The Price

Memorize this:

You will never know me

I will be there (have nowhere else to go)

dutifully doing what is expected of me

Keep my part of the silent agreement we’re all in

Actually, I’ll go beyond all expectations

I will be beyond criticism, beyond reproach

The outer world will see that perfect picture you are so invested in

But you will never know me

You will not gain entrance to my inner spaces

Never have my attention in any meaningful way

My heart and soul are permanently shut to you

This, I choose, and it will forever be my choice

Remember this

I know I will


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: memorize

The Comeback Kid

“Are you a boy, or a girl?” she asked, lip curled in a grin that implied she knew but just wanted to make me feel small. It worked.

“I won’t even dignify that with an answer!” I said…

…silently, in my head.

I felt the familiar rush of shame blush my cheeks a rosy pink, and stood, frozen, eyeing the group of kids standing behind the most popular girl in my new school.

My heart pounded in my chest so hard I feared it might explode through like a fist.

That image gave me some comfort: the blood would splatter all over Susie (Jenny? Brittany?) and crowd, so there’d at least be that.

Ruing the short haircut my Mom had talked me into just before we moved, my flat-chested, barrel-like bigger-than-most-girls-my-age body, and my fair, freckle-speckled skin, I tried to think of something to say that would get me out of this encounter with some teensy shred of my dignity in tact.

This was it. The way I handled this moment would set the tone for my future in this new environment, this new social strata. I searched the memory banks of my mind for some comeback that could get me out of this mess relatively unscathed. Perhaps even ahead in some way, having won them over with my wit under duress.

Nope. I got nothin’.

I felt a bead of sweat drip from under my left arm, causing a tickling sensation that, unfortunately, made me start to giggle. Hearing myself giggle made me feel a bit hysterical, which then caused me to actually start laughing hysterically.

And so what I actually did when faced with the elite of my new school was I stood there like a laughing hyena while they stood and stared in a mix of disgust and curiosity.

Eventually, the ringleader (Alyssa? Mandy? What was her name?) flipped her blond hair and said “Whatever!” as she turned and led the rest off.

Alone again, after the hysteria had crested and eventually receded, I took a deep breath in, and gave myself a silent “Welcome to your new school, Loser!”

The laughing jag had worn me out and left me with a hollow feeling that I knew all too well.

It was gonna be a bumpy year.


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: dignify



Dead Giveaway

How easy was it for you? Did you ever once falter or regret as you took

the multitude of actions that led to that day on the sidewalk

in front of your restaurant (where I worked too, helping to make your food a success?)

You seemed so casual that day – that day I finally knew something was up – happy, even.

I was intense, laser-focused (because that is where I go when I am terrified)

but inside I felt like my hair was on fire, my gut was being ripped apart,

as I pressed you for details of who, what, and for how long.

(Really? That blonde you had me wait on the other day?)

You were so cool, so blasé, as you easily dropped the bombs that exploded my world apart.

For a long while I would look back, wish I had slapped you – said or done something –

to wipe that tiny smile at the corner of your mouth right off your guilty face.

Now I know that that little smile was not you being smug,

it was because you knew what a coward you were,

and you knew that now, I knew it too.


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: casual





That’s it.

No more.

I will no longer silently do nothing when there is rampant manspreading happening on trains, buses and subways. Uh-uh, no way, no how.

(I know, I know. There are many more pressing issues to fight for these days. But indulge me, please. It’s really bugging me.)

Why is it that we, as a population, are so accepting of this practice?

Countless times I have watched as two manspreading guys sit side by side while someone who could also use a seat stands nearby, seemingly helpless in the face of such audacity.

It’s palpable. These guys are oozing entitlement. As if what lay between their legs was so special that it literally required extra seat space.

Seriously?! Not buying it. There are plenty of men who sit in ONE seat, many of whom I am willing to bet are more than amply endowed. How is that they can survive bringing their legs close together but these special men cannot?

I have suffered in silence too many times as a manspreader has pressed over into my seat space. I have felt at a total loss as to what I could possibly do about it.

(And I am not speaking against anyone who needs extra space because they legitimately require more space due to actual body size. That’s not who gets to me.)

It’s those men (and women!) who insist on keeping their legs spread wide, thereby using up to three seats at a time.

It suddenly occurred to me the other day that it is up to me to speak up. No amount of passive-aggressive pressing back or giving the evil eye or sending messages via mental telepathy is going to register for these guys.

If they have the balls (no pun intended) to just spread their legs like that without a care or a thought for the world, they ain’t gonna “get” subtle hints. Nope. I gotta get vocal and put it out there.

So I’ve actually been practicing my approach.

My first attempts were way too apologetic and seeped self-doubt.

“Excuse me. I’m sorry but could you please…you are sort of over in my area?”

“Excuse me, may I please sit here?”

“Um, excuse me, maybe you didn’t notice, but, um, you are taking up more space than is fair?”


I’m reminding myself of that hilarious but all-too-sadly-true video from Amy Schumer’s “Inside Amy Schumer” Season 3, Epsiode 4. “I’m Sorry” takes place at a “Females In Innovation Conference” hosted by a male moderator. As the discussion unfolds, the number of times each panelist apologizes increases, for more and more absurd reasons. Buy or rent this episode (or all of them – she is one of my favorites) and laugh (and die a little inside) as you recognize yourself or someone you know.

As if I am the one who needs to apologize!

