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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Don't poke the sea anemone...

When I was in third to fifth grade, my family was living on a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan. On a rare occasion, my dad took the family to  some tide pools. I don't remember exactly why this discussion came up, but at one point, my dad showed us some sea anemone. He explained to us that they are very sensitive creatures, and if you poke one with a stick, they would pull their tentacles up and withdraw into a shell. He grabbed a small stick and showed us by gently touching the sea anemone's tentacles. Just as my dad said, it quickly drew in its tentacles. Afterwards we watched as the sea anemone slowly extended its tentacles once again. We each took turns gently touching the anemone.

My dad was careful to remind us not to poke the sea anemone too hard because we could hurt it.

I think in a way, we are all like the sea anemone. We put ourselves out there, we make ourselves vulnerable. Unfortunately, from time to time, someone, or something comes along and pokes us. As a defense mechanism, we pull ourselves inwards and retreat into our little shells. We do this to protect ourselves. When people poke at us, we withdraw. We might avoid contact with them (as much as possible), we avoid talking to them, we don't let them touch us, be near us, etc. We sometimes will argue more with them, resist doing things for them, dislike things they like, etc. Slowly we open back up and allow our tentacles to flow freely in the water. We let ourselves be vulnerable again. Later on, we get poked again. We repeat this cycle often. It's part of life, I suppose. The problem, however, is that there are those who walk along the tide pools of life who just love jabbing at sea anemones. They do it repeatedly, over and over again. They sit and wait for the sea anemone to come back out so they can poke it again. As my dad told us, we have to be careful, because if we poke too hard, or too many times, we can seriously hurt or kill the sea anemone.

The thing is, we sometimes just get sick and tired of being poked and we give up. We just stop trying. We decide we've had enough so we permanently retreat. I feel like I reached that point last Friday with my work. I don't know if this means that I'm going to find another position, or am I just going to stop caring and basically be one of the many people I see who just don't give a crap. I'm just tired of being poked. I'm tired of putting myself out there, and I'm tired of any time I want to do something new or innovative having to turn it into an argument. Apparently people just want me to learn my place and just shut the hell up. This sea anemone is done being poked. (And no, this is not me saying I'm going to harm myself...I'm just gonna spend my hours at work on Facebook or Twitter like so many others in the office seem to do.) Then when school is back in session I'm going to find ways to spend more time visiting classrooms so I'm hardly ever in the office. Thank heaven I leave for my two-week trip to China soon!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


If you read my last post, you'll remember that I am in New York for the next few days on a mini pre-birthday vacation. I love coming here, it makes me feel so grown up to be in such a large, busy city (even though I'm almost 44). Most of all, I love coming to see the shows...yes, I am not ashamed to say that I'm a big old theatre queen!

This afternoon before the Tony Awards I had the chance to see one of my favorite Broadways performers, Idina Menzel, in If/Then, hence the title of my post. I'm not going to give a big Broadwayesque critique of the show; rather, I'm going to tell you what I learned from it.

To borrow from every teacher's favorite online resource, Wikipedia which described the musical as this: "Newly divorced 39-year-old Elizabeth, an urban planner, moves to New York City for a fresh start. She meets her friends Kate, a lesbian kindergarten teacher, and Lucas, a bisexual community organizer, in Madison Square Park. Kate suggests that Elizabeth start using the name "Liz" and seek out new experiences. Lucas suggests that she go back to her college nickname, "Beth," and start making professional connections in the city. "Liz" stays in the park with Kate while "Beth" leaves with Lucas, and the remainder of the show depicts two paths that Elizabeth's life could take."

Elizabeth (Beth/Liz) suffer from the flaws of overthinking, not trusting her heart, and worst of all, constantly asking herself "what if?". Should I do this? But what about that? What could happen? What if I pick the wrong road? What if I regret my choices? Without ruining the entire musical, the story weaves between two versions of Elizabeth's life (one as Liz, and one as Beth), both lives began at the same time based on a choice she makes with two options. We see the heartaches and triumphs she goes through in both versions of her life.

While I watched the show, and I find I do this often with plays, TV shows, and movies, I try to put myself into the character's life. I think in many ways I am like Elizabeth. I do overthink things, and yes, I most certainly do worry that I might make a choice and then regret it later. I often wonder what would have happened if I had made a different choice at one juncture in my life or other.

