action · ambition · aspiration · band · commitment · despair · faith · fear · self-abandonment · self-worth · singing · spirituality · truth · uncertainty · vulnerability

Yeah, But…*

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Here’s something nobody knows about me: When I access
something very truth-y in my morning journaling, my handwriting becomes
miniscule.
Written like those boardwalk booths that used to write your
name on a grain of rice, I find myself getting really tiny with my words – and that’s when I know I’ve struck
something important. Shh, don’t say it too loud or it might whisk off the page.
Let’s back up a little though.
Yesterday, I got to see my therapist (the Rosen Method
therapist I’m still seeing. Despite my doubts before every time I go, I always
leave laughing that I doubted). We hadn’t seen one another for about a month
due to schedules, so I had a lot to catch her up on.
Last time we spoke, I told her I felt like I didn’t have any
options available to me in dating land. Like Goldilocks, I’d experienced the
too hot, the too cold, but have yet to find the “just right.” I mentioned this
yesterday because I was talking about my job search. I told her that as I was
driving over last night, I realized that it’s not that I don’t have any options
available to me in job land – it’s that I refuse to commit to one path.
She challenged me on this a little, and asked if it was
“refused” or something else. And, surely, it is fear and paralyzation.
Because here is the secret, sacred truth: I do know what I want to do.
I told her that I see my job options like a scene from Sliding
Doors
. If you haven’t seen the movie, the
premise is based on Gwenyth Paltrow in one version of her life catching a
subway train before the doors shut; in another version, she misses that train.
At that point in the movie, we follow both these lives and their divergent challenges and
successes (and haircuts). 
I told her I see three options of my job life for myself:
One: Be a Jewish professional, or a community professional,
a leader, an organizer, a bringer-together-er.
Two: Do something counsel-y and social work-y, working
directly one-on-one with the populations I want to serve, particularly youth.
And three.
And this is where I began to cry.
Be an artist.
I laughed through the tears, and said, “Well if tears are
any indication of truth, then the third one’s the charm.”
The third one is also the hardest. Requires the most work,
the most vulnerability, the most action, the most fortitude, and… the most uncertainty.
I told her I’m not willing to be a starving artist. But
perhaps there’s another way.
As a note, by “artist,” I mean in all disciplines, starting
with performance, starting with that Yoshi’s singer I mentioned yesterday.
Starting with that dream.
I think I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve been told I
don’t let myself dream. It came up a few times yesterday when I had to correct
my “Yeah, But”s to “Yes, AND”s.
Every time I even begin to think about following this path,
I get buried under a mountain of “Yeah, But”s. I don’t think I need to list
them for you, since I’m sure you have your own bevy that attack your own
dreams.
So, we/I were careful to reframe them. I told her at the end
of the session that I feel like my whole life has been an exercise in “Yeah,
But.” And she told me that that is changing; that I am changing it.
And it was in my morning pages today that I recorded
something I thought of after I came home yesterday that actually knocked the wind out of me. What I wrote
in the miniscule, micro-truth script:
When we are in alignment with our highest good, the Universe
will rearrange itself to help us.
I don’t have to know how to do this. Because I don’t. What struck me so suddenly and
viscerally were the words I’ve heard repeated for years: When we take one step
toward (G-d / Fate / the Universe / our Highest Good), it takes a thousand
toward us.
I will be carried. I
will be helped. I won’t have to do this alone, because, “When the student is
ready, the teacher appears.”
I was floored by this revelation. I was floored that I
actually heard and felt and believed it. It was a moment of belief.
I take care of the What and G-d takes care of the How. I’ve
heard this for years.
What I have needed to do is admit and commit to the What.
I have “Yeah, But”s coming up as I write this. About money,
and too late, and this is for other people and other lives, and what are you
thinking of me right now as you read this and are you doubting me and rolling
your eyes, and how, and how and how.
Yes, I have doubts and fears. AND. I only have to hold onto
the “What.” I only have to hold on to my dream. That’s my only job right now –
to not go back to sleep, to not abandon my dream, again. To not continue to break promises to myself. To not
drown myself in those fears and doubts. Because
I am trying to live
my truth
. And all this wisdom says that’s
all I need to do.
(You know, along with reaching out, asking for help, seeking
people in these professions, gathering intel, honing my vision, practicing and
learning the fuck out of it AND remembering that the pain of avoiding all this
is SO MUCH GREATER than the pain of trying to do it.)
Molly, you want to be a singer in a band? You want to
perform onstage in dive bars? And at Yoshi’s? And be a lounge singer? You want
to feel proud and full and felt and heard?
All you have to do is say, “Yes.”
*(Thanks, Joel Landmine, for the title grab. See: Yeah, Well…)

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ambition · band · commitment · decision · destiny · dreams · faith · hope · performance · perseverance · self-worth · singing · tenacity · work

