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For those of you just joining us...

Hi.

I'm not sure that I ever made an introductory post in this journal (I kind of just jumped in, feet first), and since I've had the damned thing for eleven years, you might as well know a little bit about me.  Expect this to get rambly, kids.

So... My name's Raven.  I started this journal in 2004 (I know), because my mother didn't know how to use the internet, and I needed a place to vomit up all my thoughts about being an angsty college student who was bafflingly incapable of being attracted to boys her own age.  This was a sticking point for me for many years, because I had no idea how interpersonal relationships worked, and I assumed that you just had to keep on trying to be friends with people your own age forever, like you do when you're in school and not exposed to anything else.

Somewhere between then and now, I bumbled through a series of misadventures, some fun, some horrifying, and some very, depressingly expensive, and I be-bopped through a seemingly endless parade of shitty jobs, and some less-shitty ones, with the constant feeling that maybe, maybe I wouldn't want to fling myself off a bridge into the Chicago river if I could just stop being someone else's cubicle monkey.  It wasn't the oft-reported milennial-hipster disdain for The Man, man.  It's actually a pretty wonderful combination of chronic depression and anxiety disorders that basically left me panicking and in an inhuman fog most of the time.  So... now I don't do that shit.  I'm a professional burlesque performer/sometime burly-q teacher, I run 2 Etsy shops and assist a friend with another, I'm a freelance photographer, an art model, and a non-Equity professional Stage Manager.  I find that constant, crushing poverty is about 1000% less stressful than chronic sleep-deprivation and the constant feeling that I'm fucking everything up and everyone hates me and I can't ever do anything right, and I'm going to get fired for some bullshit reason like taking too long of a bathroom break.

I live in Chicago with my cat and sometimes my boyfriend, and I never did get over that inability to be attracted to men my own age.  Every man I've dated since I hit 25 has been over 40.  Every celebrity I've ever had a crush on (Except Matt Smith) has been over 40.  If I had to clarify this in some way, I'd explain it thusly:  I'm *capable* of finding men in their 20's/30's physically attractive, and I have been casually involved with men younger than 40 on occasion, but I'm not exceptionally interested in being involved with them in any serious way.  I find that men over 40 have fewer hang-ups about bodies, modesty, social expectations, etc. and are far easier to hold intellectual conversations with.  They're not particularly interested in bravado, they know how female anatomy functions, and they aren't afraid of me or my body.  This probably has more to do with the particulars of the actual men I choose to spend my time with, instead of their age, but the age certainly improves the odds of finding these qualities, I find.

And, of course, speaking of crushes, I have plenty of equally weird fandoms.  LOST, Person of Interest, NCIS.  I used to be into Dr. Who, but I really lost my patience with Moffatt, so I don't talk about it much.  MacGyver.  I love Richard Dean Anderson.  I actually, literally love him.  Like... in the way that's probably really unhealthy and delusional.  So I don't talk much about him anymore either.  I haven't seen a movie in the last three years that wasn't A) Made before 1975, B) Foreign, or C) Both.  I listen to really weird music, often on loop.  For example, I listened to Bryan Ferry singing a cover of Send In The Clowns for seven hours straight while crafting yesterday.

I write a bunch of fanfiction, which you can find on fanfiction.net if you look up my username (I'm Raven Catz or Ravenwcatz pretty much everywhere, and even my stage name is Raven Gemini)

...Yeah.  This is my life.  It's pretty fantastic. 

U/RTA

I don't check in every year, but I know I've talked a number of times about U/RTA and my slow progression from 21-year-old terrified demi-person with her first, confusing, real-world old-man crush on Scott Steele.  Which was really weird, when I think back on it, because I wasn't really comfortable with that part of myself yet.  I had dated Mike V (heretofore referenced as "Second Mike", if he's been referenced at all.), and he was seven years older than me, and that had seemed so fucking exotic and grown up when I was 19 and he was 26.  It wasn't until I actually hit 26 myself that I realized that he was just a stupid kid that was making shit up as he went along, just like I had been at 19, when I thought he was so put-together and mature.

