buy the time …

There are no funny pictures of ovaries.

Well about a year ago I started this blog in the hopes that I would write everyday during the year before I turned 30.  That experiment lasted 11 posts.  It wasn’t for a lack of material.  Everything crazy that could happen fell from the sky and smacked me in the face.  To my kind cousin Niki, who missed reading them, she made me miss writing them.  In the month leading up to my 30th, I would like to attempt 30 posts till I turn 30.

Now many people will say that 30 is not old.   “30 is a new chapter,” one might chime to break the levity that 29 years olds face.  Maybe it’s different for men than it is with woman.  As I am fast becoming aware, my body is telling me that I am getting older and parts aren’t going to work like they use to.  Mainly I am talking about my nether region, my south of the border, my sun don’t shine place, my baby making parts…I can go on.  The truth is, it is not that a biological clock is ticking and needs to make something happen, it has to deal with what is already happening.

A few months ago I started to complain to my boyfriend about stomachaches.  They started to become frequent and he felt I should go to the doctor.  I threw out every answer to avoid a visit to the hospital, “I ate too much cheese” was my favorite.  After awhile I think I just started eating cheese so I could blame it later.   While at work one evening the pain was so debilitating that I couldn’t get up.  My coworker said I should go to the ER.  I didn’t eat cheese that day, so I had nothing to blame.  I chose Roosevelt Hospital because it was closest to work.  I called my boyfriend to tell him that I had errands to run and that he should just go to his place.  Being that it was 11pm at night my lie was transparent and he knew I was going to the hospital for my mysterious cheese haunting.   After the first 4 hours and a second cursory visit from a doctor, he determined that it wasn’t my stomach at all but my ovaries.  For the most part a woman’s ovaries are a benign feature on the female form until they want babies.  They are more of a nuisance, part of the circuitry that makes us bleed for a week.  But when a doctor mentions your ovaries, they suddenly become very important, what defines you, what makes you a woman.  He wouldn’t go into what he thought might be the problem, but that I needed more tests.  After 4 more hours, the doctor came back to do a sonogram.  My boyfriend asked if I wanted him to stay, I nodded yes.  Then the doctor pulled out a blue dildo, that just happen to have a camera at the end.  My boyfriend and I locked eyes and almost simultaneously I nodded for him to leave and he kindly said he would step outside.  The doctor, was very good looking but we could not determine if he was gay, straight, metro began poking around.  It hurt like hell.  As I watched the handsome doctor and the kindly overworked nurse through the frame made by my spread knees and thighs, I did what anyone would do in my position.  I made Fraggle Rock jokes.  I decided that my lady area was a land where puppets could seek refuge.  I was nervous.  I was scared.  I was exhausted and all I could do was picture Technicolor stalactites shimmering behind furry creatures breaking out in song.  Thanks Jim Henson.

Let's go down to Fraggle Rock

Then he saw it.  A distortion.  Something that could not be explained and needed further tests as this sonogram was outdated and not very clear.  They wanted a gynecologist to have another look.   What were the Fraggles doing down there.  The doctor was trying to rule out if I needed surgery.   To do what?  The doctor then looked at me with a reassuring smile, “It could be a number of things but we just want to make sure.  One thing could be torsion.   We would then have to look into surgery.”  I had a wedding to go to in 3 days, I couldn’t have surgery.  After several hours passed an exhausted OBG doing rounds came in.  She happened to train with my OBG.  After a quick exam, the OBG asked how long I had been there, way too long, and then had a look of “this ER doctor is an idiot” when she told me, “You do not have torsion.”  “If you did, you would be in a lot of pain, you wouldn’t be sitting here speaking to me.  You wouldn’t be able to stand because your ovary would be twisted and that would result in us having to adjust it or remove it.  But you do not have torsion.”  She believed I had a cyst but couldn’t confirm till I got a more in depth ultrasound at 8am.

