Maybe meeting all these women from the 2013 Listen To Your Mother cast has put me on a “pink cloud” as we say in coffee club. Maybe if we spent any extended amount of time together, we’d find that we all have extremely clashing tastes in music and wildly opposing views on politics and religion and childrearing (1) and would get in small skirmishes about which board games to play (or not play) and who would get to pick the restaurant or if we were ordering out or going to the grocery store and cooking in or going out for a fancy meal. Maybe I’m still in the infatuation-honeymoon-I got dressed up, took a shower and put on a wee bit of makeup for the first rehearsal-that’s like of like a first date-phase. I’m willing to entertain the possibility.
But for the first time *since* I got to coffee club, I had the strange sensation upon meeting a group of strangers that I haven’t really experienced since(2). I felt like I was at home. I was really comfortable (aside from being a touch late). I was slightly bummed at the fact that I had a open seat next to me and was wondering why I was the only person who didn’t have someone seated next to her (I figured it was my late punishment), but it was soon resolved when it was revealed that our fearless leaders were also going to be reading and the seat next to me was soon filled. I wasn’t super on guard in a room full of women, other than feeling *slightly* impostor-y because I was the only one who wasn’t a mom talking about motherhood while being surrounded by moms (it felt like the average number of kids was around three! that seems like a lot!), but I knew it was completely internal and not coming from anywhere outside me at all(3).
Much like my experiences in coffee club, it just feels like I belong here and that I’ve been supposed to know these ladies forever. I am running headlong into this experience with enthusiasm and joy and bringing my coffee club experience with me, maybe to their confusion and dismay. At post-rehearsal dinner (also known as fellowship in my neck of the woods), I randomly non-sequitur — “We should have a phone list!” This is as it should be, right? This is how we keep in touch with each other in recoveryland. What if you need to talk to someone or get in touch about a ride or someone just needs to talk? What if you have a great idea or are just having a weird day?
The response is, “Yeah … a phone list. Sure, we’ll do a phone list.” It seems lukewarm and somewhat interestingly received — if we want to, they’ll put one together, but it doesn’t seem like something anyone’s been clamoring for. Right. This isn’t standard operating procedure. This isn’t how the normal world works. This is from a different culture and history. I need to remember this. It’s kind of like when I leave work, bellowing out, “Love you!” to my co-workers. Do they let it slide, thinking nothing of it, or go, “What the fuck did she just say?”
I think part of the reason all of this is really resonating with me is that I have been caught in limbo for awhile. I haven’t thought of myself as adult for a long time. Who me? Grownup? But despite my best efforts to fuck up all over, there is a part of me that is distinctly … something. Middle aged? Grown up? Been around the block? Adult? Matured. I see things with perspective and experience, and I have a little bit of wisdom. I have the foresight and understanding that comes with just doing life for a little while. Sometimes, it comes out as jaded or cynical, which is the unfortunate side of the coin. But sometimes, it is what it is — knowledge and truth about situations that can keep me from making the same mistakes again, if I choose to pay attention to what’s come before me.
That said, sometimes it feels like it’s hard to fit in somewhere. I’m not young enough to quite be a part of the Millenials and the YOLO crowd (nor do I really care to be, thank you very much), but I’m not old enough for the Boomers and their particular brand of grinding out the day. I feel young-at-heart, but I’m not quite ready to engage in a lifestyle that can look and feel kind of meaningless to me sometimes. Where do I go? What do I do? Where are my people? Who is going to connect with me in mind, body and spirit?
I feel stuck between wanting to be with two general kinds of people — often laid out generationally. Those who can run away on a moment’s notice — who understand the desire for spontaneous road trips and all night talk sessions. The people who still go to rock concerts and maybe even travel to do so. The people who are fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and get up and dance sorts. The people who don’t have a lot of responsibilities in their lives.
The people for whom the “I love the 80s shows” are a walk down memory lane *not* an ironic, retro look at history. The people for whom my 20s are their 20s, not when they were in grade school or worse yet, years which when they were born. The people who do have responsibility so they know what integrity is — doing what you say you do and being where you say you’ll be — not being righteous flakes. The people who have better advice than “that sucks” and who know when to give it and when to shut the hell up. The people who get that life is a very, very messy shade of gray and not all delineated in harsh shades of black and white — but understand when you get stuck in that rigid way of thinking ALL THE FUCKING TIME.
I think I’m excited about these ladies because I feel like they are lots of the latter, but they definitely have room for the former. I don’t know that for a fact, but when I mentioned that they might want to come to The First Time, they just said “yes.” They didn’t instantly talk of kids and obligations and too much to do. They were excited and interested and threw down immediately. They were the first to buy tickets. Oh, did I mention that many of these ladies live … IN .. THE … SUBURBS!?! And FAR ONES, TOO! They didn’t complain that they’d have to stay out too late, they didn’t complain about driving too far, they didn’t give a million excuses. They just were IN. WOW.
I am touched, I am moved, I am flummoxed.
They are a wild and wonderful mix of women. I said that I have big plans for us. I DO! I want to do other shows with them. I want to have retreats. I want to do sketch with them. Maybe a webseries. Podcasts. I want to write books with them. I want to perform with them. I want to do creative things with them. Why stop here? I don’t know how it will all work out or throw down or come to fruition, but I can tell there is a wealth of creative energy here, and I think we can all be much bigger than the sum of our parts. Most of these women have *already* written books and performed and … hell, created whole living beings.
Maybe I’m getting too excited about this. Maybe it will all fade after the show. Maybe they will return to their children and their very busy lives. Maybe they will bask the glow of their accomplishment and things will return to normal. But I’m hoping we’ll continue to collaborate and create together for a very long time.
Here are the ladies and their blogs for your perusal:
Liz Joynt Sandberg
1. Oddly enough, I have plenty of opinions on this subject for someone who is childless, which is a HUGE hit with the people who actually have to live out the real world scenarios of doing the real deal.
2. Second City has come close, but it wasn’t instant.
3. It still didn’t stop me from compensating during my introduction and blurting out that I wasn’t a mom and didn’t have any kids and had never wanted them. Later, I realized that could have sounded aggro and like I was trying to distinguish myself from them in some negative way, when it was just my being insecure about my own “one of these things is not like the other”-ness. So, I had waves of introduction remorse come and go. I tried to let it pass.