Nancy *and* Tonya Can Both Be Victims

January 9, 2018

So, “I, Tonya” (I think my favorite movie) is making twitter waves.

And I’ve seen many takes of people sort of thinking of this as “Nancy v Tonya.” “What about Nancy Kerrigan?!” people are asking.

But I just wanted to float the idea that two female teammates don’t *have* to be this zero sum game of “one of this princess and one is the wicked villain.” Life isn’t a wrapped-up-neat Disney movie.

I think it’s very possible that they’re both victims of Jeff Gillooly. (I was going to say victims maybe in different ways, but Jeff was very violent with Tonya. So, she was physically hurt by him as well. So, maybe they were victims both in different and similar ways.) 

Anyway, that’s the main thing I wanted to put out there.

I’d also like to say that one argument people are making about why it seems ridiculous to some that we’re out here celebrating Tonya Harding is that they’re thinking of Tonya Harding as someone who perpetrated assault – an abuser. And this is a time where we’re supposed to be celebrating the survivors pushing perpetrators out of the limelight. (I mean, the time to do that was long ago, but since it didn’t happen, the time is now.)

And I thought about that before I started effusively and often talking about how much I adore Tonya Harding. But here’s my thing. I truly don’t believe she was part of planning or carrying out the attack. I think it was just as much a shock to her as to the rest of the country. I don’t think she is an abuser.

And I could be wrong. But as I said, I think the most likely scenario is that both women are victims of the man – whose name I’d never heard until the movie. (How is she so publicly vilified when he’s the one who went to jail?!)

Anyway. 

Has Tonya been the abuser I would agree that we shouldn’t celebrate her for that incident. 

(I think I would still think that she should have the potential opportunity to rehabilitate – I think the perpetrators of many crimes (including many abusers/assaulters) should have the opportunity to learn, to make amends and pat some reparations, to be better, and to be slowly and cautiously (for at least a while) be integrated back into society.)

So, no matter what, I don’t think that after well over 20 years, I’d be like “keep her banished the woods forever!” But I also definitely don’t think I’d be like “let’s celebrate her at all these ceremonies!” – especially since we’re celebrating a movie about that point in her life. (Like, had she been the abuser, I wouldn’t want to celebrate that awful moment. (I’m not blowing any party horns for Jeff Gillooly over here.))

But anyway, I believe many people are thinking too binary with the idea of “if we celebrate Tonya, we vilify Nancy” (or some version of that).

I don’t believe in diminishing the pain Nancy Kerrigan went through. I just don’t believe Tonya put her in that pain. And I don’t think we can celebrate only one of them. 

I think we can recognize both of their painful pasts from that time, and recognize Jeff Gillooly and Sean Eckhart as the villains in this tale. 

Why Do We All Want The Reboots?

January 3, 2018

It feels like recently there’s been a rebirth of all these older shows.

Will & Grace, Roseanne, Full House, Gilmore Girls, King of Queens II (aka Kevin Can Wait). (Maybe more. Feel free to let me know if I’m missing any!)

What do you think that’s about? Why, instead of new, do we want the comforts of old?

Don’t get me wrong. I am just as excited as anyone that Will & Grace is coming back. And I am watching every episode! But to me, this seems like a new phenomenon. I don’t remember a bunch of reboots when I was a kid. So, what is it about this moment in time that makes us want this?

Is it because we want to be reminded of the time before Trump was president?

Is it because those shows take us back to a simpler time when we didn’t have technology that kept us constantly (sometimes (maybe many times) over-)connected?

Is it because we want the shared experience of everyone talking about the same show again?

It boggles my mind to think that there are shows that have been on for more than a hundred episodes that I am barely aware exist. (Last Man Standing. The Middle. Did you know Matt LeBlanc has a sitcom on CBS and it’s already been on a full season?!?!)

I’m so curious what we as a society want when we seem to be clamoring for this.

(…I don’t have answers here – just wondering out loud.)

2017 In Review (By Month)

December 31, 2017

It feels like every year I do this. And every year, I’m like, “I need to stop doing it by month. That’s not the best way.” And every year I do it anyway. (Skip down if you want it broken up by month.)

Anyway. I really didn’t want to do it this year, because in some ways, I think 2017 was potentially the worst year of my life. I mean, from about September 2016 – September 2017 was about the worst year of my life. So, not all of that is 2017. But it’s a lot.

