Monday, July 28, 2014

We Deserve Better

I'm very lucky.  In a lot of ways.  I don't live in an area that is being bombarded by shells and explosions.  My family and I don't live on the streets.  I don't have to cover myself from head-to-toe, or be accompanied by my husband whenever I venture outside.  We're not in a refugee camp, and our water still flows out of our tap (for the time being, anyway).  We have food, clothing, and shelter. My husband is gainfully employed, as I hope to be, sooner or later.  Our kids are physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy, and we have a great support system in place to help deal with the challenges their autism can bring up.

However (ya knew that was coming, right?)...
For most of my life, I feel as if I've been Making Do.  Getting By.  Not asking for more because I've been so afraid that by doing so, that bare minimum I DO have would be snatched away.  That the Universe would basically say "What are YOU complaining about, you selfish bitch?!?!  Oh, you think you deserve more, do ya?  Well, let's see how you do with LESS!"

Honestly, I think a big part of it is growing up an East Coast Jew.  Truly.  I don't mean to denigrate my people (or anyone else), but fear and guilt are a HUGE part of the culture.  Add to that the Irish-Catholic guilt from my mom's side, and it's a wonder I didn't crumble into a pile of angst-ridden dust by the time I turned 18!
I spent many of my formative years (and beyond) gravitating toward people who treated me like crap, because I didn't know better.  I let them blame me for all their sh*t because I thought I WAS to blame.  I had ZERO self-confidence and esteem.

But I deserve better.  I deserve MORE.  And so does my family.

AND SO DO WE ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was listening to the news on BBC radio, and they were talking about Israel and Palestine.  And I FINALLY sat up and wondered WHY DO WE PUT UP WITH THIS?!?!?!?!  Why do we EXPECT and ALLOW our world leaders to act like 6 year-olds?!?!?!  "They started it!" "Nuh-uh! THEY started it!"  "Did not!" "Did too!"
Except these 6 year-old have weapons, and they're killing people!

What's worse, we not only accept and expect, we seem to WANT them to behave this way.  The more childish the behavior, the higher the approval ratings.

Are we masochistic, or just brainwashed?

One of the ways I've been trying to practice non-attachment is by not commenting on things I see on Facebook.  Well, as much as I can restrain myself, anyway.  And to remember that I have no power over anyone else, (nor should I!
I can disagree without hate.  I can have empathy with those I don't necessarily understand.  And the best part? I don't HAVE to have empathy.  I don't HAVE to love my "enemy."  I can choose to ignore them, and not give them a place in my thoughts or, indeed, my life.

On a more personal level, it's NOT selfish of me to want more than the bare minimum.  It's OK to want to do more than Get By.  It's OK to want MY DREAMS to come true!
I have worked long and hard for them.  It's about time they started paying attention to ME.

Ya here THAT, Universe?  "I will not let thee go but that thou bless me!"

I DESERVE blessings.  I deserve to live outside the Box O' Fear.  I deserve!

And so do you.

Blessed be, all!


Monday, July 21, 2014


Friday night, Hubby and I went to the California Shakespeare Festival for the first time.  It's a BEAUTIFUL outdoor theater in Orinda, in the East Bay. Very woodsy and lovely.  We'd been meaning to go for a while, and finally went to see my friend play both Antipholeses (the Antipholi?) is "The Comedy of Errors."
This is a fella with whom I was in "Hamlet" 20 years ago.  The last time I saw him was 1999, when he did "Metamorphoses" in Berkeley.  He lives with his family in Chicago, so, needless to say, we don't see each other often, lol!

The show was AMAZING!  There were 7 actors in the cast, and they were all brilliant.  3 of them, including my pal, have a strong background in Clown work, and that was abundantly on display in this show.  The Hubs and I were so amazed and inspired by it all.

We almost didn't get to meet up afterwards, as we'd taken the train and there was only one shuttle going from the theater back to the station.  Luckily, he called me and we were able to meet up in Oakland at a cafe, where we bought him dinner and chatted until after midnight, when the staff turned off the lights and kicked us out.  :)

This man is an absolute mensch.  Even more inspirational as a human being than he is as a performer/teacher, and that is really saying something.  I'm so glad we got to spend time with him while he was here (the show closed Sunday).

