Sunday, August 30, 2009

Career: Identity Crisis

Why the hell am I still wasting my time at a day job?

Also, I watched Harlem in Montmartre today on PBS and realized that my time in New York is coming to an end. Ready to move on, soon.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Service: Cutting back

Even though I've reduced my plastic usage, I've still gotten 8 plastic bags a week - mostly with take out food...I KNOW!

-- Post From My iPhone



-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health: Yoga to the People

I worked with a wonderful musical theatre actress in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ann Elyse, and she kept mentioning a yoga studio called Yoga to the People. When she said their classes were only $7, I knew I had to try them. Tuesday, I finally did and it was fan-bloody-tastic! I'm hooked. I took the Hot Yoga Flow class which differs from Bikram yoga only in that the series of positions is not restricted to Bikrams twice repeated 26 asanas (the room is still 105°F). It was a real challenge - not just for me but for seasoned yogis in the room. We all had to take breaks several times, but I stuck with it for the full 90 minutes and I'm so proud of that. It was, actually, great to do an activity in which everyone was sweating profusely, not just me!

Image credit: Yoga to the People

Finances: Books and Snacks

Ooops, I was supposed to write about money yesterday, but got distracted by a little heartbreak...
Money's too tight to mention, as the song goes. Why are school books so damned pricey? Thank God for places like and other sites that cut great deals on used books. Why doesn't my favorite bookstore Strand Books sell textbooks? I'd really prefer to spend my money in a local business like them.
Anyway, between monthly tuition payments and almost $400 for textbooks, I got no money left for "entertainment". I've had to downscale all my dinner plans to picnics - and I kind of like that better! It's so much more personal to share food you've made than to pass around a plate you've ordered and worry about splitting tabs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spirit: Truths and Consequences

So I told my therapist. She called me brave. I just felt relieved; and it turned out to be perfect timing. I won't get into it, but the very next day something happened that made me very glad that I had begun the process of dealing with that issue in therapy.
Happily, I also made a little progress on the small-talk front. I was in a situation I would usually avoid (traveling with several people I didn't know well). On the way to the destination, I hid behind a book; but on the way back, I relaxed and chatted. Ha! Simple?! Not for me. Don't know yet if I made a complete fool of myself, but I definitely didn't let my shy side win.
As for pictures, I'm taking one per day of myself - just as my own little self-therapy, not for anyone to see. As an actor, I can't afford to be uncomfortable in front of the camera. Ironically, a bunch of high school pics have surfaced on Facebook, and I can see that even as a kid I shied away. While another girl in my "clique" was like Beyoncé to Destiny's Child, always in the center, I'm on the outer edge of each picture. Just how long have I relegated myself?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Education: 5 Days 'Til School Starts & Where Roxanne Shante Is NOW

These are the classes I'll be taking this coming semester:
  • Urban Anthropology (110)
  • Computer Fundamentals & Application (101)
  • Nature of New York (201)
  • Intro to Philosophy (101)
  • Art and Civilization (201)
Nothing too interesting there, but all courses I need for the degree. The Nature of NY (science class about local flora and fauna, I think) might be fun; and Philosophy and Anthropology could be right up my alley. Who knows?
I've been trying to get through CUNY's online student orientation for several hours, now. Either Blackboard 8 doesn't like my computer or the site's just overloaded. Trying not to be frustrated. Also trying not to freak out about the amount of work that's about to hit me. 5 classes and a full time job?!
On another note, I loved reading this NY Daily News article about former hip-hop star Roxanne Shanté getting her record company to pay for all her college education and, subsequently, becoming a psychologist specializing in treating African-Americans (notorious for not "believing" in therapy).
Her record company cheated her out of her earnings, par for the course it seems, but she remembered a little clause buried in the contract and fought for it. Now she's "giving back" to her community in a real way through her customized therapy and college scholarships. If every hip-hop artist would follow in her footsteps, it could change a race!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Career: Working It

I had a great time performing in Hudson Shakespeare Company's production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor". The photo above shows me as Mistress Page with Tony White as Falstaff and Elizabeth Picket as Mistress Ford. Tony White is a good friend and phenomenal actor; I'm in awe of his talent every time I work with him. And it was an inspiration to be a merry wife with Liz Pickett. She's one of the smartest actresses I've ever worked with. I learned every day with her! In all, this was truly a talented cast and a great show. A big hug and thank you to ALL!

Theatre performances are over for me for the next few months as I work on finishing the college degree, but Liz inspired me. She's doing her own type of conservatory program by taking intense courses in the different theatre and film disciplines and working with private coaches. If I do that for myself, this year will be even more valuable. On Sept. 2nd, I'll meet with her Business of Acting coach to help me get my rear in gear. What I need is someone to keep me focused and accountable, to remind me of the goal, and help me make good networking choices.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Service: Big Sister NYC

Orientation starts September 12th! Who do I think I am? I can barely manage my life - I should be a role model? I'm hoping that being a mentor for someone else make me more conscious of bettering myself. Wait, isn't that selfish?
-- Post From My iPhone

Love: Alone

I chickened out and didn't go on a date this week. I know, I know. I'm working on it.
As for returning phone calls, that seems like such simple thing, but sadly, I somehow don't do it and I've lost many friends that way. This week was not so good, I returned calls days later - people hate that. But I've got 51 more weeks to change this behavior - and that's an attainable goal.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday: Health

I haven't gone to the gym this summer since there's no time between day job and gigs, but I damn sure sweat off a few pounds each night performing in The Merry Wives of Windsor. The high humidity and the tight corset dress costume make every scene a cardiovascular workout and I sweat like a marathon runner!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finances: Owing

Made a list of all my debts. Why's it always longer than you think? Feels like the financial version of "My Name is Earl".

