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On Friday, I overheard an endearing little conversation between a mother and her young daughter. A glance showed the girl to be about 4 I’d guess; her mother in her 30s. The girl was anxious and scared by a man she’d seen who had “so many tattoos!”
Her mom asked her if it was just the tattoos that made him look scary. The girl admitted yes, it was just that there were so many, all over his arms. The mom tried to explain that tattoos were nothing to be scared of, they were just pictures (“there were dead people!” — skulls maybe?) but the girl was having none of that.
The mom paused for a moment then shifted the perspective. “What if,” she asked, “that scary tattooed guy was really frightened by little red-haired girls?”
I could almost hear the girl’s eyes widen, “You think so? You think he got the tattoos to keep me away?” The mom said it could be true, and just like that the girl’s whole demeanor shifted and she changed the subject to talk about a project at school.I wonder if she would find me scary, too?
Inside the last six months, I’ve added 3 tattoos to my body, and I know I want more. My last one, Pan has proven difficult to hide now that short-sleeve weather has arrived but my new one is even more visible as it’s on my forearm — and it’s creepy. This little guy is a Tooth Fairy from Hellboy II. Kiddo always thought the Tooth Fairy was a sadistic little monster, taking kids’ teeth and jamming them in infants’ mouths, so when I saw these calcium-hungry little beasts, I smiled. I also love both the artists that came up with the concept — Mike Mignola and Guillermo Del Toro — so it was an easy YES when Jesse posted the art a few days ago asking who wanted it.
As much as I don’t want to scare little kids, I’m completely happy with my decisions, even if it means I will be explaining them to (at least) half the people I encounter. I find it hard to curb my habit of buying “things” — especially when I have nowhere to put anything! — but putting my money toward tattoos means I can buy art and carry it with me always.Fewer things, more things I love.
A few years ago, when The Secret (a repackaged version of the ages-old Laws of Attraction) was all the rage, the rule was “Ask, Believe, Receive” — and the core of that is, as far as I have found, fairly reliable in that it becomes your focus at least subconsciously so that you are more likely to attract the people who can make something happen or be attracted to situations that will put you closer to your goal.
Today I was at a gathering where the hostess mentioned the book Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver (I’d like to read it) and talked about the concept of skipping the asking part, internalizing the believing, and just being open to receiving what the universe has to offer. It resonated with me like a gong.
In part, through my spiritual explorations, I’ve been more open to just hearing what is being said — listening more to my intuition and reading signs; paying attention to little coincidences and synchronicities — and following those threads. In part, this is also how Year of Yes works — being open to opportunities that are presented.
As if this gong wasn’t vibrating loud enough I pulled my weekly rune before dinner and it was GIFU, gift, which confirmed the message: be ready to receive.
OK, universe, bring it.
Yesterday, as part of my Year of Yes, I auditioned for a play. It was pretty much a whim at first — a friend had posted the call and I just thought the play looked fun. I was told to prepare a short monologue, which I did — and I rocked that — but before we went in, we were also told there would be a cold read of part of the script. As I read through, I realized that meant I would need to demonstrate classic exotic dance moves which would have been easier if (a) I had practiced something in a mirror and (b) I wasn’t fighting a very sore back.
I almost chickened out. Before I left the house. Then again as I sat in the parking lot, texting a friend that I was freaking out (they told me “You got this!”). Then several times as I sat in the Green Room feeling very out of my league as all the other people knew each other from local theatre and one of which I am sure I have seen on stage. I also glanced at the form I had to fill out. Most recent experience…. um…. that would be our Fringe play in the summer of 2000. Special stage skills? none. Vocal range? *glances at exit* no clue. Member of ACTRA? *outburst of laughter inside my head*
But, I was going to do this. I posted a photo of myself sitting there (a photo I actually kind of love), reading the script and trying to figure out how best to approach it… and before long, I was called in for my turn.
I performed my monologue — and I nailed it. I even managed to scare up some real tears at the end. The cold read was much harder. I had difficulty reading and making eye contact with the audience (director and playwright) and the dancing… well, I have no clue how half-assed that came out like. =shrugs=
I was told right away that my choice in monologue was “ballsy”(see my rehearsal below) and that they’d let me know in a day or two what the decision was.
Tonight they called and let me know that they went with someone else but the director did say “there was so much you did that we just loved,” and they hoped to see me in more local theatre. I also got a lot of complements from friends who’ve never really seen or knew I acted — and let’s be honest, my roles, once I left junior high, were few and far between. But it was nice to be reminded that I am a good storyteller with other people’s words as well as my own.
The hardest part of the whole thing was the 40 minutes between arriving in the parking lot and being called into the room to audition. My brain pulled out every dirty trick to discredit my skills and abilities. Impostor syndrome was on full tilt. Anxiety was pretty high. I was at least glad my stomach was full so it wasn’t growling or distracting in any way. I was worried, too, that I’d dressed wrong — everyone else was dressed conservatively or casually whereas I was trying to channel the character — a retired exotic dancer living in a trailer park up-island — so I wore a garish cleavage revealing top, and strappy heels. It did help me get into the character…. and I did beat my brain back with a stick. It was difficult though. Until I was done. Then the waiting to see if I got it, not hard at all. The rejection? Also fine — others were far more bummed than I was.
