Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Philosophy?

Be patient.

This is going to take some time for me to work through in writing.

Lately, on two separate occasions, after communicating that I did NOT want to do something that I have committed to doing, I have been met with the statement, "Then don't do it. Don't do anything you don't want to do."

Are you still with me?

Both times, upon hearing this statement, I have responded with something to the effect of, "Well, simply not doing what I don't want to do is not always wise."

Do I WANT to clean the house, when I could be out with friends?
Do I WANT to sit with the kids while they do their homework, when I could be reading a book?
Do I WANT to help a friend, when it infringes on my schedule?
Do I WANT to answer the children, when I crave quiet?
Do I WANT to exercise, when it's easier to just blow it off?

No. No, no, no. And, no.

I am quite intrigued by the philosophy of only doing what one wants to do - as if that is the litmus test by which one should make a decision. In the most recent exchange, I was sharing about not wanting to do something that a friend has asked me to do for her. Will I do it? Absolutely.


Because my relationship with this friend far outweighs the inconvenience of the task. (My husband calls this 4AM friendship.)

Another word for this would be: sacrifice.

I love my friend. I do NOT love the request. But, I will place the love I have for my friend before my own needs, for I value her more than my brief discomfort. Quite frankly, she would be hurt if I didn't come through. I know her that well. So, while I don't necessarily WANT to do what she has asked, I will get it done for her.

The relationship is more important.

Does that make sense?

The "only do what you want" philosophy is baffling to me.

If' I lived that philosophy I would weigh 20-30 pounds heavier than I currently do. I would choose convenience over hard work. I would eat out and stuff my face with buffalo wings as often as I could stomach them. Instead, I choose the struggle of working out several times a week in order that I stay healthy and fit, and am meticulous with what food I bring into the house and feed my body. I don't always WANT to do these things.

Only, my body, and my emotional/mental state, tell me I must.

No, nobody HAS to do anything . . . only there is a huge difference between what I may WANT and what I CHOOSE.

And sometimes I must CHOOSE to do what I don't WANT to do.

Thoroughly confused yet?

I'll let you discuss now.

Any thoughts here? Scripture? Life experiences? Let 'er rip.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

CAST: The Pittsburgh New Works Festival Edition

The Lost in Yonkers experience bit me hard.

It was so refreshing to hop on stage after being away for close to a decade.

Immediately after leaving Yonkers, I started combing FB and the internet for Pittsburgh auditions, and came across the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, a competition of new one-act pieces.

I was available for the audition, and while auditioning has never been a strong, or favorite, skill of mine (although I spent years coaching others how to do so), I made an appointment, pulled out my monologue, brushed up on it, and went.

Walking in was frightful.

The sign-in table.

The wait.

And then, entering a room FULL of representatives from theater companies all over the city.  12 to be exact. 12 one-acts would be cast based upon a 2 minute monologue.

I cracked some initial jokes, mainly due to nerves, and thankfully, they laughed.

My piece? I would grade it as "meh", but it did get chuckles, so that calmed me.

I had one line to go when I heard the dreaded "2 minutes. Time.", but I couldn't leave them hanging, so I managed to squeeze in the punch line.

They called that evening. I had been offered a role in a two-woman piece called "Pump", written by a gal in Pittsburgh who now lives in, of all places, Evanston. And works at Northwestern. That. Is. Crazy.

So, I'm 2 for 2. And while new works make me a tad nervous (and the subject matter of this one may not be for everyone), I'm game. I'm in. I'm excited to be standing up on my theater legs again. And it's pretty cool to be learning more about Pittsburgh's theater community.

Thank you to Michelle Christ who did a rush job on my headshots last week - and a fantastic job at that. Talk about making oneself available. She rocks. Check her out here.

Thank you to my husband, who never hesitates before he tells me to, "Go for it." I had considered cancelling due to the events at the RUCKUS the day before, but he made sure to help me chuck that stinkin' thinkin'.

