11:09 PM - Sun 12.13.15
Many years ago, when I was taking theater classes at Lansing Community College, a photographer came to our make-up class one day, to take composite photos of us.
I don't remember what the point was now, but he basically created a triptych of each student - a straight-on head-shot in the center, then composites putting together our "left-side" and "right-side" faces.
For most of the students, their "left-side" and "right-side" faces were pretty close to their normal face, with a funny/off detail here-and-there.
Mine looked more like fun-house mirror images (Or, as I remember saying of the three photos at the time, "It looks like pictures of me and my two brothers...").
It wasn't the first time I realized my looks were "off", but it was maybe the first time I zeroed in on just how they were off.
I was just too damned asymmetrical.
(After that, I became fond of saying "I have a face like a Picasso painting", a pseudo-intellectual remark that actually indicates how little I understood Picasso. But anyway...)
This came to mind recently, I don't remember why exactly (Maybe after a particularly unattractive selfie?).
And suddenly, it strikes me how "asymmetrical" my life has been in general - from my life in foster care (Where I consistently "needed more than they could give"), to pretty much all my relationships - romantic and otherwise (Where they often needed/expected more than I could give) - to the current day, where there really are no "relationships", and I live an out-of-balance life, one where I expect acting to solve all my problems and fulfill all my dreams (Which, as a result, has made acting, instead of a pleasure, just another thing to be upset about most of the time).
I considered making "asymmetry" the entire subject of an entry, then realized I had no idea where I wanted to go with it, and sure as shit didn't have "a big finish".
Mon 12/14/15 (10:05 pm)
On Thursday, barring some unforeseen development, I will be attending a "Milk & Cookies" Party, planned for a half-hour, where I will meet Jerry, my "Pencil Pal" (A volunteer program from the SAG Foundation, for those not-in-the-know).
That's likely to be my big excitement for the week.
Maybe for the entire holiday season.
I bought him a gift, a quiz/activity book about the characters from "World of Gumball" (which is something he likes), ordering it off Amazon before I then considered the potential problems of such a gesture (So I contacted my program person, which I should have done in the first place, regarding gift-giving protocol, and she said I should at least hold off till the end of the school year).
Anyway, that's a thing that's happening on Thursday.
Barring unforeseen circumstances.
(I'm actually a little nervous about it...)
Earlier today, I did my weekly reading, at an elementary school with a name so complicated, I still can't remember it - Something Something Magnet Elementary (But who cares? I know where it is, and that's all that matters).
Anyway, I did my reading, and it went well. I was particularly happy that a story I was unsure of (Because it lacked a lot of the usual "bells and whistles" I think make a reading "work") went over quite well.
I had an issue I've had before - I don't know how to do characters with gruff voices without hurting my throat (I kinda/sorta know some professional "voice people", so maybe I'll try to ask someone about it) - but beyond that, it was a fun day.
That said, I'm very happy to not have to do it for a couple weeks.
And I've decided that, at the end of the school year, I'm done with it (One of the teachers kind of gave me an "out" today, when we were talking about the holiday, and she asked "Are you coming back in the new year?". I guess I could have said no, but I feel an obligation to finish out the year, so instead, I said a cheery, "That's the plan, if you're still up for it!", which she was).
So what's my problem? Why don't I want to perform in front of adorable, mostly appreciative first-graders, and maybe get them hooked on the joy of reading (Or at least the joy of watching an aging character actor do broad comedy)?
Because it's really hard for me to cobble together enough material I feel really good about doing, week after week - It might sound crazy to say I feel "pressure" when reading to children, but...I feel pressure when reading to children.
But a deeper issue is that, while this may be good for the kids - Though who knows, really? It mostly just feels like I'm "entertaining" them, and they get a lot of that already - It's not getting me the main thing I want from volunteering/finding things to do beyond working, waiting for acting to happen, or hanging around the house jerking off, and that one thing is, "making contacts-and/or-possible-friendships with adults".
