us and we were in a little protected square. Basil was apparently quite happy to stop under the awning and watch the mayhem around us: people (and dogs) running through the rain. Watching him sedately watching everything going nutty around him really struck me. This dog is so f-ing ZEN sometimes! So instead of worrying about getting back home (all of 6 doors away) I leaned against the wall and chilled with my smart dog.

I could not get the smile off my face. It was a silly, happy moment. We just stoppped. I don't often 'stop'. This is New York... we keep moving here. But sometimes, like when nature decides to FORCE you to chill-out, it's nice to be still. To stop thinking about the million things you need to get done, but will never get done, and just BE.

We finally did a sprint to the next awning and did the same ''stop and watch" thing; and one more sprint to our building where we stopped in the doorway and did it again. Basil's tail was wagging and he was doing his doggie smile... and I realized I was laughing and smiling too. We were soaked, but happy. Maybe he doesn't hate the rain so much any more. People...and dogs... can change. It's good to remember that.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Welcome to my Happy Day

Today is the second year anniversary of my best day. My very best day. The day of my great epiphany. The day I decided that I could try a different way - that possibly, just possibly now, I might be able to change my life rather than end my life. That I could give it a try... and it might be worth it.

Two years later I am so happy. So happy! Just to be able to sit here and type these words: I am alive. Two years! I look back and am amazed. I look back on every single day as another blessing sprung from that miracle that changed everything for me.

A couple of nights ago I went to the theater to see a new play The Sunset Limited. I had asked if anyone wanted to go (I had an extra ticket) but no one was enthralled by the subject matter: attempted suicide.... so I went on my own. I'm glad I went alone, there was too much in this show that was hitting home for me and the resonance left me in tears a couple of times... sometimes that makes people uncomfortable. And I'd never want to make anyone uncomfortable... Right.

Any way... it seemed opportune that I go to this show this week of my anniversary. It reminded me, not that I really need reminding at all.

Two years ago when I was preparing for my suicide, it never crossed my mind that what I could do is just drop everything and move on. Leave my current life behind, become someone else, AND keep living. Just DO something completely out of character, something bold, something unexpected - like move to Mexico and start a new life. Of course I was in no emotional state to do anything of the kind, I barely held it together from minute to minute... The point being that while one might see suicide as a viable (ironic, huh?) alternative to their tortured existence, the suicide would never conceive of simply picking up and abandoning everything to begin fresh somewhere else... yet they would leave it all to die. Crazy, huh?

No one ever said a suicidal mind is a rational mind. (I know I wasn't rational.) BUT in truth if you kill yourself, if you die, you do just that: you abandon everyone and everything. Something you would never do: just to pick up and walk away from everything, people, job, home, pets, everything and start some new life is EXACTLY what you would do if you killed yourself. Of course the difference being that you don't just die to the life you've known, you die to everything. You lose it all. And that, truly, is a horrible waste.

It is of course because the pain of living is in you, it's not something you see as environmental so much as internal. Doesn't matter where you go: there you are. From a perspective of two years passed I can see that far more clearly than I could have if someone tried to tell me that at the time. So why do I think writing it here, maybe suggesting this to someone who is as bad off now as I was two years ago would be of any help at all?

Because it's coming from someone who was there.

Someone who knows just how intensely sad you have to be to see death as your best choice.

I was there, so if you're reading this and you're thinking "yeah, but you don't know how much pain I'm in" guess again. I do know.

I know so much that I have tears in my eyes right now as I write this. That I am crying as I type this silly blog in hopes that someone who needs it will stumble upon it and find the kind of epiphany I found two years ago from the words of a stranger. Because I do know how much you hurt, and I know what kind of strength it takes to get through every minute of every day when each breath is fraught with pain and nothing, absolutely nothing seems good to you.

I know what it is to wake up every single morning for endless months with tears in your eyes because you are so miserable you even cry in your sleep.

I know what it is to stand on a subway platform and think how simple it would be to just step off as the #6 is coming through.

