Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I know this much is true.

Sometimes during the holidays I feel like the Ghost of Christmas Present. You know the one - when Scrooge first meets him, the Ghost of Christmas Present is buoyant, energetic, like a sixteen year old kid totally high on life, and by the time they depart, the Ghost of the Present has aged into an old man and is ready to pass the torch onto the much more terrifying Ghost of Christmas Future, who freaked me out when I watched Scrooged as a kid. (I have a low threshold for absolutely terrifying things.)

I feel like I spend the entire month of December as the Ghost of Christmas Present, starting off the month giddy, young, charged with fire and ready to tackle on the world, loudly. But by the time December 31st comes along, I am a wizened, tired, slightly cranky senior citizen who kind of just wishes those damn kids would get off my lawn already.

So here we are, in my olden days. I am feeling aged, slightly cynical, more relaxed and less neurotic after having celebrated another beautiful Christmas with my family, a bit saddened to once again have spent it apart from That Boy I Adore, (who heads home to the East Coast for Christmas) and just kind of wishing 2011 would pop its head in already so that I could be done with it and go take a nap.

But as I am in my Wise(r) and Old(er) state right now, I thought I would use this post to impart some of the wisdom I have learned through the year, and invite all of you to do the same. So I ask each and every one of you: what's something you learned this year, about yourself, life, the universe, the mechanics of gravity versus coffee... whatever it is, I'd love to hear it. And, for what it's worth, here are my tidbits:

Get your tires rotated every time you get your oil changed. Two birds, one stone.

Everything is comedy. If the memory still hurts and it's not funny yet, give it more time.

Don't hang out with anyone who revels in your failures and don't hang out with anyone who doesn't get high off your successes.

There are two types of critics. The first are critical because they think you can do better, and they're willing to point out how and help you reach your full potential. The second are critical because they're threatened by how well you're doing without them. Keep the first. Ditch the second.

The amount you are offended at something is directly proportional to how much you need to work on coming to peace with it in your own life.

People who can't respectfully disagree about politics or religion are just children in adult's clothing. You grow up the day that you are able to look people in the eye, people who completely disagree with you on every political or religious matter to which you hold dear, shake their hands, and wish them well. Children demonize those who look at things differently. Adults learn that there is always more than one perspective and learn from it.

The only difference between a leader and a follower is that leaders are able to get people to work together, and followers are too busy trying to be leaders to bother.

Criticism is the first form of violence. Humiliation is the second.

Have at least one friend who would be willing to pick you up from the airport at 2 am. Or willing to help you stay awake until 2 am if you're the one picking someone up.

Nobody likes a martyr. They say they do, but they're lying.

and finally, one of my new favorite quotes:

"The truth is that things don't really get solved, they come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."


(photo credit: I got it here)

Happy New Year, everyone! And don't forget to share your own sage advice when you comment :) I need all the help I can get...

(oh, and PS - I'm over at Tay's blog today telling people what other things I believe in. Go check it out! Thanks Tay!!!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the space between

Do you know what the space between is?

No, it's not a Dave Matthews song, whoever said that, you're fired. (Does anyone else associate Dave Matthews Band songs with making out with people in college? No? I'm the only one? Right then, moving on.)

The space between is the space that exists between where you are, and where you want to be. It can be an emotional space, a physical one, a spiritual one...whatever. It's the gap between reality and expectations, it's the sinkhole into which unconditional love and radical self-acceptance falls and cannot get across. Mind the gap and all that jazz.

During the holidays, the space between grows even wider for people like me (read: people with abnormally high expectations of themselves.) In my own mind, I'm supposed to host parties, make homemade food, have enough funds to buy each family member and friend the perfect thoughtful-yet-unexpected-present-that-each-person-was-missing-from-their-lives-yet-didn't-think-to-ask-for, make quality time for my loved ones (not just buy them perfect presents, that's shallow), and constantly express the Christmas Spirit while others are driving me crazy with a lack of their own. The natural sadness that comes during the holidays is to be shoved down and carols are to be sung even louder, otherwise I'm a Grinch.

Holidays are hard like that. We try to have the perfect Christmas, or Hanukkah, or New Year. We build up our expectations, or we look around at what others have, and what others are doing. We are told that this is a time of rejoicing...and any feelings that seem less than joyous are put aside, judged, or squashed down. Mixed emotions at the holidays are never quite as accepted as they are during any other time of year, no matter how normal it is to experience grief, loss, disappointment, or longing. We judge ourselves for not feeling what we think we should feel... and it is there that the space between widens even more.

A couple weeks ago, I was seriously feeling down. I wasn't where I wanted to be in most aspects of my life - career, friendships, health, family, job, funds in my bank account, personal sanity time allotted - and Benni, my favorite of favorites and the only relationship I'm kicking ass at these days - sat me down for a bit of a pep talk.

Life is like a game of miniature golf, he said. If you only have fun when you score holes in one, then you're not going to have much fun. Learn to enjoy playing the game again, no matter how well you do.

That's what he said, more or less, between feeding me cheese while I sat crumpled on the kitchen floor and letting me interrupt to blow my nose in a very pathetic-like fashion.

Learn to enjoy the game again. Remember how much fun it is to play, to be playful, to be unconditionally accepting of whatever knocks on our door, whether it be joy or grief or anger or love? It's all part of the game! It's supposed to be there!

And it is there that the space between closes a bit.

There is a bridge between where we are and where we think we should be. It's called love, and it's the only way to get across. The holidays give us ample opportunities to see love expressed everywhere - but most of all, in ourselves, towards ourselves. We don't need to be anything else than what we already are, and we don't need to be anyone else than who we already are. We are enough - and we are loved because, not in spite of that.

(photo credit: I got it here)

Happy holidays, everyone. May your days be merry and bright (and brimming over with unconditional love.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

what gratitude looks like

Benni and I hosted my family for Thanksgiving this year. It was Benni's first turkey (I'm a pro, having hosted about four Thanksgivings now) and he was so worried, and I kept saying, baby, it's not that hard to cook a turkey. Just baste, and everything will be fine.

Are you ready to get basted, turkey??

And it turned out fine. Better than fine, actually. (The vegetables we roasted underneath the turkey made it smell AMAZING.)

After dinner we all watched some football, and then I decided to have a Gingerbread House competition. I had purchased two gingerbread house kits from Bed Bath and Beyond the evening before (the woman at the counter: "How cute! Are these for the kids?" Me: "No, they're to keep my parents occupied so they don't ask me why I'm not married." I love talking to total strangers so much). And my family peeled themselves away from the television and worked hard. We separated into two teams, and my brother Scott was deemed Judge and Executioner of the Gingerbread House Contest. (When you put things in caps it makes it sound more official.)

Here's Val, my cousin Tom's girlfriend, concentrating hard.

Here's Team One's Gingerbread House! (Team One consisted of: Benni, my mom, Val, and Tom.)

Here's my aunt Darlyne and my brother Jeff working hard on Team Two's Gingerbread House (Team Two consisted of: me, my aunt, and my brother Jeff.)

Jeff puts the finishing touches on our Gingerbread House. He created the frosting "icicles" by using a wooden skewer to drag them down. Can you tell he's the artist in the family?

Here's Team Two's finished house! (I think ours is pretty awesome.)

