Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gloria Had An Abortion! Par-tay!

So a beloved friend of mine who is pro-life posted an article written by another pro-life activist who was bitching about this picture:

I stopped reading the article as soon as the writer mentioned "the emasculation of men" due to feminism (total b.s.) and dogging on birth control (seriously? how do you expect there to EVER be fewer abortions if you're also anti-birth control?).

But this I'll give the writer. Ms. Steinem's tee shirt is quite possibly the most offensive, selfish, tactless, inappropriate, hateful, hurtful, UTTERLY DISGUSTING thing I have seen in a long time. I'm so pissed off by it that I actually broke out my blog because I knew a simple Facebook status update wasn't going to cut it.

First of all, I admire Ms. Steinem for much of her life's work. Without trailblazers like this woman, many of us wouldn't enjoy the freedoms we have today. She continues to fight for women to be treated as equals to men in our country - really, the world - which is an absolute necessity. Men stand to lose NOTHING when the women they love are strong, secure, educated, productive members of society. Emasculation - ha. We teach others how to treat us. "No one can make me feel inferior without my consent," said Mrs. Roosevelt.

Second, as a die hard centerist, I am a person who struggles with the pro-life vs. pro-choice argument. I absolutely positively believe that life begins at conception and will do so until some scientist comes up with definitive proof that it doesn't. Abortion therefore, to me, is straight up murder. So to that end, I lean pro-life. However, I'm also not a meat puppet whose life the government may manipulate. Nor is any other woman. I don't need Uncle Sam's nose in my uterus. Particularly in cases where there has been extraordinary emotional or physical trauma or a life is threatened. It is not my place to make anyone else's major life choices for them.  So to that end, I lean pro-choice. It's a sticky sitch.

I have always gotten irritated when one side re-names the other just to be disrespectful. I hate it when I hear a Pro-Choice person call a Pro-Life person an "Anti-Abortionist." They want to be called Pro-Life, call them Pro-Life. I PARTICULARLY hate it though when a Pro-Lifer calls a Pro-Choicer a Pro-Abortionist. Because I don't know a single Pro-Choice person who is FOR abortion. Not a single one. Every adult Pro-Choice person I've ever talked to seems pretty aware that choosing to abort is a very serious decision, one that could possibly result in destroyed relationships, future health consequences and a lifetime of regret. 

Everyone except, it appears, for Ms. Steinem here. For her, it's apparently just another Tuesday. "Oh, I had an abortion, woopdeedoo! You should try it, too!"

Seriously? THAT is the message young girls should see? We should be teaching them, "Oh, no worries...if I get pregnant I'll just get an abortion" instead of being responsible about their sexual activity in the first place? Of course accidents can happen in the best of circumstances, but I'm not talking about that. And teenagers won't see that. They just see a famous, pioneering woman cavalierly supporting abortion as birth control like it's no big deal.


For women who have had abortions and regret them later - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For women who've had no choice but to have an abortion because their health was in danger and forever mourn the child they never had - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For the women who've had one because they were raped, especially if they never would've considered having one under any other circumstance - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For the women who disagree with abortion for religious reasons (whether you agree with it or not) - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For women who are desperate to have a child but cannot get pregnant and the gay couples who are desperate to start their own families but have no other way - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For the men who would have done right by their girlfriends and been great dads but were given no say in the matter - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE.

For people like me who like to maintain that no one on either side of any issue is pure evil - THE CALLOUSNESS IS OFFENSIVE. And you make it impossible for me to have your back.

I love a good debate, and I have understanding for both sides of this particular one for the reasons I've already stated above, but when you figuratively stick your middle finger up at the people with whom you disagree and MAKE THE CONSCIOUS CHOICE to taunt their values, especially your own sisterhood, then I'm gonna give you serious crap about it. It's unacceptable. Part of being a real feminist, if you ask me, is to allow women to do and think HOWEVER they like, BECAUSE WE CAN, even if you wouldn't do or think the same yourself. A woman who chooses to stay home to raise her children should be considered just as much of a feminist for making that choice as a woman like me who consciously chose not to marry or have children in favor of her career. Shouldn't you, Ms. Leader of All Things Equality, have figured that out by now? Is that not what you've been fighting for all these years?

