Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

I am writing you kind of late. You were one of those years that was interesting to say the least. There were times you humiliated me beyond words. Yet those humiliations also made me reach into the stars and beyond, as you not only challenged my comfort zone but made me do things I never dreamed I could do.

There were some extreme disappointments. There were opportunities that fell through my hands like sand on a beach in a lesser Florida Key that I should have had. There were times I was passed over like an obscure government air field for things that should have been mine but there was simply a better landing pad elsewhere. And then those who got the things that should have been mine.....well......maybe it was theirs.

There was love that at times slipped away in various forms. There was the betrayal of a friend break up that still feels like a stab in the gut. There was the mentally ill former partner who's lies and deception still sting like an open wound, yet I am ashamed I still care as he struggles with both addiction and war related PTSD. There were the pharisees who claim to care for us both but smile with a gleam in their eyes as they are attacking two vulnerable people with the deadly sword of gossip and moral superiority. And then there are those who don't understand the dark and lonely road someone like myself is both destined and damned to travel as an activist, advocate, and friend of domestic violence survivors, queer people, and those who are HIV/AIDS positive.

Yet at the same time I really did fly in certain ways. I developed a one woman show that showcased at APAP. Although the woman I showcased for was a different story, I was invited to do a run of my quality product on Theatre Row. The show ran there twice more and both times was a success. The Lady and President Tramp also was nearly sold out at The Duplex and we were invited back there. Each time I polished the show and my work as a ventriloquist and puppeteer. I brainstormed, added a piano player, and learned what it really was to create, produce, and perform my own work. It nearly killed me each time, but like a good addict I always wanted more.

The Lady and President Tramp also made it's first festival. For most of my life, I have felt like I was the proverbial red headed step child as I am rejected for festivals like a desperate girl who wants a prom date. The festival not only taught me a lot, but Solocom was a ton of fun for lack of better phrasing.

I also built a bridge and got over myself. For years I have struggled with myself. It has been the patriarchy's image of what I should be coupled by the throngs of abusive men pervading my life and what was supposed to be my safe space. In the traditional sense, I have never been "beautiful" or "good enough." I shattered that by releasing April Unwrapped. I hope in challenging what it is to be "beautiful" and "good enough" I helped women everywhere. That is my goal. In a world of Miss American pageants and women presidents, we are forced to be one thing or another as society makes us one dimensional creatures. I hope April Unwrapped challenging what it is to be naked and vulnerable challenges all of that.

In that spirit I also released other merchandise, kicking it in the face of the former fiance who told me I was ugly and no one would ever want me. And I hope in doing that, not only did I challenge the stereotype of youth and beauty, but made other women in other places feel good enough as they are.

Most importantly, I invested in myself. I began taking acting class again with an amazing teacher. For years after college, it was my fear to go back as I was always the student that either hit it out of the park or missed. And I have had too many teachers afraid of my creativity and original thinking that many sadly did not embrace my gifts and imagination. Rather, I had several try to stifle it. Sure there were those who encouraged but when society forces you to be one dimensional it's hard to embrace someone who has many dimensions to them.

However, I found this experience to be wonderful. My teacher creates his own work and my classmates are amazing beings full of inspiration. Most importantly, I think I have also grown up and don't take feedback so personally. I also know that as I invest in myself, my accomplishments have not disappeared. I also do not view myself as a pathetic master of the universe, a way I saw myself at 19.

I also was in The Onion Workshop which changed my attitudes not only towards comedy writing, but a certain comedy school. I stopped viewing these students and teachers as part of the problem but people who loved comedy like I did. These were comrades, not people with conflicting interest. In the end, we are all trying to get to the same place........success with our writing packets.

And then there was the leadership position I look in the haunted house as "tent mom." While I was not head puppeteer per se, it became obvious as I was the most skilled as I have operated many different kinds of puppets. This was a pleasure as I mastered the full body puppet Priscilla and kept a tent full of less experienced, enthusiastic and sometimes overwhelmed performers from losing their minds. I was captain and they were my Star Fleet. I know, self-aggrandizing. However, my growth and all the road blocks I encountered made me worthy to rise to this occasion. If this is what adulthood can look like I was all for it. Did I mention our show made The New York Times?

I also applied and decided to go to graduate school. I secured the funding on my own. Antioch's Low Residency MFA program has proven to be wonderful for me. I love my teachers and I love my classmates. Most of all I love the investment in myself. I also love that this is a terminal degree and I can teach at the college level someday. But most of all, I love the fact that my teachers create their own work and carry the message of social justice, and are also not threatened by my need to have a unique, original voice. The next two years are going to be amazing. I know the program has only started but I was so beside myself when this first residency ended.

There are those who support me, and there are those that don't. In the end the only thing that matters is I have myself in my corner and I don't give the devil an audience. The devil is the voice of my doubters, doubters who need to be muffled.

I look forward to a lifetime as a student of the world. On the outside, I might be a pinup who refers to herself as a puppet mother. However, consider me a harbinger of change. I have no husband, but rather am married to the revolution. My puppets are my children as are the people I lead to freedom. With all your challenges, and I used that word quite a bit, you made me grow into the skin I was always meant to have. You are making me into the woman you always wanted me to be.

In 2017, I became APRIL.

So 2018, I am here for you. Bring it on, Sugar Pie!

Support My Journey

No comments:

Post a Comment