Scott decided it was a tie. But I just think that's because he doesn't want to jeopardize his chances at getting Christmas presents.

Two houses, both alike in Gingerbread, in fair Burbank, where we lay our scene... The required family photo behind the two houses. Left to right: Benni, Me, Aunt Darlyne, Jeff, Scott, my mom, Tom, and Val.

Of course, we never really do things the same way everyone else does. So, just in case you were wondering about me... yes. The Weird is genetic. I was born that way.


And finally, to move on to the holidays... Lori over at Lori Times Five makes the cutest little coffee cup sleeves ever. She knits them and then sews on different plants that represent qualities like courage, and compassion. (Her Etsy store is here.) She calls them Green Sleeves and I sort of fell in love (not that I don't already adore Lori - she's beautiful, inside and out, and takes breathtaking photographs and is the owner of the world's CUTEST DOG) when I first saw them so I had to buy a couple to hand out as gifts to my coffee-loving friends.

So when I got my very own Green Sleeve over the Thanksgiving holiday (along with everyone else's), the first thing I did was rush out to our neighborhood Starbucks with Benni and ask that he take a picture that I could send back to Lori.

So Lori, this is for you... thank you, a hundred times over, for making my day every time I get my hot chocolate fix. :)

And yes, I did get whipped cream up my nose in order for Benni to get this shot. Because I'm professional like that.

Love to you all,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take from me these myths

Myth #1) When you get sick for almost two weeks, missing a full week of work (with no sick pay, ouch) , you are being punished.

I am the worst sick person in the world, and it's not because I whine. It's because I'm guilty. I am guilty for whatever sins I have committed to make me sick in the first place; I am guilty because I am not getting better right away; I am guilty of not being a productive person while being sick; and I feel guilty because I am no longer a Useful Person while lying exhausted and beaten in bed. If I have one obsession, it's with Being Useful. Every day, when I wake up, I ask God for two things: to make me more useful, and to help me love my neighbor better. Being sick makes me feel like a failure of a human being. And this drives the people who are trying to take care of me absolutely nuts as I try to do chores, errands, and work while being sick.

Myth #2) When you put yourself out there for others, it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Right before I got sick last week I had something happen in my life where a big mistake was made - and the harder I tried to fix it, the worse it became. Ever have that happen to you? You feel like you can't win for trying, so why bother caring? This mistake came from me doing someone else a pretty big favor that ended by blowing up in my face - and I walked around for a good week with the bitter taste of no good deed goes unpunished in my jaw and my fists. I was so tempted to take my love away from the rest of the world in some weird act of revenge, and sit there smugly and watch as the world collapsed in on itself the second I wasn't around to fix everything and keep loving it into existence every morning. Which brings me to myth #3:

Myth #3) You are the center of the universe.

Your love will not fix everything; your failures will not break everything. Everyday the world spins madly on and we screw up and apologize and then screw up again and as much as we think that we have a deep effect on what happens to those who around us - we don't. Our friends and family function and cope and survive and breathe and love with or without us making things better or worse for them, and some days this knowledge is a crime and sometimes it's a gift. When I say there is only a limited amount of what you can do you can take that as freedom or you can take it as a jail sentence. But either way it's true - because it's both.

Myth #4) You shouldn't be grateful.

There are two camps that the ungrateful fall into; luckily, being the overachiever that I am, I swing from one to the other in order to partake in them both (high five!). The first group thinks I have no right to be grateful; gratitude is a mockery at the unhappiness and misfortune of others. When the rest of the world is miserable, who are we to be happy? Doesn't our happiness take away from others? And, laden with shame, we lay down our happiness and wallow in the ingratitude of guilt.

The second group feels that with gratitude comes settling. If we're grateful for the crappy job we have, we will never be inspired to find a better job, one that actually helps us fulfill our purpose and use our talents to their highest ability. If we're grateful for our romantic partner no matter how small their tokens of love, we will never declare that perhaps we could do better and move onto a relationship that is mutually fulfilling and blessed. To be constantly unsatisfied with what we do have is to be ambitious; to be grateful for the small crumbs that have been thrown our way is to settle into the mediocrity that will become our lives.

Except gratitude is the path where things grow. Health is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that no matter how I'm feeling or how much I'm accomplishing, my love is always useful), love is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that when I do something kind for someone else, no matter how it turns out, I made that effort and gesture with the best of intentions), true wealth is gratitude expressed (the gratitude that I have knowing that being grateful only opens doors and opportunities and doesn't close any of them). Everything we live and breathe is gratitude being expressed.

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm feeling much better and I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the one where I explain everything: Part 1

Okay, that's not technically true. I can't explain EVERYTHING. That would take a super long time, and I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for aardvarks or the book of Leviticus, so I can't really be expected to explain those to you when I don't quite understand them myself.

I am the essence of the middle of a thought, and I try to make my posts reflect that. Maybe it's because I'm a Gemini, perhaps it's because I have the attention span of a breath mint. I'm not quite sure. Oooooh, something shiny, be right back.

But I do know that every so often I leave you guys with a "and that's another post for another time" cliff-hanger and I have yet to ever follow up with any of the explanations that I promised. So I'm trying to change that with these next couple posts, but it's okay if you get bored. You can skip them if you want. I won't tell. They're filler posts while I'm sorting out my life.

So long ago, in my very first "here's what I'm about" post, I mentioned that I once accidentally called Pamela Anderson stupid to her face. Now, that isn't technically true. Technically, I accidentally insinuated that Pamela Anderson was stupid to her face.

Big difference, people.

I was at one of those big Hollywood charity events, where the celebrities show up just to get a bag of freebies and photographed for InStyle Magazine, and it was getting late. We were all outside a huge house hidden far back in the canyons, waiting for our cars to be returned to us by valet parking. Well, I was waiting for my car. I turned to my left and noticed that standing right next to me was Pamela Anderson, who was clearly waiting for her limo.

She turned to me, probably in expectation that I was going to say something, and I felt a certain pressure to do exactly that, even though I'm not usually the kind of person who says something just because there's silence. I quite enjoy silence, actually. Particularly when it's not my voice screwing up the silence.

"It's nice to meet you," I say, and trooper that she is, Pamela automatically sticks out her hand to shake mine. Think, brain, think. Say something that she probably doesn't hear very often so you can be different and then she won't think you're a sycophantic imbecile.

"I really liked the articles you wrote for Jane Magazine," I offer up, and she brightens, and it's true, she used to write very honest and intelligent articles for what used to be the coolest magazine on the planet. "I really like how intelligent you came across, and I figure, no one ever says that to you..."

She stops shaking my hand and we just stare at each other, probably because she's trying to figure out whether or not I just called her stupid. To her face.

"'Kay, gotta go, nice to meet you," I mumble, and am forced to haul my freezing ass out of the very long valet line simply so that I don't have to keep standing next to someone whom I just called out as not coming across as very intelligent. Stupid, stupid, my brain kept chanting to me, as I walked back inside the house and waited a good 45 minutes before risking going outside again.

On the plus side, at least I didn't tell one of the biggest spokespersons for PETA that the M.A.C. makeup she advertises for not only isn't vegan, but also uses animal hair for their brushes.

