Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coo Coo Cachoo

There is a hint coldness in the air. I like it. It means change, and generally I am a little apprehensive of change but after such a turbulent summer, I welcome change with arms wide open.

I feel like this blog is going to be about words that begin with 'ch.' Don't you hate when people announce what their blog is going to be about? But I just here we are.


A couple of weeks ago I was in dire need of a change. A change of scenery. A change of mentality. A change of pace. So I went to Chicago to visit my best friend. If you don't know already, Chicago is a pretty rad city full of rocking people and nice summer weather. I spent a week there. I recharged my batteries and I came back to New York with a skip in my step and a pocket full of new found motivation. Something changed. New York was no longer a place where I was confronted with ample amounts of 'no' but the place I chose to make my life, so by God I was ready to make it work.

Then after some maybes followed by even more no's...I found myself choosing to be dejected and beat down again.

It's only been two weeks since I returned. Quick turn around eh?

For some reason I keep finding myself choosing to give into no and letting myself become the a victim. Why do we do that? Why do we let the doors slam in our faces and then come up with a thousand reasons as to why it's our fault the doors keep slamming on us? Or is that just me?

I am not talented enough.

I am not pretty enough.

I am not what they are looking for.

I am a walking poster child for bad luck.

I am not a person, whom things work out for.

Recently I have made a choice to think those series of thoughts and I've allowed them to pollute my head and discourage me from living the life I have set out to lead.

The only explanation I can seem to find for these choice thoughts of mine (see what I did there?) is fear. Fear of failing. Fear of letting my dreams slip from my grasp. Fear of disappointing my family. Fear of the unknown.

Choosing fear is exhausting...not to mention depressing.

There was a hurricane this past weekend. The weather people said it was going to tear NYC to pieces, leaving us without power, without water for weeks. So out of fear of not being able to bathe, not being able to flush my toilet or brush my teeth or eat, I went to the store and stocked up, then stayed in the apartment for hours when finally me and two of my best friends decided to go outside and enjoy the hurricane, instead of letting it suck the life out of our weekend we ran right into the storm. We played in the empty streets with the rain falling hard. We had epic puddle wars (none of us contracted the plague, calm down) and we ran to a bridge and looked at this epic city glisten in the rain. That moment has secured a spot on one of my all time favorite New York moments. It was liberating and I laughed so hard my sides hurt and I was happy.

With that said, I need to keep reminding myself to choose to brave the storm. I need to remember that although the rain will fall hard and and the wind may be cold, that I will get used to it and although the puddles I step in may be deep, I can choose to splash around in them and laugh instead of struggle in them and drown. And most importantly I need to remember that I have amazing people all around me, braving the same storm and together, we can make the best of it.

Choosing to see the fearful as an opportunity to fill my life with unforgettable moments instead of reasons to fall down seems like a much better option, don't you think?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Battle of the Bulge

Okay so it's been a week and I am already updating. Also, it has only been a week and I completely forgot my password again. So when I was trying to decide if my memory lapse last week was because it had been a while since I logged in or if it was old age memory problems...well I assume you see where I am going with this...

Don't worry I didn't write it down this time and you can expect a similar opening to the next blog I'm sure.

Writers always say finding a start into your piece is the hardest part...not for me said the flea.

Cop out.

I was walking to the grocery store today and the weather was really pretty descent. Barely 80 degrees, sunny and just lovely. I was taking a moment on my walk to relish in the beauty of the day when I saw something that was a little off putting.

A girl jogging.

Now that's not to say that I find females who run off putting or that I am judging this girl's cardiovascular habits. I'm not. But well I have to be blunt...she was a hot mess.

Blood red. Hair stuck to her sweaty face. Armpit stains for days. Boobs poorly controlled. A heavy stride. And a look on her face that can only be described as utter and complete misery.

Okay, maybe I was judging her. But only because I saw myself within her, and it made me uncomfortable. (I bet she would use the same adjective for how I made her feel...semantics.)

Before you completely write me off as a judgemental bitch I have a perfectly sound explanation.

