Our Circus; Our Monkeys

Remember that saying that was everywhere a while back:  “Not my circus; not my monkeys”?  I was reminded of it by a t-shirt I saw today.  Well, guess what?  Since the 2016 election, that’s a privilege we don’t have.  It is OUR circus, and sadly, they are OUR monkeys. 

I’m not going to list all the reasons you should be paying attention; that list exists thanks to Amy Siskind.  I’m not going to try to appeal to your better nature; if we’re honest, we can all admit that in the end, most of what do is driven by self-interest.

And your self-interest is at risk, or may already have been damaged.  If you believed the lies that 45 spouted during the campaign, I’m sorry for you.  But if you still believe in him, open your eyes and look at what is actually happening and listen to the lies he is telling.  Perhaps you don’t care about people of color or LGBTQ people or asylum seekers, so look at how what is happening is affecting you.  If you are genuinely better off, congratulations on being part of the one percent.

I’m not talking about issues outside your day-to-day life.  Maybe you are (wrongly) pleased that he scotched the Iran deal.  Maybe you (wrongly) think the way in which he moved our Embassy in Israel was beautifully handled, and even if it wasn’t, it was “time”.  Maybe you (wrongly) believe that asylum seekers should be jailed for a misdemeanor. But I’m talking about YOUR LIFE.  Are there feuds in your family?  Have you lost friends?  How’s that tax “cut” doing for you?  Is anyone you love at risk due to the changes in the ACA?

None of us can deny that no matter what you believe on the issues, this country is divided and becoming more so everyday.  If you think it’s not deliberate on the part of this administration, you’re not paying attention.  And the impact of that will, in fact, be your circus.  Look out for your monkeys.  I am.  I will be.

 

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Thirty Years Later (Yikes!)

I just spent a weekend at Amherst College, celebrating thirty years since my graduation.  For much of my time at Amherst, I felt like an outsider, and at the first few reunions I attended, I still felt that way.  But I went, and mostly I had fun.  Often I missed references to events, to shared memories I did not have, to people I did not know, but there were always some good times.

I spent much of my four years at Amherst in this building, the Kirby Memorial Theater.

I thought twice about going to Reunion this year.  After all, I am currently unemployed, and I don’t know what will happen next.  My life is not where I thought it would be at this time, and certainly not where I thought it would be last fall when I volunteered to be on the Reunion Committee.

Some of my classmates have already written about what Reunion meant to them, whether in long or short form, or in beautiful blog posts.  I’ve spent today reading those, laughing, crying, and writing this post.

In past conversations with classmates and others, I’ve noted what, for me, made my Amherst education so special, and what has kept those friends in my life.  Amherst, even for those of us who felt less included, gave us a common language, even a style, in which to discuss the hard things, both personal and not.  Though for me, as I chose Amherst without knowing much about it (though my blog post on why seems to have disappeared from the College’s website), I still have moments when I wonder if I made the right choice.

And my takeaway after thirty years?  I did the right thing.  I will continue to jump in with both feet.  I will take the risk.  And I will keep going back.

 

(P.S.  In case you’re interested, here’s a post about Amherst I wrote just before my 25th Reunion.  I’m linking here as the sit-in mentioned came up during this past weekend.)

#SundayMotivation

They made their AFL debut the year I was born. Just sayin’.

Well, here I am.  On my couch on Super Bowl Sunday, uninterested in the game (well, hell, no Dolphins), having just been diagnosed with shingles, and unemployed.

So what’s next, you ask?  This week, I’ve managed to ensure I’m as busy as I’ve ever been, and it’s all for me.  There’s that.  And there’s time to think.

When you leave work you loved, that helped shape the person you are, that (you hope) made a difference for a lot of people and your employer, there is a lot of thinking to do.

 

The obvious, easy question is “what job next?”.  But I think the more important questions are “why that job?  what kind of work (not just a job) will challenge me, fulfill me, and oh, yes, pay me properly?  where are my “gifts” most useful and appreciated?  where will I find my future?”

Of course, these are also the hard questions.  But I’ve never been lazy, so I am mulling all this.  And it’s actually quite exciting.  Even if you are happy with your work, I highly recommend it.

After all, you never know.

 

Evening update:  Everyone who reads this seems to be focusing on the shingles.  Well, yes, they suck, but life happens.  It’s the rest of the post I hoped you would like!

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

It’s almost February.  And then, I will be unemployed.  Why doesn’t actually matter… as I said on social media when sharing my news there:

I am sad about leaving my work of the last 23.5 years, of course, but I am excited to move forward.

I made this choice, and I own it, gladly, even knowing I will soon be unemployed for the first time since 1990 or so, but “forward” and “choice” and “gladly” are the key words here.

Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses.  There is worry and, yes, fear, involved in this step.   And there are so many details!  I’ve seen all my doctors and filled my prescriptions; I’ve found and purchased an appropriate health plan going forward (NYS makes it really easy, thank goodness); I’m taking full advantage of various services of The Actors’ Fund (my favorite helping hand for entertainment professionals);  and I have made plans.  Lots and lots and lots of plans – some involving my job search, and some personal goals for which I will finally have the time.  Yay for de-cluttering!

