Monday was the beginning of a nutty two days for me. I felt this panic and anxiety. The last time I felt this was when I was nineteen years old, alone in New York City. I was surrounded by all these people. The girls were so slutty that they were getting action all the time. Meanwhile they were ugly on top of being slutty so I wanted to know how this was happening. The good girls were so nauseatingly fake and could quote scriptures. It seemed everyone was smart and talented and I was just this dirty impostor from Pittsburgh with her puppets. So I broke my back to prove to everyone I belonged. It was painful. I was lonely. Eventually it got easier but damn that was a lonely feeling.
Now here I was feeling it again. Of course the last few weeks have been big and everything with my book. Big steps are scary. Sometimes when you take a big step, you don't know what's at the top of the landing. Will it be a pot of gold or a scary monster? Either way I was like a five year old kid scared of the dark again.
Tuesday felt even worse. I had to talk to a few people about my book and felt so lost. Nevermind Stephen King once had a first book and there was some of this drama. He probably worried that people would embrace him. Finally, after a mini meltdown I walked in the rain. Although I was risking pneumonia, I just needed to clear my head. I ended up meeting a woman who is like a mom to be to give her a duplicate set of my house keys in case of emergency-don't ask. Anyway, I poured my heart out and she laughed and told me to relax. What the hell was she talking about? I was soaking wet, unsure of the next step for my future, HOW THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO RELAX!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
This morning I woke up feeling no better. Steeped in self-pity, I realized my birthday was next week and I was getting another year older. That I had accomplished nothing. That I wasn't on Conan. Nevermind I was on Entertainment Tonight, TLC and a slew of other shows. Nevermind I wrote a damn book. I just felt this worthlessness. I pictured myself alone with my six cats, three hundred pounds, eating iced cream with my hands at the edge of a cliff with my puppets as my only people to talk to. They would have to be because all at once I realized I was allergic to cats and that they would never work in this nightmare. Yes, nightmare. I was going to die without my dreams ever being realized.
Then something happened this afternoon. A friend of mine and I met and I signed her book. Something about the whole thing made me happy. Maybe it was because the noise in my head was finally quiet. The itty bitty committee had stepped out for lunch. It felt good. She is starting my book after a murder mystery she is currently reading. A murder mystery is a must finish in my opinionation. Then again, being an egomaniac my opinionation is the only thing that matters in my world. This particular friend is one who has come in my path recently and she writes too. I am anxious to see her book when it comes out. Plus she has been ever supportive with all the stalker/fan drama I have had in some of the past weeks.
When I got home I read on facebook a message from a fan in Canada who wanted to buy my book. The fan letter they wrote me made me smile and get teary eyed at the same time. Fan mail always does. At that moment I took a deep breath and decided to tell that chatter in my ever speedy brain to shut the hell up. I wrote the fan back instructing them on how to purchase my book. As I wrote I realized if I wanted people, young and old, to get one thing out of my book it would be that their dreams mattered-that they weren't stupid but in fact counted. That everyone's ideas and dreams were important. And that my hope was that my book inspired people to follow their dream whether it is to move to the city to perform/write, become a teacher, become an engineer, diplomat, whatever. The world needs all kinds of people. If the world were run by performers nothing would ever get done.
Just then my phone rang. Pink gorilla in Greenwich, CT. Okay, can do. The window is a little tight and I will have to run now. I talked to the client. They wanted a bottle of Scotch to go with the present. I have to run to the liquor store. Then they call again, they want me in CT before 9. It is 7. They also wanted me to sing the song Maniac from Dirty Dancing. I have to take a train and then haul the Scotch which isnt as light as you would like to believe and take a cab to some side street because he might not be home. Oh and then they need to give me the message and one is calling from a cell and the other from an office and everyone is making me CAT SHIT CRAZY!!!!!! As my serenity and selflessness I had achieved an hour before went out the window something hit me. I was just a person
I began to lose my mind as I ran to catch the train. It would get me there in time. I pull up my iphone learning Maniac when I see a text from the client. The birthday boy was going to be downtown in NYC. My jaw dropped. They were trying to kill me it seemed. I took a breath. Then another beam of whatever from the universe hit me. I did an om. It was something my boss at the telegram company, who by the way is a certified meditation teacher, taught me to do. During that om, it occurred to me that my job was to be of service. That what I did was a gift. That there were people who would chase my dreams in a second if I didnt want to. Plus the folks in Cali were probably going as crazy as I was, because this was the client's assistant booking this whole thing. Poor thing was probably losing her blessed mind, and if anything probably was ready to kill her boss and if she saw me in person would have been chugging my Scotch. During our texts and phone convo I put her at ease so she could relax and therefore her boss could be happy and that meant everyone could be happy.
