Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alabama Medieval and Fantasy Festival

I recently had the opportunity to travel to my first Renaissance faire.
It was SO MUCH FUN!!! I spent a week making costumes for myself, my oldest daughter, and a friend of hers.

click here for a video clip of my costume!

When the day finally came, we drove two hours to get there. We were not disappointed.
Instantly upon arrival we were transported to Dragon Croft, a medieval town that had magically appeared in the middle of rural Alabama.

There were merchants, magicians, pirates, elves, fairies, minstrels, knights, a unicorn, and a royal court. (The queen actually stopped me during her processional to the joust and complimented my dress and wings! We are best friends now, no big deal.)
I snagged the best looking satyr at the faire!
We cheered as our knight, Sir Christopher, jousted valiantly but lost. No worries though, because he promptly stood up and proceeded to beat his competitor over the head with his shield.   :)

Here I am with Sir Christopher!

It wasn't part of my 40 Before 40 goals, but it was still a blast and I'm so glad I went.
I can't wait until next year!

The Vagina Monologues - Reclaiming Cunt

I did it! I stood up in front of hundreds of people and I performed.

I arrived early and watched as my costars rehearsed. They were on.
I, on the other hand, was terrified. What if I froze? Stuttered, or passed out?

I sat in the front row of the 300 person theater and listened to the chatter of the crowd. I saw other people look back at the crowd and react nervously but I never looked. I figured if the lights were on the stage and not the crowd, I would not know for sure how many people I was performing for until it was over and would therefore not be as frightened.
(This actually sort of worked.)

I watched in awe as each monologue was performed. These women were so talented and beautiful and I was honored to be among them.

Then, it was my turn.

I stood up and looked out at the crowd. Fortunately, I could only really see the first two rows. The butterflies in my stomach went mad and flew out of my mouth, but they did so in loud, strong projections. I said every line I could remember, and tried not to visibly cringe when I realized I had missed a few. Before I knew it, the audience was screaming with me.

"Cunt! Cunt! Cunt!"

And just like that, it was over. I had done it.
Item number 1 on my "40 Before 40" list was complete!

I am not allowed to post a video of my performance, as it is a living script.
In its place, I will leave you with a script of my piece.

We’ve created a map of Vagina Friendly Cities!!  Welcome, Birmingham, to UAB's production of The Vagina Monologues. You know, they are wild for vaginas in Pittsburgh. In fact, a woman from Pittsburgh was obsessed with a particular word, a pejorative word used to describe the vagina.  Her mission was to reconceive the word.
I call it...cunt.
I’ve reclaimed it.


I really like it.  

Listen to it.  
C-C.  Ca Ca.  


Cute, come-closed c
Closed inside, inside ca-

then u

then c-u

then curvy, inviting sharkskin u
uniform, under, up, urge, (moaning) ugh, ugh, 

then n 

then c-u-n

snug letters fitting perfectly together
nest, now, nexus, nice, nice, 
always depth, always round in upper case, 
cun, cun
a jagged wicked electrical pulse-n (high pitched noise) 

then soft n-warm n
cun, cun,

then t 

— then sharp certain tangy t — 


tell me “Cunt"

say it!
"Cunt! Cunt! Cunt!"

The Vagina Monologues - Rehearsals

First Rehearsal

Tonight, I went to my first of four rehearsals. It was very laid back, and the director went out of her way to make sure everyone felt comfortable. (donuts - yum!)

Introductions were made, and then we read through our parts.

I was surprised and excited to discover that each person really embodied the monologue they were chosen for. I watched them as they read, and it was as though these stories belonged to them.
I wondered what that said about me, and if other people felt the same.

I wasn't really nervous this go-round, to my delight, which gave me a chance to try some new things when reading the part. It was a really supportive group, and everyone clapped and cheered whenever a monologue was finished.

I was to choose a person in real life and practice as though I am speaking to that person. When I did that however, I was unable to get my mother out of my mind.
She hates the word cunt. Suddenly I felt defensive and small.

This was not the way to go.

In the end, I decided to perform the monologue as though taking the word back was empowering and sexy. It felt a LOT better. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Vagina Monologues - Audition

In my attempt to reclaim a sense of adventure in my life, I decided that it was important to step out of my comfort zone.

Enter "The Vagina Monologues".

I was invited to an audition for the annual production at a local college via Facebook. Ordinarily, I would have let the date come and go without a second thought.
"That's the old me talking." I thought to myself, and I got in the car and went to try out.

