Who Is She? (Part 1)
You know, I have asked myself that question it seems for my whole life. But the past few months more than ever. Especially being on this site (myspace) where people who know you make judgements, people who dont know you make judgements, and where you start making judgements about yourself based on what others start to believe about you. I was that person. I started on this site "looking" for a boyfriend.
That honestly was my goal of being on here. I didnt want to accept women as "friends", well because honestly, I had the few I wanted in my life, and really, I never really trusted them so much. But I think more I just wanted lots and lots of men on my page to stalk. It worked. I met men. I went on lots and lots of dates and had some insane experiences. So much so, that I had an idea to write a coffee table book about my internet dating life but put that on the back burner as in mostly everything else I do.
Some time went by and I met someone here who ultimately has led me to this point. Someone who initially I didnt want as a myspace friend. He didnt "fit" the mold of who I was looking for in a boyfriend. Mostly because he lived very far away and well, if you know me, so far from my "type". But, there was this inner voice speaking to me and his persistance and the fact that I knew it was safe because he lived so far away. All I had to do was just ignore his messages if it got to much or if I just didnt want to talk to him. I mean, it was just the computer. All I had to do was press delete.
He is now the reason why I think it might be cheaper just to fly to him than pay these damn cell phone bills. Funny how life works. How things come into your life at just the moment you need them to. Even if you dont realize it just yet. I didn't realize it until this weekend. I knew on an emotional level how much he had helped me. How he just confirmed my already present belief in the goodness of people.
He didnt change the core of who I was and my beliefs, what he did was confirm them and give them a voice. For that, I will be eternally grateful. He was the living and breathing embodiment of who I was and also more importantly, what i strived to be. He accepted all of who I was, the good, the bad (not so much of that) ;-) and embraced it and for the first time in my life, I was TRULY able to see the beauty in me.
I had known it "logically". I had said it again and again what a good person I was and how I loved people and deserved certain things in life, but never had I actually FELT it and really saw it. He was truly the mirror people speak of when they say people are reflections of who you are. I fell in love with myself. For the first time in my life, I was able to say I loved myself and really mean it. For that gift, I could never repay him. For that gift, I thought this was the reason he came into my life.
I should've known that life doesnt always work on such smaller levels. It does, but always with hopes that it leads to grander things. Without that gift I was given, I could not have experienced this weekend like I did. I know you all see me post bulletins on here about smiling and loving and treating each other with kindness and respect. I believe it. I still do, but to a lot of people who saw me on here from the beginning weren't really buying what I had to say.
They called me brainwashed. They questioned my integrity. They questioned if I had joined some sort of cult. In all honesty, I dont blame one of you. What you saw was a drastic change in your friend. Someone who went from posting sex surveys and dirty pictures to quotes from Ghandi. I can see the humor in it myself.
I even at times didn't post certain things because I didnt want people (my friends) to think I had gone crazy. Who is the crazy one now? Me! Judging myself for being exactly who I was. I even thought about just stopping posting so the criticism would stop. Screw that. I watched this person post his bulletins over and over again inviting those in who wanted to be and left those out who chose to stay out. Alright, I am going off on tangents like I used to do in high school essays.
Now I finally understand why they made you do essay outlines. Keep you on track Shari. Okay, this weekend. So my friend introduced me to some new music along the way in our friendship and I had really dug the musicians messages. My friend told me that they were playing in San Francisco this weekend at a music festival and I should check it out. Well, I looked up the website and saw it was a whole peace music festival (okay, I wont lie...a hippie fest). But there was something that appealed to me.
Number 1, I had never been to SF and had been dying to get there. Number 2, I really wanted to hear them perform and number 3, with 9/11 approaching and with all the negativity surrounding the middle east, I just wanted to be around a bunch of people like my friend. On top of that, my car had just died AGAIN, I had a rental car and I pretty much had the weekend off. Oh yeah, I had also just gotten a new credit card that I had been holding off on for some time for just the right thing. This seemed it. At least even for a good excuse to the family while I went and lived it up in another city for a weekend. I could just tell them if I ended up short at the end of the month, that I was just doing some "soul searching" and they couldnt really argue with their daughter trying to do something positive. In the back of my mind, was partying in Union Square with a bunch of strangers and making some new friends. I knew the festival would be cool, but it was the time away from LA that appealed to me more than anything. I decided to do this alone. I wanted the drive, I wanted my own thoughts, I wanted my own company. I mean, who else would you want to go on a trip with but with someone you were in love with? So I did. :-)
I didnt want this blog to go on this long, but I have never been one to leave out details. I arrived at my motel, put my stuff down and literally said out loud, NOW WHAT? I had these lofty dreams and ideas of how it was going to be and here I was in some city right outside SF kinda in the slums a bit. I had no map, because I didnt think I really needed one. I had no plan, because I was going to wing it, and my computer's wireless was not working. Thankfully to the sweetest Indian man at the front desk, he gave me in detail how to get to downtown and what to avoid, what times, etc. He saved me. Thank you.
