WHAT. EVER.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’ve never tried to “be a writer”. “To Be a Writer”, as used in this here blog, I would define  as actions such as “being published”, “making money”, “having a literary agent”, and so forth. Sure I had a Tumblr (ha!) for years that mostly my friends read. Then I “launched” this, which reaches more than just my friends. No one, thus far, has said, “hey you’re an absolute failure at stringing thoughts together in an interesting fashion maybe just quit or actually just never Internet again”, but there’s still time. I don’t have a large enough audience yet, I’ll bet.

I never seriously tried to “be an actor” before this Season of My Life (this Season being a crash landing back to Ohio after moving through space for 5 months post-grad).

No one’s ever told me what “to be”. Not even Shakespeare posing the question shook me. No one–to my admittedly faulty and selective recollection–has ever said, “you should be X thing!”. People, family, friends, what have you, have always been encouraging and supportive. “Have you considered…” or “have you ever tried…” are often the beginning of good suggestions/opportunities/advice. My parents never pushed us to be anything other than good citizens of the world, and happy (and ideally not engaging in premarital sex or drug use, but I never miss a state or federal election so is anyone really worried?).

My friends never said, “maybe don’t”. Often they actually just say, “maybe do”, because I’m terrible at follow-through and try to couch it in being an “Ideas Person” which is really just a bullshit excuse for someone else to actualize your bomb ass script ideas (Corpus Crispi and The Poultry Geist , I’m looking at you).

I think about Flashdance a lot. I think about Jennifer Beals being a stripper and a welder and trying to get into dance school while also dating the worst Love Interest casting in a major motion picture for the entirety of 80’s cinema. No disrespect to Michael Nouri, I’m just saying. The matching was a miss, if you will. I think of her hustle, her living in that incredible warehouse, dancing to ballet broadcast on TV (do they even do that now?! Even on, say, Bravo??) with her beautiful pupper. And I want to be that.

But that’s fiction, dammit. Jennifer Beals–who is incredible and an inspiration hi please write me I love you–looks well-rested and poverty-chic because it is just a story. There are women, men, out here hustling just as hard. Maybe their hair isn’t as perfectly coiffed, maybe their warehouse space isn’t as lavishly yet subtly decorated. But they’re real. They’re real. They’re inspiring. Sometimes they’re on Huffington Post and other times they’re friends on my FB feed. I think, I’m fairly certain, I am also one of them. At least my stress-related breakouts, dwindling bank account, and suspiciously frequent emailing would indicate such.

So why am I telling you this? Namely, because it’s my blog, which translates into a enormous note to self. That note to self could be boiled quickly into: HEY GIRL DON’T FUCK UP.

Make yourself.

Be a good citizen.

Don’t fret the premarital sex.

But I’m telling you this also because I trust you. I love you. I value your opinion. I like knowing you’re out there, listening, judging, maybe even rooting for me. I’m rooting for you.

I’m telling you this also because that is what I’m going to be. What I am. A writer. An actor. I took a leap, like I said I would. A parachute and a good pair of boots, remember? All of it, or as much as possible. I took a leap on settling down (weird thought, but real). I took a leap on a relationship. I took a leap on honest, uncomfortable accountability with friends. I took a leap on a new job. I’m basically a frog at this point. I’m going from lily-pad to lily-pad (let the metaphor live, dude), and maybe not perfectly sticking the landing. But! (I imagine me holding up one finger here to punctuate the point) I have yet to sink to the bottom of the pond. I’m above water. I’m growing fat on flies. The view’s nice.

This week has been a lot of anxiety-induced comparison. I look at her and wonder, “is this because she doesn’t have piercings?”. I look at him and fret, “if only I’d gotten that degree.”.  I look at them and think, “how do they afford it that??”. “I want to go there!” “How did they land that gig?” “Well of course that worked out for them, they’re lucky.”  “They’re pretty.” “They’re taller.” “They have the right parents.”

