1159 PM Today, Saturday: April is at its end.
Over the last two weeks since the Atlantic Evening Conservatory let out for break, I’ve done nothing but bask in the nothing. Well, I mean I have worked. And I have made myself home meals. And I’ve worried somewhat about the future. And then I’ve read wisdom to stop making me think about the future. Sprinkling tears on my pillow some days over memories of Love. And I’ve obsessed over my weight.
And I’ve attended my first rally with 25K other souls screaming for progressive values in Park Slope. And I’ve voted. And I’ve read Gilbert’s words on creativity and the big magic of it all. And I’ve been entertained with Newsroom’s lessons on history at a high pace. And I’ve seen the Flea’s Bats play. And I’ve listened to Sopranos sing to Schutz, Heinrich. And I’ve lounged with my roommates in our living room. And I’ve stopped eating bread (on day 6 of that decision).
No huge revelations for Me in April. Just Life busy and then not so busy. A bit of an indecisive month switching from warm to cool to super super warm to cold. A month hallmarked by the Evening Conservatory’s Final Presentation event on Thursday, May 14. A joyous event where as an ensemble we got to present snippets of our scene work and some of us got to do our Private Life. (Remember, Dra. Matilde?) An event so energetically amazing. Before friends and strangers, actors doing what we love. Our hearts invested. Rewarding beyond measure.
A month of moments alone with my Spirit, my Self and Her thoughts. A month of processing where I was and where I am now. The first third of the year gone. The second third of the year hours away from dawn. In its horizon, the sight of us in an original play, the Atlantic EC, on a New York City stage. What does that mean? What will that mean? Where will I be then?
A month of transition exempt of emotional extremes. Life Moments and an Equanimous Me.
8 AM Three Mondays Ago: To the G to the L to the G to the E to the 6 to Me
Three Mondays ago during the 8 AM rush hour, as I stepped out of the G train at the Metropolitan stop in Brooklyn, a crowd of people waited to step onto the G train at this same Metropolitan stop.
It was a crowd that you had to bump through to get through to the stairs. It was a crowd that had invaded the stairs and left just enough room for a narrow single file line of people to walk up the stairs at super turtle pace. It’s the kind of crowd that makes you nervous at this time of day because you know that something’s up; and you have just the right amount of time to get to work. You want to ignore it and then you hear, the L train is not running. Damn it! My way into Manhattan shot for an uncertain amount of time.
A sense of panic started traveling through my bloodstream. Within seconds the first three stages of grief cried out to Me. As if it was my doing that they had been woken up so early in the day and on a Monday.
I walked to the Diner above the station to live out the fourth stage of grief. Finally, as coffee, sugar and bread doped me up, the sweet stage of acceptance set in. My mind cleared and I remembered the route that Nicole and I took into Manhattan a week before. Google Maps #boooo that Monday morning. So, I was back on the G to ride it to Queens from whence I would catch the E to then catch the 6 to get to work. Yep.
As I walked and walked through the Court Square train station in Queens to get to the E, forcing deep breaths and happy thoughts onto the whole rigamarole, suddenly laughter. Wait? Was that Me? Amused at the absurdity of time and the fear of being late and how everything in this moment was so much out of my control, yes, my Spirit chuckled. Suddenly grateful for one very huge thing. I knew my way.
10 PM Seven Months Ago: Boston, Trust and Me
That morning on my way to the E, a memory of Me…
Seven months ago… I plopped onto a hotel bed in Natick, Massachusetts with the biggest smile on my face. I laid there laughing out loud in disbelief. Fully alive and overcome with pride and satisfaction and accomplishment. I am here! I made it here. I! did.
Early morning that Friday, I had made my way into Boston via MegaBus. The two deck kind. My first time. Once in South Station in Boston, I found my way to the Red Line to get to Cambridge.
As I set foot on Harvard Square, I hear, “Rayando el sol, rayando por ti…” Wait! What?! The sound of my adolescence. Maná. The song that turned me on to Rock en Español. The voice of my first love, Fher, its frontman. The man that turned me on to long hair in men. The band that fed some of my quiet rebelliousness. No entiendo. What is happening? God, what are you saying to me? Why the hell is Maná booming oh so loudly in HARVARD SQUARE! YES!
“Es más fácil llegar al sol que a tu corazón…” Fher, I know now what that means!
I keep walking. And there it is, Harvard. I meeaaan, riiight? To walk through a campus where the greatest minds have thought. Excitedly, I stroll through and find my way to the library. Outside it, I take a selfie. I’m salivating at the prospect of book heaven.
“Hold on there sister! Where are your credentials?” says the ghost of Harvard’s past.
Fine, I get it. Thanks for the reminder. I’m not one of those minds. But, like, whatevs. A&M’s and St. Ed’s green space is much prettier and sitting-friendly
than those colorful chairs on your dirt lawn. (I know, what a jerk!)
