Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30 - Apology

I feel like I need to issue a formal apology to, well, just about everyone, both for things recently done and things that will be done in the very near future. I'm sorry I've been/am being a pain. No excuses, just an apology. I'm sorry I'm being a pain.

If you're curious to know why, I will you, though, that I think I finally know what "crippling fear" and "paralyzing self-doubt" feel like. They are aptly named, but not pleasant. At all. I know that they are brought on by decisions I have made and that they will go away eventually, but in the meantime, they are making it a little bit difficult to behave like my normal self. And they are even making me question who my normal self is. I also know that the quickest way to get rid of them would be to make the opposite decision than the one I have already made, but if I chose that route, I'm pretty sure the "crippling fear" and "paralyzing self-doubt" would be replaced by "crippling disappointment" and "paralyzing self-hatred." So I'm going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment, and it is manifesting as me being a pain.

So again, I apologize. I should not be venting my fears, frustrations, and doubts onto you; that is not fair of me. I hope we can get past this together.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29 - Pride

Today is the Pride Parade in Chicago, which I am not going to because, you know, crowds. I trust that nobody will take my absence from the parade as a slight against those who are there. I like to think that I am a supporter of people who identify as gay or lesbian or transsexual or bisexual or whatever. People are people; we've been over this. 

I do want to share a story, though, that I hope the persons involved don't mind me sharing. I was hanging out with a lesbian couple a couple of weeks ago who I adore more than I can tell you. They are both brilliant, loving, generous people and they are raising the most adorable little boy in the world. But one of the women expressed to me that in some situations, she is very self-conscious about how her family appears to other people. Like she knows there are people who see her walking around with her wife and son and disapprove. She can feel their stares. Hearing her say that killed me. First of all, I thought that as a society, we were more accepting than that. I though we had made greater progress. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because whenever I look at this particular family, I see love. I see beauty. I see trust and dedication and partnership. I'll admit it - I'm envious of the relationship these women have because it is, from my perspective, what a relationship should be. So to hear that there are times when this woman is made to feel like her life and her family are less than what they are...

So I guess what I would like people to take away from this story is that beautiful, loving families come in all shapes and sizes and it makes absolutely no sense to pass judgement on another family if you don't know the actual people within it. Happy Pride, everybody! Whatever flag you fly, fly it loud and proud. And please let everyone else fly theirs, too. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28 - Haiku

Almost time to go
Throat dry, stomach tied in knots
Yay panic attacks. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27 - Change

You know when you get yourself psyched up for changes to happen in your life and then they don't? That's kind of what today has been. 

I know that change is coming. Though I will admit there is a voice in the back of my head that says it is not too late to abandon my plans and just keep going with the status quo. I won't. I don't want to. But the voice did start to creep in. The more I listen to it, though, the more I know something has to give. I need to do something different if I expect different things to happen in my life, right? Only a fool does the same thing over and over expecting different results. Or something like that. 

So change is coming. But slowly. And I'm getting antsy in the meantime. I still have lots going on - a play and a film - but I'd like to see movement on the bigger things. Soon. Please?

Since it isn't, though, I'm experimenting with smaller changes. A new morning routine. New personal care and grooming products. Because when you're ready for change, you're ready. Bring it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26 - Inventory

It was sunny today, though not as warm as I would have liked. 
The USA didn't win, but since Potugal did, we still advance to the round of 16. I think the Cubs are still playing. 
I got to act today. 
I ate a cupcake. 
I snuggled with my cat. 
I have no idea if anyone watched Hamlet: the Series or not, but one friend said he had seen some of it. 
I listened to Frank Turner. 
I did not get one piece of news that would help allay some of the fears that have been residing in my heart. 

But also, my niece sang to me. 
I heard from a lot of friends and family members - thank you guys. I love you more than you know. 
I got to be outside for a little while. 
I ate really yummy food for which I had a coupon. 
I giggled a time or two. 

So while it was not the best June 26th I've ever had, it was not the worst. And fortunately, there is a whole year before we have another one. I hope some of the things that made me sad today are no longer part of my life by then. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25 - Wish List

Things I Would Like to Happen Tomorrow:

I would like it to be warm and sunny. 
I would like both the Cubs and the USA futbol team to win. 
I would like to act. 
I would like to eat a cupcake. 
I would like to spend some time snuggling with my cat. 
I would like people to watch Hamlet: the Series.
I would like to listen to Frank Turner. 
I would like one piece of news that will help allay some of the fears that have been residing in my heart. 

