Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random Thoughts of the Day

The thought of India is filling my head. I cant seem to think of anything else. I'm in my history class, and I cant concentrate. I keep thinking about what God is doing in my life, and gaining hope, and then going through the depression pattern and slipping back into doubt that I can do what needs to be done, and doubt that I am talented enough to do art with these women in India. I'm having all sorts of problems with M.S, and they're problems that I have tried to solve, but fail at solving, and I don't really understand what I'm doing wrong to make her unhappy. I get really upset when I cant solve my problems with her, and I know that she senses it too. It's frustrating for both of us, so I don't know what to do. This frustration carries over to the prospect of going to India, and I keep thinking, how the hell am I going to manage and work with people in India when I cant even solve my problems and help, and make someone feel better about herself here? I've just been getting really insecure about it recently, and I've prayed about it. I was finally sent over the edge with M.S. last night, and I am resolved to quit and move out by the end of December. I've already started looking for a place and a new job. A.S. is coming to my house for Christmas because I have to work the whole break at EB. It's really frustrating because I wanted to go to his house, and I wanted my ring, but I don't know what is going to happen. All these things are clouding my vision of India, and what I could do there. I'm just worried that I'm not strong enough in my faith, and that I wont have the words to resolve situations, and that I wont have the artistic ability to influence these ladies.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Direction

I just had coffee with a professor of mine from the theatre department. "Follow your heart," he says. Boy, that statement has never been more wrong. I want to major in theatre. I want a career in theatre. I want to open my own theatre company and give the artistic positions to the homeless to solve social stigmas. But all those plans have been mislaid. What's that saying? "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry." It's not fair. It's not fair, I tell you! Yes, I like psychology, but it isn't what I want to do with my life. I planned this out, so far. I had big ideas of what I was going to do with my life, how I was going to live out God's word. Not going to happen anymore, apparently. He said, "You seem more at peace with yourself." He said, "I'm excited for you. Changes in life are fun." No. Sorry C.H. You're wrong for once. I feel so out of control, and this change is scary! I have no idea what I'm doing, or what direction I'm going in. I've already decided that I'm done blaming M. and A. for this, so I'm not going to say that it's their fault, but I am going to say that the events that are happening are loosely connected to events that have happened regarding them in the past.

Here's the thing about me: I hate when I'm not in control, especially when I'm not in control of my own life. And right now, I have no idea what I want to do after college in the track that I'm studying in. I have to do an internship over the summer if I want to study abroad next year, and I have no idea where to start with that. I just don't know what I'm doing, or where I want to go after this, and I am so not at peace with myself right now. I don't understand how this is all supposed to piece together in the end, and not knowing where I'm headed after this is so difficult. I can't make plans if I don't know where I'm going. At least I have a plan through December. Falloutàold lady jobàinability to complete theatre production assignmentsàinability to complete my theatre majoràchange of life plans. Whoo! Yay for surprise plans! I'm so lost right now, and I just need someone to lead me out of this forest, out of this darkness. I can't see a damn thing in the dim light that barely makes it through the tree growth, and I need a flashlight to continue on the path. Life lesson: plans are fluid. Nothing is ever set in stone. People say that children are more mentally stable if their environment is stable, but how can that be, if plans are never stable? Maybe that's the reason I'm so messed up, because I didn't have a stable upbringing.

I remember going to the grocery store with my mother and bringing my calculator along to make sure that we could buy all the food we needed for the week. My mom had a basic list that we called "staple foods": the foods that you could do anything with if you had them. They were milk, sugar, flour, bread… and something else, but I can't remember what the last one was right now. I think it was meat. But we always got those things first, and mom would tell me how to do the calculations, and add up what we had to see how much our total would be. I remember moving from place to place after my parents divorced. I remember hating my mom for so long, until I had a taste of living with my father.

So, while I'm trying to stabilize my life, I'm listening to John Mayer, relaxing, trying to breathe deep. And while I feel all this anxiousness, and worry that I'm making all the wrong decisions, I feel a small amount of relief at the idea of a decision having been made.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Keeper of the Peace

In observing the parentals over the weekend, I have discovered a few things. The first, my step-mother is as dumb as I made her out to be. The second, Husband and Wife don't communicate well. The third, my father is as nosy as a starving anteater, and the final factoid I learned about my family is that my step-mother has become a brilliant keeper of the peace.