Dream Girls

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If we can pass others on the street and think to ourselves,
“There, but for the grace of G-d, go I,” isn’t it possible that others can pass
us and say the same thing?
I spent last evening at a Queen concert. It was balls-out
amazing: the talent, the showmanship, the technique and the bravery to stand
out there, bounce around a stage and invigorate a crowd of thousands.
I had a moment while watching Adam Lambert, who was filling
Freddie Mercury’s shoes pretty darn well, when I realized that only the slightest
differences existed between the two of us.
Go with me here. A plane takes off for New York, but the
compass is one degree off. You end up at the Nyack mall instead of JFK. One
degree. Completely different destination.
If there is just the “grace of god” between me and the
person I see huddled under the freeway gathering up their belongings as the cop car pulls two
wheels up on the sidewalk to shuffle them along to another temporary spot, isn’t
there just the “grace of god” between me and Adam Lambert? Or that woman I saw
perform at Yoshi’s a few years ago: She wasn’t perfect. Her pitch wasn’t always
on, but she was a performer. She had the
crowd completely, she enjoyed herself, she was proud, vivacious, and seen. And
she wasn’t perfect.
I don’t even remember who she
was, except she was the singer of a bluesy/jazzy band, and she was fierce. She
was a large woman with a large smile. And as I watched her, I thought to myself
that I wanted to do what she did; get up there and perform, without needing to be perfect – because if that were the case, I
don’t think any of us would ever do anything, including Adam Lambert.
Over the last year, I have adjusted my compass to be bringing me closer to that
point on the map. I am not so far away in the Canada hinterland, but perhaps
flying somewhere over Buffalo by now. (Can you tell I grew up back east?)
Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way that it isn’t talent that creates success; it’s
tenacity. It’s being a dog’s fierce jaw chomped around a toy rope, refusing to
let go.
The guitar player, Brian May, dazzled the crowd with a
10-minute long epic, cacophonous solo. It was like a safari inside of music
itself: strange, elegant, mystic, and ancient. I said to my friend, That’s what
happens when you spend 40 years doing only one thing.
That’s what happens when you decide that you love one thing,
that you’re good (enough) at one thing, that you want others to know you do this thing: You become great.
Here’s to finding—or claiming, rather—my thing. 

authenticity · career · community · dating · deprivation · family · fear · love · self-care · self-worth · support · truth

Phone a Friend.

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I was invited back for a second interview. And I politely
declined.
If there’s anything I learned from my awkward dating experience recently, it’s that saying yes to something you’re sure you don’t
want is lying and wasting both people’s time.
Therefore, when I was passed up for the job I’d applied for in this organization and my resume got handed from one branch to another, I did my due diligence: I showed up,
made a good impression, and knew that this newly offered position was not a
fit. But I got the callback anyway.
So on Wednesday, when I got the “want to see you again” email, I called my mom. Not always the paragon of rational decisions, but someone who here I felt could be, I told my mom about the parallel metaphor between my career and my lackluster first date. And it’s strange and
uncomfortable follow-up.
A friend earlier that morning suggested I just go to the
second interview. “You never know.” But, see, I think you do. When you’ve given a fair and first chance at
something a worthy go, I think at that point you get to say whether you’re
interested to go further.
As a mentor once told me, A first date is just an interview
for the second.
We do get the chance to say no at some point, yes?
I felt so, and I just needed a little corroboration. Not
always a co-signer of my machinations, either, mom was the right call. She
listened, and then she asked what advantages this job could have over my
current one. They were few.
One, I told her, was suggested by my friend earlier that
morning: You could meet a nice Jewish guy.
After
hearing this very short list, she replied, “First of all, you are [insert some
really nice and positive characteristics, like, smart, beautiful, brave and
wonderful] and you don’t need to take a job you don’t want to meet a
hypothetical guy.”
Or something like that.
It was really the only enticing reason of the bunch I gave to her. If the job I’d actually applied for in the first place was still
available, I’d still be interested in that, and I do know it’s still open. But
this offered job would be a lateral move, adding a 3 hour commute for what I imagine is
similar pay and responsibilities that don’t really align with my values or my
career goals.
So… she said it sounded like I already knew what I wanted to
do. But what I could do was be honest about my goals, tell them that I was still interested in the first job, be very
flattering and kind about their
organization and say if other opportunities came up there, I’d be interested to
have that conversation.
Unfortunately, in the dating world, it’s not as easy or
accepted to say, “Hey, I’m not interested in you, but if you have any friends
you think’d be good for me, let me know!”
But, Romance and Finance don’t always overlap.
In the end, that’s what I did. Called the woman who’d
interviewed me for the second position, got her voicemail, and told her exactly
what my mom coached me in saying.
What my mom really did was help me to feel comfortable owning
my truth.
This is not always easy. And sometimes I need someone
outside of my own limiting self-beliefs and self-sabotage to coax me and just
sort of shuffle me along on the path I know I want to follow.
In the pre-school in the building where I work, some of the
students have a cute ritual when their parents drop them off in the morning:
Push on the Tush.
It is exactly how it sounds. Having been deposited in their
classroom, feeling safe in their surroundings, the child is ready for their
parent to leave, and wants to have a ritual for that separation. So, the parent
stands in the doorway, and the kid gives him a push on the tush. And out the
parent goes.
For me, that’s what my mom did. Having come to a conclusion,
but needing a little encouragement, I reached out to a person I knew could hold
and support me, and then give me a little push.