mardi, décembre 28, 2010


I thought I'd start out the days leading up to the New Year with a few (some ridiculous) confessions you may or may not already know about me. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments.

1. I absolutely hate the sound of the electric guitar. I can stand it in the background of a song, but I start to cringe at the opening notes of an electric guitar solo. I can't help it. And yet, as a teenager, I liked Billy Idol and Prince. I am full of teenage contradictions, what can I say.

2. People begging for money in Paris make me inappropriately cranky. I don't know anything, really, about what resources are actually available to the homeless here, or how hard it is to make use of them, but when the people begging for money are better dressed and better spoken than I am, it ticks me off. I just, well, don't believe they actually need my money....? As a bleeding heart liberal, this makes me feel very weird. (Having put that in writing, I feel really bad now...) But a homeless person in the US? Especially one in the age bracket to be a Vietnam Vet? That person is getting some money and a smile. Maybe I'm a homeless chauvinist. Hmm.

3. This is the worst one yet. Are you sitting down? I have come to the conclusion that I think chewing gum is vulgar. I have caught myself glaring at various people of all ages, especially on public transportation, who are smacking away and making the most disturbing noises. And I find myself thinking things like, do you know how gross that sounds and how ridiculous that makes you look? I have no idea what this says about me. That I am an old curmudgeon before my time?

4. I love celebrity gossip. I have no excuse or explanation for this. But it has come in handy in trivia situations!

5. I have a photograph of my mother when she was in her twenties in a frame in my apartment. She is in profile, holding up a black kitten, about to kiss it. I get over-the-moon flattered whenever anyone thinks it's me because I think she was so much prettier than I ever was or will be.

6. I stopped regularly watching television in 1999. This means I am hopeless on the pink questions in Trivial Pursuit, unless they fall into the category of recent celebrity gossip. See contradictions, above.

7. I am a lover of most cuisines, except Chinese and Mexican. Well, actually, after 6 years of living in France, I would kill for even some bad Mexican food at this point. Just as long as they don't use Emmenthal. But I still loathe Chinese food, both in France and in the US. I find it strangely tasteless and unnecessarily glutinous. One of my recent great disappointements was going to a supposedly Thai restaurant to find out it was a Chinese restaurant that had a few "Thai" dishes on the menu, which they prepared like it was Chinese food. I nearly cried.

8. I used to love to go grocery shopping for my mom because I could pretend to be an adult living in my own apartment, in charge of my sure to be adventure-filled life. Now that I am an adult living a satisfyingly stimulating life, I loathe grocery shopping. Well, in the big supermarkets, especially. Outdoor markets or specialty shops I like. Maybe I'm just adverse to fluorescent lighting and Musak?

9. I am a hopeless procrastinator. There are about five things I should be doing right now that I am putting off. Ahem. I work better under pressure, maybe? Maybe not.

10. When I dislocated my knee cap for the first time (there was a terribly painful second time) I actually had to go out and specially purchase a pair of flat shoes. The only ones I had were for running. Ha!

Your turn. Fess up, in the comments!

mardi, décembre 07, 2010

Théâtre des Variétés, Lessons and an Invaluable Secret

So, that was fun.

The Théâtre des Variétés is indeed beautiful. Getting ready in the dressing rooms named after Jean Gabin and Louis Jouvet was surreal, and being made up by professional makeup artists right before going on was divine.

But most of all, hearing the applause as we exited after doing a dance number I wasn't confident about in an unflattering costume in front of 900 people after two and a half months of constant criticism from the director was just about the coolest thing ever.

I learned a lot during the whole experience.

I learned that I have the guts, after being cut from every number, to pick up my broken pride and come back with a proposal of my own and survive - triumph, even, in my own way, with a director who tends towards the sadistic. Tada! Take that!

I learned (for the umpteenth time) that some people are two-faced and will double-cross you the minute it's convienent for them to do so.

I learned that some things aren't worth getting all worked up about.

I learned (for the umpteenth time) that I can overcome feeling inadequate, unattractive and rejected, by simply facing those feelings head on, finding reasons why it's not true and forging ahead full speed.

I learned that hard work pays, almost always.

But the most important lesson I learned is that next time I step on stage, I will not do it for approval, support, admiration, glory, validation or recognition. I will do it for the pure exhiliration of being on stage. I will feel secure, glorious, superb, even, whether there are 10 people or 1000, whether anyone thinks I did well or not.

I have been given a secret, you see, by a professor. If, while taking a bow, you repeat in your head "I adore you all," instead of endlessly going over what you think you might have fucked up, or what anybody might think of your performance, it changes the whole focus, and you are free to feel the pure joy of just being there.

I didn't remember to do that Monday night, and it was an awful feeling. Every doubt I had came rushing to the forefront and I was desperately searching for approval.

But next time, I have promised myself, I am using the hell out of that secret.