Sunday, November 4, 2012

Disaster Girl

Today I am sitting in a cafe near what is left of my pretty Jersey City apartment. I am staying with my friend on his couch, and am quickly grabbing what I can out of my place. I found some treasures like my mom's photo album, and have done laundry. LOTS of laundry. I am not nearly as traumatized as someone caught in a flash flood in her own apartment should be. I have no cell service.No internet. But-I am here. And if nothing else-I have learned-rebuild once, you can rebuild again. Anything else isn't even an option really. School went back friday. I am still here. Ok. More later. Off to do paperwork.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life goes on

It's 9/11. And I don't have much to say-except in the past decade, I saw the Towers fall, was down at Ground Zero, lost my mother after a decade of cancer, and had two utterly lifechanging accidents. I have never considered any part of my life as a tragedy, although others have. I think that watching my mother fight so hard to live, showed me how much life means. It's beautiful. Every single day that a person chooses to get up and fight and find the daisy in the sidewalk is a triumph. Any time a person says hello on the street, every smile given, any friendships formed, any babies born, anyone falling in love, anyone taking a leap...these are the reasons I watch in wonder. I am no Pollyanna, but the people I admire most are the ones who get up everyday and experience it. I am not acting right now, I am writing. A few years ago I never would have thought. Because most little girls want to be actresses. I always wanted to be a writer and go to college. Which in no way negates my love of acting. But after the Towers fell, I had a cop stay in touch for several years. And at the end of every call we would enumerate the things we still needed to do. He wanted a tattoo. I wanted Broadway. And in each consecutive call we would tell each other what we'd done that we hadn't before. A beautiful ritual. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Amandita

     I rarely answer the question directly, the question that people really want to know. My mother's death, of course, devastated me, but, I am asked constantly..."what happened?" Sometimes people's reaction to my story...isn't good. I am asked outright about lawyers and money, because, everyone has a case. Or I "look so good", which I do. Or "how was I before." That one hurts. Because my philosophy is that anything that happens to me becomes a part of me. And also, because I remember "before." My mother died four months before I was hurt. Her death gave me a lot of excuses to grieve. But what I am only now grasping is how much I grieve for the girl who ran for miles with her ponytail flying. The light girl who found the ridiculousness of every situation. I remember being pain free. And I trusted myself wholeheartedly, because there was just physical fearlessness. There was no fear that I wasn't valuable. Or fear of not being able to work. I remember when being touched was so easy. Life just seems more complicated when you have to reason out how much you can do in a day. I am not a role model, I am not hurt to help people. But if I do, if I can help you see where you can go.... then I will tell my story.
     One night, I was coming home from a party I was working. An event I had done hundreds if not thousands of times. I was coming home on a sleety december day, and was dropped off on 33rd and 3rd. The train was on 34th and Broadway. I was wearing a baby blue peacoat over my tuxedo pants, and was walking. I made it to 34th and Park, right in front of my parents apartment, my old apartment. I may have been hurrying, because of the sleet and because I still couldn't walk by my parents place. It's a bad intersection, really bad. I had seen someone killed there before. I waited in front of the deli, waited for the light. I waited, and looked both ways. As I crossed, I glanced over at the cars waiting for the light. I noticed lights in the row changing. Then I realized it was a car hurtling right at me, a white SUV. In a split second, I heard a voice in my head say "jump". A voice that I listened to. As I jumped straight up, I was tossed over the hood of the car. I still feel it hitting me on the right hip. The car stopped. I was not knocked out. Oddly. But I was furious, angrier than I can ever remember. Pure rage. I yelled at the guy, told him he almost killed me, pull over. He pretended to, then started pulling away. I grabbed my cell and called my voicemail and read the licence plate number, and he saw me. And pulled to the side almost half a block away. I clearly chased him, because I remember sitting there arguing with the woman in the front seat, who told me I was making way too big a fuss and they were late for the babysitter. I