Block 627: April 11, 2015

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Well, Cyrano is open and Portland is overcast and quiet and things seem like they’re back to normal.

Date: April 11, 2015

Crane: 627

Days Spent on Project: 781 (Yeah, I haven’t done this in over a month… Oops)

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Jeez, where was I in this project?

If I opened that production of A Chorus Line in 2012, what did I do afterwards? Well, that fall was spent moving from my MINUSCULE one bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side to a much larger one bedroom in a much nicer building up in Washington Heights. I left my perch of pretend sophistication on 80th and 2nd, and cabbed it way uptown to 180th and Cabrini on the other side of town and in the upper reaches of the island of Manhattan.

I believe, throughout this project, I’ve thanked the first people I met in the neighborhood– my neighbors who instantly fell in love with my Frenchie (the feeling was mutual), and the two guys I casually dated for a very brief moment (before one moved away from New York and another just petered out).

Thinking back, I was in Washington Heights for about 20 months. In that time, I feel like that neighborhood became a home for me, but not without some adjusting from the more frenetic pace of downtown and the privilege of the UES and the different subway commute. But, yes, it was my last place to live in New York before I left to go to Portland. So, in that vein, I understand I’m looking at it through rose colored glasses.

Pretty soon, I discovered one of the best reasons to live in that neighborhood: Fort Tryon park and it’s HUGE dog park. It quickly became a part of The Dog and my daily routine to head up past 191st street to the main entrance and walk the asphalt paths to a fenced in area for an hour or so of play. And that place, THAT daily habit, made the neighborhood feel like mine.

One of the first people I met there was Rick B. and his dog Spencer. He worked in theater (surprise, everyone did) on Avenue Q, conducting the band. It was great to get to know him, and he was always someone I was glad to see there. Besides, my dog and his dog just decided to be best friends… which was great to see. I’m fairly certain my dog misses him.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve been feeling particularly uninspired with my music selection these days. I’m just letting Spotify shuffle through some playlists this morning.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Well, I lived through the last big show of the year here, and I only have to open two more productions before the season officially ends for the summer. Yikes… but after the workload we did in the past four weeks, I think the next two shows should be a cakewalk.

And I’m learning so much still. And experiencing so much. And realizing so much.

Biggest realization: This isn’t about ME, it’s about THEM. It’s really not me here. All the moments I’ve felt I must not be getting something or must be lacking some thing or not good enough or what, well, that’s not the case. I’m not perfect, nor am I awesome at everything, but the experiences I’m having at work in Portland aren’t reflective of me as a person.

Continuing that thought, if I want to get my creative juices flowing here– if I want an outlet and I DO– I have to hunt for the opportunity elsewhere, not at work, or make the opportunity happen myself. What brought me here to Portland is this job, but I’m becoming more aware that I don’t want this job– especially THIS JOB– to overrun my life.

Case in point, I had to abandon this project for over a month, while I tried to steer a large production towards opening. I didn’t go to the gym. I didn’t really go out. I stopped bringing my dog to work (which he might have actually liked because nap time!). My life felt paused and put on hiatus.

I moved to Portland, OR from New York CIty with the hopes that working in a regional theater, with a steady paycheck in a city known for its livability, would afford me the opportunity to have more of a life, to flesh out my personal life, and find that balance that everyone wants between work and life. Over the past few weeks, I’ve flown between exhaustion, anxiety, regret, and resentment over the fact that working 6-7 days a week is the norm here and the community I thought I’d be entering is a little tenuous.

So, in my self-interest, I’ve decided to try and establish boundaries. Do the work. Be available and present when you need to. Make sure things are done well. BUT don’t let *this* consume you/me.

And find my outlet. Keep this project going. Get that California Project back on its feet, stop using this move as a reason why you can’t get that work happening here. Wade into Portland and make it my own for the time I’m here.

So, as a reward, my shop is taking a three day weekend and I’m challenging myself not to go to the theater or the shop. We’ll see how successful I am.

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