(Me, Maya Contreras, and my fiance Bobby holding the light meter).
1. What am I most proud of this year?
Remembering all of my niece and nephews birthdays. There are six of them (Justin, Carter, Colt, Brooklyn, Thomas, and Matisse) so it’s no easy feat. Doing my best to be a better Aunt. Also taking an Acting class. I have a BFA in Acting from FSU (and went to a Performing Arts High-school for Acting) but since I moved to New York 10 years ago, I have not tried to put myself out there as an actor. I decided to change that this year.
2. How can I become a better _____________?
Listener. Maybe because I am a Leo, I was always the first one to talk right when I came into a room (and once at Christmas I was asked if I woke up talking). I don’t do that anymore. I want to know how my friends are doing, listen to their stories and adventures. I think I have been better about that over the past few years. Also traveling to see my brothers, their wives, and my gang of niece and nephews.
3. Where am I feeling stuck?
I don’t feel stuck. Although, I would like to travel more.
4. Where do I need to allow myself grace?
Patience with myself. Sometimes when I have to work on other people’s projects I get anxious that I am not working on my own enough. I need to remind myself that there is always something to be learned in working on others people projects as much as my own. To be calm, and I will get back to my work eventually.
5. Am I passionate about my career?
Yes. For a long time I had a hard time excepting the duality in what I love doing. I love performing but I also love writing (and was a producer by necessity). I have thought for years - you can’t do both. And sometimes I would relegate them both to ‘hobbies’ because I was worried that saying “I am an actor and writer” would sound flaky. Not anymore.
6. What lessons have I learned?
I’ve learned (over and over again) that I can be nicer. My mother and grandfather both died when I was a teenager (and my father was never in the picture), so I felt like it was me against the world for a long time. I would burn bridges and had the attitude of ‘if you don’t like it- go f**k yourself.’ I have softened over the years. I understand that my hurt and pain can be a bridge for understanding and that everyone has a level of hurt and pain but that’s not an excuse to lash out. Instead, it is an opportunity for a level of compassion. To be a bit more understanding if someone is having a bad day or having a difficult time communicating that. I find it more more rewarding to make someone laugh then to further aggravate them.
7. What did I my finances look like?
Well, like anyone living in a post-Recession environment I wish they were better- for everyone. I am lucky that I have a partner that works hard to support me and my creativity. It motivates me to work harder and to make a living from what I love to do: perform and write.
8. How did I spend my free time?
Writing, Yoga, and laughing with Bobby.
9. How well did I take care of my body, mind, and soul?
Because I dealt with grief and therefor anxiety for years I have always made my well-being my priority. I went to therapy for years to learn how to cope with the loss of my mother and grandfather and was lucky enough to have a therapist in college that told me I needed to make exercise a habit and I have. I know that I need to work out to help both my mind and body. I just started yoga this year and I love it. I never thought this angry woman would love yoga so much. I get what all the hype is about now. We are so tense here in New York (well everywhere really these days) but you don’t realize just how much until are stretching it all out. I highly recommend that and juicing.
10. How have I been open-minded?
I consider myself an open-minded person but I am a liberal that fiercely doesn’t not understand anyone who would defend voter suppression, homophobes, racism, stand your ground laws, the Tea Party. So in that way I guess I am not ‘open minded’. I will tell you to ‘f*ck off’ if you say anything homophobic, racist, or sexist. I don’t do well with ignorance, but I am trying to tell someone to ‘f*ck off’ these days in a much more witty and sophisticated way- perhaps the way Noel Coward would with a martini.
11. When did I feel most creatively inspired?
Living in Brooklyn, New York, every single day.
12. What projects have I completed?
Wrote and edited a webisode called ‘Writers’ this year. I wrote a play that I will be entering in to Fringe Festival this year. I have edited a half a dozen film projects for friends this year (I am very proud of that). I was a bit more productive the year before - I wrote a play, a pilot, and a film, but this year was more about producing those projects.
13. How have I procrastinated?
Before I write everyday I will read the news for an hour or two. I would like to cut that back to a half an hour. Hour tops. I would also like to make my writing hours in the day instead writing until dawn. I would like to reverse that cycle.
14. In what ways can I re-structure my time?
Hmm. I just said that above.
15. How have I allowed fear of failure hold me back?
Not pursuing acting. I have always been (thankfully) told that I am a good actor (on an occasion even ‘great’) but that was before I got to New York. I was scared that if I went in front of a casting agent here they would say ‘eh, what else you got?’ However the first cast agent I went to smiled and said ‘you are great.’ I felt so good I walked home from 54th street in Manhattan back to my apartment in Brooklyn. No more excuses not to put myself out there. I’m not 21 anymore (not even 31 anymore) but I’m not going to let my age stop me. If there aren’t going to be good parts for older women, I will just write them.
16. Where has self-doubt taken over?
I have self-doubt everyday for a few minutes and then I say ‘oh shut up.’ And go back to writing.
17. When have I felt the most alive?
About 20 minutes after Bobby (now my fiancé) proposed to me this past August. I don’t process good or happy information quickly. It takes me a moment. Bad news I process in seconds, good news I say ‘huh?’ Bobby thought I wasn’t happy with the proposal, while I was thinking “I get to marry that man of my dreams. Wait? Hang on a minute, do I really get to marry the man of my dreams? Is he really proposing to me by the East River with a romantic view of the Manhattan skyline with a picnic that he planned?! This is like a dream come true! Wait, wait…this is too good to be true.” The entire time I was thinking that I had a confused look on my face, what a schmuck I can be sometimes.
18. How have I taught others to respect me?
I respect myself. I feel good about that.
19. How can I improve my relationships?
Listening and not judging.
20. Have I been unfair to anyone?
Yes. But unlike earlier years I know how to apologize now.
21. Who do I need to forgive?
I have forgiven everyone, but have never forgotten.
22. Where is it time to let go?
That I have failed in some areas. I started a business a few years ago (I did it so I could attempt to make a living at writing. Although running the business made sure I had very little time to write- opps). It didn’t work well and I couldn’t pay people what I hoped (let alone myself). I beat myself up about this for a while, but the Recession and bad timing on my part contributed to its failure. I needed to let go that I did something wrong. People run businesses that fail. It’s just a reality and I’ve learned from it.
23. What old habits would I like to release?
Getting angry so quickly. My anger is the speed of a Bugatti Super Sports Car: 0-60 in 2.6 seconds. Time to chill.
24. What new habits would I like to cultivate?
Walking up 8am and writing from 8:30-3:30 then yoga at 6pm, that would be…that best.
25. How can I be kind to myself?
Continuing to do yoga, to eat well, to spend as much time with Bobby and my close friends as possible. Life is short. You can’t hold success but you can hold your loved ones.