Tuesday, March 19, 2019


9 am. I was supposed to get up at 8:15. Okay, new plan: I can rush my shower, put on half of my makeup at home, then put the other half on at work before driving to the audition. Do I have food at home? I grab the last blueberry muffin.

10 am. I also have a protein shake at work. I’m five minutes late, but it’s not the end of the world. P sends me a thoughtful text. Thank goddess for this man. I remember that I’m supposed to send out that Etsy order, which I left at home. Okay, new plan: I can print the shipping label here at work, then take it home and put it on the package.

11 am. Checks at work are signed and sent out. I need to pay two bills online, now that I’ve been paid, but it will have to wait until later tonight. Oh! “The Fantasticks!” Luisa’s monologue would be good for that audition B was asking about. I’ll message him. I step into the upstairs bathroom, layer on foundation, blush, lipstick. Review the lines. “You don’t have to worry about anything else right now,” I tell myself. “Just get to the audition. Nothing else. Just do that one thing.” Traffic to Lehi is light. When I get to the audition, the office suite I’m looking for takes up the whole floor. The iMacs at the front desk are rose gold, and the visitor badge they give me is iridescent. I’m early, but the room is laidback, and they give me a few minutes to look at the new script pages before auditioning. I get a few laughs, and it buoys me up amid the chaos.

12 pm. I’m down in this neighborhood, so I stop at IKEA to pick up a few curtain hanging hardware for my new bedroom. I get lost, as I always do. I pick up some more frames for my Etsy shop while I’m there. I wonder what I’ll blog about, and when I’ll blog about it.

1 pm. I switch the laundry, then finally put those curtains up in my bedroom. Okay, let’s give these audition sides 10 minutes. Just 10 solid minutes of work. Done. “You don’t have to do anything else right now, Liz. Just this thing.” I take off most of my makeup. Time to switch the laundry again. “Now just switch the laundry. Nothing else. One thing at a time.” The comforter should be dry by the time I get back tonight. I walk past the boxes in the kitchen on my way to the laundry room. Do I have time to unpack them tomorrow? Maybe Wednesday?

2 pm. Huh. Maybe I should eat something? All of my food is still in boxes in the kitchen. Jimmy John’s it is. Oh! The Etsy order. I put the shipping label on it and place it in the middle of my doorway, so I won’t forget it. Do I have time to start a blog entry? I’ll change for this next audition. What says “lesbian from Denver who speaks up at a speaking event after she disagrees with the speaker”? REI pants. Flannel. I review the lines again. Where is my food? I check online. Oh. I selected “Pickup” instead of “Delivery.” I glance at the clock. I have time. I grab my script and that damn Etsy order, and stop by Jimmy John’s, eating half of my sandwich while I drive to the casting office.

3 pm. They’re running a few minutes behind on auditions. I glance at my lines. I know these. When they call me in, the read goes well, but I forget half of the lines I was sure I knew. Can I come back later in the week, more fully memorized? Yes. I fight my urge to beat myself up about memorization, and take it as a compliment that they want to see me again. I eat the other half of my sandwich in the car. I glance at the gas gauge. Nearly empty. I stop by Costco and fill up.

4 pm. Ulta has one hair product I’m looking for, and not the other. I walk over to Sally Beauty and grab hair dye, although now that I think about it, maybe I should wait until I hear back about these auditions? Oh! Harmon’s has a little post office stop inside. The woman at the counter is helping another customer. “Can I just drop this off here?” I ask. She nods. I drive to South Jordan to meet C. Why doesn’t anyone on this godforsaken highway know how to drive?! I’m still a little hungry…there’s a grocery store near Grandma and Grandpa’s place. I stop and get an apple.

5 pm. C and Grandma offer me some of the artichoke they’re sharing, and C tells me that it was one of those magical Grandma F moments—C woke up a few days ago craving artichokes, and then Grandma showed up with a box of them. We drive to Draper to join B. He’s waiting by his car when we arrive. We somehow manage to get to rehearsal in Provo in 26 minutes, despite traffic.

6 pm. We work the dream sequence that starts the play. L asks me if I have music in mind. I’m stumped, but at the last minute I remember the song from that soundtrack I’ve been thinking about. I think it will work. I’ll add some other elements to it. The whole sequence is only about a minute and fifteen seconds. Maybe I can build it this weekend? We work through the rest of the rough script, adjusting here, cutting there. I’ve got a thousand thoughts about sound design. I should have brought my laptop, so I could start building right now. Next time, maybe.

10 pm. B and I chat about Russian Doll during the drive back to Draper. C and I get into her car and drive to South Jordan, and from there, I climb back into my car and drive back to Salt Lake. Is 215 the faster way to get to my new place? Yes. I feel certain I’m about to collapse the second I get home.

