Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

Enjoy the night, and get lots o' loot!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

By George, I Think I Get It!

So let's see: I'm FINALLY getting the hang of normal/intuitive eating.  I feel happier and less stressed than I did even a few days ago.  The fitness/diet magazines no longer sing their siren song to me in the checkout line at the grocery store (although "People" magazine still holds me in its sway.  Curse you, short, gossipy articles that are easily read while my produce is being rung up!), and I can fit into my jeans once more.
Which is REALLY nice, as it's finally getting cooler and I like having warm clothes and REALLY didn't want to shell out more money for new pants!
But the jeans are just a part of it.  I feel a new acceptance not only of my (more roly-poly than it used to be) body, but of ME. And of others, as well.  Even people I vehemently disagree with, like, say, {gasp!} Sarah Palin! Because I can hate her politics without hating HER.  Because she's a human being, and a mom, and had to deal with the prospect of Levi Johnston as a future son-in-law!
And there's still a part of me that  fervently hopes we can get over this insanity and stop demonizing each other and just be Americans again, rather than left wing/right wing/tea party/green party/commies/bible freaks/Yankee fans/Red Sox fans, etc. etc.
(Although I must say I love The Rent is Too Damn High party!)

But I'm digressing, as usual.

See, by listening to my body, I believe I can prevent some issues from happening.  Or at least nip them in the bud.  It's the same thing I learned when I started doing Pilates. I started 'cause I wanted that perfect Pilates body I saw in magazines, but kept with it because it made me stronger than I'd ever been, improved my posture and breathing, and will, I'm convinced, stave off some injuries and effects of aging.
But listening to my body has benefits that go beyond the physical.  It makes me more confident, less self-conscious, and chills me out.  I don't get as defensive as I used to.  I'm not as scared as I used to be.  I realize I have a right to take up space and oxygen in this world, that I don't have to cower in a corner or make myself seem nicer than I am.
And if you and I have a disagreement?  That doesn't make one of us wrong and the other one right.  It just means we have different, equally valid opinions.  Unless you're just a hater.  Then I'm just gonna walk away.  'Cause I've had enough of that.

OK.  Now I'm gonna log off, 'cause my brother is in town and is on his way over as we speak!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Gotta Be Me!

Does anyone remember that "Far Side" cartoon, where there's a group (herd? pride? gaggle?) of penguins and one of them is standing apart singing "I gotta be me?"
Dang, I LOVE "The Far Side."  We could use some of that NOW, I tell ya!

