During my recent work binge, I was bit by the bug of insomnia. To make a long story extremely short, I went to the facebook page of a girl I went to high school with. In a tripped out too tired to sleep plus the fact she appeared in my feed led me to check up on her life. I will call her Jenny. Back in the day Jenny was a pretty kid. She was a cheerleader, and each year was nominated for Homecoming Court. But while a pretty kid, Jenny also had a good heart. Not all pretty kids do. Jenny and I were never besties or even friends per se, but we had some of the same friends. If we saw each other on the street today, odds are we would say hello and catch up for a minute maybe.
Unlike Jenny, I was popular for my achievements, not for being a pretty kid. However, because my brother Wendell played football, I was friends with the football players because I knew their families. Plus some were second or third generation cheerleaders, so sometimes I knew their families as well. So yeah, I was friends with the pretty kids.
Anyway, I got the five second online update on Jenny’s life. She was doing well for herself, a little interior design business. I remember her being a good artist. And I also saw she had gotten married. Unlike some pretty kids who’s best look days are in high school, Jenny retained her beauty. Some of it might be genetics, but a lot of it is because she was always a nice person. Pretty kids who are ugly on the inside don’t usually age well. The newly wed and her handsome husband are expecting a baby. It’s trippy, because it was only yesterday I was headed to NYU. I had just finished high school. Time passes so quickly.
These days I am just a Princess Pan chasing a pipe dream. It’s odd how the rest of the world has moved on to adulthood in ways I havent. Yeah, I am on my own doing things that would scare most people. Sure, things have started to happen in my career. But I sacrificed most of my 20s and work night and day. And as for husband and children? Who are they and what is that?
Morbid curiosity mixed with sleeplessness I googled to see if they had a wedding announcement. I know, not the least bit creepy, right? Part of me justified it as I was too tired to sleep. The other part of me felt like I was hiding in her bushes outside her house. I still did it anyway. Well I came across Jenny’s wedding website. Her husband, Preston, is a former Marine turned firefighter. They met on a boating trip, where during a strange series of events she fell overboard. One thing about the city of Pittsburgh, is that our three rivers have currents. And if you get caught in them, you could drown. Jenny got caught in a current, and Preston dove overboard. He was able to swim out against the current, put her on his back and got her to shore. The rest is history.
The cynic in me wanted to believe it was a lie or fabricated. But he’s pretty built so there is probably truth there.
I was happy for the both of them. They looked like a nice couple. Good people deserve good things. However, I felt a pang of something in my gut. It’s not jealousy. There are times Jenny probably wishes she could live my life. Note: I make it sound really good on facebook. Not to mention I am doing everything I want to do. It was more like Envy Light, that is, if envy were a soft drink. It was a gentle reminder that when I declared my intentions of chasing rainbows and Skittles and declared my career my first love, perhaps there were some things I wasn’t going to get. And it also occurred to me that in my pursuit of fame and fortune onstage, on screen, and in print I didn’t have much outside of myself. Yes, I live that so called selfish kind of life. It’s a real conclusion when you come to it, and one that can not be labeled in simply one adjective.
I know the life I lead is not equipped for a husband and children. Most guys don’t understand when they come second. This is why show biz marriages always end in disaster. Children always want to come first. They can’t when there are lines to be learned and deadlines to be met. In a lot of ways, show business is not designed for people who want a family. You end up getting married several times and having a bunch of kids who hate you. Or you die alone with your stories and posters with no one at your side. There are the rare few like Jeff Foxworthy who find the needle in the stack of needles, a spouse that supports them unconditionally. Or people elect to have a family, but either do community theatre or teach thus sacrificing the dream. Some are happy, but there are those who always wonder, “What if….”
About a year ago, I was involved with a project where the guy I was working with was getting married. The wedding came first, and the project came second. His bride to be, a woman who was pushing 35 but dreamed of her wedding day since she had been 5, wanted the most expensive wedding ever and wanted to go to Hawaii. That meant he wanted everything for free which doesn’t happen in New York. Needless to say, because he was on the wedding channel, I was stuck doing all the work and everything exploded. I explained to him he had to make a decision. What was more important, the wedding or his career. Another wedding might come along, and this might merely be his starter marriage. However, the way my business is structured, you might not get this chance again. I wasn’t saying scrap the wedding, I was saying prioritize your time. Either way, it ended in disaster.
