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Breathing While I Wait!

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Susan RubinHow does a person learn to breathe while they are waiting? At other times in my life the waiting might have been for Him to Call. For Him to Like Me. I held my breath waiting to get into college, pass my driving test, find out if I was cast in something I had auditioned for. I was almost always fearful and convinced the worst would happen. BTW, it never did!

These days, I am waiting to find out if my play will get a production. I said “if” although it might be a more accurate reflection of my situation to say, “when” or “where” my play will be produced. But IF plagues me. And Where or When are hard for me to hold onto.

Before “eve2” was produced last summer, I had driven my therapist so nuts she actually made me a bet that the play would get a production. (She forgave the debt I owed her from the lost bet when I did get produced). And having somebody as balanced and sane as a therapist make a bet with me really helped me to believe that I would live to see “eve2” on stage. That’s not so good.

The sense of being okay, that things aren’t always as bad as they could be, that realistically I am doing better and better as a playwright, those things should come from inside of me. Well, they don’t. I can browbeat myself into believing (at best) that the people who want to work on my new play are truthful, extremely talented, and do-ers, meaning they tend to get things done. But that doesn’t shut up my inner quivering.

And this is beginning to bore even me. My friends and loved ones are always there to reassure me, but, as I said, I am getting sick of having to look outside for a reflection of how well I am doing. I sometimes read Tarot cards. I am, when reading for others, very perceptive (I hope), very positive, weaving in and out of the Tarot cards and making the best possible interpretation of the reading.

When I read for myself, I can turn lots of positive cards into harbingers of disaster and impending doom. So right now, the cards are shelved. Because as tedious as self-doubt has become for me, it still sits by my side.

I am grateful for the growth I have achieved: I don’t dwell any more on the inevitability of failure, the deck being stacked against me, or the chance that I will be successful but that the success will give me a fatal illness.

But what I would really like is to believe in the essential Rightness of the Universe. As I write those words, the image of starving people, and animals in distress and dire straits immediately come into my head! A smart person once told me that I should indulge for 30 minutes a day in the sadness and pain in the world, and spend the rest of the day enjoying my own great good fortune, beautiful life, and yes, my successes. The person told me, and I agree that despair is not the only response to life, and that despair is in many ways insulting to the universe.

I know that once upon a time, Despair (I capitalized the D to make it clear that this was a big deal)! Anyway… once upon a time, Despair was considered the 8th Deadly Sin. I am going to move forward trying to dispense with despair, kick pessimism out of my house, and try to live in the reality that if I keep working very, very hard, and I am as honorable a human being as I can be, good things will happen. Maybe not This Production at Such and Such Theatre, but maybe an even Better Production at a theatre I wouldn’t dare dream of. Wish me luck!!!

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About Susan Rubin

I am primarily a playwright. My work’s been performed in Cuba, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and New York. The World Premiere of my newest play, “eve2” opens at LA’s Bootleg Theatre in July, 2013. It’s a surreal take on Eve and Adam, only this time, Eve gets a second bite at the apple! I write documentaries on subjects from women's reproductive rights, to the rise of the radical right wing, to violence against women. The documentaries tell brutal truths; they are balanced for me by my plays that are comedic, magical, musical and surreal. Telling stories with a different voice. I write for Ms Blog - part of Ms Magazine, founded by Gloria Steinem, and currently the longest existing feminist magazine in the US. Blogs let me talk to a large audience about difficult issues with irony and humor. Six of my Ms blogs are now a web series, “Vagina Dialogues” on Funny or Die.