Cause wouldn’t it be such a shame if all was wasted…

I think I should spend more time listening to music. It always reminds me of who I am, at my core. It always brings me back to myself.

Something about hearing a certain chord with the right voices gets straight to the heart of everything.

I had an interesting conversation with my sister the other day. In the nicest way possible, I’m pretty sure she told me, “Enough is enough.” I’ve been hiding out since my unceremonious departure from law school. I devoted months of my life to studying for something I didn’t even want to do and when the whole thing became too much I completely retreated. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the whys. I have a lot of theories, but I think the reality is that I was scared. Academics are easy for me. I took the LSAT after doing two shows the day before, one of them that started at midnight, and then going out for drinks afterward. Went to bed at 3am and got up at 6am and did well enough to be offered several full tuition scholarships. I know this sounds like bragging, but it’s not. I can’t take pride in something that wasn’t that difficult for me. Given the choice between what was right and what was easy, I chose easy. I seriously need a Pocket Dumbledore to remind me that the easy choice never comes without a cost. But this choice is starting to become more expensive than I bargained for. I already paid with a year that I can’t get back. So perhaps the well-intended admonishment from my little sister was more timely than I initially realized. Because it made me think. I’ve been in full retreat for awhile, and while I’ve gained an impressive knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I’ve lost time that I can’t get back. Also, while I can blame some of my current ennui on my thyroid, I can’t keep allowing it to be an excuse. I told my wife yesterday that she could complain about something or she could decide to change it. (Disclaimer- I was not being my most patient and diplomatic self at that particular moment, but the words were true and now I need to start practicing what I preach lol.) So today I thought I’d brainstorm and come up with a list of some of the things I want to do and why I can’t do them if I’m busy hiding out and watching old sitcoms.

  • Scuba diving- I have wanted to learn to do this forever, but until I get my sedentary butt off the couch, I’ll never get in decent enough shape to make this a possibility.
  • Spelunking- I prefer to keep my thrill seeking at or below ground level, so you won’t see me talk about sky diving, but I am utterly taken with the idea of crawling around caverns. I’ve never had much chance to experience it, but what I have seen has left me with a serious itch to see more. But it’s the same deal. Even guided tours generally have some fitness/weight restrictions.
  • Aerial dancing- Can we just talk about how freaking amazing it would be to make art like this? But it requires CRAZY arm strength. CRAZY. And I don’t have that right now. And I can’t have that if I’m not doing anything more difficult than walking a 1/2 mi. to get coffee.
  • Surfing- You’d think a Florida child would have been surfing at least once or twice. No such luck. But I sure would love to try it. I’m pretty sure the real thing beats the heck out of channel surfing.
  • Tap dancing- I used to be a pretty decent hoofer, but I haven’t even put on my shoes for longer than I am comfortable admitting. An amazing teacher I had the last time I was coming out of a life rut told me I was a natural dancer. She pretty much made my life with that statement. But I got tired and started to forget myself again and on the way I lost the dancing. But I miss it. Gosh I miss it. Only now, and forgive me for making the uncomfortable statement, but I feel like that awkward fat kid in the back and I’m scared to go back. Logic always fails me here. It’s the one thing in the world that I want the most, but I’m terrified to go get it.
  • Performing- I want to be onstage again. The best part of me only exists when I’m actually being my best. My best me has been hiding out for awhile, sulking about being an old failure. But the only thing that’s done is start to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Every day that I spend avoiding the world is another day of failing and another day of getting older.

I think the gist of it all is that if I want to do anything with my life other than memorize obscure Angel quotes and reminisce about the golden days when I was full of glorious potential, I have to get back up. Falling down happens. Staying down is a choice. And maybe these are the golden days. Maybe that glorious potential is just waiting for me to resurrect it from where it’s been waiting while I was in hiding. I’m pretty sure it’s waiting in my feet somewhere. 🙂 Even at my saddest, my toes never stopped tapping out their rhythms. Something in me remembers the music. Maybe tomorrow will feel different, but today feels worth getting up for and that’s something to hold onto.

I will leave you with words from someone who expresses what I’m trying to say much better than I could ever hope to.

ODE
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
 
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
 
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
-Arthur O’Shaughnessy
 
I want to be a music maker again. It’s time to resurrect some dreams. Thanks for the advice, little sister.

The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different. -Gandhi

I’ve been thinking about religion a lot lately. I’ve spent my entire life referring to myself as a Christian, but it’s starting to dawn on me that I barely have a clue as to what that means. I know that I have faith in something more than this existence, but that’s true of pretty much every religion. The utter hypocrisy of declaring membership to this belief system when I have never actually read the Bible in its entirety doesn’t sit well with me. It’s also occurred to me that what I have learned has encouraged me to suppress certain curiosities and has encouraged me to view the world as innately patriarchal, both of which I disagree with as a general rule.

