The Audition is the Work.

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Dear Readers,

This month has been a very exciting one, professionally. I went back to work after being on leave for 3 months. It is definitely an adjustment, AND I am delighted to find I still really love my job and the people I work with every day. I also have a fabulous partner in my husband who understands how much I love to act and knows it takes time for me to prepare to audition, and gives me that time and space to pursue my craft.
Many times, I have talked about being an artist and how being rejected SUCKS OUT LOUD.

This is not that kind of post.

 

As I write this, I have not only auditioned well (drum roll, please!)….I have gotten called back for both!!!!!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Let me say it again, I have two callbacks!! (mini wave and celebration of ME)

I am going to pause right now and reread that sentence because it’s so wonderful to be able to write it.

I really hesitated to post this, thinking maybe I should not be so excited about it or let myself get excited.. or better yet, pretend that I don’t care that much or that it happens all the time. My first rule in writing this blog (which requires me to be honest even when it hurts or is scary), prevents me doing that.  I am honestly so excited right now and that bears sharing. This is awesome and deserves celebration.

How did this amazing thing happen? Well, I made a decision after taking my Meissner class in 2014 that from now on, I will only audition for things that inspire me and challenge me. This promise to myself, became even more important after I had my daughter, because as you might imagine, time is even more valuable so it requires that it be something extraordinary to pull me away. Through all this, I kept looking for projects that got me excited, and didn’t audition for everything that came my way.

It’s worth noting, that along the path of these all too real rejections, I have been lucky enough to get real and valuable feedback, one director telling me, “whatever you are doing, keep it up” which was and is, very encouraging! It’s definitely not as good as, “you got the part!” AND it’s something that’s kept me moving with my head up despite a lot more no than yes.

I have to say, It’s quite the heady rush. I wanted to write this before the result to capture the euphoria I am feeling before the results are in for this particular event.

No matter what the result, this is a MAJOR validation of my legitimacy as an artist and my path that I am walking and encouragement to keep auditioning.

This passion for “treading the boards” is warranted and I am right where I need to be.
“It’s the work of the actor to audition, getting the role is gravy” said by Richard Robichaux in my Meissner class two years ago. I admit saying this when rejected can feel a bit like a consolation prize, AND today I get it. I really did approach both callbacks like, “I get to play both these parts RIGHT NOW and I am having time of my life!”
I feel energized and excited at the possibilities of the gaining of both these parts while realistically knowing, it’s likely I will get offered one, and maybe none, but certainly not both.
For those who don’t audition, liken it to that time when you interview (we all interview for jobs, right?) for more than one job and you nail it and find yourself with two offers.
That’s when you have the truly wonderful dilemma of which to choose. It’s a great place to be and I hope that in writing all this down RIGHT NOW, I remember this the next time I am rejected for a part I really want.

Remembering always, that it is a lot more “no” than”yes” when putting yourself out there as an artist.
Thank you, Richard Robichaux for teaching me to value my work and my craft every day, every line, every audition, no matter the result.

Yes, I am an artist.

Think About It.

Do You Respond or React?

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Dear Readers,

I have been giving a lot of thought to this question.

I have been trying hard to incorporate the act of responding not reacting in  my daily life since becoming a mom. If my child cries, and I react with a “oh my god, what is wrong?” and what can I do to “fix” it.. what am I teaching her? That when she cries, I will freak out.

I have been trying to approach it like okay, something is wrong, she can’t tell me what, so I get to play detective. I usually look her in the eyes and say, oh my .. are you hungry? I can tell you are upset, I wish I knew what was wrong…  and then you start the process of asking them what is wrong. It feels a little silly to me because she can’t talk, AND I know someday she will so we will be in the habit of asking her what is wrong when she cries.

Sometimes I wish it was as easy as they make it look on television and the movies. Notably, the character of Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, she has a particular scene where she is in the middle of surgery and someone else is caring for her baby, who is crying. The intern holds the baby up to the intercom, and lets Miranda hear the cry, she listens for a second and then says, “Ah, that is cry #4, that means he is hungry, if you feed him, he will stop crying” – If only it were that easy! But it’s not.

