True Fear

This past week I went away to an island off of Canada in the middle of Charleston Lake and it was like a quiet, wooded wonderland. There were no other houses or people on the island besides my friends family, and it was so eerily silent that it was almost alarming, besides the constant humming of “Despacito”. It was a nice change of pace from the city, to say the very least.

On our trip we did a lot of swimming, canoeing (and getting lost), hiking, water skiing, tubing, camping, you name it. It was my summer dream come true. I probably could do with a whole summer away in nature. Something about it just fills me with unlimited joy and excitement, especially given the fact that I was feeling very weird about not being in the middle of a production. That immediately left my brain and I just enjoyed my time without feeling any sort of pressure, anxiety, or nervousness.

The only time I felt pure terror was not when we were camping and there was clearly an animal next to our tent, not when we saw fresh bear claw prints and mountain lion tracks on our trail letting us know that they had to be close by, not when we went on the canoe in pitch black darkness, not body slamming into the water after being tossed into the air off of the tube. None of that. It was when I got ready to jump off of the 4th and biggest cliff that I had encountered on the trip.

The days before, I had been jumping off of cliffs that were anywhere between 15 ft and 25 ft without any qualms. I wouldn’t even think about it. I just ran and flew through the air, knowing that I would safely hit the water and swim back so that I could do it all again. On this particular day, we decided to go around sunset to a 40 ft cliff. It looked small from the boat and I wasn’t remotely shaken, thinking that it would be a piece of cake.

I jumped off of the boat into the clear, fresh water and swam over to the rocks and got ready to climb. The climb seemed like it was really taking a while, but I didn’t think anything of it; I was ready. I got to the top of the cliff and immediately fear struck my heart. It wasn’t like the others where I ran and had a great time and jumped. We were above all of the trees, looking out into the distance at numerous islands. Some people were on boats enjoying a mellow evening ride. It was beautiful. I looked down at the water and felt my palms begin to clam up. That never happens. My heart raced with pure insanity, and it was my first time being afraid of heights or anything thrilling. I am an adrenaline freak, or so I thought. I looked down at the calm water waiting beneath me. My friends dad was yelling from the boat, but I was zoning out. I was terrified.

I thought about other times that I had felt extremely nervous and the silliest things came to mind like walking into an audition or having to deal with confrontation. It was the same feeling I felt as I teetered on the edge, scared of what could happen. It really put things into perspective for me and I realized how much confidence it takes to do things in life that might sometimes seem terrifying, but when put in an actual scary situation, it sure makes it seem easier. I waited for so long before jumping, psyching myself out. I noticed that that was another thing that people seem to do when they are scared: they wait. I took a deep breath. I saw 3 other people do the jump. Why was I so scared? I needed to do it to prove to myself that I could overcome my fear and live to tell the tale. Not only that but in my eyes, if I could do this, I could do anything.

I finally took the chance and leaped over the edge of the cliff, plummeting from 40 feet in the air into the water. My ass hit the water so hard that I have bruises to show for it, but it was the greatest decision I ever made. I had so much fun once I stopped thinking about it and relaxed. Anything great that happens in life does not happen from a tense place. talented singers, dancers, actors, athletes, doctors, etc. all have to work from a place of relaxation, otherwise they would be all over the place and would mess up without a doubt because they were psyching themselves out.

I have a bit of a new lease on life now after facing that fear. I have let so many things scare me, and for what? It does no good to worry and hide away and tense up. You are only hurting yourself by doing that and not allowing yourself to open up and be brave. It’s hard. And it’s a process. It’s something I have been learning over the years, it didn’t just happen because I jumped off of a cliff. But I will say, that it is a worthy process and at first it may seem scary, but you will love yourself and the choices that you make more because you will live without the regret of what could have been.

Turbulence

The threat is there;

It looms ominously

Just waiting for you to let up.

But you won’t.

You are not easily shaken.

You do not allow your dreams to diminish

On a whim.

The pressure, the anxiety, the doubt

Is all overshadowed by

The diligence, the joy, and the sureness.

No turbulence can steal that,

So continue to trek forward

without looking back.

Ramblings of a (newly struggling) actor

It’s amazing what one day surrounded by nature can do for you. Whether it’s a forest or a sunshiny meadow or the beach…anything. ANYthing but New York City can make you feel at ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. Truly, madly, deeply. But this place can really make you question your sanity. I sincerely am grateful to live here for so many reasons, but also appreciate getting away whenever I can.

