One thing about being an artist of any kind, is remaining open to the world emotionally. You let the energy channel through your mind. The light comes through, but so does the dark. Experiencing the world in vibrant colors that change and shift with each moment comes with a price. The black.
My storm was on the horizon and I just needed one little thump to push me into a neurotic tailspin.
The Screening of My Pilot:
My comedy pilot was in the second round of a film festival sponsored by a comedy club in Burbank. I created an event for the screening on Facebook, and sent out a reminder or two, but I didn’t push people.
The important note here, is the survival of our pilot in the festival is based on votes. Hypothetically, your friends would vote for your film and it would survive to the next round. The prize would win back our cost of production.
The first night, my partner Lana brought about ten people. I had three; Mitch (the receptionist at Doggie Daycare who dogsits for me), Jeph and Abe.
Backstage, I mumbled, “Obviously no one is really my friend.”
Lana said, “Get it out, get it all out.”
I said, “I am too emotional and post asshole things on Facebook, and no one wants to be my friend!”
Lana, “Feel better.”
I said, “A bit.”
Facebook is one of my worst vices.
For instance, on my Birthday, I asked everyone to do me a favor and defriend me.
Then I read it and say, “This is a bad idea, but the idea is to capture the moment and I have to honor that.”
Then I post it.
It feeds on itself, I post and feel part of a social circle, but it isn’t real. Facebook isn’t friends, its Internet junkies who consume information. And we have all made our own universe of self importance. We don’t have friendships with conversations, and shared moments and shoulders to cry on. We just have an audience, and it feeds the ego . . . but don’t fool yourself, it isn’t life. It isn’t relationships. IT’S BULLSHIT!
Now, nevermind the stupid things I say with regards to my friends, or even my acquaintances. My real friends have the context of my real personality and get it.
There are several professional contacts from my time as an Executive Assistant and beyond. Professors, co-workers, people I would use as reference . . . and I was basically sending them a drunk text ranting and raving about my own personal problems.
Not to mention, the pictures I constantly post of myself. I like documenting my transformation into an actress, but recently, I noticed I have more pictures of myself than I ever had before, and was almost neglecting the world around me. Facebook was nourishing a new, Narcissistic side of myself.
So recently, I have been taking more pictures of everything else, even for this blog.
The question you may ask is, “Why don’t you just stop?” Well, I did. For now, I have.
That doesn’t cure me of the spinning in my mind. The feeling of public humiliation, of everything I have said and since forgotten. The silence from “friends.” The regret for publishing and demonstrating personality flaws.
Again, my real friends weren’t altered. Its everyone else I felt, in front of their computer screens, raising their eyebrow with their cup of coffee. It got into my skull.
Toss in the poor showing to my first screening and my birthday, which was on short notice and without a personal invite (I totally realize how irrational I was being), and you have the clouds of my mental illness overhead.
Fear of rejection —> Fear of Failure —–> Obsession
I was reliving getting fired from my job. My bosses exchanging looks of, “Geez, she is stupid.” How they spoke over me in meetings. How they stared at me when I accidentally pushed a chair into the door frame.
Then, how I would always get the wrong menu item for myself at company lunches. How I misspelled “commensurate” in an email. How they told me I was too loud when I spoke to other people in the lobby.
My voice is loud. (but so were they . . . )
I fucking suck.
The second evening of the screening came, and my phone mysteriously just stopped working. It truly is amazing, I didn’t drop it or expose it to water or heat. I just set it down to charge and it never came on again.
I changed the battery, called the manufacturer, hard reset . . . it was done.
So I couldn’t personally invite anyone . . . again. My phone was shut off the evening of the first screening, as well.
I showed up to the club, and had ONE friend there, Jeph.
Of course. My one friend who has stood by me through thick and thin since 2006.
My mind bent in half and flushed with self-hatred.
Lana and I were called up to present on stage, and I just launched into a monologue:
“Now I could talk about the film a bit and give you a proper introduction, but I think what helps paint the picture is just telling you about my day.
I woke up with intense cramps, but it couldn’t be my period, because that’s not for 4 more days.
My cell phone isn’t working. Its not turning on. Its not charging. Its just flashing. That’s all. Just . . . flashing.
I drive into a meeting at work, and coffee spills all over my lap.
