What To Do When Everything is Crap

August 16, 2011

Flowery Imagery

This is one of those days where I really want to throw in the towel and quit being an actress and just get a job selling financial services to people.  Maybe become the next, Asian Suze Orman.

Here are a few reasons:

My babysitter is leaving us to go to graduate school even though she said she was going to stay with us for a “few years”.  This means I have to wade back into the pool of child care providers and it throws everything into a lurch.

I had a shitty audition for a dude who wants to be the next Wong Kar Wai.  Totally not my thing.  I should have not attended because it was totally wrong for me but I went anyway and felt lame afterward.

This spiritual adviser guy that I really cared for died a few weeks ago.

My dear friend died last week and I had no chance to say goodbye.  I found out about her death on Facebook.  I learned in her final days that they took her bed up to the roof so she could feel sunshine and brought a baby pool so her two little boys could play by their mom’s side.

My usual sunny disposition is a bit cloudy these days.  I have a web series to promote and it’s the last thing I feel like doing.

The latest…

June 16, 2011
  • Today I booked a commercial.  THANK GOD.
  • Web Series is 2/3 of the way shot.  Just one more weekend to go.
  • Today I met with a very good commercial agent my manager set me up to meet.  It turns out my sort of famous director (who is a hot young actor) is with them and we (the agent and I) started talking about him.  The meeting went very well and they totally dig me.  But then I freaked out and emailed my director and asked him NOT to tell them I was married with a kid.  I don’t think I’m paranoid.  I think this is how it is in the biz.  I even ran into one mother (who had her daughter with her) and when I told her I had a 2.5 year old she exclaimed:  “You look so young!”

The latest…

May 16, 2011

The Artist’s tools:  Post It Notes and a dry erase marker.

Baby M creating art...The Artist displays her works.

We pulled Baby M out of day care.

Among other things, Baby M was given junk food if she didn’t eat her lunch.  When Baby M was a tiny infant she was pretty much potty trained.  Now we need to retrain her to potty train.

My husband and I were not crazy about the daycare.  They meant well but they weren’t really able to care for all of the kids.  The caretakers “read” books by blasting a CD on a radio and turning pages on the books while talking on their phones.

The final straw was when I had a conversation with one of Baby M’s primary caretakers:

Me:  How have you been?

Caretaker:  Oh, I’m great!  I just went partying last night!  Had a great time!

My heart sank.  This caretaker thought she was my friend and she was confiding, in a sense, that she was cool and hip.  This daycare thing wasn’t really her gig.

Of course I had to go on auditions and have meetings but at what price?  To have a diabetic kid who isn’t potty trained till she’s 15???

I decided that when summer hit I would take Baby M out of daycare and have a mother’s helper for a few hours at my home.

It hasn’t been entirely easy.  My mommying skills are a bit rusty.  Baby M requires a LOT of attention and engagement.  I have to relearn where all the cool spots are for her during the day (story time, which playground’s sandbox is cool, dance class etc…)  I still don’t talk to a lot of moms and it’s easy to feel a bit isolated.

That said, I’m grateful for this opportunity where I can spend time with my daughter. My career, while not perfect, allows me down time where I can change my entire schedule.  (Actually it should be the same for all vocations.  Shouldn’t all parents get to spend more quality time with their children?  Not matter what their occupation is?)

Baby M and I have a special bond and she is very attached to me.  I feel she is a vibrant yet sensitive soul and hence my reason for wanting to stay with her.  As long as I can be with her and provide a warm, happy home (code for me not going batsh*t crazy), I’ll keep the arrangement.

That’s all parenthood is:  it’s arranging your life the best you can to serve your family the best you can.

7 Tips Overcome Sleep Deprivation & Wonkiness…

May 10, 2011

We flew back from California on the red eye this Sunday and my sleep has been a bit screwy.

I had a hard time falling asleep.  Baby M stayed insisted I take the mattress off of her crib and put it on the floor so she could sleep on it.  (She pointed to the matress screaming “OFF OFF!”)  Around 10:00 she probably rolled off of it and began crying.  I scooped her up and put her back in our bed (I KNOW, IT’S A MISTAKE)

I have a web series to produce, a cranky actor to deal, a crisis with a key member of my team…and what the heck is for dinner?

Since I’ve been hit with many many sleepless nights, I decided I had to come up with some rules of how to deal with it or I shall lose my mind.  I’ve found that “giving up” and “losing my mind” doesn’t really help anyone.  Neither does bucking up and just steam rolling through.  There has to be a happy medium.

1.  Acknowledge that changes with your kid’s schedule is bound to screw things up.  Plan for it.  I knew Baby M’s schedule would be a wreck when I came back.  Mentally I prepped myself for it.  I didn’t plan any rehearsals or meetings for this week.  The goal was to make sure Baby M has a consistent week of Mom time.  This is better for all of us.