That makes up for it, right? I'm still a good person...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

formal complaint

To: The inventors of American Sign Language

Re: Some of your signs

To Whom it May Concern,

Hi. My name is Tracy Clifton. I have been learning ASL for approximately 5 weeks now, in addition to the signs I've learned here and there over the years from some of my friends who know ASL. It's a wonderful language, it really is; highly expressive, deeply emotional and incredibly intuitive. Every week after class, when my brain is crammed with new signs to practice on my bewildered boyfriend and my friends that I'm taking class with, I'm so excited to be learning this language and be able to communicate with the Deaf community and those who know ASL.

I just have one complaint though. A tiny little complaint. More of an observation, really. Um, why is it that you felt it necessary to make some signs so very close to each other, and make some of those signs Very Bad Words? I don't mind, really, because most of ASL is also built around context, but did you have to make "bitch" and "mother" so incredibly similar? And how about "shy" and "whore"? Really guys? Really? You couldn't, like, use a whole different hand for all the bad words in ASL so that no one ever uses them mistakenly?

Because the thing is, Inventors of American Sign Language, I like ice cream. And I have no problem sharing this fact, because, quite honestly, who DOESN'T like ice cream? So when we were doing exercises in last week's ASL class of "I like________" and then we'd fill in the noun, I decided to tell the class that I like ice cream.

Only I didn't tell them I like ice cream, dear Inventors of American Sign Language. Oh no. That would have been too easy, in a class full of high school students and single mothers, to tell them that I liked ice cream.

Nope. I did the sign for "ice cream" just ever so slightly different than the way I learned it in class, because, hey, I'm a human, I can't always remember signs PERFECTLY, and people use their tongues to lick ice cream off their cones so it makes TOTAL sense, right??

Which is how I ended up telling my class in American Sign Language that I like blow-jobs.

Inventors of American Sign Language - you're officially fired.


PS: Speaking of nothing to do with that, The Kid in the Front Row interviewed me as an actress - head on over and check it out :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

this wicked dance

Sometimes I blog about a specific idea or topic because I see it circulating around the blogosphere, and it's not like I'm the kid who sits outside an adult conversation and says "I wanna turn! I wanna turn!" (though I'm sure I did that as a child) but because I have a very not so minor obsession with Here's My Take On It.

Ego aside, I've noticed that lately, quite a few blogger buddies of mine are wrestling with the expectations put on them by their readers. (See here and here for two interesting examples.) And while this isn't earth-shattering, it's something we face everyday as bloggers.

What are our expectations for our own blog? What are the expectations that our readers have put upon us? Let me put it to you this way: How many of you, after being absent from blogging for a while, or maybe even just a few days, have apologized to your readership?

Why is that? (And I've done it too.) We don't owe our followers anything, we probably know less than half of them in real life, and let's face it, no one is the Most Awesome Blogger of Ever that if he or she were gone for two weeks, the world would explode. (Except maybe Alli. God I love her blog.)

But there's expectations, aren't there? There's an exchange of energy, information, trust... our followers start to expect a certain tone or format in our blog, or maybe they check in on a certain day because that's when a specifically themed post will go up. And when we become the followers to others' blogs, we do the same thing. We expect.


Who does our blog belong to? Our readership? Or us? Certainly there's a careful balance there. No one enjoys reading blogs that are so self-involved that it's hard to create dialogue with the blogger. But how much say do our followers have in what we put on our blogs, what we post on a day to day basis, simply because they feel they have a right to voice their opinion?

Notice I'm asking a lot of questions here, because I don't have the answers. But expectations, while intriguing, also kill. They kill energy, acceptance, growth, change, and most of all... creativity.

I'm starting to check in and ask myself what I expect from the blogs that I follow, what I expect from my readers, and how I want to dance this dance. Because I don't like letting people down, ever. But I'm also very protective of my own space and wouldn't really be willing to compromise on how I live my life just to fit other peoples' expectations. I did that once, and once is enough. It's stifling and cuts off breathing room.

I don't blog as much when things get active in my life, and I'm careful not to apologize for that, nor do I make excuses. (Okay, this post sort of had excuses.) I also try to avoid posting in any one mood for too long and and try not to do specific posts on specific days (not that there's anything wrong with that - I just don't do it for my own blog, please don't leave me sad comments) because I try to keep my readers on their toes. I want this blog to be as free as possible to change and grow and I want the space to have posts fall flat or succeed beyond my wildest bloggy dreams.

So how do we navigate this delicate relationship between being the readers and the writers? It's too complicated to just say "screw 'em", nor would I want to. But it's something to think on, because in the end, the expectations of others are just that - of others. I'm trying to be careful not to let others' expectations of me become my own; and I think most of us face that in some avenue of our lives, blog or otherwise.

In the end, we get to do what we want, and the haters will hate and the complainers will complain. If we could just surround ourselves with people and readers who allow us to always be us, and drop any expectations, and leave guilt behind... maybe we could allow the same thing for ourselves?

Monday, October 11, 2010

no but seriously.

Yay for blogging regularly again! I had a lovely week of catching up on all your blogs and playing tourist in my own city as Benni and I hosted his sister and brother in law,visiting from New Jersey. We all went to the Griffith Observatory, stuffed our faces with In N Out, went to Six Flags Magic Mountain on Friday and rode all the terrifying roller-coasters, and then Benni and I treated our guests to some yummy frozen yogurt awesomeness on their last evening here.

Also, for those who threatened/promised to stalk me in my last post, just consider yourself forewarned that stalking me involves witnessing lots of air guitar and consumption of Rocky Road ice cream, along with plenty of Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs when I can't sleep. Don't say I didn't warn you.

A few weeks back I was tagged by the lovely Purple Cow over at Australian in Athens to answer even MORE questions that she thinks I should answer, so here I am, doing my homework. I better get a cookie after this. And maybe some spiced apple cider. And some candy corn.

So here's the questions. Purple Cow came up with these, so I have to come up with some new ones to pass along to everyone else, which I'll do in another post later on down the line when I'm not still playing catch up from being gone from the blogosphere for three weeks.

1) Why do you blog? Have the reasons changed as you've been doing it?

I blog because I love telling stories. I also love connecting with other people and hearing their stories. And I think my voice comes out best when I write because sometimes my mind doesn't work when I speak, and a lot of times I talktoofast because my mind is going 3 million miles a second. I also blog because I love blogging and we should all be able to do the things that we love (it's a wonderful life philosophy). I don't think these reasons will ever change, but there's another reason I'm excited about blogging and it has to do with a Big Idea of my very own and I'll be letting you guys know very, very soon as soon as the details are worked out. (Add "cryptic blogging" to the list of reasons why I love blogging.)

2) Why do they ask "What animal are you most like?" at job interviews? And what could they possibly learn about the person being interviewed when they ask this question? (Also feel free to share any other stupid questions you've been asked at job interviews).

I've...never been asked that question before at a job interview. Purple Cow, are you sure that's not just a Greek thing? Unless I'm applying for a job at Sea World I do not expect anyone to ever ask me that question. Maybe I've just been blessed with mercifully boring job interviews... you get that when you work primarily at bookstores and accounting firms (as I have done.) I suppose I could tell you all the ridiculous things that have been asked of me at auditions, but they are too numerous to count.

