Thursday, November 25, 2010

Trying to Sum it all up

Something you have to understand about me for this all to make sense it that although I used to be very good at making everyone think I was their friend, I only ever have a few close friends.  In real, non-internet life, I hide behind this great facade that only a few people are ever allowed to see through.  Hubby, Jenn, Charlitan, Assasin and Stormy...these are the only people who can truly say they know the real me.  Except those who read my blog, you all know me pretty well I'd say.  Christi knew me, but she died (I still have to tell the story of seeing her daughter and son two weeks ago the day after seeing Schroeder.)  Schroeder knew me then and knows me now because of my blog, but that scared me.  Who would he think I was?  Who would I feel like I have to be?

After the show we met in the lobby.  So many years had passed and he gave off the exact same energy that he did back then.  I was taken aback.  Here I was wound up tighter than a roasting turkey and he was as laid back and calm as ever.  He looked mostly the same, dressed a little more freely and still had that artistic demeanor that made me question my own skill.  Seriously, when you are truly in the presence of a creative genius, you know it, whether they know they are emitting some strange signal or not.  We drove back to the hotel and he filled me in on his life.  He's had some issues that come along with being so intensely talented and yet not fit for the business world and he's struggled to find his way as well.  The description "tortured artist" fits him somewhat, although he tries his best to move his life forward.  He had some health issues that plagued him for years and caused him to question everything about himself but is now receiving treatment that opened up the world to him.  For so long he had been traveling through a tunnel that just seemed to be so small and confining, but now he could see the outside world, even if he's not quite there yet. 

We got a bottle of wine and split it in the hotel, talking about the theater and where we had been in our lives.  The wine helped me relax, but I had fallen into my old trap of deflection and bringing the conversation back to the other person.  He tried hard to talk to the real me, bringing up things he had read in my blog, talking about whether or not I missed the stage, talking about my working out.  But I couldn't do it.  I always circled back to him.  The pieces of me were just too loosely bound together and I couldn't stop protecting myself.

We finished our wine and he went back to his own room about 1:30 AM.  I thanked him for the invite and fell asleep, waking to get back on the road by 8:00 AM.  The reunion was over but I spent the next 4 hours driving, rehashing why I couldn't let myself go and just share the friendship we used to share.  Here I am in CountryTime without even a friend to spend Thanksgiving with and there he was, offering to be not only my friend, but a true "knew you when you made stupid mistakes and still loved you" friend.

So I talked to my therapist about it.  She thinks that I have had to start my life over so many times, losing everything and starting from scratch, that I struggle when faced with a loose end.  I don't want to call Schroeder a loose end.  He's not.  But he represents the theater company that I ran screaming from into the darkness.  He was one of the pieces of the puzzle that was in place when I dropped out of the theater world and lost my artistic self.   He was a man in my young life who had steadfastly held me up as every single other man in my life at that time came out of the closet (oh, the irony now, eh Schroeder).   Merely seeing him again threw open the door to all that pain that I had shoved down and refused to acknowledge.  And even though he was offering me a balm to soothe my pain, I couldn't accept it because I have been too traumatized by CountryTime.  We met again at the wrong time in my life.

So there it is, the story, warts and all.  The funny thing is, I know as he reads this that he is the one person who will totally get what I am saying, even though it is about him, and he will love me for it anyway.  Because that's what friends do.  He will continue healing himself and I will let the glue dry and one day we will meet again in a hotel room while he is on the road and we will have the conversations we both longed to have but I couldn't allow.  So in the words of the great Sondheim:

Look at what you want,

Not at where you are,

Not at what you'll be.

Look at all the things you've done for me:

Opened up my eyes

Taught me how to see

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fragile

Wow, this is a harder story to finish than I thought.  Of course, I visited Schroeder a couple of weeks ago and can only now write about it, so you can guess how traumatic it actually was.  Okay...deep breath-es-es. 

So, Schroeder invited me to come see his show and stay the night at the hotel the cast was staying at.  The last time we saw each other I was a 133 pound, wild-maned, strong-willed 23 year-old girl.  At the time I was damaged but not yet broken.  He was 28, distant yet strong, and had so much talent.  He, too, was damaged but still pushing forward.

