Bravest of the brave

20160204_150055Courage. Take heart. This is literally all I can say to myself, as I:

  1. Take a new, uncertain path in life while
  2. My relationship is falling around my ears.

2. is, at least in part, caused by 1. – I’m fairly certain. We’re both sensitive artists (read: drama queens) and somebody here needs to put a boundary up and it’s got to be me. In an ideal world, I would quit my dayjob and enjoy nothing but mental support from my partner. In this world, it’s really up and down. I do understand – our lives are tied together, and if I don’t do well, financially, WE are in trouble – but truth is, one can process a tough situation in any number of ways, and I’m becoming disillusioned with what’s happening in here. I’m actually getting chances and commissions, there is plenty of pitches to make, applications and things; all I need is to be in sound mental state. And I’m struggling with that. Because four hour arguments, and some words can’t be fixed with I’m sorry, can’t be unspoken.

In other news, I went dancing on the street yesterday. My partner was actually really proud. I was, too. I thought about doing it forever, and now that I have – in the barest, easiest way, without much prep – I’d like to do it again. The bravery of it steals my breath. That’s what I need. I need to do brave things and stretch my body into a bit of pain that is real. This is real and necessary if I’m to actually make things possible.

I don’t need to be bravest of all people. All I need to do if be bravest of all Ritas that ever were. The only one to compete with is me. And that is some stiff competition, to be sure! But I can do it. I have so much love. I’ll spend it all in one place, now: on me. Growing myself up, my Rita-garden, the soil of soul.

The New Way Of Walking

Mood: thoughtful. Lonely.

Google searches: Alan Rickman, “Jinx” (due to cryptic conversation with a housemate re: films to watch on house movie night)

Today was a weird day. Yesterday it’s been a week since I quit my job. I’m doing great and I’ve been saying as much; today I will acknowledge the rest of reality.

My back hurts. It was one of the motors of change. I’m waiting for an NHS physio appointment (standard waiting period: 12 weeks); my disc has been moving, apparently. Also, I went to a fitness class, which I intend to continue – possibly muscle pain has compounded in, today.

I didn’t leave the house. My mistake. I was trying to make myself work, when I really needed a rest – but I don’t work well from the house, unless I have a time limit. Yesterday I’ve done quite a lot of work, because I was going out to a stand-up night with friends. Today things got a bit more blurry.

I’m learning. I’m learning my own tells. How can I have the life I want, if I don’t pay attention to what I want, and how I behave? So I’m paying attention to what makes me tick. Sometimes I back away from change. After doing a show I have a hiding period. I’ve done two stand-up monologues this week, plus a pitch and lots of other things. I’m really doing pretty damn well.

Since I quit:

I exercised at least an hour per day in various forms, often more; I always did between 15 minutes and 2 hours of masseur-appointed back exercises;

2 stand-up slots, people!

I woke up happy every morning and made my bed (embarrassing a confession, but with depressive tendencies that can be a feat)

kept up swimming, once a week;

I organised a team for my dream street-act to dance on the streets (currently we heard from a drummer who wants to join, that’d be so cool).

I got myself invited to audition for Vagina Monologues in Brighton, which. omg.

This all happened in a week.

It’s just, today I backslid a little, and I’m in a bit of pain. That’s to be expected. If you want muscles, pain will happen; if you want to keep your head high and back straight, you’re changing habits of a life time.

I’ll keep at it. I found my path, and I’m learning how to walk again.

I Jumped And Life Caught Me.

light

Mood: ebullient & tired

Google searches: not in awhile. Just trying to keep up with life.

Dear Readers, life is awesome.

Let me tell you a story: on the last day of work – yes, that job I quit a couple posts ago – I was happy. I didn’t have brainspace to be anxious about not working; I was just immensely happy that the job would be OVER. And I had a customer. And we chatted.

“What do you do? – I’m a documentary film maker. – Oh, that’s so cool. I didn’t get there yet, I’m a writer. Mostly comedy. I just quit my job and I’m writing as of tomorrow.” This is a shortened account of the conversation that took place. There was no pressure, no mercenary focus; I didn’t want anything from anyone. I was content, shooting off my mouth, just talking – sharing – re-confirming in my mind that it was happening: I was quitting to become an artist.

So what happened? Exchange of business cards; invitation to pitch; creating the pitch, winning the pitch and first project meeting!

