Little Things

writing hand wood white number pattern line sheet music close up sketch drawing design text handwriting calligraphy document shapeI’m writing this instead of writing the musical I’m supposed to be writing.

That’s not true.

I started writing a song and got stuck and took a break. I’m still writing it, I’m just not physically writing it right at this second. Sometimes a song writes itself when you’re not writing it.

I’m really hoping that happens.

I’m writing a gender euphoria song for our main character. It’s turning into a sort of bluesy torch song, which is an entirely different voice for this character and I’m having a hard time deciding whether it is appropriate or not.

I mean, who DOESN’T want a bluesy torch song? But also I don’t want it to be like, “And then the writers wanted a totally unwarranted bluesy torch song.” But it’s post-coming out, so maybe this character needs a new voice to show that?

Childcare is fucking hard. I don’t have family near me and it’s hard. Money aside (which is no small thing), I am in the constant situation of asking someone to help me. I hate that. Maybe that’s what it is. I wish I had the rest of today to work on this song, but I have therapy in 20 minutes and then I have 90 minutes before I have to go pick up the girls. And then that’s it.

I can’t write music when they’re here, at least not really. Because me writing looks like “doing nothing” and “doing nothing” means that I could be doing something for them.

I mean, who I am kidding. “Doing something else” means I could be doing something for them.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Kiss My Aztec: It’s a “No” from Me.

Logo from the photo backdrop

I know it’s been awhile (I literally just read and edited my “About Me!” section for the first time in like 5 years and, uh… yikes), but I have a rant in me, so hello!

One day on facebook, I saw a sizzle reel for a new musical called Kiss My Aztec (Book by John Leguizamo and Tony Taccone, Music by Benjamin Velez, Lyrics by David Kamp, Benjamin Velez, and John Leguizamo) at Berkeley Rep, which included the wry opening number “White People on Boats.” Between that and the interviews with the director, writers, and choreographer, the great reviews — it sounded amazing. It was enough to convince me to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Bay Area to see it. I was under the impression that I would be treated to a show that explored Aztec heritage and culture while at the same time mocking and damning colonialism. Sign me up, sez I! A couple of friends and I booked our tickets, secured accommodations, and headed out for a theatre adventure.

Before I launch into what it is I saw, I want to note that the cast is very talented, I enjoyed most of the costumes, I enjoyed the set and the lights, and the band was SMOKIN’. This critique is mostly about the content of the show. In short, I am not a fan. At times I was merely uncomfortable, at times I was offended.

Amazing set by Clint Ramos

And at times I admit I laughed at a well-delivered inbreeding joke.

But for the most part I sat in bewilderment about how a show with a primarily Latinx creative team and cast created this. When I mentioned this to my friends, it was pointed out to me that speaking truth to power comes at a higher cost for POC and so it’s entirely possible that the cast and designers were like, “This sucks, but, hey, it’s the Rep and it’s John Leguizamo, and this is my shot.” It’s entirely possible that they said something and it was ignored. It’s also entirely possible that they all believe in this show and that I, a white person, didn’t find it funny because the humor wasn’t meant for me to get.

Basically I want to acknowledge that I am questioning why I’m offended because I don’t want to do that thing that well-meaning white people do where we get all worked up over shit that isn’t a thing in an effort to be a Good Ally ™.

That all being said… I really think that Kiss My Aztec sucked.

Continue reading

Can You Feel My Heart Saying ‘Hi’?

When I first discovered I was nonbinary, I panicked. I panicked because I didn’t want other people to panic. I didn’t want to be questioned or judged or told it was a phase or not real or me just trying to be trendy. I didn’t want to make it a big deal. I’d just, you know, cut my hair, wear slightly different clothes. Phase out others. No one would need to know why. I’d only use my pronouns with *new* people, people who didn’t know me before. I think I even told people that I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I wanted it to be a slow reveal, partly because I was still figuring myself out and partly because I didn’t want to be click bait. Look at me! Please like me! Please validate me.

But here’s the thing. The longer I am out, the more I see the cracks in the matrix. In the six months I’ve been out, I’ve been outed multiple times, I’ve been told I’m not trans enough by other trans people, I have been asked skeptical questions about my gender. The more I pretend that this isn’t a big deal, the more that I see that it IS a big deal. It’s a big deal to me.
I keep remembering the song that echoed in my heart in the early days, “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home. Listen to it. It’s about a little girl who sees a butch lesbian for the first time and finally sees a person she identifies with. Even though sexuality and gender are separate things, I still resonated with that moment of recognition. That moment when you see yourself represented in the world and something inside of you feels right. It clicks. “Can you hear my heart saying hi? I know you.”