Anyway, I may have mentioned that I'm generally considered to be one of those creative, artistic types.  Personally, I think EVERYONE is a creative artistic type; some of the best, funniest emails I've ever read were written by IT guys, for example.
But I am one of those folks who earns her living by doing artsy things.  I have been forgiven, in the past, for erratic behavior.  But then I had kids and thought it was time to at least TRY to act like an adult.
Or to at least THINK about it.
So I put some things aside and focused on taking care of my kids.
Then about 2 years ago, I saw a documentary called "Autism: The Musical" about a woman in Los Angeles who runs a theater company for people with Autism.  They do a show every year, and every kid in that show has their moment to shine.  It may be a scene from the original play they've written, or a song, or a musical solo.  Basically, each of the kids' talents in put in the show somewhere. 
And the woman (whose name I cannot remember at the moment) got the idea from her actor friends.  See, when her son was first diagnosed, she brought her friends over and they would play with him.  They'd basically follow his lead; if he jumped around in circles, they jumped around in circles.  If he banged on a drum, they banged on a drum.  It was basically the same idea as Floortime therapy, but not quite as formal.  And because theses folks were actors, they weren't as self-conscious as other adults might have been.
One of the things I always loved about acting was the idea of always being playful.  This was especially true when I was doing comedy improvisation; the basic rule of improv is "Always say yes."  In other words, if I'm onstage and a fellow actor comes on and says "Hey Bob!  Congratulations on your promotion to head clown at the circus,"  I CANNOT say "Huh?! What the heck are you talking about?  I'm an accountant, and my name is Phyllis!"  No.  I HAVE to play along:  "Thanks Jerry!  I KNEW getting that Master's degree from clown college would pay off someday!"
One of my other favorite things was stage combat.  If you see a play or a film or watch TV and people are fighting, it's (almost) always very carefully choreographed.  (For a while I even thought about becoming a certified stage combat instructor/choreographer.  Hmmm...maybe I still will!) When you first learn the moves, it's done in slow motion, with A LOT of distance between you and your "opponent."  Gradually the moves get faster and you move closer together.  If you're doing a stage show, there is what is called a "fight call" before EVERY performance, in which every fight is rehearsed before the curtain goes up.  There are some hard and fast rules here, as well: the combatants MUST make eye contact before EVERY move, and the "victim" is always in charge.  So if a man is pulling a woman across the stage by the hair, he is actually just making a fist and placing it on her head.  She is holding on to his arm and pulling HIM across the stage.  This way everyone stays safe, and trust is developed between the actors.
I've always thought that this is how ALL acting should be done.  Because I wasn't one of those actors who needed to truly fear my scene partner in a dangerous scene.  Quite the opposite: I needed to TRUST my fellow actors implicitly in order to go deeply into the scene, physically and (especially) emotionally.
Now I think I need to live my life that way, as well.  I've always been a fairly cautious person.  I wouldn't get into cars with people I didn't know VERY well, or accept a drink from a stranger at a club (not that many were offered), or give my number out (to the few who asked). (I always got theirs, and never called 'cause I was too wussy.)
Of course, some may see this as common sense. 
But that seems to be severely lacking these days.
What I'm coming to realize is that I NEED creativity in my life in order to balance out all the maturity and adult-like behavior I'm trying to acquire.  Which, I think, is a big reason that all my favorite performers are people who aren't afraid to act a little silly.  A bit nutty.  To set aside that self-consciousness and go a little crazy in their performances.  In fact, the best actors I know are extremely well-adjusted people who "save it for the stage," as it were.  They don't need drama and insanity in their everyday lives, because they let it all hang out when they're performing.
(That's why we're so drawn to/repulsed by "reality" TV, I think.  When we see other people acting like psychotic drama kings and queens, it releases that part of ourselves.  In a safe way.  WE don't have to color ourselves orange and bitch-slap our so-called friends, because these reality stars do it for us. We can sit in judgment of them while sitting in our living rooms.  As long as we don't model our behavior after them, we're all good.  But then, some people DO model their behavior after them...)

So, one of my creative outlets is storytelling.  I make up stories in my head.  Sometimes I even write them down. I play them out in my imagination, with me as the star of course!  'Cause, hey, it's my brain, and I can do what I want with it!  In my head, I am brilliant, kind, funny, beloved, gorgeous, whatever I want to be. And I surround myself with whomever I want, as well!  I cast my own stories, and why not?
I've done this for as long as I can remember.  I used to be ashamed of it, but now I truly appreciate this ability. I LOVE my imagination!  And it's not as if I'm some Walter Mitty, letting my imaginary worlds take over reality.  Because my reality, warts and all, is pretty much rockin'.  But having that creative outlet, well...I really think it has save my sanity, on MANY occasions!
So what's your creative outlet? 'Cause you do have one, even if you don't know it. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Dreams

All my life I have had very intense, bizarre dreams.  In college I bought a dream dictionary to try and interpret some of them.
Hoo boy, was that a mistake!  I finally had to get rid of that book, because I was convinced I was either on the road to becoming a psychological case study or a serial killer.
But there is another interpretation that I've found quite helpful: everyone and everything in our dreams is US.  We dream about ourselves.  Yes, our subconscious is trying to tell us something, but if we dream about a cat it may not mean that a long-lost relative is trying to reach us, or whatever.  We need to figure out what cats mean to US.  If I were to dream about a cat, it could be that I want more affection, for example.  Because when I see a cat, I get all silly and gooey and want to pet it and hold it and make kissy faces at it.
(Huh. So THAT'S why the neighborhood cats avoid me!)
The other night I had a dream that someone I love was being REALLY nasty and mean and snarky to me.  When I woke up I had to remind myself that a) this person didn't REALLY behave that way and b) it was a dream, so I was being  nasty and mean and snarky to MYSELF.
And that I frequently am, without even realizing it.  I am SO MEAN to me!  I'm like the popular kids from every high school movie ever made, before the big John Hughes-type self-realization, I-don't-have-to-be-like-that moment. The guy who agrees to kick the Karate Kid on his wounded leg because his sensei told him to, but really doesn't want to because EVEN HE realizes how evil and non-sporting that is!
I have been figuratively wrapping myself up in athletic tape and stuffing myself into a locker for YEARS!

