a note.

i posted this on my FB page this AM:

a professor once noted that my plays tended to focus on women who are dealing with depression, anxiety, loss, hopelessness. people who feel trapped. people who sometimes can't get off the floor. you write what you know, they say. and so i write those stories. i rarely sit down intending to do so, but there is usually a moment i realize that i've landed there again. selfishly, i think i write these stories because i so appreciate when someone comes up to me and says "i've felt this way too". it makes me feel less alone. and there have been times when i felt so damn alone. and hopefully, the plays make others feel less alone too. that is my hope.

(but i will say there is this weird thing that also happens where we say to put the emotions into the writing, which can be good, but also can sometimes make me feel like as an artist the only way i can be "good" is depressed...so it is a delicate balance...one i walk every day.)

this week i've been thinking about the times when most people didn't know how depressed i actually was. i've been thinking about the times when there were people who didn't understand. i've been thinking of the people that helped me when i needed it most. i've been thinking and remembering and feeling.

and i don't have anything wise to say. other people have written and will write much better things, but i just want to say...i've been someone who reached out for help and got scorn in return. i've been someone whose depression wasn't considered as "important" as others. i've been someone who has gone to therapy and basically lied and said i was fine. we sometimes aren't good at being there for each other. and sometimes we aren't good at being there for ourselves because, well, sometimes we just can't be.

and my hope is that we keep learning to support, to check-in, to understand, to care for each other. to send love as fiercely as we can.

ghosts and empty shells

i walked by a restaurant, now boarded up. i remember getting drinks with a friend there about two years ago and i remember eating dinner there with my dad in the fall of 2016. it is where i implored him to "vote for my uterus". i am pretty sure an ex and i ate there once too, but honestly i can't tell if i am making the memory up or not. anyway, now it is boarded up and i pass it with a hint of sadness as i walk to another restaurant.

another place that holds memories...gone.

this is not new. those of us city dwellers experience this on the daily. in the last month, two convenient coffee shops have been closed. i learned this as i ran to them before meetings and realized i would have to go matcha latte-less (i know, i know). i hadn't realized that these places had become routine, but they had and now they are gone. the starbucks i frequented when i did a summer program in union square at age 15 was also the starbucks i cried in in sept 2015 and it is now a make-up store. but the tapas place that tried to kill me by failing to alert me to the hazelnuts in one dish, even though i asked if there were nuts, is still there. the waitress who felt so bad about it though...i think she has left. 

i've been thinking a lot about loss and losing. about ghosts and empty shells. i've been thinking about how places and people leave unexpectedly or they slowly disappear. the grocery store on my block, the chase bank that moved across the street...the place across the street that was a deli when my cousin lived here, but is now a mexican restaurant that may have actually been closed because i haven't seen it open in a while...gone, but not gone. ghosts on street corners. shells that will never be what they were.

like friendships and relationships.

i've been looking at friends and wondering if they will be in my life forever. wondering if the closeness i feel with them will be sustained. i think of friends who were once my soulmates and are now people i care for, but never talk to. a like. a FB bday message. a run thru their instagram. i know their kids' names or know they just moved, but not much else. and its okay, of course, because life moves on and we pick up folks along the way. folks who get us and folks who hurt us and folks that become family. 

last night i chatted with an old friend that i am visiting next month. we talked about the closeness we still feel despite the time and space between us. i think to myself, yes, she will be here and then think of others i can't say that confidently about.

there is family i don't really speak to. i wonder if that will ever change. i worry that it won't but haven't done anything to fix it.

i think it is weird that there are people out there that know so much about me, or me at a certain moment, and i know so much about them, or them at a certain moment, and yet we are essentially ghosts to one another.

i think of the men i've loved or thought i could love. i think of the ones i may never speak to or see again. i think of the one who likes an instagram photo once a year. i think of the one i still consider a close friend though we never talk and may never actually be actual friends again. i think of the ones that used to mean so much to me, but i never think about now. i think of my yearning for love, for partnership and the fear that the eyes that are looking for this love, seeking this love out are actually just looking for someone who will one day be on this list of people and places that used to be ours and that used to know us so well and that used to be our soulmates but will one day just be a person you hope you don't run into on the subway.

i guess what i am saying is that it is amazing to me how we keep going. how we find new hangout spots and brunch places. how we find new neighborhoods and new baristas to have crushes on. how we find and make new friends and new lovers and new connections. sometimes i am so scared of eventually losing a place or a person that i don't even want to enjoy them while they're here. i am amazed every time i work past that fear or that fear disappears. i am amazed how we go into it, eyes and hearts open. or we try to. we try to forget what could happen and try to just enjoy what's in front of us. and thank the heavens that we do. thank the heavens that we feel the losses, but yearn for the new connections. thank goodness for the present moment, for the moments when these places and people are just...there.

