The tyranny of my imaginary audience, or, I would love to not give a shit.

August 28, 2006 at 9:10 pm (Bloom Status: Downward)

Do you have that? An imaginary audience that you carry around in your head that has a few key members that are always sitting there with their arms folded, glaring at you? I have that. I am an oppressed people. The people of me are oppressed by five or six or eight hostile imaginary bastard dictators who have for some reason purchased tickets to my life, and there they sit.


I also blame the lighting designer of my life, who has subversively made it so the house lights over those seats never go entirely dim. The hostile people are subtly pinpointed, slightly lit. The friendlier, more supportive members of the audience of my life – they’re much foggier silhouettes when I look out there. And when I squint to find out more about them, they’re either dear friends who are obligated to love me or they’re people I don’t know at all. What I need are some well-lit, friendly acquaintances of known intelligence and taste out there. See, the ones I don’t know who are out there smiling at the show of my life…I have it so if you cut to them at other locations, you find out they’ll smile at anything. They’re smiling at McDonald’s commercials, smiling at Touched by an Angel, smiling at Celine Dion’s show in Las Vegas. I’m lovin’ it! So, I need a sort of tough crowd of discriminating acquaintances out there to be like, well, I came in here skeptical, but she won me over. Her life, how she lives it – I hate to admit it, but it’s GOOD.

The hostile people in my audience are people I know. I will never reveal their identities! But they’re around. They’re around. They’re not necessarily hostile to me in real life. But they seem like they’ve got some hostility ready to deploy at the first sign of foolishness. And I have cast them in these terrible, creativity-crushing roles. And now I have to figure out a way to fire them, or eject them from the theater, or kick them out of this mixed metaphor.

There have always been things about myself that I’ve felt like I’ve had to hide for fear of ridicule. Like, I skipped seventh grade. So in eighth grade, at my new school, I was like, they must not know I’m only twelve. They must believe that I am thirteen. They cannot know that I have skipped a grade. Being smart will be no help to me here at Jane Addams Junior High! It will be a big red target on my back! All year long, I was desperately trying to evade embarrassment. Ah, Jeeeesus, I can’t open a locker! Don’t let on! Don’t let on! Ah, Christ, my butt is too small! Oh, Lord, Lord, don’t let my mom drop my age into the conversation! Lord, let me rest! I am exhausted from dodging the bullets of ridicule! Slow me down, Lord.

And for a very long time, I kept my interest in spiritual matters on the down low. I was afraid people would think I was some kind of airy cornflake. Yeah, first I didn’t want people to think I was smart, and then I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t. I was afraid that people would assume that my open mind had caused everything to fall out of it. And then I sort of crept the cat out of the bag little by little. And now the cat is out. In case you didn’t know, the cat is out. I am all the way one of those There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy mofos. But I still get a little wobbly when I talk about these things and glance out into my imaginary audience.

I have my twentieth high school reunion coming up in less than two weeks. I’m frantically figuring out what to wear, how to cut my hair, what I’ll say about myself, how I’ll spin what I’ve been doing. It’s sad, really, it really is. I’d love to just make a small effort to look nice, show up and focus on other people, what they’ve been doing, and not overly care what impression of me people will take away. I would like to pull that off. What will happen is that I’ll futz with my appearance until I’m a walking shred – I am guaranteed to have one squirt too much hairspray on the front of my head – and then I’ll go and I actually will be interested in other people and what they’ve been doing, but I’ll be having a constant parallel heart flutter that will spike at any whiff of negative impression I imagine myself making at any given moment.

This has all gone on too long! I constantly put off doing important things because I follow imaginary trails out to the potential withering look waiting for me on the other end. Withering look?! A withering look?! I’m afraid of a facial expression?! YES! What gives? What is the fallout of the withering look that I fear so much?! Some sort of dangerous ostracism from my fellow man? A fatal trip to some kind of social Exile Island? What would happen there? Would I die? Is death in there somewhere? Oh, chickenshit, examine thyself. Set thyself free.

I would follow this train of thought out further but Weeds is on now. I gotta go. But there’s more here to figure out. Meet you here later.

Bloom status: No time. Mary Louise Parker. I don’t know. Sideways. No, lots of fear. Downward. Damn.

P.S. What a great episode that was! Holy shit, that show is good. The acting is so great. Makes me want to act like nobody’s business. Also, non sequiturishly, I love this quote from Steve Pavlina’s blog:

Intelligence can be used as an antidote to fear. If your life is full of fear, denial, and suffering, you don’t understand your life well enough not to be afraid. If you use your intelligence to increase your understanding, and if you fully accept the truths you discover along the way, you’ll gradually withdraw your power from your fears and begin feeding it to your desires.