When I got to Soho, despite my running around I didnt feel tired. Instead I focused on a huge rose statue. Despite the New York buzz around me I felt a sort of peace. I had put one foot in front of the other, I was going to take a breath, and just do the best job I knew to do. I was going to be okay. Everything with my book was going to be okay. My job was to make this guys night and give him a memory. In a lot of ways, I have the greatest job in the world. Many a day and night I am invited into someone's family or an intimate moment in their world for a wrinkle in time. I give them a smile and we share a memory knowing the world isn't all that big. That we are all connected.
That's exactly what happened tonight. I gave the bday boy the surprise of the night. The whole party joined us on the sidewalk to take photos. Other diners in the cool late summer/early autumn snapped me with their camera phones. We were all smiling, laughing, having a good time. The client in LA was happy. His assistant wanted to know the name of the Scotch I purchased, probably because she wants to polish off a whole bottle after the stress she has been through. Eh, it happens. As the cameras snapped the bday boy said, "Blakey, you da man." For the record, I hit Maniac. On of the members of the delegation even fixed my mask because it was making her crazy. I had a laugh and felt beautiful. This was all good. I think he will remember 40 forever!
After I was done I saw a bunch of lights. Then I realized down the street was the Festival of San Gennaro. I walked it having never been, and dodged a procession for the San or Saint or whatever he calls himself. It was blocks of food and other festivities as well as a mini off season freak show. I ended up getting Buffalo Calimari. I was taken aback at how family orientated and well behaved people were. Going down the street I felt even more of a peace. Sometimes I work myself to death. I am ambitious and hardworking, never missing a beat and this is why people tend to like me and hire me. At the same time, I know I make them nuts but not as nuts as I make myself. That's why I just took the time to enjoy the festivities.
I came across the statue of San Gennaro. The people who worship at the church pray and pin a dollar or two to the little ribbon on it. My great grandmother was into stuff like that, just like my grandma is to some extent. My mother used to bless us with Holy Water from said locales during stressful events. My attitude was, "Eh, whatever makes you feel good." I ended up chatting with the man at the booth and asked if he believed and he said he did and gave me a pamphlet. I pinned a buck and said a prayer. My prayer to whomever is upstairs, assuming they might be named Buster Brown but no one knows, that I would stop being so crazy and be more of service and loving to others. And that I was unsure and scared of the next step in my quest with my book, and could unnamed divine force guide me. Within a moment I heard "Dress You Up in My Love" by Madonna. That song is a song of mine that is lucky. Maybe it means something. Maybe it doesn't.
On my walk back I saw an indie bookstore. I walked in and nervously explained to the clerk who had a buzz cut and nose ring that I had written a book. Immediately without judgement, she gave me the names of the two people that headed the memoir and humor section in order to give a book pitch. While my book is not yet in the store it is an exciting next step. Perhaps San Gennaro answered my prayer. Or maybe he didn't. Either way, that bookstore just happened to fall into my path which was awesome.
As my treat I took a cab ride home. I will burn off the fried food tomorrow in Jeanene's class. Sigh. Life is an adventure. When it is good and you are of love and service you can smile. When it is bad you have a funny story later. My advice is so good and this is so insightful maybe I should follow it next week when life starts happening to screw up my best laid plans.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl