Lessons I Teach Myself
Back at our dream sequence wedding ceremony...
HOPE: Yeah this is wild. I mean, I don't even believe in marriage. Or God. And now? Look at this.
MICKEY: It's dreamy.
HOPE: Like literally.
MICKEY: And figuratively.
BURNER: Okay okay we get it, you are in love! woohoo! Good for you. Now let's get this thing going all right? I got other dreams to crash today. And some to crush. Parents! Where are the parents!?
HOPE: No way I would invite mine. Even in a dream.
MICKEY: No? Too bad. I'd love to meet the people that made you.
HOPE: No you won't.
MICKEY: I bet they're special.
HOPE: Yeah, no. They're not.
BURNER: Uh-oh girl, you didn't tell him didn't you.
MICKEY: Tell me what?
HOPE: So what if I didn't? Can't I have some secrets left God dammit!
BURNER: Hey I'm right here.
HOPE: Yeah, sorry. No disrespect. Look can we just keep going?
BURNER: Oh girl. Always Go Go Go but never really here. I can relate, believe me. But we gotta sort out the parents thing if we want this train to get to its final stop.
MICKEY: I got parents! I mean, I DID. At some point. They are both deceased so I don't know if ghosts get invitations to these things?
BURNER: Yeah, would be groovy. But no can do. Can't have both God AND ghosts. Too much stimulus on the subconscious ya know?
BURNER: Yeah this may be a shocker to you all but I'm a big psychology buff. And evolution. Pretty much ALL science. I dig it. All that nonsense of me being against all that is just.... so medieval century. Anyways, our bride here needs someone to send her off. It's a tradition perhaps a bit dated...
HOPE: And sexist.
BURNER:...but it's your dream. I don't make the rules.
BURNER: So, let's get your father here to send you off and we can get this show on the road!
Hope crosses her arms and takes a step back.
HOPE: No way. This is bullshit. This isn't a dream, it's a fucking nightmare! I'm so over this. I wanna wake up. I wanna wake up. I wanna wake up!
MICKEY: HEY! Look at me, I'm right here.
HOPE: Leave me alone! I wanna wake up and get the fuck out of the desert!
BURNER: No one's stopping you.
HOPE: Okay, well, I'm out of here! What's the way? Can someone tell me the way? GOD, you're fucking GOD aren't you. Can you show me the way for fuck sake!?
BURNER: Girl, you already know. The only way out is through.
Hope slurps down to the ground and cries. Mickey lowers and holds her in his arms.
MICKEY: Hey hey hey.... shhhh... I'm here, I'm right here.
HOPE: You wanna know where I'm from? I'm from a trailer park in Montana. My family was not just poor, nothing wrong with poor. When you're poor you can only get UN-poor, so that's not so bad. But what WAS bad, is that my... my dad is a fucking psycho, okay? He's in prison for life without parole. In San Quentin. And you know what? I'm the one who put him there. I did. He killed my mom right in front of me. And I stood there in court and pointed to him. He got a life sentence thanks to my testimony. And yeah he fucking deserved it, but that doesn't change the fact that he's my father. And the sad thing... like the saddest thing? I don't miss my mom. She was always tired. Always unhappy. She was dead before she died. I don't miss her at all. It's my dad that I actually miss. So don't feel sorry for me or anything because I don't fucking deserve it.
To be continued...
Thanks to Spotify rounding out my most listened to music in 2020, I came to a pretty cool realization:
The most music I listened to on Spotify this past year - has been while meditating.
I use an acoustic playlist while I meditate - it helps blur the outside noises so I can focus on my breathing, observe my thoughts and let them go... and one song has been playing on repeat while I've been diving deep into the meditative state, trying to achieve peace during this chaotic year.
The song/melody is called 'For Emmabelle'. It is a soft slow, instrumental tune that easily transports me to a language beyond words.
So for your moment of Zen:
The Burner ENTERS, dressed like God (The Christian version with a white robe and long beard.) He stands in the center between Hope and Mickey, who are still sleeping. The burners we have seen in Act 1 ENTER and sit in different spots across the stage. They are dressed in suits and cocktail dresses.
BURNER: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God, ahem - yours truly, to join this man, and this woman in holy matrimony. After days, well - hours, of back and forth flirtation, seduction, push & pull, smooching, bickering and playing games that would shame any romcom, these two realized that they have no choice but get this thing they have wrapped sealed and delivered! Oh, and the fact that they are dying of dehydration is an added factor.
