Archives for posts with tag: Moms

I am at a café and now my digestive tract is coated with cappuccino. It is hopefully my last brush with espresso.  This year I was self-diagnosed with “hypochondria of the liberal” which means I know too much about food I love to keep on letting it inside of my body. A big thank you to principles of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I have psoriasis. I have noticed with wide silent eyes in the mirror that it is getting worse as time passes.

I went to an herbalist in Chinatown who put his thumb on the underside of my wrist for some moments. I let my heart beat for him and then he said the word “Liver.” Liver it is. Cappuccino is very bad for the liver, says my acupuncturist. Her name is Famous. That’s what she told me to call her. So I do and then I let Famous stick pins inside of me and tape aluminum foil to my back while she shocks me with an electric wand.  I leave with tiny thumb tacks taped in a circle around my lower back, and when they fall out I put them in a tiny jam jar my mom gave me. She has every kind of jar you can save.

This summer, I brought The Irish Horse home to meet my mother and she gave us part of her old jar collection for our new home. They say that Psoriasis is genetic, but I am the only person in my family that has it. I have my dad’s cankles and my mom’s hershey kiss tits but I’m the only one with the linebacker jaw and the auto-immune skin disorder that goes by the name “White Dagger Sore” in Chinese Dermatology. I get what this means.

In high school, a boy accused me and my best friend of being Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche. He said that I was Ellen. For some reason, it was way more humiliating to be the Ellen of that relationship. If I was going to be accused of being a lesbian, at least let me be the one that wears dresses.

My mom really loved Ellen’s first TV sitcom, Ellen. Ellen is also my mom’s name which was part of the reason she liked it. It must be cool to see your name in lights. On the show, Ellen came out as gay over the loudspeaker at the airport by accident.  I’m not sure how accurate this is, but it is inside of my memory that that is the moment my mom stopped liking Ellen. It was years after this moment and before Ellen’s comeback that that boy accused me of being Ellen. It maybe was the double whammy of being accused of being the most notorious lesbian of all time and of being my mother, Ellen. Two things women who fancy themselves as straight don’t like to be accused of. 

I am not allowed to drink anymore. Or have coffee. or wheat. or dairy. And that’s mostly what all these thoughts are about. But the cappuccino is inside of me right now. We are hugging goodbye.

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I’ve been living in a luxury hotel for the last 40 days and 40 nights. There are routines here.

I am in a play. The setting of the play is a hotel room. Our production is site-specific. I live in the hotel room where we perform the play twice a night, five nights a week. So half of my home is covered in army netting, bamboo, tropical plants, a crushed velvet tiger painting and houses 28 chairs for audience members. It’s lush. There are fruit flies. The sheets have big flowers on them. Pink, Red.  I watched How to Marry A Millionaire here on Netflix Instant and Marilyn Monroe kept calling things Creamy.

Yesterday I was sick with a gross cold. I was in the other half of the suite. It is bleach white and charcoal. Plates on the wall. Faders on the light switches. The deepest bath tub in America. I spent 32 hours in a king size bed with a pile of dirty kleenexes, a casio keyboard that me and my sister and brother got for christmas one year, a sack of clementines, and some really slow wifi energy charges inside of my laptop computer.

I heard a maid come in. I heard her walk through where the audience sits, past the bed where I pretend to almost have sex in front of an audience eighty times a night Wednesday thru Sunday, and then I saw her peek her head around the corner to where I was lying with my kleenexes.  I muted the episode of Smash I was watching on Hulu. She wanted to know if she could clean the room. I didn’t know. Could she? Is it her job or my job to clean this up? If I’m sick, isn’t it my mom’s job? Could I go somewhere in my pajamas? Or could I just lay in the bed while she changed the sheets? Am I a quadriplegic?

We both had these “honor thy mother and father” looks on our faces like we were about to get the shit kicked out of us if we did the wrong thing.