For now, I follow my dear friend Rachel’s advice which is to help your child by telling them to breathe when they get upset, and when they are wailing, it’s pretty hard to do but as my Mom pointed out, the breathing exercise is more for the parents than the kid. It’s to calm you down, so you can respond and not react.

This is VERY hard advice to follow, AND I am starting to see some small wins with it so far.

A big part of this is asking for help when I need it, still not easy for me, because Lord forbid, I ever let on I need help or support, I am Superwoman, remember?

No, I am human, flawed and a beautiful little snowflake, just like you, I get frustrated and tired and am learning when I need a break and giving myself permission to take it.

Tonight is a great example, I came home and my wonderful husband said, go take a “mommy break” so I went to his man cave (gasp!) and plopped myself in a chair and watched Seinfeld for an hour and drank a Pepsi and ate some Pringles (and wrote this post!)

Can I just tell you, that hour did me so much good, and I felt incredible taking care of myself like that. I can tell you when I picked up my daughter an hour later, I was much more ready to respond and not react. Whether you have a kid or not, you likely work hard and don’t take enough time to relax.  Relaxing is underrated and under done. Please be sure that you take time for yourself and reconnect with you. You are pretty great and you likely support lots of people, be sure you take the time to do what you need to do to support you.

Think about it!

Thank you Jeremy!

Dear Readers,

This week has been a trying one. Nothing catastrophic, just annoying and stressful.

I looked up earlier this week to realize my driver’s license was expired.. oops- meant to take care of that while I was on maternity leave.

I went to get it renewed in person because you can only renew it online once and then they make you renew it in person. It turned out to be a good thing because I now know that I need glasses to correct my vision while driving. I wear glasses frequently but had NO idea I needed them to drive. So that is kind of a bummer

While driving home, my husband was behind me in his car and noticed my brake light was out. So my plan was to go to the store and get the fuse I needed. I was also planning to put it in myself, yes I was going to look it up on youtube and use the daylight left to figure it out.. but then I had a delay which really screwed up my plan. Yesterday, I was leaving work, I could NOT find my car in the garage, I walked all over looking for it, and became very convinced I was losing my mind. I did eventually find it, but that was very stressful and as a result I was not in the best frame of mind when I came home…

But you know what, the second I walked in the house, I saw my husband and daughter who both smiled at me, and the day was instantly better.

So that lasted about 15 minutes, because soon after that, Vivienne started to wail, I mean like someone was hurting her wail.. so we tried feeding her, rocking her, burping her, changing her, nothing worked.. until I got up and walked with her on my shoulder. I am not a magical mother or anything, it’s just trial and error. Here’s a fun fact, that doesn’t always work.. As my good friend Durbin says, “the pain of motherhood is that what works on Friday, doesn’t always work on Tuesday” because right after she calmed down, she got upset again.. teething? gas? who knows.. we just know she is upset, because she is crying.

It’s frustrating, and it’s part of this journey-Yesterday, being a mom was REALLY hard.

I am being honest because I refuse to be part of the culture that is stuck in comparison and perfection. Yesterday was a hard day, today may be better, and we don’t know.

I am so incredibly grateful to have my husband staying home with her because that gives me such peace of mind as I head off to work. It’s a pretty thankless job, especially since his boss can’t give him commendations or raises so I thank him whenever I can, and I thank him again right now publicly. Thank you Jeremy, thank you for giving our daughter the gift of you, thank you for helping me go to work and win, thank you for being all the things you are that make you an amazing dad. Thank you for being you.

It’s a wonderful gift and I don’t want it to ever go unsaid how much I love you and how much you are my hero. Thank you. bathvivienne

 

 

 

Are you addicted to technology?

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Dear Readers,

“Running late, be there in ten minutes”

“on my way”

“we still on for today?”

