Thursday, May 22, 2008

That stupid dream

It has something to do with never feeling accepted by a community that I thought I was part of, that I wanted to be a part of because it was all I knew.

It has something to do with a feeling that I was taken advantage of, that I am still taken advantage of. Back in 1997, someone called me a "sucka" because I often agreed to do things that were nowhere near my job description, out of a desire to impress the bosses. She was right, I was a sucka, because all it got me was exploited. That's not an exaggeration, it's the truth. I won't go into detail, but it was a primary reason why I left healthcare and went into corporate work.

I am feeling like a sucka again, because after seven months, and after I made it very clear that if they offered me a job I would take it, my company doesn't have hiring me anywhere on their radar. Granted, I can't honestly say that becoming an HR professional is a path I feel strongly drawn to walk. I'm a massage therapist, and would like to do that instead. Unfortunately G and I need my temp income too badly right now, so I can't afford to not temp. And after working 40 hours a week, I simply don't have anything left to give. So I'm not massaging right now.

The primary reason I started pushing for a real, not-temp job is that I'm bloody sick and tired of NEVER having any paid time off. Ever. If I'm sick, if I go on vacation, if there's a traffic jam and I'm 15 minutes late getting over the Tappan Zee, that's cash out of my paycheck. I recently have lost all tolerance for this. I get benefits from my husband's insurance - it's the fact that I get no paid time off that is pushing me into a crazy zone.

Feeling like a sucka. Feeling exploited. Feeling that I'm not really part of something.

I'm going to a wedding tomorrow night at 6:30 in central Jersey. I have to work in White Plains tomorrow until at least 2pm. I get an early start, but I have to pick up Gardiner at the train station and drive us both to this wedding, and he won't be at the train station until 5:40. Can you even begin to imagine what the traffic is going to be like during rush hour on the first day of Memorial Day Weekend?

I tried a new hair salon tonight. They almost ruined me. I'm surprised I'm not bald. They screwed up my color BAD, and I have the worst, fuzziest blowout I've ever had. They knew they screwed up too, and all their efforts to fix things just made it worse. So now I look like I dunked my head in beet juice and stuck my finger in a light socket. At least I didn't have to pay for everything. But I'm going to a goddamn wedding tomorrow and don't have time to fix this blowout. Thank G-d I'm confident in my looks and know how to work around this. All those years of costume and makeup training come in handy at times like this.

The day after the wedding, G and I are going on vacation to a place I've never been. I'm happy about that, but two days after I get back I have to start rehearsing for a church service I've been asking to sing in. It's a very special service for someone I truly love, and I really want to kick royal ass with this, but she's asked me to sing a song that I sound utterly ridiculous trying to do. The song I picked out is being co-opted by the baritone she asked to sing with me. I'm going to have to try not to stress about this next week or it will ruin my vacation, and when I get back I'm going to have to explain to my dear friend that if I sing this rock power ballad that she's asked for, I'll sound like Julie Andrews singing Welcome to the Jungle. I hope she understands. I hope this works out. I hate not being able to give people what they want.

I haven't been asked to sing anywhere in around two years.

I could rant about my womb being ready to explode and how waiting until July to start trying is making me INSANE but nobody wants to read that and frankly I don't feel like talking any more about it. It has to do with when we'll be able to finally move out of this teeny eeny teeny tiny itsy bitsy one-bedroom and into a slightly less teeny place that we can at least fit a crib into, with our OWN fucking laundry machines that don't gobble our quarters.

So fuck you, costume lady. Keep your fucking brown track suit. Find someone else to play mother earth. I quit. I have a life to live, and you were lucky I even showed up to that pathetic attempt to relive the 1980's. Every reason I sprinted as fast as I could away from Springfield was all around me in that dream. Maybe the point was to remind myself how far I've come.

The other dream, the one about the wedding... I think it was to remind myself that I know when I'm being treated like shit, and I don't ever have to take it again, from anyone. That's a pretty powerful thing.

Hey Morrigan. Let's go shopping for baby furniture this time. And then go to a pub and do some shots, and sing U2 songs in karaoke.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nightmare #2: the Wrong Choice

Last night I had another nightmare.

