Always strive to not be frozen in the fear of future memories.
Always strive to not be frozen in the fear of future memories.
I vow to not be held down; to learn to let go, to breathe deep, and to head straight into fear.
Finding the truth is the only way to move forward.
I was watching the inspirational Brenè Brown on Super Soul Sunday (my happy addiction), as usual I was moved but, this time I had a different take. She discussed how people rarely talk about their journey when they’re down, it’s after the fact; which though inspiring, often in the end, after we’ve tried following their advice or walked a similar path and failed, we are disappointed both with the world and with ourselves. It’s easier to share what we have been through when we have made it to the other side, but what about when you truly question if you’ll get there. This profoundly made me consider where I am in my life right now.
What I am realizing is that I want to talk about it now as it’s happening, to share my fear, the struggle and the triumph. In Rising Strong, Brene says we as a people look away, and sadly, it’s true. I’ve found all too often when people ask, how are you? They either don’t really want to know, or they cannot handle the reality of what you want to share. More than once when I have been going through something, someone I know will see it in me and ask how I am or if I’m okay. The response is often unsettling. More than once I have worked to put aside my lack of trust to be vulnerable, hoping to be heard. What all too often happens is quite honestly painful.
1. The person shifts subjects as you tell them that you’re struggling and moves on as if they had never asked the initial question 2. They jump in and rant how shitty the world is (and in turn tell me all their issues, often negating mine), or 3. Though well intentioned, they are determined to be hyper positive. They want to fix it, make it all better, and give me all the answers that quite honestly often there is no answer to. All of these responses tend to make me either no longer want share my actual truth or make me feel as if they don’t really want to hear it. Sadly I know that I have been this person too and I want to change.
To listen, to hear with compassion and love, that’s what I want. It’s what we all want, to be heard. It’s the person I want to be, and I’m working on it. I’m nostalgic for my childhood and college friendships. The long nights talking about anything and everything, wholeheartedly enveloped in and committed to one another’s lives. It gets hard when we realize that most friends cannot be this for us. I have so many friends, all of whom I love dearly and many who I know love me. But this is rare.
I ask myself, what I am doing differently or wrong. Is this just the way relationships work now? Did I miss something? I certainly hope not. Perhaps we are all just afraid to share and make ourselves vulnerable in this unpredictable world. Maybe that is what this time of technology has taught us. Stay safe, type it don’t say it; read it don’t hear it. If it’s at a distance it can’t hurt me. I really do wonder. All I can do is work on me and hope that I find in myself the will and commitment to rebuild these ideals, to make such closeness real again.
“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, LIKE AIR, I RISE! – Maya Angelou
I fell asleep and woke up today heartbroken, sad and quite honestly scared. I am truly beside myself. My life and the lives of many people I love are about to change. I was cautiously hopeful and excited by the possibilities before us but deep down I knew, and sadly I am not surprised. The truth about this country has finally been exposed and “white” America has spoken. Moment to moment I literally need to squelch back tears. Today, I am in mourning.
We have elected a president, the president of the most powerful country on earth, who ran on a platform of hate, racism, bigotry, sexism and lies. How did we let this happen? To summarize a compelling note from NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, Richard Engel, who has seen the world at its worst – there is good and bad to being the most powerful country in the world. The good is that you are it, the bad is that your worst enemy is yourself – and this is what’s happening.
That said, and the deed being done… now, ALL of us know where this country stands, the curtain has been drawn, and we cannot deny or unknow it. This is the first true step toward real change. I am moved as I have never been. I pray and ask myself over and over – What now? What is my role? Please give me the courage to figure it out, and to play it well.
We will get through this, I know it. There is always hope. We are too strong not to find it. I hope the media machine looks in the mirror and starts to again invest in truth, that actual journalism resurges. I hope that politicians reassess and remember why they are there, not for power, not for money – but to represent the people. I hope that the artist and the humanitarian communities fight back with love- because “love trumps hate” and they are the best at knowing and sharing it freely. I hope Americans from all walks of life come together, stop fighting, begin to hear and understand one another, and move forward. We cannot ever turn a blind eye again. Our voices must be heard. This is our wakeup call!
