Other Peoples’ Kids

When I told Husband I wanted to get back into acting, I don’t think he (or even I, really) realized that would lead to 2014 being The Year of the Neverending Rehearsals. I was cast in a show early on in the year, beginning rehearsals in February, and damned if I haven’t actually had a break from rehearsals since then (three shows later, and no, there haven’t been breaks for performances because all three shows have overlapped because life). I begin new rehearsals at the end of this month, only two weeks after my current shows closes.

Because choosing the arts means a lifestyle change. Because artists are passionate and fickle and obsessive and so self-conscious that it would make even a tween cringe inside.

And it’s been crazy and fun and so anxiety-inducing that I’ve forgotten how to sleep or frankly what sleep is, instead opting to lay in bed, with the puppy snoring at my side, wondering just how we’re going to get ten clown characters in and out and back into their clown makeup with five minute breaks between scenes, one makeup palette between the entire group, and the utter idiocy of some certified makeup artist insisting upon basic corrective otherwise (oh wait, that would be me, and I’m mad at myself). [It’s my blog, I’ll run-on sentence if I want to.]

Community theatre is a weird animal. I’m just going to go ahead and say that with no segue because it’s a standalone statement that will forever and ever be true, amen. First of all, it’s entirely volunteer-based, and if it’s a city, chances are the money for set builders and stage crew and painters are extremely low, which leads to a bunch of artsy fartsy people getting together and trying to use tools and, like, measure stuff.

Barnum stage

Laughable, by the way.

But it’s rewarding in a way that semi-professional or professional theatre simply is not; you build this rapport with your fellow castmates you couldn’t have otherwise because you were hunched over a platform for several hours in the blistering heat painting everything black, because you hauled props from literally every random place props could possibly be to an outdoor theatre space,  because one night at rehearsal things were abruptly ended because the rare but indomitable Utah monsoon hit and your lights and mics went out. You went through stuff.

Because I am Lucy IRL.

Because I am Lucy IRL.

It also carries with it challenges that make you want to gouge your eyes out. See also: other peoples’ kids.

Having done two shows thus far that involved only adults and being cast in another that’s the same, I’d kind of forgotten what it was like to perform with a bunch of little humans who 1. you can’t swear in front of and 2. want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and 3. occasionally carry with them stinky attitudes.

Scratch that — who always carry with them stinky attitudes.

The thing about theatre of any kind is that no one’s really above it. And if someone thinks he/she is above it, then either he/she is Idina Menzel or hasn’t bothered auditioning for any shows or roles deemed unworthy because ain’t nobody got time for that. And yet you get those brilliant kidlets who, for whatever reason, determine at some point during the rehearsal process that they have somehow been duped into the whole ordeal. That their initial decision (by their own volition) to audition was actually forced upon them because NO WAY would they stoop so low as to perform in the ensemble of a community theatre production.

Or maybe that’s not what they think. Maybe they think something entirely different but lack the human capabilities to express anything other than that sentiment because they’re like puppies or babies, unable to intimate their feelings, so instead they whine and cry.

My current director tells us all the time that we’re “always auditioning,” even through the rehearsal and performance process. The kidlets remain unphased. She calls them out during scenes because they’re talking or giggling or touching their hair or breaking character. They smile and keep on keeping on. They even decide to make snide comments to those around them (including me, which, go ahead honey because I can be snide all day erry day, and if you ask me “Is your cat dead yet?” one more time I WILL CUT YOU, and for pete’s sakes leave the other kids alone when their faces get red during the dance numbers because sometimes faces get red during dance numbers), and the littles take note of it. It’s like we’re breeding a generation of Regina Georges in the theatre community.

Regina George

And it gets tricky for a person like me who is child-free but still a full-fledged adult. Because do you say something? Do you just let it go? What about the underdogs who can’t stand up for themselves against kids like that? Do you just stand back and watch it happen and feel bad about the world? I know some parents who say, “I’d want to know if my child were acting like that,” but would you really, guys? I don’t think you actually would, especially from a person who refers to her cat and puppy as her children.

