fiction · fun · scifi · writing

A start to an experiment.

1.30.19.jpgYou’d think that after four months of waking up in a space bunk, Sam would remember not to sit up and bash his head, but he had other things on his mind.

Rubbing the sore spot, again, he swung out from his cot and placed his feet onto the heat circles lighting up beneath them.  The morning scratches were the same as back on Earth, but the eternal thrum of the ship around him meant all his cells were slightly agitated at all times, like living in New York City or near high power lines, a perpetual sonic collider you accommodate like a broken toe.

The clever pocket doors from any sci movie–or Walmart–swished open as he approached, and Sam entered the bright white hallway, now dressed in the regulation wool garments woven with anti-bacterial nanotechnology.

To be continued…

(To J, for encouraging me to try something new,)

 

fun · habits · renewal

Spinning Yarn.

1.23.19.jpgThe Deepak/Oprah meditation I was listening to this morning, from their “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude” series, spoke of the idea of being the author of your own story.

Now, as a good “Once Upon a Time” TV show nerd, the idea of being The Author appeals to me!  But, so does it appeal to me the idea of renewing my story every day.

The meditation spoke about how repetition makes life stale, and that’s not only in the “same breakfast, same job” kind of way, but also in the “same attitudes, same thoughts” kind of way.  What kind of thought habits do I have?  And moreover, what kind of thought habits do I want?

Many of my thought patterns center around the idea of my being stagnant, procrastinating, far from my goals even when I know what they are.  (The irony is that thought itself is stagnant!)  So this morning during the quiet meditation portion of the recording, I tried something called “Mental Dress Rehearsal,” as it’s called in my Executive Functioning training at school.

To really run through a scene how I want it to play out.  To feel the skin sensations, the emotions, the engagement and presence I want to feel.  Whether that’s inhabiting the idea of playing the piano or trying something new in the boudoir, seeing it happen and living it in my imagination feels much better than haranguing myself for not doing or getting or having the experiences that I want.

There’s a tongue-in-cheek line J likes to throw out occasionally: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”  I’m pretty sure we all know this one from our internal dialogues, harassing ourselves to do, be, or think something different.  And, clearly, it not only doesn’t seem to work well for me, but it saps my energy so that it’s difficult to rise above those thoughts.

If, by the opposite tack, I can begin to use my mental power to envision what it is I do want, spinning those positive stories, crafting the exact and enlivening nature of those experiences, and creating a narrative that lifts me up, inspires me, and sparks my spirit, then those are the kinds of mental habits to strengthen.

Imagine on, reader.

 

adventure · fulfillment · fun

Who’s Next?

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The woman who attracted my last several partners was a procrastinator.  A couch-sitting dreamer.  The woman who attracted my last boyfriends is one who has desires galore for a larger, more engaged life, but puts off actions toward those goals.

Now before you all jump on me and say, “Hey, you’ve done a ton of stuff, lady!” (for which I’m grateful to have you in my corner), I will tell you that, Yes, I have.

And it’s not a fraction of what it could be.

One analogy that has been sticking with me lately is the idea of driving with the emergency brake on: in order to go farther or faster, you don’t have to push the pedal down further, you don’t need to work “harder” — you simply have to take the brake off, and you find yourself careening along the roadway.

What does it mean, then, to take the e-brake off my internal car?

Well, I’m struck this morning by my Time Plan.  A time plan is a tool I use when I have loose unstructured time, such as this Spring Break.  A person like me is liable to lay on the couch with Netflix, peanut-butter stuffed pretzels, and gorge away the week.  I know this about myself (though it doesn’t mean I’ve not stacked time for such indulgences into my plan!) so I have gained a tool over the years to help combat this lethargy.

But, in writing my time plan for this morning, I realize that it looks nearly identical to the one I wrote for Sunday and for Monday this week:  Wake up, do morning practice stuff, do some school worky-work, rest, clean, run, eat dinner, read Game of Thrones.

There’s not one thing “wrong” with this plan… except that it’s BORRRRING!!!!!

WHERE IS THE FUN???  Here I am, a lively woman in my mid-30s in one of the most dynamic urban areas of the world, and even the trail I run is the SAME??

