Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still Standing (Barely.)

Man oh man, I’ve been trying to write this blog entry for at least three days now. But other things kept getting in the way. Like copious amounts of drinking with the cast of my play Polka Dotted Platypus. I’ve dropped enough hints about my love for tequila that they’ve set me up nicely with Patron shots. And sleep. I have never been so excited about six hours of sleep before (I’ve been averaging five and a half for awhile now.)

So it’s pretty safe to say that, after the 4th of July, this month has been fairly rough. Awful. Would I say awful? It doesn’t look awful.

Here’s a perfect example of how my life goes lately. I got a notification that a audience review on Polka Dotted Platypus posted to the web. So I go open it up, I go open it up, and read this:

This play was just absurd.

I blink, and read it again.

This play was just superb.

It turns out to be a very glowing, complimentary review, that wasn’t from My Mother The Phone Harpy, because she hasn’t seen the play yet. But this audience reviewer has, and not only loved it, but is making arrangements to come see it again. A repeat viewer.

And while I breathe and slowly smile, my superior at work at my dream job walks into the room and tells me that my last day will be Monday.

Okay, okay, that’s a little dramatic.

I mean, yes, that’s exactly how that scene went down, but I knew they weren’t hiring me full time. I learned that little piece of info about two and a half weeks ago, around the same time we had to replace a cast member who sent me long emails designed to make me feel guilty, around the same time a woman passed over for a spot on my theater company’s board also sent an email designed to make me feel bad.

So yeah, this month hasn’t been great.

I’m being rejected by my dream job. In truth, there was nothing I could do. They had already chosen who they wanted to fill this position before I even started temping there. For awhile, it looked like maybe they would hire me if their first choice didn’t work out, but then it did. Second place doesn’t count for much when it comes to employment.

I had a conversation with my friend Winston about it.

Me – This was my dream job. This will be the job that I measure all other future jobs by.

Winston – It’ll be okay.

Me – No, it won’t. It’s like, like, like, what it must be like to have sex with Bradley Cooper. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be measuring every guy against Bradley Cooper.

Winston – (silence)

Me – What?

Winston – You just admitted that girls are secretly measuring guys against other guys in bed.

Me – It’s a metaphor!

Winston – You just admitted that you’ll be judging all guys against Bradley Cooper.

Me – I will never have sex with Bradley Cooper.

Winston – I’ll never be able to go to bed with a girl again. She could be measuring me against Bradley Cooper.

Me – Winston! (Dramatic pause) YOU could be someone’s Bradley Cooper.

Winston – (pause) Okay.

I loved this job so much. A writer, working in the story department of a New Unnamed Movie Studio. Like a bookworm working as a librarian. Like a vampire working at a blood bank. Like a crystal methhead hooking up with a cop who monitors the evidence room and misplaces the keys.

I loved every single detail. I loved that I got out at 6pm, to beat traffic. I loved that my lunch was at 12pm, which surprisingly worked great with my metabolism. I loved that there was so much walking around, delivering scripts. I loved being on a lot again. I loved being surrounded by scripts, scripts, scripts. I didn’t even mind that there wasn’t any overtime, I loved this job so much.

I have an extremely hard time trying to wrap my head around the idea that God has in mind something better than this job for me. This really will be the job I measure all other jobs to.

The only thing that could possibly be better than this job is a spec sale big enough to afford a down payment on my own condo, where I can FINALLY get my Comfy Chair (shout out to Stella and Wella!) and live by myself in a clean kitchen and clean bathroom and no roommates anywhere who don’t ask permission before their girlfriends move back into the house for weeks.

But I don’t see that on the horizon.

And if there’s anything that the past two months of highs and lows has taught me, is that I. Can’t. Trust. Anything.

If I think I can celebrate a good review, I’m smacked with the news that my last day is in less than a week. If I think, yes, the boy and I are talking again, he doesn’t call. If I think my new play is opening, and won’t it be fantastic, then I realize where I’ve come from, and how much hasn’t happened since the last play in 2005.