I think that’s great. I’ve always heard of love being the antidote to fear, but sometimes that pops for me and in certain applications, like with my imaginary audience, it doesn’t. Sorry, Love. Love you, but you can be kind of vague.


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My dream of greatness

August 21, 2006 at 4:57 am (Bloom Status: Downward, Bloom Status: Sideways, Bloom Status: Upward)

Everybody has a dream of greatness about themselves. Everybody has a picture of what it would look like if suddenly: WHAM! They had their shit supersonically together and had no fear and could make anything under the sun happen for themselves.

So, this is some of my picture for myself:

1. I’m an actor, and a writer, and I’ve long wanted to do a solo show. Well, in my dream of greatness, I’m the LORD of the solo show. People see my show and they’re like, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! That woman smokes the solo show all over the stage! It’s fucking fireworks out there! Pop pop bang! She is in her sweet spot, people.

2. I also love to sing, and compose music. So in my dream of greatness, you cannot believe my CD. Nor my live show. Cap. tiv. ATING.

3. And I love to draw. The cover art on the cd in my dream of greatness? Totally drew that. Plus I have a website wherein I draw pictures of people surrounded by their dreams of greatness and they sell like hotcakes.

4. In my dream of greatness, I’m crazy limber. I’ve figured out how to move my muscles, and I like moving them, and I’m strong and lithe like some kind of dancer. I can totally wear a leotard, and people are like, yeah. That looks right. And not like, oh, the sad fat little ballerina is here. Was not your recital thirty-odd years ago, sad fat little ballerina? Can you not hang up your little toe shoes now? No. They’re like, what? Leotard? Okay, whatever. She’s clearly a dancer. It’s cool.

5. And I’m an author, in my dream of greatness. My book, whatever it is, it is so beautiful. It’s not a novel. It’s not a cookbook. It’s a…book. A great book. A very charming book. One of many very charming and profound books. And so popular. Thank you, Oprah. I know it kept you up at night. The charm would not allow you to sleep. And the profundity also had you rocking ’til the break-a-dawn. I know. I know.

6. Let’s not forget that in my dream of greatness, I found a way to get enlightened. No lie. I either suddenly took up meditating really diligently or the powers-that-be decided to just cut me a break and spring enlightenment on me. So Nirvana is totally an option for me once I kick the can. And I can pop in whenever I like before then. Hey, there, Nirvana. What’s shaking? Same old bliss? Excellent. See you in a little bit. Or something.

7. Plus I can cook!

8. In my dream of greatness, I have got so much money it’s bananas. I’m rolling in it. ROLLING IN IT. And I can do so many fun and wonderful things for myself and for the world. Travel, classes, clothes, houses. Charity up the ying yang! I’d start this dream place for kids, like a Hogwarts for children who’ve been treated poorly in their lives and don’t believe in themselves. They’d come for a week or a month and have great classes and counseling and crazy dream-come-true fun, and the place would be decorated like a radiant, colorful, magic castle. And all these great, loving adults would work there and instill as much self-worth in the little bunnies as could be stuffed into them during their stay.

9. In my dream of greatness, I’m the mom of all time to my little son – who’s real, he’s here. He’s no pipe dream. He’s a wee actual angel person who came out of me four months ago today. In my dream of greatness, I’ve helped my boy feel so loved, so supported, so himself in the world. So ready for this place.

10. And in my dream of greatness, my husband (who is also really here in real time) and I get to live to be 100 years old, and we die at the same moment, laughing our way into sleep. Is that my dream of greatness? No. It’s the dream of greatness I have for the universe, that it is so kind and benevolent and miracle-bestowing that it would make this happen for us. You can do it, universe. I know you have it in you. I’m behind you all the way.


So, there you go. All of that, that’s what I’m looking for. Now, to the job of this blog. What did I do today to get me closer to all of that?

I had a meeting with the theater company of which I’m a member, and we talked about my solo show. I’m doing one. I found the balls, somewhere. So, that’s totally something.

And I did this blog entry, trumpeting my dreams out into the world. That is also absolutely not nothing.

And I woke up today with the feeling that I could probably stop eating ice cream for a while and still be happy. So I made a plan to do that. But I had to eat a bowl of ice cream to help get the ice cream out of the house. So, uh, yeah. Also, I imagined myself walking on a treadmill. But even in my imagination, I was like, eh. Feh. Forget it. So I got off.

ice cream

So, bloom status: Upward, sideways, downward.

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