Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fear of disappointment

I was a fairly good kid growing up. I was pretty quiet, and pretty calm, and wasn't really one to get into too much trouble. This is not to say I was some sort of angel; I definitely wasn't. I was just a fairly mild kid. Of course when I was bad, as children tend to be, I was punished.

In my house punishments were pretty standard; picking your own switches to be spanked with, time out, denial of TV/games/time with friends, and other threats that parents make. Of all the punishments that my mother inflicted on me the one that I always feared most was her simply saying she was disappointed in me.

I could handle being spanked or denied luxuries, I just couldn't handle the idea that I had done something that disappointed her. Angering her was not pleasant but it was acceptable not disappointment. I am not sure she realized just how much the phrase "I am disappointed in you" could affect me.

It wasn't just my mother that I feared disappointing. It turns out that the idea of disappointing anyone that I respect or that looks up to me is positively terrifying. I want so badly to make the people I care about proud of me and to justify their faith in me that the idea of failing them makes me queasy.

Having this particular fear makes being in a position of authority over a large group of people that I have massive amounts of respect for incredibly difficult. I am placed in the position of teaching them and guiding them so that they can be successful in our art, which is a huge responsibility.

I sit there imparting knowledge on them and I can't help but wonder if they realize that I am as nervous and insecure as they are. Our first year students, and our vets too, are looking up to me and wanting to make me proud and not disappoint me while at the same time I am wanting to do the same for them.

I am always afraid that one day that I will fail so epically that they all stop and look at me and think that there was never any reason to have that respect for me. I fear that they will see me as some sort of charlatan who was just pretending to be knowledgeable. Living up to others expectations is really stressful.

I have to remind myself that I have been doing this for a long time and been very successful at it. I have to remind myself of the extensive training and practical application I have under my belt. I have to remind myself that people that are smarter and more talented than me that I have absolute faith in put me in this position and they had to believe that I could do this. I have to remember I am completely capable.

Still I don't think I will ever stop being shocked when everything turns out right. I don't think I will ever truly get used to being told that I have done a good job. I don't think I will ever stop worrying about disappointing people.

I just have to remember that the people I don't want to disappoint are just as afraid of disappointing me as I am of disappointing them. I have to remember that we are all going to fail at some point but we have each other there to help the other up to try again.

We are never alone.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Waking to genius

5am is where genius lives. At least that is where my genius lives, which if you think about it is more than a little inconvenient. I am not the sort of person who all that often will voluntarily haul my cookies out of bed before 7am, so 5am is normally right out. Still all my best ideas happen at 5am.

I have discovered through the years that when I have a problem I just can't solve or am in desperate need of a particularly clever solution to an issue, I will wake up and suddenly have the perfect answer. It is always a completely unexpected answer. When I roll over and look at the clock it is always 5am.

It is like the epiphany fairy visits me at night instead of the sandman and bestows upon me brilliance. Of course what with it being so damn early and me being mostly asleep I have to fight really hard to keep the brilliant clever solution in my head until I actually get up and can put it down on paper. This doesn't always happen unfortunately.

I have tried keeping pen and paper by my bed. That has never done me any good. If I can remember to write something down I will not be able to read it in the morning. The scrawl on the paper is more illegible than a doctors note. If I can make out any of the words they will be so out of context that I can't make sense of them. I mean what the hell does 'orange chipolte damask' mean?

Most of the time I employ the method of repeating the solution out loud repeatedly until I actually wake up. I will say the solution over and over again, to the point that I will be saying it in my dreams. Every time I wake up from a dream the first words out of my mouth will be the thought I am clinging to.

I have to imagine that this is strange for the husbeast. He is well accustomed to me being a sleep talker but when I keep saying the same two or three words over and over for several hours it has to be confusing. Me quacking like a duck in my sleep is totally normal. Me saying 'brown George' for three hours is a little odd.

Still I don't question the brilliance that is bestowed on me in the wee hours of the morning. My  mother always taught me to not look a gift horse in the mouth and I suppose that is true even when you are half asleep. We could all use a little genius in our lives and should be happy to take it whenever it comes along.

Where do you find your genius at?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Accentuate the positive

I have hit a point where my to do list has more things on it than there are hours in my day to complete them. I have the frustration of being in charge of things but in control of nothing. I am constantly tired and feel worn thin. I am trying to keep everyone happy while still getting things done properly.