on friday i walked with a new friend. we passed by a place i used to love to go to when i was a teen and in my early twenties. many a friend and a love and a family member went there with me. and now it is something else. something new. people went in and out of it. my friend and i just walked on by. we got gelato at a place i've never been to before. and we sat at a familiar place, but in a new location for me. and i didn't worry about closings or losses or ghosts. 

hello again

i have discovered that the only music i can listen to these days is pop music that can be found on spotify's confidence boost playlist. listening to it has reminded me of how much i love to dance. i haven't danced in a long time. i am a homebody, i say. i am an introvert, i say. these things are true. but i am also someone who loves to go out, have a drink or two, and dance to music with my friends. there was a magical year in boston where my coworkers and i basically went out every weekend--working 12hr days at a middle school required an outlet. i was heartbroken then too and it was a lovely thing to go out every weekend, dance and drink soco lime shots. i cut my hair short and told men to leave me alone while i talked to my friends. it wasn't always amazing...i definitely puked in the bathroom of a very fancy restaurant which i had been brought to by a boss. oops. 

but i say that to say, i am someone who loves to dance and i haven't been dancing.

there are a number of reasons for that-- my ex wasn't really a go out and dance person. i am an introvert and so going out to dance feels anti-everything i feel inside. i am sleepy and dancing often happens late. i don't think i'm that great of a dancer....

but it doesn't change the fact that even as i sit here and write this post, all i can picture in my head is me in some cute but practical outfit shaking my curls back and forth. this image feels so important to who i am and yet...my dancing shoes...don't even exist. why?

since my breakup, i've been thinking a lot about myself. obviously. but i've been really thinking about all it is that i want and need and ultimately...who the hell am i and what parts of myself have i been ignoring. i've been staring at myself in the mirror. i've been thinking long and hard about some of the things i thought of as "innately" me. i've been noticing when i'm on autopilot. 

if i'm honest, it feels a little scary. i thought by now i'd just know the answer to these questions. i'd assumed that by this time in my life i wouldn't hide myself or i wouldn't let others make me feel somehow less than. i thought i wouldn't put others on pedestals as a way to keep myself down. i thought i would love myself completely and be myself completely and say f**k off to everyone who disagreed. 

that has not proven true. what's true is that i have had to reconnect over and over again. remind myself over and over again that i am perfect in my imperfection. that i am who i am due to everything i am and that i can be amazing and worthy of love and successful just as i am. that i don't need validation. that i don't need someone's approval. i do that thing where i live a lot of my life listening to "shoulds". i learned early that to get through some less than stellar situations i should act a certain way. i should want certain things. i should be a certain type of person. i still deal with that--albeit in a different way now--but here i am again...looking at a list of shoulds that are not serving me. and i just want to feel like i can be me. and, really, the only person who is preventing that is this scared little girl inside of me who doesn't want to be laughed at or judged or called drama queen again so she steers us away from all the scary things...she steers as way from ourself.

i just want to know that i can want to dance some days and not want to other days, that i can deal with depression and anxiety and be sad and not be defined as a "sad person", that i can want to just sit by the water and listen to the waves, that i can want to jump in the water with all my clothes on, that i can sometimes be boring, that i can sometimes be spontaneous, that i can make mistakes, that i can share who i am and the right people will bring me in close as opposed to push me away, that i can cry and laugh and fart at the same time, that i can keep exploring who i am and changing my mind, that i can be me without apology.

the last two weekends i've been scared by the huge pockets of free time that have landed in my schedule. i've been running around like crazy and here i am scared of free time because then it is just me and me and me and the pup. and sure right now free time means a lot of time to feel the heartbreak, but i also feel it in the middle of plays and conversations with friends...so why avoid it? i can't. and all i'm really avoiding is time with myself. time to learn who i am. time to find me and be me. 

so tonight i will go home earlier than i have for three weeks. and just...be with myself. learn who this weirdly wonderful, wonkily wise woman is...

an assortment of thoughts

i haven't been able to listen to music. 

i don't know what happened. last week music was fine, but this week music does nothing but make me feel sad. i can't even listen to the songs that have no connection to him. i can't bring myself to play them. so i've been listening to podcasts and trying to read and watch tv but i miss music. in an effort to avoid love as a theme, i have sunk into my true crime podcasts and criminal minds tv episodes. i'm not sure these are the healthiest choices i could be making as a now single woman who is moving through the city mostly by herself, but oh well. serial killers it is. [i watched all of mindhunter when away in oregon earlier this month (when he was treating me terribly, when i knew it was a matter of days before we ended). mindhunter got me through some rough days...oddly. i'm not sure what this says about me...i'm not going to think about it too hard...]


deleting photos is an annoying process. there are so many more to go. boo.


