New Age. What?


Okay, that’s it.

Yesterday I picked my partner up from one of her personal growth experiences.  She was upset because the person supposedly helping her said, “Well, why can’t you just be mindful when that happens?”

My partner has lovely rants.  This one was something like, If I could do that, I wouldn’t need you.  I would be fixed.  Cured.  I would be the friggin’ Buddha.  But I’m not and I can’t and f*(& you and the train you rode in on.

Lovely.

Then, today, instead of taking my nap, which I swear I WILL do, I listened to the Oprah/Chopra meditation on how we create our own reality.  OH MY GOD!  It made me HOMICIDAL!  There were even exercises to find out where you were stuck in the past so you can just inhabit the present moment as if the past didn’t ever exist.  OH MY GOD!  TRIPLE HOMICIDAL!  (And seriously, I want to remember the crap I learned in case that helps me not to do it again.)

Mind you, I’m all in favor of the present moment.  But I don’t want meditations that make me feel crappy for not being over everything already.  I mean, seriously.  We develop neural pathways from our experiences.  Developing new ones, creating links between the old and new, calming the nervous system…this is the work of a lifetime.  And that’s if you’re lucky enough to not be worried about where the next meal is coming from or which kid has a play date or how you need to fight against oppression today.

I haven’t learned everything I know from being married to my partner.  Just most of it.  And the main thing I learned is that the more we give each other permission to be crazy, neurotic, imperfect, likely to make mistakes…the more love there is.  The more get-out-of-jail-free cards we hand each other, out of compassion for each other’s fucked up humanness, the more we truly grow into open-hearted closeness.

Yoga, meditation, Buddhism, religion, New Age philosophies, positivity…I can’t live up to it all, and WHO WOULD WANT TO?  Sometimes, it’s nice to lie around, eat pizza, fart, and laugh at each other.

Gratitude and Grace.  Touch me.  But not as much as being stupid with the person I love.  Who doesn’t ask me to do the impossible.  (Except when she’s triggered.  But I won’t go into that.)

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Defining Good Enough


Sometimes I really like when everything sucks.

And no, I’m not crazy.  Or at least no more crazy than usual.

What I mean is that when projects, jobs, connections, groups, don’t work, and it becomes super clear that they’re not working, it’s easy to know what to let go of.  It’s easy to enter that life process called flow.

Lately, I’ve had a lot of things not working.  How do I know they’re not working?  There’s no joy in it.  And I love letting go of whatever makes me unhappy.  LOVE!  It’s the most affirmative thing ever.  I let go, saying whoosh, no joy in it.  Bye-bye.  And in doing this, I am also saying, I want joy, I deserve joy, I can have joy.  I just have to choose.  I just have to reach out to the world with both hands and a stupidly open heart.  I just have to say, what works makes me ALIVE.

I could go into specifics, but one of the things that’s not working is all the bus rides to New York for auditions, networking, pay to plays, etc.  The bus rides so exhaust me…and lately I’ve had the 7 and 8 hour rides because of traffic and why do they keep taking 95 in the summer?  Don’t they learn?

Anyhow, I’m not going into the lovely specifics today because I need a nap.  I’ve just done restorative yoga and meditated, so a nap is definitely the next step.  Toward well-being, joy, and general laziness.

I love to let go.  Because it means I’ve stopped trying to make it happen, trying to control the outcome, and I can just be.  Me.  Which is good enough.

 

What I Know About Marriage and Homicide


I wrote this for a friend when she got married.  So she’d know what she was in for.  Enjoy!

 

What I Know about Marriage and Homicide

By Lyralen

  1. Being known is great. Except when it’s not.

 

  1. After 26 years, I’m still waiting for her to turn into the suave, handsome, rich doctor or lawyer I was supposed to marry, instead of this completely authentic, loving, neurotic putz who makes me laugh.

 

  1. Loving her so much challenges all my fears. So I try to be friends and keep getting back on the same side. Otherwise I might kill her.

 

  1. I can only do as much intimacy as I can tolerate—so I don’t open my heart all at once. Or I might kill her.

 

  1. It’s better to tell on myself than to confront my partner. Because then she won’t kill me.

 

  1. I have a part of me that sees her as every monster from every nightmare and thinks my survival is threatened. When this happens, it’s time to go in my room and hide. And then try to soothe myself. So I don’t kill her.

 

  1. Marriage is a disappointment factory. I keep creating expectations or recycling old ones, just so I can learn that she’s not here to take care of me. (This makes me want to kill her.)

 

  1. For 28 years, she has told me, over and over again, that we don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that we can go as slow as I need, that she never wants to hurt me (even though she does), and I forget this the minute she says something stupid. (And then I want to kill her.)