How many times have you sent this text message to someone you have plans with that day or night?

It’s not just social situations, people are late to meetings at work and even (gasp) job interviews because of this laissez-faire mentality.

Don’t get me wrong, when you have a legitimate reason to be late, definitely reach out and touch someone but the random blowing off of plans and devaluing time has got to stop.

Yes, we are all busy, I get that, and it takes a bit of going back and forth to even set up the time and that was hard enough to honor before adding kids into the mix. So, while not impossible, it gets harder which means it becomes even MORE important to not cancel unless absolutely necessary.

I can’t tell you how many times I walk into a restaurant and see people NOT TALKING but scrolling on their phones sitting at tables together. I really want to say something, anything to FORCE them to interact with another human being. We are becoming a nation of zombies that are addicted to the dopamine rush we get when we hear a “swoosh” “ding” or other “notification” and we get that “hit” off our pipe (oops, I mean phone). The worst part of this addiction is that it’s socially acceptable because everyone has it.

Cell phone addiction, sometimes referred to as problematic mobile phone use, is a behavioral addiction thought to be similar to that of an Internet, gambling, shopping, or video game addiction and leads to severe impairment or distress in one’s life.

Cell Phone Addiction – PsychGuides.com

http://www.psychguides.com/guides/cellphoneaddiction/

Don’t think you have it? How about a little quiz.

  1. Do you wake up to a cell phone? Do you go to sleep with one?
  2. Do you check your phone first or say good morning to your partner first?
  3. Do you check facebook or email multiple times through the day?

Think about the last meeting you went to, did you talk to your coworker before it started? Or were you buried in your technology? I realize that sometimes you are vocationally bound to those things but not all the time. So I want to challenge you to look for ways to disconnect from the internet and connect to the world around you.

So here is the hard part, now that I have noticed this and pointed it out to you, what do you DO about it?

Well here is what I am doing. Three things-

  1. If I make plans with someone, I am doing my best to keep them. When I get to the location of the plans, I am going to turn my phone OFF and BE THERE fully, completely and focused on the person I spent so much time trying to coordinate the time to be with and truly focus on them, looking at them, not my flipping phone.  .
  2. I got an alarm clock, which is how I will wake up and no longer use my phone as an alarm which will cause me to not snooze, and to actually wake up and start my day minus the smartphone scrolling.  (This is hard, I love to snooze)
  3. Have a social media break on weekends- Sunday is our family day and so that will also be social media break day. (we have a cell phone lock up for just this occasion)
  4. Before a meeting starts at work, don’t be buried in my phone or laptop, look at the other people in the room, and CONNECT. That is how we USED to build relationships. It’s time to get back to that, before it’s too late and all we have is our machines and the warm dull glow to keep us company.

What can YOU do to “break the habit”?

Think About It.

Think about it….

Think About IT!…. now

Thank you for reading my post and being my follower, now, please put down your phone, or log off your computer and go do something that has nothing to do with a screen.

It’s not all smiles, Kid!

 

Dear Readers,

Exactly 16 weeks and 2 days ago, I became a mother! It’s still exciting to me, every day that this is a reality. I love being Vivienne’s mom. I am not sure yet if we will go with “Mom” , “Mommy” or “Mama”. I guess that will be determined as she starts to talk.. and likely will evolve with her age. Only time will tell!

In any case, the point of today’s post is to tell you the unvarnished hard truth.

Motherhood is hard.

Motherhood is hard.

Motherhood is hard.

I feel the need to say it three times because it’s important to say what is true not just what is easy or fun. I prefer to stick with the positive and share the more difficult moments with my own mom or my support system.

I think the perception (I blame social media) is that it’s all smiles and happy times. It’s not that way at all. I am guilty of taking multiple pictures of her till I get a smile or charming look.. There are real moments that suck and you can’t exactly stop and take a picture. Oh wait! You can. I actually did that, because I think it’s vitally important to share the truth of this experience and while it differs for everyone I can’t see a benefit to covering it up. There seems to be a lot of pressure to talk about how great it is, and none to share how hard it is. That needs to change. I will start.

