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Tag Archives: mental health

My incredible stint as an mature model

 

I’m having a hard time lately with auditions. As I get older, I know what I want and where I fit in.  Most of the time I have to make up my own opportunities. I went to a film audition the other day and asked to audition for one of the many male characters as I often do because they are usually less one dimensional. Even as a clown, I take my art seriously.

This modeling opportunity presented itself as a chore no one else wanted. Basically I volunteered to play an elderly patient who could not identify herself and needed help eating. We were helping Certified Nursing Assistant students practice their skills. Here I am pondering my meal tray.

meal

Sometimes people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can do many things for themselves. Sometimes they cannot. The CNA’s had to practice not making assumptions and practicing good hygiene.  One thing I enjoyed is that they all basically talked aloud about everything they were doing. This is something I do in order to remember steps and to help the person understand and be able to give consent.

 “May I come in?” “Would you like a clothing protector?” “Would you like any assistance with that?”, “I’m going to put your bed in a position so you can eat.” “I’ll leave your call button here if you like.” These were all great prompts I heard. My part didn’t require much but I added small things to put the person at ease like saying “thank you” when they provided me with care. I exaggerated my shaky hands when eating and  did try to  help them out a little bit if they forgot something. For instance, I would say “Oh no, I’m spilling on my new pants” if they forgot to offer me a clothing protector. Sometimes I got a little goofy and asked them if they wanted to sing with me.

There was some weird chocolate rice hazelnut bar that was on the lunch tray. I would stick it in my belt after the meal to see if they recorded it as eaten or not. I soon began fantasizing about actually eating it and wound up taking it home with me. I consider that my payment. Here is my co-worker Jenny who did the judging for the enactment. I finally got to eat instead of just feigning it.

eating

We are birds of a feather, both a little kooky and dedicated to fun. The other enactments in our room involved processing a discharge and taking vital signs. They were much quieter folks but when they weren’t busy they would laugh at us.

Tomorrow I will go to an audition for a play about The Irish Uprising of 1916. I’m interested in this because it is supposed to be a working class perspective of the event. The majority reaction in Ireland is documented to be negative as there was little working class buy in to what was largely a project of the intellectuals of the time. It was a confused and confounded effort but was largely successful in galvanizing an independence movement because of the British decision to martyr the leaders. Even if there is no part for me, I hope I will learn something and have more fun.

I judge myself for not wanting to audition for stereotypical older female characters but life is short. My contribution to feminism is to resist conformity and expand expectations. I believe that is the challenge of artists and all those who are curious about humanity. It’s difficult not to want approval and security. I succumb to this everyday in terms of my anxieties about  work, relationships and the meaning of life. Luckily I live in Alaska where nature rules and human must be humble and creative to survive.

My roommates and I have a new project, the kazoo band. We have about 15 kazoos. It will be time to really celebrate spring when the trails get plowed in a couple of weeks. We are going to organize a flash mob of sorts to meet at Westchester lagoon and march to the nearest bridge playing popular tunes. The whole neighborhood will be invited to bring improvised instruments and dress in antic attire.  So far our playlist includes such classics as Row, Row, Row your Boat, Three Blind Mice and Losing my Religion by U2.  More details to come!

 

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Spring Forsakenings

Most people look forward to spring. To people with mood issues and to people who live in Anchorage, it’s just another day in Mar a Lago but without the green, the golf and, thank God, the president.

My winter was okay, plenty of cross country skiing and skating, employment, fun. When spring comes to Alaska the winter sports end and the waiting begins. Waiting for summer because spring is a mess just like my head.  This photo sums it up.life.png

This is what snow looks like after the spring plowing exposes it to the light. Layers  of  snowflakes crushed  into prickly ice mixed with months of dirt. That’s what I feel like right now. More like layers of ice cream crushed into bitterness mixed with months of black mood morsels.

Spring cheer is not based on a date or on the return of sunlight. It’s rooted in hope and opportunity.  I like to go on walks but this is what greets me.

walk

Icy hills North or South are my only alternatives. Deathtrap. Stay inside. Eat. Mope

But if I do I miss the view at the top.

street.png

Or what’s on the other side.

icey

The little birds are back despite the ice. The geese and gulls are waiting. The actually greening will occur in early May over one short week. Until then I will keep my car plugged in and trudge on.

 

Anxiety Woman’s reading list: a prescription for wellbeing

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I remember being in the middle of a conversation with a fellow actor in San Francisco. After yammering on as we actors do, he stopped, looked me in the eye and said, “I can’t afford to be around negative people anymore.” Then he walked away. I laugh large laughs in my head today because his conversations about making it big and investing in his latest project remind me of a certain current president of a formerly much admired nation. If you can’t deal with negativity then perhaps you might need an ego reboot.

Sure, I’m a bit negative when it comes to assuaging men’s egos. I also have a tendency to underrate my own cooking but this is a self protective move. If I tell people the brownies are a bit undercooked and have too much salmon extract in them, that means there are more for me.

