Monday, April 2, 2012

My Name Is April

My name is April. Yes, my father picked the name for me. I was not born in April, although everyone has that same inquiring question. My dad wanted me to be sweetness in light. He wanted me to wear ribbons in my hair. He wanted me to be fresh like spring and the flowers in the month. Needless to say, it didn't pan out the way he wanted. When I was fifteen I wore all black, read/wrote death poetry, and my record collection included Nine Inch Nails. Ironically my dad was proud of me for the ventriloquist figure and performances at nursing homes. One could argue that was the scariest part of the package. Then again, I can understand why he wasn't a big fan of the death poetry. However, one can argue William Cullen Bryant, author of "Thanatopsis," penned one of the greatest death poems of all time. Written when he was seventeen, this example of teen angst is an American classic. It is also a street in the Cypress Hills Cemetery, a resting place to some of the most famous New Yorkers.

I go to visit the crypts of those I like from time to time. Once a spooky kid, always a spooky kid. End of story.

When one thinks of an April they think of someone who is blonde. Perhaps I fit that description. I am blonde, a real blonde, meaning the sun and I are not friends. I have my great grandmother's Irish skin. I also have her temper. I will fight someone doggedly, tooth and nail, to defend my political beliefs. I will make angry videos and write angry blogs telling you how I feel even if they get me in trouble. This Civil Disobedience is why my family had to get the hell out of County Cork. My eyes are green just like the emeralds and the sea surrounding the country that spawned Blanche Haggarty Brucker and her whiskey drinking, cigarette smoking ways. I have her smile, sideways and sarcastic.

I came in handy, even though my mother got a headache when we took photos. It was something that came in handy when I picked up a puppet. They always said I had the perfect smile to be a ventriloquist. Thank you Great Grandma, be sure to open the windows in heaven. Tell great grandpa there is a fire in the alley instead of the fact you are puffing Virginia Slims. He will believe you. Men are slow that way.

Hell if I had a husband I would probably lie to him too. Actually, I almost had one and made the mistake of being honest. He lied to me and I believed him. Then again, young stupid kid plus loser taking advantage of her lack of experience equals recipe for a Lifetime Movie. I call Tori Spelling to play me. She has nothing else to do except breed these days.

When one thinks of April they also think of a stripper or a porn star. They think of a scantily clad woman swinging from a pole for chump change ready to please a man. I will admit, when I was thirteen the thought did cross my mind. The girls were my opposite, big breasted with the perfect bodies. I, on the other hand, was a mopette with a weight problem and a retainer who wanted to be more. Guys wanted them it seemed. And guys didn't want me. If they asked me out it was as a joke. And if they spoke to me it was to answer a question about a story in English class or a lesson we had covered in history. Those were always my best subjects in school.

 However, my mother killed that fantasy by telling me I didnt have the body. She wasn't trying to be mean, when your child says she wants to move to Van Nuys to be a porn star any good parent would put a stop to that. But Jenny McCarthy gave me hope. She had been an ugly duckling that had turned into a big old swan. I am no longer an ugly duckling. I am still waiting to complete the swan transformation. However, some guys who used to call me ugly in school are always the first to tell me how proud I make everyone when they see me on TV. I want to embrace them and be friends, but there is still that little fat girl crying in the corner and they put her there. No one puts this baby in a corner. Sorry pal, I have dated celebrities. Take a number.

 Years later upon my engagement to a man who had dated a stripper, and he always let me know I wasn't enough in no uncertain terms. Fighting back, I would ask him why he was with me. He would then grovel, do something crazy, and assert it was because he loved me and wanted to work it out. Once we saw an old trick of his and she had just gotten implants. A nice girl, she still looked rode hard and put away wet. In front of all of his friends my ex said, "Honey, you really need to get in touch with her surgeon." Later when I exploded, and screamed at him and he turned on the crocodile tears, I was the psychopath. I was the looney toon. I was the loser. It was my fault I couldn't keep him happy. He loved me and I forced him to act this way by being so difficult. How was I being difficult, by wanting to be treated with some amount of respect?

