Friday, May 30, 2014

Bless me, Blogger, for I have sinned.

I am so ashamed of myself.

I did something yesterday that I swore I'd never do.  I told myself that it would be a one-time thing, that nobody would have to know about it.  I justified my actions to myself and to those around me, but I knew when I was doing it that it was wrong and now I can't go back and I feel like a terrible person.

I took my son to an audition.

While it feels good to confess, I can't shake the feeling that you are all judging me as harshly as I'm judging myself right now.  Go ahead.  You aren't wrong.

In my defense, I feel like I was kind of tricked into doing it.  I know how that sounds, but hear me out.

I submitted myself for a commercial job on that was asking for "real moms".  Like with most casting notices, I just clicked "submit", picked a photo, and completely forgot about it.  Then on Wednesday, I got an email saying that they'd like to see me for an audition and that if I have a child aged 3-12, I should bring him or her with me if at all possible.

The email didn't say anything about auditioning the child, you see, just that they wanted me to bring my child with me.  I thought it was weird, but then I reasoned that maybe they just wanted to see how we interact with our kids, or--you know what?  I did assume that they were probably casting the kids too, but I just didn't want to admit it to myself.

As luck would have it, in order for me to make it to this audition, I would have had to bring The Kid with me anyway.  Husband is out of town right now and I wouldn't have been able to get to NYC and back in time to pick The Kid up from school.  Since I thought I might regret missing out on the opportunity, I decided to go ahead and take him out of school at noon and bring him with me.  So, that's what I did.

When we showed up at the casting, we were the only ones there.  I signed in, then the casting director took us back to a little white room with a camera and a mark and asked us to stand there.  She asked The Kid his name and his age and he was adorable and perfect (probably because I'd bribed him with the promise of ice cream later on).  She asked me to say my name, smile, turn both directions, show her my hands, and then look at my phone and pretend to text.  I just hopped on Twitter for a few seconds instead.  And that was that.  Easy.  Painless.  That's how they get ya.

Callbacks are on Monday, and I have mixed feelings about whether I'm hoping to receive one or not.  On one hand, I could use the money.  On the other hand, I don't want to take The Kid out of school again.  And I don't want him to become a child actor.  Because a lot of child actors turn into terrible adults.  Is this a slippery slope?

I had to write a note for him today that said, "Please excuse my child from school on the afternoon of 5/29.  He had an audition."  I almost didn't send the note, I was so embarrassed.  I never in my life thought I'd have to write that note.  Oh, the shame!

The bright side to all this is that we shared a delightful day of mother-son bonding in the city.  New York is so beautiful this time of year, and it was the perfect spring day to take it in. We rode the train to the audition but walked back to the ferry, logging almost four miles on the soles of our shoes.  The Kid's legs got tired often, so we had to stop many times--sometimes for cupcakes or chocolate dipped macaroons or iced tea or pizza.  Walking takes a lot of energy.

What ever happens with this job, at least we made a memory.  I hope he looks back at that day and remembers fondly the time we spent together.  And not the potential exploitation of his childhood.  Oh, God, what have I done?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Insomnia and GPS Fails: An Angry Tirade.

I'm a friendly drunk, but the meanest tired person you'll ever meet.  And I'm SO FREAKING TIRED.

I haven't been sleeping well lately.  A busy schedule combined with stress and exciting opportunities on the horizon are all to blame.  Last night, I slept two hours.  TWO HOURS.  I've watched movies longer than that.  I had to get up at 3 AM to leave by 3:45 so I could make my call time of 7:15 in the Catskills.  I know it seems silly to a lot of people to go so far out of my way to do extra work, but this was a fun opportunity that paid well and so it was totally worth it.

The only problem was the sleep.  I took some Zzzzquil at 8, took a shower, and went to bed at 9.  I saw every hour until 1.  The harder I tried to go to sleep, the more vehemently my body rejected the idea.

 "Oh, ho-ho!  Sleep?  Silly girl!  You have to be up in six hours...I mean five...I mean four...I mean three...there's no time for sleep!"

It was terrible.  When sleep finally did come and I peeled my puffy, red, irritated eyes open two hours later, I knew this was going to be a hard day.

It WAS.  Have you ever tried driving for three pre-dawn hours without a good night's sleep?  It's excruciating.  To make matters worse, I've lost my voice due to what I can only assume is a reaction to all the beautiful flowers blooming in my neighborhood right now.  Normally, I keep myself awake by blasting the stereo and singing along at the top of my lungs, but I couldn't find enough Marvin Gaye songs to put that plan into action.  Instead, I drank two Red Bulls and opened the windows periodically.

I would like to thank Benefit Boing industrial strength concealer and an
Instagram filter for making this photo possible.
The job was great fun and I actually ended up working with a very sweet girl whom I'd met on two other occasions, so I'm quite glad I went.

The drive home, though?  The drive home was worse than the drive there.  You see, I had no idea where I was, other than the fact that Dirty Dancing had been set somewhere nearby.  I set my car's GPS to take me home, and she told me to get off on a very crowded exit before correcting herself and being all, "Whoops!  Actually, turn around right after you pay this toll.  Then pay that toll again, going the other way and get back on the road you were already on.  The one that had no traffic."  So, that was 45 minutes and $5 I'll never get back.

I decided to trust Google instead, but wouldn't you know it?  Google's satellites apparently don't work ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN.  This makes no sense to me.  We're closer to the satellites, yet nothing bounces back at me from up there?  I don't get it.