I think faith should be a celebration and a source of peace and I’ve struggled to find those things of late. I know it’s kind of the trend to not really believe in anything, but I’ve always felt like having faith in something was important and so I have decided maybe my faith needs to be restructured rather than discarded. So I’m throwing out the rules. I’ve always believed that all paths lead to the same place, but I’ve never actually found the courage to follow my own path, rather than taking the standard one laid out before me. I don’t fit into the standard size box and I don’t think I have to. Faith isn’t one size fits all. And yet I’ve let myself be boxed into something not quite comfortable because of fear of some kind of lasting punishment. Just seems wrong. So I’m going to find a way to believe and to celebrate my spirituality in a way that fits in with the core of who I am. I’m trying to remind myself that if I don’t fault other people for the way they believe, then I shouldn’t fault myself for trying to find my own way. Ultimately I think it will be a worthwhile undertaking. I want a faith that fits me, not one that I have to try to pretzel myself into fitting. And I have to believe that that’s acceptable.

I came across the quote, “An it harm none, do as you will,” while I was reading, and I think it’s a pretty solid rule to start with. I don’t know where my path will take me or how I will identify when I reach the end of it, but I feel certain that however I journey, I will inevitably reach the same peak as everyone else. That said, it occurs to me that it would be fair to ask why bother with finding your own path in the first place if you’ll end up the same place regardless, but it seems to me that it’s kind of like walking through life in clothes that are too small. The end result is that you’re not naked, but wouldn’t it be nicer to be not naked in clothes that fit perfectly? 

And so off I go to hit the books. First stop, The Book of God by Walter Wangerin. Gotta love when someone can put the Bible in novel format. I know many argue that you miss the subtleties when you simplify the reading, but I’d say that putting the material in a format that is easier to digest makes people more apt to actually read it. At least people like me who would rather focus on the story that the language.

I could go for some more reading suggestions, though. I find I’m especially interested in learning more about Hinduism, so if anyone knows of a book that provides a good overview, that would be awesome. I still feel a great deal of certainty re: my chosen deity, but I’d like to find a way to believe that fits in more with who I am, and from what I’ve read, Hinduism might actually be a good fit for that. That said, I’m open to other ideas. Ultimately, faith is deeply personal to me, but right now I am finding myself in a stage of evolution and value the insight of others who see the world differently.  I’m not really up for starting a debate on who’s right and who’s wrong- that defeats my purpose right now- but I’d love to be able to discuss ideas and beliefs in an open and non-judgmental way with anyone inclined to do so. So for all ten or so of you that randomly check in with this blog- fire away if you have thoughts or opinions or expertise or suggestions. I’d certainly appreciate it. 🙂

” I still only travel by foot and by foot it’s a slow climb.”

So that whole taking ownership of my own sensuality… guess I still got some work to do. It seems it’s one thing to mean what you say and quite another to actually live it. But, I figure it’s at least a good start to be saying it. It’ll just take a little more practice to strut it. This is a tough one for me. On the one hand, it’s a rush to think that a group of then strangers saw enough of something in me to think that I could be this vibrant, sensual, utterly weird character. On the other hand, it’s actually a little intimidating to try to live up to expectations. But, there I think is where I’m catching on to my mistake. I should be living up to my own expectations. If I’m tired of being scared and reserved, it’s up to me to take ownership and change that. I shouldn’t require step by step instructions on how to stage an onstage seduction. These are the times when I wish I had held on to just a teensy little bit of my nineteen year old self. She was an idiot a lot of the time, but she fucking owned a room when she walked in. I have my theories on the reasons for that change, but now that I have had some time to do a complete 180, I have started to give some thought to meeting myself in the middle. I think it’s time to take the best of both worlds and be the actual best me, not just some half version with limited capabilities. I am finding my voice again and it feels SO FREAKING GOOD! I didn’t know I still had some of that in me and I will grant that I need work, but I feel so amazing when I am up there singing, that it’s more than worth the utter lack of sleep and perpetual dark circles under my eyes. Being back in the theatre, it’s just changing so much for me. I love this craft, but I don’t know that I fully realized just how much I NEEDED it when I was on hiatus. I feel like I’m coming back into myself somehow, and it’s really good. And that kind of goodness, it touches every aspect of you. I know it sounds hokey and sentimental, I totally get it, but there’s something intangible and completely undefinable that I feel like I’m getting back and it’s incredibly exciting. That said, it’s also incredibly overwhelming and a little terrifying to remember your capacity for happiness, but even though great happiness means risking great sadness, it seems to me a worthwhile chance to take.

But just in case I need a reminder about this feeling right this moment… “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers, and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it in yourself.”

I feel more like me than I have in a very long time. And sexiness? Yeah, I got this. Bring it, Magenta. Me and you are about to be real good friends.