Thursday, February 28, 2013

And Here We Go

I've done it before, but there have always been reservations.  This time there are none.  Yes, my heart is pounding and my hands are shaking (and that second cup of coffee didn't help), but it's from excitement more than nerves.
I'm about to drop what is, for me, quite a bit of money on a new program.  Not a diet or a workout, but involving one-on-one, group, and online support.  It will incorporate non-dieting, EFT (Tapping), some nutrition (based on getting enough nutrients rather than what and what not to eat or how much).  It will last 90 days plus a few days of prep on my own, using tools to help get me started.

I realize some of this sounds like BS.  But to me, it makes sense.  All of my healthy eating, exercising, cutting out sugar, etc. has resulted in zero weight loss.
Because I know, as I've known for some time, that the weight is a symptom, not a cause.  Just like my anxiety and depression. It's as if everything else I've tried have been  piecemeal fixes, and this is the full-on service.  The difference between getting an oil change (necessary) and a full tune-up, which includes the oil change but also checks the transmission, rotates the tires, replaces the belts, tops off the fluids, AND cleans both the interior and exterior of the car.

I've spent 43 years on this planet not really knowing WHY I'm here. Listening to other people tell me who I SHOULD be and what I SHOULD do. But that's not it.  No one else knows, and I refuse to be cast in supporting roles in other peoples' lives anymore. Surely there's a reason for my existence. Not just to go to work, pay the rent, lend an ear, and go to sleep. Nothing wrong or bad in any of that, but there's MORE.  And while it's good and necessary to know where my issues come from, I need to be able to do something with all that information.

And just knowing there are other people who are in the same boat is reassuring, to say the least. For decades I have supported others in their dreams and goals.  It's time to find my own. To step off these shifting sands, pick up some tools, and build a solid foundation for myself.

So, here I go.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm Free! FREEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

This is the time of year, around these parts, when everything gets a nice little coating of pollen.  Ah yes, allergy season has arrived!
And with it, the need not only for Claritin (adult and chewables), but finding the right timing for administering it.  Ideally, the kids get their dose at night, right before bed. However, Sunday night I forgot, which means that all this week they get it before school.  Because I can't send them to an entire day of learning without it. Especially WG.  San Jose is even worse than here.  So we'll have to readjust over the weekend.

It also can mess with their sleep.  Both Saturday & Sunday, LG was up in the middle of the night.  Yesterday was a bit rough.  Not horrible, but challenging.  Seeing as he woke up at 3 AM, it was expected, and I warned his teachers.
But I managed to get them off to school, do the grocery shopping, clean the fridge, get to yoga, take a walk, take them to the park, cook dinner and get the dishes done before I collapsed.  LOVE it when that happens!  19-hour nonstop day?  No problem!  (Yeah, right!  Who am I trying to kid?)

However, I am able to do all of those things because both kids are in school and everyone's back on their regular schedule.


I've also learned more stuff over the past few days.
Ashtanga yoga makes me REALLY sore!  I think that's the real reason they call is "Mysore."  As in "my sore butt!  My sore legs!  Even my sore hair follicles!"
I went for a walk because I knew if I stayed sitting down my muscles would simply freeze up.  And then I took a warm bath.  I may need to coat my entire body in mentholated gel.
And then work out again, because otherwise it's just gonna get worse.

In sad news, it looks like I have to completely give up my beloved pizza.  Or at least find a way to veganize & gluten-free it, which I know can be (and has been) done.  Because eating it as is literally makes me sick.  Even one slice.  I regret it for hours afterwards.  Stomach cramps just aren't worth the momentary pleasure.
Same with pasta.  Unfortunately, even the gluten-free kind.  Even Shiritaki noodles.
(But, hey, there's always spaghetti squash!)

It's funny: I don't think it's the gluten per se: I can eat meat substitutes made from gluten without issue.  It really seems to be bread and pasta. Maybe it's the way they're digested. I'd been eating whole wheat for years without issue, but now it has become one.  Same with dairy.  Although, actually, I DID have issues with dairy earlier on...Is this more than you need to know?
On the other hand, not being able to rely on those staples will force me to be more creative.  And maybe even get the kids to be a bit more adventurous.  Maybe?

But, with the bad, there's also good news.  Hubby's aunt, who lives nearby, has a pool at her apartment complex.  She and her family never use it, and she says hardly ANYONE ever does.  So when it opens up for the season, we can have the key!!!!!!  Apparently it's a really nice pool, too.  We'll have access to a pool again!  YAY!!!!!! One they can actually swim in!