It’s hard. It’s easy. It’s confusing. It’s awesome. It’s frustrating. It’s uplifting. It’s fun. It’s work. It’s stressful. It’s great.. (I think you are getting the picture now) It’s a lot of things.

A perfect example of this ever-changing circumstance is what happened yesterday, I went home for lunch expecting her to be awake, she wasn’t and I wasn’t able to feed her and get my time with her that I normally do.. I burst into tears and immediately thought,

“I messed up!”

Which simply isn’t true. She woke up earlier than expected and was hungrier earlier than expected so Daddy fed her. Not a crisis, no need for tears and yet, they still came. On the other side of this, when she doesn’t want to eat or will not calm down no matter what you try, you look heavenward and say, “UNCLE” or some other colorful phrase which I am trying hard to remove from my vocabulary– I am blessed that I have a great partner in my husband and he will take her from me when I need a break. I hate that I need a break, AND I do. Why is that so hard to admit?

I like to process things and get them “figured out” before I share. In this case, I am not doing that. It’s slowly beginning to dawn on me, I am never going to “figure it out” or “get it wired” when it comes to this. We will find our groove, of that I have no doubt, AND perfection is no longer the goal.

I am a continual work in progress and that’s okay. For many years, I have longed to be a mom, and I chose this path and I love it and it’s hard. Remember, the words you use are vital to telling your story. These are mine.

Think about it…

 

Words matter. “And” not “But”

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Dear Readers,

As I have long said, the words we use matter. No more so than now.

I returned to work after being on maternity leave AND it was great. Everyone is happy to have me back and the feeling is mutual.

I have to say, I fully expected to feel sad, AND I do because I don’t get to spend every waking minute with my baby girl. Important to note, I LOVE my JOB and as my boss is fond of saying, “Time away, gives one fresh eyes”.

There is a part of me that HESITATES in writing that, as “Shouldn’t I be bereft and inconsolable because I went back to work and no longer get to take care of my baby?”
“Shouldn’t I be unhappy that I can’t be her mom and nothing else?”

Well no, because living in the world of AND allows me to say-

“I love my child, I love her more than I thought it was possible to love someone, AND I love my job and am incredibly fulfilled by it.” That’s a pretty powerful thing to say if you think about it. One does not negate the other.

When you say, “but” you tend to negate the things that come before it and in so doing, limit yourself when it’s far more powerful to live in abundance.

It certainly helps my feeling that my husband is a stay at home dad which he is really good at by the way, AND I still miss being with her.

Case in point, I learned about an audition and instead of thinking “I don’t want to tell anyone else about it, because I don’t want to hurt my chances by alerting competition” my first thought was, let me tell a friend about it, because I also think she would be fantastic AND I am still planning to audition.

I am applying this same concept to food as we head into the New Year (for those who don’t  know.. my New Year is my birthday, January 19th -) so “I want a cookie, but I shouldn’t have it” becomes, “I want a cookie, AND I have a weight loss goal that is not supported by my eating the cookie. Let me be clear, this does not always mean I will resist the cookie, AND I have a far better chance of doing so by speaking intentionally about the act.

As an experiment, in the past week, I have done my best to say “AND” when I previously would say “BUT” – Try it. I dare you. You might be surprised at how much you use “but” when perhaps what you intend to express is “AND”

Think about it…

 

 

Begin as you mean to continue…

Dear Readers,

My mom has given this advice to me over the years and it has proven to be very wise not to mention simple to execute. Notice I said, simple not easy.

So on this, the third day of the new year, I say it to you, “Begin as you mean to continue”

This brand new year means lots of people will be making resolutions to get fit or lose weight or stop doing things or start doing things and that’s great. I submit to you that you may find more success without an “all or nothing” approach. For instance, I will read 12 books this year sounds super daunting till you break it down into a book a month, and drill down to even smaller bites of how many pages a day, etc. It’s really easy to get down on yourself too if you have a rough day and don’t quite make your goal, making it that much harder to pick up and start again the next day.  Beware the “all or nothing” approach.