Other peoples’ kids, man. Other peoples’ kids.

Guess what guess what guess what

SPEEDING TICKETS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE IN SALT LAKE COUNTY THAN UTAH COUNTY!!!

And, of course, the reason I know this is because, sandwiching a rear-ending that was 100% my fault, I got a speeding ticket in each county. #YOLO

Also, it remains the case that if you rear-end someone, it’s your fault and your insurance has to cover everything.

Kind of I’ve been busy doing really productive things, obviously. Sometimes when you’re an adult, you have to confirm the things you were told as a child/teen to be Life Truths … or something like that. Incidentally, I’m one of the most paranoid drivers on earth these days, and I’m just waiting for the day I get a ticket for not driving fast enough (haha just kidding, I at least drive the speed limit everywhere I go).

I think this is what happens when I don’t work and feel house-trapped by a puppy who pees on all the things (update, however: she only pees in her crate when I leave, so I guess count your blessings, though the correlation between peeing and leaving continues to make me feel, you know, house-trapped). We did get the mail the other night, though, so things are looking up. And, I’m sorry to say, but my dishwasher is either really dismal or the hard water of my city doesn’t rinse worth crap, and the end of this story is: I have a dishwasher except I don’t. And hand-washing dishes is the least fun of my entire life.

But! Light at the end of the tunnel. Mom’s coming into town tomorrow, and I’ll bet she’ll feel sad about a lot of dirty dishes and do them for me. Because that’s what moms do.

Adoption in the Media

For whatever reason, adoption has kind of been a taboo topic for decades upon decades upon decades. I don’t really understand it myself — adoption happens, it’s a thing, babies being placed in loving homes is basically the raddest ever. Let’s just talk about it, guys.

And let’s not pretend like babies are adopted for reasons only related to illegitimacy or youthful parenthood — children are adopted every day for every reason under the sun. And you can sit around thinking the birthparents are terrible people who made awful decisions, that they brought a child into the world without wanting it in the first place, but might I remind you that they did not get an abortion. So let’s not call names, shall we?

Teen pregnancy is even more taboo — like we don’t want to discuss the fact that teenagers have sex (and *gasps* KNOW about it, God help us all). And what a remarkably brave, mature decision to place a child for adoption in hopes for a better life for not only the child but themselves. It’s not selfish that they hope for better lives for themselves, either — I believe it’s commendable if they want to finish high school, go to college, find careers, fall in love, and have children when they are more ready for it. I’m not condoning teen pregnancy, but I think it’s time that we stopped looking down on them so much.

We’re humans. We make choices. Sometimes the choices are less good than others.

Aside from “Juno,” I haven’t noticed a ton of teen pregnancy and subsequent adoption in the media all that much (unless you turn to the Lifetime Network, and I know, I know, every few hours someone is placing a baby because she was 15 and pregnant, 16 and expecting, or pregnant at 17). So when “Mom,” one of my favorite sitcoms starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney (who, btw, are two of the most under-appreciated female comediennes out there today), decided to not only perpetuate the family theme of becoming pregnant at a fairly young age but then PLACE THE BABY FOR ADOPTION, I was pretty excited.

First off, I need to clear up a few things: a birthmother NEVER, under any circumstances, “gives” her baby up. So the verbage they continually use each episode is grating because it’s entirely wrong. A birthmother places her child with another loving family. They never give anything up.

But that aside, and I understand that’s mostly due to societal ignorance because it wasn’t till recently that people started addressing the whole placed v. gave up, they’re doing things pretty well. The daughter wants to place her child, the father was scared at first but SPOILER ALERT decided it was going to be the best option for everyone. And then we met the SPOILER ALERT IF YOU DIDN’T BELIEVE ME THE FIRST TIME future adoptive parents, who, you guys this is so huge, was comprised of a Caucasian male and an Asian female. Like, an interracial couple adopting a white baby.

