Thursday, June 26, 2014

21-Year-Old Wisdom.

Last night, after work, we have a friend over to watch movies and eat snacks with us. A typical lazy night, except that this is a particular friend: someone I've had a gigantic crush on for years every time I come up here.
And it is so so lovely: I play him a new tune, we all laugh our heads off at the movies, he and I sit together in the growing dark on the same couch for about 3 hours, we walk some of the way home together (I'm house-sitting), and never do we run out of things to talk about because we never do. Even though we do nothing at the end of our walk together but say "good night" and walk away I am in a daze afterwards, like someone who's drunk too much champagne.
But when I'm back in the Panabode kitchen talking to my best friend about him this morning and I say half-joking, "I wish I didn't have such a crush on him," she replies kindly "I wish you didn't either. Because he's a really nice guy and he's fun to hang out with, but I was watching his body language with you and I don't think he's interested." And the truth that was floating around my head in a big ugly bubble pops with an ugly splat and tears spring into my eyes. "It's okay, we'll wear him down, we'll keep inviting him over..." my friend says, still so kind, and I say sadly "I don't want to wear anyone down" and then although I try to stop them, the tears come for real.
This is the same friend who held me and comforted me and talked me through a horribly stressful breakup last summer and I know she loves me and wishes me nothing but happiness and love, fluffy kittens and unicorns; I know that she is fiercely sad on my behalf: why wouldn't he like you, he's crazy not to! I also know that she is not the Oracle and that she may be wrong, but my instincts tell me that, at least for now, she is rightrightright and it hurts, just like it hurts every time. The only things that make it better are the old standbys Age and Experience, who tell me to suck it up, enjoy my friends who love me in spite of my faults, enjoy my work, which is basically getting paid to sing and be a goofball, enjoy my health and strength; enjoy this moment and the moment after it and keep breathing and sleeping well and distracting myself until the pain of not being noticed, of not being visible to someone, dies down again.  And even shittier is having to distance myself from someone I really genuinely like and love to talk to, an intoxicating (to me) combination of smart and silly, all because I can't just be happy with friends instead of lovers.
My 21-year-old roommate is far wiser than me. "Stop having so many expectations," he counsels the lovelorn ladies of the Panabode, we who variously mourn our limited prospects in this small town. He already knows more than us: that it's best to accept whatever happens; that if you want too much you run the risk of losing it all. He isn't the first person to tell me this; the last one was my latest ex, as he and I watched our fragile relationship drown under the weight of all those expectations I had.
So, I guess I stop trying. It's not possible to turn off the wanting, but it is possible to stop banging my head against this particular brick wall over and over again. My young friend recently stopped a long-distance (and very new and uncertain) relationship because he was finding that the constant pining for something he couldn't have was preventing him from enjoying the experience of being here. If he's smart enough to focus on the here and now, I hope I can be too. I'll sleep long and well tonight, wake up feeling more like myself tomorrow. I'll take the pain of not being special to someone, and put it into our afternoon show, into a character who knows that all too well. And I'll keep finding the joy in everything I do, because to do otherwise would be to give away my power.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


This morning I started the day off with a massage with Kate, who lives just down the road. She and her husband are building a bakery, and her strong hands are good at kneading people and dough. I told her that my neck and shoulders felt tight and that I'd been getting a headachy feeling lately, which is unusual for me. She laughed when she started running her hands over my back. "Your shoulders are up around your ears!" she said. "Let's see if I can give you a longer neck by the time we're done." 

Weeks of playing the accordion (a heavy, unbalanced instrument), of manhandling the double bass and of huge, full-body singing (in a tight corset, no less), not to mention hours of rehearsals on top of performances, are taking their toll. Surrounded by intensity at work I try to be the one who plays it cool, so I store up tension in my neck and shoulders until my head aches. I run, I bike, I walk, but I don't stretch enough. My body is an elastic band, pulled taut. 

Last night I went to the pub with T, our stage manager. Both of us fighting the urge to simply stay in, to lie like puppies on the couch until we stumbled off to bed. It was worth going- a folk club from Prince George was in town for their annual gathering, and we laughed and sang and danced with locals and folkies alike and then felt we'd earned the right to flop on the couch and watch American Horror Story (a house addiction) until after midnight. 

Today I feel burnt out and weak. I am lying on the couch with a warm Magic Bag around my neck while G plays a video game, building empires, fighting wars. T is doing some lighting work at the theatre and W is home in Cottonwood with her husband for the day off. In a way I feel like a wimp for being so drained. I don't have kids, my work is fun, if intense, I am earning enough money and I love the people I'm with. But my body needs some time off. It's days like this, with the rain pounding down, that I wish I could curl up in bed with someone and… well. Instead the best I can do is keep myself away from the sugary snacks in the house, renew my acquaintance with the couch, outlast this nagging headache and maybe brave the rain for a quick walk.