Take me for instance, I reviewed my last few posts about the new years and the resolve I had to eat better and lose weight and each time I began with a fervent promise to myself that THIS time it WILL be different. Sadly, each time, It has resulted in being further afield of my goals as I ate that cookie or didn’t exercise that day.

I think the closest I have actually come was last year when I decided not to “diet” but rather to eat healthy for 30 days. Quite the loaded statement when you consider what that means. Eat healthy- does that mean don’t eat pastry? or does it mean just eat one? or half of one? Does that mean have toast but don’t put butter on it? Does that mean you eat one banana and you are cool but if you have two.. you aren’t being healthy? Well what I decided was that I would not eat pastry, starch or processed foods and no soft drinks, just water for 30 days. I didn’t have any trouble sticking to it because I wasn’t doing it to lose weight, I was doing it because I heard myself say over and over.. I wish I was in better shape AND not doing things I know to do in order to be what I say I want to be. On December 18, 2015 I decided I was DONE playing footsy with my weight problem and was going to take this stuff seriously. I posted on social media pictures of my food and the hashtag #healthyhabits #babysteps- I figure it worked so spectacularly on our finances, why not try it with my weight/eating etc? I am proud to say, it worked.. for 30 days I ate healthy and did NOT quit till I got to the 30th day. I was proud of myself and the most important thing about that time period was that I really didn’t feel deprived. It was a finite time (30 days) and I was working towards a goal.

We all KNOW the answer to this, right?  “eat right and exercise” but see the questions above.. The devil is in the details. I am no expert AND after about a year of observing my habits, I have come to the following conclusions. I feel better when I work out, AND there are times I struggle to find that motivation as well. I am capable of losing weight when I want to, I have willpower to resist (sometimes a pint of ice cream will be eaten in a week or two and sometimes it’s that same night) and everything in moderation seems to work best for me.

There are other times (say towards the end of my pregnancy) that I ate exactly what I wanted to eat and ate plenty of it, justifying that I was pregnant and could lose the weight later… well later is here now and I am sad to say when doing some post-baby clean up of my closet, I found I do not fit into some jeans that I wore easily in my early days of pregnancy, and while I realize that after having a baby, it’s likely there are some clothes I will never fit into again, since let’s face it, my entire body has changed, It’s a barometer for health and feeling good about myself so I was affected.

Since my daughter was born, I tend to think ahead and think about what we want to teach her about food being for fuel. I don’t want her to struggle like I have and still am so I have a big goal now that I am not sure how to accomplish AND I know I need to think about these things and figure them out for myself so I can teach her to have a better relationship with food than I do. I want to get in front of it so it’s not an issue for her, food it just food, not love or a replacement for affection or any of those toxic things it can sometimes mean for me.

I normally “share with the class” when I have it figured out, but a fellow blogger recently shared nakedly and honestly about her very real struggles with motherhood as she is “going through it” and it inspired me to share with you in hopes that we can help each other.

I DO not KNOW the answer AND I am on the hunt for it. I think there is power in sharing and shedding light on the subjects that are hard to talk about. This has been a problem for me for many years and I have tried a variety of diets (paleo/cabbage soup/atkins) nothing lasting and nothing truly satisfying.

I am opening myself to you, dear reader, in hopes that someone is going through this as well and one feels encouraged to discuss it, and two, maybe, just maybe, we won’t feel so all alone on this journey. Please reach out to me and tell me what you do to stay healthy and eat food for fuel. Begin as you mean to continue, I am doing that now by sharing how hard it is for me, I hope that it helps you reading this to realize you are not alone and we all struggle with something that it would likely help to talk about. Maybe for you it’s not weight or food but there is something you struggle with and that is okay. That means you are human. That means that I am human as well. I, by no means, have this figured out AND I am not even close to done trying.