The crowd morbidly laughs at that while Hope and Mickey are still sleeping.
BURNER: Bring along the bride and the groom will you?
A few burners wake and carry Hope over to the burner.
HOPE: Wha…Hello. Hey, that tickles!
A few burners wake and carry Mickey over to the burner.
MICKEY: What’s going on? Gentle on my shoulders!
Hope and Mickey are now standing close to the Burner.
BURNER: Not too close now - sleep breath isn’t my thing.
HOPE: (to The Burner) Hey you look like…
MICKEY: Yeah, right? He reminds me of someone too. I can’t quite place it. The outfit, the beard… so familiar.
HOPE: (to Mickey) You can see him too? I must be dreaming.
MICKEY: Well if this looks like what I think it is then you are most definitely in MY dream right now.
BURNER: Guys. Gals. You are both dreaming all the time. What difference does it make if you are sleeping or awake? A dream is a dream is a dream. What’s in a dream? Where there is a dream there is a way. I dream therefore I am. One small dream for man, one giant dream for mankind.
HOPE: I think you got those a little twisted.
BURNER: Have I?
HOPE: I think so.
BURNER: You think?
HOPE: Yeah… like, I THINK therefore I am.
MICKEY: Woah I actually think ‘think’ and ‘dream’ are interchangeable in some of these.
BURNER: Bingo buddy.
MICKEY: Thanks. I am always super smart in my dreams.
HOPE: And I am a smart ass in mine.
BURNER: Yup, sounds like a match made in heaven. Cue music!
A few burners rise up and hum the Wedding March.
MICKEY: I think I'm gonna cry.
HOPE: Wait.... mister.. God is it? Like, do I call you Mister God?
BURNER: God's fine. Thanks for asking.
HOPE: All right, well God since this is a dream and everything - I think I should at least be wearing a dress I can't afford in real life, like a Vera Wang or something.
BURNER: As you wish.
The Burner Taps his fingers and a burner brings a gorgeous dress to Hope.
HOPE: Score. Thanks God.
BURNER: It's what I do.
HOPE: (to Mickey) Don't look!
MICKEY: I'm afraid that if I close my eyes I'll wake up.
HOPE: Turn around then!
BURNER: Listen to the lady buddy. Happy wife happy life.
Mickey turns around while Hope changes into the wedding dress.
HOPE: Okay. You can look now.
Mickey turns to face Hope.
MICKEY: Holy shit. You look...
HOPE: Like this dress is too big on me? Yeah, I know. I guess I like to feel skinnier in my dreams.
MICKEY: ...Stunning. You look stunning. I can't believe I'm about to live the rest of my dream with you.
To be continued...
Let's talk FADO.
Anyone knows what Fado is...?
Well, Fado is a genre of music from Portugal, dated as back (at least) as 1820 in Lisbon, and described as music of 'melancholy and longing of the Portugese soul.'
When I was visiting Portugal shortly before Covid era dropped on us all unexpected, I became aware of Fado and I couldn't wait to be back every night to a restaurant or tavern that played live Fado music, and listen and weep to the singing of emotive singers and their accompanying players. To me, Fado was an open door to my own melancholy, to my own longing, to my own soul. I thought to myself (and mentioned to anyone who shared my enthusiasm of Fado) that it was the music I've always looked for, and the experience of listening to music that I prefer: with my eyes closed, in stillness, and with tears in my eyes.
Of course classical music, jazz and folk offered similar feelings for me but Fado takes melancholy to the next level. And the longing expressed in the singers' long drawn melodies and faces as they connect to the themes they sing about (the sea, heartbreak, love, loss and anything in between that has to do with life and despair) is at the stark level of... Yulia at the third act of Chekhov's Three Sisters as she is yearning to go to Moscow. 'Moscow, I want to go to Moscow! I want to go to Moscow! I WANT TO GO TO MOSCOW! '~I suppose if you're not a Chekhov fan this reference won't ring a bell, but that's all I got. Sorry not sorry. Unfortunately most cultural references of the modern world don't quite focus on despair and longing. I suppose our modern world is lead by ego or greed a tad too much. But I digress - Fado is its own thing, and I'll try not to compare it to anything and simply enjoy that it exists.
In hopes that I sparked your interest and may convert you to be a full on Fado fan like me.... here is an example for you to listen to.
This is Fado legendary singer Amalia Rodrigues in all of her glory...:
And if you'd like to be transported to an evening of live Fado in Lisbon - here you go:
...See you in Lisbon!