Or six out of eight would be fine, too. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 - Mermaids

I mentioned the other day that I participated in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, dressed as a TARDIS mermaid. It was a blast. I am sunburnt in a very odd pattern on my chest where makeup did and did not provide extra sunblock protection. And in emptying my suitcase today after my journey, there was as much sand and glitter as clothing in there.

One interesting thing for me, though, was the number of people who wanted to take my picture and pictures of my friends. It was what I imagine a step-and-repeat down a red carpet would be. We had to walk about two blocks from the train station to the registration area and it took us two hours to get there. We were stopped every five feet or so and swarmed by people with cameras - a lot of fancy DSLR cameras, a lot of iPhones, a lot of point-and-shoots. People wanted their children in a picture with us. People wanted to be in photos with us themselves. People wanted close-ups and interviews and long shots. I have never been so photographed in my life as I was during the Mermaid Parade. And there were some photographers who just followed us down the sidewalk, getting a new set of 10-12 photos every time another group stopped us. It was insane. And I will probably spend quite a bit of time in the coming weeks looking for photos that I like. 

So far, I have found myself very critical of my physique in the pictures. This is not surprising. On the day, I didn't care that I have a tummy. In retrospect, I wish it wasn't so prominent. But at the same time I am disappointed in my shape in these photos, I know the ones being posted on the internet are posted by people who think they are good photos of me. They loved my costume. Those who recognized me as a TARDIS cheered as I walked by. A few took fangirl shots for friends and family members who are Doctor Who fans. One woman, upon hearing the TARDIS sound eminating from the speaker on my back shouted, "I am such a fan of you!" Even those who didn't know what I was are posting what they think are beautiful photos of a woman painted blue. To the photographers, I was a beautiful artistic expression. The size of my stomach didn't factor in one iota. 

So why is it that when we look at photographs of a woman in a magazine, we have to focus on her abs or her thighs or her triceps and whether they are larger than our own? Why can't we look at an un-touched photograph of a woman and just see a beautiful artistic expression? Why can't we see photos of ourselves that way? Through the photographer's or observer's eyes instead of our own?

The Mermaid Parade is beautiful because there is nothing else like it in the world, but also because it is an opportunity to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and amazement that is humanity in all of it's glorious shapes, sizes, and colors. I am so glad I participated this year, and hope the lessons about loving my shape whatever shape it is carry over to my everyday life as well. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23 - Fear

The fear of the unknown is rooted largely in, well, the unknown. I think as humans, we like to have an idea of what is coming next. It is why we have day planners, calendars in our cell phones, and psychics. We like to be able to prepare for what is ahead so we know we will be safe, secure, fed, and housed. It's human nature. 

There are a lot of unknowns in my life that I am trying to make less frightening through conversation and planning as best I can. Sometimes the fears are still a little overwhelming. I have to remember that not only am I smart and responsible and capable, but I am resourceful as well. When I have had to make last minute decisions or plans in the past, I have done so and everything has worked out just fine. I'm that kind of person. 

What I think is really odd, though, is how my mental picture of me changes when I don't know what is coming next. When I have a plan laid out, I feel confident and attractive. When I don't, it's like I forget what my own face looks like. As if I was walking around with as much chaos and confusion visible on my face as exists in my mind. I am therefore always startled when I look in a mirror and Looking the way I always have. Looking pretty, even. 

So for that reason, I'd like the unknowns to work themselves out. I'm tired of walking around feeling like a Picasso version of me. I'd like to get back to feeling like I'm wearing the right face again. I know it will happen soon and everything will be fine, may even be great. I'm just antsy for that to day to be today.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22 - Theatre

I was privileged enough to see three actors whose work I have enjoyed very much in the past perform live today. And while I had some issues with the production, I will say it was very much worth the price of admission.  I'm going to brief in this post because I am still a guest at my friend's house, but I think what I loved most was watching the show knowing that theatre is theatre is theatre. These actors all had to show up to the first rehearsal not knowing their blocking yet. They all came in with ideas that probably changed or were tweaked throughout the rehearsal process. They all have to show up at call time and likely have to do fight calls before every performance. And several of them probably have the "oh shit, I have ten seconds to change my entire costume" moments. Because whether you are an international film star or a fresh out of art school graduate in your first play, theatre is theatre is theatre. We all rehearse. We all chat backstage. We all suffer through tech week by not eating right and not getting enough sleep. We all know how essential the technicians are to making us look good (or we should). We all try to give the best possible performance we can give. Theatre is theatre is theatre. And it is brilliant. 