Shame on you, Gloria. That tee shirt doesn't make you a feminist. It makes you an insensitive jerk.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Lucky 2013

Well...I don't think I'm the only one who can say that 2012 was the fastest year of my life. It seems just yesterday I was blogging about welcoming it because 2011 was such a stink pile of death and loss. I am very pleased to say that 2012 may not have started out on the most positive of notes, but it has ended with joyfulness and hope for what 2013 will bring. I am very excited for Lucky 2013! But please allow me to share how I got here...because you know there's a crazy messcapade of a story...

Last year started out with new neighbors, who moved into the apartment previously occupied by my friend Matt (may he R.I.P). An older gentleman, seemed nice enough, said he was gone to work from 7am till about 10pm. No kids, just him and his cat. Perfect! I take his application, everything moves along, a few weeks later he moves in. And his deadbeat of a daughter. And her two young daughters (10 and 2, respectively). And his three cats. Into a tiny 400 square foot one bedroom apartment. Naturally, utter chaos ensues. Screaming toddler. Screaming, verbally abusive mother. Sketchy looking people I don't know on the property at all hours of the day and night. Grandpa's hard of hearing and blasts his porn through the window at decibel eleven so the people across the damned street can tell what he's watching. This is all on top of the constant airplanes overhead, sirens, squealing tires, blaring horns and motorcycle engines, dozens of neighborhood dogs barking at once, helicopters overhead flying so low it rattles the windows, punk teenagers hooting and hollering up and down the street at 2am, Sanford & Son on one side of our building sorting cans and bottles through the day and night, the business on the other side constructing film sets in the parking lot and renting the space out for parties at night, and Farsi dude five houses up playing his music so loud that I couldn't hear my tv (this doesn't count the occasional transformer blowing, random gunshots or the seasonal illegal fireworks displays).

I was so depressed. The tiny little home I'd loved for so long was becoming a horrible, miserable prison.  I didn't understand why, when I had purposely been giving thanks in advance to God every day for bringing me the PERFECT person during the rental process, that He would send me these train wrecks. I was also fighting tooth and nail every day to keep Matt's yard alive and failing pretty miserably at it because I don't know what I'm doing and he didn't exactly leave instructions. My attitude was suffering and my business was suffering as well. One look at where I lived and people would think, "No. She must not be a very good voice coach if she lives like this. Next." And I didn't blame them.

But one day in late August one of my former students came by to see me for a "tune up." I was telling him about the situation next door and how crazy it was making me and how I didn't understand why God was doing this to me. He, being a Wiccan, said in his lilting Southern tenor accent, "You know of course that I don't believe in your God, but if I did it seems to me that He sent you exactly who you needed to live next door as a great big sign for you to get the f*** out. You're better than this hot mess. It's time to go."

Me: smiley Eyerub

If a two by four hit me in the sternum it couldn't have knocked more breath out of me. Because of course, he was absolutely right and I'm a MORON not to have seen it. When Darci gets comfortable in her darkness and misery she starts thinking there's no way out - at least not immediately - and she wallows. I had already been looking around for something new to see what was out there and start saving up, feeling pretty bleak about it, but after that conversation with my student, it was on like Donkey Kong. It was so obvious God wanted me out that I knew a place was out there that I was supposed to be in.

The third place I looked at I fell in love with. smiley Lovestruck

The rent was also almost twice what I was currently paying. For some reason I filled out an application anyway. Doh!

OF COURSE this was impossible! What was I thinking??? Oh well, I knew there was no way they'd approve me anyway. I had been scraping to pay bills for so long that surely my credit was destroyed for the second time in my life (the first time from just being a stupid kid) and they'd give me a "thanks but no thanks." But at least it would be good to know how bad it was and what I had to deal with as I was saving up for something else going forward. smiley Indifferent

On my way home from seeing the place the office called and told me my credit was great and I was approved. Double DOH! Now they needed my proof of income and a recommendation from my current landlord.

A-HA! Now I had 'em! They'd see how little money I made, nowhere NEAR "three times the monthly rent" required by most places for move in. I pulled my bank statements (because I'm self-employed and don't have pay stubs - and if I don't get to see Mitt Romney's tax returns, then NO ONE gets to see mine) and emailed them over, fully expecting that I had them cornered into denying me.