I’ve decided I want to wear a ring of keys.

My name is Jasmine Joshua. At this time, I identify as a trans nonbinary or transmasculine person. I may always be in the process of figuring my gender out. I use they/them pronouns. I’m new to my community, but I’ve always been a part of it. I’m still learning the language and culture of a group that I didn’t know existed until a few years ago. I am the oldest nonbinary person that I know and sometimes that makes me feel behind or alone or stupid that I didn’t figure it out sooner.

I think it’s important that I am visible, even at personal cost. If this is upsetting/stupid/weird to you, feel free to unfollow me or ask me polite questions in PM. Know that it’s okay to walk away. All I ask is that you’re kind.

Everyone is looking for a kindred spirit and I want to be the person that a stranger of any age sees and says, “Wait. I can do that?”
Yes, you can. And you can do it whenever you want. There is no rush.

Thoughts on “Cat Person”

I started reading “Cat Person” and I’m not even finished and I’m a little disturbed.

I admit that when it first started getting circulated around, I skipped over it because the close up of the two mouths kissing totally grossed me out. Ew, why do I need to be that close to someone else’s wet intimate moment? Yuck. Next.

But then everyone started reading it and what the hell, I’m suseptable to peer pressure so I figured I should read it so I could say that I read it and that I probably agree with whatever feminist #metoo consent is king soap boxing everyone else had already said and probably said it better than me.

I’m a little social media fatigued, is that obvious?

Fact is I was Margot for most of my life as a woman. I was a foolish, naive, obsessed with needing a boyfriend, easily flattered, and went along because what else was I doing? Because that’s what I thought being a woman was supposed to be and since I wasn’t naturally able to be a woman, this is what I came up with. I chased men. I wanted men to love me. I had sex with men to make them love me.

It was horrible. If god forbid I should ever lose M Fox, I will just be alone forever because I fucking hate dating. I hate the players, I hate the game, I hate it all.

Tom was a grad student when I was 19. I forget how I met him. Maybe it was during laundry ping pong. It was my second and final time getting out of an abusive relationship — a relationship with a man who said that he didn’t want to treat me nice because he didn’t want to spoil me. He didn’t want me to get “used to it.” He ignored me in public. He kicked the back of my knees and flat tired me from behind when we walked home. He pinched my nipples when he was angry in private. He had sex with me while I cried over my beloved childhood dog dying. I remember watching it dawn on his face while he humped me that maybe I wasn’t enjoying it. That maybe when I asked him to come over and comfort me that I didn’t mean with his dick. Oh well. Better finish up.

So I guess the only thing that I could offer these men was my body. My woman’s body with soft breasts and legs that opened pretty easily, if you could show me that you loved me. My bar was pretty fucking low.

Then came Tom. I told him about my last relationship, how I was treated, how I felt broken and violated. He was older than me, he was taller than me, he felt like a grown-up. He said he’d take care of me.

Just before Tom penetrated me, he said, “You know I’m with someone else, right?”

“Yeah,” I lied. But then we had sex.

After we were done: “I’m going to break your heart, aren’t I?”

And I loved him. I was in love with him. He healed me, he made me feel dainty and beautiful and wanted.

So when I read “Cat Person,” I see myself in Margot and it is so incredible painful to admit how real that is. Flaws and all. The sad truth? I would have been thrilled to have been chosen by the idiot Robert. I would have been THRILLED to receive a bunch of stupid emojis and a dolphin before I even got him. Even if I hated it.

Because to be alone would have been way way worse.

I wish I had some pithy analysis for this, but I don’t. This story is so realistic and so simple and really punched me in the gut. There are people who are upset because there’s some fat shaming in it, but, honestly, why do we require Margot to be perfect? She’s certainly not the product of a perfect society.

Bread Crumbs

I was 15. I wanted to buzz my hair like Sinead O’Connor. The woman at the salon said no. She gave me a pixie cut, which I loved. Jokingly called, “My other son.” I loved it.

~~

I was 14. Meant as an insult, “When you wear a skirt, you walk like a man in a kilt.” I loved it.