This picture was taken on my first day back at the gym, it is a visual representation of my love for my body and the care I will take to show my daughter to love her body and have pride in taking her of her body as a habit, so I have to (say it with me) begin as I mean to continue… and exercise and eat right myself so she sees it as normal. bodyimageissuesnomore2016

THINK ABOUT IT….

Stop looking for credit!

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Dear Readers,

I am going to tell you something about myself today that may shock you.

I seek recognition for the tiniest, most minute task.  It’s true. If I do the dishes, if I take out the trash, if I do the laundry, if I clean the bathroom, if I put away the towels…on and on, without end. Try as I might, it’s hard to let go of wanting to be recognized. This mindset has led to more than a little friction in my relationship.

My husband and I have actually had multiple fights about the dishes. Dishes? Yes, dear reader, the dishes! They say that the devil is in the details and that is certainly true. He does them one way, I do them the other both of us steadfastly convinced of our “rightness” of THE WAY.

I believe “cleaning as you go is the way to go”. He believes that they will eventually get done and there is no need to do them “right now”. Being reasonable people, when we first married, we developed a system, he would cook, and I would clean.. that worked for a while, then I started to help him cook, and so then it got murkier as to who would do what.. (how does one do 1/2 the dishes?) Now, with a 3 month old baby in the house and two sort of cranky adults… well it’s not a pretty picture…

A few weeks ago, after too little sleep and having JUST got the baby down, I walked from the nursery to the kitchen to make myself a snack. Never mind that it is 3am and not breakfast, lunch or dinner time, I was hungry. I walked into the kitchen to find a SINK FULL OF DIRTY DISHES!! I got really mad and started to seethe. ARGHH!!!. I started to yell at him in my head – (Secret fighting in your head is the best, I recommend it!)

“WHY< WHY WHY can’t you clean the dishes, there are bottles and dishes and knives all in the sink and it’s not hard to wash them when you are done with them, why oh why do you wish to vex me so?

I angrily began to wash them, stabbing the wand in each bottle and getting angrier as the hot water filled up the sink. Getting more and more worked up, I start theorizing on my own, wild and crazy thoughts like..

“Why does he do this? He knows how much I HATE a dirty sink! It’s so easy to clean it.. why doesn’t he JUST do it. It must be to make me mad, it’s so simple why doesn’t he care enough to clean them, why? I mean it’s not like it’s hard. I have seen him clean before.. it’s simple really, you put the dish in the sink with the soap and water and VOILA, clean dishes!! I am doing it right now in fact!!  OH MY GOD!

Getting myself worked into quite a frothy milkshake of hurt and resentment, I decide that I will take a shower to to “cool” off.

I walk into the bathroom and notice, not only did he clean it, but he moved the shower nozzle to the setting I like, and he made sure my face cream is just to the left of my cleanser and my electric toothbrush is soaking in peroxide to clean it. I realize as my eyes fill with tears how much he does care, how much he does love me and never ever asks me to say thank you. It would make me sound a whole lot better here if this was a once in a while thing.. but truly, my partner is really good at doing things for people and not only not asking for credit but going out of his way NOT to be recognized. Yes, I do plenty for our marriage, AND so does he. It hit me then, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who does the dishes and who does the laundry, it matters that it gets done.. Maybe not on the same day, or let’s face it.. even the same week, but if you both work together, everything does get done. It sounds really simple when I put it like that, but trust me when I say, it’s taken my almost five years to reach that conclusion.

Speaking as someone who is married, you are going to fight. It’s a hard ugly truth that no one tells you when you couple up. So let me shatter the illusion, You will fight.

There will be big fights and little fights and the real humdinger are those fights that you say to yourself., “Why am I so upset about this”???  Does it really matter at the end of the day ? (see argument above) but keep slinging the verbal bon mots as you find yourself further and further afield of the original starting line of the argument! Some great marriage advice I read recently talks about being KIND to your partner. Do you know how EASY/HARD that is to do? You are bone-tired and overworked and all you want to do is retreat to the couch to watch mindless televison or escape into a good book or scroll through social media. Definitely do that, I am all about self-care AND dive into the investment of a loving and caring relationship. Do BOTH.

