Friday, November 26, 2010

Sacred Longing

In lieu of taking a picture of the celebrity mentioned below, I took a picture of myself as I torturously contemplated taking a picture of him.


A group of us are gathered around the fire as a friend talks about somebody she loved. "We were friends long before anything romantic or sexual ever happened," she says. "We were super close in this way that was like sixth grade buddies where we would share secrets and go on adventures, and that was totally cool. I took it as a given that he was completely unavailable. And eventually I realized I loved him as something more. I knew I wasn't going to get him, or so I thought. It's agonizing to want something so bad, but want it as deeply as you can because that's what's going to bring it about. And there's the sacredness to the longing."



So I'm sitting at Aroma with my friends Robert and Jay. Robert and I have ordered the jerk chicken wrap and Jay is working on a lox plate. We are catching up, cracking a few distasteful jokes, and laughing at them like high school teenagers. Then, the teacher comes in and ruins all the fun. But not in the way you might think...

We're sitting outside, and Robert and Jay have the seats facing the street. "Do you watch Glee?" says Robert in a hushed tone. "If by 'watch' you mean ‘up till 3 in the morning yesterday in a marathon of back-to-back reruns on Netflix’ I guess the answer would be yes." "Will Schuster is standing right in front of us waiting to order." I crane my neck all slow and sneaky-like. Yes, it is he -- TV star; triple threat; show choir director hunk in residence... of my heart. I'm officially in Fan Girl shock. I can't hold a conversation; can't eat a bite; every circuit in my body goes haywire.

I know myself well enough by now to understand that this is something I do. I am new to LA. I get starstruck. I admire the value in others' work while acknowledging the value of my own. I have deep respect for many people's accomplishments, both in the entertainment industry and out. And I don't go gaga over every celebrity I see. If it had been any other character on the show, I probably would've been like, "Huh, cool," and returned to my meal. That actually did happen with Jane Lynch when I was eating breakfast with another friend in Studio City. He said, "Is that Sue Sylvester taking the table outside?" I said, "Oh yeah, I think it is," and that was the end of that. Not to say that the actress and the character aren't equally awesome, but there's one other factor involved -- sex appeal. For any of you who have not seen Glee (which means you're probably a hermit camping out in the Mongolian desert completely deprived of pop culture of any kind), Matthew Morrison -- the actor who plays "Mr. Shue”-- is just about the biggest heartthrob imaginable. And that's BEFORE he opens his mouth to sing or busts a move on the dance floor, which exponentially increase his attractiveness by 500 and 25,000, respectively. Also, the fact that I had been watching him feverishly not 10 hours before made it all the more intense.

"I want to talk to him. I want to ask him for a picture. I want to tell him I love him to pieces," I rattle as Jay and Robert smile and shake their heads. "Don't do it," they warn, "It could be a very baaaad idea." "But it worked for Drusilla," I plead. (I had previously approached Juliet Landau, who plays Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told her she was awesome, and asked her for a picture. She kindly obliged, I subsequently wrote her vampire alter ego a love song, and now we are on friendly terms.) "That was a completely different context,” they tell me. "She was at an industry event that lent itself to hobnobbing. He's eating lunch. He doesn't want to be bothered." I refuse to take no for an answer just yet. I think, “I need to prove my audacity (if only to myself). I need to live without regret. I need to go after the things I want... with a vengeance."

And then I remember my dear friend's words around the fire. Sacred longing, sacred longing, how about that sacred FREAKING longing??? When I think of the word “sacred,” a specific set of images comes to mind. Candles. Churches. People overtaken by magical trance states dancing and praying to the rain gods. This feeling I have is icky; unpleasant; borderline unbearable. Robert quietly snickers as he watches my face contort like an electric shock victim. "You’re adorable," he says. I say, "You think this is adorable for ME?" And then I take a step outside of myself to see what is really going on. My hands shake. My body twitches. Heart pounds like a jackhammer. This is a heightened state; an altered state; yes, a sacred state of being.

Part of me thinks, "If only this longing could be fulfilled..." as if this moment were somehow empty. In fact, this moment is FULL. It is, perhaps, fuller than any moment when our desires have been met or goals achieved. A desire can feel like a pothole; a big chunk of negative space just waiting for a trowel-full of cement to eliminate the clunk in the road. But once the pavement is poured, it just feels neutral. Nobody notices their tires gliding across it; at least not in the way they would have noticed the sink, bounce, and rattle as they passed through its previous state. Furthermore, save maybe a black hole or two in another part of the universe, there is no such thing as "empty." Even if the moment isn't filled with our substance of choice, it is buzzing with all sorts of other things -- physical sensations; tsunamis of emotions; epiphanies of all shapes and sizes.

As a multi-tasking overachiever, I want everything to serve a higher purpose, or at least many lower and medium-height purposes. I want to connect with Matthew Morrison; get over my fan girl neuroses; get a picture for my blog; prove I've got chutzpah; slip him a flyer for my Buffy project, thereby owning my identity as an actress, singer, writer, creative person, human being worthy of eating food and breathing air. And then I realize his purpose has already been served. Twice, in fact. He has given me something awesome to reflect on AND he has given me a story for my blog. It isn't the purpose I had wanted or expected, but I honor it; respect it; embrace it fully for what it is.

A folded-up Buffy flyer remains tucked away in the back pocket of my cutoff jeans; a reminder that I don't have to give it away all here, all now. My future self is kicking it with Matthew Morrison a few months or years later, laughing about the whole darn thing. And my future self a few hours from now is handing another Buffy flyer to a random stranger who turns out to be a record producer for Alice in Chains, Billy Idol, and The Offspring. But that's a story for another day…

1 comment:

  1. If he'd had any sense at all he would have come up to you and then HE'D have a story to tell.

    I love the pace and rhythm of your writing.