They allowed us to grab a bite to eat at 6am (which they’re not suppose to do), as we crossed the street my boyfriend eloquently suggested, “Never go to this hospital again, unless you’re shot on this exact corner.”  I hope to avoid getting shot and that hospital.  The specialist wasn’t even open till 9am, so our patience was running out, my boyfriend’s ran out four hours ago.  Then after the ultrasound specialist saw me, she thought they might be cysts but didn’t have the authority to confirm that so I had to wait for another doctor to diagnose that issue.  We waited and waited and one nurse tried to find someone for us to speak to.  She said someone was coming. An hour went by, someone is coming.  Another hour went by, someone is coming.  Thank god for the iPhone.  We looked up cysts on the internet and my symptoms, we didn’t need a doctor to confirm what WebMD explained.  I marched over to the nurse’s desk and said, “I’m leaving, if I’m dying you can call my cell.”  I had reached my limit and stomped out. It was a ridiculous experience only being seen 5 times, for less than 15 minutes a visit, over a 13 hour period.  I’m not going to go into a health-care debate, but the system was screwy.

I made a regular appointment with my gynecologist and she confirmed, what I did have, cysts on my ovaries.  Unpleasant news, but not at all life threatening.  I had entered the age where this is common and my body was changing.  This was now part of who I am.  A debilitating pain that would happen every time they grew.  It feels like continually being punched in the ovary, my back starts to hurt and then the tears come.  Hoping that it would only inflame the one time, my mother told me the same issue started when she was 25 and it was a monthly occurrence.   This would have been good to know beforehand.  This was just going to happen, part of the “new chapter in my life.”  It has happened a few times now, where the pain sets in and sadly my boyfriend has often been witness.

The pain hits.  I begin to cry and this sets off a four-part sequence of crying:

Step 1: Cry because it hurts.

Step 2: Cry more because you are embarrassed that you are crying.

Step 3: Cry because, no seriously, it hurts like a b*tch and you need it to stop.

Step 4: Cry even more because you are crying.

The good news, it fluctuates and it could be nothing except a monthly dose of pain.  The worse case scenario they grow really large where surgery is needed or it results in infertility.  If the pain really dose become unbearable that might mean the cysts have grown so large it causes torsion.  I’m not ready to think about my baby making parts.  I’m not ready to ponder that kind of future.  But my future started to punch me in the ovary demanding it was my present; they were not benign.  My 30 year old body is asking questions I don’t have answers to and the Fraggles have no song for.

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I sit at my temporary receptionist job and all around me I here the clicking of keys. Typing in unison. For many, this job was not a second choice, not even a close fourth but it pays the bills. “You gotta do what pays the bills,” even at the expense of your soul. Three o’clock will hit and so will the expected lull. Those Five-Hour Energy commercials show people staring off into space then sprining into action, but they never show what really happens after one takes a swig. They should feature energized people at their computers doing word jumbles or launching hot-dogs into moving buns.

Often my compatriots will refer to themselves as drones. Amongst the definitions on Dictionary.com, DRONE means: “the male of the honeybee and other bees, stingless and making no honey.” Useless. Impotent. Now the people I work with are not useless at all.  In fact they are a viable resource for the company. When we say drone we are referring to how we feel in our jobs – without the power to taste purpose. We find what we do empty and unfulfilling. On the other hand, there is a bond that forms amongst the artists, writers, parents, free-lancers of life, who have the opportunity to make money while striving for other things. That blood pumps through our veins, not electricity through fiber optic cables. We use AIM to remind our fellow bee brethren that there is more to existence outside of the hive. LOL does not stand for “laugh out loud” but “live out life” and BRB stands not for “be right back” but “Break, Refer, Beers.” We all look to see that clock tick six to set us free.

Life shouldn’t be the minuscule moments between work and sleep or the few years we hold sacred between clocking out and checking out. We are bombarded by phrases like “live life” and “get a real job.” I don’t want those to be mutually exclusive. Today I go in for a meeting with the big boss man to talk about how they will utilize me in the future. At this moment, I can not financially afford to give up anything that would create a little stability. At the same time, I refuse to let my stability get in the way of my illusive goals.

If the goal is to go from male without a stinger to the queen; then a Trani-Bee must make sacrifices in pursuit of sweet success.

