Saturday, January 29, 2011

12 Days of Freedom

Or torture? Okay, that sounds dramatic but yikes, this detox was worse than any other one. Either that or it's like childbirth pain, you forget after you see that beautiful little face for the first time. Of course, here there's no beautiful face at the end so "time" is the only other logical explanation for possibly forgetting. Regardless, it was rough with relentless headaches and depression! What?! I know it sounds crazy and maybe it is but I swear the mood swings I experienced in the first 9 days were most similar to depression...lots of lows, no highs. I mentioned it to a co-worker who has also stopped drinking caffeine and he said he experienced a lot of aggression when he detoxed so it seems like maybe I'm not crazy. Maybe depression is a side effect for some people who quit coffee cold turkey. I'm not a doctor, this is just the best way I can describe my experience.

I'm happy to report that the depression has passed and I'm back to my normal self. What a relief! I feel pretty good overall. I'm sleeping better and feel more calm. There have been many times when I've wished for more energy but I could get that from working out which seems like a better option than coffee. Although, regular exercise has always been an enormous hurdle for me, I can say that at the very least, I've begun to walk 2 miles after work. I did that 3 times this week. It's been so beautiful out that after sitting inside a high rise all day, it's so nice to get some fresh LA air and move my legs for a couple miles. I'm not sure it counts as exercise but it's movement so it can't be bad. I hope to continue this practice, it's good for so many reasons.

As far as coffee is concerned, I miss the taste for sure so I can see myself enjoying a cup once in a while. But I hope not everyday. It would make a nice treat and one of these days, I'll allow myself to indulge. Honestly, though, I haven't craved it so I'll wait which will make it taste that much better. Ahhhh.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Caffeine Detox

Once in a while, I decide it would be good for me to cut out caffeine. Why do this to myself? Excellent question and I'm not exactly sure of the answer. I think it has something to do with wondering how much a substance truly affects me, something to do with control (I'm stronger than this cup of delicious perfection, right?), and something to do with the idea of cleansing and starting anew. I have no idea at all if there are any health benefits to this, in fact, the opposite might be more accurate if you ask my co-workers!

I start every day with a large cup of coffee. Slowing sipping the lifegiving potion for most of the morning. Many people think I don't need to detox, that I'm not that big of a coffee drinker. And I'm sure their right, I'm an average coffee user. So why is it that on day 2 of this detox, I feel like I'm going to die? Day 1, no big deal. I was dragging a bit in the afternoon and noticed a headache just before bed but that was it. Today, different story. Constant headache, exhausted, sluggish, and honestly, feeling kind of angry. How sad is that? We're talking about a beverage! Ugh, that's so frustrating to me. It's frustrating because I genuinely adore the taste of coffee. I don't drink it because I want the energy but it's part of the package.

In the past I've gone for long periods of time without coffee. This time, I'll be happy to make it a week. Next Tuesday can't come soon enough.

P.S. Ibuprofen does not help the headaches. Not at all.
P.P.S. Starting detox so close to a full moon is not recommended.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mini-Missions Accomplished

Mini-Mission #1: I completed my first musical theatre workshop in LA, well anywhere really. Last night was our final class and while every week, I considered turning around and heading home because I was so nervous I thought I'd be sick, I didn't. I showed up & that's a start.

Mini-Mission #2: I got through an audition with more success than ever before in my adult life. After college, the few auditions I attended were complete disasters. I let my nerves and past negative experiences overwhelm me and I wasn't able to present any of my actual self or talent. Last night was our final class and it was a mock audition with a local casting director. Sure, there are things I would like to do differently but I was there- me, my voice, my personality, even my mistakes. Nerves were there too but I didn't allow them to take control.

Mini-Mission #3: I sang in front of a casting director, a real one. I didn't know this was a mission I wanted to complete but in the midst of this experience, I realized I did and that this was a pretty great opportunity to be seen by and garner advice from a knowledgeable and successful member of the industry. She was fantastic, seriously, such a wonderful person that I wanted to be her friend and not because she could get me a job! (Don't worry, I didn't try.) I learned a lot from her simply by watching her interact with the other actors and of course, by listening to her closely during the critique and Q & A. She made me want to be a better actor.

Mini-Mission #3: I "proved [I'm] an actress." Words that came from our teacher in her portion of my critique. Now that was a good moment. She offered other comments that fall under the "construction criticism" category (and I'm grateful for them) but I think up until that moment she wasn't sure about me and I wasn't sure I could deliver what I knew I had in me. Now the real work begins because it was just a glimpse and I have more to prove to her and to me.

Mini-Mission #4: I had fun singing in front of others.

Not bad for an 8 week class! I called these "mini" missions because while I consider each of them important and successes, I can't say I really owned them or that the work is over. In fact, it truly has just begun and if I want to improve, the list of missions to be accomplished and re-accomplished is literally never ending. My fear? That I'll quit. I hope I don't make that choice. I hope I've come far enough to see that I'm worth it, as cheesy as that sounds. Now, that would be a whole other mission accomplished!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life 101

“There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” - Nelson Mandela

I don't know exactly what this means for me but they are words that I can't quite shake. I've been thinking a lot lately about risk and letting go and saying yes and trust and perception of self and limitations and fear. They are concepts/words that have shown up time and again in my life but I happen to be in a place now where they are SCREAMING at me. How will I respond to them?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mystery

Clearly, I've got voice on my mind these days and if you're not already tired of me talking about it then keep reading. All others, don't say I didn't warn you. I've been studying privately with a lovely woman/teacher since March, increased my reading on the topic & online research, watched more live performances, and a few weeks ago I began an 8-week workshop. It's funny, with each new step toward the thing I love, I am petrified (literally shaking) but right afterwards, something good happens. It feels like the universe is rewarding my efforts, letting me know that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing. It's a little crazy. And a little mysterious. And I like it.

