Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Lil White Fur: Saying Goodbye to Settling

Today I made an impulse purchase. I never do this. My mom actually is more or less likely to buy a new dress to celebrate or mourn. I think this is why she likes my gay friends whenever they meet. Most often, they are wired the same way. The coat, which would have ordinarily been three hundred was only fifty. Going against my belief that lots of money should not be purchased on clothes I went to the ATM and made the buy. Call me shallow. Call me a bitch. Call me a beautiful woman. Maybe I am all of those things.

Around this time two years ago I lost Chacho, a friend who was a spirit kindred to mine. While he had been a street hustler who wore designer labels and could never stay sober and obeyed only the laws he liked, he was a straight shooter which made me respect him. One thing about Chacho was that my primary job as his friend was to make sure people didn't strangle him. The Chach and I were talking once about people who wore fake labels in public and walked around as if they were real. Chacho, who at the time was homeless despite his Gucci said, "Shame on them for settling for fake labels. I would never wear that."

Sure, maybe the boy didn't have a house, could never say no to drugs, and didn't like the law but he was going to leave a pretty corpse. We all have goals I suppose.

When Chacho died, I began to think of all the things he wanted for me, and how proud he had been of my career achievements when he was alive. At the time I was being worked to death as an open mic host. I had made the club a lot of money and put them on national television countless times. I expected a reward, I expected to be treated fairly. Instead, they fired me from my own mic and rehired me at the sister club. In order to preserve an abusive relationship, but one that had to potential for growth, I made my demands as long as I was going to stay. None of them were filled. I was at the end of my rope. All I did was work, earning these people money, and all they did was treat me like a second class citizen.

Afterwards, I was talking to my boss. He said to me, "You should stay and host. You are good at it and that is your job in the club."

"I put them on national television ten times and am more talented than the male headliners you bring in." I pointed out. "And you give me ten check spots and I have ripped the room up each time. Who do I have to blow to get ahead? I think that's how this shithole is run."

My then boss, who knew I was at the end of my rope said, "Sometimes, in this business we aim for the stars but we don't get them. Most people don't get the stars April, and you probably won't. Sometimes-most of the time-you have to settle. You just need to settle and use the mic as your venue."

My jaw dropped. I had just received more television time than any of the regulars in that hell pit ever would. I could also see and hear the spirit of my dead friend Chacho, the friend who had been incensed that he could not join me at Fashion Week because his black market plastic surgery had landed him with a blood clot. The friend who told me to stop dressing like I was broke and poor. The friend who wanted to be someone and tried his damnest by dressing in clothes he couldn't afford and getting plastic surgery from people who were shady. The friend who would demand I tell his family members and strangers about my television time. The friend who couldn't stop using drugs. The friend I had the falling out with and didn't get to say, "I love you but not what you are doing" before he died. The friend who was on the other side with me, watching over me, and now telling me to reach for the stars he never got, to walk the runway he could only dream of. If I was going to honor his memory it would be not to settle.

That evening when I got home I resigned from my post via email. I did so like a lady. I didnt tell the club owner to get fucked like I wanted to. This was a new era of my life. For so long I had settled with these slave drivers. I had done countless late night spots hoping to be promoted because of the good work I did. I had earned them lots of money. Got them lots of publicity. They were a second tier venue anyway, a place where dreams went to settle. Looking back, it felt like they were screwing me, but it was God getting me out of there and taking me somewhere better. It was my friend Chacho with me, letting me know that I was meant to do great things. It was the dreams we shared as we checked out hot guys at the local diner coming true. I was no longer crawling helplessly but walking upright.

Since that time I have not settled and have been damned if I do. Sometimes it has made me look like a bitch. But I am a career woman. Not settling and driving harder than ever has gotten me to places I never dreamed I would go. It has made me dress for success, strive for success, and see things most never dream of seeing.

I have also found out who my friends were and werent in this molting process. On one occasion I was out with an old friend who knew me in my early days of struggle and uncertainty. We were talking about the things that happened with me and the club that I had a falling out with. My friend, who I thought would side with me said, "You know, you have a bit of an ego sometimes. I see your facebook posts and they are a tad arrogant. When you post you aren't just April Brucker: Superstar Wannabe. You are April Brucker sister, daughter, cousin, and friend."

