Thursday, April 30, 2015

With Your Feet in the Air

My friends, my reader. Last year kicked my ass. My former dance teacher, two of my uncles, and my grandmother all died of cancer. My best-ever-in-my-life-this-is-the-ONE relationship fell apart and together and apart in a most painful way (because I am overly optimistic, and romantic, and stupid, and stubborn. I have only myself to blame, really). My big kid octopussed herself to my leg every day before kindergarten for a couple of months, came out of the terror to triumph, and then abruptly became a shivering mass of anxiety at school again for a few months after that. My little one became terrified of HER school. The girls' dad got arrested, got broke, got broke down cars, got up late for Christmas, refused to see the girls in spite of the court papers, refused to pay child support, all the sordid Jerry Springer shit, etc etc etc etc. My mother revealed some upsetting news to me after an upsetting vacation with her and my dad, and effectively made my workplace a very uncomfortable place. Four of my chickens got eaten by a fox. My tomatoes got blight. My drier broke.

None of this is chronological, sorry, or particularly tragic, truly. Sick people died. A rebound relationship failed. Stupid baby daddy gonna be stupid, etc. Stupid chickens gonna get et. Secondhand drier gonna break. There are worse things. I know.

It was just one of those YEARS, you know.

I have opened Blogger a million times with a blog post on my mind and all that would come to mind is OW FUCK THIS ALL SUCKS WHY WOULD YOU EVEN WRITE ABOUT THIS IT SUCKS AND OTHER PEOPLE'S SUCKAGE IS BORING. And, thus, over a year passed since my last post. Sorry, anyone who has visited here! Hope you enjoyed the old content! No I don't want to learn more about penis enlargement kthanxbai!

In September, between deaths & parenting & relationship dramas, I auditioned for the Nutcracker Burlesque again. Folks, behold your most-certainly-oldest-ever Clara:                                                                                                                                                  
A week or so before auditions, I had a flash, a vision of sorts: me, front and center-stage, audience in front of me cheering, some standing, the cast spread out behind me hooting and hollering. I had my hands over my heart and tears in my eyes and I was exhausted and grateful. It felt very real and I honestly wasn't surprised when I got the news that I would play the lead. I already knew. Fucking weird, right?

And a couple of days after this photo was taken, that exact scene played out for real. I was exhausted, heart-sore and body-sore. Off-stage, life had been overwhelming, sad, and cold. I felt at a distance from my kids, my family, my friends, hopeless about a lot of things. No one that really mattered to me came to see the show, this manifestation of so much effort and time and one of my proudest accomplishments. But still, every night I gave my whole self to that largely anonymous audience. I flirted and joked and and remembered all my choreography and my funny bits hit and my lifts all worked. There I was, at the last show. I had done it. I did my fucking best, and my best was really, actually, great. Seven shows, 15 weeks, hours and hours and hours of work. The audience ALL stood up and cheered. I felt my castmates behind me, cheering and smiling and crying with joy. I had my hands over my heart and tears in my eyes and I was grateful.

Thank you my legs, thank you my babysitter, thank you my castmates, thank you my director. Thank you, cheering audience. Thank you, flexible job that allowed me to spend time with my grandmother in her last week on earth and take naps during performance weeks. Thank you, flu shot, for keeping us mostly well. Thank you, chicken hatchery, for my sweet new flock. Thank you, present moment. Thank you, everything, like a fucking Alanis Morrissette song

Predictably, I had a low period after the show. All of the mourning that I'd held off, all at once. Sweatpants and pizza and ice cream and Netflix and super cranky parenting. I tried to get back into dating, but got the dreads and shut that down before I even started. I mostly stopped exercising. The snow kept piling up and up and up and it was cold and dark and I was just dragging myself along. I took myself to Brooklyn, and the girls to Florida, in an attempt to distract myself from my self-pity party. I had some lovely moments but was in a cloud. I pulled in, trying to reconnect with myself, my girls, my house. And I rested. I needed rest. I never rest. But I couldn't help it, this time.

Really, I'm just barely sort of coming out of it. I don't quite feel like myself yet. Setting my attention back on this blog, on writing in general, is part of my prescription. I'm going to date again (UGH FUCK WHY DO I HAAAAVE TOOOOO), so you'll hear about that. I'm going to work through missing my grandmother, so you'll hear about that. I'm going to fall back in love with my kids and my house and my body, so you'll hear about that. I'm going to get over my fucking self and get out of my own way, so you'll hear about THAT. It's gonna be a self-help party up in this joint.

So! Sorry about the new content! You don't have to keep reading. But I discover, again and again, that I have to keep writing. I hope last year didn't suck for you. But if it did, come here. Tell me all about it. Let's get better together.

xoxo, A


  1. Hooray! I am so happy to see your post and I am so sorry to hear about your very stressful year. But I am looking forward to following along your new adventures.

  2. I love this post with all my heart. Doesn't it feel good to write it down and get it out of the way? You are my hero and I can't wait to see what good things are in store next. Because, hello Clara!!! Come on now, the men of Portland are WAITING. Don't be stingy. xx

  3. Thank you lovely loyal readers. I've missed this space so.

  4. You f-ing rock and always have and I don't know why I decided to see if I still had your blog bookmarked tonight but I am glad I did. I needed to read this. I am not going through anything like what you're going through but I am going through stuff and figuring out and I'm not myself either and it just felt nice to read your beautiful, honest writing once again! Much love- Jen G


    This >>> my own stupid excuse for not sharing what's on my mind. Nope, you're never boring. xo