Disclaimer: The fact that I’m weird was well-established a long time ago on this blog, so don’t you dare pop an eyebrow at me after reading this entry.
So, in contemplation of my next entry, I’ve been taking a few trips down memory lane (way, waay down) and I have been remiss in sharing some core experiences indicative of how I came to be the person you read before you. Before I knew I was gay. Before I was a writer. Before I was a dancer. Before I was an adult.
After my parents divorced and my sister and I were sent to live with family in Chicago, my world was a bit shaken. I felt unstable and unclear of who I was or where I fit in. I had friends, but I never truly felt like a normal kid. I still don’t even feel like a normal adult, truth be told. There is still something mystic about it for me, like that feeling you had when you drove a car for the first time – ‘wow, this is so adult of me right now.’ Well, I still get that feeling when accomplishing the most mundane things: paying a bill on time, running a series of errands in an efficient manner or even cleaning the house from top to bottom. I can’t believe I actual did all that.’
This whole experience of life is so surreal to me, I can barely put it into words. Nothing has ever been really real. Like everything has already been scripted, we just don’t know it. There is always an audience, someone watching. It’s not God, like we’ve been told. It’s an actual audience and they can change the channel at any moment and when they do, it’s lights out. You have jumped the shark. In some instances, I half-expect a large hand to pluck me like a crane from where I am and place me into another setting – my real life where I’m supposed to be. All successful and stuff. Until then, though, I’m perfectly content to rely on a heavy imagination to get me through the rough spots. It’s so second nature that I am so ‘in my head’ all of the time and the people I’ve created in there are more real than actual people in my current reality. Funnier, too.
It was during these formative years in frigid Chicago that I felt my life needed, nay deserved, an audience. I don’t know where the idea actually originated. I wasn’t an avid television watcher, except for G.L.O.W or P.O.W.W. (women’s wrestling – loved it!) and Saturday morning cartoons. I was one of those kids who actually LOVED playing outside. But when my family seemed to disintegrate in front of my eyes, I didn’t quite know how to handle it. And thus it began. My story needed to be shared. It was like EdTV – all me, all the time.
In my mind, a live studio audience was present no matter where I was: where the scenes of my life were built on a soundstage and viewers were invited to observe and sometimes participate. An interactive play, of sorts. When good things happen, I heard applause. If something went bad, people cried or even booed – like when I got a spanking. Or got beat up. Or ran away. As you can guess, the audience is always on the side of the hero – moi.
Obviously, my imagination devised a way to cope with any horrific thing happening to me. Certain events triggered a stronger sense of this alternate reality – a place where I was safe to watch things unfold, protected in that I convinced myself that this wasn’t actually happening.
My thoughts on sharing my life story have only intensified, hence this blog – Phase 1. But a live studio audience has been replaced with video cameras, crews, editors and directors who will soon record and package my life in viewable segments for the world to observe and enjoy from the comfort of their own home. It’s so much more convenient. Back in the day when people (my family, who had no idea they were actually actors) said things that ticked me off, I’d just mentally edit them out, allowing for the proper words to reach the ears of my audience. That was my version of script writing at nine years old. Like today’s evolution of scripted television into reality TV, just in reverse.
In fact, I’ve used this strategy all of my life…through college, through relationships, through stripping, through financial hardships. It hasn’t been all bad, mind you. In those moments where I’m happy, life is grand. I completely lose track of the ‘show’ aspect of my life, appreciating the good times until reality hits – usually by way of a catastrophe or heartbreak. Then my brain reminds me that it’s not real, that the pain is only my imagination and it will be over soon, with zero to minimal scarring. And after I make it through, I’ll be the heroine of this epic saga. Thrilling, right? I know it is. I’ve envisioned it all my life.
I have no idea what my brain will do when all of this merges: reality, alternate reality, my life, television. But it’s going to be awesome. With lots of applause. No booing or spanking. Well…we already know there was a little spanking.