afterTHOT: The Ex’s New Boo

I had to go over to The Ex’s to tie up some loose ends the other day.  While there, I had a cocktail and caught up with him and his friend.  Then he walked me to the bus stop so that he could vent a little about this friend.  Apparently this friend was betraying his trust and sneaking to read his text messages.  I was totally confused as to why this friend would be all up in his bitnass like that.

Me: There’s no reason for him to be in your personal stuff like that.  (as we continued down the block, I stopped, stepped back, and threw my hands up).  Unless he’s your new boyfriend.

The Ex:  Well he’s not over at my place helping me clean for no reason.  But we’re not there yet.

Okay, now he’s being honest and open.  Okay, this is a good thing, as I don’t want to lose him entirely.  We spent our entire adult lives together thus far.  

Me:  Oh ok.  Well, he still don’t needa be prying like that.  We were together almost 12yrs and I still never invaded your privacy.  Well, not until the very end because you was lyin’.  We not gonna get into that right now, but you know you was lyin’.

Then we both laughed.  He didn’t deny that he was runnin’ around behind my back actin’ brand new.  He opened up to me.  He admitted his betrayal.  

So then on Monday I performed one of my stories from my personal repertoire at a weekly event.  I was booked last minute so I didn’t really invite anyone to come.  Then The Ex called me on the day of the show.  When he found out I was performing, he promised to come.  Well, I gave up on his promises long ago, yet he actually did show up. I was the first to go on, and he literally left right after my performance.  So he was there just to support me.  That’s sweet.  He also convinced TENB (The Ex’s New Boo) to come watch as well, but he was late arriving so he missed my performance and missed The Ex.  So The Ex text me after he’d left to ask me to keep an eye out for him since his phone died and he wasn’t able to let him know that he’d left.  What the fuck!  How did I end up chatting over a drink at the bar with TENB?!  ONLY IN MY LIFE!  But I’m glad The Ex and I can move forward peacefully and with love.

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The Scientryst: Epilogue

Okay, so something went wrong in my editing between my phone app and the desktop.  I like the last post The Scientryst: A Reflection, but I also like some of the insights I included in this post (they were supposed to be the same post).  So I’m going to post them both, please excuse any redundancy.  

So I needed one more post to reflect upon the emotions I have been feeling for the entirety of 2017 thus far.  Forgive me if it’s a little lengthy.  Then I will officially say goodbye as these thoughts are not only getting on my friends’ nerves, they’re even bugging me!

I feel somewhat guilty at the fact that I’m more hurt over The Scientist than I have been over The Ex of 12yrs!  But then again, The Ex and I had a few years to fizzle out and come to terms with the breakup.  And the situation with The Scientist was so SUDDEN and UNEXPECTED!  And he’s the first person to ever cut me off!  EVER!  It’s essentially the first time I’ve been dumped (even though we weren’t a couple).  And sure, it sucks when you get rejected in the club or online, but it’s not the same when you don’t have some feelings or a rapport with those people.  This is really hard for me to deal with.

At first I wondered if I was just seeing The Scientist to avoid my troubled home life with The Ex.  But then I realized once I no longer had him, I actually did like The Scientist.  Sure, I probably was using him to escape The Ex, but I was also seeing him because I really liked him.  I miss the way his body felt in my arms.  I miss the way his arms felt around me.  I missed our conversations and the fact that he liked documentaries.  I feel psychotic!  Literally, I can’t get him off my brain.  I’m obsessed.  Now I can understand (somewhat) how stalkers are created!  How could I give him so much power over my thoughts, though!  Sure, I made a mistake, but he doesn’t deserve my every thought.  And I prolly don’t even cross his mind. But did I deserve to be cut off so easily?  How could he do it so easily?

I even sent him flowers FullSizeRender (2)a few months after he returned from his biz trip because he was still (is still) on my mind.  I wrote him another card to go along with it and had the florist custom make a vase arrangement for me and deliver them to him.  He never even responded to that.  I prolly wrote all the wrong shit in that last letter too.  I was open and honest as I always was.  I even called him out on some stuff which maybe wasn’t the right approach, but none of the other approaches worked either, and I knew this would prolly be the last time I ever “communicate” with him.

Was it a cop out?  A lot of my friends think it was.  I mean, it had to be right?  I mean, I wasn’t worth a conversation to him?  And sure, black people are oppressed and micro-aggressed on a daily basis, so I’m sure it gets tiring to “educate” people.  But the worst part is, I didn’t need an education.  I am “woke” enough to know what’s inappropriate.  And he has every prerogative to choose the people in his life.  Especially as an adult.  I envy his ability to do it so easily.  I’m realizing I have more trouble letting go than I realized. Especially if I feel guilty (example: 12yrs in a relationship that ended toxic). Some friends think he secretly already had a boyfriend, but I was with him enough to know that prolly wasn’t true.  And now that Red Flamingo knows him, every time he tells me a story about him, it just confirms how sweet, cute, and classy The Scientist is.  While I continue to realize how trashy I was.  And I’ve always been known as a classy person to my friends.