For the sake of sanity, I'm going to stick with the keeper of the peace bit. My step-mother has a six-year-old girl who we will call Sister, for the sake of anonymity and simplicity, and a seven-year-old that we will call Brother for the same reasons. Sister woke up on the wrong side of the generic hotel queen-sized bed this morning, and has had a horrible attitude all morning. She didn't want to eat someplace with the word "onion" in the name, she didn't think they had coloring, she was making all kinds of a fuss, and not cooperating, and when I couldn't hear what she was whining about (me), the step-mother looks at me and says "she's having a 'moment'". This is no excuse. The phrase is "terrible two's", not "terrible two through six's". Whatever. She's in a bad mood. But it took several hours before they even began to discipline her for her behavior.

The example that I'm thinking of though, is a moment that occurred between my father and her. My father, to contrast him to everyone else in this world, is one of those people who are set off on a dime. Guess he passed that onto me. But when we forgot Brother's pillow in the hotel room, the step-mother mentioned it, and he threw the bag down like he was mad. He also asked her earlier this morning why she didn't pack Brother's earplugs, like she was the one responsible for all the packing. This is a completely unfair assumption. Last I checked, everyone was supposed to be responsible for their own items. This doesn't work for Brother and Sister because they are too young to remember everything, but when that kind of thing occurs, generally it helps if your spouse packs one kid's things, and you pack the other kid's things. He just got so worked up, like it was all Step-mother's fault, and she just responded really glibly, like she's used to dealing with shit like this now. Even though she is kind of stupid, I still feel bad for her.

Anyway, we were sitting in this restaurant, and Father hands her the glass that a milkshake for Brother and Sister came in, with only a little left in the bottom. Without thinking, Step-mother hands Sister the glass, and Father says "What are you doing?" with the underlying question of Are you thinking? It made me feel stupid for her, but instead of reacting the way I would have, she sputters for a minute, and then says "What would you like me to do?" I can just hear the eggshells, typical of an abusive relationship, cracking as she walks around him on them. Five or six minutes later, Father is back to talking about the restaurant manager with the white spot of paint on the back of his head (if that's even what it was), and Step-mother is telling me a stupid little anecdote about a woman she works with who was really rude on a test which she somehow meant to relate to Father talking about everything and everyone because he's "a curious person". I swear the man keeps tabs on the whole town so he can gossip with his family and friends about everyone else in his spare time. He's on the damn phone enough. I hate to admit this, but I kind of admire her for deflecting as well as she does. Although, I guess you're trained to be a keeper of the peace the longer you stay in a position like that, and she's had almost ten years' experience.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Parent/Family Weekend! YAY!

