Archive for March, 2014

I’ve lived in Los Angeles all my life. As such, I know how Angelenos like to put a spin on negative things. Just thought I’d educate a few folks out there.

1. Friend’s unemployed couch jockey – Struggling Artist

2. Stealing grandma’s credit card to fund filming – Independent film investor

3. No car (unwillingly) – Going green to save the planet

4. Pilfering from craft service – Grocery shopping because one day you will be a paid actor

5. Lying about your age – Good marketing tactic

6. Run as fast as you can, girl – Romantic walks in the park on a first date

7. Cold showers – You didn’t pay the gas bill … again

8. Retro vintage couture – From the Goodwill or the St. Vincent de Paul fall line

9. The shelter kitchen is closed – I’m on a diet and researching a character role.

10. Dogs mauled my party platters – I’m serving deconstructed appetizers.

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The latest bee in my proverbial bonnet is prompted by someone I love. I am currently on a diet or altered eating lifestyle. I’m looking to lose enough weight to have my knee replacement surgery. I refuse to have barbaric bypass surgery or try some fad diet plan.

Basically, I’m counting calories and eliminating junk food.  My new fixation is my weigh-in every Saturday. Sometimes it drops less than a pound, but it has yet to increase.

When it drops less than a pound, I feel like I gained fifty pounds. So naturally, I have a Facebook pity party. I get lots of encouragement and praise. I also get advice.

Keep in mind that I am bipolar and can barely walk. The advice I got was to find an activity that keeps me active mentally and physically. This statement made me feel like a loser. I know she loves me and means well, but she doesn’t really know me.

I honestly thought she did knew me. Perhaps it’s my fault that she didn’t. I thought everyone knew. My real fear, at this point, is talking about it to her. I have been bombarded with alleged ‘ready-made’ problem solvers all my life. Some things are just not that easy.

Those that truly get it are found in group therapy sessions. Basically, we’re all trying to avoid a trip to the ER, racing thoughts, crippling panic attacks, going off the meds and suicide. Stability is the goal, not a cure.

I am afraid of sharing all of this with my friends and family. Most know my condition, but perhaps passively. I have been living with this demon all my life. It has aided and injured me. Now my knee wants to join the disabled list. I’m hanging on as best I can!

Last night, I watched the show Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey with Neil de Grasse Tyson. It reminded me of my childlike awe about the world and space.

Prior to seeing Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, I came to a theory on the nature of the entirety of all that we are and all that we see.

As a very young girl, I use to go to the beach. I looked at the grains of sand and concluded that it was impossible to count them all on that beach. Then I thought of all the other beaches and the ocean floor.

I surmised that there are worlds that man can never see or calibrate. It didn’t scare me, but it let me know where I stood in the world and universe.

It wasn’t long before I looked up in the night sky and realized that it has no borders. I knew I couldn’t see everything and again, it humbled me.

It’s easy to call powerful men of politics and wealth ‘masters of the universe’ . The truth is they and everyone else, are tiny specks in the grand scheme of things.

I think that people forget or ignore this basic fact. As wondrous as mankind’s accomplishments are, we will never be  ‘masters of the universe’ .

Mankind is far too petty, scared, closed-minded and selfish to be masters of anything. I guess that is just our nature . We tend to lose as quickly as we gain.

How I wish that powerful men could pick up a grain of sand and realize that they’re looking at themselves. I think we all occasionally need that perspective.

For the past few weeks, my husband and I tried to watch as many of the Academy Awards nominated films. Naturally, 12 Years A Slave was at the top of the list.

Predictably, it made me cry a lot. The better the acting, the more the tears. But then I was prompted to seek out more stories of slavery. More to the point, the psychological and sociological effects of it on everyone involved.

I read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs (alias Linda Brent). Miss Jacobs was a literate runaway slave and authored her own narrative. Her first mistress taught her to read and write.

What I took away from her story was that white people enhanced and tormented her life. In a way, they enslaved and freed her. Aside from teaching her to read and write, her first owners loved her.

As a teenager, she actually chose to have affair with a handsome, loving white man who fathered her 2 children. He also paid for the children’s freedom. Her paramour tried to pay for her freedom, but her master was unwilling.

She and her children went through several trials of fire because of the choices she made. Staying in hiding and escaping the South took years and self-imposed agony. Even when she was reunited with her kids in the North, Ms. Jacobs didn’t feel free.

She felt that slavery was a demon that corrupted everyone, black and white. She had pity for them. If not for slavery, men could be good husbands. Wives could feel secure about their marriages. Children could be moral, happy and pure.

How does one explain away a bloody whipping post or light-skinned babies? You can’t. All you have left is a blatant conclusion. To put it mildly, it’s staring at you in the face. You’d have to be blind not to see it.

We enslave ourselves with fear, pride, ignorance and shame.  Abusive vices? Domestic violence? Sex slaves and human trafficking at the ‘massage‘ parlor around the corner? I don’t want to get involved. I might get hurt.

Why? Fear of the unknown is the least of your problems. Who knows what may happen? If we do nothing, nothing will happen and evil wins. Someone or an issue somewhere will quietly disappear and all we’ll see is a bloody whipping post.

But then there’s a bunch of liars who will tell you it’s not real. They will tell you that the facts are distorted, inaccurate, one-sided and ‘we have specialist on this too’. Reality is what’s real for us.

If you’re a runaway slave in the north, you’re still a slave. If your husband beats you and leaves to go to work, you’re still a trapped battered wife. All this is real until you or someone else shatters that reality with a sledgehammer.