In the meeting, people notice I still have a price tag still attached to these shoes. I tell them, ‘Its because I don’t know if I need to return them for money.’
Then, I go to a mall and use their phone because Virgin Mobile has no physical store locations. Then I wonder if the coffee I spilled on my lap isn’t drying, or if I started my period. In a Target restroom, I realize I did, in fact, start my period.
I get in my car to drive home, and remember that Whitney Houston died yesterday.”
Ok, the crowd is totally silent. And from the stage, I only see silhouettes of people. Lots of people. I am controlling the pacing of this joke, entirely.
I look up, and the light from the projection booth is just enough to see a big smile on whoever it was up there, leaning in and waiting for the next line.
I am ok, so I keep going.
“Normally, I would go home and have a glass of wine, but I don’t have a fridge, nor any running water. Just a hose outside my front door.
Ok, thank you! Enjoy the film and give us your vote!”
I quickly rushed off stage, as the laughter bilged.
Thank God, they were laughing.
My partner stepped up to the microphone. Lana is a beautiful, black woman with freckles and gorgeous brown eyes who is a master at sarcasm. I wish she would act along side me. She said, “You’ve got to feel sorry for a poor white girl.”
I turned my body toward the stage and bent over to laugh.
Our film screened. We didn’t get as many laughs as the first screening, nor did we get enough votes to make it to the next round.
I would like to think I am big about that kind of thing. Cool and witty on my exit, but I was crushed.
I knew the films were, on the whole, snappier than ours. We had great production value, but took a little longer to offer the punchline. We also could not get our cast to show up.
The only one that communicates with me, asked me to “cum to Sundance” with him. Eugh.
Lana said, “I can appreciate how hard that was for you, since I know how much you love Sundance.”
Since I refused him, he ignored my invites to the screening.
I could see Lana was worried about me. I could see Jeph felt badly for me.
The worst part about my mental illness, whatever it is, happens to be how it really hurts the people that care about me. No one wants to see someone they love in anguish, unfortunately its a pre-requisite in being close with me.
Often, I discontinue friendships or relationships, not because I don’t like them, but because I know they can’t endure the bouts of self-loathing and disturbance I go through.
I told Abe, “If I was your mother, I wouldn’t want you to be with a girl like me. If I were you, I wouldn’t want to be with a girl like me.”
Abe, “But would you want to have sex with you?”
Me, “I am a hot mess.”
I isolate myself. I will lock myself in a room with pot and television and dogs to get through it, but ah . . . there is Facebook. It makes it so easy to funnel all that hate back out into the world. Sadly, it doesn’t funnel at all; it spreads but doesn’t grow thinner. That is the worst part; sharing it, thinking about it, talking about it . . . doesn’t make it go away. It just multiplies.
A few of you may be wondering what I was diagnosed with. Since the age of 15, I have been diagnosed with every illness that hit a fad. In the 90s, it was Bi-Polar Disorder, then the early 00s was Borderline Personality Disorder. My parents like to call it “Hypo-mania with bouts of depression.”
I can assure you, after meeting someone who had bi-polar disorder, that is NOT me. Suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder is potentially the worst mental illness I have ever seen.
And Borderline Personality Disorder is . . . just too extreme. I don’t exhibit suddenly changing opinions of people or my identity.
I feel things intensely. Its hard to justify, when that quality alone can make me the best person to hang out with at a party or on a boring afternoon, or the absolute worst person. My emotions are blinding. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish that wasn’t who I am. But it is, and its just a small price tag hanging off the cuff of what I am.
My life experience is greater than most people I know. I am alive, but I struggle against myself and it wears me down until their is almost nothing left of myself.
Someone wrote Lana after the screening:
“i was thinking on the drive home & realized you two were the only women filmmakers tonight AND your film was the ONLY one with a message. you were robbed! i’m definitely talking about this in my gender & sexuality studies class.”
I was working 10 hours at Edible Arrangements on Monday and then on Tuesday (Valentine’s Day) I would be at Edible 7am-Noon and Doggie Daycare 2-10pm.
I didn’t eat. I barely slept. I just worked.
A DJ came on morning radio, Valentine’s Morning and said, “Now what if a man doesn’t have time to get his significant other something on Valentine’s Day.”
Hi, Kelly, you’re on the air, and let me ask this, what are YOU doing for your man on Valentine’s Day?”
