life · Misc. Musings · Uncategorized


Eight years have gone by and I’m still dogged by the same feelings of failure every day. Now, I don’t see myself as a victim. Life hasn’t dealt me a bad hand, done me wrong, or anything like that. I constantly sabotage myself. Every day I wake up and tell myself that it will be different, and that today will be the start of a different way of thinking, doing, being in the world. I promise myself each day that I’m going to be focused, productive, organized, fit, and happy. Instead, I find that I have a difficult time concentrating on much of anything, I waste time doing mindless tasks, I’m buried in piles of papers and things I’m desperate to either sort or just plain throw out. Oh, and I’ve gained 30 pounds, making me the heaviest weight I’ve been at any point in my life aside from my pregnancy.

Even now, I have so many feelings and thoughts coursing through my head that I find it truly challenging to separate them out. Where do I start? I’ve tried making lists. I pray. I exercise (OK, sometimes). I can’t seem to get myself grounded or organized. I feel…untethered, adrift. It feels as if my greatest fear is coming to fruition, that when I left acting full time, I would lose my sense of who I was, of who I am. I have this desperate sense that I need to do something, but I just don’t know what it is. Of course, part of that is being the best mommy I can be to my girls, but I do feel that a large part of that role includes modeling a happy, productive, purposeful life. And part of it, quite honestly, is that I’m not solely a mother. I am me, without the roles, without the labels. How am I just me in my own skin? How do I teach two little girls how to be secure in their own emerging hearts, minds, and bodies, when I can’t seem to get a handle on my own?

So getting back to my original question about the self-sabotage- in my search for the key to success, I layer new and interesting things to do onto my daily/ weekly/ short-term/ long-term plan. I feel like I’m chasing some moving target without having a real handle on what that particular target exactly is. Instead of defining the goal then actuating a plan to achieve it, I reverse the whole set up. I just keep adding “interesting” things, blindly trusting that it all will lead me, eventually, where I need to go. Like right now, I’m working part-time, I’m doing a show, I am leading a Girl Scout troop, I am the primary caretaker of the house and the kids, I volunteered to teach religious ed, and just because I have nothing else to do, clearly, I’m the chair of a committee at my kiddos’ elementary school. Because, why the hell not? Now, I expect to be the best at all of this, but in weighing myself down with so many things, I know that I set myself up to fail and to disappoint myself. I go around believing that my talents will show themselves if I do enough stuff; throw enough crap at the wall and something is bound to stick.

This strategy isn’t working. I’ve known it has not been working for 8 years. I know something is inside me; I’ve lost sight of what that might be. I’m terrified I might never discover the essence of who I am.

Gratitude · life · Misc. Musings

A Moment of Thankfulness


In this moment, I am thankful for:

A warm spring night.

The sound of the keyboard clicking softly under the pads of my fingertips.

The insistent rainfall during the night, a welcome respite.

My husband lying next to me.

My daughters falling asleep reading, cuddled together.

The geese honking at the nighttime thunder.

A warm shower after a day of cooking, playing, and gardening.

The quiet to imagine what adventures the next day might promise.

A roof over my head.

My family.

My health.

My life.






Acting · life · Misc. Musings

Acting Silence (or Silent Acting)

I remember sitting in class one day, the FIRST time I was in graduate school. We were talking about stillness, probably in the context of how we were sitting and breathing. Our professor coached us through, engaging questions, asking us to be aware of our bodies in that moment. I have a vivid recollection of discomfort throughout my body; it was so very restless and the practice of stillness felt…almost painful.  I could not get comfortable in the chair, so I couldn’t sit still. At the time, I thought the physical pain had a clinical origin. Perhaps I was so very out of alignment, or out of shape, or maybe even there was just something wrong with me. Or, all of the above, more likely.  I was a walking, talking, breathing living history of my experiences and that wasn’t good or bad…just simply was the way it was. Me.

Going back even further, again back into my acting training, I recall my movement classes. Aside from the fact that—while I firmly believe in the techniques and theories taught—they are sort of caricatures of themselves, there is an irony about them. I know I went into movement class as an 18 year old thinking I would learn how to move, so OF COURSE there should be a lot of moving involved because, you know, movement. But so much of movement class involved what appeared and felt to be decidely not moving. We were instructed at the beginning of every class that it was “the ten minutes in which you do nothing.” When we first began this ritual, our instructor verbally led us through the experience in a sort of guided meditation. But the anxiety crept in when we were supposed to clear our minds and think about nothing. No. Thing. It was at that point when I became silently desperate, trying to push thoughts out of my mind, and in fighting those impulses, created even more thoughts. I panicked. On the inside, of course. “HOW DO I DO NOTHING?” came the silent scream.  “I am not DOING nothing right because I have all the thoughts! I’m thinking about not thinking!” I felt a little like Ray Stanz in Ghostbusters:


Still, the idea of just taking a minute to be fully present in a space took practice. What I found was in opening myself up to allowing thoughts to pass through, I had more autonomy about engaging with thoughts, than if I tried to shut them out.

I settled into stillness. Well, more precisely, I came to a place where I could coexist with it. I welcomed it. Sometimes, the restless discomfort was there, but I had to acknowledge it in order to move on.

