Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30 - Dry

I went to the eye doctor today for my yearly exam so they'll let me buy more contact lenses and I learned two very interesting things about my eyes: 

1. My distance vision has improved in both eyes, though the degree of astigmatism in my left eye has increased. 

2. My tears evaporate quickly, which means if I don't blink often enough, my eyes get very dry. 

The first one is just odd. I've always known I was odd, and now I have proof. My distance vision has improved. How often does that happen?

But the one that really hit me is the second one about my tears evaporating quickly. It felt like some big metaphor for my life. Something about my tears not sticking around long enough to do what they're supposed to do, or something like that. 

It's actually a fairly simple fix - eye drops and up my flaxseed intake. But my brilliant, beautiful, healthy, ginormous eyes dry out easily because my tears evaporate quickly. I'm going to have to sit in that one for a little while. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29 - Theatre

So I'm not doing very well with not caring what people who will never approve of me think. Yet. I think it is a process, and I'm not going to give up on this road, but I'm not an expert yet. Which means I still have long, frustrating days that just leave me emotionally exhausted. 

But then I get to go to the theatre. To rehearsal or to a performance and poof! All is well; my energy comes back. I get to smile. And I am reminded that there are plenty of people out there who do approve of me. Including myself. 

Thank goodness I have theatre. I'd hate to think who I'd be without it. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28 - Others

Before I say anything, I want to say that I am truly blessed to have such an amazing group of friends and such a brilliant family. I am quite often surrounded by kind, loving, intelligent, funny, supportive people and I find myself completely humbled that I get to consider myself part of this group. I know exactly how lucky I am to know these people and to have them in my life and I will love them forever for that.

On the other hand, though, I do often times find myself surrounded by some really horrid people who are not very nice to me at all. It's part of life - you can't like everyone all of the time. And there are a million blogs and articles out there about how you should rid your life of those who make you miserable so you can achieve true happiness and how life is too short to put up with idiots and all that sort of thing, but this is not one of those blogs. Because while those are nice, happy sentiments, they are not always feasible. What if you have a co-worker who just plain rubs you wrong, but the country is in the middle of a recession and you can't afford to quit your job? What if you are twelve years old and your fifteen year old sister is a nightmare but you both have to keep living with your parents because you are, you know, minors? What if you really love your aunt, but her husband is a total douchecanoe and they very seldom do anything without one another? It is not always an option to just plain cut someone out of your life. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to, you just can't. Or at least, you can't right now. When the country gets out of a recession, you can find another job. When you and your sibling grow up, you don't have to live with them anymore. And you can spend the next twenty years praying your aunt gets a divorce. But in the meantime, there has to be a coping mechanism.

Going back to what I was saying the other day, about how much it hurt me to hear Frank Turner say he doesn't think very highly of himself, I wonder how much of my negativity toward myself is because I have spent so much time around people who are not nice to me. Probably a lot. But it's like the puppy being trained to not pee on the carpet - even after he's learned his lesson, he still cringes at the sound of a newspaper crinkling for fear it is destined to thwap him on the nose. So if I have spent enough time around people who don't respect my opinions, don't listen to my contributions, and don't seem to value me as a human being, it seems only natural that my response would be to start to think that most people don't respect my opinions, don't want to listen to me, and don't value me as a person, right? Makes sense. I'm not saying it is a good reaction, but perhaps an understandable one.

It is also a reaction I would like to change.

Because I think I am the sort of person who has good ideas and valuable contributions. I think I am the sort with well-thought-out opinions that deserve a voice. I think I am a valuable human being, and I think the amazing group of friends and brilliant family I talked about at the beginning of this post would agree with me on that.

So I think part of my coping mechanism for dealing with these people who do not value me is to stop valuing their opinions of me so much. I think that is the part that has been driving me so crazy - I know what I am worth and it bothers me that these other people don't seem to see it, so I try to make them, but they're not looking, so I just get hurt and disappointed. Many of these people have known me for a long time and if they haven't figured out my worth by now, nothing I do moving forward is going to change that. So perhaps I need to stop trying so hard to gain their approval.  What if, instead of seeking their approval, I asked myself, "What kind of person treats someone as amazing as I am, badly?" I don't like to be the sort who casts dispersions on others, but in this instance, I do think that it has more to do with them than it does with me. The sort of person who sees beauty and has to ruin it. The sort of person who sees intelligence and has to belittle it. The sort of person who sees a free spirit and has to cage it. They must be an unhappy or insecure lot, and I am sorry for that. I think I am also ready to stop sacrificing my happiness for their sake. And I think I am ready to stop giving these people my best when I only get their worst in return.