told her I was calling the police. You know, all I wanted was for him to get a ticket? Standing there, in the pouring sleet, calling 911 myself. The ambulance didn't come. I saw it where I reported the accident and walked over. Cops were there. I was terrified of the lights, and finally a cop picked me up and carried me to the ambulance. He interviewed the guy who hit me before me. The paramedics were shocked, but told me I protected my head and wasn't sucked under the car. I declined the emergency room. I didn't feel hurt. The next day I felt weird. I went to my regualar doctor. He told me that if I had internal injuries, I wouldn't have made it to his office. I asked about my back. He said rest, it would be fine. Two weeks later, I was back. I couldn't move, literally. He put his hand on my back and immediately sent me for an x-ray. It felt broken. The x rays showed no fracture. But I refused to stop my life, until my entire body had locked up. I started physical therapy. It was the beginning. I did everything I was supposed to do. I worked. I ate well, drank water. And threw up almost everyday. But I kept going because I knew that once the muscles weakened, that would be it. I kept acting. I did about nine plays. My biggest accomplishment was that you couldn't tell I limped. I worked constantly on not appearing hurt. I mean, what parts are there for a girl who can't walk? About a year later, I was working another party at Avery Fisher Hall. I had the head table for a party of a thousand people. I noticed a screen set up badly, but was going to fix it on my way back. I turned to go to my table, when a felt a crack and everything went black. I remember the pain. A waiter caught me. I thank god everyday I didn't hit my head again on the marble. I remember his face and how his ams felt about me. I have no idea what his name is. He apparently sent for my captain who never checked on me. I remember the chefs laughing because it was funny. I remember calling my father and sister who tried to convince me to leave, just leave. I didn't. I couldn't figure out where I was. I talked rationally enough to file an accident report. But I got lost on my way home. I went to sleep. And when I woke up, I couldn't see. At the ER, I was told I was lucky I woke up. I knew I was in trouble. I don't remember much. I don't remember much for several years actually. I was on autopilot. As time went on, I rationalized everything to make it seem like I wasn't devastated. To make my pain invisible. I never limped. At parties, I learned that if you smile, nod, and don't speak, no one realizes you don't know what's going on around you. I cannot say that I was anyone's inspiration. My goal was to just get through each day. About a year after I hit my head, I was switched to my beloved Dr.Lim. He took one look at me, and sent me to Kessler, which is a Rehab hospital in NJ. It is the best of it's kind. I hated every minute. From the second I was greeted by a woman with no legs asking for a cigarrette to each time I was asked if I was a therapist. But that place left me determined. I met patients and I swore to myself I was not going to be one of them. I went to every therapy session. I was eventually switched out of my group and treated separately-which is actually kind've funny. Who gets kicked out of Rehab? But I refused to say in Group that I was a different person than before. Just wouldn't do it. When the therapist asked why, I told him I was the same, just add everything to my collection. After that session, and after every successful rehearsal, my therapists started lighting up every time I walked in. The other patients wondered how they could get better. I eventually gave a presentation to the therapists on modifying my life, because they had never had a patient who could break down her own plan. I never gave up. I never stopped acting, working. I never left the regular world. I wasn't brave enough to invite my fellow patients to my play... I was worried my failure would set them back. And I was right. I gave bad performances. Several. Many. But I knew if I didn't do it, I never would again. And that has been my rule. Just do it. Because I have lost everything....and gained more back. I am a deeper person. I am a more compassionate person. I maintained my presence everywhere. And I was an actress by night, patient by day at Kessler. I wish everyone could have my advantages of will, of drive, of "fuck you". Because right now, I am exactly where I should be. I will never be that girl that doesn't appreciate anything. I won't be. I have too much, and, for the first time, I am not afraid of my future, and my past is behind me. Dr.Lim, who was my confessor for every thing I did, moved to Oregon.On my last visit, he looked at me, and said that I wouldn't have recovered without my personality. I smiled. And cried my entire way home.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Leaving Home

