#metoo

At this point, it’s not a surprise.

I’ll spare details, but I have two incidents to share for message purposes.

I was 15 when I was followed on my way home from soccer practice.

Don’t walk alone. And if you must walk alone, be prepared. Pepper spray. Cell phone (don’t look down at it, since it distracts you from your surroundings, but have it at the ready). When I had to take the Greyhound from Virginia to Idaho, Vladimir gave me a knife, which I kept in my pocket 24/7. After what happened, when I’d walk home from rehearsals in college, I’d call someone and talk on the phone the whole way there.

I was 14 when I was assaulted by a girl in my P.E. class.

It’s not just boys assaulting girls out here (though it’s still a problem). Girls can assault girls. Boys can assault boys. Girls can assault boys. It can go any which way, but for some reason anything beyond boys assaulting girls is almost swept under the rug. That’s why when it happened to me, I was called a liar and that girls can’t assault other girls.

Bullshit. Yes, they can. Support your friend no matter who they say did it.

Those are two moments.

I wish nothing but safety for everyone.

#metoo

Being Fat is Unhealthy

That’s the stereotype, right?

If you’re a chub, you’re unhealthy, eating nothing but McDonalds and sitting lazily in front of the TV.

Genetics, DNA, chemistry, science; they have nothing to do with it. You’re fat because you do nothing, and that’s unhealthy.

It’s something I’ve faced my whole life.

I’m fat (used as a descriptive, not derogatory word). I’ve faced ridicule from classmates, teachers, co-workers, even strangers. Trying to do anything was a challenge when they believed you weren’t capable because of how you looked.

I was told I couldn’t try out for basketball because I was too bouncy and soft.

I was told I couldn’t be on the softball team because I wouldn’t fit into the uniforms.

I was told I couldn’t be an Egyptologist (my original dream in life) because there was a lot of outdoor activity that would strain an unhealthy (fat) person.

I was traumatized by a physical education (P.E.) teacher who tore me down for my weight in front of classmates, which would spawn a dozen years of self-hate.

I was told my fatness was causing ulcers, when in reality I had a life-threatening infection spreading to my kidney and stomach. (Don’t even get me started on doctors who believe everything wrong with you is because of weight. I could’ve died, and they barely looked at me before saying it’s because I was ‘obese’).

I was too fat to be on a horse, to tap dance, to act on stage, to be in improv, to do anything. Despite doing those things anyway.

And don’t even get me started on diet!

Countless times have I been asked if I ‘should really eat that?’ when it came to anything non-green. Basically, if I wasn’t eating raw spinach, my dietary choices were in question. Heaven help me if I craved some pizza.

I can’t do sports because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t perform because I’m ‘unhealthy’. I can’t eat ice cream because I’m ‘unhealthy’.

I’d like to sat hello, as a girl who was a Varsity soccer player, and who had an eating disorder in high school and college.

But I’m fat.

So I must be unhealthy.

A Small Crack in the Dam

One of my favorite moments in life is when my sanity is pushed to the breaking point, and when I snap I get at least one of the following statements:

“Where’d that come from?” “Why are you mad/sad all of a sudden?” “What just happened? You were fine a second ago.” Bleh bleh bleh. (Also, I’m kidding, I hate this happening).

It didn’t come suddenly.

That’s what people don’t seem to understand.

Do you know why a small crack in a dam is so dangerous? Because it can spiderweb, crack some more, and eventually break the whole dam, drowning everything in its path.

People are dams.

When they explode, it was the final crack before the dam burst.

And because the person was only there to witness one crack, they defensive, confused, even angry. Not understanding that there may be more to it than telling someone the printer is out of ink, resulting in a machine gun fire of profanities and crying.

Most of the time we don’t know when our dam will burst or what will do it. That’s why it’s called a snap: it’s sudden.

I, personally, feel like I’m only a couple of cracks away from a dam burst.

When a Class Made Me Cry

I’m a guest teacher.

That’s my job, and it can be difficult. Particularly the students.

Not too long ago, I was teaching 8th graders (age 13-14). We were going over an Edgar Allan Poe story as a review for the quiz they were about to take. I was excited talking about Poe, obviously, he is my homie. (Also his birthday is tomorrow!) Even still, I was already stressed, and this class was not helping.

They were loud and obnoxious and argumentative and rude and made fun of Poe, of his story, of me…

And I cracked.

