Sometimes People Just Need You To Listen.

I didn’t talk a lot about my divorce.  I felt like I did – but really I didn’t.  I’ve always sorta of been someone who preferred to do things on my own, but mostly, I didn’t want to be THAT FRIEND who only talked about her divorce.   So I just basically* didn’t say anything unless someone asked how I was doing – and meant HOW I was doing.  This had varying degrees of success.

I discovered this had a few…drawbacks, I guess?  First, people sort of just filled in their own blanks.  My favorite, I think, was hearing that people determined I was “stuck” with my married name – probably the easiest part of the process to deal with, especially since many people never called me by it in the first place.  Thankfully, though – as far as I know people have understood the lack of drama behind the circumstances.

Second, the poor folks who did ask suddenly got more than they bargained for, I’m sure.  I’m not talking a waterfall of tears, or a whinefest or anything (who knows?  maybe they thought it was), but they got an answer.

– Some days were great.

– Some days I wanted to snap at people for no apparent reason.

– Some days I wanted to not talk to any one.

– Some days (most days) I was so thankful to be working with the kids.

– Some days (most days) I was so thankful for my understanding family.

– Some days I wanted to wring his neck.

– Some days I wanted him home.

– Some days I wanted to yell.

– Some days I just wanted to cry.

– Because it was just sad.  Nothing else but sad.

This didn’t come out it every answer.  It depended on the day and who was asking.  I obviously didn’t expect them to fix anything.  What could they possibly do?  Nothing.  I just needed to talk.  I needed them to listen.  I needed to say out loud what was on my brain – and not to someone who was getting paid to hear it.  I wasn’t a problem that needed to be solved, I was going through a process – a mourning.  A healing.

And try as I might, I couldn’t do that on my own.  But I was also terribly aware of what people don’t want to hear about in everyday conversation.

– They don’t want to hear how deafening the silence is when you used to come home and share the events of your day.

– They don’t want to hear about every time you found another memento of your married life. And then putting it away somewhere. Be it a box or the garbage.

– They don’t want to hear about relearning how to sleep on both sides of the bed.

– They don’t want to hear how “I hope your meeting goes well,” and “thanks” were the last words we said to each other as husband and wife.

– They don’t want to hear about sitting in a board room with only a lawyer, your sister, and a box of kleenex; Saying “I Do” to undo what you said “I Do” to in front of so many family and loved ones.

– They don’t want to hear about how most of the paperwork was mailed off like a rebate, and how I could find out if I was married or not, simply by signing on to a website.

I knew people didn’t want to hear about that stuff.  Not then.  Not while it was going on.  So I just didn’t say it. I doubt many care to hear about it now.  Maybe not talking about made people think I skated through just fine.  Truly, most of the time, it’s not on my mind.  But if it didn’t cross my brain or my heart every now and again, I’d start to wonder if I actually had a heart to begin with.

It is part of my life.  All of it.  The being married.  The breaking apart.  And the being a divorced person.  Those are experiences I have.  Do they define me?  No. But I’m always hyper-aware of how often I used terms like “my ex” or “married” (you know  – past tense), so as not to offend or irritate anyone – or come off as the Debbie Downer.  Most things I’m speaking of don’t actually have to do with the divorce itself – they just happen to have occurred at a time when I was married to someone I’m not married to anymore.

We all have “THAT friend” who seems to come to with their problems more often than you’d like.  You hear the same things time and again, and you continue to spout off the same advice, hoping that, just once, it wouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Maybe you’ve been through something similar and came out great on the other side.  You wish they’d take their problems and “Talk to Someone.”  Maybe the professional can help them figure things out.  I admit, I’ve been guilty of the same thing – with people I love a great deal.  And Yes. There are many people and issues that do require a professional third party to wade through.  But I’m learning that sometimes people don’t need to be fixed, they just need to be heard.  More than once, and by a compassionate ear.  Someone they know.  Someone they can have a beer or ice cream or chips and salsa with.  Someone they can watch cheesy movies with.  Someone who will hug them while they cry, not just watch them do it.

We all do things differently and in our own time.  It’s enough to go through our own problems without having to worry about what other people think about the process through which we go.  If you don’t know what else to do, just be there and listen. We’ll probably figure things out on our own.

Oh, and pizza.  Pizza is good too.

*****

*As with every rule, there are exceptions.  I am so very grateful for those exceptions.

Heavenly Music

This song has turned me into a sobbing pile of sob-sob on more than one occasion.

 

Music of HeavenJason Robert Brown

From the Album, Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes

I come with my armor in place,
Emotions in check,
And thinking I’m smarter,
Or just more realistic.
I sit with my frozen smile,
All the while
Reluctant to trust what I’m told.
Cynical, cold,
Challenging music of Heaven
To open a crack in my chest
And let something glorious in.
Music of Heaven
Should puncture me, suddenly
Blessed, blessed, blessed –
Let the music begin.
Let the music begin.