In short life is exhausting.

Even though I am sore and tired and frustrated this is a good day. Always remember to focus on the good.

-This morning I woke up snuggled up against the husbeast with the kitten nestled into my neck purring loudly and my old man cat curled up against my back snoring softly.

-The first thing I was greeted with when I crawled out of bed was the happy tail thumping of my dog waiting to say good morning to me.

-The music on the radio during my commute was fabulous and kept me smiling and dancing the entire way to the office.

-I did not get stuck behind any stupid drivers.

-My breakfast was warm and tasty and satisfying.

-I get to see friends tonight in a completely social capacity where my only responsibility is making tacos.

-I get to have tacos for dinner.

-I just hit 80,000 words on my current writing project.

-Work is quiet and undemanding so I can allow my brain to relax.

-I finally beat level 260 on Candy Crush

-It is sunny and warm outside so I can take a nice leisurely stroll around the building on my lunch break.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Do unto others

Yesterday as I was walking into the office I found myself just behind a gentleman who was also heading into my office. As I was walking behind him I couldn't help but notice that he looked like he got dressed in the dark. He was wearing brown shoes, black slacks, a black belt, and an obviously navy jacket. I would be willing to bet he was also wearing white cotton socks, because that was really the level of oblivious this guy was dressing to.

When we got to the glass doors into the office he swiped his badge and then opened the door, stepping back and holding it for me. All I could think at that moment was that his mother might not have taught him how to dress but at least she taught him good manners. Fashion transgression forgiven.

It was later brought to my attention through some well meaning people, that perhaps my assessment of the situation was wrong. It wasn't that it was thought that this man was not fashion challenged, because everyone agreed he was, it was that it was the fact that some people would find his holding the door for me insulting. By some people I mean some women.

I have been hearing these anti chivalry rumblings for a while now. There is an entire school of thinking among some more militant feminists that men holding the door for a woman is sexist and is somehow a way for the man to say that the woman is incapable of doing things for herself. These women would say I am betraying my sex by allowing a man to treat me in such a fashion.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for feminism. I am all for equal opportunities, equal pay, and not having someone else tell me how to manage my own body. These are all good things. I however can't get around to thinking that any time a man is being polite that it is some sort of sexist misogynistic act.

Look people, I am from the south, I was raised by good southern women, and in a military household; you hold doors for people. I hold doors for people all the time. If I am walking in, and am not in an insane rush, I will pause and hold the door for the person walking in behind me. It doesn't matter if it is a man or a woman, I just do it because it is polite.

I will go out of my way to grab the door for someone who looks like they are overburdened. I am not trying to say that you are weak and incapable, I am just saying you have two purses, a laptop case, a backpack, a lunch sack, a stack of loose files, and a hot coffee in your hands and it might be nice to have the door opened for you so you don't have to worry about wearing scalding coffee or having files scattered across the lobby floor. It is just me being nice.

We have to accept that not every gesture is some calculated measure by the opposite sex to undermine our power as women. Just because a man wants to walk you to the door, pay for your dinner, open the car door for you, or walk on the side of the sidewalk where the cars are more likely to swerve over and hit you, does not necessarily mean he thinks that you are weak and incapable. It very likely just means that he is being polite.

Here is what I want you to do the next time you think someone is being misogynistic in a small act; I want you to forget that it is a man doing this for you. I want you to forget you are a woman. I want you to think if this is a nice thing for one human to do for another. If the answer is yes, then you might be over reacting.

Ladies let the guy pay for dinner tonight, next time you can pay. If he weren't dating you and was just a friend who wanted to buy you a meal would you let him? My friends buy my dinner all the time and I do the same for them. It is just a nice thing to be able to buy someone a meal. Let him be nice. He isn't saying you are incapable of paying, he is saying he likes you and wants to do something nice for you.

There has to be a balance in the world. Yes women need to be respected, and treated equally, and have all the same opportunities a man has. I don't think that means women should be treated like men. I think it means that people should be treated as people regardless of sex.

Not all men are strong protectors, but some of them are and there is nothing wrong with letting them be that. Not all women are delicate flowers, but some of them are and there is nothing wrong with letting them be that. We should let people be what they are. If a boy wants to be a ballerina, or a soldier, or a stay at home dad, or a girl, we should let them be that.  If a girl wants to be a ballerina, or a soldier, or a senator, or a stay at home housewife, or a boy, we should let them be that.

