Someone reached out to me on Instagram last week with a really lovely note about The Secret Garden and how my blogs about my gender journey have had an impact on him. I blog so infrequently for many reasons I have spent many blogs going over. Mostly I wonder if anyone is actually reading these damn things or if I’m just yelling into a void. But the truth is that if just one person gets something useful from something I say, or is impacted somehow, then it’s worth it.
I try not to weigh in on major cultural or political moments because generally I know someone else has already said what I might say and said it better. That said, I know everyone has their own voice and unique take, and mine is just as valuable as anyone else’s. But sometimes I feel like the internet has created a population of people who think they’re the foremost authority on every god damn thing. And if there’s one thing I’m learning as I get older (aside from the knowledge that everything is starting to ache), it’s that I know very little about most things and my opinion isn’t a necessary addition to the din.
Also, I put undue pressure on myself. It’s a side effect (I think) of winning a Tony at 11. Subconsciously I believe that everything I put into the world needs to be award-worthy. I have gotten better about that. Inevitably, over thirty years of acting, I have put out lots of content that isn’t award-worthy. And I’ve survived. So, I’ve relaxed a bit on my self-expectations. But, when it comes to my writing, I suppose I worry that if every individual piece isn’t terrific, I’ll lose readers. For example, if this is the first blog of mine that you’re reading, your eyes have probably started to glaze over and you’re thinking about googling cat videos. I see you.
But then I read blogs from people who have thousands of subscribers and are making money hand over fist just from blogging, and generally speaking the content is…not award-worthy. At all. And I think, this is what people want? I’ve written endlessly about my refusal to become a mommy blogger. Firstly, “mommy” is not my primary identity. I don’t think I’m good enough at it or doing anything innovative enough to warrant multi-weekly posts about diaper comparisons, or preschool research, or what form of non-violent, gender-affirming, vegan, free-range parenting I’m subscribing to. Who cares? You do you, I’ll do me, and (most likely) never the twain shall meet.
Not to mention the fact that people pay money and spend time watching other people play video games. I’m aware that most people aren’t searching for Pulitzer-winning material. So, I should maybe just chill out and post more and not worry that my writing isn’t exactly Virginia Wolfe level, but that maybe one or two people might see it and go, I feel seen. And that should be enough.
Speaking of which, if you ever are moved by my blog, please feel free to share it on your socials. And throw me a line to let me know that you’re there. It really does serve as motivation to keep writing. Not to put that job on your shoulders. But, the job is now on your shoulders…
We have officially moved back to L.A. Over the four years since we left, I lived in 13 different places not including the eight-month tour of The Humans in which we visited 12 cities. Kurt suggested that we just tell people we spent the last four years travelling. It makes us sound very fancy and not at all like parents who were struggling to make ends meet and shuttling their son back and forth across the country four times in four years. I have largely lived out of suitcases for four years, and as I write this, I am looking at three suitcases on the floor that are in need of my attention. For someone who has moved as many times as I have, you’d think that I had this shit down to a science. But I loathe unpacking and will put it off for as long as I possibly can.
Kurt and I are back to sharing a bed. Our goal, eventually, is to have separate bedrooms, but for now, this is what we can manage, and we felt it best that our six-year-old have his own bedroom. Kurt knows that I’m struggling with the idea of being a queer person who is stuck in what is essentially a straight, monogamous relationship. He has made it clear that he sees me and has no intention of planting a flag in me. So, this is my life right now. I love Kurt very much. And I have come to terms with the fact that I am bisexual (after initially coming out as bi when I was 12 and then struggling with it until now), and am very much interested in having another relationship with a woman, but 1) I don’t have time for dating and 2) What woman over 30 is going to want to date me in my current situation?
It’s okay. I’ve had a good run.
In other news, I am feeling some major FOMO while the Queer Liberation March is happening today in NYC. I really wish I were there. It feels like an important moment in the LGBTQI+ movement and I’m missing it.
I'm at the 9th Street playground watching Monty weigh the pros and cons of eating sand. I grew up going to this playground. Back then it had one swing set, a sandbox, a small jungle gym, and a large dome shaped monkey bar thing. My best friend Carrie and I used to climb the dome, hook our knees around a bar and hang upside down. We came with a big group, so I guess it must have been pre-school. I'm surprised I remember that far back. Carrie went on to learn special effects makeup and built monsters and stuff for a couple outfits in Los Angeles. She lives in San Antonio now with a husband she adores and her first baby on the way. I went on to do a few things, too. And now I live somewhere in New York (not quite sure where, yet) with a great guy and a two-and-a-half year old. Weird.