I know what it is to collect razor blades and line them up on the side of the bathtub so you have back ups.

I know what it is to collect pills so you will have enough to be lethal.

I know what it is to want to die to make it all stop hurting.

So yes, I think hearing it from someone who was where you are now might have some weight.

And maybe knowing that someone who was where you are, who knows exactly where you are right now, is here, is alive and grateful beyond words to be alive TWO years later will be enough to make you rethink your 'only option'. Because suicide is not it. It's not the only option. In fact it's no option at all.

There is no one on this planet who has any more right to be here than you. You have every right to be happy, and alive and to have the life you want. I promise, it can be better. I do promise you that. I know how afraid you are, I can remember it vividly. But I can tell you truthfully that if you feel you are alone in the world - you're not. We're all connected, in some way. If you haven't tried medications, please do; just go to your doctor and tell her (or him) that you need to try something. If you have tried medication and it isn't working: try another! Everyone is different, Zoloft works for me: it may not work for you, but something else will. It is worth trying, trying is scary, but living and finding happiness in living is worth it.

Two years. Worth every minute. I promise.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nothing Learned is Ever Wasted....

Never let anyone tell you that your dreams are worthless, your aspirations unachievable, or your education an exercise in futility.

I have a degree in Theater... Acting emphasis. Yes, I am well aware: that and $2 will get me on the subway. Is it a worthless degree? Perhaps, if you only think in terms of monetary gain. If you think in terms of personal happiness, fulfillment and growth then it is priceless.

When I needed to borrow $2,000 from my father to pay the balance of my college tuition for my junior year, after financial aid and my job at Taco Bell I was short just the $2K. He said to me, "I thought you finished with college"

I had done 2 years at a community college and earned an A.S. degree... then took a year off to earn enough to pay for the next two years and a B.A.

I tried to explain that I wanted, no, I needed to go for two more years. He scoffed. "What for? You'll only end up working at Taco Bell the rest of your life any way."

With encouragement like that... well, who wouldn't feel special?

But after much bargaining, and by bargaining I mean begging... yeah, that felt great, my father and his fucking power trip about money... sorry, digressing... I did manage to finish my B.A.... in Theater.

The wonderful thing about a degree in Theater is the things you learn. Now sure I wanted to be playing Blanche and weeping about "a boy... just a boy" while a Streetcar Named Desire ran by with my name on it... but the reality of the education I received was that I learned EVERY aspect of the theater. Not just the fun part (acting is the fun part - at least for me). So although I knew I was never going to become a set designer, lighting designer and god help us all I wasn't going to be handling the house; I learned what these jobs entail.

"As useless as algebra!" was the consensus of the acting students. We didn't need to know how to use a lathe or a jigsaw or how to build a flat. "We should be studying Shakespearean soliloquies!!!

But you know what? I used my college lightening course this very day. I sure did.

My kitchen light has been on the fritz for the past 2-3 weeks. I kept meaning to call the Super to take a look at it, but ... I really kinda hate having people come in to do work in my place. I prefer my privacy. And frankly, most times I can do the work faster and better myself. How sad is THAT?

Today, however, I finally decided to get off my ass and fix the light myself. I bought a dimmer switch at the hardware store, because if I needed to install a new lightswitch, why not make it a dimmer? Ooooh. Mood lighting!

I read the directions on the package, very simple really, and *pow* I heard the voice of my Lightening Design teacher in my head....

"Now, Now Joy, you have simply GOT to remember that like goes to like and twist those wires together..." That should be read with a texasy-southern accent.

And there I was back in class, splicing wires and reconnecting lamps... in under 20 minutes not only was my kitchen light working again, but it was even better than before. I LOVE the dimmer!!

So it goes to show you. You may learn things in your life that you see no purpose in... that seem redundant or superfluous... but one day everything comes into play. Nothing you learn, whether it's how to strip a wire or how to mourn a broken heart, is ever a waste. One day having learned what you thought was boring, or painful, turns out to be something that can make you smile. I'm going to lower my lights and burn some incense now.

