Adventure in Breaking/Mending

Eight weeks ago something happened. Six weeks ago something worse happened. One week ago more brush was shoved on the fire.

It’s not a new topic for me, especially in the last couple of years, but try as I might, try as others might, I won’t stop talking about it.

Eight weeks ago, between eating lunch and picking up a comic to take to his next city, I stopped at the home of a person I know. Someone I had spoken with regularly. Someone I considered a friend. In the course of less than half an hour, everything changed.

I was able to take myself out of the situation before it became desperate. But “no” wasn’t a viable answer. “This isn’t why I came over,” was also unaccepted. “I don’t want to redo my makeup” was a good reason. “I’m on my period” granted me enough space to get up and leave, but not enough space to have control to stop things.

I picked up the comic and went about my weekend.

Six weeks ago, I was feeling good. I met up with someone and lost complete control of the situation. I’ll continue to spare you details. I got home in the middle of the night, uncontrollably sobbing. I knew the right things to do. I knew to call the police. I knew not to shower. I knew those are the things you’re supposed to do. Another thing you should do, if you’re able, is take care of yourself, whatever that looks like. So I did. I showered. I took my clothes off. In that order.

I did something I haven’t done before though. I reached out to people immediately. Everyone was asleep, but in the morning so many people were affirming. So many people kept my mind safe. My dear friend, who is far away, encouraged me to go to the Sexual Assault Treatment Center. My dear friend, who is down the street, hugged me while I sobbed on him.

I called the Sexual Assault Treatment Center, because I didn’t know how it worked. She said to come in immediately. I asked, “Can I wait an hour? I have a job interview in 15 minutes.” She called me a toughie.

Throughout an hour-long job interview, I held it together. I needed this job. She asked how I handle stressful situations. I refrained from saying, “I haven’t cried once or given pause that something is wrong in this interview, have I?”

My dear friend, who hurried back from out of town, met me at the Sexual Assault Treatment Center. I met with a forensic nurse, a police detective, and a woman from victims assistance. I had a full exam done. I only cried once. She was kind. She was patient. She took my time, not hers. Some times when we interact with people who need kindness and patience, we offer them patience on our own time. She did not do this. She gave me time to breathe. She waited until I said okay. I know it’s her job to act this kindly with victims. We could all stand to work this kindly with everyone.

My dear friend waited in the lobby for two hours. Her phone died. She read every pamphlet. She waited on my time. She was kind. She is kind.

Another friend far away shared my assailants picture. He told the story. He checked with me and then told anyone who would listen. Profiles were removed. People were talking, in the best ways. He shared the truth, not the easy parts.

The next day I had a gynecological exam to get checked for my tumorous cysts. The nurse was kind. She talked to me about her own trial. The RN was not kind. She was cold and shaming. I scheduled another appointment for an ultrasound, because the RN didn’t believe me. It was five weeks later.

I stayed open. I kept talking. I asked for help, for company. I was granted this more times than I can explain. Food was brought to my home. Kindness after kindness.

Two weeks later I had a second interview for the same job. I hadn’t slept in four days. I was certain I wouldn’t get it. It was a terrible interview. I was exhausted. I was beaten. I was destroyed.

The next day I received a call from my doctor’s office. It wasn’t just my fears. Other unwanted news came. Nothing uncommon, just unpleasant.

Three weeks went by, and it became a problem for some people. This made me stronger. My survival and my means of survival were problematic for some people. I vowed to become immortal out of spite.

At four weeks, I wanted nothing, but hugs. I also wanted to never be touched. I was watching as people I knew were having pretty serious allegations brought up against them. I was watching and being pulled in. People were contacting me, as if I’m an authority on consequences. The only consequences I understand are my own, the ones I face every day. I watched possible (albeit likely) assailants keep friends, which is a type of affirmation of those actions. While I was losing people for being dramatic, for causing problems.

Do you know why someone talking about rape seems dramatic? I do. Because trauma is dramatic. Because tragedy is drama. Because truth is dramatic.

