90 Days to Disappointing Glory

Over the past 90 days, I embarked on a little self challenge. I did an acting self tape every day. Like, every day.

My goals were plentiful, but the main focus was improving my self tape skills and making it something that I just do easily and without questions. There was also a technique for self tapes that I learned not long ago that I wanted to keep sharp (especially because I wasn’t going to be in classes for a bit).

I had a ton of travel on my schedule. I had plenty of other things on my plate. But I did it. I did a self tape every day. For 90 damn days.

Yet, the title of this post as the word “disappointing” in it. Why?

Well, my friends, that’s because my quiet goal was actually 108 self tapes every day. It’s a weird number, but any of you yogis out there know that 108 is a magical number of transformation. I quietly told myself 90 would be amazing. But I figured by the time I got to 90, I’d be able to just keep plowing through to get to that strange and wonderful 108.

That wasn’t the case.

Instead, I found I was often phoning in the self tapes. Sometimes, it was by necessity. I would be traveling and simply didn’t have ten minutes to set aside to get on tape. There were other times my travel plans went awry and I thought I’d have time and I didn’t. I was in about 20 states on the east and west coast and plenty in between (some multiple times) over the course of these 90 days. So, for me, the fact that I could keep up the commitment to putting myself on tape every day no matter what was totally worth it.

But by the end, I was drained. I was physically exhausted and creatively pretty numb. I still kept up my self tapes but I was phoning it in. The last self tape was me doing one line from a movie (a famous line, to be fair). I tried to give it my own spin. I was simultaneously rewriting a feature script I’ve been toying with for years that I finally have the motivation to redo. So, again to be fair, I wasn’t doing nothing. I just wasn’t focused on the tapes.

And when that magical 90 hit, something in me said “We’re done.” Not that I won’t do more tapes, I actually have made some promises to writers that tapes are coming (and if those writers are reading this, they’re coming!). And I really enjoyed the exercise and, for the few real self tape auditions I did get sprinkled in there, it certainly made it easy since I was already in the groove.

But part of me feels like I failed. I set out for a certain number and I didn’t do it. This is a habit I have of setting myself up for something pretty intense and then often petering out just before the finish line. That’s why and where the “disappointed” comes from.

I let myself wallow in this for about a day. And then I looked at the body of work I had accomplished and listened to my own instinct which is begging me to spend more time focusing on some other projects, and I accepted it. Though these tapes didn’t take a ton of time, I wasn’t devoting the type of energy in the end I needed to devote for them to have any benefit. But I was going through the motions, which is something I’m not a fan of.

On Monday (day 91), I took a long look at myself in the mirror and asked if we were doing this. I knew the challenged of the week ahead and the focus that has been begging for me to put it in other places. I know this weekend I’d be heading off to celebrate my husband (who helped me do these self tapes no matter what his chaotic schedule and despite the fact that he is not – at all – an actor). He’s celebrating a major career goal and the last thing I want to do is ask him to pause time from his own celebrations to do my thing for a minute. We’ve done a lot of my thing over the past three months. We can take three days and do his.

There’s an ambitious part of me that’s angry I didn’t finish those last 18 days. And the funniest part is, a lot of my actor friends are beginning their own self tape challenge in May. So it’d be a great time to get motivated by other likeminded people do to something like this and follow through.

But I’m on my own journey. And I’m learning from every major accomplishment, minor victory, and overly ambitious disappointment. I appreciate things most when I actually focus and follow through. And sometimes that means pulling focus from one thing to have energy to focus on another, rather than trying to half-ass a bunch of things simply because I said I would.

90 days of self tapes, especially given my atypical travel schedule, is something to celebrate. Other people’s challenges and journeys are their own. I can let them inspire me and need not worry about missing out on them. In the interest of balance as a human and creative person, it’s okay to tap out now and still revel in the glory rather than berate myself for the misses.

 

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Make It About Something

I know it doesn’t seem like I’m giving it my full attention. And to be honest, it’s not getting all the attention it deserves. At least right now. I’m working on a couple other projects this month that are taking my focus away from it. But it’s temporary. I love the Femoir world very deeply. I want it to be an extension of my own voice and to continue going on in many different capacities.

