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You Can’t Deny Who You Are

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“If you can do anything else in the world, do it,” my acting teachers said. They meant as a career choice. Like, if you can not be an actor, if it’s not a part of the fabric of your soul, wherein you are unable to do anything else in the world, then be an actor; otherwise, find something more lucrative and less disappointing to do. It will only make you miserable.

This irked me. It seemed like some sort of challenge, one I wasn’t sure I could match, but which I would damn well try to. Of course I couldn’t do anything else, I’d think. Why the hell else would I spend seven years trying?

But, down deep, in the wee hours, around 3:05 a.m., I wondered…maybe I could.

And here I am, no longer an actor. I get it now. I saw there was a way out and other things I could do for a living. However, what I’ve also learned is that once you’re an artist, whether it be an actor, a writer, a painter, or a musician, you’re always an artist, whether it’s your job or not. It will always be a part of you, an avocation perhaps, instead of a vocation.

I tried to deny my artist when I quit acting. I wanted to be a regular person, whatever that means. Well, no. To me, being regular meant going to work from 9 to 5, coming home to the kids, eventually going to bed, and doing it over again. Oh, and not looking back.

I’m not looking back, because if you look back, you’ll be going that way.

However, I now realize I need to have some sort of art in my life. I need to express myself, I can’t help it. Hence, I write this blog, and I wrote my book.

I remember when I got a new puppy, a hunting dog, I wondered what to do with her, because I didn’t like to hunt. I thought she’d be fine not hunting, despite her giant, capable nose and her magnificent ability to chase. We would take walks in the woods, and she’d play around the house, and I avoided taking her hunting. But, ultimately, the dog found ways to hunt. She’d uproot mouse dens, kill rabbits in the yard, and give any type of critter a run for its money. She couldn’t help herself; it was in her nature.

I read somewhere that not allowing your natural talents to express themselves is like denying an artistic child a set of magic markers. You can choose not to give him the markers, but, when you do, you will see his best self come out. He will make beautiful pictures, and he will be happy.

I’m happy too now, when I’m writing and doing artistic things.

I’ve realized I can be an artist and a “regular” person at the same time!

And, that, as Robert Frost wrote in The Road Not Taken, that has made all the difference. 

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Motivation, Self-Help, Uncategorized

If You Look Back, You’ll Soon Be Going That Way

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I carry a fortune around with me in my wallet, one I got from a cookie at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. It reads: If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way. Wise words. Living in the rear view mirror is not a good thing, something I often struggle with. It’s like I want to correct what was wrong, rework it, like your brain does when it dreams (or so I’ve heard). I often wondered when I’d dream, why all the characters in my dreams are figures from my past, none in the present. It’s because I want to change it. I want to do a redo, but, unfortunately, I have to accept what’s done is done. And, on top of that, maybe be happy that those negative experiences happened so they could bring me to a more positive future.

My brother sent me this quote today, which relates:

The broken thing you keep trying to put back together, can’t even compare to that beautiful thing that’s waiting to be built.

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I feel like I have made so many regrettable life choices! I want to shake my former self, yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??” Like, why would I choose to be an actress, of all things, as a career? Seriously. Like that’s the worst prospective career choice, ever. BUT, I can look at it this way now: had I not tried it, I’d be wondering, “I wonder if I could have made it…I’m talented…maybe!” Now I have a retort when someone says, “You’re so funny! You should be on TV!” I can say, “Oh, I tried that….” and here we are…I don’t regret that. I used to lament that those years I spent hitting the NYC pavement could have been better spent climbing the career ladder, but, hey, I’m just different. I never like to walk the straight-and-narrow.

I’m bent.

Oh, one of my favorite things to do is recycle old relationships that went awry, hoping to change history. Like, I’d recycle old boyfriends, seeing if it would end differently. Guess what? It never did! Or, I’d focus on friendships that just dissipated, wondering, “What did I do wrong?” And when I’d reconnect, I’d realize, oh, yes, this is why we are no good for one another. 

Recycling is for paper goods, not for people.

I realize now that when I wrote my novel, Honor Girl, I was trying to rework my past. I was trying to fix what was broken, writing what I had hoped had happened. This is contrary, of course, to what people think when they read it and assume it is my life and what happened. It is not. It is perhaps what I wished had happened… I was working things out in my head. Writing helps that way. Try it. That’s also why I blog: I’m working it out.

I am going to try to work on looking forward, living a dog’s life. That way, I can focus on what I’m building, not what’s broken.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Healthy Recall: My Plan B

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Lawn for Lunch

I ate a tub o’ spinach for lunch, topped with some kind of creamy dressing found at work to make it more palatable. About three-quarters of the way through, I was over it. Not only did I feel like a deer eating lawn for lunch, with the exception that I was in a cubicle, but I also just began to physically recoil–which also happens when I read all these healthy resolutions going on (including my own). In response to the recoil, I’m doing a recall, a recall of all things healthy. 

Seriously, I’m over it. I’m going to go all-out backlash now and just INDULGE. Here’s Plan B:

  1. Menu for Dinner: Pasta. Heaps of it, a carbo-vore’s delight. This will be accompanied by a loaf of French bread, globbed with butter, and maybe two glasses of wine.
  2. For Dessert: M&M cookie sandwich (these are easily accessible and already in the freezer #kids).
  3. I will then sit my can on the couch, lobbing my Fitbit across the room with glee, and turn on the tube. I will watch hours of Bravo’s Real Housewives of you-name-it-county while wolfing down cheese Doritos and Chex Snack Mix. I might even pour salt on it, just to make it even more of a health hazard. ‘Cuz I’m then thirsty, I will pour some more wine, or maybe go so far as to have a fat pina colada with tons of milk, just to get as many calories as possible.
  4. I will stay up too late watching You Tube and forget to wash my face and apply any kind of retinol/anti-aging/rip off serum that doesn’t work anyway.