That dream the other night, with all the hugs?  Yeah, pretty sure it was telling me to stop being so hard on me and start treating myself with love. 
(I also think it was telling me to get back in touch with my creative side. Hence the two [of my favorite!] actors.)
Remember all that talk in the early 90's about getting in touch with one's inner child?  Anyone, anyone? Bueller?  Well, maybe you're too young, but a the time we made fun of it a lot. Now, though, I think there's something to it.  Learning to re-parent ourselves the way we wish we had been parented.  Because many of our parents did their best, but they're only human, and mistakes were made.  For me, it's about going back to those moments and re-working them the way I would have liked them to have played out. Being the kind of parent to myself as a little girl that I hope I am with my own kids.
And realizing that a BIG part of parenting is about the things we unknowingly pass along; our fears and strengths, our beliefs and behaviors, and NOT just the things we say.  I am most definitely my father's daughter, for example. And the more I learn about myself, the more I understand him.  And wish he'd had access to the things I do now!
Also realizing that I DO deserve things like a vacation now and then, some time to myself, and even a new robe!  It's silly, but I have been wearing this disgusting, tattered robe that I've had for YEARS because it didn't even occur to me to buy a new one!  That I DESERVE to spend the money on myself and buy a nice, new, soft, CLEAN bathrobe without bald patches on it, fer cryin' out loud!

Interestingly enough, right now my back is completely pain-free, and I'm not worried about losing sleep. I'm not particularly worried about ANYTHING right at this moment, (which has to be some kind of miracle, lol!). In fact, I think I'm about ready to go back to bed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Anxiety and Hugs

Even though I don't have panic attacks anymore, I am still riddled with anxiety.  For a long time I told myself that I was THROUGH with anxiety, that it no longer plagued me, I was FREE! 
Except I wasn't, and I'm not.
Don't get me wrong; not having crippling panic attacks multiple times a day is a HUGE relief, and my anxiety level is WAY lower than it used to be, and that is GREAT.  But I am not completely free of it.  It is one of the (many) emotions I have stuffed down over the years.
So now I'm feeling it, which totally sucks, but is part of The Process.  The thing is, I have to wonder if all this anxiety is over current events or a kind of emotional rewind.  Am I anxious because of all the crap that is currently going on in my life, or is all that gut-churning, repressed anxiety making its way to the fore after all these years? Or both?
I can ask the same question of all the others; depression, anger, sadness, etc., etc., etc.
And does it matter?  Because, at the end of the day, it still sucks.  I still feel awful.  I still want to do rash things, like hunt someone down and bash them over the head repeatedly, or tell someone I really do love to go away and not come back, or something that I will most certainly regret later.

I read something the other night that just hit me in the head like a cosmic punt: "Feeling trapped is one of the main reasons for overeating."
On went the ol' lightbulb!
So I asked myself when I have felt trapped in my life.  And it turns out that I have felt trapped more often than not.  And that I often create my own prison. I have been repeating patterns over and over and over. 
And, again, isn't that the definition of insanity?

So, I will try and refrain from acting rashly. Like an addict finishing rehab, when they are advised not to make any huge life decisions for a year. I will refrain from hitting people, unless it is self-defense or in defense of another.  I will not ask certain people to get the hell out of my sight.  I won't even post on Facebook until I've had a good while to calm down!

Perspective is key.