THESE THINGS, THEY DON’T REALLY HAPPEN. And it made me really pleased. Like, oh my gosh, society is apparently ready for this. And no one’s freaking out that an Asian woman will have a Caucasian baby for the rest of her life because hey! It’s America! It’s 2014! We do stuff like that, and it’s awesome! (And don’t even get me started on the whole interracial couple thing — the first one I ever saw was between Eric Matthews and one of his girlfriends in “Boy Meets World,” and as a little Asian girl fully aware she’d marry a white man, that was rad.)

“Mom”: attacking all the potentially controversial topics in one fell swoop.

This only makes me crave more. Let’s recognize that society, it is changing, and for the most part it’s changing for the better. Because not that long ago, my birthmother would have been shunned in her society for having a child out of wedlock, and I wouldn’t have been able to legally marry my pasty-white husband, and not much longer ago than that, I wouldn’t have even been able to vote.

Let’s Clear the Baby Powder-Scented Air

I think we’ve had a bit of a miscommunication, and I think part of it is my fault.

If you’re just joining the depressed party, I am not planning on having/adopting/fostering children in this lifetime. It’s a decision I made back in high school, and I was lucky enough to meet a man who was not hellbent on procreating and passing on the family name, so together we’ve agreed that cats (and maybe a dog) are the extent to which we will grow our family. Of course, Husband always reminds me to “never say never” because perhaps we will change our minds, and I suppose that’s true, although in the past eighteen years, I’ve remained pretty firm in my choice.

gif courtesy of christiananime.net

gif courtesy of christiananime.net

This isn’t a common choice for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make, and I daresay it can be pretty controversial in central Utah, where more than 10% of the entire population of Provo is under the age of ten (I’m not even kidding; it’s truly baffling how many babies there are). But it’s our choice, and we’ve made peace with it, and the reasons (which vary from medical — you know, I’m, like, depressed most of the time — to financial). And, for the most part, despite the occasional controversy, several people have come to terms with it, and they’re pretty respectful and accepting, which is pretty rad.

But then we run into the matter of “statements I make for humor’s sake,” and I think that’s kind of the rub.

When I say things like, “I’m kind of a kid hater,” I mean it generally in jest, much like when I say “I learned one thing in college, and that’s how much I hate people.” For the record, I hate only one person on this earth, and while I prefer to be pretty independent (despite my extroverted personality type that’s so social I can’t even do regular chores when I’m home alone), I’m not, like, a monster. I kind of like people a lot, you guys. And I think we can all be in agreement that strangers’ children who scream and hit and run around a restaurant while you’re on a date are not that awesome. Do any of us like these children? Probably not.

So let’s set the record straight. There is something beautifully sacred about motherhood, and it is the noblest, most admirable, selfless decision a good mother can make (keynote: good because the women who neglect and abuse their children are not, and may never be, noble, admirable, or selfless). My decision to not have children does not supersede that in any way — I don’t find it any less beautiful, nor do I think poorly of myself when I realize it’s not for me. I simply do not want to be a mother. That’s an okay thing.

Image courtesy of ldsprintables.com

Image courtesy of ldsprintables.com

So, yeah, bring your babies to lunch because you don’t want to pay for a babysitter. Ask me to hold them (I won’t bite, and although babies generally hate being held by me — it’s like they can smell fear like dogs or something — I don’t particularly mind it). I’ll even change a diaper because chances are I like you that much. Pull out your iPhone and show me fifteen videos of your child making indistinguishable sounds and then translate that for me into full-blown conversation. And then accept me when I’m awkward and don’t know what to say or do and get distracted and miss your child’s babble. Understand that I will never experience the indelible bond between child and parent, that I will never love someone else that much or in that way for the rest of my life. Don’t pity me. Keep having them because someone’s got to make up for what I’m not doing. Talk to me about natural birth and cloth diapers and strollers and baby slings because — surprise! — I’ve thought about all those things myself (it’s true — I know what I’d name my children [Michael Vincent and Ruby Kay, though that’s obviously pretty moot], how and where I’d give birth, what I’d feed them, how I’d clothe and transport them, where I’d send them to preschool, and what I’d hope for them if they were to become teenagers).

