Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Invisible Girl

Believe it or not....

I was a shy child. Painfully shy, actually. I often cried when someone would ask me my name. I couldn't stand to even be looked at. For my kindergarten graduation ceremony, we were paired up to learn a square dance we then had to perform for our parents. I never missed a beat, but I danced with my partner one-armed. The other one covered my face for the entire number.

I avoided cameras like the plague (still do) and refused to smile if I lost the battle to escape this horrid fate. All my earliest pictures are of me frowning, scowling, or pouting. I spent a lot of time hiding behind my mom's legs hoping that I wouldn't be noticed. I wanted to disappear. I wanted nothing more than to become the invisible girl.

I spoke so seldom throughout school that even my closest friends couldn't recognize my voice without seeing me use it. I had been a late talker, of course, saying nearly nothing until I was about three. My mom used to sing a little song to me called "Little Red Caboose". It was my absolute favorite song, and I would ask her to sing it over and over and over again. She tried repeatedly to get me to sing it myself, but I stubbornly refused. I was lovingly obliged again and again until this one day. My mom went to investigate a strange small sound coming from the bedroom. It was a tiny voice she didn't recognize, and it was singing...

"Little red caboose chug chug chug
Little red caboose
Here comes the train train train train.
Smoke stack on its back back back back
Coming down the track track track track
Little red caboose chug chug chug chug. WOO WOO!

I was outed, yet in spite of much cajoling and encouragement, my mother didn't hear me sing again until I was 14 years old. Not that it didn't happen. It did, but I was the invisible girl. No one listens for an invisible girl. I was okay with this for years. Most of my life, actually, and in all aspects of my life too. Until I suddenly wasn't.

It was bound to happen. I mean, look at what I've dedicated my life to! Over the years, I've performed as a singer, a pianist, a dancer, an actor. If this isn't in your face work, well I don't what is. Being ignored when your life is artistry-- what an epic fail. I even spill my heart out on the big bad scary interwebs from time to time. If a blogger blogs in the woods will anyone read it?

These most recent few years I've explored more of the mentoring side of my abilities-- teaching, directing, nurturing others attempting to coax out the courage and gifts of talented people. Watching people "get it" and become successful artists...I think that was when I started realizing I actually have things to offer, that I know what I'm talking about--I am actually very good at what I do, dang it, and I am enormously tired of being ignored.

Recently, I've tried to step out. I've tried to get a handle on things and stand up for myself. Problem is, I've been that way for way too long. I've trained the world to stand on my face. No one really sees me now, and it's all my fault. I've been too complacent, too accommodating, too self-abasing. I can yell and scream and dance and wave my arms, but you can't see invisible. You won't hear what you don't listen for. You miss what's right in front of you.

Guess what--there's a LOT in front of you. After 35 long years, y'all, I am finally done. Let this be a lesson to you. And a warning. Let your light so shine, peoples. Oh, and you might wanna get out your sunglasses.

One of us is about to blind.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SOS (Save Our Show Sanity)

It's a new theatre season, and once again I am in over my head. Surprised? Of course not. To be fair, I really tried this time. I really really tried. At first I said "no way, never again!" Then I said "maybe I'll think it over if you're real nice!" Then I said "well under certain conditions I might could." Then I just said "fine. Whatever." I know I know, I'm a pushover. Try not to spill the beans.

So here I am at the start of this new season and I have suddenly found myself with the hardest musical score I have ever in my life seen, a 6 foot pianist curled up in the fetal position, and 15-20 different instrumental parts to get covered for a show we haven't even cast yet, but will open late-September. Can you say freaked out? Mama needs a Valium...or a boot to the head...whatever I'm not picky.

How DO I manage to get myself into these things, and how in the WORLD am I going to pull it off? At least I don't have to write the music this time. Nope. It's all there for me, written out for every musician known to man.