I found myself in the middle of downtown around a couple of homeless people getting into an altercation right next to me. It was freezing cold, rainy and well, I just wanted a friend with me. My friend who I spoke of before had called me right at that instant and well, I believe I whined like a baby. He didnt let me indulge in it as I knew he knew that I was going to be just fine. We hung up and I went on my way.
Took the cable car up to Fishermans Wharf where I was told I should go. I really didnt need to get off there because in all honestly, its just fish. I dont like fish. I didnt need to see the fish stands. I was fine with just the experience of going up and down the hills like I had seen my whole life in the movies. I was freezing though and trying to take pictures with everybody's heads in the way. This certainly wasn't the idea I had in my head of what this trip was going to be like.
I took some cool shots when I got off in Union Square on the way down. I went into some dept stores where I couldve gone to in LA but I really wasnt sure what else to do. I decided perhaps I should treat myself to a really great dinner. I saw this jazz club and it sounded great. Only problem was the show didnt start until 8ish and it was about 6. So, I walked past this Irish bar and saw a ton of people hanging out and an empty spot at the bar behind the tap beer and decided to sit my cold ass down. I really wanted wine but felt kinda silly in an Irish bar while everyone was downing Guinesses and Jamesons. Screw it, they're Irish. They will drink anything and not judge. :-) So I ordered my first glass and drank it a lot slower than I wouldve normally if I wasnt trying to draw out some time. I could've gone for another glass but knew I had to drive back, (find my way back) to my motel. The Irish bartender and I started talking and funny enough, he was getting ready to move to LA in a few weeks.
So we joked and laughed and flirted a bit and well, I ended up with another glass of wine in front of me. Much larger glass and well, I was starting to warm up and like this city a bit more. I looked at the time and the 1/4 of my wine left and the thought of how tired I really was and decided against my better judgement, to leave the wine behind and go to the restaurant. I paid for my wine (which he only charged for the first and yes I tipped him large), and we exchanged some kind words and I was on my way. I went and had an overpriced meal which wasnt very good but I am not one to make a big deal of it, so I wrapped it up thinking perhaps it would make a better late night meal in the motel. It actually did I will say. Ahhh, at least tomorrow I knew what I was doing for the whole day. I would be spending the day at Golden Gate Park at a peace music festival with a bunch of tree huggers. This was going to be interesting.
To be continued.... ( I need coffee)
Who Is She (Part deux~I have always wanted to say "deux")
So I passed out pretty early that night knowing that I had a long day in the park tomorrow. I woke up earlier than expected and decided since I really didnt know where I was going and what exactly the days events were (damn laptop wireless), I would just get there early. I went to the front desk of the motel and my Indian friend was not there. I asked this guy for some directions and well, by the end of our conversation, I had decided that I knew more about San Francisco than he did. I decided to trust my instincts (my friends always say I should be a cab driver) and look at the cartoon map that came in the sightseeing guide in my room and wing it. I was pretty damn impressed with myself. I remember from memory which part of the park they said to enter from when I read it online before I left.
So, I parked right at the street because it was so early and no one was there yet. I am always early to everywhere. My sister used to call me the "OTK" (official time keeper) when we would go places because I was constantly nagging about time. It paid off so I thought. If I would've known more about this city, I would've realized that you can park in some places in the park much closer to where the event was taking place. So I walked a bit to get into there. Now the one thing you have to realize and I am sure you do by looking at my pictures, I am one who enjoys the art of make-up, fashion and style.