Of course, I confronted the perfectionist beast right away. I want to be this effortless genius, whereas in the meeting I had to reign my ego in, strongly, when the animator – the expert – told me straight up my story is too long and too involved, and we’d better start over. But I know how nuts ego is. This is me, learning the creative ropes – creating ideas, presenting ideas, backing them up AND letting them go. I wouldn’t give this up for anything – especially not for dreamed up perfection.

This is real. Hard-won confidence starts here. My job is to listen: to my creative team-mates; to my creative gut (NOT to my brain that alternates between: “…they don’t even need you here, you’re obsolete” and “….you have to speak more”). My job is to work-out (which I’m doing), eat well (which I’m doing), do the work and not to take myself too seriously.

I’m working on it. And I’m loving it…. 🙂

I quit my job, I liked it… or: Bring on 2016.

no-you-should-not-quit-your-job-before-securing-a-new-oneImage source here.

Satisfaction: high.

Wave: gentle

Word of the year: listening.

 

Here we are! I said “I’ll write more!” and basically legged it, drowning in the aforementioned Other Job. There are reasons for that: long story short, I got stuck in my own thinking. Behold:

The “Get It Right” Paradox

… Do you know that feeling when you’re finding your way on a crossroads? You’re pretty sure left will get you where you need to be, but just in case, to avoid being wrong, you walk right for a bit.

Is it just me who does this? This whole idea that you’re not allowed to be wrong can result in some interesting routes. Basically, I was so scared of embracing my artistic identity (doing what I felt was right but feared was wrong), that I ran in opposite direction. Man, did I suffer for it. Trying to get life right because perfectionism. Incidentally, this blog is called Good Enough Diary for a reason…

Perfectionism is the most unhelpful thing EVER. So is a mortal fear of being wrong. Combined, they led me down this path: from a job I kind of tolerated/was getting bored of… to taking a full-time position. What the actual fuck. One of the more misguided things I’ve done.

The Trap of “Reasonable” Thinking

I do remember what I was thinking. It makes a twisted sort of sense – what we call “reasonable”, “real world”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “you have to eat”, self-preservation, OMG SHUT UP WHY ARE YOU FEEDING ME CRAP GET OUT OF MY HEAD. We all heard that shit and had it stuffed down our throats by well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) parents/grown-ups/society, who often had had it shoved, ad infinitum. Amanda Palmer sums it up as a “Get a job!” feeling, as if art wasn’t a real job and did not require effort. Add to it the crippling shame associated with being creative (=not a Real Adult), connected with this weird idea that being creative for money is somehow unethical (oddly, the reasoning seems to intersect with sex work, somehow; that certain things are too precious to be sold and should therefore be donated. Too complicated to develop here, but nonetheless interesting). Add all those up, and I found myself in the middle of mental gymnastics, explaining the unexplainable: why doing something completely against myself is a Good Idea (with footnotes).

And now…

It’s second of January. I quit the job about a month in and now know I should never have taken it in the first place. But I’m going easy on myself: I had to know. I had to learn that no matter what I do, the full-time “normal”, non-creative job will never, ever give me any satisfaction.

What next? My last day is on Wednesday. This month I’m writing. The challenge ahead is constructing a sustainable creative lifestyle, which is relatively free of perfectionism and procrastination. I’m looking for a sweet spot between stretching myself and over-reaching; for example, I’ll not be working from home, as it’s too distracting to begin with and might result in not doing stuff and/or depression; similarly, I will not expect huge achievements from tomorrow, as intimidating myself into not doing anything is a one way trip to Guiltland. I want to be loving, gentle and unstoppable. I want to be relentless like a wave.

 

How Girlfag Came (Out) To Be

So… first things first:

My play (a 20 minute version of it) will be shown during Angelic Tales New Writing Festival – in Royal Theatre Stratford East!

Died and gone to heaven, me. 🙂

Its title (if you’ve not caught it yet) is… Girlfag. Which, very likely, is what I am.

Let’s back up a bit.

Being a girl was this puzzle when I was little. I loved clothes, colours, make up. But I also got asked “do you want to be smart or beautiful?”. And I wanted both, but if I had to choose, I chose smart.

That’s when it started – a conscious rejection of everything “silly” and “girly”. Later, these were the things that I boosted – thirsty for female companionship. Then I turned to feminism. Even later, I rejected all the social norms (as much as I knew how) and tried to embrace queerdom; conversely, it turned out that I lived outside (in opposition to) my body, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

In case you didn’t know: when you don’t know your gender, your orientation, or even your body, sex becomes complicated.