3) If you were to arrange a rendezvous with your 18-year-old self what would you say to yourself? How much would you have in common? Would you accuse yourself of something?

I don't think I'd bother going back in time just to accuse myself of something...that seems like a waste of a time-travel trip. Why would I travel through space and time just to give myself grief? I can do that anytime I want...

I guess if I had the chance I'd sit down my little 18 year old twerpy self and say, "Hey kid. It's me, I'm you from the future, stop looking confused, your face will get stuck that way. Couple things you should know: number one, I know that you've been through a lot of bad stuff already and it's hurt you a lot. And you probably think that the world owes you something for all the pain it's dealt out to you at such a young age. But it doesn't. The world doesn't owe you anything, least of all your own happiness. You have to go out and fight for that everyday and you can't count on anyone else to hand it to you. Get over yourself.

Number two, you're probably fairly confident that things are going to stop hurting. They're not. Things are gonna hurt a lot more once you get to college and un-numb yourself. You'll start to let yourself feel, for the first time in years, anger, grief, betrayal, and confusion. But let me tell you something: you will get down on your knees and cry with gratitude that you can feel emotion again, because with the bad comes the good, and you were meant to be filled with rage and confusion and love and understanding and sadness and heartache and joy and enthusiasm. You don't get one without the other, kid. So take it all, let it all in, and become stronger for it.

Finally, number three: I know you find instructions and explanations boring, but they are going to come in handy. Particularly in this thing we call life. So please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, start listening to your Chemistry teacher and stop blowing up thermometers in the back of the room. There's only so many times you can clean mercury off your hands and your lab partner backpack."

PS don't make out with Adam. He's a dickhead.

4) Imagine me? What do I look like? (Skip this one Robin as you've already seen me on FB)

That's easy. I picture you as a cow, that's purple, who speaks with an Australian accent while living in Greece. ;)

5) Have you ever surprised yourself with your own wickedness?

I stopped calling wickedness "wickedness" a long time ago and started calling it something closer to "missing the mark." That way I can remove my failures from my personality and it's a lot easier to correct behavior when it doesn't have Ego hitchhiking on its back. (Ego packs a lot of baggage.)

6) What makes you special and different from this blob called humanity?

Absolutely nothing. But I think I'm fine with that in part because I don't think of humanity as a blob but rather as little individual pockets of absolute untapped potential.

7) Do you ever wonder if you are wrong about everything you currently believe and hold to be true? And if it turns out that none of it is as it seems would you wish to be told the TRUTH a minute before you die or die not knowing at all?

There's this quote I love:

"Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much." - Milton Glaser

And I used to think this way too, Milt. (Can I call you Milt?) But then I discovered that I truly, absolutely, with all of my heart believed in a God composed of absolute and unconditional love. And instead of that belief closing any doors on anyone else's beliefs, it opened a thousand doors of acceptance towards everyone and everything that is different from me. Suddenly the world was full of possibility because everything was loved into existence for a reason, and fear didn't even factor into the equation.

8) So how come it's 8 questions? Why not 5, 7 or 10? Why 8? Do you want more or do you wish you'd had less?

I find that 8 signifies completeness in most societies and cultures, although 7 works just fine too. In the end, this was the perfect amount of questions to answer on my lunch break.

Thanks for tagging me, Purple Cow!! You're the coolest :)

And finally, the news I'm excited to share: during my bloggy break, my girl Lira got engaged to her adorable boyfriend, Anthony...and while I was busy jumping up and down in my seat in excitement when they told me, they asked me if I would be the officiant for their wedding. To which my response, when I stopped doing the Muppet Dance of Joy, was:

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!! Of course I will!!!!

Now I have about 355 days to get over my fear of public speaking. HOOOORRAAAAYYY!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

it's been a month...

...for the books, people. I looked back through my posts and noticed I only posted ONCE the entire month of September. And I can't really sum up everything that's kept me away from the computer or you'd die crying of boredom, so instead I'll try to express it through pictures and numbers as best I can. Let's just say that September consisted of 5 separate trips to 2 different auto mechanics, (with 1 serious brake-pad scare that turned out fine, and a $300 repair on a smashed front headlight when I hit something on the freeway going 80mph); over 650 miles driven to Yosemite National Park and back; many miles hiked at Yosemite; many pictures taken while camping there with my family for four days; 1 agency meeting down and 3 million to go when I got back into LA; 3 classes a week as I continue learning knife fighting and add American Sign Language to my schedule; and over 1,000 headshots that I have to go through (and narrow it down to 5) after 2 different headshot sessions over the past couple weeks.

Damn, I'm already tired. Screw it, here's the pictures.

Bangs for the first time since I was thirteen.

Beautiful Yosemite Valley.

Benni and me* on our first hike of the trip.


Doe, a deer, a female deer...

I swear he posed for me.

Yosemite's Bridalveil Fall ...and a rainbow!

Hiking with the family. From left to right, my aunt Darlyne, me, my mom, and my brother Jeff. Yes, my mom and aunt are identical twins.

My faithful companions, my hiking boots.

In the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite, the fallen trunk of of a huge Sequoia tree.

Had enough nature? Now for some of my new headshots:

I could totally beat you up.

Mad for plaid.

I'm more emo than you are.

Okay! Bored looking at me yet? I totally am! I will be back and blogging regularly starting next week... and I've got a survey to fill out, another award to pass along, a Big Idea to share... and some really cool news. :)

Love and miss all of you!!

*yes, that's grammatically correct.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the fear is falling away (like feathers on fire)

I promised explanations and now I'm kicking myself for it. I really, REALLY hate explanations. There's a reason why my blog title translates to the thing speaks for itself.

Explanations are boring. And I have a low threshold for boredom. But some of you asked me to tell the long version of stories and I agreed because what I hate even more than boring is having people feel left out or lost. So tell me if you've ever felt this way: that you weren't good enough.

Tell me if you've ever sat in the room and thought, I have no idea what I'm doing and if they find out I'll be shot for sure.

Tell me if you, like me, grew up in a house of grenades, each step or word the possibility of an explosion, and it made you so nervous to draw attention to yourself that you cloaked yourself in silence so that when the grenades went off you were far, far away from the shrapnel. Tell me if you still carry that on your jacket of self-worth, that quality of staying in the back of the room, flying low under the radar, the fear you carry like a knife to protect you but you're noticing more and more that it just ends up cutting down all the growth in your life.

I walk this walk every day, in an industry that tramples on people who don't think they deserve attention. I have been blessed by the opportunities I've had so far in trying to be an actress - people who have literally written roles for me, or jumped on board a project when they found out I was involved, or looked me straight in the eye and told me they'd go wherever I went because they trusted me. I'm honored by this - and I don't take it for granted. Not even for a second.

But the other side of it is that I suck at marketing myself and I'm pretty much my own worst enemy. If you read my guest post over at Lira's you know that while I was already going through a fairly big life change of moving in with that boy I adore, she helped me pack and shrieked a lot - at the same time, seriously - about how I needed to use this momentum to finally DO.SOMETHING. with my fairly stalled acting career. I had put it on the back-burner yet again because...because...wait, I'm thinking...