Now I am not ignorant, I knew where I was going for the day, but being in good ol' Shari fashion, I still put together a down-played "outfit" and less make-up, but make-up none-the-less. I thought I would definitely "fit" in. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Okay, I guess I did fit in, because all the people here were just about loving and being kind to one another, but on a superficial level, I stood out like a sore thumb. Oh well. At least I smelled good. Not as good as when I left smelling like that fragrant herbal scent that permeated this concert. Mmmm...good times to come. :-)
So I found the event and since it started at 9am and I was there around 8, they were still setting up the booths and tents. Thankfully there was a booth open selling espresso and I decided to partake in a large one. Surprise I know. I walked through the damp grass and chilly air and made my way to the mainstage to set up camp. Okay, not exactly camp since all I brought was a messenger style bag with my camera and yes some make up. But ONLY in case I was going to go out later. I promise!!!! As I was making my way to the stage, I see some people arriving early as well, with blankets and picnic boxes and yoga mats and well, the way one goes when attending an all day event. Obviously I had not been to one before. So as these long haired, flowing skirt wearing people set up camp, i took my San Francisco hoodie off (that i bought the day before in Fishermans Wharf because it was so cold~only positive part of seeing the wharf) and set my camp up under my butt on the wet grass. Mmm..this was gonnna be fun!
I kinda sat there like a lost soul for a minute or two and then just decided to let it go and be where I was and with who I was because this was going to be an all day event. More people started arriving with their yoga mats which I thought was just a "hippie" "new age" replacement for a blanket. I am sometimes a bit air-headed. No, they were actually doing yoga. LOL. I started watching some people start stretching and before I knew it, it was like Cirque de Solei in front of me.
I felt like a tourist snapping pictures but I couldnt help it. I needed other people to see what I was seeing. I had done yoga a couple of times, but I suddenly felt like there was this secret club where all these people really learned yoga. I wasn't sure what I was doing there. Finally a woman came around telling people that the yoga was going to be further back beyond the PA system so they could hear her.
It finally dawned on me that I remember reading online before I left that there was a yoga session from 9-11 am. I looked around and watched everyone grab their stuff and move back to the area. I stood up like I was going to go with them hoping that there would be some people that would stick around. I mean, there had to people some flower children that didn't partake in yoga. There were, but they were their grandparents. So, I stayed back with the folks and kinda just sat there and took some pictures of them setting up. The woman got on the PA system and told everyone to walk away from their mats and join hands in a circle. I didnt know what was going to happen, but I did know that I needed to be part of this. Not sure why, but I ended up there holding hands with complete strangers. You have no idea the feeling of seeing this circle. I am not good with numbers, but I would say there were at least a few hundred people joined hands. It reminded me of that coke commercial I think...Hands Across America or something like that. That alone in itself was a beautiful site to be witnessed and more so to be experienced. From that moment on, I KNEW I was in the right place.
She had us do several basic yoga (balance/trust) "things". (How's that for yoga terminology?) We were sending energy and light and power through our toes to our heads out to the other sides of the circle. You could literally feel the energy buzzing in the circle. I will not lie, I felt closer to humanity than I had before. I shed a tear or 7. I know some of you are thinking how hokey this is. I understand. I was right there with you. But there is no denying our human spirit and our connection. Whether you are a cynic or a believer or a confused one...this was real. No other way to explain it.
We did a couple of chants (yes, OM's) and again, the waves going through that circle were incredible. They they had us back to our mats (my sweater) and I went back to my little campsite and watched. I also realized that the cirque de solei performers before were actually the ones leading the yoga class so I didnt feel so left out anymore because they were actually professionals. :-) I participated from my place a bit with as much physically as I could do with my bad knees and well, my stylish yet downplayed outfit.
Now I knew why half of the people came in workout pants. I just thought they were being "hippie" we dont care how we look people. Ahh, stereotypes...they will usually prove you wrong and laugh in your face just when you are really convinced that is the way something is. So when things became too "advanced" for me, I decided to walk around a bit and check out the booths and merchandise. I knew my place would be waiting when I got back because since I was just one person, I just had to find a spot for me and my butt. (yes, 2 spots)
Oh, I forgot to mention that the main headliner of this event, Michael Franti (Spearhead) was there doing yoga with everyone. That was cool. I was buying some stuff when I saw them wrapping up the session and I knew I wanted to go over and talk to him and take a picture for my friend. I went up to him and told him how much his music meant and what a great job he is doing putting the word out there. He hugged me and called me his sister and I got pretty high just smelling him. I knew this was gonna be a good show.
They started with some African music and moved on to Carribean and Latin and it was just a world music event. The place started getting more and more crowded and by the time the headliner went up, there was around 50,000 people they said. The largest turn-out ever since this concert started 8 years ago. It showed that people were more concerned now than ever about the state of affairs about this earth. Not just about this country, but about this EARTH. About WE as humans, not as "US" or "THEM" but "WE".
