Curly Girl and Mouse, who have both recently been in the hospital with virus troubles, are sitting on my lap here in my bed. I have my computer propped up on a couple of flax seed pillows in front of me. It's hard to write like this. It strains the muscles in my back. I just dropped Beau off at his friend Shayan's house for his birthday bowling party, and Esther is here dying to tell me all of her troubles, but I've stood up for the part of me that loves to analyze and document my dreams.
You are going to hate this. It's long, silly, dull, and detailed, with a bit of celebrity sex thrown in; tailor made for the insecure, Catholic-schoolgirl, non-working-actor in me -- the one who lives in fantasy, and longs for a powerful, handsome, prince of a man, (or woman), to come and save her from her troubles, hand her the career she has never completely been able to create for herself, and make everything perfect and rosy.
This isn't a dis. against my Scott. Yes, to be completely honest, there are things that I wish he could cull from my subconscious and pull from my fantasies and act out for me, but I think this is more about what I need to give myself, than get from someone else, and in dreams it just ends up being played out by some kind of archetype, male or female, but usually someone who is famous, popular, powerful and wealthy, someone I have a schoolgirlish crush on, who bestows some of their sparkle on me by recognizing and accepting me -- lifting the velvet rope and welcoming in to the fold, simply by loving me. It's also about Mel Gibson -- see I told you, you wouldn't like it. So I'll italicize the damned thing and you can skip to the end if you like ; ) Of course you're welcome to read my dreams -- I'm the one who shares them here -- just promise me you'll set your judgments aside and take pity on a complicated, forgotten princess of a woman, who is stuck in the quicksand of her life and doesn't know how to get out. I mostly write them here for myself, sometimes I leave the privacy feature on so I won't bore anyone. You know what, scratch that, my dreams are fascinating, read on...
I'm in my neighborhood -- in the weird dream reality version of it, where I've been so many times before. It's the neighborhood that I live in, in my waking life, but the streets are longer, there are more houses packed in to a block, and the people and the houses are different, but familiar to my dream self.
I often dream about two houses that sit side by side that have something to do with the major house demo and remodel (My Mother gets mad when I call it a remodel because it cost a million dollars, took three years of our lives and ended my marriage, but technically that's what it was), that we did about five or six years ago. I'm never good with dates, facts, or figures, but give me a feeling, a smell, a sense memory of something and I can tell you everything about a specific moment in time. I think this comes from my years of Method training when I was a kid, the years when I walked the same halls that Lee walked and he told me that I would be a great actor someday because I was adopted and could imagine myself as being anything or anyone -- not rooted in any biological history as I was and still am in many ways.
There is a meeting taking place at the end of my street, on the culdesac block that I don't have to look out for. I'm only the block captain for the block I live on. I feel that sense of being less-than, of being left out and uninvited. They've banded together and formed some kind of mini-block association, and are having a meeting to discuss how they've taken back the street and expanded their homes and gardens to form a kind of communal area, in front of their houses. I am envious of them -- they're all so close and friendly -- they've increased the value of their homes and made them nicer, they're having fun, laughing and chatting amiably amongst themselves, and their children are playing in front of their homes, riding bicycles and skateboards, and we're not invited. I feel like an outsider -- always on the periphery of being accepted, kept out by something unseen and indefinable about me that other people perceive and stay away from.
Warning; There is a huge digression into my family history before the rest of the dream;
This is old stuff -- this feeling of insecurity, it goes hand in hand with my sense of grandiosity, (the wild belief that I will someday win an Academy Award), and I suppose it just shows how much farther I have to go; how many more lifetimes my soul will have to come around before I can shave my head, put on an orange robe and forswear ego and earthly temptation.
