Um, what if Life *really* is about what happens while you were planning for something else?
Date: May 27, 2015
Days Spent on Project: 827
Location: NW Portland, OR
Person I would have sent it to: Friday happened- and I barely survived it- on that weekend trip to Los Angeles. Saturday was about heading to Venice Beach and recovering. Sunday, my last full day there, was going to be full of social things, whether I liked it or not.
Dave had been invited out to a birthday brunch by Tim L. It was his birthday, and his boyfriend- now fiance- Jeff C. was taking us all out.
The second time I visited LA, in April/May 2014, I met up with Tim for another brunch with Dave. Afterwards, Tim, Jeff, Dave, and I went to scout out apartments that were for sale in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area. It was kinda fun.
And lead to all sorts of epiphanies of what I wanted to do/design with this immersive theater project I was working on at University of California at Irvine. It’s a long-winded email but, while Tim and Jeff discussed kitchen and bathroom renovations, square footage, and so on, I was struck by the inherent theatricality of walking into a lived space with its own history and unknown stories that were there to discover. I walked around dumbstruck while my friends discussed disappointedly LA real estate.
Music I listened to while sewing: I’m still in the shop all by myself and, as much as this seems weird, I miss hearing everyone working and complaining about things!
In the meantime, I’ve got my “Dance All Day” playlist on again. Very loudly!
Not really that loud.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: When I was in third grade, I somehow came up with the idea that I’d form a club, a collective of sorts, with my closest friends. I can’t remember why this came about; was it my idea or someone else’s or a reaction to some of the other cliques that were forming?
I know, in the end, nothing ever really materialized because of it. There was no secret code, there were no group meetings, secret handshakes, or benefits from it. I’m fairly certain I might not have even told the other members about my plans. It might have been a “I’m starting a club, you’re in it” situation.
But, in order to be in the club, you had to have a membership card. And, maybe being all of ten years old with little access to cardstock or technology to print something or laminate it, I took pieces of white construction paper, divided equally into squares, and took the time with Crayola markers to make them distinct.
I made four- carefully using every color in the pack to draw amorphous shapes in each corner that swirled around the chosen name to this club- before I came to the conclusion that this, THIS, was hard work and taking too long.
I colored the remaining cards in solid colors, using a few markers only. The name of the club remained in the center of each card, more prominent and less overshadowed by the free-handed artwork on those original four.
Being so young and bold, I handed the cards out over recess one day. Instead of getting the feedback I expected (Yay- thanks!), I got some resistance. Why did that person- those four people- get the special card? I want mine to look like that.
I’m thinking about that memory for a few reasons today.
One, I think it shows that I’ve always- regardless of what it seems on the surface- craved to belong to something. That I feel (have always felt) that I need to make something to show or give or prove that I feel this way, isn’t a unique “You’re in your 30s and alone” development. As cold and bitter and aloof as I feel I can be (or maybe worry that other people see me as), I’m not. I want to be a part of a group.
Two, I also think this means I’ve always felt a need to bring people together. And maybe not people who would naturally place themselves together. I’d would never call myself the most outgoing person- a social butterfly I am not- but I do want to go out with people.
Three, I think this reminds me that taking the short cut doesn’t always return great results. If anything, doing something once or twice in an AWESOME way, but then pulling back to save time or money or energy, is disappointing.
Especially when people have seen the better product. The better idea. The better effort.
This is interesting as I reflect back on this season with this theater. At the beginning of the season, I dove in. I wanted to redirect a ship that I saw was misguided or lacking direction. I wanted to bring the standards up from the work I looked at from the end of the previous season. I did not want to give up the quality I had experienced in New York. Even in Portland, I thought I could elevate the game.
But then, about halfway through, I realized I was tired of working 8am to 6pm every day. I realized that by doing this, I was setting the precedent with management that I would sacrifice my outside life for work (and remember I wanted to move here to find balance [along with the paycheck]). Plus, I realized that no one seemingly noticed that things *were* different. Changes *had* been made. The product *was* better. Not that I wanted the feedback, but some acknowledgement would have been great.
Eventually I did get that acknowledgement. In the form of a performance review, I was told that I wasn’t enough of a “Yes Man” and needed to be more of a political team player. Somehow, somewhere, it seemed that my asking WHY things were done certain ways and attempting to change was actually an offense.
So, think about it: Is the extra work worth it?
Lastly, I think it is, or at least can be. When I was in third grade, maybe I knew that my Club of Friends wasn’t really going to be anything. We all hung out together anyway, why did we need a small piece of construction paper to prove our friendship? Was it important?
Yes, it was my way of naively saying, you’re my friend. Be mine. Friendship is worth it.
Work? Well. I’m not sure. Maybe it depends on the market.
In New York, with the constant competition, you better bring your A-game professionally and socially. But in Portland?
I guess this is a very long winded way for me to ruminate on my social life. Yes; I want friends here. Yes; I’ve always craved friends. Yes; in the past, I have felt it was necessary to show my friendship with cards.
At 36, I don’t think I should have to color card stock to tempt people into hanging out with me. I think I should be beyond THAT.
But I gotta do something. I have to figure out some way for people to recognize me here. Or at least see me.
I have so much work to do with friends and life and work and the creative outlets that I want to pursue.
And it’s gonna be hard, sure. But, if Life is what happens as you make plans for other things, better things, more exciting things… I guess I have to keep working to experience- at the very least- some things. You know?