So there I was, 21, raw and fresh and completely terrified of all the faculty recruiters, and there was Scott, and... I don't know.  He's not particuarly attractive, and I've never in the seven years I've done U/RTA been able to figure out A) How old he actually is and B) if he's gay or not.  At this point, I don't want to know.  I've had a weird, semi-platonic crush on him for so long, I'd rather not ruin it now.

This is kind of a segue, but I have a whole subset of people to whom I'm attracted, but I really don't think about them in any kind of sexytime way or anything, they're just sort of people I wouldn't mind having coffee on a couch with and, like, burying my head in their shoulder or something.  Do other people have those?  Or is it just me, because I don't touch people without express permission, and I don't like people touching me unless we have some sort of established relationship?  There's this part of me that just really needs some sort of human intimacy from people, and since it waited about 27 years to show up, it's very disconcerting to me.

And then there was year 2 (I thought it was year 2, but it might have been year 3, because I have faculty that swear they remember this, but also swear they weren't around until what would have been my year 3), when I sat at the U/RTA desk in the hallway at Roosevelt University, knitting and being continually run over by students.  Scott gave me shit for it, and I remember being really awkward and apologetic and weird about it, and that was the first time it occurred to me that I just very much wanted him to not think I was weird.  (Fast forward six years:  Older men really don't care if you're weird.  One of my favorite parts of being as attracted to them as I am.) Also, fast forward six years and he was probably giving me shit about knitting because it was so fucking quaint and adorable.  I also wore business casual and heels for the first three years.  What the fuck was I THINKING?

And... there was the year in the DePaul student center, when I was also working for Provision, and I was checking my email on DePaul's computers and trying to watch auditions through the frosted glass conference room doors.

And the first year at the Westin, when Tim fired Kenneth the same week, and I came in crying that I was going to quit, because I couldn't deal with the pressure and Johanna took me down to the bar in the hotel and we got drunk and she told me everything would be better, eventually.  THAT was the day that I tried to take the bus to Vaudezilla rehearsal, and there was some stupid bus reroute, and I was super drunk, and I eventually had to stumble off the bus to find a place to pee.  Which ended up being someone's porch.  That was the first time I ever peed outside.  Not that you all need to know that, but.

And this year was the year that things got a little weird.  Good weird.  But weird.  This was the year that I spent more time talking with the faculty recruiters than I had before.  Not only did I learn that they don't hate me, I learned that they were upset when they realized I was timing this year instead of Stage Managing.  I learned that the gal that recruits for the Portland Actors' Conservatory knows Russell Bruner. I was forced to listen to the sales pitch for LSU about twenty times (I was taping their callbacks for them).  (Also, their recruiter is super nice, and we had really great conversations about burlesque and theater and responsibility as artists, and he might have called me beautiful in an incredibly platonic way when I was all dressed up for the last day, and I was really flattered and thought it was a super kind thing to say, because no random person ever calls you beautiful and not only means it, but means it in a way that suggests they don't also want to fuck you.)
...And there are other things that happened this year, that I'm almost bursting to talk about, but now that I've gotten to this part, I'm hesitant to say.  Suffice to say I was a little surprised by some things this year.  And, instead of being a 21-year-old demi-person, uncomfortable with her persistent attraction to men over 40, I'm finally a baby-faced 28-year-old fully realized human being who knows there's nothing wrong with only wanting men over 40, because they can hold a conversation with you, and they're not afraid of the female body, or baffled by my anatomy, or personally offended if I do/don't orgasm, and are totally enthusiastic about giving even though I'm not particularly interested in reciprocating.

And I learned that four days of sleep deprivation is sufficient to make me seriously consider trying to sleep in a hotel lobby, even if there's a good chance of being arrested for being a vagrant.  Ultimately, I didn't have to deal with that, thankfully.
I come back to LJ and instantly become the weird, sad kid I was in college.  What is that?

