How I (possibly) stopped someone from joining a cult

I have some good news and some not so good news to share.

The good news is that my son had to work later on Easter than I thought he did. He was able to attend church with us Sunday morning. Of course, I didn’t find out about this until after midnight so technically the wee hours of Easter morning. My husband was scheduled to usher Easter morning, so I worked it all out that our son was going to go to church with Arabella and I to surprise his dad.

The not so good news is that my son hates our new church. He is convinced that we joined a cult. What I failed to mention to him is that we went from a Lutheran church to a Non-Denominational church. Big change.

With our new church we didn’t go through the whole process of Lent. In fact, on Maundy Thursday, Arabella and I were at the theater watching the recorded performance of the musical we were in.

I have been a member of the theater group for over 10 years, the longest standing member in the last show. We would typically get together after a show for a viewing. It was usually a celebratory event. We would laugh, have a few drinks, and just have a celebration of a job well done with all of the work that was put into the show.

This viewing was the most morose viewing I have ever been to. It was like attending a wake. The stage manager said that she preferred that it was not a celebratory event, meaning she didn’t want anyone to bring alcohol. I sure could use a drink to see myself as I really am. I brought beer. I had ONE beer at the theater.

I never did do well doing things that everyone else wants me to do. I have a rebellious nature. I am not a follower. I credit that to my childhood. My brother was called a “retard” and people looked down at me no matter what I did or didn’t do because of him. So I learned not to care what people thought of me. Not being a people pleaser is very freeing. You should try it sometime. But I do not win a lot of popularity contests by not being agreeable. But if that is the price I pay, so be it.

Unless there is a valid reason to do something someone else’s way, I do it my way. I don’t trust other people to make my decisions for me. C’mon, I barely trust myself. I feel like I carry a card, the crappy childhood card, which allows me to do anything I want because of it. I have to make up for lost time. I’m not talking about anything immoral or illegal here. I just march to the beat of my own drum and don’t care what other people think.

There is a woman at the theater that doesn’t like me. How do I know this? At the viewing she came into the theater and gave everyone a hug and told them how much she missed them. That is, everyone except me. She did not look my way or say one word to only me. I had problems with her in the previous show. This was the lady that overacted and upstaged me. She annoyed the crap out of me, but I chalked it up to inexperience on her part and let it go.

Then in the last show, I mentioned that I had a problem with a special needs kid being dumped off back stage who needed more help than she was helping. I felt like this woman passively-aggressively attacked me for saying something about it. She doesn’t like me and honestly the feeling is mutual. I am happy the show is over. I wouldn’t have to deal with her drama anymore. I am getting too old for it. Besides, not spending time with difficult people sure makes me like them more.

A few days later, the woman that I don’t like asked on Facebook about Easter egg hunts in the area on Easter Sunday. My new church was having an Easter egg hunt. I toyed with the idea of inviting her to church. I mean, that would be the Christian thing to do. But on the flip side, I also know that she attends another church and I didn’t want her to start attending my church. I decided not to invite her simply because I do not like her.

Apparently though, according to my son, I probably did her a favor by preventing her from possibly joining a cult. You’re welcome!

No need to worry about me. Good luck though to anyone trying to change me and make me conform into a blind follower. I am not cult material. Just ask my husband.

 

De-roling

My daughter Arabella said something interesting the other day. Yesterday I told you that I found a new friend from the theater who is also a runner. Arabella said she didn’t know if she liked my new friend or if it was just her character that liked her. Interesting! My daughter was the maid of my new friend in the show. They had a really close stage relationship.

It really got me to think about acting. The last two shows I’ve had stage husbands. I am absolutely in love with both guys, although I would probably never date them if I was single.

This past show, I was in a romantic scene with my stage husband. We were supposed to kiss. But since I am married, the kiss on the lips turned into a kiss on the cheek. How was I supposed to muster up feelings for a complete stranger that I wasn’t remotely interested in and make it look convincing? I had to pretend to be in love with someone I wasn’t in love with.

My husband also had roles where his character was married to another woman. He was married to one woman on stage twice. It really didn’t bother me all that much. But there was another woman he was married to where we ended up stepping down from our roles. This woman was completely gaga about my husband and rubbed it in my face while I played the part of their maid. It didn’t work out well at all. Later she ended up leaving her husband for someone she was in a show with at the theater.

