I open tonight in Grapes of Wrath. I’m nervous, excited and filled with emotion. All the things you should feel right before a debut. Except. I miss my mommy.
I chose to move to Florida. I chose to risk everything and make a new life, here in paradise. But I left behind a few things to come this far. Not possessions or a home. Friends. Most of all, my mother.
We had a beautiful day before we left. It was Mother’s Day 2017. We went to her hometown and drove around for the day. It was really special. Had lunch in a small cafe. The whole day was relaxed, yet compelling. Exciting and at the same time, comfortable. Familiar.
Perfect day for pictures. Sunny, cool and countrified. I snapped a pic of my mom and daughter at the restaurant in a very comfortable moment.
I put my own mother’s picture, the picture above in black and white, in my memory box on stage. That’s the one that gets me.
I have a box of pictures and a pair of earrings. I take the earrings and leave the pictures to burn. There’s no room on the journey for papers and keepsakes. I have to summon emotion to hold back tears to leave this precious box. So the one picture that always gets me? The one of my mother and daughter.
I ask myself, when I see the long, lonely road, “Will I travel this way again?”
I ask myself, when I look at her childhood home back in Missouri, “Will I see this place again?”
I ask myself, when I look at her picture, “Will I see you again?”
And I don’t have to do anything but that.
It’s a real concern, when you stray far from home, will I see these faces? Will I return to these places?
I’m homesick. Terribly so. But honestly. I feel like I’ve found a home at theatre again.
Whenever I have been lonely. In need of care. In need of laughter. Tears. Emotion. Connection. I have found that home on stage.
It’s bizarre. I know. Most people would chalk acting up to the pinnacle of emotional cutting. It is. But I have connected with people in audiences from all walks of life.
I met a downright Marlboro Man from western Nebraska who shared his tragic life story with me after I shared my story with him on stage. He waited at the end of the receiving line after the performance of my original play Fat. He waited to be last in line, hung back, so that when everyone had left, this chiseled-and-hewn rail of a man could cry in my arms. That would have never happened without theatre.
The breeze was blowing over my legs last night as I sat on my front porch. I was relaxed and happy at the work we put in yesterday to prepare for opening night. I’ve felt the same feeling before.
Sitting outside my community college, just starting back to school in 2009, waiting for my husband to pick me up. Late at night. I looked up at the trees. The wind was swirling through the shuddering leaves. The night was cool. I was happy with my effort. And I just felt God’s overwhelming presence as I sat and meditated. It brought a smile to my face and warmness to my heart. I didn’t know where God or my feet would take me, but I had hope for what was to come. I was right to have hope.
Whenever I feel those same cool breezes, I know God is with me. I just wish my mommy was, too. Love you, Mom. This isn’t for me or for you, I’m telling this story to share God’s grace and mercy for those who have hard times and continue to rise up and labor for goodness. For simple souls who need a voice.
Thank you, God. For such an amazing opportunity to share this story. Thank you for reminding me–God is with us. Even when our loved ones are not.
so, okay. i have this terrible condition that rears its ugly head every so often. i start to feel bad. mentally, internally. then it sort of morphs into something worse. a terrifying feeling of not being loved. then i set about to let everyone in my tiny family know about it. i moan and shout from the next room, “No one loves me!” then my family rushes in and kisses me and reassures me. “We love you!” it’s a fun, silly game, but one that i need sometimes because while i make a joke, i still need that comfort and love to bolster my fragile mentality.
well last night, i finally realized, what i really feel is, “I’m unlovable.” i begin to feel as if no one in the world could possibly love me. that i’m too fat, ugly, annoying and selfish for anyone to love. so i said, from my bedroom last nite, “I’m unlovable!” then my family rushed in, Lilli who is so smart, “I love you! And God loves you!” I said, “No, you don’t. You can’t possibly.” and she made some silly joke to make me laugh about how i was being impossible. and then Guy rushed in, hugging me and kissing me, singing Voice of Truth.
…and the voice of truth tells me a different story,
and the voice of truth says do not be afraid…
which is his subtle-not subtle way of saying, “Shut up! Stop lying to yourself.”
and that’s what i am doing. i’m lying to myself. i’m listening to that tiny, crazy voice that tells me:
i’m not loved.
and that’s not the voice of truth, that’s not the voice of God. that’s the voice of the enemy–my own thoughts OR the twisted up world OR the devil.
i am lovable. i am loved. if for no other reason than God loves me. i am thankful for my family. for my husband, who is the voice of reason. for scooping me up and sparing me from my own terrible thoughts, for giving me undivided attention even when i’m pretty obvious about it. i love you, Guy. thanks for the reminder.
Harms from self-reflection
Are immune to charms of self-protection.
Stalled on a sticky web of tangled thoughts
Tenderness trapped like flailing, flapping flies
Wrapped and stranded
On silk and surrendered sighs
Dripping like honey dewdrops
Dotting my dusty desk at dusk
I feast and toast this bitter roast of memory.
This is a Photoshopped image of water damage to cardboard. My daughter took the pic with my phone and I Photoshopped into a mountain with trees and clouds and mist. I made the clouds in PS using the paintbrush and smudge tool. It reminds me of the old-school, high-contrast Japanese ocean/wave paintings. So a haiku to go with moldy cardboard.
Katana in hand.
I sweep the land of all foes.
I, alone, mourn you.
“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
Said the man who blew his brains out.
Sorry if that seems coarse,
But Hemingway would understand.
Hard and clear?
Isn’t that why you became a writer in the first place
Instead of blowing your brains out?
I’m far too sensitive to my environment to be a normal person.
Someone vulnerable to suicide.
Someone who writes and thinks about sunsets, and waves, and injustice.
Someone who wonders how the world was created.
Or why the world was created. Or who created the world.
I have to taste life twice because I can’t believe how rich it is.
I want to savor
The full-bodied flavor
Of life in its burgeoning flourish.
The blossoming zest and delicious zing.
The sour punch of even a sting.
To gorge on the layered palate/palette of artistry that is our living, breathing world,
Is a meal too sumptuous to refuse.
But I can understand why Ernest would want to push away from the table.