Because while it may not be feasible to cut them out of my life entirely, I can at least take control of how much of my life I devote to them. Hopefully, doing so will my our future interactions less painful for me.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27 - Love

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I love theatre. There is very little that makes me happier than a good rehearsal or a good performance. If I can do this every day for the rest of my life, I will die a very happy woman. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

April 26 - Self-Image of Others

So I heard a radio interview the other day with Frank Turner, who I absolutely adore, and in the interview, he mentioned that he doesn't necessarily have a very high opinion of himself. I guess if you listen to his music, you can tell - he talks about cutting when he was younger and sings, "I'm not as awesome as this song may sound/I'm angry, underweight, and sketching out." So it shouldn't have been so surprising to me to hear him say that he doesn't think very highly of himself. But it was. From what I know of him, he is intelligent and funny and thoughtful and dedicated and passionate and loyal, all of which are qualities I value highly in other human beings. So it kind of bothered me to hear him say otherwise. 

I have also recently read all of Go Fug Yourself's recaps of Lindsay Lohan's reality show. Granted, I've not watched the actual show, only read the recaps, but they do mention that several times, she talks about how people keep telling her that she is considered for every role because she is the most talented actress currently working. I've not worked with her, but I think the last thing I saw her do that was decent was Mean Girls. Since then, it seems to have been a steady decline. And she has a reputation for lying, not taking responsibility for herself, being late, and being difficult to work with. Yet she still seems to think she is hot shit. 

I don't get it. I just don't get it. 

One thing these opposing tidbits made me think about was all of the people who have said nice things to me and about me when I have been down on myself. My friend who yelled at me for not playing music anymore because other people need to hear it. The directors who have emailed me after auditions, apologetic that they didn't have a role to offer me because I rocked and they do want to work with me someday. My mother who is pained by the fact that I would ever for a moment think I am not good enough. And I wonder if me saying bad things about myself hits them the same way Frank saying bad things about himself hit me. If so, to all of those people, I apologize. I don't mean to sully your image of someone you think of highly. 

But then I also wonder why quality people like Frank think little of themselves and those of perhaps a lesser quality like Lindsay think so highly of themselves. Is it position in life? Is it being surrounded by "yes men" all of the time? Is it necessary or normal for quality people to have low self-esteem? Is humility that attractive? 

I don't know. The simple answer is I don't know. I would like to tell Frank, though, that even though we've not met, I adore him and think he is exactly as awesome as that song may sound, if not moreso. And I would like to tell Lindsay that acting is a skill that will atrophy over time if not used or practiced and that perhaps if she dedicated herself to doing the things she claims to love doing, maybe she would get to do them more often. And I would like to say to any of you who hold me in high regard, thank you. I will do my best to be worthy of your respect, and to respect it by not bad-mouthing it. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25 - Flying Solo, Part Two

Oh! One more thing about flying solo!

The other day I did a lot to convince you that as you go through life on your own, nobody else is paying attention and therefore, nobody else cares what you are doing. I need to add an addendum: every now and again, someone will notice. As you are happy, confident person walking down the street smiling to yourself because you're being super productive, someone might notice you. And they will either think you are silly or they will be envious of the strong, confident person smiling to herself as she walks down the street. Either way, you get to become a story for them. A story they get to share with their loved ones that brings them closer together. This is not meant to be a scary thought. This is the gift you get to give the world - you get to give other people stories every now and again, too. 

Awesome, yes?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24 - Styling

The fun part about doing shows set in the 1940's is that the 1940's were much kinder to women in terms of fashion silhouettes. Women were allowed to have hips and boobs then, and as a woman with hips and boobs, I love getting to wear clothes that both fit and flatter. Not to mention the make-up and hair were fun and feminine. It's fun to play dress up in 1940's clothes. 

Of course, there were a lot of things that sucked for women in the 1940's. Not the least of which was having to look like this all of the time. It takes a lot of time and effort to do this, and I can't imagine not being able to go out in public not fully done up. I am never indecent when I go out, but I will occasionally walk a block to the drug store wth wet hair and glasses when my eyes and hair need a break. But to have to have foundation and blush and eyeliner and mascara and a girdle and a dress and hose and heels and lipstick in order to leave the house...I couldn't do it every day. 

Which is too bad, really, because this is a good look for me. It is just too much work to maintain with any sort of regularity. 

It is fun to play, though. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23 - Shakespeare

Today is (most likely) William Shakespeare's 450th birthday. Happy birthday, Will, and thank you for everything!

Now, I know, I know, it may or may not have actually been William Shakespeare who wrote all of the plays we have come to call his. It may have been someone else, or a collaboration, or whatever. The thing is, and I may sound ignorant or flippant for saying this, but I don't really care. Someone wrote these amazing plays and this beautiful poetry and whoever it was, we have, at the very least, come to call that person William Shakespeare. To whatever person (or persons) are now represented by the name William Shakespeare, I thank you. I love your work. 

