Welcome to my blog..


"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty

I am in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I will be getting to know soon. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog will trace the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that'll feature too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June last year my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island. Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.

A recent addendum as of July 1, 2013: I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC but because of immigration rules that'll be slow. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.

As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weird, sad day and I'm too damn busy to even have time to cry it out

Had a very sad conversation with my soon-to-be-ex-husband today.  We haven't talked in months and I was kind of looking forward to speaking with him - until we spoke.  He is apparently now "more comfortable" that we have been separated for a while - which sentiment made me feel about as worthless as thimble full of shit. There is history here, meaning my history, for taking it this way, I'm aware of that, but still...Then we get to talking about divorce stuff, etc.  It seems there is some urgency here on his end.  He wants to be free and clear obviously.  I feel like a disease, the plague - something of that order.  It's not pretty.

I don't think he's trying to make me feel that way, just to be clear, but that's how it feels nonetheless.

He mentioned, because I was stupid enough to ask, that he's had "some flings."  I said that I had not, which seemed to surprise him.  His surprise surprised me because I have not ever been the "fling" type, which is kinda Julia 101.  Maybe I made this up but I thought when we first got together we both felt this way, but did he?  I don't know what of my memories of our relationship to believe right now.  I wonder at times if I made up the last 10 years.  It's that time of the separation - the time of the Stranger - the Who Are You? stage...through the looking glass.  I remember this bit.  Another repeat, last seen in a slightly different chord circa 2000.  I hate it.

I feel like that stupid-ass song those of you of a certain age will remember, the grating "I'll never fall in love again" - but without the sappy defiance - just a statement of sad, worthless thimble full of shit feeling fact.

Rejection sucks.  It doesn't matter what the fuck, whether it's the best thing that ever happened on God's green earth that you separated, it sucks.

And then I had to go get my teaching evaluation and pull an acting class out of my ass.  And yes, of course, I did.  Anyone who knows me knows that I did and can pull an acting class, rehearsal, show, PhD examination, whatever the fuck out of my ass even if the sky is falling in.  It's a "gift."  Ok, it probably is a gift, OK, OK...whatever.

Anyway, the evaluation was great - I'm a really good acting teacher.  I love being an acting teacher.  This continues to astonish me on all levels.  This does not feel like second best.  Teaching this class is giving me the same joy working in my own labs did or being in rehearsals has.  I just fucking love it.  And I really hope I get asked back, but because of the vagaries of adjuncting, there's no way to know if I will.

I found out on Saturday that I also love being an aunt.  I never really thought I'd be an aunt other than an honorary one, but my step-brother's son, Carson, was up in NYC and I showed him and his lovely girlfriend, Quinn, around the East Village.  They are theater kids (18 year olds from Florida), so showed them all the downtown places from PS122 to St Marks to La Mama to Red Room, The Public, New York Theater Workshop, The Kraine...and the travesty that is the boarded up Charas...told him the history of the area in my experience from 1981 onward...Tompkins Square Park, the squatters, Life Cafe and Rent, Allen Ginsburg, St. Marks books, East Village books...the Russian baths...diners that still exist and those that have closed.  We all had a blast.

My good friend Spencer who also is childless said to me recently that it comforted hum when he remembered as a teenager the adults that were the most influential on his life were all childless.  And I thought - hmm, I think that may have been true for me, too.  We - the childless - have the time.  We can hang out.  We are not burned out by being parents or besotted with one or two children who are Ours.  It's kind of cool.

Then Sunday had to spend An Entire Day Grading Midterms for my other class (not acting).  70 students in all.  You can imagine.  Horrendous.

I have so much to do this week and no time to do it.  So today after the phone call from hell, I had to talk with some folks including my mother to deal with the emotional black hole, all the while thinking: but I'm supposed to be writing stuff about my workshop at The Brecht Forum for posting on this and that website...but that I could not pull out of my ass.  I just cried and cried like a baby.  The only thing that got me out of the house was the acting class.

Once back had to post midterm grades and try to eat.  As doing both was watching Pretty in Pink, which I somehow managed to miss in 1986, and that made me cry some more (it's actually a pretty good film and record of teenage life circa 1980s).  When feeling as I do, seeing tales of young love is not wise.  I am neither in love nor young and feel as remote from both of them as one can feel.  New wrinkles appeared on my forehead today or were grooved in more deeply.

I should also be applying for teaching positions and am trying to cram that in along with everything else - like teaching, marking and having emotions...too much apparently.

So there it is my sorry tale of woe with nice bits mixed in...because it's all the truth.  If anyone wants to assure me that I am not too old for love and not past it, you are certainly welcome to do that, either in private or on this blog.  I could use a little propping up right now - just exhausted trying to keep the cardboard cut-out standing up all by myself.

Oh but before I leave off, a sincere and loving RIP to Adrienne Rich who died today.  An amazing poet and human.  Bless her for her wise words and brave life.

2 comments:

  1. Julia, so sorry about this, and so sad that the ending is developing in this way. I completely identify with the interpretation of utter worthlessness, I have felt this at the first hints of rejection for as long as I can remember, and not only from ex-lovers but from almost anyone in my life!

    Sending love, you are not alone xx

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  2. Thanks so much Lesley - of course it's the people like you who make it possible to walk through this because you remind me that I am not alone. Another friend of mine just called and reminded me that walking through these times, finding the warmth and realizing we are OK without this or that (relationship, job, recognition, etc.) is the truest and best gift. She is right of course. The word she also used was: hard won. Yes.

    But meanwhile someone abandoning me (or my perception thereof) does poke what I have been begun to refer to as my Achilles' barn door. No small heel that wound. Not concealed in the slightest.

    So, the walking through this without picking up anything: substance, sex, person, work as addiction, overeating, etc. is the road ahead. And it feels really fucking uncomfortable and vulnerable-making. But as they say "the road gets narrower" and so it does...

    When I'm with folks like you, though, I can see the outline anyway of this person (me) who can withstand this loss and has done in the past and is Not diminished by it. That's the outline I hope to fill with my full self before I ever even contemplate being in a relationship again...we'll see.

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