This is an awesome essay by my amazing Sister-in-Law, Katie Waldie Reid, about her work in Tanzania and with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Read here!
So I decided to take July and shut down from the world and everyone and everything and focus on healing, rebuilding, and figuring out what's next. I have not been as successful with being unconnected as I had hoped--I am still reading emails and texts and tweeting, though I've been lax at replying to emails and texts and reading tweets, which is good. I've gotten back into therapy, I've been to church a couple of times, and I am starting to move my body again--with a fitness class and hopefully yoga to calm the mind and enhance the body (I've been once--with hope to do more.) I've had oodles of fun--Fuzzy and I have been having a ball doing all sorts of fun adventures, and that has been amazing. I've seen amazing shows and laughed a lot. The summer has finally gotten hot and I've been outside a bit more, which makes a difference. So things are good and better than they have been, but yet, I still feel lost and confused and worthless and afraid.
I feel like this is an important transition in my life. I am on the edge of doing something great, and the precipice of major change.
But what? I have no idea.
Is this a mid-life crisis? Perhaps, though I get into this same place every few years. I get weary of the lifestyle that I have so far lived--taking on too many projects, giving all of my time to other people and a million commitments. Getting trapped in that "busy" that I hate, and when I reach my breaking point, I stop everything and ask what's next. I heal for a bit, and then do the exact same thing again. This is the roller coaster. But I don't like it any more. I want to try to be mindful moving forward of things that I know that I need--downtime at night, time with my husband, not a crazy schedule, but I also need work and to make money and all that. I completed a major artistic acheivement with my dance show, and feel like maybe I should be writing the things I want to write and creating some sort of brilliant piece of art or something that will help other people, but I don't know what or how. I'll be the first person to tell others to take risks and get out of their comfort zones, and I used to practice what I preach, but now I just feel stuck. And I don't know how to move forward or what to do or how to function.
Lately I've seen all sorts of inspirational things--Ballet 422, Chefs Table, the Taylor Swift concert--all things featuring amazing hard working incredibly driven individuals who are creating art and beauty and empowerment and changing the world for the better. These things make me want to move, to do things, to push myself to the limit, while also making me think that I just pale in comparison to these people and what important thing do I have to say?
But what am I good at? Well, I am a good listener, and a good producer, and I know that I can deliver a wedding and deliver a show, but am I the best at what I do? No way.
I feel like I need to do something TOTALLY different to mix it up. To work on a farm. To do something away from a computer and away from customer service and away from administration. There are so many terrible things in the world--I feel obligated to help others to do something that makes a difference, but I don't have those skills or even know what to do. I often talk of getting rid of everything, going off the grid, and living in the woods. (With Fuzzy, of course.) I like change, and I don't like feeling stuck in a cycle of accept work, get sick, have meltdown, quit all work, wash rinse repeat.
But yet, here I am. Home, on the computer. Procrastinating on the actual work that I need to do. Stuck.
But also yet, maybe being conscious of this is half the battle. I am so trying to be nice to myself this month and really allow myself to relax--something that I honestly think I have never been able to truly do in all 36 years of my life.
The sun just came out. I am going to go out there.
Below is a transcription of every single diary entry that I made between the years of 1987 and 1990. Prepare to be amazed and have an peek into the prolific inner workings of my young Erica brain. Spelling and punctuation errors are included. Enjoy.
Diary 1 Cover
Today was my birthday party. I got lots of groovy stuff. Thats even where I got you Dear Diary. Iv'e always wanted a Diary. And that is when I got you. I love you
Dear Diary. I'm glad I got you. Well lets get on with other things. I love school.
Today we went to see Crocadal Dundee. It was great! I love Paul Hogen. I love school. [Editors note: the rest of this entry is completely scratched out, but from what I can read it's about thinking two boys in my class are cute.]
Today was great!! How are you? I read this poem somday. Want
I lost my cat two weeks ago. Freda. I loved her so much. My Mom ran over her. I loved her so much.
I got a new cat. Her name is Freda. I love her. She looks like Freda. She is sweet. So you like my dodle? I like doddleing. Do you? [Editors note: there is a scribbly drawing on the bottom of this page. Also, did I think that the Diary was a person that was going to answer my questions? Also also, yes, we got a cat that looked just like the cat that had died before and named it the same thing. Freda was an important part of our family. It is also worth noting that we briefly had a dog previous to this that we also named Freda.]
Yesterday was St. Patricks Day. But today someone spent the night tonight.
