Angie, Los Angeles, USA


Music is one of the few things that I feel that I absolutely couldn’t live without. Having experienced pain and loss and hardship, as we all have, I have come in recent months to carefully analyze my needs versus my wants. And, while it may sound strange to some, music has emphatically landed in the ‘need’ category. I grew up in a very cultish-Christian environment, went to private school, and one of the things that was prohibited for me was music. I was not allowed to listen to any ‘secular’ (read: Not church) music. So, my exposure to music came late…and fortunately, came in a way that has shaped my life! Out of curiosity, I stopped in a music store after school when I was almost 16. I knew nothing about any of the music, and I began asking the older man who was working questions. When I explained to him the lack of music in my life, he was awed and then involved! He made it his personal mission to introduce me to “‘Real Music’ – not the crap these kids are listening to today!”. And I couldn’t have been more lucky!! Jazz, blues, rockabilly, doo-wop…this is the music that I cut my teeth on! Since then, I’ve had a passionate love affair with music, & I often imagine the soundtrack to my life as I’m doing mundane things. I love Steve Jobs & Apple for giving me iTunes & my iPod, I love last.fm and my Scrobbler, I love the internet for making available to me more music than I ever dreamed possible, & I love my 360 gig external harddrive which houses my 180 gigs of music!! I’m a very lucky girl. And thus, though it seems impossible to choose only ten, these are the songs which comprise Angie: The Mixtape. 🙂

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As a Jewish person, my adult life has been lived with me being very aware of the subtle and not-so-subtle Racism that is prevalent in our world. Unfortunately for me, there is a large group of people who – when they see me – see only someone who shares their skin hue and assume, based on this perceived commonality, that I will share their views and so feel comfortable disparaging whatever minority group their tirade is about to me.

Because it has happened this way, the vast majority of my friends/boyfriends/girlfriends/lovers have been ‘obvious’ minorities. Those who have suffered racist actions in their life far beyond what I personally know.

One of my dear friends was on the first bus on kids taken to the first desegregated school in Detroit. When she and her classmates got off of the bus, they were met with eggs being hurled at them by the White parents of their new classmates. The love of my life was passed over multiple times for a partnership that had been promised to him at his company, where he attained his position after getting a PhD in Finance from a great school, because they had never made a Black person a partner and even though they had promised him as part of his package that at a certain level he would be the first, they changed their mind. Many of my friends suffer from racism in ways that are ridiculous and so infuriating to me.

I have always been a person that speaks my mind and tries to change what I see as injustice and wrong in my world. I am the woman who has spoken out to my rich bosses when they made racist comments around me and assumed I shared their viewpoints. I am the person who, when given control of HR at my company, turned from a White-owned and staffed business to one with employees of every ethnic background. I am a person who at least tries. I think that one person *can* make a difference, because I’ve made a difference in my surroundings. And I think that making a difference in our surroundings has a ripple effect. I speak up when people use racist language around me. I see it as my personal responsibility to spread my viewpoints and to do it louder, bigger, and more intelligently than those who are disseminating hate.

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i haven’t been around in a while. life’s been throwing me curve balls left and right. i’ve been dodging, ducking, sleeping, staying out of sight. trying to recover. it was the start of my New Year, a Shmita year…this is supposed to be a year of rest and restoration for both the land and its people. i ask today…is it? these are trying times, and the more and more that I think I’m wise with my age, independent, self-aware, I am made forcibly aware of the reality of being a woman. What that means really. the inherent risk that simply ‘is’ due to my sex.

Last month, I was made sexually uncomfortable by a doctor, both with his actions and his words. Because he was in a position of both power and knowledge, he was able to make me a victim in a situation in which my words would be questioned because I’m ‘hormonal and somewhat unstable’ due to disease and medication. This brought to the forefront for me how easy it is to be either a victim or your own best advocate. Often times, almost my entire life, I have chosen the fight…advocacy. I am passionate and loud about both my own right to be both safe and a sexual being in this world, despite the fact that I am ‘the weaker sex’, and our collective right to the same things. Safety. Freedom. Sexuality without consequence. It is just, it is right, it is what we deserve…but it is not the world in which we live. (more…)

re: communicating in the age of technology…

often times, i’ve felt that the more ways that we have to stay in touch, the less that we truly know each other. everything is getting shorter and shorter, words have cut down to single letters, emotions articulated through emoticons represented by colons and parentheses. hearts are now transcribed with arrows and the number three. i wouldn’t recognize a full sentence if it bit me with my friend’s own hand in most situations. in my last relationship, i realized several months in that i had no idea what his script looked like.

it isn’t that i’m standing in a bubble, not using technology, and lamenting what it’s doing to everyone else. i myself am part of the problem. i have conversations with my friends while typing on my BlackBerry. i spend a large amount of time lost in the interworld. i isolate and choose to stay in touch via mass email or social networking sites, especially as my health worsens, but i’m fully aware that the more ways that i have to be in touch, the easier it is to be more and more superficial and less involved with my loved ones. with every ‘forward this to five people…’ and ‘why god made men…’ forward that i open, i’m more inclined to reply with ‘lol’ and less inclined to actually have a conversation.

