I took Bryan to see Louis CK at the Merriam Theatre here in Philly. I scored us second row seats, not including the few rows of folding chairs in the orchestra pit. I could read the writing on Louis’s water bottle: Aquafina. I could see the burnt mushroom color of his eyes.
I was so excited that I cried tears of joy just seeing him walk onstage. I was shaking, and grinning, and I thought the whole time that I would totally have sex with him, even though he’s paunchy and bald.
No offense to my hairful slim husband.
Louis did an hour and a half of new material and I was heartened by a particular bit that I inappropriately yet typically shared with the kids the following morning. They giggled charitably despite their obvious squirms of discomfort.
I am a monster.
Louis said that his divorce is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. He’s an excellent father because he only sees his kids for half the week. As soon as they split for their mom’s he pours a bottle of whiskey all over himself and sits naked in his own filth until ten minutes before the kids arrive the following week.
What do you think kids? Should mommy and daddy get a divorce?
They weren’t into it. Which means they either love me or they’re total masochists.
I told Bryan we should get a divorce and split the kids, that I’d be mom of the century then. Especially as I’ve been so irritable lately and have fantasies of living alone in a pristine little house, perhaps in southern France. But no dice. He said if we divorce, I’ll have to take the kids for the whole week, every week. So it’s better to stick together. Right now, for instance I get to blog because he’s here, grilling cheese sandwiches for the wee ones. Ka-ching!
And come on. Cut me some slack. It’s January. Bitter cold. Ahead of us lies February. March. A cold, bleak nothingness for miles. And we’re dealing with lice. Again. Oh God grant us mercy.
The second reason I haven’t been blogging more frequently is because I’ve been blogging for other people—ghost blogging. I can’t tell you where. It’s a secret. I wouldn’t be a ghost if I told you. And I’ve been running my writers’ workshop. And offering to barter web copy services for everything from piano lessons to boot camp. And walking the dogs of course.
I’m getting entrepreneurial. I have to. I’m actually paying attention to the budget now. Shiver. I have children. (Miracles.) And on most days, a life I actually want to live in—a huge step forward for a girl who used to yearn to be Madonna.
For far too many years.
Like one of Salome’s seven veils, the veil of imminent accolades saving me has finally slid off my boot-camped body in a cloud of whispered curse words. I cannot rely on an ancient adolescent dream of fame and fortune to save me anymore.
I’m totally serious this time.
Maybe it’s the numerous rejections on my novel, rejections which taught me that the road from written work to paycheck is rocky at best, possibly washed out from the storm at worst. Not that I won’t persevere. But money must be made NOW. And to rely —at this stage of the game—on one single tenuous venture to pay off, is just, excuse the un-PC term, retarded. I hate/love to use that word. I know it’s wrong, but it fits so perfectly. There. That’s how I feel about that.
Also, while vacuuming the house yesterday I thought of certain family members who over the years, not to mince words, treated me like shit from the time I was small until, well, the other day.
This might be like duh to you, but I think my dreams of “making it” were my way of proving to them that I was worth something and that they were wrong about me. Which of course really means that my dreams of making it were ways of proving my worth to myself. Which means that by yearning for something I didn’t have I was constantly undermining what I did have.
And as I was vacuuming I realized how I’ve already made it, illustrated thusly:
I zoomed around the house muttering things like, “Fuck them. They’d never give me the credit anyway, even if I was on the bestseller list. They’d say they felt sorry for me, selling out, having my priorities screwed up…” And, “They don’t even vacuum! They’re fucking slobs. I keep my house clean, man…” And it dawned on me that I loathe these people, despite the blood connection. “Who gives a shit what they think anyway?” I went on. “One of them thinks she’s related to Jesus and the other one thinks Obama is the devil. Just whose respect am I soliciting here? Undiagnosed mental patients, that’s who.” The anger was oozing out of me as dirt hurtled up my Dyson.
The sobering decision to abandon my stranglehold on publishing success—call it my amazing cure from mediocre-itis—was further reaffirmed last night as I spent way too much time reading about my two greatest jealousy triggers, Lena Dunham and Kerry Washington, both of whom share a personal connection with me. It is awards season after all. These two are all over the fucking place. Ugh.
Like I’ve blogged before, Lena attended Saint Ann’s School where I worked. She was in like fourth grade when I was there in my thirties. OUCH. I have yet to watch Girls (I have watched Tiny Furniture) but am enjoying the backlash I see littered all over cyberspace.