The moment has come where bitching and complaining has turned into action.  The reason I’ve been non-blogging (how many ‘g’s go into this made up word) is a result of big changes in my life.  I said I wanted more money to get a new computer; so I took a temp job and now I have a new shiny MacBook.  Every time I use it I still wrap it back in its original packaging to be put away in a special cubby.  I said I wanted to break into films; I now have a job doing coverage for an executive producer.  I said I want to be a writer; I will be completing my first screenplay by the end of the month with Script Frenzy and a director/producer is interested in my plays.  I said I wanted to move in six months; I just got offered a second job that will help me pay off my debt and for the first time since 12th grade I will be building savings.  Things ‘are a changing.’

With my art I have managed to be focused with a fuzzy lens.  When convenient I say I’m an actor, then at times I’m a writer depending on the hoops I prefer to jump at the time.  Switching between the two then became an excuse for not succeeding in the other.  “I’m not really acting right now so I can focus on my writing.”  When the writing gets hard I look to acting again.  I run that treadmill.  The same can be said about grabbing the occasional well paid job over what I really want to do.

We talk about money so much in this city, how expensive rent is, food, quenching a growing booze habit to cope with living in the crux of human hubbub.  To me, and many, the word SAVINGS is like Narnia, it is something that only exists in fantasy.  We work so hard to stay a float, swimming from one part time job to another.  Snatching a few dollars between strokes in hopes of reaching financial paradise.  The idea of making money doing what we love is the dream we keep on the boat for.  Our growing fears about money and direction start to grow.  Hesitation begins to burrow holes in the hull.  When is it time to jump ship?

For the next six months I’ve decided to save and write, write and save.  Swim without getting swallowed by the waves, the sharks, or my own doubt.

Last week was a great kickoff to turning twenty-nine.  I started a new part-time gig that pays more, allows me some time to write, and the people I sit next to are thoroughly entertaining.  Hopefully one of my co-workers doesn’t provide too much entertainment as she is bound to give birth any second now; seriously her due date is this Sunday.  All and all it’s not too shabby of a desk job.  Locked in a chair for eight hours makes having the internet a gift from God.  Between searching for animals gone extinct and finding out that an Oscar isn’t so great for a relationship, I answer a phone call or two.  As the saying goes, “idle hands make for the devil’s playground.”  I’ve had to find other things to do with my time and avoid FB telling me to “catch up with” an ex or some random guy who I met for five seconds who decided we should be BFF’s (and uses that term). 

I’ve tried to make this time productive.  Writing my blog has been a great after lunch activity but what I find the most painful, the three-to-six slump.  I try not to look at overstock.com or the trips to Cabo.  Now I know who those pop-ups are for.  I decided to find something to help bolster my career as a writer, so I turned to the wizard, Craig.  Craig has a list of all the answers.  You want a no-fee apartment you have to pay for, craigslist.  You want to find a completer stranger to hook up with, craigslist.  You want to find the answer to The Secret, craigslist.  There is nothing you can’t find on craigslist.  I was on the hunt for anything to do with film and television.  I found it a little difficult promoting myself as a twenty-nine year old inter.  There weren’t many takers. 

One of my kind co-workers and I started chatting about writing.  She was looking to get distracted from actually working, I needed a distraction from internet surfing.  She told me about and organization called Script Frenzy.  They challenge writers to stop talking about that amazing idea and just do it.  Without judgment or prize money, the contest is thus: write a script in thirty days, the month of April, 100 pages.  You simply log in your page count everyday.  The goal is to write, write, write.  The group sponsors “Write-Ins” where you gather with others passionately, angrily type or stare at there computer.  Maybe communal frustration brings about progress, at least that’s the theory it seems these days in Washington.  A nothing to lose situation, except of course, for time and sanity.  I have no time and little sanity, nothing to lose, I signed up. 

