Thursday, March 08, 2012

Religion and Me

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” - Han Solo

My mom was a good Catholic, my dad was a naughty young man, so we weren't the best attendees at our local churches.  I did go to vacation bible camp when I was nine or ten because I could stop by Hardee's and get Chipmunks soda glasses on the way home; I won a prize at camp for Best Worship because I swayed to sell that I was totally worshipping.  I studied the bible a little before college.  I went to a Presbyterian college (even thought I was never associated with that sect otherwise) where religion and humanties were amongst my studies.  I did some time in a cult.  I started a theatre company.  I married a preacher's kid.  I've experienced a good sampling of what's out there.

I grew up in the South, where Christianity is almost as popular as high school football.  My mother's very religious, and my in-laws are very connected to their churches.  The right thing to do would just be to "have faith" and follow the families' beliefs, right?

I had faith in a cult that claimed to be logical.  That was a bunch of lies.

I'm okay with people saying things over their food so they feel good about eating it, or believing in whatever gives them comfort so they can get up and face each day.  Some folks seem to regard god as a genie who will juice them with bounty if they rub their hands on his lamp in prayer just right.  Others use god as a scapegoat for their poor life choices, saying it was His plan.  And still others think of god as a pillow to cry into when things go wrong.  Whatever makes them happy and doesn't harm other people, rock on.  We should follow Bill & Ted's advice and be excellent to each other.

My Facebook religion is listed as John Mayer.  Dude never disappoints me with his concerts, and they're always a very spiritual experience for me.  I guess it's like gospel church for other people.  This is where I really would earn Best Worship if he was giving away a prize.  Front row tickets would be nice, John.

In all truth, though, I don't turn to John Mayer for the things most people associate with god and religion.  I have some very wonderful people in my life who lend an ear, incredible friends and collaborators who give recommendations when I have personal and professional quandries.  But who holds that god position in my life: the one whose comfort I seek when the world doesn't seem to be on my side, the one I always blast with good news as soon as I get it, my final authority when I seek counsel, the one who is good and necessary?

Andrew Moore.

He's my constant, my religion, my rock.  He's not going to try to feed me bullshit to make me feel better.  He's not going to intentionally steer me wrong.  I don't have to have faith in him because I trust him.

Feel free to pray for my soul or whatever, if that comforts you.  Just don't try to convert me to believe in something instead of Andrew Moore because you will lose.  Hands down.

"Ooh, it must be magic
How inside your eyes, I see my destiny
Every time we kiss, I feel you
Breathe your love so deep inside of me

"If the moon and stars should fall
They'd be easy to replace
I would lift you up to Heaven
And you would take their place

- "I Saw Red," Warrant

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Ten Years

I realized on Monday that Sunday marked our ten year anniversary as residents of Los Angeles.  Wow.  In that ten years:
  • My two dalmatians from Arkansas (Holly and Piper) passed and we got two mixed breed California dogs (Felicity/The Doodlebug and Buster).
  • I left a cult, was part of a theatre company, left that one to start another (theatre cult) and left that one as well.
  • I went on a lot of auditions, did some acting work and figured out that it wasn't exactly what I expected when I was a youth in the South and Midwest.  It's a lot less glamorous than it seems, and it doesn't pay as well unless you're a name star.
  • I got into dancing again and made my nest in burlesque.
  • I had three and a half jobs.  I worked as a driver for one person for four months after I moved to town, learning the layout of the city.  I then worked for the cult-associated business from late 2001 until two years ago.  I've been working at my current job since last year in March.  The half job I'm counting would be all the temping and project work I did that wasn't a daily paycheck.
  • I've lived in three places: a studio apartment, a one-bedroom apartment and the house I'm in now.
  • I've gained and lost weight a couple times.
Ten years.  I'm not where I expected to be in life after ten years in Los Angeles, but I like where I am. I can't complain.