Also, tonight we finally get to see "Parade's End" on HBO.  It was co-produced with the BBC, which aired it back in September, I think.  It's an adaptation of the Ford Maddox Ford (so nice they named him twice?) novel, adapted by Tom Stoppard (!!!!!!!!), and starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
I believe I've mentioned my slight obsession with WWI epics.  This takes place before and during the war.  It's in 5 parts: 2 tonight, 2 tomorrow, and the final episode on Thursday.

It'll be nice to be relax in front of the TV & actually engage the brain again.
Especially after the endless awards season.
And particularly after the Oscars.  I always feel a vague need to shower after watching them, but this year  even more so.
Although I did LOVE the "Sound of Music" bit.
And I liked Ben Affleck's speech.
And the musical numbers.  Adele is a goddess, and Shirely Bassey?!?!?!  OMG!  76 years old and putting the rest of us to shame!

I think they were going for irreverent, but ended up with irrelevant.   (Ya see what I did there?!  Huh?! Huh?!?!)  I'm just a little tired of frat boy humor.  Especially coming from a 39 year-old directed at a 9 year-old. It'd be one thing if Hollywood weren't already so tough for women,  this was just reinforcing it all.  Yes, you're brilliant, talented, and work hard but all we care about are your boobs! The sad part is, that's completely true. It just felt like that attitude was being reiterated rather than mocked.
Some people say "Those actresses CHOSE to go naked."  Well, not really. There isn't really a choice.  Not if you're female and you want to work.  At some point, if they're established enough, they can refuse.   But most women's careers don't last that long in front of the camera.  Sure there are exceptions.  But that's just what they are: exceptions.  And the fact that a number of the scenes he pointed were rape scenes makes it worse.
Feel free to disagree.  I'm stating MY opinion.
But I'll say this, it's an opinion based on my experiences as an actress living in Hollywood. Who has female friends who are successful, working, and still being treated like garbage. So it's not an opinion formed in a vacuum.

Wow.  I just completely bummed myself out (no pun intended.  AAARRGHGH!!!! Frat boy humor!) I think I'd better go do something empowering.

Have a great day, all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What to Do, What to Do...

Can I just say that 8 years ago I must've been a whirling dervish of energy?
WG is on vacation this week, and I'm EXHAUSTED!!!!  8 years ago she wasn't even in school yet.  I was with her 24/7, while LG was in preschool 4 hours a day, 4 days a week.  Hubby was on tour, so it was ALL me.  I took care of both kids, took them to their therapies, to the doctor, did all the cooking/shopping/laundry/cleaning, and managed to take them out for a walk every afternoon AND work out for an hour! All of this on very little sleep.
How?!?!?!  How did I do it?!?!?!  LG is in school all day, WG & I go do fun stuff, but I can barely make it through a 20-minute workout.  The difference between 35 and 43 is astounding!

I do notice that as the kids get older, they need more during their vacations.  More structure, more stimulation, more ways to work their brains & bodies. I'm looking into summer camps, but I'll need to keep them busy & active during their other breaks, as well.

I've been looking at online sights to find babysitters who specialize in working with kids with autism.  It would be fab, but I'll need to work a few more hours in order to afford it.  And if I'm working more, we'll have more need of a sitter.  The endless cycle.  Still, having someone here other than me to hang out with would, I think, be good for them.
And, um, good for me, as well.  Sometimes I become Yellie Mommy and I HATE that.  It's no picnic for the kids, either!

Thankfully, Hubby took tomorrow off to be with WG while I'm teaching.  I'm going to take full advantage & stay out until it's time to pick up LG.  Because I DESPERATELY NEED A BREAK!!!!!!!! I'm at the point right now where everything my kids are doing is kinda driving me nuts.  And they're not doing anything wrong.  It's cabin-with-the-kids fever.

Oh, and PMS.

But, 2 more days until the weekend, and then everyone goes back to school on Monday.

Thank G-d!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Coyotes, Yoga, and Hitchhiking the Galaxy

I just finished reading a novel that takes part, a little bit, on a Navajo reservation.  One character talks about the legend of Coyote, who is, in some mythology, a trickster.  He whispers in peoples' ears, making them doubt themselves, question their own judgement, and he creates insecurity.
I know him well, lol!
The same character also reflects on her difficult childhood, with an alcoholic mom whom she had to take care of, and a distant father. And she realizes that retreating into herself wasn't a weakness, but a strength: she was able to find home within herself, instead of having to create in externally.