Because I'm scared. Because the voices in my head that scream the loudest are the ones that tell me that I don't have any talent, that I've got a one in a million chance to make it in this town, that I'm nothing.

That I'm worthless.

So I gathered what momentum I could and cut my hair cuter, gently "fired" my talent manager (who's still one of my best friends, thank god for his emotional maturity when it comes to business), scheduled not one but two different headshot sessions, and called in a favor. This favor was that I needed a referral for all the new managers and agents I'm gonna submit myself to and therefore risk rejection from - and I knew who I wanted to call but was afraid I'd piss off this casual acquaintance who also just happens to be one of the biggest casting directors in Hollywood right now. But you know what sucks more than rejection? Not trying.

So I bit the bullet. I asked the casting director for a referral. And do you know what he said?

He said not only would he love to refer me but that he would personally meet with me so that he could recommend some specific agents and managers that I should submit to.

Now, I know that I want to be a success, and that my friends and family are interested in it because they want to see me happy.

But with my low levels of self-esteem these days... I never dreamed that someone who knows my work and isn't related by blood or love would actually be interested in seeing me make it in LA. I didn't know...and I never expected it.

I'm starting to get bolder, and less scared, and starting to think this crazy notion that maybe, just maybe, I deserve good things to happen to me. That's tough to explain to someone who grew up thinking she was a magnet for all the bad in the world; it's tough for me to understand that maybe I deserve good just as much as other people. But I'm working on it, and I've come too far to go back now, and the changes are coming a mile a minute and I'm working my ass off to make sure I land on my feet when the fire's gone out and there's nothing but smoke left.

(This is also the reason why I named myself Phoenix.)

And for those who asked about my friendship with Lira - I'll just say this. There are many, many guys in my life whom I call brothers. There is only one female on this entire planet that I call my sister, and that's Lira. She grew up in the same kind of home that I did, so she knows. She gets it. And when things got really bad in college she physically took my hand to the student counseling center and stayed with me while I filled out the What's Your Damage form and counseling got me talking and talking got me less angry and less angry saved my life. So you could say that when she tells me to do something (shrieks, even), I listen.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Not all who wander are lost...

...but I'm a little lost in my new apartment right now, buried under boxes and trying to figure out exactly why I thought the sofa would fit in that one spot.

As a result I'm behind on a lot of things, including changing my address for all my bills, figuring out exactly where all my underwear got packed, eating a real meal that doesn't come with Fire Sauce or french fries, and of course, reading all of your blogs. So this post is just me taking a breather before I dive back into my to-do list and I'll be back and in better shape next week.

The always lovely Robin over at Your Daily Dose tagged me to answer eight questions about myself and because there's too much going on for me to sit down and actually blog about it I thought to myself, Hey, why not? Answering eight questions can't be too hard. So thank you Robin for tagging me - you are always so consistently thoughtful and such a great blogger friend :)

Robin thought these questions up herself and now I have an extra homework assignment to think of eight different questions to tag others with. I'll do that later too.

Here we go!

1. We all dance with the seven sins from time to time. Which of the seven sins do you dance with most frequently, and why? They are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

I think I probably dabble in all of these in some minor form or another during my day. Except pride. I'm really, really good at not showing pride.*

2. If you could live for a week in the body of someone famous, who would it be? You would still be you, but you could access their need to know info as you needed to know it. Of course, the kicker is that they would live in your body and have the same privileges.

I would live for a week in Stephen Hawking's body. That way, I'd be brilliant for a week in his body, he'd be able to move and speak clearly in my body, and we'd both be richer for the experience.

3. Do you believe that angels walk among us? That there are true psychics, mediums, or anyone who is more connected to God than the average person?

This is tricky. I don't believe angels walk among us physically but rather come to us as inspired thoughts (maybe it's that little voice inside all of us) and I don't think anyone is more connected than anyone else to God. I just think there are people who are better listeners than others. I'm working on becoming a good listener.

4) Have you ever dreamed about a future event that happened, a past event that happened when you were but a very young child, or anything that was just so real, but otherworldly, that you felt its truth in your soul? If so, I'm listening.

I've never dreamed about the future... my dreams are usually very obvious though, so I almost always feel their truth. I don't usually get too much otherworldly activity in my life...for which I'm very grateful. Once upon a time I took two weeks away from everyone and everything in my life and just prayed and meditated in a hotel room by myself. I grew so much spiritually that one morning I heard what the sunrise sounds like...but that's another blog post for another time. That's about the closest I've come to otherworldly (except for that time I was in the same room as a very cranky ghost...but that's ANOTHER blog post for another time.)

5) Do you feel like you have a gift that you aren't using? It could be for anything. Design, writing, art, photography, decoration. The list is endless.

I think I'd be a really good suicide counselor. I don't think I'm strong enough to use this gift to its full potential though.

6) Is there someone that you are unwilling to forgive? Is it weighing on your heart? Eating you up on the inside? This is a yes or no. If it is yes, I hope you make the choice today to want to forgive and then let it go. Throw out your desire into the universe.

I have forgiven everyone who needs forgiving - not for them, but for me. Forgiveness is a two-way road. It blesses both people and allows movement and freedom on both sides - and if one side isn't moving, the other side isn't either.

7) If we were able to take away or add one element into the heart of each and every man, which one would be the one that would make the most difference in making this world a better place to live?

I wasn't sure if this question meant "man" as in "mankind" or as in "males." So I'll answer both. If I were able to take away or add one element into the heart of each and every person (mankind) I would take judgment away. How many times do we needlessly judge others? And for what? To build ourselves up? To tear others down? Our judgmentalism keeps us from reaching to those in need, to realizing that everyone is doing their best, to letting ourselves lead guilt-free lives full of unconditional love for ourselves and others. What does it matter how the person next to you is living their life? It doesn't affect you any. Let it go, get over it, live your own life and stop telling people what to do with their lives.

If I were able to take away or add one element into the heart of each and every male, I would take away the need to dominate women physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually. If someone sat me down and explained to me for a thousand years why men need to keep women from having power over their own lives, jobs, bodies, sexuality, and happiness, I still wouldn't get it. What is it that drives so many men to want to control women?

8) What is the last movie you saw at the movie theater? Using the five star system, how would you rate it?

Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I'd give it 6 stars out of 5. It's one of the smartest movies about relationships that I've ever seen. Don't let the 8-Bit video game fighting montages scare you away. Go with your loved one, giggle and laugh out loud, and then get over the past.

That's all, folks! Also, just to let you know - my girl Lira over at The Struggling Actress is away at Burning Man (that dirty hippie!) so she asked me to guest post for her. She's putting up my post Sept. 1st so go check it out!

*irony alert

Thursday, August 19, 2010

best birth control....EVER

*the following is an actual, word for word conversation I had with a friend over the phone*

Me: Hey S., how's it going?

S.: Good, it's going great!

Me: Yeah? How's Alora? Is she getting big?

S.: Oh my God, she's growing up so fast.

Me: Really? Awww, does she remember her crazy Aunt Tracy?

S.: Right now I'm not sure she remembers ME. But sometimes when I tickle her and she giggles, then she looks at me and... uh oh.

Me: What?

S.: Uh, I gotta go.

Me: Why, what happened?

S.: (cheerfully) Alora just pooped so hard it sprayed up the back of her shirt and onto my pants.

