Thursday, January 23, 2014

Birth Control

When I was fourteen, my sister Skipper and I had a babysitting job. Our next door neighbors were going out, and our job was to babysit their newborn baby, Talia. Anyway, basically, the kid was easy. We changed her and put her to bed, right? She was a baby.

Well everything went well. Skipper and I changed her. We put her to bed and she started crying. The kid needed changed again. Who would have thunk it, right? Well we put her down again. Talia started wailing. We held her, we sung to her. Nothing was working. Our mother was next door, Thank God. She came over, picked Talia up, and gently rocked the child. She put her hand on Talia's head and said, "This is a sick baby." From there, my mother took over. She knew just what to do and successfully calmed the kid down. As the baby was able to finally sleep, I was like wowsa, having a kid takes work.

Shortly thereafter, a childhood friend of mine named Keyona fabricated a story that she was expecting a child. This turned out to be a pitiful cry for attention as well as a complete lie. The following year, a girl in my freshmen class got pregnant. Like many a desperate teenage girl in trouble, she tried to hide it all under baggy clothes. When someone asked her what she was going to do she responded, "I am never going to tell my parents, EVER!"

My hometown of course was ruled by iron fisted Fundamentalist Christians. Through protesting, they got the school to have abstinence speakers instead of Sex Ed. As a result, our pregnancy rate rose. We didn't know about condoms or birth control. Instead, it was just say no. Of course there were the girls who wore the promise rings. One such alumna of this trend was a cheerleader type who got knocked up by a football player. He was a troll looking dude and he got her pregnant with twins. They had to admit this in front of their youth group, their sin. And then he had the nerve to ask if the kids were his. Ouch.

Before I went away to college, my mother sat me down. She said she wanted to talk about sex. Some of my friends had parents who were progressive enough to put them on the pill. I thought perhaps my mom was doing the same. Instead, my mom sat me down and said, "If some boy wants to have sex with you, and you are in the moment. Think of all you worked for. Think of how getting pregnant will ruin your life. Think of how getting pregnant will make you fat. See my face over his shoulder."

When I was nineteen in my first semester of college some idiot boy invited me to his room to watch television. I was so naive I really did think we were watching a movie. Next thing I know we are sitting on his bed and he is putting the moves on. That is when I saw my mother's face. Not only was it scary, but it ruined the whole experience. I don't know what was worse, disobeying my mother or the thought of her watching me get it on with some zit faced dork. Either way, I pushed him off of me and ran like I saw Godzilla. I will never forget the stunned look on his face. After that he told everyone I was crazy. Even now, when former classmates of mine trash me online they say I am crazy. I have a feeling he helped sprout the genus of that rumor.

The older I have gotten, the more I realize men are driven like slaves by sex. I used to blame them for it, but now I blame biology. Whenever I think of screwing up my life with the wrong person who might feel good for a minute, I see my mother over my shoulder. I also think of the girl from my freshmen class who went into labor and had her parents find out at that moment. I also remember the baby daddy, who went to jail and is not a part of his kid's life. In there I also hear the faint cry of our next door neighbor baby, and my sister and I not knowing how to take care of her. I still can feel the relief of my mother next door knowing what to do.

So when it comes to kids I like them. But ah, not sure I am ready to have one just yet.

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Globe

The world is a snow globe as I sit in my apartment. I am living in what is known as the Polar Vortex. When I was a child it was simply known as winter. I feel like this is the beginning of a terrible movie about the future. The bad opening line if you will that is used. However, it is true. It is my experience.

The snow comes outside my window. As I sit in the warmth of my shoebox, it looks harmless. Yes, it is like a snow globe. I still remember my dad had them in his office when I was a kid. Someone gave him one, an old client I think. It was Dickinsonian in theme, or at least looked like Victorian England. I still remember shaking it as a small child, enthralled at the chaos I created. The tiny figurines were at my mercy. Yet as the sparkling white flakes fell, it had a look of beauty.

Now Mother Nature creates the same scene in New York City. The sparkling white flakes land on the ground like pieces of powered sugar on top. The snow on the ground resembles icing. Of course, as the powered sugar falling from the sky lays on top it seems like it would be the ideal sugar cookie, one that would bring you to the dentist because it would produce a great many cavities. From inside my house, the snow is harmless. It is a friend. Winter weather is the best writing weather. I have my blanket, my coffee, and my candle burning. I always burn a candle for luck, The Archangel Michael. While not as religious as I was growing up, I was learned according to Revelations he led the army and defeated the evil Lucifer. So I burn the candle for my own peace of mind. It's not some fundamental razzmatazz. It is just my little ritual to keep negative energy out.

The snow also produces old memories. When I was a kid my grandmother collected old houses. These were Christmas Carol themed. We all got a house every year for our birthday. My Mema Ralph keeps them to this day in her home in a glass case. As a child I used to have nightmares that she had magical powers. That if someone angered her she would shrink them, making them live in the small houses and submit to her will. When I told my aunts and uncles this, they thought it was hysterical. My grandmother did too, thank goodness.

I also think of sledding in the backyard. My brother, sister, and I created our own course. We always went out when the trash TV of a snow day got to be too much. Then we created our own course. One year we even had our own ice skating rink we fashioned. While ghetto in some respects, it did the job. We played music in the shoddy attempt at winter fun made in our basketball court. Snow fell and we celebrated winter. As a family we even cross country skiied. We went to the park as a unit. My sister was always really good at it, because it requires a svelte body. On the other hand, I was always kind of slow. It wasn't my thing, so thank goodness my family came to America instead of us living in Germany or Austria where our ancestors were from. One time, when we had a blizzard, we even cross country skiied to church. Most families stayed home but not us. We had a way in and out. And then there was the line running we did in the snow. Of course since we were so little we didn't last long. However, my father explained they did this in Finland in order to train the team. I would try to explain that we weren't living in Finland but it fell on deaf ears.

Somehow, I also remember being sixteen years old. I was the heaviest I had ever been. At the time, I was on a special liquid diet. Going through the awkwardness mixed with teenage rebellion, I wore bright red lipstick with matching blue eye shadow. I hated math and was failing it most of the time anyway. I loved reading. At the time my favorite class was AP European History with Miss Garber. I liked her because she had been to Europe and China and all those places. Her grading style was kind of crazy, but I did well. A bigger lady, she was stuck to the chair but her love of history was awe inspiring. At the time, I wanted to go to New York to become a superstar. I wanted to go to NYU. I wanted to write novels. I wanted to get the hell out of where I was. However, the Colton and Palmer textbook became the escape for me. The characters in European history were amazing. Phillip II wore monk's clothes and had to be found in the palace by his staff and cleaned up for visiting ambassadors. Martin Luther took longer than planned to translate the Bible from Latin to German because he believed the devil was trying to stop him, and would throw bottles of ink behind him thus thwarting his own progress. John Calvin put Bibles in the bars of Swizerland. When that failed he closed the bars. Sometimes the king of Poland thought he was the king of Germany and vice versa. The book was fun to read too. One sentence read, "The pirates raided the coast, ransacked for gold, and lusted for booty."

Now I am in New York City and it snows. There are people in my life who question my choices, my goals. They wonder why I don't opt for a bourgeois existence. Such is not the luck and lot in life of an artist. Not everyone understands the calling. As I sit in uncertainty about the next step of my life, those closest to me want for me to be more ordinary, more normal. If this were the case I would have stayed where I was. Following one's passion is a mission of faith. While the unknown is scarier than death in some ways, because with death one know they will die, it is also exciting. The unknown holds it's own possibilities. The unknown holds it's own design. The unknown is like a snowman. Sometimes you start with one vision but the outcome is different but more spectacular than imagined.

