The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Do You Hear the People Sing? May 17, 2018

Hello all!!  Wow, am I all over the map today.  I have the whole “Do You Hear the People Sing” thing stuck in my head because… it’s the last day of school AND Les Mis auditions at Ardmore Little Theatre were five years ago tomorrow.  OBVIOUSLY I’m an emotional wreck. But totally in a good way.

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First, the last day of school is a major milestone.  It feels like barely a few days ago I was working in my classroom, getting ready for school to start, being scared, nervous, intimidated, and completely unsure if I were supposed to be here.  I made it through the year though, survived all the moments when I felt like I should run away and become a sheep herder in Tibet, and kept plowing despite a somewhat critical bout with depression.  I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the first year of teaching is about like the first year of college:  I’ve probably gained at least fifteen pounds since I was hired.  Still, it’s been a good year.  I’ve tried to operate in a mode of loving these kids and remembering that they ARE just KIDS.  They are not fully formed humans yet, and they can be jerks on occasion.  Sadly, many adults can be jerks too, but that’s another post.  The point is… IT’S THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!! WOOOO!

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Second, the anniversary of the auditions for Les Miserables (I don’t know how to type it with all the correct little accent marks) is tomorrow.  FIVE years ago tomorrow, I got on a stage and sang in front of strangers, and opened the door to a world I couldn’t have imagined.  It has brought me some of the greatest joy and the worst pain I’ve experienced in the last few years.  Between great new friends, disappointing audition results, crushes that were not meant to be, sharing the worst pain of those new friends,  celebrating victories and learning new things I never knew I could do… theatre has been a blessing in my life.  Note: the featured image of this post is my best friend who I met at auditions and who played Madame Thenardier.  She was and is nine kinds of awesome!

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I haven’t been actually ON stage in a long time, because I allowed myself to feel like I was too fat and ugly to be up there, (and also that I wasn’t really a good enough actor) but I’m hoping to conquer that this season.  There are a couple of shows I wouldn’t mind auditioning for, directors I would love to work with, and of course, the chance to reprise a role and play the same character I played when I first started, when we produce a new entry in the Buttermilk series: A Dark and Stormy Night at the Buttermilk Hotel, written partly by one of those new theatre friends.  I’ll have hopefully had my weight loss surgery a few months before the Buttermilk play is ready to audition, and I’ll be feeling a lot better about my weight. I’m also probably going to start working with a practitioner of FDN, functional diagnostic nutrition, and getting some health issues solved even before I have surgery.  We’ll see how it works.

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So back to the last day of school.  I just feel like I want to try to remember everything.  So far it’s been a good day, but it’s only 2nd hour!  I’m going to finish this post and grade the tests from 1st hour.  Let the day only go up from here!  And in only three weeks, I’ll be on my way to ALASKA!!! Yessss!

Until next time,

D.

 

 

Big Dreams and Near Horizons April 30, 2018

Hello all!  This has been a crazy year and I have really fallen off the habit of updating this blog.  With any luck, maybe I can improve upon that.  Let’s see.  Where to start?

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One of the biggest things that has been going on has actually just concluded.  Last night was the final performance of the final show of the season for my local community theatre, and * I * was the director!  The show was called Ripcord.  It was about two little old ladies who live in a senior center and share a room.  One of them is bitter and jaded and cranky, and the other is perpetually perky, chirpy and talkative.  The cranky one wants the room to herself (of course) and the perky one just wants the bed by the window.  They decide to make a bet.  If Cranky Abby can make Chirpy Marilyn mad, she wins.  If Marilyn can make Abby scared, she wins.  They begin to pull all kinds of pranks on each other to win the bet and achieve their ends.  It’s a wonderful script, and it was a wonderful show.

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The experience started with auditions back in mid-March and ended last night with the final performance and set strike (arguably the least enjoyable part of community theatre, or any theatre, from what I understand).  I was blessed to be able to cast a bunch of really talented people, and also had some VERY talented set designers and light designers.  They helped me out every step of the way and I couldn’t have done it without them.