Me: OH

S.: Wow, it's on my shirt too.

Me: MY

S.: K, call you later, alright?

Me: GOD.

S.: ::hangs up::

Dear Universe, if and when I decide to ever have kids, could you just send me one in the form of a well-adjusted 19 year old English Lit major so we can talk and have coffee and stuff? And spare me the poop-spraying and sleep deprivation and temper tantrums and teenage dating ordeals?

mmmmkkkay thanks.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

pardon our mess...

Things are under construction in my life once again.

About 98% of my belongings are now in boxes, thanks to three intrepid friends of mine who, when I posted on Facebook on Sunday that I was doing some serious procrastination with my packing, invited themselves over one at a time to help me pack. I stood there, overwhelmed and a little freaked out, as they helped me neatly pack books (WHY DO I OWN SO MANY BOOKS?!) and dvd's, trinkets and memories, vases and tea light holders, bowls and spoons, into box after box after box. I have the best friends in the entire world, of that I am certain. I must have been Joan of Arc in a former life to deserve such loyalty.

The apartment Benni and I are moving into should be ready hopefully within a week. We won't be signing the lease until the construction is finished, which freaks me out. Right now I have to be out of my current apartment by September 1st and I don't have a lease signed for the new place yet. I am in mid-air, suspended, between two trapeze bars, with a very long fall and a very shallow safety net if this new apartment doesn't work out.

As Benni pointed out, worst case scenario, the apartment we're in love with doesn't work out, we're out the $1100 security deposit we put down, and we have roughly ten days to find another apartment and do it all over again.

As I pointed out, that's a pretty damn awful worst-case scenario.

I also can't find my current lease agreement, (I couldn't find it even before my life was put into boxes) which probably has it very clearly written that I paid $200 for a cat deposit, and my apartment landlord is now arguing and saying, No, you only paid $100.

Breathe and smile. Breathe and smile.

In the meantime:

Go and read this post about fatherhood. It's amazing, honest, and captures a sentiment that I think a lot of men feel but rarely get a chance to put into such well-written words. Read the post right after it too, if you want, because it's just as good but for completely different reasons.

And a long time ago, The Purple Cow over at Australian in Athens left this for me as a comment. It's kind of changed my life, and I printed it out and read it and re-read it almost daily. Purple Cow, if I didn't thank you before... I'm thanking you now. Thank you, a million times thank you.

I think I'm somewhere between Change #3 and Change #4.



Chapter 1.
I walk down a street and there's a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. It takes forever to get out. It's my fault.

Chapter 2.
I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It still takes a long time to get out. It's not my fault.

Chapter 3.
I walk down the same street. I fall in the hole again. It's becoming a habit. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.
I walk down the same street and see the deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5.
I walk down a different street.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


In case I hadn't already mentioned it on this blog...

I am absolutely, head-over-boots, completely and utterly in love with this guy.

Don't throw up on your shoes all at once. I'm not sappy that often so I deserve a Get out of Jail Free card every once in a while.

Who (or what) are you guys in love with right now?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

...and the geeks shall inherit the earth.

If you're not a geek and/or nerd like I am, feel free to skip this post. And by "geek and/or nerd" I mean any fan who's interested in any of the following:

DC or Marvel comics and the characters in them (ie Batman, Superman, X-Men, Spider-man, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Iron Man, The Hulk, etc etc etc)

Vampires, werewolves, zombies, wizards, witches, psychic waitresses, pathetic and utterly useless human females named Bella, etc etc etc

Science fiction and steampunk characters and shows like Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Dollhouse, Quantum Leap, Caprica, Tron, Sherlock Holmes, etc etc etc.

Role-playing games (known as RPG's) like Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, etc etc etc

Phew. Okay. So, if you're geeky about any of the above, you should have been at San Diego's Comic Con this year. I spent the last weekend there and it was AWESOME.

Let me tell you a little something about Comic Con and why the real world should be the same way. All those geeky things you love? That you may or may not feel comfortable telling other people that you just met that you love them, for fear that they will look at you like you are a weirdo?

At Comic-Con it is not only safe to assume that everyone loves the same geeky stuff you do, it's also expected, welcomed, and encouraged. And if you're in costume, like I was, people freakin' love you. I had over 50 people stop me and ask to take their picture with me. Lots of girls dressed in hot outfits came over to me to tell me how much they loved my costume and I told them the same thing - there was none of that girl competitiveness that the "real world" has. I even got called a "Hot Babe" by the Comic-Con guys doing press and I've never been called a Hot Babe in my entire life, holy frak. Everyone was so nice and friendly and it was an awesome little community nestled right in the heart of the Gaslamp district of San Diego.

I loved every freaking minute of it. So...if you're a geek, you should go next year. Just think about it, k?

Left to right: J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man's boss at The Daily Bugle; Toy Box from the comic Top Ten; Benni as the Joker and me as The Joker's main squeeze, Harley Quinn)

Posing for pics.

Two Harleys. Lots of trouble.

Harley-Palooza! A special meeting for just Harley Quinns and Jokers and Ivy's! RAD!

I ran into my friends Jeff and Ian at Comic-Con and they suffered through taking a picture with me. :)

I hope that dragon is a vegetarian...

Lounging on Odin's throne from the new Thor movie

Yes, that is James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) signing autographs. He is still incredibly hot and one of the nicest working actors in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"this time baby, I'll be / bulletproof..."

Have you ever felt like you wanted to be bulletproof? Like your sensitivity and the fact that you care only makes you weaker, makes your skin thinner, makes it easier for people to get in and hurt you?

Yeah, me too. It's one of my least favorite qualities about myself, my sensitivity. Because sometimes it doesn't seem very useful.

A couple weeks ago I was going through a really hard time with someone I used to be very close to. I'll spare you the boring details but it came down to the fact that this person, who is smart, funny, kind, and just my kind of geek, doesn't really have much interest in being my friend anymore. And besides the obvious Ego Flail of my inner Fourth Grader, this person is in my immediate group of friends. So it is hard to see this person and make polite chit-chat, knowing full well that this person doesn't have much interest at all in what I have to say or what's going on in my life.

It hurts. Like, a lot.

What hurts even more is that I just can't freakin' get over it. But emotions are cyclical like that: we get angry because we're still angry. We are afraid of being afraid. We can't get over... the fact that we're not over it. Like a tiny drill, the more we freak out over freaking out, the deeper it burrows itself in.

There's this great ten second essay from the poet James Richardson that says, "The part of myself I like is the part that works, like a good tool. The part of myself I love is the part that loves you."

Isn't that how we all feel? We love the parts of ourselves that are useful, functional. It's easy enough to be patient and loving with ourselves when we remember to floss, pay our bills, wash the dog, and give our partners the appropriate amount of attention.

What is hard is to love the parts of ourselves that are not as useful. The parts of ourselves that are over-sensitive, impatient, insecure, jealous, easily frightened. It is easy to look at these parts of ourselves, the parts that remind us of how young we once were and how young we still are at heart, and call them unusable, broken. It is easy to be embarrassed that we never really break out of being in high school sometimes. It is easy to try to lock these things away or pretend we never, ever feel them. Because they are not useful, and therefore are not to be loved.