WHATEVER.

SERIOUSLY.

WHAT. EVER.

Those thoughts are high on the list of least productive thoughts I could entertain. They fall underneath Being a Professional Athlete and Ending My Relationship Because I’m Scared of Vulnerability, but well above Learning to Crochet and Never Getting Out of Bed.

I’ve tried this new job for a week. I’ve been acting “more seriously” (I never took the time to define that, kind of squirrelly on my part. We live. We learn. We listen to Alanis Morrisesette.) for a month. I’ve never even tried to submit my writing, so a big WTF to myself for holding my breath there. Choices have to live. They have to expand and take on a life of their own. You adjust accordingly, I think. From what I’ve seen.

This is the work. My god, there is only the work. So the work isn’t what I envisioned it would be when I leapt again and landed on a thinner lily-pad than planned. So the work isn’t immediately glamorous. Forget that. Teddy Roosevelt said, “I have to urinate,” at least once in his life. He also said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I’m choosing the second quote to adhere to.

I have no idea what I’m doing. That’s all I’ve ever done–the Grand Not Knowing. I’ve gotten better. I’ve learned some things along the way. I’ve had a Montana sized amount of help.

I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m not going to stop doing it.

I will have all of it, or as much as possible.

I love you. So much.

I miss you. I see you and am proud. You move me.

I hope to see you soon.

Happy Easter, you sweet bunny.

If this is my blog (it is) and on Sunday I update you (I do), then I’ll write whatever the heck I want.

Ugh, I don’t want to be drippy and sentimental.

“Oh, I’m Mia! Here’s some feelings, and then some thoughts on life ugh I’ve lived so much I love you I wanna cuddle you I like socks and organic toothpaste ugh…!”

I don’t want to be heavy.  I’ve already gained 12 pounds in the past four months (thanks a lot, happy and healthy relationship).

So here’s an update, or as I like to call it,
me rambling about things that happened with or without my knowledge or say“. Or as others might call it, The Passing of Time.

Monday: You know when you have nothing to do the next day? And you feel really good about what you just accomplished? And someone tries to tell you you’ve had enough to drink so you take it as a challenge to drink more? And you forget you’ve already tequila before having more whiskey?

Well. That was me Sunday night.

Me Monday was mostly just crying and then accidentally breaking a lamp while deep cleaning baseboards. Monday was not Mia’s Finest Day. Monday did, however, illuminate  the Boundaries of Jake’s Patience. Those boundaries are far reaching, y’all. Probably against his better judgement (please don’t change).

Tuesday: Applied for more jobs. Picked up a trade for print shoot with the Art Academy. Started off on the wrong foot. Learned I desperately needed new headshots. Learned that watching America’s Next Top Model reruns during the summers in high school set me up to fake knowing how to model. Ended with a hugely productive two hours followed by a beer with my boy Hagan. Took the bus back home. Went to Arlin’s and told a friend I’m sorry for being a shitty friend. Results may vary.

The path to honesty is long and unyielding and I think it never ends. I started off on the wrong foot. Results may vary.

But, whatever.

I said my piece and drank my beer. What else can we hope to accomplish?

Wednesday: I spent the day with a friend. He bought me brunch. We walked around discussing economics, relationships, and whatever else because those two topics happen to cover just about everything in between. Jake joined up with us.  The three of us rearranged his friend’s apartment (the two of us were very forceful in our suggestions that we do so until we did so).

I continued to have late night spasms of fear that I’ll be unemployed forever.

Thursday: I read up on laws regarding art and creative content. I compiled all my VO and on-camera work into one folder, ready to be put into a reel. I researched VO work, compiled information on actor websites, looked into union laws, and pay scales. Sent Jake some memes.

