Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31 - Broken

If we're being completely honest, I've been feeling a bit emotionally broken lately. That sounds scary, but I honestly don't think it is a bad thing in the grand scheme because I think sometimes, it can be healthy to sort of tear one's self down, examine it, and put it back together. This is sort of what I have been doing lately and while I know it will make me healthier in the long term, it has me feeling, well, broken in the short term. 

There are a couple of relationships in my life that are not fantastic and that I wish were stronger. There are friends I have lost over the years who while I understand why we don't talk anymore, I think the negative repercussions of us not talking anymore are perhaps weighing on me heavier than they should or than I would like. And then a little earworm was planted in my brain saying that I could work on some of these relationships on my own - i.e. without participation from the other party. Silly me, I didn't ask the earworm for more explanation of this theory, I just started thinking about things and trying to figure stuff out on my own. One sort of common thread in these relationships is that I don't feel I have been supported in the way I would like to be supported given who these people are/were. But then me being the person that I am, I have to then ask if those people feel/felt supported by me in the way they would like, given who I am to them. And in some cases, I'm sure the answer is no. That's a hard pill to swallow. Because it suggests that maybe I've been wrong in pointing fingers at others when really I should be looking at my own behavior. Maybe they didn't fail me; maybe I failed them. If that is the case, I feel like shit about it. And that is what has been sitting in my brain for a week or so now, that maybe I'm the one who screwed up, maybe I'm the one who should have tried harder, maybe I should have been paying closer attention. And if that is the case, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. 

But then that spirals back to me thinking about whether or not those people ever asked for more, and I'm not sure that they did. But then, I didn't ask them for more either (or did I?) so we're once again back to a mutual fault situation with an added dose of poor communication thrown on top. Which, again, makes me feel like shit if I'm not as skilled a communicator as I would like to be. 

And all of this then makes me doubt my place in the world, doubt my current friendships, doubt my worth. I start to feel repulsive and unacceptable. Which is a very tiring place to live, and so, I'm feeling a bit emotionally broken at the moment. 

What I should do is talk to the earworm and get a fuller explanation. And/or ride out the broken. It won't last forever. Very little does. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 30 - Haiku

In like a lion
Out like a lamb, in theory
March, you screwed this up

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29 - Yes

Mine are the best friends. Never forget that and never doubt that. I am blessed to be part of this group. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

March 28 - Prom

I'm going to prom tomorrow. It's the big annual fundraiser for my friend's theatre company (which works with inner city kids to teach creative writing and stuff - they're actually pretty freakin' awesome), and it is usually on a night when I can't go, but this year, I can go! Which is exciting and fun. But it also makes me think I should tell you the story of my senior prom. Because it is terrible. And sad. And just about anything that happens at tomorrow's prom will be an improvement over my senior prom, even if there is severe bodily injury involved. So here goes:

Keep in mind, as much of a geek as I am now, I was even moreso in high school, and this was back when being a geek was decidedly NOT COOL. As in, I think I went on a total of three dates in high school, two of which were to Turnabout dances where I asked the guy to go with me. As in, I couldn't get into theatre because I was a smart kid and the two groups rarely comingled. As in, even when I did things that were creative and funny, I was specifically denied the opportunity to grow in that arena because those in charge of such things thought it must be a fluke as they had never seen me be creative and funny before. Anyway. High school sucked for me. No wonder I was depressed through, well, all of it.

So my senior year, I had some guy friends. Most of them had girlfriends at that point, though, so when I decided that I wanted to have the one standard high school experience of going to prom, my prospects for who might ask me were nil and my prospects for who I could ask were severely limited. There was one guy in one of my classes who I thought I could ask, and I did - I asked him to go as my friend - and I believe he told me he was helping his sister move that weekend or some such thing. So with my font of gentlemen suitors now exhausted, I started talking to a girl friend of mine about going stag, but as part of her group (which already had four or five couples in it). I figured once I was out on the dance floor, it wouldn't matter so much that I was flying solo, and as far as the limo ride and everything, I could just chat with the group. Right? Makes sense. Well, my girl friend told me about a guy friend of hers who was a junior but who was interested in going to prom. He and I had never met, but she thought we could go together (for the sake of going with someone) and be part of their larger group. I agreed to meet the guy, and he me, and we decided to go together as part of this larger group. The group now contained six couples (including us), and we were in on the plans for the evening.

This particular group was going to get a limo, go to the prom, go on one of those party boat rides on Lake Michigan after the dance, all sleep over at one of the girl's houses, and then go to Great America (Six Flags to the rest of the country) the next day. While I'm not a huge Great America fan, it sounded like a good high school experience, I'd be hanging out with my friends, so why not, right? My date and I decided that I would get the prom bids and he would pay for the boat ride, since they each cost about the same amount. I picked up our prom bid, got a dress, ordered a boutonnière, got a garter, and thought I was good to go.

