From Inside the House

Found this in my un-posted archives… seemed appropriate after reading this weekend’s NY Times article on the US report on climate change… Now, will anyone in power care that we’re doomed if we do nothing?

June 2, 2017:

Last night I was listening to Marvin Gaye radio on Pandora. Happy hour had started a little on the early side. Gin and tonics for me, straight vodka for him. Fancy local cheese, fresh bread. The weather was beautiful and we decided to blow off the outside world and enjoy our own backyard, literally.

Oh and, we’d just gotten the news that our “president” would be pulling out of the historic Paris Climate accord.

Marvin Gaye radio seemed like a smooth, mellowing agent to our anger and the perfect antidote to all of the NPR I’d been absorbing since the news conference at 3pm.

I used to go out to parties… and stand around. ‘Cause I was too nervous… to really get down.

They started with Marvin, followed by The Reverend Al (Green, not Sharpton) and some Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Ray Charles, Otis Redding. It was like being transported back in time. To the days of cultural revolution and the civil rights movement, a time when people cared about issues. When young people were trying to change the world. I was on my second gin and tonic when…

Oh, oh mercy mercy me… oh things ain’t what the used to be no, no. Where have all the blue skies gone? Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.

We looked at each other. “Ironic”.

People have been advocating for the environment since before I was born and yet, here we are. When I was a kid we’d say, “It won’t happen in our lifetime”. We were wrong. It’s here. It’s happening now. My garden proves it.

The discussion launched back up. Two liberals drinking on a porch and agreeing that we’re doomed. “We’re living at the beginning of the end.” Cheers!

Throwing our fists in the air and quoting Meatballs,”It just doesn’t matter! It just doesn’t matter!” Cheers! 

“What in the hell is wrong with people? Don’t they see that these things matter?” Cheers!

After that, we solved all the problems of the world. Gin will do that. It will also blur the details of said “solutions”.

But, to the best of my recollection, (I sound like a Trump appointee testifying before a Senate Committee) it all distilled (pun intended) down to one simple idea.

America is the doomed babysitter on the couch in the living room oblivious to the fact that “the call is coming from inside the house”, and Trump is the psycho “man upstairs” with his finger poised over the speed dial.




I’m really trying to be on the side of the media these days, but in light of the recent Equifax hack, I must implore them to stop referring to those affected by this massive security breach as “customers”. No one chooses to be reduced to a number by these credit reporting bureaus. It’s not possible to opt out of this “service”. These companies are there to cull your personal information from companies you actually do business with and use it to rate you as a consumer – and by extension as a human being – so that they can tell other companies how trustworthy you are.

Federal law only requires these bureaus to give you free access to your reports annually. If you want to check more often than that you have to pay, unless you meet specific criteria. Other than that you can enlist the services of a credit monitoring agency.

Um, it’s my personal data and you’re keeping me at arms length from it? Charging me money to see it? Not cool man, not cool. 

I’ve been a victim of identity theft. It is serious. A serious pain in the ass, a serious disruption to your life and in the worst case scenario it can seriously affect your credit. It can follow you around for years, hiding in places you didn’t know it could be. Just when you’ve secured one account, you find out your SSN has been compromised. Deal with that and then years later you go to change banks and they tell you you’ve got a judgement against you for passing bad checks. Huh? Oh yeah, that’s the jagoff that lifted my info from some shady office to start their own fake plush toys company and run up a fortune in unpaid debts. True story. And who were the least helpful folks when it came to sorting this out? The credit reporting bureaus.

A person’s credit score has become their most important number. A whole industry has sprung up around it. Of course, if wages weren’t completely stagnated maybe we all wouldn’t need so much credit. But I digress…

My favorite part of this whole debacle (which is putting it nicely – I wanted to say “clusterf**k” but something told me I should keep it clean) is that they are not going to inform the victims of this most serious breach that they are victims. They’re advising people to sign up for fraud watch. Through them! Of course, this service is free – for a year. Then what? I’ll bet there’s a fee starting on day 366. Oh, and to qualify for the free year of monitoring the victim-customer must agree to have any and all disputes with Equifax settled by arbitration. That’s right. You can’t sue them or participate in any class action law suit. These bureaus were created to hijack our information and keep us from it and they can’t even keep it secure. I’ll hold on to my right to sue thank you very much!