Go learn something new! Follow your dreams, no matter who tries to discourage you. And someone always will, it's what they do. But trust me, don't listen to the naysayers. They're just too afraid to follow dreams of their own... or they don't even have a dream to follow.

Whether it leads where you thought you'd go or not, nothing is ever really wasted... it might just take a while to see the lesson played out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On Your Feet!

I love shoes. I can't help it, it's just something that seems to go along with XX chromosome patterns… or maybe I'm just trying to rationalize? Probably... but...

I love girly shoes!

I love high-high heels. I love beading and sequins and fringe and bows. I love Lucite heeled stripper shoes. I loved the platform shoes of the 70s that had a clear heel you could actually keep a goldfish in! Cruel? Sure. Cool looking? Ab-so-fucking-lutely!

I love strappy shoes. I LOVE S&M fetish shoes. I love old-school cockroach-killer '50s high-heels. I love boots! Thigh-high pirate boots that lace up the back (I have a pair of those: yum!) and short little ankle boots. I love flats!

I do not love big clunky shoes that look like they belong on a construction site. Doc Martens? Ugh. Really.

I have far too many shoes. Most of them are ridiculously inexpensive PayLess shoes. I love PayLess. You can buy a half-dozen pair of shoes for less than the price of one pair of SERIOUS shoes, and if they end up hurting your feet, or if they get rained on or otherwise destroyed, or simply worn out, it just doesn't matter: because they were so cheap! It also allows me to indulge my divergent tastes in shoes and buy trendy-trendy shoes that I won't ever wear again and not feel guilty about it.

Today I am wearing an adorable pair of dark purple flats with a rhinestone buckle. $9 at PayLess last year. Love them.

The only downfall to the higher heels that I own and wear less frequently than I'd like is the street factor. Oh sure I can walk in them (or I wouldn't buy them) but can I maneuver on the New York City Streets in them? Not always. It's not even a matter of diverting away from slick surfaces or grates that catch and destroy covered heels; it's a matter of speed.

I tend to be late.

I was born late. Literally. Six days late. It's as if I knew what was out there and I didn't want to deal. BUT I learned to walk in heels early. I did the usual dress-up in Mommy's clothes that kids do… down to the shoes. But since I had my growth spurt very young (one of the few things I did early) I was wearing the same size shoes as my mother by the fourth grade… so learning to walk in heels was relatively simple for me. In college I ran around in 4 inch platform SANDALS all the time. And I when I say RAN around I mean it. I could actually run in the things! But the streets of New York offer far too many challenges and I run late to appointments, shows, work, everything and I need to be able to scoot. And so, cute flats are my favorite go-to shoes.

I try to be mindful of those in heels on the street. I'll move over and walk on the subway grates so that my high-heel shoe-lovin' sister can have the sidewalk and not fall on her face. I hope others wearing flats will do the same for me when I'm caught out in heels. It's something that should be understood by all women who brave the streets in high heels.

Wearing high heels makes me feel feminine and sexy… but also vulnerable and unsafe. I like the former and dread the latter. I don't think men understand the concerns that women have on a daily basis about what they can wear out. We do have to be careful. Something adorable at a party of friends or even when with someone can illicit frightening attention on the street if you're alone. This means clothing as well as shoes, and there's little as frightening as realizing you are being menaced while wearing shoes you cannot move fast in... it's bad. So when I will be traveling alone, on the subway or just walking, I almost never wear my real killer shoes. I need to feel safe in my ability to get the hell outta the way, and sadly, the beautiful shoes don't give me that feeling.

But they sure are purty!

Did this little blog have a point? Is there a deeper meaning about the human condition somewhere hidden in the metaphor of the coveted gorgeous woman's shoe? Could be... but you'll have to figure this one out on your own: and when you do, please drop me a line - because I'm clueless here!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A good start...