I know I tried my best to push through. But I think of all the days I sobbed, feeling like “I can’t possibly get out of bed.” Even after I started Project 882, I thought that would change something. but it didn’t change the PTSD symptoms. Projects can help you if you’re just feeling low, but if you actually have a disorder you’re dealing with, it wasn’t a magical fix.

I remember how incredibly hard Project 882 was (and it’s not even done, but we’re almost there). I think about the physical pain, the mental anguish (which was everywhere – not just in running). I remember how hard working was, how hard talking to other humans was – just how hard everything was. It was all SO. HARD.

I think I am finally – finally – getting my act together (at least a little) now toward the end of the year. So, heaven-willing, my 2018 will be different. But no matter what “accomplishments” I put here, the thing I remember most from this year is a lot of pain. Thank goodness gracious it’s ending. Go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out, 2017.

Anyway, here, as every year, are some highlights(?), sort of roughly-ish separated by months.

January – Started Project 882

February – Did my “marathon of the year” (Every year I do a marathon in a different state. In February, I did one in New Orleans.)

March – I used my passport for the first time when I went to Mexico.

April – I went to Europe for the first time! I had a lovely surprising trip to Portugal when a layover turned into an adventure.

May – I don’t know… I went to England? I mean, I know there’s Brexit and everything, but it’s still part of Europe. I made some of my first international friends. I explored late at night and ended up in a fun gay bar. (I’m just talking until something sounds unique enough that we move on to June.)

June – I finally(!) went to my first Red Sox game (at Fenway and everything!). That was a good time.

July – I went to a couple different Cory Booker events. (Yay for being close to Jersey!). And those were really renewing.

August – I worked at The Daily Show (which I’d wanted to do for many years). (I technically started working here in June, but it was still happening in August. So, I’m leaving this here.)

September – I worked a job with better hours, and better pay, and a better atmosphere after realizing that there was a specific Daily Show I wanted to work for. And it was not this one. Oh well. Had a great time at my union job that came next!

October – I re-started BMI (Dun dun dun!) (This technically happened in September, but it was late September. So, I’m just putting this in October so my great job can go in September.)

November – I dunno. I became pretty active in BMI – watching some of the source material at my apartment, doing extra assignments and stuff. I guess that’s worth putting in here.

December – I technically finished trauma therapy. (We finished. But, at the place where I had it, they do a month of looking back and I’m not really sure what because I haven’t done it yet. We’re taking a break until Project 882 etc is over. So, I will technically have a few more sessions to, I dunno, reminisce probably isn’t the best word, but uh, to look back… BUT, I finished all the processing and ended in, I probably the healthiest place we could.)

What I “Should’ve” Done…

December 29, 2017

With it being around the time of the changing of the calendar years, and being between jobs right now (and being in gorgeous LA), I’ve had maybe some more time and/or desire to reflect. And I dunno, that just kinda makes me think… maybe too much. Maybe a good amount. Who knows. Anyway.

As I think/seem/hope (goodness gracious) to be wrapping up – not just being sexually assaulted, and the somewhat severe PTSD symptoms that followed – but all the fallout of everything after (the changes in my body and some weight gain I’m desperately working to get rid of, rebuilding the affected friendships, climbing out of the financial strain that came, and all that jazz)… I think about ways this could all look prettier now – ways I could’ve maybe had less to kind of clean up in this life or whatever.

And my originally thought – here in the land of people I love (and palm trees), I was thinking, “You know what would’ve been smart? Just leave. When Nightly Show got cancelled, and I lost my apartment, and I found out sexual assault dude was coming back to Monday nights – that all happened in fall of 2016. No reason I couldn’t have come back, hung out for a year, and then still gone back to BMI in fall of 2017.

And I think this way because I do better in Los Angeles. I’m healthier. I’m more comfortable. I’m not afraid. So, I go out. I workout. I live. I imagine I would’ve had fewer expenses. (For one thing, I don’t think I would’ve had all my food delivered all the time because I never wanted to walk outside. And I would’ve ubered less and all of that.) I imagine I would’ve gained fewer pounds (from the whole staying active and engaged thing.) I imagine I might’ve had fewer friendship rough patches to repair (assuming I could’ve stayed mentally healthier as I’m assuming in this post).

And I think originally I was gonna write this post with this idea of that definitively I made the wrong choice and that’s what I should’ve done – come home and healed for a year, and then went back out to New York.