I am not a Shakespeare expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I can imagine that there are some of you out there who are currently rolling your eyes and thinking, "Ugh, Shakespeare," or something to that effect. To you, I apologize that you likely had a bad English teacher who didn't know how to teach you to enjoy Shakespeare. I would entreat you to give it another go, keeping a few simple things in mind:

1. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read. That's not to say you shouldn't read it, but I can promise you, you'll get a lot more out of it if you read it out loud, preferably with others. It's more fun that way, anyway. 

2. If you're watching a performance and you don't know what is going on, it is because the actor doesn't know what he or she is saying. The language can be a bit much at times, and Shakespeare does have a tendency to write long, poetic monologues full of extended metaphors and such, but all of that crap is in there for a reason. If the actor knows the reason, it will come across in the performance. If they don't, they'll just be up there spouting words and likely getting as lost in them as you are. That's their fault, not your ignorance. 

3. The language may be daunting, but really, it is mostly dirty jokes. Really. Shakespeare wrote for the masses; he did not write for royalty. And as much as we like dick jokes and sexual innuendo now, they liked them back then, too. So rid yourself of the idea that it is all beautiful, flowery language about concepts you can't understand. A lot of it is six thousand ways to say, "Let's boink."

4. Shakespeare was written to be "actor-proof." If you're thinking about performing Shakespeare and don't know what to do with the verse language, relax. He drew you a road map using punctuation, scansion, and line breaks. There are some great resources out there to tell you what all of these things mean, and once you know them, it all makes a boatload more sense. 

5. Loads of us like Shakespeare and like to talk about Shakespeare. Seriously. We feel extraordinarily smart when we find some little trick in the text and we want to talk to people about it. So if there is something you don't understand, or you have a friend in a show that they want you to come see but you're afraid to go to because you think you'll get lost, ask questions. Most Shakespeare lovers I know are more than happy to give a quick "modern-day language" run-down of a scene or a plot device if you need help figuring out what's going on. So please, ask. We love talking about this stuff. 

So with all of that in mind, go pick up a Shakespeare book, or better yet, find a performance happening in your town and go see it. You will find lines you recognize, phrases he invented that you use all the time, jokes in shows you never knew were funny. It is quite possible he has had the greatest literary influence on the world since...I don't know when. And for that, we all owe him a debt of gratitude. 

Many thanks to you, Will, and many happy returns of the day. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22 - Update

I'm at tech rehearsal right now. Tech is kind of fun because it is when costumes and lights and sets all come together and you start to feel like you have a show. Yay for having a show!

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21 - Ego

If you've been reading this for any length of time, you've probably picked up on the fact that I have no ego. Or very little ego. But I will say this: there are some times, not often, but some times, when I am so freakin' cute I can barely stand it. Today is one of those days. It is the dress plus the hair plus the shoes plus the make up. I'm just adorable. It's weird to me to walk past a window and catch my reflection and see "adorable." And it also makes me hope that if I ever do get to meet Tom Hiddleston or David Tennant or Zachary Levi randomly walking down the street, it happens on a day like today when I am too freaking adorable for words. That would make for a pretty great day. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20 - Thoughts

I'm not a religious person, but I wish a happy Easter to those who celebrate it. 

I know Easter is a big holiday for Christians, but one of the biggest take-always I got from it as a kid is that it is about rebirth. The resurrection of Christ, happening in the spring, the symbols of eggs and rabbits stolen from Pagan tradition, it's all about rebirth. I can get behind that. 

This morning, I woke up able to breathe through my nose, and with no pain in my leg. It felt wonderful. The sniffles and watery eyes came back mid-afternoon, but when I first woke up, I felt like a new person, or at least like myself again. Plus, to be able to open the windows in my apartment and get some fresh, warm air in was lovely. Not quite as dramatic as rising from the dead, I know, but sometimes you have to take the small victories where you can find them. 

Happy Easter. And may you find the rebirth you need, if you need one. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19 - Tim Curry

The first actor I can remember choosing as my favorite actor was Tim Curry. His turn as Wadsworth in Clue was just about my favorite thing in the world, and after several viewings of the film, I made sure to take note of his name so I could look for him in other projects, too. In truth, I watched a lot of bad movies because Tim Curry was in them. He generally plays a villain, he generally dies, and he is always amazing. When Spamalot came to Chicago before it went to Broadway and Tim Curry was among the stars, I had to go. That was, I think, the first time I went to live theatre by myself. And it was amazing. My seat was "obstructed view," though in the front row, and the obstruction was often times Tim Curry's ass. It was a great show. I've never had the privilege of meeting him, but I've dreamt of working with him for the longest time. 

Today is Tim Curry's birthday. Thank you, sir, for all of your work, for everything you have given the world of theatre, the world of film, the world of television, and the world of music. You have made us laugh, you have haunted our dreams, and you gave me my absolute favorite way to say "hello." And that is all without throwing in what you did for those who like to see men in ladies' undergarments. Thank you for that, too. Here is to many more years of brilliant performances, and hopefully no more medical scares. Happy birthday, sir!

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18 - Um...