Now, comes the time when I start talking about my life. The deeper stuff, the more painful stuff. Lessons that actually change people are not little. And for me to be the compassionate woman I am today, well, it was a long journey. I had a very,very happy childhood. Magical, really, the childhood people dream of. a beautiful house in the country with pets, and gardens, and passages, and books. But there are always say,three days, in your whole life that change your course utterly. Mine was a day when I was a senior in high school. I was sick that year. For the ENTIRE year. Lyme Disease. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer, but at that time, there was hope. For us kids anyway. Our parents, in retrospect, knew better. One day, my mother woke me up from my nap. She was absolutely ashen, but calm. And she told me I "needed to start packing." She didn't specify what. I didn't understand. So, while she went to pick up my sisters at school, I looked around....and thought about what I should pack. I decided on an overnight bag, with a small photo album, and only a few days worth of my clothes. I sat and waited. My mom came home and was upset. She had meant the whole house. I have no idea where my father was-I found out later he was unreachable in court. This was the house I grew up in, spent my whole life in. And we walked out with my cat, my dog, and overnight bags. My parents put everything in storage, which we ended up never retrieving. My last memory of my house was clutching my cat and looking over my shoulder at the house getting farther and farther away. After a moment, I looked forward. I would be lying if I said I didn't know life as I knew it was over. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012


On tuesday early, early in the morning....6 am early-I checked my facebook. It may have been tuesday-I can't remember. And knew something was wrong. I had chills as I scrolled-looking at memorial posts for a friend of mine. I had just spoken to him-he was the first birthday wish I had. He checked in regularly-I knew something was wrong, and I texted him everyday. He always got back to me. Always, and fast. Until wednesday. I think....last wednesday...he never ever, complained. He told me about his neighborhood in NYC, his friends who were so close to him, much closer than his parents. He told me to get a passport because I was the kind've girl who needed one for my adventures, and knew I was afraid of flying-which he started to remedy by telling me about his duct taped adventures in Thailand. I was shocked, but it worked. If Anthony-aka Dare- was ok, well, wouldn't I be? He was so funny, went to Columbia, loved clothes. I started texting him pics of dresses I liked immediately, and he was like-"yes" or "no". So funny. I do that. No one's ever done it for me. He was proud.  He made sure that I knew he was a safe place to be, even if he was a big, fighter guy. We laughed about a satire on  "booty dancing" that was one of the dirtiest, funniest, non-pc threads I have ever loved. Both text and Facebook. It went on for an entire day-and was made even funnier because I was sitting, working, and looked up and "Save the Last Dance" was on...the scene where Julia Stiles is being taught to grind. I started cracking up-because he was so smart with his humor, so on target. I joked that he needed to teach me to dance. He was going to, I totally swear. He was going to meet me, I swear. Just, not today. He wasn't good company. "But are you ok?" So like him, I've since found out from his old friends, his childhood friends. Apparently, I was inducted into a very special club. A funny, big-hearted club. And -yes-a club of really beautiful women. I'm not joking. You should see them .You should all talk to them,too. Amazing. And looking- I realized-if these women and men in his life, who were so there, on it, couldn't save him-no one could. Here's what I knew, and thought Dare did. Whenever someone asked him about Bacon-they were saying "I love you." Whenever someone teased him about his email habits and work and coffee, they were say "I love you".  Every text, every message, every phone call. I looked at the threads written, and realized he had talked of every single person. My heart breaks a little more with every, single brutal detail that comes out. I can't read anymore. I can't. But if he saw how people treated Bacon, he would know how much he will be missed. Because he was Ant's. I can't think of him as a news article. He is just too full of life for that. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Birthday girl

