Monday, June 25, 2012

Yes. Yes. YES!

"My first word of advice is this, Say yes. In fact, say yes as often as you can. Saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to new experiences, and new experiences will lead to knowledge and wisdom. Yes is for young people, and an attitude of yes is how you will be able to go forward in these uncertain times."

- Michael Hogan
, President of the University of Connecticut.

Sometimes I say no to socializing. I am a loner (but not a scary one in a trench coat carrying a duffle bag). I like to stay at home and work because my focus on my work (which is my passion) is unquenchable. I am a homebody for sure. I travel so much that when I am home, I like to be here. I love my little cottage and the feeling of peace and happiness that sort of wafts over you as you enter. It is a good place to be off the grid. It is safe and warm and comfortable and cozy and full of everything I think I need in this world (except French people). So, many times when people invite me over or ask me out or want to get together or mention a cool exhibit or an awesome concert or hanging in a coffee shop or going dancing or grabbing a drink or a million other things that people do outside their doors, I say no. Work is more important. I am busy. I have this toddler with me now (though she is sort of a legitimate excuse :)  

So, when I read this quote about saying "YES" to things, I thought I was good to go. And then I realized that I do not say "yes" very often to those social gatherings. 

But, that's no big deal right?

I actually do not know. I do not know if my life would be different or if I would have deeper connections with others or if I would have been inspired in some way by some artists that changed my life if I would have just said YES. I just do not know. This not knowing makes me want to start saying yes to things I usually do not say yes to.

I say yes to education. I say yes to travel. I say yes to hard work. I say yes to taking in this little one. I say yes a lot, but I still have one major road block of "NOs" that I want to overcome. One that I think will make my life more tangible.

What about you?

"The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure."

- Joseph Campbell, mythologist, teacher, sage, rad man.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Regret Be Gone

I don't know about you, but when I start nearing my next birthday, I usually do two things:

1. I start thinking about all the things I have not accomplished.
2. I figure out a way to celebrate myself.

See, as an artist, I tend to be very good at the extremes. I can be so kind to myself and loving--hold my own hand and skip through a golden field and sing songs of accomplishment. I can also sucker punch myself again and again like that disturbing scene in Fight Club = EXTREME.

I think a lot of us are extreme in the way we talk to ourselves. Unless we are socially inept, then we have learned the basic skills to be funny and caring to others in our presence....and if it is a 2 year old--forget about it--we are like Mary Poppins 24 hours a day! But what about when it comes to you? Just you?

It is harder, isn't it?

I am better at celebrating my life and my milestones then many people I know. Many people do not believe they are worth the money to fly to Paris for a weekend. Many people do not believe that birthdays are important or that their birth on this planet means anything special. These people make me want to help them. They make me want to plan surprise birthday parties or vacations or something help them realize how much they are loved. But, it never works, because something within them just does not believe it, no matter what others outside of themselves try to do.

For my birthdays I have always traveled, because it is my drug of choice. I have gone to the French Riviera and rented a convertible to feel the wind in my hair. Traveled to Buenos Aires, Paris, Ireland, or even just to California so I could walk on a beach. I have seen the world because I know I deserve to see the world. 

The last 3 years I have traveled to New York City because my passion (to direct on Broadway one day) has drawn me back to that city many, many times each year. 

It is bittersweet.

It is bittersweet because I am always in New York on the day that I am getting "older". And I am always buying a ticket to see the latest TONY award winning play that I have not directed yet. I am not even close. I direct High School musicals. I am Zac Effron's teacher. And while I do sit in the audience taking mental notes on technique and etc, I often let those feelings of regret come sinking in.

I should have done more with my 20s than just travel and ago to school. I should have moved to NYC when I was 19 instead of moving to Paris. I should have started interning on Broadway at 20 instead of dreaming of interning in two years when I am closer to 40 than I have ever been. I should have I should have I should have.

Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever worry that you do not have what it takes because you are comparing yourself to EVERY BODY ELSE?

I say that I have finally found the answer (it only took 34 years!): STAY IN YOUR OWN MOVIE. Focus on your scene. Refine and develop your own script. Stay out of others, especially the dramas (though I have occasionally popped into some Romantic Comedies that I have appreciated). You are the leading lady of your life. You are your own measuring stick. What you have had to go through up to this point was absolutely how life needed to play our for you to go one to accomplish what you dream of accomplishing.

I truly have no doubt that the goals I set are going to come true. 

No doubt.

What about you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He Brought Raspberries

On our first date he didn't bring flowers. He brought raspberries. 

I was nervous. I was still an active Mormon. He was the first non-Mormon I had ever even gone on a date with. I was 30. I wanted out. I wanted something different than I had ever known. 

He was different.

He was tough. Not in a poetic way, but in an "I'll-Kick-Your-Ass-And-Throw-More-Than-A-Cellphon-At-You-Russell-Crowe-Way". He had been in fights, you could tell by the scars on his knuckles. He was not afraid of speaking his mind. He had long hair, and yes, this seemed exotic to a woman who had dated clean shaven men from BYU most of her days. He smoked. A lot. He had a dark side. More than that, he had a "past". He was Marlon Brando in The Wild One and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, all in one, minus the jacket. He didn't give a fuck about pleasing other people, and that is pretty much what I aimed to do ever day. He was my exact opposite in every way. 