I will honestly say, that is the main thing I took from this event. We can all place blame, we can have the left and right wing politicians, we can have the anti-war protesters, the pro-war activists, it doesnt matter...we all have our opinions, but if we just respected each others differences and opinions and just showed kindness, it wouldnt matter what your beliefs were. That is all they are, just beliefs. Our humanity is what is important here. We are all part of ONE thing. Whether your belief of our evolution is from science or religion or magic or whatever, we are ALL here together.
Why can't we surpass these boundaries because that is all they are. Palestine and Israel...just a dotted line separating a sidewalk. An Israeli woman and a Palestinean woman stood on stage together, not as enemies, but as women, as mothers, as daughters, as friends, as HUMANS. I know this all sounds so idealistic in terms of the world coming together in harmony, but I am sure it sounded that way when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke. I know for myself, that when I think of world peace, I think of such a grand scale that I have no idea where I fit in in making a change. I know that is why I lived in denial about it and thought of it as a world problem and not in my backyard.
Five years ago today, it was in our backyard. But the funny thing is, our backyard is everywhere. Israel is in our backyard, London is in our backyard, Sudan is in our backyard, Ethiopia is in our backyard. As Michael Franti so eloquently puts it in his song
"I dont need a passport to walk on this earth, Anywhere I go cause I was made of this earth."
"I'm born of this earth, I breathe of this earth, and even with the pain I believe in this earth."
Okay, so just like some of you, I would have read that and knew that it was right and that is the way it should be and I would feel inspired and want to do something and then a day or so later, I would forget and go about my normal day. I understand. I am that girl. I was that girl. But I can't sit silently anymore. The more of us that do that and think that we cant make changes, the more changes wont be made. Again, I know this sounds cliche, but at some point, we have to get off our butts and do something. They kept saying BE PEACE NOW. Not tomorrow, not next year, but right NOW. They also kept saying "We're on the move". I really got that. You start saying it enough and you start to make it happen.
Okay, so what can I, a broke, struggling actress who really waits tables in an overpriced city like LA do to make a difference? It really is what it was all along. First off, you cant offer peace out to anyone, unless you have inner peace first. That also sounds cliche, but the only reason I was even able to start to believe in that, was because of my friend. He breaths it, he lives it, he is it. I have never seen that from anyone. I know it's attainable. I am working towards it. I am human, with money issues, relationship issues, self-image issues, but I am making a CHOICE to respond to them by not responding to them. The more power I put into them, the more power they have. Once I stop focusing and stressing about them, they no longer exist. I just start claiming them, then they are. Why is a table called a table? Because that is what we were told. Why cant I call myself a successful actress, a peace activist, a lover, a writer, a giver, a phenomenal woman? I think I just did. :)
Okay, hopefully I havent lost you yet. I listened to the speakers, the poets, the young children, the musicians...all of them doing THEIR part to make a difference. We all have our own unique talents and abilities. What I learned as I watched this young east coast new yorker get on stage who reminded me so much of an Adam Sandler type who just spoke from his heart, with his sense of humor and his stoned eyes, but with HIS truth... I learned that is all we can do. I can only speak from MY truth. Not from my friend's truth, not from Ghandi's truth, but from mine. By being myself which is a woman who longs for love, respect, kindness, harmony along with humor and goofiness and laughter and sarcasm and playfulness and yes, even sexyness and flirtation and a small dose of freakiness, I am being true to myself. So, with that said, I realized all I have to do is continue being truthful to who I am as long as I don't disrespect and dishonor others, this earth and myself, then I can say that I am also "on the move".
I have grander ideas of what I want to do to make a difference, but for right this moment, writing this blog was of much importance. Because like you, you might think tomorrow I might feel a bit different and not as passionate. But I will tell you this, you might've been right before this weekend. Actually, I know you were. Today, I am CHOOSING to not be that way anymore. I hope that in whatever way you can, you can make today different for you and for others around you. I PROMISE that "perfect" relationship, that "perfect" job, that "perfect" home, that "perfect" life...that whatever it is that you keep searching for to fulfill you, WON'T. What will? Helping others, being kind, seeing that YOUR life made a difference. Even if just on myspace.
By the way, the weather was gloomy and cloudy and rainy the whole weekend. Sunday morning I woke up and the sun was shining. My whole drive back to LA was incredible. I had my arm out the window like a little kid as if I was flying. I saw the puzzle pieces. I saw it all appearing before me. I saw the blur starting to clear up. It's all coming together now and it's so exciting!!! I wish you all inner peace and love. Then spread it!!
BE PEACE NOW!