But.

The reasons I stayed in New York included:
– I had a dope trauma therapist I adore, and I didn’t want to lose her.
– I wanted to settle into an apartment so that when BMI started, it wasn’t the same as the first time time – that I wouldn’t have to deal with all this stuff on top of starting class. Also, I liked the idea that if I was settled in, we could do things at my apartment – watch movies for class, etc.
– I didn’t want to get back into the swing of consistently working in Los Angeles. Because sometimes once you start working, you keep getting hired by the same people, and I didn’t want to have to navigate leaving a good job situation for a class in New York.
– And I wanted to start that momentum by continuing to work in New York, so hopefully I had a job while I was in class and didn’t have to worry about how I was gonna sustain myself.
– I also was scared about the whole “getting back on the horse thing” – that if I just took a giant breath and stuck it out and stayed in this place that seemed scary, then I’d stay, and I wouldn’t give up on my dream. Whereas, if I came home… well, it would start to feel super comfortable. And I’d get in the job momentum, and I’d get in the momentum of the improv community, and I’d get so easily re-settled that it would seem scarier than ever (and next to impossible) to move then.

And I sort of think I was right to think all that! My dope trauma therapist worked with me until I was able to sleep again and get through a day without crying and all that. I might have been able to find someone out here like her. But I was a mess and don’t know that I could have. It was hard enough to find her. (It was hard to do everything (even get out of bed) in the state I was in. So finding another great therapist might’ve well have been an Olympic event back then.)

I did find the basically perfect apartment. (I mean…it’s small, sure, but it’s very funny, and New York, and kind of adorable, and it’s right where I wanna live.) And I settled in. And we do have class movie nights there!

I did have the work momentum which was helpful.

Basically, every reason I wanted to stay in New York came true. So, while it’s easy to be out here having fun and losing weight by the day and all this and think “my life would’ve been simpler had I come out, gotten my head on straight and gone back,” I can’t know that.

I might’ve been a total mess going back. I might’ve been a total mess had I come out here. I did come out here sometimes and still cried a lot! Palm trees don’t stop PTSD. So, you know, I don’t know.

I’m also sort of doing the “ideal” plan a little backwards. ‘Cause now I am being here for a fair amount of time, and it’s great (which I think also makes it easier to think “see! I should’ve done this earlier” (when earlier I wasn’t capable of much at all).

So, in conclusion, I don’t know. I don’t know what I “should’ve” done. I came here to this post with this idea that I had it aaaaaaall figured it out. But I don’t. Maybe I did the right thing. Maybe I didn’t. I did the best I knew how, and am continuing to. And in the end, it’s all working out – maybe quite not as quickly as I wanted, or in the very exact way that I wanted. But it is working out, and that’s probably what’s most important in the end…

I’m Back To Crying In Chipotles* Again?

December 21, 2017

*This time is was a department store. But I say that because I remember when things were really bad and I couldn’t survive like a day (or even half a day really) without bawling, and I was crying in all these public spaces, and like I definitely was starting to get the full understanding that there was a real problem brewing.

But someone really close to me like sort of kind got it, but I think just sort of assumed that I was like a normal level of sad when something doesn’t go well – so, like, sad… But, you know, like “oh, hey, let’s go out you’ll feel better” kind of sad, not like “life is a crushing burden, I can’t get out of bed, and I’m going to lose my job” type of sad.

And anyway, we went to Chipotle, and I just started crying in line, because, well, I was crying everywhere. And not like making-a-scene crying. But like, he thought everything was fine, until I like turned my head so he could see it, because he kept talking to me, and I kind of had to. And tears were just streaming down my face. (It wasn’t 100% unprovoked. At the time, I was still trying to find my next apartment in New York. And it was hard. And I think I’d maybe just gotten an email on my phone about needing even more paperwork or something – something that wouldn’t normally trigger a breakdown, but you know, kind of did this time.)

Anyway, this person I was with, they saw my face, and I could just see in their eyes the realization that “oh no. This is much more serious than I realized.” And I dunno. It’s kind of been a moment that’s stuck with me.

And anyway, it was also sort of how I thought about how good I was doing on recuperating and such. Like, I am “we can’t even take you to Chipotle” in a level of despair? Or am I better than that?

