Tuesday, August 27, 2013

General Musings, Part 31

The drama that is my life continues. My husband told me outright to go to a therapist & after more things happened (let's just say the chickens have come home to roost on something millions of Americans face but wouldn't really want to admit to), it felt like even the most anti-therapy person out there would hear of my experiences & tell me I ought to see a therapist. Let's face it: once you've had your entire life shift so dramatically in such a short time, you either see a therapist or go on a shooting spree. I'm too enraged as a person to commit suicide without taking some deadbeats down with me for the good of society. My last noble act, if you will.

Also, meet my friend Lindsay Lowe. She told me she admired me for going through the things I have but I feel like she's far more worthy of admiration than me. She's an awesome, talented & creative person who simply deserves recognition for her awesomeness. See her site if you want to know more about her.

Noticed a few stories in various places it's definitely time to comment on. Here goes.

This is a verdict that makes me happy. Maybe part of it is the constant rebellion I had against the Mr. Bones of the world. You know that school administrator: the one who acted irrationally & seemed better suited for running the Taliban than being responsible for the care of school children. A classic authoritarian through & through.

I hated authoritarian types back to my high school years. See earlier entries if you want to read about some of those antics. Defending someone's right to wear a bracelet like that would be right up my alley for multiple reasons.

This was also an eternal question I had myself. My mother even asked this when we were in school. I remember her thinking it was a stupid concept as far back as middle school. She may have even remarked on the non-punishment aspect of it when we were in elementary school. From this answer, it sounds like good old fashioned laziness is to blame.

I fully agree with this sentiment. I'm not just saying that because I can find my size at Victoria's Secret in both clothing & bras (you try doing that when you're naturally underweight, have a little height & vanity sizing is favoring the fat girls among us). I wish they'd sell more of their clothing in the stores since they have some nice dresses, shirts, leggings & the like (the shipping costs bother me on a deep level & I'm not wild about the regular prices but the sales are good). I also can't stand the whole puritanical sentiment that permeates through the comments of the detractors. Perhaps modeling has just made me even more rebellious against that whole puritanical culture since I had to deal with it so much as a child.

For now, I've resumed communication with my mother but I'm done with my sister. My sister even dared to tell me how I feel like she resides in my brain & knows my thought processes then tried to pull the "I won't let you have a relationship with my kids b/c I don't agree with your life philosophies" card. I wonder how I'd be treated if I were a web cam model or posing in Playboy or doing adult films. I figure I'd be all alone in life if I were doing that, even if I had to do that stuff to keep from being homeless or having everything I worked for go down the toilet. Incredible that some people have treated me like I have been doing such things.

I refuse to play that little game; if I played it, I know I'd eventually end up in a burka figuratively & maybe even literally. My sister claims my nephew was asking about sexual stuff & if he could see things.

Is it just me or should someone say, "Try being a PARENT & explaining that stuff to your kids without making sex a dirty, evil thing." I feel like that's the appropriate response (a discussion on appropriate sexuality), not telling that kid's aunt to dress like a nun when she doesn't even dress like a stripper getting ready to go on stage in modern times. It's also telling my sister got the same message I did growing up about how sex was this bad, shameful thing you should never do unless you're married. You later learn your parents aren't saints & are actually flawed people (some much more flawed than others). If I hadn't gotten out of NC, I'd probably still be screwed up on that point & definitely far less happy than I am today (oh, not just on THAT front; get your mind out of the gutter!).

You know, maybe I've overcome gender bias on cleaning. I don't really give a damn what people think about such things when it comes to my house. I'm not even close to a slob. In fact, I'm probably more of a neat freak than anyone in my childhood family is or was. I have a lot of organized clutter but I can account for most things. My husband once worked as a custodian so he knows a lot more about cleaning than I do. In fact, I think he has higher standards of cleanliness than me when it comes to some things. I'm just not interested in killing myself to make my home so clean you could eat off the floor. I hate doing dishes & I refuse to spend my days cleaning since I've got a life but I won't leave anything that will attract bugs, stinks or makes it impossible for me to clean up later.

Being childfree might also have something to do with it but my basic attitude is if you think my house is a mess, then don't come over. I'd rather not be subjected to the white glove test when someone visits. I also don't tolerate drop ins, implying that if you do you might see things you didn't want to see (and you just might; I've heard stories about parents seeing their kids in the middle of things no one wants to see their kid engage in & the kid not stopping).

I'm still shocked MSN did a story on this. Are you?

Then there's this question. I don't definitely know why lawyers are hated. I haven't really experienced that in my career since people in entertainment generally like & respect lawyers. I can only tell you what I dislike about particular lawyers or the stereotypical groups.