A couple of days before the prom, one of the women in my group organizing our parties' activities came to me asking for money for my part of the boat trip. Apparently, my date paid for his ticket only. So I paid for mine and made a mental note that he owed me for his half of the prom bid (which I think was about $50). I should have seen the warning signs then.

Come prom day, my honorary sister took me for my first ever manicure and was really excited about helping me get ready. It was a little chilly for May in Chicago, so I put a little sweater with my dress. My honorary sister, my mom, and I went to the girl's house where we would all be staying over so we could take pre-prom pictures. All of the other girls in my group looked so glamorous in long, sparkly dresses. I looked like me in a short red dress with a sweater. My date showed up looking kind of frumpy, and handed me my corsage. Someone else pinned his boutonnière on him because I didn't know how, and pictures were taken. Oh my goodness, the pictures. And then the limo showed up. Now, whoever ordered the limo got one that could seat six people, not six couples. My date's parents told him he could use their station wagon to take the remaining three couples to the prom (there was a lot of discussion about who got to ride in the limo and who had to go in the station wagon - plenty of miffed prom-goers once the decisions were made). We piled into the cars and headed downtown.

Now, while I remember this part pretty clearly, I'm going to be a little bit vague because I'm not sure it is the kind of thing that should be posted on the interweb, but we got into a bit of a car accident on our way to prom. My date was driving, me in the front seat, and in the stop-and-go traffic on the interstate, he looked down at his foot at one point while rolling very slowly in traffic and completely missed the fact that the car in front of him had already stopped. The collision occurred at approximately two miles per hour, and while nobody was injured, the driver of the other car insisted we dinged his bumper. We, of course, only knew what he was saying because one of the guys in our car spoke fluent Spanish - the driver of the other car spoke no English. I presume he also didn't have insurance because when we asked to exchange information, they said if we just gave them money, they'd go away and not file a claim. A cop stopped by to yell at us for obstructing traffic (on the shoulder), told us to exchange information, and left. We took up a collection within the car to give the other driver so we could go on our way because that dude was adamant about not exchanging insurance information. So by this point, my date owed me about seventy dollars.

We finally got to the hotel where our prom was happening and because of the kerfuffle with figuring out alternate modes of transportation and with getting into an accident and everything, we were late. I think we missed dinner because I don't remember eating anything at prom. Another important thing to note here is that the tables at the venue sat ten people. Our group had twelve people. Guess who the lucky couple was that got to sit at a random table full of people we didn't know? Yup, me and my date. Now, I don't know if he was flustered from the accident or if he was just never given a quick run-down of fancy date etiquette, but my date was not a gentleman. He did none of those silly little things that a guy is supposed to do for his date at prom to make her feel like a lady - he did not offer to take my sweater, he did not pull out my seat for me, dude didn't even hold the door open for me or anyone else. He just kind of went to the table and sat. Since he and I were not really friends and didn't really know anyone else at our table, we barely spoke. And much of the dancing that was going on was slow partner dancing. I think I asked him to dance once, at which point I learned he does not dance. So we sat. Fortunately, we were late enough that our time at the actual prom didn't last very long. I got to say hi to a couple of people I did know and then our group headed out so we could get on our Lake Michigan party boat.

Oh, the party boat.

If you've seen that episode of The Office, you have a basic idea of what the party boat is. Now imagine it instead populated with teenagers on prom night who are experimenting with alcohol and ways to get alcohol in public without being ratted out as underage. It was loud and crowded and surprisingly cold. Our group sat on the upper deck for a while, and as each woman in my group showed signs of freezing her butt off, her date would surrender his tux jacket. Except my date. He kept his to himself. I was suddenly very thankful I thought to bring a little sweater.

As a group, we decided to go downstairs where the dance floor was to do some serious partying and to be warmer. This was better - I could dance as part of the crowd without a partner and it was fine. Until they played the song "Lady in Red" and my date was nowhere to be found. I think I may have been the only woman on the boat wearing red, and I was the only woman on the boat not dancing to that song. The symbolism was not lost, trust you me. I did realize, though, that it had been quite some time since I had seen my date. I think it was a three-hour boat ride and for at least two and a half hours of it, I had no idea where he was. To this day, I don't know where he went or what he did on the boat ride. To this day, I don't miss the time I didn't get to spend with him.

Finally, the boat ride ended, my date reappeared, and we all discovered that two of the couples in our party had broken up on the boat. Wouldn't be a high school prom without people breaking up, would it? So an uncomfortable car ride back to the girl's house where we were all spending the night was next on the docket. When we got there, my date had to return the station wagon to his parent's house, and then they brought him back so he could stay over. While he was on this errand, the people in my group broke out the tequila and started getting silly. The girl who claimed dibs on the worm puked it back up about ten minutes after consuming it. The couples who had broken up had some SERIOUS CONVERSATIONS. I did not partake of the tequila, but chose to watch the craziness before me. I was tired and disappointed and disillusioned and kind of really wanted to go home. One of my other friend's dates (who she was just friends with, but went to prom with because she and her long-term high school boyfriend had recently broken up) came and sat with me and told me at length how beautiful my friend was. He then asked if I wanted to make out. I politely declined. My date returned from his errand and promptly fell asleep in the middle of the room. I think most of the other people in the party sort of took that as a hint and finally, we all went to sleep.