But here's the thing, time passed.  I got married, had one baby and lost two, had two really bad car accidents, gained lots of weight, left the theater world, lost that wildness and became broken.  The 23 year-old girl he knew had been replaced by a 40 year-old mom who had only just managed to glue her broken pieces back together. The glue wasn't even dry yet and here I was driving towards a man who could actively see just how far I had fallen.  I felt like I was risking being shattered again, not because of anything that he would do, but just because I was afraid to see the disappointment in his eyes at what I had become.

As I drove the longest, must desolate road in my state, I imagined the conversations we would have.  Of course he would want to talk about the theater company.  We were like hostages who had been freed, bonded together for life from our experiences there.  I knew he would want to relive those moments a little.  It is only natural to discuss shared bad memories.  Would I be strong enough to go back there? 

He reads my blog.  I knew he would want to talk about the paranormal stuff.  Everyone always does. It's one thing to write about it and tell the stories, it's another thing when someone actually confronts me in person.  Would I be ready to defend myself against disbelief when I wasn't even sure I believed  myself?

But the biggest thing that terrified me was the weight gain.  Would he accidentally say words that unknowingly hurt me?  I am so ashamed of the weight I have gained.  That more than anything else is the worst thing.  Here was this man who knew me....who really knew me back then.  Would he like the me that I became?  

So I braced myself and I arrived at the show with 5 minutes to spare.  I texted him that I was in my seat and he asked me where.  I told him and he said he would give me a "Carol Burnett" ear tug when he walked onstage.  He walked out, tugged on his ear and my heart just welled up with so many mixed emotions.  He sat down at the piano and began to play and I was suddenly hurtled backwards to my early 20's.  I watched his hands play the piano.  Those hands.  He could have been at a piano with fifty other men and I would recognize the way HE played the piano.  Those hands that used to play music for me.  I felt a huge, gaping hole rip open in my chest.  What had I done by coming here?

More tomorrow....(E and Hubby are both in Florida with his family so I will have time to write,  RV, I won't leave you hanging.)

We interrupt our story

Someone drove into our church today.  Actually DROVE into the building.  No one was injured but the fire department had to come out.  They checked things out and left until about an hour later a man who was cooking a turkey in the oven caused a fire and the fire alarm went off.  Apparently firemen were laughing as they left the church for the second time today.

Hmmm...do you think karma can do its thing on buildings and not just people?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coming to the Light

I am often reluctant to talk about a certain time in my life because for those of you who know Columbus, you will be able to figure out quite easily what I am referring to.  But sometimes you have to come out of the darkness to put things behind you.

Before I met Hubby, when I was still young and wild, I was Lucy to a incredibly talented Schroeder. We acted together in a theater and more often than not, when I sang for the shows, he accompanied me.  We spent hours upon hours together, working out (which was required by our theater), rehearsing and just plain hanging out.  We could be found late at night at the German Village Max and Erma's or OSU's campus coffee place, Insomnia.  I was fascinated by his talent and his artistic...hmmm...how do I say this...aura?  No, that's not it....there was just something about him that was hard to fathom and I always wanted to break through into his musical world.  We were friends, but I always felt like he just allowed me to be in his presence.

When my brother died I received a small inheritance.  One day while I was sitting in my house with Schroeder (sorry, friend, but I couldn't call you any of the names you chose for yourself), I asked him if he wanted to go to the Grand Canyon.  It seems that he had always had the same great desire I had to see the Canyon and, amazingly enough, we had been granted a three day gift from our incredibly grueling rehearsal schedule.  I believe the theater's heater had caught on fire and had to be fixed, leaving the space unusable until it was repaired.  When he said yes, I got on the phone and booked us tickets to the GC and we were off.  To this day, I hold on to that trip like a precious jewel.  There was at least one time in my life when I was irresponsible and spontaneous.