I take a lot of comfort in that. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21 - MerTARDIS

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade was today, and I went for the very first time, marching as a MerTARDIS - a TARDIS with some mermaid-y elements. Not many, but whatever. I've been building the costume for months - got a sassy blue wig, blue body paint, all kinds of fabric. I even bought a bunch of little lights that you can sew into clothing and a Bluetooth speaker so I could light up and make noise like the TARDIS. There were some technical issues with the outfit, but I was still recognize able as a TARDIS to those who know what a TARDIS is and that part of it was amazing. I will write more about the experience later because I desperately need food at this point, but I wanted to say thank you to Coney Island for having the parade, thank you to my friend piggiebird (not her real name) for encouraging me to do this and letting me crash with her for the weekend so I could, and to all of the mermaids and spectators who come out to make today amazing. It was everything I could have hoped for. 

And as a side note, I have never been so photographed in my life. If you find photos online, please tag me in them or let me know. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20 - Fickle

One of my friends and I have decided to read one Shakespeare play a month until we have gotten through all of them so a) we know them and b) we can discuss them. Because why not, right? We're trying to do them chronologically, so we started this month with Two Gentlemen of Verona. I have thoughts. 

First of all, most of the play takes place in Milan, not Verona. Just so we're clear. 

Secondly, one can see the seeds of rape culture existing even back then. Now, I may have just been reading things into it because rape culture is a hot topic these days, but oh wait. There is an attempted rape in it because one dude thinks the lady he "loves" owes him something. Yeah. That's in there. Fortunately, the other gentleman of Verona stops it from actually happening. 

But probably one of the biggest things I noticed is that like in many other Shakespearean plays, it is the men who are fickle in love while the women show true hearts. Proteus has to just see Silvia to fall in love with her, and then just see Julia to fall back in love with her he had forsworn. Whereas Silvia and Julia's hearts remain true to the men they love. We see this in Romeo and Juliet, too - Romeo loved Rosalind until one glance at Juliet sent him into a tailspin that ended in too much death. In Midsummer Night's Dream, not withstanding the fickle hearts altered by fairy magic, Demetrius loved Helena before he knew Hermia, and one glance at Hermia changed his mind. Which begs a couple of questions, not the least of which is was Shakespeare a feminist? Or were men back then even shallower than they are now, that true love could be won and lost with one glance? And with his repeated theme of inconstant men, how did women come to be the ones accused of inconstancy?

Granted, I'm asking these questions having not read all of Shakespeare's works yet. But they will be things I look for as I keep reading. Thus is the joy of Shakespeare - hundreds of years after his death, there are still things to find in his works. I love it. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19 - Thoughts on Relationships

I am not a relationship expert. We all know this. I thought it important to reiterate, though.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, on to the title of this post, thoughts on relationships. I've read a couple of articles and blog posts recently about how to land a man (presuming one is female and interested in a relationship with a man) and how being single is awesome (until you find a man) and what one has to do to oneself in order to find a man and frankly, I kind of want to hit someone at this point.

There is no magic formula that will find you a boyfriend. Even the people who dedicate ridiculous amounts of time to figuring out the algorithms on OKCupid and other dating sites don't have a magic formula that will find you a boyfriend. They may have found something that helped find them one, but that does not mean that will work for you.

Because here's the thing - we're all just people. And we're all different. The things that you are looking for in a man are different to the things your best girl friend is looking for in a man, yes? Maybe some things overlap, but there are probably some standout differences that mean her perfect husband is not your perfect husband and vice versa. And guess what? Every man is looking for something different, too. Sure, you may have had a boyfriend who thought you were too needy, but maybe the guy you met at volleyball practice last week likes someone who is more attentive. It is the same quality in you, just viewed through two different sets of eyes. Because believe it or not, men are people, too, and they have individual brains and individual sets of wants and needs. Hard to believe, right? But it is true. Believe me.