As I go out into the snow, New Yorkers bravely shovel their sidewalks bundled up against the cold. Armed and dangerous with salt, they pave the way so that others will not slip. The corner store floor is wet and slippery with melted snow from the boots of others. As we all enter, we get coffee, tea, or hot coca to keep ourselves warm. We greet each other as we pass, sort of bonding. The truth is, none of us can control the outcome. We are all in this together. While the weather sucks and the winds blow in more ways than one, it is a comfort to know none of us are facing the cold alone. This is not an individual struggle but something we are fighting as a group, a unit, a city.

The Polar Vortex is similar to following the dreams of one's passion in art. Sometimes the future is uncertain and you are thrown a curve ball. You sit in the discomfort of the cold unknown. However, it is best to be where your feet are. It is best to have a positive attitude. That way, not only will you see yourself through the storm but any crisis that arises. With the belief that this too shall pass, you know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually if you stick with it and smile, everything is going to be okay. In the words of Winston Churchill, "When you are going through hell, keep going."

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mean Girls

I don't like mean girls. I haven't since I have been a kid. It is probably because I have never been in a position to be a mean girl myself. My parents didn't let me watch TV and I was a reader. Not to mention I didn't have the mean girl build and didn't have the mean girl mentality. Yes, my mother raised me to be strong. She raised me to know not to clique up with other people who had low self esteem. My mother told me that the right way to go was to include everyone who wanted to be. It didn't matter if they had a scrunchie, what job their father had, if they even had a father. You get the picture.

As I grow older I can deal with most personalities. In comedy, being a woman means dealing with men who put you down constantly. However, you can win the respect of your male comrades. This can be done by not being a professional victim. Also, simply by being funny and shutting the hell up. Oh, and then there is not taking yourself too seriously. It is being victim to the women are not funny jokes and learning to let certain locker room talk slide. Some of it is sexist, but the longer I am an activist the more I know if I fight to censor speech I lack ambition. Rather, the fight is in legislation for victims of sexual assault and stalking. They need protection from violent predators, not simply from verbal jabs.

However, one group I can't gel with are the cliquish girls to this day. They are these princesses who live in glass castles. Yet these pretty little brats forget those who live in any glass enclave should not throw stones. These girls are so obsessed with their wedding and plan it from the time they are five. Godzilla better run cause Bridezila is a comin. Of course, they exclude other women. They gossip about other women too. Lest we not forget that they gang up on other women. While they are in the neighborhood, they even condescend to other women. They need to be in charge. They need to win. They need to make you feel less than.

I have met versions of the Bitch Sorority in adulthood. They are just as menacing as they were in junior high. However, they are more pathetic because they didn't get the memo that we are no longer thirteen. Some of these women were sorority girls in college. Not the nice kind that got drunk and were easy, and invited all that could to join the party. These were the mean ones who fought to blackball someone because she didn't wear the right outfit or have a father who was rich enough so the family could have a summer home. These were the girls who were the Queen Bee's of their cliques back in the day, ganging up against a loner girl simply to intimidate her and make themselves feel superior. And then on top of that, there are those girls that you know were cheerleaders. I have nothing against the nice cheerleaders. I was friends with the captain in high school because she was a good hearted, natural leader. No, I mean the girls who again, gang up on someone that they feel is less than. And of course these dreadful spirits always have toadies and others who fail to stand up to them. They command fear because they are bullies.

This is why I have always had issues with women's only events. While I consider myself a warrior for my gender, my people, we have anarchy and disloyalty to the point where we would make any African Republic seem like it has stable leadership on any given day. Once I was trying to talk to a woman who wrote a book and this wannabe buts in. Of course she has all these suggestions about how the authoress should market her book. She kept cutting me off too. Basically, it was a power struggle. Finally, I walked away. I was getting angry and wanted no part of it. This authoress showed she was no better recently. The wife of a semi-successful comedian, she is somewhat arrogant on facebook. Recently, she opened a thread asking the comedians to name people she thought were up and comers that were worth watching. The whole display of nonsense reminded me of a Stalin/Hitler tactic. To name names is so 1938. Still, it was a mean girl thing. The irony of it was that in her book she kept driving home how she wasn't a mean girl. Don't tell me, show me. Nonetheless, I found her writing less than imaginative and found that she plays the violin of professional victim way too loud. Not to mention she doesn't want to help other women. So it's appropriate those two harpies would have hit it off.

I had to deal with a mean girl yesterday and my blood pressure is still boiling. A vampire looking woman, this particular creature is pushy, bossy, and condescending. I have had run ins with her and her toadie before. These are two weakling professional victims who often make me apologize for being strong. My book is in collections of colleges these two would never have access to. I have been in a situation where I have had to deal with them, and have honestly tried. However, it is hard when you aren't a mean girl and therefore don't want to be exclusionary. Week after week, they have take cheap shot after cheap shot at me. Two weeks ago I let the one idiot have it. Those around me said she wasn't worth it. She is a weakling compared to the true fangster out of the two. Anyway, yesterday the vampire bitch was on the war path and I had a run in with her. I had some words with her. And then I sent her a nasty text. I called her a pushy, condescending bully. I also told her she was not to speak to me like that again. I haven't heard back. Bullies never know how to deal. I can picture her weeping about what a meanie I am. Oh well....

I cherish my female friends who are positive. This morning I saw one who was witness to the mean girl drama yesterday. She told me that the woman was bad mojo and just to stay away, don't worry. I agree. I like my girls who are positive like the ones I brunch with on Saturday. They laugh, they have fun. Most of all, they are confident. They like to talk history, and have no problem doing so because they are on the same educational level I am. They like to talk about theatre and literature. They like to talk about music. They like the laugh. Oh, and they don't make me apologize for being strong.

I know my role is I let mean girls get to me too much. Still, it is kind of hard not to. It is also kind of hard not to get upset as an activist. Behavior like this is why women are treated as second class citizens. Antics such as these are why sexism is still one of the most acceptable form of prejudice. There is talk about eliminating racism and those evils, but sexism is just as damaging. When women act exclusionary towards each other and clique up, we do not hurt one woman but we hurt everyone. We take away the ability to work together. We eliminate opportunities for our own advancement and let the patriarchy win and continue to crush us with the heel of the boot of chauvanism.

Bottom line, when mean girls are mean to one girl, they are mean to everyone shutting down the advancement of women who fought for their inclusion.

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Devil Inside (INXS)

I was raised a Catholic. It is one of those things that kind of stays with you. Even folks who leave the church can't quite shake the feelings of guilt or the extreme dogma shoved down our throats. While I went to church on Sundays and was late to school on holy days of obligation, my folks were raised RC through and through. They went to Catholic schools. Kids got beat in those days. Now the church has toned down a bit. In those days they spoke Latin in school and the masses were in Latin. As a choir boy, my dad even sang in Latin. When I was a kid, sometimes he would sing it for us. He was a soloist back in the day and had a decent voice, so it was pretty. 

My dad wanted us to know the Bible. In adulthood, even among my secular friends, I know a tidbit or two that sometimes are lost on others who weren't raised so close to the church. The fact I knew Ishmael was the father of Islam got me a free cab ride once. Like many families, we had a family Bible. Everyone from several generations onward was listed in the front. 

Both my parents were raised German Catholic. My dad's family was more from Austria, and my mom's from Bavaria, the Southern part. South Germany is very Catholic by the way, as the North is Lutheran. Anyway, when the German's came to America, they opened their own churches and schools. One of their favorite tactics was to scare the hell out of the children into behaving like good citizens. So they told them frightening stories about Satan and such so they would not be sucked into that world. While my family has not spoken German for sometime, and we had representatives for America in both World Wars, the scare your children stayed with us. 