And I would say starting in September-ish I thought I was really hitting my stride. I was starting a new job, re-starting BMI, things seemed to be starting over. I was on the tail end of trauma therapy. I’d basically worked through everything. And I thought I really had past this whole Chipotle-breakdown-level sadness.

And then I was in a department store, trying to pick out something new and cute to wear.

And I know shopping can already be a very frustrating experience – like if something doesn’t fit the way you want, or imagined, or if you’re not as small in a certain brand as another and on and on and on. So, I’m sure that was part of it.

And then John Legend’s “Love Me Now” came on, and I sat on the floor of a fitting room and bawled.

And hey! At least we’re making progress because something sad is playing. So, at least that’s a reason. And at least I pretty much made it to the fitting room before crying, so my meltdowns aren’t quite as public.

Anyway, the song just was so very sad to me. I mean, it’s also uplifting. I dunno. The main line is, “I don’t know who’s gonna kiss you when I’m gone. So, I’m gonna love you now. Like it’s all I have.”

That was my first time hearing it all the way through. I can’t listen to it without crying.

I dunno. It just rang so like, “I’ve abandoned my whole life I made here. And I’m about to go see this person I care about so much and it’s gonna be the first time in what feels like forever and it may be the last time in who knows how long.” And I dunno. It just really hit me of like this whole life will be lived with the people I care about while I’m gone… And I’m always gone. I’m always gone!”

And I dunno. It all just felt so kind of fleeting and then there was the added “and what if I don’t look cute?” But thankfully all my California friends always make me feel cute because it’s nice out here, and I’m cuter out here, and the air is nicer. And on and on and on.

[Edited to add: In conclusion, I did look cute. And I had the time of my life.
And that also makes it kind of sad, right? Good and bad. Goodness, it’s so great to be here. And also, it’s so very fleeting. But I guess life is in general. So, I dunno.]

Anyway, I guess after saying all this… Maybe I’m not back to crying in Chipotles. I mean, I’m crying at John Legend. And sometimes in public. But I’m not just like crying at the total drop of a hat. I don’t think. Maybe more on this later. Who knows?

When Do The Consequences End? (And When Do I Really – Really, Really, Really, Really – Get My Life Back?)

December 18, 2017

Oh goodness.

I thought I was done with these – with the posts where I sob at my computer as I type. I thought kind of the chapter of sadness and despair and thinking all the time about sexual assault and all the fallout from it and everything was over.

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I gained some weight when everything happened. It makes sense and is a normal side effect after sexual assault. And as things got better emotionally, I started thinking, “great, now I can work on gaining this weight.”

I’ve sort of been compartmentalizing things a bit in my head – as far as ways I’d been affected. And as therapy started going better, and my living space became more livable instead of just a cluttered sad dungeon, and being around people became more bearable, and on and on, I thought, “great, I can finally worry about weight.”

But now I’m to that and it just doesn’t seem quite as simple to lose as it did last time. I mean, for one thing, I have that stupid injury (my sprained ankle) which seems to be ever-present and never go away. And I dunno. It seems sadder this time.

(I mean, I’m not as heavy as I once was, but I’m heavier than I want. And the zippers on my super cute, adorable, size 4 dresses that I was so proud to wear don’t zip. And I can’t handle that.)

Then there are different possibilities, since I am injured or whatever, you know, if I need a jump start, I could always go get some lipo or some “cool sculpting” or any of many things that run the gamut from super invasive to less so, from very expensive to not as much. But then all these other things come along with that – money, for one. It’s like, “Okay, so if I actually can get back to feeling okay about my body, I’ll do it at the expense of going into even more debt (which I’ve already talked about on here.) (And really, even going about things the “right” way, ClassPass’s rates are way up, etc.)

Plus, aside from money, there are scars, and there’s delayed results! You don’t walk out of lipo looking amazing. You walk out looking swollen and it takes weeks or sometimes months to look settled and “normal.” (Oh yeah, I’ve been reading a LOT on RealSelf.)

And THEN, now that I’m actually talking to and enjoying other human beings again, I’m interacting with more friends – some I haven’t seen or talked to in a while and then we get to “oh we should really hang out!” And I COULD! I’m on break from school. I’m on hiatus from work. I’ve got nothing but time. And yet I’m avoiding these people I adore because I can’t bear to be “normal Aurora” around them.