Needless to say it was a hard lesson. It made me realize what most men secretly want is the hot bitch on the Scores Billboard. Whenever I see the hottie, fake tits and all, I want her to fall off that pole and break both legs and possibly her neck. She is setting my gender back, exploiting herself to serve a man. She is making it easier for Republicans to take away my rights because they view women as inferior, weak, and stupid.
Then I take a deep breath and a sweeter strip club memory passes my mind.

When I was broke and down on my luck a few years ago, I worked as a flier person for a strip club. They were good people, paying me timely in cash and giving me food when I was hungry. My boss there was very supportive of my stuffed and unstrung ambitions, and would say to me when he paid me, "Go buy May some new hair. She looks like she needs it." They were good about letting me be myself. My boss actually used to watch my videos online from time to time too, and once I even brought May to work.

I also remember meeting porn star Brittany Andrews. She was a friend of a guy I knew, who was a sometimes comic sometimes other things. But I liked him because he was a fan of mine with a good attitude. Plus he had just seen Jerry Springer give me the big old X on Rachael Ray and the clip on the Soup. Brittany had just retired from the industry, was hanging out, and wanted to meet me because she had heard so much about me.

Somehow, Brittany and I started talking about stalkers. I mentioned my ex who had attempted suicide by trying to drink laundry detergent to get my attention after we broke up. I also mentioned how he sent his ex girlfriends to threaten me, and that was just the mere tip of the iceberg. Brittany laughed and mentioned she had so many stalkers in her career that she was on a first name basis with the LAPD. It made me feel better that someone understood what it was like, and suddenly it made me realize that my ex was unstable. It had nothing to do with me not "being enough." In the body of someone who I perceived as an enemy package, big breasted and a guys dream, was rather an ally who understood how lonely the experience of dealing with a psychopath trying to assert their authority over you. She was the laugh and hug I needed in a way. Dealing with a stalker is something that changes you forever, and it takes someone else who has been through it to understand that.

So the verdict is in, my ex is an asshole. It's not the fault of Svetlana who probably cannot spell Scores. And it's not because she is dumb, she speaks Russian as her first language and English is the only language in the world with spelling bees. And hell, how dumb could she be? She probably makes a grand a night for that pole work. Either way, I hope she has a good show and breaks two legs in a good way, merde as the ballerinas say.

Like my month I have stormy eyes and I love watching rainstorms. I have a cousin who has been struck by lightning not once but three times. He is alive and actually resides in Ohio. We always want to put something in his mouth, preferably the plug for the Christmas light when the circut breaker blows a fuse. But my mother says it would be rude.

As a teenager I would retreat to my room with a good book. With the rain pattering against the windows, I dreamed of escaping to greater things. Of course, my mother would tell her anti-social child to join the family in front of the TV. She would also try to coax me into pastels. Both were a struggle. At the time I resented her for it. However, that same woman has saved everything I have ever written. Although she has had the oppertunity to turn my room into something for herself, and getting rid of those notebooks would allot her the oppertunity, she has never done it. My mother says she has always been proud of me for my ideas and cannot part with them. Meanwhile, it is a bunch of teen angst on steno. Still, it makes her proud so I'll allow it.

I have often gotten my greatest inspiration during rainstorms. When I was thirteen, a crying fat mess, I saw LA Confidental. When I watched that film something in me went off. I had to follow my star. That whole year I had been performing with puppets in front of my mirror, hopelessly trying to get what it meant to be a good ventriloquist. My Saturdays were spent competing, telling crazy stories in forensics tournaments. People kept telling me I should be pursuing a career in show business. At first I resisted. I wasn't pretty and didn't have perky boobs. However, I was daring. Something in me said to do it. Something in me finally cracked.

 After the movie my mom and I decided to take a walk to burn off dinner. We walked around the neighborhood under our umbrellas. I told my mom of my revelation. She said, "Then in that case April, we have to talk about you moving to New York." Perhaps this is why I chase my dream in one of the rainest cities in the US. Like the month of my namesake, I am unbridled and uncontrolled, dreamer to a T. And that is why I am where I am with myself.

The insane thing was, that propelled me to lose a few pounds and to wear makeup. In my heart I knew I was only an ugly ducking if I let myself be ugly. I still have to remind myself of that lesson from tiem to time.