And it got me thinking: I sometimes get depressed because my life feels so small. I'll see one of my heroes onscreen or (if I'm very lucky) onstage, and get down because it is highly unlikely that I will ever have the chance even to meet them, let alone work with them.

And then I meet up with a friend.  I get to see them do their thing, and to spend time with them, and I am reminded how very lucky I am to have so many good, loving, kind, talented people in my life.  People who inspire me, and who also believe in me. People whom I can go 20 years without seeing face-to-face, but then contact and immediately fall right back into our rhythm with, as if no time has passed at all.
And there are MANY folks who fit that bill!

A couple of weeks ago, when I was preparing to teach that acting class, I messaged another such friend.  I asked him if he had time to give me a quick rundown of a class we both used to teach, but I haven't done in a very long time.  He took the time to give me a full description, despite having worked all day and then having to drive for over 2 hours.

Another friend and mentor once spent over an hour on the phone with me describing his work as a director with patients in a mental healthcare facility.  It was after midnight where he was, and he'd already put in a full day.

Another friend runs a Shakespeare festival AND is raising 2 young twin boys (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), but always, ALWAYS has time for my (often trite and silly) questions.

How did I get so lucky?  And how is it that I sometimes forget these things?  (OK, yes, to be fair, regarding the second one, I often forget my own name, so...)

I am so very, truly blessed.  And I need to remind myself of that.  Particularly during that time of the month, when I'm feeling misanthropic and downright homicidal.

And remind myself, as well, that maybe, just maybe, there is a reason why they are still in my life. That maybe they get something from our friendship, as well.  Otherwise, why would they hang around for so long, eh?

Talk about a change in perspective!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pity, Party of One

Sometimes I see, hear, or read about something wonderful happening for someone, and I get depressed.  I'm glad for them, but the Wonderful Thing that has happened, in these cases, is something I dreamed up for myself.  I thought of it, nourished and nurtured that dream, imagined it, tried to make it a reality.
and it worked!  Just...for someone else...
This has occurred more times than I like to think about.
Usually it's something small, nothing earth-shattering.  Just something I would like to happen.
Over the years I've told myself many things: That this is a Life Lesson, that I shouldn't look for validation outside of myself, that I should learn to be happy with what I have, and not always be wanting more.
All of which are true, and good to learn.
Up to a point.
Because I've also berated myself for being selfish, for not DESERVING these things, for being such a total f*ck-up that OF COURSE I'm NOT going to get what I want!  Why would the Universe reward ME?!?!?!
Of course, seeing some of the folks the Universe DOES reward makes me rethink that last bit...  I mean, REALLY?!?!?!?!

So it has me wondering: WHY does this happen over and over and over?

Because I BELIEVE I'm unworthy. I always have.
I know I've been over this before, but this is becoming much clearer in so many ways.

I was taught I was unworthy by people who believed THEY were unworthy.  It wasn't malicious, it was their way of trying to protect me.  When they told me I'd never make it as an actress, I believed them.  And I think a part of me was afraid to prove them wrong.  So when I DID make it, it was only for a short while.
Because I sabotaged myself, in many ways.  I made choices that pretty much guaranteed failure.

So many of the choices I have made in my life have been based in fear.  And that makes me really, really sad.  Of course, at the time, I didn't know any better.  I had NO IDEA I was living in constant terror, I just thought it was Life.  The way Things Were.

I'm still afraid.  SO much of the time. Of big things and small.  Stuff that often wakes me up in the middle of the night.
When I remember to, I tap on them, and they're not so big and scary anymore.

An issue for me is coming to terms with my fear and anxiety.  I first tried to ignore them, pretend that I wasn't fearful and anxious.  And depressed.
Guess how well THAT worked?  :)

Then I tried to get rid of all of it.  To become someone who had NO fear/anxiety/depression.  I thought if I faced it all head-on, it would eventually just Go Away.