So why haven't you found someone yet? Because you haven't met someone who is looking at you with the right eyes yet. That sounds overly simplistic and like some stupid soundbite that someone is going to crochet onto a wall sampler, doesn't it? Please don't. I think there is a grain of truth in there somewhere, though. The really amazing, long-lasting, special relationships I have seen are between people who just get each other. If they disagree, they work on it. It is a conscious choice on behalf of both of them to stay in the relationship and make it work. Because they are looking at each other from the right perspective - the perspective that suits the partnership best.

Wow, words are not my friends today.

I don't think that in order to find a boyfriend you should suppress your enthusiasm, or change your hairstyle, or be someone in bed other than who you are comfortable being. I do think that in order to find a boyfriend you have to know who you are, be comfortable with who you are, and then be who you are. Someone will think you are the most amazing person they have ever met because to them, you are. And yes, you'll meet a lot of people along the way who don't share that opinion, but I think that is rooted more in their perspective on things than on something you are doing "right" or "wrong."

As I'm thinking about this and how it pertains to my own life of singleness, I'm realizing that my whole attitude toward finding a relationship has changed a lot. I am fine if I am not in a relationship. I have been fine with not being in a relationship for quite some time; that bit hasn't changed. But it means that if I find someone I like and I pursue him in the manner that feels right to me for the situation and he is not receptive, I've not really lost anything. There is nothing essential in my life that hinges on me having a boyfriend. If I meet someone I like and he doesn't like me, I am in the same exact position I was of being absolutely fine. However, if I take the chance on pursuing someone I like and he does like me and the way I go about pursuing him, then I'm that much closer to finding someone who is looking at me the right way. And that much closer to finding someone around whom I can just be me - this amazing, smart, silly, loving, introverted, passionate person. I have to believe that if I start something under false pretenses, it will only fizzle. If I start something from a place of honesty, it can only grow from there. Right?


Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18 - Anticipation

Life is what happens while you're waiting for the light to turn green. 

I'm ready for a green light, anyway. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17 - Something New

So this project that I have been working on, that has been kicking my butt and making me feel utterly stupid, took a turn for the better. I find I get caught up in the mental picture of how something should look or how it should turn out and if the slightest thing deviates from that plan, I get frustrated. 

But I stopped to remind myself today that what I am making is not an exact replica, but an artistic homage. An artistic interpretation, if you will, so maybe deviating from the original plan is okay if the original plan has me questioning my worth as a human being. And once I made that decision and came to terms with it, I got excited again and was able to enjoy my project for what it is - fun. 

I think this is an important thing for me to remember in general. Things don't always work out the way you plan. Sometimes they look completely different and sometimes, different is better. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16 - Direct Relationship

Has anyone ever done a study examining the effects of caffeine on a person's ability to wait for things? It's probably not a study that actually needs to be done, but they seem to do a lot of those anyway, like the one that showed drinking too much beer causes beer bellies.

The reason I ask is because I have had two cups of tea today, one black, one green, and I find myself completely unable to wait for anything. I want a response to this email. I want a text from that person. I want my code to work. And I want all of these things right exactly now, if not ten minutes ago. So I can't quite figure out if I'm so antsy and impatient today because of the looming Friday deadline I have in front of me or if it is because I'm overly caffeinated. Because I'm also pretty sure that as soon as I get home and get back to stripping wire, I will instantly become dreadfully tired and want to put the whole thing off until tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15 - Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there. Thank you for everything you do for us.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14 - Humbling

I am, in general, a very smart person. The people at American Mensa would agree with me on this. But there is nothing more humbling than trying to do something you don't know how to do and having it not work for reasons out of your control or understanding.

I'm trying to learn how to program these cute little lights that you can sew into clothing, but the software that one uses to do the programming is not downloading properly, either because my computer is messing up or the software is messing up. I have tried multiple downloads, multiple versions of the software, different extractors, different browsers, and the software that I really need won't open on my computer, which is doing very little but making me feel stupid*.

I am fortunate to have a brother with computer experience, though. He is being very helpful in finding workarounds for me. I'm going to try this one more thing before I give up and call it a day. Fingers crossed!

*I know I am not stupid, I'm just frustrated that this isn't working and I don't know why. I don't like not knowing the source of my own ineptitude.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13 - FIFA

So the World Cup is happening - yay! I feel like I should pay attention because it is a rather major world event and because the United States doesn't do Eurovision. It's amazing how many teams I can very easily find myself cheering for, like I have a favorite in each match and we're only three matches in so far (I'm 2-0 - the third is in progress). And I have to wonder, with all of the really good looking men playing futbol, why have I not been watching more of this sport?