I have been trying not to get caught up in the fact that I am not currently on stage and performing in a show. I am, however, directing which is very exciting and rewarding, so to still be apart of the theater in some way is very satisfying. But I can’t shake this feeling of worry, this feeling of being held to the highest of standards. Most of the time I can keep it pretty hushed these days, but some days my mind runs wild and I panic over the fact that I am not “where I am supposed to be”, whatever that means.

I recently talked to some friends in the acting world who say that I inspire them and make them want to do their best, and while I really am very touched and excited by that, I always feel like I am somehow letting them down if I am not in the middle of working on a role. I have to rid myself of that idea. I got too used to things coming easily, to booking things quickly and being on the move. I got too comfortable in “success” that when I hit this little lull in my acting career, I started to freak the F out. I think that is only natural, as an artist and as a person, to be honest. But it eats me alive when I allow it too. Even if I have gone on a bunch of auditions, even if I tell myself I am doing super well, even if I inspire people around me and am always on the move, it eats me alive if I am not booking, even if it doesn’t remotely show.

Today I went to Cupsogue Beach in The Hamptons. One day away with my sister and brother-in-law getting tossed around in the waves and soaking up some rays was really cleansing. I took some time to just reflect (corny sounding but true) and I realized that what we feel is failure is an opportunity for growth and for experience. How you react to your perceived failure is what will make or break you. The other day I spoke to my friend who is also an actor and she said something that was pretty simple but also profound to me since I have been dealing with these sudden bursts of panic; she said that if you aren’t enjoying the journey, what is the point? Why do we do what we do? If everything came easily, would there be any growth for you as an actor or as a person?

As I lay in the sun earlier today, allowing the beams to heat my smiling face, I felt this so deeply within me. I know that this time in my life, this “lull”, is for experience. It’s for growth. It’s to propel me to the next level so that I can be learning constantly and defying the possibilities of what I thought I was capable of doing. I have time. TIME! I have time where I can travel, where I can learn new things and see new theater, where I can direct and spend time with friends and family. I’m young! How awesome is that?

This was a rant, yes. And maybe you aren’t a struggling artist, but every human struggles with something whether their lives seem perfect or not. They aren’t. And that’s what makes people interesting. Their journey, their triumphs, their low points, their passions and how they pursue them. You are always growing and learning and once you accept “failure” into your life, you can laugh it off and move forward towards your goals without getting too stuck on things.

 

Wonder

Sometimes you feel the rumblings of war,

or perhaps a symphony, the fullness of its score.

Other times, all falls silent

where you calm all vibration from turning

ultra-violent.

 

I wonder how your heart beats,

how it dances or smiles,

how it would create tidal waves

in my own heart for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sick Day :(

SO. I have been fairly sick for the past 5 days or so. I have just kind of accepted the fact that since I work with kids when I am not performing, there is a good chance I will be exposed to some…sickly situations. Kids are like little teeny carriers for viruses so that plus living in NYC and getting on and off of the subway, dealing with the insane weather patterns, and overall just making sure to remember to eat healthy, drink water, etc. can sometimes catch up with ya and hit ya hard. Like a solid punch.

That being said, I wanted to list some things that have helped me to feel better quickly when I am feeling gross and groggy! (Particularly when it comes to colds and sore throats)