After I sat there pondering what the H-E double hokey sticks I was going to write, I checked my email as a distraction.  There it was, a response.  Someone actually sent a “Re” to my application.  I submitted to a position as a reader, non-paid, for the film industry.  I was finally being ‘re’garded.  I had “the kind of background they were looking for.”  They want to try me out so they sent a sample script that I was to read this hundred and nine page script, evaluate using their guidelines and send back within three days.  I sent my coverage (that’s what the call it in the biz) back in less than 24 hours.  Five pages ripping apart the screenplay.  I disliked it on so many levels.  When asked if I would recommend the script, I said pass.  When I asked about the writer, I said consider.  I thought the dialogue was strong and the idea was different but I felt disdain for the script.  Maybe I felt guilty about “passing” on a fellow writer.  I slammed the work of a fellow scribe.  Here I was joining a couple thousand writers in the camaraderie of creative catharsis but thanks to craigslist I have become a critical cannibal .

Last night I went, as usual, to the Tuesday theatre meetings where writers hear their work read for the first time.  I’m still pretty intimidated by the environment, but over the past 5 weeks I’ve made friends and brought friends to help bolster my confidence (or make me look less like the girl who didn’t bring a date to prom).  Just last week a gentleman came over and said, “You look, like I feel.  This is BS, right?”  In this business we are constantly told to get ourselves out there.  We write and act less but drink and schmooze more.  It doesn’t seem like a bad tradeoff but being able to hold a glass of wine and not say anything stupid is exhausting.  I often look at my closet and decide which outfit will show the least amount of sweat.  Going through the gauntlet of charisma, connections and chemistry is equivalent to speed dating with a bunch of people who would rather spend time with their cat.  Only the dogged survive.

I have this affinity however for older gentlemen who have nothing to prove.  They sit, they listen, they watch.  No, I don’t have daddy issues and I’m in a relationship with a younger man.  But with age comes confidence, with years – experience, and with sensible K-Swiss shoes, comfort.  A great patriot of the theatre sat beside me last night.  Well into his seventies, with his thick bifocals and snowy hair, he settled down to sit, listen and watch.  He said, “I’m a director looking to snatch up writers while they’re young.”  I happen to be a young writer.  I found out quickly he was more than just a director.  His life story read like a bucket list.  Amongst his reincarnations – the only photographer allowed in the Actor’s Studio to take picture of Lee Strasberg and partied with Jim Morrison in Barcelona for the film in which Jim would star and my new friend would direct.  Too brilliant to be fiction, he shared the history of an artist’s life.  He is the Forest Gump of New York, has met everyone and done everything.

Knowing the great Doors performer, he believes as Oliver Stone does, that Jim lived long after he was put to rest in France.  My new friend posed the question, “If he did fake his death, why do it when at the top?”  Was fame, adoration, and rock-stardom too much for this god amongst men?  He posed this question while we were surrounded by aspiring actors rubbing shoulders so hard they might hit bone.  What is the cost for the glory of ultimate fame and fortune?  We know not the price but we are all willing to pay it.

Trees fell, the wind howled and just short of being in the tropics, upon the isle of Man-na-hat-ta fell a monsoon.  Let’s just say gale can really blow.  Amongst the weekend deluge of rain and roughage marked the breaking of water early mourning on March 14, 1981.  My mother was in labor for a relatively short time especially when compared to my brother’s attempted escape from vaginal eviction.  My father said I came out quickly, “You were ready to see the world.”  (Either that or I was getting a shoulder cramp.)  This weekend was very fun and not at all like the big bad number I was afraid of consuming me at midnight.  In fact, the weekend was beautifully calm, minus the apocalyptic weather.

I came at my birthday swinging, literally.  Saturday mourning I went to the Women’s World of Boxing.  There is something so cathartic about punching something over and over again.  I always thought boxing was a brutal sport but you experience this calmness after.  Eye of the TigerMaybe boxing is Mike Tyson’s rock garden.  When at the punching bag, the ladies always talk about who they picture as they jab.  I looked at the bag and saw no one.  I’m not jilted by past relationships, I have a confidant who champions my daily nonsense, my parents are wonderfully supportive, and I have an eclectic group of friends who have become a secondary family to me.  During shadowboxing I found my rival.  In front of the mirror I would box myself, see the enemy that I had made.  The answer throwing punches back at me, I was getting in my own way.  We all beat ourselves down but the strikes fall on the spirit leaving bruises on the guts of passion.