Two days off a week is entirely insufficient to do anything productive with my apartment. I can clean it... to a reasonable extent.... but I need to get some painting done and this involves in-depth chucking of stuff and that takes more than 2 days. I knew I had a lot of stuff, the fact that after a year (at least) of intensive chucking I still have piles in corners leads me to believe that I have no true sense of the full amount of crap I hang onto. If I can have this much physical junk and not realize it, how much emotional clutter do I have that I am not dealing with, or even aware of having so that I can deal with it? Good God it's daunting!

BUT I have accomplished a lot (even though it sometimes feels like I haven't) and the only way to tackle a daunting task is to start. Somewhere. One little thing at a time. Baby steps... baby steps....

So instead of diddling here (which I'd rather do than sort through the pile of mess in my livingroom corners) I'm going to go set my clock for one hour. You can do anything when you know there is a finite time for it. Even cleaning. One hour of action rather than three hours of moaning about it and I know I'll feel better about it for having simply attempted to get SOMETHING done.

Honestly though, I do feel that when I'm not here, or am sleeping, or otherwise occupied, that someone comes into my home and messes it up. Entropy? I think it's an actual entity! Mr. Entropy! How else can there be so much stuff on a kitchen table that was clear yesterday?

Maybe it's the dog?

More likely the cat.

Time to set the clock... and maybe get one of those 'nanny-cams'.


Monday, October 09, 2006

kind of fun...

Over the past two days I've had two separate, yet similiar conversations with two friends. Both involved them telling me they thought I'd be good with kids. One as a teacher, the other as a "good influence"... of course this is all in the abstract as I'm really not so great with kids.

I'm fairly patient, and I can be fun with them... but after about an hour I can't sustain it and will invariably say something "too adult" or maybe I'll tell some poor kid that Peter Pan is being played by a woman.

True exchange between myself and 6 year old Maya during a performance of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby (who was really wonderful) which I attended at the request of my best friend (their teacher) to assist as a chapareone.

Me: Wow, she's amazing.... she looks really convincing as Peter considering she's what... a 50 year old lady, huh?

Maya: WHAT? You mean Peter Pan is a GIRL?

Size 8 to the mouth.

I may as well have handed her a cigarette and a shot of whiskey. I just FORGET they're kids sometimes... Even as a kid I spent more time with adults than with other children, so it's just ... I forget, okay?

I do feel pretty bad about disillusioning Maya, but I have to say that almost a year after the fact she still refers to me as Joy, You know the one who told me Peter Pan was a woman... and she says it with a sort of pride. Which I admire. And Maya is also my one and only fan. She actually has an autographed 8x10 of me in her room. Odd? Sure, but I guess it proves my friends right... I do have some kind of influence on kids.... maybe not the best influence, but influence nonetheless. And I figure when she's an adult, if she still remembers me, she'll have herself a good laugh at the crazy lady who sat with her class during Peter Pan and blew Peter's cover. And after all, it's not like I said anything about Santa Claus!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Joy Lucky...

For many years... um... okay, for over a decade if I have to be honest, and lord knows I have to be... I'd been in a pit of bad. Any luck I had at all turned out to be bad... and if not bad, then AWFUL. In fact towards the end it of that period it got to be that the bad luck was welcomed as a respite from the awful luck. Yeah. It wasn't good. Well, hell, if it had been I certainly wouldn't have been fixated on killing myself, now would I?

But I am blessed, truly, because I have some kick-ass friends; those old, wonderful ones who stuck with me through the ungodly crap and did what they could to help the miserable wretch I was... and the new, make-me-cry-they-are so-good-for-me ones I've known a much shorter time, but who have made me feel like there might actually be something worthwhile - okay let me get conceited and say FABULOUS - about me. God knows I like myself better now than I have ever in my life before and I give much of the credit for that to these amazing people who I am blessed to call friends.

The strange and wonderful thing about friends is how you almost never know when you first meet how important someone will become in your life. It's usually not a thunderbolt moment like love at first sight, where you just KNOW that someone will impact your life. Although sometimes it is, and that's something pretty damned special... and the best kind of luck.

