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Cause He’s Watching And He’s Proud

27 Jun

I’ve had this sneaking suspicion for as long as I can remember, that my nature was my dads and my nurture was my moms.

And I felt somewhat guilty about this. Like I was betraying… both of them?

But on Mothers day, at brunch my mom said it out loud.

Now I want to be clear.

Often I write uncomfortable things here, things about how satisfying crying can be, or the depth of grief. And people try to console me. My mother and my friends and the guys I date reach out to make sure I’m ok.

The amazing thing is that I usually get that sort of treatment about stories which are joyous in my own head. That revelation about crying was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. It changed my life in such a positive way. And yet, lots of people used it as an opportunity to tell me they were here for me, seemingly completely missing the point.

So let me say right here that when my mom told me “She’s always been more her dads side of the family” it felt so good, such a relief. I wasn’t harboring fugitive feelings anymore. I was right, I was alert and aware. Not to mention a daughter of my father, which also feels good.

I don’t like sitting through movies. I get bored when people don’t express themselves using the full capacity of the english language, I enjoy writing with wit and poignance. I’m my fathers daughter.

Riding Between Cars With Boys

16 Nov

You know how there are some smells that transport you to some ridiculously specific time or place. Today I had a really great one.

I’m not much of a rule breaker, never have been. Fear of messing up makes my stomach hurt. But I do have to admit that 99% of the illegal things I’ve done in my life have been for boys I’ve had crushes on. For one dumb boy I had a crush on in high school more specifically.

It’s illegal to go between NY subway cars when the train is in motion. I actually almost got ticketed for it once a few years ago (summer day, the AC was broken, I followed someone else who also couldn’t breathe).

There are always those stories of places people go to do whatever it is that high schoolers do. Orgies according to their parents, drugs according to their friends, just feeling generally uncomfortable if you ask the kids themselves.

And he took me there. We were going over the Manhattan Bridge at night time, lights twinkling all around us. My friend and his girlfriend passed out the doors of our train car and then when they moved onto the next car it was our turn.

He took my hand and we passed through the doors, we stood with one foot on the platform of the last car and one foot on the platform of the next and hugged and looked out on the water, at the lights, at the bridge and the flags. It was so beautiful. Cacophonous in every way. Loud, bright, disorienting, dangerous, exhilarating. I could feel my heart pounding in every light that strobed it’s way past a beam. I could feel my knees compensating for the swaying cars, towards and away from him.

I rode an Amtrak train today. It’s not illegal to be between the cars on those. In fact you have to go between the cars in order to buy an overpriced turkey sandwich and return to your knitting.

It might not be illegal but it certainly gave me quite a thrill.

It was a real treat to go back to that exhilarating moment while tucked inside such a routine one.

Shocker of all shockers, nothing good ever came of that boy. But that memory and a hundred others are worth it.

This Just In: Family Makes Day Better

14 Oct

My grandmother is about to move up from Florida to be closer to the rest of our family.

And I am so happy about it.

Today I had the evening off and out of the blue I decided to call my aunt and uncle who she is staying with and casually ask what they were doing for dinner tonight. Within an hour I was on my way and eating a delicious home cooked meal with them. Talking about work and new pets and life. Putting down the very stressful day of work that I had had and instead talking about what great books everyone was reading, how my little cousin was the librarian’s special helper and was given the honor of scanning out the books for her classmates. What a respite from the rest of my life, what an escape. What good fortune.

There is a time for moving away from your family, for becoming your own person on your own terms and showing that their approval doesn’t make or break your life.

But there is also a time for recognizing that these people respect the decisions you’ve made and are in your corner cheering you on, excited to hear about it whenever you’re ready to talk and to make sure you have enough dishes.

Not everyone has a family like that, a built-in support system, not everyone is so lucky. But I am. And I’m going to be more grateful for it.

The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn

8 May

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

How hard can that be?

How much effort does one person need to put into learning how to be loved.

When someone was in love with me my breath was taken away every time he said it. Was that me not knowing how to be loved or just enjoying the feeling? Getting acclimated?

The media makes a big deal out of learning how to be loved. Do I not think it’s a big deal because it isn’t really a big deal, or because I just haven’t had to learn it yet?

Polling the audience here. Did you have to learn? Was it as difficult as Grey’s Anatomy would have you think?

 

 

Friends For A Funeral

4 May

A wonderful old friend of mine (who I don’t see enough) recommended to me the other day that I should start listening to the Dear Sugar podcast.

She was right. It is delightful.

And the first episode that I listened to was #10, about friendships. In the episode a woman tells the story of her best friend helping her through the death of her mother. The feeling of having that best friend right alongside her in the first row with the family of the deceased.

And I realized that I never wrote an ode to the amazing friends who crossed the country to be with me when my father passed.

When I was just starting high school I befriended two other girls who happened to live in California. It’s a long story. But apparently, when our friendship developed and they found out that my dad was ill they decided that when he passed, whenever it was, wherever they were, they would come. I didn’t know this at the time. I only found out when they called me from the airport “We’re on our way!”

They sat right behind me and my family at the service, they answered every question I could think of, helped me pick out what to wear to the cemetery. They did all the things that a friend could do.

And I just wanted to say thanks. Because they’re amazing. Because friendship is an important and beautiful gift. We should all appreciate it more.

How I Fell In Love With A Dog Instead Of His Jew. OR More Musings On What Love Might Be based On A Single Intoxicated Evening. 

29 Apr

The other night I hung out with a very charming guy. Pretty, Jewish, artistic, great taste in music, incredible dog.

Really incredible dog.

And I think I fell in love with his pup. When I met her she brought me a toy to throw and every time she would bring it she would tug on it. Soon I realized that if I didn’t tug back then she would be forced to just drop it for me. We trained each other.

At one point I put one hand on the toy and looked at her. And she looked back in understanding and let it go for me.

And I understood how one could love a dog. Love. Like you love a child or a family member, or someone who also loves your favorite book.

Maybe love is just a series of infinitesimal moments of understanding.

Like the one I had with this incredible dog.

The guy on the other hand (for the record, very recently out of a multi-year relationship) we had a moment or two like that and then either we ran out of things to connect on or, I think is more likely, he didn’t want to be having those moments so soon. He wasn’t ready for them.

But what do I know about his heart, who am I?

Is This My Art Form?

27 Apr

I work in theater. I’m in the business of making art. But anyone who knows me will tell you that my greatest skill is communication. I’m good at writing emails, using my hands, words and face to express what is going well and what isn’t. I’m not perfect at it, I’m not even close to being one of the best. But I’m good at it.

I’m good at making people feel wanted, feel loved, comfortable, free to be themselves.

Free to have flaws, questions, comments, concerns. Fears, bad memories.

Cheesy as it sounds, sometimes I think that the only real art I can make on my own is the art of loving people and making them feel accepted. Maybe that’s the true art in communicating.

And maybe it’s why I’ve been craving a creative outlet since my last relationship ended. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so unable to make anything beautiful.