Today-it's my birthday. I made no plans except dinner with Meg. It's so funny to see where I am now-a little worried about where I'm going. When I was in first grade, I finished the entire Nancy Drew series. The WHOLE thing. All 63 books. The grown ups were impressed by my skills, but I loved her world. She was 18, had a car, a lawyer dad, and went around solving mysteries. She had two partners in crime, and a boyfriend. No mention of college. Or a job. But I never realized this at 6. She reminded me of my mom, who  knew how to dress for dinner, and knew how to be very ladylike. Perhaps she reminded me of me a little-since I was obsessed with information. Meg and I grew up in this old,old house that had more secrets than you can imagine. We found tunnels and secret rooms, turns out the house was listed as being in the Underground Railroad. So mysteries, secrets,stories, and history were all very, very real and human to me. We had the run of the place, and I remember riptailing down a huge hill to ride my bike through a stream to splash myself. Meg,too. We really had a great childhood.On our birthdays-Mom went all out. We had ponies, and clowns, and it was really funny-Meg and I were incapable of sharing friends. So-following the rules of invitation, I ended up with the boys in my party, and Meg the girls. This was a super small town, so we all knew each other so well, none of us objected, and we had one friend who was particularly good at shuttling between all the fun-Molly-who was officially Meg's friend. She brought us Strawberry Shortcake trays one time. Identical ones. So funny. Whenever we got gifts, it was always two identical things. So funny now, but when your six? We also have always had our own cakes and people sing separately. Last night, I hugged Meg, which I rarely do, and pinky swore she'd miss me. She asked where I was going. I told her we wouldn't be together forever, and we should enjoy our day. So tonight,we're having dinner, and I'm getting cupcakes-which will be different flavors. And we will toast each other. I love you, Meg. We still are partners in crime.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I am sitting in my aunt and uncle's beautiful brownstone in Cobble Hill. I sit here writing, and I know I'm surrounded by history-this was the brownstone where  Thomas Wolfe wrote "Look Homeward Angel". 40 Verandah Place. There's a pretty little park out front,.and Bob the dog is my little buddy at this point, sitting with me on the couch. I forgot how much I missed having a dog. He's awesome. On the television, there is a documentary on the Titanic. The Titanic was my childhood ghost story. I went to the Episcopal church in Rhinebeck-where the Tiffany stained glass windows were all dedicated to men who went down with the mom told us the story, and I was so fascinated. It was a beautifully tragic story. Watching the documentary is making me go back in time, when it was just a story. And now that I'm older -perhaps the tragedy isn't so beautiful. This Easter was a bit tough-I just still mourn the family I remember. I have started to go back in history, my history to try and make sense of things. My father's family is very difficult, and filled with mysteries and miscommunications. My aunt, who has been with my uncle more than two decades has heard half truths about her husbands family, my family, and I get upset-because these people are real to me. My great grandma, Nana, who represented the devotion and warmth that was missing from my distant grandmother-who was a cigarrette and martini kind've woman. I never met my enigmatic grandfather who seems to have led a truly remarkable life of utter self sufficiency after being put on the streets as a child, during the Depression. He spun coal into gold. Drank like a fish. And died on the NY Subway. I am still unraveling them-I remember feeling a bit like they were glamorous villains as a kid, and now I wonder where that came from. I do know that Dad's family is as WASP-y as you can get, with a stiff upper lip. It wasn't until I became an actor and put the Depression in perspective that I was able to put my extended family in a place that I was able to cope with. I really don't think my father and mother realized the stories kids put together in their heads-and both of mine had serious issues with theirs. My grandmother was a divorced single mother from a blue collar background-a flirty, good time girl, which mortified my mother-who had exquisite taste and "passed" as a wealthy girl. My father, on the other hand was the more well off son of an Irish Street kid who grew up to start and launch cosmetics companies, and to market perfumes. As a matter of fact-if you walk into a drugstore, you still see his products, which he helped design. I think everyone has seen the retro bottle of Jean Nate Afterbath Splash. And the beautiful Chanel packaging. Both his.Estee Lauder Youth Dew is one of his, too, and the one my grandmother always wore. My dad's mother, to me, is