All posts by J. A. Ludwig

Working hard to get my fill. Every day's a real big thrill. Writing anything to stay alive just one more time...But seriously, I work and then write when I can.

The Struggle Part 1

I’ve debated and debated and debated about whether or not to mention work.

So I’ll compromise and say I work in theater. Not onstage but backstage.

And this is where it gets a little tricky. I currently work with a theater company and I’m extremely fortunate to be working my third season with them. I will not name them, I will not even HINT at who they may be out of respect for their privacy (in case any of them ever read this and so I can talk about things that happen at work since it takes up a LOT of my life).

You’re probably thinking to yourself, but it’s a theater! They need the publicity! Fair, BUT! I can find better ways to promote them than through my blog.

Why even mention I work in theater? Because I need to talk about a struggle I’m having. You see I have the opportunity to move up in the company. Not into a permanent position per se.

You see, when I was in college, I was trained in Stage Management. What is that? Well, it’s someone who manages the stage…okay, there’s WAY more to it than that, but for the sake of this post it’s the person who manages rehearsals, runs the show, calls the cues, and sometimes keep the designers, director, and producers happy. Again, this is a WAAAAAAAY simplified explanation.

ANYBUT! I worked many shows as an assistant stage manager and production stage manager. I’ve worked student productions, operas, musicals, Shakespeare, and a world premiere play. So, I’ve done the job before.

Tying back into where I work…they’ve been mentioning to me the possibility of having me stage manage for them (assistant stage manage, 100%). This would mean getting me an Equity card which could lead to more work with other companies in the future, too.

That sounds great! You should do it! Why are you even hesitating?

I hear you. I understand. But…here’s the struggle…

I don’t deserve it. My imposter syndrome won’t allow me to deserve it. My anxiety and depression won’t allow me to deserve it. And I don’t want to let the company down because of my issues.

Also, as it stands now, I work every show during the season, but if I get an Equity card, there’s a chance I wouldn’t be able to work every show and though it could lead to work with other companies it ALSO would limit how much work I can get…I’m not really sure how it works, but it opens opportunities while also shutting down others.

Get over it!

I wish I could. But until I can…I’ll stay here.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…….sort of.

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Odd Trifecta

I get out of work really late most days.

I mean the day ends at 11 pm, but I’m not out the door until 11:30 pm.

Anybut, I mention this because I saw some interesting things one night driving home.

So the off ramp from the freeway I use to get home isn’t very exciting. But on this night, I just happened to look around since I’d been stopped by a red light.

To my left, draped almost lovingly over a One Way sign was a (surprisingly clean-looking) mattress. It had a green sheet on it so I can only believe it was, up until the point it had been left on a road sign, recently used. It covered half the One Way sign (I guess, making it a One sign actually).

And I thought, “…Odd.”

I looked to my right. Sitting amidst the overgrowth (in front of the other One Way sign because of course you need one on both sides of the road for the dumbasses who don’t get the hint after seeing cars driving AT you) was an office chair. It was aimed towards oncoming traffic so, if one so chose, you could sit and stare down each car exiting the freeway.

And again I thought, “…Odd.”

By this time, the light changed to green and I drove forward. As I turned I took one last look at the mattress. Sitting next to it on the ground was a hand basket from, like, a grocery store.

To this, I thought, “…Not as odd.” (Grocery store baskets and carts were not unusual to see discarded on the side of the road…and not just because homeless people use them! Some people are simply just assholes)

Now, my brain sometimes takes a minute to actually process things, but I started to think about the Odd Trifecta.

And I made a decision.

I did NOT go back to get any of these lonely items, that wasn’t the decision…not that I didn’t THINK about doing that, but there’s not really any room in my house so I had to give up that idea right quick.

I decided to believe the times were placed as an art project or were staged for a student film.

Think about it.

The mattress lazily draped over a One Way sign represents the endless One Way loop of the day ending and beginning from a bed. The Way is blocked by the mattress to hide the truth while presenting the One because once we sleep we are alone even when someone shares our bed.

The office chair placed amongst overgrowth and facing traffic is the working folks constant watching as others drive past as they’re trapped in repetitiveness. But ultimately it’s pointless as nature will always reclaim the concrete jungles when they cease to be operable.

And the hand basket? Alone on a sidewalk?…Capitalism.

OR…it could just all be garbage someone dumped.

Story Time

A boy once told me…

I know anything starting a sentence this way tends to set off alarm bells. From men, Oh no, another example of a man being “misogynistic”. From women, Oh no, another example of a man being misogynistic. (Did you hear the difference in tone from each?)