Jesus Christ man, don’t you ENJOY doing something for a woman on one romantic day out of the year? I love giving gifts, that is part of the joy. Not what YOU are going to get.
Camille, my little brown lesbian, said, “If you have time to jack off, you have time to call in an order.”
Delivery Driver, “Oh, the customer needs 4 balloons, but none of them should say ‘I Love You’.”
I was, of course, sensitive to this message since lately, I have felt that people expect me to give them something- Dora (endless favors), Men (sexual gratification) Employers (work with no advancement or benefit) and offer me absolutely nothing back.
I really have resolved that the problem with everyone, in this city, in this country, in this world, is we have lost touch with the balance of the universe.
Give & Take.
Several weeks ago, I ran across a Charles Manson interview, randomly. It was recorded in 2011 and it actually made a lot of sense:
The only way you can survive is to take something from the Earth, and give something back.
You don’t need the government to tell you that. You don’t need a leader to tell you that.
God is inside of you, and God’s telling you, ‘Everything you take from the Earth, you’ve got to put something back.’
That’s whats so dirty about the preacher. He’s hiding that.
You were told, if you take 100%, you put 10% back.
If you take 100 apples off the tree, plant 10. Thats not hard. Thats very simple. Thats the key to survival of the Earth.
But now we take 1000 apples and put nothing back. Then we come with a chainsaw, and chainsaw the tree down. And we just take it, take it, take it and we haven’t put anything back. Because the Preacher says, give me that 10%. That 10% goes to the government, goes to the President. Thats whats destroying us. We’re destroying ourselves.
You know, I sit here and I open a bag of cookies and I throw the paper away. And I pick up the sugar, and I throw the paper away. And then I use creamer, and I throw the plastic away. Then I look in the garbage and say, ‘This is our life in there.’
My garbage dump is the world.
And we’re just throwing it away. All of our resources, we are throwing away.
I see the cars driving by, going nowhere. He’s taking a piece of paper to the other side of the yard for nothing. And I see all the stuff we are doing and I say human beings are destroying the whole world.
But I also see God in human beings, and I think human beings are gonna straighten it out or not exist. So which is it?”
Companies are still outsourcing.
STILL! After it has completely eaten our country out from the inside.
We are still burning oil, at any cost. They have raised gas to over $4/gallon, I believe, to influence the election.
I mean, we are riding our own melt here, and now we treat each other like its everything else in our lives, something meant to service us.
How does this person make me FEEL better?
We don’t have relationships anymore. We just collide in moments of masturbatory ego.
“I only read your blog to see what you write about me.”
“We really need to get through the tension, because I am going to need help soon.”
“Just touch my cock.”
All of it, came down on me like a wall of hard water. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. All I could do was think about how nothing will be left of me in the end. Everyone will have their piece of me, and all that will be remain is an old, unwanted body and a sick mind.
The worst part of the revelation is maybe that’s all I am worth.
So, I wrapped Valentine’s gifts. I bowed. I tagged. I refrigerated. And repeat.
I thought, quietly to myself.
When I got to Doggie Daycare, I was sure that one, if not both my exes, would have sent me flowers.
Nothing was there.
I was also expecting my replacement phone.
Also, it was not there.
In the break room, I got teary eyed tracking my package from Virgin Mobile . . . just out of frustration.
Abe emailed me that morning and asked me to call when I could.
When I did, I said, “Flowers are not awaiting me at my place of business.”
He laughed, and said, “What are you doing tonight?”
I said, “Working.”
He said, “I thought maybe we could do something.”
I said, “Sure. You know what would be a great Valentine’s Day present? Going to my place and walking the dogs before I get home. I have been working two days in a row and I feel bad.”
He said, “Wha? Well, I don’t know when I could be there.”
I said, “That’s ok, I can’t be home til 10.”
I asked, “Too much to ask?”
My voice cracked, “Too much to ask! Thanks. Do whatever you want to do today.”
And I hung up.
I waited for flowers from Alan. They never came.
. . .
I drove home, greasy, smelling like dog and pineapple. My clothes were dirty. My face was dirty. My hands were so dry, now they were turning white and cracking.
Pulling up, I saw my house lights on and my dogs outside.
I smiled. Abe came through.