i used to tell people that ‘fine’ was a cop out answer and to tell me how they really were. now, i hit forward. reply. lol. and log out. technology has given me more info than ever before but made me even less aware.

somehow, i got lucky and connected >.< with a Banana Republic sales rep on his last day. i was purging myself with retail therapy, going through rough times. he just didn’t care anymore. anyway, a bag that was supposed to be $400, i got for i don’t even want to tell you how much, it was so ridiculous. i also got 5 pairs of 4-inch heels and some clothes, but that’s besides the point…the bag is HUGE. and heavy…because just like inside me, my external me is always collecting even more baggage to deal with and process and so I’m of the OverSized Leather Handbag Club (started by Trina Turk and Aaneta).

inside my bag, i always carry: 2 shades of Arbonne lip plumper, Arbonne Ginger Citrus lotion, 4 Wet Naps, xanax, aleve, a bound notebook, a planner, band aids, BlackBerry, two ink pens, Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream lip protectant stick (don’t tell my Arbonne sponsor!!), my point & shoot digicam, my wallet, a personalized mint can full of hair accessories, my business cards and my HRT. and, i pick up several things throughout my day when i leave the house…eharm3.jpg

generally i come back with paperwork from doctors, appointment cards, info for new meds, receipts, and whatever other paperwork or general things i may accumulate. and yes, one shoulder always hurts more than the other.

Not so long ago, I left my tall, dark and handsome love of the Hollywood Hills for the more stable but less aesthetically pleasing arms of Burbank.

My old neighborhood and I had a passionate, torrid love affair. I loved that I could hike in the canyons, that my building had a pool & hot tub on the roof, a gym in the basement, off-street parking and a security guard. I also loved that I could walk to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, the gym…there wasn’t much that I didn’t love about my neighborhood {barring traffic and proximity to the 101, but these are Los Angeles complaints and you learn to tune them out as you swim laps on your rooftop!}.

Because of life stuff…finances/health/etc, I have migrated to the dependable…the affordable…the Valley. I, who used to be known for the mantra “I don’t date 818” now live in Burbank. I love that it’s a cute little neighborhood, with trees and old men taking walks in the morning. I love that I have a back yard with plants. I love that it’s affordable. But, I hate that it’s the Valley…it’s hot, nothing is walking distance, it’s hot, it’s dry, it’s 818, television studios are everywhere. Did I mention that it’s hot? some-like-it-hawt.jpg

I am Angie, and I’m still single, 30 and living in Los{t} Angeles Proper –> the 818 Now :/.

i’m starting to think that my grandma is right and i’m changed, not the same as i used to be. not in a good way. a pansy now. perhaps when death has brushed your cheek with its cold hand, you do change. perhaps only some people do – the weak among us. perhaps the strong move on embracing everything and living more ferociously. that was my plan. but, not quite five months beyond my surgery, i seem to be faltering. i seem to still be sick all of the time, having hot flashes all of the time, not adjusting to my HRT well, still having lots of hormonal migraines and actually getting more symptoms and more pain instead of doing better.

a couple of weekends ago, after spending a few days in total pain, i went to bed on Friday evening (without taking any medicine) and woke up on Sunday afternoon. my roommate was freaking out and had tried to wake me and my phone had been ringing by my head and i hadn’t moved. i thought that he was messing with me. but, it was Sunday. and so, i started to be gripped by the epic fear again. is Cancer stalking me? what else? what could have happened to me as a result of the experimental treatments? the chemicals put into my body with the hormone suppression to stop the disease from ravaging any further my reproductive organs and my abdomen? the non-FDA approved treatments and meds that were pumped into me time and again to further research for diseases that no one understands yet. at the time, i didn’t think about this part – the part after the disease…when the possible side-effects from being saved would come into play. and although we spoke very briefly of the immune system problems that would result from both the treatments and the disease, especially back-to-back the way i experienced it, i didn’t expect this.

i expected my surgery to be the gateway to a better life. i was so excited to have all of those diseased organs out of me and i thought that that would be my bridge to being ‘me’ again. now, i am seeing that it was a tool to finding wellness, but that there is still a lot of path to travel as my body has been badly damaged from the war that was fought. this week, i had 16 doctor’s appointments, 2 procedures, received 11 new prescriptions and 4 new diagnoses. and, i spent $1,000 in copays that honestly, i don’t have right now. i think the hardest thing for people who have diseases like cancer in the aftermath is that people think they have it, they have the treatments and the surgeries, and then they’re fine…but we have this ongoing health issue, and cost, and fear. and it takes a long time for us to get back to anything even resembling a ‘normal’ for us. but we probably always live with something resembling ‘epic fear’. it’s as if the Cancer™ is stalking me. and until those results are back, i’m keeping my fingers crossed and sleeping with one eye open.

i am Angie, i am 30, and with the will and strength of the gods, i am struggling through my 30th year in Los{t} Angeles

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