I have nothing interesting to say today. I was productive on my day off, but my head would still rather be elsewhere, doing other things, like going into business producing phlegm for the rest of the planet. I'm working myself up to a trip to the drug store, once I can figure out if I should get cold medicine or allergy medicine. Maybe some of each. 

But despite feeling crappy, I felt good most of the day. Getting things done, learning another song on the ukulele. It's nice to make some progress. 

Hopefully I'll have something interesting to say tomorrow. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17 - Sick

The summer I turned seventeen, I got to spend a month in Spain with my classmates. We were in Madrid for two days, Salamanca for three weeks, and the Costa del Sol for three or four days before we then went home. By the time we got to the Costa del Sol, some of us got sick. It was inevitable - twenty-some-odd teenagers staying out all night, functioning on three hours of sleep a night for a month, some dealing with their first (or first legal) hangovers, and all smushed together in buses and hotel rooms, we were bound to get sick. Not to mention, it was hot and humid as hell where we were staying. And I distinctly remember my one friend, who I am still somewhat in touch with today, just felt like ass for the whole end of the trip. He had somehow come into a sombrero on the trip, and thought it would be funny to walk around the hotel halls in jean shorts, a t-shirt, socks, flip-flops, and this sombrero, and holding a knife one of our other friends had picked up as a souvenir. In our sickness, we thought it was hysterically funny, too. And he would sort of sing (even though I'm pretty sure he would tell you he doesn't sing) "I feel crappy," as if he was singing "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story, but those were the only words he knew. And since we all found this rib-ticklingly delightful, he was laughing while he did it. So I have this very vivid memory of my friend dressed silly, wielding a knife, singing "I feel crappy." It is one of my most treasured memories. 

So now when I feel crappy, I feel like I have to have the same positive attitude about celebrating my illness that my friend had all those many years ago. I feel like death. Yay! It's certainly more fun than having a pity party about it. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16 - On Being Alone

We all know I've spent a ridiculous amount of my life single. And we all know I've done a lot of really cool stuff in my life. And we all know that a lot of the cool stuff I've done in my life, I've done by myself. Flying solo is kind of my thing.

I know flying solo can be scary for other people, though, so I thought I would take a little time today to talk about why doing things on your own is actually kind of awesome. And no, I'm not going to rehash other people's lists about how you can do things on your own schedule and you don't have to wait for your friends and other crap like that. Those are the easy, obvious reasons why hanging out by yourself is cool. Here are a few other ones.

There are People Everywhere
Wait a second, you're talking about how cool it is to be alone by mentioning other people? Yes. See, a lot of people are afraid of their own thoughts and afraid that they won't have someone to share things with and whatnot. But the thing is, there are people everywhere. And chances are if you're out doing something you enjoy, there are other people there who enjoy that very same thing. So if you're feeling lonely, or suffering from pressure of speech, there are other people you can talk to. Sit at the bar and talk to the bartender. Make a joke to the person standing behind you in line. Notice another person there alone and ask what brought them out. This doesn't mean you're hitting on them, or that you should hit on them, and you don't have to have a lovely evening chatting that results in life-long Facebook friends. It's just putting on your best extrovert face for ten minutes and actually telling the woman in the cute dress that you think her dress is adorable. You never know what might happen. Maybe something, maybe nothing. But just like you can buy a new toothbrush if you forget one while travelling, you can find someone to talk to if you really want to speak.

Nobody Cares That You're Alone
Okay, that might sound mean, but it's true, and once you embrace that fact, the world is your oyster. Which is actually a really odd phrase because oysters are small and can be consumed in one bite and isn't that phrase supposed to mean you can do whatever you want or all of life's possibilities are now open to you? Is it more to do with the oyster shell opening up? Other things have bigger shells. Is it a pearl hunt thing? I'm getting side-tracked. Sorry.

The first time I can remember that I went and did something by myself that other people normally do in pairs or in groups, I went to see Ed Wood on the night of the Homecoming dance my senior year of high school. Talk about taking on a lot all at once, right? I had to deal with the fact that a) I was not asked to Homecoming, b) my friends (who I found out later were having an anti-Homecoming party) did not think to ask me to join them, and c) I was going out somewhere public without a wingman in tow. I was nervous as hell. I worried that the ticket-taker would look at me funny when I bought just one ticket. I worried that the guy at the concession counter would look at me funny when I bought snacks. I was worried that I would mess up the seating arrangements in the theatre because sitting by myself, I had now thrown an odd number of patrons into a row of even-numbered seats. I worried that the other couples and groups in the theatre would snicker at me or pity me behind my back - "Poor girl has no friends." But when I got there and looked around, I noticed that absolutely nobody was paying attention to me. We live in a very self-involved society, so this should not have been the surprise that it was, but it is true. Absolutely nobody was paying attention to me. Not a single person. Not a couple. Not a group. Nobody cared that I was there by myself. Nobody got bent out of shape at having to sit in this row instead of that one. Nobody paid the slightest bit of attention to the snacks I ate. And then poof! None of it mattered anymore.

