Sunday, April 26, 2009

Underwater... over my head

"Back to life, back to sense, back to child, back to husband... you can't live in the woods."
~ "Moments in the Woods" from Into the Woods

It's been one of those weekends.

One of those weekends when the world around you suddenly turns on you. It's not the first of these weekends. And it's certainly not the last. These days... they're inevitable, inescapable. It's one of those weekends when suddenly the ice cracks in and you're underwater and drowning. You've finally done it, you've put too much weight on yourself, and the ground below has broken through...

And what's strange about these weekends, or at least this weekend, or at least for me... is that despite the loss of oxygen and the threat of suffocation due to drowning, you're not scared. I'm not. You know that eventually you'll regain composure and swim towards the surface. Or maybe, if you're lucky a good friend or lover will notice the crack in the ice, reach in, and pull you from your impending doom. 

There's a sense of hope. This hope keeps you from losing faith and allowing yourself to to become submerged. It's something I pride myself on. Maybe it's how I was raised, maybe its something that put inside me for a particular reason, maybe it's my religion, maybe it's just who I am: but I have the talent of optimistic hope, the kind of hope that carries you through anything, hope that in the darkest times, there's always a light at the end of it all. A boyfriend of mine told me that was something he really loved about me, that no matter what I believed everything was going to be okay. I have faith in love, life, people... and granted, there are times when I can become whiney, negative, and crabby, but deep down, through it all, I know that in the end everything is going to be just fine. If I believe in something or someone, they're going to pull through. No matter how deep underwater I get, no matter how far from the surface, I will emerge, I will survive and it'll be all right.

Anyway, back to my actual weekend and the occurrences... we opened the show Friday night... that was interesting. I don't know what it was, but I was off hardcore. I missed a line, people were missing cues, actors were yelling at each other... it just was OFF.

Following the show, our technical director and several of the cast and crew went out for pancakes at Uncle Bill's afterwards. I don't know why, but I was in a sensitive state and the normal fun teasing between friends actually hit a little harder than expected. I especially got upset when a certain company member silenced a sing-a-long of "No Scrubs." I think people who silence group sing-a-longs simply because they are Negative Nancy's and hate other people being happy are boring and lame and need to go home. Yes, I am feeling a little vindictive and probably acting a little immature. Yes, I understand that I probably sound like a 12 year old brat. It's been a long weekend... which is preceded probably an even longer week... I give myself official position to be ridiculous.

After Uncle Bill's, we went to a party, just started getting our drink, just to have the party broken up. Lame. Because the gang wasn't ready to go to bed, we decided to hang out on the balcony of my apartment building, drink so more, turn up the music, and dance around outside. It was a actually a lot of fun (except for a cameo appearance from the local party leeches who don't know quite how to take a hint, but even they can be fun sometimes. Or at least fun to watch). The night was saved. 

Well, kind of. There was an impending disaster that not even balcony fun could've helped. My phone decided become a tease. Yes, my phone was a tease. I have an iPhone and the screen decided to black out. When people called and texted me, the phone would still ring and vibrate, but because the screen had short circuited I couldn't answer... aka, my phone would lead me on and then blue ball me.... There was no way to get it to open up either. It was playing hard to get and I was on the losing side. 

I woke up earlier Saturday morning feeling terrible, I was nauseous and congested, and spent the morning teaching a dance my friend Elisabeth and I choreographed for the dance troupe we're involved with on campus, then headed to the Galleria to try and have my phone revived. It was a terrible morning. I felt completely and entirely disconnected from the world. I had to use facebook to get a hold of people who I had made plans with later in the day to let them know that I would be in phone surgery and could not make it. I felt like I was in the stone age. I don't know how people did it before cell phones. How in the heck did they stay in touch? Because my friends were all busy being connected with the world and having lives, I was forced to metro it to the mall, and of course, with my luck, I arrived just as my metro was taking off. I was stranded there for over 30 minutes waiting for the next train to come get me... and of course, I didn't have a phone to keep me entertained... thus, I was left with my bitter thoughts and people watching to keep me entertained (normally people watching would be a hoot, but today there was no one interesting... at all...) 