Which brings me to my point. If you are an instrumentalist...I NEED YOU! PULLLLLEEEEEASE!!!!!! You a drummer? Grab those sticks! Guitar? Bass guitar? Bring the groove. Reed player of any sort? Brass? Flutey-toot? Lend your lips! People, there's even a banjo and tuba solo. I have parts for an astounding number of instruments, but I can get away with just a few if I can just get SOMEBODY to help me in my hour of need.

Should you even know of anyone who might lend their talent to a jazzy ragtime combo for a nonprofit community production of A Year With Frog and Toad please pass along my contact info or send me theirs. I'd be glad to fill in the blanks (ie. rehearsal schedule, show times, etc.)

Seriously, though. This is a great show with some amazing music. Don't let an opportunity slip by. I complain, but I love it. It brings me joy, and I've witnessed the theatre bug bite many an unsuspecting person and they are happier for it. Come help a sista out, yo. I guarantee it'll be worth your while to do it. You might even learn a thing or two. Who knows? I've barely started this production, and I've learned already. Here's my new mantra. It's been running through my brain for about a week now.

I'm an idiot, and I never learn...
I'm an idiot, and I never learn...
I'm an idiot, and I never learn...

Let's hope it sinks in.

I'm an idiot, and I never learn...
I'm an idiot, and I never learn...
I'm an idiot, and I never learn...
I'm an idiot, and I never learn...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cosmic Thumb 2010

I knew I was in for it today. Sometimes you just know, ya know?

Not sure what clued me in. Maybe it was the 3 measly hours of sleep I managed to get last night. Maybe it was toe that I slammed into the door-jamb, jamming the joint and shattering the nail when I stumbled blearily out of bed. Maybe it was the mangled pizza I found in the carpet behind the futon, on the stairs, and in virtually every corner of every room of my house as I made my way downstairs to cook a breakfast no one would eat. Maybe it was the broken Beatles Rock Band disc. (I hearted you, Beatles Rock Band. I hearted you sooo much.../sob.) I don't know, but this might have been a hint of things to come.

Or it could have been the broken air conditioning in sweltering weather making the downstairs a sauna while the upstairs system tried to compensate by constantly blowing despite the arctic conditions and ensuring an astronomical electric bill next month. Who'd have thunk you could have two such completely different climates in one house?

Perhaps it was the lawn mower that pulled my shoulders to pieces, rubbed blisters on top of more blisters on my thumbs, and strained my back while nearly giving me heatstroke trying to maneuver the beast round and round a yard pitted with mole hills and treacherous tunnels. (Husband-dear went out of town without cutting it. Leaving it for his return would insure the grass-police would pay us a visit and ticket us to death.) Come to think of it, it really could have been the smart-alec kid following me around commenting on each and every missed blade of grass.

It just had to be the poo-filled garden tub. Definitely the poo-filled garden tub a certain bitty boy decided to use as a rather large toilet last night during his bath. (I still can't believe that I forgot it had happened even amidst the chaos of getting 3 wired children settled down for bedtime by myself. How in the world? I mean my TUB.) It was just a lovely mess to try and clean up with my throbbing hands and quivering muscles.

The Cosmic Thumb had a real hey day today. At least until my lovely niece sent the sweetest text allowing me to find my missing phone and cheering me in the process. And my challenge of a boy tried so hard to let me have a small nap but couldn't resist climbing in next to me to cuddle. And my so very helpful daughter played nicely with my bitty boy allowing me 30 whole minutes to play a stupid facebook game. And my precious bitty boy who wrapped his arms around my neck and cooed "Mom" in my ear.

Yep, sometimes you just know.

Monday, May 24, 2010

April Fool's Day Ended My Son

Who came up with April Fool's Day anyhow? How many stupid and annoying pranks do people try (and usually fail) to pull on you on April 1st? Every year someone inevitably tries to get me. Never ever has it worked before. How can you expect to fool someone on the day officially set apart for fooling someone? Like I'm gonna believe anything you say to me until the 2nd. Really.