The next morning, I decided I was done. I didn't want to spend another full day with my date, or even with the rest of my friends at Great America. I gathered up my friends, tossed my garter at my date who reluctantly gave me his bowtie, and I walked home. It wasn't that far, but it might have been the best part of the whole experience.

I don't remember my date's name, and I never got paid back the money he owed me for the evening. It's probably better that way.

So that was my prom night. No magic. No romance. Not even very much fun. Just an absentee date who barely said three words to me all night and who got us into a car accident. Pretty typical for my high school experience in general.

That being said, I still have my dress. And it still fits. So I think I'll wear it to this fundraiser prom tomorrow night, to which I am going stag with a group of girl friends, and maybe I can get some of the funk of an absolutely terrible evening out of it because it really was a cute dress and it deserved better.

Happy prom, everyone.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26 - Off Day

I had rather a rough weekend, diet-wise, but after a couple of days of paying attention again, this morning I was back to where I should be. But today, I have the appetite that will not stop. I had a lovely, healthy dinner just half an hour ago (ish), and my stomach is already growling for more. 

I think one important thing to remember with diets is that nobody is perfect. Or no two days are the same. Or something like that. Just like my hormone levels and moods and water retention levels rise and fall throughout the month, so will my appetite. And I can either give in to it, or sit and struggle to not think about food, ignoring what my body is telling me it wants. 

The dieter in all of us is telling me to be strong, I'm sure. But my stomach wants peanut butter pretzels and won't stop shouting until it gets some. I think my stomach is louder. And I can always get back on the horse tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 25 - Acceptance

I tried this online service where you put in your clothing sizes and style preferences and they send you five articles of clothing they think you'll like. If you like the pieces, you can buy them; if you don't, you can send them back. Groovy, huh?

One of the blouses they sent me makes me look...old. Older than I think I look. It's a nice blouse, but sort of caftan-esque in shape and neckline so it makes me look like...a suburban housewife maybe? Not that there's anything wrong with being a suburban housewife - many of them work harder than most of us. But I'm not a suburban housewife. And I don't often dress like one, so it was odd to me to get this piece of clothing. They also sent me skinny jeans that don't quite account for the size and roundness of my posterior; a drapey-front cardigan that looks pretty cool but is not really cozy or soft; a cotton/rayon color-blocked long-sleeved t-shirt (complete with thumb holes) that I like the style of, but the fabric is so clingy you can measure the depth of my belly button when I wear it; and a light-weight infinity scarf with dragonflies on it. And as I tried on all of these articles of clothing, I found myself asking, "Is this the kind of stuff I should be wearing? Am I too old for Doctor Who t-shirts and soft boyfriend cardigans? Is it wrong to like how skinny jeans look from far away while hating how they feel and how they look up close?"

I think I need to be more adventurous in my clothing choices, but I don't feel like these are the adventures I'm interested in going on. I'm an artist, and while I am in my mid-thirties, I don't really look it or feel it, so I'm not sure I want to dress it (or older) at the moment. Is that wrong?

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24 - Coping

The thing about depression is that I don't think it ever really goes 100% away once you've had it. Like an addiction or a venereal disease. It can be controlled, and many people can lead productive, fulfilling lives, even though technically, they still suffer from depression. It's more of a disease that falls on a spectrum with good days (or years) and bad days (or years) as opposed to something you have once and are then cured of. 

I have suffered with depression in the past. It was particularly bad in my late teens and early twenties. I don't mean to scare anyone by saying that, and I'm not putting out a call for help. I'm okay now. I'm just staying facts here. 

The vast majority of the time, I am fine. I am okay. I am functional and healthy and active and I have healthy relationships and I know how to take care of myself. And I think, like most people living with depression, that I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to prevent downward spirals from happening, or what to do if one is starting. Some people control their depression with medication, some with therapy, some with other tricks like music or employing a creative outlet, talking with certain friends or family members, or some combination of all of the above. I have a sort of mantra and an image I can put in my head that helps me a bit, and then I can set to work figuring out what triggered the bout. It all sounds very...sad but healthy, yes? This is how my brain functions and I have learned how to function with it. 

That doesn't mean it isn't annoying, though, when those thoughts pop back up, even for a second. And it is because they do that I believe depression is not something that can be 100% cured. I think it can be managed, and I think it is a fight every day to not succumb to it. But if any of you out there reading this suffer from depression, please believe me when I say it is a fight worth fighting. My mantra and my image remind me of that. I hope you have something that reminds you of that, too. 