Anyway, I take a selfie on one of these chairs. On that chair, I also crunch numbers. Would I have enough for my deposit, first month’s rent and last month’s rent and eat? On that chair, I wait to hear from Nicole about whether the two of us and the other four prospective musketeers are approved to sign the lease. There is so much up in the air. Only five days left in my AirBnB. In Harvard Yard, I take a deep breath. This is a cool chair.
Back in South Station, I must now find my way to Natick. I follow Jamie’s directions and buy my ticket for the Commuter Rail. I’m now aboard the Worcester Line. I am to call on Uber once I get off at the West Natick stop.
I call on Uber once at the West Natick stop. Mistakenly expecting a staffed train stop, I am quickly alone by this parking lot. It is dark. It is quiet. The cars, one by one, leaving as the passengers get into their rides. Uber is being difficult. I’m panicking just slightly. What is my contingency plan? I’m so obviously alone right now. I trust.
I call on Lyft. Five days ago, at Nicole’s advice, the Lyft app found another home in my iPhone6. Thank God. Within five minutes, there he is. My Lyft ride and the most cheerful and positive and engaged driver ever. My Indian Lyft driver is so genuinely excited for me attending my friend’s wedding that I consider: should I invite him? But then I remember that I rsvp’d for one. I exit his car nostalgic about the friendship that could have been.
Safe and sound in my hotel room, I plop, belly first, onto this queen size bed, caressed by its soft white comforter. I am here! Yes, I made it. With the assistance of angels, I made it.
As I marvel at my day, I recognize the enormity of my accomplishment. I reflect on all of the other times I’ve traveled. All led by someone else and under the protection of someone else. All so certain and structured. My trust fully deposited on the other person who knew what, where and how.
Today I fully trusted in Me, in this strength within Me. That I would know what, where and how. That I could figure it out moment by moment. I never slept so proud.
12 PM on a Tuesday: Life Spared Me
I bit on a fish bone. It was sharp. Thank God I chew; and chewed and chewed. I honor the gastro…. you know, the process of food. I could have choked. You know, died. But Life spared Me from my worst nightmare. The absence of air. I lean towards the dramatic.
10 AM on a Wednesday: Imagine & Macaroons for Me
Appreciated. Gifted a box of mini macaroons. An Imagine card the card that wished Me a Happy Day. Imagine. A signature song of my earlier youth. Lennon. A signature Artist of my formative years. Without knowing she gifted Me It. Sometimes I wonder what is coincidence and what is God?
3 PM on a Saturday: Here with Me
In my room. The wind blowing through. Quiet. Peaceful. Restless. I want this. But I don’t know what to do with it. I mean, yes, there is always something to do. But that’s just the thing. Why this urge to do?
The energetic momentum from four months of seven to midnight days wants to keep its pace. But I don’t have to do anything right now. Or go anywhere. I can just sit here and breathe. The sweet reward I craved. Except that it feels different today.
This is the first time in my life that I am. Here. Not waiting. Not anticipating. Not wondering. Not regretting. Not self-judging. It’s not the first time I have time alone. I love time alone. But it is the first time I am alone. Not lonely.
Circa this time of year, a year ago or so today, my heart and mind dwelled in anxiety and uncertainty over my eleven year love. What had it become? Where was it going? What would be its fate?
For eleven years, my days were full of Us. What I did, where I went, how I operated, what I wanted…. Yes, I had the freedom to choose….but I did so always within the context of Us. My life was defined by Us. My choices were all in favor or in reaction to Us.
With nothing scheduled and with nowhere to be, I sit here today with just Me. And what is my relationship with Me? That is what I’m figuring out.
From home with parents to a college dorm to home with parents to home with my eleven year love, alone time was always preceded and proceeded by the expectation of time spent with someone else. Alone time was a short moment of breathing room. It was never a room full of breathing space.
2 PM on a Wednesday: Great! Misophonia
I have misophonia. Aka soft sound sensitivity syndrome. Note: soft sound. That electric guitar riff is never loud enough. But, for realz, I saw it on my Facebook feed. I’m not alone. It’s a thing.
So I wasn’t crazy when a year ago I self diagnosed myself with something being wrong with me. That kid sitting across from me at the library, scratching at his thumb, the sound of thick skin being scratched off…he wouldn’t stop. I stared at him violently outraged that no one else heard or saw. I left. Angry. Scratching at my own thumb desperate to end the sensation.
Throughout my life all of these other human sounds that agitate me. They inflict me with all of these awful sensations. I have a name for it now. Great! Great.
Ok, so Introversion. Check. Misophonia. Check. What a mess! I mean, let ME BE. No matter. Smiley face. I hope to God that there is a redemptive message in all of this. God, I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to walk in this skin. Not complaining. Just saying. Moving on…
11 AM on a Sunday: Where am I right now? Caramel’s got a hold of Me
At Putnam’s in Brooklyn. I am sitting at this small lovely table for two. Today only for Me. Sipping on their Nitro Brew. Fresh cold coffee just perfect. Sweet enough. No need for creme or for sugar. You can just sip it like a dark ale. But, I sit here partly regretting the oatmeal with caramelized bananas and walnuts. Not because it wasn’t heavenly delicious but because it was made with dairy. Completely forgot to ask if it had dairy. So now, naturally, I’m all hung up about it. Trying to make it all right with thoughts.