I was silent. No noises. And I tried to hide it, but tears were a-flowin’. I simply handed out the tests to a now-shocked class and sat behind the desk, facing away, dabbing my tears (gotta preserve the makeup; it’s my only dignity at this stage).

What makes a job so menial that students think it’s okay to treat us like dirt?

And why does society accept it?

Maybe I’m just a cry-baby.

Fear

I am scared of children with scissors.

Reasons why can be found here.

Yesterday and the day before, I did an activity with sixth graders (age 11-12).

And I can tell you, I was so scared!

Kids love to play with scissors! They walk opening and closing the blades in front of them. They pretend to cut each others hair and clothes. They point them at each other and jab the air.

But it’s a “stupid” fear, so I have to keep quiet while I watch children cut paper too close to their fingers. And God forbid they come anywhere near me with them!

How childish! How immature! Why can’t you be afraid of heights like a normal person? What a lame fear.

I know.

You don’t think I wish I wasn’t scared?

Guilted

I got a dog recently. Her name is Moro, and I will make a proper introduction post about her later.

My mother and I had been talking about a service dog or a therapy dog for a while now. And recently, Mother had this feeling where we needed to go to the shelter to pick up a potential pup. I, as I always do, had my reservations. We have cats, I have work and other responsibilities, we’re poor, etc. She was insistent that the dog would help me, so I went along with it.

When we got to the shelter, there was an energetic, terrified, QUIET Malinois pup. She was amazing, and I got her. I had plans to take her to obedience classes so she can learn the basics before training her myself (with help) to become a personalized therapy dog.

That is the plan.

However, there’s a new stressor: my family.

New dog means new responsibilities on top of what I have. That means waking up at 5:30 instead of 6:30 so she can have a morning walk. It means making sure she is exercised by taking her out, since the backyard doesn’t have enclosed fences yet. It means dealing with her naughtiness (she is a pup after all) of headbutting my nose every morning, pottying in the house, and tearing my books out of the bookcases.

Because of her, I have spent some bill money in order to get her crate and food. Because of her, I am getting about 4 hours of sleep at night. Because of her, I’ve had to rearrange my bedroom to something I’m not completely happy with.

And I get it.

This is my responsibility now.

I’ve had her for 10 days now. Just 10 days. And I’ve been greeted by two phrases that haunt me, and make me feel like I’m either stupid for getting her or that I’ve been guilted into getting Moro.

First was from my brother: “Well, you decided to get a dog”.

This was when I was telling him how tired I was since I have to wake up earlier now. Yeah, I thought a therapy dog could help me with my PTSD, my depression, my panic disorder, my mental breakdowns I seem to be having more of. I was willing to wait, but Mother felt I needed Moro now, and I found a good dog. Maybe I was stupid to get her now. I could’ve waited, and got another dog.

Second was my mother: “You get to deal with this for the next 10 to 15 years”.

This came after I was upset with Moro jumping on my bed. Do you know why I was upset with her? It wasn’t because she came up on my bed. I like cuddling. It was because she fully headbutted my nose, and I thought it was going to bleed at any moment. No blood, but it was throbbing and bruising like a mofo. That phrase makes me feel like I’ve made yet another mistake that’s going to effect my life horribly.

I feel guilted into getting her. I “needed a dog”, and they “thought she was going to help me”. It was for the sake of me. ‘Help us help you’. ‘If you get a dog, it would make us happy’. Can’t say no to my family, I guess.

Do I regret getting her?

Maybe…

Do I resent her?

No. She is a puppy (5 months old) in a new environment, and I’ve only had her for 10 days! It’s going to take a while.

The reason I’m sharing this is because I was on the cusp of another mental breakdown this past weekend. My room was an awful mess because Moro likes to find cardboard boxes and rip them to shreds. My lack of sleep was finally getting to my psyche. I was worried about production (by the way, guys, I’m in a play as well), and my usual worries of no money, school situations, existentialism, yada yada yada. And on this verge, my family kept asking questions, telling me what I needed to do, and I had to remind myself that not only did I have this dog to take care of now, I still have the cats to take care of. Everything was crumbling, and the cherry on top was my brother coming into my room and immediately saying, “I’m leaving; your room smells disgusting.”

From work to production to schooling to hobbies to house care to the new dog to my already unstable mind…it can feel like too much.

And I feel guilted into it.

 

***

 

Disclaimer: I realize it’s not my family’s want for me to feel that way. It’s just how it is and how my brain perceives things.