2.  When in a major major pinch, there is Thomas The Train, Elmo etc.  I’ve taken Baby M out of daycare because I want to spend more time with her.  It’s a bit of a transition because I spend more time with her.  On nights I have no sleep, I must get SOME rest.  There is time to plop on the couch and rest while Baby M watches some TV.  This is NOT ideal, but sometimes absolutely necessary.

3.  Exercise.  I always feel a lot better when I either walk, run or do weights.  A new yoga studio has opened up in my hood and I’ve committed myself to do yoga everyday.  

4.  Meditate  A perfect way to combat the mind junk and stress.  Sometimes you can even fall asleep when you meditate.  This means you are probably very tired.

5.  Create an evening ritual.  I don’t really have an evening ritual but I’ve decided to reinstate one.  In a way it’s telling yourself that you are to be taken care of and resting your mind and soul are vital.  Ritual is defined as: an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.  For all my joking and smart assery, I don’t believe it’s far fetched to treat yourself in a reverent way.
Here is my [re-established] ritual:

Plan next day
Writing Gratitudes

6.  DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMPUTER AT NIGHT.  This was my mistake last night.  I probably could have gone to sleep a lot earlier. 

7.  Be gentle to oneself.  Instead of saying what you SHOULD be doing or how you SHOULD be sleeping, just be curious and kind to yourself as you would a friend.  No need to self castigate.  In fact, a warm bath, aromatherapy and a nice pair of pajamas might make sleep more fun.

Sleep is one of the best anti-aging and anti-depressant remedies.  It’s one of the most important things for our mental and physical health.  Unfortunately as parents, it’s seen more of a luxury.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity and it’s important to remember that in order to be a good wife, husband, mother, father, doctor, steamfitter, taxi driver, politician, etc you have to take care of yourself.  And if that means hanging out on the couch for a little bit to catch some Z’s…so be it.

Mental Self Care

March 7, 2011

At 1:30 AM this morning, Baby M decided to wake up and cry and demand that lights be turned on.  She didn’t go to bed for an hour.  Needless to say I’m a zombie today.  (Can you say, incoherent post?)

One of the things that is on my mind a lot is MONEY.  As a performer I’ve always prided myself on having a side job while pursuing an acting career.  That has become obsolete since I’ve become a mother.  I’ve been auditioning but most of the time I’m cleaning the house and or cooking (things I suck at).

I’ve always had a black or white attitude towards these things in terms of earning money and being an artist.  That is: either you earn a lot of money or you are a poor artist.  Right now I’m in “poor artist” mentality and it’s completely eating at me.  I liken it to mothers who decide they need to lose weight after having a baby.  My “weight” is earning money and it bothers met that I am not able to earn as much money as I’d like.  Even if I have a husband who can support me, I enjoy earning money.

I decided that not earning money  and not having a steady income was also causing me to stress out.  Yes, exercising, getting acupuncture, eating well etc. are all important things, but I feel earning/saving/investing money are really important to me.  And call me crazy but I don’t feel that being an artist is mutually exclusive from earning a decent wage.

So I will continue to care for myself because I feel it’s very important and I will also focus on personal finance stuff/work which I’ve sort of ignored.  Also

Action steps:

1.  Read: Overcoming Under earning.
2.  Check in on Actor’s Fund finance class
3.  Register with 2 temp agencies
4.  Refocus on submitting, auditioning.
5.  Create a spreadsheet of how much I want to earn per month


Extreme self care – starting NOW

March 2, 2011

I’m tired of being tired.  I’ve been exhausted for the past two years and four months.

Yesterday we had a reading of our web series that my writing partner and I are developing.  It’s very exciting because we have great actors reading and a potential director that I am gaga for.  But before the reading my thought was: “All I want to do is sleep!”.

I decided to go to  Zen Palate near Times Square.  I don’t eat meat and or poultry and I am a huge fan of Asian vegetarian cuisine.  I ordered wonton soup and the delicious broth reminded me of the meditation place I used to go to.  The recipe must be very similar to the Chinese vegetarian cuisine prepared their by the older Taiwanese ladies because it brought me back.

It reminded me of the meditation practice that I learned there.  Meditation always allows me to calm my mind and be more present.

It reminded me that I needed to relax and take care of myself. How can I show up to auditions let alone perform when I’m exhausted and about to fall asleep all the time?

Currently I am:
Not sleeping well
-Not exercising
-Not meditating
-Scattered and doing too many things
-Putting massage appointments off
-Text and or use my computer till 11:00 or later

I need to:
-Exercise – Call the dang Tae Kwon Do place and bite the bullet – TODAY
-Make an appointment for a massage – TODAY
-Focus on ONE project – Drop the graphic novel, drop other random businesses – SIMPLIFY
-Make appointment with acupuncturist downstairs – TODAY
-Guard myself from draining/toxic people – RIGHT NOW
-Go to the meditation temple – THIS SATURDAY
-Self imposed ban with the computer/phone at 5:30 PM

I will make it a conscious effort to care for myself more.  It’s vital not just for myself but for those I love.  Is it really living if I’m grumpy and tired all the time?  It’s just getting by.  It’s doing the bare minimum and just existing.  I’ve been using being a parent as an excuse for too long.  I’m excited to get back to being healthy and am determined to be more like my old self.