And on a MUCH happier note, last night I dreamt that Matt Smith (the current "Doctor Who") and David Tennant (the former "Doctor Who") were both hanging out with me and giving me lots of nice hugs. You know, the kind where you are fully enveloped and squeezed just hard enough; not too little and not so much that you can't breathe?  The kind of hug you give an old, dear friend you haven't seen in a long time?
It was just what I needed!  A night full of perfect hugs!
The same kind I am sending to you guys, right now!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here I Go Again

Wondering whether or not to take a blogcation.  Blog hiatus.  A break from blogging.  This time it's because I seem to be in a constant bad mood and don't particularly want to subject other people to it, even over the interwebs.
Because there's not a whole lot of new stuff for me to blog about.  I'm going through The Process, and seem to be in the Quagmire section of it.  I'm stuck feeling all the negative emotions I never used to let myself feel.  I'm not sleeping.  I'm cranky. I'm hating my job,  and all the stupid campaign ads, every politician who ever lived/is alive now/has yet to be born (to be fair, I feel like this EVERY election year).
I feel like I'm withdrawing from my life, in some ways.  The things I used to enjoy are now just meh.  It feels kinda like depression, except that I still take great joy in being with my family (most of the time, lol!) and things like being outside, socializing (when I'm actually able to), and more basic human stuff.  So I don't think I'm any more depressed that usual (and it IS that time of the month), I just think things are shifting.
I went through something like this in my 20's, while in grad school.  I was dating my husband and realizing that this acting thing, on which I had hinged my entire existence, may not be what I wanted anymore.  It would take me another 8 years to give it up entirely, but that was when the first stirrings of doubt began, and I didn't know how to handle it.  I had sacrificed so much for it, invested time, energy, and money not only into the profession, but into the school I was at at the time.  I felt that if I quit, I'd be letting everyone down.  Besides, I didn't have any other skills, or so I believed then.  So I kept going, to the point where I nearly had a complete breakdown.  I finished school, moved to L.A., and started doing the unemployed actor thing.  My saving grace was teaching.  I was lucky enough to get a few part-time teaching jobs, which I loved. And every once in a while I'd work on a show that was just fun and fabulous, and my love for acting would be re-kindled for a while. But it never lasted long.
I finally had a good excuse to "take a break" from it when I was pregnant with our daughter and our son was very young.  Everyone understood.  I wanted to be with him and take it easy as much as possible for the rest of my pregnancy.  Focus on staying healthy and being a mom.  Later, when the kids were still very young, I could say (truthfully!) that I was (and am) just too tired.  Most shows start at 8 PM, and I like to be in bed by 9, if possible!  But, again, that is partly a convenient excuse. 
Taking that voiceover class earlier in the year convinced me that, right now, I have NO desire to get back on stage.  And, to tell the truth, as much as I love teaching, the Pilates is getting a little old for me. As much as I love it and believe that it does a lot of good, I am still in an industry where physicality and image are important. Fitness instructors are "supposed" to look a certain way.  Pilates teachers "should" have the flattest abs around!  And, well, I just DON'T, lol!  And it seems the longer I stay in the industry, the more weight I put on.  Because I put so much pressure on myself to be thin, and I stress out, causing myself to eat emotionally and gain even MORE weight!
Then there's the fact that I'm starting to dread going to work to teach my classes.  Once there, I'm fine.  More than fine, I'm happy and excited!  But I know it won't be long until it feels like drudgery, and my clients don't deserve that!
I will stick with it for now.  Eventually I may phase myself out, finding others to replace me.  There are so many great teachers at all the gyms I work for.  I'm hoping to get back to teaching more acting and drama, to coaching actors, and maybe even, as I've mentioned before, drama therapy.  Plus, I've always wanted to direct a show at a community theater!  And why the heck not? 
So I'm figuring a lot of things out.  I will most likely continue to post, but it may not be all that interesting, and might even get downright depressing at times.  But I guess that's partly what a blog is for, right?
Plus, it helps me clear my mind and figure out what the heck is going on inside me. 
And I REALLY need to stop feeling like I have to entertain everyone all the time! 
Ah, the curse of the insecure artist!

Friday, October 8, 2010

You Know You're Getting Old When...

A police officer pulls you over and tells you to "just be careful" when you're driving at night.  AND, rather than being offended, you think "What a nice young man!"

The idea of bootcamp, running, or any other high-impact workout makes you think "Oy, my back!"

The assistant in a class you are teaching was born in 1996 (!!!!!)

You are no longer the young, cool, totally-relate-able-in-her-20's teacher.  You are now the same age as the kids' PARENTS!

Your own kids are no longer toddlers.

You find yourself choosing sleep over sex more often.  (!!!!!!!)

You stop caring so much about what others think of you.

You're tolerance level for bullcrap goes WAAAAAY down.