It was a Friday. That evening an old friend from college called (one of my many dear Christian friends, there are still some good ones in the world!)...and proceeded to smack me down with wisdom and love like only a person you've known for over twenty years can do. Why don't you think you deserve good things? No one works harder than you and is more unsuccessful at it. Aren't you tired of doing it all yourself? When are you gonna give God some of that burden? His Word says to ask and you shall receive and that He wants to give you the desires of your heart; why don't you hold Him accountable to it? He said it, it has to be true, right? When you need more you get more and you haven't needed more in a long time. It's time to take a leap of faith. I would bet money that if you walk off this cliff you won't just fly, but you'll soar. You deserve it. You deserve it. You deserve it.

Everything he said was true. I have always had such a hard time believing I deserved anything good. See, I was raised in a glass-half-empty environment. Strict, uber-religious, judgmental and fetid with guilt and fear. I never felt like anything I did was enough and much of that was from the "original sin" dogma fed to me by my churches. Guilty upon birth. Worthless sinner. You are a worm and unworthy of love from the God that created you. Oh...AND you're fat, so you'll get crap from society, also. Fat, guilty, sinful worms deserve nothing but to slide along the earth on their bellies. They certainly don't deserve nice apartments, reliable cars, loving (or even attractive) significant others, money in the bank, friends who give a crap or a career they enjoy. Fuggedaboudit. On top of that, I was constantly being told, "well...IF it's God will for you to do/have that..." It was never impressed upon me that God wanted me to be happy, that He wanted my dreams to be fulfilled. Never once. So I have lived my life believing that everything I wanted for myself was in direct contradiction to anything God might want for me and therefore I perceived every day to be a knock-down-drag-out fight between me and The Omnipotent.

 smiley Fighting0030

No friggin' wonder I'm exhausted.

So when I hung up the phone with my dear friend, I had it out with God. I shook my fist at the sky. I asked Him, "Is that the best you can do, Big Guy? Bring it on! You keep trying to destroy me, but I'm still here!" *cue maniacal laughter a la Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump* And after I had finished with the rending of sackcloth and the weeping and gnashing of teeth, I read a few pieces of scripture that my friend had given to me, one of which really hit home:

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
         do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
         Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
     I am making a way in the desert
         and streams in the wasteland."

Yeah, so this is basically God going..."Uh hello? I've been trying to get you to move forward for ages. I've got this path for you here with a big ole blinking red arrow pointing to it, if you'll just get on it."

I went to my computer after that and my friend had sent me the money for the move in deposit. And it was not a small amount of money. And he wouldn't let me be prideful and not accept it. Kinda like that joke where there's a flood and the guy's on the roof of his house and a boat comes by to save him and he says, "No thanks, God will save me." Then comes a helicopter and a rescue team, etc. and he keeps saying no thanks cuz God will save him. Dude ends up drowning and at the pearly gates he says, "Why didn't you save me, God?" And God's like, "I sent you a boat, a rescue team, a helicopter, blah blah blah..."

Yeah. Like that guy.

The next day, Saturday, the rental office called and said, "Everything looks great, we have a call in to your landlord and as soon as he gets back to us we can start the paperwork."


Answer: We want good people to live here and I can tell you're a good person and a spiritual person, so you know if it's meant to be it will happen. Because of the way you get paid we can let you do part of your rent at the first of the month and part on the 15th. We will work with you as long as you keep the lines of communication open with us.

Shut. the. front. door. This is Los Angeles. This is unheard of.  smiley Scared

When my landlord returned their call on Monday, he told them I'd been a great tenant and he was going to try to bribe me to stay.

That week I took a part time job as a nanny/house manager on a referral from my amazeballs friend I sing backup for, Debby Holiday (buy her music on iTunes). I now work for her best friend and her very sweet kids as supplemental income.  My mom graciously helped with the remainder of the first month's rent I needed and I officially moved in, with the help of many dear friends (including Porn-Watchin' Grampa Clampett, who is actually a very sweet man, even if he is etiquette-challenged) on October 7th. Since then I've picked up a couple new students plus a couple old ones came back. I am about to start some part time transcription work with a company my friend Marie Pettit Gregson works for, which I will be able to do at home. So at least if I have to work my tail off to keep this place, I will be able to do at least 2/3 of it in my home itself. 
smiley 167shsx

I've made ends nearly meet so far (still robbing Peter to pay Paul on the other bills at the moment) and my goal is that my March rent check (and all thereafter) will be paid IN FULL on the first and ALL other bills will be caught up. smiley Thumbsup

Lucky 2013. It's happening.