The point of my post today is – Give up looking for credit or checking your scoreboard- they did this, so I will do that.. or I will do this for them if they do this for me. Be loving and giving because it makes you a better partner, not because someone will give you a gold star.

Think about it…

 

Capture the moment…

Dear Readers, If you have spent any time reading my blog posts you will know I love pictures. I love looking at them, I love taking them too and have been known to stop and offer to take pictures for strangers who are in need of a drive-by photographer. With the selfie stick, that has stopped being necessary as it once was, and I still offer. I am known as a shutterbug to most, if not all of my friends. I have always worn this badge with honor.

With the birth of our daughter, I knew a shift in that philosophy was coming, because while I want to take a picture of her every five minutes, I also don’t want to miss something because I am trying so hard to capture it with the perfect pose, outfit and filter. Case in point, the other night my husband and I were taking pictures at the office Christmas party and where I normally would have said, let’s take it a certain spot and a certain time.. and let’s get pictures with all the people I run into, time was precious, since we had a babysitter at home and a curfew, so in the end, someone took one picture of us at the party and that was enough.

It should be noted, my husband HATES taking pictures and he does so only because he loves me. We had a discussion about this recently, because we had some people visiting Vivienne for the first time and I asked him to take a picture and he said, “Just enjoy the moment, why do you need a picture?” I will admit, at the time I was really vexed that he said that to me and I was getting seriously worked up and ready to fight back with all my very rational, logical reasons for why I wanted a picture but realized he had a point and I breathed in the moment as it was happening and didn’t document it. I have found several opportunities in the last 12 weeks (Vivienne is 12 weeks old today!) to really soak in the moment and not obsess over capturing it. I also think there is a STRONG temptation to only show the good and talk about the good and a lack of reality is pervasive on social media. I am doing my best to show both sides and not just a side but rather that it’s a large and twisted tapestry of things. It’s good and it’s bad. It’s hard and it’s easy and one blog post can’t do justice to the tumult of emotions coursing through me (hello hormones) on a given day. But I digress, back to the moments and the capturing of them.

Last week is a prime example, I took her and the dog and myself to the park, and while I was rolling her around I got a little tired so I sat down, she was smiling at me, as she often does and just as quickly, she giggled. It was so quick that if I hadn’t been paying rapt attention to her (perhaps reaching for my phone?) I might have missed it in the pursuit of capturing it. Just a few minutes ago,  I was rocking her to sleep (hopefully for many hours in dreamland) and she smiled in her sleep, I reached for my phone to take a picture and then I realized… if I take a picture I might wake her up and maybe it’s a better idea to let it happen and just smile back at her, silently and keep that moment unphotographed. Then there are other times when you snap pictures and you capture what I would deem a perfect moment. Such a moment and picture happened last night at the Hannukah party which has become a tradition for our family.

No, I am not Jewish. I am what is known as an honorary Jew. I was given the title lo these many years from someone who admired my work ethic and called me a Jew. I consider this to be a great honor and would never call myself Jewish as that would be incorrect. My dear friend has a gathering every year about this time and we really enjoy taking part in the ritual. This was our first party where we were the only ones with a baby and we were navigating this new reality and Jeremy was trying to calm down our daughter who was just on the edge of fussy, (yes it happens!) and I just happened to see this and in truth, was snapping pictures of the rest of the party and caught this by accident, and I am so glad I did.

daddysgirl

I can’t speak for you, but when I look at this picture, I see all the love he has for her and all the love she has for him. She is focused and paying rapt attention to Daddy. In this instance, I got a “perfect moment” photo but more often than not, I realize they are going to happen when I am NOT holding a camera and I accept that. I think it’s more important than ever to live in the now.. and not miss what’s happening around you because you are thinking about the next thing happening. Live in the now.

