Forgetting February

 Yep! (Thanks H&M)

Yep! (Thanks H&M)

February happens. Every year February follows January. And every year, I forget.

The post-holiday action of cleaning out the fridge, packing up the holiday decorations, slowly beginning to eat non-cookie items for breakfast, noting the cold and dark days where it is still "okay" to sleep later or nap more often or watch just one more episode (just. one. more), writing thank you notes, printing out calendar pages for the newest year and starting to plot and plan how that year will be spent, etc., etc., etc.

And then: F@&$!*# February!

Every year I seem to forget that February, for all it's sweetness and hearts and cupid b.s., is one of the longest and loneliest months. Many creatives have yet to return from holiday breaks. Budgets have not been approved. Shows sit ready to start production, but the majority are all in the land of 'pre-pro' and voice-over work mostly comes from longtime clients who need a quick turnaround on a low-budget job.

This is the month I often find myself pondering the thought "I'll never work in this (or any) town again"! I convince myself that my choice of career has been a poor one and that I should have gone into real estate or mortgage banking or any combination thereof where fabulous shoes and a closet full of sensible blouses would do the trick.

Thankfully, I have a tribe of phenomenal people in my life. Friends and partners in crime who are here to remind me that it's not me, it's February! The thing about living a creative life is it requires more than anything self-love and self-awareness. Yes, there is the requisite talent and tenacity, the thick skin and the optimistic attitude. But, there is also the need for patience, persistence and being prepared. 

February comes every year. Every year I somehow forget. And every year someone who I admire and who makes my life better is there to remind me I will work again and again and again. Like the seasons everything is in a constant state of contraction and expansion. There simply cannot be a March and April and May filled with expansion without a December and January, and yes, the "F" month filled with contraction.

Kindness

 I love my neighbors!

I love my neighbors!

Lulabelle lives just behind this large sign my neighbor put up a few weeks ago. She is in her pink house day and night, sometimes hidden away in the upper deck of her house with it's warm sun lamp, other times happily lounging in the lower grassy area while chomping on kale or carrots. I stop to visit with her almost every day,  not sure who is more curious: me and my dogs, or anyone driving by witnessing a grown woman talking to a rabbit.

I love living in a neighborhood where a daily chat with the local rabbit is a thing, where an anonymous neighbor leaves dog biscuits for our four-legged family members and where kindness is a value, not just a nice marketing idea used for some hip intown 'hood.

Wishing you kindness today whatever your circumstances and wherever you are in this moment of life!

"No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."  ~Aesop

 

 

Dead People's Stuff

 Small porcelain figures from today's estate sale (one lost her head during the drive home)

Small porcelain figures from today's estate sale (one lost her head during the drive home)

I spent the morning of my dad's "Celebration of Life" service rummaging through the belongings of another dead person. This seems appropriate to me, I apologize if it seems disrespectful to you. But when one of my favorite souls on the planet texts with the message "estate sale! c'mon" I could not say no. John is also the brilliant writer behind GRIEF CLUB the fiction podcast we have been working on, and thus there is no one better suited to sift through dead people's stuff with and then go out for kick-ass bbq!

The truth is, my father died years ago when he chose another family and another life to live - one where I was not welcome or a part of that family. A true turnaround from the entirety of my existence up until then, when as a young child through early adulthood, my father reiterated how I was "....special, because I had been chosen (read: adopted)". Guess the lesson there is if your chosen once, special or not, you can be not chosen another time, especially if you clash with the new shiny family on deck.

Missing my dad's service was hard. I believe everything happens for a reason and the fact that his service was planned for a Friday rather than a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (when I could have attended) is something providential that sometime in the future I'll understand. Today, I don't. So, I spent time looking through another dead man's life. The photos, the clothing, the sheer amount of stuff - it overwhelmed me and I am not easily overwhelmed. 

Estate sales are in my blood. As a child, Saturday mornings while other children slept late and watched cartoons while eating sugary cereal, I was in the backseat of my mom's beat-up Datsun being shuttled from one garage sale to another yard sale to the holy grail of an estate sale! The fascination with how people live, what they buy and keep, value and treasure - all only to end up being stamped with a sticky circle of color that names the price - intrigues me still.

However, I don't want to live my life in such a way that there is a house-full of stuff for strangers to buy after I die. I want to live my life engaging with as many strangers in the present moment that the treasure is that moment, not a weird porcelain figurine, book or other oddity from the past.

So, in honor of my dad who missed the grown-up me, and thus missed some of the best of me, I am going to the theatre tonight, I'll put on make-up and costumes and tell someone else's story on a stage with people only pretending to be my family. I will choose to deeply engage with the moment, the now, not the past and not the future. I'll find a way to celebrate my dad's life as I have always found a way to celebrate my own.

Go In Hard & Ask For The World (or "What I learned from Ellen Pompeo")

  Ian Nicholas  designs the FUNNIEST damn cards like this one! Buy them at  The Beehive  in The ATL

Ian Nicholas designs the FUNNIEST damn cards like this one! Buy them at The Beehive in The ATL

WORTH. Now there's a word that will get people talking, and not always about how much they believe they are worth, or their work is worth, or their time is worth, etc. I struggled to know my worth for far too long. Thankfully life introduced me to a kickass therapist, some fabulous friends, writers of powerful words, body-loving-yoga and repeated opportunities to ask for what I believed I was worth, and to stay or go depending on the answer.

Never would I have believed that I would find a kindred spirit in Ellen Pompeo! Full disclosure: the last time I saw an episode of Grey's Anatomy was the same year I got my very first iPhone (along with a few million others....coincidence??) While I may not be firing up the cable box to watch the past 13 seasons, I will be re-reading this recent interview that Ellen did with The Hollywood Reporter and sharing it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

If you're sensitive to an attractive and successful woman dropping the f-bomb, you may want to skip this. However, if you can move your puritan eyes past that and to the core of what she's saying it is a MUST READ!

The number of times I have wished (yes, of course I asked for it) to see a full script for an episode of 'xyz-show' so that I could best prepare to succeed at my job, only to be told that it won't happen because I'm not the star or the series regular or it's just too likely I'll run away to TMZ and spill all the details of the latest episode of 'blah-blah-blah show' is depressing. I'm worth being paid my quote and given the job, but not worth all the cards in the deck that will help me succeed at my job? Sure, that makes sense to someone, somewhere, just not me. Thankfully,  not Ellen either. Women like her are making the seemingly small choices in a massive industry that trickle down and help all of us do our jobs at the highest level of our capabilities. 

I love that she spoke out about how much she's being paid. I love that she doesn't apologize for being a business person (AND an actor). I love that she called out the studio and network for how quickly they needed "to get a penis in there" and I love that she and so many other women like her are teaching all of us how to be comfortable with power - OUR power!

I do hope you'll read it, take it to heart and feel motivated to make a deposit in the Self-Worth Bank of YOU! Know your worth, then "go in hard and ask for the world"!