Here's to fighting the good fight. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23 - Visitors

I had guests over to my apartment today, which doesn't happen very often because a) I am an introvert and b) I've had a couple of bad experiences with people in my living space, but tonight was brilliant! It was as good if not better than I could have hoped. So thank you to my friends who came over and did not destroy the place, did not bring negativity, and did not steal anything when they left. Maybe people in general aren't so bad after all. 

March 22 - After the Fact

Yesterday was not a good day. I spent much of it feeling useless or uncomfortable. I said goodbye to a friend who is moving away. I over-ate, and I didn't blog. Sorry about that.

It's funny to me that I didn't blog the day after blogging about how important it is to me to keep doing so, especially considering how much I've been thinking about stopping lately. But just like one day of culinary indulgence doesn't ruin future diet plans, one day of missed blogging does not have to ruin a creative body of work. 

I think. Maybe. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21 - Creation

I found a quote online today that is attributed to Cyril Connolly and states, "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." That hit me rather hard as I'm pretty sure I have approximately three readers (no official subscribers) of this blog, and as I am going to host a workshop/reading of a new short play I wrote on Sunday night. I'm terrified nobody will like the play, even though I already know at least one of my girl friends does. I'm terrified that if I produce it or film it or whatever, submit it to one-act festivals, that it will be dismissed as trite, unrealistic, insignificant, or derivative. I think that is one of my biggest fears as an artist in general - that nobody else cares about the art I create. 

But the thing is this: I create because I can't not. When I get an idea, I have to do something about it or it eats away at me and becomes all-consuming. I have to have a creative outlet of some sort at my disposal at all times, be it a pen and paper or a guitar or a monologue to parse for subtext or whatever. I have too much creative energy to be contained in this body - I have to be able to let it out in one way or another. 

So the quote from Cyril Connolly found me at the right moment. The moment when I am full of self-doubt, on the brink of throwing in the towel, and reminded me that first of all, I make art for me and that is the best possible reason to do so; and secondly that while it doesn't matter if other people are paying attention or not, if I don't at least try to put it out there, I'll certainly never know if there was someone else who found my art when they needed it. 

Thank you, Cyril. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 20 - Updates

There are so many things we can check the status of these days that I find myself getting increasingly frustrated by the things I can't check up on. When is the "thank you but no thank you" email going to show up? Will I really get notification of my acceptance or rejection on the 31st? When do I get my bonus? And perhaps most importantly, when is it going to start warming up outside? Like for real warming up, not this "one day of fifty-four degrees for an hour in the afternoon followed by overnight snow showers" crap. I'm talking sixties and seventies for a solid month, if not longer. Or warmer. When is that going to happen?

And of course other things, too, that I'm not talking about online just yet. Plans. Thoughts. Ideas. When they are more concrete, I'll let you know what's going on. For now, just know that I hate waiting. When am I going to be able to stop that?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19 - Dieting

Yes, it is going to be another blog on dieting. Sorry about that.

The thing about dieting is this: I am always convinced that the scale is lying to me. Always. Doesn't matter if the number goes up or down or stays the same, I am always convinced that it is lying to me.

Now, I know the logical reasons why a person's weight fluctuates. I even know that it is normal for me to weigh something different at different times throughout the day. So I try to keep my weighing-myself routine as constant as I can. I weigh myself in the morning before my shower, after I've used the toilet, in an attempt to get the most accurate "this is the lowest I could possibly weigh" weight. No allowances for clothing. No allowances for the lunch I just ate sitting in my stomach being digested. No cheats for the five miles I just rode on the exercise bike. Before the shower, just after I've gotten up in the morning. Makes sense, right?

But even so, I find myself doubting the number I see each morning. Today, the scale said the same exact thing that it said yesterday. I have, however, had other days wherein I stayed in my calorie range and got more exercise than I did yesterday and the scale has gone up. Whereas yesterday, I ate more fat than I have in a while (still within my range), and got less exercise than on other days, and it stayed the same. The math of the thing doesn't make sense. It just doesn't. Or, I haven't figured out the right algorithm to make my body consistently lose weight instead of going up and down all the time. Not that I'm complaining about staying the same - it's better than going up. But the same happens when the number goes down a bit. I try to excuse it by saying, "Well, it's because I ran later in the day and then drank less water, so it's down a bit for dehydration. Tomorrow, it will be back to normal." I somehow am always able to convince myself that the scale is lying.

It doesn't help, either, that I'm trying to lose weight the healthy way - a pound or two a week. Because when I look at myself in the mirror, the change is so gradual and so subtle that I can't really see it yet. I'm down about seven pounds from when I started paying attention (three of which were probably water weight that falls off really fast any time you start dieting) and one would think that seven pounds would make for a visible difference. My clothes are fitting a bit differently. Not to the point where they are ill-fitting yet, but they're not so snug. But looking in the mirror, I don't think I look any different. So it's easier to think that the scale is lying than to accept that what I'm doing is really working.

In any case, I'm going to keep at it for a while. And I apologize for any associated grumpiness that comes from this persistent thought that I'm still bigger than I should be because this piece of equipment, this inanimate object, is messing with me. I guess maybe that's the next step in the process - changing my mental image of myself to match the number I see on the scale.