What does that mean for you? Taking more pictures or taking less pictures? Maybe it means writing in a journal about the moments you are experiencing, good or bad.

Momentous or Mundane, it’s your life and it’s going by at supersonic speed, it’s your job to slow it down and take “pictures”, sometimes with just your heart.

Think about it….

The Importance of Artistry..

Dear Readers,

As an artist, I think it’s important to say two things.

  1. I had an opportunity to audition two weeks ago.
  2. I was not what they were looking for and that doesn’t make me any less of an artist.

I feel it necessary to say this because no matter how many auditions I do, I continually have to remind myself that the only control I have is how I perform. That is it.

The questions I ask myself in “audition post mortem”

  1. Did I study and prepare ?
  2. Did I give it all I had?

It is only after taking a very intense acting class (known as The Meissner Method) with        A Working Group that I have come to truly respect the audition process being an opportunity to work every time. I may not get the role long-term but in the audition, it’s my job to play it to the hilt and so in that moment, it’s my part.

I was lucky enough to have some great teachers in college, notable among them, my math professor, John Thomason. I always thought he was great but in my freshman year when I was going from my math class to my acting class, I was dolled up and in costume readying myself for my scene work and my professor noticed this and said

“Miss McKenna, I know you are not dressed up for my class..”  and I said,

“No, I have a scene today in my acting class, this is my costume.” He smiled and said,”I am very fond of theatre myself.”

He didn’t say anything else about it, but I noticed that in a lecture not long after that he talked about a Tina Turner concert and the importance of precision for the technician operating the crane so that he timed the entrance with the beat of the music. It made a real impact on me and I came to look for those little nuggets of performance related math and I definitely enjoyed that class and did much better in it due to the efforts of a teacher to talk about something I loved which made it much easier for me to pay attention and process the information, especially considering my distaste for mathematics heretofore.

I was reminded of this when I saw the Billy Joel concert last Friday night. First it was at the AT&T center in San Antonio which some of you will remember was the site of my first audition with “The Voice” in August 2011. So it was a nice reminder of my own personal artistry, but back to Mr. Joel and his show—-

It was exhilarating! First of all, I was really excited I had seats on the FLOOR. I went to another concert with seats in the high altitudes and resolved to myself I would not repeat the experience. I enjoyed all the musical numbers but I think my favourite part was watching an artist I admire working. He was clearly happy to be there (see above.. thanks Nathan Malone for the pictures) and made no apologies for the fact that there were “no new songs” and had some fun anecdotes about “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” and he confessed it was his botched attempt to write a soundtrack for a western but the lyrics are pretty contradictory and basically pure fabrication. As he introduced each member of the band, I found myself getting excited for these highly talented artists who were working. Specifically the male vocalist, Mike DelGuidice singing Nessun Dorma, it was pure magic and not something you would expect in a rock concert but there it was this elegant strand of gossamer next to the other beautiful yarn in this tapestry of music and light and sound.

It was truly unique and I found myself watching his mouth, tongue and lips as he created this beautiful sound. It was at this point that out of the corner of my eye I saw the lighting team working hard and it occurred to me how important their job is. Think about it, if they miss ONE cue, it definitely affects the experience of the participants, the performers and so on.. I don’t think I have ever paid attention to them before, and I realized, they are artists too. Every person working to bring this art to fruition is integral to the work. Realizing this as they worked that double encore and watching them rock out to the music as they worked, I was excited all over again about what it means to be an artist and have a renewed vigor for my next audition and role whenever and wherever that comes my way.

It may be awhile, and as my good friend Professor Pena says, “We earn our stripes, our legitimacy, as actors as much through “no”s as “yes”s. Wise words, indeed.

You may not think of yourself as an artist if you are not an actor, but I would encourage you to think again. So much of what we do as humans walking the planet has the opportunity for artistry, if we only take the time to make it art.

Think about it.