Anyway, the playground is all redone and has a music theme. Because playgrounds now have themes, I guess? Monty loves it but there's something about the whole thing that makes me sad. I know I run the risk of sounding like one of those old guys who say, "Why, in the seventies people got raped and murdered about a million times more on the streets of New York City, and we liked it!" I understand that New York is safer now, and that the streets of South Park Slope aren't littered with crack viles, and that you can walk to the 4th Avenue subway stop without stepping over people who have stumbled out of the methadone clinic, and that no kids have been shot on the corner of the street I grew up on since the mid-90s, and that these are all improvements. And I know it's kind of mentally ill of me to still consider stores that opened 20 years ago interlopers. But I'm angry that I've been completely priced out of the neighborhood I grew up in. This playground is a reflection of the extreme affluence the neighborhood houses now and I guess it makes me nostalgic. Homesick for a place that no longer exists. And resentful. And I wish I could wear a sign that says, "I grew up here!"
Monty is clearly the oldest kid here because most kids his age are in school already. I'm getting increasingly worried about where and when we're going to settle because Monty really needs to be in school. He doesn't know how to play with other kids. He's a bright kid and I am not equipped with the tools to keep him challenged. I don't know how kids work.
Also he needs to go to school because I'm about to jump of the roof. I love him to pieces, but I need a break. I have, like, things I need to do. If I catch my mind wandering to things I need to get done while I'm playing with Monty I instantly feel guilty that I'm not "relishing each moment" because "it all goes so fast and next thing you know, you'll turn around and he'll be going off to college." And then I'm angry at the idiots who say shit like that. There's no way you can relish every moment. Especially when the moment is singing the 75th verse of She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain When She Comes or trying to get your kid to "wave bye-bye to the poopy and wash hands!", and you have a deadline you have to meet and you really just need to get back to your writing. I KNOW I'll be sad some day when he won't cuddle on my lap anymore, but mommy has to get grown-up things done. Mommy has to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Mommy needs to figure out where we're going to live that is out of the city, highly commutable to the city, affordable, and has good schools. And mommy needs a nap. Mommy is exhausted. And no, Monty, don't eat the sand, it has rat pee in it. No, don't do it. I'm not kidding. Monty, this isn't a game. Put the sand down. No, don't throw the sand. Just put it down. Thank you. I relish you. I relish this moment. LOOK AT ME! I'M RELISHING!!!!
I spent an hour on an blog entry on Wednesday night and it disappeared to god knows where. It was a good piece and I was so frustrated I punished my blog by not returning to it til now. That'll show it.
I was very out of sorts in Brooklyn. Last year at just about this time I had an epic fight with my parents that was life and relationship-changing. I suppose I didn't want to be in the house on the anniversary of "The Fight." There are enough ghosts in that house. I don't need to hang around with the one where my parents tell me I'm a failure. We headed to the Upstate house a day early, which will be our primary base until one or the other of us obtains gainful employment, and since I'm an actor, that burden basically rests on Kurt's shoulders. Even though the Upstate house was were I got married to a man I didn't love, twelve years ago (Twelve years exactly, actually. We got married on August 30th.) this house holds fewer memories. I can even look directly at the spot on which I said, "I do" and not feel a thing. Plus Kurt and Monty and I are alone up here (most of the time), so it's significantly quieter than Brooklyn.
I feel compelled here to clarify my feelings toward my parents' Brooklyn house and, for that matter, toward my parents. I dislike neither. In fact, I love both my parents and the house. It just sometimes feels like... a lot. It's a small house and they have two dogs including a Greyhound, and when it's me and Kurt and Monty and my parents and my sister and the dogs it's... a lot. One of the results of "The Fight" is that I've become more introspective, more guarded, and slightly less trustful. It's unfortunate, but true. I am aware that this is going to pain my father to read, but there it is. I don't know if I'll ever truly recover from it. And, in a strange way, I'm okay with that. Also, I should say, for the record, that when we are with my family, caring for Monty is significantly easier as there are three extra adults to make sure his head doesn't fall off. It allows for time to write. Or nap.