Or something.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 18 - Argh

I hate when I can see both sides of a situation and while I feel justified in my actions, I also know that the other party is thinking poorly of me as they feel justified in theirs. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17 - Irish

I'm going to keep this short and sweet and just say Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone. It's good to be Irish.

For real Irish. Not "Irish" as in "I put on a stupid green plastic hat and a t-shirt with some witty saying so I can get drunk at 10am on a Saturday in the name of someone else's ethnic pride." That's not Irish. As my friend Bill and I found out, if you don't chug your Guinness, you're not really Irish.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Go chug a Guinness.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16 - ABA

Always Be Auditioning. 

In Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin's character tells his salespeople to always be closing. If I had one piece of advice for actors, based on my lengthy but still somewhat limited career, it would be to always be auditioning. 

I know a lot of fellow actors who don't feel they are ready to audition for shows yet, and while I understand the hesitation and the fear, I have to encourage them to get ready as quickly as possible and get out there and start auditioning.

One: If you don't audition for things, how will you ever get cast? 
Two: Even if you are not right for a particular show, it is to your benefit to get in front of artistic directors and casting agents and show them what you can do. Trust me, they will remember you. 
Three: Auditioning is a skill unto itself and just like all of the other tools you have at your disposal in your acting tool kit, it will get rusty if it is not well maintained. 
Four: While classes and coaching sessions are helpful and useful, you will never learn more about the craft of acting than you will by working on a project with a director and designers and other actors of different skill levels and training backgrounds than you. Which brings us back to point number one. 

To that end, this seems to be my audition week. I had one already this morning, a callback tonight, a callback tomorrow, and an audition on Tuesday. What's kind of funny about it is that I'm looking at each as an opportunity to work on a different skill - auditioning for a specific role versus season auditions, singing at auditions, Shakespeare auditions and contemporary auditions. And since each is an opportunity for me to a) act and b) work on my own skills, I'm finding myself a little less upset than usual if I do something badly. Becoming a good auditioner is a process, just like becoming a good actor, and the only way to get better at it is to just keep doing it. 

Always be auditioning so you can always be learning. That's about the best you can hope for in this industry. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15 - People

For the last two weeks, I have been working with an absolutely brilliant group of people, workshopping a play about elderly people living in some sort of assisted living/active lifestyle facility for older people. I was honored to be asked to participate and really had a blast. I was not the smartest or most talented person in the room by any stretch of the imagination and it pushed me to work harder, think deeper, and participate more. Thank you to the Redtwist Theatre and everyone involved for letting me be a part of the process for this script. 

But one of the big things I took away from the script is that my character keeps encouraging another character to talk to the residents at the facility saying, "They're just people." As in, you shouldn't be afraid of them and you shouldn't speak to them any differently than you speak to anyone else. That was very much in the atmosphere at the workshop, too. There were participants of a variety of ages, occupations, life circumstances, and everyone's thoughts were heard, all opinions considered. And during break times, I had lovely conversations with people my age, those older than me, and those younger than me. Because we are all just people. 

I also went roller skating yesterday at an event largely attended by senior citizens. I loved watching some of the couples skate together, and got a sense that this is it's own little community. These people come here regularly to socialize while staying active. It was really quite lovely. And one gentleman came over to me to talk about Pi Day, saying nobody else remembered what Pi was. We had a nice chat before we skated, and he came back to sit with me while I took my skates off. We talked about how much cooler Pi Day will be in 2016, and I told him about the other Geek Holiday, May the Fourth. He got a chuckle about that, and told me about how smart his daughter is, especially when it comes to mathematics. When I was ready to leave, he introduced himself and shook my hand. I introduced myself and said it was a pleasure to meet him. It was. Because again, we were just people. Just people talking. Age was not a hinderance to the conversation, nor was gender involved. Just people. Talking. 

I think we tend to forget that in all honesty, we're all just people. We all want to be treated with respect. We all want to be liked. We all want our stories to be heard. Instead, we compare ourselves to those around us and make judgements about who is superior and who is inferior. How we're allowed to speak to or interact with one another. We psych ourselves out of talking to those we really want to because we're afraid they're better than we are or they won't like us or whatever. And it's bunk. It's all bunk. We're all just people. We all just want to be treated as such. 

So I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say. Maybe just an observation about connections in my life. Or maybe that it's okay to say the things you need to say. Or that you should try just talking to those around you the way you would like to be spoken to instead of dwelling on the differences between you. Or maybe all of the above. Because really, we're all just people. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 14 - Pi

Happy Pi Day!

I did not have any pie today because I am currently trying to watch what I eat so as to perhaps lose a few pounds. An endeavor in which I have already experienced a small measure of success, and would like to continue to do so. So there was no pie for me today. But there was a lovely chat with an older gentleman about Pi and the fact that it is Pi Day. I have more to say about that, but at the moment, I am so tired I can barely see straight, so the longer, more insightful post will have to wait for another day. 