  1. REST.  It’s hard for me to relax at times, especially when it is forced upon me. I like to be active. I am not someone who ever binge watches netflix or enjoys laying in bed. There’s nothin, wrong with that, but it is just not what makes me thrive! So I do my best to keep that stuff as a bit of a reward at the end of a long day once in a while. However, when I am sick, despite how much I think and believe I will be fine, I know I won’t be. Rest is key. Even if it’s just laying down while you do some work on the computer, watching a show, reading, texting friends, etc. Frequent napping is also top notch. But the point here is, listen to your body. Only you know how much you can take. Don’t dismiss if you are feeling horrible because it will only get worse if you don’t just take that one day to rejuvenate. Trust me. I learned the hard way by partying all weekend while I was sick and it made it about ten times worse.
  2. MY TOP DRINK,  I am always drinking water. Therefore, I almost always am peeing. So this only gets worse when I am sick. HOWEVER, another number one favorite drink to have when I am not feeling well is hot water, lemon, cayenne pepper, and ginger (honey is optional). This little easy drink packs a big punch and has proven to help me more than regular tea has. I love spice, so I know for some this is not ideal. But damn it will get the job done! And even when you aren’t sick, it’s a great way to start the day! Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water is also great, as it helps to kill bacteria and helps to relieve inflammation. ALSO, if I am really not feeling too great, I love to go to this awesome ramen shop by 125th street. The ramen bowls are massive and jam packed with spices and nutrients. Always helps to fight off a little cold while also enjoying a mind nummingly delicious meal.
  3. TOP THROAT LOZENGES.  Ricola. I love Ricola. Just the original flavored honey lozenges do wonders to soothe my throat. Also, Olba’s Pastilles are awesome. It’s like icy cold vapor rub, but edible. These are great to really power through a terrible cold because it helps to open everything up a bit, especially the nasal passages.
  4. SELF CARE. This might seem obvious, but sometimes this falls to the wayside a bit. Take a nice long warm shower or bath, light some candles, eat healthy, check in with yourself. I personally love solitude just as much, if not more sometimes, than being social! Enjoy this time with yourself and figure out what you need while you rest. Also maybe even make some plans for the future while you have the time!
  5. FIGHT OFF FUTURE ILLNESS. Sometimes, you can’t help it. You are just going to get sick and nothing can change that. But other times you definitely have control over it to some degree. Maybe the seasons are out of wack and you are not prepared when you are out and about. Take this into consideration and maybe pack an extra sweater or t-shirt to have handy for some major switch-ups. Maybe you know for a fact that you have not been eating very well or maybe not enough. Take that into account because what you eat is what fuels you and helps your immune system to fight shit off. Wash your hands, drink your water, exercise (even if its just for 5 minutes a day at home), and stay healthy ya’ll. 🙂

This Time

I sat with my knees pulled close to my chest

And fluttered my eyes shut tightly,

To shield myself from the everlasting unrest

and forced myself to hum lightly.

 

I am now aware of what we shared,

That I was not real to you.

You really only put on airs,

To hide your endless blue.

 

Not pretty blue, not turquoise,

Or something of the like.

But something more of your choice,

That would continuously strike.

 

I tried to be fair to you,

Was always sure to be kind.

I see exactly what you are trying to do,

But I won’t fall for it.

Not this time.

 

 

Roaming

A field stands before me, before us all

where the tree’s loom ominously

growing by the second, wild and tall.

 

Everyone avoids the shade,

afraid,

afraid.

 

I tiptoe around the edges, delicate and quiet

nervous that, should shade find even the smallest patch of my skin,

I would have to start over

and wouldn’t know where to begin.

 

One lazy day, I took a nap near the brook

and when I awoke, it felt as though the earth shook.

I was shrouded in shadows, paralyzed with fear

I was certain that imminent failure was near.

 

Yet I trekked on, unafraid of the dark

and I learned how to roam freely,

singing my song

that could rival a lark’s.

For the shade was only temporary,

a teacher and friend,

and I am always embraced by sunshine

in the end.

 

 

Passing Notes

There is a part of me

that wants to sneak you a slip of paper.

Maybe under your door on a humid night,

Where I could slip away

and quickly turn vapor.

 

The paper wouldn’t be ordinary,

short and quaint,

but the moment you read it,

there would be no restraints.

 

At this moment,

I have no desire for anything more.

I know that it is not the right time,

but eventually we will both come upon that door.

And when we do,

I will be bold,

for I can foresee exactly

what this can hold.

 

 

Secret Weapon

So, this is not something I have really discussed outwardly on here, but you can kind of grasp through some of my poetry (since when am I a poet????) and other writing that I am a big believer in the law of attraction and having control over your own destiny. For example, the poem that I wrote called “Guiding Hand” or any time i speak about light, it is usual in reference to spirit or to the law of attraction.

It sounds a little kooky at first, but it really is true that what you put out comes back to you. If you are constantly focusing on what you don’t have and complaining that life sucks and that you are nowhere near your goals, that is only going to continue to happen. It may seem difficult for some to train your brain to believe that everything is going to work out, but nothing great ever really happens over night. It takes time and practice and dedication; you create habits that support your goals instead of being inactive, you become more self aware and are more happy because of it. You find out what is good for you and what makes you happy vs. things that have been bringing you down or creating a sense of comfortable laziness.