And I found myself mostly attracted – to gay men. Or at least new, non-standard editions of old male product (which remains the case, still).

Writing Girlfag brought it all back. Who am I? Some days I think I long to be a boy in a dress. It feels subversive, and I want subversive. When I put on a dress, I’m a girl in a dress. Not subversive enough. But I do like dresses.

I’m not quite coming out though – I don’t need to. Most of my friends know I’m a little gender-challenged; it can be observed with a naked eye. I rock my short hair and male shirts alongside-form hugging leotards and crazy skirts. I’m coming in. Into my body. Into myself.

Trying to understand. Trying to express. But most of all?

Trying to feel.

I will not be denied all that  there is to me, in me. Not because someone, somewhere, found my wants and needs unacceptable.

And this, as much as anything, is a good fucking reason to write a play…. .

Life of a playwright

Hello! It’s been a while. Life distracted and wooed me away from words written online. I’ve done my one woman show preview to great feedback, and my play table-read (results here were: great feedback AND third draft deadline).

I am writing it now. #GirlfagThePlay is coming. And the cool thing is, this time I started earlier. This time there is a chance I’ll submit it in a shape I want it in, as opposed to what I had time for. Somehow, I got past the demons of wanting ice-cream, procrastination and writer’s block, and I am IN (touch wood): I am writing. Whew!

…. I better get back to it. 🙂

how-many-playwrights-500x375

Safe! and other stories

Google searches: best laptops of 2014

Mood: tense, but positive (just keep breathing)

Theme song: “Under Pressure”

Putting the show together is going great. Procrastination to work ratio getting better. Have an amazing director who keeps my head from exploding, and a great boyfriend who takes care of the music.

Pressure! I love pressure. I’m best under pressure. Although right now, I feel fear. Can’t see forest for the trees.

Just found this on Mo’Nique’s Twitter: False Evidence Appearing Real. I like it. When fearful, I can’t put pictures together, even though I’m best at connecting things – pictures, thoughts, notes, people…. Can’t join dots. But I think I’ve done my bit of fear. Now I can do my bit of work. Sunday (= showtime) cometh…. 🙂

Hallelujah!

The second draft of the play is DONE, ladies and gentlemen, with blood sweat and tears. I have regained sanity, but not for long – one woman show coming up on the 29th and I need to write it still! Brief reprieve – 3,2,1, GO!

Hey hey hey, I’m writing a play!

Yeah! You heard me!

So, when I wished to be a person juggling various projects?

I woke up one day and realised that THIS WISH HAS ALREADY COME TRUE.

I never imagined that I would have a dayjob on top, but well. One needs to be specific. It’s a stage to work through. All world’s a stage. Or something.

Now, play draft deadline – March 8th. Scratch of my one-woman show – March 29th. Now running out to work! Hold on, hold on to your heart…..! 😀

The Importance of Being (Un) Seen

Mood: thoughtful

Google searches: Maldoror Diplomatic Relations (fav fanfic)

Stress: as close to none as I know.

Today, I ruminate on being seen.

As humans, we place enormous importance on it. Being seen and judged positively against the norms of society is crucially important; even more importantly, we want to connect to one another and be witnessed. Having relationships, being vulnerable with others – all that constructs a realm, beyond which emotional poverty becomes a threat. To not be seen equals loneliness, something that we try to combat at all times, and indeed, we are likely seen at almost all times.

I’ve been re-reading Michael Foley’s Age of Absurdity, which I mentioned in my library note. He argues that our ubiquitous connectedness robs us of ability to be present within ourselves. He therefore champions for nourishment of the Secret Self: alone time, spent without devices, in meditation, rumination, exercise.

So much of it rings true. Time alone isn’t time alone if Facebook is involved. The rush of being connected via social media may turn out to be premature: we’re connected to many people at once, but how many of these connections enable true vulnerability, baring of souls? And of course, we need to cultivate souls – secret selves – to bare, first.

Social media have their place. We have the power to choose how to share ourselves with others. But I firmly believe in occasional holidays from being seen. As an artist, I have a strong need to share myself with others, but to do that, I need that Secret Self, as opposed (or in addition) to a selfie. 🙂

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