Called my mother and had our first of several “Presidential Talks”. Way back when, we went to the Ohio Bookstore on my birthday. There’s a section on presidents. The heavy hitters, your Lincolns or Roosevelts, have entire bookcases devoted to them and the various biographies they’ve inspired. Lesser presidents merely had a shelf, or worse, found themselves sandwiched between dramatic Watergate tomes or scandalous first wives’ exposés. My mother and I decided to pick at random a Lesser President biography and gift it to the other. She picked for me “Hayes of the 23rd: The Civil War Volunteer Officer”. I picked for her, “Woodrow Wilson: World Citizen”. Now we call each other on Thursday mornings and discuss the chapter we’ve read the previous week. Hence, “Presidential Talks”. I think by the end of this, I’ll stan Rutherford B. Hayes harder than anyone has in 100 years. My mother regrets to inform you that her book is written at a 6th grade level (“well, 1960’s 6th grade, so 9th grade now, Mia”) and will probably not enjoy it as much.

Put out more applications. Had lunch with Caroline to discuss Pearl. Lined up a job interview at a clothing boutique for this Tuesday. Got a sunburn on my shoulders. So long, pasty vampiric Mia!

Friday: Shuttled things to and from our respective apartments. Got my hair trimmed. Got a phone call from Jake to inform me he’d won a departmental award for being the best of all graduating seniors over the past year. Best in the same department I graduated from. I mean, I’m bringing an awful lot to this relationship (see: my butt, my wit, my charm and humility, incredible celebrity hair). But he’s literally been named the Best. Nominated by five different professors. Didn’t even know he was up for the thing. Also graduated Summa Cum Laude. So. We’re well matched.

Saturday: A family occasion; not my own. It would be untoward to discuss another’s grief. I think it’s alright for me to say Jake has a wonderful, loving family. I got to sit down over a bottle of wine and some charcuterie with his step mother. I went on a long walk with his kid sister–who reminds me an awful lot of how much I miss my own sister. I sat around the fire with his family and didn’t feel that far from home.

Sunday: Today. We went back for more family time. Easter dinner. Lots of bacon fat and jelly beans. Perhaps not obviously at the same time. We got home and I called my own family. Sister, brother, brother, mother; in that order. I’m exhausted now. I’m sitting in a t-shirt and undies and trying to wrap this up so I can resume my book (Michael Ruhlman’s The Soul of a Chef, for those curious).

We did it! It didn’t get heavy! I’m tired and so full of candy and good food. I’d like to think you are too.

I love you. I miss you, man, I really freaking do. Let me call you some time. Let’s catch up.   I hope to see you soon.

“Nothing unusual, nothing strange.”

I’ve been here before. How many times must you do something before you can trust you know how?

This is the place. Not that it must be, but that it is.

This is the part where I’m scared. A little. Where I hate every bit of it. Where I’m scared of what comes next, and just barely keep the anxiety at bay. Where I worry, “What hasn’t come yet? What might not come at all?”

As of Friday, I’ve been unemployed for over a week. The longest I’ve been unemployed in five years. Six years? The numbers, here, are not important.

I’m itchy. I quit without a solid plan. But I did what I said I would, and it has yet to really fuck me up.

“Go before you’re ready.”

I’m several thousand dollars in debt, and that’s the one thing I remember from CCM. I’m being facetious. Where is the lie?

“Go before you’re ready.”

“Choose joy.”

Don’t toil.”

Those lessons I learned while losing my mind.

Here are the lessons I learned while I put it back together,

“You can do better than this. Do better than this.”

“You’re not so good that you don’t have to work.”

“You aren’t a bad person for feeling that way, but you’re a bad person if you stay.”

At this point, I was an English major.  Everything with more words.

“It’s okay.”

I’ve been here before. How many times do you move through something before you remember how it feels? Before you remember what it felt like? Before it stays in your skin?

The skin, an apparatus for protection, for absorbing, for breathing.

I have only one skin, and I shed it as often as possible.

This is the part I’m scared of. This is the part that is sacred.