STARTING of real Diary.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving! I had so much to be thankful for. So much I couldn't think of all the things I was thankful for! Today is suppose to be the biggest shopping day of the year or season. I am in the 4th grade now. I have to change classes. It is fun. I am in ROTOC. We've changed the name. We go on Monday from 8:30-11:30, and Wednesday 12:30-2:00. I was rated 4th best in the state of the world. See you tomarow. Bye!!! [Editors note: ROTOC was the gifted program in our elementary school, and ROTOC stood for "Reaching Out To Our Community" but was changed to GATES "Gifted And Talented Eductional System" or something like that. Though, by my statement of "4th best in the state of the world" and spelling of "tomorrow," I might have been missplaced in that program.]
I haven't been writing in you SORRY! I promise I will write in you every day.
April 12, 1989
Wow! I can't beleive it's 1990. A whole year & decade has gone by. Last night my family & I stayed up until 1:20. My aunt, uncle, and baby cousin came over. Christmas came and left. It was fun. I got great stuff. I even got a phone! I was sick the week before last with the flu. I missed all of the last week of school. I have to make up work. I guess you can say I had a 3 week vacation. We still have 1 week left. Well, I'll have fun.
[Editors Note: three large hearts are below my signature, which is in cursive.]
I have to make it short. Today was okay, But just a few hours ago I got horrible stomach pains.
Sorry I haven't written in you for ages. Wednesday I got my phone put up, a light put up & yesterday I got a beautiful ballet pencil box. On the bus I thought up this story. I will write it in my diary when I can.
[Editors Note: three large hearts are at the bottom of this page.]
Once upon a time...
Jill Michelle Stacey
[Editors Note: this page has this the text above crossed out in blue marker with the word "Stupid" written underneath it.]
I am talking to my good friend Rosemary. She is my good friend
5 more days of school left! Then we get the whole summer out! I'm so excited. The NKOTB concert in in August. I can't wait. Now in school, we are having 6 weeks tests. Blech! Gross tests. I made 5 99's on my
BASAP (sorry) BSAP test though. That's the best you can get. Well, I gotta go. Time for bed. C-ya!
[Drawing of a heart] ya babe,
That was the last entry.
Clearly, I was a brilliant child.
It is really interesting to me, though, the amount of guilt that I carried for not writing in the diary. Like I was putting all sorts of unrealistic pressure on myself to do things that only I am pressuring myself to do. I GUESS SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE.
Photos from the Modet Dance Collective's half of Collected and Conscious.
Dress Rehearsal, Thursday, June 11 & Opening Night, Friday, June 12, 2015.
Dancers: Miranda Baldwin, Amy Dahlem, Lily Jean, Dina Kats, Erica Reid, Melissa Talleda, Laura Wagner, and Anna Zordan.
Choreography by Amy Dahlem, Lily Jean, Dina Kats, Erica Reid, Rebecca Robertstad, and Anna Zordan.
Lighting by Henry Bateman.
Photos by Greg Inda.
The above photos are from an improvised dance Melissa and I did based on audience answers to a posted question.
From my piece Ebb and Flow.
From Lily's piece, Bo'i (Come With Me).
From Dina's piece, F**ck it All.
From my piece Take Care.
From Rebecca's piece Time.
From Anna's piece, Losing It.
From Amy's piece, Fiya Wata.
Back when we started SNORF, a few months in, I had an anxiety dream about the show. There was a video that I didn't remember filming. Puppets were missing. And there was a sketch that we had in the show that I did not remember anyone writing and that we had not rehearsed. It was called the Lotion Sketch.
I shared this with my cast. They then proceed to, month after month while setting up, slip in at least one reference to it, most commonly, "Oh, did anyone print out the Lotion sketch?"
It was awesome.
We've decided to close this open run of SNORF, after a 2 year off and on run of a new show every month. We are going to switch our focus for a little while, while still generating material. This Saturday will be our last show in its current incarnation.
So, for our last month, guess what Adam in the cast wrote?
The Lotion Sketch.
And it is glorious.
Come see it this Saturday at 11am at the Side Project Theatre on Jarvis.
It's going to be great.
(but it will also be rehearsed, thankfully)
I come from a music family. I went to my first concert when I was 7, and some of my happiest memories of growing up are of my mom and dad blaring music out of our giant speakers in the house with all the windows open and the screen door and the hot Southern summer breeze. In fact, playing music loudly with the windows all open is one of my favorite things to do. My parents instilled in us an appreciation of all music and drilled lyrics and songwriters and bands all the time (my dad was known to hear a song on the radio, turn it down a bit, and say "kids, who sings this?" He also loved the repeat the lyrics after they were sung, so that Christopher and I would know the message and meaning behind the song.) As a adult, I have to have music playing almost all of the time around me--when I work, when I rest, just because.