Later on that evening I met with a group of friends who managed to hitch a ride with the arch to share a drink and watch a world champion fighter from the Philippines break another record.  The fighter, Manny Pacquiao, the PacMan, is barely 145 pounds, short and Asian.  This description would remind most people of the computer engineering major who couldn’t drink to well in college.  But Manny is a fighting machine once underestimated because of his lack of training and body mass.  He had to work his way up to under a buck fifty.  He’s not just a fighter to most Filipinos; he is also a karaoke super-star, a politician and a symbol.  A symbol that with passion anything is possible: once a poor scrappy boy in the barrios now a Boxing World Champion to a presidential hopeful.   There is no room for self-doubt in his schedule.

As I pummeled away the demons of disbelief I found hope again.  I could see the changing winds blow open a new surge of courage.  In the past week I got an additional job that will help pay for a future move and a new laptop.  I also received a compliment from a well-respected playwright on my new theatrical literary venture.  Twenty-nine is looking fine.  I look forward to the future and leave apprehension with twenty-eight so the only place to go is up.

Thank you so much for all the kind birthday well wishes and may we all go ARRIBA, ARRIBA (UP, UP)!

There are a few things I want to accomplish over the next year: make a million dollars, lounge on the beaches of South France…see if P90X really works (those infomercials get me every time).  On the more realistic and immediate side of goals getting met are purchasing a new computer (for you to receive more blogs from) and move to my own place.  I have a lovely roommate but there is something wonderful about dancing naked to old school Janet Jackson that may not be appreciated by all.  It will also be nice not to ask at the most inopportune moment, “Do you think we’re being too loud?”  All these things require one major component, MONEY!  To quote Sports Night, one of my favorite shows by one of my favorite writers (Aaron Sorkin), “All my money is tied up in food and shelter.”  I should also add alcohol.  The job I have currently pays the bills and very little of my college loans, so like many of us I am left with little to no savings for the more realistic goals I’ve set.  In my quest for privacy to “dance when I want to” and other physical activities, I’m currently searching for another part-time gig.

‘Gig’ is a word artists use in reference to a show, performance, concert but more often we use the word ‘gig’ to describe the random paid work we get while we search for a real ‘gig’.  To find employment I’ve turned to friends, craigslist, God, but my favorite at the moment is CareerBuilder.  I only say this because of the exceptional post I found yesterday.  The full job title was thus, “Housekeeper/Companion Weekend Only (Live In).”  The job boasts, for strictly weekend work, a salary of $31-$39K a year.  Now before you get ready to sign the application, let me tell you more about your duties: “Prominent mature individual seeks a Housekeeper/Companion to live-in Friday through Sunday and assist with healthy cooking, cleaning, care, laundry, and maintenance in their Upper East Side residence (as well as looking after the gentleman and tending to any needs he may have).”  I get nervous when people use a parenthetical, parenthesis, or air quotes when describing my “job” requirements.  This is the very stuff urban myth’s are made of for your Aunt in Roseville, California to forward you just after her lunch break which she spent getting Chinese with your father.  Next thing you know, you are in a tub of ice water with your kidneys ripped out brought there by a car that never turns on its taillights.  This is the very thing people warn you will happen when coming to New York.  I was stunned to find this company had forty-two posting for catering their executive customers.   The only other jobs listed, not with the same company, with the tile of “companion” all dealt with work in veterinary care. I guess some dogs pay for their best friend.

What are we willing to do to get what we want?  How far disposed?  How often do we sell ourselves to the highest bidder and at what cost?  While the new MacBooks are so shiny, I’m not sure I’m willing to service anyone for a fancy new keyboard without peanut-butter stuck on the shift key.  (Maybe for an iPad.)

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  • Jessica: LMFAO.. How ever, Flavianas ass is REAL! shes from Brazil they are ALL genetically mutated that way... and Beto, he is from Colombia..no brazillian ac
  • mia: Hi, cracked up! flaviana does appear randomly and knows how to hog the camera....but i must say she did have her "15 minutes of fame" in Latin America
  • Sally: I THOUGHT THE SAME ABOUT THE WEIRD REDHEAD!!!!!!!

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