Flash forward to now. I’m trying to tune the noise out. It’s a noise addiction. Even now, as I’m writing, as I’m enjoying the quiet hum of the fan above me (and a little indignant at the sound of an airplane flying overhead, intruding on the night quiet)–with no television, social media, radio, internet—I’m longing for it. I yearn for this time, this place, this space to hear my thoughts, and my first impulse is to drown them out. Like some messed up sugar addiction, I try to cut out the sweets, and savor the lightness in my body and the energy it begins to feel, only to hear my inner voice thinking, “As a reward for feeling so good, you should get a treat. Sugar!” And while social media can get me amped, it quickly exhausts me, leaving me deflated, numb, and reflexively reaching for more of… less.

Maybe I think the noise will give me my thoughts, will set me on the right path toward self-enlightenment and what I hope to do in this world. But these inputs merely obfuscate the whole situation. They crowd out—and sometimes even work to replace—my own thoughts. I’ve been moving and filling the space with so much that I no longer recognize my own thoughts through the din.

So I’ve made pledge to myself, imperfect as it is. Among the million and one self-improvement promises, I am starting with some silence each evening. Some pause. Some breath. Because just as I learned those many years ago, many times over, that singular breath will both birth and ignite my impulse. My truth.

Misc. Musings · Uncategorized

A Walk

“Oh if life were made of moments-

Even now and then a bad one-

But if life were only moments,

Then you’d never know you had one.”—The Baker’s Wife, Into the Woods


Walking with the girls tonight, I had one of those lightening moments, suspending me in its hyper reality for the briefest time. The girls rode their scooters up ahead of me, lit horizontally by the sun setting behind us. Between myself and the girls, a newly paved path rolled, comfortable and certain in its relative newness. On either side, green grass- so vibrant, especially in contrast to the blackness of the asphalt path-already thick and lush from the dutiful and probably bloodied, calloused hands of some landscaper, seems to insist on spring’s arrival-which, for the record, is fine by me. Adolescent trees mark the age of the immaculately coiffed subdivision, thankfully old enough for leaves to endow the wind with a fair bit of rustling voice. But on this evening, the wind is not in a hurry. It lacks the urgency of a storm front; now that we’re on the western end of the suburbs, this weird transition zone where sprawl meets small town, the weather changes show their faces pretty clearly. Together, everything moves and suspends, simultaneously, at this singular point in time.

I have the urge- or rather, the conditioned response- to quickly scroll through my phone to take a picture, worried that I wouldn’t remember this exact moment, that I need to preserve and share it or it never happened (i.e., if a tree falls and it doesn’t get put on Vine/FB/ Instagram, did it even happen?). I don’t know if it is laziness, anxiety about missing the moment altogether or what, but my hand never makes it to my pocket. My phone remains undisturbed. I lift my eyes. I walk forward.

I breathe it in and realize I am happy.

For just a breath.

Or two.

I think.

Then wafting, ever so quietly, the doubts weave themselves back in through my consciousness: “Are you sure you’re happy? What is a city girl like you doing being happy here?” Then, more insistent and cruel: “This will never last, you know. It never does. Something awful will happen, it’s inevitable.” In an instant, all of the specific worries of my life- kids, my husband, employment, health, career, finances, and oh my lord, will I ever get this house unpacked or will we just live out of bins and chaos indefinitely- come tumbling with reckless abandon, washing over this lovely, peaceful moment.


Good Lord, those voices are LOUD. At this point, the cerebral chatter devolves into a cacophony of bickering. I ignore it as best I can; it’s background noise. So the moment’s gone, and I didn’t record it- not for posterity, for me. I’m at a place right now where I don’t trust I can remember anything without recording it, particularly these small, deep moments of joy. I manage to remember the difficult/ painful/ angsty ones, and I never have any trouble feeling at times like those times dominate my timeline.

Maybe, in actuality, it’s less about remembering these moments of joy and more about sustaining them. After all, as I just said, I don’t have trouble recalling the string of painful times littering the chronology of my life. I’m certainly not holding my phone up to them, recording them to play them back in some weird, masochistic ritual. In my awkward, human animal way, I’m trying to materialize my experiences to touch them, smell them, see them, feel them just a little bit longer. But in order to make them tangible in the form of video and picture means that I miss the actual experience altogether; the camera casts me as an outside observer trying to capture a fleeting moment, and shoves me out of participating in my own life, even those moments of happiness. The camera displaces me; it experiences the event, while I remember recording the event. For me, the memory becomes about recording something, and no longer about the actual something.

But aside from this complex and complicated 21st century relationship between me and technology, I also realize that moments of joy, of clarity, of happiness are so characteristic because of what they are not, which are the very places they originate: pain, struggle, confusion, sadness. No, I won’t always feel elation, nor will I be stuck in the abyss of despair. Mostly, I will reside in the middle somewhere, working to make things better, hoping to avoid the worst. But there are no guarantees, and sometimes I think that’s simply an uncomfortable place to be.

For a moment.

But the next moment…?

Oh, right- that’s life.