Also this morning, two radio DJs were joking about whether their parents loved their siblings more.

And it all got me thinking (what else is new?): I've often wondered, as children, even grown ones, do, if my parents loved my brother more. Because he never questioned their love, he just knew it was there.  Whereas I questioned it constantly.
And that's the answer, I think.  They didn't necessarily love me less, they worried about me MORE.  Because my brother rarely second-guessed himself.  He was, and is, very confident and capable. Whereas I am not.  I mean, yes, I'm capable, but I didn't know it for the longest time. I was often paralyzed with fear, questioning EVERY decision I made, even little ones, like which product to buy at the grocery store.  I lived in fear every moment, always afraid of making a mistake.  Waking up in the morning was, for so many years, absolutely terrifying.

I didn't have alcoholic or distant parents.  But I DID retreat into myself.  And into my imagination.  And I started creating: daydreaming, fantasizing, and even writing. Then I discovered acting, and fell in love with it. Without realizing it, I created a world inside myself that was, and is, Home.

Just a few minutes ago I looked at a picture of my daughter, taken when she was not quite two, holding a toy frog and smiling.  It's one of my favorite photos; she radiates pure happiness in that picture.
It was taken at our old house in L.A., the one I loved. The place I was sorry to leave, even as I was excited to be getting out of L.A and moving to Northern California. It was the type of house I'd hoped we could get up here, eventually.
But this time when I looked at it, I didn't feel the same nostalgia I usually do.  Not for the house or for that time when the kids were toddlers.
Don't get me wrong, I'd still LOVE for us to have our own house again.  But this time, I want a single-story home.  Staying at the lodge in Yosemite made me (and Hubby) realize how much better a smaller place would be.  To be closer, both literally and figuratively, yet still have some privacy.  It's more practical, in that we wouldn't be running up and down stairs all day checking on the kids.  But also just to be in closer contact throughout the day makes a big difference.
For my son, who is having some separation anxiety, it would allay some of his fears.  For my daughter, it would allow her to continue her independent streak but with less, well, destruction.  And less worry on our part that she might fall down the stairs or out of a window!

At the end of the day, home is wherever the four of us are together. But as the kids head toward adolescence, I think less input from other family members might be beneficial.

My children are no longer babies.  But they're not adults, either.  They are still very young, and may always be that way.  Chances are they will never be fully independent.  That's a simple fact.  There will always be something of the child in them.
I find them fascinating.  And terrifying, sometimes.  Especially when the familiar worries surface about what will become of them when Hubby and I are no longer here. At times I want to fold them in my arms and never let them out into the big, bad world again.  But, of course, I can't. I CAN keep an eye on them as they play, work, and explore the world.  It's not always easy, but I gotta do it.  Loosen my grip in increments.

This week I'm doing a lot of yoga.  Mainly because the kids are off for a week and a half and I won't be able to get to class.  It's helping me physically, of course, but I think the biggest change is mentally.  All these epiphanies aren't coming out of nowhere.  I may, possibly, be starting to see the mental advantage of a regular practice.  The one I've been hearing about for so long but has evaded me.  Maybe THAT'S the reason for a daily (if possible) practice, and not just a cuter butt or even reaching Nirvana.
It's giving me a clarity I've NEVER had before.  And while other workouts might help me reshape my physical self faster, yoga is clearing the fog from my brain.  Which, I think, needs to be the priority right now.

But I'll still do my Barre workouts.  'Cause they're fun.  A yoga practice doesn't have to be 90 minutes; sometimes a few sun salutations will suffice.  Then there's the whole off-the-mat practice, but that's another post...

As far as Hitchhiking the galaxy goes...well, not physically.  But the "Hitchhiker's" movie was on again the other day, and I've been watching the Science channel, especially when they do shows about space, space travel, and aliens.  What can I say?  I wanted to be an astronaut until I was 13!  (Plus, Netflix has the entire series of "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking," which is VERY cool.)

Anyway.  Time to come back to earth and take the kids to the park.  Let them run off some of that energy.

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And How Does That Make You Feel-OH SHUT UP!!!!!!!

Yeah, there's a definite drawback to letting oneself feel one's emotions.
Some of those emotions SERIOUSLY SUCK!