Watching the rainstorms didn't drive my mother crazy, but it's when I decided to jog in them without being properly dressed. My freakshow cousin wanted to test the bounds of nature. She didn't want to see if I could follow in his footsteps. I just liked the jogs, the peace they gave me along with the element of nature I so identified with. Once I was jogging in the drizzle when it started to pour. It was the weekend before my high school musical. We had been teching, doing this and doing that. Being a lead was stressful, especially since as a nonfavorite I ursurped the role from the golden children fair and square.

That's when I heard a familiar voice, "Are you out of your fucking mind? You have a show to do next week? Get your ass in the car."

Looking over it was my mother in her all too familiar red van. Five feet of fury, she wasn't happy her baby was soaked. The yelling stopped once I got in the car, and when I was home I got the nod of distain from my father. They both sentenced me to the shower. But I didn't get sick. I didn't mind. As a matter of fact, I find myself still doing it when I can as an adult.

Yes I was the Wicked Witch of the West that year in the Wizard of Oz. She was a woman who spoke my language. They say Dorothy was the victim which I think is a load of crap. Dorothy killed The Wicked Witch of the East, sister of the West. Then and now, if anyone messes with my sister they are dead meat. I will go away in cuffs and I will do the time with pleasure. One thing about my baby sister is she is my baby sister. Sure, she might be in the wrong but in my mind she is always in the right. You are wrong, or you did something that caused her to act the way she did. Anyway, Dorothy caused an international incident and like a crybaby whined to anyone who would listen.

Like the month I was born in, when you feel my wrath it seeps through your veins. You do not want me as an enemy. Maybe this is why the witch and myself bonded the way we did, character and actress. While I am a Libra, balanced and fair, a diplomat like Jimmy Carter I should be, I have that evil double Scorpio rising. A spector in the world of astrology, it is the snake, the one waiting in the grass to bite you. Perhaps this is why I am such a fierce individualist. Like the snake drawing by Ben Franklin before the War for Independence my motto is, "Don't Tread on me!" Maybe that is why I am like Crispus Attucks, who threw a snowball at the British soldier who shot him dead. He was standing up against the man. For the record when I went to Boston I paid his grave a visit. I believe I even left him some flowers.

Like a storm I am hard to control. My mother is probably one of the few who can do it, and in return she has my love and respect and I am fiercely protective of her. There have been people who have tried to control me, chain me down. One acting teacher I had tried to passive, aggressively backhand me for being me. She didn't like the way I dressed or my eccentric past time. This had nothing to do with her, the work in her class, or anything else. It was the fact she was jealous of my ability to be myself. Needless to say, I became more determined to be myself and it was a rocky semester for the both of us. Then again, she was weak. She let the world tread on her. Poor thing.
I have had people tell me my writings and comedy are anti-male. Bookers have told me they refuse to book me based on what I say. I talk about my ex-fiance onstage. These idiots ask me why I am "bitter." The word is honest. It's more or less because I didn't fit into the box constructed for me by the white, male hederosexual norimitive that they feel the need to label me so. According to these guys, woman comics need to be mindless and safe. I have a mind, sorry. At first, being denied hurt in a way. Then I realized this ship of fools did not speak for all male bookers but only a small percentage of morons. Most guys seem to like the act and tell me they have had a female version of my ex. Hey, a bitch is a bitch regardless of gender identity. I don't sweat the idiot boys club and the way they label me. Those weren't bookings I wanted anyway, and they couldn't take me where I wanted to go.

Somedays I want to sign my name "Lady Lazarus," as in the Plath masterpiece. Fancing myself a prophet, taking my tea with a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of inflated ego. They say I have the manner of Courtney Love, the work ethic of Madonna, and I remind them of one of the white chicks from In Living Color. I have been compared to Andy Kaufman too. Then I say I am just me, a kid from Pittsburgh named after a calender month. I thought about just using April when I came here to perform, because Brucker is just hard to say. Then I realized how many people just call me Brucker, especially my male friends, so here I am, April Brucker.

Or Lady Lazarus when I am feeling extra feministic.

I fancy Madonna and I would be friends. We are two women, in a man's world with unbridled ambition and a throng of gay men who adore us. And straight men adore us too. Hell, for as much as I say I despise them I do adore men. They are funny, always seeing the big picture making me laugh and where else will I talk sports? But yes, I have blonde ambition. I am climbing the mountain determined to get to the top. I know the influx of press my puppet children and I recieved was not just a mere flash in the pan but the beginning to great things and a great message from the rain dancer herself.