Happy Pi Day!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March 13 - Yogurt

When I was a kid, I ate yogurt every day. Not only did I enjoy it, but it made for a very easy to assemble lunch to bring to school - grab a yogurt, grab an apple, grab a cookie, go. I must have been half made of yogurt as a kid. I've also made my fair share of jokes about owing my youthful appearance to the consumption of yogurt. 

Incidentally, yogurt is one word that always cracks me up when I try to say it with a British accent. It just sounds wrong.

But when I went vegan, I had to give up yogurt. Trust me, that one was hard. I don't miss a lot of non-vegan foods, but I miss yogurt. And most soy yogurts just don't cut it. They may taste fine, but that's because they're all sugar with very little protein, very little actual nutritional value. But I have found one recently that not only tastes really good, but actually has some protein and calcium in it! It's as if I was eating dairy yogurt again! 

Now, I think we all know that I'm not all about finding direct product-for-product vegan substitutions for non-vegan foods. I'm just as happy putting together legumes and grains to get my protein as I am hunting down a vegan burger that "tastes like meat." I actually don't want a vegan burger that tastes like meat because I don't like meat anymore. But to find a yogurt that is tasty and serves the same nutritional function as dairy yogurt...  It's bliss, you guys. Bliss. I think part of it is the texture, too - I've missed having something creamy like that in my regular diet. I bought as much as I could find and am really enjoying having a yogurt every day again. 

I realize this was a rather dull blog, but today was a particularly annoying (infuriating) day, so I thought I should enjoy something small that makes me happy and then share that little bit of happy with the interweb. It's better than sharing the frustration with the interweb, yes?

So Silk Fruity & Creamy Soy Yogurt, well done. And thank you for bringing yogurt back into my life. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11 - Fear

I went to an audition tonight whereat I had to sing. We all know I can sing, yet I am terrified of singing at auditions. This particular one allowed me to bring my guitar, accompany myself, and sing a folk song, so many of the things that terrify me were not present at this audition (singing acapella, choosing the wrong song). I was still terrified and nervous, and I'm not sure if it helped or it hurt that I kind of know one of the auditors, but I did it. And I think I did okay at the acting part of the audition, too. 

The thing is this: the only way I've ever been able to get over a fear is to force myself to do the thing that scares me. I'm tired of having this knowledge that I can do something and the crippling fear of sharing that ability with people. I'm tired of knowing I am good enough but never believing it when I'm put in a position to show it. So I went. I went to audition for a show in which I will likely not be cast for any one of seven reasons and I sang so that hopefully, the next time I go sing at an audition, I'll be a little less afraid. 

Now, if only I could apply this fear-confrontation tactic to some of my other psychological problems...

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10 - Micro-Sexisim

We've all heard the term "micro-aggression" to describe little jabbing comments that, whether intentional or no, are small acts of aggression against someone who is different. Things like asking the ethnic origin of an Asian person, or mentioning that an African-American person doesn't act like the "typical African-American person," or that kind of thing. Often times, the persons making these remarks don't realize they are being offensive, insulting, or condescending, but in pointing out these differences, the "aggressor" is really showing his or her own ignorances, biases, and stereotypical beliefs. Or something.

This past weekend, I found myself the subject of microsexism - microaggressions based on the fact that I am a woman. I know that the people spouting these phrases did not mean them to be insulting, but they actually really are. These intended compliments did little more than serve to make me feel uncomfortable and like an outsider.

I know that was not the intended effect, so if the persons involved in the situation happen to be reading this blog, please know I don't hold this against you, personally. I just thought I would write this blog to illustrate that this kind of language is outdated and unnecessary so maybe other people will refrain from using it in the future. And trust me, this past weekend was not the first time I've heard these comments.

The microsexisms that piss me off the most are the ones wherein the speaker is shocked (SHOCKED!) that a woman could like something, be able to speak about something, or show an interest in something not traditionally thought of as feminine. "Oh, my gosh, you like Monty Python?" "Well, where else am I going to find a woman who likes Lord of the Rings?" "I love that you're a girl, but I can still talk about baseball with you." Things like sports, science-fiction, math, science, computers, and off-colour humour, were all labeled "male interests" somewhere along the line and it was decided that women should not like these things. Guess what, guys? We do. I can talk about the Cubs with the best of them, then throw in a Holy Grail reference for fun, and then suggest seeing the next Avengers-type movie on the weekend. And I am not the rarity men seem to think I am. I talk with my girl friends about this stuff, too, as well as with my other guy friends. Hell, my best guy friend figured out really quickly that if he wanted to be able to talk to me during the summer, he better learn something about baseball and now he's an even bigger sports fan than I am. I know dozens of women who like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who, and not just as a passing fancy. We analyze plot lines and geek out when an new episode or new movie is about to come out. I have female friends who are statisticians and computer scientists. Hell, I know a woman who is a rocket scientist. Literally.