What if I had called Susan for one more date? What if I never went to that Reconciliation group when I was at BYU? What if I had given up on trying to go to BYU when they first rejected me because of my stupid low grades from my community college courses before my mission? What if I had chosen a different career? What if I had remained in Utah instead of moving to Las Vegas? What if I had stayed active in Church? What if I had been born straight?

I cried with Liz/Beth. I almost sobbed out loud, but I kept my Vulcan nerves mostly in check and only let a tear or two fall. Have I allowed my fears to screw me up? Yes... Have I allowed my fears to keep me from dating and making gay friends? Affirmative

Wow, it was quite the show...I wonder how much of it I missed due to my own personal epiphany! lol The lady sitting next to me asked if I liked it in spite of all of the man bashing. Funny, I never noticed I must have missed something! haha Seriously though, it was a wonderful and tragic story. I suppose that in a way all of our lives are. We all make choices; we all go on different paths, and we all live with the consequences (both good and bad) of what we do in our lives. I cannot allow life to pass me by, I can't let my inability to see all of the path ahead paralyze me from moving forward, because when I refuse to move forward, well, I've still made a choice of a path, haven't I? I've chosen the path of sitting on my butt worrying. The thing is, I could find much more happiness by moving forward. It's ok to be afraid, it's ok to have misgivings, and it's ok if we pick the wrong path. Sometimes fate has a way of making things work out the way they were supposed to all along. Or at least that's what I hope happens.

When people ask me why I don't date I either shrug it off with a joke (my main deflecting skill) about how I'm too "set in my ways" or "too selfish." For even more comedic effect, I'll say something about how no one on the planet could possibly be good enough for me. When I try to be more serious in my answers, I say that I don't have a way to meet people since I don't go out to the clubs. And in a way, that is an honest answer. That's the only way I know of in Las Vegas, well...there's always Grindr. But that's not really so much a dating app as it is a let's-get-naked app. I don't know of any other ways, but in the 12 years that I've been there, have I tried finding any other ways? Well, of course not. I am friendly with a few other gay people I know through work, but none of them are my kind of good friend people. Not that they're bad people or anything, we just have differences that wouldn't make us real good friends outside of work. (I hope that makes sense...)

Well, once again, I thought I just had a little to write and all of a sudden I realize that I've gone on and on. Thanks for listening to the life lesson I learned today. I hope that it can be of use to someone else out there.

If you're coming to New York City, I HIGHLY recommend If/Then. It was great...Idina's voice is just amazing. I also recommend seeing Aladdin. Yes, it's Disney, but it was fantastic...just for the Genie, and no, he doesn't act like Robin Williams. He steals the show!! (That's why they gave him a Tony tonight!)

Here's a clip from If/Then for your viewing pleasure...

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Start spreading the news..."

Yep, that's right, I'm leaving today! I'm gonna be a part of New York, NY for the next five days as a birthday gift to myself (and my creditors). I am constantly drawn to New York and the theatre district.

Yes, yes...I know I'm gay. But that's not it. I am obsessed with theatre because I can't do any of it. I can't act, can't sing, can't dance, etc. I just sit in these shows in awe of the talent before me. I am planning on seeing Disney's Aladdin musical, and of course I'll go see If/Then so that I can see the one true Elphaba, Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel. I love her voice! :) I have a list of other shows that I haven't considered yet, but I am really leaning toward seeing Rocky the Musical. I listened to an interview with the guy who plays Rocky, and he made it sound like an exciting show. My original plan was to get tickets to see the Tony Awards in the Radio City Music Hall, but the cheapest seats were over $200, and the dress was black tie. No thank you ma'am. I'll watch out in Times Square with the other riff raff. I REALLY REALLY wanted to see Hedwig & the Angry Itch, but no tickets are available. :(

I am especially excited to go see my new idol, Bianca Del Rio perform on Monday night. If you don't know who she is, you need help! ;)

Otherwise I'm planning on finding some good restaurants, relaxing, and of course I want to visit the 9-11 memorial.

My goal on this "Oh sad me all alone and lonely" time. I'm not spending an entire day laying in bed in a hotel. I have to get my fat butt out of bed and off to do something. :)

By the way, I scheduled my first therapist appointment for June 19. The therapist's name is Colleen. We'll see how that goes...I hope she has a comfortable couch! ;)