When I am not being utterly full of myself, attempting to devour men like air, I am actually a really big dork.

 I like documentaries. I like prison documentaries. The reason I watch them is to stay informed and to see if I can spot old boyfriends. So far none have turned up, but I am waiting. The funny thing about dating guys who have gotten out of jail for felonies is that they go out of their way to be Mr. Manners. It's like Emily Post herself has trained them. No, not because they are such upstanding citizens, but because this is their first big chance with a chick in years and they don't want to blow it. The felons have always been nice to me actually. Never disrespected me once, never let me step in a puddle. However, checking in with the parole officer and ending the date early is a downside.

Then there is my weakness for Turner Classic Movies. My favorite stars include Mae West, Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Katheryn Hepburn, and oh Clarke Gable is the man of my dreams. It's because in a way I feel these women embody class, fearlessness, and a feminine mystique forgotten in an era where women simply give it away to please a man. Mae West never served a man, she made men run after her. Lana Turner just stepped on their hearts. Jean Harlow charmed and had them wrapped around their fingers. Rita was saucy and hot. Katheryn was smart, a Bryn Mawr woman, and not afraid to show it in a man's world. Marilyn Monroe, what's not to love about someone who was simply sexy without the trash that perpetuates our society today.

For as much as I rag on men, many of my friends and fans are male. Unlike women, guys can laugh at themselves and more often then not see the big picture. They are also more forgiving. Did I mention they are easier to talk sports with. I tell them I met Tim Tebow, they think I have met Jesus himself. I appriciate the fact each of them could have a PhD at football. My brother played the game for Godssakes. I actually can spot the position one played by looking at their body type. This has gotten me fast friends. Of course my male friends sometimes forget I am there, and oogle over the scantily clad cheerleaders. I laugh about it, the scantily clad cheerleaders are nice girls wiggling their booty. They aren't bothering anyone.

Then one says, "April worked with the Jets Flight Crew." And then they tell me how awesome I am and inquire as to when I am posting scantily clad photos of myself online. I laugh about it, guys will be guys. Can't fault them for that.

Then there are my friends who are gay men. They are like older brothers who more often than not are angels in disguise. When I say older, because many of them are, one always scoffs and says, "Did you have to bring up the age thing April? Seriously! It's bad enough I am getting botox to get rid of the wrinkes but please don't remind me."

Aside from giggling about boys and doing my hair and makeup, these guys are some of the kindest, gentlest souls I know. They have been my friends through thick and thin, loving me unconditionally. No matter how down my life has gotten, they have always let me know that I was enough for them. When I didnt feel pretty enough they gave me a makeover. When I was being stupid they let me know it too, and during a time of my life that was as stormy as the month of my name they right sized me and sometimes I think they are the reason I reached my twenty fifth year on this planet. It's because I can be pretty dumb sometimes. They also have given me food when I had none, and the hugs are always free and benevolent. If I ever fall in love and get married, my husband will have some stiff competition, end of story.

Then again, when you have a nonsexual snuggle buddy who gets you flowers that aren't stolen from the cemetery and they buy you steak, no straight boy could ever compete with that.

When I date I like boys like me, boys who run as fast as they can into the night. There was my ex-fiance, another creature of the night. We were two people wrong for each other, but we ignited like fire and gasoline. When he proposed on the third date I said yes. My mom also talked to my dad about marriage on the third date. She said he was the one and she knew. When I brought this up to my mom she said, "April, your father did things like work hard and treat me well." At the time I swore at her, willing to kill for the man I loved. Now I say I was really stupid and perhaps she had a point. And now, years later as a result of my time with the psycho I am damaged goods. But I am not just any damaged goods, I am top shelf Goddamnit!

Then there were those dangerous boys. They were dangerous and like me, they were creatures of the night, mysterious in their stealth and stride. However, unlike my ex they treated me well and never hurt me. As a matter of fact they would have killed anyone who hurt me. Sure it is all insane when I put it on paper, but the value of feeling safe and secure is underestimated. It wasn't love, it was energies coming and going at a fiery pace. My mother would see their picture, shake her head, and ask what cadaver table they crawled off of.

