You know someone loves you when you show them, unbidden, unasked for and unexpectedly the most vulnerable part of yourself, which in my case, I will hereinafter refer to as the Total Anxiety Spiral, which involves speaking rapidly, making very little sense, alternating between tears, contradictory declarations of intent and regrets for the inability to make sense, etc...and that person, in this case my most wondrous Canadian (details in earlier posts) is able to hold space and witness this meltdown without either (a) running, (b) attacking or (c) condescending...but instead listening with compassion and grace, and helped me through the Total Anxiety Spiral to a cherished moment of calm.
And let me assure you, we are not talking about 5-10 minutes here: we're talking Hours...and - wait for it - on Skype. OK. So, this person with whom I am so deeply in love, has proven to me once again his capacity for love on a level I've never experienced. And in fairness to anyone else I was ever with before, I've never revealed so much of myself in such an undefended way before. But there is a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on here, because if John had not already proven his trustworthiness, which he has done many times over this past month, I would not have risked being visible on this level.
This experience is proving to be the most healing thing ever in my whole life, with one major exception that involves what I have needed and continue to do to not kill myself with substances for over 25 years...but that is the ground beneath my feet and this experience is what is referred to in the badly lit rooms with uncomfortable chairs where I meet people like me as "beyond your wildest dreams."
And like yeah - beyond your wildest dreams as in: how could you dream it, because you didn't even know it existed. So, like, some serious gratitude to the universe for this gift that keeps expanding day by day and against all expectations on my part of collapse and fears, rational and irrational, that accompany such a deep and irrevocable falling in love.
Which is yet another thing I have never experienced: a mutual surrender. It's the opposite of the hostage situation where you're waiting for the other to flinch or run or attack. We've laid down all our weapons and stand in front of each other defenseless...which is not easy...but is possible when the other person is doing it.
And then sometimes one person - that would be me - suddenly experiences a Total Anxiety Spiral - which would be the cue for someone to pick up a weapon to defend against that shit - either him or me. But neither of us did...and this simply blows my mind. This is the kind of thing I thought in some rarified theoretical part of my brain and some tiny besieged part of my heart was possible but 49 years on earth was doing away with any hopes I would find it.
But I have and that amazes me.
Another kind of love I want to speak about briefly is of my Hunter acting students. Our class is over and their grades are submitted, so I want to say to them all: you were an astonishing class and I know you will all go on to rock this world no matter what paths you take.
Because they gave me permission to do so, I'm going to add two photos of them vamping, some with fairly hilarious interpretations of the yoga poses I had them do at the beginning of class each day.
So here they are, my lovelies from Fall 2012, who I will miss very much:
Jelana, Dillan, Hermeise, Ladie, Silvina, May, Lissette, Jakayah, Gisella, Kyriakos, Amanda, Jose, Celina & Erica
Anyone who teaches knows there is nothing more moving than teaching a diverse group of students (in this case, ranging from 17-46 and from all parts of the world) who are enthusiastic, curious, creative and responsive to a whole range of stimulus from physical work to pretty heady ideas. I had the privilege of reading their journals this past week and was astonished at how much they got out of the class and the required text (Joseph Chaikin's The Presence of the Actor - if you are involved in theater and have not read this book, do so now. NOW. It's a must.)
So, thank you my lovely students for making this semester a thing of beauty and making teaching seem close to effortless - and definitely worthwhile.
Now, it is time for me to focus on my writing...and teaching some of my own work - oh that reminds me, I have a workshop upcoming at The Brecht Forum Jan. 26-27 (details on right), or you can click here to register. Having just seen Pina, the Wim Wenders film about the incomparable Pina Bausch's work, which I had the privilege of seeing in the early 1990s and changed my life, I can assure you this will influence the workshop! So whereas I usually begin with text work, I think we may begin with movement and then bring in text. Not sure of that, but her heartfelt work has re-moved me and I want to bring some of this into my more 'traditional' cutting it up workshop. So, it should be exciting! Also there will be time for participants to make their own work and bring their own expertise to bear on what we do (whether it be performance related or not).
So, come on down to The Brecht Forum for the workshop if you can - they survived Sandy (just) - but experienced a lot of flooding, which is why all notices going out late - and could really use and deserve your support!
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was 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 met in 2011. 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 is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features 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 2012 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.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. 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. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.
I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
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.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now. You can also contact me through that site.