“Bubble Bubble”, and Jumping Back into Theatre

“Foil and Stubble!”

It has been over 12 months since I made my acting debut in my friend’s original one act play; Max Pry, Private Eye. It wasn’t something I had ever considered, but when the opportunity came up, I grabbed it with both hands and threw myself into the deep end. What I got was a fantastic experience with a bunch of wonderful people, and the acting bug. Recently, I was given the opportunity to be a part of another production, and you can bet your butts that my answer to the question of my participation was a resounding yes.

One major change between my last theatre experience and this one, is that this time my friends now have a proper production company, which is rad as heck. Unlike the other production companies in my home town, Uncertain Curtain Productions (um hello, is that not the coolest name ever?!) is a theatre company with a difference. It is, primarily, “a theatre group that provides access to the performing arts for people who identify as neurodiverse (E.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, Mental Health Disorders)…by embracing the notion that “Our Differences Are Our Strengths”. “

Uncertain Curtain’s first ever play as an official theatre company, is called Bubble Bubble, and is a comedic retelling of The Frog Prince. Written by our fearless leader, Sarah-Jane; Bubble Bubble is witty, clever, and features a cast of kooky characters that you can’t help but love. Half our cast are kids under 12, and the rest of us are adults…though we act like 12 year olds a lot of the time, let’s be honest. So, as you would expect, our rehearsals have been a bit of a whirlwind. But, with our performance dates just a few short weeks away, it’s coming together really well and I’m excited to get on stage again.

Theatre is a fantastic creative outlet, and the more involved I get with it, the more I want to stay involved. Being on stage is a buzz like no other, and I’m thankful that I’ve been given another opportunity to get up there. Whilst I’m still a novice at this whole theatre thing, it’s such a fun and rewarding experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result of our current performance endeavour.

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When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor (read, surgeon). Not because I wanted to help people, but because I wanted to see what they looked like inside. You could say I was a bit of a morbid child, but don’t panic; I didn’t turn into a serial killer. I was just curious about the way things worked. It was probably that curiosity that drove my brain subconsciously toward the fascination with the death care industry, and my desire to become a mortician.

When I got a little older, I decided that being a doctor wasn’t for me. I thought maybe I would like to be an archaeologist instead, because I was fascinated by history, and how things got to be where they ended up, and the stories that could be told by bones and all manner of things one finds in the ground. Plus, I had a huge crush on Indiana Jones, duh. Soon, that dream too fell by the wayside, as I was struck by the revelation that there was so much study involved, and school was gross.

Of course, I’ve thought of doing many things over the years. Amongst many others, I considered being a teacher, a stewardess, a vet, a vampire slayer and, like almost every child in the world at some point (I’m sure), a rock star. None of these career goals lasted very long, and when I reached the age where I could actually go out and find I job, I went into the most easy and accessible field available; retail.

Now, at 26, I’m still working in retail, and still no closer to deciding what it is I want to do. I mean, yes, my ultimate goal is still to be a mortician. But as with anything, getting a job in a particular field is not as easy as simply having an interest and a desire to work within that field. I’m working on it, nevertheless, but in the meantime I need to find something that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face every morning.

The one thing that has stuck with me all these years, is writing. I’ve always had a dream that maybe one day, I’ll write books for a living. This romantic notion comes complete with not having to wear pants, getting to work from home, being fabulous and reclusive, whilst also being friends with the likes of Neil Gaiman, J.K Rowling, and Gillian Flynn. And did I mention not having to wear pants? I lose motivation a lot, and I have writing lulls, and I doubt myself every time I put pen to paper. But one day, maybe.

For the moment, I have to content myself with the fact that I at least have a job, and a means to make money. I could certainly be a lot worse off, and I’m about to return to full time in the coming weeks, so I can at least go back to saving for a house sometime in the future. A job is better than no job, as they say. And unless I’m headed for some kind of untimely demise at any point soon, I’m sure I have plenty of time to follow my career dreams.

Archie

Isn’t it funny, the random things you remember? Today I was driving to celebrate a relative’s 80th birthday and something popped into my head that I had all but forgotten. I don’t know why I remembered it, but all of a sudden the memory was as clear in my head as if it had just happened yesterday.

When I was small, there was a partular day my mum and I happened to be in the front yard at the same time the postman came to deliver the mail on his bike. I was younger then, and much more personable. Inquisitive and not intimidated in the slightest, I happily started up a conversation with this postman. His name was Archie, and he soon became someone we would look forward to seeing. Every day my siblings and I would wait for the mail to arrive, and for a chance to get to have a conversation with the friendly fellow we came to consider a friend.

I remember writing him letters, and drawing him pictures. We loved Archie, who always had time for a conversarion with a bunch of chatty kids, and who never seemed to mind our questions and stories. To my tiny self, Archie – with his broad grin and friendly character – was larger than life.

