Diary entry, April 7, 2014.
When I was younger and had a longer attention span for romanticism (probably because I had time on my hands due to thinking more about being an artist than actually making art), I planned my death, which I imagined would be on my 82nd birthday. I would be wearing a beautiful nightgown in a canopy bed under a spotless white chenille bedspread, while eating a piece of sour cream triple chocolate birthday cake in a room with old-fashioned embossed wallpaper. Nowadays, I figure it will be more like my 90th year and I’ll drop dead making a movie, unless I’m lucky enough to die in bed, in which case I’ll be playing “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
My dayjob has been paralegal since 1980 when I got my certificate at the first ABA approved paralegal school in Philadelphia. That was a mistake – I probably should have been a hairdresser or a makeup artist. I was an undiagnosed but functioning mentally ill young person when I was 28. I knew I had a problem (that at that point and for 15 years afterwards) I was taking care of on my own. I wanted stability. I did not have the self confidence nor the maturity to create my own stability in a creative career. Considering the brain I was working with at the time, after being mad at my 28 year old self all this past winter I realize that I made the best decision that I could have made at the time. Not only did paralegalling pay for my art classes in New York, it later funded a theater company and now pays for video cameras, mics, awesome computers, etc.
It was cathartic and gave me closure to deal with my having chosen a career that has always felt awkward, though I really tried to fit in (impossible, really). But the other side of that is finally being aware of being openly ridiculed and made fun of when I walk up the street to my office building, usually wearing cowboy boots. The boots in this video are for when I want to feel special. (Cowboy boots, just so you know are great everyday shoes because something about the way they’re constructed forces you to stand up straighter.)
In the past, before I finally looked my 28 year old self in the eye and told her she made a serious mistake in her career choice, I was pretty oblivious to people laughing at the way I looked. But once you open your mind and accept that it does look strange to most people in the Financial District (even in San Francisco) for a middle-aged woman, probably especially a black one, to dress like I’m dressed in this video; and that they’re probably going to act just like they did in junior high school and laugh in your face even if they’re in their 50′s or 60′s, and they should think about their blood pressure, abdominal fat, their stress level, etc., instead.
And maybe they should also be thinking very seriously about how they’re going to die and what they’re going to think about. I am not going to be mad at myself (mostly, anyway) when I’m on my deathbed. I went after the things I wanted and I’m still doing them – no matter how stupid anyone thinks I look collecting footage to and from dayjob.
I was really angry this morning. I am glad I have such a creative, constructive way to deal with anger.