I still remember as a kid my dad tried this tactic to teach us about the devil. My dad told my sister and I this crazy story about how the devil nabbed children who looked in the mirror for too long. He would take these spoiled children, according to the story, and make them slaves in hell. Anyway, the devil made a mistake and sent his henchmen to kidnap the two little girls. They were dragged to hell and scared because there was screaming. I still remember my sister and I were freaked out because my father named the children April and Brenna. Anyway, according to the story the two little girls had faith in God. So they asked Jesus to save them. Because they had faith God sent the Archangel Michael to save them. After Michael defeated Satan the two little girls were brought to safety. I was scarred for sometime. Couldn't and wouldn't look in the mirror. My mom of course yelled at my dad because my sister and I had persistent nightmares. Needless to say there were no more two little girl stories after that. But looking back, I had to give my pop's credit. He made the whole thing an action adventure. 

As I have gotten older, I can laugh about those crazies stories my dad told. They are funny because again, they are a Bible action adventure. They are also funny because in his own twisted way he was sincerely trying to help. Truth be told though, I do believe in a God just as I believe in a devil. Before you go saying I am trying to convert you, that is just one name for the positive and negative forces in this world. Some call it good chi, bad chi I dunno. The thing is, I don't believe it is red, has a tacky pitchfork or fake horns but is alive in our present time. We humans we have many names for it.

In my travels I have met rotten people who have believed certain points of view towards others, particularly that it was okay to discriminate against certain groups, was okay. I have also encountered zealots who thought they were getting the guidance of a so called God. Oh and lump in there people who embezzled and stole without thought. Lest we not forget people who were so angry that they took it out on others. Or then there are those who used people that were unwitting for their gain. Of course I was always taught while evil is cunning and bold, it is never smart. It is always caught. The Postman always rings twice. 

I have also seen the so called devil or negative force in my professional life too. When comedians get something that others feel is owed to them, the fangs come out. The gossip about that person starts and soon the water is polluted with lies. Sometimes, the person is slandered online anonymously by their so called friends. I know because it has happened to me. It's like that green eyed monster comes out and enters the body of people. I remember taking it all so personally too. Suddenly, I was an angry victim. I was lashing out at everyone. I was ungrateful. I didn't care about being funny and suddenly was chasing the glamour of being on national television. As my ego got bigger, I covered it up with bravado to hide the fact I felt empty, alone and miserable. In feeding the negativity, I was blocking the light. I was blocking out people who wanted to see me succeed and to help me. Most importantly, I failed to see the ability to make others laugh is a gift. It is something to be shared with the world, not just for my own self gain. But it is easy to feed into. 

I have also been of course bitten by the green eyed monster in my comedy career. Yes, there have been male comedians who have bumped me because I have been a woman thus being unfairly shafted. Or there have been people who have had doors open for them based on filling a niche whether it be a look, a need for an ethnic friend, whatever. No one said show business was fair. And it is a difficult thing to see someone who is just a pretty boy move ahead because they cliqued with the right group. Or someone who doesn't work hard get a break because they were at the right place at the right time. Or worse yet, you slave for a long time and it never seems your day will come. Therefore you take it out on yourself and everyone else by being miserable. Or you get angry at someone for taking what you believe is yours. I have done all of this and more. Of course it is all fear based. We never believe we will get what we want and we have this gnawing phobia that we will lose what we have. Fear. The negative force feeds right into it and we dive right in.

Then of course there are the negative people. They try to steer us away from our ambition, tell us it can never be done. Or they are romantic partners who put us down. Of course there are abusive, pushy people we cross paths with on the regular. Truth be told, the devil/the negative force/bad chi walks around on two legs on this planet every day and we have to choose. 

Today started with a message from someone from my past who is negative. Let's just say he is mean spirited, abusive, and tried to cheat me out of some money. I got this individual banned from a comedy club I once worked at. Without thinking of it, I blocked him making the boundary and our lack of a relationship clear. I didnt feed into him. I also had a run in with a mean girl and stood up for myself. This is someone who is bossy and always has to win. She and her toadie sometimes gang up on me which isn't very nice. I let her upset me for a minute but then remembered I had to go talk to a hospital about doing shows for sick children. The negative people of the world need a beat down, but the sick children need to smile more. 

Maybe as I get older, I have more faith and know I will be protected. 

Maybe as I get older, I know not to feed into the stupidity of negative people because they are meaningless. 

Either way, the older I get the more I realize I shouldn't give stupid bullies my energy. I shouldn't fearfully envy others believing I will never get my turn. Rather, I should concentrate on my own side of the street and my own game. I should use my gifts to benefit the world as I benefit myself. I shouldn't look into the fires of hell and feed the negative spirits that wander the Earth looking to suck energy from whatever source they can. And whenever I feel weak, know that there is a better way, a light. 

Maybe, just maybe, in the twisted world of Bible fan fiction the Archangel Michael is my homeboy after all.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nice Guy Phobia

I was at brunch today with my girlfriends. As usual, we talked about life and one who has been single for a bit mentioned wanting a man. Meanwhile, I have been single for so long I wouldnt know what to do if I had a guy. Would I walk him? Do I change his water dish? Maybe bathe him and give him food? I forget how the whole thing works really. I have also come to like my freedom. My nights are spent performing, hanging out with friends, and alone if I so desire. I am my own woman. No man to censor my thoughts or my speech. No partner with issues to grapple and trust me they all have them.

We assured my friend she wasn't missing anything. Being on your own isn't terrible. On the other hand, we asked her what she was doing to meet a dude. She said nothing. She just wanted him to show up. Okay, while that might be awesome in theory if a dude came to my door telling me I was beautiful I would call the cops. Then we asked what kind of guys she liked. She said, "I go for guys I shouldn't want. I don't go for the nice ones. They scare me."

That is a feeling shared by a lot of women. It is a nice guy phobia. What happens to us is when we are young we dream of Prince Charming. Disney sells us a lie and we ride with it. Then after that, either one of two things happens. We either meet a nice guy who bores us to death, and we crave the excitement of the bad boy. Or we date a man who is such a horror show that leaves us with such baggage that we are incapable of being nice, and therefore that means no more Mr. Nice Guy.

I know in my experience I went through the bad boy phase. I have written extensively about the former fiance. The nature of the breakup was intense and insane as was the relationship. When that ended, I was my own woman. The problem was, my ex would make it impossible for me to date other men. Stalkers kind of do that. So I gravitated towards bad boys. When nice guys get a whiff of a psycho in the midst they don't stick around like proud warriors and fight. They run like they just saw Godzilla.

Bad boys on the other hand are damaged creatures. They don't judge. They aren't afraid to make a threat. Hell, they don't judge your behavior either. And yes, as far as companions go they laugh more easily and are a lot more fun. For the most part they were always proud of my writing and my comedy. There were people who were frightened of my male companions and I didn't mind that. No one would mess with me. And a guy getting out of jail has excellent manners. It's been forever since he had a female companion so he is Emily Post when it comes to his manners.

The bad boys have their downside. Probation means a curfew and so that means the night ends early. Plans have to be structured around a day program for alcoholism and drug addiction, which gets out around 8 pm on Wednesdays. The presents they give you, well sometimes you don't know if they paid for them. When they tell you to wait outside the eatery, you might be dining and dashing. Lest we not forget psych meds, baby mama drama, criminal records, and the adjective of fugitive. I have had all this fun and more.

The problem with good guys and myself is that I become so conditioned to bad boys I scared them away. They couldn't handle me, and I was weary of them. If we even remotely hit it off my past had a way of reappearing. Sometimes the walk down memory lane was too much for me so I ended things in their tracks fearing rejection. Or sometimes they disappeared on me, scared of what else was to be revealed. Either way, nice guys don't like me and I don't seem to mix with them.