One day, someone else showed up to deliver our mail. He didn’t stop to say hello, and he barely seemed to notice us at all. I was devastated, and even though I looked out for him for a while after, Archie never delivered our mail again. I don’t know whether he got a new job, or moved away, or simply got put in a different route. But for a few months there, he was a part of our little world. And today, as I was driving to catch up with extended family I’d not seen in many years, the memory of my childhood friend made me smile.

People Watching

Yesterday I went to an all day music festival. Some great Australian bands played, headlined by Suzi Quatro. I only went as a last minute thing, as the original ticket holder couldn’t go and asked if I wanted to take the spare. It wasn’t a bad day, despite the heat, and I had a pretty good time just chillin’ and blissing out.

When there’s a crowd of such magnitude all congregating in one place, the people watching aspect is almost as interesting as the live music. One thing to note, is that the bands that played yesterday were largely from the 80’s and 90’s, so the crowd was predominantly people in their late 30’s and older. The younger ones seemed less interested in the music, and more excited for the prospect of getting dressed up in matching outfits and getting day drunk. But it was the older people there that really caught my attention.

Whenever I attend a music gig I can’t help but notice the usual suspects. Not specific people, but rather the groups of people. There’s always the overly loud, brash middle aged men who draw attention to themselves (not to mention many filthy looks) by being as crass and obnoxious as possible. There’s the older women seemingly desperate to recapture their lost youth, wearing short shorts, and push up bras under sheer tops, hugging each other while they raise their lighters and drunkenly serenade back to the musicians. And then, of course, there’s the couple who can’t help but have a full on domestic right there in public. Yesterday, I was quite literally surrounded by all of those particular groups.

People, as a whole, are quite fascinating. The way they carry themselves, the way they dress (or don’t dress, as was the situation yesterday for many concert attendees), the way they interact. I can’t help but watch. Then again, a lot of the time people are just plain awful, as I discovered when I went to leave and found that someone – or more accurately, a few someones – had pissed all over the side of my car. I mean, there were toilets, and even trees if they got really desperate, but they decided instead to urinate, in a line, right on my car. Out of all the hundreds of cars there, they chose mine. Just my luck.

As interesting as people can be, I’m definitely one to sit on the sidelines and watch, rather than interact. I guess you could say people watching is my favourite spectator sport. Not being a people person means that observation is key, so long as no one tries to talk to me.

How I Awkwarded Myself Into Buying a Giant Cup I Didn’t Want

Do you ever walk away from a situation cringing internally about how awkward you were? It happens to me pretty regularly. Honestly, if I ever need inspiration for an awkward character, I need look no further than my own reflection. My entire life is a string of humiliating experiences and cringeworthy encounters.

Today I had a day off, so I drove down to a nearby cafe. I stop into this particular cafe from time to time because they make an excellent soy hot chocolate, and you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get a good one in the town I live in. I walked in with a firm idea in mind regarding what I wanted. See, in addition to my takeaway beverage, I wanted to buy one of the reusable cups they sell. I eye off the display every time I walk into the cafe, and keep intending to buy one, so today I thought I would.

I approached the counter and placed my order for a large soy hot chocolate, and then enquired about their cups and I said I would like a black one. This is where the miscommunication, and my inability to clearly explain myself threw a spanner in the works. See, I wanted a small cup. My daily takeaway beverage is a chai, and I only ever have a small because too much sugar sets me teeth on edge. The small size in this particular brand of cup is perfect for what I wanted, and it never occurred to me that there would be sizes other than the small and medium cups on display.

My mistake lay in ordering a large hot chocolate. My intention was to buy my larger drink, and then also buy a small cup. Instead, the girl interpreted it as me wanting my hot chocolate IN a large cup. She told me they had no black cups in the large size, and indicated to a blue one instead. Instead of explaining that I only wanted a small cup, I got flustered by the unexpected information and said “a blue one is fine!”

The girl behind the counter then disappeared to grab one before I had time to correct myself. By the time she came back with a large blue cup, I felt too embarrassed to explain that I really only wanted a small one, and in black. The barista asked if I wanted my drink in the mug, and having resigned myself to buying the large cup, I said that was fine. The girl who served me then said they would need to wash it first if that was the case and I, by now flushed with embarrassment and desperate to not be any more hassle, blurted out “I’ll take it however it comes!” I think I startled the barista a little, and the girl serving me was probably silently begging me to get out of their tiny space in case my awkwardness was infectious.

The thing is, I’m aware that it probably doesn’t sound all that embarrassing but standing there in that little cafe, unable to properly verbalize what I wanted, was absolutely, horrifyingly uncomfortable. The notion of actually asking for a small cup, after the girl had gone to the trouble of getting a large one, felt like I was being a burden, and made me increasingly anxious. Which of course only made the words stick in my throat even more. Go figure.

My cheeks burning red with mortification, I paid for my drink and the mug, and silently stepped away from the counter. While I waited, I considered the fact that had I have just been able to get my stupid brain to work, I’d likely have saved myself $35 and actually ended up with the item I wanted. The giant hot chocolate filled cup came out moments later, and I scurried out the door as quickly as I could. But not before I babbled nervously about how I didn’t mean to make things difficult. So now I can never go back (ok, perhaps a tad dramatic), and I have a massive reusable cup that I will probably never use. Ah well, what’s a socially awkward girl to do?