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I expected to be emotional at the end.  You know, to cry during the final bows of the closing performance, but I didn’t.  The only time I cried was actually the second night, when they had had an exceptional performance and a great audience, and I cried during one pivotal scene and during the final bows that night.  Last night, all I felt was pride and relief.  People keep asking me if I’m going to do it again, and even though there were moments when I said “NEVER AGAIN!” I will probably end up doing it if the right show comes along.  I expect that to take a long time though, and I would really like to try to be back ON stage again first.  Right now, though, I feel too fat and unattractive to be onstage, and I don’t plan to audition again until I lose more than a few pounds, which leads me to one of the next big things I have hopefully coming up this year.

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Since I returned to teaching, I found out that our insurance covers weight loss surgery.  I have been contemplating doing that for a long time now.  Within the next month I am planning to start the process toward surgery and will hopefully be having the procedure done in September or sometime in the fall.  I’m not sure which procedure it will be; it all depends on what the doctor recommends.  In the meantime, I have something REALLY special to look forward to, and it is one of the biggest dreams I have had for many years.

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The Boy and I are going to Alaska!  Yes, indeedy, we have a vacation planned to Alaska in June.  I haven’t been back since I worked there in the summer of 2015 (one of my most amazing adventures EVER!) and now that I will have some free time in the summer, I’ve saved some funds and I’m taking at least ONE of my kids and showing him the most beautiful and awesome place in the world!  I’m SO looking forward to it.  I can’t wait to show him the places I went and the things I got to do.  I’m just really praying we have a great time.  I have so much planned!

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That is, of course, all depending on surviving the last few weeks of school.  I totally expect to be fine, but these final days of the school year will be challenging.  The kids get restless, the schedule gets busy and packed with interruptions, and the days get hotter.  I know I won’t have too many difficulties, and if I do, at least I have some big things to look forward to, and one big thing to look back on, and hopefully that will keep my head above water.

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With that, I need to get back to lesson planning.  So many things to anticipate, it’s hard to keep my focus, but the only way to get to where I want to go is to pass through where I am.

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Until next time,

D.

 

Teaching, Directing, And Other New Adventures July 22, 2017

Hello all!  What a hot, hot day here in my world.  So much has been going on lately, it’s quite crazy.

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First of all, I think I have probably posted before about going back to college, getting my degree after 30, my one year of teaching, the tornado, the house fire, how difficult it all was, and how I survived and grew stronger, but I didn’t really think I’d ever be able to teach again?  Well… I wouldn’t have believed it, but the Universe had other plans.  An opportunity arose, I seized it, and now I am the new 10th grade English teacher at my hometown high school!!  It’s almost miraculous, honestly.  I would probably never have gotten the chance without the help of a couple of amazing women and outstanding teachers, my friends D.B and D.J.  Between the two of them, they made me aware of the opportunity, encouraged me to go for it, prepared me for it, put in good words for me, and are helping make my first year back in about nine years easier by leaving a road map of lesson plans and complete units for me to use.  I am excited and nervous, and scared and thrilled and determined and ready.  I just pray so hard that I do a good job and make a difference in my students’ lives!!

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Theatre things are also cooking along like crazy.  I am now not only on the Board of Directors for the theatre, I’m the VP.  That in itself would be amazing for me, but on top of that, in their wisdom or insanity, I’m never sure which, my fellow board members voted to allow me to direct a show in the next season!  I’ll be directing a small cast play in March and April, called Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire. I am so, so looking forward to it, and I am so amazed and thrilled they gave me a chance.  In other news, the theatre is doing Oklahoma! this summer.  It has already opened and has five performances left.  I am planning to see it tonight and I’m sure it will be wonderful.

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Theatre is bittersweet for me now, in a lot of ways. It is one of those places where the faces stay the same but the relationships ebb and flow, and someone you felt close to in one show may feel like a stranger in the next.  Or you may feel you fit in, and then feel like a stranger peeping in the window of your own living room.  I miss certain people who used to be part of it all, and I miss feeling like I am close to the heart of it.  Oddly, I became VP and immediate began to struggle with my enthusiasm for it, in the face of changing friendships and allegiances.  But I suspect that’s normal.