Surprisingly, these things happen in a community theater. Rumor has it that in a previous show a stage husband and wife slept together although they were both married to other people. I could probably write a play about all of the things that happen backstage and call it fiction because no one would ever believe half the stuff was true.

It is strange that while working with someone very closely on stage, you get to know them very quickly. I built relationships within a few weeks that otherwise would take me years to build. I had to feel comfortable working with my stage husbands if I was going to pull it off.

I’ve also had parts in the last two shows where I had to hit people on stage. This past show I had to hit my stage husband. The show previous to that, I had to hit my stage child. I really don’t feel comfortable hitting people, even more so people I don’t know. We really had to work together as a team to make it seem natural because in real life it wasn’t.

But some of the best shows I’ve been in I have had parts where I was married to my husband on stage. We’ve had people ask of if we were married to each other after the shows because if we weren’t we would no longer be married. Being married on stage and off is so much easier to pull off.

Then just like that, the show is over. Do I really like that person I was supposed to be in love with? Or was it just the role I was playing? Reality blurs a bit. I find myself forming friendships with people that I probably wouldn’t otherwise associate with. People of all ages and backgrounds come together for the common goal of putting on a good show.

I have been in enough shows now to know what to expect. As I’ve dealt with the anxiety and excitement of being on stage, I’ve also dealt with the sadness when it is over. For a short period of time, we become family. Then the family falls apart.

The cast members are making plans to get together again. But it won’t be the same. I am just glad for the experience and the friends I’ve made along the way. It’s time to say good-bye to my character, one of my all time favorites. It’s time to de-role until the next show.

I find it interesting with all of the time spent building a character, no one mentions once how to tear it back down and let go. Sometimes that can be more difficult. It makes me wonder how professional actors are able to do it. From all of the tabloids, I see that it doesn’t always work out well for them either.

 

The bittersweet end

Today is the bittersweet day after the show is over. I am relieved to have more time on my hands. I even started working on my book again. But I will miss playing the part. This role was one of my all time favorites. I enjoyed working with the cast and made some new friends.

Things did end up getting a little out of hand with the special needs child backstage this past weekend. I am glad that I mentioned something though. The special needs girl latched on to another teen girl that was totally inappropriate. She said that she would die without the other girl’s attention and demanded to know what she talked about with other people. She even followed the girl out into the wings and hung on her right before going on stage. This behavior was upsetting to everyone and I’m glad I spoke up even though I took some criticism for it.

I did make a new friend, another runner. We are planning on going running together this week. I’m not sure if it will work out. This other woman is younger than me and qualified twice for the Boston Marathon. She is younger and faster. I told her if it doesn’t work out that I wouldn’t have any hard feelings. We have a lot in common, so even if it doesn’t work out maybe we could still be friends.

Friday night, after the first show, the cast that likes to hang around and celebrate got kicked out of the theater after the last patron left. So it was suggested that the next night I would have a pool party at my house. I was already planning that for the second weekend, but last minute threw it together for the first weekend as well. Both nights I ended up going to bed at 3 AM. THREE IN THE MORNING!! I don’t remember ever staying up that late which made the Sunday performance a little hard.

I have a lot of new friends (and enemies) now that I have a house with an indoor pool. For the first time in my life, I am really popular. I want to think people like me for me, but I really don’t care anymore. It makes me feel special, liked. In a strange way it makes me feel like I can make up now for the childhood I never had.

I had some friends and family come out to the show. Some lady even asked me for my autograph. Yeah, like I am ever going to be famous for my acting. But it felt good.

Something strange happened. My mom came to the show and my stage husband raved on and on to her about how wonderful I was on stage and off. My mother replied, “Is that so?” and then spoke to me about a problem she was having. She wanted my help in solving the problem. Why would she talk to me about something like that right after a show? Why didn’t she rave about the show? Or me? Or my daughter who had her first solo in a performance? I really felt hurt and wondered if she was always like that or if it was the first time I noticed it?

Someone asked me why I liked performing. I really had to think about it. I like to be somebody else. I love the costumes and the makeup. I love to sing. I love to be challenged. The strange thing about being an anxious person is that I don’t feel a lot more anxious being on stage than I already feel. Which in a weird way frees me to try things that most people would be anxious about. Plus I already know how to deal with anxiety. Does that make sense?