In addition, Equifax is not spending the time or resources to contact those affected by this breach, they’re asking their unwilling “customers” to login or call and give them even more information about themselves to find out if the original information the bureau failed to protect has been compromised. Smooth. Potentially 143,000,000 people had their personal data compromised (which is more than voted in last year’s election, but don’t get me started on that travesty), but Equifax doesn’t feel they should be proactive here?

This is the paragraph in which I should probably try to say something to illustrate their side of the story, but their website is down, so I was unable to watch the likely lame formal apology by the president of the company. I wonder if he’s one of the executives that made sure to sell their stock before news of this months-old breach went public. Equifax seems to have given it’s higher-ups time to get their ducks in a row while waiting nearly six weeks to inform the public that their data is out in the wind. Should they even be allowed to be a company anymore?

I got my first credit card when I was 17. I’ve been playing this game a long time. Back in my Manhattan starving artist days there were times when I needed that credit to live (believe it or not). I’ve worked hard to maintain my rating and to build it back up after my identity theft issues of the early 2000s. My score hovers around 800 and I’m proud of it. Of course, the minute I need to use my credit, that number dips. I recently charged $2000 at the animal hospital on my credit card, not two weeks later I got an email from (at the time of posting I was unable to access my CreditKarma account, they’re likely overwhelmed with users checking in) stating that my score had gone down.

So the message is, establish credit, but don’t ever need it or use it. Just allow us to define you by it and run all fast and loose with your sensitive information.

Let’s hope the hackers are planning some Fight Club style debt wipe. Like, next week’s news story is that everyone affected by the breach had all their debts wiped out. House? Free. Car? Free. Credit Cards? Paid.

I wonder what my score would be then….

In closing this rant I would just like to say, the above is clearly an editorialized account of these events. For a more balanced and probably less pissed off report on this story try a real news outlet like, or The New York Times.

I would try to be balanced and link back to FOXNews too, but their lead story on Thursday was about Michelle Obama edging out Melania Trump for the international “best dressed” list. At least they’re way out ahead on something. Hard hitting journalism at it’s finest.


I spent the early months of this year working on a longer piece to submit for publication. In the course of writing it I amassed nearly 2500 scrapped words. I kept these words in their own document. For some reason, they were precious to me even as I deemed them worthless in the grand scheme of my story.

If they were paint, I would roll around naked in them and throw my body at the canvas. They’re not paint though, they’re words. Visual artists use found material or “scraps” all the time.

Here’s my version of an abstract word rendering…


Navigating the city

the new adventure to begin

I hadn’t fallen down in months

clearly, my future was stardom


on a collision course like a gory flick

spin around, face down, stomach flat against the vinyl top of a barstool

closet so packed with clothing that the door wouldn’t close

I fell for the urban landscape at first sight


two guys named John

had no idea what I was talking about, it didn’t matter

real estate is a hot topic in Manhattan, even when you live in student housing

my world was a sliver of corner behind the stacks of speakers


adventure was on that side of the river

hanging out at the top of the Empire State Building

all the time playing McDonald’s drive-thru

the first step towards my inevitable top billing on a glittering theater district marquee


he glanced up in time to witness my approach

sitting behind the sliding glass security window

engrossed in that day’s edition of The New York Post

completely unaware of how much a simple box of mushrooms would thrill me


no one to congratulate me on surviving the streets

continued progress through the market

it resonated within my head as if someone had shouted right at me

the coolest work/study job on the planet


more concerned with my safety than my designated “asshole” status

inner voice on the attack

contributing. no longer just a spectator, listener

I could be whatever character I chose

January Stories

I have no January stories. January is a moment lost. Each day seemed to meld into the next, the hours indistinguishable from one another. Morning, midday and sunset all resembled dusk. And dusk was like the dead of night. The dead of night extended into morning.