I think, especially at a young age, the way we conduct ourselves in public is largely contingent upon those we are hanging out with at any given time. For example, if you go to a movie with your friends and you laugh at something they don't think is funny, you might become embarrassed or feel bad about it, so you learn to not laugh moving forward in an attempt to avoid future embarrassments. After all, you want these people to continue to be your friends and people, especially young people, can be fickle about who they like and why. But, if you remove the pressure of having to behave in a certain way in front of people you already know, you can laugh at whatever makes you laugh. You can cry without anyone seeing the tears. And you still get to keep your friends because at the end of the day, they weren't there so they don't know about it. "But what about the other people in the theatre?" you may ask. We've already established that they're not paying attention to you, so why does it matter what they think? You will never see them again in your life, so there is no chance for future embarrassments. Or, if you do see them again, since they weren't paying that much attention to you in the first place, they will not remember you. Trust me on this.

Your Thoughts Become Yours
Yeah, this one sounds weird, right? But it is true. When I first started hanging out solo (and even now, to some extent, when I do something alone I've not done before), I spent a lot of my time wondering how other people were perceiving me. Were they judging my clothes? Did they feel bad for me because I didn't have a partner in crime with me? Were they laughing at me? I think a lot of people involved in solo activities tend to think this way, or they are afraid of what kinds of thoughts they will have when they don't have the distraction of another person around. I think these thoughts are the most prevalent ones that creep in - the "what do other people think of me?" thoughts. And then you start to answer them and that's when things can get scary and depressing.

However, if we look back at point one, a quick scan of the room will show that nobody is, in fact, paying attention to you. So they are not forming thoughts or opinions about you and your station in life based on the fact that you happen to be hanging out alone just now. So all of those questions are now answered. "Are they judging my clothes?" No. "Do they feel bad for me because I don't have a partner in crime?" No. "Are they laughing at me?" No. Done. So, now, what do you want to think about next?

And here is where things get fun. Without all of those pesky other people in your head, you can think about whatever you want to think about. You can make up stories about their lives. You can try to think of an easier way to play an E major chord on the ukulele. You can think about how to resolve the plot problem you've run into in your short story. You can think about what sort of fun, silly surprise you'd like to plan for your significant other the next time you see them. You can take the time to actually consider from all angles whether or not you are a bikini person or if a one-piece would make you more confident. You can figure out a diplomatic way to ask for a raise at work. You can think about anything and everything you've needed to think about but haven't had time for because you've been too busy interacting with other people. It's amazing and brilliant and liberating and rejuvenating. And then you get to giggle to yourself about how productive you're being while out shopping for underwear in a crowded mall.

You Get to Giggle More
So as you're running around now, not worried about what other people are thinking, enjoying the thoughts you're having that you've needed to have for a long time, the occasional smile will cross your lips before you can even think twice about it. You suddenly have a moment of, "Oh, crap, I'm smiling in public all by myself! People are going to think I'm crazy. Or they're going to think I'm smiling at them! I didn't mean to smile at that woman and her kid. I hope she knows I'm not a kidnapper or anything." This moment can start to spiral out of control, and it often does, until it gets around to it's illogical conclusion that you need to run to the center of the mall and shout as loudly as you can, "I don't want your kids! I was just enjoying the last train ride I took in Berlin!" And then the thought of actually doing that, and how people would react if you actually did that, and how funny it would be if someone else did that, and how completely out of context your train of thought has taken you hits you and you realize how ridiculous it is. So you giggle. In public. To yourself. Except now you know how potentially silly you look to other people, and how completely innocent you are in your silliness, so you get to giggle a little bit more. And the thought occurs to you that other people might think you're odd but by this point, it just feels so good to laugh that you really don't care. Because, going back to things mentioned in point number one, you're never going to see any of these people again so who cares? Giggle away, my friends. Giggle away.

You Become Intriguing
You are now the person who confidently does things alone, including smiling and laughing to herself in public. Tell me you don't enjoy the thought of other people trying to figure out what brilliant things are making you smile and laugh to yourself in public. Go ahead and try. You love it; you know you do.

And even if you don't, going back to point number one, they're really not wondering in the first place, so it doesn't matter.

You Get More Stories
This might be the best part of hanging out alone. I think we all have that fear that we will eventually run out of things to say to our friends or significant others. But if you spend time alone, confidently doing the things you want to do and not paying attention to people who aren't paying attention to you, you actually end up accumulating stories that you can share with people at a later date. Maybe you were dining alone and you overheard a conversation about the importance of mushrooms in the local ecosystem. Maybe you were out shopping and you saw a kid experience bubble stuff in the toy store for the first time. Maybe you were rocking out to your favorite song while driving in your car and the cute guy in the car next to you caught your eye and smiled. These are the most precious stories. Stories about life as it happens. And you get to be privy to these stories because for once, you were not concerned with the world's perception of you, you were just able to be entirely in the moment around you. These stories are yours, and you can share them with your loved ones for years to come.

