Saturday, October 1, 2016

This Is Growing Up (Blink 182)

I am an adult in some ways, and in some ways I am not. Currently I am 32 year old. I live in a house with 2 dudes. One is a talented painter who is never home. The other is my landlord who has funny stories about NYC back in the day and is obsessed with UFOs. His parents live downstairs, and when they need anything they yell up. My home life is like a sit com.

My life outside of home is like a rambling nomad. I live from gig to gig and can live on pocket change if need be. I am working on managing my money better.......kinda......on Mondays. I am living off the snack food my mom sent me. She also has to call me to make sure I eat sometimes because I do forget. Yeah, real adult.

As for my outside life, my comedy and activism with one Donald J. Tramp has been sending me all over the place. First to Cleveland. Then to Las Vegas. After which I went to Long Island. Then I will be at the debates in Vegas again. Life is exciting.

This past July I went to Cleveland during the RNC and marched with Stand Together Against Trump. (STAT). I arrived at the RNC right from my sister's wedding in Pittsburgh. One stressful event to the next. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous I might get killed.

Truth, as the maid of honor helping to plan her wedding nearly killed me. Everyone kept acting like I should have been jealous or bent out of shape because I'm older. I have had a fiance and 2 boyfriends I talked marriage with. I know full well you kiss a frog and he becomes a price, but alas, that prince becomes a man.

Nonetheless, the wedding weekend was an odd paradox. It was a throwback to my parents' generation, that of the Vietnam War. There was the establishment and the anti-establishment, at the same event. Both well educated. Both able to argue their point.

It was analogous to the time Richard Nixon walked his daughter Pat down the aisle on national television as an example of family values to what he viewed as the disruptive protest generation. My dad is hardly Nixon, but my sister was dressed in white walking down the aisle representing the establishment. Standing next to her on the alter, the one not getting married and heading to the protest after her fun was done, I was a representing the closest thing we had to the protest generation. The blushing bride and the dirty hippie, side by side at the same main event.

Skipper is hardly political, but at the same time she now had purchased a house and had a husband. Boomer had been a Ron Paul delegate years before in 2012. Now they were settling down. I was a rambling wheel, unattached. There would not be much collateral damage if my idyllic values got me killed. My parents would cry. I hadn't much property aside from my puppets or books. Despite the fact I was older......yeah she's the adult.

During the wedding, I steered away from discussing Donald J. Tramp or Cleveland. It was my sister's day. Skipper was decked out in white. If there was going to be drama, I didn't want it to be because a drunken Trump supporter relative and I got into it.

When my dad mentioned it, they wanted to know if I was afraid. I was excited. You see, my sister was marrying Boomer but I was marrying the revolution. For years I had dipped my feet into the activist pool and then ran away. Now I was being pulled back in to stop a man akin to Hitler. The thought of being political scared me at times, that's why I never committed. Now I was fully committing to my destiny of using my gifts for the greater good and I felt complete. So one could say we both got married in a way that weekend.

As for being afraid.......I was afraid when my former fiance's violent temper came my way. I was afraid when he hit me. I was afraid when he tried to choke me. I was afraid when it looked like I was going to be kicked out of college. I was afraid when my drug addict former roommate was stealing from me. I was afraid when I was living off my laundry money because I was so broke. I was afraid when I was stranded in Long Island in the middle of winter. I was afraid when I was stranded late at night on the Jersey Shore and missed the last train. I was afraid the first time I climbed a mountain which was in a rainstorm and slipped. I was afraid when I was handed eviction papers. I was afraid when I had to go to court on my own in front of the judge as the bully boy lawyer taunted me with his straight, male privilege. I was afraid when my former soldier ex boyfriend had a psychotic break when he thought Isis was watching us and Barack Obama was their leader. I was afraid when his sister called me and threatened me after we broke up. I was afraid when my evil landlord tried to burn down my apartment. I was afraid when I tested positive for the virus that gives one cervical cancer. I was also afraid at age 9 when I nearly drowned in the ocean and grabbed my mother's leg. I was afraid when mold and bed bugs overwhelmed my former apartment to the point where my hair was falling out and I couldn't breathe.