The last time I had it was on January 1, 2016. The day I discovered Putnam’s in Clinton Hill. I took a right and kept walking. Fifteen minutes later, here I was. Their menu spoke of Southern style biscuits. Exactly what I craved that morning, biscuits. And then I saw the rest of their brunch menu; and, as it was January 1st, I got guilted into the healthy option. So I chose the oatmeal with caramelized bananas and the caramelized grapefruit. Of course caramelized is code for sugar so I knew I was fooling myself. And now that I know the oatmeal had dairy, well…
So that is how my year got started in the eating department. Loaded with dairy and sugar. Eventually the gluten made its way back into my eating regimen and here we are. Attempting to make good choices again. #Fail.
Ok, not #Fail. That is harsh. But that is how 70% of me felt like ten minutes ago. Thankfully, I’ve read enough self-help articles. Ten minutes later, I am forgiving myself while accepting that I am angry at myself. For what?! For not being in control. HA!
8 AM on a Thursday: On Time
Passing by Piccolo. Didn’t think twice about the chocolate croissant. Bought me an avocado to go with my lentil lunch. Walking slowly, amused by the honking of the ones running late. Once again breathing the fullness of the morning air. I’ve got nothing to worry. I’m on time today.
930 PM on a Friday: He Waved at Me
At Metropolitan, Nicole and I wait for the G. Grocery bags by us we chat about random things. I hear him. I gasp. “Nicole, it’s him!” We get closer. We stand against the wall. I’m rambling about how great he is. I’m working up the courage, I tell her, to talk to him. Maybe a picture? That’s stupid. He is singing Lovesong. Nay, he is serenading someone somewhere with Lovesong. His acoustic rendition, his majestic voice alone, the amplification it needs. Nicole gives me tips on how to get his attention. “I don’t want his attention. Not like that Nicole.” But I do want to know who he is. About his art. How much is that voice a reflection of his heart. We get onto the G. I look through the window at him. He waves. I smile. The G starts. “Nicole, he waved at me.”
730 PM One Monday Ago: Audrey, Alice & Me
There is this scene of Audrey Hepburn in a French Bohemian Cafe in Funny Face. She speaks of Empathicalism to Mr. Avery, played by Fred Astaire. It is the answer to world peace. She speaks to him of freedom of thought, uninhibited by “outmoded social conventions.” She speaks to him of dance as nothing more than a form of release and expression…
There is this young woman, dark hair, pixie cut, large dark frame glasses. The writer. She has an accent. I can hear the rhotic sounds of her Latin American roots. Facing the Whole Foods across Union Square , she sits facing the young music producer in his red plaid shirt. Red is his favorite color. Next to her on her right, the musician. Not quite so British rock not quite so Seattle grunge. A young black man, dapper in a white blazer, dressy, walks up to them. A friend of theirs. Stands there smoking, not a word.
They agree with each other about fame. The uselessness of it. Of wanting it but not wanting it. Of Instagram. Of the human’s need for other humans to validate. Of the atrocities of a polluted ocean. Of brain synapses and the effects of music on the psyche. Of Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and the relevancy of Linkin Park lyrics from the 90’s. Of the East’s wisdom versus the West’s. The intellectual millennials, the reincarnated bohemians of Audrey Hepburn’s day.
A level lower, between their stairs and the next set of stairs, the break dancers defying gravity to beats. About ten guys taking turns telling stories with their limbs. Their urban athleticism a second thought to the passerbys, unimpressed, too common a talent apparently. They dance, no rules on physical expression. Like Audrey at the top of her dance scene.
In between both groups having his say, a black man twirling. A character dressed to attend his very unbirthday with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter. How long ago did he lose his way? Or maybe he’s already there. Wait, is this Wonderland? Am I Alice?
I sit next, across, from all three. Savoring the fried plantains, pulled pork and cuban beans. Partly grieving, partly grateful, about the animal that is feeding Me. I listen and I see. And I see ME. A bit of Me in all three. The idealist, twirling, imaginative Me. Stumbling along like Alice into moments like these. Finding definitions like Hepburn that can explain Me. Proactively breaking free from all the outmoded and all the conventions that have contained Me. Really really praying for world peace. Yes, Empathical-ist Me.
And yet it is Me. The one sitting here. Quiet, reserved, too polite Me. Several and several years older than two out of the three. Still too hesitant to walk up and say “Monsieur, dance with V.” Nevertheless, a part of this bohemian enclave, certainly a fan of unbirthday tea. Happy that despite years of encounters with many Mr. Avery’s my Spirit hangs on to the idealist, rule breaking, movement-loving, ever expanding Me.