When I finally got to the mall, the wonderful Mac Store man was extremely kind and performed surgery on my phone. Sadly, he didn't make it, through but thankfully I have a warranty, and he simply replaced it. Phew! And then my hope kicked in and a silver lining appeared: I finally was by a bookstore and could purchase the books I had been meaning to buy for weeks now. Because my phone broke and I suffered that night and morning of total separation from the world, I now had a new phone and could buy the books that I had been desperately wanting to get! As I waited for my phone, I fb messaged Andrew about my not-so-hot day and the silver lining. I figured he would appreciate my positivity and also he's becoming my go-to-guy when things aren't going to so hot. He's a pick me up, always knows the right things to say, always finds something positive. He puts even my eternal hope and faith to shame. I didn't think it was possible.

The man at the bookstore probably thought I was an emotionally-destroyed, moping mess of a gay man who just got broken up... Why? My book selection was a little ridiculous: Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell (The book that inspired the series!), He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (I saw the movie on Valentine's Day with Peter, it caught my eye in the store and I just HAD to get it), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Diane has been recommending this book to me for ages and I finally got the chance to get it!) Now, if that book choice doesn't scream, "I'm a messed up, angsty, single gay man!!!" I don't know what does...

To treat myself after the phone ordeal, I went to the mall food court and grabbed a burger and cheese fries. As I ate, I pulled out Sex and the City and started reading. Right off the bat something struck me.  In the forward, Ms. Bushnell talks about what the book is really about, what it all comes down to: Why are we still single? And you know what Ms. Bushnell said?

"...why are we still single? Now, with a few years' perspective on the issue, I can safely conclude that we are single because we want to be."

Wait. What?

It's my choice to be single? It's my fault? And then my hope kicks in, I start coming with rational and reasons, anything to keep my afloat as her words sink in... that statement can't be about me, I'm only 20, I haven't experienced enough life or met enough men to have made the choice to be single... It's not my fault, it's the fault of stupid boys who can't commit that I don't have a long-term boyfriend... Circumstances that I can't control have kept me away from the person I really want to be with, that's not my fault or my choice... I can't control who I'm attracted to...

I continued reading.

Apparently for this edition, Ms. Bushnell added two new chapters into the book. One of the chapters finally gives the book a real ending... And then I read it... 

" last the book has a real ending, in which Carrie and Mr. Big break up. It's a  bittersweet ending- not just the end of Carrie's relationship with Mr. Big, but the end of her dream of finding the proverbial Mr. Big- a man who doesn't really exist."

Woah, woah, woah, Candace Bushnell.... Carrie and Big DON'T get together? And that's a good thing because Big, and any man we associate with the Big character, doesn't really exist? My world was shaken. After spending a majority of my time comparing myself to Carrie and hoping that my Big would come along... I'm supposed to believe that he's not real?

The rational and reasoning sets in again, my hope ... she wrote this ending for shock value... the Big and Carrie in book world are completely from the Big and Carrie of TV world... the ideal man, the significant other will appear... he will be ready to be with me years down the line, it can happen, my perfect ending can happen... Why does the world keep falling out from beneath me??

I set aside my confusion and distress, and continued reading until I got home and had to go to that night's Setzuan performance (it's actually great, funny read... besides from the aforementioned problem parts). 

That night's performance went a bit smoother than Friday's... and Sunday's matinee the cast outnumbered the people in the audience... And then I realized how much work I had put off this semester and how these final two weeks of the semester are going to kill me... and then reflected on how absurd the weekend was... and in an effort to forget all this, I pulled out He's Just Not That Into You and began reading.

I read the chapter, "He's Just Not That Into You If He's Breaking Up With You"... and began applying everything the book was saying to my previous boyfriend. And it stung a little. I could relate too well to these stories of people who desperately have hope that their boyfriend still really cares about them, that somehow they'll turn a page and return to you... That they would be the exception, not the rule. The book talks about how thinking your the exception to the rule is what gets you into the mess. You have to except that you are the rule and he's not into you, don't believe the stories of how miraculously the man changes and returns to the woman, or some act of magic brought the two people together... This isn't normal, you aren't the exception, the likeliness of this happening is...

