Date: May 24, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 461
Location: Conway, Arkansas
Person I would have sent it to: “Did you make this outfit?” Boy.
Back in 2007, after I had finished the marathon run of designing a production for the New York Musical Theatre Fetsival, guest teaching at Colby College, and assisting on a new opera in Nashville, I needed a bit of a break. I had work lined up; I was going to go back to the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium for my second season. I allowed myself to have a bit of a rest period.
And in the late Fall of 2007, that meant that I wanted to try dating again. And, I put myself out there. Soon a guy even asked me out and we made plans to head to a trendy bar in the East Village. I still go there whenever I need to take a date to an interesting “hidden” bar; I think it ups my “cool factor” a bit.
“Did you make this outfit?” Boy was the guy who introduced me to the bar, so I should thank him for the countless times I’ve gone there on subsequent dates.
“DYMTO” Boy’s date was noteworthy because it didn’t go well at all: there was no spark, no intrigue, no light between the two of us. It became more of an interview process as the time and the drinks went on. He was intrigued that I designed costumes. He asked if I had designed clothes for real people. He wanted to know if I made the garments I had chosen for the evening.
I rode the subway back out to Brooklyn afterwards, upset for some reason. I felt equally sad and frustrated and disappointed. For some reason, I had hoped it would be a better evening than that.
This date, looking back, set me up for the next 15 months. It gave me the determination to make something happen. I was 28 at the time and single and lonely and I didn’t like that.
Music I listened to while sewing: I watched some episodes of Portlandia last night before heading to bed, and became obsessed with their opening song. So, this morning, I have “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out playing on repeat.
I’m nothing if not easily stuck in a rut.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Last night, while watching some Portlandia, I had a quick text conversation with a friend back in New York. And I let him know that I may not be returning immediately, and that it’s a slight possibility that I wouldn’t stay there much longer when I did return.
His only response was a Sad Face emoticon.
So, let’s talk about that. I explained that I was tired of feeling so horribly poor all the time. I was tired of feeling the need to hustle for work, hustle for deals on costumes, hustle for more money to design shows. I was tired of how much effort it takes to do everything in New York. Yes, I understand that I’m romanticizing “adult life” outside of New York City, but… you get the sense that when NYC wants you to fail or have a difficult time, it will actively go out of its way to make you feel like that.
I’m tired of staring at my resume and seeing the work I’ve done and thinking: “Why am I such a failure here?”
I’m tired of having someone else stare at my resume and then say: “This isn’t good enough.”
And I know that frustration is just as much about working as a freelance costume designer as it is about living in New York. If I were lucky enough to land a full-time job in a theater or a costume shop or with a production company, would I still be fantasizing about donating my life’s belongings to Goodwill and running away with my dog?
Possibly yes. That one friend’s response was a gosh-darn Sad Face emoticon instead of a “Do you want to talk about this?” is just more icing on the too-sickeningly sweet cake that’s standing in for New York Life in this metaphor. If I go, if I leave, if I give up, I wouldn’t tell anyone else besides my family. I wouldn’t change anything on my Facebook profile. I wouldn’t do so because the only reaction I’d get would be silence or a Sad Face emoticon or a Hashtag Sad Face comment on any number of social websites. In the absence of dialogue or an a conversation or a genuine response, I’d rather just avoid it.
I worry that won’t be a healthy thing to do either, but there’s still time to plan this.
Off to the costume shop. Off to find coffee from somewhere!