I'd just gotten off the phone with the latest failed prank attempt (Sorry Mama. I'll believe you've won the lottery when you move Daddy into his own house in the back yard) April Fool's was fresh on my mind, the last thing on my lips when my son came in from the bus with the gravest most worried expression I've seen on him for a while. He immediately gained my attention when he said to me, "Mom, /big sigh I have a note from my teacher she said I have to give it you as soon as I got home." He very slowly pulled out this official document from the school, took a step back and started studying his shoes.

I knew something was up. I knew I wasn't going to like it. I was right. It was the discipline form they send out when children do something horrible at school. The kids in this class have a colored card system. They stay on green if nothing goes awry. They pull them generally one at a time for behavior problems. Pulling a green is basically a small reprimand. Yellow means they lose significant privileges. Pulling a red is quite serious, and generally the principal and sometimes even higher authorities must get involved. The letters are mostly generic. The kid's name is filled in, and the disobedient kid must fill in the blank in their own writing what they did wrong. The form went something like this. "Today, your child, Samuel Purdon pulled a red card for...slapping Sophie in the face (written by Sam).

My heart began to pound. My hands began to sweat. My stomach lurched in my gut. My boy took another step back. I just knew this day would come when he finally showed the world his defiant side, the one nobody believes that angelic face capable of. But never did I expect something so horrible. As I looked him in the eye, I saw very real terror cross his face when he got a look at mine. That child looked at me and saw his death on my face, and believe you me. It was there. He ripped that letter out of my hand as fast as he could shrieking April Fool's April Fool's over and over at me as he ripped the top page off with shaking little hands to show an additional page- a silly little picture they'd taken of him in Groucho glasses with April Fool's written all over it.

It took me hours to shake it. That gut-wrenching feeling and utter bewilderment. I felt so dumb. I was so totally snowed. In my 35 years of life, no one has ever gotten me. Until now. My 6-year boy.

I hate April Fool's Day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

If I die of embarrassment, I'm taking a kid with me!

(Written back in April, but finally edited today. Sorry for the wait.)

So I'm back.

The show is over. It was great.

Life moves on. My life has moved on.

Don't think that the last few months weren't rife with unfortunate events for me (Oh they so were, but I won't go into those) but this show for a .../gasp ...children's cast (I know, right?) had no real score. That means no vocal parts, no accompaniment, no bass, no drums... no playoffs, no Entr' really everything that makes a musical..well...MUSICAL) It also means that all I've done until the wee hours of the morning noon and night is write music, beat I mean teach children, practice the piano, attend rehearsals, and direct a band. This is on top of 2 kid birthdays, recitals, competitions, and life in general. When you're fighting bronchitis and pneumonia on top of all this, other things start to fall through the cracks.

Like blogging.

And housework.

And showering.

And housework.

I'm generally a pretty neat person. I hate for things to be in disarray. I'm actually a somewhat recovered obsessive-compulsive about it. I work really hard to keep things as nice as I can regardless of the 3 rug rats whose goal in life is to undo everything I've done as I do it. Needless to say, after this show I've struggled more than usual to catch back up.

Sigh... Here we go. It's late afternoon, the kids are home from school and I've already had about enough of everything. Still tired. Still sick. Still completely unmotivated to even run a comb through my hair, much less put on a bra. The show is barely over, and the home recovery has been.. .well... let's just say it hasn't. I mean, I haven't done a THING to this place.

On this particular day I found myself sprawled in a chair in the office we have set up in the sitting room in my master-suite bedroom, staring at a facebook game and half-heartedly watching out the window at the myriad neighborhood children that have chosen my driveway (for reasons completely unknown to me) as THE place-to-be. As I lounge around in a most becoming and ladylike fashion (not) and totally stuffing my face on mountains of unhealthy junk food, I hear yet again the front door being thrown open, little feet stomping across the hardwood, tearing through the house, stomping up the stairs, through the TV room, down the hall, across my bedroom, and into the office, mouths going 90 miles a minute at an ear-piercing decibel. I turned in great irritation, crumbs on my face, Cheetos-stained fingers pointing and blasting my children with a stern "no running in the house you know better why are you in my room anyway were you raised in a barn how many times have I told you" kinda lecture going full force.

