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When Life is a Ping Pong Match

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I spend an awful amount of time making my next move, jumping ahead, not being present. I’m like a game of Frogger, hopping in and out of lanes, dodging cars. Just this week, I lived in two different cities, scanning Zillow for homes, imagining my new yard, friends, and restaurants I frequent. It’s like a game of ping pong. I ping over to a new imaginary life, then pong back to my actual one, realizing this is where I am, the choices I made, and this is where I have to remain. It’s what’s best for the kids, for me, for now. Until next week.

I think about removing the apps from my phone, the ones that take me to other places in my head. My phone is then naked, devoid of stalling mechanisms. Only the weather app, and the health one  denoted by that cute little pink heart that, when you click on it,  shows how little I’ve moved today from my desk, remain. That heart becomes not so cute anymore. Maybe I should delete that too.

I read articles on the web, about what other people are doing, and I wonder, “Can I do that too?” I go to Wikipedia and trace backwards from someone’s fame, someone’s viral post, to see just how they got there. I “Scooby Doo” it, I say, like when Velma works her way backwards in her explanation of how they found out Mr. Jenkins from the bank was really the ghost of Fox Manor. I unmask these famous people and think about what it would be like if I wore their masks. How can I get there?

I then pong back to my life.

It’s okay I’m not famous, I tell myself. I don’t have to prove myself. I am love-able just the way I am. For now.

I just read a book about how to be healthy and recapture your beauty and inner glow. It’s got all those suggestions about detoxing and eating flax and fish oil and green tea. Green tea tastes gross, and I want a breath mint after the first sip. I drink it anyway. The book said that the secret to living a long, healthy, happy life (really, all I actually want–I think?) is to live simply: get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, don’t engage in too much screen time, don’t eat too much or too little, smell the flowers, blah, blah, blah. It seems utterly impossible. I close the book and return it to the library.

I pong back. Ping. Pong. Ping. Pong.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

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, Thoughts

When Stillness Stings

I was just reading that we should all find an hour in our day–find it, steal it,  covet it, and make the time for it–to disconnect in some way from our stress and hyper-connectivity. We should seek out a pond, go for a walk, read a book, meet a friend, or actually stop to smell the flowers, as trite as that sounds. In fact, just the other day, I stopped to smell a white hydrangea, and then I noticed that there was a wasp on it. And I thought, “Really? This is what happens when I stop to smell the flowers? I get stung by a wasp?”

And maybe that’s the point! Stay with me here…

Maybe we keep this maniacal pace, filling our days with 40 hour work weeks, kids’ activities and carpools, gym workouts, Facebook postings, and phone swiping just so that we don’t get STUNG by what lurks beneath: what happens when we are still.

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Photo by Suneo1999 on Pexels.com

When we are, emotions surface, thoughts pervade, lists unravel, daydreaming happens. Some of this can be quite positive and inspirational, like the dream of a family camping trip (well, no, scratch that–that sounds miserable and sticky; I’m already itching); or the dream of having a baby or finally mastering the guitar. Conversely, these emerging thoughts can be dark, even scary, such as unease with a friendship or relationship, a lurking sense you may not be living the life you want to live. And you’re stuck. So you keep moving; you connect.

What do we do when we see wasps? We run to avert the sting. We run from it before it gets us, waving our hands around and screaming, like we are on fire. We do this too in relationships, don’t we? We run from them or break up with people before they can break up with us. Or, we disparage ourselves and self-deprecate in front of others (okay, I do), so we can beat them to the punch. I hurt me before you hurt me.

Maybe we should stop and feel the burn, the pain.

I have a healing wasp sting on my wrist right now. It’s small in diameter, about two centimeters, and it’s pink from where I itched off the scab.

Sometimes a scab needs to be itched off to heal.

Doesn’t time heal all wounds? I’m waiting for an answer on that one. But I need to acknowledge these wounds first, in the stillness.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
#relationships, Motivation, Self-Help, Thoughts

Ten Things I Know So Far- Inspired by Anne Lamott

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Thanks to writer Anne Lamott, I’m inspired to write my own TEN THINGS I KNOW SO FAR:

1. No matter how tired, angry, drunk, crazy, loud, funny, sick, ragged and worn down you are, if you put on pearls, you always look just a little bit classier.

2. When a man wants to be with you, he will find you and contact you. There are no games. You’ll say, “I can’t believe how easy this was.” The ones who you cyber-stalk, who you tell your friends have “intimacy issues,” or ones who said they “will circle back” or fade out to the point you wonder if they got into an egregious accident and you need to check on them (um, yeah, true story) are not interested in you. Homework: read He’s Just Not That Into You.

3. Everything is better with bacon and grapefruit or coconut seltzer water. Not together, of course. Well, maybe. Must try.

4. Wherever you go, there you are; You can run, but you can’t hide; what’s the common denominator here? All those sayings are true. No matter how many times I’ve pulled a geographic, be it physical, as in moving from the city to the country, or leaving a relationship, or changing a job, I’m still me with the same old stuff. Sometimes, these moves can fix a circumstance, but they can’t fix me. I can only do that. My homework.

5. Uber is a beautiful thing. Except when it’s used as an adjective. Same thing with epic.

6. We are all a work in progress, and we will be for eternity. You can always be better—to yourself, your family, your friends, your community. There’s never been a day that I’ve said, “I’m all set. I’m good now.”

7. Circle the wagons when it comes to friendships. Too many can make you feel lost at sea. Have your core, your circle, and let them in, tell them all. If a circle is too big, it pops, and you’re left with a line. (Wait, that sounds kind of deep. I don’t think it is, but maybe).

8. You’re only as old as you feel…until you can’t fit into your jeans that you wore when you turned forty and had just had a baby. Then, you’re me. And you realize you’re not 28. #wishfuljeaning. This brings me to my next point: don’t buy all new clothes when you can’t fit into the old ones. Even if you’re still too large for them, just keep them in heaps folded on the top of your closet to serve as thin-spiration. Then, one day, you can lob them all into a bag, bring them to the goodwill or local service center, and go eat an Italian sub.

9. Guys and girls can’t be just friends, if either of them is single and/or attractive. Okay, this can be argued. However, I have found that lots of my “friends” seemed to disappear when I got married or in long term relationships. Usually, one crushes out on the other, even if the other is blind to it, or pretends not to see it. Harry was right.

10. There is only one you. (well, unless you’re me, and you get told you look like someone they went to camp with, work with, are related to, or saw driving earlier, on a daily basis).

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