I’ve been noticing my stress level is creeping up lately. I can’t sleep until 3 am. My dominant forearm is aching while I type this. I’m getting charlie horses at night and now I have “Trigger thumb” where my thumb becomes dislocated as I sleep due to high tension and over use during the day. How do you overuse a thumb? By yanking up one’s pants too many times, securing wheelchairs, pushing wheelchairs, giving a thumbs down to bad movies, riding a bike in winter  desperately trying to get the brakes to work and by cross country skiing.

I am taking a break from the skiing and the biking and decided to catch up on my reading.  My reading choices reflect an inability to move forward with my life. It would take a disaster of great proportions to uproot me from my safety net of friends and activities so that’s what I read about. Besides there is nothing like a disaster book to make you feel like anxiety is a good thing.

I read this one last year when there was very little snow in Alaska. The weather was getting me down but reading this put an end to my complaints.

I just finished reading this. If a recurring reference to a pail of human eyeballs doesn’t put you off then you might enjoy the rest which is equally gory but historically accurate.  There are no big plot surprises as you can see the trajectory right on the cover. And to think I am wary about moving back to the Northeast because of ticks.

Here’s one I got at the library book sale on Friday night, haven’t started it but it was on the shelf marked. “Disasters” so how could I go wrong?

I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I have a difficult time resisting non-fiction with the word, “terrifying” in the sub-title. I hope someday there will be a Trump era history with that word in the title. I find myself feeling much more at home in a Trump presidency than many of my friends who don’t court disaster as doggedly as I do. I, who am oft  the outlier in terms of neuroticism, now appear closer to the mean or average. This is a lucky break for me.

A man named Lance Panzer, no relation to the tank, reviewed it on Amazon.com with the headline, “Makes the Perfect Storm look like a picnic”

Just in case I needed a different sort of input, I made my way over to Title Wave to  cash out my credit before the March 15th deadline. Look what I found!

Product Details

They have two more copies if you want one!

This is how I put my life in perspective. I may have no direction. The leader of my  country may be inherently unstable but at least I am not on a plane with snakes.  If you have any film or reading recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

 

 

The envelope I received today from Price Waterhouse

I’m a winner!

So is Hilary Clinton. My brother called to tell me that one.

My envelope was addressed to my neighbors but it was in my mailbox along with the box containing their Signature Hardware copper claw foot bathtub. Finders/Keepers. I have a really big mailbox. You could fit 140 of Donald Trump’s hands in it.

317436-72-hammered-copper-slipper-clawfoot-tub

This is what you want to hide under when there is an earthquake, if it doesn’t run away on those fat little legs. Body shaming aside, they are a bit tubby.

Why did Price Waterhouse pick me? Probably because I am from Manchester by the Sea. I am one of the former residents who, like Casey Affleck’s character, moved away to make less money than they could at home. Manchester is a really pretty place but you have to be really rich to live there. Little did I know that you have to be pretty rich to live well anywhere.   Maybe the letter was meant for Casey but I think he already got one.

I hear P.W. has two copies of every envelope they give out, which is a bit excessive. I don’t write two checks when I pay my rent or have sex with individuals twice just in case they didn’t hear me the first time.

But what to do about the bathtub? I’ve already made a couple of speeches about it to my easily impressed co-workers. My neighbors might get suspicious if there’s a plumber’s van in the driveway tomorrow so I will probably have to sleep with a working man for a believable backstory.

Truthfully, I think the postman made the mistake because I am white and my neighbors are not. I don’t make as much money as them but I look like I do based on skin tone.

No that can’t be it.  I’m Catholic, like Casey Affleck’s character. I’m the one who is oppressed and just can’t beat my past including my genetic tendencies towards violence and ridiculous sensitivity to both the sun and the criticism of others. Don’t tell me I live in La-La land because I live in Alaska where no one has a tub like this and everyone is really just a loser from somewhere else. Don’t make me give it back.

 I have my doubts about the integrity of Price Waterhouse.  My first association with that kind of fancy-ass name is Fisher Price toys but their tubs are much smaller and apparently come equipped with photogenic bathers.

tubs

Move over Sunny Pawar! I’m younger than you and I’m white!

 You may ask, what do all these references have in common? Do they all involve water? Yes but NO!  THEY ARE ALL FAKE NEWS!

I only got a catalog from Signature Hardware which is the Rock/Movie/Musical star of bathtub makers. It was not addressed to me. It was not addressed to my neighbors either. It was addressed to my roommate who is black and has a much better bedroom set than I have.

We do have a big mailbox.  We just got an upgrade. With three of us living here and about 10 old roommates who still get their mail here we needed it. Besides that, it has a lock so no one can steal our Academy Award letters.

I did audition for a movie the other day but I was funnier off script than on so I don’t think that is going anywhere fast. A girl can dream about playing an old alcoholic smoker who sees dead guys coming on to her but that doesn’t make her dreams come true.

