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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

You're a Mean One...

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Green is definitely my color.

I have a confession to make. I am a grinch.

Well, I was.

I'm not proud of this. There are a lot of reasons for why the holiday season isn't historically the best of times for me. Seasonal Affective Disorder is part of it, but only part. The rest I can most likely trace back to my youth, but I'm not a huge fan of flashbacks, so we're not going there for the moment. Maybe I'll circle back around to that stuff in another post.

Let's just say that I haven't always been the most pleasant person come December.

This year is different. After 47 (holy hell, I'm getting old) years of having incredibly mixed feelings about the season (I always wanted to love it, y'all, I really did), I seem to be truly enjoying this time of year. It still gets dark super early. It's cold. There's snow (actually, I like the snow most of the time--just not when I have to clear it off my driveway). The annoying crowds at practically every store around are still busy thronging, or whatever it is that mobs do.

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No, no that kind of mob. Ugh. So. Much. Flashing.

Despite the abundance of these things that are fairly typical of this time of year, I'm find that I'm happy. Sincerely, blissfully, serenely happy. Not forced cheerfulness. No faked smiles. I'm really enjoying my experience of preparing for the holidays.

I put up Christmas lights. I'm helping to wrap the presents (without being asked or even prompted). I'm assisting with the Christmas candy and cookie making.

Y'all, we sent out CHRISTMAS CARDS.

It's an effing Christmas miracle.

A lot of my newfound joy in the season comes from getting healthier mentally. I'm taking meds, seeing a therapist on the regular, doing everything I can to set my personal relationships to rights. I'm making connections.

There's something magical that happens when we connect. In order to connect, we have to make ourselves vulnerable. There has to be a willingness to risk... many times to risk first. But when we do it and the connection comes, the reward is so much greater than the price paid.

It doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes we open only to have the gift of our heart rejected. Here's what I say to that. That rejection says nothing about us or our worthiness. It has everything to do with the person doing the rejecting.

That doesn't mean it hurts any less, though.

With all that said, I want to encourage everyone reading this (all three of you!) to find some small way to reach out during this holiday season. Risk just a little. Open just a tad more than you think you can.

I promise I'll be busy doing the same.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Doing the Hard Things

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Insert "that's what she said" joke here...

I'm a writer.

That's difficult for me to say, if you want the truth. Want more honesty? I almost had a panic attack as I was writing it. Writing is difficult to me for a lot of reasons. Those reasons I might talk about at some point, but that's not what this post is about.

This post is about stepping into shark-infested waters. Well, small sharks. Nurse sharks. Okay, fine. They're remoras. They're fish that attach themselves to sharks. But these waters are teeming with them. Teeming, I tell you!
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Tell me this isn't terrifying.

I've been acting since I was ten years old. That's... (carry the seven)... a long time ago. I've been teaching acting since the late nineties. That's beginning to feel like a long time ago. For those of you born in that decade, shut the hell up.

I've only been writing a few years. Well, in any kind of concerted way, at least.

How long we've been doing something has some correlation to how good we are at it, but it's not always 1:1. I know lots of beginning writers who kick my trash at it, and some veterans that I think should have their index fingers removed to spare the rest of humanity having to read their words. I recognize that was super judgmental and not the kind of person I want to be. It is, however, uncomfortably close to the truth.

And there it is in a nutshell, isn't it? One of the biggest reasons we don't like to dive in, especially when we don't have a ton of experience, is our fear of judgment. We're terrified that everyone will see what we've created, take a collective inhale and release a groan of disgust.

That inner critic shows up the most in my own life as some variation on "who do you think you are?" You probably know the refrain, if not the exact words to the song. Do you know how many people try to do this as a career? Maybe we should try something safer. What happens if we waste half our life pursuing this and nothing comes of it??

So we don't do it. Or we dabble, keeping our toes dipped in the refreshing water, but terrified to submerge ourselves. Or we orbit it, finding some profession that doesn't put us right in that terror spot, but allows us to participate vicariously.

Anything but diving in.

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I want this man's abs. Sadly... tacos.

I have told myself for years that I "don't have any ideas." That's a bald-faced lie. And I know bald. I have ideas coming out my fingertips. I just don't think they're any good.

So I wait. And procrastinate. And get distracted. 

Oh, that's a lovely post on Facebook. I should probably read the entire article before I comment. And who's that nasty troll who's arguing against basic humanity. Clearly, I am the only one who can correct this travesty...

And so it goes...

Anywho. I've wanted to write a book on acting for a long time. I have a specific approach to acting that I pieced together from a lot of people who are amazing at what they do, and it seems to work well. This is not some screenplay or novel or play where my lack of structure will be immediately clear to anyone who knows what they're doing. This is me, writing in my voice, describing something that I teach almost every day to students. No problem, right?

I've been teaching since the nineties, remember? Guess who hasn't written that book yet?

But I've started it. First chapter, DONE.

I'm diving in, and to my surprise, the water's fine.

Join me, why don't you?