It was great to be in the show, but I am ready to get back to my regular programming with a couple of new friends in tow.

 

Leaving tonight?

I thought that things would be a little less crazy this week, but I was wrong.

My son was trying to sell something online for us and almost got scammed. A person sent my son a check for over the asking price for the object and told him to take it to the bank right away.  He did because the bank was closing soon and he didn’t know what to do. Then the person was going to have his “moving person” swing by and pick up the object along with the extra money for moving the item to another state. It seemed a little fishy, but everything happened so fast that I didn’t stop my son.

When Paul heard about it later, he worried it was some sort of money laundering scheme. He dug around online and found out it was a scam. The scammer sends a legitimate looking check for over the price and tells the person to give the money to the mover who is stopping by to pick it up. The person who picks it up steals the item and the money then the check bounces. Our item was scheduled to be picked up the day we are leaving for vacation.

Yesterday morning, I went to the bank and expressed my concerns about the check being fraudulent. Upon closer examination, the bank also thought it was a scam. Unfortunately, when the check bounces my son’s account with be charged. I feel bad that I didn’t stop my son from putting the check into his account. We both thought something wasn’t right but ignored it because they were pressing my son to cash it before the bank closed the night before. It really didn’t give me enough time to think.

It just started the day out bad yesterday. But it didn’t end there. Someone pulled out in front of me and I skidded on the ice almost hitting them. The roads here are still horrible. Last Monday we got a foot of snow. Then we had 4 days of temps in the double digits below zero, followed by an ice storm, followed by more cold weather so the salt didn’t melt the ice.

Oh, it gets better. Then my husband went to the dental hygienist and she refused to treat him because his blood pressure was too high. Yesterday Paul had several meetings with key clients to try to save accounts. After I lost my position at the company we previously owned, clients got a little skittish with all of the changes. The meetings were stressful for Paul and he was running late to his appointment. His blood pressure was 185/107. They told him he needed to see his doctor immediately.

Paul had appointments all day, but kept monitoring his BP. His BP has been borderline high for years. By the end of the day, his BP was still high and the nurse said to take him to the ER since he also had a slight headache. Off to the ER we went. I was paranoid by all of the illnesses we were exposed to last night. If I didn’t think my husband could wind up dead during the night from a stroke, I wouldn’t have risked it. Ah, the things we do for love.

We spent the evening with Paul in a hospital bed, in a gown with an IV in his arm watching the state of the union address. The nurse came in and jokingly said that the SOTU was giving her high blood pressure. Even though no fight ensured about politics, Paul’s BP was still high when we left so they gave him medication. We left to drive home through another snow storm. Big snowflakes and sleet pattered against the windows, but we made it home safely. I certainly did not want to go back to the ER.

This morning there was 4 inches of snow over glare ice. Arabella fell on her way out to the car for school. It’s just nasty out there. Paul spent hours plowing everyone out. Then tonight we are expecting freezing rain followed by another 6 inches of snow. Paul and I are planning on flying out early tomorrow morning for a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands with friends. I hope we can leave.

I will be taking some time off of blogging. You are probably sick of my whining and complaining anyway. When I get back, I will write a travel series about the trip and lighten things up a little. I try to do that after things get a little heavy. Then I will be back at it again.

Well, I better get packing.

The community theater extrovert

I don’t know what it is about community theater. I become a whole different person. I’m not just talking about the role I’m playing as a character, I’m talking about me as a person. I become an extrovert.

In real life I am not much of a social person. I blog, does that count? You get the idea. I like to keep my opinions to myself. I shy away from the spotlight and become a wallflower. I am moody, melancholy, and not at all agreeable. But at the theater, I am an extrovert on stage and off. All or nothing, baby! My most redeeming social quality is that I have a quick wit. I love to make people laugh. After the evening shows, Paul and I rarely made it to bed before 1 AM.

One night after celebrating at the theater, we had a couple of people crash at our house. One of the actresses confessed that she has cancer and is going through her third round of radiation next week. How could I say ‘no’ to that? Come on over! That night I went to bed at 2 AM then got up the next morning and did the show all over again. That is life as a community theater extrovert I guess.