The fact is, this is a part of how and who I am. There's no shame in it.  And there ARE ways of dealing with it, so that these emotions don't overwhelm me and take over my entire existence.

Maybe if I think of them as well-meaning friends: Y'know, they come along and say "But what about...?" or "Be careful of..."  and instead of ignoring them or shutting them down, I can put my arm around them and say "Thank you for pointing that out.  I know how much you care, and it's all going to be OK.  Better than OK.  You've made me aware, and now I can deal with it. Thank you!"

Because the fear/anxiety/depression has been trying to tell me something all these years.  And I think, maybe, FINALLY, I'm getting the message.

Go forward.  Take the risks.  Just know that there are dangers.  Be aware, but also be bold.  Make mistakes.  Fall down.  Pick yourself up.  Shit happens, but your track record for surviving it so far is 100%.


Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just Shy

of 10 pounds down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I've hit the 5% mark: I've lost 5% of my body fat.

Last week was CRAZY!  Very active, and exhausting.  :)  I'm taking it a little easier this week, especially as Aunt Flow is here and sleep is a rare thing.
I've pulled out my Slim Series workouts again. I hadn't done them in at least a year (longer, probably), and I'm so glad I re-discovered them!  The workouts are fairly intense, even without a lot of impact.  And these are the ones that got me back into crazy-good shape after WG was born.  Of course, that was 10 years ago, and I did them 6 days a week.  This time around, I'm aiming for 2-3 days, plus my yoga, bike intervals, and walking.

At our WW meeting last week, our fearless leader made a suggestion.  But let me back up to my first meeting, different leader, who suggested leaving the Flex points be, as much as possible (we get 49 extra points per week to use as we will).  So I tried that, and it worked.  I've used a couple here and there, but not many.
Last week the leader mentioned that she usually leaves her ACTIVITY points alone, as well.

And off went the light bulb!
Because one of my big concerns about WW is that I will get back in the mindset of using exercise as a way to eat more.  Which, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But in the past, it has become a form of exercise bulimia with me.  I would work out beyond the point of exhaustion and even to injury just so I could eat more.  Or binge.

In Intuitive Eating, it is recommended that exercise be separate from diet.  That working out is something we do because we enjoy it and it keeps us strong and healthy.  And I COMPLETELY agree with that way of thinking!  And now, keeping activity and food points separate, I can continue with that.  It's a much healthier mindset.  Yes, I will use a couple of activity points here and there, and that's OK.
Everything is OK!
There's no such thing as perfection.

The result?  I have FAR less guilt, I'm listening to my body before deciding which workout to do (or maybe not working out at all!)
Oh, and I lost nearly 2 pounds.  Which is a nice side effect.

All in all, this has been a week of some pretty big revelations.  Life-changing stuff.  I'm still processing it, so it's hard to put into words.  Perhaps in a future post.
In the meantime, gonna go take the kiddoes the park.

Hasta la vista, babies!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Feel Like a Growed-Up!

Saturday morning I was a sex-obsessed toddler with Tourette's.  And a ballerina.  And a member of a hip-hop dance crew.  As well as a panicking airline pilot and a sad, homicidal, ultimately suicidal cruise ship clown.

Because I went to my first improv workout.  My friend, with whom I took a class last year (and for whom I subbed thus past week, more on that later) has a group who gets together every Saturday morning to improvise, and I was able to join them today.
MAN, was it fun!  The group consists of of folks who have a lot of experience and A LOT of talent, so it forces one to up one's game quite a bit. It's very physical, often confusing , and always, always entertaining and enjoyable.  And I will go whenever I can.  Which, I hope, will be every Saturday.  :)

Let me tell you about Wednesday, when I subbed her Acting 1 class.  I was
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO nervous!  As I may have mentioned, I hadn't taught a class like that in about 15 years.  And y'know what?  It was just like riding a bike.  It all came back to me, like I'd never left it.  The students were FANTASTIC, and we all had a great night.
I'd like to do THAT.  Work with adults, whether they're professionals, thinking about becoming professionals, or just doing it for fun.