I wonder if these people ever reneged on this. Honestly, I didn't follow the whole "lean in" stuff & really don't view myself as following a formula for doing things in my career (at least not consciously). I adamantly refuse to read the book or give this woman press. I also agree with people's comments that Slate is just as hypocritical as anyone else. Considering the whole stepped up enforcement on unpaid internships, I hope anyone doing it who could actually afford to pay folks & doesn't gets slammed for it. They just make all organizations look crappy & classist by continuing that system. I know I view them as being classist.

At least there are upsides and good things going on in my life, especially on the business end. Let's just say I've gotten 100% definitive signs that there's no good reason for me to throw in the towel on the entertainment career or anything I've worked many years to develop as part of my brand & identity. The day is definitely coming & the people who weren't there will certainly not get any kindness from me. The haters have already gotten their walking papers & the fakes have been replaced.

Just remember that even if you're in your darkest moments, you should never change who you are or be something you're not to please some jerk who could care less if you lived or died or if you were happy or sad. Average employers (the ones who seem to populate the majority of Corporate America), I'm looking at you. There are plenty of employers out there who would take you for who you are & even view that as a plus. Life's also too damn short as I can verify with this shitty summer; why spend your time being miserable?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Signs of the Inevitable

For years, I've lived this struggle between maintaining private figure rights & accepting that I look as I do and will likely get opportunities in the entertainment industry because of it (it's happened already). People suggested I create a Facebook fan page, for instance, because of doing things on my own creatively and having fans.

Until Friday, I was skeptical of doing that for myself. I wasn't sure I actually had any fans other than current Facebook friends & some networking contacts. Why would you need a fan page if all your fans already know who you are & might be privy to details you have/share on your personal page?

That changed with doing modeling & having pictures posted publicly. I had 2 different random people send me friend requests who had no connection to any pre-existing friends, industries I work in and weren't people I remembered meeting recently. One had even sent me a message asking me which model I was in this one shoot I did.

Not wanting to give the option of "fuck off" or being in the same realm as actual friends/contacts who I don't mind knowing the personal details of my life (I'm not even sure my life is THAT exciting but it probably will be more interesting soon), I figured it was time I created a fan page. This way, I could correspond with and talk to people as me, the creative. Me, the person who is doing modeling pics in underwear (as part of a professional job, thank you, not me going to the bathroom & taking underwear shots with my iPhone). Me, the person who writes this blog & has opinions on things in life.

I'm a private person. I don't trust people easily. If I bother to confide in you even slightly or want to talk to you about personal stuff, feel honored since you're part of a very small group. I have also done 2 other modeling shows since the first one & did go out in underwear. That experience was also liberating, didn't feel uncomfortable and I didn't feel exploited while doing it. In fact, most people complimented how I looked or understood that modeling isn't the same as real life & is part of a show just like any acting performance I might do. Plus, it's not like I was in a thong or doing nudity.

A fan page also made sense to avoid having my husband want to kick guys' butts for complimenting me in modeling pictures. I know fan appreciation when I see it.

This is probably the climax of what else happened this week. In short, got some potentially life changing news, did more house cleaning by ridding myself of a hateful loser who will never be and figured out that I may be doing even more house cleaning.

Here's a question for the filmmakers, performers & those in the entertainment industry with even a remote type of public profile: Do you have to be an orphan to maintain artistic integrity?

I ask this since it seems a certain type of family insists on censoring adult members by scolding them for social media status updates. In this case, it's overly religious families and perhaps Southern families as well. My husband got a comment from one of his relatives about my modeling pictures and how she didn't what I wrote in my blog. My blog based on MY opinion & feelings on things. MY blog that has a following & where people have encouraged me to speak freely, be myself and all that good stuff.

My husband, great guy that he is, told this relative that I'm an adult & have free speech rights. With a nickname like "the enforcer," what do some people expect from me? Do they think they're going to tell me what to write, what to think & what to feel for me to listen to them and not do whatever it is that offends them so? Do they not have any self-control or options NOT to look at things? NOT to read things? Maybe not try censoring my art or my artistic voice?

Sorry but telling someone they shouldn't say or do something related to an opinion or feeling is an attempt to silence my artistic voice. Telling me not to speak or debate something is telling me to be some mindless robot & anyone who knows me well knows that's not who I am.

I've had with the tyranny of family! You'd think I was a web cam girl or working as a stripper with the general commentary on me doing underwear modeling for a fashion show. I was pondering yesterday how in the world real life adult entertainment people put up with this. I also wondered about stand-up comedians and remembered the one whose mother-in-law sued her because she didn't like a joke she made. I also recalled Margaret Cho's reaction when watching the commentary to an episode of All American Girl when her character is doing stand-up & her family is offended. The character gives up her stand-up career for the family while Margaret Cho herself says if her family asked her to do that or got offended by some joke she made, she'd tell them to fuck off.

