It is snowing here in NYC. All weekend I have been walled up in my NYC apartment with all the work I have to do. Outside it looks like a snow globe, beautiful and picturesque. Inside I am sitting in front of my computer watching youtube Lifetime Movies as I sew my Birthday Cake Show Girl Costume. I went to town on the bustles and trussels and attempted to make a candy crown which was a bit of a disaster. I have my boas and ruby slippers. When given an assignment I always go to town. I always do sparkles.
A few days ago I went to a 99 cent superstore and invested. I also brought TV dinners there. While high end they are discount, probably on their way to being expired. I don’t care though. There is something about an art project and a TV movie with Kelli Martin playing softly in the background as snow falls on the ground outside and the salt trucks go that reminds me of my childhood. I am walking in after tumbling class with my sister and there my father is, lifting weights. He gives us a big, sweat filled hug and then flips the channels seeing a Kelli Martin movie. Being a man he detests this and ends up watching sports.
I go upstairs, eat leftovers and then proceed to work on an art project with my mom’s help. As usual the drop deadline is the next day and I waited out of procrastination as well as just being busy. My mom, my sister and I put sparkles on this thing, making me race for the gold, race for the A, race to be at the top of the heap. Part of me resents the fact I just can’t throw something together. The other part of me is glad my mother pushes me to be my best.
Then I am done. Time to watch TV.
Hearing the salt trucks go outside I am reminded of all the weekend nights I sewed in front of the television pricking my fingers. Some action movie always playing where people got blasted to bits and me screaming because I poked my finger again. Then I always managed to pull it off.
I have become a better sewer over the years because of the telegram job. I also learned the hard way one must sew sober. A few years ago when I first got my apartment I was drinking champagne and sewing the beak on my chicken costume. With the alcohol doing the focusing the beak looked a little wayward lets just say. The next day, hung over, I took a look at my masterpiece which in this century is not making the Alex Wang Spring Collection and redid it. Needles and thread plus a bottle of booze is a bad combo.
Winter is finally here and it is a chance to wall up. I was supposed to do a show tonight but it got cancelled. In walling up though I get a chance to reconnect with my twelve year old self. Yes the somewhat awkward, chubby April who liked gymnastics and wore braces with rubber bands. This particular April was quiet. She liked school and liked to read and knew everything there was to know about history. This particular self was shy around boys. Then again there was also the rumor she was a lesbian because she wasn’t allowed to date. I thought, who needs guys anyway but still giggled because I thought they were cute. Then they asked me out as a joke so it all worked out.
In my move to New York City in order to see my name in the lights I like to pretend she is not a part of me because to the outside world I want to have all the swagger and bravado there is. Whether I am travelling alone as usual, holding my own in the male dominated world of comedy, talking intelligently to people about my plans and schemes, or executing my goals like the French Revolutionaries did to those evil bourgeois pigs I have swag. Or at least pretend to. I put on my makeup, high shoes and pretend I know how to talk to boys.
When I was nineteen I tried to kill off this part of my personality indefinitely. I shut down because I thought it made me weak. I tried smoking which was an epic fail. I tried drinking and we all know how that turned out. I dated the worst guys and then some. I wore too much makeup to the point where sometimes looking at old photos I swear it is Native American War Paint. At the time I figured it made up for the girl who liked school, liked nonfiction, and was a total turnoff. Meanwhile the only turnoff was my errant stupidity.
These days that other part, the shy twelve year old, is making it’s way back into my life. I will post photos in my costume soon, I have worked hard on my Birthday Cake Show Girl. The shy twelve year old would have worked as hard as I did, except her mother would have been there to help her. I have spent a quiet weekend minus today’s coffee with an old friend. I am enjoying my documentaries like Lockup Raw. There is something about nonfiction that is completely awesome to me. I am also liking my Lifetime Movies because they are good to sew to and better to watch as I hanging in my sweats with no thought of talking to boys and sort of scared of them anyway still.
Then it occurs to me, although I wanted that part of me dead it was never quite gone but rather fused. For one I was a prolific writer then and look at how I am spending my time now. Not to mention that part of me picked up a puppet and made it talk. Look at me now. That hidden half comes out when I am dolled up at times when men who get their jollies off of treating women like shit and ugly women who think girls that wear lipstick are easy try to humiliate me. With a deep breath and a knowing smile I set them straight. When the mean girls look at me I think, “Bitch, I devour books like you devour cake.”
Over time some of my friends who have followed my blog tell me that they wish they would see the vulnerability I display in my writing onstage. They also tell me that while they hate to see me cry it is a relief when it happens because underneath the "raging bitch" as some of my guy friends tell me I can be is an actual human girl. Maybe this is why I get so agitated when people want to take rights away from those with HIV/AIDS, don't pass laws protecting women who have been abused or stalked, or when people bully in any way, shape or form. Aside from the fact these issues have touched my life I suppose it is my sensetivity that gets me and gets me everytime.
Yes when I talk about edgy topics, spout my political beliefs, or run that mouth of mine it is as invisible as OJ Simpson's alibi the night he killed his wife. However sometimes I also believe it is one of my best qualities. It is the quality that makes me an artist, an activist, a compassionate friend, a role model/teacher and most of all a human. And sometimes I hide my heart more than I should or I swear it on my sleeve to the wrong occasion with the wrong outfit. Then again, I never said I was perfect.
I always claim the twelve year old part, while she wouldnt have wanted to perform in a comedy club, pushes me onstage. Sure she is awkward, doesn't know how to dress and maybe her mother picks her clothes but her imagination and desire to create is "as boundless as the gambrels of the sky."
Which leads me to ask, should I do my Emily Dickinson session complete with hot coca soon? I certainly have enough comfort food in my belly. Should I date yet another guy who tells me I have great ability as a writer yet my blogs are "too long." Like Emily and LM Montgomery, will I be doomed to find a husband who dosen't understand my need to create or pretends to understand it only to be as dumb as a board. Emily's husband left her while LM's was a simpleton that just patted his wife on the head and wished she would make a child. Both of them were ministers.
My guys don't leave. They latch on like lapre and sometimes I even have to get a seperate mailing address. Other times they want me to have a child. However they don't support or acknowledge the ones they already have. I want a Lifetime Movie plus drinking game. One shot everytime April dates a dickhead. Two shots when the dickhead despite being a GED recipient tries to assure the world of his superior knowledge and puts April's efforts to be a scholar and an artist down. Three shots when he turns into a stalker and gets others to do his dirty work. Four shots when for comfort April runs into the arms of a married man who doesn't disclose this info.
Shit I am getting alcohol poisoning and we haven't even filmed the damn thing yet. I am refamiliarizing myself with Marilyn Monroe's I Wanna Be Loved By You. Photographs in Birthday Cake Show Girl soon to come.
Until then, tune into Confessions tomorrow night from 8-10 pm est on younow.com’s talk channel. Topic, most embarrassing moments. Love April