I wonder of it might be something I can set up around here, outside of the city, where there is a dearth of acting classes for adults.  There may be folks who don't wish to, or can't, travel into the city, but are still interested in learning.  I may propose a class to our local rec center and see what happens...
And perhaps I could coach.  I mean, why the heck not?  I've met with PLENTY of coaches who are, quite honestly, horrible.  I have a lot of experience and, if I may be so bold as to say, quite a lot to offer.

In the meantime, I will keep writing (when I have time.  Difficult during summer vacation...) and finding my way out of the self-created Box O' Fear I live in.

It's work, but definitely worth it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Definitely Hormones. Oh, and Stupid People.

My suicidal, full-of-despair, no-hope-for-humanity thoughts definitely come out to play when I have PMS. In fact, I'm thinking of writing a modern day fairy tale: "Blood Red and the 7 Premenstrual Dwarves;  Crampy, Pimply, Bitchy, Weepy, Angsty, Needy, and Homicidal."

Yesterday was a weird day. Nor only was it Monday, but the national news was full of stuff that made many of us want to bash our, or, actually, others', heads against a brick wall. (It also illuminated the fact that a lot of people on Facebook are, quite frankly, stupid.  And act like spoiled, petulant 9 year-olds well into their 50's. And have no compunction referring to a woman as a c*nt simply because she disagrees with them.
Ah, social media!  Bringing the world together!)

However, I also got an offer to sub an acting class on Wednesday night.  As in, THIS Wednesday.  As in, TOMORROW!!!!!!!  But my friend who teaches it gave me the lesson plan, so it's all mapped out.  And it's for grown-ups!  At an actual, professional theater!  So no babysitting!!!!!!!!
I'm very excited and EXTREMELY nervous!  I haven't taught a class like this in nearly 15 years!  And that was BC (Before Children), back when my brain actually functioned.

But between my notes and my gift of bluffing, I think I MAY just get through it.
Please G-d!

Had mt WW meeting this morning.  Up .8 of a pound, thanks to the aforementioned PMS.  Hopefully down again next week.  Seriously, one more pound and I'll have reached my first milestone of losing 5% body fat.  I get a charm for my keychain!
2 more pounds and I'll be at the -10 pounds mark.  Nearly halfway to my goal.

The nice thing is that I can feel it.  My nice-n-snug pants are a lot looser.  And the other day I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror at the yoga studio as I walked in and didn't realize it was me (the mirrors were mostly covered...long story).  Had a fleeting thought of "I kinda wanna look like HER."  Except "HER" was ME!
:) :) :) :) :)

So I'm definitely getting there.

One of the great things about the meetings, is that they are COMPLETELY non-judgmental.  It's the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  During my weight-in, before I even mentioned the PMS, they were so blase about the gain.  Because they gain a bit of weight too, here and there.  And then they lose it again.  Our leader made it a point to mention that, which I thought was cool.  I can also go to as many meetings as I like (Only one weigh-in per week, however).  It's a very safe, welcoming, warm environment, and everyone is not only friendly and lovely, they're FUNNY!  I really look forward to the meetings.
Which, again, is not at all what I expected when I joined.

And now...Confession Time:  I brought the kids to the pool today, and turned into That Mom.  Judgey McJudgerson.  The one who sits in silent-yet-smug superiority and thinks "I'm SO glad MY kids aren't like THAT!"
Yes, folks; I became what I most fear.

But honestly, those kids were OBNOXIOUS!  And spoiled!  And the adults responsible for them did NOTHING!

So, yes, dammit, I AM glad my kids aren't like that! In this case, it has nothing to do with autism or any kind of special needs, it's just, IMHO, no consequences for bad behavior.
And that's just wrong.

So I will sit here and be not-so-quietly judgmental.  Of those parents, and of stupid people who spout what they hear on TV as their own opinions and don't bother to do any research, then act like spoiled children when anyone questions them.

So there.