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I’m really looking forward to tonight, though.  As I said, the theatre is doing Oklahoma! this summer and my mom and I are taking my 90 year old grandfather.  I think he will very much enjoy the show.  I was supposed to be shadowing the director on this one, learning and preparing for my directorial debut, but after I got the school job, everything else in my mind just kind of jumped into the backseat and I gradually faded out of the show.

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Also, my son has had a rough summer.  He did some summer school, which he hated, but he has also been struggling with his moods and emotions, and it has been difficult.  We struggle on a daily basis to be able to see his path and his future, and it is… well, difficult.  He is just not your average bear, and we have a hard time knowing what to do with him.

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Clearly I have a million things occupying my mind, so much so that sometimes, like now, when I want to be able to SAY something, my brain is nothing but drowsiness and white noise.  OH!  I have also been doing my best to plan another trip back to Alaska, AKA The Mother Ship.  If all goes well in school this year and I am rehired for next year, I am taking The Boy and myself, and we are going to the Great Northern Frontier, and we are going to have many, many adventures.  No matter what!

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I think maybe that’s all for now.  I’m going to do my best to write more often here.  Maybe I’ll find something worth saying.

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Until Next Time,

D.

 

No More ABCs April 14, 2016

Hello, all!  Well, my plan to follow the A-Z challenge has clearly gone off the rails. I have no excuse, really. I just let it slip through my hands. Last time I tried to do this, I only got a few days behind and would write entries covering two or three letters at a time and made it through the whole month. I think I’m like ten days behind at this point, so I’m just calling it. A-Z Challenge- time of death 9:56pm.

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So what else can I talk about if I am not constrained by an alphabet theme?  I had a fun few moments tonight endulging in nostalgia. I was at my mom’s house and she found an old box of cassette tapes that was my music collection in high school. One of the tapes she found was Weird Al’s “Dare To Be Stupid” album. She popped it into the tape player and although it sounded pretty warp-y, it was really funny to hear all those old songs I hadn’t heard in a while. And as an added bonus I discovered a way to torture my 14 year old son! He has always liked Weird Al pretty well when I would listen around the house or in the car or whatnot. But tonight! Oh, tonight, he was quite adamant that the warped-sounding tape playing “YODA” was something sent from Satan. I kept singing along and annoying him as he was literally dragging me away from the room where the tape player was and begging to go home. Then when we got in the car, I kept singing what I could remember of the song, just to aggravate him, and he decided he would fight fire with fire, plugged his phone into the auxiliary cord and played his favorite heavy metal or whatever genre it falls into, from a group entitled, I believe, “Dream Evil.”  Sadly for him, that particular song didn’t bother me that much.

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Tomorrow night The Boy and I are getting together with some theater friends and watching the movie of the next play that the theater is doing, “Mary Poppins.” We are meeting in someone’s home and everyone is bringing food. They thought people might enjoy watching the movie to get jazzed up for auditions. I’m not even sure I am auditioning for the show, but I usually enjoy hanging out with the theater people, and goodness knows The Boy needs some social interaction, so I thought why not?

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The other thing I have been wanting to get the kid involved in is improv. ALT has started a new group. They meet weekly and play improv games along the lines of “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” I was trying to explain what it was all about and I told him to look up Whose Line on YouTube and he loved it!! We watched it together for quite a little while and I am thinking he may go with me to the next meeting. This is all with an eye toward getting him to audition for Poppins, or the next musical later in the season. He is a ham, he is hilarious, and he is good off the cuff, a natural performer.

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Anyway. I guess we will see what happens. It is entirely possible that one theater nerd in the family is enough.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

B Is For Bias, Bodies, and Boyfriends April 3, 2016

Hello, all!  Day 2 of the April challenges is here, so let’s get right into it. B is for Bias and Bodies. And Boyfriends, while we’re on the subject.