This sounds like an awesome plan!

Oh, and maybe I’ll take up smoking, just ‘cuz I might look like of retro cool and bad ass. And I will wear my skinny jeans like body paint with no shame. I may even go so far as to buy a midriff and let my post-childbearing bod just flail on the loose.

What else can I do? Oh! I will ingest as much bold coffee as I want, and I will pity all gym rats.

Wouldn’t this be fun?!?!?

I love Plan B.

It’s not going to happen, because I’m way too vain, socially conscious, afraid, and self-punitive, but it’s nice to imagine.

It was a fun ride.

What would you do? 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Need a Lift? A “Progress” Report

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I’m doing lifts: leg lifts, lifting the glass of wine to my lips, lifting my bat wings in reverse arms circles, and lifting the remote to pause the news while I tell the dog to “shut it” as it yaps at me. I’m also lifting my Fitbit to see the excess of 1,000 steps I’ve earned running up and down the steps to help my children while making dinner in the last hour. Yes, 1,000 steps. You may wonder, how is that? That seems excessive. Well, yes, it is. And here is why:

After the children reluctantly forced down the grilled chicken and broccoli I whipped up in fifteen flat while still in my work blouse  and ID badge (#hot) (“Just five bites!”), they agreed to my rule that they had to play together before running off to their various screen devices. This is brilliant, no? I hold the devices hostage, and they are forced to interact and actually use their imaginations.  Crazy, right? But needed.

So, just as I relaxed into the couch, the blue Superhero Barbie was jettisoned onto my son’s knuckle, upon which  he writhed in pain vehemently declaring that that he will never play with her again.

She runs upstairs, proclaiming her innocence and accidental injury, also screaming, and I wrap my son in my new soft Christmas blanket, kissing his hand, while the dog barks incessantly with jealousy, an Oedipus if I’ve ever seen one.

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“Mom!!! Mommy!” she yells repeatedly. “Yap! Yap,” he barks.

I want to ignore her, but I run up the stairs. It can’t be serious because she’s still breathing, I think.

“What is it??” I ask, opening the door. She’s  trapped underneath her new easel, between that and the plastic kitchen, trying to make a fort to hide with her Frozen comforter. I get her out using the jaws of life, (well, just my hands), and hold her head as she cries on the bed.

“I need a driiiiiink,” she whimpers. Um, so do I, but we are trying not to! Remember?

I run downstairs to get her a soda water, making sure to put ice and a top on it, the way she likes it.

“Mom!” he yells from the basement. The Fortnite is “lagging!” Uh, I’ll show you lagging… Alas, I run downstairs to fix the faux internet issue, only to realize it’s because there’s an update on Epic games. Why I even know this scares me, or any Fortnite terminology and various skins frightens me.

Okay, so now everyone is attended to. I am at peace. Well, that’s a lie; it’s just a little less crazed.

Now I have  a moment to focus on me and my new four goals of the New Year. I have to not eat sugar, no carbs, and exercise. Oh, and less screen time and what’s the other one?

Well, it didn’t happen. After all that, I poured myself a glass but did some lifts simultaneously as I watched the news. Lift, lift, lift…

 

Motivation, Self-Help

Can I Do these Four Things This Year?

It’s a new day, a new year! I seem excited, don’t I? All this emphatic punctuation (!) makes it seem so!! I’m not, really. And, I realize that I have the same resolutions I had last year, which is none, because I worry I can’t keep them. I don’t want to disappoint, so I will instead just give into my bad habits and let myself off the hook.

No, that’s terrible.

See? I’m actually thinking aloud now. We can’t let ourselves off the hook so easily by being flat-out lazy. I need to do a whole lot’ta things, and here are just some of them:

  1. Take time to go for a legit walk/run/something every day. As I ran up the stairs from my car today into work, lugging a lunch bag, my ginormous purse filled with Nerf darts I picked off the lawn on my way out, and a bag of various cold remedies, I was out of breath. Like, old person-wheezing, out of breath. Not sure how this came about when a mere six years ago I was buying new running shoes and telling the retail clerk that I was “a runner” and ran “up to seven miles a day.”
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My purse

2. Cut back the calories by cutting back on unnecessary drinks. And I’m not talking soda and Gatorade. I am talking sugary wine (read: the devil). I may as well eat a pint of Ben n’ Jerry’s Chunky Monkey each night. And, speaking of which, I am officially a chunky monkey.  My skinny jeans are sneering at me from the top of my closet, and my angry scale, which must be re-calibrated, since it’s obviously off (#not) slaps me with egregious readings in the morning. Must be the coffee…

3. Start reading more. I actually read a novel the other night, and it felt so good! And I was also reading something about how it’s good to raise children with books–visible, tangible ones–around the house. They need to see you reading to want to read themselves. Reading online isn’t the same.

4. I will say I’ve been pretty good about mitigating my screen time on my phone. So I’m going to keep that up. I love that notification you get now of how much time you’ve spent on social media, etc. It’s a wake-up call, and that time can so be spent doing something more productive. And by something, I mean anything…else.

That’s about all for me this year. I think four things is enough. After all, when I started writing this, I was doing zilch. Now I have four things to do! I hope I don’t disappoint…

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