They sing and they cry and I watch,
Lean back in my chair,
The classic New Yorker,
Alone among millions,
Indifference upon my face,
Out of place,
But longing to feel what you feel…
Like it was real;
Like there could be music of Heaven
That opened some path to your soul
And let something glorious in.
Music of Heaven
Allows you to give up control …
Yes, yes –
Let the music begin.
Let the music begin.

And I sit there with dry eyes
And cold hands
Judging and standing apart.
Dry eyes
And cold hands,
Waiting and wondering
When will it open my heart?
When will it open my heart?

When will I open my heart?
I hear you sing
I hear you sing
And I want to say, “Yes!”
Yes!
Yes!
I hear you singing…
Holy Father!
I want to sing Holy Father!
I want to sing Holy Father!
And I want to say Yes!
Say yes!
Say yes!
I need to sing
Holy Father!
I need to cry
I need to believe!
And I can say Yes!
Yes
Yes…
I can say yes, yes, yes
I will say
Yes, yes, yes…
Let the music begin.
Let the music begin.
Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!

Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!

Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Holy Father!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes, yes, yes…

 

Changing It Up A Little.

I am a person who tends to get ready in the same order every day. Not out of any compulsive need, really. It’s more to prevent forgetting something important like deodorant or, say, oral hygiene.

The dog seemed to have caught on to the routine and determined that everytime I’m getting ready to leave the house means we’re going someplace interesting. WE. US. Including her. Puppy Spazzes commence.

In order to counteract this, I tried getting ready in random order. You know, to throw her off a little. And while it drove me batty making sure my breath was fresh – and it must have been terribly entertaining for her…

I realize she thinks in much broader terms…

Like, that I’m out of bed.

You Got Me.

One of my favorite things to do is take my dog to the dog park.  I assume, from her spaz outs as we pull up, it’s one of her favorite activities as well.  You’d never guess she was deaf, unless you were watching closely.  I talk to her often, but I don’t speak her commands.  I cross the park to simply “tell” her to get down from a picnic table.  I don’t shout, clap, or whistle.  She’s very in tune to light and movement.  Butterflies, shadows of any sort, and reflections from cell phones are high priority.  However, being a proper Southern Lady, she will make sure to stop and greet all of the newcomers (people first, then dogs).  The usual canine…er…”greeting” startles her, but it usually turns to play energy almost immediately.  If there are more than two or three dogs in a romp, she’ll find higher ground for a better view, or simply go about her shadow chasing.  People really enjoy her, and we’ve all loved watching her get more comfortable in her own skin.

Her sweet nature and her quirks draw attention, not her disability.  If I do say so myself, she’s also a pretty girl.  I can never get by without someone asking what kind of dog she is. I’ve taken to replying with a simple shrug and an, “Awesome.”  Someone even told me they would have taken her for a “million-dollar” dog.  I’m not sure I believed it, but I thanked them all the same.

These are some of the suggestions I’ve gotten:

Pit Bull

Husky

Bull Terrier

White Shepherd

Australian Cattle Dog

Corgi?

What do you think she is?

 

Happy Accidents in Educational Theatre

The Invitation Dress Rehearsal for “Phantom…” was last night. I sat at the back of the house, letting the show be what it is and do what it do.  And actually, as kids do, they magically brought it together quite well – despite a few nail-biter moments.

Many of those moments, while brief, were totally expected, as they were hit or miss in rehearsal. Mostly miss (I LOVE these kids). But one moment came out of nowhere – kinda like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s key changes.

Lucas, our Phantom, started into the ‘Down Once More’ section (for those not enveloped in the show, the tune picks up at the B section of ‘Music of the Night’ – Close your eyes, etc).  But for reasons I can only attribute to Goblins, he picked it up about a third higher than written.  As written, he wails out “…into HELL!” on an A*. One that made Lucas the Young Baritone nervous to begin with. 

The orchestra started whamming out their parts to get him back on track. From the audience, I tried telepathy. He just kept going.  I thought, “Does Lucas even *have* a C?  We’re about to find out.”

The section came. The C came. And it was gorgeous.

And like a twisted little Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber miracle, the key changed – the theme changed – and Lucas got himself back on track.

And now he knows that silly little A is nothing to be afraid of.

______

*I don’t have my score in front of me as I write, it could be A-flat – I’m not certain of the key signature. But then, who is where Sir Andrew is concerned? They go by so fast.

Standby one, Houston.

No, but…really…I swear…I keep coming here to write!

I’m on the go: Teaching, rehearsing, performing,  bartending, and directing. There may or may not be a bit of a social life in there too. Maybe.

Can I distract you with a cute picture of my dog?

Ok, so it’s an old one. But it’s still cute.

Matching Pitch.

This is exactly what the garbage truck sounds like.  Exactly.