It might also have a lot to do with the fact that I've just listened to Rufus Wainwright sing Hallelujah on repeat for about an hour.  I actually came here to have an appropriately empty place to mention how well that song fits my perception of Ben's relationship to the Island.  So much so that it actually makes me want to write the prequel to Convergence that I've been thinking about, but not really ever planning to get around to.

It just hurts me that the two songs I have for Ben essentially growing up and becoming the adult that he is are Hallelujah, and Depeche Mode's Get the Balance Right.  He's so fucked up and broken and I just can't handle it.

It's also kind of making me want to revisit my genderbent Ben cosplay.  That was hella fun.  One day.
2012-07-22 11.16.56
I still occasionally have days in which I wonder if I made the correct choice.

Aug. 12th, 2014

The relentless march of spam comments really ruins the livejournal experience. 
Every spring, I am reminded subtly (and not so subtly) that I am, have been, and always will be a hopeless fangirl.

well... shit
Yum.

Holy balls.  Please consider the fact that I have had this photo hanging out in a tiny corner of my desktop where I can see it at all times for two days.
I feel so wretched about it.  I've always felt kind of weird and creepery spending my time ogling photos of random (usually relatively obscure) celebri-dudes. I feel even creepier about doing this with Paul because... it's Paul.  I've kinda-sorta-not really-but-in-a-stretch-of-a-way met him.  At least, we were in the same room, an arm's length apart, politely said hello, and then drifted away to other things.  I still look at that moment (it was a year ago today) and look out at the universe and sort of shout "That's all I get?!?"

So, naturally, I am spending my one-year anniversary of not-quite-meeting Paul and embarrassingly fangirling in front of Richard Z K, of all people (Because the last member of this band that I'm particularly inclined to fangirl over, at least in this decade, is RZK. ), posting horrifically attractive photos all over the internet and drooling on myself.

Instead of going on the typical tirade that I am so fond of, the one where I wonder aloud (and embarrassingly) how I'm ever going to pull of the herculean feat of putting myself on the same plane as these people, or hoping like hell I get just so lucky, or some combination thereof, I'm going to simply say this:
I always turn my thoughts in this direction in the spring.  I only listen to Rammstein in the warm months of the year.  Fall and winter have Goldfrapp and Ladytron and Roxy Music, but Rammstein always has my spring. 

Fear of change

So... I'm getting to the point where something's pretty much got to give.  I've been planning my exit strategy from the theater for months now, and now that the wheels are finally kind of turning on that, I find myself absolutely paralyzed by fear.

On one hand, I cannot wait to get out of here.  It's more than just being broke, although that plays a huge role.  I do need to find something that will pay me more, even if it's just a little.  But it's a principle thing, too.  I realized yesterday, while walking to the train, that I've been here so long, it's actually a foreign concept to me to have an employer who actually has anything resembling respect for their employees.  When I think back to my time at SSI, when my boss used to buy us breakfast all the time, take each of the admins to lunch once every couple of weeks, come in and joke around with us... as long as the work got done, it was fine.  It's funny to say things like that about it now, because it was frightening and stressful at the time, and our actual, ultimate boss was a lot stricter than my direct supervisor, which gave the atmosphere this clandestine quality, but really... it was pretty cushy.

And I hated it.  Maybe it was the 2 hour commute.  Maybe it was the stress, and the fact that I was really depressed and eating poorly, and a thousand other factors.  A lot of it was the commute.  Some of it was that the workload always seemed insurmountable, even though I always got it done.