The past few days have been rough.  Partly due to hormones, partly due to my trying to accept my feelings and not ignore them/stuff them down/eat them away.

It's also partly due, I think, to the fact that I'm not insanely busy for the first time in 2 decades. All this down time is...odd. I kinda HAVE to feel everything.  I'm not too-busy-I'll-deal-with-that-later-or-y'know-NEVER anymore.

And it's a little frightening!

You know how there's the version of yourself you present to the world, the one you'd like to be, and then there's the REAL you?  That second one? She scares me.
She's the one who can be filled with immense rage.  The one who sometimes hates other people.  The one who can feels trapped, or useless, or as if she's wasting all the potential she had 20 years ago. Who feels as if she's missed a big chunk of her life, and went from promising newbie to has-been without anything in between. Who feels as if she's bumping up against the same walls she came up against all those years ago.
Who looks at her life and wonders how the hell she can be here, at this age, and who feels like a complete failure.

But there's another side to her, too.  The one that knows she HAS come a long way, baby!  Who sees that there isn't just one road, but a long path with a whole lot of forks in it, and she's been travelling a pretty interesting route.  One with more twists and turns than the road that goes from A-Z.
And with MUCH better views.

The one who knows that walking in a straight line with her head down may have gotten her more material success, but it would also have been REALLY dull.  And exceptionally lonely.
Who remembers that things, for the most part, happen for a reason.
Even the painful, sucky things.

So I let myself feel the rage, the deep, deep sadness, the anxiety, and I hope that feeling it will let me release it.  Because, as I've said before, emotions are like kids: They'll do anything to get you to pay attention.  And if you don't, they'll start taking some pretty drastic measures until you do.

So OK, I hear you.  I see you.  I feel you, as the kids say (only in this case it's literal).  You, my emotions, can stop jumping on the bed, screaming your heads off, because I am finally, FINALLY paying attention.  I'll come over and sit with you, put my arms around you, and listen.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey, Humaney-Wumaney

I've been thinking about something a yoga teacher said in class a couple of weeks ago.  Quoting a DIFFERENT teacher, she mentioned that we humans like to give ourselves timelines, and also to see our lives that way.  Not just forward ("I'm going to lose 20 pound by May!"), but backwards, as well ("I USED to be able to do 30 pull-ups!  What happened?!?!")
And I realize that that's EXACTLY what I've been doing.
Especially with yoga, but also...well...everything, apparently.
I compare myself now with who I was/what I could do in my 20's.
And it's a simple fact of life that many of those things just are NOT DOABLE anymore!

I can't teach drama classes from 9 AM until 11 PM.  I can't rehearse one show during the day and perform in another at night.  At the moment, I can't do the intense, hour-plus workouts I did 10 years ago.
I can't pick up at a moment's notice and take an acting gig in another city (even if one were to be offered, lol!). Heck, I can't even go out at night without more planning than a field marshal in the middle of battle!

I already knew some of this.  But when it came to yoga and exercise, I was clinging to the past.  To my days as a bendy-wendy, strongy-wongy 20-something.
I'm just not there anymore.
Which is not to say I can't get there again, but it's going to take time, patience, and most of all, compassion.
For myself.
For this body that, over the intervening years, has been through quite a bit.  2 pregnancies, years of not sleeping through the night, many changes of address, and plain ol' aging.
There's no sense in getting angry at myself for not being able to do the things I could do 15 or 20 years ago.  I just have to bite the bullet and start from scratch.

Which is not always a bad thing!
My form wasn't always correct back then.  Now I can start at the beginning WITH correct form, and go from there.  MUCH better.
I pushed myself too hard.  Nowadays I'm much kinder to my sometimes-aching bod. I pay a lot more attention to what's going on internally than to how I look, or whether I can go as deeply into the pose as the Gumby on the may next to mine.

Plus, I have to think about the kind of person I was in my 20's, and if I would really want to go back to that?  I was terribly insecure, neurotic, prone to horrible panic attacks, had ZERO confidence in most things, and had a pretty short fuse.  I wasn't a bad person I was just...twenty-something.
I'm MUCH wiser, stronger, smarter, happier, and just plain BETTER now. Sure, I'm also rounder, but, if given the choice, would I REALLY go back to my 20's?


(Besides, I didn't have my kids back then!)

So I'll keep struggling through my workouts and using a block in yoga, and I'll try not to get TOO jealous of the skinny young 'uns in their cute little Lululemon outfits and pretzel-like abilities.