thematic elements

Changing themes is one of the hardest things about maintaining a blog. You find one you like, you get attached to it. You kind of fall in love with it and after you publish a post, you go to your blog to look at it because, “Wow, it looks so much better with a theme around it.”

Doesn’t it?

I left my first theme at the beginning of 2015 for something a little pinker, a little darker, a little calmer. And I miss my first theme. I have thought about going back to that first theme, that one that served me so well, that held my posts so tenderly and made them look pretty even when the content was so banal, so disgustingly trivial I audibly gasp when I reread them.

Thanks old theme. New theme has big shoes to fill. You have to take each post and act like it’s genius, even if it’s not. You have to be kind to me and let me manipulate you just a bit (old theme was a little stubborn). And you have to know that one day I will probably let go of you, just like old theme. For now, you’re the new theme.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of a thematic change to create a new world of blogging.

So now I’m gonna post this and go check it out on my blog and see how my theme is dealing with this ramble.

Games

“You’re very good at a game that I don’t want to play.”

I admittedly heard this in High School Musical 2 when I was 12 and didn’t know what this game could possibly be. So yeah, Gabriella was basically telling Sharpay off for trying to steal her boyfriend (the ever-beautiful Troy) and this was her response to all of Sharpay’s sass.

What wise words, Gabriella.

There are games wherever we look. I can’t get away from them. It’s funny…when I talk to my closest friends and they gasp, saying that their old friends are so childish, dealing with drama, with games.

I know better than to think we grow out of games. We just play differently. We play them better.

We keep secrets better, trade secrets more skillfully, cry less, open our mouths less, but that doesn’t mean that the drama, that the games stop. I feel like we all put an end date on the games. Once I turn eighteen, no more teen drama for me. Once I turn twenty-one, I’m gonna be able to drink on my own, I won’t put on with the petty drama. Once I’m this age, once I’m that age, I won’t have to deal with drama.

And maybe to an extent that’s true. At one age or another, it no longer is drama. eventually, it becomes life. Life is no different than drama. Drama is the heightened version of life that ends up on a stage. So when we say we have so much drama going on, shouldn’t we just say “Life is happening really fast right now.”

Or “Life is a lot right now.”

Because life likes to give us games to play, and we can’t help but play them.

resolute

So, today being the first day of 2015 (halfway through the decade!), I began my resolutions.

I woke up at about 9:30 and then scurried off to a barre class with one of my best friends, Christina. I have taken a barre class before, but in the much more classical sense of the term. It was all focused on ballet. This class though was at Pure Barre. Pure Barre is a barre studio that does the classical barre work and ten times more. It basically makes your muscles burn until you fall apart while you listen to pop songs you can’t name.

I was so excited to try Pure Barre after my mother had told me about it. I was not disappointed. I am sore as the dickens. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return tomorrow and claim my monthly membership. While participating in the class, listening to the teacher, Ashley, count us down as we squeezed a ball between our thighs, I was struck by the camraderie of the situation. Even if Christina had not been there, there was definitely a forward thinking energy of the group.

I think Pure Barre is going to be a huge component in how I lose weight this upcoming year.

Afterward, Steens and treated ourselves to humongous, Everest-sized salads at Blue Door Farm Stand. I am barely exaggerating. These salads were mountainous. I got their Sesame Chicken salad which had a pile of arugula and water cress skyrocketing in the middle and it was garnished (heavily and exquisitely) with carrots, bean sprouts, radishes and watermelon radishes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, red cabbage, and spicy sesame chicken drenched in this wonderful sesame dressing. Like just look at this thing.

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The Everest of Salads

And to top off the day, I went to church because today is a holy day of obligation AKA the Solemnity of Mary.

So now, very humbled, full of good food, and sore to my core, I feel like 2015 might just be my year.

2015, better

“New year, new you” is a horrible saying. Are we really to think we are a tabula rasa immediately when the clock strikes midnight?

Here we are in 2015 and what a wonderful feeling that is. But is it really going to be the year of a “New Margie”?