A couple of caveats - I don't know a ton about futbol. I know the basics - kick the ball into the other team's goal, two periods of 45 minutes (plus extra time) each, the only one who can use his hands is the goalie. I'm figuring some things out, like what offsides is, and I would be learning more if I was not listening to Spanish speaking commentators online. See, futbol is not as big of a deal in the United States as it is in other countries, so the local radio stations are not broadcasting coverage of the games. I could turn on static gameday type thing on ESPN via which I would know when someone scored. But as futbol is typically a low-scoring game, that's not very exciting. Most of the game seems to be in the technique, not in the goals. So I'm listening to the Univision commentators online and checking in on the action when it sounds like they're getting excited, because Univision is just about the only place showing all of the games. Which brings me to the second caveat - I don't know a ton of Spanish.

I am enjoying the hell out of listening to the Spanish-speaking commentators - they are passionate and involved, and it is a bit of an exercise for me in how much of my high school Spanish I remember. I can tell when they are recapping the score, and I'm pretty sure "pelota" is "ball." I can make out the names of the countries and sometimes the names of the players. I think in the game this morning, they were talking about someone doing something without pants, and they made a reference to a fast food restaurant, so I presume they're having fun. And even though there are different commentators for different games, they all have amazing lungs because when they call a goal, it lasts for twenty-five to thirty seconds. Seriously. And when Mexico was denied two goals and then finally scored on the third try, they shouted "goal" twice to make up for it.

Though, sometimes, I wish I understood better what was going on. Like why the orange flower petal fairy seems to have vomited on the pitch behind one of the goals in the Spain/Netherlands match. And I wish I understood better why Mexico was denied those two goals so I could join those on Twitter and Facebook complaining about how bad the referees are. And I wish I knew what the little gift-exchange ceremony before each match is about, and why there was a kid in a feathered headdress and warpaint releasing a dove yesterday. Ah, the mysteries of futbol.

But for the time being, I'm going to just enjoy the fact that I recognize a couple of the Dutch and Spanish players, and I'm going to pretend that the fast food restaurant reference was the commentators suggesting an alternate career for the referees. Like fan fiction for futbol.

Happy World Cup, everybody!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12 - Beauty

I was thinking about our society's standards of beauty this morning and then a friend of mine sent me a link to this article which said kind of exactly what I was thinking about, so I thought that yes, I should write about this today. I know that what I am going to say here is nothing that hasn't been said before by me and by others (and probably said better by the others), but it is still a thing and I don't think it will change if we stop talking about it, so I'm going to keep talking about it until it does. So there.

Confession time: I often think about things I would say if I was being interviewed on a talk show. It's fun to imagine, and as an actor, not completely outside the realm of things I might have to think about one day. And depending on the day, these imaginary conversations I have with interviewers range in topic from what is going on in the world to why I'm vegan to my physical appearance and how it is outside of the Hollywood norm. You know, the stuff I talk about here on this blog. And most recently, I've been having these imaginary conversations about my appearance.

Because here is the thing: I will never be a size 2. I'm pretty sure it is not in my genetic make-up to allow me to be a size 2. Maybe twenty years ago had I starved myself and worked out all of the time, I could have been, but I am not now and I don't think anything short of major surgery will get me down to a size 2. In my personal life, as I'm walking down the street to and from work, or hanging out with my friends, I am perfectly fine with the fact that I am not now, nor will ever be, a size 2. I have a face that is really nice to look at, and am physically strong enough to do most things that I want to do. I am not unhealthy. And judging by the hoots and hollers and catcalls that I get (and sincere, honest friendships that I have, too), I feel pretty safe in saying people find me attractive. The catcallers for physical reasons; my friends for reasons beyond the physical. And while I am able to say now that I am a good looking woman, I am also able to say I am a ridiculously talented actor. I mean, really. Think about the different types of characters I have played. Think about how many directors have taken the time to let me know they wish they could have used me but there wasn't a part for me in that particular show. Think about how many roles I have been completely wrong for but was cast in anyway, or that have been changed in some significant manner, so that I could play them. I think all of these things say something about my abilities. As do the comments I have gotten from directors and fellow cast members that I inspire them to step up their game. These comments are insanely flattering and completely humbling, and I treasure them. And when you put all of these things together, the only logical conclusion to be drawn from them is that I am really good at what I do. If I wasn't, my career would look very different than it does.