There are no stories this month. We watched playoff football. We ate wings, burgers; drank beer. We passed the time looking forward or back, not wanting to acknowledge the here or now. Planning trips for months to come, not leaving home for days on end.

We binge watched. I managed every episode of “Felicity” before mid-month. We ran out of oil… again. One or both of us loses track at least once a year. I blamed him.

I started every morning with the news and each day I got angrier and more afraid. The anxiety of wondering what the year will bring, overwhelming at times. We went out to eat. Took the dog to the vet, to the groomer, for walks down the street.

We played music, but not nearly enough. When I sang I did it for the world to hear, but only a few did.

I worked about a hundred extra shifts at the bar. I made small talk about the weather. I reused old jokes. I asked myself what the hell happened to the extra money.

I worried about money.

I worried about the future.

I worried about the dog. The bar. The house. The neighbor’s sidewalk. The government. My weight. My writing and my consistent drowsiness. Our business and our relationship and family drama. And First Family drama.

I hurt my back and I don’t know how. I practiced yoga through a clenched jaw with a closed heart. I went through the motions. I kept breathing, but my mind has been racing all short year long.

I have no January stories, at least none I want to tell.

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She told me to come back to you, but I already instinctively knew.

You are where I find my way. You are where it all began.

Where I found the good, the bad.

You are here and yet you’re not.

You give up the spotlight and hand me center stage.

Or center me when there is no stage.

You help me find my way. You decide what’s right to say. And prioritize what’s sent.

You find the words that explain what I meant.

You turn them back around and show me.

So I come back to you and I do all the talking (as usual) and you stare back and I throw my words at you and you accept. I lay it out for you to take and you relent and I attack and I feel better until I realize that you’ve said nothing.

I, again, am the only actor in the play. You have slipped away, your part portrayed, your goal fulfilled, your silence’s job complete. You’ve gotten me back on my feet.

And do I ever thank you?

Candy Season

And… it’s Candy Season again. No matter how hard I try to fight it each year it’s unavoidable. Candy’s siren song begins calling to me weeks before Halloween and though I push back the date on which I gather candy for the annual reaping each year, the gloriousness of (nearly) shame-free consumption gets the better of me every fall.

I lead a relatively candy-free existence for 10 months out of the year, but once Halloween hits, candy and I are pretty much inseparable through New Year’s. The trick-or-treaters come and go. I probably could unload all of my diminutive sweets on the kids but like Gollum protecting his precious, as the level of the giant candy bowl shrinks, my desire rises. I’m an otherwise reasonable adult, but when there’s a bowl of mini Snickers or Kit Kats in front of me I lose all control. I suddenly see the children as a threat to my fix, so I hoard. It starts with just a few pieces, but by the end of the rush I’ve unwittingly held back a fairly significant portion of the treats. And Halloween is just the beginning, there’s some reason or another to eat tiny candy all season long. It’s everywhere you go!

This year’s Candy Season has been compounded by my intense obsession with the Presidential election which started when I was researching Politics As Un-Usual a couple of weeks ago. And now I’m so on edge, it’s a perfect recipe for a Reese’s binge. My stress level is so high that the nightly feeding frenzy hardly engenders even my usual level of candy-guilt. Every time I think of the potential of a “President Trump” I pound another six mini Milky Ways, which leaves me certainly screwed under his possible administration which would no doubt require weekly weigh-ins of the female population. Maybe if I keep gorging myself on M&M Mars products I’ll be too fat for Trump’s America and he’ll deport my ass to Canada where my newly grown layer of candy fat will insulate me from the harsh winters of the great white north. There I can move on to Tim Horton’s and Molson to keep my weight up and ensure I’ll be denied reentry into the United States of Trumpmerica until the nightmare is over.

In the three days since Halloween I’ve left mountains of wrappers beside my laptop while watching hours of YouTube clips regarding the current state of the race. I’m going to have to start making ornaments out of Peppermint Patty wrappers just to save our fragile environment from my increasing faux-foil footprint. If I hear the words “Hillary” and “email” in the same sentence one more time, I’m going to start dunking my Heath bars in Chardonnay. Freaking email! Jeez, ever heard of a phone call, people? Not everything needs to be written down.

