Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Random Late Night Bullshit...

So I'm up too late, not for the first time, and I came across this random website. At first, I was just gonna post it on facebook, because, quite honestly, with that whole "share on facebook" dealy u can put in your browser toolbox, posting to facebook is easy, but then I thought, eh, fuck it, I've been all too serious here for all too long. And it was time for a little silliness. So here it is for your viewing pleasure: Drunk Yoga.

I just have a few small caveats....
1. I take no responsibility for the 'official' yoga terms used on the linked site. I do yoga. And I love yoga. But at my studio there are English words for the poses (so, for example, the "ananda balasana" pose on the linked site is "happy baby" pose at my studio) and the rest of the time I really have no idea what the instructors are saying. I know the shapes, not the words. For all I know the names used on the linked site are all bunks..., except for the Pigeon pose -- that shit kicks my ass every class. And it isn't sanscrit so I can understand that shit. And...
2. on the off chance that any random yoga-obsessed folks should come across this site, please don't bother to tell me how offended you are that someone should dare make fun of yoga. Its just yoga, not world peace. Get over yourself.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No future in dance?

Have you ever had someone tell you that something you wanted to do, something you were passionate about, was a waste of time? And not had anyone to tell you different? Not had a single soul to tell you that nothing is a waste of time if your heart is in it? So that you were left with no real choice but to believe the line of crap being fed to you? No? Well, I have. And let me tell you...that shit sticks with you. It's not something you're likely to forget. Ever. Even if at the time you brush it off; even if you think you've managed to let it go, forget it, get over it, get past it. You can bury that shit far in the recesses of your mind but someday it will come back to you. I guarantee it.

You see, in what feels like an eon ago, when I was but a wee little thing in 11th grade, I had this "guidance counselor." I don't remember her name but I do know that her job was to help me find my way in the world. And I don't know what she had to do to get her job, but whatever it was, it wasn't nearly enough. Because this woman, this supposed authority on what's good for young people, this alleged guide for a great number of very impressionable young people, had the audacity to intentionally distract me from something I was actually quite good at. Something I wasn't just good at but something that I loved. Something that gave me joy. And was a bright light in what was otherwise a sometimes very difficult adolescence. Something that was as much a part of me as my big ass mouth and my blond, never-dyed hair.

I distinctly remember when I had my big official meeting with her -- that meeting in the beginning of 11th grade where you go see your guidance counselor and discuss your future. I showed up at her office at the allotted time. We reviewed my grades. My extracurriculars. She asked me what my parents did for a living (I still don't know why the fuck that should matter) and what my plans were for the future.

I was 16 so of course to me the future didn't extend much farther than the next couple of weekends. But realizing I wasn't there to talk about which party I would be attending the following weekend or who I was hoping to hook up with at that party, but also not realizing that she wasn't really all that interested in my future and was just looking for me to say "I want to go to an Ivy League school" so she could check me off her little list (because if she really cared I can't imagine why she would have said what she did), I was honest. I told her the truth -- I wanted to be a dancer. Or do something involving dance. Sure I wasn't clear, but so what? I had a general idea right?

And do you know what that fucking bitch said in response? Well, she didn't say, "hey, good for you, you're only 16 and you know what you want"; she didn't say, "congratulations, you've managed to find something you love." NO. What she said was:


No future in dance? Really? None?

Not "wow, really? that's a going to be a tough road, it's really competitive, it won't be easy, have you really thought about that?" No.

Not, "dancing, huh? why dancing? what kind of dancing? are you going to go to college for it? Or just move to NY and start auditioning?" No.

Not even "Hmmm, that's interesting. What else?" No.


All she said was, THERE IS NO FUTURE IN DANCE.

And the really fucked up part is....I believed her. I didn't even question her opinion. And all these years later I want to kick myself for that even more than I want beat the shit out of her.

Sure, I could have ignored her, I could have told her she didn't know what the hell she was talking about. But I was only 16. What the fuck did I know? She was my fucking guidance counselor. for fuck's sake. All I knew was that I loved my dance classes. And there wasn't anyone else to tell me she was an idiot. So I listened. And while I kept dancing (and still do), the idea of dancing for a living slipped from my mind like one of those amazing dreams that you can't remember 5 minutes after waking up.