I am from Manchester by the Sea. I recognize that the movie is not so much about that town but about the small town that many of us come from. The one that never forgets the best of people and the worst of them. The small town that is our family, our workplace, our culture that we can’t get far enough away from, because they’re inside of us. I’m proud to be from a town that will now be forever remembered for alcoholism and dysfunction.

I will probably not see the movie La-La land because I don’t need more fantasy in my life especially  anymore white people’s fantasy. This includes thinking I deserve more than I get and that life is fair. I should see Moonlight. Maybe I will go with my roommates.  Meanwhile I just had my taxes done at H&R Block. They only use one envelope.

If I could see as you do……

Ivan Bilibin was a Russian illustrator, especially of folk tales, whose work is beautiful. Russian folk tales can be pretty odd. This must have been one of them. When you work out what’s going on, write me a story, please.

via Sunday Strange microfiction challenge — Jane Dougherty Writes

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/sunday-strange-microfiction-challenge-3/

If I could see with the eyes of the dead, I would not waste my youth in fear or lust. I would not cry in the dark but treasure the sharp edge of loneliness.  I would cast off the faith which castigated me for living. I would see what matters instead of relying on magic wishes and futile comparisons. But there were donuts, doe-eyed men and other distractions.

The house of my childhood is now fenced with bones. I cannot enter without their owner’s permission. When they give it, I choose the eyes of the most misunderstood and venture into the woods. They see without pain now and offer me not the rewards of love, peace or prosperity but that of humor.

The picture is from a Russian folktale in which a girl, whose mother has died, escapes the home of Baba Yaga thanks to a blessing from her dead mother, something with which I can identify.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I have been failing at my plan for World Domination

  1. I’m just too tired to stay up late and tweet evil missives. I haven’t even had enough energy to shovel out the hammock.hammock
  2. When I get mad enough to explode I usually just eat anything in sight or worse yet go out for a walk. What a loser!
  3. It’s so hard to get attention by being cranky up here in Alaska. I can’t explain exactly how crazy one has to be to get media attention. Even then, television reception is so bad I would have to depend on the internet to get my evil plans out. Then, I don’t trust I’ll be able to reassemble after streaming. I’ve seen enough Star Trek to know that the Transporter has had some real bad problems. Bad! I would replace Mr. Scott with an American entrepreneur ASAP, preferably someone who knows nothing about engineering.mr-scottNo more drinking on the job Mr. Scottish!
  4. It’s difficult to find an evil news manipulator in Anchorage. I’m totally willing to be a puppet for a great Svengali but it’s a right wing media graveyard  since Sarah Palin left.
  5. I just don’t feel “Great” enough. I live in “The Great Land”, “The Great White North”, but I feel overshadowed by the attention given melting glaciers. Big deal. It’s not like they’re alive like little baby fetuses.  I need to work on my superlativity. I am the Greatest problem since Global Warming! I may not be greater than Jesus but I am richer. He gave everything away. So stupid.
  6. It is hard to be a world dominator when you are not a 10. I am flat chested. I can never be a 10 and that is so unfair.
  7. I spend excessive time focused on solutions instead of exaggerating problems which would create building blocks of paranoia in the poor people of America’s most dangerous cities where bad, bad people are skulking around neighborhoods without the decency to be wearing fitbits.
  8. I read too much. Such a waste. Stop reading this right now and go out and say and do things based on no information whatsoever. Some day you may even be able to appoint a horse to be Senator or even to The Supreme Court.
  9. original-head-of-caligula

Sunday Strange microfiction challenge

I could hear you coming with your white hair crackling in the wind. I hope you like the new steps. They make the journey easier for both those who wear no shoes and those who wear Prada.
Here’s a lamp. I usually sit in the dark but I keep a few of them handy because I want to encourage visitors and no one eats gluten anymore. I sense there is something in your hands? Is it candy? It’s totally appropriate to make an offering to me. I’m not saying I’m holy but until mysticism is a union occupation , I’ll take what I can get. Sit anywhere. You may want to borrow one of these palm fronds to keep your garments down as I am doing. It’s very breezy living on a mountain top let alone in this drafty hermitage. Last thing I want is to expose myself to a stranger. Also, I don’t want to catch on fire. But I’m nattering on.
I sense you have come for something important so I will dispense with listening to your voice and just read your mind. Ah, you want to know how to exist in this increasingly stupid world? Also are you pregnant? To the first question I say: Act increasingly stupid yourself, but in a mindful kind of Buddhisty sort of way so that no one can fault you. To the second I say, wait a month and see if you get your period. A final reminder: I’m just another gal trying to eke out a living but I can only take donations or else I have to report it as income.  Oooh, full size Reese’s! Come back anytime and do me a favor, tell the next person you see heading up that I absolutely changed your life forever.

Jane Dougherty Writes

See what you make of this decidedly creepy painting by Gabriel von Max

gm-00-lite

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