Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shake It Out

I've never done this before, so bear with me. I'm trying to post a video onto my page and until I hit "publish post" I'm not even sure it's gonna show up. So... here's to taking risks! (If it doesn't embed, you can find the music video here.)

I first heard "Shake it Out," the single off Florence + the Machine's second album (which will be released on November 1st, Dios de los Muertos, fittingly enough) a few weeks ago and I sat back and thought, this is going to be my theme song for October.

And it still is.





"Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play."

It's true that I regret very little in my life, the choices I make and have made. Part of what is wonderful about being a "present-focused" person is that I live in the immediate here and now. Of course, this does provide an astonishing lack of perspective occasionally, but most of the time, I am happy because I am not wishing for the future or longing for the past. Things settle on my skin and the tip of my tongue and I stay with them, allowing sensations and memories to melt and breathing it all in. But October is always a month to look back, to dig up the dead, even for me. I find myself looking at the past, not with regret, but certainly not without sadness. October, of all the months, is the month in which we grieve, and stand in front of death and birth, and feel the changes that are happening in our lives the most.

I've spent the last month and a half surrounded by tasks, tasks that required me to be fully present and 100% on my game, even as there were things swirling around me at all times. The last forty days required absolute focus and left me with very little room for error. As soon as I got back from Yosemite, I spent 11 days on set, from 6 pm to 6 am, and since this project was strictly a labor of love, I would then drive to my job at 6 am and work an 6 hour shift before returning to set.

In the middle of the shoot, I planned a lecture for my church that required me to organize reaching out to the community, advertise to other churches in the area, plan to feed everyone who attended, pick up the speaker at the airport, and do generally everything else that goes along with planning a huge speaking event. And it went fabulously, without a hitch.

Towards the end of the shoot, I was also blessed to officiate Lira's wedding. You can check out pictures here (I'm in a couple) and I have to say: the wedding was beautiful. Even running off the tiny amount of sleep I was going off of, I was able to officiate quite well, marry Lira and her boy Anthony correctly, and then designate myself Wedding Coordinator for the rest of the day, making sure Lira and Anthony actually got to eat, sit down, and enjoy their own wedding.

As soon as I was done with the still-under-wraps mysterious horror project that I will plug as soon as I can, I went straight into pre-production for season two of Hell Froze Over, the web-series I was in in 2009, and started shooting ANOTHER web-series, Living with Frankenstein, a supernatural British comedy where I play Mary Shelley, who, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley (and Frankenstein's monster) is living in modern day Los Angeles. :)

"And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn."

And it's true that I like to keep some things private. It's always tough with a blog to balance what belongs in the public and what belongs in the privacy of our own hearts. When I am having a tough time, my friends and family are not always the first to know. But I am learning to put into words the feelings I feel when I'm not quite sure how to react or deal with the things that upset me. And I honestly think I'm getting better.

"And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around."

What October teaches me, more than anything, is that it is not letting go of the past that is the most important. It is coming to peace with the fact that the past will never be let go of. I grieve but I also sit in the grief, carry it like a blanket, and it keeps me company and the less I try to shoo it off my porch and the more I just let it keep me company... the quieter the past becomes in my head.

"And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it's always darkest before the dawn.

"Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh"

So I shake it out. I shake the grief, the tension, the sleeplessness, the stress, the frenetic frenzied energy, I shake all of it out my body and I keep on doing what I've always done. Which is put one foot in front of the other.

"And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn."

I am done picking fights (did you SEE my last post?), done with my own graceless heart that cuts impatiently across conversations and memories and full-bloodied emotions, done being tired and less than understanding towards what others are going through, done being less than sympathetic and done being a full-blown workaholic who puts her best friend's wedding on her to-do list instead of her to-celebrate list.

Because it's hard to dance with a devil on your back, and October has more devils than most months. But man, you gotta just shake that crap out and restart. Because October has a lot of endings, for sure. But it also has beginnings, too.

16 comments:

Red Shoes said...

Wow.. I went back and re-read your schedule... when do you find time to sleep?

Those are great photos of all concerned, but really nice ones of you!

Now, make sure you get some sleep...

~shoes~

Lira said...

Oh, how excited I am for you in the next couple of months. You have no idea.

Bathwater said...

Being in the public eye, I totally understand why you would want to keep some things private. Great use of lyrics btw.

But I have never found you to be "less than sympathetic". I am so happy to see you doing so much work in the field you enjoy.

Marion said...

What a great post, Phoenix. You looked amazing in the touching, sweet wedding photos. I love the song by Florence & The Machine. (I was green with envy when my daughter saw them perform in Nashville this summer). October is filled with ghosts for me, too. Be sure to take care of yourself and get some rest. Love you!! xo

Wine and Words said...