As part of my new life outlook, I've insisted on honest relationships with people (including family members). I insist on family seeing me as who I am today, not what they wish I was or who I used to be. I've outgrown pretending & lying about things to cater to closed-mined, prejudiced assholes who don't love the real you. To me, it's too much work, too much effort and life's too short for it.

Maybe part of this also comes from never having older generation relatives that I respected or who really showed much love to me. It's very hard to recognize abusive family members & rid yourself of their abuse, especially if you grew up in the same house with them. However, I think Dear Prudence is right in saying that being old shouldn't entitle someone to be an asshole to their family or have their nastiness catered to by their families. I swear, the more I read that column & about the family problems people complain about the more resolute I am in my recent choices.

Life is not worth surrounding yourself with haters who want to tear you down, see you fail or drag you down to their level instead of striving for things on their own or helping themselves get ahead. I don't think I'm special for having done what I did; I was just determined and felt like life was way too short to settle for mediocrity or unhappiness. You don't get a hundred do-overs for life (unless you believe in reincarnation, of course, and that doesn't mean you'll still be human when you come back). I figure if Margaret Cho would do that, then why should I cave to the tyranny of family?

It feels like I'm going to have to get used to being alone in a distinct sort of way. Celebrities have talked about this feeling before & remembering it now, I feel like that's my future. My husband says he 100% supports me in my career; I want more people like that around instead of those who don't get it & just want to turn me into a little robot who has no independent thoughts or feelings.

One of these days, I'll feel settled in my personal interactions but I really wish I knew when that day would be.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cleaning House

Sometimes, we just have to clean house. Not just literally but spiritually as well. With all the personal shit I've been dealing with these past few months, I've found it necessary to re-evaluate things in my life & clean my house, so to speak.

I've also been reminded of the fact that in December between Christmas and New Year's I will have officially been out of the South for 10 years. That's not an accomplishment I take lightly considering I had to make my own way up here. I didn't know anyone before moving here. It's also one of the best things I did in my life since my emotional state & my spirit were so much better once I lived in Connecticut. I felt like my life was finally starting since before that, I was in a temporary state. A limbo, if you will.

That's one reason why I have tons of ex stories & experiences from college; part of it was getting an education in things my parents would never have encouraged me to learn or know about. You think if I'd lived with my parents I'd have gotten to date some of the guys I did? A huge part of me was feeling like my true future wasn't going to start until I got to NYC or found people who also wanted to live there like me. I felt like I was just killing time and preparing for my life, the one I chose and the one I made vs. the one inflicted on me.

I was reading a Dear Prudence letter from this week from a woman whose grown children didn't communicate with her as much as she'd liked (it's the letter signed "Abandoned"). Then I read comments about that one & a theme started to emerge: it seemed the people who still talked to their parents were friends with them in their adult lives. Their parents weren't "their parents." They'd had a friendship relationship with them.

I thought about it & it occurred to me that I'm not really friends with my mother. I'm not really friends with my sister either when you analyze it. There are things I absolutely wouldn't be able to discuss with them that I could discuss with most of my friends & we're way too different for there to be very much common ground. I wondered whether I would be "friends" with these people if I met them someplace or would have had them around if they weren't related to me. The answer is "no." In fact, our worlds would most likely never collide if you consider this objectively.

My mother was not the type you could talk sex ed with. If she'd had her way, I'd have gotten married a virgin & then just married everyone I slept with like my sister; perhaps I'd have even been frigid. My mother probably maintains to this day that if she'd had her way I wouldn't have gone to college in Atlanta. I see Atlanta as a partial refuge from some of the shit I had to deal with & got to live on my own, make my own decisions and as Janet Jackson would say, "I'm gonna be the one in control." In Atlanta, I was in control.

Had my mother been the kind of parent who wouldn't have the urge to throw scalding water on you if you'd dared to suggest abortion as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy, maybe I could have had a better relationship with her. At least, a more honest one.

My sister told me I was the favorite kid but I've never seen it. I think both she & my mother judge my lifestyle and the fact that I don't live in a prison of others' expectations. Since I don't see my mother (or even my sister, for that matter) respecting me for who I am and not making little cracks implying I'm a slut for not marrying everyone I had a sexual relationship with, I think we're at an impasse. It's creepy how my sister is starting to become more like my mother when she was quite the rebel as a kid.

Now I have decided the kids shouldn't suffer. I'll still get birthday & Christmas gifts for the niece & nephews since it's not their fault people in my family can't treat me with the basic level of respect they'd treat a total stranger. If family members refuse to give them those gifts, that's their pettiness if you ask me. If they trash me, that's also their pettiness. I think my oldest nephew especially will eventually see people in his family as I see them. I also got my mother something I told her I'd get her beforehand to not be a total bitch.