Please people, for our future, if you can’t vote “for” Hillary, do me a favor and vote “against” Trump. I need this to go my way. I’ll need universal health care when I candy myself into type 2 diabetes. I’ve tried to deal with my stress with yoga and meditation, but when I close my eyes and breathe I no longer envision my happy place by the ocean in Costa Rica. All I see is our impending doom if the bigoted, illiterate baby-man slithers into office.

The talking heads keep saying the polls look good for Clinton, but it’s not enough for me. I’m a worrier, it’s my nature and so this election seems tailor made to mess with my mind, and my waist line.

I can only embrace Candy Season and hope for the best (and that the sugar crash is not too devastating). Is it wrong to garnish a martini with Skittles? I’ll find out on election night, I guess.


Politics As Un-Usual

I’ve never put a political sign in my yard, never. The closest I came was a sign protesting a pipeline that was proposed for my historic neighborhood. The project would have involved extensive digging alongside dozens of historic structures and along the route that children take to walk home from the elementary school around the corner. Everyone in town opposed it. There was nothing controversial about my stance on that issue. This week I’ll be planting my Hillary flag proudly, if for no other reason than to follow suit with Atlantic Monthly and anti-endorse Donald Trump.

I like to keep my political affiliations semi-private. People who know me can tell which way I lean without asking, but generally when I am in mixed (Republican) company I remain silent. My goal is to listen to those with differing views. I want to understand them, to follow their logic. This election year though, logic is under attack. Again.

When I saw the first Trump sign go up in my neighborhood early in the campaign, I was taken aback to say the least. Really? You’ve made that call already? Do you not know who Donald Trump is?

I’m a New Yorker. I’m a country dwelling ex-pat now, but a New Yorker is always a New Yorker. I grew up in a semi-detached row house that can’t be found on google maps just across the Queens border in Nassau County. The Cross Island Parkway was the view from my living room. We were 15 miles from midtown. My parents worked in Manhattan. I moved to that magical island when I was accepted to NYU and stayed until exiling myself upstate among the rest of the artists that had been priced out of the center of the arts universe. Donald Trump has always been a joke to me and to my Republican parents.

His buildings are some of the most hideous eyesores ever to blight the skyline that has been the backdrop of my life. His failures have been epic. His bankruptcies common knowledge among city dwellers and fodder for jokes at his expense. When I was in my 20s I literally collided with “the Donald” on my way into a small club in the west village. He was on his way out and rudely didn’t say excuse me, but hey, at least he didn’t grab me by the pussy.

During my brief stint as a real estate agent on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I fielded hundreds of phone calls and emails from potential home buyers in my territory around Lincoln Center. The number one request I received from people was please, don’t show me any Trump properties! 

I found “The Apprentice” entertaining for a minute, comical. Until Yves and I were solicited by the cast of the second season while on our way into our favorite Riverside Park dog run with Bartoo one day. With a camera in my face, Trump’s crony wannabes attempted to sell me dog grooming and massage services. I said no. No self-respecting dog owner would subject their furry family member to potential torture at the hands of clearly untrained and uninsured “groomers”. Trump had tasked the cast of “job applicants” with starting their own mobile dog grooming businesses in the park. I couldn’t believe that this dangerous stunt would even be considered by Trump and his team of producers. Or that some people wanted to be on TV so badly that they said yes to these fly-by-night reality show morons and then were shocked when their dogs’ claws were cut to the quick causing intense pain to the animals. The whole thing was just so irresponsible on everyone’s part. The idiots had agreed to let the bigger idiots perform services they were not trained to perform on their pets. They got what they deserved, but what about the poor innocent dogs?

This election year, keeping my mouth shut about Trump as a candidate is making me feel like one of those dogs, helpless and at the mercy of those who do not have my best interests at heart but seek only another 15 minutes of fame. Fame without the goods to back it up, without substance. Like most of the endeavors that bear Trump’s moniker the sales pitch has become more the focus than the product, and so we are offered second-rate goods.