Here comes the rational and reasoning... I can't apply this book, it's about men and women, my situation is completely different because I'm gay... I can be the exception, I'll prove them wrong... this book is for pathetic people and I really don't relate to anything they- 

And then I stopped rationalizing... and realized that was the point. That was Ms. Bushnell's point. That was the point of He's Just Not That Into You. Stop rationalizing and except it for what it is. That's the only way to have a healthy, successful relationship. Sometimes we hope, we hope beyond our wildest dreams that we will be rescued from drowning, but that's unrealistic... clearly, how can you be rescued when you were walking the ice alone? You can't expect a guardian angel to swoop in and you can't expect a man who broke your heart to love you again.

It goes against my eternal hope, it goes against my faith that things will work out... But maybe sometimes 'hope' and 'faith' blind us from what's really going on. Maybe eventually hope turns on us, and instead of thinking realistically, we fall into a sort of dream world where life is a fairytale... or in my case a gay version of Sex and the City

We have the choice to be single or not. We have the choice be with someone who is worthy of us. We have the choice to be honest with ourselves. We have the choice to drown, whether it be in hope or the world around us. We have the choice to save ourselves. We have a choice not to take the chance and walk on the ice... no, I have the choice...

And now I feel very cynical.
Or maybe this is just what reality feels like.

As I ponder these revolutionary thoughts, I can't help put listen to a song from the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods: "Moments in the Woods." At this point in the play, The Baker's Wife, who is married and just recently became a mother, has just had a tryst with a certain Prince Charming as she tries to escape of a bloodthirsty giant. In the song, she sings about how she can't believe what just happened, that a lowly baker's wife like herself could have just been with a prince... and that it's all just a trick of the Woods. People get caught up in the Woods, in the adventure, they forget about the world and instead fall into the fantasy... They fall in love with the moments, instead of the life that is made up by the moments. 

It seems like the world is sending me a sign... It's time to leave the woods, it's time to get out of the water. 

I can't do it, though. I can't accept that hope cannot exist and that there's no chance that maybe, just maybe I can find my Mr. Big, I can find my exception to the rule. 

I think about Andrew, and how eternally optimistic and hopeful he is, and how every time I'm upset he knows the right words to say to make me happy. There's something in that. That act of hope that keeps me going, that makes me cheer up and want to get over whatever is ailing me. Even stupid, small things... he gives me hope. And makes me happy. And happiness isn't a bad thing.

So maybe, hope can cause us to become disillusioned. It blinds us into believing the lies, and not just coming to terms with the fact that he's just not that into you. But it keeps up going. It keeps us searching.

In "Moments In The Woods," the Wife sings,

"Just a moment, one peculiar passing moment
Must it all be either less or more, either plain or grand
Is it always or? Is it never and?...

Let the moment go, don't forget it for a moment though
Just remembering that you've had an 'and' when you're back to 'or'
Makes the 'or' mean more than it did before
 Now, I understand and it's time to leave the Woods"

Maybe we can't find the exception, we can't discover how to rescue ourselves until we've experienced what the rule is like... And that'll make the exception even more prominent and worth even more.

In my confusion, in my cynicism, in my weekend, in my rant
I have to conclude...

One has a choice, one can either drown, or learn to tread water as they wait for someone to come rescue them from drowning...  or they buy a scuba suit with an air tank.

That way you avoid the risk of drowning, your self sufficient, you've taken proper precautions, and you can still wait for someone to come pull you out of the water... or your collapsing world... or your bad weekend.

I think I'm going to put my air tank on... and message Andrew. He'll know what to say. 

1 comment:

  1. I heart Perks of Being a Wallflower. Healy just got finished writing a unit plan for it, and it's pretty awesome.

    And I don't know if you've noticed, but I love singing in public as well. <3

    "Expect the best, be prepared for the worst, fuck what others think and do your own thing."