So guys, I feel bad for you if you've spent your entire life looking for a woman who can quote the monologue from the middle of Denis Leary's Asshole and I'm the first you've encountered. I can promise you, though, I'm not the only one out there. And while I appreciate the fact that you notice I'm not like the other women you've met, it is not necessary for you to broadcast to all of the other men in the room that I'm a super-special lady because I can. If I'm talking and acting like I'm just one of the guys, just let me be one of the guys. The instant you call me out on it, I'm not anymore.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

March 9 - Sport

Never been skiing
I think I'd be good at it
Practice with pot holes

Saturday, March 08, 2014

March 8 - Lessons

What I think I love most about theatre is that I will never know all of it. I will never master it. There will always be something to learn. And as miserable as it can be to have a day or an experience where I am reminded of how little I know, I love those days because they allow me to grow and inspire me to try harder. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

March 7 - Creativity

Creativity begets creativity.

I think I have figured out that when I am in a creative rut, I need to do something creative that is mildly adjacent to the thing I am trying to do in order to kickstart myself into being able to do the thing I'm trying to do. Let's get more specific. Say I'm trying to write a song and it's just not happening. Maybe I need to have a dance party or learn someone else's song or draw some random thing and then the song will come.

I got an email a little while ago, calling for short plays for a new works festival kind of thing and at the time, I thought I should do it. I had an idea that I thought was pretty good and figured why not, right? If it is selected, great; if not, so what? I started writing and got some good ideas down on paper, but then it sort of fell by the wayside and just sat there for a little while. Again, not the end of the world because what did I have to lose?

Then last night, I went to a workshop for a play that is going to be produced later this season. They just kind of want people to read the work so they can hear it out loud and then we're discussing issues that pop up, inconsistencies we see, questions that arise, that kind of thing, to try to tighten the script up and make it even better than it already is (because it really is a lovely script). And suddenly, I was able to go back and edit my short play and get it to a place where I'm ready to share it with people. I sent it to a friend who I want to read it with me and I submitted it to the short play festival-thing. If they pick it up, great. If not, I'll do something else with it. Because I don't think it is the greatest, most innovative script in the world, but it is a good story and a story worth being told. I think. At the very least, it is the kind of story I wish more people were telling.

So we'll see what happens with it. Maybe something. Maybe nothing. Hopefully something, because I'm back in that mindset that if I really want things to happen for me, I'm going to have to make my own opportunities. I'm okay with that.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

March 6 - Relationships

I've been thinking about relationships a lot lately, for various reasons. I've been talking about them with a girl friend of mine, I've been listening to my old songs and remembering why I wrote them, and I've been on three dates in the last month. So put these all together, mix them around in the head of an over-analytic introvert and voila! I've been thinking about relationships a lot lately.

Please note: I am not a relationship expert. I have no real wisdom to share, just blathering to do and questions to ask.

One of the songs I wrote oh so many years ago is about running into a past love way after the fact and really having nothing left to say to that person. It was inspired by an obsession I had that I had to get over on my own because he vanished from my life for a long period of time. When I wrote it, I thought it was kind of self-indulgent and possibly even masturbatory, but in retrospect, it needed to be written and it's actually kind of pretty. But I find myself with this song stuck in my head quite a lot lately as I go on dates with new people and find myself thinking about the last person with whom I tried to have a relationship. It was sort of a "burn bright for short bursts" thing with very little staying power in the interim, and because of that lack of staying power, it fizzled and died. Nothing dramatic. Nothing exciting. No hard feelings, I don't think. It just didn't work out. But I've also not really had a postmortem with this person, so as I go on dates with new people, I find myself remembering how bright we burned when we did burn and it makes me sad that a) I'm not finding that with these new people yet and b) it didn't work out with the last one. I find myself remembering silly things like the way a t-shirt hung on his shoulders, or how easy conversation was, or how we could talk about anything right up until the time we decided we should be able to talk about everything. And I know I'm romanticizing and over-simplifying, but I think that is part of the process.

In dating new people, I'm also re-learning kind of exactly why I don't like dating in the first place. As much as I don't like to subscribe to various dating rules (how long before you can call or text, what you should talk about, what you shouldn't talk about, etc.), other people still do. I can't fault them for that - they are at different places in their lives than I am and have come to different conclusions, or they are still figuring things out - but I do find it a little bit frustrating. I want to talk about all of the things. I want to ask all of the questions, and I want to be asked all of the questions. I want my assertions to be challenged so I have to back-up my points of view. I want to be inspired by someone. I want to feel passionate about someone. And I know these feelings sometimes grow over time, but there is part of me that really wants to be bowled over from the get-go.

So the question my girl friend presented today is essentially, "Why do we do this if it causes so much anxiety? Isn't there another way to go about finding a life partner (without resorting to arranged marriages)?" I've kind of known for a long time that if I ever do get married, I want to do things a little differently. I don't need the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and the big ordeal in a church with dull chicken served in a hotel ballroom afterward. While a lot of traditional weddings like that are really nice (I've been to more beautiful weddings than I can count), that's not really me. So why does the traditional dating process have to apply to me? And/or why am I trying to make myself fit into that world?