And I came here, and I think I had all these expectations, because everyone was so wonderful to work with in the box office, and Priscilla is such a sweetheart, and Tim was such a competent artist... And as it turns out, a horrible businessperson.  I don't blame him, but I'm constantly frustrated when I feel like my ideas aren't respected, or that my suggestions are flat-out ignored in favor of the polar opposite.  I read business and entrepreneurship books, it's not as if my ideas are just being pulled out of my ass, or that I'm a naive schoolgirl.  And since then, everything has been systematically dismantled around me.  All my best box office people quit or were fired.  Every show has some new protocol or ten extra steps to accomplish.  When we came here, the expectation was that we would be paid to sell tickets and write up the evening's financial report, keep watch over the cash boxes and take in the lobby displays.  Now he wants my people to be a little fleet of underpaid admins, chugging away at stacks of data entry, logging surveys, constantly working at something.  No facebook on the job which, for me, makes sense, because I'm constantly swamped.  But box office hours are different.  You're working.  You're representing the company, you look good and talk well, when there's no one in the box office but you, what does it matter what you do?

And THEN there's the money.  I mean... to put it in perspective, 70% of my income goes directly to my rent.  Not my utilities, just my rent.  Once you add in the bills I pay every month, $950 out of $1150 is gone.  The other $200 is supposed to buy me groceries, pay for transit, put gas in my car, feed my cat, AND advance me into a better place in life.  Hint.  It doesn't do that.  I also have been averaging at least $150 per month from Vaudezilla.  When I first started performing, I promised myself that I would use that money solely for burlesque-related expenses, to create nice costumes and keep them up.  A year and a half after I started performing, and I now depend on that money to purchase food just slightly more extravagant than ramen.  A grand total of $0 goes toward burly-q upkeep.  If I'm creating a new act, everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) has to be an item that's already in my closet and that I don't particularly *need* for anything else.  I've been slowly rationing out the same bag of clear rhinestones for a year.

But.  As much as I love playing the WOE IS ME card, you know, I signed up for this.  I left the salary job with benefits that would have (I shit you not) kicked in three weeks after I left.  I left for a reason.  Expectations.  You know.

Well... it's been two years, and I've kind of ridden this pony as far as it's going to go, and I'm not even sure there will *be* a full-time box office manager position to stay in, if things keep on keeping on like they are, and it's just time for a change.

And I'm fucking terrified.  It's the unknown.  It's people I don't know, and jobs I'm not familiar with, and who KNOWS how much supervision/direction/whatever.  And that's cool and all, but because I have NO IDEA where I'm going to end up, for how much time, for how much money, for how much whatever, I'm pretty much just a ball of terror at this point.

I guess what it comes down to is that I feel trapped here.  I feel like I need this place, because, if I wasn't here, I'd be adrift with no savings, no money, no prospects.  If my position is terminated, I basically have a few weeks to pack my belongings and get back to Michigan, where there's no Vaudezilla, no Kenneth, no social interaction, and nothing but my crushing sense of failure.

I feel like I need this place, I hate this place, yet I feel like I don't deserve better.  I feel like living the life I want is such an impossible fantasy, it doesn't even compute that I could maybe one day achieve it.  And I feel that every attempt I've made to alleviate some of the need has basically been systematically dismantled.  My Etsy shop is full of patterns, I probably spent about $500 on them over the course of the last year, and I've sold two.  At a loss.

I feel like I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm basically going to have to work 6-7 days a week, every week, with no vacations, until I drop dead.

I was walking to the train yesterday, and I was thinking about death, which I probably do a little bit too much for someone my age.  But I was really just thinking about... if I were to die today, if some freak accident were to happen, the roof collapses, my train derails, whatever, would I be ok with the way my life has been led?  And... the answer is no.  I feel like I would just be thinking about how much time I've wasted, and how I didn't get to see Rammstein again.  Which, lame, but that's where my priorities are.  And I want to change it, so, *so* badly.  It's just not... changing.  The things I'm doing aren't getting me anywhere, and I'm still trapped here, in this goddamn windowless room. 

Mar. 5th, 2013

It seems that 2013 is the year of rejection.  Five burlesque festivals and one MFA photography program.