Well, yeah, it kind of is…but also not purposefully. What I mean by that is this: the boy who said this was a year older than me in high school (he was roughly 17 and I was 15) and he was speaking his “honest opinion”. I don’t remember how the conversation came up, I don’t remember what anybody else said, but I remember word for word what he said.

Did the opinion perhaps stem from what other males in his life talk about or act around women? Of course. Which is why I don’t particularly hold it against him.

Did it still make me feel inadequate as a female due to how he, a male, viewed the other sex? Of course. But that’s not his fault.

It’s that age old blame game time. But honestly it’s a fair game. I blame society and the subliminal messages we were shown/told throughout our childhoods.

What could he have possibly said? (You’re thinking as I ramble into philosophical debates about the modern world)

A boy once told me, “A woman is fat when her stomach sticks out past her boobs.”

Now, let’s break this down as to why it’s problematic. (I chose not to use the word “misogynistic” because to be honest I’ve never heard any other man ever say this, but it is a problem and it doesn’t mean other man haven’t said this.)

First, does the statement mean to tell me that women less endowed have a smaller window of when they’re considered fat than women with large breasts? Here’s the problem with that: it encourages body dysmorphia in women with small breasts thus leading to eating disorders, plastic surgery, or possibly even drug abuse.

Second, this statement encourages women to attack other women’s bodies unfairly. There’s this strange belief among men (and women, but I’ve heard men speak about it, write about, and what have you more frequently than women) that women don’t actually get along/can’t be friends with other women because secretly we all hate each other. Or that we’re constantly judging each other because a) one is thin, b) one is fat, c) one is tall, d) one is short, e) one has perfect small boobs, f) one has voluptuous breasts, and so on and so on…

Third, do men really not understand what breasts are? They’re sacks of fat. Yes, some women get them even when they’re thin, but also they tend to grow larger due to bodily functions, hormonal changes, weight gain, or a number of other natural reasons. The one most men think of is pregnancy, where the constant joke is, “oh, honey, I love your new boobs. We should have a baby all the time.” (To which I say to those men, fuck you)

Fourth (yes, I’m still listing, baby): What even does this statement prove? Men, do you find this complimentary to women? Cause it’s not. Do you think it promotes body positivity by redefining fat? Cause it doesn’t.

Fifth, this is a stupid statement. Every woman’s body is different. Every breast is different. Every woman’s metabolism is different. And every woman doesn’t need to be defined by whether or not other people consider them fat. The only person allowed to judge them for that is my doctor and that’s because it’s their job. Do we have to listen to them? Hell no. (Disclaimer: I know the job of a doctor isn’t to judge their patients, it’s to tell them whether or not they’re healthy and what the possible difficulties can arise from their life choices)

Bottom line, this came from a place of, I choose to believe, honesty and thoughtfulness. But it is still a problem. We as women don’t need people to give us excuses for our bodies. We don’t need people to redefine what fat is or isn’t (especially if it involves breast sizes).

We just want people to accept us in the bodies we’ve worked really fucking hard to learn to love. It takes a lot when everyone tells you it “isn’t attractive because a and b” or when every ad, TV series, movie, or even book show off “beautiful, ideal” women bodies, faces, or hair.

I remember these words every time I look in the mirror, sit with a slouch, or even when I’m meeting new people and stand there shaking their hands. I constantly think, is my stomach sticking out past my boobs? Does that mean I’m fat?

All because a boy once told me…

Anybut, this was a bit deep and probably a lot of people aren’t going to like it. But it’s what I’ve got to say. And women who disagree with points I made…okay. That’s fine. I never claimed to be an expert in discussing these topics. I’m simply writing the thoughts in my head. This phrase popped into my head and I wrote things down in relation to it.

Now back to fun stuff?

Here’s a picture of me with no context (because I can’t remember what I was doing when this picture was taken) (and, yes, my phone IS upside down)(and and, yes, this was taken back when I had blonde hair):

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Ghost Blogger

OOOooooohhhhhhh! The ghost blogger is back…

It’s been awhile. But if you think this means I’m back to being regular (even though I haven’t been regular the entire time), YOU’RE WRONG!!!

My work starts Monday (I’m kind of an independent contractor…kind of). I have breaks between jobs, but when it starts I tend to fall off the face of the earth. Though to be fair my friends would say nothing really feels different since I don’t talk to them very often (but I’ll get into that some time in the future).

Anybut, I thought I’d stop by to say…well, there may be a hiatus until my work’s done…but there may not be. It all depends on if I have the time or energy to make posts.

I’ll try. I promise I’ll try. But this job really drains me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Maybe that’s the next post…a brief/vague explanation of my work…maybe.