That's when I noticed the extra kid. The one that didn't belong to me. The nice one (of course) from the house in the corner. She was staring at me like I had a second head. A second head that hasn't been shampooed lately. I took stock of myself and kinda understood the odd look she was sporting, though I was more embarrassed that she'd heard my parental outburst. That was until she noticed the room. Then I was utterly mortified as my eyes were suddenly opened and I finally saw how bad I had let things get. Now, my house gets messy from time to time. Everyone's does. No one is perfect, but this?

There was laundry everywhere. Adam had tipped over my trashcan, destroyed a tissue box and torn up each one into bits. There were wrappers and crumbs from my total slug-fest all over me and all over my desk. There was mail. A couple of glasses, cans, a spoon. Oh the mess. I can't even tell you... /sniff... I'm just too fragile. And here I was... eye-twitching, Cheeto munching, someone-hose-her-down total bag-lady hollering like a banshee sprawled right in the middle of it.

I literally ran them out the door red-cheeked and wishing for the floor to swallow me whole (I should say red-faced. For once, I actually had some clothes on. I guess that's a plus.) I took stock of how many things I had to step over in the hallway as we went. Toys and books and shoes, oh my! Another laundry basket had been overturned in front of the stairs, not to mention the makeshift gate to keep the baby in. (It's an overturned dresser. We were desperate.) I won't tell you what Adam had thrown down the stairs. I just can't bear for anyone else to know. I thought I would absolutely die of shame when I saw the things that were out in the open that this poor child witnessed and then had to step around.

Then I remembered the child of mine that had led her in, past the mess, over the hurtles, deep into the bowels of this house that was my shame.

May she rest in peace.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just one more fix

Those of you who don't blog or tweet or (insert your favorite public method of lettin-it-all-hang-out-on-the-scary-interwebs<---here) on a regular basis don't realize the tremendous power you hold over those of us who do. You, dear reader, are the one in control of this little relationship. Really. No kidding. You are IT, baby! The Real Deal. You DA MAN, muchacho. The Big Cheese. The Head Honcho. The Big Kahuna even."What's this awesoma powa" you ask, and "how can I harness it in my quest to finally TAKE OVER THE WORLD! AH HAHAHA HA!! All shall bow to my..."


As I was saying, we bloggers and tweeps, myspacers, facebookers and texters are all total comment junkies. We say it's for you but let's get real. It ain't. Not really. Nope. We want to know what you think-good or bad. It's the high, man. The buzz, Cuz. We like the twitterpation, natio--I'll stop now. Sorry. We'll write and write and edit and edit until we get it juuuuust right- hit the publish button, and then we wait........

and then go look at it.....

and wonder.....

and wait some more.....

and then look again....

and then we start to stress about it.....

and obsess over it......

and get TICKED at it....

and start to delete it....

and swear it off for EVER this time until....

Finally one of you lurkers gets your nerve up to comment on it. We then breathe a big sigh of relief as all is finally right with our world and go on our merry way. Until the next time.

Here's the point, yo. My last post was not my greatest I'll admit. I debated posting it at all, not knowing whether or not any of you would really get the joke or think it was funny if you did. I thought I had my answer when no one said anything except one quite talented blogger I often read who wanted to tell me how adorable my children are. (They are). Not another peep. Then I got this comment.

Anonymous said...
"I just voted for your blog as best kept secret for the Bloggies this year. All of your other fans should go vote for you too. I love your blog! :-)"

Can I just say wow. And homana homana. And wow.

Since this the motherload of all comments I've ever received was posted on my site, people have flocked to it in droves. So many of you have taken a moment to send me a little note saying you agree with Anonymous and have also gone and voted for me. I can't tell you how honored I am and how much it means to me that y'all like what I write. My goal is always to bring a smile to your faces. Thanks so much for the perma-grin you've etched into mine.

I promise to let you know if I win.