You tend to meet a whole bunch of eccentric characters at the theater. For a brief time, they get to be someone else too. I wish I could say that all other life stops for awhile during the run of a show, but it goes on. I lost my job during the run of the show. I wasn’t the only one either. A cast member had a funeral to attend out of state. One young girl got her first period and had to reach out to people that were basically strangers to help.

For that short period of time, we became like family and you know how it is with family…some people drive you nuts. Oh, and there is always drama.

There was this new lady that was very beautiful, nice, encouraging, optimistic, and cheerful. She also totally annoyed the crap out of me. Every time she was on stage she would over act and upstage me. It drove me nuts. Back stage she dumped my whole water bottle on my dry clothes. It was an accident so I couldn’t do anything but suppress my irritation. She apologized profusely. When we had only two shows left, she decided that she didn’t like the dance routine choreography and wanted everyone to change it without actually telling everyone who would be on stage at the time. I told her there was no way I would be changing anything.

My husband Paul had the lead part. He had somewhere around 200 lines to memorize. Most of them were a paragraph long. He did a great job. Everyone thought that he had a natural gift for memorizing. Does anyone?? I really want to know. He spent at least an hour a day going through his lines.

There were love triangles on stage and off. Did you know that the theater is also a good place to fall in love? My uncle Rick met someone at the theater for a first date and they are already engaged!

Sometimes things didn’t go as planned. Lines got missed or messed up. Once the curtain opened at the wrong time while a woman was changing behind it. One little girl got hit hard on the head by someone moving a prop. Three other people fell, one while tied up. Many people had sore throats. We wandered around the rest of the week like exhausted zombie versions of ourselves while life continued on.

Then after the show is over, the main characters have to de-role. It is time to say good-bye to the new family. There is a period of sadness and loss after saying bye to a beloved character that almost becomes you for awhile.

For that brief time, everybody loved you. You were someone special, a star. The anxiety of performing is a major adrenaline rush. It is thrilling! Did I mention the costumes, makeup, wigs, and hair primping? Fun!

Then when it is all done, we go back to our normal lives until the next show.

 

The party saga continues..

Yesterday Arabella started driver’s ed at her new school. I planned on having Angel drop her off and pick her up, but Angel forgot to pick Arabella up. I found myself irritated once again.

We were short staffed at work and I was the only one in the office in the afternoon to pick up calls. I was already leaving for a late lunch to take Arabella to her dentist appointment. I told Arabella that she was going to have to walk the couple miles home.

Then she started to text and call me. I hate Angel. My side hurts. I’m going to pass out because I didn’t drink any water today. There were 20 kids in my class and everyone ignored me. I’m never going to make friends here. This is all your fault! You don’t know how tiring it is to walk in this heat. No, as a marathon runner, I’ve never experienced that. Geez! I told Arabella that I needed to get back to work so I could leave for her appointment.

When I got home to pick Arabella up for the dentist, the pool guy was there. The hot tub hasn’t been working since we bought the house. The pool guy wanted to talk to me about what the problem was. He said that we would need a new pump. He wasn’t even sure if they make those kind of pumps anymore since our equipment is older.

Out of the blue, the pool guy started talking about wearing a hat while working. I’m in a bit of a hurry… Are you squeamish? I said no out of curiosity, but I really meant yes. He took off his hat and showed me a big bloody gash on his head. He hit his head hard while at my house. Do you think I need stitches? I have a bit of a headache, but most of the bleeding stopped. I have to go right now.

I ran off to look for my daughter. Was she even home? We were running late..

Did you offer him something to drink? A washcloth perhaps? A bandage? An ice pack? No, I just freaked out and ran off.

**I wanted to show you the pictures of the balcony that overlooks the pool. The water under the ledge is around 5 ft deep. Just in case you happen to see the videos floating around online of people jumping off the ledge…**

Angel felt horrible about having the party. She said she didn’t have any fun. She shouldn’t have let her friend walk all over her and invite all those strangers into our house. She never got into trouble before. Way to end her last few days as a teenager.

 

Yesterday was a long Monday. Angel came home last night very distraught. Arabella told her that we were going to take her car away from her and kick her out of the house. She spent the day at her boyfriend’s crying. Of course, none of it was true although I may have mentioned that I wanted to do that.

I should’ve known it was going to be a rough weekend when I started it out by stepping in a big pile of dog crap. I feel like I have been dragging it around with me for days.