So, my father and his wife have decided that they want to show up at Parent/Family weekend. At first, I nixed the idea; told them a lie, promised them Thanksgiving weekend. However, with the prospect of unpaid tuition for next semester looming over my head, I'm worried that I won't have the money that I need to pay for it. On top of that, I'm headed to California for Christmas break, and I need to pay for my third of the gas. So, when my employer from back home called me up to tell me that they wanted me for the holidaze, I told her I would check into what I could do with my employer down here. I found out that the old woman's daughter is planning on coming the two weeks after the old woman's son leaves, so I committed to going home and working for a week and a half after Christmas before school starts up again. I found out that the time frame I gave them wasn't what they were looking/hoping for from me. I basically did the unthinkable. I called my father up, told another lie to get out of my first lie, and invited him to Parent/Family weekend, hoping he would say yes and dreading it at the same time. Well, he called me up yesterday, saying yes we are coming. When I found out he's coming on the day I told him I had plans, I reminded him that I have plans set for that night. My plans consist of Opening Night of the show that is being performed at my school, the gala that follows, and the fucking awesome cast party that follows the gala. Every Opening Night is a welcome break from the hectic aspects of showbiz. Anyway, when I reminded him of my plans, he asked what they were and I, of course, told the edited version of just the Opening Night performance and the gala that follows (the UN-boozy part of the evening, since I'm sure my fake parentals don't endorse underage drinking (I use the term fake applied to my father to establish the fact that my step-dad has been more of a father to me than my biological father, but somehow my biological father seems to crave being rejected and abused in retribution for all the shit he gave me in my late elementary years and teens)). Well, after we hung up, he called back. He called back to ask if I could get him tickets to this performance. Without even knowing what the performance was. Without understanding the content. Let me back up and give you some of my history with this man, his wife, and his spawn. I designed for the show The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and it was my first design job EVER, so I invited them for a night so they could see the work I had done. Let me just say right now that the experience was not only patronizing, but also very embarrassing. We get there and sit down, and my step-mother calls her uncle to come watch with us because 1.) it's a comedy, 2.) it's being performed by a Catholic high school (this earned major props from my father, the devout Catholic who says "God bless you," not only when someone sneezes, but also every single fucking day for a number of reasons), and 3.) J.A. (that's me) "helped with the design". Okay. MAJOR ISSUE. I pointed out that I did not "help" with the design, I did the designing. What they saw onstage was the product of ideas that came out of MY head. They were MY ideas. I did not HELP. I did the designing and someone helped me. So she corrected her speech. This is one of the many reasons that my "parents" don't get me. They don't understand why I'm a theatre major, they don't understand why I do this, or why I want to do this for a living. I want to do this for a living because I believe that I could be damn good at it. And they don't get it. Not one bit. While she was being all kinds of patronizing, my father was schmoozing on every parent in the audience that he could get his claws into, making connections, and asking about the school. The production finally started so it could shut both of them up, and they watched, but half the times that they were supposed to laugh, I felt like there should have been a flashing "Laugh" sign, like they have in the studios for sitcoms, or when a sitcom implements a laugh track to get people to understand that what people are saying are jokes. Or even a fucking claque from Shakespeare's time, the people who sat in the audience and laughed when they were supposed to, or cried when they were supposed to, or cheered when they were supposed to, ect. So, I acted as a miniature claque, laughing when the parts were funny, and they kind of blindly stumbled their laughs along behind me, all the while, not controlling their little hellions, whom we might refer to as children, who they seem to keep quiet and still in church, but can't teach proper theatre etiquette. Their spawn ran around in the back of the auditorium making all sorts of noise and drawing the attention of the other parents there. It was disastrous, and I asked them to please control their children and make them behave, but they wouldn't and kept saying that it was fine, even when I pointed out that little B.A. was sitting right in the middle of one of the actors' entrances. This whole event was very embarrassing, and needless to say, I learned a lesson about where I could and could not take my family. Theatre events fall under the "could not" section. To top it all off, the end of the Victorian era satire takes a funny turn when they find out that Jack's real name is Ernest, like he was saying all along, and now he could marry his love, Gwendolyn, who would only marry a man named Ernest, who also happened to be his cousin when all was found out about his adoption. And through all the hilarity of confusion, my stepmother, who is about as bright as a 4-watt light bulb, could only focus on the fact that Ernest, even though he was raised in a different family, was going to marry his cousin. A fail worthy of a *facepalm*.

Needless to say, when my father asked for tickets, I told him that I can't get free tickets, and that if he wants them, he's going to have to look up on the internet where to reserve them because I don't have a clue, I'm just going to rush house and stand in the back. It's outside so there's really no way of controlling who watches and who doesn't. Anyway, I then explained that he didn't even know what it was about, and then told him the basic plot that Antigone buries her dead brother against a degree that declares death to anyone who does, and is therefore prosecuted when she's caught, and sentenced to death, and then on top of all that, when she is sentenced to death, her betrothed commits suicide, and when the betrothed commits suicide, his mother commits suicide because her son was driven to commit suicide, and it all ends in the despair of the father and king of Thebes, Creon. The fact that they didn't know the plotline for either of these plays just illustrates that they aren't cultured in the slightest, and that they're ignorant. I can't even imagine what my stepmother would say about the all female cast, and the idea of females playing males, and the implications of lesbianism, even though that isn't at all the concept the director had in mind. After I explained this and he still wasn't dissuaded, I explained the real reason I didn't want them to come: they embarrass me. I blamed it on the kids, and not their ignorance, but those brats are seven and eight. They should know better. They've been to the movies. I told him that I didn't want him to come unless he could control them, because it was outside with plenty of room to run around, but that wasn't acceptable behavior for a theatre production. And not only that, but I can guarantee that those kids would end up running around because they would get bored with the long winded speeches and the non-existent movement. He asked what that meant, and I told him that the actors stood around and spoke in translated ancient Greek. He was very obviously pissed off, but I couldn't say anything but what I had already said because he wouldn't have let it go, and I need him to not fight me when it comes to the court order of him paying my tuition. So he said "we'll see" and then we wished each other good bye. But yes, he's coming, and after he comes and goes, I'm going to explain to him that I saw him recently and that I have the opportunity to make money for school over Thanksgiving. I already know it won't go over well, so I plan to be ready for the fight that will ensue, because by then, he will see straight through my two lies for dissuading them and then inviting them, just to get out of the Thanksgiving that I already promised for several reasons. The first being that I can't stand them for more than a day at a time, and if I went for Thanksgiving, I would be subjecting myself to five days of torture, as opposed to two and a half, if that. Genius plan for getting my dad to hate me that I came up with several years ago isn't working so far, so I have to keep coming up with new ideas, and I suppose this is just the latest.