the biggest enigma. I remember her asking me one morning when I was very small if she could make me scrambled eggs. I was shocked. She knew how to cook? I remember thinking she didn't like me as a little girl. In retrospect, I think she was a deeply unhappy woman who was not particularly open. She drank martinis and smoked two packs a day. I remember she stayed in her rather elegant bedroom, where I was allowed to play with her tchotchkes. There was a family of china ducks that had broken crayons in them. I spent hours trying to get them out. She also taught me to make banana slippers by crocheting. Mine were yellow. I learned to embroider, too. I never realized my grandparents were Irish. I knew we were "Irish", but not actually from Ireland. So now- I am putting the pieces together from family stories. It helps me make sense of things. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

True Love

I grew up in a family where my parents were not only fascinating, but madly, passionately in love. To an extent that occasionally embarrassed me-I mean-who wants to see their parents being all romantic all the time? I was a BIT young to fully appreciate the nature of their relationship-this was a couple who met on a blind date as basically teenagers, and were joined at the hip until my mom died at 50. For ten of those years, my mom was so sick-but? My dad never made it an issue. I would watch....and I'm not even ever sure how much my mom knew I saw of what was happening-but my dad loved her with a depth I can't even fathom. I'm not joking. I have seen all my friends play musical partners, and I've done the same. It's not a judgement, it's just the way we are. But? At the same time? My friends and I yearn for that true love, soulmate experience. It's so funny-I read a lot on "how to date" in magazines, and listen to bad dating stories, and-it seems to me that we just can't figure out just being ourselves and honest is the way to be.In my mind, that's the only way to find your lid, so to speak. My girlfriends obsess over dating sites, and the surprising thing is that the guys are just as longing. Sometimes I just wish I could grab two people's hands and say, here-you guys are perfect for each other. I find it endearing, and a little shocking that my guy friends are just as sensitive to the idea of true love. I have to say-my dating life has been a series of bad online dates, mixed with some more serious "are we or aren't we gonna try this?" relationships. I have to say- I am definately not one of those girls that dates just for company-I wish it were a little easier that way for me. I usually am hoping to fall, and to have the guy fall back. And? It's hard feeling like all your friends have surpassed you, and to wonder why you're still waiting. I have offers-and in a way-that's WORSE. Because I am starting to feel like I am the problem, despite evidence to the contrary. I mean- this week alone, I went out with a very moody Finance guy who waited til we were seated to start complaining about American women. I smiled and nodded, and drank my martini. Didn't say much, which is quickly becoming my litmus test. I have realized if I don't feel like talking, I probably don't like the guy a lot. I do have to say, at least I'm not starting every conversation with "I was hit by a car" or "You know-I hit my head really hard." Trust me-that is a true conversation killer. Yeah-note to self-learn to know what my personal business is. I mean-being an open book only goes so far.....

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Today sucked.It was one of those days where my life could not feel any more wrong. It was really- a bad day. it was a day where my money issues collided with my family issues, which collided with my work issues.Yeah-I have issues. I remember when I had a life I created, and where I was happy, and today? Just highlighted it. It was one of those days where-I just wanted to go back to where I was-just slide right on back. I'm tired of fighting with my lawyer,aka Daddy over every little crumb of treatment I can get. I'm tired of going through the motions of being a professional patient. I am tired of my own positivity. Seriously. I can only be like that sometimes. Our regularly scheduled Jessa will be back tomorrow, Hopefully. I am so frustrated.