Welcome to the world new human.
You are small in figure, very small.
You cry a lot and you only see fragments of what's in front of you.
People pass you around, tending to you.
One even feeds you. This one feels familiar.
You hear things, people, voices, sounds.
Some voices are familiar, some are not.
It's a lot to take in.
So you cry some more.
The familiar one holds you.
You feel home in her arms.
And you are breathing.
And she is breathing.
And you calm down a bit, in her arms.
And you hear a familiar voice.
And you like that voice.
Welcome to the world little one,
Meet your mother and your father.
Today is a birth-day to someone very special to me. I don't know this someone yet because he was just born. In fact, I doubt he knows much about himself since he has only existed for about ten hours. But he is already special to me because he was born to two wonderful people that have gone through a years-long challenging journey to bring him into the world. An infinite pool of will, love and belief carried them to this day and will continue to their next stage at their journey: parenting.
I can't wait to meet the little one and to hug his mom and dad. (air-hug of course. It's still 2020 y'all...)
This is a re-do.
A mantra I pointed out a few months back and it popped in my head again today and has been buzzing at me ever since...:
I DON'T KNOW.
Three little words that open up a sea of possibilities.
It is in the beginner's mind that we explore our creativity,
It is in the unknown that we form innovation,
And it is in the vulnerability of the self that we nurture relationships.
The more I repeat the words "I don't know", the more relief I feel and the freedom to explore.
I was greeted by seagulls on my fifth step on the beach.
Not a lot of shore in this cove and the seagulls knew it and took their space flaunting their beauty. I got their message and walked where I belonged - a few steps away on the entry of the cafe. The world of Take-Out has blossomed during 2020 and this 50s style beach front cafe is no exception. I can spot the manager from the corner of my eye, counting his customers, and hence - his register.
I faced my first dilemma: A milkshake or... a milkshake? The choices are limited in this back-in-time spot, and I finalize my decision on a (surprise!) milkshake and don't call out the barista on the duplicated item on the menu. It's a tough year after all, we all make mistakes.
I pay the gentleman with my phone (another travel in time - this time to the future with apple pay finally entering our lives) and he hands me a black square pager - a kind I haven't seen in a while. I am reminded of New York - when I used to hand these out to people waiting in line at a popular meatpacking restaurant.
Was I a hostess there!? I don't recall. The years and THIS year have created a vacuum in my memory.
Oh well, what is in the past - is deep in the past it seems. This is one mystery I will not solve and it doesn't bother me one bit.
I take my sentimental pager with me and scope the area.
There are seats separated more than six feet apart for the world we're in and they have front seats view to the show of the year: the pacific ocean and its entrancing tranquility.
There is a pier to the left, and a cliff to the right. The ground is 'Sand Meets Rocks': the ultimate beach combo, and there are about three dozen people occupying the beach. Keeping their distance, of course. For a moment - one can forget the reality we are in at this majestic spot.
After an hour or so of sipping my milkshake and lazying on the sand - the real show begins: The Sunset.
Though it seems something is off about the show tonight: the sun doesn't set directly in the center of the ocean. Nope. Here, the sun sets to my right behind the cliff. And if that doesn't weird you up enough - the moon is appearing to the left almost above the water.' Woah, it's like being on another planet' I think to myself.
For some, this wouldn't be an exciting feature, but for me: a woman who has seen countless sunsets in Tel-Aviv - which go down smack in the center of the Mediterranean sea - a sunset on the side of the ocean is an unusual sight. A sight that transports me to Mars, or somewhere even more mysterious. (considering all the Mars we've seen in Hollywood movies, it just isn't the most exotic planet I can think of, ya know?)
So here I am, seeing the pinks and the oranges and the purples light up the waters and the moonlight showing its presence, and I am looking at the unusual sight, and feeling a bit chilly on this Saturday night of November, and I think to myself 'What a wonderful planet, this Malibu planet.'
If you are an avid reader of my blog, you must have noticed that yesterday I didn't post anything.
Well, before you jump on me with 'Yo girrrrl. You pledged to write every day, what's up with that!? You're not on your game girrrrrl' and shake your head at me in disapproval and deep disappointment....hear me out okay?
It was completely deliberate.
See, yesterday I sat down by my dear ole' laptop to write as I do every day for the past SEVEN months, but then I thought to myself: 'I started this blog with a desire to battle my own perfectionism, and what better way to test that out than right here and right now, by seeing what would it feel like to break my own promise?' So I closed my laptop shut, and decided to skip the blog for the day.
