Rien de Rien

Lying on the grass in my parents’ garden, enjoying the sunshine and watching the clouds roll by. I finally reflect on the decisions I have made in the last four days and the massive changes it may bring.

It has been a rollercoaster. From the moment I handed in my notice, a group e-mail to announce my departure went out within the hour and I received my resignation acknowledgement from HR by e-mail in two. Coincidental bulk action HR-side (‘We always handle resignations on Thursday before 5pm.’)  or not, there was most definitely no going back.

The next day,  the support and care that my colleagues showed for my well-being was down-right overwhelming and the offers were way beyond the call of duty. I had expected to feel worried and yes perhaps even a little upset about the situation but Friday I came out of the office walking on clouds. Their kindness gave me hope on so many more levels than just being able to make a living.

The Saturday I played my songs in Balham. I went to the event on my own and went early to show my support. because I knew I had to leave fairly soon after I played.

A little intimidated by the woman walking past me wearing a T-shirt “This is What A Feminist Looks Like” I walked into the room. Interesting. As it was a fundraiser there was merchandise, badges with slogans like Eve Was Framed and mugs reading We are not Beautiful. We are not Ugly. We are Angry.  Shit, I was wearing full on make up; they were going to kill me. If not for the make-up, then I’d be lynched for the middle of the road, not-so-hard-line stance I would sing about in two hours.

Luckily I found the bouncy and non-threatening  event-coordinator Catherine. Her enthusiasm and laid-back approach put me at ease. I enjoyed the poets, the singers and when I played my songs, the audience laughed. In a good way. My prejudice crumbled, yes I’ll admit: bigotry is not exclusively white indeed!

Sunday I managed to drag myself to the gym at such a late hour for my 45 min run,that I then had to rush to Greenwich village in an attempt to find my presents for the family’s new addition and the family’s new addition’s big sister. DLR’d it home, quick shower, fling a weeks worth of clothes in a weekend bag, DLR to the airport, catch flight, go home.

Here I am. Big decisions were made in a fairly short time. Still as I find myself lying on the grass in my parents garden, enjoying the sunshine and watching the clouds roll by, I think: Non, je ne regrette rien.

Feminine feminist

With only a couple of hours to go before I’m going to pledge my support to the modern feminist cause, would I consider myself a feminist? Yes I think I do.

It all started way back, and with way back I mean the early nineties, when I was playing with some boys of my year on the school playgrounds. It was primary school so don’t worry it was all very innocent. I had joined them because we were playing The A-team, despite it being 4 years after the last episode, the series was still very popular. ( Plus it’s a small town, I think they might just be finishing Friends right now…) Despite my pleading I could not be BA, no I had to be ‘ The Girl’.  As you can see, even though The Girl had a name: no one knew it, she was defined merely by her gender.

A little wrong but funny by Digital StillCamera

When everyone jumped out of the van ( the climbing frame) to shoot the bad guys, I was told to keep in the car just in case they needed a quick get away. So there I was. Alone on the climbing frame, whilst all the guys  around me were having fun and shooting imaginary people. At tender age of six, I decided that being The Girl is crap!

Don’t get me wrong: being a girl is great, being the girl less so. I like being a girl, especially in these days when I have the option to start a career ( although there might be a teeny tiny spanner in the works at the moment), start a family ( but I would probably need a man for that and I don’t seem to have one lying around) and I don’t have to have my feet bound in a traditional Chinese torture way. ( I’m sure my size 3 shoes are like a remnant of a survival of the fittest…)

Being a woman is great, we are funny, gorgeous and smart. We are caring, loving and born survivors. We have strength and beauty. Instead of fighting and judging each other, we should celebrate our differences. Diversity is our power. The world still is in most places male led, so we have to stick together to create a world in which we can contribute and in which we feel safe. If we are represented in different fields, we can take a more universal holistic approach to changing things for the better.

Men and women are not equal yet but we have come so far: let’s not stop trying.

Leap of Faith

Me and my big mouth…

After two years in my job, finally a position had become available.

A position I had already some experience in, something I could do!

As I walked into the meeting room to advise the powers-that-be that I was interested in the job, I got told:

You are perfect, but it seems you want it out of desperation to get out of your old job. We need to see you really want it. ( My question to you: What is desperation if not ‘really wanting something’, still that aside…) We give you 24 hours and then tell us you want it.

I spoke to friends and family. Conversations weighed up the positives and the negatives, we had the ‘follow your heart’ to the ‘what else are you going to do?’ to the ‘ That’s insane, there are no jobs out there.’ Someone advised me to impress the powers-that-be with a list of all the things I could  get out of the job and present it to them. They would be wowed.

So I did. My mental list of Reasons I Would Be Great for the Job ranged from all sorts learning curves, gaining skills, adding to my CV, contributing to the company etc. It was massive.

Then I did the Reasons I Would Be Not So Great for the Job had one line: I don’t want it… and I don’t want the job that I already have either.

Head or Heart. Desperation is never a good look when it comes to those ” I think we need to talk…” conversations.

So. I jumped.

PS: I will still do the (4×5)+1, so this is not an elaborate plot to get out of that, you cynics!