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I was just reading an article on home decorating. And in it the author describes an Indian Restaurant located next to Bergdorf's and above the Paris movie theatre. As I read the description, I recognized it. The restaurant was named Nirvana, and we used to go there whenever we saw a show or just wanted a beautiful place to eat. It was a restaurant that was decorated like a tent, with colors like red, and green, and blue, and the hangings were spangled with little round mirrors. It was a penthouse and you could see all the views of Central Park all around the dining area.Elephants were everywhere, and the waiters wore Nehru jackets. I always ordered the Tandoori chicken and poori bread. Meg would get chicken Vindaloo, and mom saag paneer. And we'd share. Oh-and the walls had murals. In retrospect, I laugh, because the elevator doors were scenes from the Kama Sutra. That sort've went over my head. Probably my mom's,too. I suspect my dad just didn't direct attention to them. I spent my 21st birthday there, with Meg, and my mom. This was definately a good birthday-because after Nirvana, we went to see Arcadia, which was by far one of my favorite plays ever to see. And trust me, I have plenty. It was very funny at dinner, just Meg, Mom, and I. My mom wanted me to order a drink, and for some reason, I felt too self conscious. Meg and Mom took full advantage, though, and in the pictures, you can see me with  a ginger ale, while Meg has,like, a vodka tonic. That was probably my favorite birthday celebration. After that evening, mom never ever went to a show without getting me a ticket. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Time slowed when my mom died, slowed more when I was hit by the car, but stopped utterly the day I left N., my director. I had been trying to keep up with my group-and-I couldn't. I just couldn't. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what tricks I was doing, no matter what- I just couldn't keep up. The last day I saw N., I was in my private session with him. It had been rocky for a while, and my resentment was building....You see-it is the worst thing in the world when you're just trying to function, and you are literally being accused of not having willpower or some sort of control over yourself. In this case it was acting. N. was almost backhanded in his faith in my intelligence and ability. I wasn't terrible, you see. I was actually never as bad as my stories suggest. It was one of the true weirdnesses of the past few years-when I could remember before so well, and the after was just strange. N. could be cruel. There I said it. He was not a nice man. Manipulative,charming,brilliant. But not kind-although he had moments. On this particular day, I had my private session, which I usually had, followed by Banana Republic, and then back again-either for a rehearsal or group class. I was essentially spending all my time either at the doctors, physical therapy, or with him. I couldn't remember my lines. I didn't understand my character, I didn't bring work to him. In retrospect, I was protecting my own sense of self. You see, these things were about as unlike me as you could get. That day, I walked in, and he started screaming at me. And? It clicked in-somehow, someway, I didn't need to do this in order to work as an actor. I didn't need someone who clearly didn't understand or care about what was going on with me. I never made a secret of my injuries, except perhaps downplay them, because I wanted to work with him, however when he cast me as a dancer-I had to come clean. And yet? I still danced in every rehearsal. And as he screamed at me, I stood up, picked up my purse, and calmly said-"I'm done. We're finished. Thank you for everything, but I'm done." He thought I was kidding. I knew I wasn't, and would never be there again. Six years. In those six years, I never made a single friend. I thought of the actors being so close to me, so close, finding my secrets out, me finding out theirs. But that day, I left. And I never talked to anyone ever again. That day probably was the one that broke me. I had always had such faith in my ability. But I knew I couldn't stay. It's been two years. I have not set foot on a stage since. But every day, I write. I look at my plays. I go and watch people. I do all the things I've always done to be an actor. And now-time is moving again. I feel the clock ticking, but not in a bad way. In a "what next" kind've way. Because I am lucky enough to be ok. I can think, I can read, I can write, I can go out with my friends-and yesterday? I accidentally memorized a passage by just reading it. Here's what people who are whole don't realize. That every little movement forward, every new thing that can be done, any new person that you can let in your life? Walking outside with a cup of coffee along the waterfront? For some people that's victory. For me-that's victory. And I appreciate it. I made the decision that day to get well. And? Today, I realized, I've not had physical therapy for two months. And I don't care. For years, my life revolved around treatment. Then just maintaining. Now? It's just about seeking happiness. Nothing will ever make up for the time I lost, but I will not let keep me from seizing the time I have.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The play's the thing.