It's fun to make the kids laugh, but I'm not making any new connections with like-minded adults, and the good feeling I get from "performing" (If I have a "good feeling" about it on a given day) has pretty much disappeared by the time I get home, and I feel as lonely and "stuck" as ever.
I need things to do where there's a possibility of "making friends".
Cause I'm pretty short of friends right now (That's no slam on anyone in my life - It's just that, because of various circumstances, there's really no one I like available to talk to/hang out with on even a semi-regular basis).
Tues 12/15/15 (2:35 pm)
A nice thing I don't believe I've reported in here...
Some months ago, I got a notice from the IRS, saying I owed back taxes - to the tune of about $1250 - for the 2013 tax year.
That's a good chunk of my monthly nut, so it was a discouraging development, to say the least.
But there was something in the IRS notice I knew was wrong - They wanted to ding me for not rolling over my IRA into a 401K, or not doing it fast enough, or something, and I had taken great pains to do things exactly right, because of some previous bad experiences.
So I sent proof I'd done things right, and they sent me a notice saying they needed more.
So I sent additional proof I'd done things right, and a few weeks ago, I got an amended notice saying I owed $251 dollars.
A qualified victory - I would like to have been totally vindicated, given a written apology, and sent a bonus check for my troubles, or at least a Starbucks card - but that said, it was a victory nevertheless.
It feels important to "take note" when things like this happen - I don't think of myself as someone who sees the world through crap-tinted glasses, and haven't for years, but I do feel a little defensive when the response to my feeling down in here is, "You should be grateful for all the good things that happen...!".
This was "a good thing that happened".
And "Yay ME!" for bringing it about.
(So there, Imaginary Reader...you judge-y bastard!)
Had my last therapy session for the year earlier today...
It's been tough.
(It's interesting - I say it's been "tough", and I mean it, but at the same time, I'm slightly panicked that we're done till the 5th. I'm clearly having "abandonment issues".)
One of the tough things about it is that two facets of my personality I prize most - my intelligence and my sense-of-humor - are, to a certain extent, hindrances in therapy.
We're addressing the "self-abuse" thing (The bad kind, not the fun kind). And in therapy, "joking" about it or "intellectualizing" about it is basically a way to avoid really dealing with it.
I think I'm angry with myself, but he wants me, I think, to get "underneath" that, and understand/experience what I'm so angry about that I've now "turned on myself".
The other thing I have to do, when I have those angry feelings and want to hurt myself, is to somehow stop/slow things down, and note what's going on physically - without joking about it, without seeking to intellectually "manage" it, and certainly without punching myself in the head.
I'm deeply afraid of my anger - I may "intellectualize" about it, and want to "manage" it, I may not know or want to admit exactly what it's about, but I know that I am, really-and-truly, white-hot, capital-A "Angry".
Always have been.
So one thing that happened today was he noted that push-pull of my being angry, and at the same time, feeling a great deal of anxiety because I'm angry, and as a result, trying to "push it down".
I've feared my anger, basically because expressing it has almost always led to "a bad result". Which is why I think I hit myself - My dysfunctional thinking seems to be "better I punch or slap myself when I feel angry than break things or hit someone else", as if those are the only options available.
When I expressed the fear that "If this is how angry I get when I'm 'holding back', what the hell happens if I just 'let it fly'?", he made the (I think) reasonable observation that it's not "letting myself be angry" that's the problem, but continually wanting to not be angry that's caused me to "act out inappropriately" (Whether that's by breaking shit, teeing-off on other people - mostly verbally, but sometimes not - or by hurting myself in myriad ways).
So, at least for now, that's my "therapy homework". I basically have to be angry when I'm angry, and not do anything about it but take note (What brought it up, how does my body feel, etc), without trying to laugh it off, or be angry at myself for being "crazy", or anything like that.
But in the meantime, I've gotta get through the fucking holidays...!
(Have I mentioned how therapists tend to go on vacation just when you need them most...?)
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