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    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    My Newest Challenge

    I have two big challenges for this year.  (One of my special skills is counting things.  Okay, that's a joke from an acting resume Andrew and I once read, but it still plays well.)  First challenge: take 100 dance classes.  I just finished class #35 last weekend so I have a long way to go.  Second challenge: get through my Rosetta Stone French course.

    You see, the things we do today have to contribute to where, what and who we want to be tomorrow.  I want to perform in France.  It only makes sense that I would be able to speak enough French to manage myself as a business person when I do that.  For me to negotiate those gigs two years from now, I need to learn French now.  So Andrew and I bought the entire Rosetta Stone French package.

    Andrew was dreadful with French in college.  (Sorry, honey, you totally were.)  With this software, he's understanding the material and making progress.  What's especially cool is that he enjoys doing it.  He's keeping up with me pretty well.

    I don't know that I'll get through everything by Christmas, but I'm going to try my damnedest.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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    Monday, April 25, 2011

    From the Ashes

    I haven't posted here in a while. I've been a bit more regular on my dancer blog. I've been getting all deeply personal on this one in the past year.

    My dancing career is going very well. My goal was to dance in six different states this year (besides my beloved Golden State). It's April and I've danced in Texas (Dallas, San Antonio & Denton), New Mexico (Albuquerque) and Nevada (Las Vegas). As I type this on my iPod, I'm en a plane to Boston to dance tomorrow night. I'm in Chicago to train and perform in two weeks and my home state of Arkansas (Hot Springs & Little Rock) the following weekend. That's six and the year isn't half over. I'm looking into hitting a couple others before the year is out, but airfare has skyrocketed in the past month.

    Andrew and I have been busy repairing the damage our Scientology involvement did to our credit. To be fair, Scientology didn't ruin our credit. We were the idiots who believed their hype and worked at jobs that didn't address payroll deductions since we were "independent contractors." I'm proud to say that this is the first year since our initial involvement with Scientology (1999) that we haven't owed more money when we filed our return. Hell yes!

    Without the burden of administrating a theatre company (weekly executive shouting matches--er, meetings, stressing about paying for this and that, trying to keep members involved and memberships high so the dues could pay for bare bones productions, dickish accusations, shouting, rewards not outweighing the effort or expense), Andrew and I have both been able to focus on the careers we want. He's been actively working on more material with his comedy partner, working on scripts and short film ideas. Did I mention we're happier without the drama and the yelling?

    We made a puppy love connection. Buster (wiener dog & Staffordshire terrier mix) has been a member of our household for two months. I'll share a photo when I'm not on a plane. :). We met him right before I flew to Albuquerque and picked him up as soon as I got home. I fell in love with his pretty blue eyes. He's seven months old and a terrible rascal. He's still learning he lives with a showgirl and that feathers are not games. He and Felicity get along wonderfully. We were finally able to afford to get Felicity spayed at an animal hospital. Expensive, but she's considered an old dog at five and therefore at risk. It's a happy, healthy, active little family.

    Last in my string of good news is my next large costume project. It fits perfectly with the title of this blog. I'll start construction in May after my trips.

    At thirtysomething, I'm glad I finally started getting rid of stressful components of my life that weren't rewarding enough for the work they required. I feel pretty zen.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Moving On

    Here's another one of those deeply personal stories.

    When I was sixteen, my best friend and I felt we were equipped to have babies.  We knew we could care for them (I came from a large family), and we knew we'd be able to love them and raise them well because we were both very smart.  In fact, we were so smart that we didn't go out to find some random guy to knock us up just so we could experience motherhood.  We just enjoyed the idea of having a baby at that age.

    When I was seventeen, I met my perfect match.  I went on birth control shortly after meeting him because I didn't want a baby to get in the way of this blossoming relationship.  The stresses I could bear alone at sixteen were too much for a relationship at seventeen.  We both had plans for college, and it had been made clear to us that babies were not to be part of the picture for a few years by my future in-laws.  We married six months after we met, and we started purchasing and collecting baby things and toys for when we would eventually have children.

