When 2018 began, I didn’t have high hopes. A few days into January and I was experiencing a kind of cruel heartbreak that I could not have guessed would happen only a few weeks before. I was seeing the depths to which certain parts of me would go to try to make everything okay, ignoring my own wants and needs, until finally even those parts were like, “this is not okay.” As I sat in a Portland living room on January 8th, silently saying goodbye to the people and the place because who knew when/if I’d ever go back, I received an email. A theater in Portland wanted to do my play in 2019. I laughed and looked up and said, “Universe, you have got to be kidding me.” And she wasn’t done. Two days later, the day I officially was like ‘this shit is bananas’, I received another email. A theater in North Carolina wanted to do my play in 2019. Again, I laughed and thought to myself okay, okay, I get it. One door closes and another door opens. One part of your heart breaks while another part soars.
This was 2018.
Good and bad often coming hand-in-hand. Nothing was what it seemed. And honestly predicting what life would look like even days ahead seemed foolhardy. In general 2018 was a dumpster fire. Every day something new was on the news and it was all worse than before. And no amount of donating, reading, showing up or not showing up seemed to make it any less fiery. I’ve had so many serious conversations about, well, the end of times as we know it. I tried to compost for the first time. I failed, but I’m gonna try again. I began to seriously think about what it means to have a child physically, mentally, emotionally, ecologically. For the first time I considered what life might be like without one. Or what life might be like if I adopted when I was older. “Whoa,” a friend said. “That is different for you.” I know. It is. For once I am open to…well…whatever happens. At least today. My mom got sick and had emergency surgery. I had to take my grandma to a nursing home. They are both fine and my grandma is back home with my mom, but I learned a lot those few days. My uterus has had a mind of her own. An annoying and scary mind of her own. She still does.
This was 2018.
In 2018 I traveled for work and managed to fit in a few visits with friends on the way. In addition to Portland, I went to LA, SF, Anchorage and Valdez, Alaska, Salt Lake City, Chautauqua, NY, Chicago, New Haven, Providence, Boston, Exeter, NH, a camp in upstate NY, and now North Carolina. Technically, I added three states to my “states I’ve visited” list. I had several readings, several workshops, three workshop productions (Jump, Stained, Sex Play), finished up the play Girl With No Hands, had a short play in The Fire This Time Festival, got into a few awesome theater organizations, and learned that in 2019 I will have at least 5 professional productions throughout the country with two of those rehearsal processes starting this month. I spent weeks in hotels, in artist housing, in AirBnBs. I grabbed drinks with artists in all these places, making new friends in some…questioning whether I wanted to go back in others. I taught at two colleges and with an organization I love, forcing folks young and old to listen to me yammer on. That shit is cray. I don’t even have the mental capacity to understand this. I know with this career nothing is promised. I know this could be a really great year followed by not so great years. Or this is just the beginning. I’m a pessimist so…you know where my mind goes, but…either way, I am trying to really let it sink in. “Enjoy it” is a common refrain around me now. I have a lot of trouble enjoying things. Anxiety usually wins. I hope I’m able to enjoy things more next year instead of being in a constant state of “oh god what if…”
This was 2018.
I read 53 books (though I’m 90pg away from finishing book #54). I went to the beach more this year than I had in the last two years combined. In March, I met a guy I think is swell and who seems to think I’m swell too. George the pup is still the love of my life and turned 8. A mural painted by a friend turned my bedroom into a beautiful oasis. My plants are still alive. I went out dancing for my 32nd birthday and threw up in the back of an Uber. Around Valentine’s Day, I had friends over to my apartment and we had wine and we laughed and were too hot in my apartment. Same after Thanksgiving. I watched fireworks from a Brooklyn rooftop on July 4th. I went for a hike in Alaska. I dipped my toes in the Pacific in Santa Monica and cried looking at the Pacific and Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon. To be honest, I probably cried in the Atlantic too…I definitely peed in the Atlantic (sorry). I didn’t have enough lobster rolls to be honest. I probably didn’t do enough to protect the values I hold dear. Book club is still surviving. The room I am staying in for this week in North Carolina has yellow details. Did they know yellow is my favorite color?
I cried so much. I worried so much. I went to so much therapy/bodywork/lightwork/life coaching sessions. I didn’t work out enough. My body kind of feels like crap now. And the one real goal I have for 2019 is to become reacquainted with my yoga practice. And I need to have more veggies and water. There is currently a glass of wine by my bed from last night. IT SHOULD BE WATER, CHARLY. FOR GOD’S SAKE.
This is 2018.
I learned a lot about myself. A lot. I am still learning as I sit in this room (in this old house that me and another artist just accept is probably haunted) debating whether I want coffee (get water Charly!!) or want to do yoga (the mat is downstairs and it is cold and excuses excuses) or should get up and walk around before rehearsal. And I am wondering what is to come in 2019. I don’t usually let myself daydream anymore. I’m not sure when I stopped but the last few years have really taken that desire away from me. It is too scary to daydream, I’ve felt. Only disappointment exists there, I’ve thought. But yesterday, on the plane before writing this, I let myself daydream. I feel a little better doing that because, well, 2018 showed me that yeah, sure, you think one thing is going to happen and something else happens instead. AND THANK THE UNIVERSE FOR THAT, AMIRITE? Because that new thing was a better than that other thing you thought you wanted to happen. And dreams do come true, in a way. You just have to endure some bumps and detours and the occasional storm to get there…and it sucks…but it’s there. Around the bend or some crap. The daydream you didn’t even know to dream about. And sure, I’m scared that around the next bend is some scary shit and, let’s be real, there is some scary shit there because none of us get through life without the scary shit around the bend sometime, but…maybe just maybe the daydream is there too. The dream. But really the dream you didn’t even know to dream about. Maybe just maybe.
Happy New Year.