Probably, no, it's a certainty, the best luck I ever had was some of my bad luck.... okay convoluted, but in retrospect it's a direct line. Let me explain.

I had no medical insurance, and no job, and lump in my breast. Well... how very unlucky for me. Or I so I thought... and it was, sure, bad. But because of that lump I took a job for the medical benefits and there made an awfully lucky friend.... though I couldn't know how lucky. It was because of this friend that I saw the show that turned out to be the single best thing that ever happened to me, and met someone who I did know, right away, had impacted my life. If not for that lump... no friend, no show, no hero... just an exacto knife in a warm bath.

What I'm trying to say here is if you are in the pit of bad, like I was for so long, and it looks like nothing will ever change... and even your most optimistic friends have to admit that it looks like your luck will never change... and the crap just keeps coming and coming and coming with no let up and no end in sight... as hard as it may be to see, and as hard as it may be to believe, there might indeed be a reason for your bad luck. It may in fact be the best luck you could have wished for -- but you won't find that out if you don't hang in. If you don't wait to see how the comedy of your life is playing out, you might miss the best thing in the world.

What I want to say to anyone who wants to check out is just this: stay.

Stay... even though it hurts so much you can't even manage to cry any more. Stay... even though you feel so alone you believe you will never feel anything good again. Stay... Stay... Stay... get through the bad days however you can. Stay... and do the things that scare you shitless (even if that just means getting out of bed). Stay... Stay... Stay... because you don't know the future. Stay... because you have a right to be here. Stay... because somewhere, someone you don't know is here for you. Stay... because you have a purpose (even if you don't know it yet) Stay... because the sky is blue. Stay... because I said so. Stay... because ... Stay... because you are here, you are alive and that is the luckiest thing. Stay... Just stay...

Now to any of my beloved friends who are reading this and asking "what about ME?" let me say: I love you all, very, very much. This is just about a very specific chain of events that I needed, desperately, to happen. (you know I did) And how I got so very lucky... how someone who was so unbearably sad became so stupid happy. You all had a part in it, (you know you did), but this is the specific last straw that kept this camel away from the razor blades and turned her into someone new, someone happy. And by the way, this year's mammogram came back totally clean again. I really am lucky. And very, very happy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Welcome to cold season...

I could feel it coming. I knew it. That tiny tickle in the throat... that sniffle that doesn't go away... it's here. I have my first cold of the season. Damn.

It's not a good week for me to have this. Sure, you ask, when would a good week to be sick be... exactly? Well not THIS week. I have too many plans this week and some days are double-dips on the socializing so it really makes for a bad week to crave staying in my bed with bowls of soup, Vicks-vapo-rub, and a giant box of Puffs.

I knew I'd been lucky not getting sick sooner. Invariably when I fly I end up with a cold on the return home... I blame the poor air circulation on planes, of course. But the last time I went to Mexico I came home... waited for the onslaught of stuffiness - but it never came! Wheee! All that sun and fresh air kept the cold-inducing bacteria at bay... hey, look I'm not a scientist I have no clue, all I know is I didn't get sick last March. But now, here I am. A sneezing, watery-eyed, sore-throaty mess. I don't even think it was the trip this time: I think it was more likely the subway. Whatever the cause, I'm slathering on the Vicks... heating up the Tabachniks Veggie soup and crawling into bed because tomorrow I'm getting up (and out the door... ouch, that's the hard part) at the crack of dawn to meet a friend who wrangled me an invite to the geek fest of the year. Christie's private viewing of Star Trek memorablia. Oh yeah... I may have let go of my ridiculous action-figure collection, but this is too good to pass up. So at the crack of dawn I will boldly go... yeah, sorry... it's breakfast at Christie's auction house to eat bagels and check out Spock's actual ears.

.Someone is going to have to pinch me. I may embarrass myself....
like I haven't already.