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I mentioned in my last post that I had auditioned for a show recently. Ardmore Little Theater is currently in rehearsals for “I Ought To Be In Pictures.” It is a play by Neil Simon with a cast of only three people: a man, a woman, and a late-teenage girl. Initially I went in thinking I didn’t really have a snowball’s chance of winning the adult female role. I really wanted to play the character because I felt like I really understood her. I had some concerns about some parts of the show, but overall I would have loved the chance to work through and around my issues and play the role.

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So I went in thinking I didn’t really have a chance, but at the time, I was thinking it was because there would be someone who was obviously better than I was, and they would get the part. Well, after the first night of auditions, I was kind of surprised. I had done what I thought was maybe my best audition ever and I thought Maybe I actually had a shot. The second night of auditions, when I discovered we were going to be reading the same scene again, I asked one of my friends if I should try to do it exactly the same as I had the night before or do it differently, and she said to do it differently. So as I watched everyone else read, I thought, “How can I be different from everyone else? How can I do it better than last night?” And I came up with the idea to take it in the opposite direction emotionally and take a completely different tone.  After the reading, I felt like it had been a good choice. Nobody else had gone that direction but me, at least not that I could remember. There was one lady who I felt was pretty good, but I felt like I showed more realistic emotion. Or something. I am not even sure now. I think I just generally thought I was better. BUT. She had one huge advantage. She was much thinner.

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When it came to the guys, two of them were similar but seemed pretty good to me, and the third just seemed a little bland and emotionless. Not very realistic. And there again he was the thinnest of the three. So guess who got cast? The two thin people, which really should not have surprised me, and perhaps really didn’t, because at one point they were onstage together and I thought, “I’m looking at the cast of this show right now.”

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Anyway. One of the things about theater is that the result of an audition is never truly in our hands. We might think we are the best choice, but it is all about the director’s vision and only he or she knows what that is. But in this case, I felt like the primary deciding factor was appearances. That may or not have been entirely the case, but that was how I took it. How I felt. And it did something to me. Well, several things, but mostly it reminded me of the fact of appearance bias in theater and every other field and facet of the world. No one is immune to it.

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But on this occasion, the reminder of that bias was almost crushing. I felt very angry that day. I thought I could see very clearly that large people are only allowed to be characters in a few specific situations: they are poor, they are Southern, they are stupid, or they are morally deficient. I tried to think, all day when I was at work after the cast was posted, of specific examples both from our local theater and from professional theater and in TV and movies, that supported my theory:  extra large actors and the roles they play.

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The problem is that theater is the very definition of unreality. See, in the real world, fat and unattractive people get married, have sex, and get divorced. In the world of theatre, nobody wants to see that up on stage, larger than life in spotlights in a play about love and sex. It is not fair but it is reality. No sense whining about it when it’s what we sign up for.

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Anyway, the long and short of it was that it made me reconsider the possibility of ever playing a big role, or one I really wanted. I thought I didn’t want to do it if I was up against that bias. I thought I didn’t even want to play roles I might be perfect for, if I had to play them at the size I am now. I started thinking about dislike for self and downright self-hatred and how it spills over onto others and I wondered where my compassion went. (I also realized it is getting harder for me to look people in the eyes at work, but I am not sure there is a connection there.)

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So. It was a rough couple of days. I identified a part I want in one of the shows for next season, but immediately began wondering if I were good enough. And then I wanted to back out because I want to play the part but I don’t want to play her at this size. And then I thought, well why not? If someone’s going to play her, it might as well be me.

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This entry is getting too long, but I wanted to throw in the topic of boyfriends and how it seems like I always want one, but the only guys I have loved, liked, seriously crushed on, or considered crushing on, have all had significant mental issues, by which I mean depression or bipolar or some variation on that theme. I wonder whether I am drawn to these people or I draw them to me. My counselor the other day said something I have known for years, but because of the current climate of my emotions toward myself and my size and all, it was quite depressing to be reminded of:  you have to love yourself before you can get anyone else to love you. And in the mental headspace I am in right now, all I could think was “Boy, am I screwed!”

Without further ado, today’s B Poem:

Bodies

beautiful or not,

Seen through our own eyes.

what is

or what isn’t

rejoice or cry,

but  always judge.