But I just sent out a mailing to talent agents to try to find representation. And I am almost certain that a) I will not hear back from any of them, or b) I will hear back from at least one that recommends I lose 20-30 pounds before they will represent me. Why? Because I am not a size 2.

So I was imagining myself on a talk show, talking about a project I starred in and kicked ass in despite the size of my derriere, and the interviewer and I got talking about body image things. And I very smartly (I thought) brought up the variety that is allowed, or tolerated, or encouraged, in male movie stars. Chris Evans, Tom Hiddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, Collin Firth, Will Smith, Michael Cera, Simon Pegg, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Frost, Morgan Freeman, Sylvester Stallone, Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Chris O'Dowd - they all have different body types, different facial shapes, different hair styles, and yet all of them have played leading men. Perhaps different kinds of leading men (did Phillip Seymour Hoffman ever play a romantic lead?), but leading men nonetheless. And most of them are, or were, the best in the business at one point or another. Most of those men have won major awards for their work, regardless of their trouser size, their jawline, or their height. When we look at the women currently making big bucks in Hollywood, they're told that they have to be a size 2 in order to get leading roles. The two notable exceptions are Melissa McCarthy and Lena Dunham. Possibly Christina Hendricks, too. For most women of larger-than-size-2-size, if they do get a lead in something, it is an indie film, they are not a romantic lead, and they don't get a whole lot of work afterward (Gabourey Sidibe) other than character work. The article linked above mentioned how similar Anna Kendrick, Isla Fisher, Kate Mara, and Ashley Greene all look, and it is true. We, as a society, seem to like only one sort of woman when it comes to "who someone could fall in love with," and anyone who looks different to her is background noise. At least as far as Hollywood is concerned. We can forgive any physical difference in our men, but not in our women.

Granted, I am making gross exaggerations. There are the Lucy Lius (who is still tiny) and the Salma Hayaks (who is still tiny) and the Kerry Washingtons (who is still tiny) representing different looks. I would venture to say, though, that there are more women in film who look like other women in film than women in film who look like the women you see walking down the street every day.

I'm ready for this to change. But as I read casting notice after casting notice that includes something about "must be petite" or "small build" or "skinny and very attractive, somewhat exotic looking," I see that this isn't going to be changing any time soon.

I wonder how much of it has to do with the fantasy aspect of storytelling. Men writing about straight characters always fantasize that the man, no matter what he looks like, will end up with the supermodel. Women writing about straight characters always fantasize that the woman will be so gorgeous she could have any man she wants. I wish we could all, collectively, stop thinking this way. I wish we noticed how many of the people we treasure most in our lives do not fit the "Hollywood ideal" and how little that matters in regard to how much or why we love them. Maybe by acknowledging this, we can change the way we tell stories to include women who look like women - our moms, our sisters, our daughters - instead of making every female character description "skinny, hooker with a heart of gold."

In the meantime, I have to hope that the fact that I am a ridiculously talented actor is enough to let me play some great role that gets me on a talk show so I can publicly talk about how our attitudes towards women's bodies need to change. Because like that article said, it's great that someone as non-traditionally Hollywood as Benedict Cumberbatch is such a popular actor now. Now we just need the same allowances extended to actresses, too.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11 - Haiku

One might think living
With someone else for this long
Meant fluent in cat

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10 - Fear

The scary thing about putting oneself out there is that it opens oneself up to rejection. 

The other scary thing about putting oneself out there is that it opens oneself up to acceptance. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

June 9 - Surreal

Every now and again, I have a moment when I realize that not everybody in the world experiences the same things that I do and if I am allowed to be completely honest, I dig that. I like living a slightly surreal life. It keeps things interesting.

Now, I'm not saying that the things that inspire this thought are so far whacked out that nobody else has ever experienced them. I'm sure there are plenty of people who ordered RGB NeoPixels to sew into costumes today to give the correct "flying through space and time" effect. And I'm sure there are plenty of people who have had rockstars crash on their couch. And plenty more who have gotten press next to someone they have admired for years. But if I took a poll among the people I know personally, my guess is that the majority would not have all three of these things sort of going on at the same time. Which makes my life feel a little odd, but in the best possible way. And extremely fortunate.

The other lovely part about living a surreal life is that these minor triumphs, these little extraordinary moments, allow me to believe that I could have more minor triumphs in my life. And possibly one major one someday. Who knows? It's like Fate dangling the proverbial carrot in front of my face and letting me get just one tiny bite. I know that the carrot is there. I know what it tastes like. I know I can reach the whole thing. Someday.