As I was cracking the whip, people around me made me feel like a piece of shit for making him prioritize. I was called a mean, bitter woman by several people I felt were my friends. If I were a man demanding the same things, I would have been an effective leader. I felt for Oprah when she was ridiculed by women for being honest, if she had chosen to have kids they would have hated her. I felt badly for the character of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, because if she were a man she would have been a corporate genius. I felt for both Margot Channing and Bette Davis, women who sacrificed everything for their careers only to be vilified by those around them for not fulfilling a traditional gender role. Then again, if we got Hillary Clinton in here she would know all about that, right?
Either way, I have the better career and my ex business partner gets regular blow jobs. Who is more successful? Depends on who you ask.
But then that leaves me with the aching question in my stomach as well as that of every Feminist. Can women have it all? The Second Wave promised that women could. But as time go on, many women drop the career or compromise it to raise their children. They don’t want to be away for those developmental milestones. Could you blame them? Or when they try to have the heavy duty career they are away from their children, putting them in the arms of a possible sicko who could hurt them and feel stressed and guilty. Or they try to do both but look and feel tired. Then women wonder if Feminism sold them a crock of shit and if it is worth it to have both?
It sounds promising on paper, but then again, so does Communism.
Some of my reluctance at coupling is aimed at the fact I work with mostly dudes. In the comedy world, the make up is mostly male. Some men don’t welcome the idea of female comedians and don’t find them funny. These mouth breathers can be exhausting, especially when they inform you that the only reason you get certain things is because you are a “cute woman.” I also work as a sports talking head. Most of the guys I work with are alright. A few weeks ago, two let me know they didn’t appreciate a woman encroaching on their sacred territory in not so many words. Needless to say, sometimes when I close my door I prefer not to be greeted by the tyrannical, oppressive patriarchy. I don’t want to be chained to the stove, being some man’s stretch marked sex slave fuck you very much.
This past week I did a puppet film with people affiliated with the Harvard Documentary Lab. My child costar was especially impressive, knowing his lines and needing very little coaching. I wish more adult actors were like him. Additionally, the executive producer’s son was a little man. He was funny, bright, and quickly tutored me in the latest video game. The executive producer explained as a single mother she and her son were a package deal. I found myself taken with both children, and hoped if I were ever in a position to have kids they would be like that. Then I realized why people did have children, they were a diversion. They impressed you without realizing it, and made you laugh when you took things too seriously.
Our director lives in the Mississippi Delta with her wife and two children. Yes, she is part of a biracial lesbian family that lives in one of the poorest, most underserved parts of the country. I remember she glowed when she spoke about her wife and kids. No matter what the nature of your family unit, people get a special spark when they talk about their significant other or children. Single people don’t have that. Our director has it all. She has the beautiful family, a career as a lawyer, a career as a filmmaker, and she is happy. Maybe Feminism didn’t lie. So there is hope.
Still, I know I am unlucky in love. I broke enough mirrors to be unlucky for five lifetimes. Maybe I never got the Captain of the Football Team or the Class President, but I had their dad or dirty uncle pursuing me when I was either working as a lifeguard or bagging groceries at the supermarket. Prince Charming doesn’t stop by my window. His married deadbeat brother with a heroin addiction does. Nothing says Monday morning like a black sedan following you slowly down the street knowing you could possibly end up on an episode of Snapped. So yeah, with that shit luck it was easy to say “Bye Bye Love.”
I have no time to focus on love anyway. I have a big event at Don’t Tell Mama on July 3 (Plug). I have growth at Ranter, which has been an awesome opportunity. I have a music video being released. So is my DVD. My brain is leaking. Better pick up the pieces.
Still, there is a part of me that wants to be drowing in Pittsburgh’s choppy rivers, and when all things look down I want to be rescued by an ex-Marine turned fireman. I want him to carry me away into the sunset. Shit, I hate it when I turn into a woman. It really sucks when that happens.
Or maybe I should stay the fuck off of facebook when I can’t sleep.