Because when I say I don’t want children, that’s not a statement saying I don’t want them to exist.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Lessons You Learn When You Have OCD

— or — “A Lesson in Self-Discipline, Age (Almost) 30”

It seems these days all I take pictures of and blog about is makeup, makeup, makeup, and thusly I’ve neglected this blog (once again, just like Puneet Sandhu *ahem* has neglected hers). I worry sometimes that people will think I’m airheaded, that I’ve lost my intellect, that maybe I made up the whole getting a college degree thing since, you know, I never once profited from it and worked as a secretary, which had its own form of mindlessness, for seven years. But I did — really — go to college and learn critical thinking skills and critiqued literature till I was cross-eyed and blue in the face. I still know big words like pandemonium (I love that word) and extraneous AND how to use them. Well, most of the time. I CAN SPELL THEM, AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. I have opinions on things going on in the world around me and would like to see my life shaped into something spectacular and meaningful, alongside Husband and kitty.

But I digress.

We all read that uncomfortable post I wrote awhile back about having OCD (and if we didn’t, then we can access it here). Perhaps only uncomfortable to me and my parents, but something that felt vulnerable, and if there’s one thing I really hate to feel, it’s vulnerability. But luckily I am not a famous person, and I am never met with harsh words from strangers EXCEPT on XBox Live, which, I know right? Weird. Anyhow, since then I’ve been working through my stuff. Stuff like inability to keep a clean home, inability to sleep (we’re still working on that, as was made apparent after last night’s hour and a half of sleep, which took place somewhere between about 1:00 am and 2:30 am), inability to act like a normal person sometimes. Because sometimes I feel terrible inside. Not depressed (I think we successfully got rid of that, thank you 10,000 iu of Vitamin D), but wound up, finding difficulty in breathing, not wanting to express myself and unsure if I can even if I tried.

But through all of that, we hit some high points. Most recently: the dishes. I can spout off a few reasons why the dishes plagued me, and plagued me bad, man — I don’t like getting dirty, I don’t like germs, I don’t like getting wet, etc. I would let them go for a couple meals and then suddenly the manageable plates and smattering of silverware became a mountain, and don’t even get me started when I had the irresistible urge to bake something. Dishes for days. Dishes  for weeks. Dishes for what seemed like an eternity, till I honestly considered throwing them away and purchasing new because that felt easier to deal with. Husband said it was unreasonable, coached me through it, encouraged me whenever I emptied the dishwasher and put plates in it.

And you know what? I felt like a damn baby. Because what 29-year-old needs her husband to turn dishes into some sort of game in order for her to complete them? Or push her till there’s an outburst and a vindictive, “Oh I’ll show you, Mister” reaction, till not only the dishes were clean but the countertops and probably one bathroom to boot. Also, organized papers. It was humiliating and demeaning, and although Husband never once put that on me, I felt as though it was there. And some fears rose, like, “What if he wakes up one day and realizes this is a total joke and leaves me for a woman who can function like a normal grown-up?”

He stuck with me. He stuck with me through the dirty dishes and unmade bed and unvacuumed cat fur and anxiety and here he sits behind me, playing a video game while I start a load of laundry and blog, till he finishes his mission and we play a round of cards. Do I deserve a man who puts up with all this? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’ll ever be certain of that. He even took me out on a date after I essentially threw a temper tantrum from a combination of being hangry (def: hungry and angry, especially when the anger is induced by the hunger) and frenetic from missing a couple dosages of medication (which, by the way, I think I’ll be stuck on forever because the side effects of “weaning” off it are wretchedly wretched and not entirely worth it).

So I made a decision, a couple weeks back (and we’re not going to call these decisions resolutions because if anything, a New Year’s resolution kills my resolve) to be better. To try harder. To do the damn dishes every damn day because they’re not hard, they don’t kill me, and at the end, I feel better. I like how clean my counters are. I like that I can make anything and have clean dishes in which to do it (not that I would actually do that because duh it would create dirty dishes). And you know what? I’ve made it. I’ve done the dishes for the space of an entire week now, and, really dry hands aside (and I use gloves … I mean, what kind of weather is this that my hands get chapped and dry EVEN WHEN I WEAR GLOVES), things have been great. I’m considering adding regular laundry washings to the mix to see how that suits me.

