Podcast Episode 47- Forgiveness (Show Notes)

The latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is available now here or on iTunes. We’re talking all about Forgiveness!

A couple people who know a lot on this topic were brought up:

The Dalai Lama

Thich Nhach Hahn

One more food for thought:

Also I sang this song:

…poorly

Next week’s podcast will focus on the power of our thoughts. Yeayer.

Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear back from you, friends.

What do you wanna talk about? What’s bothering you? Can I help?

xoxo

 

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Do The Work

As I’ve mentioned once or twice (and will continue to mention throughout the month- my apologies), I’m working on quite a few projects right now. I love doing it, but I do run into issues.

Mostly within my own head.

I’m glad I just read Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work.” I’m very glad I did this. I think that’s the fuel upon which I can continue to push myself and create. In huge part because it gives a play by play of what can happen during the creative process. And because it gives that play by play, you can be ready for the shit as it slowly hits the fan.

The biggest focus of his book is the idea of the “resistance,” which comes as a natural reaction to “creation.” I love the whole concept. It’s simple really- with every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And even though creation is this often physically intangible “action,” it naturally will cause a reaction. And that reaction is this idea of resistance.

Resistance is that little voice inside your head that tells you this idea is terrible. It’s that nagging voice that keeps you distracted during the one hour per day you’ve set aside to write. It’s that voice that convinces you to do the dishes instead of working on the project you have at hand.

I hate that little voice. I don’t like anything about it. And the problem is, I’ve spent years either listening to it or heeding its advice without ever realizing what I was doing.

But after reading “Do the Work,” now I expect it. I know it’s coming. I know it’s a natural part of the process. And I use it as a guide. When I feel strong resistance to some project, I know I’m onto something good.

I’m writing for National Novel Writing Month. Before I even wrote a word of the novel, I started questioning it. I was outlining the last of the characters I want to write about and I started hearing this voice say “This is stupid. This sucks. You’ll never actually get this written. Even if you do, there’s no way you’ll ever get it published. Even if you self-publish, nobody will like it. Why are you doing this? This is a waste of time. Just stop…” You get the idea.

Normally, this would cause more problem in my own mind. Normally, I would listen to this voice. I’d start to work on another project (because I always have a ton of ideas) and I’d never get anything done.

Instead, I was armed with two very important pieces of information.

1. This voice is the resistance. So I’m doing something right because it feels the need to rear its ugly head.

2. I’m doing this for me. I’m partially writing this book with the idea that I could someday publish it. But more importantly, I’m writing this book because I want to prove to myself that I can. I want to get these words and these stories on paper. I want to be a person who follows through on a major projects. In writing this, I’ll be a better person because I’ll become more creative and more empowered.

So, while I still hear that little voice inside my head nagging at me and I listen to it (because pretending it isn’t there gives it more power than it should), now I let it go on and on like Kanye at the Grammys. Then when it’s done and it’s little vocal chords are strained and tired, I smile and thank it for reminding me I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. Then I get right back to doing the work.

To Coach or Not To Coach

That is the question.

Not long ago, I took a mini intro workshop with one of the major acting coaches in LA. It was really cool. I got to see this really experienced and extremely positive coach (and her TA sidekick/hype man) do what she does best. She took a room of total strangers coming from all different acting backgrounds and one by one watched us, coached us, and gave us specific, helpful feedback.

I was extremely impressed and excited after the experience.

I didn’t immediately sign up for classes because I can’t swing it financially at the moment. When I do get a little more cashflow coming my way (which I know is imminent) I’ll be using it to finish off classes at some of the major theaters I’ve already begun. Probably. We’ll see when the cashflow comes.

The point is, one thing I realized while I was in the coaching session is that I’m a producer type. I’m always creating and producing my own projects. I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t know what it feels like to sit around and wait for something to be handed to me. I try and create so many distractions in my own creative worlds and projects that I forget I’m waiting on some other opportunity to come around. That way, if something does pop up, it’s more of a pleasant surprise instead of an absolute need.

I realized this during the class as people went around and told sections of their bios- what they’ve been doing with their time and how they’ve been trained. With one notable exception, everyone in my workshop had maybe taken a couple classes and done not much else. I had to force myself to stop talking before I got to all the stuff I work on because the teacher was done listening. It was an odd feeling. I didn’t want to sell myself short on my accomplishments, but I also didn’t want to take up everyone’s time going through the amount of work I try and take on any given day.

Afterwards, as excited as I was about the prospect of taking classes with this coach and as positive of an experience as I had, something felt a little off. I talked to my good friend (who I met through comedy classes!) about it while on a little stroll in the neighborhood, and she offered awesome advice that just felt right. She said that for a personality like mine, I tend to create my own opportunities. I’m always working on lots of different projects and creating characters that simultaneously showcase my acting and writing abilities. Of course I would benefit from coaching- anyone would- but many times those classes are really great for people like my friend, who are just straight up actors. They want to hone in their craft and learn every element of it to make themselves better. They don’t write their own characters. They don’t produce their own shows. They don’t do nightly performances for the sake of trying to improve their voice as a performer. They act. They take other people’s words, embody that character, and make them reality. I do that- at least I want to do that- but not exclusively.