Because the truth of the matter is, you are not alone. Everyone has someone to share things with - your parents, your friends, your spouse, your companion animal. Everyone has someone who cares about them, even if that person is not in the same physical location at a specific moment. There is always someone to tell your stories to after spending a day having adventures on your own. And if you ever doubt that, even for a second, remember that you can always come here and tell your stories to me, because I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15 - Birthday

Today is the birthday of a man I loved very intensely for a very long time, but who I now hardly even know. Happy birthday, Fucknut. I hope you are happy, where ever you are and whatever you are doing. Love you. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14 - Spring?

For a change of pace, it is snowing in Chicago. 



Mother Nature, I get it. You're having a hard time making sense of all of the crap we've done to this planet. I'm sorry about that. But you do know that the seasons are off, yes? I don't think it is Oberon and Titania fighting - their fight kept winter away too long. So is this someone else fighting, or are you just really pissed at us?

I figured out what it is that is really getting to me now. It's the lack of green. Since spring is taking so long to get here, we've really had six months of brown and gray. Ireland was lovely because even though it was kind of chilly while I was there, there was green everywhere. The light in Ireland is different, too, so the green really did look greener. But now I'm in Chicago where we've had nothing but gray and brown for six months. Six months with no color. That may sound like an odd complaint from someone who wears mostly black and white, but I like to see colors. I just don't like them on me. And we're overdue. We're way overdue for some color, for some green and some yellow and some purple and some red...

So please, Mother Nature (or whoever is fighting), accept my apology. On behalf of the human race, I'm sorry we've messed up your planet. Can we please have spring or summer and some color? Pretty please?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 14 - Ouch

There is very little that makes a person feel simultaneously ancient and six years old like tripping, falling, and skinning one's knee. My body is creaking and unhappy after the spill, and I'm afraid if the weather warms up a bit again and I want to wear a dress, I'm going to look like a schoolgirl who fell on the playground. 

On the other hand, I think we all know I have a strange fascination with how the human body heals itself, so I'll have a couple of nice bruises I can keep track of for a couple weeks. So there's that. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11 - Music

I got a ukulele today. I don't know her name yet; maybe it's Gretchen. It is a Gretsch, so that would make sense. She's a concert ukulele, because I think soprano ukes can sound a bit tinny from time to time. I like the resonance of the concert uke better, so that's what I got. And I promptly learned to play three Frank Turner songs on it. 

I don't know what exactly I plan to do with my ukulele beyond playing rock songs on it for fun. Maybe I'll write more songs for kids. Maybe I'll just goof off. I sort of feel like I should learn some finger picking techniques on it so I can do more than strum, but as of today, I can play the ukulele. 

The thing is, even if I never do anything important, noteworthy, or life-changing with the uke, I love living in a space that has easy access to music. I sometimes forget (because I still carry some pain associated with playing music) that it is fun and therapeutic to play and sing. Even if it is the same song over and over, I do love being able to make music. Even if I only play in my living room for my cat for the rest of my life, I hope I never lose music for good. And maybe having a new instrument that is not associated with any negative experiences in the past is what I need to get myself playing again. We'll see. 

Anyway. I just wanted to note that I got a new family member today in the form of a little, gorgeous, cherrywood-red ukulele and I couldn't be more pleased. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

April 9 - Project

I sometimes forget how much fun it is to make costumes. When you get one right piece, the rest seems to fall into place. 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

April 8 - Sexuality

This is, admittedly, a half-formed thought, so if it comes out really strange or makes no sense, that is why. 

I was thinking about sexuality today, kind of in the context of some of the badass women I've been seeing on TV and in movies lately. While there is a huge part of me that is like, "Yay strong women who can (literally) kick ass when they need to!" there is another part of me that wonders why they all have to do it in skimpy outfits and high heels. Think about the female super spies you see, or the Bond girls, or female comic book heroes. Sci-fi and comics, I think, are important in this aspect because a lot of cues for how we should act in the future are and have been first introduced in the alternative worlds created by fantasy writers. And while a lot of these women in these worlds are smart and strong and independent and brilliant and wonderful role models, there is still this overarching stench of sexuality on them. I get it, I do. From a very practical standpoint, a lot of these women were written by men, or by women who know their material has to appeal to men if it is going to sell, so of course they are sexy. But I think some of the time, it is passed off as these characters being comfortable and secure in their sexuality, them owning their own sexuality, which manifests in skimpy, sexy, form-fitting, semi-impractical costumes. This is the part with which I take issue. 