We’ll see.

 

Name of the Game

I’m going to be starting a new project with the theatre company I work for soon.

So what? I hear you asking. Weeeeeelllll…….One of the cast members has my last name!

So? People have the same last name all the time. There are so many people in the world of course names will repeat……

And I say….shut up. Yeah, take that.

Anybut, it isn’t just the fact he has the same last name as me, but he’s from San Diego….I was born in San Diego…..could he be a long lost family member my family cast out in shame?

Nah, he’s probably not related at all. Plus, I won’t bring it up to him if he doesn’t bring it up to me…..curse my shyness and anxiety!!!

Ganglia? I Hardly Know Ya!

Sorry about the bad title.

But I’m gonna throw a mild warning up: this may be gross. This may be oversharing. This may make you uncomfortable.

I have a ganglion cyst on my hand. I’ve had it since high school. Now when I say I’ve had it since high school what I mean is it’s come and gone since high school.

Sometimes it’s on my hand for a couple days, sometimes a couple weeks, and sometimes a whole frickin’ year.

There’s nothing to worry about. It doesn’t hurt, it isn’t cancerous (should I have led with that?), and honestly it’s fun to freak people out with it. When I move the ring finger on my right hand I make it move up and down my hand. And when I really want to freak someone out with it, I make them touch it while I do that (HINT: it feels reeeeaaaallllyy weird).

What is a ganglion cyst? Basically it’s a water balloon under your skin. I know you doctor types will say, it’s a little more than that kjalfkjhaslidcyc! But for us stupid, non-doctor people it’s a water balloon under the skin. Sure, it’s not water in there….I think, and it doesn’t just POP like a balloon, but in my mind I’ve already settled on a blue water balloon bobbing beneath my skin.

YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND!!!

Anybut, I could go to a doctor and have them suck the liquid out with a needle. BUT 1) NO NEEDLES!!! and b) it isn’t causing me any discomfort or pain and iii) it does eventually go away on its own.

I find after many hours typing on a keyboard, writing with a pen (or pencil), or using the mouse for many hours of scrolling through the interwebs….after all of those things is usually when my cyst returns.

So don’t spend so many hours on the computer.

So DoN’t SpEnD sO mAnY hOuRs On ThE cOmPuTeR! >insert sponge bob meme here<

First of all……..rude. Second of all……fair.

But then how will any of you learn about my ganglion cyst if I didn’t spend so much time on the computer! Ha! Check and mate!

End of rant……..but here’s a boomerang of my cyst at work (it’s by the nail mark):

 

Stans……?

I need to write this down.

Okay, I’m 30 years old (as of the writing of this post) and I’d like to think I’m pretty up to date on most slang (obviously NOT all).

But we need to talk about this one word: Stans.

I put off actually looking up this word because I knew it was a new word for fan (like completely substituting the word), but I didn’t understand why? Why was this word chosen to be the new word for fan?

From my understanding it’s another word for obsessed fans. Okay. Fine. But what bothers me is that apparently the origination of this word is from the Eminem song “Stan”……..

I have a problem with this. That song IS about an obsessed fan. Fair. BUT! It’s not something to be celebrated. And I know people are thinking “It’s just a word, it’s not a big deal. Don’t be overdramatic.”

Well, shoot, you’re right. I’m overreacting in my old age. (This is sarcasm, BTW)

It’s perfectly normal to idolize your heroes and celebrities. I do, too. That’s not the issue. The issue is the subject matter of the song being taken lightly or celebrated as normal. Eminem wrote that song for a specific reason, to warn against being a Stan, to warn against becoming too blinded by your idols and your love for them…to becoming too OBSESSED.

Here’s two sections from the song I think are important. The first bit is from the perspective of Stan:

“And all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call
I hope you know I ripped all of your pictures off the wall
I love you Slim, we coulda been together, think about it
You ruined it now, I hope you can’t sleep and you dream about it
And when you dream I hope you can’t sleep and you scream about it
I hope your conscience eats at you and you can’t breathe without me”

This bit is from the perspective of Eminem:

“Before you hurt yourself, I think that you’ll be doin’ just fine
If you relax a little, I’m glad I inspire you but Stan
Why are you so mad? Try to understand, that I do want you as a fan
I just don’t want you to do some crazy shit

I kept out the part where Stan talks about his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of the car and his driving while drunk. Spoilers: Stan drives the car off a bridge killing himself and his pregnant girlfriend. Why? Because Eminem didn’t give his fan enough attention. Because Stan was obsessed with Eminem.

