The Play’s The Thing

January 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm 41 comments

A few stats for you:

Sadie’s current weight: 18 lbs

Sadie’s current height: 28.5 inches

Sadie’s pediatrician, who was on Assface Probation after being kind of a prick on the phone: back to his normal, helpful, caring self. Probation lifted.

On Assface Probation indefinitely.

In other news, I’ve been asked to audition for the spring show of my favorite (as an actor and as an audience member) local theatre company. FUCKING SWEET, right? I don’t know much about the show, but I’ve seen this particular company do amazing things with both traditional an untraditional scripts, so it’s always fun to imagine what kind of experience it will be. Of course, my reaction to being asked to audition for this company usually kicks off the following thought process:

  • Oh, cool!
  • Oh, God, what if I have to be naked?
  • I am OK with being naked.
  • I am not OK with my extended family members seeing my name in the paper, then showing up at a performance for a show in which I am inevitably naked/say the word “cunt-face”/simulate various sex acts.*
  • Oh, well. Art and such. That’ll learn ’em, anyhow.
  • OH GOD, CO-WORKERS IN THE AUDIENCE.
  • Oh, well. Art and such. Perhaps I’ll get a raise.

At that point, I usually go about my preparations for the audition, but now that I have a baby, it seems another thought has been added to the process:

  • CHOOSING (CHOOSING!) A SHOW OVER TIME WITH MY BABY OMG WORST MOTHER EVER GUILT SADNESS DESPAIR.

Good times.

OK, let’s back that thing up for a second: this is only an audition. I hate it when I get all hand-wringy about being in the show when I’m just in the (pre-)audition phase, because I know it sounds like I think OH OF COURSE I’ll get the part, and NO. That is not what I think. In fact, I have regularly been brought in to audition simply to pad the audition pool. Granted, they don’t actually SAY that when they call me to come and read, but…sometimes you just know.

But I was SO GOOD when I read for Glengarry Glen Ross!

Anyhoo, I am just one of those people who tends to think ahead, oh, thirty or so steps of where I am right now and imagine every single possible catastrophe scenario that might unfold. So when I get called to audition, I am already trying to imagine how in the fuck I’ll be able to get from work to rehearsal every night without abandoning Brad at his office.

I’ve abandoned my boy!

Now throw A BABY into the mix, and we’ve really got ourselves a shit casserole, friends. I can’t even begin to imagine the logistical nightmare that would be juggling work, daycare, grocery shopping and rehearsals with our one, shared car – but that’s not even the real issue. The real issue is voluntarily giving up my evenings with Sadie, and…ouch. That one stings.

Way back before I even got pregnant, Brad reassured me that he would be extremely supportive of me whenever I decided I was ready to do a show again post-baby. This – luckily for me – is par for the course of how incredibly amazing my husband is, and he’s followed up with me throughout the past year, reminding me that hey, if you’re ready to do a show again, just say the word. So the issue of having someone willing to do, well, FUCKING EVERYTHING while I go to rehearsal is not really an issue at all, thanks to Brad. And Internet, I appreciate this. I really, really appreciate this.

I actually mentioned to Brad a little while ago that I might be ready to venture back into the world of vocal warm-ups and massive egos, so he suggested I let my theatre-type friends know that I was back on the market, as it were.  Great idea, right? Yes, it’s such a great idea that it probably would garner me an audition or two! Which is…precisely why I didn’t do it. ACTOR FAIL.

I took my reluctance as a sign that maybe I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was.  But then I remembered that I’ve had that same reluctance before, except back then I didn’t have the baby as an excuse. Whenever I’ve gone a while without being in a show, I get complacent. It’s easy to let my life settle into a comfortable, rehearsal-less routine. Easy, yes, but not entirely fulfilling.

And OH, I feel so guilty saying that, because that implies that my life with Brad and Sadie is not enough for me, because HOLYFUCKINGSHIT, it TOTALLY is – it’s MORE than enough, in fact. I feel like my heart is going to burst out of my ears most days because I simply don’t have the capacity to contain or express how happy I am to have the wonderfully charmed life that I have.  But (and WHY DO I FEEL SO GUILTY SAYING THIS?!) I have goals and ambitions that fall outside the perimeter of my family life, and I want to pursue them. And when I neglect that side of my life for too long, there’s a void, and it inhibits my happiness.

Sweet Baby Jeebus on a Segway, that was so hard to say. Much, much harder than I anticipated. AND I DIDN’T EVEN VERBALIZE IT.