I am a woman who can ride on the fumes of fulfillment and fun.  Would it surprise you to imagine that running on fumes creates a feedback loop that desires sitting on the couch with pretzel crumbs in your bra?

This is not the woman I want to be.  I already know I don’t want to be bra-crumb lady, but nor do I want to be Queen of the Lord’s most boring Spring Break.

So this morning, where I’d already written 2 hours of worky-work, I stole one of those back for the honor of Fun:  Piano.

I’ll haul my keyboard down from the long-neglected art studio upstairs, set it up where J’s desk will be vacating, and start practicing the Christmas carol it’s my goal to learn by Christmas.

It’s not “skydive” or “gallery walk,” but it’s a start (and I’ve already planned gallery walk for tomorrow).

The person I need to be next cannot be boring—and she cannot put off her desires, life, or loves.  I deserve more, and better, and so do the people I’m on the road to meet.

 

community · courage · fun · joy · theater

Are you coming?

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Yesterday was finally the day. I’ve been with this cast for
a month in performance now, and once, even twice, a weekend, they’ve shed their
wigs and sweat-soaked costumes and gone out to the bar.
I haven’t been. Partly because I don’t drink, partly
because it gets so late, and partly because I’ve just been kinda shy about
it. And last night, when the venue was gonna be a gay bar to dance, I decided
it was time.
Sure, it’s a Friday night, I’d worked all day, rehearsed and
performed all evening, and I had to be up this morning to sit for a portrait
artist at 10am. … but you know what? Yesterday was a good day, and I felt
invigorated.
I found out that I got cast in another production at the
theater where I’m currently running. I got the large important work project
done, with a few hiccups at the end of the day. And I finally felt like I beat
the solo song that’s been beating me all run.
It was a good day. And dancing sounded perfect. I dance like
a white girl, but I have fun doing it. Though, granted, there were other white
girls there who definitely don’t fit into that “white girls can’t dance” model!
But just the vitality and joy and jumping and ear-wide smile and circle
of friends who are together only for a brief period. It was awesome.
I used to go dancing once or twice a month. Then maybe every
other month. And now, I’m lucky to go once or twice a year. I would never
listen to the music in real life. I know maybe one of the dozen songs that gets played. But it doesn’t matter.
I toss my growing-in hair around, I bounce on the balls of
my feet, and I pump my fist in the air when it feels like time.
And it does. 

adulthood · change · dreams · fear · fun · growth · reality · stagnating · theater

Baking a Life Worth Living.