As the enlightened and wise Maya Angelou said, “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, LIKE AIR, I RISE!” and so we will.
There is a quiet hole within me where I go when I am not at peace; a place so deep my heart is unable to penetrate. Empty and alone on a ledge of my own creation I contemplate my future or as it feels, the lack thereof. I collect only calculated memories to replay reinforcing my anxieties; seeing only my mistakes and regrets and leaving behind successes and accomplishments making them meaningless and insignificant.
This is often my mirror, the only one I am willing to see; the glass filled with failures and pain, opening old scars and revealing them to prove to myself I am not enough no matter my reputation or how many affirmations I repeat.
My greatest nemesis; my own mind
My biggest defeat; the fantasy of my imminent failure.
OK. I’m writing because I feel myself on a winding path again. A bit unfocused and spacey. It is the most annoying place my brain takes me to. I feel exhausted and yet I’ve had enough sleep and it seems I cannot accomplish anything but the basics. Have you been there?
I have been busy I won’t lie, but still there are things I want to accomplish. I have been taking 2 classes and finding the time to do the work in between feels anxiety ridden and almost impossible. I get lost in the minutiae then get blocked because I’ve lost not minutes, but hours. I just can’t tell if my expectations are too high or if I am actually being, not lazy but undisciplined.
It just seems I have backtracked again, or is it that I have so much I want to do that I am overcrowding my mind. I just don’t know. This maze is getting in the way of my freedom…so how the heck do I stop throwing up the darn obstacles and blocking my own way? I have plans people! Am I alone out here?
Hmm….thanks for listening/ reading...oh whatever!
There is a fear inside.
I fight it with gratitude;
It will subside soon.
There are no walls to hide behind in school. I dread the walk of shame to my desk each day. Their voices crush me. They yell, “Earthquake!!!” then in tandem as they skillfully shake there bodies out of their chairs and to the ground laughing wholeheartedly at their cruelty. I sink down. My desk isn’t big enough. I fight back tears; its a losing game. Inside I’m screaming, “Stop!” but I’m weak. I want to disappear, be invisible, be alone. My reflection reveals a void; I see nothing, no one. I am a reject in a sea of monsters, food to be fed on bite by bite until there’s nothing left.
I’m not sure why this letter is so hard but it is. I have been wanting to write it for years. I always hesitate. Perhaps its because I fear I did something terrible, or perhaps its the fear that you won’t care. I don’t know really because its all made up in my head at this point.
I want to say I am sorry. Sorry for not being there when you were sick. For not being around in the hard times of your life. I don’t truly know how to explain why I stayed away, but I will try. Know its not to excuse myself, but simply to explain.
The day I heard you were sick, my first reaction was to jump in my car and show up at your door. My heart was pounding I didn’t know how to feel. My husband told me do it, go you don’t want to regret it. Something inside me was so afraid to show up unannounced and uninvited. I didn’t hear about you from your mom or dad or wife. I heard about it in a distant way that led me to believe I wasn’t supposed to know. We hadn’t been connected in quite a while and our annual traditions slowly went away. I questioned my place.
I know time creates shifts and having our own families makes time spent harder. Others become a priority. Family groups seem to get smaller and distances more wide. I’m sorry I let my insecurity get it the way of my heart. I miss you. I regret that I don’t know your family. I regret that we never see each other and I fear too much time has past to ever be close again.
Pictures of you and your beautiful family make me smile, thank God for Facebook (I never thought I’d say that). Knowing how successful and happy you all are makes me proud. I miss you and everyone else especially each January when the memories of playing soldiers and wresting until we laughed ourselves exhausted fill my being.
Our distance may have nothing or everything to do with me not being there for you, but either way I hope you forgive me for not being the person I want to be. I hope you know how much I love all of you. I think of you often and hope that your lives are everything you ever imagined them to be.
Some day I hope to be brave enough to actually send this letter to you. Until then I send my love and energy through distances and time.
All my love,
This year has been an interesting one for me as an artist. There have been both epiphanies and regrets.