Not quite. Maybe it’s the year of a better, more crazed, busier, more exciting Margie. In order to accomplish some goals I have for 2015 (AKA the dreaded New Year’s resolutions) I’ve decided to post them here where I can update about my feats as the better Margie. Without further ado, here’s my list of New Year’s resolutions.”

1. Lose 20 Pounds
I know, I know. Either you’re going to say “that’s not going to work” or be an overly nice compatriot of mine and say “but Margie, you don’t need to.” The unfortunate truth is that I gained the freshman 15 and the sophomore slump weight too. I’ve decided to combat this in a few ways: a change in diet (not dieting per se) and taking classes at Pure Bar, Corepower, and other places. I need to gain motivation to ultimately live better and be happier in my skin.

2. Go to church more
This basically includes this: church every Sunday and every day of Holy Obligation. I have kind of fallen out of favor with my faith or it has fallen out with me since my schedule has become so…wild this past quarter.

3. Write on my blog ONCE A WEEK
Yes! Don’t worry! I have realized I’ve been neglecting the beautiful platform of blogging. Every week, I am going to dedicate some time to write a story, poem, rant, or update on my life to make sure I’m still writing.

4. See more theatre
Self explanatory. See my job description.

5. Worry less
Easier said than done, I know. But this is important to me. As an actor, my nerves have gotten in the way of my work. I need to shed the worry I have gained about my reputation and the way I’m perceived and start to take risks. Risk and reward, risk and reward.

So that’s 2015. Let’s do it. Let’s get excited! Let’s not screw it up and make it a good year, one full of laughter, love, and contentment.

Death and Marmalade

An excerpt from my failed NaNoWriMo piece that I am looking forward to continuing when I get a moment of pause. 

He asked her to spread his ashes here. It was a beach that she had never been to in Florida, a state she had never been to. It felt so unfair to her that the place her husband wished to spend eternity was a place she had no connection to. But here she was. There was no way that she could have denied her husband this request, though. At his bedside in the hospital, he had asked her tentatively that if he died that his ashes be spread here.

So, on this beach in Florida, Alice Duran stood. The waves were lapping at her toes. It was seven in the morning and the sun was rising. She had driven twelve hours to be here. She felt greasy and like she hadn’t washed her hands in days, like they were caked with mud.

More than anything, she wanted to take a shower.

Alice was holding a coffee can of her husband’s ashes, which felt like a callous attempt at normalcy on the part of her brother-in-law, Miles. He had handed it to her as she waited by her car outside a rest stop thirty miles outside Cincinnati.

“Careful. It doesn’t close all the way,” he had swallowed, wiping his nose with his sleeve. His eyes were red and he sounded like he needed to blow his nose.

Alice had allowed Miles to keep the ashes for a day before she took it down to Florida. She wanted to be alone when she did it. Her husband asked that of her as well, to the chagrin of his parents and younger brother.

Miles and Alice had always gotten along fine, but their relationship was nothing special. Alice would laugh sometimes with her husband that Miles barely had an impact on her life. They didn’t speak more than a few minutes at family functions and had only a couple pictures together. After her husband’s death, however, Alice and Miles had forged a temporary camaraderie.

Once Miles had handed the can over, though, it marked the end of this phase of their relationship. It was the end of the mutual sadness, the end of the nights spent talking over empty bottles of wine, the end of this, whatever this was. Alice gave him a hug with her free arm and kissed his cheek. “Give me a call, okay? When you get there,” Miles had mumbled into her ear.

“Yes, of course,” Alice replied.

“Drive slow, okay? Please, just be safe.”

Safety and taking care take on different meaning once you lose someone. They aren’t just well wishes or just polite terms. They become pre-emptive blessings.

Alice said her goodbye quickly. She didn’t want to cry anymore than she had and Miles wasn’t helping any.  Then, she was off. She drove and didn’t stop. She pulled off to get gas, pee, eat, and twice to cry. Alice hadn’t cried in awhile. Her grieving process began before her husband passed, so it had run its course more quickly than Miles’. Now, however, on her way to his final resting place, she felt a great responsibility to her husband’s family. They were entrusting her with him—literally, this time.