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“It was the fantasy made so real that I teared up a few
times, wanted to pinch myself, and thought over and over and over, how is it
that I am here?
How did this happen?
And I can trace the arc of it and still be amazed to be
this woman[…]”
This is a quote from my friend Carmen’s blog today, or last
night actually, the woman who began inspiring me to write a blog at all, and
then a blog-a-day (or, almost a day. Self-care [aka sleep!] comes first during this month, sorry
avid readers!).
Our paths have been divergent but so parallel over these few
years, I once proposed we co-share a book based on our blogs: Her adventures in
Paris, having moved there for her 40th birthday, and her triumphs and struggles
there; My adventures in Cancer-land happening at the same time, as I turned 31, and the
strangely similar triumphs and struggles.
Today, was no different: She was visiting New York City for
the first time. I am in a musical for the first time as an adult.
Her words make me reflect and become present once again with
the amaze-ball nature of where my life and energies currently are.
But, I also was very keen when I first found out I was cast
about the words I used. I made sure to not say, “I can’t believe it.”
Sure, I couldn’t believe it! But, I wasn’t going to say
that. I believe in the Law of Attraction-style woo-woo stuff, and in my
readings on it, when you say things like, “I can’t believe this is happening to
me” or “This is impossible!” or “This can’t be happening” – even though they’re
amazing things – it’s my belief that the “Universe” hears that, that you hear that, and if that’s really your belief, then
they can fade or change to support your belief that these amazing things aren’t
actually happening.
Who knows? I don’t. But I’d rather be on the safer side of
things!
So, when I told my mom, I said simply, “I’m so excited. I’m so grateful.”
I do have to stop saying, “I’m so nervous.” SURE, I am nervous. I
had another voice lesson yesterday, and it’s helping me feel more comfortable
in the lower register of my voice, but I won’t yet say I’m confident. It still
feels like straining and yelling. But I’m getting more used to that
discomfort…which I guess is another way of saying, “Getting comfortable”!
I am astonished by and pleased with the woman I am and have become. And I also know the places where I strive to grow
and build and commit, and lay foundations for an even more “me” life.
I know progress is slow. My voice teacher said that it’s
about first finding a place to build the house, before you even begin to think
about what it looks like or furnishing it. You have to find the firm ground to
stand on before you can build anything on it.
And, I’m doing that, slowly.
It’s strange sometimes to be the age I’m at. About to be 33
next month, and feeling so much older than some, and so much younger than
others. Explaining to the 11-year old Pugsley what a revelation the cordless
phone was when I was a teen. Even my new co-worker, age 22, fresh out of
college, and so bristling with energy.
And then, there’s most of my friends, who are older than me,
who hear me talk about the brevity of life and how there’s so much more I want
to do, and give me the “You’re so young, you have so much time” face.
I get the feeling that this is the center (or the beginning
of the center) of adulthood. When you know you’re not a child, really learning
the world and who/how you want to be in it; and neither are you a middle-aged
person, knowing that you are pretty well set in your personhood for the rest of
your days.
It’s a period of final gelling that I feel. (Though I know
learning and growing and changing is a lifelong process.)
But I sort of feel like all the ingredients have been
gathered, have been mixed, and we’re waiting to see if what I’ve assembled is a
sourdough or cupcake batter.
I do hope it’s cupcakes.
I am the woman who knows she eats 90 eggs a month (yes, really). Who knows she
buys only Ultra Soft toilet paper, but the super eco-friendly paper towels. Who
knows how to pay her bills on time, and knows she still won’t do her dishes
until pressed by her own revulsion!
The woman I am looks for the hope, even in the desperate
times. She relies on friendships built during the “ingredient assemblage” time,
and knows they are in fact ingredients of this current and future life.
The woman I am struggles with self-doubt, and celebrates her
moments of self-encouragement. Falls short of ideals, and laughs about it when
she can, and shares about it when she can’t.
“How did this happen? How am I here?”
I don’t have to pinch myself. I don’t think this is a dream.
I do have to remind myself it’s a nuanced, challenging, changing, and ultimately
precious reality. 
And the woman I am looks eagerly forward to licking the icing. 

balance · fun · health · joy · love · responsibility · self-care · theater

In Training

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Dear Blogosphere,
Apologies for the sporadic posts these few weeks. First
there was sickness, then my mom in town, and then, of course, the Monday 5 a.m.
shift at my gym.
And in thinking about the structure of the next few weeks, I
don’t know that I can promise you anything more than a few pixels.
This Sunday began the first full week of rehearsals. 4 hours
Sunday, 3 each night this week. And assumedly, each weeknight until opening
night on September 19. It really is like a part-time job!
And so, I’ve come to think of my approach to this time as
though I’m training for a marathon. To the best of my ability, I am going to
aim to be completely conscious of the food I eat, the breaks I force myself to
take from my desk at work, the sleep I manage to slip in between rehearsals and a
day job.
I have this phrase I wrote down a hundred years ago that is
taped to my closet wall and has taken me as long to come to understand and
believe: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.
And I believe this is the perfect time to begin to implement
“acting as if” that’s true (because, I somewhere believe it is). The body is a cautious and delicate scale. In these few weeks and months, I’ve gotten to see that my own scale is
particularly sensitive (liver trouble, K.O.’d by a virus, my acupuncturist saying my body was ripe with signs of stress).
So, balance, intentionality. Vigilance. Yes, it’s the
absolute busiest season of my work year – like a retailer between Black Friday
and Christmas. But, as we’ve seen, I can’t show up to work if I’m not healthy,
and I’m not healthy if I’m not intentional. So, I have to be my own trainer,
stopping the clock to take a walk outside. Deciding, No, I won’t have 4 cups of
coffee to power through my day. Yes, guy at the store who watched me put the apple
back and reach for the organic one that’s a dollar more expensive, yes, I do
need to eat this instead.
I’ve set up a “crash-pad” at my friend’s house who lives
between work and the rehearsal theater so that I can go and chill out a few
hours after work without having to either rush home and back or sit at a café
and spend money or be interactive with anyone.
I’m going to begin going back to my gym a few mornings a week,
instead of the once I’ve been doing. I’ve been meditating almost every morning
for 10 – 20 minutes. And, we’ll see where the blog falls on the self-care
scale, considering the few moments of sleep it ticks away.
Finally, I’d like to make sure that I get time in with my
“brain drain” crew, spending an hour with people who normalize my experience
and help my thinking to turn down in decibels.
“Meetings, Movement, and Meditation” has arisen as my
prescription for health, and I am hoping to treat myself as the worthy
patient and doctor of such self-care, which will enable me to show up fully,
mind, body, spirit.
Because… I gotta tell ya, This shit is So.Much.Fun. !