I think some of this has been handed down to me by my parents. I had an Oprah light bulb moment the day I figured this one out. On my Mother's side of our family, my Grandmother always felt like an outsider; she literally lived the first half of the Cinderella story, her father died and left her with the evil stepmother and stepsisters who took everything and then dropped her off at a convent. She scraped her way up from hunger, played the organ in the silent movies, had a little girl and sewed dresses for her to wear that she'd seen in French fashion magazines. She built a business up from nothing and wooed women who looked down on her by throwing lavish parties and forging herself into something of a social doyen. She became a self made millionaire, a woman in the twenties and thirties doing this was a rare thing, at least here in California where they still rode donkeys along Sunset and the drive many of us make daily from Downtown to the beach was something that was only done on weekends or vacations because it took so long.
My Mother, an only child like me, was my Grandmother's princess. Both of her parents doted on her even though they were often away on business. Peggy, my Grandmother, dressed her in perfect little dresses and used her as a model for most of her life. She gave her the best of everything; expensive porcelain dolls whose clothing had to be changed every morning and night, and whose hair had to be brushed a hundred times on each side. She sent her to the best schools and made her take lessons in poise and elocution.
My Grandmother's dreams for my Mother overrode anything that my Mother could have dreamt for herself; her one job was to become a great lady, someone who went to good schools, who was beautiful, slim, polite, demure, and graceful, someone who wouldn't enter the entertainment industry even when scouts came calling with serious offers, because she looked so much like Jean Harlow and they needed her to help them finish Saratoga when Harlow died tragically in the middle of production. No, Mom would not associate with "movie people," (or as little as possible because sometimes, living in Los Angeles, well, this couldn't be helped), because they were beneath her, and my Grandmother's social aspirations for her were much higher; she would become a great lady, marry a handsome husband from an important family, with money to burn and a great house. Only it didn't quite work out that way, and even though my Mom made a great success of her life as well, it was never as good as my Grandmother had dreamed of for her, and in her heart she was still the daughter of an orphan and a dreamer from Iowa. She was always working to fit in, sitting with her legs crossed at just the right angle to appear ladylike and slim, worried at all times lest she say the wrong thing, laugh too loudly, or drink too much and end up being blackballed from the all important sororities and private clubs.
My Grandfather on my Father's side wasn't liked or accepted by my Grandmother's father, my Great-grandfather. I think he may have been an orphan as well, or something like this, because not much is known about my Great-grandparents on his side. All that I do know is that he loved my Grandmother and he was ambitious. He was determined to win her, and even when my Great-grandfather took his daughter along with him to somewhere as far away as China to keep them apart, he waited.
My Grandfather married my Grandmother and brought her with him to California, moving away from Hamilton Ohio just before the great flood. He made his fortune by being the first person to manufacture canned dog food, and started the first homeopathic manufacturing company on the West Coast. He invested in oil and made his fortune. He was successful, and built and lived in a beautiful house in the flatlands of Beverly Hills, but like my Mother's parents he had great ambitions for his only son, my father.
My Father was a natural athlete and a playboy. He excelled at sports, had too much fun in school, drank too much, and misbehaved, and something dark happened in his past that he was never able to share with me. After college he traveled and sold oil wells, then he came back home and made his first bit of money by opening a bottling works where he was the first person to manufacture sodas made with fruit juice and sugar. When the war came and he had to enlist, was unable to get sugar and run his plant from San Francisco where he was stationed, he sold his company and patents to Coca Cola who turned these drinks into Orange, Grape, and Pineapple Crush. After the way he invested in land and spent the rest of his life developing large tracts for homes. He too felt like an outcast in some ways, and was always careful to behave in the ways that were expected of him.