Money and Mommying

February 27, 2011

I just came across a post from Ramit Sethi’s blog about failure and just had to share it.

I’ve had many, many, many many jobs. Aside from acting, most of them I’ve been pretty shitty at:

Taxi dispatcher
Host at a restaurant
Personal Trainer
Marketing Associate
Flash Developer
Graphic Designer
Web Designer
Shoe Salesperson

Since I’ve become a mother, I’ve always wanted to start a BUSINESS.  Something that would give me a sense of autonomy and control of my otherwise pretty insane life.  There are a few things that I’ve tried and failed at and I have to admit I felt pretty cruddy about it.

Then I came across this video with Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferris and it’s great. The gist: You’ll fail a LOT and it’s what you’re supposed to do. Have the important things unshakable: Family, health, friends etc. and then go out and try whatever your heart desires. Because the only way to improve, learn and grow is by doing.

Update and Gloominess

February 10, 2011

For some reason I’ve been tired.  Maybe it’s due to the drama with my mother and brother.  (I don’t feel like getting into it).  Maybe it’s due to the weather.  All’s I know is that I want to go to sleep for at least a week.

A few weeks ago we went to Florida to visit  my mom.  You think:  “Oh, Florida!  Awesome!  The beach!”  RIGHT.  Well, vacation with a child is NOT a vacation.  It’s work compounded.  It’s stress times two:  screwed sleep schedule  The last time we went to Florida I came back very sick.  This time I didn’t get sick but I definitely feel lousy.

Parents understand it.  They know that while one is cleaning the damn kitchen and the other is given a bath, asking for a diaper, a tissue, a towel, a new outfit makes you want to go insane.  You feel rubbed raw to the point that putting water in the Brita feels like it’s going to kill you.

Sometimes it’s easy and then it’s an anti-joy.

I had lunch with a buddy of mine who I really respect and think is a terrific person.  He told me that his parents were very successful professionally and not really present in his life as parents.  He said this affected him a lot of ways including going a little wild.  This he told me as my little Baby M is in daycare.

Then there the other extreme: my mother in law, God love her.  She devoted herself 100% to my husband.  She worked at home to care for him and passed professional opportunities to be a mother to him.  To this day she dotes on us and to a degree, is very unhappy because she has nothing to show…except a very together, terrific son.

It hit me.  The balance that we try to strike.  To do our own thing but maintaining a good relationship with our family.  Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming.

Hello 2011!

January 18, 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  After getting back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival I was mentally and physically taxed.  It took me a few months to get back into the swing of things…but I’m back and ready to kill it.

Since then I’ve shot an indie feature, performed two theatre performances and developing a webisode with an awesome writing partner.  I’m in improv class and finally turned a corner and I’m having a blast doing improv.  I’ve been called in for primetime and network TV auditions regularly.

Baby M is now 27 months and babbling and speaking up a storm.  She is funny as hell, she has a wonderful personality and everyday I feel blessed to have her in my life.

It’s hard not to feel like this is my year.

A friend recently asked me if I regret having her or if I resent her because of my acting career.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Because of my daughter, I’ve become a much better person and if I hadn’t had her, honestly I’d have dived back into a full time job a long time ago, still trying to make the acting thing happen.

My acting career is flourishing because of my daughter.  Thanks to her I’ve had this magical time to pursue a career.

I recently had lunch with a writer/director friend who I really respect and for the first time, she said:  “Acting is your path.  It’s your gift.  It’s your duty to go after it.  If you didn’t, you’d be miserable.”

The past couple of years I’ve dipped my toe in the water.  I’ve tested the waters and now I’ve decided to do a canon ball into the pool.  I’m giving it my all and really having a blast.

Whatever your dreams are, go for them.   May all of your hopes and dreams come true for 2011!

Much love, Hottie Actress Momma.

the original milf – jennifer coolidge

August 15, 2010

She’s the headliner here in Edinburgh.  My producer somehow met her at a show and we ran into her on the street and chatted with her for a bit.

She’s a lovely woman.  Blonde and gorgeous.  She’s more than the funny looking woman in American Pie or Best in Show.  She’s smart, she’s beautiful, sexy and talented.

Jennifer was very gracious and said she’d come see our show…we’ll see if she does.  Either way…I adore her!!

I forgot to ask her her thoughts on being an American icon.  When I was pregnant and feeling not very sexy, a friend of mine called me a MILF.  Maybe I should have felt offended…but instead I secretly felt happy…is that lame?  Who knows?  I like the term and I’m going with it.