This only made me louder.
“I wish I could talk my way out of being raped the way rapists talk their way out of trouble.”
“So we’re clear. A rapist hears the word ‘no’ and expects that to mean ‘yes.’ But when accused the rapist is like ‘I didn’t rape her.’ Apparently only his ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

I started to feel more isolated. It was silly. Weeks prior I was surrounded, literally and figuratively. Friends from all over were reaching out to me. Nonetheless, I began to fear I had worn out my welcome on asking for favors. I’m not quick to ask for help, but this time as a means of survival I knew I needed to. Coming up the stairs at home and collapsing to my knees sobbing, I knew I needed help. I had reached out to someone I was told was a therapist. They proved to be a crazy person that would only escalate my issues.

I felt alone. I was not alone. I felt alone. I felt empty. I felt lost. I felt alone.

Loud noises began to affect me. My parents’ dogs barking made me terrified and panicked. Thunder made me panicked. A dear friend brought me earplugs and other kindnesses.

At a show, I wore my “please-don’t-rape-me” jeans that I bought eight weeks ago. I told my friends not to touch me and to make sure no one else did. I did not keep it together. I left in the middle of the show. Broken. I had stayed because I couldn’t be alone, but the music was loud, the voices were loud.

Week five I was fine again. The dogs and I were fine. I could cuddle my dog again.

Creative 30 for 30 started again, and I could force myself to put some of the things in my head to good use. I started baking again. I didn’t start passively baking. I have no one to give baked things to. I started baking to heal. I started baking more than just that one cupcake Kristen Wiig made for herself in Bridesmaids. I started making full pies. I made pies for healing. I recorded recipes. I made the same pie twice. I improved on pie. I improved on pie to improve myself. I taught myself new skills to show myself I can do more. I watched Moana eight times.

I went to my ultrasound. The tech was kind. The tech took my time. She made six marks on the image of my single ovary. She paused. She asked if I wanted children. I turned my face as tears grew in my eyes. I’ve been in pain again for a couple of months. When I finally saw my doctor she explained I had several cysts in my ovary. They ranged in size from 0.5 cm to 1.3 cm. She explained that they would likely dissipate. She explained that in my case they needed to be monitored closely because of my history. She said it was Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It explained so much about my last year. It explained so much. It still scared me so much. It still does. Of course, it does.

I also made it one whole year writing affirmations. It’s not been a full year since I moved them to this platform, but I’d brought myself a full year on the strength of my own mind. I’ve continued. I will continue.

At five weeks I also found out I got that new job. I found out I’d be working in an incredibly life-giving, safe, and affirming space. I could walk to work again. I could pay my bills again. I could be motivated to fight PCOS simply by doing my daily work.

Six weeks/eight weeks later I started my new job. I love my new job. I’ve been doing research on diet options to make PCOS more manageable. I’ve continued to reach out to people. I’ve broken my own heart this week. I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve cried on the phone with someone I haven’t heard from since I told them what happened because I felt abandoned. This crying went unnoticed.

In eight weeks my nightmares have come back. In eight weeks several people have taken themselves out of my life because I’ve been too much. In eight weeks I’ve cycled through peace and pain. In eight weeks I’ve screamed and cried. I’ve gone silent. I’ve pushed myself. I’ve been pushed. I’m not healed. I’m not cured. I am still moving. I am healing. I am mending. Pieces of me are coming back together. (please, ignore that Ashley Simpson reference. I can’t take it out now, but I don’t want it there either).

Some times for no provoked reason, I still fill with all manner of sadness and pain. It doesn’t take new provocation. There’s a lasting provocation lodged inside of me. A provocation I can only hope to learn to cope with. It will live beside me. I will be bigger than it. Some days, I’ll get to a place where I will feed it too much. It must be fed. If it’s starved it will get loud and angry. It must be fed and acknowledged. It is my constant companion. It is my monster. It is not me.

Thank you to everyone who has helped carry me over the last two months and over the last 30 years.

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Adventure in Creative30for30 Round 2

Last year I participated in a hashtag driven challenge started by local artist and acquaintance Matt Plett. He dubbed it #creative30for30. It challenged all participants to get creative and complete something each day. Last year was super hard for me. I never felt like I was keeping up or giving my best. I still didn’t this year, but I did do more than was required. I did all 31 days of July even though the challenge only calls for 30 days. I did more than one thing on several days, and not as a means of making up time. The culmination of it all was an audition. It was also meant to include a stand-up set, but the show was cancelled. Here are my additions for this year’s challenge in, as best as I can muster, order. Some times I didn’t post anything because I wrote jokes or worked on a now cancelled project. But work was put in every day. I’m not proud of every piece, but I am proud that every day I put the work in.