Mall walking doesn't seem like a bad way to work out!

Golf gets more appealing.  Wait, OK, even I'm not there yet! (And never will be, thanks to my complete and utter lack of hand-eye coordination!)

You find yourself relating to you 12 year-old, arthritic dog.

You realize you wish you'd knwn in your 20's what you kow now, and saved yourself a lot of time and angst.

You also realize that what you used to believe was "old, " isn't.

You think about a 3rd (or 4th or 5th, etc.) career.

You begin to appreciate senior citizens more.  The things they have seen!

You catch yourself thinking (or saying) "When I was your age..."

You start to appreciate your body more.  Maybe realizing that you don't HAVE to look the same at 41 as you did at 21! (Unless you are in Hollywood or one of the Real Housewives.  But they are nuts.  And you're thankful you are not one of them.)

You realize that 41 is actually NOT old at all! And that you are happier now than you ever were before, and wouldn't go back your 20's or even 30's for anything!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not in a Happy Place!

OK, so I don't intend to be one of those bloggers who writes about  what"my therapist told me..."  But yesterday's session was a doozy, and I AM going to write about some things I have learned.

It's not exactly news that I have devalued myself for as long as I can remember.  What IS news is the extent to which I've done it.  In my last post, I wondered, in essence, why people have a tendency to walk all over me.  Well, when you make like a doormat, people are gonna wipe their shoes on ya.
There's a big difference between being nice and being a patsy.  The problem is, when you see yourself as completely unworthy of anything good, it's hard to TELL the difference.  You want so desperately to be liked that you let people treat you like crud.  And, of course, none of it is conscious on your part!  It seems so obvious as I sit here typing it out, but it wasn't, at all.
Now I think to myself "OF COURSE I became an actor!  What better profession for someone who is used to-nay-COMFORTABLE being yelled at, hyper-criticized, and crapped on ALL. THE TIME! Someone who believes she will NEVER be successful because WHY would she be? OF COURSE I'd live paycheck to paycheck, because who in their right mind would pay ME a decent, living wage?  I don't deserve that!"

Except, the thing is, I DO.  I DESERVE to be paid well for my skills.  I deserve to be treated with respect, to be spoken to as a colleague and a professional, not as a child servant. I DESERVE things like a REAL vacation, time to myself, help with the kids and the house and all the crazy scheduling I have to do; scheduling that would make General Petrais beg to be sent back to Afghanistan!
And just because I work part-time doesn't mean I have all this other FREE time!  Because if I did, I'D BE WORKING FULL-TIME, YOU IDIOTS! (Not YOU, Gentle Reader, but some of the folks I work with.) The fact is, I have 3 part-time jobs and 1 FULL-TIME job.  Because if ANYONE thinks that being a mom, especially with kids with special needs, is anything less than a full-time job, I'd like to see them try it for a day without running away and crying for their mammas!

So here's the thing: I Am DONE.  I'm done taking the bullcrap.  The next time ANYONE questions my abilities, commitment, or professionalism, they are going to get an EARFUL at the least.  They may end up minus a few layers of skin, depending on the day.  And if they don't like the way I work, they are free to hire someone else.

But good luck finding someone as good as me, Mother*^+#ers!!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh Inner Donna Reed, Where Art Thou?