My mouth dropped open. Was this dude for real? Half of those posts were jokes. WOW! He knew me in real time well enough to know that I am hardly arrogant. My true friends know I am hardly arrogant. While I jokingly brag they jokingly bring me down to Earth and we enjoy a laugh. And then it hit me. This particular person had been friends with the person who wandered uncertainly through the desert. This particular person had been friends with the woman who settled. And everytime we hung out up to this point he had found subtle ways to tear me down. I had changed for the better, embracing life and following the path. He had stayed the same, settling at the bottom like all things that settle.

As I walk my path to greatness, sometimes I can be what is perceived to be a bitch. Some of it is because I am a hardworking woman who is determined, and I do not have the shield known as an agent or MANager. Like Charlie Chaplin, I am my own writer, director, performer, and producer. Does it make me tired? Sometimes, but if I want something done right I do it myself. Not everyone likes me. Read my Gawker article. I have a list of enemies miles long. But here is the thing, when I do a show I am not there to be liked by my fellow performers. When I do a play I am not there to be adored by my fellow actors. When I write I do not put the piece out there to be loved by other writers. I am a servant to the people. I will yell and scream until I am front and center and everything is done right on all ends. I will get paid well, and my audience will be happy. This is about them, not my ego. So if I am a bitch I am a bitch. I will wear the name tag in case people ask. It's on my birth certificate. I will proudly legally change my name if that is what I am viewed as.

Some say bitch. I say a business woman and performer who does not settle.

There is one club in Queens where they will never have me because I screamed at a booker who was trying to rip me off, and of course where the head of new talent regularly bad mouths me on gossip sites. There is another club on the East Side that will not have me because the owner and I got into it online because he casually uses the c word slang for women's private parts in casual conversation to refer to the opposite gender. There is a set of clubs where I am not welcome because of the falling out we had after I put them on television, never again. Those doors are closed like coffins. Looking back at it, it is better they did close. Those aren't the homes of top performers and superstars, those are the homes of people who settle. When I have been at those places in the past I have felt like a fish out of water. I was. I don't celebrate bottom feeding. Therefore, they were never going to be kind to me and those places never my constant home.

Then there are the people who tell me, when I get closer to being a superstar, "Be the best you that you can be." Or even worse, "Be happy." That is loser talk and I will tell you why. When someone tells you to be the best you that you can be in relation to success, these are people allergic to achievement and the thought of doing well scares them. They see you doing well, and they don't understand it. They don't want to see you do well. Rather, they want to see you settling with them in Loser Land. Same with the "be happy." They are saying yes to struggle and no to ambition and goal realization. A goal driven individual, especially a woman, scares people.

It's when they turn around and tell you, "You set the bar too high. That is why you are disappointed." No, I didn't set the bar too high. You set the bar too low and dropped the ball on yourself. Just because you dropped the ball on yourself doesn't mean that I have to do the same.

Do I regret my diva like conduct? Only when I get a sore throat. Do I regret not having MANgement? Only when babysitting those around me gets tiresome, but why put it into the hands of some moron who only cares about payment and not product? Do I regret quitting my job at the club that screwed me over? No, no, and no. That disappointment and rejection made me realize that I had settled in their system to be less than my best. When I left I grew a pair of colorful wings and flew for the sky.

I know I sound like a braggart as I talk about all the awesome things I do. But believe you me, if you don't settle life has good things in store for you. There was one story a friend who works with gay youth once told me. This kid was going to the twelve step meetings and living in a car and said, "Maybe God wants me in the car by the river where I live and to have no money." My friend said, "No, God wants you to get your ass out of that car, get some money, and have nice things." I think my friend was right. Whatever is up there wants me to be successful.

So I sit here with my little white fur. Some call me a bitch. Others a diva. I have my share of enemies because I don't settle. So this winter I will risk attack by red spray paint. But I will sashay, making the world my runway. With me will be the spirit of my friend Chacho. With me we will reach for the stars. We will be fashionable. We will do great things. We will not settle.

So what lipstick goes best with an impulse buy?

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Come to my signing
12-27-12 @ 7
Bethel Park Library
5100 W. Library Ave
Bethel Park, PA

No comments:

Post a Comment