And we could argue that “oh, come on, your friends don’t care what you look like.” But what about how I feel? What if I don’t feel good being around them when I don’t feel good about myself? But it’s still devastating to me. I love my friends. I want to see my friends! i don’t want to hide out like I’m freaking Quasimodo. And yet, somehow, here I am.

So, it’s like even *after* I get my body together – assuming I can actually do that(!) – then I’m still gonna have even more hurdles to climb of stitching relationships back together that I’m letting lapse because I’m too embarrassed to show my face. And it’s also gonna be a pretty big hill to climb to go back out on auditions and get that part of my life back up and running. When this happened to me, I was performing, on average, once a week. I know that’s not enough, and obviously the goal was more. But that’s something! And that’s at least semi-consistent, and I was starting to get a rhythm and that’s gone.

So, anyway, blah blah blah. The point is, it feels like “coming back” is neeeeeeever ending.

Like, when is everything gonna be back to at least just stasis? Even if not better than before the thing happened, just like the same? Even if I could just get back to the same, I’d be so joyous. So, when do I get that? When do all the remnants finally disappear?

Or am I dealing with the consequences of a man who hurt me forever?

I don’t know. I just know that I don’t feel like me. And it feels like I’m doing everything in my power to make me feel more like me and it’s a craaaazy SUPER hard process and it’s taking an eternity and it’s a frustration that’s really hard to explain. But it’s just so painful.I just don’t know how to get fully back to “normal.”

(Oh, and sorry, I know this post is long, but one last thing, because I know some people (maybe even me sometimes!) say “well, don’t try to get back, try to go forward.” And, sure, there’s something to be said for that, but I can’t go forward until I, at least, look reasonably like my old self. I can’t do it. Maybe the money or some relationships or some other things, you try to let those go. But the weight? No. I won’t accept that this just is me now. No. No, no, no. So, I’m working hard. I just wish I had a magic wand… I dunno. Okay, I’m gonna stop rambling now, but goodness gracious, I miss my friends, myself, my old life, possibility, feeling good about myself, and on and on and on.) Okay, the end. Goodnight.

December 7-Day Series

December 17, 2017

Well, another 7-day series where I just did what I could. Some days that was a half and a 10k. On one, it was just a 5k.

And I know I’m probably supposed to be saying how freeing or amazing or whatever all of this is. That probably make a better “story.” But, tbh, I don’t even really know what the point of this is anymore.

It’s not freeing or fun. As I’ve stated, I’m dealing with the never ever ever ending injury of the sprained ankle And so now what?

I’m out there struggling through 11 hour long(!) “half marathons” (with a lot of work on elliptical machines because it’s easier on my ankle, which of course makes me feel weird because how real is that anyway?).

So, I’m struggling with these ridiculously long time because of pain or exhaustion or movement issues or whatever – and to what end?

i think about the ways the project and sexual assault are tied together – as obviously sexual assault was the springboard for the project in the first place, and the 882 number is significant. And so, what have I learned? Nothing?

Is the sprained ankle thing showing me that yet again when all signs are pointing to something being wrong, I just plow ahead with the plan (like how it took me almost half a year to go get therapy for sexual assault, because even though all signs were pointing to a complete breakdown “I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine!”).

Or, is this showing me that for some reason I need to put myself through even more pain and misery than I’ve already experienced?

I mean, I know I’m being a Debbie Downer here. Maybe it’s supposed to show that no matter what, you can finish what you set out to do, I guess…

Maybe it’s not even meant to show anything. There is no larger meaning, and it’s like, “just get it done.”

I will say I’ve become super obsessed with The Good Wife. So, at least I like that part.

I’m just – I dunno. I’m disappointed. Thus far, my other 3 projects I feel like really helped me – expanded my world, showed me new things, did generally what they set out to do, plus even more on top of it.

And technically, this one expanded my world in that I got my passport…. But, I dunno. It didn’t do the things I think I wanted. It’s nearing the end, and I don’t have some kind of sense of power or achievement or “I have my life back!” that I think I thought I would. This wasn’t some cool journey from devoted to fulfilled.

I’m still devastated some days. I haven’t made a complete return to my “normal” life. Things are harder than I thought, taking longer than I thought, and as much as I hate to just be saddy sad sad Aurora, being a sad lameface oh so much of the time since January 2016, that’s just how I feel right now.

So, anyway, another hundred something miles down. Another 120 or so to go.