I’m hoping it suits me great. I’m hoping that one day, I’ll scroll through my blog and find this post and think, “Oh … I vaguely remember feeling that way” because I’m not forgetting breathe and I’m regularly productive and I do regular chores on a daily basis because that’s just how my life is, and it’s fine. I want a fine life.

Road Trippin’ it for the Holidays

Since Husband’s parents live about three and a half hours south of us, driving is obviously our mode of transportation of choice. I mean, I can’t really think of any other options we’d have in the first place, so our preferences are pretty moot. We just drive there.

And every time we’ve driven there, aside from some mega boredom around hour two, when we feel as though we should be there already and are beginning to really disagree about the music (he wants Metallica, I want Fitz & the Tantrums), it’s a pretty good time. For starters, the speed limit is 80, which is really rad. 80 mph gets you places, let me tell you. 90 gets you even more places, even more faster I’m just saying.

But this year, we have a cat, and although we have found catsitters in the past, holidays leave us kind of scratching our heads. Does a person actually want to come to our cold condo on a major national holiday to scoop her poop? I mean, probably not, so why even bother. I offered up the idea to kennel her, but that seemed too traumatizing, so Husband determined the only thing we could do was put her in the car with us and drive down those three and a half hours, just us, our baby, and a litter box, to a house with three fully-grown adult Golden Retrievers, who, incidentally, hate cats.

He's just my most favorite Klingon dog ever, even though he has the worst breath in the universe.

He’s just my most favorite Klingon dog ever, even though he has the worst breath in the universe.

I feel like there’s some major fallacy in our plan, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I’m also all sorts of curious how our cat is going to feel about driving somewhere so far away (she was fine on the car ride from the clinic to our home, but then again, maybe she was just happy to be adopted). Husband says he’s absolutely fine with her having free reign and not keeping her in the kennel, which … heh. Yeah we’ll see. And will she notify us when she has to use the litter box? Or is she just going to surprise us because she can? And how enjoyable will the car ride be after she’s done so and our car smells like poop?

And here’s the real low point, people — this is simply a trial run FOR WHEN WE DRIVE TO OREGON FOR CHRISTMAS. Yes, Oregon, as in two states and fourteen hours away. I felt quite strongly that we should kennel her at that point (I’m not heartless, but I mean … come on), but Husband put his foot down and said, “You just want to be with your cat at Christmas.” If that’s not heartwarming, then I honestly do not know what is. And when he says stuff like that, I’m a puddle, and he can do whatever he wants. So, yeah, that’s apparently going to happen. In less than a month, we’re going to put our cat back in the car and drive fourteen hours to my parent’s house, and I’m pretty positive at some point she’s going to need to potty, and GOD HELP ME. Literally none of this seems like a good idea.

I imagine this is the look she's going to have on her face the entire time.

I imagine this is the look she’s going to have on her face the entire time.

Also, as a completely unrelated aside, I believe I’ve suffered insomnia about five separate times since the inception of this blog, six if you count the past two weeks (and you should), and that seems like probably a medical issue. Because sometimes I sleep and it’s awesome, but sometimes I don’t sleep at all, and it’s the worst. Maybe we should get that checked out.

10 Things that Don’t Need to Be Said

As an anxiety-ridden obsessive-compulsive Korean-American adoptee Mormon in an interracial couple with a penchant for depression and not planning on having children, I kind of get the whole gamut of things people probably don’t ever need to utter under any circumstances.

Also, I am really addicted to BuzzFeed right now, so here goes.