There are real issues driving a wedge between the two sides of our clearly divided country, but we have yet to see the candidates truly debate their policies to deal with these issues face to face. Instead we, the voters, have been given a front row seat to the latest Trump reality show. His own alternate reality. The stream of bullshit that comes from the tiny pursed opening in Trump’s constantly scowling face is laughable. There are recordings of him saying reprehensible and stupid things that he just denies having said, or better yet attributes to “locker room talk”. His debate style includes mouth-diarrhea ramblings the likes of which I haven’t seen since… well, ever!

I don’t love Hillary Clinton, although she has my vote. That is to say, she doesn’t thrill me the way Barack Obama did in 2008, but this is not about love, this is not about thrills and it shouldn’t be about the show that reality has become. This is a job interview. The most important job interview in the world. We, the American people, are the hiring committee. We should be asking ourselves which one of these potential employees will benefit the company the most. Who will be ready for the job first thing Monday morning? Who will be more likely to listen to their employer’s needs? Who can work together with a team of other employees to further projects to benefit the company? Who is the most qualified? That is the bottom line. The rest of it is entertainment. Donald Trump is good at entertainment, but at this point the show has morphed into some kind of Halloween horror-fest that I need to watch through the tiny slit between my slightly spread fingers that I have slapped over my eyes to protect myself from the hulking blob of orange monster on the screen. Face it, Donald Trump has never been on a job interview. He’s never had to answer to anyone but himself.

I try daily to process the endless parade of public misogyny that I have been witness to during the last several weeks. I thought the Trump horror show had culminated with the revelation of his grotesque remarks to Billy Bush about his uninvited groping of women’s genitals and his abusive actions and feelings of entitlement towards young beautiful women. But, as if taking a page from the reality TV playbook, Trump has taken us further down into the gutter, just when we thought there was no lower point to which we could sink. By denying that he has ever actually behaved as he described himself behaving on that now famous recording, he has caused several women to break their silence about his unwanted advances. But Trump’s response to his accusers makes me sick. Just days after he accused Secretary Clinton of “blaming and shaming” women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct he publicly called his accusers liars. Trump even went as far as to say some of them were not attractive enough to be sexually assaulted by him. As if sexual assault is about the victim’s looks and not the perpetrator’s power.

Trump’s behavior is not presidential. His behavior is barely human.

On the other hand I am grateful to Donald Trump’s candidacy for exposing just how commonplace sexism and abuse is in our society. Because of Trump’s campaign, women’s issues are at the forefront of our discussion as a country and it’s awakened a lot of us to something that’s been in plain sight for decades, but that we just refuse to see.

I’ve been groped. I’ve been objectified. I’ve been underestimated. I’ve been paid less than a man for the same job. I’ve been lip kissed without inviting it. I’ve been cornered in my own office and made to fear for my safety. These are things I buried over the years and thought of as unfortunate, but par for the course as a female. But this is not something that society is growing out of. This issue does not belong to our mothers and our grandmothers, it is ours to address now. I was never physically hurt, so I choked down my anger and moved on, but future generations of women should never be told that that’s “just how it is”.

Hillary is stiff. Hillary is cold. Hillary is measured, calculated, a politician. I don’t care. Hillary is prepared. Hillary is smart. Hillary has experience. Hillary has made hard choices her whole life. We’re not electing her to feed us lasagna and be America’s grandma. We’re electing her to be our commander in chief. So when people tell me they just don’t like her, I hear nothing. That is not an argument. You don’t like her? Fine. If she ever invites you to dinner at the White House you can decline the invitation. In the meantime I want someone that the rest of the world takes seriously in charge of our country.

It’s ridiculous to consider putting someone with no political experience in the oval office. It’s an important job. You should have Washington experience to do it. You should have world experience to do it, and I don’t think building a golf club for overprivileged white men on international soil counts as experience on the world political stage. If you fuck up a clubhouse, no one dies in a nuclear holocaust.

