Friday, September 18, 2009

Lost in NoHo

In the past three weeks, I've lost my job and my car. The job, permanently. The car, not so much, but I've realized it's a money pit and a lemon. And I'm about three thousand dollars upside down on my car loan.

In the past three months, I lost my mind. For the second time. I also lost a bit of my dignity and self-worth when I was in an emotionally abusive relationship.

In the past three years, I've lost a (different) job, a boyfriend, and an apartment.

But I don't want to talk about what I've lost. I want to talk about what I've gained, and what I'm not going to lose. I've gained insight on mental illness, both my own and in general. I've gained a new respect for my relationship with my parents, who are not going to allow me to lose my house. I've gained perspective on the difference between what is personal and what is business, and I've gained the ability to not take things personally, even when they seem to be nothing but. Most importantly, I've gained the strength to say "never again will I allow myself to be taken advantage of, and never again will I let my mind break itself into a million little pieces."

I've gained a voice that is unafraid to talk about my illness, but also the realization that I can make the choice to not be defined by having bipolar disorder. I may be "crazy," but I'm also a dancer, a writer, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a stage manager, a Berkeley graduate, a fluent Italian speaker, a cook, a hockey player, an aggressive driver, and the list goes on and on. I am one of the "lucky ones."

I've gained the courage to talk about my illness openly and honestly, and the backbone to defend my decision to treat it with medication. I've lost the fear of being judged because of the stigma attached to mental illness. I'm currently looking for freelance work that utilizes my skills and intellect, and I'm developing my own passion projects: a documentary that will attempt to clarify the facts about mental illness, and a non-profit that will teach the creative arts to kids that don't have the same advantages I had growing up.

I lost my mind.
I lost my job.
I found my strength.
I found my voice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dear Rock Gods:

Thank you.

The concert was fantastic, I got a set list, they played many of the songs on my wish list. The most recent album could seriously be the soundtrack to my life. And lately, it has been. There's nothing like driving around hel-L.A. with a broken convertible top and some long-ago busted out speakers blasting your favorite band.

At times like that, all I can say is Go Bears. And thank you Rock Gods.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An Open Letter to Gomez the Band

Hello to any and all rock gods looking on from above or below,

Here is my proposed set list for tomorrow's show at the Wiltern:

"A New Tide" in its entirety, especially Win Park Slope into Bone Tired.
Encores: Trombone, Rosemary, Machismo (the latter two are favorites I've never heard live).


We Don't Know Where We're Going
Love is Better than a Warm Trombone
Win Park Slope-> Bone Tired
Revolutionary Kind
Buena Vista
Ruff Stuff
Get Myself Arrested
In Our Gun
Emergency Surgery
Little Pieces (since it was in Grey's)
How We Operate (see above)

Make No Sound
Rosemary (seriously, you could walk onstage and play that and walk off and I'd be quite pleased.)

Cheers! I'll be the short girl with curly hair in the front row screaming my freaking head off.


Monday, July 13, 2009

In an LA Minute's been a while. But it's seemed like about a week. However, in the four-months-that-felt-like-one-week that has passed, I've discovered some cool stuff in and around North Hollywood. So I thought I'd share.

Farm-Fresh Produce

A few weeks ago, I got a bag of produce from CSA California. CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and is "a program in which the community supports one of their local farms by joining together to purchase produce." I got a bag containing kale, romaine, avocado, garlic, bell peppers, plums, strawberries, nectarines, carrots, cucumber and possibly other stuff that I am forgetting. All the produce was delicious (the avocados and the plums were particularly spectacular), plus I felt good about myself for supporting a local farm and cutting down on the energy associated with buying food at the grocery store. Click the link above for more details.

Swing Dancing at Joe's

On Tuesday nights, a local bar called Joe's provides a live band playing swing/big band/rockabilly music (the music varies from band to band). There is no cover, but they do ask that you purchase at least 2 drinks and contribute to the "bucket of love," which is a tip jar for the band (they are playing only for tips). Watch out for the male bartender, or avoid him altogether. The female bartender/cocktail waitress is super nice; the male bartender called my friend a "c%nt." And she wasn't the only one who had an issue with him. The crowd is pretty varied in age and skill level, there are quite a few regulars (and I'm slowly becoming one of them).