I used to weigh about 200lbs. I wore a size 16 and I ate my feelings. (I have alot of feelings) My weight was a HUGE issue for me growing up and it left me pretty distraught and depressed but I didn't do anything about it. I wasn't one of those people who were comfortable with who they were at any size. I wanted to change. I wanted to be healthy but no diet I went on or exercise regimen I went on could muster the kind of commitment I needed to change. So I just sat around and sulked and ate cookies, Swedish fish and watched The Biggest Loser. Nothing says weight loss more than sugary treats and watching other people run on treadmills.

Then I tried to convince myself I was happy with how I looked. That muffin tops were the new black. That when it comes to chins, less is not more. And that if you are funny, people are more forgiving of your love handles.

Fat Funny Girl, party of Colleen? Your table is now ready.

The well constructed mask I made for myself was bullet proof and insulated with biting wit and a charming smile. It even had rays of sunshine blasting off of that shit.

Little Miss Butterball of Light and Joy party of Fat Funny Girl Colleen? Your table is also ready.

I was pretty untouchable for a good long while. That mask was so damn good that it even convinced me that I was happy.

(Enter the little old lady that could: Terri Hayden)

Who is Terri Hayden? Well she is a 90 year old legend of a woman who teaches acting technique at my school, known for her brutal honesty and her inane psychic powers. Well loved and respected and dare I say feared.

The first time I worked for her went a little something like this:

(Colleen completes the acting exercise. Sits in a chair in front of Terri and her class and waits to begin the dialogue of what Terri just observed. A long pause about 30 seconds in length, or for some 15 years in length.)

Terri: Are you sad?
Colleen: No. Not at all.
(Terri stares at Colleen as if Colleen just said she was Mother Teresa)
Terri: Is anyone else in your family overweight like you?
(Colleen shit her pants and loses her breath)
Colleen: (mumbling) No, they are all in good shape.
Terri: Hello?
Colleen: (speaking more clearly and loudly) NO THEY ARE ALL THIN.
Terry: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
(Colleen stares blankly)
Colleen: Yes, one older sister.
Terri: She doesn't have weight problems like you?
(Colleen shits her pants again and holds back tears)
Colleen: No, she has a really fast metabolism. Wish I inherited that too.
Terri: I wish that too.

(End scene)

Needless to say, I went home and cried after convincing everyone in my class that I was fine and that what she said didn't bother me and then I called a friend and did what every other insecure mess would do in this situation, I talked shit about her and my gracious friend told me that she is crazy and that I don't have a weight problem. Ahhhh sweet comfort and delusions of grandoir.

And then for the next year of my training...every single time I got up to work she would only comment on my weight.

"You remind me of Judy Holiday. She had a weight problem too...and it eventually killed her."

"What do you eat?"

"You used to be a runner?!?!"

I eventually refused to get up in her class. There was only so much I could take and I am pretty sure for every comment she made I gained 5 lbs of shame.

Then finally the last time I worked for her in my first year of training she started into me again when a classmate raised his hand and stuck up for me (said classmate is now holds title of best friend. true story). He asked her why I have to change the way I look for her to think that I was an effective actor. She gazed at me in a very calming and loving way and a sweet smile crept over her face and then she so simply said:

"She's good. But she's not good to herself."

(Cue tears followed by a quintessential self discovery moment)

Terri had been working on me all year. Chipping away at my mask the only way she knew would work, which was tough love. She presented me with my biggest be called out on my crippling insecurity in front of my colleagues. She beat me down, so I could build myself back up (why yes, I just used that cliche.)

She changed my life. I lost lots of pounds since then and I am down 5 dress sizes. Jenny Craig has NOTHING on the 'tricky' and highly appreciated ways of Terri Hayden.

(In elementary school I had to go to the counselor to deal with my fear of people throwing up on me and everyday she had me draw pictures of people in different situations throwing up on me and then rip them up and throw them in the the trash. She CLEARLY should have just thrown up on me instead. Would have saved a lot of time...and paper.)

So tomorrow morning...I am getting up early. I am putting my running shoes on and I am going to be that girl I saw today. Red faced. Sweaty. Heavy stride. A look of misery...but boobs MUCH more controlled. I've feared running for too long now. Face them fears ya'll.

Hotmess O'Connor...running to a borough near you.