What followed next was a deep sense of discomfort and guilt.
I am not used to breaking my own promise. Not to others, and even more so to myself. I like to think that it is from a strong need for integrity and keeping my word, but it is also just my need to be perfect showing up.
Being 'perfect' and doing things 'right' have been survival tools for me in family orbit, in school, in work, in relationships.... I can't think of many opportunities in my life were they weren't handy tools.
But as I grow wiser I see any form of rigidity as something I'd like to loosen up a bit. After all, control is merely an illusion to make life with all of its unknowns less scary.
The sense of discomfort and guilt eventually went away. I survived breaking my promise, lived to tell y'all about it, and I may have even enjoyed saying FUCK IT and being UNPERFECT for a change.
How do YOU loosen up your rigidity?
What does YOUR rigidity look like?
You put a puzzle together.
And more than three quarters in to it, somewhere near the finish line... you start SEEING the puzzle. Something clicks in your brain and the end of putting together the image is quite effortless. Every time you place a piece in its fitting spot - its like it's always been there. You shift from seeing the tiniest details and you are immersed with the over-all piece. Your seeing has mashed with the puzzle. You are one with the puzzle. You see the big picture.
What can we learn from puzzle-playing?
It's the toy of our brain, isn't it? Our brain always connects the dots, sees patterns where they are or even where they are not, we observe details and call them red flags, or instincts, or 'feelings', and maybe after some time, when we are removed from a situation, or from a lifetime, we are able to see it more clearly, from above. Much like a puzzle.
Seeing the big picture can be both a relief and both a loss.
When we see the image appearing in front of our eyes, it settles our confusion and we KNOW what we look at. But what we lose is the attention to details, the tunnel vision that we had become obsessed with. We have come to rely on the tunnel vision, it lead us through to the light.
How will we navigate around without it? We wonder.
Well, the big picture doesn't need any navigating. The whole point of it is seeing it from above, from outside, from a distance. All it needs is our two eyes, and the work of the three quarters of the puzzle.
Putting together a puzzle is somewhat a journey of up close and from afar. From in it and from outside of it. Much like life - we dance between the two states of being in it, and being outside of it.
This may (not) come as a surprise to somebody, but I never quite related to this holiday.
Sure, over the years I've assimilated to the U.S and its customs and traditions, and I've eaten my share of turkey and even grew to like stuffing and cranberry sauce. (What on earth is green bean casserole though!?!) I've had friends-giving and even family thanksgivings a number of times. And yes I also had orphaned thanksgivings that reminded me I am a stranger in a strange land.
But this tradition never hooked me. It didn't have that magic spell that converted me into a die-hard thanksgiving fan. (An area where Thanksgiving's older sibling Christmas does far better in).
Thing is - it SHOULD HAVE hooked me. I am an empath and love swimming in the pool of 'attitude of gratitude' in most moments of my life. I make it a daily practice to give thanks and be grateful.
So why am I an absolute cynic and a bit of a hater of a seemingly innocent holiday like Thanksgiving!?!
Well, that's just it. 'Seemingly' should have clued you in.
If you look at the history origin of the tradition, you'll find that the narrative most Americans are told about the holiday's roots - the story of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans eating together in peace and living happily ever after - is simply not the entire story. It fulfills a political narrative, a whitewashing of the history of the native Americans in New England who were brutalized, enslaved and hated on. While millions of Americans enjoy the holiday and feel gratitude for each other - for the descendants of native American tribes from New England - Thanksgiving is actually a day of mourning.
Sure, I can do what many others do, and ignore the origin of this holiday and just enjoy the family and friends and the gratitude I have for them and for the roof over our heads and food on our plates. I can, and some years - I do. But as the stranger in a strange land that I am.. I wonder: couldn't we be grateful and also acknowledge our past's mistakes? So we can learn from them and support our indigenous communities or any community that is perceived as an 'other' in the American culture? (Yes I know - what IS the American culture anyways... sigh) So we can begin heal our separatist past and build a brighter inclusive present and future? Oh, and can we stop eating turkey!?! (I mean, if it really was tasty - wouldn't you be eating it more than once or twice a year? Just sayin'...)
And with that somewhat cynical sentiment (Or 'brutally real' as I would prefer calling it) I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! (and ahem maybe vegan also..?)
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.