If you haven't heard of Goldstar, you should definitely subscribe to their weekly email. They have discounted tickets for many shows and events (including Medieval Times, which I've been meaning to go to for, oh, about 4 years) and the service charges are much better than Ticketmaster's. I went to see Ultimate Mancini at the Hollywood Bowl last Friday - got tickets for 1/2 price ($28 tix in section M for $14 plus $4.50 service fee = $18.50 each) and had a lovely time. Plus I learned that Henry Mancini (or "Hank," as he was called throughout the night) wrote the score for "Mommie Dearest," one of my all-time favorite movies. Plus you can bring wine! And there were fireworks! I love the Bowl.

Wiltern/Palladium/Gibson Amphitheatre Box Office

Speaking of service fees - on Saturday, I went to the Hollywood Palladium box office to purchase a ticket to see Gomez (my favorite band!! sooooo excited!) with NO SERVICE FEE. If you go to concerts, you know that service fees are usually upwards of $10, which is absolutely ridiculous. Instead of paying that, I took a short drive into Hollywood, got my ticket for the $25 base price, plus the guy at the box office was cute. (Nice tattoos, Palladium box office guy.) He also informed me that there are a lot of tickets left for that show, so if you like awesome music (they seriously put on a stellar live show) and don't have plans on the 3rd of August, you should totally support this band. Love.

That's all I've got for today - I'm going to try to update more regularly, but sometimes life gets in the way. I hope the summer is treating you well

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Only in Dreams

I just forgave someone in a dream, and it made me forgive that person in real life.

This is an old hurt - an "over a year" hurt, and I realize now, waking, that I had never forgiven. I had forgotten, I had moved on, but never forgiven. And it took a ridiculous dream; a completely nonsensical subconscious voyage through a greeting card store, a farmer's market, my car, a thrift store, and my parents' backyard (curiously filled with domestic cats and Asian families). It took hanging out with this person while I was sleeping, and saying the things that I never got to say in waking life. It took the irrationality of making eighteen decisions in a single "day" (about 6 hours of sleep) and finally deciding to let go.

It makes me think that it doesn't matter how or if someone apologizes - when we're ready to forgive, we do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Love (and Cynicism)

I found a beautiful and heartwrenching quote on my journey through the interwebs today:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully 'round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, inpenetrable, irredeemable." --C.S. Lewis

Too late for me - I've already given my heart to Lupita.

Thank goodness, though. Because the alternative doesn't sound very enticing.

Changing the Soundtrack

I had night terrors for the first time in a long time last night. Every so often, I have this dream where I wake up and feel like my breath is caught in my throat - like I need to scream but I can't. Last night, that "mute" dream was mixed with a drunk driving dream and a feeling that an ominous figure was in my bed. Freaky. And since I was at my folks' house, there was no Lupita to calm me down.

Every so often (okay, okay, every day), there is a song that perfectly sums up how I'm feeling. Maybe it's because I listen to too much music. Is that even possible? It reminds me of a line in John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire where Lilly Berry laments that she can never write an ending line as good as that of Fitzgerald in Gatsby, so why even bother? (And then she throws herself out a window, naturally.) I feel like I can never write a song that captures my emotions as well as the songs that get stuck in my head on a day-to-day basis. So here it is: the song of the day (click the title for the lyrics):

Wish I May (Ani Difranco)



That's kind of a depressing song. So in the spirit of this blog ("trying to grow, trying to let go"), I'm going to change the song. Could it be that simple? Well, I'm going to try.

Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel)

Take that, evil dream. And take that, depressing soundtrack. It's MY head, after all, and I get to decide what song plays on repeat.

Monday, February 23, 2009

So Now What?

Everything happens for a reason. I have to believe it - otherwise I get stuck in a spiral of "what if I hadn't done this/said that/gone there..." But sometimes it seems like the little, or not so little, choices that I make put me on an unavoidable path away from where I think I want to be. So what then? Do I give up, figuring that it must have happened for a reason and it's all part of the master plan? Or does it just mean I have to fight harder?

I'll let you know when I figure it out...if I figure it out. In the meantime, I'm going to step more carefully. Because some steps are a lot heavier than others, and push us a lot further off the path that seems right.

The metaphor that pops into my head is that of playing backgammon - once you take your hand off the piece, you're not allowed to move that piece back to its original spot. No takebacks. Which feels unfair when you're 7 years old and still learning how to play the game. Unfortunately, I'm not 7 years old anymore. No takebacks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Goes Up...

So maybe I spoke too soon. I guess at the core I'm still technically happy. But recent developments, procrastination, exhaustion, etc. have all made me realize that I still have a LOT to work on.

Let's tackle one - procrastination.