Date or No Date…( a small play for two people)

After the initial temptation and three weeks of e-mailing, he finally managed to  ask me for a drink.

In that  straight-forward to the point convincing English kind of way: So… maybe, perhaps, I mean if you’re up for it, I obviously don’t know your situation is but just in case if you’re not busy…

We decided to meet up for a drink on Friday. He was late and had taken my number down wrong ( slightly worrying for a man working with numbers) so failed to inform me… This being my first first date, I was nervous and gulping down wine when a friend walked in.  Crap, busted. She greeted me with loud: HI! and came over for a chat. My face must have looked a picture…

Still we managed to get through the initial awkward stage and ended the night quite pleasantly with a request whether he could take me out again.

Excellent.

Says he: Let’s do Saturday.

Says I: I need to perform but hey let me work the logistics.

Says he: That’s unromantic: logistics.

Says I:  Bit rich from a man wanting to meet near the station so he could get home, but I’m sure we can meet in the evening?

Says he: Oh sorry I forgot I have birthday drinks planned – can you do Sunday?

Says I: Sunday I am flying home to have my other eye fixed, what about Friday?

Says he: Ah. The football is on, World cup is a difficult time to date. When are you back?

Says I: Ah. Don’t think this is going to work… meeting once every fortnight…

Says he: I am sorry but I am busy.

Let’s look at the facts here ladies and gentlemen:

I am busy because I am performing during a modern feminism event and  then flying home to have an eye lasered.

He is busy because he needs to drink beer and watch tv.

Friends and councillors

“No you don’t have to make any decisions quickly… you can still think about this when you are forty.”

Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing Sura didn’t say. We were having – once again- the conversation on how to shape my life yet the difference was: this time she brought it up.

On the way to the Thames path she told me thought I should do more with my writing. Yes she understood I wanted to perform my own stuff, even said she believed it was good but that I should invest more time in it. In other words and I quote : one couldn’t be an artist and wanting the security of a job. Creating and writing and performing  is time consuming. True. Some days there are not enough hours in a day to make things work smoothly.

She had given herself two years to work hard to become an actress and it is paying off. True too. Problem is I don’t want to be an actress. Performing is a different thing you see, actors fill in other people’s creations and shape them bring them to life, I create from scratch. I can write good stuff, I am funny at times and I know I can be engaging on stage if I don’t let the nerves get the best of me. There lies the problem: in the last sentence ‘I’ is used five times. Networking, auditioning etc won’t get me very far as my work depends on me…and in the end you, the audience of course.

What I need to do is perfect my shows ( I have two that are gathering dust on my harddisk; conveniently enough one in English and one in Dutch where ever the mood takes me.) and play them. Make them better. Play them again. Tweak them again. Play them again. Conquer the nerves. Play them again. Until it is ready to be seen, until it is perfect.

That does take time. Would I speed things up by a decade and a half if I would give up the day job and give it a go?

One of my friends says if she didn’t need the money then she would audition and really try. I wonder why she doesn’t just try when she can. The unfortunate fact is: we do need money. (Unless we live in North Korea and I hear the climate isn’t that great this time a year… ) Without it I would be losing what I have discovered I treasure most: my independence.

As long as I don’t owe anything to anyone I am free to do whatever I want to do. Even if that ironically means within certain hours of the day. Freedom without having the means to live, doesn’t make a life for me. Yes, we could all gather around and admire the sky for free together but it is nice to be able to buy a friend a drink sometimes.

My focus is now on three things: independence, performing/writing, 21K. The first the most important, the latter temporarily, the middle the most enjoyable. Life will have to weave itself between these three things.

Thus as the very fit Jake G  told us today in the entertaining Prince of Persia:

A king takes note of his councillors but also listens to his heart.

All comments are duly noted and even agreed upon at times, yet the solution offered is for the time being rejected as it would currently burden me more than free me. Still my dear friend I promise you this:  we shall not be  needing to have this conversation in 15 years time. To paraphrase another quote:

Whatever our duties, we can still make our own destiny…

Smilies…

In this age of new media we have loads of different ways to communicate. Still just because we can, doesn’t always mean we should.

Oh the classic dilemmas:

Sack someone in an e-mail or call them in for a meeting?

Break up with your man over e-mail or over text message?

Call your family to let them know about the birth of your daughter or place it on facebook?

Letting your girlfriend fly over and dump her when she gets off the plane or give her a call to say you will fly over as soon as possible and have an honest conversation?

Decisions, decisions…

Sometimes though, it is all in the smilies to soften the blow:

I hate you, you are such a dick  🙂

4×5 (+1)

How bad can it be? Right?

Apparently the lady sitting next to me has done it before – she said to get a watch so you know how fast you are whilst running.

Oh and that it only took her 6 weeks to train. She said she had never run before and arrived in roughly two hours.

TWO HOURS!? I was more thinking along the lines of eh FOUR at least.

Another helpful comment today from another experienced runner:
Train a lot.

Don’t get injured.

No sh*t Sherlock.

Just got the confirmation e-mail so there is no way back now!

Whoooop!

Whooop!

Whoop!

I think I  feel a bit sick.