The "good happenings" that I'm speaking of aren't major things like Broadway offers or the sudden disappearance of those extra pounds I've been wanting to loose rather they are most often vocal improvements that I didn't expect at all or at least not so soon. I am singing almost daily so I'm putting in the work and incremental improvements are to be expected. But these reward moments are often LEAPS or at least that's how they feel to me so it's really exciting!

After a kind of disappointing performance in my last class (mostly because I misunderstood an assignment & then felt unprepared) I made an extra strong commitment to my work/song for this week. On my way home from a long day at the office, I was lamenting my tiredness and couldn't wait to go home and do, well, nothing. Ah, doesn't that sound perfect? But I really needed to sing today so I turned off the radio after reminding myself of my own commitment, pulled out my pitch pipe (yes, I carry it around) and started warming up. My range felt bigger today which isn't something that I've been trying for at all. My upper register was opening up with ease and then a miraculous thing happened. By the time I got home I seemed to be belting (or maybe mixing- I'm still a little fuzzy on the difference sometimes) up to an E! I was barely getting a C# out before, why was this happening? What had I done differently? How can I be sure to recreate this next time? So many questions were flying through my mind. I decided to forget dissecting it and just experience it. I ran into my apartment, pulled out my music and keyboard and had a fantastic practice session. It was SO fun! It's definitely not lovely up there but it will be. And my iffy belting Cs were totally solid! My song for this week felt better than it has yet and some of the questionable notes were totally working themselves out. I was (am) so excited!

In my classical training, belting was unbelieveably discouraged and so I never did it but musical theatre was always my love so it was all confusing to me. When I made the decision to start studying again, I also made the choice to sing what I want! And I am. And it's great. I could say I wish I had started earlier in my life but what would be the point? Today, I belted an E and that's never happened before and I can't explain it or tell you that it will happen again tomorrow. I'm just celebrating this mystery today.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happiness in July

A collection of moments and things that made me smile. (Another post that will grow as the days in July pass by.)

1. Seeing my adorably pregnant sister (in-law) and brother for the first time since the baby news was announced.
2. I loved having them stay with me, my apartment felt more alive.
3. Beautiful photography exhibit.
4. "In The Heights" with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
5. Finishing a project that will soon be a gift.
6. Vibrant colors.
7. Umami burger.
8. Pink nail polish.
9. Coffee.
10. Dreaming.
11. Singing in the car.
12. Other artists- their art, their perspectives on life/work/craft, their personalities & vulnerability.
13. A bowl full of fresh cherries.
14. Party preperations.
15. Monochromatic flowers.
16. My brothers' laughter.
17. Lemongrass.
18. Being myself.
19. World Cup with my brothers.
20. Smiles.
21. Crawling into my comfy bed.
22. Cousins. Baby cousins.
23. A cancelled meeting.
24. The thought of a chocolate milkshake.
25. The actual chocolate milkshake.
26. Memories of old friends.
27. Expressive photographs. Or photographs of expressive faces.
28. Thoughts of Italy.
29. French accents.
30. Sunshine on my shoulders.
31. Visiting the ocean in the middle of the work day.
32. Showing up for my life.
33. Giggling by myself at the drive thru car wash.
34. Paying off a large (for me) bill.
35. Working on new music.
36. A little time spent reading/writing in a coffee shop.
37. Turning my phone off for the weekend.
38. Fame reruns. (Thanks, Hulu.)
39. Realizing the studio is a safe place again...finally.
40. Laughing at myself & my silly fears.
41. Taking a risk, anyway.
42. Improvements, presence, personal growth
43. A truck full of young, leafy, green, trees bouncing down the road to a new home(s).
44. Champagne at noon. At work.
45. A great practice session.
46. Beach time.
47. Red wine.
46. An evening spent falling into a book.
47. Good news for good people.
48. Becoming comfortable performing again. A little at a time.
49. A beautiful card & words.
50. Red nails.
51. Ended the month with at a comedy club with lots of laughs.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things Learned in June

(This post will continue to grow throughout the month. I hope.)

1. My work ethic is best demonstrated when singing.
2. I'm quite sure that singing has healing properties.
3. Singing replaces the need for energy drinks. (Not that I've ever been one to drink them.)
4. Practice really does make perfect, or at least significantly better.
5. Taking a risk allows you to move forward when you didn't know you were standing still.
6. Freedom is multi-layered.
7. My sister is an artist.
8. I hate the smell of McD's "food."

9. I'm very particular about drinking glasses. (Only when purchasing them.)
10. I need to take an audition class or something because today's audition was just embarrassing.

11. Donuts are not my friends.

12. When feeling lethargic or overwhelmed or negative, doing something good for me (no matter how small) helps every time.

13. My imagination is alive and well.
14. I still love soccer.
15. The result of a good, full night's sleep is worth going to bed early.
16. I have a white hair in my eyebrow. This, along with #15, might officially make me old but I chose to believe otherwise.

17. I miss friends.

18. It's possible to miss someone you've never met.

19. I find unending inspiration from people who live life as though it's a full contact sport.

20. I like garbanzo beans...a lot.