First of all, there is a lot about a woman that is sexy that has nothing to do with her cup size. I know that on occasion, when I've worn menswear (suit and tie type menswear), I've gotten comments about how sexy it is, or what a good look it is for me. Everything is covered, but it's a sexy look. I know other men who have said there is nothing sexier than a pregnant woman. By which I mean to illustrate not only that sexy is subjective, but that it means something different to everyone. So why do almost all of our female superheroes embrace their sexuality with form-fitting or revealing clothing? Couldn't one own her sexuality in sweats?

And the real problem that I see resulting from this has manifested best in our young Hollywood starlets who want to transition from girlhood to womanhood by embracing their own sexuality and walking around half naked. From where I'm sitting, that is not embracing one's own sexuality; that is subscribing to someone else's idea of what sexy is. Not to mention, they're running around "being sexy" all of the time for everyone, which makes it an act. What happens when one of these starlets finds someone with whom she actually wants to be honestly sexy and vulnerable? How do they know the difference? How does she?

So my half-formed thought was what if owning one's sexuality did not mean showing it to everyone, but making sure someone earns it or deserves it before sharing it? If my sexuality is mine, I should be able to dictate when I use it, when I share it, and who I share it with. And maybe it is just where I am in my life right now with all of the crap I've been thinking about lately, but I think I want to make sure someone earns the right to my sexuality before I share it with him. Is that crazy?

What is perhaps crazier is how we have programmed ourselves as women to think that our worth is dictated by the men in our lives, and that if we don't have this guy now, we'll never have anyone ever. I thought it when I was younger. If a man wanted to date me, I had better go because he chose me. If a guy wanted to make out, I should because he chose me. What I think I'm starting to realize now (and how sad that it has taken me this long) is that I do actually have a choice in the matter. I don't owe anyone else a glimpse of my sexuality, a glimpse of my soul, or a glimpse of my heart. These things are mine to be shared with those I choose, not to be broadcast all over the interweb, or to hang out of an unbuttoned mesh shirt. 

So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I am a sexy, attractive, brilliant, strong, independent woman while wearing a tie, a sweater vest, button down shirt, jeans, and Chucks. This is my sexuality and I'm gonna own it. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

April 7 - Disbelief

Film and television are based on the suspension of disbelief. It is what allows us to believe that Thor is real or that smart, funny, charming men who can wear the hell out of a pair of jeans like Chuck Bartowski actually exist. It is what allows us to forget about our lives for a few minutes and pretend we live in a different world. It's really fun. 

The strange thing about being an actor, though, is how quickly I can be snapped out of the world created by whatever program I'm watching. I either know how something was shot, or pick up on some little continuity problem, or I see the face of a friend I knew in college or the stage manager I worked on some other show with who does some acting sometimes. I wonder how things like that will change if I ever get to a place in my career where I know (or have met) even more of the people I see on screen. Will I love everything a certain actor does even if it is crap because I think he's a guy who deserves to succeed? Will I not believe any of my girl friend's roles because I know how long it took her to learn her lines? I hope not. I hope that if I get to the point where the movies and TV shows I watch are full of my friends I can still enjoy and appreciate their work for what it is. And I hope I never lose the ability to lose myself in the worlds created by the film makers. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

April 6 - Change

Change is a terrifying thing. I like to know what is coming because I like to be able to plan for things and examine situations intelligently. But sometimes, the conclusions I reach reinforce the need for change, and I have to remind myself that it is okay to plan for change. While I may not be able to plan every detail of the change itself, I need to commit to the idea that things will be different than they are now. 

Today, I took a small step toward that commitment. I need to take a couple more (okay, many more) steps, but one can only take one step at a time, right?

It's time for change. And change is good. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

April 5 - Extraordinary

I've noticed lately that a lot of the stories I like on television or in movies are about a relatively ordinary person to whom extraordinary things happen. Even in Doctor Who, the companions are relatively ordinary until they meet this extraordinary alien and craziness ensues. Now, maybe that's what most playwrites and screenwriters write about because they are compelling stories, but those are the stories I find myself drawn to and as I am in SUPER SELF-EXAMINATION mode, I find myself thinking about why. 

To talk about this further, I have to now put the caveat on this that these are thoughts and theories, not full-fledged opinions. I'm not sure which way much of this goes yet, but if I don't explore all options, I won't find the right answers, right?

So I wonder if I'm drawn to stories of extraordinary things happening to ordinary people because I find myself ordinary and hope that extraordinary things will happen to me. Though in truth, I don't think that's a fair assessment of me. I'm smarter than the average bear, I work really hard at the things I love, which means I've gotten good at a lot of things, and let's be honest, I've already done some fairly extraordinary things in my life. I've traveled the world by myself. I've played Hamlet. I've starred in several films and loads of theatrical productions. I learned to roller skate as an adult. I had my own band with which I headlined the number one rock club in Chicago. I've done some rather extraordinary things which makes me wonder if I am, in fact, an extraordinary person. The evidence would seem to suggest that is the more likely conclusion. 