“I’m sick,” I said. And laughed a tiny bit to let her know that being sick is…funny?

When should she come back to clean, she wanted to know.  In my congested nasal passages, the answer was Never, but I didn’t want to get her in trouble with mom and dad. I made up a time. 5pm. But I knew how Groundhog’s Day that would be. She’d come in at 5pm and walk past the chairs, the ferocious tiger painting. She’d turn the corner and see me still trying to stream Smash on Hulu at 240 pixels per second, but this time it would be obvious that I had eaten some microwave oatmeal.

So I backpedaled on the 5pm thing. And we hovered in anxious silence. Sad giggles. Neither of us spoke the other’s language.   I wanted to be honest with her. (And with everybody I would ever meet.) And once I remembered that, I knew what to say. I pointed to the phone.  “Oh, I’ll just call down when I’m ready?”

Our faces changed. It was like we were giving each other secret back rubs in another dimension.

“You just call them.”

Now we knew the things to say. We said them.

She walked back through the Tennessee Williams set and was gone.

Until the next day at around the same time.

I guess it really is Fall. I guess it’s Autumn. I guess this happens every year. But this elephant always forgets.

I am a sucker for Dumbo’s eyes. and Pinocchio’s.  I guess the thing they have in common, besides/because of the whites of their eyes, is that people want to exploit them as performers. In the circus, Dumbo has to dress up like a clown baby and stand in the window of a burning building. Top floor. While a bunch of fire department circus clowns “rescue” him. A clown dressed in elephant mommy drag histrionically screams “my baby! my baby! save my child!”  while Dumbo’s real mom is shackled to the inside of a car on the circus train. The car is labeled: MAD ELEPHANT. At the end of the act, Dumbo jumps out of the window (correction: he’s pushed and made to look like he jumps) to land on one of those fire department canvas landing pads. But the canvas is a facade. He falls right through it into a pool of whipped cream.

This sounds fun to me.  But you can tell it’s not fun for Dumbo.  He’s humiliated and scared.  The clowns/ringmaster were sort of banking on that feeling. They knew that’s what was thrilling about the number for the audience. the humiliation and the fear.

I feel very Phantom of the Opera fantasy mask about it. Like part of me is the ringmaster and the other part is Dumbo.  I can get into humiliation. I usually learn a lot about what my fucking problem is.

Tonight I’m going down to Occupy Wall Street for the first time.  So are a big group of Marines.

When I was little,  my Aunt Pat gave me a a teddy bear dressed in a nurse’s uniform.  I looked at it and saw some kind of future.  I don’t mean that I explicitly thought I would become a teddy bear nurse or even a nurse, but that for some reason, i felt like a stuffed animal in an employer uniform was a weird hint. Aunt Pat was the only woman in my family who had a job.  My mom, Aunt Chris, and Aunt Ruth were all homemakers.  Aunt Jo was a nun, and that just felt like she was a different gender than the rest of the world, and that that was a job, and that  job meant having short grey hair, singing way louder than other people at church, and joyously playing Kings In The Corner with me and Granddad on Thanksgiving.

When you’re a kid, people want to know what you want to be when you grow up.  Given my options, I obviously wanted to be a nun.

(I think it’s important to note that a subletter in my apartment who does a lot of coke is doing what sounds like filing his nails really really fast in the room next door to mine.)

I’m not a nun. And I’m grown up.  I’m an artist who accidentally took the vow of poverty.

The difference between taking the vow of poverty as a clergy member and accidentally taking the vow of poverty as an artist, is that, as a clergy member, you get to make up a meager budget that covers all of your basic needs.  Rome pays for it.  Nothing extravagant.  Shelter. Medical. Food. Utilities. Car. Gas. Stuff like that.  You work related to what you specialized in, medical, administrative, etc. in the context of your spiritual practice.

Rome doesn’t pay for my art.

But here I am dressed as an elderly teddy bear. Reading a monologue at an art party. a few years ago.