I've always liked the Grateful Dead, and always enjoyed the radio hits. My folks were not Deadheads, so I didn't know too much about them really before Jerry Garcia died in 95, but I was familiar with their song and legacy. In recent years, I have listened to them a lot more, and enjoyed almost everything of theirs. I have to give credit to the wonderful and amazing and incredible Rebecca Hanson, who shares almost the exact taste in music and pop culture and comedy as I do, for getting me more into jam bands, especially Phish, which I was already a fan of certain albums of from college and Erica Livingston and Harrison Scott Key back home. But thanks to Rebecca, I have a deeper love for the music and the concerts. A few years ago, as a tag on to a super long and elaborate birthday greeting started by Erica and I about 17 years ago, Rebecca left me a voicemail as Bob Weir on I think dad's birthday. This was the funniest thing I had ever heard, and so for years, we've traded Bob Weir voicemails and bits. Loving Bob Weir means getting more into the Grateful Dead, and running the Terrapin 5K as Bob Weir, etc etc etc.
In January, I was at the airport to pick up Fuzzy from a work trip he had been on, and while in the parking lot, I heard a song on XRT that was unfamiliar to me, but was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I am sure that I had heard it before, but it just hit me at the right time. It was a few days after Jason's death, and everything was raw and emotional, and I played it as loud as I could. It was Box of Rain. That song, and the full American Beauty album is pretty much all that I have listened to this year. I would listen to Box of Rain every morning, and often on repeat (I am someone who can listen to the same song for hours.) It became my happy safe place to listen to that song and album when I was stressed out. Some days, I would pick different studio albums and live concerts and have them playing in the other room. I later learned that Phil Lesh wrote Box of Rain to sing to his father who was dying of cancer. Obviously, that hit home with me, and the song became even more special. "Such a long long time to be gone and short time to be there." It came into my life at the right time.
A few days after that day at the airport, it was announced that for their 50th anniversary, the remaining Grateful Dead members would reunite after 20 years to play their last 3 shows in Chicago at Soldier Field, the location of the last show ever played by them on July 9th, 1995. This obviously was a big deal. I wasn't able to get tickets when they were on sale due to having to be somewhere or something, but they sold out in no time and started showing up places for tens of thousands of dollars. My friend Amy lucked into getting a weekend pass, and I was amazed! I had plans to go down to the campus to hang out outside the venue. Fuzzy was a fan, and had seen them before, and I was hoping to get him to shlepp down with me.
On Wednesday, June 3, I clicked over to the Dead 50 site to look at things, and I saw that that Friday, they were going to release a handful of tickets to the 3 Chicago shows. There was a 2 ticket limit per household. I had to try. I did some thinking--Everyone was going to want to be at that last Sunday show, so that was out. Saturday was a holiday so more people would be out of work and down there, so I tried for the Friday, July 3rd show. The day came, and the clock clicked over to 11am, and clicked "best available." After a short waiting period, it showed up--2 tickets, main floor general admission. I started shaking and crying and called Fuzzy to make sure it was ok to spend the money, and after an incredibly stressful time of not remembering my password and having to reset it all while the countdown clock was happening, I got this:
I feel like it was a gift from the universe for putting up with all the pains and stresses of the year.
Cut to Friday.
Fuzzy had the day off from work, so we had some fun. We went down to the stadium a bit early to take in the scene and get the lay of the land down there.
When we got in, they gave us all roses.
So surreal. One of the world's most iconic bands, and we were going to be a part of one of their historical last shows.
Guess what song they opened with?
Box of Rain.
It was meant to be.
It was also the last song they played in this venue at their last show.
The rest of the night was so surreal. Seeing Bob Weir in the flesh was awesome! And Bruce Hornsby and Fuzzy's favorite Mickey Hart and Phish's Trey Anastasio stepping into Jerry's role. Admittedly, the audio on the main floor was not awesome--we had a hard time hearing the vocals and everything was echo-y (there was a bank of speakers that came on only a couple times in the show that made things better--we wish they had been on the whole show.) They played a ton of recognizble and awesome songs, and it was a rocking evening.
We had a blast!
All in all, the experience was magical, and I really do feel we were at the right show of the 3 (though we are watching the other 2 from the telecast at home). It was so nice to have a fun night with Fuzzy and to just relax and let go. It also felt like the official start of the summer. I am so happy that we got to be a part of it.
"Let there be songs to fill the air."
I will eventually get around to posting photos here, but I am putting them over on our Kickstarter page first. Please enjoy photos of the Modet Dance Collective half of Collected and Conscious, opening night, June 12, 2015. Photos by the incredible Greg Inda.