These days I like my freedom a lot as I said. The more I hear about marriage and children the less I want those things. Still, someday the recipe might be different. Someday I might crave the Disney lie. And when I get Prince Charming, I won't be able to erase him. I won't even know what to do, partially because cartoon men don't require food. Do I walk him? Do I change his water? Does he require a cage? Does he need shots?

Either way, I have all these questions and more. That is, if I don't screw this whole thing up by running away as fast as I can first.

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fear and Loathing

I grew up in an area that was not racially varied at all. We were white for the most part aside from the five black kids we had in our school. Yes, they were all related. It is terrible but true. My neighbors were white. Most everyone in my town was Christian. We all went to church come Sunday. If you didn't go to church it meant you were from a bad family. The Catholics were into being Catholic. While the Protestant denominations were a little more relaxed, it wasn't much. Then we had Born Again folks who were scary. But it was a white, Christian place. There was a Bible study at lunch in my high school one teacher hosted. There were kids who prayed around the flag pole. In this scenario God only loved white Christians.

Since there were no outsiders, things could get a little hairy. David Duke probably would have been at home. I remember as a kid, I had a black friend. We played together and she is actually one of my oldest friends in the world. My area, while not racially varied, was economically varied. As intellectuals, my parents tried to enforce the idea that there were many different people in the world who didn't share the same beliefs and customs. Not everyone got the memo. I still remember word getting out that I was friends with Keyana. We were in second grade. One thinker said, "So you are friends with the jungle bunny?" I didn't even know what that meant but knew it meant something bad. Our noon time aid heard it. Other kids heard it. No one said or did anything.

While we had our moments, we knew right from wrong in that regard. A few years later another thinker called my friend Keyana the "n" word. Apparently, he thought it was okay to speak about people of color this way. My friend Erica thought this was disgusting. A lot of people who were from the right side of the tracks did. So when she found out he said it she hit him in the mouth. He never said it again. Looking back, the kids was from one of those poor white trash families. We have a street in our town that is kind of poor. Those people could all be on Jerry Springer. Poor thing, he didn't know any better.

In sixth grade we had to read Roll of Thunder, a book about segregation. The "n" word was used several times in there. During class we had to read aloud. At the time, we got this influx of group home kids from the inner-city in our classes. Inner-city was code word for black. Anyway, this Howdy Doody looking kid was reading and it came to the "n" word. He didn't know what to do. The black kid from the group home made  a gesture that he would cut the kid's throat if he said it. Our teacher said it was just a word in a story. The kid blurted out, "And he said 'you n word'" and the class laughed. The kid got to accept his white guilt and he got to avoid being beaten up by the group home kid. It all worked out.

The area that was accepted was Anti-Semitism. Around seventh grade it became acceptable to make Jewish jokes. I remember one went, "How do you ask a Jewish girl for her phone number?" You roll up her sleeve. It became common place for someone to be called Jewish because they were perceived as cheap. Or when someone felt you were ripping them off they would accuse you of "Jewing" them. Our teachers heard this hate speech on the regular. Some of them used it as a lesson to educate about prejudice. Others blamed South Park, a popular TV show at the time. Then there were those who laughed along with the terrible jokes.

The adults around us shared those views actually. Growing up I knew adults who said Jew were clannish, that they stuck together only taking care of their own. They also said Jews invented bargains and rebate as a way to control the majority. Looking back, these opinions had no weight or truth but there were some who accepted them as truth. Then a woman I know regularly talked about how "Hitler was on to something and missed a couple" in his quest to cleanse the world of the Jewish population. I don't know what was worse, that she felt this views were based anywhere in reality or that there were people who excused her.

My early exposure to Jewish people was small. We had one Jewish kid in our school who got picked on for being Jewish. His father, in order to get it to stop, spoke to the classes. He was a nice guy actually, and it did ease some of the tension in the air and the ignorance we harbored. However, the previous exposure many had to Jews in our town had in fact been negative. One woman, a former Catholic and Jewish convert, was angry her children had to sing Christmas carols in school. She sued the district. The lady was nuts. But the damage had been done. We were no longer allowed to sing carols and her kids became the target of endless bullying. We knew her son, he was actually quite sweet. He couldn't help his mother was crazy. Still, it had been put in the air. Jews wanted to kill Christmas and that was what was in the water. Matters were made worse by a music teacher in our school who decided rather than a Christmas recital he would put on a Hannakah show. This went over like a fat cat with the parents and he was forced into retirement.

Our biggest overall complaint growing up was being forced to learn a language. Colleges required it. A lot of folks elected to take Spanish because it was easy. However, a lot of teachers would tell us it was the way to go because Latinos were becoming a huge minority and Spanish was becoming a second language. The white kids didn't want to hear this. At the time, there had been an illegal immigration crisis in the country. One Einstein said, "Why don't they just learn the language? It would be better than those boarder bunnies having babies and us having to learn theirs."

During one lesson, I think it was eighth grade, a kid pointed out that it was "Oh say can you see?" Not "Jose can you see?" and therefore it was a waste of our time to learn Spanish. Oh and then there was the joke of "Imagine thinking in that language. No wonder they have so many babies." Now I know what hell is. Teaching foreign language to middle school students. Either way, it spoke volumes not just about my town but much of America.

Then I was told if I dated outside my race no white boy would want me, and my partner would leave me with a child and beat me. That if I dated and married a Jew he would make me give up Christmas. That if I dated a Spanish dude he only wanted a greencard. This was all pretty bad actually. Oh and the attitude about Arabs after 9/11 was that they were all terrorists and could not be trusted. And that all they wanted to do was spread Allah's word and blow up planes.

Upon moving to New York I discovered people dated in all races interchangeably and peacefully. Men of all colors stepped up to be dad's to their children, and dead beats came in all colors, including mine. There were Jews who were cheap and clannish. However, there were also Jews who were fun, open minded, and were generous friends with good hearts. Like everyone, they cherish their customs. However, some were raised both Jewish and Christian, having both a tree and a Hannakah bush. Then of course there are the Spanish folks. Some Spanish men are Don Juans looking for a green card. But then there are others who in fact do want true companionship. Some come into this country illegally and want to suck the resources. However, there are some who also want to work hard, making their way struggling as they fight the good fight for their square on the America quilt. They are trying their best just like my rels did once upon a time. As for the Arabs, many work hard and want to be good Americans just like my family members were once upon a time.

One thing age and wisdom has taught me is that we are all people. We want the same things and for the most part want to be left alone. Exposure has taught me assholes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Idiot speak is universal. So is honest, hardworker speak. Actually, come to think of it there is nothing to be scared of. For the most part we are boring.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Charming Man (The Smiths)

I love the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. When I watch it I turn into a woman. It is a transformation that I dread. Actually beyond dread. It is a part of me that is hard to share with the world, sentimental woman. As an ardent feminist, a word that scares any man, I think the idea of getting married oppresses women. It makes them throw in the towel on their hopes and dreams. It forces their enslavement to a man. Yet I am a junkie for happily ever after. God I hate that.

This past summer I did a show at a Greek Church. I got the gig through a long time supporter and fan of mine. Truth, Greeks are really into being Greek. This was the Greek Festival. I am not Greek or even Eastern European in the least. My family is from Germany, Austria, and Ireland. I might have some Dutch, French and other things in me. I dunno. Anyway, the festival turned out to be a lot of fun. The kids were great. I ended up feeling at home because even though they were Orthodox, I grew up in the Catholic Church which is like their cousin. Not to mention my first priest was Croatian and very old school. This church reminded me a lot of the one I grew up in. I ended up doing a great show and ended up eating some delicious food. Oh and someone recognized me from TV.