From that point forward I started wondering what I would do with my life. What it was that I could claim as my own. The problem was, that although I was really good at quite a number of subjects, really, whatever I set my mind to (what can I say, I'm a smart chick), nothing I did, no classes I took, moved me the way dance did. Nothing came even close. And so I floundered.

I eventually went to college -- changing both my major (once) and my actual college (twice). Hell, it took me 7 years to get a 4 year degree. In a subject that turned out to be even more useless than dance. Granted, I made some great friends at those schools (some of whom may even read this entry), friends I wouldn't have met if I hadn't been to those schools, but still. I never really felt like I'd found the right path. I even eventually went to law school, but even that was a fluke, not something I had actually chosen for myself.

And so here I am, 20-plus years later, finding myself in a career that I don't particularly enjoy and which recently is sucking the very life out of me. And all I can think is, what if?

What if I ignored that stupid bitch? What if there had been just one person to tell me that she didn't know what the hell she was talking about? I wonder what might have happened had I just went ahead and moved to New York and started auditioning. Or even, if I just lived at home and went into the city for auditions (I am only 12 miles away after all). Or even, what if I majored in dance instead of business (my first major) or anthropology (the second one)? Would I be as dissatisfied with my life as I am now?

I obviously can't answer those questions, but my guess is that maybe, just maybe, I might have found myself in a place that felt more "right." That felt more "me." So much so that I've started thinking about a mid-life career change. Started wondering what I could do with dance at this point in my life. It's probably a little too late to get into the whole audition scene, but there are tons of options. No future in dance? Bullshit. I've managed to come up with a few decent ideas just in the last couple of months.

And do you know what happened when I told some friends about these ideas? It's probably not what you think. Because friends are supposed to be supportive, right? Yeah, well, apparently not these particular friends.

It was like 11th grade all over again. When I told a couple friends about one idea (teaching dance in public schools -- no up front investment, summers off, and I get to dance for a living, hello)...can you guess what they said?

It wasn't "wow, what a great idea, I know you've been unhappy and it's so cool you've found something you're so interested in."

It wasn't "cool, a teacher, huh? Teachers rock!"

It wasn't even, "really, are you sure? there aren't that many dance teacher jobs out there."


What I got was "Dance is a hobby, not a job. If you're going to leave the law you need to get a real job."

A real job? WHAT. THE. FUCK?

Am I crazy? Am I missing something? Is it really that crazy to want to make a life from dancing? Really? Because it seems to me that there are more options for dancers today than there ever were (umm, hello, Katie fucking Holmes was singing on SYTYCD tonight...I bet no one ever told her the arts were a waste of time). And so the fuck what if it's hard, or competitive, or whatever? If it makes me happy, shouldn't that be enough?

Luckily, I'm not that impressionable young 16 year old anymore so I can ignore the bullshit. But I still wish I didn't have to. I still wish someone, anyone, would say, "dance, huh? that's awesome. good for you. don't forget to invite me to your first show." I really don't think that's too much to ask.

But hey, if people don't want to support me, fuck 'em. Because I know there is a future in dance. I just need to find MY future. And then rub it in all of their faces.

Friday, July 17, 2009

These people again?!

Several years ago, I wrote that the families of the victims of the 9-11 attacks needed to shut the hell up and just let them build the new Freedom Tower or whateverthefuck it is called where the Twin Towers once stood. A friend called the piece "provacative," and it was. Because while most people lent the "9-11 Families" a sympathetic ear, I wasn't having it. I couldn't stand the selfishness and utter disregard for the rest of humanity that these people exhibited. The 'oh poor me, my family member died so now I should be treated special' attitude they all seemed to exude.

Well now it looks like these people are at it again. This time around they think that because they lost family members during the attacks on 9-11 that Obama should reverse his decision to close Guantanamo. That shady place where people disappear to and where completely innocent people have been known to rot for years without contact with the outside world.

Why? Because, oh poor fucking them, they're the only ones who matter, didn't you know? They're the only ones who have experienced pain, who are angry, who want justice. Because they think that closing Guantanamo means the people who orchestrated the attacks won't get their just desserts. Well fuck them. I am so sick of these people and their constant poor me bullshit. One lady even went so far as to say, "I don't think there is one family member of a victim or the family of a victim who wants the commissions changed in any way."