Above all else we should strive to be nice to everyone. We should open the doors for people not because they are incapable, but because it is just polite. We should buy meals for friends not because we are trying to say we have more money, but because it is nice to buy someone a meal. We should let people protect us if they want to, because you protect the people that you love.

We should do all of these things not because men are men and women are women. We should do all of those things and more because people, regardless of sex, deserve to be loved and treated well. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

New generation

Orientation for faire was this past weekend. It was bitterly cold at times, it was long hours of hard work, and today I am so sore that it actually hurts to type. None of that really matters considering I got to spend time with my much missed faire family doing something that we all passionately love. There was also the added bonus of getting to welcome in all of our new SAPA (Scarborough Academy of Performing Arts) members, oh which there were 31.

31 SAPlings (the nickname an incoming group coined some years ago and has stuck). This is a huge incoming class. I can't remember having this many in recent years. I think the last class close to this size might have been the year I joined cast, and I am pretty sure our number was in the low 20's if that many.

The amount of new talent that just walked through our gates is actually a little intimidating if I am being honest. I mean with these new folks we have upped our numbers to around 120 cast members. The more of us there are, the more amazing things we can do. It is going to be epic.

It is also a little intimidating that the majority of the new SAPlings are young. A large number of them are between 17 and 21. In recent years the majority of our incoming cast members were in there late 20's and up with the occasional under 18 thrown in for good measure. The median age of our cast just dropped by a decade.

I really do love seeing all these kids joining cast though. I know they probably don't think of themselves as kids, and I typically don't think of myself as being old, but that is the way it felt on Saturday as I was looking at them running about with boundless energy. They were everywhere taking everything in, and I was doing good not to be exhausted by what I was doing.

They were like magic though. They were all so excited. They are these little balls of potential that are so eager to learn what we do and go out and create the magic that is faire that it was almost inspiring. Listening to them get excited about the prospect of the adventure they are embarking on was invigorating.

I remember when I started in SAPA 12 years ago how thrilling it all was. It was also mildly terrifying, but the terror could never overshadow the sheer exhilaration of what we were doing. No matter how intimidating any of it seemed (and trust me I was truly intimidated standing next to the vets) I couldn't get past the overwhelming excitement of the performance that we were preparing for. I remember the anticipation was so intense, I never thought I would make it to opening day.

Of course I did and I never looked back.

I hope that all of our SAPlings, not just the young kid, can find what I found here. I hope that they are as excited as I was and still am. I hope that they soak all of the next eight weeks up, and then give their everything for the eight weeks that follow. I hope that they find that they are part of our outrageous family and know how excited we are to have them here. I hope that they get caught up in the magic and find the intense joy of sharing that magic with every person that walks through the gates. I hope that this is an epic adventure that they will cherish forever. I hope that they hit the ground running with us and never look back.

I love this time of year.

Time to make the magic.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Reasons why I have the best husbeast ever:

- On a super cold day, without being prompted to do so, he wears his light hoodie and leaves me his super warm hoodie so I won't get cold.

- If there is ice on my windshield he will scrape it off for me before he leaves for work since my arms aren't long enough to reach the middle of my windshield.

- On cold nights he will crawl into my side of the bed while I am gathering the animals so that I don't have to get into a cold bed.

- He lets me steal croutons out of his salad at restaurants.

- He suffers silently through all the crime procedural shows that I watch on TV.

- He never tells me no when I ask to buy something.

- He sends me silly texts to make me smile.

- He can always open stuck jars.

- He destroys all bugs (other than spiders) that I am frightened of.

- He lets me pick the music in the car.

- He always thinks I am beautiful, especially when I don't think I am.

- He has faith in my skills even when I do not.

- He not only embraces my weird, but he matches me weird act for weird act.

- He never makes me drive.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I'd like to buy the world a reality check

The world is full of small minded, hateful, stupid people. This is not something I am just realizing. This is a sad truth that I have known for a very long time. I try very hard to not focus on these people and the petty hateful things they say, but sometime you just can't block out the dumb.

I wasn't surprised when I woke up Monday morning that people had managed to get their panties in a twist over something as inane as a Coke commercial. I was expecting to see some amount of outrage over the rather underwhelming performance of the Bronco's at the Superbowl. Instead I got to see post after post about this supposedly offensive and unamerican commercial.