I guess it's because I'm not sure what the alternative is. How does one get to know someone else intimately without some sort of courtship rituals? And secondary to that is how did I get over a lost relationship last time without help from the other party? Because I think I need to do that before I'll be able to really enjoy getting to know somebody new. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

March 4 - Aging

I'm going to be honest here, aging really isn't that bad. It's not the best thing in the world, but it is also not the worst. It's probably because of the online circles I hang out in, but I tend to see a lot of tweets and blog posts and whatnot about how terrifying it is to turn thirty or some such thing and really, I can only laugh. I have been much happier in my thirties than I ever was in my twenties or my teens, and I feel like I can get away with a lot of things I couldn't previously, as well. For example, while out dancing last night, I flirted shamelessly with a man I'd not met before, saying completely inappropriate things (which made him laugh), that neither of us then thought twice about. I'm going to be that little old lady who encourages hot young men to take their shirts off, and those hot young men are going to giggle and tell me I'm beautiful and then go back to their hot young wives. I'm okay with that. And apparently, I'm practicing early.

But there are a few things about getting older that honestly do suck. The slower metabolism, for one. And the inability to function on as little sleep as I used to get away with. I used to go out dancing six or seven nights a week, often times going out for something to eat after closing the club, which meant I didn't get home until three or four in the morning, and I would get up to be at work by nine. When I started working at seven thirty in the morning, I was still staying out until one or two. Last night, I left the dance at eleven in an attempt to not be wasted at work today and still failed miserably. I didn't drink anything but water, and it was a struggle to get out of bed this morning. I had to give my eyes a day off from wearing contact lenses, and I caved and drank my first soda in about two weeks just to try to make it through the afternoon. Now, part of this could be because I also didn't sleep very well last night. My apartment has been cold for three or four days (the landlord is fixing the heat today), which is not only miserable in and of itself, but it makes my cat crazy because he's tired of being cold, too, so we didn't sleep very well. But still. I used to be able to skirt by on three or four hours of sleep several times a week. Now if I don't get at least six, I'm toast. What happened?

On the up side, I have a couple of weeks before rehearsals start in earnest for my next project (though I have a slew of assorted meetings and whatnots between now and then), so maybe I can squeak in an early night or two. Here's hoping the heat is back on in my apartment so it's nice and cozy when I get home and I can enjoy a relaxing evening with my cat. And some running and/or hula hooping before bed because like I said, a slower metabolism sucks.

Monday, March 03, 2014

March 3 - Old Friends

I sometimes go through self-imposed Doctor Who droughts, where I don't let myself watch any, no matter how tempting, for a certain amount of time. I'm not sure I can explain why. It's sort of a safety mechanism I've developed to help keep myself from getting too sad that I'm not (and likely never will be) on the show, I guess. A reminder that I have to live in this world where the Doctor and the TARDIS are fiction. Sad and pathetic, perhaps, but I'm okay with my droughts. 

And then I break the drought and watch an episode and it's like finding my old friends again. I know so many of the words by heart, but they still make me laugh. I know the stories by heart, and they still move me to tears. It's weird to watch them now that I've been to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff and been on the TARDIS set - I'm watching thinking, "I've been there!" It almost makes me think I could really be there someday. 

Hi, Doctor. I've missed you, my friend. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

March 2 - Ego

One of the sort of interesting things about this show I'm in now is how much audience feedback I'm getting, either directly or through my fellow cast mates. So-and-so's brother/spouse/friends really enjoyed my performance. It's always lovely to hear that kind of stuff, and it has happened before that while I'm leaving the theatre, an audience member will say "great job" or something like that. But what is different about this show is how specific some of the commentary is. One of my friends told me I have a "kick-ass British accent." A crew member's family member said he could tell I'm a dancer. Someone commented on how my voice resonates through the playing space and fills it up. Another's friend noticed how well I stayed in character or what have you. And while there is a part of me that is flattered and grateful that they noticed, there is part of me that is thinking that I've been doing this long enough that if I wasn't good at those things by now, I should probably give it up. I have studied and practiced and rehearsed and analyzed so much of what I do from so many angles, it is nice to see that people are noticing. I like being good at what I do, I love what I do, and I know exactly how lucky I am that I get to do what I do with such alarming regularity. But it's a brilliant ego boost to have other people take note, too. 

Thank you, guys. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

March 1 - Thoughts

There is always something you miss when a show is over. I will not miss the drive to and from the theatre where my current show is taking place. 

There is a lot of really amazing art out there. I hope I get to contribute to that collection. 

My friend and I were talking last night about how hormones and whatnot can change the consistency of one's hair every 5-7 years. This is probably why my hair will no longer hold a curl. 

I probably should have listened to a more upbeat song right before getting out of the car. 

Happy March! Enough with the snow already...