I suppose lots of career-minded parents experience this tsunami of guilt upon returning to the workplace post-baby, but I never really did. I mean, sure, I felt bad about it, but I don’t really have a career-type job, and it was really easy to pin my decision on finances. I mean, sure, I GUESS I was ultimately the one making the decision to come back to work, but don’t blame me! We need money! We need college savings! Baby needs pureed squash! MAMA NEEDS WINE! Work sucks, yes, but it’s a necessary evil! Just grinning and bearing it over here, folks. But when it comes to something like getting involved in a month-long run of a show (which is, essentially, a second job), it’s all on me. Yeah, the money is a nice perk, but it’s not the reason I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I want to. And if you insert some simple algebra, my MommyBrain very quickly draws the conclusion that “I’m choosing to surrender weeks of time with my baby BECAUSE I WANT TO.”

Horrible, selfish hellbeast of a mother, party of one!

I am entirely aware that my pre-baby self would want to stomp my face in for feeling such guilt over wanting to be my own fucking person and pursue my own fucking goals, but…I guess your boobs aren’t the only things that change dramatically when one of these waltzes into your life.

On the other hand, I think about the example I’m setting for Sadie. I mean, I know she’s not really absorbing any life lessons at this stage

…although she already knows that milkshakes = AWESOME, and that’s a start…

but as she gets older, I don’t want her to equate motherhood with giving up on the things that are important to her (and I admit that this was my thinking for a long time). I want her to always know that she and her father are my priority, but I also want to show her that I am, in fact, my own person with my own desires and goals. Because how disappointed would I be if she grew up to be the kind of person who completely chucks her dreams in the name of someone else’s happiness? VERY.

Also, I can’t wait until the day I see her little face in the audience, watching me do what I love to do, and – if I’m lucky – being proud of her dorky old mom.

Don’t worry – I won’t be naked.

*I have not, to date, been totally naked on stage. Have had a few on-stage make-outs, have said my share of profanities, but in all honesty, the thing that made me cringe the worst was when I had to utter the phrase “…we made love.” GROSS.

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Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!, Thanksgiving.

Encore PAY IT FORWARD: Men Are Stupid, Women Are Shallow, And Terrorists Are Going To Kill Us All

41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara  |  January 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Wow. Sadie is probably already proud of you, Dorky Old Mom, because you promised you won’t be naked on stage! It’s in writing, so there’s no going back now. (And ugh, “we made love,” blech. I only had to read it in your post to get the creeps. I can’t imagine if I had to say it out loud.)

    Reply
    • 2. sweetbird  |  January 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm

      Any tense of the phrase “make love” makes me want to vomit. The word ‘panties’ has the same effect on me.

      Reply
      • 3. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:44 am

        Oh, you guys. I had to say “we made love” in an educational show I did while in HIGH SCHOOL, and MY PARENTS WERE IN THE AUDIENCE. I am still actively embarrassed. We performed the show around the state, including AT MY OWN HIGH SCHOOL and (inexplicably) A NURSING HOME. My face, she is red.

  • 4. sweetbird  |  January 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    1. “Shit Casserole” is now my new favorite phrase.

    2. That’s one of the main reasons why I’m terrified of having children – that I’ll have to give up my life and I’ll never get to spend three months in France, and I won’t be able to go to culinary school, and TA and I will never take that vacation to….phew.

    ….it’s nice to see that once one actually HAS the baby that shit doesn’t completely fly out the window.

    Reply
    • 5. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:48 am

      For real, sweetbird, your life will remain intact. It’s all about priorities. If going to culinary school is a priority, you’ll make it happen – shorty or no.

      (Of course, things like school and going to France are EASIER if done BEFORE children, but people can still accomplish things when they become parents. They just might not have showered for a few days. No big.)

      (And please feature Shit Casserole on your blog. Thank you.)

      Reply
      • 6. Marcy  |  January 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm

        OMG – Shit casserole is my new favorite phrase. It now replaces Cranky McBitchpants!

  • 7. Amy  |  January 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    The more outlets you have away from baby, the more rounded your life will be, which will make you happier, and thus better for Sadie (so sayeth the mother who has never spent one night away from her kids and has no life!)

    Go for it. Damn me for living so far away from Pittsburgh – I would totally come see you perform.

    “Make love” ?? Who says that…really?

