Microblog Mondays – Life Story book

You know what?  I don’t think I told you that I actually finished Boo’s life story and had it printed and delivered it to him.  I took me a while to get the last perfect picture but I finally did it.  That only took 7 years.

I included his one and only sonogram, the picture of his birthmother and us, the day he was born, etc.  I did not include a picture of his biological father, even though I have one somewhere that his birthmother sent me.  We never met and he did not come to the hospital when he was born.  I guess if he had, I might not have my son here with me.   Sigh, I only wish I had taken more pictures at the time.  He loved it!  He didn’t ask as many questions as I thought he would.  But we had a really good chat about everything.

I do remember how strange it felt to have this teeny tiny infant in my care and even though I was smiling in every shot, I also felt quite sad, too.  That bittersweet feeling become an obstacle for me (never mind my age or the issue of finances) in entertaining the idea of another adoption.   It was hard to let go of this idea that I would magically become this unconditionally happy woman despite the loss it meant for my son and his birthmother.  I held it together like a rock in the face of this woman sacrifice and tears.  Why does everyone keep telling me I should be happy now?  I had an idea of what I would feel and what transpired was most decidely different.  I read a blog post from a woman who did not have the ideal birth experience that she had prepared for.  She felt robbed somehow of the blessed experience for events that were beyond her control.  Maybe I had felt something like that.  Like, hey look I have a baby but….. why do I feel so traumatized?  Expectations versus reality.  I learned a great deal about equanimity.

I remember the wash of unconditional love I felt for him as I held him, the awe of it all, how humbled I was at being given the opportunity to mother, how badly I wanted to remove his loss.  I wanted to be perfect, not make any mistakes.  I would not be afforded another opportunity in this lifetime.  I was terrified of failing him.  And yet sometimes I did.  And then I get off the floor and did better.   I now know it’s just part of the job, the hard part of being an adoptive mother, knowing you won’t be the answer to his question of where he came from.  He will one day look to you for answers that you hope you can answer.  To be the bridge he crosses.  You just hope he comes back.

I had built up this book to be such a momentous big deal, but Boo just seemed to be happy to marvel over how tiny he was once.  His big foot next to my wine glass.  His dog nuzzled next to his sleeping body.  He liked his life story and was eager to share with only those closest to him.  He didn’t see our doubts, our fears, our hopes.  He only saw how much he was loved.  Which I suppose, was the whole point.

 

Taking my bow

This is long overdue, but my play closed Saturday night, so instead of running around on Mondays (which was my day off) I can slow down a little and write.

Yes, my play.  Refuge by Mary Vingoe.  I don’t cry very often, but let me tell you I cried in 15 out of 17 performances in my last scene.  I played an Eritrean refugee mother who has lost her son to suicide. Refugees issues are front and centre these days and audiences were really engaged in the topic.    It was well received by audiences and I have to say I had a wonderful time.  It brought the joy of my craft back to me.  Friends saw me recently on an episode of a major network show and I have to tell you I got far more out of doing this play than I did with that role.  I had my issues with the play itself but I still had the time of my life. The crazy actors, their different personalities, the crappy dressing room, the “places” call.   It was like getting back the part of me that I thought was beyond reach.  Like discovering sex can actually be so good that you just want more and more of it.  I just tingled down to my toes.  It was emotionally exhausting no doubt, but when I came home, I would slip into my son’s tented bed and watch him sleep.  That shit never gets old.  Just watching his lips purse in sleep, hearing his deep breathing, kissing his impossibly soft skin.  The play is based on a real Eritrean refugee whose claim was rejected and eventually he committed suicide rather than be returned to his homeland.  I still had my son and feeling his breath on my face was an antidote to the despair and pain I portrayed on stage.

My part wasn’t huge, in fact, I was only in 4 short scenes, but I believe they were impactful.  It was just what I could handle at this time and it was just what I needed.  I’m not sure how people handle all the pressure of a huge, demanding role and also a family life, but I guess that’s just a matter of expanding one’s capacity.  Oddly enough one of the actors commented on how much I had to do as both a mother and an actor.  I have to admit that at times I feel as if my capacity is not big enough, I often felt frayed when I straddled both worlds.  None of them had children or were responsible for taking care of other people.  They had lifestyles that supported them. They just cleared their schedules and did the play.  They had spouses to make them lunches or quiet spaces to retreat to.  If I had an early rehearsal day I grocery shopped or walked the dog (and memorized my lines at the same time) or attended to some errand or another.  I checked in with my Buddhist colleagues for updates, cleaned the house, did laundry, put things away.  I had a couple of auditions (which I resented) but I did them anyway.  I was basically working 6 out of 7 days just over a month (seems longer) but it didn’t really seem like work.  I guess that happens when you really love what you’re doing.   Hubby had to go away for work for a few days and it was spring break.  I arranged a few days in a day camp for the boy.  The inlaws came over during that final week of rehearsals (long days).  That was a blessing to be sure, but of course, that also means I cooked meals ahead of time for them.  Being at rehearsal came to mean an escape;  all my energy could be focused one direction not several.  The minute I was on my way home, it was about juggling and picking up things and meeting others’ expectations and it was jarring at times.