So.. is this something I will do more often? We’ll see… but now I think others know that I am willing to be out there and try, so we’ll see what the universe offers.
My rehearsal run through of my monologue — outside the theatre about 5 minutes before going inside. Be warned, there is, as the film censors say, “adult themes and language” in this piece.
After a lot of years of entangled and co-hosted websites, Shawn and I spent several hours over a few days earlier this month and split out the hosting of our websites. The result should be no different on your end — it’s all behind the scenes stuff; digital redirection — but if there is something you cannot find, give me a shout.
Unfortunately, one of my sites, Views of Victoria is rather messed up — partly my own fault as I let my domain lapse after many years — and is still down for the count. I have a replacement domain, and I want to rebuild the site as WordPress instead of Drupal, but it is waaaaaaay down my list of priorities so that isn’t happening any time soon. I got this blog up and running (big thanks to Shawn for troubleshooting the problems we encountered), and moved my basic intro/overview (and edited that today). In addition I have my main business site, my craft site, and my writing site all functioning. For now, that’s enough.
Priorities have been in constant flux of late — I find myself juggling rather a lot. February was all but consumed by the Victoria Tool Library crowdfunding campaign. Adding dating into the mix complicated things, as you might expect, but also the Year of Yes: coming up, I am auditioning for a role in a play (this Wednesday), the first time I’ve had to pick a monologue and rehearse, and at the beginning of May I will be reading some of my old diary entries at Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids.
For April I have signed up with CampNaNoWriMo to revise my manuscript for Undead. I printed all 142 pages (which only jammed my printer twice) so that I can make notes by hand offline and revise fresh. I can’t remember where I read it but someone had suggested the best way to revise was to type the whole novel in again, from scratch. If for no other reason than it will make for easier word-count tracking, I may just do that.
All things considered, my life right now feels like one giant schedule — to the point that when a few things fell off my list this weekend and I was left with two full days to myself with nothing in my calendar, I was a little giddy (and subsequently avoided doing a couple of small-but-important things. They’ll get done this week.). Don’t for a moment imagine I am complaining, though. My disruptive, too-many-balls-in-the-air, schedule-crazy life keeps me quite happy.
The key to improv is to not only say yes, but to say “yes, and” which allows you to add to the situation. Turns out, it is a good way to go through life, too. It can also be scary — especially for a confirmed introvert like myself; I need a higher-than-average amount of alone time to recharge my batteries. (Sometimes, social interaction is not just uncomfortable, it throws me into a fight or flight mode). Luckily “yes, and” doesn’t have to mean social events all the time; it is part of my “year of yes” but not all of it.
The Year of Yes is about me saying “Yes” to experiences and activities or “Yes, And” to ideas. It is about challenging myself and it is also about getting offline, being present, being open, being flexible, and being positive.
I first wrote about it back in March of last year. I knew then that I wasn’t quite ready, but I felt like I could be ready by June; however, 2015 had other plans for me. So, I’m going to give it another shot.
Here’s the limits I put in initially — I think they are all still valid:
- illegal activities (no, I will not join you on that heist, not even dressed in Firefly garb)
- conquering my fears (e.g. heights; this is not the right venue for those challenges)
- financially prohibitive activities (I probably cannot afford a flight to New Zealand, for example, but I wouldn’t rule out Seattle or Vegas; I do have a valid passport.)
- conflicts with prearranged plans or responsibilities (I won’t ditch work, bail on kiddo, or juggle already-scheduled commitments, but if there is room in my calendar or if room can be made, I will do it. (I figure this will allow me to schedule in some “alone time” to deal with introvert overload.)
- dangerous activities or those I know are outside my current ability (i.e. there is no way I am ready to run a marathon this year and I am not going to try stunt driving, scuba diving, zip lines, or bungee jumping)
What am I hoping for? I am hoping to spend time with people and do things I might not think to do myself. Good examples of things I did last year that fall under #yearofyes
- I took on the challenge of writing a play (I still have to finish that, but I got a good start!)
- I attended a goth night hosted by a friend who DJs
- I went to a lecture on Celtic Spirituality (I did this on my own but it was suggested to me by a friend)
- I went to the Saanich Fair and ate ridiculous amounts of carnival food while looking at animals and plants and creative endeavors
- I took the Introduction to Core Shamanism course (and found some very helpful tools)
- I took on the 2015 Reading Challenge and read books I normally wouldn’t pick up.
- I joined a group of people I didn’t really know to play board games on Halloween night.
And stuff I am already doing this year
- I started dating again
- I took a Spanish Cooking class
- I got a large tattoo done in public at an event
- I took on a new role in labour activism
But it is not just about the big things; it’s the little things. It’s saying yes to dancing. Saying yes to whipped cream on my latte. Saying yes to coffee meetings and dinners with friends. Saying yes to a positive outlook — and saying no to my inner critic.
So, please, if you think of things you’d like me to do with you, just ask — chances are I’ll say yes.