 

  1. When the voice that tells me I’m better than her, and she doesn’t deserve me, gets activated, it’s better if I don’t share that with her (so she doesn’t kill me), or believe what that part of me is telling me (so I don’t kill her).

 

  1. Once in a while, we get close, and no one freaks out, and I notice, one moment at a time, the way her hands seeks for me, the way she touches me as if I am the most precious person in the world, and the way I explode with joy (and make inappropriate jokes) at all of it, so grateful to be alive and know what this feels like.

 

Do You See Gender? Or, I Am Not a Straight Girl, #2


I don’t see gender.

This is not true.  I don’t see gender the way most of the world sees gender.  I truly believe that gender lies between the ears and even, to some extent, in the heart.  Genitalia doesn’t have much to do with it.

In 2001, I studied the Meisner Technique at Carnegie Hall with Fred Kareman…and with the beautiful people.  I’d never met the beautiful people before, so standing on the elevator on the way up, with my butt-length hair, sweats, no make up, I was like, whoa.  Because almost everyone else in the class looked coiffed.  Of course the men weren’t wearing make up, but their casual jeans fit in that way that make men look really sexy, and their shirts fit the form, baby.  The most handsome man in the class, who later became my friend, told me he checked me out when I walked in and decided I must be a lesbian because no straight woman would have shown up to a high level acting class dressed, well, for the gym.

I bristled when he said that, but couldn’t escape the fact that he was dead on correct about me.  I didn’t dress for the male eye.  Mostly, I just didn’t give a shit.  At Sarah Lawrence, students and teachers started telling me to pay attention to my appearance.  I was new to acting.  They were like, “Your hair isn’t commercial.”  And, “Wear clothes that show that you have a body.”  I was like, “Seriously?”  And they sighed and said, “Yes, Lyralen, seriously.  Dress for your business.”  One teacher told me to get my hair cut so short I could no longer put it in a ponytail, since that I was how I seemed to want to wear it most of the time.  (I didn’t listen.)

Truth:  I miss not thinking about my looks.  I would like to think about them not at all.  Or only in so far as they show what’s inside…my own non-conformist, wild, free self.

Gender: I’m a woman.  I’m not trans.  But the component parts of my gender experience and expression don’t add up to binary woman.  I am femme, but I’m a tomboy, and I hate wearing make up to this day, and I hate doing my hair, and I don’t like wearing dresses all that much, and don’t want to show off cleavage or any of that shit.  I do LOVE to play around and wear flowy stuff that makes me feel like a princess with boxer shorts on underneath.  Or I like to wear boxer shorts and a tank top.  I love hats.  In other words, for me, gender is fluid and partially performance.  It’s fun.

Here’s a another way to think about gender:

Screen shot 2015-07-07 at 12.07.34 PM

Anyhow, what I really want to say is that when I’m with men, I know they’re men, of course, but I don’t seem to be able to see the whole Mars/Venus thing, nor understand the supposed emotional unavailability thing.  Maybe I want less and that’s the trick.  But it’s more that because I’m a boy in quadrants  2 & 4, I don’t like processing as so many women do, so men seem, just, well, normal.  I have to work to see differences between us.  There’s no friggin’ other.  I’m a feminist, but I don’t believe women are just better at x, y and z.

It’s like seeing color.  I’ve lived in Spain and Japan, so having lived in countries in which being Latino or Asian was the norm, I have to work to see a not norm.  But I do see color.  I am aware of ethnicity.  Working in communities of color for the last 15 years has made me not only an advocate, not only more comfortable with differences, but more aware of color in a different way.  I can’t stop seeing whiteness.  I see color…but I see all ethnicities and seeing whiteness, and what it is, and what it means, freaks me out and pisses me off.  I’ve crossed some line and I can’t go back.  White isn’t the norm to me any more…that was more or less the point of traveling and living in other countries and then becoming a multicultural activist.  I didn’t want a homogenized view of the world.  I didn’t want to NOT see.  But man, whiteness is so overwhelmingly ignorant, especially the intellectuality of liberal whiteness, which was my home before I did all these things.  Thinking and living are two different things entirely.  Our problem, as white people, especially middle and upper middle class white people, is that education makes us think we know about race, when we really don’t know shit, even when we’re on the right side.

Gender.

So the point is, I do see gender.  I see straightness and gayness.  I see the mix of the binary and the way that mix makes binary meaningless, which is good, because the binary is truly both meaningless and limiting.  I am a mix.  So are you, in my eyes, when I’m looking at you.  And like looking at whiteness, seeing the strong identification with the binary in gender really freaks me out and pisses me off.

And beyond anything else.  I want to be myself.  My mix.  Visible.

The way the people I love are visible to me.

Opposite quadrants, as it happens.  If I’m a girl/boy, my partner is a boy/girl.

All fun, if you don’t get stuck in the way you see things.