I am no longer trying to be less of this, and more of that, and unbottoned from past, or flying through present. I am just focused on being me, and that being good enough. And I'm not trying to hide it, as if doing so might save others, or protect myself. ME. Me is just hanging out there waving hello, saying "Ain't I fucked up, and beautiful so." All that past we can't rid ourselves of? THIS is what became of THAT. ME. HERE. NOW.

Great post my poor tired Tracy!

Heather said...

Love love love! Needing to shake things out as well! Fabulous post. :) Thanks for the song!

Ed Pilolla said...

i am with you about october. i've been gleefully bringing my dead to life with celebration. october has always been a big energy month for me, always. i keyed into it several years ago as a reporter. the magic is easier to touch in this month.
you mention quieting the ghosts of the past. isn't that a grand accomplishment? no silence, but a significant lowering of the volume. that's progression in the real world. so well put.
yes, i saw your last post:)
40 days of trial. something ancient about that time period, sister. you know.

JJ said...

Phoenix: I hope you realize you have it all. Your lifestyle is what I have attempted to achieve since my youth. I, obviously like you, have been granted a two-hundred-year lifespan. I plan to sleep the second hundred.

Two Tigers said...

What a beautiful meditation on this time of year, even if the pace of your life lately is hardly meditative! October is definitely a moody month of transitions and farewells. You may be too busy here in the present to dwell on the past or future, but you are more conscious of what is going on in yourself and in life than most people I know, and far more capable of expressing it in a way that is both highly personal and yet accessible to us all. That's a great gift. Thanks.

Annabelle said...

man..this song.

it was the first music id ever put on my blog too. that song has been saving my life for a while now. I can get lost in it (in much of that bands work) and the devil is off my back, at least for a little while.

Lori ann said...

that is quite a pace you are keeping. good times tracy. i've got every bit of faith in you.
:)

kj said...

been thinking about the past and i come here and here it is. you're right: the past is never past. we carry it, but we can carry it as we see fit. that, i think, is good to know.

wonderful post, tracyi'm sure there are chores, but too, creativity abounds.


kj

Dionne said...

Oh I am glad that the wedding was wonderful, and how awesome that you got to officiate! How special!

And so true about trying to balance blogging - some things come back to bite us in the butt later if we say too much, arrhhhgghh!

Eric W. Trant said...

On your last post, just want to say you have a fine balance of both lucidity and understanding. I don't figure one string of words ever has the same effect on two different people. My uncle suffered Down's, and you can't say the word ~retarded~ in family company. The proper term is ~special~, look at that boy over there, he's ~special~.

Same with rape. Nirvana's Rape Me always seemed to fall flat, the song, and I never could understand why. I always wondered how it would have sounded if Courtney Love had sang it and made it about a rapist rather than record producers.

I envy and respect that you neither hold a grudge nor your tongue! Damn fine rant, girl!

Anyway, what was the post I was commenting on, I forget, something about Florence and the Machine...

Right, oh, October. I went through this in September. Guess I'm an early bloomer. You should read the story I worked on in October. I'm not sure I even want to read it again. Demented, sick, true and honest. No doubt this season brings out the beast in us all.

Don't get the blues, keep yourself first or at least near the front of the line, KEEP FILMING! (and post the links, if you haven't already), and get some sleep.

- Eric

Darcy said...

um YESSSS!!!!
dude, you just put into words this whole October thing...I was just thinking today...What IS it about October???
and I feel like ur words here: "But October is always a month to look back, to dig up the dead, even for me. I find myself looking at the past, not with regret, but certainly not without sadness. October, of all the months, is the month in which we grieve, and stand in front of death and birth, and feel the changes that are happening in our lives the most."
I feel like these words really put a paragraph to those inner feelings. thanks for that.
also truly feel like i can relate to this: "being a "present-focused" person is that I live in the immediate here and now. Of course, this does provide an astonishing lack of perspective occasionally"
i think some of my friends & fams would agree too LOL. but it's the only way ;-)!!!!
hugs to you and october and all of it.

Robin said...

Sometimes we overload our schedules so thoroughly that it truly becomes impossible to appreciate the moments. It really becomes about getting through it and shaking it out. It was unfortunate timing (in its way) that Lira's wedding landed in the middle of your crazy month because I know you would have preferred to focus all of your loving attention on that event. However, I know that you did the best that you could with what you had. Things just happen as they happen. Now, I also know that you said that you are done being upset about things and referred to your previous post, which I then read, but that is a HOT topic for you. I am not sure that given the right circumstances you won't get appropriately angry again. Anger is not altogether bad, Trace. Without anger some of the greatest atrocities ever would happen and will happen. It is only people getting angry and saying, "No, this is not right," that stops that stuff. And people sometimes have to get really angry. Had we sat idle, Hitler would have just done his thing in Europe. Anger has its place. Now, I am not saying it should consume a person. But, there is a time and a place for every emotion. And some things are worth getting angry about. You just have to pick your battles. I think maybe that was the defining of the grace you referred to in one of your more recent posts...

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