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spirit: Admitting You Need Help

My goals to develop my spirit over the next 12 months are:
"Continue therapy, learn small talk, become comfortable being photographed"
I haven't talked about therapy because I was embarrassed, but I'm outing myself now. I am in psychotherapy. I'm 34 and have never had a committed relationship with a man - ever. I, finally, realized that it's me - not "them". I need to own that and address whatever it is in me that keeps me from a loving partnership. So this year, on my birthday, I gave myself the gift of therapy (at a very affordable $10 copay thanks to great insurance coverage!). I carefully, picked a woman (that seemed important) counselor and have been seeing her weekly for about 4 months. No drugs are involved, we just talk. I wish more was changing in me, but it's a long process to discover yourself. Right now, I'm becoming aware of my thoughts and actions both positive and negative. That's step #1.
Now I find myself in a bizarre situation. I have a secret that I should tell my therapist - a big, uncomfortable secret that may be at the root of my self-esteem troubles - but I've left it out of each session. Why? Of all the places to tell it, this is it. Why can't I just say it? Next session is tomorrow and I think I'm just going to blurt it out the second I sit down, so I don't talk myself out of it again.

There are 2 other goals: learn to small talk & become comfortable being photographed. I get so nervous around people that I either clam up or ramble on non-sensically. As silly is this sounds, I really have trouble having light conversation. And, while I want to be in photos, I shy away or cover my face most of the time because I feel ugly and unworthy a lot. I think it's realistic to improve those 2 things in one year. It's all about becoming comfortable with myself. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Education: I Passed!

To complete my bachelor's degree, I needed 63 credits - 21 classes. Because I work full-time and need my evenings and weekends free for acting jobs, I chose an online degree program. City University of New York (CUNY) had the best price and full accreditation through their reputable colleges. They offer only 2 degrees in the online program: Business Admin. and Communication. Neither was really what I wanted, but Communication was closest to the path I'd started 11 years ago (study of languages with concentration in French and German). So I applied and got excited. My advisor suggested starting with only 1 or 2 classes, so that I could get used to online learning. I prepared for an easy summer. Then I booked the Ecuador gig which coincided with the first 4 weeks of the 10 week summer semester. No big deal, I thought. How hard could online classes be, anyway? Ha! My professors advised me to drop both classes saying I'd never catch up . Indeed I found myself drowning in school work when I got back (homework, research, complicated scientific reading assignments, discussion boards to post on and keep up with, a 20 page paper to write, 8 exams to take, and mathematical labs). But I did it!!!! Finished both classes with a B!

For fall semester I'm taking 5 classes. It'll be a lot of work, but I've got to make it. CUNY has the one theater degree that I think is most practical and they are the only school in the U.S. with it: Master of Arts in Applied Theater. This is the study of using theater in non-art situations. I believe in that. I think art cannot only exist for art's sake. Theater is powerful and can be used as a tool for academic an cultural learning, mediation, anger management, negotiation, diplomacy, corporate culture development... because it teaches empathy and listening. Anyway, I want to get into that program next fall, if I don't, I'll have to wait another year. So I'll have to complete the BA in Communication by next year's summer semester. It's going to be a busy year!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finding the point

I'm breaking from the third person. It wasn't working.
I just saw Julie and Julia and walked away not only appreciating the story and great acting, but recognizing that blogging needs a clear goal. I thought of all my favorite blogs and none of them were ambling diaries like mine. I needed to find a purpose - and I did.
Going forward, I'll be writing daily about 7 aspects of my life I will be working on over the next 365 days. I'm in a rut and this project will, hopefully, get me out. I'm banking on accountability motivating me. Each day will be dedicated to updating my weekly progress in one of these categories:
Mondays - Education: Finish bachelor's degree, get into grad school (MA Applied Theatre @ CUNY)
Tuesdays - Spirit: Continue therapy, learn small talk, become comfortable being photographed
Wednesdays - Finances: Clean up credit report, live debt-free (exc. mortgage), own a home, save $5K
Thursdays - Health: Reach EquiFit goals, drop 40 lbs, clear up skin, tone everything, eat lactose-free
Fridays - Love: Go on 50 dates, return all calls from friends, host 2 dinner parties, help 10 loved-ones
Saturdays - Service: Join Big Sister program, reduce plastic use, volunteer once a week
Sundays - Career: Sign with an agent (no more freelancing), earn $5K from acting, book 1 int'l project

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 7, 2009

Digital TV is a Joke

She will be tossing the tv out of the window! Why did we ever have to switch from analog? With a $40 tv and a $20 antenna she'd gotten perfect reception on all the standard networks in any part of the house. Now she'd spent $450 on an HD tv and $70 on HD antennas yet couldn't get more than the ABC stations, two Spanish language stations, and a religious station. And the antennas were so fragile they couldn't receive transmissions though stucco walls?! AND the few channels available seemed to freeze every few minutes! And for what? To see people's zits and wrinkles up close?

How did we ever allow cable companies to convince us that we needed this mandatory "upgrade"? It's clearly meant to create future cable customers. She wouldn't cave. Network and public television should remain free.
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