Throughout my life I have been very lucky to have known about the law of attraction without really knowing that it is called. Because of that, I have had a lot of opportunity, success, and have brought wonderful people into my life. Strange phenomenons would happen all of the time that would be in congruence with things that I had put out, whether that meant through writing, focused energy, or speaking it out loud. I would truly believe that everything was going to be okay, and usually its better than okay.

I ask for signs a lot, especially when I am going through an uncertain time. When I was in my last relationship, I wasn’t sure what was happening and that was a hard burden to keep to myself. One day in the very thick of it, I was babysitting. The kids that I babysit can sometimes have behavioral issues and this was in the second month of me working there. I knew that I had to take one of them to buy a gift, so we walked into a toy store. While this was happening, I was preoccupied with the thoughts of my relationship almost constantly. It would bring me down more than I have ever experienced before. I would think about it on the train, at work, when I was out with friends, anytime I looked at my phone, with family, in my room. It was endless. I had recently made a statement out loud that asked for a sign of positivity to get back the feeling I was used to, because it felt lost. Boy, did I get a huge sign.

I will shorten this up a bit, but I ended up losing my wallet that day at work in an unfamiliar part of Brooklyn while caring around a hungry 7 year old. I tried to remain calm because we had only walked 2 blocks before realizing I could have left it at the toy store. The 7 year old was remarkably patient, helpful, and had not a single tantrum or attitudinal issue. I was immediately grateful because it was getting late, he hadn’t eaten dinner, and we had been walking back and forth for a very long time seeing if we could spot the wallet in the snow. No luck.

We went to the toy store and random stores along the way, searching to see if we had somehow missed it or maybe someone brought it into someplace nearby. The feeling of panic was very faint. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt like everything would be okay. I knew my insurance card, credit cards, unlimited metrocard, money, Id, and everything else in there was out there somewhere but that I would be seeing it again somehow. Maybe. Hopefully. Finally, I was at the end of my rope. Keep in mind I had 4% phone battery. I told the kid I babysit that we tried our best, but we should try to go home. I looked down at my soon-to-be-dead phone and saw a random number had called. I thought nothing of it.

We started to make our way to the train and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of defeat as I asked if I could use his school metrocard to get on the train and figure out the rest later. I suddenly thought that maybe it would be a good idea to call the person back. Maybe it was a casting call! I called them back and a woman named Christine answered. Earlier that day, I had emailed with a woman named Christine about an audition. I immediately deflated somehow thinking that this could have been related to my wallet. But, to my surprise, Christine actually had found my wallet and had looked me up online to find my phone number. She said she had searched long and hard to match up my information, and that she had seen m wallet in the snow and picked it up to try to get it back to the owner. She said that everything seemed to be in it still and that we could meet her at a restaurant nearby to pick it up. She gave me the address, and my phone died.

No google maps to rely on, I tried to remember every detail about where she said she would be. A woman on the street came up to me and asked if I needed help and pointed me in the right direction. About 45 minutes later, we found the right place and my wallet was safely returned to me with every single thing still intact. I felt tremendous appreciation and love and overall thankfulness. I tried to buy her and her date some drinks, but she just told me to pay it forward.

The sign I had been looking for to show me that something positive was still within me and outside of me had appeared before my eyes. It was the perfect metaphor for what was happening in my life; everything was seeming difficult, lost, and like an overall struggle. But there was a light there. It had never even gone away, I just let it slip past me for a second.

We, as Americans, are very self-absorbed in what makes us feel negativity. The world is faced with horrible, inescapable situations and we sit here upset about a relationship that is making us unhappy or a job that is not fulfilling or a cup of coffee that spilled on our new jacket. Yeah, those things suck ,but they are fixable and don’t need a negative focus. Put a positive spin on it all and you will find that you are strong enough to make a decision about your relationship, that you look for a job that will make you happier, that you wash out that coffee stain and move on with your life. Everything comes back to you and the universe is a friendly place, so practice staying positive, set goals, get out there, do things that you like, help people (even a simple smile on the subway can make someones day), and move on with your life knowing that you have the power to get what you want, big and small, if you focus the right energy on it. Remember, it’s a lot easier to give into negativity. Don’t choose the easy path. 😉