What I’m Not

 

 

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We just took a trip to a resort in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. It was beautiful. The weather was warm and clear, and everyone was friendly. I wanted to enjoy this vacation. Last year was hard and I was looking forward to some R&R.   But the food, though plentiful, went from bland to awful.   The amenities promised were elusive or not as advertised.   The other travelers seemed to be content, but I couldn’t help notice the missing details, the absence of my desired holiday away. I would go for a run on the beach, grateful for the easy breeze, and the laps of the ocean. Yet, I kept thinking of all the things I didn’t like about being there. I was angry at myself for booking and paying hard-earned money for this trip. I kept playing back other vacations I should have taken. I was blaming myself for not being able to let it go. Why couldn’t I simply enjoy what I had. Why was I so upset? Why couldn’t I be a more spiritual being? There are so many who are scared for their families and loved ones. There are those dealing with death, health challenges, immigration issues. And, I am feeling sorry for myself for not enjoying the beautiful resort I was in. What kind of person am I? And, the self-criticism was relentless. I am not grateful. I am not selfless. I am not worthy.

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This is not a new theme for me. I have a long history of being hard on myself. I understand that it’s not productive, yet I don’t seem to stop. In fact with the time and space on vacation, I seemed to swim a little in the outdoor pool and swam constantly in a state of condemnation. As the week continued, I’d have moments of peace, thinking that this will be a really funny story with some distance. And there were other times when the inner monologue chattered on.

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I am not a published book author, I’m not a size 8. I’m not a home owner. I’m not a multi-millionaire. I’m not a doctor. I’m not organized. I’m not young. I’m not coordinated.” The list could easily continue. I am clearly aware of what I’m not. In fact, sometimes my mind is so crowded with what I’m not, there’s no room for what I am.

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What I am is a mother and a wife. I’m happy with my work. I have a private practice and work with amazing individuals. I’m a friend. I’m a sister and a daughter. I am a theater and arts lover. I’m a subscriber to theater companies and a member to a number of varied museums. I’m a walker. I love walking the city. I’m a Manhattanite. I’m funny at times, and critical at other times, I’m a foodie. Life is good. But it won’t always be good. Sometimes a vacation turns out to be a vacation from what I love. And being away gives me greater appreciation of what I have.

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So I’m thinking this vacation was about taking vacations every day from self-criticism. It taught me to spend less mind-space on what I’m not, and celebrate more on who I am. Maybe this bad vacation can have a good outcome.

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If nothing else, I’m blogging again. So, yeah, I’m a blogger, too.

The Tony Awards

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Ever since I was in Junior High I was writing acceptance speeches for my Tony Award. It turned out later that I wouldn’t need those speeches since I was a bad actress, but I didn’t know that yet.  So I dreamed.  The first time I remember watching the Tonys, or as they were called then, The American Theater Wing Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, Fiddler on The Roof won. It could have been that my parents turned it on because a Jewish show was up for an award. But, I didn’t care. I loved seeing the show. It was a short award presentation, but I was hooked. In my first year of college The Tony Awards became a full special with performances from each musical. On the 20th Century won musical of the year, with the amazing Madeline Kahn. I was hesitant to see the revival this year, but I enjoyed it thoroughly   I was happy Fun House won this year even though I was awed by An American in Paris. Mostly though I’m happy for the winners no matter what my opinion. It’s their chance to read their rehearsed speeches, surprised and pleased to have won the votes by the members.

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The magic of theater is a pleasure I thoroughly enjoy. It can be a simple show, or it can be a grand production. I’m willing to go with whatever reality is created when the lights go down and I’m transported into another world. My first Broadway show was the original production of Grease in 1972. I had seen visiting shows in Philadelphia, but being on the Great White Way was the best for this preteen. The most recent Broadway show I saw was Airline Highway, a wonderful ensemble piece that closed too early. And, I will continue to attend Off-Broadway and Broadway shows because it makes me happy. I don’t need an acceptance speech to be in the audience, I just clap loudly to communicate my great appreciation of the talent I just witnessed.

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