When I started as an artist, it was all about the visual. I remember being encouraged every step of the way by my family. A number of family members are artists, though none pursued their amazing talents for various reasons. But not me in college I dove in. My mom tried to convince me to get an Art Ed degree, I had no interest. When asked, “What will you fall back on?”, my attitude was “ART” that’s what.
In my second semester I decided to take a leap and try theatre, I failed miserably at first as a performer but my perseverance encouraged the stage manager to ask me to assist and a theatre rat was born. I had no boundaries, I used everything I was learning to create, to put together performances and events without a worry as to whether or not it was the norm …and I thrived! The ideas came and I found a way to make them happen. I directed, wrote, choreographed, produced, designed lights and sets, I made art and managed projects with others – I was referred to as a “renaissance woman”. I had the all-around skills to understand one side to the other and I reeked of creativity in the best possible way.
Then I fell in love with the craft of acting. I knew it would be difficult because I had a certain look and not a perfect body (as I was told more than once). I thought, “It’s a challenge”, a challenge for me to get past my body image issues and become free. I had some amazing teachers who helped me through blocks, read books, performed and had fun. I was so excited when I got my first headshots, but it was the first lesson I learned hearing over and over, “we have too many like you” (ie. tall, blonde, and blue eyed). I grew out and dyed my hair black, got new headshots and started getting roles. I had to change to fit the industry.
I came to NYC after realizing RI wasn’t going to make me a career, it was a dream I never thought would happen for so many personal reasons, but it did! My first year here was amazing; auditioning, meeting people, the independence of being away from family, having our first dog. I didn’t have to work and got to take classes and discover Manhattan. It was exhilarating! Then somehow toward the end of that first year things shifted, I found myself questioning everything; my choices, my talent, my body (which was the healthiest it had ever been), and my abilities. I broke down. I loved acting but instead of seeing that it had nothing to do with my talent or abilities I focused on all of the personal criticisms that come with the business; not thin enough, not pretty enough, too tall, too young, too old, my resume not full enough with the “right” names. I believed I was a failure.
I decided to turn it around and took the advice I had heard over and over, “do it yourself”. I created a theatre co. and it was successful. Over a number of years I gathered great talent; actors, writers and directors. We did incredible and moving work, so good it got to a point where I had to make a decision to take the next step and grow or pull back and rethink what I really wanted. I again focused on the wrong things for my own success. I created the company so that I could play the roles I wanted and I did, but being the leader I was the one running the company, taking on the admin work and the communications and everything else. I didn’t know how to ask for the right kind of help and I wasn’t getting what I felt I needed. I pulled back and thought about it, stepped away from the company and decided again to focus on acting.
Reality check…acting wasn’t making me happy. Through all these years it never fulfilled what I thought it would. I’m not sure what I was looking for but as much as I love being on the stage or in front of a camera, something was missing.
I had it all wrong.
What happened for me is that pursuing a career that requires so much work and relies so much on who I know, what theatre I have on my resume and what I look like personally goes against all of the creativity in my being. Though the rush and freedom of the moment as lived out on stage is exhilarating for me, it doesn’t last. I started reflecting on what I fell in love with about theatre, reminding myself that what I wanted was to create worlds that touched people; I love the stories, the characters, the big picture, the artistry of the stage; it is versatile and ambient. The stage can be anything and all encompassing, it can swallow you if you let it. As an actor I was focused on my character and the moment I was in instead of the concept and creation of the world around me; I wanted a hand in the big picture, I missed it!
I was stifled.
This year I’ve started writing again; something I had blatantly left behind. I picked up my pen and inks and opened my paints. I am allowing my brain to stop focusing on my next headshot, my “look” and what my type is and start allowing the ideas to flow again, releasing my judgments of art and myself. I am once again letting go of the outcome to allow the genius within to escape unafraid of failure because there is no failure in a lesson, only wisdom.
I don’t regret the time I’ve spent pursuing the dream I thought I wanted, the people and experiences it has contributed to my life are essential to who I have become, but I’ve come full circle. I am in true transition. I feel the world reopening and restrictions disappearing. I am strong; my lessons have been both hard and well earned. It’s time to simply create and follow my gut (which has served me greatly) and change my paradigm. The future holds no boundaries.