Dear Amy

Dear Amy,

I know that life feels complicated sometimes, and I know that you often get anxious about your time and how you spend it. I wanted to tell you that it’s ok to wonder about where your life is headed, and it’s normal to sometimes compare where you are to where your friends are. But I also wanted to gently remind you that, at age 26, your life is far from over. You have a lot of time left to work out where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. Please don’t worry so much. You’ll figure it out.

I wanted to let you know that it’s ok to let go of things that don’t feel right anymore. Things and people come into your life at different times, for different periods of time. Some are meant to be with you for your whole life, and others just for a small part of it. I know it sounds like a cliche, but trust your instincts. You’re generally a pretty good judge of what is right for you, and you’re rarely wrong. Don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people, have new experiences. Do things that terrify you, if for no other reason than to say you’ve done it.

You sometimes doubt your ability to succeed. You have a tendency to try and take on too much at once, and often get too overwhelmed as a result. Slow down a little, and take things one at a time; trust me. You are capable of achieving your goals, but you need to pace yourself or you’re going to get burnt out. Again; you have time. You don’t have to learn everything right this very second, and all things take some time to get right. Set your goals, and allow yourself the appropriate time to achieve them. Don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t all go perfectly the first time. And if you feel like you’ve failed? Just remember that piece of advice you were given by one of the smartest people you know, and keep failing until you don’t. But also remember that on the days that you can’t bring yourself to try, you don’t need to feel guilty. Which brings me to my next point.

Take care of yourself. Don’t push yourself too hard, physically or mentally. Recognise when you’re at your limit, and learn to take the time to recuperate before you wear yourself out. You don’t have to be on the go all the time. Stop and read a book, or enjoy a cup or tea, or try to have a nap in the afternoon. Whatever it is, just make sure that you do it. You’ll thank yourself, and so will your body.

Finally, I just wanted to remind you to be kind to yourself. And remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You’re doing ok, and I believe in you, and I love you very much.

Sincerely, and with great affection,

Amy.

I’m Not Surly, It’s Just My Face

“Oi,¬†you!”

You’d look like that if someone ‘oi’-ed you, too.

That’s how the conversation started this morning. Rude, right? Now, you should know that I’m not easily offended. What I am, is easily angered. And the interaction this morning, with a guy who works near me, raised my ire. This guy is in his early fifties perhaps, and has a tendency to strike up conversations on his way past my shop. This began a couple of months ago, when he greeted me as if we had known each other for years, despite me having never laid eyes on him before that day. I disliked him immediately. See, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s when complete strangers are too familiar too soon. You don’t know me, you are not my friend; you do not get to talk to me as if we have a long standing relationship. Some of you may argue that he was just being friendly, but there is a difference between polite affability, and a straight up invasive personality. Trust me when I say that this guy has a serious case of the latter.

Over the last few months, we have had a series of short conversations. Despite my dislike of this man, I have always been perfectly polite. But his habit of asking personal questions, and making assumptions has continued. On several occasions, and in a few different ways, he has asked me if I have a boyfriend; questions I have always dodged. First of all, none of his business. And second of all, none of his business. Another time, he made an assumption about me having children, which is something I did correct him on. That then followed with the typical “You’ll change your mind” response, which I didn’t deign to acknowledge. He has made comments about wanting to take me to the pub so he can see me when I’m drunk, and comments about how I must be my parent’s favourite child, with no context. Basically, he’s weird.

I could give you plenty of other examples when this guy’s familiarity has made me irritable, but then we’ll be here all day. Today’s comment, however, is where this post began. So, after he called out to me with the aforementioned “OI”, he approached the shop and said, completely apropos of nothing, “What’s the matter with you? I saw you the other day and you looked really surly so I thought I better not come over.”

Now, you might be wondering why that seemingly innocuous comment made me so angry. It’s due to a few things. Firstly, the condescending tone (which I can’t properly convey here, so you’ll have to take my word for it.) Secondly, the way he managed to make it sound as though his not approaching my shop for mundane conversation was a loss for me. I have any number of boring conversations in an 8.5 hour period, man. You are not the highlight of my workday. And thirdly, the assumption that just because I’m not cheery and chirpy every single second of the day, that there must be something the matter with me. Let me be perfectly clear. I do not exist to indulge his (or anyone’s) flawed, archaic ideas of what a woman is supposed to be. And I will not apologise for being a human, with an entire spectrum of human emotions. I am not some Stepford wife, and I am under no obligation to appear perpetually cheerful.

Sure, I could smile all the time, but there are a couple of problems with that. I mean, let’s be perfectly honest here; I would look like a legitimate maniac. The other problem is that after all that smiling, my face would ache. And working in customer service is painful enough as it is. Besides, maybe if I look surly enough, old mate across the way will stop talking to me altogether.