taking a step back, i always find it interesting how the different stages of heartbreak appear and disappear and reappear. the stages have this odd familiarity. like a friend that just moved to L.A. for a bit, but has come back to the city. i'm like, oh hello there extremely painful third week! oh i remember this phase. the you can't shake it phase. i wonder how long you'll be around.

most of the day, i haven't been able to shake the sadness. i haven't been able to shake the anger. i haven't been able to shake the sense of loss, the sense of confusion, the sense of frustration. they have just been there, sitting inside my chest, right behind my eyes. i silently pleaded for them to go away. just for a bit. they have done no such thing so i am sitting here doing my best not to cry, but also knowing that it will end there. now or later, it will end in tears. i keep thinking of this nayyirah waheed poem: expect sadness/like/you expect the rain./both/cleanse you...


sadness is cleansing. tears are cleansing. cleanse me, i whisper as i cry, cleanse me. wipe away the dirt and grime, wipe away the pain, wipe away the hurt and pain, wipe away the fear, wipe away the grasping, wipe away the loss, wipe away the self-doubt, wipe away...cleanse me. rejuvenate me. let me jump into the puddles left behind.


but there was a moment, a few moments, today that i was fine...when i was teaching. teaching made me feel grounded. teaching got me out of my own head. teaching reminded me of the present and what's right in front of me. and of course, that faded as soon as the class ended and here i was fighting with sadness again...but i had that moment. i felt it. holy shit, i thought. teaching is going to get me thru, i thought. and it will. along with everything else. 


viola davis tweeted out an image that said "what if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself." 

that is my work. i know it is. loving myself. loving my work. believing in my worthiness. believing that i am more than what one person saw or concluded. believing my dreams can come true. knowing i am a good person. knowing i am a loving person. knowing another crack in my heart will only make it beat more furiously, will only make it more determined, will only make it more clear on what it wants and needs. that is the work. that is the lesson. back to me, back to loving me, back to loving my work, back to growing, back to the beat of my own heart.


speaking of which, as soon as this music hatred ends, i'd really love to go dancing. i need dancing. someone come dance with me. like rihanna. 



I sit with it. I walk with it. I feel it in me, like a ghost just underneath my skin. 

I’m sad she says. I know I say.

And then we sit and walk and move on, she and I twin sisters, chimera, attached like a invisible woman down into a dress.** 

This sadness feels so familiar to me. I know heartbreak. While this one does not feel as earth-shattering as before, my heart feels wearier. She worries. But she knows what it is like to break and have to put herself together again and so she knows she has to wait, has to be patient, and already she is weary but also knows she will keep beating because that is what she does. she's over it and not. 

I’m sad she, the one in me, says. I’m sad because in the end he seemed to be revolted by your very existence, seemed he wished you’d disappear from view, seemed to be laughing behind your back, planning his escape, cringing at your smile and your touch... 

Stop, I tell her. I already know. I don’t want to think of this. I don’t want to remember anything. 

I wish I didn’t have to cry for someone who seemed to care less about me in the end. My therapist says that I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t cry about this someone. It’s one of the qualities that makes you, you and it’s a good thing, she says. 

She, the one inside me, starts to scream. I’m carrying groceries home and she is screaming. She is livid. She is red. She is throwing things. Burning things. Destroying things. She is angry and I am walking down the street with no expression just with the groceries as she yells for answers she will never get. She blames me. She yells at me. She tears me down. And I carry the groceries. I whisper that I know she has to do this, but really...maybe...really...could she pause. I can't hear myself over her yelling. And it is only when I get home and see something that frustrates me that suddenly I am yelling too and cursing and letting the anger fill us both. I hate her and I tell her that. I tell her I hate that I am stuck with her. Just her. Again. I tell her I don't want this either.  And we are yelling and yelling and yelling and we realize we are mad at him. We are so mad at him. We curse him. We are walking the dog and we are cursing him out as we yell inside. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be angry. We yell about feeling as though we can’t be vulnerable. We yell because we never yell and all we want to do is yell. We yell because he never heard us yell and now never will and that makes us even angrier.

And then it’s over. 

We are yelled out.

We just feel the anger. And the sadness. Still there. Intertwined. 

I sigh. And cry. And she, the one in me, the sad and angry one, me, says I’m sad and I say I know and she says I'm angry and I say I know and that's wonderful and feel it and yell and cry and let it out and then someone else comes up and asks how are you and we say okay and these are all true and we walk and we sit and I feel her, the sadness, underneath the okayness mixed with the anger and I’m tired and it’s just the beginning and all there is to do is wait and work and breathe and grow and one day realize my twin, my chimera, my invisible girl sown into skin is resting. 

Until then we walk together and when we get home I’ll make her some tea or pour a glass of wine or even just some water because we need to stay hydrated and I sit with her until one of us falls asleep.

**image borrowed from a short story by carmen maria machado