So, to sum up, I love my parents and am grateful for their warmth, love, generosity, and hospitality. I love my childhood home. But on the heels of the most stressful year of my life and moving across the country in a car with a toddler, I needed some peace.
The Upstate house is pretty far from they city (about 2 1/2 hours), which makes it not practical for commuting. But it is so peaceful and idyllic. Yesterday my step-mother took Kurt on a walk around the property. He came back and said, "When I was standing in that meadow I felt like I was in a painting."
"Excuse me. Meadow?" I said.
"Yeah, the meadow on the other side of the trees," he said.
"There's a meadow?"
There's a meadow. I had never walked the property in the 14 years that my parents have owned this house. I assumed the property ended at the tree line at the back of the backyard. So, Kurt took Monty and I up to the meadow and beyond. There's a fucking meadow, guys. A few of them. And a creek. With water. Do you understand?
I was honestly trying to figure out how we could make farming work. Suddenly I was thinking about bringing professionals in to clear some of the forest to make a path for fucking cows and sheep and goats. And I was telling Kurt that we would have to get one of those movable chicken coops. And I was sure I was going to become a dairy farmer and make artisan butter that I'd sell at the Union Square Farmer's Market. And occasionally someone would say, "You look familiar." And I'd say, "I'm not Lena Dunham!" And we would laugh and then I'd tell them about the lavender butter and how good it is on blueberry scones.
And here's the thing: My parents are selling this place. It's too far from the city, and all the neighbors are virulent Right-Wingers (The kind that hate gays. And women.), and they don't come up here often enough to justify having to pay the property taxes which have increased since all the small dairy farms are dying off because they don't get the subsidies that giant, mega, factory farms get. Some prospective buyers came to look at it today, but when the dude stepped out his Chrysler, wearing purple leather loafers with no socks, my fears of having the house bought out from under us vanished. For today, anyway.
When the apocalypse comes and water becomes a serious issue, they're going to regret having sold this place. Mark my words. Well, they'll probably be long gone by then. But Monty will be like, "What the fuck were they thinking?!" And I'll be like, "What, dear? Hand me that bottle of sleeping pills, a plastic bag, and some duct tape. There's $500 stowed away in the back of the armoire. It's all I have left. I love you."
And now comes the irony. My good friend has opened a daycare in Hamilton Heights and has hired me for a reduced hourly wage in exchange for daycare for Monty. And he wants me there full time. But I can't take the job because I can't commute to the city every day. So, I'm literally being handed a job and I can't take it. Amazing. And no, I can't stay in Brooklyn full time (Please refer to aforementioned Fight.). So, that's a conundrum.
Monty continues to be the best human ever. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it's just facts. He says "Thank you" when appropriate. He greets everyone with a cheery, "Hiya!" He RARELY tantrums, and by rarely I mean I can't remember the last time he did. He now says, "I love you." and it seems to come from a genuine place of love. I don't know how he knew how to label that feeling. I suppose after the millionth time I grabbed him and hugged him and told him I loved him he realized that one went with other. We took him to a diner tonight and my sister put "Jailhouse Rock" on the jukebox and Monty stood on his seat and air drummed. At the end of the song he yelled, "Rock! And! Roll!!" I mean, come the fuck on.
In other, less personal news, I was trying to come up with something to say in the wake of the several recent shootings. I am profoundly distressed by the state of the gun control debate in this country. I am furious that when I think about sending Monty off to school I now have to worry that some maniac with a gun will take some convoluted frustration out on Monty's class and I'll never see him again. I'm furious that ANYONE has to worry about that. We are completely out of control. Someone tweeted recently that the gun debate in this country ended with Sandy Hook. When it becomes acceptable to kill children, we have lost the fight.
Also, I'm reading an interview with Maya Schenwar who is a prison reform advocate and while I already knew the prison system is a complete failure, some of the shit she talks about makes you want to commit hari kari .
George Carlin said he wasn't interested in making things better or working to change the world because we had already fucked it up so profoundly that there's no going back so we might as well just ride it out while we're here. When you think about the fact that as a species we could have set up life any way we wanted and we designed what we designed it is the most nonsensical thing ever. We somehow decided that life should be a series of responsibilities all meant to pay someone else to make it possible for us to continue meeting our responsibilities.
We can't keep going like this, right?
P.S. I'm aware that I sound more discouraged than normal right now. But I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful and happy. No need to worry. I'm on my meds and looking for a new therapist. Everything is great!