Anyway my Mother and Father were unable to have a child so they adopted me, but my Grandmother frightened my Mother saying that they didn't know enough about me and about my background, and knowing only that I was of Irish and Italian decent, my Mother always worried that I might become an alcoholic and told me so, frequently. She also used my adoption as an excuse to explain any rebellious or disagreeable behavior on my part. And since she never quite felt like she fit in, she passed this same feeling on to me. Instead of building up my self-esteem, or supporting my natural talents and aspirations she held the same fantasy hopes for me that her mother had held for her. She wanted me to go to a local college, join her sorority, maintain my "figure" and meet a "good boy from a good family" marry well and live happily ever after -- money and social status being the all important factors necessary to achieve this. But she undermined all of this by constantly criticizing and overemphasizing the importance of appearance, and social conformity. Sadly she had adopted a maverick and tried to mold me into a pack pony and it didn't work. She sent me to a school that, even though, and maybe because it was run by nuns, emphasized equality and women's independence, and she was trying to raise me with 1950s standards in the 1980s an era where a person was defined by how unique they were, not by how well they blended in. Even though every famous friend who'd come to see me in a play, and every acting coach I had, said I had what it takes to become a star, they told me I was too hippy, that I didn't have the figure for it, and that I would never succeed as an actress because I was, "No Grace Kelly."
I could go on and on and on, and to be fair, I should list some of the many wonderful things my parents and grandparents did for me, but I have written extensively about them in my journal, they know how much I love them, and that isn't the point of this entry. I know they did the best they could. I know they loved me. I'm just telling you all of this so that you can see how a family legacy of social insecurity can be passed down from one generation to another. By placing too much emphasis on outdated social mores and external beauty, when there was so much that was beautiful about me, both inside and out, right there in front of them, so much that needed to be embraced and nurtured, my parents wound up contributing to this feeling that I have never been enough for them, or for anyone, and even though I know I am tremendously talented and gifted, I will forever be the adopted daughter, the outsider who might have said or done something to embarrass them and bring their careful social world crumbling down around them. My Grandparents, my Parents, and now I am forever hoping to be approved of and embraced by someone more important, someone more successful than I am. And this is one of the lessons that I have obviously been put on this planet to learn, that I don't need anyone else's approval, and that I can make my own way. I am enough just as I am. It's a hard one for me.
I am hanging around the end of the street where all of the activity is happening, hoping to be included, or invited to the party. Someone suddenly leaves the meeting in their car and speeding by, almost runs over one of my cats who have been standing around me. This makes me furious -- the lack of concern for a small animal who could have been hurt, one of my small animals -- so I jump on this funny 70s style bike with a banana seat and handlebars and pedals that are too short for me and pursue the driver. I ride as fast as I can down the street and around the corner, intent on catching this person, in order to really lay into him for his carelessness, but a banana bike is no match for a car and he gets away.
On my way back I run into a group of children from our block who tell me that the adults were talking about Beau and me at the meeting. Some Dad told the kids present that they should be kind to, "the fat kid and his Mother who live down the block," and that they should help us learn how to eat and exercise like they do in order to lose weight and be fit. This hurts my feelings and makes me sad. I just want to get away, to make it back to the safety of my own home where I don't have to face or deal with the criticisms and judgment of others.
I can't get to my house by going around the block because it is blocked off somehow, so I have to enter from the back yard. I jump the fence and come in through a back door, but it turns out that this is not my house, instead this is the dream house that we started remodeling and then abandoned in favor of the house next door. I am afraid I will be caught breaking and entering. I need to make it back out through the front of the house without being seen, only the owner of the house, a woman, has just come home and is bringing in bags of groceries. I duck down behind a wall in the dining room just in time and crouching low I mage to kind of crawl to the front where I escape through a French door.
Oh crap, I just knocked little Curly Girl in the head with my blueberry protein shake, it made a kind of small kathunk sound as it hit her skull. I'm cringing. Must rub cat's head.
Outside in the garden I feel disoriented and confused. Where am I? Where is my house? Why is everything so different? I think that the house next door must be my newly remodeled dream house but it appears to be just as awkward and tract-home-like as the house I just left. Entering through the front door I'm wondering where everyone is. Where is my husband? Where is my son? Where will the cats live and will they be safe here? And that's when I notice I've stumbled onto a television set. There are cables, lights, cameras, battery packs, audio equipment and all kinds of film making stuff strewn all over my living room. The crew seems to be on a break but there are actors rehearsing upstairs.