I was defined by my innocence and it showed. I was Doris Day in Pillow Talk and Sandra Dee in Gidget all in one. I had long, blonde hair that I still wore in braids. I did not own any low cut blouses. I still liked to watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie. And thus, when the sexual chemistry sucker punched us both at the same time, from the same moment, we were knocked over. It was like that Romeo & Juliet-forbidden-desire-kind-of-a-sucker-punch, and no force was going to stop it. It forced the air out of our guts, so that we couldn't stand, instead we sort of just fell into each other, fast. And for a while, he was all I saw. No one understood it. No one bought into it. One person thought I had brain tumor. It was the kind of experience I should have had at 14, the kind of exploratory mission we should all go on before we are 20, but I was 30, and it was finally happening to me.

Our first date was rainy and the sun was setting. I ran across the parking lot with my sweater over my head. He jumped out of his jeep and met me in the middle of the parking lot located somewhere in Western America. His head greeted mine under the sweater, and we smiled at each other when our foreheads accidentally bumped. Pause. Eye lock. Withheld breath. Uncertainty. Giddiness. I looked away and thought that he was going to be able to tell that I did not belong with him, then I looked up again. His eyes never faltered. He smiled a knowing smile and grabbed my hand. He was in my head already, knowing the thoughts racing there. We ran to his car. He opened my door. I jumped in, taking in his scent and his belongings in the space of a second: a pair of sunglasses on the dash, a worn jacket tossed on the back seat, a frisbee thrown haphazardly on the floor, a pack of cigarettes, and a bowl of raspberries nestled between the parking break and his seat.  

I breathed in the scent of raspberries, cigarettes, car leather, and him.  All my senses, the ones that had been dulled by robot-boy after robot-boy started yawning, stretching, and waking up. He jumped in and shook the steady rain off his jacket. We both tripped over some words.

"I brought you something."
"I was thinking flowers, but you're not that girl. So, I brought you raspberries from my house."
"You grow things?" He did not look like a man who grew things.
"They grow themselves, a little wild and crazy, taking over my whole back yard, but I don't get in their way."
I reached for one.
"Here, wait." He took one and put it on the roof of his mouth. "If you put it here and then press your tongue against it slowly, it will fill your mouth with the sweetest burst of flavor you've ever tasted. It's the only way to eat them." I watched his mouth take in the berry and then saw his jaw work, indicating his tongue slowly bursting the raspberry juice into his a mini-orgasm.
"You try it," he said.
My mouth had gone dry. I gulped. I took the raspberry from the small bowl he held and placed it into my mouth. I let my tongue close around it. 

Burst. Flavor. Release.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The EX-Factor

If you live in Salt Lake City, you are older than 27, and you have had an active dating life, then you know one thing—it is easy to run into an ex.  

In fact, you will not only run into an ex, you will also run into the guy you went on three awkward dates with who never called you back. He will be standing in front of you at Coffee Garden right after you have finished yoga and you are sweaty and not at all ravishing. You will stand there behind him, staring at the back of his head, and debate about just how adult you are supposed to be.  Whatever you decide, you will curse the fact that he is in your coffee shop.  

You will also run into that guy who took you to the Broadway Theater to see the great indie movies you both loved, even though you realized, after holding hands with him in the gritty tale of The Wrestler that he is nothing more than eye candy.

You will run into the man who took you to Urban Lounge because you both wore red beanies and loved Neko Case and he dumped you for this other girl who wore beanies and loved Neko Case because she had bigger glasses than you did.

At the Capitol Theatre you will run into the guy you dated once who does not yet know he is gay even though he talked to you about the brilliance of Billy Elliot for 45 minutes.

And the finale will be that you will run into ALL of these men combined at the Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park on Saturday morning—those are the best times of all. It's like a little party that you would never invite the Queen to.

When you date people who have similar interests as you do, there are only so many places to go in the Salt Lake City. 5 coffee shops, 3 concert venues, 2 organic markets, and 1 great movie theater.

The sort of awkwardness you feel with someone you had a few dates with can be annoying, but not enough to keep you from frequenting your favorite hot spots. But, what if you had a three year relationship with someone? Someone who goes to all the same spots as you because you went to those spots together, and often. What if they are legitimately dubbed your “EX” (and everything that entails).  

Don't fret! If that happens, I have some helpful hints for the person who is the Ex (which is not me, because I, obviously, do not need to change).

If you are an EX, I’d like to help you.  All EX-es should know to follow a certain code of conduct, especially if they feel nothing for the other person, but the other person still feels things for them. This makes sense, right?

Ahem, All EX-boyfriends should adhere to the following basic rules:

1.     They should never appear in public with the new girl they are dating. Especially if that girl is ten years younger than you are. They should not hold her hand in your presence, or whisper in her ear in your presence, or open the car door for her (the one they used to open for you) in your presence.

2.     They should never look too happy or tanned or healthy or vibrant. They should look forlorn and melancholy, like their life ceased to have meaning after you broke up with them.

3.     When they go out in public, they should appear slightly unshaven and their clothes should be a bit wrinkled.  They should look traumatized and on the verge or tears. They should carry around a small mole-skinned notebook that they compose bad love songs about a girl with blonde hair and rosy cheeks.

4.     And this, above all: They should be utter douchebags every time you see them. They should NOT, never, ever, never bring you an umbrella if you are at the concert venue where they volunteer and it is hot outside and the sun is shinning so much and your delicate skin will get burned and they notice this and they bring you an umbrella which they should not have done. They should not offer you water and blankets at this same venue when they see you might be thirsty or cold. They need to not notice you or say hi to you or be kind in any way. They should ignore you, act childish, and look ugly.  It is really that simple.

I am glad we cleared this up.