On Halloween

I have always had the special gift of being overly confident.  I believe it is this special gift that led me to many years of delusional Halloween costumes.  I would leave the house in a simple prairie dress as “Rapunzel” only to go home soon after asking my Mom to make me a name tag so people would stop asking me what I was.  I was Rapunzel!  Couldn’t you tell from my not very long, stringy regular hair?

I may never know if my delusional Halloween costumes were endorsed by the adults around me because:

a) They were so stoned they thought it was funny.

b) I was such a convincing Salesperson that they believed me?

Take for example, the picture below.

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What was I, you might ask?  I was a Weightlifter.  Obviously.  Not sure if what gives it away is the abalone star pin, fake pearl choker or makeup under the eyes?  My  two friends with “normal” parents who went to school as clowns probably gave me the idea to try that out.  So, the next year I attempted a clown costume but again I am not sure who decided that it was legitimate???

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Pretty much nothing really says “Clown” about this except the white face paint.

70s kids had to make their own costumes.  We didn’t have Toys R Us to go to and select a plastic mask and plastic accessories from.  There was no Power Ranger or Cinderella kit so we were forced to be creative.  Determined not to have my own kids suffer, I let them buy pre-made costumes.  This is my kids in store bought but recognizable costumes.

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This gift of delusional self-confidence led to a lifetime of Halloween disappointments (not to mention, relationship failures and also big career successes).  Even in college, I was still imagining myself as something unrecognizable.

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Here (on the left) I thought I was a dead wringer for Olivia Newton John in Grease but no, not one person guessed it.

And then, I had a turning point.  A life changing moment that helped shape the next decade and perhaps more.  I went as “It’s Pat” from Saturday Night Live.

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Not only did I dress up as “It’s Pat” but I made my best friend dress up as Pat’s partner Chris and we showed up to wait tables in costume at our very sexy restaurant job.  Our very sexy restaurant job was the kind of place that hired for looks, not necessarily talent.  We all wore the tiniest of skirts and tops and made great money.  The typical Halloween costume was something sexy.  Sexy Nurse, Sexy Kitten, Sexy Construction Worker.

Two things happened for me in being highly recognizable and highly androgynous.  One was, I felt completely liberated from femininity in a way I never had and never have since.  The other was that I caught a glimpse of what it is to be famous.  Everywhere we went that night, people shouted at us.  “Pat, Pat!!!” They would yell questions at us.  “Pat, what bathroom are you going to use?” trying to get us to reveal if we were male or female.  I shouted back, “I don’t have to go to the bathroom!” and we’d keep running.  It was bizarre and thrilling and helped cement my decision to choose my next step in life which was to pursue my dream of Acting.

That was also delusional but I believe you need to be a little crazy and a lot confident to move to NYC with a suitcase, no friends, no money and no connections.  So I did.

 

 

 

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On Mascara

When I was growing up, my Mom was a single Mother who didn’t really hit her career stride until after we both went to college (at the same time!).  I started working as early as I could to be able to buy things at the flea market and thrift stores.

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Many of my friend’s families were wealthier than ours and I was fortunate to be the recipient of their awesome hand-me-down designer clothes that I happily wore.  When I was really young, I remember being so sad when I broke a crayon and thinking I will never get another one.  I did not have any idea that a box of new crayons was less than 3$ which I learned in my 30s having my own kids.  This way of feeling about money has been a hard one to overcome but I have been resolute about not living in a “scarcity” mindset with mostly excellent results.

 

I had the good fortune of learning how to work on myself in my late-teens as I got on a spiritual path. One practice I learned was to identify a characteristic about myself that I wanted to change and then practice a new behavior in very practical ways.  An example would be, let’s say you feel you are too impatient.  A way to practice a new behavior would be to choose the longest line at the grocery store and go stand in it!  Little things happen all day, every day that are opportunities to practice new ways of being.  Such as the last time I bought mascara.

I bought a not high-end but not cheap mascara (let’s say it was 20$) and quickly realized it was all bad things.  It clumped, didn’t give me long or voluminous lashes and worst of all, was very difficult to remove.  This is a product lose-lose-lose proposition.  But my first thought as my eyes are stinging from trying to get it off with make-up remover is, “oh well, I will not get this again” with the implicit assumption that I will keep using it.

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Then I said to myself, it doesn’t have to be like this.  It’s 20 dollars which is not a small amount of money but is certainly not “worth” the next 3 months of stinging eyes and shitty make-up.  And I was reminded that my first thought is not always my best thought.  It took me a few days to even push this inner dialogue out into my consciousness and have the next healthy thought which is to buy some new mascara.

So, I bought 3. For less than 20$.

I tell you this story because it is fraught with feelings.  Feelings of low self-worth and also progress over a very old issue and thought which is the “never enough” school of being.  I have found that every time I practice the opposite of this way of being, things shift for me.  You will hear me say to people that I am “rich” even though by many people’s standards I am most certainly not.  By mine, I am!  I have everything I need and more.

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And that’s how I want to feel.

On Carpet

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The childhood story I have to tell I can only do in bits and pieces.  In metaphors and memories.  I want to tell it all but can’t seem to get myself to do it.  At least all at once.

When I was growing up, I thought having carpet meant you were rich.  I would go to people’s houses and marvel at how lush they were.  I remember visiting my friend Shawna’s house for the first time and her Mother came to the door in see-through plastic Candies with a wood heel, a light blue silk robe, lipstick and hair curled.  I walked into their home with wall-to-wall thick, light blue carpet and thought I had died and gone to heaven.

We lived in a cabin on a mountain that was never meant for year-round living.  We had no heat, just a wood burning stove.  Each year, we got a cord of wood and we would haul it down the big hill we walked down to our house from the parking lot.  The hill to our house had a path with 100 stairs but often those stairs would disappear in the winter, in the mud.  I got to know how to walk in the dark, feel my way.

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We had an outdoor shower only and no washer, no dryer.  The outdoor shower in the morning was less than luxurious.  You would run out naked, turn the water on and run back inside and watch the water until you could see steam.  That meant it was hot.  Then run back out into it.  Many winters, the shower would have banana slugs creeping their way across the slats which you would jump over not to squish.  A really bad day was stepping on a slug. This meant you had to get a razor blade and scrape off the banana slug stickiness which is extremely adhesive.

Not having laundry meant going to the laundromat.  It meant hauling our laundry up the hill to the parking lot and driving it down the mountain.  I grew up ashamed of this.  Only poor people went to the laundromat.  My Mom and I, during the winter, would sit in our car with the heat blasting and chew gum. Neither of us wanted to go home to a freezing house and cook.FullSizeRender (1)

When I tell people I grew up on a mountain, I realize it sounds cool.  People love the idea of rustic, outdoorsy.  Getting “back to nature”.  But for me, that was a way of life.  I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the country!!!  I never take for granted the beauty and abundance of my surroundings.  But, I couldn’t wait to get out.  I couldn’t wait to have carpet.

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