Shortly after we returned from the Canyon, I started to sour on the theater company.  The man in charge was a megalomaniac who tortured young actors for fun.  We worked long hours for slave wages and there was a strange, almost polygamous relationship occuring between several key members of the company.  The polygamy didn't bother me, the power struggles that resulted from that relationship did.   The other acting company members worshiped the founder and Schroeder and I started to feel like we were outsiders.  Schroeder left the company first and I soon followed.  I ultimately left because the founder was leading us in an acting exercise and at the end he announced that he "was our God."  That was it for me, I left the next day.

Schroeder and I lost touch for several years.  One day I Googled his name and found him working in San Francisco.  I emailed the company and promised them I wasn't a stalker, but could they please have him contact me?  They did and we reconnected and then lost touch again.  Another year or two passed and we reconnected.  Recently Schroeder, who is now touring with a national musical, came to my state.  Not my area, but 4 hours away which wasn't too far to drive.  He invited me out and I went to see him for the first time in 16 years  Neither one of us thought I would actually show up, but I did.

To be continued....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tiny bites

I am once again ridiculously overscheduled, so I only have time to write about one of the things I promised.  I'll tell you what happened to Hubby since it is the shortest.

Remember before Halloween when I mentioned my dog growled menacingly at some unseen thing in the dark down by the river?  The spot was a point within eyesight of the old hospital and on the grounds of an old river captain's house.  Hubby was walking the raptor at the same spot at almost the same time of evening.   It has a very dark turn at night, so Hubby had his flashlight on to allow cars that might be speeding around the bend to see him. Suddenly he heard heavy footsteps running up behind him.  Terrified he turned around to see nothing but dark night air.  But he felt something.  He said the footsteps brought with them a heavy, cold chill that passed through him.  The sound then turned up the lane to the old house and disappeared.  He was completely freaked out and still had some strange energy lingering on him when I saw him later on that evening.

I wish I could tell you where I live, because you would so totally get why things like that happen here.  My guess is it was some residual energy from a runaway slave or a hunting indian.  There was a large abolitionist movement in this area, as well as one of the largest runaway slave camps during the Civil War.  Not to mention indian artifacts are still regularly found here and some of our roads follow the old hunting paths.

I just thought that it was interesting that this all happened to Hubby without me being there.  Maybe I am rubbing off on him.  For as scared as he was by this, I'm betting he is hoping I didn't.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Sure How I Feel About This

Hubby and I have been passing like two ships in the night for weeks now.  We're also basically playing E tag, stopping at prearranged locations to switch parental duties since we are never together as a family.  So Monday we scheduled a lunch date, just the two of us.

Normally when we go out on a date, we get the heck out of CountryTime because everywhere we go we run into church members.  Alas, Monday we did not have that much time and had to go to a lovely downtown location.  We were sat at a table very near the entrance and ordered an appetizer of homemade guacamole and chips.  Our appetizer arrived and there we were, sitting and talking and snacking when of course, a church member walked in to the restaurant.

She came over to our table to chat for a moment and saw our chips.  Then, without warning, she reached into the chip bowl and grabbed a chip and helped herself.  I sat there stunned.  I barely know this woman, but Hubby knows her fairly well as her husband just recently died.  If one of my friends walked up to me in a restaurant and plucked food off my table, I would probably think nothing of it.  But this woman was a stranger to me and it just felt, well, rude.  Maybe I am just being overly sensitive since I am so sick of the people here, but....

I just keep thinking of the Friend's episode where Joey keeps yelling "Joey doesn't share food!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Alone

I work with an older Pentecostal lady at the preschool.  I walked in today at 8:30 AM to hear her talking in a very loud voice to anyone who would listen. She said, and I quote (imagine a strident, hillbilly southern accent): "I'm afraid to go to the bathroom!  These kids keep telling me there's a man with a hat standing in that hallway but I can't see him.  You know who he is, don't you?  It's SA-TAN!  SA-TAN is waiting by that bathroom door!"

Yes, because SA-TAN is just lying in wait for the poor, innocent Pentecostal woman to poop!  I may not know who he is, but I know he's not SA-TAN!  I wanted to say something, but I kept my mouth shut.