She thanked God that she was standing on the shore with the can in her hands. There had been no freak accident or swell of anxiety that cast his ashes at any other spot. She was here at the exact point he said: St. August, Florida at Stone Beach in front of Corson’s Slop House. She was almost disgusted at his choice. Alice had to laugh though. It would be like her husband to pick somewhere that was special to him despite any blemishes in the landscape.

Alice put the can down momentarily to roll up the cuffs of her jeans. Her legs were prickly now since she hadn’t shaved them after the funeral. There was no reason at all other than social convention. She stood back up and looked at the can on the ground, trying to contemplate her next step. Simultaneously, Alice wished to get it over with as quick as possible and rip it off like a Band-Aid but also wanted to savor every moment, treat it with such delicacy and grace. Treat him with such delicacy and grace.

Sitting down beside the can, Alice looked out over the water and at the sun rising again. It was beautiful. The day was so clear and the sky was going to be so blue.

“I know why you wanted this, Pat,” she sighed, putting a hand on the can. “It’s beautiful here.”

It was quiet too, probably because it was the early morning. Alice swallowed, feeling tears again in her eyes as she had twice in the past few hours. “I wish you were here with me.” She amended, “I know you’re here. That’s not the same, though.”

She picked up the can and put it in her lap. How a two hundred and thirteen pound man could be reduced to less than ten pounds in her arms was unbelievable. Alice started to rock and back and forth, humming a mindless tune. She started to laugh at herself, stroking the sides of the can. “I love you,” Alice held up the can and stared at it with stiff contemplation, her lips curling over one another.  She stood up and walked into the water. It was cold, almost freezing. She groaned and tiptoed deeper into the water. Her feet had fallen asleep now. It wasn’t even cold, it was just unfeeling.

Carefully, Alice opened the top of the can and looked at the ashes. It looked like gray sand with pebbles amidst it. She knew she couldn’t be so naïve. When she was eight, she had stumbled upon an urn that had been thrown out on Lake Michigan and started playing with the ashes with her friends. That is, until her mother came over and pulled them all away.

Her mother had not told her what it was, but she eventually figured it out. Alice had never thought about that urn again until her husband’s funeral when she thought about how he may one day be found by a group of eight year old girls who think it’s a mysterious pot of gray sand. She did not know if that was comforting or horrifying.

She ran her fingers through the ashes, seeing how they stained her fingers slightly. This was him. It was not only the man she loved. It was the man she had married and lived with and ate dinner with and watched die. There were so many things that she did with this man and he was now reduced to a coffee can of ash.

Alice wanted to call Miles and scream at him for throwing his brother into a Folgers’s can.

“Okay. Well, Patrick Marion Duran,” she stared into the open can and wrinkled her nose. “Jesus Christ.” Alice didn’t know what to say. What was she supposed to say? Standing alone in the Ocean with a coffee can full of her dead husband, what the fuck was she supposed to say? That she loved him? Tell him goodbye? These all were crass options and, if she was going to be honest, this whole process seemed tactless.

There wasn’t a good way to begin. She sifted some of the ashes through her hands and then took a handful out and started to let it slip through her fist. As much as she wanted to see every bit of him as she let him go, he wasn’t there. He was nothing more than dust.

Alice kept taking handfuls out, occasionally feeling a bone that hadn’t been completely burnt in the process. When she felt that, she would close her eyes and drop it down into the water beside her so she wouldn’t have to look directly at it. She would watch all the ashes fall and land softly on the water leaving dusty imprints on the surface. She didn’t know how long she had been standing there when she reached the bottom of the container. Alice was so thankful it was done.

A horrible feeling built up in her chest—the unceremonious tossing of her husband’s ashes. Standing in the ocean. Letting him fall.

Alice let him go.

NaNoWriMo

Announcing that I have officially begun my quest to write 50,000 words in 30 days! I was stuck and finding new material to create, but suddenly, inspiration struck.

I am working on a new manuscript called (tentatively) Death and Marmalade and I encourage everyone to start their own novel to write through November.