Here is the worst thing that can befall an actor. They stop wanting to act. It's like writer's block, but...most people think that it is a sign of "growing up". Or giving up. And? It may very well be true in some cases. In my case,when my mother died-I was already struggling..Not acting itself-but-there is nothing else like it in the world. It's literally using your feelings to do what painters do with paint. Actors are the ones that make you feel, that channel a deep stirring in the voyeur watching. It's intimate. The actor shares his or her point of view through emotion, and most audience members don't even realize. The good ones do, anyway. An actor who is shut down emotionally isn't doing their best work-and I know it and I know it and hate myself if I'm doing that. But, here's the thing. I have been onstage since I was eleven, in NYC since I was 16. It literally-is my life. I  still can't use a computer properly. Nothing to be particularly proud of-but, theater people don't sit at desks. We live amongst the world, watching and being voyeurs ourselves, just so we can do anything, anything to create a character that can create a world in a little black box. .For years,since I hit my head-I haven't been able to answer the simple question of "what do you do?" I felt like a fraud. I couldn't even call myself an actor to people I didn't know-despite working for six years with a company. I did bad work. I know it. but I worked really hard-because the only way to get yourself back after a head injury? is to know you need to persevere, even if you fall on your face. I lost my lines in a performance. A full house. I ran off after faking it, and wailed into the stairwell. I was so out of it-it didn't occur to me people could probably hear it. I knew it was bad when my director didn't say a word. Not a thing. But if I hadn't done that? I never would have made the strides I did. Such a lesson in character building.....But the next night, back I went. Because I knew I would never leave the house again if I didn't go up. I hate being called "brave" for living my life-just living my normal life. I'm not. It has been my love affair my whole life-it's been the line to everything I hold dear, it helps me understand the world. I need it like I need air. And that's why I need to go back.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I like to think I'm independent. This is something I value, something I treasure. One of the perks of being an adult. I remember being a child, and simply vowing I would do whatever I wanted. As I grew up, I realized, perhaps, Independence is different than doing whatever I wanted. I remember, in my very early twenties, perhaps even my late teens-I held a check from my first catering company, Glorious Food. This check was probably the first money I'd ever held. I was a relatively spoiled girl, but things were given to me. Not money. But as I held this check-which even today is enough-I realized, I am able to be on my own. Escape my house. Be who I wanted to be-which happened to be an actress. I was out with a Spanish man who had two daughters the other day-gorgeous little girls, three and seven. I laughed and told him I was from a family of girls. We were talking politics, and he was trying to figure out if he was Republican. Somehow-I realized he was Catholic. He knew I was Irish, but was so surprised when I told him I was actually Episcopalian. So-I told him the story. My mother had very definite ideas about raising girls. Being Catholic was not part of her plan-because she felt Cartholicism was a very hard religion on women and girls. She made a point of discussing it with me in depth, at 7?. It still has an effect on me-my sprituality, my sense of self. She eventually chose a beautiful Episcopalian Church in Rhinebeck. Father Gerry and his wife were an ex priest and nun, who fell in love and left teir respective orders to marry. Around the same time, I got kicked out of second grade. Apparently-I was staging non-violent protests against my teacher because all the other straight A's were hung on the special wall. Mine weren't. After a conversation with the teacher, my mother determined that the teacher favored the boys, didn't call on the girls who did raise their hands. I still remember my mom pushing my desk down the hall to my new classroom, where I loved the teacher and made my first best friend.(After Meg.) So-you see-since I never felt less than because I was a girl, I felt like there were no limits. I am so glad I ignored the idea that I'm a girl who can't. I am once again independent-and that is the best feeling ever. Ever.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dr. Altman

Today, I sat in a doctor's office. Alone. I have always made a point of going alone, from the time I was really young. It never mattered. Then-one day, my neurologist said something. "Where's your family?". I had to think-I was so used to going alone. It never bothered me. But it bothered him so much-I developed a complex. That I was not capable of living alone-living my own life. I was hurt, yes, but? I wonder now if all the noise of my doctors made me doubt myself-if somehow I wasn't living up to their perceptions of me. I went through a period of time after that feeling terrible-because,in all truth, my family-my father and sisters-never did figure out how to handle me sick. Now? My dad has started asking. He wants to compare physical therapy notes, and doctor visits. I don't. I humor him-but this was my struggle. Mine alone. I appreciate the friendships I have, and the kindnesses that got me through. But I never wanted to be a burden, never wanted to be less than. So-today-I laughed when the doctor diagnosed allergies. After all, EVERYONE has allergies. And that's all I want to be now. An ordinary girl. Who happens to be dreaming in NYC.