He finished his cigarette, and grinned as he approached me, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
I said, “I thought you weren’t going to come.”
He said, “Why?”
I said, “Cause I hung up on you.”
He said, “Oh . . . yeah. Well, I figured you were just tired.”
I said, “I am . . . and depressed.”
Upon entry of my pathetic abode, I saw the place was cleaned, paper hearts hung from a couple places around the wall and a translucent, rainbow ribbon hung over the sides of my computer monitor.
Abe handed me two cards, one for me and one for my dogs.
I said, “A card for my dogs??? That means a lot. It really does.”
He said, “You know who I learned that from? Grandma. Sometimes I get cards from her cat.”
He pulled out two small heart-shaped boxes and said, “Here, I made you these last night. They are home-made vegan chocolates.”
I said, “You did?”
Abe, “Yeah. It was fun.”
I ate one and said, with chocolate and citrus bursting in my mouth, “These are good.”
Abe, “You like them? Good. I wasn’t sure. I haven’t done that before.”
We sat down.
Me, “I didn’t get you anything because I thought I wouldn’t see you.”
Abe, “Oh. Huh. That’s ok. I took the whole day off work thinking we would.”
Me, “You have to call me and tell me these things in advance.”
He chuckled and put his hand on his waist, hung his head low and slowly nodded.
Abe, “You are looking skinny again. Are you on anything?”
Me, “Like what?”
Abe, “I don’t know.”
Abe, “Well, yeah. Are you?”
I said, “Jesus Christ, I just worked two 10+ hour shifts in a row, I am stressed about money and tired. That’s all. It doesn’t mean I am a junkie.”
He said, “Ok, ok, I was just asking.”
I said, “I was thinking, if I were to die, no one would notice for days. I would just lie here, with Brad curled up in my armpit. Then Maggie would playfully tug at my toe and start eating my entire foot until Esther and Maggie would use my legs as a wishbone. And poor Brad, he would be the only one loyal to me.”
Abe laughed. “That’s funny.”
I said, “Yeah. Real funny. I am going to move back to Washington and take care of my parents until they die. Then I will kill myself.”
He approached me and rubbed shoulder, “You have thought about this a lot. I can tell because its all very articulate and put together.”
Me, “I have been thinking about it all day.”
Abe kissed my cheek, “I would notice.”
Abe instructed me to shower. I went up to Gabby’s to wash and came back down. He was watching “the Ten Commandments.”
He said, “I just want to see the Pharoah die.”
I said, “That reminds me of a Doors song. ‘Land of the Pharoah died.’ What is that?”
In the red pajama pants Sascha gave me for Christmas, and a little t-shirt, I climbed into bed and asked him to rub my back.
Me, “I have to go to Paris.”
Abe said, “Is that where you want to go more than anywhere?”
Me “And Israel. And Tibet. My spirit tour.”
Abe said, “My Grandmother offered to take me on a cruise around the world.”
Me, “That’s nice.”
Abe, “Why Israel?”
Me, “I want to feel the history. Walk the path of Jesus’ crucifixion. Swim in the Dead Sea. Sometimes they show the Shroud of Turin, it travels, I think.”
The Shroud of Turin as defined by Wikipedia is “a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion.” They believe its the shroud Jesus Christ was buried in.
Abe said, “That’s supposed to be some image burned into cloth from light.”
I said, “They have a team of researchers studying it, there is lots of compelling evidence.”
He said, “Like the hands are outstretched like Jesus, so?”
I was fading.
Me, “Not just the position, the plant base smudged around where the crown of thorns is can only be found where Jesus was tortured and crucified. The minerals and stone rubbed off on the cloth, match where they think his tomb was. The injuries in the side and head match. Its compelling. You can even see his eyes and facial hair. They can’t replicate the light used to burn that image.”
Abe said, “That’s interesting. I didn’t know all that matched. That is compelling.”
Me, “The only thing they can’t match is the carbon dating, but its an imperfect science, you know …”
His hands rubbed my back and neck.
Me, “Your hands are always so warm . . .”
Abe said, “Sorry I didn’t get you flowers.”
Half asleep, I said, “Thats ok. You got me the perfect things.”
In my sleep, he said he put a crystal in my hand and asked me to hold on to it. I don’t remember.
He then whispered, “I will come back soon, ok?”
And I said, “Don’t go.”