    Reply
    • 8. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

      Please read this article from The Onion, “Area Man Creeped Out By Request To Make Love”:
      http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38795

      Reply
      • 9. Sara  |  January 19, 2010 at 11:47 pm

        C’mon, they only say “make love” on soap operas. And Sophia from The Golden Girls, of course, after she hit Blanche’s grandson:
        Blanche: Is that all you Italians know how to do? Scream and hit?
        Sophia: No, we also know how to make love and sing opera!

        (And I love The Onion! I remember that article from way back when. Too funny.)

  • 10. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Yeah, that’s a tough one. I actually heard this from my son a couple of years ago: “You spend more time at The Playhouse than you do with us.” Ouch. So now I try not to do back-to-back shows, and I remind the kids that they have their own activities that take time away from “us” time (and that I am supportive of those activities), and that we all need our own outside interests. And now that they’re older, they can help out backstage or whatever, and it does help that I can include them.

    And, dude, I know you know this, but you are SO LUCKY to have such a supportive husband. Seriously. Go make love to him.

    Reply
    • 11. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:53 am

      HAHA! You had me until the “make love” part.

      It’s got to be tough on the guilt to hear your kid say something like that. Perhaps you should have came back with “Well, The Playhouse never required me to get stitches in my brewster.”
      Ta-DOW!

      Reply
      • 12. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm

        Damn! I am coming to you whenever I need a comeback from now on. So here’s the ironic part: Mr. You-Spend-More-Time-At-The-Playhouse just handed me his Certificate of Induction into the Junior Thespian Society. Hmm.

  • 13. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    BTW, what’s the show?

    Reply
    • 14. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Oh, DUDE. It’s this crazy Kafka-esque mindfuck called “The Task.” I got the script yesterday, and here’s a sample:

      “The snakes shall eat your shit, the crocodiles your ass, the piranhas your testicles.”

      Aaaaaand the final stage direction is: “Then Treason threw herself upon him like a heaven, the bliss of the labia at dawn.”

      SCENE!

      Reply
      • 15. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 11:00 am

        Also, I feel like I am possibly being called in to pad the audition pool for this one, because I am just not really the Kafka-esque, labia-at-dawn kind of actor, and they know that. But we’ll see.

      • 16. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

        Soooo….. not “Our Town” huh?

  • 17. simon  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    It’s hard to say this without sounding totally creepy to the point where you’ll want to take a shower, but I’ll do my best:

    If you get naked on stage, I will FLY OUT to Pennsylvania to see the show.

    Now, in order to mitigate the creepiness of that statement, I have to tell you that I’d do the same if nearly anyone I knew got naked on stage (real-life OR internet people), it’s just that you are the one that’s most likely to do it.

    That is all.

    Reply
    • 18. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:55 am

      Oh, man, in college? As a theatre major? Surrounded my attention-craving 20-year-olds? ALLS I EVER DID WAS SEE PEOPLE I KNEW GETTING NAKED ON STAGE. It was…weird. Especially that time I sat in the first row. HELLO.

      Reply
  • 19. simon  |  January 18, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    I once asked a member of my band why he and his wife never had child #2. Answer:

    “I know a lot of people who had one kid, and they were parents. Then they had another kid, and they became ONLY parents.”

    Get your acting on, yo, as it’ll be even harder when Baby the Second shows up.

    Reply
    • 20. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 10:58 am

      I have heard similar things about having baby #2. On the one hand, it’s a deeper loss of freedom. On the other hand, DELICIOUS, DELICIOUS BABY.

      Reply
  • 21. Tara  |  January 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Speaking as One Who Does Not Have Kids and therefore please feel free to ignore all of what follows:
    What I know is that you obviously LOVE you family and would do anything for them. They probably fee the same way, Project, if you will, a few years into the future, Sadie’s all grown up, a well adjusted chain-mail hating woman. Mommy has the opportunity to do something she loves, but it will take her away for a few weeks/months. Don’t you think Sadie would totally KICK YOUR BUTT if you turned it down cos of the family? You know she would.
    The way I see it now, a happy Mommy = a Happy baby. You cannot take care of your family if you are not taking care of yourself. That doesn’t just mean having a shower and remembering to eat breakfast and 5 fruit and veg. That means feeding your soul/creative side/sanity.
    That’s my 2c….feel free to ignore/remind me of this when I have kids!

    Reply
    • 22. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Thanks, Tara. Just b/c you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you can’t give some helpful input, as you just proved.

      Reply
  • 23. Alyce  |  January 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Sadie will be proud of you for pursuing your personal goals! It’s one thing I wish my mom had done.
    Also, kudos to Brad for being what all husbands and fathers should be – supportive!