So even though it doesn’t always seem like it, this little show is a personal passion of mine. And I think about it often. It’s always somewhere in the back of my brain simmering. Trying to think of how to make it better. Trying to think of how to make it funnier. Trying to think of the best mediums through which to tell the story. Trying to think of how best to get my voice out to the world through Femoir.

The other day, I realized something major while in the middle of one of one of my recent breakdowns (which have been more frequent in many aspects of my life and I’m trying to see as positives because once you’re broken you can be built back up again as an even better version of yourself).

This is what I realized. I have been taking a bit of the Seinfeld approach to Femoir.

Which is similar to the Abbott & Costello approach.

Silliness for silliness sake. A series of sketches that makes sense because they’re an extension of the life I’m currently living, but not necessarily following any sort of theme. A series of characters put together to reside in the same space on stage for a short period of time. Or, in the case of the podcast, creating an arbitrary theme so that I can have a series of characters and ideas centered around it.

While I think there is some value to this process- mostly because I get to force myself to constantly write and come up with characters for no particular reason- I think it’s a selfish endeavor. I think it serves me more than the audience. I think the stage show and the podcast could be so much better if I told a story. And even better if that story came as the result of circumstances in my life that were real and important in that moment.

As of now, I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable onstage and on the podcast up to a point. These are my words and my ideas and I’m sharing them with you in the hopes that you’ll like them and be entertained by them. There’s definitely a vulnerability in that.

But in the midst of all these intense shifts and changes in my life, I think I can do more. There’s a power in letting people share a journey with you. There’s a power in telling a story that means something. There’s a power in focusing on some real aspect of your life and letting that inspire the humor, rather than choosing something arbitrary and figuring out some aspect of your life that you can fit into it. I can’t ask the people in my world to let me be a part of their lives and to be vulnerable to me, when I admittedly hide my own story and vulnerability behind characters.

Granted, I’m good at characters. And I like doing them. And I want to continue doing them. But I need to push beyond. To challenge myself to find that something more. And I don’t know what it is yet, but I do know that this whole Femoir world is missing something.

It’s hard for me to shake some of the shiz that’s been on my plate lately. Doing arbitrary podcasts and sketches just to get something out there is possible- but maybe not the best use of our time. As one of my favorite improv teachers would say, “There is no wrong, but it’s a lower percentage choice.”

I think the higher percentage choice might be to open up a little more. To be more present in these podcasts. To tell a story through Femoir. To allow myself to let it be a story, rather than just a series of ideas strung together. To take the time to ask myself why I want to have all these particular characters or ideas put together. To create a theme based on my life right now and to let that theme be clear. In doing so, then I can more clearly (hopefully) relate to other people who are going through different aspects of their life. They can laugh with and at me. We can be frustrated or overjoyed together.

I’m not sure what all this means yet or how it will translate to podcast or stage. But I just want you to know I’m thinking about it. And it will come out somehow.

Let’s find out how together.

Change, change, chaaaaaange

I feel weird admitting this, but I’m actually seeing changes in my body.

I started this short adventure focusing on weight lifting with the specific goal of trying to see change within my body. I had been running for a long time and while there are definitely some changes long-distance running creates in your body, I felt it had flat-lined a bit and I was working for hours every week without seeing the results I knew possible.

And I’ve been lifting about six weeks now and dagnabbit, I’m seeing some changes! For me, the most obvious place you can see change is in my abs. I have some definition coming through and there is definitely less fat being held there than before. My arms look a little stronger and more defined and even my tookus is smoothing out.

That’s right. I said tookus. Very scientific. You’re welcome.

These are subtle but exciting changes for me. They give me a little confidence boost that makes me feel extra sassy. Sure, my weight is the same as it has been for years (see my previous post “You Look Like You’ve Lost Weight”), but I genuinely think it’s changing over to more muscle and less excess fat.

And that’s pretty cool.

I’ve been doing the same few lifting routines the whole month and will continue to do them through next week. Mostly because they’re pretty simple, easy to do, well balanced, and work for me for now. I may change up my weights and reps within the routines- obviously- but for the most part the lifts will stay.

Because they seem to be working.

Sweet.