Or is it that every single part of us is useful?

Because it is us. The good, the bad, the ugly... all of it is us. And all of it is useful in that it constantly gives us information about ourselves and how we act on this information is a choice, not a pattern we are destined to repeat and certainly not out of our control. The jealousy, the over-sensitivity, the small, insecure parts of ourselves... it is so easy to not love what we claim to have no control over. Someone says something, a button is pushed, and we react.

But to love is to accept, and to accept is to take control back again. When we are acting childish, we do not fix it by having childish reactions to our childishness (everyone got that?) We nurture the childish parts of ourselves by parenting them with unconditional love. And so then these feelings, even though they might be crappy, have a place in our hearts. And so then they become useful.

We are all so useful in our lack of bulletproof armor. Don't ever let the world tell you any different.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

what dreams may come

I dream of predators more often than I dream of anything else. Recurring dreams, too; not just once or twice. Consistently, repeatedly, repetitively. My dreams like to remind me that no matter how far I think I've come there's still a small child inside me that is afraid of the monster under the bed.

No matter how many years I've trained myself to use that damn baseball bat.

Wolves show up a lot; so do coyotes. The predators change but the game remains the same: save the innocent. Sacrifice myself if I must, but the innocent ones are the ones whom I must protect at all times.

Freud would be bored with my dreams, they're so obvious. When I was younger and we moved from New Hampshire to Southern California we didn't know that we were supposed to bring our five cats in at night, that coyotes would come down into our backyards and snatch our furry little family members away. We learned the hard way as cat after cat disappeared, and I still dream at night that whole droves of coyotes are making their way down our old backyard slope and there's my cat, my orange cat Motley, who was the first to die, and he's scared and I'm trying to get him into the house as the coyotes are closing in. I can never move fast enough to get him inside, but thankfully, mercifully, sometimes I wake up before the coyotes get to him.

Last night in my dreams we were trying to decorate the house for Christmas, but a huge pack of wolves surrounded our house as a circle and attacked anyone who tried to put up any decorations. I clamped down a wolf's jaws as it struggled while someone hung Christmas lights off the roof and it snapped at me in vain as the red and green lights reflected in its hungry yellow eyes.

You have to admit, it's kinda funny.

He shows up more than anyone else, though. I know this game well; I've had this dream over 20 times. It's a house, sometimes one I've lived in, sometimes not. Friends and family are scattered all over, their bodies still warm in a pool of their own blood. I was unable to protect them. He moves through the house with a gun, always a gun because I do not like guns and no one is bulletproof anyways. There's one last person I have a chance to save, and she is scared and hiding and it is my responsibility to make sure she lives and that she's okay.

I find her, my mother, hiding under a staircase or in the back closet of a room, and I hold her and tell her it's going to be okay, and then he arrives and guns her down in front of me and I have failed. I wake up and life goes on and I try to eat breakfast and shake off the heaviness and I call my mother just to hear her voice and I have holes in my shoes so that I can pay to tell my therapist what I already know, what I will never be ready to hear, that there will always be those wounds inside no matter how much I dress them up as sardonic barbs or clever machines. There is only so much I can heal but my dreams will not change their relentless march through my head.

What dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause.

Monday, July 12, 2010

odds and ends.

Sometimes I don't blog for a while, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have too much to say. Since I usually write my posts like short little essays with clear beginnings and middles and ends and some "the moral of the story is..." shenanigans, I hesitate to dump prose soup on you guys when my thoughts are a jumble. But then I look up and it's been a week and a half since I last blogged and there's people who literally check in with me if I don't post stuff because somehow they're worried I've gone off the deep end or had a mental breakdown.

Apparently the only week I'm allowed to disappear off the face of the planet is when Discovery Channel has Shark Week, because Shark Week is like, the coolest thing ever so it's okay to be glued to the TV.

My July 4th weekend was lovely. Benni's birthday is July 4th so we made one big birthday weekend out of it, which included a day of adventuring on July 3rd to the Santa Monica Pier and a ride on the big Ferris Wheel that overlooks the sparkling blue Pacific; playing around on Santa Monica's famous Muscle Beach; taking in lunch at a cute little cafe that's getting a lot of press called Huckleberry (if you go, try the marinated peppers and burrata sandwich - I almost died out of happiness); and then I forced Benni to start watching the Harry Potter movies because I saw the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I died and went to nerd heaven.

On July 4th we bbq'd and played Lego Rockband in the afternoon (I know, did your brain just explode from Awesome as well? Rockband + Legos?!) and then headed over to the CBS studios, which are opened up to the public for the holiday, to watch a great fireworks show over the LA "River" and eat unnatural amounts of kettle-corn.

On Monday we rested and watched two more Harry Potter films. I am officially an enabler.

Not much else is new. Drama comes and goes, as do challenges and the ups and downs life brings with them. I'll blog about that when I feel like talking about it, I suppose. For now my head is kind of quiet in its busy-ness, if that makes any sense. There doesn't seem to be much to talk about even though there's always a lot going on.

I should also probably officially report that I have decided that I like this Benni guy and so we are moving in together in September. And do you know how to tell when you're moving in with a New Yorker, besides the fact that you're fairly sure the front door will always be locked and your normally very sweet and friendly boyfriend will refuse to make eye contact with any of your new neighbors for fear of building a relationship with them that later bites him in the ass?

This is how:

Benni: "Hey, when we find an apartment, can we look for one that has a backyard?"

Me: "Sure."

Benni: "And if we're really lucky, maybe our backyard will have a guacamole tree!"

Me: "A...guacamole tree? Don't you mean an..."


Yup. He's a New Yorker all right.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

gravity sucks

Just a thought here, guys -

After I decided to turn my life upside down and change the way I was doing everything and how I was conducting my relationships, I floated for a good ten days on a pure, exhilarated air of confidence and joy. Then it ended, as it always does, and I was left shaking the dust off my boots and trying to get back to where I once belonged, upset and confused. Did the fact that I was no longer cruising in fifth gear mean that the changes weren't real? Or that they weren't big enough?

It only occurred to me a few days ago that what I experienced is what I like to refer to as a runner's high. If you're a runner, which I am not, (and never will be unless I'm being chased by zombies, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or I have a bucket of chili cheese fries being dangled in front of me), you know what I'm talking about. It's this burst of energy that hits at some point in the middle or two thirds of the way through your run and it propels you forward and gives you additional momentum. What it does NOT do is finish the race for you. And it doesn't make the fact that you're running much easier either.

It took me a while to be okay with the fact that I was no longer soaring above and beyond my problems but was instead back down on earth where there was still a crap-load of work to do. I tend to get inspired easily, and, like most artists and Gemini's, feel the weight of what uninspires me pulling me down just as easily. Maintaining that runner's high is difficult because it requires me to keep running in the first place - whereas whenever I have a success I convince myself that the race is over and now I can go home and sleep.

Um, it doesn't work that way.

So if you're going through some hard stuff right now, and honestly, who isn't, and you've just hit a milestone or had a major breakthrough and thought, whew, now the hard work is over, and found yourself slightly crushed when you looked up and noticed that there are still 14 more miles to go...