Really? Not one? Are you sure there sweetheart? Because guess the fuck what? My brother was in the Towers that day too and maybe he didn't die but he was as much a victim of those attacks as those who didn't make it out. He moved to another state to try to avoid the memories; the nightmares; the City. And here I am, his family member,** and I say close the fucking place down. Close it. NOW. Not to mention, that of the thousands of people who lost relatives that fateful day, I'm guessing there is at least one who would join me in wanting to see that black mark upon our country's reputation gone for good.

Besides, your excuses for keeping the place open are total bullshit. This country was perfectly capable of trying, convicting and punishing terrorists (hello, can you say Timothy McVeigh) long before there was a fucking Guantanamo. Long before Mr. Bush the Second made this country hated by the people of the world. Before we went from freedom-lovers to torturers. So don't give me the old "we want justice" song and dance, because that is not what you are really after. Not if you think the military commissions are "too fair". Not if you think that human beings should treat other human beings the way the human beings at Guantanamo have been treated. What you fucking people want is not justice. It's vengeance. And perhaps media attention. You're not entitled to either. And I'm really quite sick of you all these many years later.

So shut the fuck up already. And let them tear it down.

** Point of clarity: back in '05 I said I did not count myself among the "families of the victims" because I did not have a family member die in the attacks. Well, four years later, I've realized I was outright wrong. You don't need to die to be a victim of a crime; everyone in and around those Towers that day was a victim. So technically I am a family member of a victim.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flirting with Disaster

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you totally didn't want to be and yet you weren't really sure how to get somewhere else and so there you were, lost, basically, hoping someone would come along and push you in the right direction? That is my life right about now. Lost. And in need of a push.

If you've been to visit here in the last few months, you have surely noticed that the law has lost its glamour for me and that I am floundering in a place of uncertainty, trying to figure out what the hell to do with the rest of my life. I've a ton of ideas, but one which I keep coming back to involves dance. And one way to make a living with dance is to teach it. Sure I could open a studio, but that scares the shit out of me (and requires a ton of money upfront anyway). So I thought, hmm, what about teaching in public school? I could be happy as a dance teacher. Because not only do I love dance, I'm stone cold jealous of teachers with their regular schedules and their summers off. Straight up, no bullshit, hard core jealous. And yeah, teachers make shit money, but not a little as you might think, considering they are home by 4pm and have summers off. Especially not here in NJ. Sure $50Gs a year won't make you rich but you ain't starvin' neither. So, I figured I get licensed, I line up a job, bang, I'm outta here.

Which led to me spending the better part of today researching what it would take to become licensed to teach in NJ. As turns out, if I want to teach Social Studies -- very little, thanks to my fancy-schmancy anthro degree, but if I want to teach anything else -- like dance -- I'd have to take a bunch of college classes...upwards of 30 credits worth. So I thought, hey, no biggie, I can take some classes. I like dance classes. I can make it work. I'll give up a yoga night. Or come in late a couple mornings ort whatever. And then I thought, oh fuck, the best I can do while still working is one class a semester -- and if I need 10 classes, that's 5 freaking years. And I thought, oh hell no. And so I stopped looking because I can't stay here, lost, for five years.

And then, last-minute-Charlie (one of my many bosses) sent me an email telling me he needed xyz done by Monday morning. Luckily, its the weekend of my high school reunion so I had an excuse to get off the hook, this weekend, but I know he will fuck up my next weekend and the one after that and the one after that. Cause god forbid he should consider that maybe, just maybe, I might have a fucking life worth living. Or, god forbid, he should assign the fucking work when he finds out about it instead of waiting until the last fucking minute. the mother fucker. Last time I had to work with this guy, I didn't have a day off for 33 days, and that was just last month. I wanted to tell him to go fuck himself, but that probably wouldn't be good for me so I said sure, I can work my face off all next week and for the rest of my natural born life until I have another acceptable excuse to run away. So you see, I definitely do not have 5 years to give.

And then, just a moment ago, I read about even more layoffs in the legal world (30 senior associates, like myself, let go from one of the nation's most prestigious law firms). And I thought, god I wish they'd lay me off.

Yes, I actually wished to be laid off.