I winged it for a while before finally getting a Google signal again.  While I love Google since it tells me traffic patterns, I do not love that it took me on a trek through the woods and gravel roads, passing five dead deer along the way, to get me home.  There are lots of highways in between the Catskills and my house, and I barely used any of them today.  As an added bonus, Google satellites also don't work in the woods.  Even when they bring you out there themselves.  Just as I was anticipating the next turn instruction, instead I heard, "GPS signal lost".  Oh.  Thanks, Google.  I'll just ask this dead possum how to get home (I saw two of those too).
The sky was pretty today, though.  That was nice.

Eventually, I did get home, but not on the advice of any of my very expensive devices.  I just saw a highway I recognized and took it until everything looked familiar again, even though my phone was about to route me through more traffic lights.  Sometimes, technology is a pain in the ass.

The only good thing about being lost when you're very very very tired is that it's hard to fall asleep when you're busy braking for bunnies and potholes and stoplights.  So, I did make it home safely, after many hours on the road.  When I got home is when I had my mental breakdown.  Just some fits of crying and wanting to throw things and scream and rage.  I took a nap for an hour and woke up even angrier than before.  WHY CAN'T I SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT??? WHY ARE HUSBAND AND THE KID SO FREAKING LOUD???  WHY IS THE STUPID SUN SHINING ON THIS HORRIBLY GORGEOUS DAY????

My point is, I'm tired.  I hate everyone who is not tired right now because I'm so jealous of them I can't see straight.  Or, maybe I'm so tired I can't see straight?  One or the other.  Whatever.  I'm taking some pills and going to sleep.  If it doesn't work this time, expect another angry tirade tomorrow.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Unfocused Free-Spirit.

It's weird how we, as a society, expect everyone to have our lives all figured out by our early twenties. For those of you who've been on one path all your whole life and are content with it, I'm totally jealous, because that is NOT ME.  I've always been a bit of a wanderer.  Some say I'm unfocused, but a friend recently described me as a free-spirit, so I'm going with that from now on.  I'm in the process of writing a book about all the odd jobs I've held, and the variety of weirdness in the work I've done throughout my life surprises even me.

The arts and entertainment industry has beckoned me in many ways throughout the years.  As a teenager, I wanted to be a model, but lacked the self-confidence and proximity to a major US city to make that happen.  Then, I wanted to be an actress, but Hollywood is a tough place for an insecure 20-year-old girl.  I would go on auditions--or even to restaurants--and compare myself to other women my age, knowing that I was always the fattest and ugliest person in the room.  I left L.A. beaten down, even less confident than when I arrived.  Shortly after moving away from Southern California, during one of my "carpe diem!" moods, I answered an ad looking for a female vocalist and was introduced to a dear friend whom I credit with starting my career as a singer/songwriter.  Well, I say career, but mostly I just wrote and recorded my songs in my bedroom.  I wasn't doing it for money, but it was validating when a little came trickling in.  

After a soul-crushing experience with a cocky producer, I decided to give the music business a little break and just be a mom.  About two years in, out of survival mode and in dire need of some sort of artistic outlet, I began my blog, Year31.  I'd always kept a journal and enjoyed writing, so a blog seemed like a good fit for me.  Blogging led to networking with other bloggers, specifically with film bloggers, which got me to thinking about writing screenplays.  I wrote three feature-length screenplays within a year and I was sure that I was going to keep doing that.  I wrote, directed, and starred in a short film.

Husband and I talked about moving back to California (we were in Kansas at this time), but then a dream job offer came in for him and we moved to Philadelphia instead.  I was a little bummed, but I soldiered on, starting a new blog in the process and trying to come up with a new plan of what I wanted to do with my life.

I decided to write a book and, due to a severe head cold on my writing weekend away, I ended up transcribing my old love letters rather than writing anything original.  That's how Dear Rick, Dear Teri  was born.  I got a rash when I published that, thinking of my parents and other family members reading about my young love life and sexual awakening, but I'm glad I did it, because I got a lot of wonderful messages from people who read it.

In the last two years, I've been writing less but I began painting and making collages again.  I'm no DaVinci, but creating art that I can hang on my walls is a great form of therapy for me.  In this digital age, people don't work with their hands enough, if you ask me.

At the beginning of this year, I found a job that led me back into acting.  Although I can't divulge what that job is, I can tell you that it entails creating aliases and pretending to be someone else a few days a week.  I applied to be an extra in a a television pilot that was shooting locally, and I did that for two days before I decided that it was something I'd like to do more.  While extra work requires little acting, I find it enjoyable and it's nice to get out of the house and on a set, so I try to do it two or three times a month.  Meanwhile, I'm about to start an improv class and submitting for other roles here and there, hoping that if I throw a big enough handful of spaghetti at the wall, one of the noodles will stick (I'm not great with analogies, okay??).  I've had some auditions and one great musical opportunity has arisen that may or may not lead to something exciting for me.  I've learned not to get my hopes up too high when it comes to this sort of thing, because 90% of the time it doesn't work out as I'd hoped.  But I still do hope.  A little.  Because hope is good.

I still have two or three unfinished screenplays a few unfinished songs, a novel, and the book about my jobs sitting on my hard drive.  Sometimes, I'll pull one up and work on it for a bit, chipping away when I have a few moments to myself that don't include motherly duties or work duties or wifely duties. Sometimes, I'll get sad that I'm 34 years old with no one job title, and I'll start to feel like my life has less value than other people's lives.  I know that's not true, of course, but that little voice in the back of my head can be mighty convincing when he wants to be.  

Today, though, I'm feeling lucky.  I'm lucky that I have had the opportunity to try so many different things and make so many different forms of art.  I'm lucky that I've been blessed with several artistic talents, even if I've never focused on a single one to nurture.  I don't need to be rich and famous, after all, so I'll just continue being a free-spirit and trying whatever new thing strikes my fancy.  Unfocused?  Let's go with well-rounded.
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