Saturday, January 15, 2011

Freedom



"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, The Right to Bear Arms was passed on December 15, 1791. Passed before the Wild West was explored and exploited; before film cameras were invented, before the Titanic was built. Before women were given ballots to vote and children books to read. At a time when the white man still feared Native American tribes, still enslaved Africans and still hung homosexuals.




Now, in the year 2011 when we, Americans, are not given the justice we think we deserve, we walk to Washington; we refuse to work and carry picket lines; we sue for millions and we holler for lawyers from the backseat of police cruisers.  

Before zippers, telephones and modern automobiles, before revolvers evolved into semiautomatic machine guns, our wig wearing Caucasian forefathers drafted The Constitution of the United States. These men, who fought off the red-coats and tossed their taxed tea into the Boston Harbor, declared that freedom was obtained through a strong defense. Only when we are safe can we be free. With muskets in hand, these men defended their farmland, cattle, children, wives and mothers. But today are we expecting to find that same freedom wedged beside the bullets of .50 caliber machine guns? Sure, when the American Revolutionary War decorated the colonies with pillaging soldiers and years later when cowboys road throughout the countryside, picking off banks and pirating railroads, would packing one's pockets with pistols be imperative to survival. But today? In a time of well trained police forces where detectives with plaid vests, tobacco pipes and monocles crack cases? I don't know. Honestly, I don't really know what the amendment or amendment to the amendment should be. I know I fear people who trade their souls in dark alleyways and at the open trunks of Grand Marquis for weapons of brash destruction. I know that this black market will exist until man shoots himself dead. I know that strangers with erratic violent histories can obtain these death certificate distributors legally. I know this makes me feel less free. 


I mean this out of no disrespect to my forefathers, for it was they who gave me this free speech I am so fond of, but out of fear that I will one day live in a country where I am expected to strap knives to my thighs and sling semiautomatic uzies over my shoulders for survival. Have we learned nothing from our dirt kicking westerns where paces were counted and men with handlebar mustaches and leather rimmed hats were mercilessly murdered by merciless murderers? Just imagine if these men of the wild west had machine guns, fast cars, crowded shopping malls and interstate highways? Oh. I suppose that would just be today's action movie. I am one for wanting the olden days of simplicity, of the plague, pennies and long cotton skirts, but times have changed. We live with minds and technologies that are far more advanced than those of the 18th, 19th and even 20th centuries, yet still ingrained in our inherited skin follicles and stomach linings are the same human instincts of our forefathers and forecowboys: to fight for self importance, freedom and survival. Almost everything has advanced faster than man. Sure, our baby toes are disappearing, but not our commonality to use violence as a means for settling disagreements. Between the killing machines we mass manufacture and our correlation between freedom and fighting, I fear our country will soon metamorphose into the video games we still allow our children to play.


"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people (including the crack abusers, the undiagnosed mentally ill, the desperate, hopeless, the vengeful and the tragic) to keep and bear Arms (revolvers, assault rifles, and semiautomatic machine guns), shall not be infringed (unless the whole country goes to shit)." 




Can we at least add this last bit? As a backup? 





Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Wife with a Life


photo by Christina Watka


I want to run my long flat feet through that grass over there where it is not only greener, but plush like body pillows, bunny rabbit stuffed animals and ball pits brimming with partially melted marshmallows. Here, my lower back bellows from walking barefoot on this harsh bald earth. I didn't get the part in that play. I can't spend every day in cafes writing about baristas and biscotti. I can't entertain every evening with stimulating theater rehearsals or inspiring yoga classes. I can't wait in anxious excitement for first kisses and timid touches of new lovers. My unfortunate self, surrounded by love and safety, secrets and intimacy, of promises that propose to stretch to the end of lifetimes.

My written woes are abundantly self-involved, but are not unaccompanied by perspective. When these temptations and complaints creep into my mouth, I squint through twisting kaleidoscopes to see. My brain deciphers the colors and shapes into ever altering images where my soft cover romance fantasies are as two dimensional and as thin as my skin. My heart sees that were it to leap for these painted lives, these mirages of mortal distraction, the aforementioned plushness would tip and fall flat and my old life (where a smart, sensitive, splendid husband holds me and kisses my cheeks; where I can audition ambitiously and write freely) suddenly expands like bathtub sponges. Blue, red and yellow squishy dinosaurs, sailboats and duckies grow up and out of the capsules I once mistook for gravel. My home, my old abandoned life, turns into a beautiful bay, a still Jurassic Park where ripples of soapy bath water rock my raft of stapled watercolor papers, anchoring me to a newly furnished swamp of black flies and incredible stench. Today, the kaleidoscope's colors and shapes evolved into white clarity when my heart and head collided into synchronicity and I saw myself searching for self esteem in the shallow flirtations of strangers and in the flowered flattery of friends and family.


I am not yet a successful actress. I tried, but stuck inside self-deprecation, decided I was not pretty enough and far too awkward for even my customer service jobs, let alone auditions for intimidating strangers in small black box theaters and atop massive proscenium stages. I have done nothing tremendous. I've discovered a slight knack for organizing words into selective soulful sentences and I've gotten married, but I still have not been cast in any enormous show nor written any sort of seller. This is not to say I've given up. I store hope, ambition and confidence in a safe place for every delicate day downed by rejections and flat broke failures. Then I swallow my misery like coarse vomit and remind myself that there is still time for me. That I don't need to write or say these types of things. I found love and married it, I can find success and bed it. I can draw my pictures on blank pages, rather than outlined coloring books, without fracturing my or my husband's heart.


Days are short, particularly these winter days when the sun rises at 6 and falls back down at 5 p.m. We stay up later, rebellious to the Earth's spinning threats, but this only makes the dark mornings ever more sudden when the alarm clock mheep, mheep, mheeps. Most mornings, my clock alarms me at 5 a.m. This is to get as many minutes as I can before this day is taken down below to a secretary who sits in my body's basement, surrounded by dusty filing cabinets, categorizing my days with all the ages I will never be again.


Today, I am ready to confront the dreams I once wedged and pushed into pipes. One can be a wife and pursue her own life. I don't know why I am only now understanding this concept. Next January, I will audition for one of the most prestigious Masters of Fine Arts acting programs in the country. For the next 365 days, I will prepare to stand onstage at the Yale School of Drama.