Why I Don’t See Myself as Accomplished

Depression.

The end.

Okay, seriously, I don’t see myself as accomplished, I think, for several reasons. Two of which I’ll talk about.

One: comparison. My friends do amazing things, and I’m so proud of them for it. In no way am I trying to diminish them. They are incredible people and deserve all the success in the world. But while they shine, I diminish.

I’ve done dramaturgy work at my undergrad, one of the first people do it. Then a friend (hi, Hannah) went on to get scholarship and more work for it after learning about it. So, my success is lessened.

I’ve written original work, full length plays and novels. Then some other friends have their works published and performed. So, my work is meaningless.

I’ve lived in another country all on my own to pursue a Masters. Then, at the same time, another friend moved to another country for his Masters (hi, Dave) and have an incredible opportunity to do so much more. As well, a lot of my friends travel or have traveled. So, my experience is minimized.

There are so many more examples I can give, but the list would be too long, so let’s stick with these three. But you get my point. I am not accomplished compared to my absolutely fantastic friends.

Two: failures trump successes. Now, that sounds harsh, but allow me to explain. I have a success. Something I should feel accomplished for. And then something happens that cancels out or reverses that success.

I was accepted into the Governors School for the Arts for acting, the only one in my school’s district. Success. But when we moved I auditioned for a high school with an arts program, and I was rejected. Failure. So it was not really an accomplishment to me.

I graduated with my Masters with Merit. Success. But the rest of my classmates graduated with Distinction, and I found out because I did poorly in one of my classes, I wasn’t given the distinction. Failure. So it was not really an accomplishment to me.

(And 100% honestly, I tried thinking of another example, and I could not think of a single success).

Now, I can hear you through the screen: “How can you not say you’re accomplished?! Look what you’ve done!” While your feelings are valid, they aren’t my feelings. I don’t feel accomplished. Am I? That’s subjective. I just don’t personally see it.

 

Why I Quit Acting

If you didn’t know, when I was starting college I really wanted to go into acting. However, the college I went to, at the time, only had one theatre major: Theatre Education. That didn’t stop me from wanting to be on the stage. To this day, I love the stage. But I’ve given up on that pipe dream, and I’ll tell you why.

At first, I thought it was lack of opportunity. My high school did two shows a year, and I would tend to get small roles or chorus roles. Only because lead lead roles are one or two. Not enough for all of us. Then, when I got to college we did two shows a semester (three semesters per year), and they overlapped so you could only do one show a semester. I was brand new, the shows didn’t have enough lady roles (they still don’t), and/or it conflicted with studies.

Every audition I did brought no call back. But I still tried; this happens to everyone, right? Finally, I got a call back. Yes! I can show my true talent outside of audition nerves! Plenty of lady roles, too! Gold mine! That’s when the director had us stand in a line shortest to tallest. I, obviously, was on the tall side. He didn’t even give me a glance.

Lightbulb.

I’m too tall and too big to be on stage.

“Oh, shut up. What about this actor who’s big? Or this actor who’s tall?”

Yay for rare exceptions, right?

Its not that I’m big OR tall. It’s that I’m big AND tall. They don’t want that nonsense on stage.

For the rest of my undergrad career, I tried to prove it wrong. More auditions, even outside the school, and all the acting classes available. But alas. I got to watch my smaller friends get multiple roles, girls get a speaking part in the first show they’ve auditioned for, while I got roles like ‘Plump Sister’ and ‘Pig #3’.

“Maybe you’re just not talented. You ever thing about that?”

Why, then, was I accepted into the Governor’s School for the Arts for acting? Why, then, did I compete in one acts, and get awarded for my acting? Why, then, was I praised by my classmates, cast in their one acts for directing classes? Why, then, did I get good grades in acting classes?

If it was, indeed, my talent, then I’ve been lied to and misled.

Because I never got roles, I started getting more involved behind the scenes. I was able to do a lot more as a technician, or even artistic personnel, than an actor.

So I gave it up.

It was clear it would not work for me, so why do it? Because I love it? It’s not enough without opportunity. And I was not afforded such. Maybe I could find something else I love without leaving theatre (dramaturgy and playwriting).

I do miss acting.

I miss learning lines, rehearsals, being in front of an audience, being someone else, provoking a story. I miss it.

But I can’t do it.

And I wish luck to all of my theatre friends who do pursue it. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Also, enjoy some pics of me as Plump Sister, Chorus, and Scottish Pirate.