I was in middle school when this song came out and like everyone my age, I loved this song (against my parents’ wishes of course). I was an Eminem fan. For those of you surprised by this, shame on you. I like all genres of music.

Did I truly understand what the song was about? A little, but it was the time before social media. Obsessive fans existed, but weren’t as celebrated/public as they are now. Also, I was eleven so even if I knew every word to the song, it didn’t really click in my brain the truth of it.

It wasn’t as easy to stalk your idols back then (back then? HAH). It wasn’t as easy to know every little detail about your idols.

Anybut, HERE IS THE PROBLEM!

Social media has allowed fans to get closer than ever to their idols, their heroes, or the people who inspire them. I’M NOT KNOCKING SOCIAL MEDIA…..yet. But this new idea of ravenous fans feeling…and I HATE using this word…entitled to the subject of their love is becoming dangerous.

But there have always been ravenous fans. That’s not something new. Remember Beatlemania? Boy bands during the early 2000s? Bieber Fever?

Okay, that last one is considered part of the social media machine. Also, how dare you assume I was alive during Beatlemania.

But does that excuse the behavior of those fans? No. Beatlemania was crazy, sure, but I feel like…the more accessible celebrities (and yes, I’m including social media celebrities in this, too) become the more entitlement fans feel.

Celebrating being a “Stan” is so alien to me. Mostly because it’s coming from a generation where the song wasn’t new, wasn’t popular (not to say it isn’t popular now, but it isn’t new). I don’t think they truly understand what it means, the warnings in the song.

And maybe they do! I don’t know. I know none of my close friends know the term, but they remember that song. If nothing else, they remember the music video which if you haven’t seen it…see it. It’s rough.

Okay, that’s the end of my rant. My old person rant….ha.

Say My Name Again

Do you ever hear your name and just think…ugh.

I don’t mean when people you know say your name or your family call you. I’m talking about when you hear your name on TV or maybe your favorite celebrity says your name.

Does that make sense? Am I making sense? Probably not….

I mean, personally, I kind of don’t like the sound of my name. Full or nickname. I kind of like going through life with people not saying my name. When someone calls me by my name I kind of get a little slap back to reality like “oh, yeah, that is my name”. It almost kind of resets that moment in time.

It’s not that I don’t like my name….I do….I just don’t like the sound of it. I’ll be watching videos on YouTube or binging something on Netflix/Hulu when all of the sudden someone says my name. My immediate reaction is: “Huh, that’s what it would sound like if that person was talking to me.” My second reaction is: “Ugh, those sounds are weird together.”

………….

It’s kind of how I can’t relate to characters with my name. I immediately get uncomfortable watching cause I keep cringing when other characters say the name.

Course, maybe it’s also because my name is so close sounding to other names. There’s constant confusion in the real world. At my work, there’s a guy with a French name (but he’s from Canada) and when people say it fast it sounds like my name.

I also don’t like my coworkers calling me by my full first name. It sounds so………grown up…I mean, I’m grown up, but it sounds too grown up.

LET ME STAY YOUNG DAMMIT!!!

…………………

Anybut, maybe I’m just a weirdo who doesn’t like the sound of my name. But I also like my name. Oh well.

THAT House Pt. 2

Another house story.

The first neighborhood from Indiana I lived in was a nice street with a few cul-de-sacs branching off. Down one you drove past there was:

The Library House.

We called it that for two reasons: 1) it was a large house and 2) it looked like one of our local libraries.

I always imagined the people who lived in it would sit in a private library in their drinking robes, shooting back some old-fashions or smoking cuban cigars….I didn’t have a unique imagination outside of movies and books back then.

Spoiler alert: the people who lived there were nothing like that, but every Halloween they always gave out the best candy and even juice boxes so kids wouldn’t get dehydrated running around.

And they did some of the best decorations, too.

Not much else to say only because I feel like a nice, easy story was better following the Pimp House. Missed it? Read ALL about it here.

Naked Cat Pics

My mom hates sphinx cats.

Okay, she doesn’t HATE them, but she doesn’t like looking at them. I on the other hand find them adorable and hilarious. I’ve on occasion threatened to shave our cats to prove cats are cute naked.

Not really. But I have collected a backlog of photos from the internet to send my mom whenever I need a laugh.

Ex. 1 (The Beginning: it started innocently enough)

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Ex. 2 (started to get weird)

 

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Ex. 3-9 (got suuuuuper weird)

 

 

Finally Ex. 10-11 (I won her over)

 

 

Course, then I shared this with my friends………..and they didn’t seem to find it as funny as me…………so I showed them the error of their ways with a special Halloween treat:

 

 

Bottom line:

Sphynx cats are THE BEST!!