Block 292: December 22, 2013

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It’s hard for me to believe that in 9 days, we’ll be celebrating the end of 2013.

Date: December 22, 2013

Crane: 292

Days Spent on Project: 309

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: I’m going to dedicate this one to Eleni P.

Eleni was an Acting Apprentice my second year at Actors Theatre of Louisville. I won’t pretend that we were the best of friends, but she was nice. And in the fall of 2002, I needed someone nice around.

After the first week back at Actors, after the “summer break,” I felt adrift. I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me personally to go back to work at a theater that I liked, but without the friend-net that I had surrounded myself with tightly the previous year. All those people I hung out with? Gone. The boyfriend I spent most of my time with that year? Gone.

New apartment. New neighborhood. New responsibilities with work. New season of shows.

And after that first week back at Actors, Eleni invited me to a party that a bunch of the Acting Apprentices were having. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go… I had planned on driving back home to pick up some things that I had left at my parent’s house. I’d intended to go home for the weekend so I wouldn’t have been alone. I wish I had just delayed my plans, and gone to the party instead. It felt awesome that Eleni invited me.

That fall, I was also “hired” as the assistant costume coordinator for that year’s production of Dracula. It didn’t mean much at all, but I got to have a few new dresses built for the show. Eleni, cast as one of the main victims, had the “honor” of wearing one of these outfit. Empire waist sleeveless nightgown with an over-robe with a lace collar, long train, and hankie-hemmed sleeves. Inside of that, we had to rig a contraption so she could be “staked” on stage and have stage-blood shoot out.

Those fittings were fun.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got a playlist called “Indie Rise and Shine” on this morning, courtesy of Spotify. It was advertised as the “uplifting, cheery way to rise in the morning.”

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: As 2013 winds down, I keep thinking how much my life has changed this year.

I’ve been in this apartment now for over 13 months. The Dog and I are settled in. When I moved in, I didn’t have much furniture. My last apartment was so small (a one bedroom that may have been 300 sq. ft), I had a bed, a small loveseat, and a tiny desk. A year ago, all my possessions sat unorganized on the floor in piles until I could afford to buy some furniture.

As I’ve tried to re-focus my career on my own design work, and less on assisting others in their work, I’ve taken a HUGE step back financially. I think I’ve barely made a third of what I made last year. I haven’t made this little since my first year in New York, seven years ago. I don’t know if this is right, but this is what’s happening now.

I feel more creative that I’ve felt in a long time. This project is a large part of that. Also, allowing myself the chance to draw my own work, think about my own designs, dream of the theater I hope to create and want to be involved in… that’s helped. Giving myself to fantasize and imagine again has been great.

In some ways, I’m treating myself better physically than I have in years. While I don’t get to the gym every day (now that I have a 20 minute subway ride to my gym), I feel like I’m a little leaner. That probably has to do with not going out to eat as often as I did when I lived downtown.

I know I don’t have as many friends as I did a year ago. That’s less about me ending friendships, and more about me questioning the relationships I have in my life. I still hang out with the same people, when I can, but this project has made me think about what it means to be a friend. If people come to me, or are present in my life, when I’m riding high and am able to give out things (free tickets, work, pay for dinner), that’s not the kind of friendship I want to surround myself with. I crave the kind of friendships and friends that are about being together, regardless of who’s on top or who’s successful. I don’t know what this means in the long term for me.

And I also know that dating isn’t something I’m driven to do, and that’s fine. My life is so up in the air right now, I don’t want to use another person as an anchor.

I do know I have a pretty great dog. I’ve had him for four years this month; he’s a good anchor.

I’m ready for 2013 to be over, honestly. Learned a lot. Adjusted a lot. Lost a lot. Started to rebuild some things.

And that’s good, right?

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