Sure there were some nice boys. One tried to tame me. I wasn't allowed to swear or spit when we walked down the street. Being with him felt like a different kind of prison. Like Keith, the prison escapee I once dined and dashed with, I wanted to break free. In a way it turned out to be a different kind of pain. Part of me wanted what all the nice children of the sun have, a house with a white picket fence. It was a nice reminder that my friends are not allowed at the party because we scare everyone. Now this guy is dating someone I know who tries to be me. She's pathetic. She tries to run as fast as I can but she is much too fat.

 There was one man who captured my heart. His name is Holden Caulfield. We cannot be together because he is sick with drug addiction and bi-polar depression and is noncompliant with his meds. Like me, he is a creature who believes in living freely or dying as they struggle to apprehend us. Actually, Holden believes that more than me because he is currently on the run from the law. But that is neither here nor there. His kisses are sweet like candy, melting in my mouth and nurturing my soul. He reached me in a way no other guy had. He made me feel safe when I was shaky, and I always knew he would never take what I told him and blackmail me with it later. I desperately miss the touch of his hand and sometimes I still want him close.

However, I know sometimes, like all creatures of the night he travelling downward and cannot see his way up. I am a woman reaching for the moon and the stars, he is reaching for the grave.

Several of my friends have gone there. There is Roger, Joe, Julissa, John, Jorge, Amy, Adira, and Jorge. They are gone but their spirits still surround me, having my back and letting me know my work and message of self love are important. That is why when I take the moon, I don't just do it for myself, but I take a beam or two for them because that is what they would want me to do. They would want me to speak out as loudly as I do on behalf of the LGBTQ Community, HIV/AIDS Rights, domestic violence prevention, cyberbullying awareness, anti-bullying, and giving a voice and friend to those who are kicked and have none.

As I take my moonbeam to throw it I hear my friend Joe telling me, "When you speak April, remember, people listen. So be careful what you say."

I also hear my friend Roger scoffing over my tears at Holden Caulfield and him telling me, "Ditch the bitch and make the switch."

Adira is at the mic and says, "There is April, always loveable and seldom offensive." She has a smirk on he face because we both know it's not true.

But they are all letting me know that people do need to hear me, people are listening, and to stop being such an idiot sometimes. Okay, maybe in my mind but energy is neither created nor destroyed.

I also enjoy the nice part of my month, the gentle sunshine that lets the world know the flowers, birds and bees are waking up. It is also a reminder that I can use my big obnoxious mouth and my puppet children to seek and inspire.

I enjoy being a source of light to many. I want to be a source of hope and inspiration, letting young people know that it is safe to be themselves. Like the white dogwood in the sunlight, when the breeze shakes me I want to be the voice letting young people know that they have a place in the web of life no matter what their gender, sexuality, ethnicity, faith, whatever. Like the pink dogwood, I want to be cute and perhaps give them a frilly laugh. Like the rainbow after the rain, I want to give the young ones hope that no matter how cold and unfeeling the world is, it does get better if you believe in yourself and live your life honestly, authentically, and fearlessly. I also want to let them know that they have someone listening.

I am starting to command an audience. Like my month, my message and stature are short and sweet. My month is also tax month and I am getting better with money. I have always had my own funds since I have been small and recently learned how to PayPal. I sort of fought with someone on the phone from there today. I took a breath and said I needed coffee. He told me I needed water. That is probably closer to the truth.

When I dress I like hairspray which gives my homo hairdresser friends heart attacks. I also like stripes and wear them in my videos. People say I am a prisoner against the male hederonormitive paradigm. Really it's because I am too lazy to do laundry. But lets go with it. It would make the feminist scholars proud and it would give them something to write about on rainy days. It would make the books in the ivy covered libraries of colleges like Swarthmore more exciting for students who are secretly making out in the book stacks. It would make me a Wonder Woman of sorts, a positive example of Amazon feminism, not the new version of the once positive woman killing men with her arrows.

Perhaps my Dad did it right when he named me.

But my mother would read this blog and say, "Pri, you have too much leisure time."

My name is April.....

May Wilson and I having an indepth discussion
An athlete and a woman.

While I tend to embody being an independent woman, I do express myself through my sexuality. It's for my male fans I do admit, Fort Pitt

Waiting for my man who has no job

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