Always criticize.

Bodies

float

or waltz

or waddle

across a stage

or a screen

and into our imagination

catalogued

by categories of value

based on appearances

Bias is like air

it surrounds and touches,

it is inside and outside

and no matter

what the inside says…

the outside makes the decisions

for all of us

DD

4/3/16

2:04am

 

Until next time,

D.

 

 

A is for Actors April 1, 2016

Hello, all!

Welcome to April, where blogging-wise I am in over my head.

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One of my Facebook friends posted about NaPoWriMo and a few others talked about the Blogging A-Z challenge, and I thought I would be the classic Overachiever and combine them. So I am going to try to blog every day in April except Sundays, AND write a poem, AND stick to a theme that follows the alphabet. Heaven help me.

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So, Day 1.  A is for actors.

Tonight I went to a local high school and watched their performance of The Sound of Music. A couple of my theater friends went with me and it was a nice evening.

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I mainly went for the sake of one kiddo- he was one of my actors when I stage-managed Grease in 2014 and I have watched him in his HS production of it as well. He played the character of Max tonight, and I thought he was wonderful, a joy to watch every time he is onstage. I can’t wait to see what his future holds.

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I wanted to talk about the theater experience and how we learn and grow as actors and how we get better at every audition, hopefully. Recently I auditioned for our local theater’s production of “I Ought To Be In Pictures” and wasn’t cast. I was pretty down about it, but I realized I had given the best audition I had ever done, and it was obvious I am learning and getting better, so I was happy about that. Appearance Bias in theater is another A-word that has been on my mind lately, but that is another post.

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So. In of  honor of my favorite Greaser, and myself, here is my first poem of the month, and it is also titled with an A-word.

Actor In Training

Actor in training,
Move across the stage.
Show us who you’re playing,
Their joy
Sorrow
Rage.

Actor in training
Move us with your song.
Tell another’s story
Make us sing along.

Actor in training
Give the boards your all.
The show goes on
The lights don’t dim
Until the curtain falls.

DD
4/1/16
9:26am

Until next time,

D

 

 

 

 

Just A Brief Update January 16, 2016

Hello, all!  It’s really late, but for some reason I am in the mood to blog and it has been way too long, so here I am.  Things are pretty good at the moment.  After I returned from Alaska and got my Daughter J. married off, I went back to work at a place I had worked before, off and on for about 12 years now.  I was preparing to audition for Ardmore Little Theater’s Fiddler On the Roof and I ended up getting asked to Stage Manage, which for me is just as much fun as being in the cast.  It’s going to be a wonderful show, I can already tell.  The cast is a perfect mix of experienced and newbie, and everyone is really enthusiastic and cooperative.  For now.  I feel wretched and traitorous saying this, may ValJean forgive me, but I think Fiddler may end up topping Les Mis with regard to just the number of cast members, beauty of the sound produced, and the general experience of the production being one of a cohesive team being dedicated to a common high goal, which is creative excellence.  In short, this cast has got it goin’ on!

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It’s January 16 and my Christmas tree is still up.  Between work and the theater I am working 13 hours a day and I just haven’t been in the mood to mess with it.   Unfortunately the two squatters living in this house, who I just happened to give birth to, wouldn’t do any housework or take it upon themselves to UN-decorate the Christmas decorations without a gun to their heads.  Figuratively speaking, obviously. So I’m thinking maybe the tree will be down by Valentine’s Day.  That would definitely be a record for me.  Who knows, maybe I’ll feel like messing with it before then.

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Health and fitness-wise, life is … well, let’s just say I’m not working as hard on that as I have in the past.  I have tried to get my head together and it just doesn’t seem to be working.  I can’t afford to actually pay money for Weight Watchers right now, I can’t seem to manage to do low carb the right way (or stick with it longer than a few days), and exercise is lower on my priority list than gum surgery.  Maybe one of these days I’ll get back on the wagon.

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Anyway.  It is later than late and I work early tomorrow, so I wish good health and good blessings on each and every one.

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Until next time,

D.

 

 

 

 

 
The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

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