Something about sacrifice. Something about fire. Something about the new, the pain of birth.

What do I know about the pain of birth?

The only thing screaming out of me is my own inexperience. The only thing screaming out of me is fear. And recklessness. And courage.

I lay claim to courage.

I’m not big enough yet. I’m not wise enough yet. I’m not smart enough, or calm enough, or patient enough.

I might never be.

I’ve been here before. Each time I am new.

When I was very young (very young is under 10 years old) very young, my mother tasked me with planting the zinnas. I love zinnas. I did then, I do now. I love zinnas. The bright, bold-faced blooms. The bright, heavily saturated petals. The strong, sturdy green stalks, so few leaves. Growing towards the sun like nothing bad ever happened on this planet or in your lifetime. Growing like it’s the only thing to do. It’s the only to do.

I took the seed bag, and tossed them around. I remember feeling silly even then. I made up a song, sung it to myself, and spun in circles. I carelessly cautiously simultaneously threw zinnas seeds into the ground in front of our home on The Retreat. I pressed them into the dirt—I knew enough then to see that even seeds benefit from a good firm push—and went back inside. I played Fairytale and Dress-Up and read Beatrix Potter for weeks. My zinnas, carelessly cautiously tossed about by my growing hands, my aching limbs, were watered by the fickle Texas clouds. They were watered by my made up songs, and they grew bold and proud.

I’ve been here before. Each time I’m new.

I might never be whatever it is I believe I ought to be. I keep admiring other people and longing for a bit of them.

Longing for a firm push.

Longing for a made up song and weeks of benign neglect.

Something about what’s next. Something about you. Something about the things I admire in the wrinkles around your eyes, the cough in your laugh, the ache in your smile, the way hands always give us away.

I’ve been here before. How many times? How many times? How many times?

“It’s okay not to be okay.”

I learned that way back home. Before I came here. Way back before I knew I couldn’t be enough. I’ve been here before. Each time. I’m new.

Womanhood is not a famine.

Hello, sweetness.  Tonight I’m sharing with you a piece I wrote for a zine my dear friend and incredibly talented artist Ariana put together.

The zine is called b o d y p o l i t i c and if you find yourself in the Cincinnati area on May 20th, we’ll be reading from it (as well as visual copies on hand because she’s made gorgeous prints to accompany the text from several local womyn writers) that evening at Chase Public.  The theme of the zine is (broadly) the empowerment and struggles surrounding female-identified bodies moving through space, and time, and this world we inhabit.

This is my piece.  I’ve wanted to marry my poetry, prose, and critical writing for a while.  This is my first attempt (to share).  It isn’t exactly what I wanted, but I’m okay with it enough to share with you.  I’ve uploaded it in the original format because the visual of it is part of the piece.  I got away from the look of type on page for a while, and it’s a choice-making-process I’m glad to revisit.

Okay, please enjoy.  Or don’t.  I’m just excited to share.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to the Opening Day parade with a Cincinnati native.  It’ll be an unique experience.  He’s got a whole thing planned.

Wish me luck.

And here’s to you, my sweet.  May you have all of it, or as much as possible.

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Guest Post: I Used to Have Eyebrows.

Last week I asked my mom if she would write the post for today.  She could write it about anything.  She did.  I’m so happy she agreed to write, and I’m so proud to be her daughter.  My mother and I are very different women.  There’s absolutely no way my life would be a fourth of what it is without her having gifted me with 25 years of life, guidance, and (sometimes tough) love.  She’s one of my best friends, weirdly.  And I’m sure she appreciate if I cut down on the things I share with her.  But I wouldn’t trade any aspect of our relationship.  We’re so lucky to be so close.  I’m so lucky to have a mother who always has a cardigan and scarf on her, who is happy to walk anywhere, who drinks beer and wears sleeveless dress at her age.  She’s the best mom I ever had.
So here’s her.  I didn’t make any edits.

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