For those of you who are younger than I, Donna Reed was an actress who starred in her own TV show, playing the ultimate housewife.  (She is also Mary in "It's A Wonderful Life, one of my personal favorite movies). However, behind the scenes she was also an uncredited producer and director of her show.  She may be best remembered for cleaning windows while wearing heels and pearls, but she also kicked some major Hollywood booty!
And it's times like these when I could use that combination.  There are days when I wish I was still a full-time SAHM.  With the kids still going to school, of course. These are the times that try my soul, and I think that I would willingly wash the windows with vinegar and newspaper if only I didn't have to go to work and deal with a*&hats!!!!!
I mean, WHAT is it about me that makes people believe they can talk down to me?  Do I come off as stupid?  I don't think so! Am I the nice, quiet one who won't fight back when you dump all your frustration on her, until she gets so fed up she poisons the punch at the office holiday party?  HARDLY! I think I'm a failry intelligent, very loyal, hardworking employee.  So WHY?!?!?!
WHY is my time treated as less important than others'?  Why is my commitment to my work questioned, when I am the FIRST person EVERYONE calls when they need a class covered? Is it MY fault that my F-I-L had to have EMERGENCY TRIPLE BYPASS SURGERY, throwing my childcare situation out of whack, and didn't I work my BUTT off getting another sitter?  Why would you question my commitment because of that?!?! Aren't I the one who hasn't taken a vacation, who has covered EVERYONE else while they took theirs, and hasn't asked for a sub in over a year?!?!
And when I interviewed for this new job, I TOLD you I have 2 kids with special needs!  But you offered me the job anyway, I accepted, and I covered my childcare on the days you told me I'd be needed.  Now, out of the blue, I'm needed ANOTHER day. And I HAVE to be there, oh yes! No choice for me! But if the two 14 year-olds can't make it, well, that's OK then.
All I can say is, these jobs better be worth my time. Or else they're gonna see the butt-kicking side come out!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ready, Set...

I'm ALMOST ready to go!
With the new teaching job, I mean.  Yes, I have found not only an AMAZING sitter, but help with paying her, as well!  She is my kids' former behavioral therapist.  She has sat for them before, but never on a regular basis.  Both kids love her, and she ADORES them!  She's reliable, experienced, and , best of all, excited to sit for them!
All I have to do is arrange payment through the Regional Center, which pays part of the cost. 
I met with my supervisor/co-teacher today, and I am so excited (and nervous) to start this class! Right now we have 12 kids signed up, but will probably end up with 15 or so.  Thankfully there will be 4 of us to wrangle them, lol!

Yesterday I took a yoga class in the morning at the gym.  Afterwards I took a shower and sat in the sauna.  I hadn't done that in years, and I'd NEVER done it at this particular gym, even though I've been going there (first as a member, now as an employee) for 4 years.  It was like a mini-spa day, and I decided I'm going to take advantage of it more often.
As well as the hot tub at our place.  The pool will be closing for the season at the end of the month, but the hot tub stays open.  I'll just bring the kids with me! Why not? They love it as much as I do.
(And speaking of the pool; we went swimming on Wednesday, and LG decided to take off his swimming shorts.  I looked in the pool and saw this cute little tush surfacing above the water, at which point I dove in and helped him put his shorts back on.  Luckily there were ONLY 12 OTHER PEOPLE THERE AT THE TIME!!!!!!

In the coming weeks we're all going to be quite busy.  I'm subbing a bunch of Pilates classes as well as starting this drama class, the kids have their big Halloween outing coming up in a couple of weeks (at a local pumpkin farm.  It's their big Halloween celebration, since they don't have any interest in trick-or-treating), Hubby's doing some readings at a local theater, and we're taking both kids to a new pediatrician.  On top of that, WG will be going in for her neurological assessment soon.
Funny, I thought that once the kids were back in school I'd be a little less busy.

On the health front, for the first time in my life, I'm interested in healthy food not as a way of losing weight, but as a way of making myself feel better, be healthier, and (hopefully) live longer. 
I'm finally realizing that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to feel sluggish all the time.  I don't have to have headaches 15 days a month.  I don't have to learn to live with the aches and pains and twinges and sleeplessness, and I definitely don't have to rely on ibuprofin to get me through it all! There are things I can do, and one of the biggest is to look at how and what I eat.  Not just in an emotional context, but in a physical one.  Not with calories in/out, but nutrients.  How do I feel after I eat?  Do I LIKE feeling that way?  If not, maybe I can tweak it. Eat something else, something that makes me feel GOOD, physically AND emotionally!
Because I DESERVE that!  Food isn't something to be shunned.  It's not the enemy.  It's also not the answer to my issues.  It's nourishment and, yes, enjoyment.  But not the ONLY enjoyment in my life!
I'm not morally bankrupt because I've put on weight.  I'm not a lesser person because I'm not (and never have been, never will be) Hollywood skinny. And I need to stop being ashamed of myself!
That has always been such a big issue; shame.  When I really look at it, I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I am a good person.  I'm a good mom, wife, employee, and citizen of Earth.  In my heart of hearts, I want everyone to be content. I'm not perfect.  At all.

And I like it that way!