11 pm. K has Game of Thrones on in the living room, a girl after my own heart. I walk past A’s bedroom and she calls out, “Hey, girl!” “Hey,” I reply. I drop my stuff in my room and then stride into hers, kicking my shoes off and sitting on her bed. I tell her about the insanity of my day, and she tells me about the stressful as hell D&D campaign they played last night. K wanders over and stands in the doorway, and A jokes that I didn’t wait for an invitation, I just came right in (which she was fine with). The three of us talk about performative gender, and the funny old-married-couple relationship these friends of ours have, and sex education in Utah, and EMDR therapy, and feminism, and how male doctors never seem to take women’s experiences seriously.

Midnight. I’ve been half holding my breath all day, trying to stay in the moment, and just go from one thing to the next. Sitting and talking with these smart, funny women at the end of this insane day fills my lungs up. It’s what I’ve longed for this past year. To come home to connection. I liked having my own space, but I hadn’t realized that the line between alone and lonely had gotten so blurred. I have friends, I have family, I have a significant other. But I’ve missed this. Coming home and talking on someone’s bed, while someone else wanders in from the living room to join in. When I finally climb into bed, I don’t feel so carved out, like I’m barely holding on to everything. I still have to review those lines more, and unpack the kitchen, and sort and clean things at the old place. But I can breathe a little easier now.

Monday, March 4, 2019

An Ode to Plastic Wrap

“Maybe it was time to consign this chair to nothing, but I would do this on a day when it was not important. I would break its spell in my own due time.” –The Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin

It’s been 8 ½ years since Jacob and I got married. As one of the most practical wedding gifts in history, someone gave us 3000 square feet of plastic wrap. It’s a giant roll, from Costco. From the beginning of our marriage to the end of it, we went through maybe a fourth of the roll. 750 square feet.

Who knows how many plates and bowls and serving dishes of food it was used to preserve. 500, maybe? We used it to wrap up the window air conditioner for storage in the winter. It protected plates and picture frames each of the four times we moved. It’s a perfect temporary storage solution. It does the same job that bubble wrap or a Tupperware container would do—keeping things preserved for now, until the time when we need the thing it’s preserving.

The roll of plastic wrap came with us from 5th West to College Avenue in Rexburg, then from College Avenue to the farmhouse with Mama and Papa Chapman. It traveled with us to that first little house in Provo. When we moved to Salt Lake, we almost forgot it in a kitchen cupboard in that Provo house, and I drove all the way back to get it. “That would have been a huge loss,” Jacob said, half laughing with relief, as I carried it into the kitchen.

That roll of plastic wrap is “one of the things I got in the divorce.” Our separation was uncomplicated, legally speaking, and amicable, emotionally speaking, even if it was deeply painful for both of us. Jacob left the plastic wrap behind, which I’ve always interpreted as a sign of good will. I still have it. It’s seen me through maybe 100 more plates and bowls of food preservation. I still use it to wrap and store the air conditioner. Sometimes I use it to protect surfaces while I paint.

Most often nowadays, it’s used to wrap up finished cross stitches for my Etsy shop. The box the roll came in fits perfectly (PERFECTLY) into my craft cart, and it seems a logical way to protect stitches for storage and shipping. But it’s being used to protect dishes and picture frames lately, too.

Because I’m packing up this Salt Lake City apartment. I’ve spent four years here, two with Jacob and two without him. And it felt like time. My life is shifting, and, it feels like I’ve outgrown this place. I’m a houseplant in need of re-potting.

I’ll be joining a friend and another roommate in a perfect old house with a giant backyard, about ten minutes away from my current place. I’ve got two weeks before move-in day, so I’ve been emptying shelves and clearing out closets. And I keep stumbling upon things I saved when Jacob and I separated. Old pictures. Notes. A small book stamp that says “Chapman Family Library.” There are some things that I’m keeping. They’re the tangible equivalent of journal pages. A record of the past, of truths that were, that add up to become the truth that is. My marriage with Jacob was a big and beautiful and important part of my life, and I feel no need or desire to erase it.

But there are some things that fall into a strange “in between” category. Things that I don’t feel a need to keep for sentimental reasons, but that I’m having a hard time getting rid of. A few framed pictures of us. Things that used to decorate the Chapman home, when this apartment was the Chapman home.

Maybe it’s too much to let go of everything all at once. The apartment and the framed pictures, too. If I’m a houseplant in need of re-potting, I don’t want to cut off too many of my roots in the process.

So for now, I’ll wrap these things in plastic wrap. I’ll pull of yards and yards from that Kirkland Signature roll, and preserve those pictures temporarily. Until their spell is broken. Until I’m no longer in the middle of being transplanted.

There’s a voice in my head that cries out for me to make a decision, to let go or not. But I’m learning that I can roll my own, when it comes to healing. I’ll let those things from the Chapman home sit, preserved in amber, or in plastic wrap, as the case may be. Until it’s time to transplant them, too.