Anyway, in the Greek Church priests can marry. This is where they split with their Roman counterparts. The priest had a cute son who was in charge of the youth group. I mean dark hair, dark eyes, dreamy kind of. I remember thinking as he told me that they wanted me back I thought, "I will come back. That is, if I can hang out with you afterwards." But then I found out he had a girlfriend. Maybe they broke up. Still, drats. But apparently I wasn't the only one after him. There were actually a lot of nice dudes there that day. Made me want a husband....almost.

Yesterday I did a show at Morgan Stanley Children's. The show ended up being a lot of fun. We only had a handfull of patients attend because some aren't cleared to leave their rooms. These kids are sick, cancer and the whole nine yards. It's actually quite sad. However, the ones who were in attendance were boys. One thing about little boys is they don't do lame fairy stories. They do adventure stories. So thank goodness I had a sled riding adventure story. Thank God it had a monster. There is something about young guys. They like that stuff. That is why sometimes I actually like performing for little boys more. They like action, they like adventure, they like to slay the dragon. Even young, they don't want to talk about feelings. They want you to get to the point. That involves more imagination.

I didn't want to make the story too scary. I didn't know how young these kids would be. Still, next time there might be an alien or something. I don't know. More at stake. I wanted to write the story so there would be no references to death or dying, because some of these kids might not survive. It's the brutal, sad truth. Actually, in a way I feel guilty for kvetching as much as I do in blog land. I also was told I couldn't reference food. So an adventure story was the way to go.

My career lately has been about a lot of maybe. I just sent some paperwork for a project that is now a super maybe. It's exciting because I worked for this super maybe. Either way, I have a lot of male fans. I am bringing them up because their letters are usually funny. Something about dudes, they always find the humor in everything. Anyway, two wrote me to ask me for autographed pictures. This past weekend I sent them out. I feel like if they saw me in my sweats running errands like I usually am they would pass on ever asking me for my picture. It would be like I was thirteen again. "Will you go out with me.....Just kidding." I did look good yesterday. I will say that.

Lately I have been thinking about dating and the whole nine yards. It has been years since there has been a Mr. April Brucker. Although I would like to pretend it doesn't, the specter of my former fiance still haunts me. I know he was sick and damaged and I still give his presence way too much room in my life, but once you see a red light it is hard to close your eyes when it turns yellow. Translated, I don't trust potential partners too much. I know how fast they can turn to blood enemies. I know in my heart men will think the career is cute until they see the fan mail I get or until it takes me away from them. That is when it is back to the kitchen to cook and make babies.

And then there is the Mr. April Brucker I had a few years ago who's current wife or girlfriend or whatever she calls herself feels the need to harass me from time to time. She has been quiet lately, probably gaining weight or popping pills as usual. Still, it makes dating interesting. Sure you aren't harassing me but will your current girlfriend stop please? It's like she wants to sleep with me, seriously. Maybe she does. It's the closest she will ever get to my career. While the phone calls are a little much maybe she could send me flowers next time.

And Holden, I had to let him go. I loved him more than anyone. Maybe we could have made a home. Two alley cats who spoke the same language and knew what it was like to drink out of the rotten milk bowl. Sometimes I still wish he would come back to Manhattan so we could play house. Everyone tells me I did the right thing. He didn't want to get sober or take his psych meds. But it didn't feel like the right thing. Sigh....

Last night I found myself confessing to a long time friend that I was dreaming of a married former flame. He was a Jewish fellow who was kind of cheesy. I will admit sometimes Jewish dudes make me weak in the knees. It is because they always know how to make me laugh. Anyway, I had a dream about him two nights ago and we were dating again. It was crazy. The last few times I saw him he was acting oddly. Although it didn't work out and he married someone else, I think he still cares for me. He made that clear the last time we saw each other. Other people have even told me as much. Still, he is married to someone else. Granted his wife is kind of spoiled but he picked her. Not my problem. Maybe I am just lonely.

I also found myself dreaming of someone I connected with a few months ago. He was a music producer I met at a party who was clearly hot for me. Unlike the rest of the men interested in me, he was quiet and shy kind of. I knew it took every nerve he had to say hi to me. He actually tried to ask me out kinda but was totally retarded about it. Anyway my friend suggested I contact his studio saying I have a project and blah blah blah just to talk to him. First off he will know that is a lie and I will feel stupid doing it. Second, it will be a complete bust. Third, from the looks of his photos online he is sleeping with something that wears less clothing than Pamela Anderson. Or maybe that is a cop out. Either way she calls herself an "artist." Maybe she is. I hope they are happy. I would never humiliate myself to get close to someone not man enough to talk to me.

Apparently I frighten men. I don't get it. If I scare you at my petite size you deserve to be scared. You deserve to have your man card pulled. End of story. Still, it is weird when my mom tries to fix me up in an elevator or gives my phone number to strangers. She tried to a few weeks ago. It was awkward. I wanted to shoot myself. Especially since afterward she said I didnt even try. Well mom, you were making it awkward.

There is a part of me that is comfortable being alone. I have my ways and don't want anyone to interfere with their outside influence. Especially a man. Yes, creature who wants me to slave in the kitchen and then perform magic tricks in the bedroom who will eventually cheat anyway. Creature who I have gotten along just fine without. Creature who will put a spoke in the bicycle I ride called ambition. Creatures who make me justify every achievement I have in comedy and writing. Creatures who make me apologize for speaking out on behalf of women. Creatures who label me a man hater for my points of view. Creatures who attempt without success to make me feel guilty for being strong. A boyfriend would just get in the way.

Then there is a part of me that wants someone. Someone to tell me it is going to be okay. Someone to laugh with. Someone to be cheesy with, holding hands on the street. Someone to fight with. A handsome prince who loves puppets. Granted, he will probably disappoint me but not as long as he lives in my mind. Did I mention I am a woman? Did I mention that it sucks when that part of me comes out?

Still I have been on my own so long I wouldn't know what to do with a dude. I wouldn't know how to make one happy. Adventure stories with puppets work for young ones but not old ones. What would I wear? Where would be go? Either way, I think I will stick to being incredibly insecure and awkward, carrying my puppet children and books in a case. They need their mother, my creations. They don't need a father. So far this single parent home has worked perfectly.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Suavecito (Malo)

The last week of my life has been sort of crazy. I have been sick, achy all over. The weather knows not which season it is. Mother Nature is on and off again with Father Time. She won't set a boundary for that sunshine and rainy day heartbreaker. Plus there has been some career angst. Thank God the worst has passed over. More on that as things progress. One thing I am a junkie for is Spanish music. It started a few years ago when I began living alone. I have no TV, only youtube. Began watching a ton of Spanish gangster flicks. Loved the music and began to search for it.

During my time in New York I have been exposed to Spanish art, language, and music as well as Spanish food. My Spanish speaking has improved from my days as a wonderbread colored high schooler in PA. As for the music, I like it because it is fun and peaceful. It calms me down. Or it has horns and is fun to dance to. It reminds you life is not as serious as we think it is. Sometimes I am guilty of taking myself way too seriously. It is the German in me. Maybe the Irish too. A few days ago I was stressing and my body hurt. I was waiting for an important phone call and it turned out to be a telemarketer. I was kvetching to a friend who told me, "When that happens, please remember to laugh."

Suavecito is the name of the car in the movie Mi Vida Loca. It's a Mexican gangster chick dramady. The Locas are an Echo Park Street Gang. Two girls get knocked up by this loser who gets killed during a drug deal, and of course they are fighting over him. And then they find out about his pimped out ride. I think Latin dudes get the rep for being car obsessed but it is all guys.

This past week I have felt angst because of the physical pain I experienced. The Spanish music has made me feel better, especially the track by Malo. Whatever works, right?