So yes, once I click “publish” my next stop is I’m buying myself a lawn sign and some buttons, whatever she’s got. I trust her with the job. I trust that she knows what to say and when to keep her mouth shut and listen to other people’s thoughts and opinions and try to find common ground to achieve the things that the majority of Americans want. There is no perfect candidate. There never will be, but we must start by denying our vote to the bloated, bragging, over-hyped, under-educated man-child with ADD that seeks to degrade reasonable public discourse to the point of baseless, foul-mouthed, angry, sexist, racist sound bites that leave people wondering how the hell we got here.

The president should endeavor to unite the people, not further divide them.

To young people who are voting for the first or second time and are upset that they don’t have a charismatic icon like Obama to cast a ballot for, I say that it’s time to consider what’s actually in front of you. Hillary Clinton, who maybe doesn’t thrill you, but is an experienced and reasonable adult who has spent her life navigating the rough terrain of DC (and has the scars to prove it) and crusading for women and children in need. Or Donald Trump who has flailed, failed and underpaid his way to a place he swears is the top, yet refuses transparency on his end while denigrating the female population and inviting our enemies to mount cyber attacks against our political system. A man you grew up laughing at (yes, “at”, not “with”) on TV, when you weren’t at Macy’s thumbing through racks and racks of his shoddy made-in-China suits and ties. And to vote for a third party candidate in an effort to “vote your conscience” is a waste of your vote, particularly when you consider Gary Johnson’s ignorance on, well, just about everything and Jill Stein’s relative obscurity.

On November 8th I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. Not because she is a woman, but because she has the experience and the temperament that befit a leader. She is the best person for the job.

T Minus 40: Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work. Winter is a terrible time to try to initiate change. I believe in the birthday resolution though. It’s your own personal New Year’s Day. This year the resolutions feel bigger somehow, like resolutions for the next 40 years…

This year I plan to make less plans.

To worry less. To concoct less worst case scenarios.

To consider myself before considering others.

I plan to treasure my gifts. To be proud of my accomplishments.

To trust those who have earned it and to let go of those who have betrayed it.

To forgive myself. To stop trying to fix the mistakes of the past.

I will not take love for granted.

I will fear less, though I’ll never be fearless.

I plan to finally believe the Second Agreement or at least try.

To stop caring about what other people think.

To count less.

To sing more.

To please myself and honor my partner and all the things he is.

I plan to practice yoga and patience and self respect and guitar.

I plan to write and to read and to learn.

To seek information and adventure and stories.

To relax and to listen to the lessons I have learned.

To remember that I have no control over others and that these plans are plans alone and can be written and rewritten. They do not define the life ahead they do not explain what came before. These plans are just plans and plans change every minute.

I plan to make less plans.


T Minus 40: It’s Worth a Shot…

Dear Japan,

Konnichiwa! I’m hoping you guys can help me out with something. I know that Nintendo is set to release it’s mini version of the classic NES console for sale on November 11th of this year, just in time for the holiday shopping season. (Great plan on their part by the way.) Unfortunately, I’m not having much luck getting a response from the folks over there. They’re probably just really busy being freaking awesome, so I thought I’d reach out.

Thing is, I was absolutely THE LAST of my friends to get the original NES Action Set that they released in 1988. Everyone got it for Christmas that year. You want to know when I got it? Christmas of 1989! Those were the longest 365 days of my life. Everyone kept talking about saving the Princess and I didn’t even know who the hell the Princess was. The worst part was when I would get invited to my friend Chrissy’s house (who goes by Christina now that we’re grown ups) to play and I’d have no clue what I was doing. So, I’d play Super Mario for like 10 minutes before being killed off and then have to sit there and watch her ace the whole game. I believe I gained a lot of pre-adolescent weight in this way since my hands were free to eat snacks. Seriously, my face got super pudgy around that time.