It’s inspiring! It’s exciting! It’s easy. I love how easygoing the whole process is. You don’t even have to get 50,000 words down to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Because even if it’s only a thousand words, it’s a thousand words you didn’t have before.

Go out and write. I know I will be.

And the Rain Came

A quick note on how we are always children. 

I am exhausted. I have been up for some crazy amount of hours at this point and I’m drunk so I’m fucking crazy. It’s funny. Everything is funny.

“Do you like me?” he asks. That’s less funny. That’s frightening.

I don’t want to tell him that I’ve liked him a whole year and a half. That I’ve been struggling with my ardent love for him and the knowledge that he wouldn’t be a good boyfriend. And that if we were together we would fuck everyone over when we inevitably broke up. And I couldn’t risk telling him that I liked him more than a friend, because, as it usually ends up, he won’t like me back.

“Of course I like you. You’re my friend.”

He clearly is unsatisfied with my answer. He thinks I’ve misunderstood him. “No I mean if you like me like more than a friend.”

I lower my gaze, “Do you like me more than a friend?”

“I asked you first.” He says it like we are children, like we are on a playground, poking each other with sticks and not truly understanding of what it menas to love someone and to love them a long time. We are like children who don’t understand how mom and dad came to be and can’t imagine them being apart, like god put mom and dad on this earth together to take care of us.

And yet we are not children. We are adults and we are drunk, both literally and figuratively. We are soaked in the rain and I’ve already gotten my period and Eddie has groped me and we both know what it means to love although he knows the pain of it more than I do.

“I’m drunk, I’ll say something stupid,” I feign exasperation in the situation and turn my head.

Brevity of Books

It is satisfying to close a book you just finished only for a moment. 

After that moment, you realize that you will need to start again at page one to meet those characters again. 

Real

I have read many books since I last posted here and watched a few movies. More importantly than both of those items, I have made a lot of memories and felt a lot of different things.

Because my job is an hour drive from where I am living currently, I take a train that is convenient to both places. This is where I do my most thoughtful emoting. 

I have felt exquisite joy. I was sitting in a train car watching the scenery which I have passed every day for the past seven weeks. I was listening to my new favorite band, Jukebox the Ghost. My phone was buzzing in my lap from text messages from my friends to whom I had relayed the day two. And my cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling. When people use the phrase “idiotic grin” they could have use me as an example, for at the moment, I felt like the corners of my cheeks were comically turned upward for being alone on the train. Even sillier, there were moments I would bundle my legs to my chest and laugh giddily. 

I have felt terribly angry. I don’t remember about what, but I remember that I no one sat next to me that day. That is a very rare things because this is the kind of train where people end up standing because there are no seats. But I was alone. I thought that I must have been producing a very negative energy, something I have begun to believe in through my first year of acting training. My aura, then, created a blockade around the seat beside me, which was both a blessing (who wants to sit next to a stranger on a train) and a curse (why doesn’t anyone want to sit next to me). 

I also felt heavy with sorrow. It was an unusual kind of sorrow though. It was not over anything concrete, simply the fact that I could not have what I wanted, despite never being explicitly told I couldn’t. That kind of sadness is the most frustrating. It is the kind of sadness that makes a person lose their faith in the idea of hope. It makes them lose hope all together. 

But this summer, free of performance and free of professional splendor has allowed me to live in a world where I am only Margie, or sometimes Miss Margie. Or Marge. Or Marginator, or Margarita, or one of the countless other names the kids call me because “Margie” is a little too hard for them. 

I became a real person this summer, making a real people friends and real people money. Soon, I’m moving into a real person apartment with real person roommates. And I guess what I mean by real is “adulthood.” A song, titled the word to describe the stage of your life in which you are an adult, contains a lyric that has stuck with me the whole summer, “From adulthood, no one survives.” From reality, no one survives either. 

And I am experiencing real people emotions all along. I have felt the real struggle of passion against convention and the struggle of pleasure against duty. I have also felt the union of those four items. 

This post, nonsensical as it is, is simply to say I’m still here. I’m still real.