Today I got some upsetting news. My friend Scott Mollica passed from cancer. We had been friends two summers ago. We laughed, hung out, and gossiped. We lost touch when he moved out to Long Island unfortunately. Still, we connected. Scott was real and just awesome. We had a lot of fun riding the train to and from the city. I still remember those hot summer nights on the platform pulling my puppet out of my hand bag and doing an impromptu show on the platform. It was whimsical, fun, innocent, and so New York. I can still hear our laughter. I can still hear us talking about life and love. I can still feel the summer heat on my skin. Scott was so proud of me for all I was doing. He was always curious to hear about the fan mail I got, but when some of it got crazy he reminded me to be careful. A gay big brother on Earth who was really an angel in disguise.

Tomorrow I do a show for children who have cancer. I have been freaking out and preparing. I hope it is good. It is hard to see children who are sick, because they haven't had time to have adult adventures full of screw ups and other tomfoolery. However, I know Scott's spirit will be with me. Scott always loved my puppets. He will be there laughing like he always was. In heaven Scott will join my friends Chacho, Joe, Edgardo, my Aunt Peggy, and my grandparents Nunni and Pop Pop.

So as I digest this upsetting news, I remember the Spanish music I listen to. I remember why I Mi gusta it. It's because of the blaring horns. It's because when it is calm it is soothing. It's because it is a gentle reminder that nothing is that serious. I know in my heart my friend is making his journey. According to the Catholic tradition I grew up with St. Michael the Archangel will lead him to the other side. The other side will have nonstop laughter and adventures like we did during those hot summer days. I know we will have those days again. I will also use my children, my puppets, as agents to fight cancer. My brother and sister do it in the lab, I do it on the stage.

I also feel the gentle Spanish guitar, and see the chicos with their pimped out rides like Scott and I did during that summer. They are laughter and light. Scott was laughter and light. My puppets are laughter and light. Children are laughter and light. My dear friend Lola always says to move away from the dark. Now I know what I must do and where I must go.

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Vatos Locos Forever

When I was a kid I was forced to take a language in school. To us it was torture. We lived in America, that was the attitude. Why the hell would we need to know Spanish unless we were ordering tacos. And it was "Oh say can you see?" Not "Jose can you see?" That was what one of my scholar classmates pointed out. As for French, you know the old joke about the French army marching into battle with their hands up. Then there was Latin, the dead language I wanted to take but it had no AP counterpart. What can I say, I am a dork who likes useless skills and to translate stuff. As for the German language, Nazi much. Granted, it is a negative stereotype but it didn't help that the German teacher was a blatant racist.

Our seventh grade Spanish teacher was actually a neat lady. She had been a foreign exchange student in Spain in high school. When she was in college, she swam for some Division I school and lived in Mexico to train with their swim team for a year. However, I was thirteen and her class was first thing in the morning. Getting us to participate was like pulling teeth, especially since our area was pretty conservative. Most parents were anti-immigrant. Our teacher, who was worldly, pointed out that it was best to learn the language because Latinos would be the biggest minority group soon. We responded that they should just learn English like our ancestors did. She maintained a good attitude, but if I were a Spanish teacher in middle America I would blow my brains out.

High school Spanish, I was more into it. Our Spanish teacher was a smart ass who had a Spaniard husband. She knew we weren't into it, so she was totally awesome. We would begin class with, "Bues dias los animales." Translated, "Good morning, animals." And then we watched this video about some chica and her quinceanera. Of course some dude named Ramon comes to save the day. She said, "Oh well Carmen has a happy ending. But later on she probably went on to get knocked up by some slick Ramon." So politically correct but probably so true. Either way, she made me laugh.

When I got to New York, I realized a lot of people spoke Spanish around me. They chattered it effortlessly on the streets. Most of the people in the stores spoke Spanish as did many of the people who lived in the city in general. Knowing simple Spanish got me far a lot of the time, whereas other people who took French or German were lost as hell. As time went on, I made friends who spoke Spanish. They taught me new words and helped me keep sharp. In my neighborhood salon, my friends are from Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. There is also a Spanish eatery around the corner. They used to get people from all Spanish speaking walks of life. One dude was illegal from Mexico and was talking about walking for weeks because he had no papers. Again, knew no English. Plus my dear friend Chacho Vasquez was Cuban, and he used to fight with his brother Roberto in Spanish. So actually, just by being around people who spoke it my Spanish was better than when I was taking it daily in high school. I would have to say it is the class I easily use daily.

I also don't have a TV and fell in love with Spanish Gangster flicks. That is my vice second to Lifetime these days. A few years ago, I was tired from a long day of work when I discovered Blood In, Blood Out. At the time I was working a puppet job in Queens Village. I casually mentioned this to my coworker, a friend who was Puerto Rican and Italian named Pablo. He was like, "That is the best movie ever." While I don't think it is the best ever, it is pretty good. I have seen it enough to know every line. Same with Mi Vida Loca and Mi Familia. I kind of know every line. It's bad and funny at the same time. And Spanish is better to insult people in than English. It has such flavor. Calling someone a chorizo pig and then listening to him lie about how many rucas he has.

So basically the class I detested taking in high school helps me every day. I learned Spanish from a bunch of hairdressers, a few illegals, and a dead gay drug dealer. Oh and from Spanish Gangster flicks. Politically correct. not so much. LOL. No mi gusta trabajar pero, yo quiero dinero ese.

Translate that puntos.

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Warmth Beneath the Artic

It is literally five degrees in New York City. Freezing. All day it was freezing. I know I have already said that. As a matter of fact my building is an igloo because there is ice covering the front. Oh and I think I saw a polar bear and a penguin walk by. They said, "Screw this. We are moving to Florida."

There has been something refreshing about the cold though. For one, everyone has kind of bonded. For one, we all hate it. We have all been complaining about it. No one likes the fact they have to go out in it to do the most simple of errands. As I walked out to get my coffee I saw store owners salting the sidewalks to fight the impending black ice. Smokers tested their commitment their vice by lighting up in the frigid climate. Ice cycles seemed so comfortable that any wise New York landlord would charge them rent just for living on the ledge.

Yesterday was just depressing. It was a lot of things. The recent death of a hairdresser friend of mine from the neighborhood has been hitting home. Edgardo Rodriguez was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Hell's Kitchen. He styled my hair when the salon downstairs was Blondie's. We talked, we bullshitted. We bonded because Chacho had walked the balls and so did Egardo. We talked about guys and relationships. I had a real friend. I was coming out of a rough time in my life, too. At twenty two, it seemed like I had run a race like John Henry with a locomotive and now I was coming out of it. It was trippy because I only saw him two days earlier. Of course this is the slow time of year for the career. And I am sitting in some uncertainty with work and blah blah blah. So yes, jumping out the window might be an option. Except I might live, break my hip on the ice, and have some interesting explaining to do.

Today I delivered a telegram. It was a chicken. Part of me wanted work to be cancelled because it was freaking cold outside. I went though. Dressed warm with time to kill, I ended up buying two new pairs of earrings. Don't ask me why. I think I just needed something to cheer me up.

I then delivered the telegram. It was a lot of fun. I began with some jokes about being frozen food, hacky I know, and then did my routine. Afterwards, I had cake with everyone where they sang happy birthday again. Some dude broke out an accordion. He joked he began playing in high school with plans to be popular. Anyway, had some of the giant cupcake. The client suggested that I wear my costume home. Anyway, they invited me to drink with them. As a nondrinker I would be no fun. Told the client he had cake on his face. If he calls my boss I was just being polite.

Anyway I wore my chicken costume home. It was warm. Have never done that before and hope to never do it again. As I made my way home I saw a friend texted me. He had a Christmas gift for yours truly. I also got some promising leads on things. As I jumped on the warm train, huddled with the rest of the masses, I realized we were all in the same boat. We were all doing our best, paying our bills, and trying to get through this winter. I also realized that the weather was going to warm up. And perhaps the worst was over.