Still, I learned a lot about my capacity to juggle things and handle stress.  All in all, I think I did alright.

I’m sad right now though.  It was great working f/t doing something I loved.  I received a good review for my work, got my picture in the paper and I admit it, it was good for my battered old ego.  It was the first show my mum missed, but she was with me in spirit.  I learned a lot.  Onward and upward.

 

 

 

Microblog Mondays – I’d rather be at work

There are quite a few things I should be doing right now and I have elected to do none of them.  I’m scheduled to work 6 days a week in the theatre but had a day off on the weekend as other scenes were being worked on.  It’s kind of a sweet deal for me, I’m in 4 short scenes and only with one other person who is the lead.  Of course that day off ended up being busier than if I had gone to the theatre.  Next week is hubby has work scheduled so I arranged an interview with a sitter , walked the dog with the family while working on my lines, did notetaking for a friend’s theatre company, cleaned the house (I always worry my house smells like dog to other people), then jetted off downtown to do notes, jetted back to meet sitter in my candle scented, vacuumed house, then took off for a play reading that my acting teacher was in.  Then last night I realize I could squeeze in another gig notetaking but the sitter is not available (hence now I need another backup sitter).

I have noticed that since gaining f/t (albeit temporary) employment that most of the household chores and appointment making still fall to me.   Hubby actually had the nerve to get short tempered  and griped to me about not doing more of his homework with our son.  Oh, yes, he did.   So I told him that he had better find a way to get some more sleep and not lose his temper so easily and I walked away, refusing to get engaged with the bullshit.  I had had a perfectly marvelous week and wasn’t about to let him get me down.    This after one week of being at home with our son (though the kid is in school) and not having work scheduled.  And not sleeping well. Frankly, he hasn’t slept well in several months.    I  dreamt that I left him and found a great new apartment.  Sigh. I honestly knew that my husband would not do well with self employment in an industry that constantly changes schedules and you have to work when you get it and you’re constantly waiting for cheques to arrive.  I get it.  I’ve done it most of my life.   You  don’t get a cheque every 2 weeks, it’s not 9-5pm, you don’t get two weeks off with pay and  you can’t piss people off or you end up losing contracts.  He hasn’t had a vacation in 3 years, he’s constantly stressed about money and for good reason, but honestly I get tired of his inability to deal with the stress.  Of course the next day he apologized to our son and spoiled him all day.  He makes dinner and is nice to me.  So I suppose that was an apology.

So this is what women who work outside of the home f/t go through.

 

Microblog Mondays – Starving artist

Not sure why it took 6 weeks to lose almost 5 lbs and 1 week to gain a pound.  Oh, yeah, I know the program works if you work the program and yes I’ve been cheating here and there so I deserve the gain.  Sigh.  I’m starving.  I can only work out one day a week as my rehearsals are all day and by the time I get home (after stopping for groceries, etc), I’m done.   I had a Haagen Dazs bar one night when a friend came over – and you know what, I wasn’t hungry anymore.  Full fat actually satiates.

Good news is that I’ve started rehearsals for a play which will be premiering mid March.  So happy!!!!  And it’s a real actual theatre job for which I get paid!!!    It will require major juggling between me and hubby’s chaotic schedule and I still haven’t got a sitter yet. Also, the dog had dental surgery, she’s fine now, she’s just eating soft kibble and wet dog food.    And my mother’s estate is almost settled.

 