I’m working on the wording. Here’s my fav for the guy or gal who is pressing over into my seat:

“You’ve manspread into my seat space. Leave now.”

And for those who are taking up multiple seats, as I go to sit:

“I’m sitting here. You’ll have to stop man spreading and make space for me.”

And what about the woman who manspreads? They do exist. For her, I might use:

“Excuse me. I’m sitting here.” (The women intimidate me more than the men, for some reason.)

It’s time to take up the space I need in the world. I’m not looking to take more than I need. I’m just asking, no, telling the world what I need.

I have to believe it is possible to re-teach the world in regards to this, one human at a time.

Who’s with me? Come on!


Confessions of a Closet Extrovert

I have always had a very rich inner life.

In fact, it’s always been so vibrant it has been confusing to me through the years when people would label me shy, quiet or reserved. It just made no sense to me.

I felt I was living this wildly adventurous lifestyle. I thought I was an extrovert. I actually felt sort of claustophobic when others reflected back to me how they experienced me. The dissonance between my sense of myself and what the world told me was disturbing.

It was a great shock that became tremendous relief when I finally realized at a certain point that I was living a whole internal life that no one had a clue about. I truly had no idea that all those thoughts, all those fantasies…no one else could TELL they were happening. They were just the movie inside my own head. Ah ha!!

I was an introvert who didn’t know it.

I understand more about it today, but in many ways I am still living a kind of double life: the internal world I am living in my head, and the one I live in the outside world. We all do this to some degree. But I want to make the line between the two thinner.

You see, I have extrovert longings.

Don’t get me wrong. I embrace being an introvert at this point in my life. And I love my rich inner life. I use it for my acting and writing; it serves me well. But.

There are times in my day-to-day life where I feel it is time to find and release my inner extrovert and let her take the wheel.

Like the other day, for example.

There I was, in the upscale hair salon I go to because I love my hair stylist dearly and have followed him here. Our relationship is one of the longest I’ve had in NYC. I cherish it.

Normally it is quite a chill vibe. There’s usually a celebrity there amongst the other wealthy clientele. And me…usually the only unmade-up-face-unstyled-person of the lot (unless you call sweaty workout clothes a style. I usually go after a run or the gym. I am not one of those people who love to go to the salon or spa. I can barely sit still long enough for Jacob to check the color before I am out the door with still-damp hair, much to his consternation.)

But on this day, there was one of those people who just drives me nuts. You know the type. Totally self-absorbed. On the phone as her poor stylist attempted to work on her. I mean, he was blow drying her hair, for heaven’s sake! How could she even hear what the person on the other end of the phone was saying?! The entire salon had to hear her conversation, which, as you can imagine, was quite loud. We were held hostage to her whims.

I soldiered on for while as I had my hair rinsed, until I could stand it no more. I gave her the ‘ole Southern girl’s passive-aggressive evil eye, designed to awaken her to her broach of social manners.

Nothing. Not a twitch or a skipped beat. She was too immersed in her sense of entitlement. I probably did not even register to her. I was just a pasty blur on the fringes of the center of the Universe, which was, of course her and her Important Phone Call.

Then I began to bear witness to the despicable way she was treating the stylist. She’d stop mid-sentence and dress him down for some indiscretion he’d made. Maybe the brush touched her phone? Was the air too hot? She spoke to him like he was an indentured slave. It was grotesque.

Soon, I was seething with rage. I began to have fantasies of ripping the phone out of her hand and giving her a piece of my mind. If she used the word “foliage” in that British accent one more time…I was gonna march over there and let her have it.

There it was…she said it! “And you just have to see the foliage!”

I leapt up and ran over and ripped that phone out of her hand and said, “Excuse me. But we are all having to listen to your conversation and it is rude. It stops now! Plus, this man is a person! Who the hell do you think you are? No one deserves to be talked to like that!”

It was amazing. And I did do all that…but only in my head. In the outside world, there I was. A fairly reserved-looking woman quietly having my hair glossed.

Oh, I did my best to convey psychic messages of commiseration and support whenever I could catch the stylist’s eye. But I just did not have the guts to confront the beast herself, at least not out loud, anyway.

There was one saving grace. Apparently, as he was rolling her hair in rollers, her stylist must have accidentally brushed her forehead with a tiny part of the brush. She literally cried out in a dramatic style that would have rivaled Sarah Bernhardt in her day, waving him off, touching her forehead as if to insinuate that blood was about to gush forth at any moment. All the while staying on the phone, of course.

I found this incredibly funny, and started to giggle and then laugh out loud, uncontrollably, at her plight. It just felt so right. Karmic retribution.

I so want to be the kind of person who speaks up in such situations. Something still holds me back. Caring too much what others think, I suppose. That “good girl” Southern, Protestant-y encoding goes deep.

My step for that day was to speak to the front desk and ask that they offer the stylist a massage or some really loving thing to offset the disgusting shower of ugliness he had been submitted to by that awful woman.

They apologized that my experience had been tainted. I said no. I wanted to apologize on behalf of the human race for the ugliness we human beings sometimes inflict on fellow human beings in the service industry.

That was my Big Step Out. But it is not enough for me. It is time to bring that rich inner life with all of it’s bravery and bold action into the outside world where perhaps it can benefit others.

It is time to live my life out loud, out on the skinny branches. (At least sometimes.)

Look out, world. Here I come.