Now back to my igloo.

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bitch (Meredith Brooks)

I am not one of those girls who always dreamed of her wedding. My dream has been my writing. Heck, I am been writing since I was a little girl. Of course then after that has been my ventriloquism and comedy. Never my wedding. I never went boy crazy. I had friends who would go to the sports practice's of their boyfriends to cheer them on. Usually I had too much to do like go to my part time job, work at the public access station, write my column for the youth section, or a rehearsal of some sort. Let's not forget a performance at a nursing home or daycare center. Basically, there was no man on my mind.

When I was younger I went crazy over a guy. We all do once. I went so crazy that I got drunk, told him how I felt, and threw up. Then I sobered up and realized he wasn't all that. It's true. It's called being nineteen. The worst part is that some women continue down that road. The road of being needy and pathetic. The road that basically gives a boyfriend or husband the unwritten permission to cheat. You are smothering him!

I have dated, was even engaged at one point. Hell I have been in love twice. Still, both times it ended and it was for the best. However, as a woman who speaks out on behalf of other women sometimes I feel persecuted by my own kind. My offense, being strong. Is it my fault I don't want to be a slave to a man, depending on him for every little thing? Is it my fault that I want to have a career and don't want to be tied down with children? Is it my fault that I don't have Barbie Doll dreams?

This past summer I took the helm on several projects. One ultimately fell apart when the man I was working with decided he was going to get on the April does all the work and he gives all the orders program. Anyway, his big excuse was he was getting married. He used this to shirk out of any responsibility he had. Oh and because his now wife wanted an exotic honeymoon beyond their means, he wanted me to pay for everything too. Needless to say after a huge fight we parted ways badly. In the midst of this, as I was ranting to a female friend I told her I didnt care that he was getting married. I had a deadline. Well meaning but not helping, she said, "April, you better cool down. You sound like a bitter, unmarried woman. Actually, you sound like a bitch."

This hurt. So I asked my hairdresser friend Joey who put it best. He said, "If you were a man, we wouldn't be having this discussion. You would be seen as an effective leader. But because you are a woman you are seen as 'bitter' or a 'bitch.'" He was absolutely correct. For doing my job I was the bad guy because I was a woman.

The double standard never ceases to amaze me. When male comedians denigrate their ex-girlfriends they are seen as funny. On the other hand, I am seen as bitter. If a male comedian gets on TV, they are seen as hard workers who paid their dues. Someone always thinks I slept my way there. If I don't fight for what I want I am a doormat. If I fight for what I want I am a fame obsessed wench who will succeed at all costs. And when I am a hoochie, coochie woman I am considered a whore. And when I standup for women I am considered a....let's say it again kids.....BITCH

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

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winning Against January

This past week has been tough. I hate January. It is the winter. Unlike any of the other months of the year it really doesn’t have anything special or do anything. January is the ugly sister of all the months. The plain looking one who didn’t get into the Ivy League and continues to whine. February you have Valentine’s Day. March is St. Patrick’s Day-alcoholic training day. April is usually Easter. May is Memorial Day aka the beginning of summer. June has no holidays but is warm so we let it slide, aka the pretty girl with no brain. July is Independence. August again, no holidays but she is the playboy model of the year, hot and nothing else. September is Labor Day, and although it is back to school it is also the beginning of football. October is Halloween. November Thanksgiving. Oh and December is sparkling, smart, and annoying with Christmas aka The Vassar Girl.

January has always been a rough month for me. Growing up it meant snow days. School always seemed like prison so it was a way to escape. I went sled riding with my brother Wendell and my sister Skipper. Sometimes we watched trashy day time talkshows, there were plenty when I was a kid. We watched them, that is, until our mother turned them off. Just because there was no school didn’t mean there wasn’t any learning. Of course it was always a rough month because I was bullied relentlessly in school as it was. I wasn’t outgoing. I struggled with my weight. Early on I had cystic acne. My mother picked out my clothes. Looking back, it is funny but the cold always made the word stings all the more bitter.

I remember one January in particular was tough. I was eight and in second grade. My teacher was insane. She was later fired for having psych issues after she ranted and began throwing chalk. Anyway, she insisted I was ADHD or had dyslexia. I will admit maybe I have a dash of the two. My mom’s youngest sister is severely dyslexic. However, this bitch wanted to test me over and over. To boot I was sick a bunch. I remember coming back from having strep throat. She gave me a math test and I failed it. I failed most of my math tests on the regular as it was. Anyway I got an F that semester, and my parents threatened to sue the bitch for being so crazy. Oh and she was telling other teachers about my progress. Later that year I was switched to a different second grade class where my grades shot up rapidly. Still I always get sick when I think of school and math. Even to this day, I picture myself as a fat woman who has no one with sixty cats on welfare in housing the government pays for when it gets cold. In this tragic tableau, my cats have their own blankets and I am eating Fluffer Nutter out of the jar with my hand. That was the way those people made me feel. Maybe this is why I am so gentle when I speak and deal with young people, because I know that many that do shouldn’t. But there is a part of me who pictures my imaginary cats with rabies ripping this bitch’s face off. Fuck you, it’s the way I feel.
I also hate January because when I was sixteen I was really struggling with an AP course load in high school. I still remember getting a premature progress report for a class in which I finished with an A plus. My dad remarked that my parents would be lucky if they could get me into some unnamed state school. Of course at this point, my brother was going to Brown. He had played football. I was a reject that wore dark clothes, dark makeup, and wrote poetry. Things changed the following year when I got a role in the musical though. Sure, my parents were concerned. They should have been. My future, however, felt as bleak as the winter landscape. It just reinforced the whole sixty cats, overweight with no future imagine burned in my mind. Needless to say I finished the year in the National Honor Society and later went to NYU. I did alright for myself.

Then of course at nineteen I had earned admission to NYU by some act of God, but the act of God didn’t last cause I was rapidly flunking out. I hated my spoiled classmates who were from prep schools and seemingly had been in therapy since they were children. My weight went up and down like the price of gold. In writing class it was a disaster, despite having talent in that area I was flunking. Sure I was one of the best actors in my high school, if not the best. Now I was being told every acting class how I just didn’t have it. Except for two, most of my acting teachers hated me. Some of it was because I was a young woman. One in particular was rather frightening. She had been the star pupil slated for success. They told her she was going to be one of the greats. Instead, when she left college the rest of the world didn’t get the message, and she found herself working odd jobs like everyone else. I used to go at it with this woman, and for as hard as I worked I never did anything right. Well I got the option to switch out and did. Through the experience, I had upperclassmen guide me. I learned not to be so hard on my peers, too. People weren’t always going to be like me, and our differences would unite us. As for the rest of my college experience, gold. Then I realized no one likes freshmen year.

And then January was when the relationship with the abusive former fiancĂ© was at it’s worst. Partially because of his drunken antics, he destroyed not one but two living situations for me. I still remember I tried dumping him as we were walking down the street. Screaming that he loved me, he attempted to throw himself into traffic. I was sick after this. Rather than run I decided to stay because when he told me things were different, I believed him. Around this time, my friends began to confront me. I was losing a lot of weight very quickly, partially because of the stress of being with a partner who was emotionally and physically abusive. I also was hanging out less, because I didn’t want people to know how bad it had gotten. My friends who were wonderful thought I didn’t love them anymore. In reality, I was pledging allegiance to the bully I called my significant other. I didn’t want them to see the black and blue marks on my arm where he had grabbed me. I didn’t want them to see how he was trying to control my comedy career, and forced me to give up the thing I love most, my puppets. I got out of that relationship by the skin of my teeth. I now have a separate mailing address. But it helped me turn my life around, and I have been using the visibility from national television to speak out against dating violence. Truth, dating is still hard. Trust is next to impossible. The experience was as lonely as the streets on New York on a sub-zero, January night.