It was before the wedding, a few weeks before. I broke up with G. I told him that it wasn't that I didn't love him, I just felt that I needed to work things out with Dimarc. G was crushed, but didn't throw a fit. He sadly told me that he didn't think it was the right thing to do, that he didn't want me to do this. It's the only time I ever remember seeing him cry. Eventually he turned away from me and walked off, literally vanishing into darkness.

The next thing I knew, I was re-marrying Dimarc, in a cloud of tulle. Literally, this big cloud of tulle was all around my head - although not over my face. It was a Catholic ceremony - odd since Dimarc is also Jewish! We were being married in a grand cathedral, all yellow marble and a vaulted ceiling so high it didn't seem to exist. We were married by a cardinal, wearing the skullcap and heavily embroidered vestments typical of pre-reformation clergy. (I've been watching The Tudors, so I'm sure that's where that image came from.) I remember the cardinal preparing to give us communion, with the host in his hand, and I distinctly recalling hearing someone incanting in nomini patri, et fili, et spiritu sancti. I don't recall seeing the cardinal's lips move; just hearing a somber man's voice chanting in latin.

The next scene, I was sitting at my parent's dining room table in Illinois, with Dimarc and my Mom and Dad. We were finishing up breakfast. My parents and Dimarc were discussing something - politics, auto maintenance, something that I wasn't actively talking about, but I was listening and following the conversation. I ventured an idea.. Maybe this? Some suggestion. Dimarc guffawed and made a sarcastic comment about how I was clearly an expert in the matter. My mother said I should stay out of it. My dad expressed support for whatever Dimarc had previously been saying. Dimarc looked triumphant, and got up and left the table. I was left alone with my parents. I felt like I'd been slapped in the face.

This was more typical of an interaction with my ancient ex-fiancee Earl. He was an incredibly insecure person who put me down in front of others every chance he got to make himself feel powerful. Somewhere in my brain I mixed memories of Earl with memories of Dimarc, which is incredibly unfair to Dimarc, but that's what my head was doing.

I proceeded to tell my parents that I didn't like being ganged up on. I told them that they were MY PARENTS and I expected them to never take sides against me again, and that I would not tolerate being put down by them or my husband ever again. They were to treat me respectfully or I would leave.

I was shaking with rage. My vision blurred. My mother reached for my hand and said, honey, you can't just leave, you're married. "I left before, and I'll leave again," I stated coldly and quietly. "You just watch me. You know I will." My father looked very sad, and uncomfortable. He fidgeted a bit in his chair, then decided not to say whatever was on his mind and got up from the table. As he was exiting the room, my mother and I looked at each other. Her face was that of a bewildered child, seeing something she had never seen before, something she didn't understand. My fury consumed me and I actually thought I would burst into flames. As tears began to roll down my clenched jaws, the scene dissolved. I was awake.

When I opened my eyes I didn't know where I was. I had to slowly realize I was in a bedroom. How did I get here? A bedroom... Nyack... this is my bedroom... our bedroom. G. I married G. It was a dream. It's not real. That didn't happen.

"HONEY..." I called weakly. G came into the room and leaned over me. I grabbed at him like a drowning person grabs a life preserver. My half-asleep heart fluttered with real fear.

"buh-buh-buh," G said, making goo-goo sounds at me, like one makes to a fussing baby.

"I had 'nuther nightmare..." I groaned. "I dreamed we weren't married and I was married to Earl and it was so awful and you were gone forever and it was so horrible..."

"Really!" G sounded amused as I clamped my hand around his arm and tried to focus my eyes. I held him fast. "It was just a dream," he said. He seemed like he was trying not to laugh at me. I clenched his arm furiously.

"No... don't go..." I don't know if I said this or just mumbled something at him. He leaned down and hugged me again, and then very gently, almost imperceptibly, pulled away, not dislodging my hand, just suggesting that maybe I should let him go to work.

I managed to open my eyes. I looked at him. There he was, in his polo shirt and dress pants, with a bemused smile on his face, his eyes sparkling. "I'll see you in a bit," he said. I let him go, sliding back under the covers for a few more minutes snooze. I did not fall back asleep, and I did not dream again. About 15 minutes later I was up, beginning my day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nightmare on Lawrence Street

I woke up yesterday morning from a nightmare. I dreamed I was in Springfield, Illinois. No wait - it gets worse.