Well, this post is for you. Because we are all running a hard race and doing the best we can, and the times when we are floating on air because we just did something awesome are definitely worth celebrating. But when you find yourself back on the ground and a little tired and wishing you could be above it all like you used to be...

Just remember that you're doing exactly what you need to do. The only way out is through, and no matter how rad we are (yes, I just used the word rad) we don't get to cruise through life. It takes hard work and guts and showing up and discipline and consistency and patience to get back up from a fall, or come back down from a cloud, and just keep going. You don't need to hang on to those victories and successes because I promise you, there will be more of them.

The only way out is through. And you're exactly where you need to be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

shameless self promotion

So here's the post where I plug myself for a bit. I'm so sorry, I try not to do it that often, but every once in a while I have to self-promote myself or my blog. Have no worries, I'll shower later to wash off that dirty "I just bragged about myself" feeling. If I'm feeling ambitious, I might even use shampoo AND conditioner.

First and foremost, I am thrilled and more than a little bewildered to report that I have been nominated for The Best Blog about Stuff (really? I blog about stuff? When did I do that?) for the 2010 Blogger's Choice Awards. I was nominated by this lovely girl and so far I have three votes, which is two more than I ever expected to have, considering one of the votes is from myself and my mother was not one of the two other voters.

So if you want to vote for me, please, by all means, go sign in here and vote for me here, but honestly, I'm sort of the Ralph Nader vote because you voting for me means that you know I have no chance in hell of winning but you think I'm just too darn feisty not to vote for.

Want to know who I voted for? In addition to paying The Struggling Actress back some love, I voted for Hyperbole and a Half as The Best Blog of All Time, because it's probably the funniest blog I have come across in the past year and when I read this post I literally laughed so hard I cried. LITERALLY. I'm totally in love with this blogger, don't tell her, k?

Anyways, moving past shock and odd to grateful, I have some awards to pass out, lest you think I'd forgotten.

Both the lovely Heather over at The Dream Machine and the awesome Robin from Your Daily Dose bequeathed to me The Sunshine Award, which is supposed to be given out to people who you feel leave a ray of sunshine on your blog when they comment, which I take to mean that I leave some pretty damn chipper comments on some of your guys' blogs. It looks like this:

(ooooh, pretty...)

I like to think I got this award because I want people to have kind and positive experiences while blogging and a lot our experiences are dictated by the kind of comments we receive. I wouldn't wish on anyone what has happened to some of my friends, which is that they have received rude, snarky, judgmental comments simply because in the blogosphere, people can hide behind their screen names and therefore display piss-poor manners and be internet bullies. I find that kind of stuff just pathetic. So I try to leave bright, positive comments that make bloggers feel loved and worthy, because they are my friends.

I have to pass this award on to some other bloggers that brighten my day too, so here we go:

Alyssa at A Polar Bear's Love Song, because she's my best friend and because she writes blogs with titles like "The Great and Mysterious Lesbian Code."

G.Fox over at And I am Marie of Roumania, because everything she writes I end up nodding my head and thinking, yes, exactly, and I love her spirit and the fact that she has a bigger vocabulary than I do.

Maggi at Maggi's Misadventures, because she always makes me smile and cracks me up with her gentle sarcasm and awesome geeky sense of humor.

Kate, from The Cow Jumped Over the Moon, because I've got a soft spot for people that I can relate to and she's a Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics fan. And yes, she is a silly-pants. ;)

And finally, not that they aren't rays of sunlight on their own, but I'm passing along this award because they both just became fathers for the first time: Jonas at Beyond Wunderman and B.Nagel at the self-titled blog B.Nagel. Congrats, gentlemen. Now go out there and be the coolest fathers ever.

Also, the wonderful Tricia from Talespinning gave me the Versatile Blog Award, and it looks like this:

And since versatile means "changing or fluctuating readily" (I really love that idea, thank you Tricia!) I will pass it along to Krista at My Life as I See It, Robin at Your Daily Dose, and Maggie May at Flux Capacitor - because I have grown and changed along with them and every day they impress me just a little bit more.

Finally: one last self plug, my website. It's now completely updated and online, so if you've ever wondered if I can actually act, or what I look like with Really Good Lighting and Makeup, or how the hell to find the Twitter account that I update once a month, then you're in luck. My website has my professional head shots, my acting reel, and a link to my Twitter account.

Knock yourselves out. I'm officially done talking about myself (exhausting, isn't it?) ;)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

surfacing for air

Hey kids! I'm back! (::cue Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"::)

I hope you've all been well while I've been away... it was a stressful couple weeks but I'm through the worst of it and I'm back to blogging and catching up on everyone else's blogs, HUZZAH.

First and most importantly, a big huge thank you to all of you commenters who trusted me enough to be super honest about the crappy people that are sucking your energy away from you. I am constantly kind of humbled and ever so slightly terrified by how much you guys open up to me and I'm trying my damnedest to be worthy of your trust. I know it's not easy out there with a universe full of clueless people sometimes but I can say, since I pride myself on getting to know just about every one of you, that you are all so strong and kick-ass. It might be hard right now (it still is for me) but I really believe it's gonna get better. So thanks for all your comments that made me laugh, tear up, or really think. You guys are the freakin' coolest.

Second and only slightly less importantly, great white sharks do not attack kayaks very often, for those of you who were worried when you saw that photo in my last post (you can read the full story of that photograph here, no, it's not fake).

And now for the FastPass version of what I was up to while I was away:

1) Celebrated my 200th blog post (I vaguely remember giving my cat my password to blogspot, while face-down on the kitchen floor)

2) Celebrated my birthday - my friends threw a picnic party for me in the park and it was lovely - the highlight was meeting my best friend's two new dogs and Krista's gorgeously adorable little girl, Finn (and seeing Krista for the first time in, oh, five years?)

3) consumed an unnatural amount of red velvet and cream cheese concoctions, including red velvet frozen yogurt, red velvet cupcakes, and a red velvet and cream cheese cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory

4) Was bitten on the face by a kitten while I was trying to use the toilet (no, I'm not making that up)

5) Hit someone in the back of the head with a blueberry that I accidentally launched off my plate at a party (sadly, also not making that up)

6) Tried to carry the neighbor's cat into my mom's house, not realizing it was, in fact, NOT my mother's cat

7) Have been secretly rooting for the Boston Celtics to win the NBA Championship (shhh, don't tell any of my LA partners in crime!)

8) Received "YOU ARE A DOUCHE" business cards for me to leave on cars clearly parked by idiots from this lovely girl as a surprise birthday present

9) Opened up a book given to me by aforementioned best friend only to be facing the poem that has followed me around for the past several years and pops up when I need it most

10) Cooked this with a few minor tweaks (I took out the bacon and smothered the toast with goat cheese) and didn't burn down the apartment OR poison my boyfriend

11) Received some very cool blog awards from Robin at Your Daily Dose, Heather from The Dream Machine, and Tricia over at Talespinning - thank you ladies, I will pass these along shortly!

12) considered tossing the book I'm reading for my Sci-Fi book club across the room

13) Have been playing this album over and over again as my summer chill-out album, particularly tracks 1, 4, and 9

14) Saw a BMW delivering Pizza Hut pizza (how LA is that??)

15) Bought this and this for myself with some birthday money.

k, off to catch up on your lives! ::hugs!!::
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