Or maybe not. Who knows. Today, I'm just enjoying my surreal fantasies.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

June 8 - Haiku

Not quite awesomeness
Not quite mis'rable failure
Project not quite done

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

June 6 - Imagination

There are certain advantages to being an imaginative person. It is easy to keep oneself entertained, for one. But there are also disadvantages to being an imaginative person, especially an imaginative person with an overactive empathy center, because in the face of not knowing something for sure, one's imagination can run completely wild and come up with a ridiculous number of insane scenarios to explain the simplest situation. These scenarios run from completely fantastic to totally banal and in the mind of an imaginative person, they all become equally valid, equally viable. And at some point, the most ridiculous possibilities become the most plausible, with the most benign becoming the least likely.

I am such an imaginative person. Today, I am wondering about keys and houseguests. And what was probably a very simple exchange of lock-the-door-shove-the-key-under-it has escalated in my imagination to include the spirit haunting my bedroom taking form and killing my houseguest so I get to go home to a corpse on my couch in who knows what state because I have a cat who I would like to think would never eat a person, but you never really know. Or instead of a haunting, the romantic side of my brain has turned the situation into a rom-com, where I will come home to a beautifully decorated, very clean apartment, with some fancy treat waiting on the table and a hug from my houseguest who just couldn't leave without one more embrace. Or the suspicious part of my brain has me convinced I'll go home to a completely empty apartment, as the last houseguest I had has permanently scarred me and made me terrified that I'm always going to be robbed by someone I know. And while all of these ideas are swirling around in my brain, the logical part of me knows it was actually just a very simple exchange of lock-the-door-shove-the-key-under-it, but the logical part of my brain just can't shout as loudly as all of the other ones.

What I should do, is put my imagination to good use and start writing songs or stories again.

Since I've been blogging just about every day for nearly a year and a half, though, is too much creative energy going into writing these posts and not enough into crafting something artful with these sort of thoughts? I don't know. Maybe if I stopped blogging for a while and I'd start writing music again. Who knows? Maybe if I stopped blogging for a while, my imagination would have better things with which to amuse itself than the potential ethereal slaying of my houseguest.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

June 5 - Haiku

Hi, is Pepper here?
Says the Norwegian tourist
Better than sleeping

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

June 3 - Later

Energy is mass speed up to the speed of light squared. So it would make sense that mass is energy slowed down considerably. Which also makes sense when you know that solids are formed when the atoms or molecules of a substance are slowed down, liquids when they move a little faster, and gasses when they are sped up even more. So people - and animals and plants and bugs and bacteria and whatnot - are really just energy that has slowed down, yes? We have mass and are made up of atoms, so we must just be universal energy that has slowed down enough to become solids, liquids, and gasses. 

So when a person dies, I sort of like to think that the energy contained within the corporeal form is released back into the universe. It is a breaking free of the shackles of this terribly slow life. And I like to think that the energy that was once a person spends some time as energy for a little while before it eventually slows down and becomes something physical again. Along the way, it probably gets mixed up with other energy, but that's cool. It means something new is formed from recycling old energy. Cosmic recycling, if you will. 

I bring this up because I have been watching episodes of House lately, and he tends to berate anyone who is dying and expresses a belief in an afterlife. The character of House doesn't think an afterlife exists and he thinks anyone who does is ignorant and illogical. So I had to give it some thought. I was raised in the Christian Church - two of them actually - but I don't know that I subscribe to the idea of a place where all of these souls sit around on clouds and nobody fights about anything and everyone is just happy all of the time. If I am supposed to learn things in this lifetime and be a good person, it doesn't really feel like that great of a reward to still be me after I die. I've been me already, for quite some time. The exciting thing to have happen would be to try being someone or something else/more/better after I die. And don't give me that "you're the best version of you in Heaven" line. That's still not nearly as cool as becoming part of a cosmic thunderstorm or the first bacteria on a newly terra-formed planet. As much as I have railed against my physicality, to still look like this after I die, to still be essentially me for all eternity...that would be miserable. And I hate to admit it, but I like conflict. I need conflict. As an actor, I am programmed to look for it and find a way to fix it - this is what I love to do. And while it would be amazing to get to meet my relatives who passed before I was born or to be reunited with those who went before me, I'm kind of terrified that in an eternity of conflict-free bliss, I would run out of things to say and get bored. That probably sounds awful, right? I know it does. The thought of sitting contentedly on a cloud for eons just honestly isn't all that appealing to me. Though that may just be because I'm trapped within the confines of this mortal brain - I might actually really enjoy it when I get there. 