So how did Red Flamingo meet The Scientist? Well, let me set up the story a bit. I met them both online around the same time last year. And ironically they both share the same uncommon name. In fact,  I met three people online with that same name in the matter of a month. And now a name that I pretty much never heard pops up everywhere in my life these days. So maybe it’s not as uncommon as I’d thought. And it’s usually a family name it seems. Anyway, so after The Scientist cut me off, the situation inspired me to write about it in a storytelling festival shortly thereafter. I had explained the situation to Red Flamingo as a friend but then he came and watched me perform the story which gave him a little more background. That was a Tuesday. That Friday, Red Flamingo went to the burbs on a black gay men’s retreat. We texted throughout that next week and made plans to do happy hour the following Friday. We met at one of our fave places downtown with the best deals. And as usual there were about 8 of us in the booth. And Red Flamingo and I were stuck in the middle. We were chatting and he was telling me about the friends he made at the retreat which was so exciting because he’s a little shy and socially awkward. He’d be the first to admit it, so I was super excited for him‼️ He then tells me that he was meeting them all for brunch that Sunday. Super exciting. He then proceeds to tell me about the guy who was organizing the brunch and starts describing him:

RF: He had long, beautiful, kempt dreadlocks.

Me: (playfully mournful) Oh, like my Ex Lovah!

RF: He has beautiful artistic tattoos too.

Me: (realizing the irony) Oh. Also like my Ex Lovah.

RF: And he’s a scientist.

Me: (actually mournful) Oh my fucking god. That IS my Ex Lover‼️

RF: No, it can’t be. And ironically he has the same name as me!

Me: (certain now) Omg, yes that’s him.

RF: No! (then he tells me the last name)

Me: Yes. I’m telling you that’s him.

RF: No‼️ Let me show you on Facebook.

Me: No. I’m telling you that’s definitely him. (shows me anyway) Yep. That’s him.

Then I excused myself to go upstairs and get my stuff from the office (I work in the same building where happy hour was). I had to scream at people to let them know the urgency of the situation because I certainly didn’t want to start crying in front of all my coworkers in a packed bar‼️

This sucks!  I literally turned him off. Gross!  Like something I did made us go from hot and heavy to nothing at all!  DID I SCARE HIM OFF EVERY WHITE GUY?  Did he finally decide to give a white guy a chance and I just proved him right that we’re all awful stereotypes.  Am I that white boy his mama always warned him about?  I mean, all of his friends that I know of are black.  He even went on that black gay men’s retreat shortly after our “breakup”.  This experience has inspired me for a story in a storytelling festival; it’s made me reevaluate the person that I am; it’s made me look back at our entire time together and question everything; it’s made me nervous that I’m totally misreading any signs that a guy gives me now; it inspired me to make a PUBLIC apology on Facebook where I called myself out on my white privileged bullshit.

Literally everything reminds me of him. We had so many inside “jokes”. And one of my best friends has the same name as him. How do I move on when I see his name pop up every time Red Flamingo texts me (which is everyday).

How do you rebound from the rebound?

Making Connections

Here are the connections I’m able to make between my classes. I’ve learned that mundane tasks in a show usually mask something deeper between the characters. In playwriting class, we learned that the more specific you make something, the more universal it becomes. For example, if I wrote a scene about a couple arguing over who’s going to change over the laundry, the audience would probably sense that the argument is about more than just the laundry. It goes deeper. In improve class, we learned something similar. We were working on space object work (holding imaginary items in your hand) and were taught that we should NOT talk about the task at hand. If I’m “folding laundry” in a scene, the audience will be able to tell that by my actions, so there’s no need for me to talk about it. The audience wants to see the drama between the two characters.

A Home for Art

Last night I volunteered with the homeless youth group that I so often help with.  We are gearing up for the annual art show where they present art that they’ve created in response to issues impacting them on the streets.  Local policy makers are usually in attendance.  I decided to utilize my talents and help the youth create a short skit based on the famous scene in Oliver Twist where Oliver begs fro more food.  Within ten minutes, these two youth blew my mind away with the message they wanted to send.  Elastic Life:  Climbing Out Of The Abyss will take place at Second Unitarian Church at 656 W. Barry in Chicago on November 19 from 7-9pm.  It’s free and open to the public, so I hope to see everyone there.

Network Boost

My weekend was filled to the brim with professional development activities as well as a few parties!  I worked Box Office at the Piccolo Theatre this weekend.  I volunteered to help set up for a Gala Brunch (I’ve never heard of a morning gala?!) for the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.  AND I started my new playwriting class at Chicago Dramatists (paid for by a grant!).  The common theme that I noticed for myself this weekend was that I see the same people at every event I go to.  And not every one of my events is theatre related.  Some of them are youth related, yet I still see the same people.  So it makes me wonder if I’m in these same inner circles as all of these professionals, why am I not on the same level as any of them?  I’m great at connecting with people, and meeting new people, and schmoozing.  But how do I take my networking to the next level?  How do I get a job like these other professionals?

Opening Night Revelation

Last night I went with my usual play date and we saw the opening night of Sweet Bird of Youth starring Diane Lane.  It wasn’t necessarily my favorite show that I’ve seen at the Goodman, but it was good enough to sit through for 3 hours (unlike another show I will not mention).  It was also good because got to network with other artists at the reception before I whisked myself off to bed.  At the reception and on the way home my friend and I started discussing the directing choices and the playwright.  And we started comparing other writers and directors and actors, and I realized that my professional development this year has really paid off.  I’m learning a lot about my craft through other artists.  Even though I was not completely thrilled by the show itself, it did it’s job as art and got me to create a conversation about it.