I was asked to be in a show that was a sort of reunion special. It was a reunion for people who had done a lot of children's theater in the 70's and 80's, which of course I had. We all met in the auditorium of the old theatre I grew up in - whichis now closed, has been for years. The entire casts of several kiddie shows I had been in were there, all grown up and representing Springfield at its finest. I was surrounded by women, mostly a little older than me, but a few my age, all with bad perms. The one standing next to me was telling the woman on the other side of her about her home business selling canning jars with puffy gingham-colored tops and sayings on the side like "You're Berry Sweet!" Apparently she raised a grand amount of money for her church, which promptly sent the proceeds to the "Gay-No-More" camp. The woman she was talking to clapped her hands. "Oh, that is so spiritual!" she said.

I turned to my other side to engage a couple of women in conversation, but when I spoke I sounded like Slick and Sam from Q-Bert. I opened my mouth and this incoherent garble of noise comes out. People squinted at me, gave me somewhat frightened, somewhat confused looks, but never said "What?" or asked me to repeat myself. They just turned away from me and went about dishing the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars and complaining to each other about their screwed-up families. I distinctly heard one lady with a blown-straight bleach job and very bright hot pink lipstick complaining about how expensive it was to remodel her kitchen. Apparently she couldn't get the type of wood she wanted. She wanted it because she'd seen it on HGTV.

Oddly, there were very, very few males in the room. 300 people and almost all women. This is somewhat accurate of the Community Theatre Experience, but in Springfield, I always had good male friends in every show I did. In fact, looking back, there was never really a shortage of males... more of a shortage of "leading man" types. Although the male chorus we found for "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" was pretty incredible. Those dancing cowboys in their hats and chaps.... sorry, I digress.

This play we were doing in my nightmare was a very new-agey, expressionistic musical play. The characters were diverse - some people played animals, someone played an angel, someone was listed as "the manager," one was (I swear) "the Virtuous Madam," etc. None of us auditioned - we were simply asked if we would like to participate, yes or no. If we agreed, roles would be assigned by whoever was in charge... Of course I have no idea who that was. I never saw a director or anyone in a position of authority.

I was cast in a bit part: "Earth." I was disappointed at the size of the role, but this was always the case in Springfield - I virtually never got anything but chorus unless they were utterly desperate. This time, however, I loved the concept of playing Earth... There was no character description. Mother Earth? The element of earth? The planet itself? Without a character profile, I felt free to create my own. I did what I always did growing up; take the shitty part I was given and make the most of it. I stole a few shows that way. Besides, I really just wanted to be part of things, have fun, hang with my old pals and make some new ones. I began thinking about my lines and the scenes I was in, creating motivations and characterizations... doing the work of an actor.

Everyone in the show had these amazing costumes, like Dr. Seuss meets La Cage Aux Folles. Someone was in a glittery bodysuit not too dissimilar from the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot. Someone else was in a pterodactyl costume with huge elaborate structured wings that she could flap, easily a 15-foot wingspan. Several people were trees, with brown a-line dresses and green bodices, their arms and faces painted green, with glittery leaves and flowers all over their faces, hair and hands. I hoped I'd get a tree costume.

I was given a sort of brown track suit to wear as a costume, of a fabric somewhere in between burlap and terrycloth. No makeup or hair, no shoes, just "wear whatever you have." This was another typical experience of mine. Not in every show, but in a lot of them. If there were 20 chorus girls, and a trunk full of costume items to make outfits from, the costumers would work very hard on a few of the girls outfits, and sort of throw together the rest of our costumes from whatever was leftover. Costume mistresses used to say to me "Sorry, but we ran out of what the other girls have, and we made yours last." I just always shrugged and accepted it.

This time, I threw a snit-fit. I don't remember the whole of the conversation I had with the costumer, but I do remember the last thing I said before I woke up was "Are you lazy, or incompetent?" When I woke up, I was still arguing with her. I was talking out loud with my head on the pillow: "Why'd you decide to screw ME? Why not her or her or her? I don't have to do this you know!"

Normally I wouldn't call this dream a nightmare, but I woke up feeling so horrible that I could barely focus on getting ready for work, and I was 15 minutes late leaving the house (and of course late for work). Either I've been carrying around a lot more resentment than I realized, or this is all one big mental metaphor.

(Analysis to follow)