    When I was twenty, we decided to try our luck at baby making.  If we timed it just right, I'd get into grad school a year late and we'd have a school-age child when we were ready to find work in our trained fields.  Alas, the stars didn't align in our window of opportunity so we decided to wait a little while before trying again.  We also decided not to go to grad school or start our careers yet.

    When I was 23, we decided to try again.  We'd heard miracles of people who couldn't get pregnant all of a sudden having babies after doing Scientology, something about mental blocks having a physical effect on the body.  After a couple years of trying, we decided to stop.  Early warning signs for us that Scientology was not the miracle elixir the church touted it to be.

    When I was 27, we decided to give it another go.  This time we improved our nutrition and did the basal temperature readings and the ovulation tests.  Baby making became a chore and wasn't as fun or as fast as it was supposed to be.  We read a bunch of articles and books trying to figure it all out.  We turned a room in our home into a bit of a nursery (painting it light blue, putting all our stuffed toys on shelves, not really using the room).  Still no luck.  We decided to stop worrying about it and it stopped becoming a point of stress.  The nursery became a home office.

    When I was almost 34, I saw a couple doctors to see if my parts were broken.  All the tests seemed to come out okay, but seven years of unrestricted loving hadn't resulted in a baby.  It's entirely possible that the severe childhood illnesses Andrew and I both suffered cooked our production areas.  Still not stressing about it.  In fact, we're not worried about what happens either way.

    I turn 35 next month.  No baby yet.  Of course, if we had kids our lives would be completely different.  We're now focusing on our careers.  If we get an interruption of a child, so be it.  We're also cleaning out our closets of the stashed baby clothes and books we've accumulated over the past 17 years.  We've moved those things with us so many times and we're both tired of having the space in our home occupied by a box of stuff we may never use.

    I don't share this for pity.  I love my life.  I share this so people may understand why not everyone has children.  Maybe they'll stop asking in polite conversation, "So, are you planning on having children?"

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    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    The Next Step

    I've spent the past several months wanting to take my dance career to the next level, but I wasn't sure what that next level was exactly. It's hard to draw a path to your goals when you don't know what those goals are.

    Andrew spent some time talking goals and plans with me after he covered them in his film business class. I spent lots of time thinking about what I want and where I want to be in five years. Frustrating and time consuming, the stress from thinking and planning led to a sense of peace and power. I'm no longer going where the wind takes me. I have doable goals for the next five years, goals that will bring me career success and leave time for the all-important home life.

    I've spent my holiday weekend making pasties for my shows in two states in the first two months of 2011. I'm also teaching on my own in January. It's going to be a very good year.

    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    Half of My Heart

    I've spent most of my semester dealing with Piper's death. Sure, I go to school and work and dance and socialize, but I'm constantly reminded that my household has three members instead of four. This must be how a breakup feels.

    I've changed my life and made some adaptations since she died. One head to smooch before we head out the door. One bowl to fill three times a day. One dog to let under the covers in the middle of the night. We've created new rituals with Felicity, taking her on Sunday morning walks through the neighborhood and making games with her on the living room floor. Pipey got pissed off when we'd make games.

    I don't have many of her personal belongings around anymore. Andrew understood why I took down Holly's photos when she died and immediately followed suit with Piper's. We still have her last collar. We also have her old couch that Felicity wouldn't let us jettison after she passed; she hopped on the cushions as Andrew was trying to remove them.

    We've been trying to "date," going to adoption events and private homes to look at dogs. The last pup we saw was adorable, but she wasn't Piper. We tried bringing a different pup home, but she was like that person you make out with at a party when you're on the rebound and you immediately regret it. Or at least that's what I'm guessing it's like. I didn't really experience a breakup so I have to rely on other people's tales or love songs for that information.

    I don't know how long we're going to have to "date" before we find the one. It's torture. I keep getting my hopes up to get them shot down. I try distracting myself from my seemingly endless grief with more and more activity, and that doesn't always work. I feel like I'm trapped in a breakup song, and not a good one at that.

    Guess it's time to check craigslist again for more potential love connections.