My father likes to use the phrase "procrastination is a thief." But to me, procrastination is the comfort of a warm bed and a cozy pillow. It's the belief that everything will get done...eventually. I need to change my perception. I need to stop looking at procrastination, and its accompanying comfort, as a friend. The garden isn't going to weed itself - the weeds are just going to keep growing. The laundry isn't going to magically get done, it's going to keep piling up. And the play that I'm (not) writing is going to languish on my laptop until I get some motivation.

So what to do? I've been putting things off for so long I don't even know how to force myself to motivate. And there's a trade-off - I could go to dance class tonight, or I could go home and do laundry. Maybe I need to treat myself like a 5-year-old and come up with some sort of reward system. Or maybe I need to realize that I'm a grownup now, and the reward is the mere fact of getting something done. Something's gotta give, and in this case it's gotta be me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the list...

...of things i want to blog about next month:

*the metaphor jr and i came up with for the state of the nation
*top 5 desert island movies
*my favorite band and why
*my garden, my house, and procrastination in general
*the "tiered cake" of family, friendship and acquaintances
*being a "woman in business" vs. just being a "person in business"
*random film devo opportunities falling from the sky
*working to live vs. living to work
*ode to Lupita
*lists and listmaking
*facebook, myspace, bandwidth and porn
*the penis mightier (just kidding - for those of you who don't get it, that was a Sean Connery SNL jeopardy category - see it here - I couldn't find the original so this is a cartoon with the original audio)

that's a start - hoping to blog more in "months that start with Feb..." (if you don't get that reference you need to watch/listen to the link above!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Are you happy, Jackie?

Someone asked me this question the other day. Which naturally got me thinking and analyzing my life. That can be a dangerous jaunt at times, but I realized quickly that the answer is an unequivocal and resounding YAWP.

Here's the thing - Yes, I'm (barely) living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, I get a case of "the mean reds" sometimes. Yes, I was dealt a certain number of cards in life (weren't we all) that can make it difficult to play a hand...

BUT. To "play" on the poker metaphor (because I simply cannot resist a poker metaphor) all my cards are on the table. At least it feels that way to me. I know what most of my shortcomings are, and I surround myself with strong, constructive people who remind me of those shortcomings daily. I have an amazing support system of family and friends, and I've realized that I have the luxury of picking and choosing my activities (and activity partners) and the ways in which I spend my leisure time. Not to brag or anything (though if I'm not going to defend my life, who is?) but I have it pretty darn good. I know what I need to work on, and believe me, I am working on all of it. Every damn day.

So...yes. I am. It's taken 27 years, which I know is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. It's taken heartache and struggle and fighting the current and hearing "no" and all those things that make you want to "fold" (punintendedyespleaseverymuchthankyou), and I know every day is not going to be filled with rainbows and unicorns (click on unicorns and brighten your day), but I also know that at the end of the day, I have a warm place to sleep and a cat who loves me. And to take a page from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, that's really all I need.

Sorry for the disgusting positivity of this post - it's very unlike me to not be bitter on a Friday. What can I say? It's been a good year so far.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cleanup on Aisle 2008

As I sit here on my porch, taking a break from cleaning my messy room in advance of hosting book club on Sunday, I'm ruminating on my (quite awesome, if I do say so myself) metaphor for 2008/2009.

You know how your room gets messy before it gets clean? That was 2008...messy. I lost a job, bought a "fixer-upper," was in a number of toxic relationships (from many of which I am still extricating myself), gained about 15 pounds (and lost 7 of them), etcetera, etcetera. It was a rough effing year. But some good also came of it - I started practicing Buddhism, stage-managed a great play, rediscovered old friends and nurtured many non-toxic relationships, made my house a home, found a great roommate, and reignited my passion for film and television (after an 8-month hiatus) while finding my footing in the web industry.

So 2008 was the messy room in the process of getting clean.

And 2009 is the organization year. Trips to Ikea and The Container Store. Making (and sticking to) a hard-core budget that involves putting away at least $100 a month. Opening a credit card with Virgin America and paying it off every month so that I can get miles and travel to NYC. Strengthening my buddhist practice. Weeding out the toxic "friends" in my garden and making room for new ones. It's going to be a lot of work. But there's room for play too - dance more, cook more, worry less, be young and have fun. Produce a short film with above-mentioned roommate. I'm 27, not 60. And even when I am 60, I hope to be as vivacious and spirited as my parents are, and as I am now, if not more so.

So here's to cleaning up. I raise a glass to you, to the new presidential administration, and to myself. Cheers.