Because as financially devastating as that would be, I know it would also be completely liberating. It would, for sure, be the push I seem to need to get the fuck out of this indecisive place.

Yes, hoping to get laid off seems counter intuitive and a bit nuts, but what are my other options really? Sure, I could go to some other shitty law job but what's the point? I'd take another job and a salary cut to go along with it and end up just as miserable but without the advantage of being able to escape to the islands a couple times a year. So, maybe like pulling off a band aid, a swift kick in the pants right out the damn door is what I need. And without a job, I could get my 30 credits in one single year. Granted, unemployment would barely cover my mortgage, but I'd get at least a few months of severance first, and I do have a little bit of savings, so I'd be OK for a bit. Scared as hell, I'm sure, but not starving.

So yeah, I'm flirting with what would likely be a total disaster, for a little while at least, but really, what's the point of money if you are too damn depressed to spend it? Or worse, if you aren't even allowed out of the office long enough to spend it? And what's the point of life if you don't get to live it? So please, bring on the layoff.

PS - my prayers will not likely be answered. Unfortunately my firm is financially sound (unless they're totally lying to us). Best I could do would be to get "asked to resign" - but you don't get severance for that. Ergo, still damn stuck.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Danger Approaches

I generally avoid fast food. Not only am I 'allergic' to most of it (cause really - what's the point of a big mac without the sesame seed bun?), but I am well aware that it is total crap and completely unhealthy. Much of it only barely qualifies as food even.

But, I do have a few weaknesses, which until lately, have been limited to my southbound trips. There are the burgers at Five Guys, which I ALWAYS get when I visit the fam in VA. If you haven't had one of these tasty suckers, well, then don't. Because they're addicting. Granted I get mine without the bun, so my view may be skewed - but I'll tell you -- a tastier fast food burger I've not had anywhere. And they're slightly less bad for you than McD's or BK, so I don't feel guilty indulging a few times a year.

And then there are slushes from Sonic. Ice cold, frosty & devoid of any nutritionally redeeming qualities whatsoever (frozen sugar water is what they are I believe), Sonic slushes are my kryptonite. Blue coconut is my favorite. It doesn't actually taste like coconut, so I'm not sure why it's called that, but whatev - it's fucking tasty as hell. And hello, they stay frozen for-like-ever!! It's probably the 2 inch thick earth-crushing stryofoam cups they come in, but I'm not convinced there isn't some secret chemical who-the-fuck-knows-what that does it. Yet as yummy as these delightful treats are, I only ever get them when driving to (and, if I'm being honest, from) the Eastern Shore (VA) or OBX (NC). Or a couple times when visiting a friend in SC, cause she has a Sonic addiction and I didn't want her to have to drink alone.

Mind you, the ability to limit my intake of these completely unhealthy "food" choices is not a matter of will -- I wish -- it's a matter of there not being these particular fast food joints where I live. It's has been a great blessing to me. But now danger approaches. And it has reached practically to my door step.

In the very next town, Five Guys is setting up shop. There are other Five Guys in NJ, but not right next door. WTF? Til now I've been able to avoid them entirely (except, like I said, when in VA). But they've gotta open in the town where I do the majority of my drinking? I am so screwed. Let's just hope they close really really early cause me + a couple of Redbridges means Five Guys will be making some mad money off of me.

But that's not all - it actually gets worse, because at least Five Guys isn't next door to the bar or on the way there or whatever -- I will have to make a special trip 'across town' (yeah, like 1 1/2 miles) for a burger. What I will not have to make a special trip for are slushes. Oh fuck. Cause you see, on the way to the fucking MALL of all places, they're putting up a Sonic. Lord have mercy I am going to be in so much trouble. Cause you know sure as hell I won't be giving up going to the mall (hel. lo. jersey girl here. malls are like my mecca). And I don't what-the-fuck they put in those slushes but they're like crack. One taste and you are fucking hooked (or so I'm told about crack). And, while Five Guys food has at least some nutrients -- I always get grilled veggies on my burger for example -- slushes, on the other hand, can you say empty calories? I already hate going to the gym and now I'm going to have to go even more.

Shit shit shit shit. What next? Starbucks is going to start carrying gluten free baked goods? Fuck me.