I began thinking about the difference between the two worlds. I’ve always been a bit of a floater personality, so it’s normal and natural for me to feel like I’m on the fence between several different worlds. I’m not exclusively an actor. If I were to take these coaching classes, I would have to put a number of really exciting projects on hold so that I could immerse myself completely in only acting. This could be good for me in the short run, but it ironically puts a bunch of acting projects on hold that could pan out as better showcases for my talent in the long run. These are projects I’ve been writing and working on for months to showcase my individual voice and acting style. And I’d be putting them on hold to learn how somebody else things I should be saying somebody else’s words.

So I finally decided this: I’d rather be Mindy Kaling than learn how to perfectly audition for The Mindy Project. Mindy is an extremely talented multi-performer (theatrical writer, TV writer, author, actress, stand up, etc). She’s created her own opportunities in this world. She has her own unique voice and style and has demanded the world beat a path to her door instead of trying to follow a bunch of other people’s already existing path.

It’s a longer shot, I realize, to be the woman with her own TV show than it is to have a bit part on an already existing one. But those are the people who’s careers I admire most. I adore Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Amy Shumer, Nick Kroll, Amy Poehler, Pete Holmes, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell (just to name a few). They’re all people who produce their own stuff. And have for years. And the world eventually responded.

I’m not saying I won’t continue to market and put myself out to already existing projects. I love hopping on other people’s bandwagons. I’m already on a few and hope to be on even more. But I won’t do it at the expense of what really makes my soul soar- which is writing and creating and producing my own projects.

Then again, I’m a creative. I could change my mind about this completely by tomorrow morning. Stay tuned right here, folks, to see what happens.

Comic Book Nerds Aren’t The Only Nerds

In case you’re just joining this blog, I want to be clear about something. I like comics. I wrote a whole blog about how I’m getting really into comics and graphic novels here.

But I’ve started noticing a trend in popular culture where people embrace their so-called nerdiness and brag about how much they know about comics and comic worlds. And it seems like the more you know about them, the more “nerdy” you are therefore, in some strange, sick logic, the “cooler” you become.

Sure. People who are really into comics could be considered nerdy. Great. Yeah. I buy it.

But I want to make something very, very clear. They are not the only nerdy people in this world.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve also embraced my nerdiness. But it seems like I’m somehow a lesser sub-species of nerd because I wasn’t into comic books when I was growing up.

So let’s clear up one thing… Comic book nerds are not the only kind of nerds in the kingdom.

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This is me. When I was 10 or 11ish.

Now let me tell you a little about this girl.

First of all, she didn’t read comic books. In this picture, she is proudly showing you how she is practicing percussion for band. She played Alto Saxophone, piano, and took guitar lessons. Here, she is practicing percussion because she wanted to get better at rhythm in order to help her saxophone playing. She did this for fun.

Also in this picture, you’ll see some sweet glasses. They are not fashionable. they broke midway through 4th grade. She didn’t want to get new ones, so she taped them. She taped her glasses. And thought nothing of it. Moving on…

Check out the shoes. They are a size 9. She has not yet had her (albeit minimal) growth spurt. She is shaped like an L. Rather than minimize the large feet, she is wearing comfortable tennis shoes with a zebra pattern. These are her favorite shoes. They make her feet look twice and big. She doesn’t care.

She wears those shoes with mis-matched socks which she has done since she was 5. She continues to deliberately wear mis-matched socks until high school. She doesn’t care what you think of it. She does it because she figures in case you lose a sock and it’s your favorite, you can still wear at least one of them for a while. That is her thought process.

She has a blue knitted vest on. She loves that vest. She wears it all the freaking time.

She has an over-sized Pacers hat on. She doesn’t really care for the Pacers, but felt a hat really finished off the outfit.

Next to her is a book. Could be any book because she likes to read for fun. It’s likely a music book, though because she wants to practice so that she can show her teacher how much she has improved because she wants her teacher to like her best because she is an over-achiever and a suck up. She is first chair saxophone (meaning she’s deemed ‘the best’ at the instrument) and wants to be first chair of all the instruments she plays (even though this is physically impossible) She is this way in all her classes- not just music. She doesn’t care what you think of it.

She sits in the front of her classes because she wants the best view of the chalkboard. She can’t fathom not actually completing the homework assignment. She doesn’t understand why her classmates don’t also raise their hands immediately when the teacher asks for a volunteer for anything.

She doesn’t understand the difference between voluntary and mandatory assignments. She understands the words meanings, of course, because she does her homework- but she doesn’t understand why you wouldn’t do something that was suggested because it could improve your learning. She does all the required and not required assignments. And she’s got no problem with it.

Her best friend is as smart and capable as her. The two of them have physical and mental competitions constantly. In sports, they’re always the two best players on the team. In academics, her best friend is better at some stuff, she’s better at other things. They like to challenge each other and both like having another over-achiever around. For them it’s normal achieving. Nothing out of the ordinary.

This girl has two favorite computer games. One is Mario Teaches Typing, where you play typing games to improve your typing skills. And the other is a Mozart game where you learn about music. The hardest level in the Mozart game is when you have to put one of Mozart’s great symphony’s back into order from small pieces. She’s pretty freaking good at both of these games.

This girl was me. And I’m damn proud of it.

There is plenty more where this came from, too.

No, I didn’t read comic books. But I hope we can all agree at this point that comic book nerds aren’t the only type of nerds in the kingdom.