    I’m in a burlesque troupe, and my little brother is a fire spinner. You wouldn’t believe how many show’s we’ve ended up performing at together. There’s always a pre-show meeting: “Okay, kid, I’m going on at THIS time, after THIS girl. During her number is when you should flee the theatre as if your life depended on it.”

    Check.

    http://www.myspace.com/AlyceArsenic

    Reply
    • 24. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

      Ha! I love it. I plan to give Sadie the same sorts of warnings. I think it’s awesome that you have such a perform-y family.

      Reply
      • 25. jiveturkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 11:05 am

        And EFF! I can’t get to your link b/c Firefox is telling me I need to update my browser (???WTF???) I am, uh, at work, so I’ll check it at home.

  • 26. Gaby  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    In a kind of similar, real-life story of a woman with kids who pursued her career (not job) goals (dammit, that sounded like an intro to a Lifetime movie)–my aunt has twin girls, and she went to school part time to become a nurse. She just recently graduated, and I sent her a card telling her that not only would she be a kick ass nurse, but she is ALREADY an amazing role model for her girls. I think that kids, and especially daughters, really benefit from seeing their mom pursue her interests outside of the realm of mom. That’s what I believed when kids were just a distant future plan; that’s what I’m telling myself at 4 months pregnant with my first; and I that’s what I fully expect to continue believing when my little one arrives on the outside.

    Also, I totally related to this: “I hate it when I get all hand-wringy about being in the show when I’m just in the (pre-)audition phase…” I’m in that exact spot right now, mentally psyching myself out of writing a cover letter for an English professor position because of the fear of the unknown, but I really want to do it, and the only way I can even get a chance to interview is writing the damn letter! Guh. Good luck on your audition.

    Reply
    • 27. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Gaby. Good luck with the cover letter, and with All Things In Utero. Congrats!

      Reply
  • 28. Cedar  |  January 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Oops, I can’t tell if I deleted my comment by accident or posted twice but here’s the gist. ??!!! WTF: “…the bliss of the labia at dawn.” I’m really glad you said “shit cassarole” because that will give my brain more to think about today than that bizarro line from your script. I’m sooo afraid my mind will be like a hamster on a wheel trying to go around that phrase for the rest of my workday. My supervisor, “So how was your weekend?” Me: [ACK! must override words in my head!]

    Reply
    • 29. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Please say labia at work. I guarantee no one will correct you.

      Reply
  • 30. MLE  |  January 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t know about you, but my labial bliss is far more likely to occur in the late afternoon.

    Reply
    • 31. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      I generally find that to be the case as well.

      Reply
  • 32. Paige  |  January 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    I never got naked, but I almost participated in a simulated orgy on stage. We had the choice to opt out and I did once I realized that my parents and my boyfriend at the time were going to come to the show. Needless to say, Grandma did not come to that show.

    Reply
  • 33. Paige  |  January 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    oh and p.s. you know I’ll come and see you, especially if there is blissful labia abounding. 🙂

    Reply
    • 34. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

      You’re a girl who never misses out on a blissful labia, this I know.

      Reply
  • 35. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  January 19, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Ah, Mama Turkey. Little Turkey will love you and be proud of you and your talents, not to mention your personalities. And whether you start acting now or later, she’s going to have such a kick-ass woman to look up to and to make her think she can do anything she wants to do too.

    Now back to my blissful labia…

    Reply
    • 36. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks, my dear. I will just remind her that you are available for her to call and say, “OMG, my mom is so EMBARRASSING!” to.

      Reply
  • 37. kristin @ going country  |  January 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    If I had a life/job/outside interests already, I don’t think I would give it all up entirely post-baby.

    But I can say that because the only thing I do is garden and I am totally planning on putting this kid to work salting slugs as soon as he can walk.

    Reply
    • 38. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      Just promise me you’ll wait on the first deer-gutting until at least age 4.

      Reply
  • 39. Mermanda  |  January 20, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I’m totally going to be in the audience. Naked blogger! Naked blogger!

    Reply
    • 40. jiveturkey  |  January 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      I will pay you cash money to start loud whisperings in the audience about how spectacular my rack is.

      Reply
  • 41. Q & A « Jive Turkey  |  January 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    […] play? She was really weird. No, weirder than that. I gave some excerpts in the comments last time, but here are some more: “I want to eat your genitals and give birth to a tiger […]

    Reply

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