Yet each time God appeared and got me through it, and each time there was a rainbow on the other side. If I got shot in Cleveland I had lived through worse. And maybe if I went out saving the world, or at least trying, I could go out saying I did some good. If the hose, the gas, and the dogs were my fate I would gladly go the way of better men and women before me.

My parents were thrilled I was taking this step, but nervous. My dad is a lawyer and has been involved in politics behind the scenes for local candidates in the past. So he was proud when I was carrying on the family political tradition of being a good Democrat.

As for my mom, she was a Second Waver and led a sit in so the female athletes could get letter jackets just like their male counterparts at her Division I University. Apparently, my mom was also the go to person for the administration, and even was able to get the woman athletes special meal times/study halls like their male counterparts had for years and took for granted. Alas, she had hung up her activist stripes long ago as life went on. She was a teacher, wife, mother, and now mother of the bride and mother of a peaceful protester.

I am not saying Skipper twirls her hair, cracks gum, and only wants to be a wife and mother. By all means this is far from the case. In some ways she has done more for feminism than I have. Skipper is an ER doctor and has lectured on genetics in Washington, DC. The sciences are hard pressed for women and Skipper is a trail blazer among many who is helping to correct that problem. Additionally, she is a champion marks woman who more often than not gets a crack shot. Her area of expertise is gun safety and bullet wounds. Heck, she knows as much battlefield history as I do if not more. We are easily Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, respectively.

Unlike myself, Skipper has always been more traditional and dreamed of being a wife and mother. I have never had the pull the way most women have. Eh....whatever.

My brother Wendell has a fellowship at a hospital and is too busy to care about this election. Sometimes he even sleeps in his lab. Politics are the last of his concerns, seeing sunlight his first.

In any event, the RNC will get several blogs of it's own I promise.

Fast forward to last night.  I did a show with Queerball. Yes, it was an all gay comedy show. An all inclusive safe space for LGBTQ people and allies, it was a wonderfully supportive place to display work. When I got the chance to be a part of this effort, I jumped on it.

Backstage, before showtime, I found several of my fellow performers fired up about the election. Some even took the bus to Philadelphia in order to help local citizens register to vote. Others had phone banked or were planning on doing so.  All were anti-Trump and pro-Hillary.  They were all excited to hear not only that I went to Cleveland, but had protested Donald Trump and had an act that mocked the bigot.

Afterwards, remarked that not only had he enjoyed the satirical jab at the Donald, but liked the fact my act had a message. It made me smile to hear that. This also made me realize that just as Queerball founder Timothy Dunn wanted to create a safe space within the NYC comedy community and the UCB, together, we were using our collective talents to make the world a safer space for all marginalized people.

This extended to safe spaces, LGBTQ friendly improv jams, making videos about things that we felt were unjust, protesting with puppets, phone banking, and signing up people to vote. We were pounding the pavement trying to stop tyranny. We were actively embracing the solution, both artistic and political. We were trying to silence Donald Trump, the scary real life ventriloquist puppet of the Republican party, and push down the crumbling infrastructure of a party built on hate.

"I don't want to just sit at the bar and complain about Trump. I don't just want to vote either. I want to do all I can to stop him." One of my comrades said as he expressed his desire to volunteer for the Hillary campaign.

I will close by saying this. Skipper and I could not lead more different lives currently. Yet my parents raised us both to be leaders. Skipper is leading the charge in the front lines of scientific research, and I am leading the charge with Donald J. Tramp on the front lines of history. We are both trying to leave the world better than how we found it.

 Sure, I am wearing Batman leggings and have yet to shower. Eh, maybe I'm doing better than I thought I was........

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