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Floyd and Animal are recreations of previous projects that I’d given away. I wanted the whole band back together again.

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The above was preparation for this.

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Adventure in Teeth Kicking

In my head this is a thing I don’t do every year, but this is absolutely a thing I do every year. So let’s recap the worst year ever, and let’s talk about kicking some serious ass in 2016. Sound good? I think so.

To be fair, 2015 wasn’t all dread. It was hard. That’s true. Some of it was down right shit.

From the very beginning of last year things started wacky and terribly dehydrated. Because as is my custom, I spent my New Year’s Eve making sure everyone else was okay, had not a drop to drink, of anything. Not water. Not booze. I got grouchy, but these kids had a great time. And carried me through the whole year. As you’ll soon see. I think even I’m about to realize 2015 wasn’t as bad as I remembered.new year new you

Then there was the whole panicked month of January. Putting together and directing a show that ends up starring three of your best friends. Your band drops out. You panic. You get a new band. Your best friend and one of your actors breaks up with you. Your show is on Valentine’s Day. And you cry for three solid days including work, excluding rehearsals. Still you find yourself with what feels like the most amazing project you’ve ever produced. Probably because it also came with a bunch of emotions, but also because it came with an absurd amount of support from so many people. I still can’t get over this.ssg 3ssg 1ssg 4

For every month of this that endured. The old friends and new friends. The real discussions and the pure silliness that came out of it. The potions and the motions. The puppy-headed monsters. Proverbs and no-verbs. These monthly Shakespeare readings are keeping my theatre brain alive. Those that participate, whether for pie, friendships, words, or any reason at all, make each month so fantastic.

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An internet challenge brought me 30 days of my own mediocre creativity, but it did force me to create, which was good for my brain. It’s proven even better now. Because while the final products are not the best things I’ve ever produced, I’m still proud to have produced them.art 1art 2art 3art 4art 5art 6art 8art 9art 10

 

This year allowed me some amazing opportunities to see and meet some fantastically funny and genuinely kind comics. Not all of them pictured. But so many incredible people. From the Puterbaugh Sisters who always treat me like a person to Danny and Mike who were just such treasures to spend time with to Bobcat Goldthwait who saved me from my rent being late without knowing it and gave me life advice to Brooks Wheelan who just wanted to talk about Bobcat Goldthwait to playing host to Kate Willett. And diving into improv again and unlocking some emotions that terrify me and suddenly connecting with a good buddy in the process. Comedy has been kind to me. It took a dark turn at the beginning of the year, and some things got lost, but it also forced us to band together and hold even tighter to each other. Which I love. It’s made us stronger. It’s made us smart. It’s made us love what we’re doing even more. Comedy, you keep doing you. You’re healing so many broken spaces.comedy 1comedy 2comedy 3comedy 4comedy 5comedy 6comedy 8comedy 9comedy 10

And a year of a heart-rending break-up. A year of a bone-breaking fall. A year of a head-injuring fall. A head-injuring fall that has caused enough complications, terrifying complications that even I don’t want to live with me, so many people are still here. Still here holding my hand. Holding my hair back. Holding my head in their lap as I cry. Crying in my lap, because I’m not alone in life being terrifying. Because one trauma can awaken trauma. And you’ve let me live, and die. You’re letting me die alive, and you’re letting me struggle to live. And I thank you for letting me fight for that. (not all pictured)

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Because as much as 2015 was terrible, and it was, I survived. 2016 might also be terrible, but I’m determined to do more than survive. I make no resolutions. I stand by my friends, as they have stood by me. 2016 though, 2016 is mine. It’s ours. I’m going to destroy. I’m going to chew it up with my mechanically and expensively straightened chompers and spit it out in 365 days. I’m going to kick its jaw off its hinge. I’m going to rip it asunder. I’m going to make more violent metaphors than I’ll make in my entire life, because 2015 broke me apart and actually broke me. 2016, I will break you.

Plus, lest we all forget, 2016 will bring us another Leap Day, where nothing counts! Because real life is for March.

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