Hungry

I’ve been pretty busy lately.  Joined Weight Watchers again.  Somewhat reluctantly because I knew I would have to start counting points and counting how many raw almonds I could eat.  Frankly, though, wishing things were different is not as useful as actually having a plan and following through with it.  So I do it while hubby is away for work, so I can get going without having to worry about what he wants for dinner.  Going back to spin class helped and I took up snowshoeing.  After 20 years in this province, I finally picked up a winter sport.  It’s something I can take the dog along (though she hates the sight of people moving on skiis and snowboards) and if I hustle I can get to the mountain and back before school is out.   I am slowlllly losing weight. So good for me.  When I ran out of points, I went to bed.  Seriously.  I don’t eat in bed normally, so I figured if I just retired to the bedroom, I’d be safe.  And then I started to stash some candy in my bedside table.   At first I could count out how many caramels I could eat safely and then I started to get pissed off/stressed/bored/lonely and ate more.  Ah, the sugar monkey on my back has returned.  Then I went sledding with my son which was a lot of fun but by nightfall, my back started to hurt.  A lot.  I still went to spin the next morning but walking the dog later was agony.  Back to the chiro and no more spin for the rest of the week.  Spinitis.  Discs in the lower back rubbing together created pain and inflammation.  After two adjustments, I am much better.  My energy has returned.   My girlfriend and I are going to dinner with the kids tonight. I gotta change my weigh in dates from Tuesday to Friday so I can at least drink on the weekend and get back on point (no pun intended) during the week.  I am not good at planning meals and I really dislike buying frozen food but there is such relief when I know that turkey/mashed potatoes tray is only 5 points.  I’ve got to get better at it.  And this is why I hate dieting, it’s a fucking full time job  trying to distract yourself from hunger, cravings and trying to trick yourself into calling carrots and cauliflower and frozen grapes, snacks. I make one thing for the kid,  eat small portion of whatever I make for hubby and me.  I came home looking for turkey leftovers for lunch one day only to discover hubby hadn’t left any from the night before and went into a blind rage cause now I only had leftover mashed cauliflower and mashed potatoes and …..now I know why J.enny Craig is so popular.

All this suffering for a .9 lb loss in a week.  Say a prayer for me, please.

 

A deep freeze

I wrote a half a post about a week ago concerning a friend of mine who is going through a marital breakdown – I hit a wrong button and it all evaporated.  I was so pissed off, I couldn’t retrieve it, but whatever.  These people are so close to me and its one of those couples that I know many people held up as an example.  I feel just so bad for them, there’s so much pain.   It was causing me to reflect on my own marriage, and not in a good way, if you know what I mean.  It makes me think what would I do?   I’ve heard more than a few times from female friends, that the husband just upped and left after the kids grew up or they found someone else, a younger and prettier version.  I remember wanting my parents marriage to be over when I was 11 years old because I just couldn’t take the violence, the disrespect, the humiliation anymore and yet ultimately my mother went back to my father because she just couldn’t make it on her own.  Despite the fact that he tried to choke the life out of her in front of a crowd.  For my dad’s part, it was his ego that was wounded, he never wanted her and the ensuing years was just a facade.  It changed how I viewed myself, the opposite sex and my ability to deal with conflict.  It made me question the whole point of marriage to begin with.

I have to talk to both people, but it’s just plain awkward.  I am trying to be supportive and reassuring  while remaining neutral but of course, I have my opinions.   I have to be careful with what I say cause I don’t want to get into any trouble.  I guess I can’t ask the husband for  marriage advice anymore.  Huh.

The weather here has been unseasonably cold; it has already snowed a few times and mild chaos ensued.  I was brought up out East, so I don’t find it that bad, but Vancouver is ill prepared for snow, even when it’s forecasted.  Sigh.  We’ve been having a shortage of salt and a lot of neighbourhood side streets are like ice rinks.  So the city decided to “help” and put free salt/sand at some fire stations.  There was a mob scene at one of them.  Over salt.  Sigh.  Someone even posted a bag of salt for $80 on Craig’s List.  Both hubby and I took over shovelling snow for our elderly neighbours and I was rewarded with a beautiful “quillow” for Christmas (from the friendly one). I’d never heard of one, but it’s  quilt that has a pouch you can put your feet into and you can fold it up into a pillow using the same pouch.  It really came in handy cause I got the flu over Christmas.  First hubby got it, but he recovered in 2 days and then I woke up with it Christmas morning.  Yay, a gift I can’t return.  So much for the serious drinking I had in mind.   Oh yeah, and hubby took his brother to the emergency room 3 times due to gall bladder pain.  It was a Christmas for the books.  We came home early from our in-laws and I spent the next 4 days in bed.  In isolation.  Well, actually I dragged myself out of bed to do a roundtable taping with fellow African Canadian actors and then back to bed.  I’m good now except for a residual phlegmy cough.

 

Microblog Mondays – More gigs!

I am so freaking tickled pink that I am a working actress! I had honestly forgotten what it felt like.  And to get to work with Donald Sutherland – OMG!  He is so gracious and charming!  I really had to work hard to just concentrate on my work instead of acting like an idiot around him.  I mean, he’s a Canadian icon!  I honestly haven’t met that many well known actors that I am genuinely moved to act like a moron around because I am so impressed by their talent.  I am really grateful to be able to work with him even in such a small capacity.

And to boot, I had another audition, this time a theatre one, then a callback the next day – and guess what!  I got it!!!  So next spring I will be on stage. I will fill you in when it gets closer to the time!  This is so awesome.