Thank you to my friends, who have been so lovely about cheering me on. If you don't have a cheering section in your life, you should find one.

So, I'm back to memorizing. And the hives.

Perhaps rather than simply praying before entering the stage at the start of a show, I should consider adding Benadryl to my pre-curtain routine.

Monday, July 18, 2011

CAST: The RUCKUS Race Edition

It started great.

Months ago a group of us from church decided we'd tackle  RUCKUS Pittsburgh.

This Saturday, we gathered to compete against ourselves, in this 4 mile race that also included 16 obstacles.

I have absolutely no desire to rehash the details of what happened to our dear Carrie on one of those obstacles. I'll only add that she left the race on a stretcher, with a badly broken leg (in three places no less).

Reaching the finish line lost its luster once she got injured. While we weren't necessarily running together, there were 5 of us in sight distance of one another for half of the race. Sometimes we'd run together, sometimes we'd branch off. Only, when we reached the Gorilla Bars we were all lined up together. So, thankfully, when Carrie heard and felt the break, we were all there. Including our spouses, gathered on a hill to take pictures.

And then, for me, the race stopped.

Carrie is one of my most cherished Beaver friends. And I really wanted this for her. Only, now . . .

After being told by the guys to go and finish the race, as there was nothing I could do while she lay there surrounded by medical personnel, I ran off. Reluctantly. No wind in my sail.

I met up with a few guys who offered to run with me, having witnessed what had just happened to my team-mate.

It was one of these guys who gave me a verbal spot on the Ranger Bars, for after witnessing Carrie, I was terrified. I knew I MUST complete the challenge, but I was tentative. And when one is tentative there is the opportunity for injury.  He talked me through obstacle. We met up again at the finish where he gave me a fist-bump. That was cool.

But I wanted to fist-bump Carrie.

My drive for confronting the remaining obstacles: the walls, the tires, the rope ladders, was "meh". Whereas, at the start I figured I'd be excited over conquering the obstacles, my mind was now divided between, "Oooh. I've never scaled a wall before. " and "How is Carrie?"

So, while I finished, and have the bruises to prove it, there was much left undone.

It was an empty experience. While once again, the race confirmed that all the physical work I've been doing has really made a difference in my strength, it just wasn't the same with a friend down.

There are certain people in your life that inspire you. Cheer you. Encourage you. Challenge you. Carrie is one of them. Without an ounce of sarcasm, annoyance, or negativity, she consistently loves.

I dig her.

Rest up my brave friend.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Extrovert or Introvert?

I get asked this question.

A lot.

Perhaps because while my exterior screams, "I love to be with people", I also tend to hibernate. Alone. Often.

On purpose.

Yes, my personality is gregarious and assertive. I am comfortable in groups of people. However, due to this, many would assume, incorrectly, that I am fueled by large social gatherings.

While I'm certainly at ease while with, or in front of, groups of people, I much prefer a small dinner party or coffee with one or two friends.

After a full day of mothering, and working, or as was the case the last two weekends of being in show where my character was full on GO at all times, I just need to be alone. I don't want people around me. I crave solitude. I look forward to quiet.

I think this surprises people.

Apparently there IS a name for this: Ambiversion is a balance of extrovert and introvert characteristics.

I always thought I was a pure extrovert, and perhaps, once in my life I was. But, when the '40's hit,  the desire to be around people all the time lost its importance.

Ask my husband what I would rather be doing and he won't hesitate to say, "Sit alone with a book or write all day."

My 40's have brought a much tighter focus than I have ever experienced. The 20's were fun. The 30's were all about having and raising children. The 40's seem to be about focus and conquering new fears/goals.

At this stage in life I know who my "go to" people are, I enjoy what I do for a living, I am experiencing a new found confidence, and I'm grounded. And being by my lonesome is something I cherish. For IT fuels my interactions with others - NOT the other way around.

Why write this? Simply because it's been on my mind.

As my buddy Marlene says, "I'm done with games. This is real life."

Living it.

How about you? Extrovert or introvert?