Now I have to say that the people talking about it on my friends list were all talking about how stupid the outrage was. I don't think I had a single person who was swearing off Coke products forever over the incident. My friends tend to not be stupid; that's why they are my friends.

Everyone has a right to their own opinions. I don't have to agree with yours, and you don't have to agree with mine. I am certain that all of these people feel justified in what they think and normally I would ignore it. Only this just seems excessively ridiculous to me.

No one was up in arms about the fact that the commercial showed a gay couple and their daughter. I would think that that would have been what the outrage was about. In fact the first thing I read about it had a header about the fact that the couple was in the commercial. I expected to see endless homophobic rants about Coke destroying the sanctity of marriage and families or whatever hateful stupidity people like that spew.

Only that wasn't even mentioned. Not once did I see anything even referencing that.

It was all because Coke dared to have America the Beautiful sung in multiple languages. A song in a commercial about soda was sung in foreign languages and people totally lost their shit. What the hell?!

First let us address the just plain ignorant points of these peoples arguments:

1) America the Beautiful is not the National Anthem. The Star Spangled Banner is our National Anthem. Yes it is obscure, yes it is hard to sing, yes most people can't remember the words to it, but that is what we are stuck with.

America the Beautiful is a lovely song about America that might have made a better choice than the Star Spangled Banner, but that is a completely different discussion.

2) America the Beautiful and God Bless America are two different songs. Vastly different.

If you are going to spout off stupid crap on the internet try and at least get the title of the song correct.

Now, with that being said, I hate to burst anyones bubbles out there but America has no official language. It never has.

True most Americans speak English. You can even go so far as to say they speak American (though that makes me twitch) since American English and say English spoken in the United Kingdom can be different. Hell people make a differentiation between Spanish spoken in Mexico and Spanish spoken in Spain, so why not.

To function in American society you should speak English. It makes everything a lot easier. If I lived in a country that spoke another language I damn well would learn the native tongue even if there were people there who could speak English. It is just the thing to do. I would still speak English at home though. I wouldn't give up my native tongue completely for a new one. No one should be expected to do that.

That does not mean that English should be, or is, the only language spoken in this country. Again this may be bursting some peoples happy little 'Murica (Oh how I loathe when people use that. I feel dirty just having typed it) bubbles, but we have a lot of different cultures here. We are called a melting pot for a reason. It is all of those different cultures blending together that makes us special.

The husbeast spoke French as his first language, not English. He was born in New Orleans. Creole French is what people there speak. They speak English as well, but they still speak this beautiful form of French that is native to Louisiana. These are Americans. These are people who's families have been in south Louisiana since before America bought it from the French.

Most of the southwestern states have such heavy Hispanic influence that their people will speak both English and Spanish. When I was growing up in San Antonio it was normal that kids spoke both languages. Most of the time they were third or fourth generation American's but still had family back in Mexico that they also needed to communicate with.

The point of the commercial, which seems to have been missed, was the same point Coke has been shoving down our throats at least since they gathered a bunch of college kids on a hill in Italy and had them sing to us about buying the world a Coke and teaching them to sing in harmony back in the 70's. It is about the fact that it doesn't matter who we are, we all love coke.

This particular commercial also said that we are all American, no matter how different we are, we are all in this together. We have different backgrounds and heritages, but we are all still Americans no matter what language we speak.

And we all love Coke. 

The commercial was not unAmerican. The commercial was not the work of Communists as I saw many people say. (I think it would be more accurately described as being made by Capitalists.) The commercial was not evil or hateful or even harmful.

People that threw out their Coke products and spouted off on the internet about how America is for English speaking Americans and not for 'terrorists' and other hateful names for people of obvious ethnic backgrounds, are just being mean and hateful and in my opinion completely unAmerican. Guess what, unless your heritage is 100% Cherokee, or Navajo, or Mohawk, or some other Native American tribe, your forefathers showed up here on a boat (or in some cases walking) at some point most likely not speaking English. You are the child, or grandchild, or great great grandchild of immigrants.

Stop being ignorant fucktards America. Stop losing your shit over soda commercials and try and focus all of your crazy energy on more important things. Things that might actually matter and make a difference in the world. Try and spread a little bit of love instead of all your negative hateful bullshit. And check your facts before you say shit on the internet.

And of course, have a Coke.