It's funny because it's not like my mother hasn't cut people off herself. She doesn't talk to most people in her family & doesn't really have an explanation except she doesn't want to deal with them. If she doesn't have to deal with people in her family, then why should I have to deal with people in mine? Why is "family" some sacred cow I have to follow but isn't for her or millions of other people who don't talk to their relatives for various reasons, good or bad?

I might look quite young but my spirit is much older. You have to remember that I went through big life altering, perspective changing events earlier in life than the average person. My spirit is in a state of fatigue with general acts of BS. I just don't have the will or interest in dealing with nonsense in any corner of life. I have no time or interest in chasing anyone or trying to make anyone like me or give a damn about stuff I do. To me, that train is moving along and if you aren't on it you probably won't get to hop back on especially as things are picking up in other areas of life.

I also recently got rid of a Facebook friend that wasn't really my friend. More like an acquaintance of my husband's. She decided to make a backhanded remark on a political issue I am extremely hard core about based on my personal experience; apparently, she's perfectly fine with illegals charging into the country & not bothering to learn enough English to be able to call the police or know when school is closing for the kids. I challenged her remark & she showed her true colors. I got on the defensive, de-friended & blocked her.

Then, she made the mistake of contacting my husband. He told her off & also de-friended/blocked her. Like a leaf falling from a tree branch, she was gone. It's not like she'd made any real effort to be a friend in the first place. And, gee, what is the title of this blog? When I friend people on Facebook or get requests from people, what's the first thing I say? What occupation do I have state licensing in? These should be blatant clues that I'm outspoken & you'd better not come to a debate with me without having some sound logic to back up your position. I'm also proud of my husband for standing by me this time & not trying to change or challenge me.

As a rule, I don't generally de-friend people for disagreeing with me. I'll listen to dissent but you have to present a clear, rational argument for why you disagree with me. You don't get to make backhanded, veiled remarks that might be a personal attack on me. You also don't get to expect me never to take a stand on anything. Jesus, do you WANT me to have a stroke, go on a shooting spree, or do something else crazy, destructive & generally bad for society at large? That's what you'll get if you try to impose censorship on me. It's also a major factor in my working for myself. At least some people appreciate me for who I am instead of what they wish I were or think I am.

I viewed this little exchange as just more cleaning house. When you're severing relationships with close family, it sort of feels like you've just gotten out of prison and had shackles removed from you after having worn them for decades. I feel like I'm rubbing my wrists and looking out at the horizon into a new life and future. I decided it was not my problem that my mother doesn't want to speak with anyone or take steps to help herself. I have my own life to live & my own psyche to consider.

Grief and all this is sort of funny. My career popping has been keeping me going & given me a nice distraction from all this mess; I've actually done more modeling, which has made me feel tons better. Friends have also been a help. The real ones who have some self-respect & don't spend more time taking from me than giving.

My mother claimed that I never let anyone make a mistake. Well, it depends on the mistake. Am I picky & critical? Yes. I won't lie. In my business, letting someone make one huge mistake can mark the end of a career and reputation you worked forever to build. There's also the question of remorse. Should I just be a doormat?

I've always felt people in my family have allowed the world to treat them as doormats, which I can't do. Especially for people who are supposed to have your back in the personal context. They're more important than the people you're doing business with & get to see the real you. I feel like a real friend isn't someone who makes you feel like you can't be "the real you" around them.

I also have high standards for myself and those who get the privilege of being in my life. That's how we should view people in our lives: privileged. If someone doesn't take that seriously, then in my opinion they don't belong in your life. If I'm making all the effort or doing everything, how do I know the person actually cares or if they just don't want to hurt my feelings but could really care less about me?

When I dated guys, I eventually adopted a 2 week rule. If a guy didn't follow up with me after a first date or meeting in 2 weeks, I'd say "Next!" and move right on. If I'd met some other guy within that time, I'd have probably said "Next!" even sooner if the second guy was following up & showing me he actually valued my presence. Comes back to the basic ethic of "Life's too short." It really is. For me, it's way too short to deal with bullshit. Even when getting dumped, I had a process for getting over a break up down pat. I only had a problem once when my sex buddy came along too soon in the grief process & made it take a week longer than it should have. See why my longest relationship with a guy in the same zip code before my husband was 6 months?

I think more people should view others' presence in their life as a privilege, not an entitlement or a right kind of how David Chase viewed the characters on The Sopranos (he said any of them, including Tony, could be dead at any time). I also feel more than justified in why those relationships ended since it allowed me to spot problems & articulate exactly what I wasn't putting up with in the next guy. I wasn't the type to linger in a bad relationship & I still wouldn't. I feel like it delays the inevitable.

These are reasons cleaning house can be a very good thing. At least as a writer and actress, I've got a lot of emotions to draw from and creative spark to work with. For me, those are good things. You've got to use tragedy and bad shit somewhere & I feel like putting them in a positive place is much better than wallowing in it.