Kerry and I spent a summer together as students in Michael Howard Studio‘s summer acting conservatory. We did scenes together, like this improvised one where I embodied the essence of my cat’s infected eye, thus manifesting a heroin-addicted sibling to her I forget what, but she was the strong one. I was the desperate one. Kerry and I ate lunch together. Made fun of the other students. We were tight. She mailed me letters and postcards afterward, invited me to a barbeque at her parents’ house which I blew off thinking, this girl is a third of my age.
She was nineteen and flirty, about to complete her senior year at George Washington University. I was twenty-seven and married. Kerry had gone to school with Gwyneth Paltrow at Spence. She was an only child with incredibly supportive parents. She got an independent film and an agent right out of college and has been rising ever since. She is huge right now. The industry suits her.
The industry for me was more like a bad case of scabies. I grew a rash of low-self-esteem and starved myself, eating nothing but bunless soy burgers and low-fat plain yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter. I was on The Zone. A friend joked that when I turned sideways he couldn’t see me anymore. My values got totally screwed up. I smoked. I drank. I practiced scenes in my acting class wearing nothing but a thong. I made out with unsavory dudes on camera and stripped to barely nothing for numerous independent “films” which I pray you cannot find on the internet. (This is not an invitation for you to try.)
The one time I emailed K-Wash from a computer in midtown where I was temping, after I’d declined her barbeque invitation and upon stumbling across the trailer for Save the Last Dance with that dour-faced blonde—this was when I was still pursuing acting—she responded that she was “too busy to get together” but “hoped that I was still beading jewelry.” She’d bought a necklace of mine during the conservatory. I found her email undermining and condescending.
I felt like a giant asshole for contacting her. I was a giant asshole for contacting her. I would have responded the same way she did. I was a temp. She was a star. We hadn’t talked for years and all of a sudden I see she’s getting famous and I’m like, Yo! What up girlfriend? It’s me! Remember? How’s about we grab a coffee one afternoon and you tell me all about your fame trajectory? I swear I really used the word trajectory in the email. I may as well have thrown a pie in my own face. Dumbass.
The good news joins us from Team Louis CK. He had this other bit in his show about progress. He said that there are two ingredients for progress, improvement, success, what have you. The ingredients are 1) self-hatred and 2) regret. He said that the people who tell you (in a falsetto lisp) It’s all about loving yourself. I have NO regrets… are LOSERS. And it’s only by realizing that you’re a total fucking idiot for things you’ve done that you get to the next level of intelligence. Because you didn’t know what a schmuck you were when you did the stupid thing. You couldn’t have known. But NOW you know. And that makes you smarter, and thus better than you used to be. He’s a guru, man.
So now Kerr-WA’ is posing it up on the red carpet flanked by Samuel L. Jackson and that other guy. He’s a genius. They’re all geniuses. And so generous to work with. And brilliant. How marvelous!
But earth to Elise: Kay-Wah is a decade younger than you and HAS NO CHILDREN. So tomorrow, please regret your idiotic ego-crushing concept of limited success and comparative loseration that has zero to do with you. And remember: this mocha pixie has no one depending on her for (in alphabetical order) acquiring snacks from out-of-reach cabinets, applying band-aids, bathing, boo-boo kissing, bribing, carpooling, censoring YouTube videos, chicken cutting, cooking, de-lousing, educating, feeding, ferrying, guiding, hair-brushing, homework helping, housekeeping, hugging, inking permission slips, jotting lunch-box notes, kelp-flake sprinkling, kite-string detangling, laundering, mashing potatoes, motoring all over creation, nagging, niggling, nudging, operating electronic devices, packing lunches, plucking ticks, punishing unacceptable behavior they learned from me, querying for play-dates, relegating duties that may or may not be executed, reneging on poorly offered promises, resolving conflicts (usually poorly and ineffectively), schlepping, scrubbing oily lunch totes and filthy feet, shoe-tying, toilet wiping, treat-divvying, umbrella holding, untying knots, van driving, watering (like plants, especially at bedtime, with ice cubes in sippy cups with specifically chosen color-coordinated bendy straws), xylophone purchasing, yam-peeling and zig-zagging all over the house searching for lost Bey Blades.
And the same with Lena fucking Dunham, that little potsticker, who’s twelve. God bless them and their success. Poo fucking poo as my mother would say.
I know I am repetitive in these posts, in these egoistic life issues. I guess this is where I come to rant. If you’re following along at home, I apologize. But A) this is the stuff that pours forth from my chapped fingertips and B) progress travels in spirals. For me anyway. It seems I must circle an issue I want to overcome for many dizzying revolutions, studying it from every angle until I’m nauseous, so that I can finally trudge forward a wobbly inch, vomit on my shoes and begin the next circuitous course.
Which is my ass. The final frontier.
Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen. Good night!