The new Chez Monet and 
Darci Monet Vocal Style Studio

Also in 2012 I was able to celebrate with my besties Marie (aforementioned) and her new husband Chris at their beautiful wedding in Houston, TX! What a beautiful trip that was - so many of our L.A. circle of peeps made the flight out, including leetle seester Mandi from Chicago, plus I got to spend some time with my awesomesauce Aunt Rosemary and cousin Daphne and family as well as my dear friend from college, the uber-talented super-mom Gianna (Gigi) Welling (buy her music on iTunes). It was a wonderful time celebrating our friends' love, catching up with family and friends and making new ones...in a city I've never been to that happens to look a lot like a great big North Hollywood. Go figure.

Earlier in the summer I was fortunate enough to mend a bit of a broken road with a long time friend as well and I thought that would never happen, because honestly, I was way too hurt for a very long time. To be honest, I still struggle with it, but it's getting easier and easier to let a little more go and a little more and a little more. Sometimes wounds just need some time, as the adage goes. And people need to be allowed to be who they are, whether they fit in your box of how you perceive a person should behave or not. And sometimes you need to redefine how you think a person should behave. Just sayin'. Our relationship will probably never again be what it once was, but that is okay too, because if there's anything I have learned in 2012 it's that moving forward and moving on isn't something to fear or avoid and stagnation does nothing but rot the soul and breed further bitterness. Blech! smiley Sick0020

As for music, the year always starts off with the NAMM Show in Anaheim with Debby Holiday et al, which is always a fun, loud, exhausting blast, and 2012 was no different. Come the spring I had a delightful time performing with the amazing Gilmore Rizzo, Pat Whiteman, Barbara Shane and Bryan Miller at (formerly) Peter Mac's at The French Market in "Chew On This," a super fun show celebrating all those guilty pleasure bubble gum tunes from the 50's to the 80's. If you missed it...well, our hope is that we will eventually resurrect it in a new theater space at some point. *fingers crossed* I did a few studio sessions - one for Disney (an episode of Phineas and Ferb Europe) and some I hope you never hear (such is the life of the demo singer - they can't ALL be hits! smiley 1zvbb13 ). I did a couple performances with Musical Theatre of Los Angeles and am now knee deep in their social networking committee and fundraising team. The year ended with a crazy busy but lovely Christmas season putting together "Not Your Mama's Christmas" (a fun review show of everyone's favorite - and probably some least favorite! - Christmas songs with a cast of around 18, directed by my good friend Paul Marich) and a three hour breakneck night of rockin' n' rollin' at the Hard Rock in Hollywood with Debby Holiday and Jeff Fedak, where I got to perform a few of my originals (which never happens...2013 resolution?).

Unfortunately I got sick as a dog while doing Hard Rock and Not Your Mama's and have now lost my voice completely, but I still had a nice, lazy Christmas in San Diego with my sissy Jodianne and I felt well enough to spend New Year's Eve with a very small group of "Valley friends" around a bonfire, sipping root beer (no booze for me when I'm on the meds!), munching on nutrionless-but-oh-so-yummy food, hugging my precious shmoopies (my twin 6 year old nieces, the loves of my life, as if you don't know), listening to everyone else's conversations and soaking up some loving energy to carry us all into the new year.

Aloysius (al-oh-ish-us) The Christmas Shrub

So here it is, January 2nd and I sit at my desk, with Aloysius The Christmas Shrub (the first real tree I've had in about 12 years) still alive and sparkling, a fire in the fireplace, a cup of apple cinnamon tea with delicious home grown Georgia honey (thanks Louisa!), my cat DangerPickleKitty making THE most disgusting noises as he bathes himself...and I am happy as a clam and excited for the new year for the first time since...well possibly since I moved here in 2001! Onward and upward!

Here's to a year full of countless miracles, blessings and adventures. BECAUSE I DESERVE IT. AND SO DO YOU.

This post is dedicated to my friends 
Anne Mitchell Starr and Brian Putnam.
You have reminded me that every day is a miracle 
and I will honor your lives by fully living mine.

"Goodnight sweet prince and princess, 
and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."