But then according to the TV/movie theory, does being extraordinary preclude me from future extraordinary events? Because extraordinary people in film/theatre seem to always want to be ordinary (Harry Potter, the X-Men wanting to blend in, etc.). Like the principle that people with curly hair always want straight hair and those with straight always want curly. If that is the case, that's really disappointing. I've enjoyed my extraordinary experiences and want more, preferably bigger and more extraordinary, too. Does this make me an extraordinariness junkie? Am I okay with that? I think so. As long as I'm able to make extraordinary happen. 

I think those who know me and know me well would not describe me as ordinary. I'm okay with that. I think I just hope that if I am extraordinary, I have the opportunity to live that way for the rest of my life. Not that there is anything wrong with ordinary, I just don't think it's for me. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

April 4 - Haiku

How many are swans
And how many are nothing
More than ugly ducks?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

April 3 - Progress

I realize that some of my posts have been a bit dire lately because, well, I've been a bit dire lately. But direness is not permanent and often times, blogging about the down times helps me work through them. So thank you for letting me blog about not happy things.

That being said, I have a little bit of happy to share today. I sang at an audition last night and I did not explode. Not that I necessarily thought I would, but we all know that I have problems singing at auditions and that I am taking steps to work on that. Well, at this audition last night, there were about fifteen people watching as I first did my monologue, then a bit of a cold reading, then sang the intro to "Fly Me to the Moon," which if you've not heard, you can hear it here because it's really rather adorable. And when I finished singing the intro bit, I said, "And the rest of the song is 'Fly Me to the Moon,' but you know that bit already," or something to that effect, and I got a giggle from the crowd. And I left feeling good about the whole shebang. I did not walk out berating myself for a quivering voice, or for picking the wrong song, or for getting too into my own head about it. I was pleased with what I did.

So my take-aways from this experience are:

  1. Perhaps I should sing classic/vintage songs at auditions instead of showtunes when I can get away with it.
  2. It's okay for me to sing in a higher register than I do when I'm singing along with Liz Phair or Frank Turner.
  3. If at all possible, I should do monologues first and songs second at auditions, because I think having a monologue go well helps me be a little less freaked out about singing.
  4. I should probably still work on projecting my singing voice without it quivering with nerves.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April 2 - Jeans and Chucks

I know it is wrong to objectify people. It is not cool, it is demeaning, and it fails to take into account far more important personality traits like intelligence, kindness, and wit. That said, as a woman who has from time to time been reduced to her component body parts, I will admit that sometimes, it is fun to objectify men. 

Now, I'm not saying that I want to take up a career in construction so I can holler at the men walking by to show me their abs. Nor do I think that there is only one body part that can make a man look ridiculously hot. There have been men who's forearms are so attractive it hurts, or who have sort of funky, sexy teeth. And I think it is at least somewhat fair to acknowledge these things. I dated a guy who could wear the hell out of a t-shirt. I don't even know how to explain it, but the way t-shirts hung on his frame was a thing of beauty. So if it makes me a shallow person to objectify men in this way, I'm okay with that. I think it's high time we paid more attention to the male form. 

And what brought this on, you may ask? Well, I think I also need to create a new category of fandom for myself in relation to male celebrities. So far, we have those whose work I really respect and admire and I hope to work with one day and by the way they're really hot like David Tennant or Tom Hiddleston. Then there are those who I appreciate the physical attractiveness of but would probably not know how to talk to or interact with and I'm fine with that like David Beckham. There are those I wish I could have a drink and a chat with and perhaps become friends with like Moby, Martin Freeman, or Simon Pegg. And now I have to create a category for those I think I'd get along with just fine but really I would just rather look at like Zachary Levi. Seriously, he should have been tipping his costume designer on Chuck if he wasn't because honestly, jeans and Chucks have never looked so good on anyone. Ever. The tall, lean lines, not too bulky, not too skinny, but still toned...the man can wear the hell out of a Henley, jeans, and Chucks. And most other things, too, but mostly the casual wear. 

So yeah, as I am watching and enjoying Chuck very much, I am kind of in awe of what a beautiful specimen of a man I'm laughing at and crying with in so many episodes. I know I am objectifying him in saying this which is terrible because by all accounts, he seems to be a nice guy, what with the Nerd HQ stuff he does and whatnot and we'd probably get along great if we ever met and we'd probably work well together. But for now, I just want to see him running around in jeans and Chucks. Sorry about that, Mr. Levi. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

April 1 - April

A couple of years ago, I had a particularly crappy February. At that time, I requested a do-over for the month of February. Of course, nothing ever came of that request, but I can't help but think about it now when we hit April and daytime temperatures are still projected to be in the 30s and 40s. See, if we'd had the do-over month, it would just be turning March now and this weather would make sense. 

Of course, if it was just turning March now, we'd still have another month to go before baseball. And even though the Cubs lost yesterday, I like having baseball back. 

Happy April.