Apologies for my digression. I’ll get to my point so that I don’t take up too much of your valuable time (I know you’ve got that North Korea thing going on). My birthday is next Thursday and it’s a big one – 40. I know, I know, I don’t look it – thanks guys. Anyway, It sure would be nice to be the first of my friends to get this new console. I honestly wish I’d never given the old one away. Kids today don’t appreciate these things. Do you think, maybe, you could pull some strings with the good folks over at Nintendo and get one shipped here to upstate New York in advance? I would be forever grateful and would gladly pay any additional shipping fees (even though it is my birthday and I kinda feel like you could front that cost seeing as you’re a whole country, but whatever). It would just really make me feel better about getting “old”, ya know? I know 40 doesn’t seem old to you all because your country has the highest percentage of elderly citizens in the world, but in America 40 is a rough age.

I promise to visit more often and I know I said that after I spent that four hour layover in Narita Airport back in ’88, but this time I mean it. I plan to travel more in my 40s – right after I re-learn how to save the Princess. Please let me know what you come up with and if you get those Nintendo guys on the phone, tell them I’ve been looking for them.

All the Best.

Domo arigato gozaimasu!


T Minus 40: Bring It

There is only one week to go and it turns out that after 33 straight days of contemplation, information gathering and creation I’m ready for forty. Bring it! Ten years from now, when I’m composing T Minus 50, I know I will have an amazing collection of stories from the coming decade.

I’ve spent a lot of years imagining that there is some alternate universe in which my life went the “right” way. A universe where the record companies didn’t pass on me or I actually got the part and not just a call back. A life in which I had the stones to keep trying. An alternate universe that would let me create without the fear and sensitivity that held me back in my 20s and 30s. It’s a place where money doesn’t get in the way, it doesn’t factor in at all. A life in which people were nothing but supportive. A universe where I believed enough in myself to buy into what I was doing as an artist and create things that pleased me without worrying about commercial success. A world where the saying “do what you love and the money will follow” was a reality as opposed to a notion reserved for those who have already achieved financial success.

I’ve spent a lot of time ascribing blame. I’ve placed it everywhere, on the industry, on the clients, on circumstances, but mainly on myself. T Minus 40 has unlocked something I thought I’d lost. By committing to this project I gave myself permission to tap into my creativity again. I’m taking baby steps each day. I am only accountable to myself, so the blame has fallen away. It’s simply not useful to the process.

There have been some days that almost got the better of me (and I’m still not done) but I didn’t want to feed the demon of failure so I widened my definition of success. In so doing, I remembered that it’s OK to take pride in accomplishment. Humility has it’s place, but it’s not appropriate in every situation.

Spending all of this time reviewing my life and mining it for material has been incredibly eye-opening. About midway through the project I realized that the all of the topics that I thought would be “deep” or “sad” no longer interested me. I realized I had no desire to whine about loss or missteps or injustices. I wanted to enjoy the project, so I put a spotlight on the last 39 years and it revealed that there is no “right” way a life should go. It’s been going the way I’ve been leading it and I’ve got the memories and the material to show for it.

I started out afraid of turning 40 as a female and as a performer. I worried that I had missed all my chances. But unlike so many of my fears that I’ve simply avoided, this birthday is inevitable, so I chose to steer into the skid. I chose not to hide or lie and tell people I’m 32 (that starts next week). I chose to own it, to buy into myself and my own relevance. I gave myself the gift of finally accepting that all of the things I’ve done, the hats I’ve worn to facilitate my life don’t necessarily define it. I run a business, but I’m not a business woman. I handle the finances, but I’m not a bookkeeper. I know my way around the kitchen better than most, but I’m not a chef. I use social media for self-promotion, but I am in no way a marketing whiz.

I’m beginning to understand that change doesn’t have to be bad. Forty looks peaceful now. I know I can’t control the outside world (that’s the wisdom that comes with age), but I also can’t quiet what’s inside to fit into some pre-conceived notion of the perfect woman. Sometimes I have to drop the ball and trust that I’ll be able to pick it back up.

Thanks again to everyone that’s commented, liked, shared, emailed and supported. I didn’t know when I started if anyone would read any of this and no offense, I didn’t care, but sharing this event has been a truly wonderful part of the work.