The opening of Disney’s Peter Pan starts with a narrator, and he says: All this has happened before. And all this will happen again. But tonight it happened in London. On a quiet street in Bloomsbury.

All this has happened before. I had an amazing play in 2005. Critical and commercial success. I was re-reading those journals last week, trying to compare if tech week back then was better or worse than the tech week hell I’m experiencing now, and it was exactly the same. Different factors coming from different places, but exactly the same.

You can certainly look at the circumstances and think I’m on the threshold of a grand adventure that I don’t even see coming. That there’s a huge important lesson I’m about to learn.

And I wish that were true, but I’m pretty sure I know better. Polka Dotted Platapus versus the play four years ago. Still stressed. Still unemployed (soon to be, anyway.) Still single. The only thing that’s different are the words said onstage.

It’s disheartening to me, as it feels like MORE should be different in the four years that have gone by. I appear to be stuck in a rut, when the beginning of the year with Pink Piggy’s film festival was such a surge of YES! THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT! IT’S GOING TO BE FANTASTIC! IT’S GOING TO BE LIFE CHANGING!

False hope is so so uncool.

Maybe God is teaching me to live in the moment. This moment sucks. Thanks, God.

Nah, that was just an obvious joke, it’s not that bad.

I wouldn’t trade the Pink Piggy experiences for anything. I’m not sad or sorry that this play is happening. And yet, it doesn’t appear to be changing my life in ways I would think they would.

So what is it? Is it that you can enjoy these experiences, but don’t look to them for clues about how your future is going to go? Don’t. Trust. Anything. Your film may get into a festival, but don’t get cocky, because you won’t get picked up for distribution. Your play may open, but don’t get cocky, because it will do nothing for your career. You land a dream job, but don’t get cocky, it’s being yanked away from you in two month.

Are you not allowed to plan for the future? That seems dumb. I’ve even heard sermons that it’s not about sitting back and letting God do all the work.

Where’s the balance? That’s the question, always, isn’t it.

If it’s now established that I can’t trust the present circumstances to give me an idea of what I should do about the future, I’m flummoxed about what I AM allowed to do or think or trust. Because the usual obviousness of Jesus loves You. Trust God. Insert Insipid Phrase Here And Immediately Smack Yourself For Taking God’s Love For Granted doesn’t appear to work right now.

Ugh. Blog is already far too long. I shall close with this:

I trust God. Remember how I found my Super Smarty Pants Favorite Bible verse?

2nd Chronicles Ch 20, verse 12 (the last part.):

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

These days, I’m feeling more like saying,

"I don't know what You're doing, but my eyes are on you. But seriously, what are You doing, huh? It makes no sense to me. I know I can’t see the big picture, but can you just send some insight down? Please?”

I trust God. Absolutely. Because I have no other choice, I’d rather throw in with the Guy Who Knows All The Answers Anyway.

But it looks like this: This is from The Lost Boys. Mom is accepting the hand of the Head Vampire, agreeing to become a vampire to save her kids. This is also how I feel, trusting God right now. I trust Him, sure. I'm also wincing my face off as I trust Him, thinking I'm going to get smacked.

(Also, God would probably not have that kind of thumbnail. But still.)

1 comment:

aartilla the fun said...

oh lovey. i'm sorry that your life is so bittersweet right now. i remember how happy you were when you got this job -- but you weren't expecting it. i'm trying to wrap my head around the notion that God's standards of success and joy are not ours... i'm still trying to make sense of things that have happened to my family that are the definition of ABJECT FAILURE in earthly terms, but in spiritual terms, i think God sees them as SUCCESS. i'm not sure how, yet.

i do know that it's always harder if you're bracing -- you know? like you're less likely to get hurt in a car accident if you're all loosey-goosey? or that when i know i'm about to get tickled, it's a lot easier to deal with if i don't tense up? the cool thing is that God is not the vampire... he's all light and no darkness! i know you can't help wincing (believe me, i went through the same thing the past few weeks), but maybe it would easier for Him to work for you if you didn't?

i don't know. i'm just talking out my never-been-fondled-by-bradley-cooper butt.