I go upstairs to my room and see a famous sitcom actor standing in the doorway, nude. I think, "Oh, he has a nice ass," and watch as he tries to say his lines to another actor who is in the room beyond, and just out of sight. Apparently the punch line to the scene is the fact that this actor has to embarrass himself by stumbling naked into a room where he must make polite conversation with another actor -- also naked -- and he is uncomfortable about this. The actor in the room, who has a beautiful voice, and exudes self-confidence, is trying to coach him through the scene, helping him work out his lines and beats.
Suddenly I am aware of my place in this moment. The man on the other side of the door is Mel Gibson doing a kind of Tom-Sellek-on-Friends, guest-star-turn, as a favor for the producer. I am his girlfriend and I am incredibly excited to see him and he is just as happy about seeing me. Oh My God, Mel Gibson is my lover and he is deeply and passionately in love with me! I can't believe it. How did I get so lucky? I'm deliriously happy.
As soon as he sees me he cancels the rehearsal and brushes the other actor off. He pulls me into the room and we head for the bathroom where we close the door and make love standing up. He is everything a fantasy man could be, sexy, passionate, beautiful, tender and exciting. The sex is amazing, but we forget that he is miked and that his mic is hot and the control room are monitoring everything he says.
Afterwards we go downstairs and he is forced to endure lots of jocular teasing from the guys on the crew who have been listening in. They are waving an audio/video tape around and threatening to embarrass him with it. But he doesn't care. When he looks at me I feel totally and completely adored. I am certain of his love for me. It is bliss.
Sometime later, and in front of everyone, he pulls out a jewelry box, (okay I told you this was going to be schoolgirlish), and proposes to me. He asks me if I can devote myself to him and to his religion, if I will promise to go to mass with him every day, and I say, "Yes." He puts a gorgeous diamond ring on my finger and we kiss. Then, (Okay I know this is getting really sappy), I tell him that his ten-year-old son is going to have a brother -- that I am pregnant, and he is overjoyed and begins to cry. He becomes even more solicitous and protective of me and we walk into the garden because I am feeling a bit faint. (Should I be writing hokey romance novels instead of journal entries?)
Later, I am gathering up my belongings from the set and go outside to look for Mel, yeah, I can call him by his first name now. The entire street has been turned into some kind of theatre festival with plays being rehearsed and performed in amphitheatres that slope down and away from driveways -- where houses should be. I can't find Mel until someone points me towards a theatre across the street where he is rehearsing and producing two plays. One is, yep, you guessed it, about the life of Christ, and the other is some kind of fun, roaring-twenties fluff piece, but with all kinds of cinematic innovations, props, and set pieces.
I make my way down the concrete stairs and find a seat on an aisle. I am so in love with that man on the stage. I feel such a sense of belonging and rightness. I am here with a man who loves me; a successful, talented, handsome and famous man who gazes up at me adoringly. When he sees me he calls a halt to the rehearsal and tells the lead actress that he has decided to recast her part. She is heartbroken and I am secretly thrilled because we will be acting together. I am longing to play Mary Magdalene to his Christ. But I know that this is unfair and I can afford to be generous so I stand up and tell Mel that I don't want to play the role of the ingenue in this first play -- that we can divide the roles -- she can be the kind of sweet, innocent Polly Browne, (This was the name of the first character I played in the first play I starred in, in high school, so this must be significant in some symbolic dream way), type, and I'll play the sexier, and more complex Mary Magdalene roll.
After we've sorted all of this out, I move closer to the stage and sit, smiling, completely happy and secure, feeling that my future is set, while I watch this amazing play that he has directed, with this cute, little, blonde, pixie-like girl playing opposite him.
When it is over, I climb the steps and walk around and down the hill. I am heading backstage to meet my beloved husband and begin rehearsals for our play, when Esther wakes me up.
The end, for now...