Category Archives: Soul Baring

My Master Masseur

Some of my recent tale-spinnings have done little to uphold my blog’s original vow of honesty, but I still applaud myself for desperate attempts to grasp the threads of the bright side.

This blog has played the role of the Master Deep-Tissue Masseur, skillfully kneading every sinewy muscle until he finds an enormous knot. At that point, Sir Masseur leans his face down, just centimeters from mine and breathes quietly,

“This feels like it’s from 1982. Are you sure you have the time and energy to work this one out or shall I leave it be”

As my writing gains readers, which thrills me, I am noticing an accelerating preoccupation with how it is received. I have always been intuitive in a sense, and have prided myself on the ability to read between the lines.
That blessing however quickly erodes into a dysfunctional curse when coupled with insecurity, which is most often a byproduct of extended unemployment, which in turn creates crippling fear.

Welcome to the Perfect Storm.

By my paranoid misconstrued translations of texts, emails, comments and conversations from this past year’s trying times, some readers have alluded to my being negative, in the form of questions like,

“Hey. Are you ok? These aren’t the posts we’re used to.”

Others seem disappointed by the lack of hard truth in entries that are laced with humor or hollow depictions of sunshine, and have expressed that an honest and raw telling may be more compelling.

“If you’re in a heap on the floor, we want to hear about it!” (That is not a direct quote)

The craziest part is the laughable notion that people are giving it nearly as much weight as I think.  People do have their own lives and their own preoccupations, leaving very little (if any) room for judgments of my silly blog!

It’s as if I think I’m Jim Carrey in the Truman Show and all humans are here to provoke and observe my every action.  The narcissism in that concept alone is enough to blow the canvas ceiling off this set!

But, in an effort to trick the world (or a tiny fraction of it) into believing in my humor, wisdom and strength during the hardest times, instead of flashing my bitter, angry, terrified, shaking in my boots hand, I have floated around like an amoeba, morphing my perspective into whatever I think people want to hear, leaving very little wiggle room for any truthful expression at all.

Being the Master Masseur that he is, Sir Blog has alerted me to the fact that this paralyzing practice is the VERY THING that has kept me from blowing the ceiling off of my limits as an artist, and all other roles I play on a daily basis.

Wow.

“There it is!”

I grunt from my gut, with an involuntary jerk of my heel, halting his forcefully massaging arm.

Regaining my composure, I breath deeply, take a pregnant pause and respond,

“You may resume. Let’s get to work on that knot, Sir. It is KILLING me.”

Quite literally.

So….

The answer is No. Ninety percent of the time am not OK. Yes, 10 percent of the time I am in a heap on the floor (the other 90, I spend looking for work and parenting which I can’t seem to do from the floor, although I have tried) 100 percent of the time, I cannot for the life of me see how this will work out in any favorable way whatsoever.

But, clearly it must….because it just must.  There are beautiful little people involved.

If any of you have obtained advanced, sneak-peek copies from Masseur Motherfog Blog, please skip forward a dozen chapters or so and let me know how it ends.  He absolutely refuses to give me the slightest glimpse.   Something about the “importance of the process…”.

Blogity blah, blah.

Gotta get off the floor. Kids need lunch.

Blogger’s Note: I cannot take credit for the wit of “blogity blah, blah”  It came from my dear friend Heather months ago in an email and I laughed out loud and vowed silently to steal it.

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Keep your Eyes On Your Own Map

I called my friend Katie today in need of a pep talk. I spouted for about 10 minutes, without a brief pause for her to interject, about how the success of others in my field felt like part of an equation that equaled my failure.  I whined about racing through Time’s Square, from audition to audition, as the names of my peers in lights, flashed at me in mockery.

Thank God she is a good enough friend to allow NO wiggle room for such a narcissistic and distorted perception of reality!

What I wanted, was for her to list all of my blessings and talents and point out how they are lacking in these peers, and to hear how my choices are far more meaningful in the bigger picture.   What I got was honest tough love, and a good kick in the ass.

When she spoke about how the path of others has absolutely nothing to do with my own, I fished deeper, in desperate search of the heroin my ego demanded.  “So, you mean that the things I have to offer this world as a mother, a friend and counselor for women suffering from pregnancy loss and stillbirth, and an honest voice for working and stay-at-home Moms, has a far greater impact than silly shows and tv credits?”

Nope! She pressed on…

“That thinking is a trap, my friend. Your choices, blessings, tragedies and candor give you no more notches on the tree of life than your peers’ awards and current acclaim give to them.”

Crap! Sorry, Ego. Dialed the wrong friend.