~~

Alanna the Lioness. I wanted to be her. I wanted to live as a man and learn to fight and be underestimated because of my sex and then defeat them.

~~

I was an alto.

~~

Just kidding, there’s more to it than that, haha. I was an alto 2. I wanted to be an alto 3. Powerful in depth of voice.

~~

When my hair started to grow out, I wanted to dress like a Beatle. I found a pair of Beatle boots and still whenever I find Beatle boots, I buy them.

~~

When I was 14, I found a pair of boy’s dress shoes that fit me at a thrift store. I bought them. I actually had a moment where I thought, “What if this is my style? What if I just wear boy’s clothes?” And then I remembered that I was a girl and it would be weird.

~~

I founded a theatre company based on nontraditional casting so that I could be John Adams in 1776. And Harold Hill. And Elyot Chase. So I could ask to play men’s roles and it would be in the name of art. Good cover.

~~

Sophomore in college. Our sardonic History of Musical Theatre teacher was absent for a class and so made us watch Desperate Living while he was gone because he “wanted to show us that John Waters isn’t just Hairspray.” The butch character who asked to have a penis and then showed their partner and their partner was horrified even though it was something that that character really really wanted and so they cut off their penis. Could. Not. Stop. Thinking. About. Them. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could put on a penis every once and awhile? And then take it off?

~~

When I first saw Hedwig. Oh my god, when I first saw Hedwig. Yes. Yes. The pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine. To feel like a fraud in pants and a fraud in a skirt and wondering why you can’t be both. The tragic humor of it.

~~
When I look at myself in the mirror after putting on make-up (not for stage):

 

~~

Kindergarten. My male friend Jesse was Skulltor. My female friend Vicky was Wonder Woman. I was “a bunny rabbit who could fly.” Genderless.

~~

I loved Care Bears. I wanted to be Tenderheart, Bright Heart Raccoon, or Nobleheart. Three androgynous/masculine/undetermined characters.

~~

I remember being told that my favorite color was magenta.

~~

I’m not disgusted by my female body. I just don’t really know what to do with her.

~~

I am uncomfortable with my assigned gender role.

 

~~

I’m five. I’m in ballet class. Teacher asks us all what we want to be. Lots of princesses, fairies, lambs, fairy princess lambs. I want to be Peter Pan. Why? I say Cathy Rigby play him on Broadway and the concept of a woman being a boy fascinated me. I had Peter Pan dreams for years.

~~

Back to Care Bears. I sorta had a thing for Dark Heart. Maybe I just have a thing for red headed cartoon boys?

~~

I, uh, sorta want to be Gaston.

~~

I think I loved Prince Philip because I wanted to be him. No carrots.

~~

“Grace Kelly” by MIKA comes out. I need to meet him. I do at a Virgin Records store in Hollywood and he signs my album. This song speaks to me almost as much as Hedwig speaks to me.

~~

Sephiroth and Griffith and Seshomaru and Beetlejuice (the cartoon) and Peter Pan (people I wanted to be/sorta attracted to)

~~~

I realize I’ve always had body dysmorphia, but didn’t know what it was called. And it’s not that I see my breasts and am upset by them, but I have always seen myself as a brawnier person. A larger person with burlier shoulders. I always feel that I physically take up more space than I do. I think I can’t fit in between a chair and a table when I can. I’m surprised when I see how much smaller my shoulders are. It dawned on me today that that is body dysmorphia. I always thought it was because I thought I was fat.

In Between

I am a native New Yorker from the West Coast.

I am patrilineally Jewish.

I am both a man and a woman and neither.

I am a Millennial born before cell phones.

I am a skinny plus size.

 

 

I Have a Blog No One Reads, Too — And I Know How to Use It

So. . . it’s been awhile. Turns out when you give birth to twins, your ability to sit still for lengthy periods of time seriously dwindles. I did pull off the all-female production of 1776, which was nominated for five local BroadwayWorld Awards and won for Best Costumes (YESSSS!). I was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical and as Person to Watch, which was very flattering and exciting, even if I didn’t win. I also performed in two other productions (Into the Woods and a world premiere play called My Dear Miss Chancellor, which was about a secret society of sword fighting lesbians set in Jane Austen era London and yes it was as bad ass as that sounds).

I’ve been busy. Happy. Exhausted. Busy. And not very full of writing, I am sorry to say!

So what, dear reader, has brought me out of hibernation?

Why, self-righteous rage, of course!

Continue reading