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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

It’s My Time Now

My whole life, I’ve cared a lot about what people think of me.  I’ve wanted to be liked.  And I’ve tried and tried and tried to make that happen.

And you know what?  It can’t be done, despite my best efforts.  In the end, I’m still me, and people will like me (or not), respect me (or not), care for and about me (or not) based on both the person I am and the people they are.

Last November, a minority of Americans made a choice that could destroy us all.  Last December, I turned fifty.  And between those two events, it was like a switch flipped.  I have no fucks left to give.  That doesn’t mean I don’t care, just that I don’t care what the “they” think.

On our way to join the crowd.

In January, I marched in DC, despite my fears.  My friends were there and made it possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a rally (alone, yet!) on International Woman’s Day.

In February, I got the pink/purple streak in my hair that I hadn’t had since college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Gnostic Tattoo. A proud snowflake who will always “get back up”.

In March, I got some new ink – both personally and politically relevant to where my head is now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so far in April, I invited myself to an event just because, and had a lovely time.  I experienced a public humiliation and got back up.  When people ask me what I think, I tell them.  Simply, directly, with no apologies and only a bit of fear.

Nothing’s really changed for the “they”, but everything has changed for me.  It’s hard.  It will stay hard.  There are days I backslide.  But I believe that in the end (and in the now) it is worth it.

And as I go forward, I will keep my fucks for myself.  Not give them to the “they”.

Dear Secretary Clinton

Thank you.

I know that not winning this election is probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest, things you have ever survived, but that you ran, and that you are clearly surviving, helps me.  It helps all of us.

Thank you for setting the example that a woman in the United States can go further than we believed – for fulfilling a large part of my childhood dream.  At my age, I have lost most of the strong, loving women who raised me.  Thank you for being there when I needed to know there are still those women “raising” us.

Thank you for showing the world, for so many years, what a smart, talented, professional woman looks like, even if they refused to see.

Thank you for being imperfect,  but still fighting on.  We are all imperfect, and your courage as you dealt with consequences gives me courage.

I will always be with you, and as the amazing Amy Ferris wrote, in many ways, I am you, but this may sum up my next steps best – I wrote it on Facebook shortly after the election:

Dear friends:

This may anger some of you, and I admit I am still processing what our country has done to itself. But no, I will not join in with the #NotOurPresident chant. Do you remember when that charge was leveled against our current President? Do you remember how it deepened the divide?

The divide in this country is clear. I do not think any of us really saw it for what it is, and we need to work hard going forward not only to mend fences, but to prevent our President-elect and those around him from making it worse with the type of policies he outlined in his campaign.

Taking to the streets, but without a plan to action, can be incredibly satisfying, and I would never say not to do so. But I will say that without a plan, such energy often dissipates quickly and leaves more bitterness behind. I wrote much the same about my concerns during the Democratic primary, and it boils down to one sentence: Revolutions are hard fucking work.

I am ready to do that work. I hope you are too.

You helped me see the necessity of those words, while still fighting the good fight.  And while I feel sad and scared and angry, you showed me we can go on.

So thank you.621951848_hillary-clinton-zoom-5bf026cb-ebbc-4a1b-b647-4614139b82a3

Love,

Me

You Say You Want A Revolution?*

(*Before you read this, know that it might make you angry.  Or you might agree.  I moderate the comments on this blog, and any courteous discourse is welcome.  Any other type will be addressed.  And know that whatever you may take away from what you read, I will #votebluenomatterwho because #neverTrump.

P.S.  Apologies in advance to the Beatles for what they (or their fans) might see as a heinous misuse of their words…)

True confession:  I’ve never cared that much about politics.  It’s not that I haven’t paid attention, but I’ve never before invested the emotional energy that the current Presidential primaries have drawn from me.  And I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process.

Given my commitment to the labor movement, you may be surprised to know that I am not really a “joiner”.  And in 2008, I did not bother to register as a Democrat to vote in the New York primary, because really, they were all kind of fine with me.  In 2015, though, I did register as a Democrat.  Now, I don’t really give two shits about any political party, but I also know that you can only change the system if you know (and participate in) the system, and I honestly though Bernie Sanders was the answer.

The clown car of Republican candidates that resulted in Donald Trump (DONALD TRUMP!) as their presumptive nominee was both amusing and terrifying to watch, but I read with great care every scrap of information about the Democratic candidates; I watched every debate, every town hall, and every interview (okay, I’m sure I missed some, but I really, really, really tried).  As of the second debate, I became uneasy.  Remember the timing?  We had just seen a great tragedy in Paris – a terrorist attack leading to much death and destruction – and the candidates agreed that they would each get one minute added to their time at the top to talk about that.  And Senator Sanders did not.  He gave the tragedy what seemed like ten seconds, and pivoted to his stump speech.  I was stunned and dismayed.

I’m all for revolution.  I’m in favor of much of what is in that stump speech.  But what had been mild concern during the first debate about ability became full-fledged fear as time went on.  I lost friends and was often attacked as I voiced my opinions on line, but hey, I’m nothing if not stubborn.

Revolutions are hard fucking work.  They take leadership and time and planning and direct action and on the ground operations and flexibility and – well, you get the idea.  I’m not much of a historian (actually, my friends who are historians would probably say I’m not one at all), but you know all those stories we all learned in our history classes about those who took direct action and made change?  Did you miss the part where many of those actions were part of a larger plan, and even if sometimes the timing was driven by the moment, they were ready for that moment?  My favorite example on this is Rosa Parks.  She was part of a movement.  The movement had a plan.  She took her moment.

Failed revolutions start with grand ideas – and often, direct actions – with no plans.  Occupy Wall Street is a great example of a failed revolution.  I know there are those that disagree with me on this, but hey, it’s my blog, and what I saw was a great moment wasted because not only was there no plan, they refused to try to create one.  A plan was too “establishment”, I guess.  All that momentum and energy left us with…a hashtag.

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out?…

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan

Did you know that the New Left and the counterculture denounced this song?  They felt it displayed fear.  Well, I think it’s damn smart, and I think history shows that incremental change brings lasting revolution.  The kind of revolution we can believe in.

To go back to the beginning…I did say this primary had led to me to learn a lot about myself, and you may ask what.  Well – I knew that I believe in change.  I revel in change.  And I knew that change requires a long, hard slog (and a plan).  I knew that most people don’t actually agree with me to the point that they will fight change with every tool at their disposal, while at the same time, disavowing that that is what is happening.  They claim they are being “cautious” and “responsible” and “thoughtful” and “analytic”.  And I am sure all of that is true.  But regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of the gut decision – and interestingly enough, that the gut decision, in hindsight, always involved all of those traits.

So, what’s new?  I’m getting there, I promise.  And when I can express it in a way that makes sense to anyone but me, I’ll get back to you.  But for now, I can say for sure that I learned #ImWithHer.

 

(And just for fun…http://)

 

 

 

Why Amherst?

Wow, I got asked to blog elsewhere! (Well, I volunteered.) But still!!!

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