I don't know how I feel about that yet.  On one hand, it feels like all kinds of possibilities have opened back up, now that I know for certain that I won't be committing the next three years of my life to school... On the other hand, I cannot understand why my life seems to constantly be grinding me into the dirt with the heel of its boot.  I've got nothing, isn't that enough for you?  I have no savings, no safety net, no backup.  I'm leaving Provision at the end of the season, regardless.

If I say it enough, maybe I'll have the courage to actually do it. 
In addition to needing to acquire a TV before 8am Friday, I am currently out of:

Tampons,
Light Bulbs,
Paper Towels,
Cat Food
Hair conditioner

And I have exactly zero dollars with which to replenish these items.  In fact, I have zero dollars to put gas in my car or buy groceries for this week.

And also, my day has progressed thusly:

Found out that Home Depot only sells 90% of what I would have needed to build my prop tv online.  Which would be fine except A) I kind of needed it today, and B) I can't make online purchases until I pay down my credit card, which might occur in April, or it might occur never, judging by the amount of money I can devote to it.  (Hint, I paid $50 last month, my minimum payment was supposed to be $350, but I don't make $350 in a week and a half, so.)

Found out that, because my employer takes us off payroll in the summertime, and then pays us as "nonemployees" for that time via 1099, I owed $600 extra in "self-employment taxes" that I shouldn't be charged, because I'M NOT FUCKING SELF EMPLOYED.   Leaving me with a tax return of $75.  Which I was counting on to attempt to pay down my credit card.

Found out that I'm not, contrary to my previous belief, scheduled to perform in Vaudezilla's March theater show.  Which is totally the fault of my own ambiguity via email, but.  I could have used the $30, because I've basically been feeding myself off of burlesque income since November.  I mean, I hadn't even had a specific act in mind for this show yet, but I would have thought of something, eventually.

AWESOME.  INDULGE IN MY SELF-LOATHING WITH ME.

From Feb. 10, 2010

"I've been having super strange dreams lately.  Like, stranger than the
dreams where I was having sex with Frank Zappa.  And I count those as
fairly strange. 

Just... super randomy, and not terribly pleasant dreams. 

On
the upside, I finished up working for U/RTA this week.  I was Stage
Managing their open call auditions in Chicago.  Which basically means I
herded around 175 potential grad students over the course of three
days.  I like being their little silent cheerleader.  
The whole
time, I was a little nervous, because I would come in when called (but
didn't actually have to start until, like, an hour later) so I would
bring my knitting, and I was getting a hard time from Scott, the guy who
actually runs this thing.  Picture if you will, your image of a real
New York kind of guy with a real New York kind of... I don't want to say
attitude, because of the negative connotations of the word "attitude"
so... I'll say "sensibilities."  He's a very nice guy.  But very City. 
And I might live in a big city, but I'm still just a little Midwestern
hayseed at heart.  

So I felt weird about knitting... and all the
random stuff I ended up babbling about during the interim time.  But
apparently it wasn't annoying,  Because I most definitely earned the "I
respect you and regard you as an equal" European style cheek-kiss.  It
was very City.  I like it."

Disregarding the bits at the head of this little drabble and getting right to the heart of it... I find my observations of someone I now know just slightly better than I did then to be hilarious.  Especially since I now consider myself to be very urban and very much a city-dweller.  I still find him to be Urban with a capital U.  He still does that not-quite-European riff on the cheek kisses.  I got an honest-to-god hug when I left today.  I had to count milliseconds in my head and pull away and demure, like my calculating little self. 

I think it's interesting to see how much I've changed.  I'm so different three years later, my writing voice is even different. 

I also find it to be interesting that I mentioned him somewhere in my distant past.  Because you probably know as well as I do at this point that there is only one reason why I ever mention a man.  This rehash counts too.  Apparently, so much time has transpired from year to year that I forget. 

I'm a snake, but I like myself this way.  Predatory Raven.  It gives me things to think about when there's nothing else to do.