Of course, I ran late, as the GPS directed me to a building two blocks away, so when I finally did arrive I was out of breath from running and had only minutes to spare.

My husband wished me luck, and off I went. It was not what I expected.

In my mind I was in a dark theater in front of maybe a dozen people, with two people in particular sitting up front, dressed in all black and judging me harshly. I pictured myself stuttering and mumbling as they interrupted me to thank me for coming in and tell me that they would "let me know".

Instead, I walked into a brightly lit office where I was greeted by two very friendly women. We chatted for several minutes, until I felt comfortable enough to begin. It was a cold reading, arguably the most stressful type of audition. Once I got started, however, the words flowed out of me. It was a piece called "Reclaiming Cunt", and it was powerful. I felt my pulse quicken as I spoke, and by the end, I was yelling.

I had nailed it! The part was mine.
I was officially on my way to my first adventure.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Did you guys know I have a blog?

Over the past decade, I have somehow become a full blown grown up. I have managed to check off every box on my "adulting" list - married to a terrific guy, mother to two beautiful children, own my own home - check, check, and check.
We laugh a lot, host dinner parties, and travel fairly regularly. I've had a great corporate career which I've recently stepped away from in order to spend more time with my family. My credit card debt is minimal, and my dogs are cute. Overall, my life is pretty great.

So why do I feel like something is missing?

As a stay at home mom, I find that I spend a lot of time just snuggling my baby in silence while she sleeps or has a bottle. During that time, I have tried to figure out what this sometimes suffocating emptiness actually is.

I am crazy about my husband. Six years into our relationship and I still get butterflies when he smiles at me. He is brilliant and good looking and funny and the absolute best father. My daughters are beautiful and sweet. My oldest is my strength, and has given me reason to get out of bed on my hardest days. My youngest is my light, and has reminded me how magical even the most mundane moments can be. I have a nice two story home in a safe neighborhood, with large bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and lots of natural light. I have four dogs, which admittedly is a lot, but they are silly and friendly and bring a lot of love into our home.

I combed over every part of my life searching for holes and came back empty handed.
And then, after countless hours of reflection, it hit me. I'm bored.

Not in a "I've gotta get out of the house, maybe I should go back to work" kind of way. This boredom runs far deeper. Over the years, I had become lazy in my comfortable life. Suburbia had sucked the joy from my bones and replaced it with complacency.

The guilt that came with this realization was staggering. How dare I be bored when I have so much?
I struggled for weeks with this knowledge. Tried to pretend it didn't exist. Tried to rationalize it away. Told myself that this was the trade off for everything that I have, and that this is what is best for my family. But no matter how deep I tried to bury it, the feeling nagged at me.
Finally, I broke down and confessed my feelings to my husband, fearing that he would feel inadequate or think me ungrateful for our life together. Instead, he encouraged me to seek out more adventure, and only asked that he be included whenever possible. (and thus reconfirming that he is the greatest husband on the face of the planet!)

Being the avid listmaker that I am, I decided to try a 40 Before 40 list to keep me on track.
My goals are as follows:

1. perform in front of an audience
2. rappelling
3. finally finish my damn Starfleet Academy degree
4. firedancing
5. karaoke
6. ride a horse
7. skiing (water or snow - whatevs)
8. write a book
9. firewalking
10. parasailing
11. climb a mountain and yell from the top
12. ride a roller coaster. a big one. willingly.
13. full on spa day
14. swim with dolphins
15. go on a trip via train
16. learn the ukulele
17. mermaid school
18. say yes to everything for an entire weekend
19. travel abroad
20. put soap in a public fountain
21. volunteer at childrens hospital
22. take a road trip with no particular destination
23. konmari all my junk
24. learn to knit
25. wine tasting at an actual vineyard
26. ride in a helicopter
27. build a bear
28. learn a second language
29. create a YouTube channel
30. finish an entire coloring book
31. give christmas gifts to the homeless
32. make every single thing in a cookbook
33. learn a dance
34. watch all the disney movies in order of release (the real ones not the made for TV nonsense)
35. zip lining
36. grow something and eat it
37. white water rafting
38. visit all 50 states
39. hot air balloon ride
40. actually finish making a gingerbread house

I'm terrible when it comes to sticking with things. My closets are full of half stitched clothing, half finished paintings; every week I throw out half eaten vegetables. This blog has been no exception. I can't promise weekly updates, or monthly, or any arbitrary schedule of updates. I will, however, use it to chronicle my attempt at reclaiming the zest I possessed in my youth.

To adventure!