1. “I’m kind of OCD” and/or “That’s kind of OCD.”
To specify, you can’t really “kind of” be OCD. You either are or you aren’t. What you CAN be, however, is generally compulsive, which is a trait every single person on this earth has. You don’t have to have some mental disorder to feel compelled to alphabetize your Blu-Rays (which, by the way, if you’re not doing, just start, okay?) or organize your kitchen counters. You aren’t mentally ill if you don’t like fuzz on your clothing or notice a speck of food on your work desk. If you weren’t compulsive, you’d be kind of … in a vegetative state of apathy, when you really think about it.

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Image courtesy of youtube.com


2. “Just think happy thoughts.”
Just stop. Just stop now. People suffering from depression, seasonal or otherwise, do not need to hear your sage advice as to how to overcome it. There is an inherent difference between depression and feeling blue. Feeling blue is one of those things that would absolutely be fixed by thinking happy thoughts and eating cheesecake. Depression isn’t really. If it were that easy to overcome, we’d all be thinking the damn happiest thoughts on earth all of the time.

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

3. “Don’t worry about it” or “Don’t stress too much.”
I will if I want to. I will if I don’t want to. There is literally no way that you can convince someone with anxiety that things aren’t worth worrying or stressing over. Just let us deal in the ways we need to deal. Like with medicine and therapists. This especially goes for individuals who have OCD. “Oh, so you want me, an obsessive, to cease worrying? Done and done.” <—– will literally never happen
Your plan to make us stop worrying is futile, so you may as well just throw in the towel and either worry with us or love us for our other outstanding qualities.

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

4. “Never say never!”
This is specifically in reference to the not planning on kids issue. I get it, you and your spouse and your children are the happiest family on earth, and I admire that. There’s nothing bad about having a family; I literally can think of nothing unless, of course, you’re Amanda Bynes, and then maybe hold off, mmkay?
When people hit a certain age, like 29 or 30, and Spouse has been through an -ectomy, and both are college graduates with their heads on straight, chances are they are old enough to have made a solid decision together that doesn’t involve anyone else. Also, colloquialisms. Let’s just rid ourselves of them right now while we can.
Furthermore, should we change our minds, that’s not a good time for you to say “I told you so.”

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

5. “Where are you from?”
Oregon.
No, but where are you from?
Oregon.
Before that.
Well, I was born in South Korea, but I was adopted when I was three months old.
<insert awkward Korean phrase here>
Oh, I don’t actually speak the language. Because I was three months old.
When are you going back?
… I don’t really have plans to.
Don’t you want to meet your real family?
They’re in Oregon. I see them pretty regularly.
etc.
et cetera

Just watch this.


6. Anything about the “real” family.
Let’s just establish something: calling either the birthfamily or the adoptive family real is offensive to the other and generally incorrect. The best way to get around this? One’s a birthfamily. The other is family. Adoptees don’t generally consider themselves to have any sort of fake family in the mix.

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

7. “What’s your real name?”
Not all adoptees, especially those adopted domestically, have different names than the ones they’ll have the rest of their lives. And it kind of goes back to the real v. fake family thing. I was given a Korean name by the adoption agency (Kim Jong Mee, which I find disturbingly similar to the former and current presidents of North Korea), but my real name, which appears on my birth certificate, is Mary. Always has been, always will be.

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

8. “You speak really good English” (can be followed by “… for being from Hong Kong” and yes, that really happened in my real life)
I’d hope so. I was an English major, after all.

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

9. “You’re Mormon? How many wives do you have? hahahahahahaha”
Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century …) was taught by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for more than half of the 19th century, and practiced publicly from 1852 to 1890 by a minority of families (between 20% and 30%). (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy)
For the record, we haven’t practiced polygamy for 123 years now. That’s a long time. That’s longer than the oldest person in the world has been alive. So probably we can stop with the jokes about it.

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

10. Are you going to raise your kids bilingual?
If you’re talking to an adoptee, then don’t even bother. If you’re not talking to an adoptee, then maybe. Maybe they will raise their kids to be multilingual. Maybe their kids are going to get all the jobs because they speak literally every dialect on earth.
Probably it is not your business. Also, seriously disinteresting when it really boils down to it.

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net