Of course then there was the January where the market popped. The telegrams had all but dried. I went from being slated for a TV pilot to handing out fliers on the sidewalk. I told myself it would get better as I got minor frost bite several times over. The girls I worked with were drunken party animals that I despised. Most of the time they didn’t focus and just talked about other’s behind their backs. It didn’t get better. That whole year was just a mess. I had one friend die as a result of a drug overdose, and an acquaintance’s murder make front page news. For the first time I questioned my path and my life. Since that New Year’s Day when I was on the toilet with food poisoning, I have been incredibly superstitious when it comes to a new year. I don’t look forward to it like I did during childhood. I have a set of OCD like rituals. Granted, over time I did change my luck by changing by attitude. Still, I will never forget freezing in the cold outside of a building I had filmed in a few months earlier. Humble pie at it’s worst.These days, because of that shitty experience, I am gun shy when there are signs of success. I know how quickly they can disappear. And that is why I am an egomaniac sometimes. I know how hard they are to hold on to.

This January was just as jarring. Yesterday found my nerves shot after a scathing hate note I received in regards to my videos. When I clicked to block the man I saw KKK icons and such on his page. It was all this junk about white power. The memes that weren’t white power were women being brutally raped and disfigured. Even though I got good news I had nightmares all evening. The reason this hit me so hard is that there was racial violence in my area growing up. After a group of police killed a black man at a traffic stop, tensions were high. A week later a black man wandered the street with a rifle wanting to shoot any white person he saw. The black community apologized and assured us all that he was a sick man, and they were using peaceful protest. Then shortly after the officers were acquitted, a black family moved to that town and they were “burnt out,” iron cross and all. I remember my father being upset, using the daddy lesson moment to tell us that this was not acceptable in any way. Truth is, this made us all look bad. Point is, while it was not Mississippi Burning racial violence is scary. There is a certain element of evil that occurs when the white robes are dawned and the cross is lit. Being bullied as a child and then having an abusive partner as an adult, I don’t like bullying for any reason, hate crimes included.

And then I found out my insurance runs out in September. Oh and I had a huge fight with my mother. Finally, I told her about the KKK hate letter and how this man made my stomach turn. My mom thought it was horrible as did everyone else I told. However my mom informed me he was gum on the bottom of my shoe and to just wipe him off. Someone else informed me that people like that need to wear masks because they are cowards, like any other bully. A writer friend told me to spend less time on the internet. Of course the best part was this young man was Mexican which made it all the more ironic. A black friend of mine, a fellow comedian who lives in the South, put it best. This speaks volumes because he lived close to it. He said, “He sounds like a confused fool.”

Today my mother and I spoke about me exploring more career opportunities with my writing. Some for artistic fulfillment, but also for financial security as I wait for some “yes” or “no’s”. As the temperature dropped and it seemed that everyone’s dreams were coming true, I pictured myself at eight. I was scared I would end up an unloved failure on government assistance with cats. Then at sixteen, the starry eyed outcast. And again at nineteen, crying in the back of a college dorm room. And again at twenty one, needing to leave a toxic partner but frightened for my safety if I did. I owed something to the April’s of January’s past. I owed it to them to wear my big girl pants and not let life get me down.

I began asking questions about insurance and saw there were several options. People reached out to help. I also decided to get out of my house and stop worrying about the career yes’s and no’s. I fought back against the KKK dude the only way I knew how. I got behind the mic and made it into a bit. While it needs some work, it did rather well. Yesterday that twisted clown made me cry, and today he is the butt of my joke. Even though I paid for stage time, I was able to laugh therefore I was able to win. At that moment I realized my second grade teacher probably read in my town paper that I wrote a book and had a successful signing. The acting teachers that hated me are still griping about the careers they don’t have, and I am on television sometimes. The former fiancĂ© lashes out when I am successful, and was a great comedy bit for sometime. I don’t know what is going to pop whether it is my writing, acting, comedy, puppets, singing or whatever else.

However, I know that I can’t let people steal my sunlight. God didn’t take me this far to drop me in the Valley. Sometimes not knowing is the most wonderous thing ever, because what happens next is truly beautiful. Like any cold day, this too shall pass. Take that January.

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Blog

This is day two of the New Year. I should be more excited but I'm not. Instead I am drained and poised for disappointment. It's sort of a weird time of year. Christmas is over, Thank God. There is so much stress leading to the holiday. Family drama is at a maximum. I can't take it. No one can. Of course we had Christmas this year at my parents house in Pittsburgh. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful. But because we had a bunch of people-my dad is the second of seven and my mom the first of six-we spent days cooking , cleaning and decorating tirelessly. Of course I was coming off of a stressful month and a half. The fact this was the first Christmas without my mom's parents was painful. They both passed this year.

Yes, I was on what I lovingly refer to as a work bender. I kind of have some producer duties on a certain project and felt like I was kind of called to save Christmas. I also had some opportunities present themselves with my writing which were cool, as well as my comedy and ventriloquism. I hear about all these things and more in the New Year. I will find out if I sink or swim. This should be exciting but I am shaking in my boots. Actually, I am terrified if sinking. I have worked so hard and there are so many factors.

There is kind of a darkness that descends this time of year. It's because it has no personality. Christmas is over, and Valentines Day, curse it, isn't for another month. It's just cold and dreary. I have been in the sink and swim spot before. It was 2009. I remember things were coming together. I had been on national television three times. I opened for Aretha Franklin's concert. I filmed a pilot. And then it all seemed to stall. The telegrams dried up and I was paying in my pocket change. I ended up working a promo job outside a TV studio I had entered only months before. It was the soggiest, grossest, most humiliating stale piece of humble pie ever. And now I am at this crossroads again. Will I be able to cross or be detained by the boatman?

Since that time the thought of a New Year has frightened me. To top it off I got a horrific letter yesterday. It was hateful and this dude called me a bunch of names. Because he was so vile I went to block him. He had posted a KKK avatar on his page. By the way, he is Spanish which makes this funny and he said I said nasty things about Spanish people. Aside from being alarmed at some of his other pictures showing women being raped and his status updates saying hateful things about black people, I thought his KKK affiliation was ironic. When the guys who wear white robes with the Nazi symbol in the middle speak of "mud people" they mean anyone brown, Latinos included. (Note: These morons have no teeth so if you are a person of color don't take them seriously ever.)  Yes, the KKK doesn't like you if you ain't a white Protestant. His level of hate and ignorance was alarming, especially since he was the most ironic recruit ever. So basically it was okay for be to use the n word, joke about raping women, but I can't make jokes about Latinos and whites. (He used the n word several times on his page. This whole thing was bizzare). Aside from being hateful and ignorant, this was the most ironic recruit ever. But the images he had on his profile of women being assaulted and the jokes under it were disgusting and absolutely creepy. Enough to upset me so I couldn't sleep.

I tried going to sleep and had a nightmare. I dreamed that I was leaving the gym and driving-dream cause I dont drive-and was pulled over. I had a hearing in front of this judge who started out by telling me that she was a fan. And then she went on my facebook, didn't like my status update, and sentenced me to 40 years in jail. The dream was so vivid as my father was trying to petition for my appeal and I was crying. My cellmate beat me up and then I woke up. Thank God. No prison and no evil judge with a beehive hair do.

I did what I do when I always wake up from a bad dream. I looked around, made sure I was okay, and then remembered it was Thursday. Kickboxing. So I went to the gym and kicked some ironic KKK and evil beehive woman ass. To a better New Year.

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