No Free Rides

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Been working with No Gray LL Ray since last August.  Five days a week.  Drills and more sparring than I’ve ever done.  It’s been a step up in the quality of my training which means I have been simultaneously more excited and more completely discouraged than I have ever been in a boxing gym.  Some days are like a rebirth as I find my power and practice defensive moves I’ve never been able to do before.  Other days, I feel like the worst sort of weak-willed ninny idiot piece of crap.

And it goes like that:  up and down.  A lot like….well, like life, I suppose – which is also why it means so much to me.  Hanging on during this “breaking-down-rebuilding” period is not easy.  All of the tiny operational existential fears and doubts and inadequacies that I am normally able to keep locked down in an emotional Tupperware in my mind – all that oozy, ugly, fearful shit – all that shit has been bubbling to the surface lately…and in boxing, you either deal with that shit or get handled by it.  (and by “handled” I mean, get PUNCHED in the FACE)

And I am learning the reality of that saying, that in the ring, you fight two people – your opponent and your self.  Your puny, scared, mindfuckeried, self-doubting, excuse-brandishing, cowering, quivering self.  You fight down to your raw nerve endings, and then you keep going.  Failure is not only an option, it is an inevitability, because boxing does not hand out gifts for free.  Everything you have, you earn.  You earn it by drilling, working, sweating.  And maybe most of all, you earn it in those moments when you are failing, and failing, and failing – and everyone can see you failing and it makes you feel like a damn fool but somehow – YOU GET BACK UP AND YOU KEEP GOING.

Here’s to you, friends.  (Friend?  Jen, maybe still out there?)

Here’s to whatever you have in your life that pushes you down, and here’s to your ability to get back up, shake it off, and punch it in the face.

BAM!

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Washed Up (Washed Down, Washed All Around)

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All right, listen up, People of The Internets:

I have been hearing egregious amounts of hoo-hah lately about how certain individuals are feeling “washed up.”  As in:  Finished.  Old news.  Donesies.

And all at the advanced age of 30.  Yes, that’s right.  The ripe old age of THREE-OH.  (bourbon rage sip)

My dears, my dears, my dummy-dumdum DEARS.  Do not buy this hype, this hype-crap, this load of delusion-laden, hyperkinetic donkey dung.  I beg of you.  Do not let our youth-snorting culture flash-bulb your fine mind and fierce heart into believing that your significance as an artist, as a human, as a uniquely functioning collection of cells – that your meaning and value is tied up in some competitive bling-o-rama-puffed-pastry-golden-statuette-NY Times dealing-definition of what it is to be real.

We all get discouraged.  We all want to be heard, received, validated.  But that noise – both the sparkly jingle of approval and the dull thud of dislike (or even the soft brush of indifference) – is a byproduct of the work you have taken upon yourself, just a wind in the trees.  Let it pass through.  It can ruffle your hair, bring you relief from the heat, or blow dust in your eye – but it is still and always just passing through.

And regardless (of necessity, this), REGARDLESS:

You remain.

The work remains.

You are not washed up, finished.

You are just beginning.

The pains you feel are a sign of the path and the work.

Make work.  Make work.  Make work.

The rest is not your business.

 

 

Raw

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Yes, I have questions.  Feeling a bit raw, a bit fleshy and exposed and vulnerable to bacterial growth.  Sorry for the elliptical language – I know I can’t stand it when people do that in their online posts, so I shouldn’t do it to you, all one and half readers of this blog who likely aren’t reading anymore anyway.  But something occurred this past week which made me feel all kinds of weird and I still haven’t figured it all out.  But what I do know is that I feel very raw at the moment, very exposed, and not a little sad about the occasionally sordid nature of the theatre business.

Sigh.

 

Post-Thanksgiving Yoohoo

A week of thanky-panky.  And I am, and I did.  Since we have no family members in striking distance, we hunkered down – or rather, hunkered out to dinner at this lovely spot, tucked into a lovely and quiet little corner of Brooklyn:

I had a squash soup garnished with sage toasted with brown butter and it TOTALLY BLEW MY HEAD OFF it was so good.  The atmosphere was warm and rustic in that bougie-Martha-Stewart-weathered-wood-and-brick kind of way.  Completely drama-free holiday dining.  So lucky.  Truly grateful for this life.

 

Surreal Carousel

And then there was this…

 

 

An image that somehow expresses the strange and downright surreal mix of feelings during and after the storm.  MYH and I are among the lucky folks who live on high ground in Brooklyn, and we rode out the storm in comfort.  Others have not been so lucky, both here in the US and elsewhere – Cuba, Haiti.  The aftermath of Sandy has become an uncomfortable but undeniable confrontation with the function of privilege, and leaves one with complicated feelings all around.  At what point does massive inconvenience become hardship?  Because I think there is a marked contrast in how those of us with money, resources, and supportive families and friends have been able to weather the damage compared to those without the option to move into a luxury hotel (or hotel of any kind) uptown.  Anyway.

I don’t mean to cast self-righteous judgement at people who had a lot harder time of it than I did.  Being without everyday conveniences is no picnic, that’s for sure.  But I cannot help wondering about that line, that line between what we feel entitled to and what is actual necessity, and how the placement of that line in our lives changes who we are, what we are capable of seeing when we look at the world…

 

 

Go-Getter On A Roll or Gerbil On A Wheel?

Some days, I just don’t know, y’all.  I got a lot of people, theatre industry people, important people (I know they’re important, they said so themselves) giving me the business about the business.  Telling me I really need to THIS, and oughtta always THAT.  And I don’t know if I wanna THIS or THAT, cuz sometimes, I feel more like THE OTHER THING.  Sigh.   Scintillating, this.  Not only whinery, but vague whinery.

I’m gonna go eat a banana, see if that rehabilitates my attitude.

 

 

Nightmare

Another one last night.  Second time this week that I have awakened in the wee hours, heart pounding, ready to scream.

Why?  Maybe eating Pinkberry too close to bedtime…?