So where does that leave me and my belief about the afterlife? I'm not sure. I can't know for certain that there is or there isn't one because I've never been. I can't know for sure if those from beyond have communicated with me or not because it could just be me remembering things I had forgotten. And were I to end up in the hospital right now with a cranky doctor telling me I had three days to live, I might suddenly find the idea of eternal cloud-sitting very comforting. But right here, right now, I find comfort in the thought that when I do die someday, my energy will be released to the universe to fall apart and rejoin with other energies to make something new. It's nice to think that death is because one's body has gained so much energy and momentum that it has to speed up beyond what a physical shape can hold. Then it becomes a beginning and not an end. Just something that happens, not something to be feared. 

That said, I hope my own passing takes place a long time from now. I still have a lot of things to do here on the slow path before I'm ready to give up the combination of cosmic energies that is me. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

June 2 - Inbetween

There is that moment somewhere in the middle of the creative process, after you've had the idea, after you've done the planning, after you've gotten the tools together, but just before implementation starts, when the fear sets in. What if the finished product doesn't look like the vision in your head? What if you need more tools? What if, for all of your planning and research and preparation, the project is just too big?

I think this is the hardest part of the process for the creative mind. That moment of doubt when you feel like you have already passed the do-or-die moment. When it's too late to stop, but too scary to keep going. I don't know that I have an all-around mechanism for fixing or getting past this moment that works in every situation. Sometimes, I have to back up a step to the excitement of the planning. Sometimes I have to remind myself that even if it doesn't turn out the way I hoped it would, there is a chance it will turn out better instead of worse. Sometimes I have to remind myself that other people are counting on me. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes, I am not. 

I got the tools and supplies for a project today, that needs to be finished in about three weeks. I had all sorts of energy and excitement and then a phone call with a friend happened, and the need to do laundry put the execution on hold. I hope I can get excited again tomorrow night so I can actually do this project. Because it is going to be awesome, even if it doesn't look like it did in my head. 

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

June 1 - Chatting in a Particular Direction

So I mentioned that I had an event last night, and overall, it went better than I thought it would. But as I was chatted up by two different men in the course of the evening, a few "chat up" tips occurred to me that I thought I might share with you, my three readers, just in case you are curious. 

1) The easiest way to show someone you are interested in getting to know them is to ask them questions about themself. This occurred to me as one gentleman I talked to asked questions about TV shows and movies I liked, music I listened to, stuff like that. The other gentleman told me plenty of stories about himself and his life and asked me absolutely no questions about mine. Granted, the second guy was drunker than the first, while I was sober, so I may have just noticed it more, or maybe people just get more self-centered when they get drunk. But while the first encounter was more of a conversation, the second was a story-telling session with me stuck between two chairs looking for a way to get out. So remember when you are chatting someone up, the question, "And you?" is your best friend. 

2) If you really want to show interest in someone, listen to them. If the object of your affection is asking you about your philosophy, or your tattoos, or your drink choice, follow that line of conversation. If she's asking about your tattoos, ask about hers, or ask what she would get if she has none. If he's curious about your beer, ask what beer he prefers. People tend to seek out similarities in people they've just met, so if he's asking about your favorite band, it's quite possibly because music is important to him. If music isn't important to you, you can pick up on something he says about why he likes a certain band and steer the conversation to an agreeable middle ground. I know, I know, it sounds complicated, but it's really not. In order to talk to someone, you need to listen to them as well. 

3) If the person you are chatting up starts fidgeting, looking around the room, and glazing over, it is likely because you have failed to do either of the things mentioned above within a reasonable amount of time. The easiest way to fix this is to ask them a question about themself, though if it has been forty-five minutes of just you talking, it is probably too late. 

4) If the person you are chatting up is female and you are trying to think of something to ask her about herself to keep the conversation going, avoid, "So, have you always been this hot?" at all costs. And while honest compliments are nice, questions about what she is doing with her life or what she wants to do with her life will make her feel more important and desired than telling her she has pretty hair. 

I hope these tips have been helpful and will lead you to many pleasant chats in the future!