It’s surprising to me that many of my friends are (kindly and generously) calling me “brave”, because really what I feel is reckless.  Really, really, really reckless.  But I’ve written before about my decision-making process (well, more than once, but that’s a good one), so maybe you understand.   And already there have been both ups and downs – help from the most unexpected sources, and a surprising lack of anything from some “expected” sources.   It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure.

All that said, it’s time.  Time for me to take this step.  Time for me to be about me.

And then we’ll see.

 

 

Today We Marched

Yes, again.  This year, I marched in New York, but I didn’t actually march.  I joined others in forming a wall.  What, you say?

Well… we believe:

  • In standing in solidarity against any actions that threaten civil and human rights.
  • That xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and bigotry have no place in the White House or in society.
  • That Black Lives Matter.
  • That people with disabilities’ rights are human rights.
  • That LGBTQ+ peoples’ rights are human rights.
  • That indigenous peoples’ rights are human rights.
  • That immigrants’ rights are human rights.
  • That environmental rights are human rights.

And we know:  We are indivisible. One nation, one for all.  Every life and every voice are equal.

We wore jumpsuits marked with bricks that repeated the vile things 45 has said about women.  We stood, silently and hand in hand, for over two hours, as the marchers passed by.

They cheered.  They took pictures and video.  But mostly, they felt the power of taking the idea of the wall and making it our own.

I cried.  Most of us did.  The sense of solidarity, of commitment, of togetherness, reinforced my belief that if we continue to persist and resist, we can save America from this administration.

Let’s do this thing.

Rabbit, Rabbit

“How did it get so late so soon?  It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June. My goodness, how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Seuss

 

I can’t believe 2017 is almost over.  It’s been a tough year for a lot of us – in fact, for our country – but this is not about that.  This is about birthdays.  December is a big birthday month in my family… there are four, in fact.  One of those birthdays is even mine.  And birthdays mean presents, right?

Except… Facebook has added a function allowing you to “donate” your birthday.  Sounds great, but like so much in life, there’s a catch.

What, you ask?  How can there be anything wrong with asking people to support your favorite cause to celebrate you?  Fees, that’s what.

If you use the Facebook donate function, a fee of almost 7% will be deducted before your chosen charity gets the gift.  And that’s just too.damn.much.

So, I’m donating my birthday, but not through Facebook.  Here’s the deal:  if you would like to support my favorite charity, it’s The Actors’ Fund, helping those in entertainment (including me, sometimes).

But I also know that it’s been a year in which many important causes have called on our pockets, and you may be supporting one of those.  Great!  I’d love to hear about it.

Or perhaps you’re tapped out on giving.  We’ve all been there, and there’s no shame in it.  So, if you so choose, pick one day and be kind.  Practice a random act of kindness, or even more than one, and then come here and tell me about it.  I’d really love to hear about that.

Happy birthday month to me!  And my mother – I miss her every day.  And my oldest sister, who is one of my rocks.  And my baby cousin, who gives me hope for the future.

And thanks to all y’all, in advance.

 

 

*Update:  Facebook is dropping some fees.  That said, I still think it’s better for an organization to direct people to its website, so they can learn more about that organization.

September 24, 2006

I know, you’re like, “Why is she writing about some random date?  Is there some holiday I don’t know?”

Well, no.  On September 24, 2006, I lost two men who were very dear to me.  I’ve never publicly told the story of that day (and the day after – you’ll understand soon) because I wasn’t sure what relevance my simple story might have.

But in the world we are in today, remembering the hard stuff, and knowing that I made it to the other side, is something that gives me hope.

September 24, 2006 was a Sunday.  As I used to do every year,  I was working the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids Flea Market.  (It’s Sunday, September 24, again this year .  Go.  Buy stuff.  It goes to a great organization.)

It wasn’t open quite yet, when those of us there saw two friends coming toward our booth, and even as we shouted greetings, we knew something was wrong.  Among the first words from ML’s mouth were “Patrick died.”  The reactions were indescribable.

See, Patrick Quinn was not only a giant of the industry (and the labor movement), but an extraordinary man, dear to more people that he probably ever knew.   The rest of that day is almost a blur, but what I remember most is sitting in our office, calling the people who needed to know, so they wouldn’t hear rumors or see it in the paper – listening to them cry and rage, or worse, fall silent and not speak before hanging up.   And then, that night, we raised a glass in Pat’s memory for the first time, but not the last.

I didn’t sleep that night – I think most people didn’t – and the next day in the office, I, at least, was wandering aimlessly… until a friend came to find me, and forcibly dragged me into ML’s office, demanding I sit down.  I just couldn’t.  I kept saying “just tell me” until she told me that there was a rumor going around that my dear friend Eric Muratalla had died Sunday in his hotel room in Chicago.   I sat then.  And I begged her to reach out to verify it, as she was sadly able to do.

I left them.  I had to get away.  And then I started calling people.  I had to hear it myself, and I did.

For the remainder of the week, I distracted myself planning.  Buses to Patrick’s funeral.  Travel and hotel to California for Eric’s funeral.  And I worked.  It was my work that brought both these men into my life, and neither one tolerated slackers.

I know, it’s not much of a story.  But as the eleventh anniversary of that day approaches, I needed to tell it.  Even more importantly, I needed to remind myself that even the darkest days will be followed by the sun if we believe.  And I do.

 

 

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