dreams · fear · fun · growth · humility · power · smallness

TURN IT UP!

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In my race toward the middle, I have forgotten something: To Have Fun.
I was at my first vocal rehearsal on Sunday, and I did what
I had done at my audition: When I got scared of a note (even one I can sing), I pulled back.
I’m reminded of Brene Brown saying that, If we base our
performance, our work, our art, our selves, on the reception of others, we will
invariably slice off and withhold the most potent layer of our performance, work,
art, self. We cannot give our full selves, our full gift, if we are concerned with how we look about it.
To quote another source: You can’t save your face and your
ass at the same time.
Did you run out of breath, the music director asked me? No,
I just got embarrassed and dropped the note. 
My new voice teacher has told me that she thinks Morticia is
from the Bronx – not for the accent, mind you, but for the attitude. Imagine a
large Bronxian woman yelling down the street at some paisan – Morticia is like that.
The vocal coach told me to speak like I think everyone else is deaf.
Despite dropping out of the “Queen of the Amazons” play,
where I was being called to “Be a Royal,” to act how a queen might act, and I
was curious and a little scared to see what that would be like, I am again being
asked to do the same.
To own my voice.
Be loud. Be big. Be powerful.
The music director said, There is nothing sweet about
Morticia.
This isn’t about sounding sweet or beautiful; it’s about
sounding powerful.
Honestly, two plays in a row where I’m cast as a powerful
woman? I think the Universe is giving me a huge opportunity and challenge here.
And as I said to a friend yesterday, I’m going to have to rise to it.
In the middle of all this, however, in the middle of trying to
stay on note and memorize the phrasing and the breathing and the rests – I can
begin to forget why I came here in the first place.
This is not about perfection; it’s about fun. This is
supposed to be FUN! Come on, man? “Addams Family The Musical”? If that’s not
supposed to be fun, I don’t know what is.
Now, I get that I have a responsibility to myself, to the
cast, to the audience to rehearse, to get as proficient as I can. But I also
have a responsibility to be light and fun about it – it will come through if
I’m terrified, or scared to belt a note, or worried what you’re thinking of me. Worried that I’m being too much, too big, too loud.
Fears I have shackled around myself for a lifetime, I’m being
specifically ordered to discard. Now.
Be more, Molly. Be bigger, be louder.
And, too, within that challenge and order, I am being called
to remember to hold this lightly. That this is meant to be so the most fun that
I’ve ever had.
The bigger I get, the more fun I should remember to have.
It’s the antidote to self-sabotage. And a supporter of humility.
This isn’t really
about me. Sure, it’s about me and my challenge to grow and let go, but it’s
also about what can come through me. And when I close my voice, drop the note,
don’t support myself by not breathing, there is no chance for me to be a
channel of joy and fun.
I said it only two days ago: I need to root my safety within
myself, and stop worrying about what others might think – especially that
they’ll tell me to turn it down. They are literally, actually, verbally telling
me to turn it up!
Rise, Miss Molly, to the challenge. This is one of those moments when you have a choice, when you can see the options clearly marked and have the chance to change: Small or Big, Mol? –
You wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think you could do it.