She went on to say, “Emily, what if five years down the line, Zachary comes home with anger and jealousy toward a child who was chosen to be the teacher’s helper? Wouldn’t you tell him that that child’s reward does not make Zachary any less special, but that it was just his or her turn, and that one day it will be his?”  My verbal response was, “Yes, of course. You’re totally right.” But, as I observed the silent thought that defensively quipped “What’s wrong with that teacher?!”, I had the sinking realization that this was a mountainous problem, and one that I should never even utter in a whisper, let alone post on the internet!  This FLAW, in ALL CAPS, needs to be nipped in the bud, and fast!  It’s a cancer I don’t want passed to my offspring.  I write it here, head bowed over my keys in shame, as a written contract to my children, promising its continued awareness and due diligence.

The truth is, I have always believed that each human being is capable of “greatness”, the word’s definition lying only in the eyes of that human.   But, my faith in that has faltered as I have watched people pass through this life, seemingly without ever manifesting their goals and dreams.

But, I understand that I cannot judge what these people did or did not accomplish on their life’s journey, any more than I can presume how they felt about it.  I realize more importantly, that if anything is going to prevent me from following the path that leads to my highest purpose, it’s going to be the energy and time wasted on looking at everyone  else’s map.

And quite possibly the most important lesson from all of this?

Friends like Katie are the treasures on this map.

The Truth

I haven’t been posting as frequently lately and I’m ready to explain why.  We are on the precipice of an enormous and exciting change, albeit hair-raising.  I was waiting for a few of the 4 million details to fall into place, but in the mean time, I had difficulties writing entries that didn’t come across as flat and generic.  It’s hard to omit a major slice of what consumes most of your waking thoughts.  So, here goes…

No, I’m not pregnant.  Bite your tongue.

In 7 short weeks, we are moving back to the Northeast.  Wow.  I hear the weather is lovely on the east coast in the dead of winter.  A perfect time to move a toddler, a one year old, 2 dogs who refuse to walk if the ground is even slightly damp, a man from Florida and a woman who swears of her frost bitten feet when the temperature drops below 64.   But, regardless of our comfort factor, it is time.  I have not been as certain of anything in years. 3 years, 8 months to be exact….

In March of 2008, we lost our first daughter, Kennedy due to a rare complication, forcing her premature delivery at 23 weeks.   I have since then written pages of journal entries and subsequent graduate admissions essays explaining my grieving and healing process.  These writings wrap up the whole experience in a perfectly tied bow, and while I wish this was the case, there is no such neatly wrapped package closing the chapter.

My whole reason for writing this blog, was to navigate to a place where I would eventually share this ongoing process in another form or anonymous blog.  But, it has become clear that the path on which we find ourselves currently is a result of that event, and I’m having trouble writing a double life.

People said to me that once I had my healthy children, it would be a distant memory. For me, they were wrong. As much as I love my children, they have not replaced my first. I think of her every day, maybe more so when I look into the eyes of her siblings.

We live in a city in which we had no intentions of staying prior to Kennedy’s loss. We came to LA with a show, and planned to stay for 6 months.  I realize now, that I blamed myself for performing throughout my pregnancy and sabotaged my own career as some sort of penance. Ironic, as my lack of income is only serving to punish the living members of my family.  I wore blinders for all things outside of our fertility attempts, and became obsessively attached to the medical team that delivered her.  In hindsight, I understand that there are plenty of doctors, perfectly capable of delivering healthy babies in New York. I hear it’s quite a big city. But instead, I gripped this coast, restaging all steps and circumstances in a delusional attempt to rewind time and do it over.  This time, I would do it right.  It had to be that hospital, that office, that doctor, those maternity clothes, that nursery decor.  All the while, landing my husband in a passionless, dead end job, and shutting the doors to my performing career. Sobering up now, with 2 amazing children, I can’t help but look around and wonder what on earth we are doing here, hemorrhaging our savings with no possible career path, only a few close friends, and no family within a 2500 mile radius.

So, off we go….no job, no health insurance, but hope of purpose and direction. For the sake of my family, I have to pick up the pieces of my career, and my husband is owed the opportunity to find passion in what he does for a living.  I could not have been blessed with a more supportive partner.  With stoicism and quiet acceptance, he took work where it was available, to afford us what I said was needed to heal from this and move forward.  But, as I have watched his eyes deaden with each passing month, with no outlet for his creative spark, it has become shockingly apparent that no amount of money is worth the squelching of one’s desires.

We met as performers in New York and both of us worked consistently.  I have to believe we will continue to do so.  We have been spinning our wheels here for 3 and a half years and I fear that it is all because of the tiny box of ashes, scattered on this Pacific coast. It was my mother who reminded me that the oceans are connected. Kennedy is everywhere. It’s time to move on.

While I am open to sharing all of this, and grateful for interest in and support of this process, I am not going to post updates as frequently on facebook.  Please bookmark this page or subscribe for email updates if you would like to tune into our journey. Also, feel free to pass it along to people you feel may benefit and join me as we all hold on for the ride. I’m terrified….and excited to get back in the game……and, terrified.  Did I mention, terrified?