The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

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.

 

 

 

 

Apologies: Another Opportunity to Grow October 3, 2014

Hello all.  This is a follow up to my last entry.

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My last post hurt my friend.  I didn’t mean it to, but it did.  I failed to point out a few important facts.

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I didn’t mention that she was not beating me out for these roles on purpose, trying to take them from me for no good reason.  I failed to point out that she began taking music lessons literally before I was born.  I failed to point out that she has been involved in theater and music since she was in high school, that she has done community theater off and on for years, that she has a degree in music, that she has taught music and acting every day of her career, and that she has yearned to be onstage her entire life.  I posted her picture of her in her first breakout role with ALT because I am proud of how awesome she is.  Despite the fact that I have held my talents and abilities up against hers and found them lacking through my own ridiculous insecure nature, I am proud of her.  She’s amazing to have as a friend.  She gets applause when she merely walks in to audition.  She is loving and kind and friendly and caring, and she’s a wonderful person.  Nothing in my previous post was meant to imply anything different.  She has wanted to be onstage like this her entire life.

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I have only been involved in community theater for a year and a half.  I auditioned mainly on a whim a year ago, but I have always wanted to sing.  All I ever wanted to do as a kid was to sing and be a mom.  I used to stand in my bedroom for hours, singing along with cassette tapes of my favorite singers, pretending I was giving a concert.  The acting thing I have always thought would be fun, but I always felt like I would never be able to actually make anybody believe I was a different character, so I never tried to do it before.

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My last post wasn’t really at all about her. It wasn’t meant to be, anyway. It was about me and how I have to decide how to deal with not getting what I want and how to know where to go with the knowledge that I am not as good as I want to be. It was about me dealing with a newly discovered issue, (as if I didn’t have enough already) and trying to figure out what to do about it. She just happened to be the person who cast the spotlight on the lesson. If it were one of our other much more experienced theater friends rather than my best friend, it wouldn’t be nearly as obvious that it was something I needed to realize and learn.

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And I also realized, amazingly, I have never felt like I was in direct competition with anybody, much less someone who was my best friend. And it’s not like it is a direct competition between me and her, but the reality is this theater thing is somewhat of a competition and I’ve never really even been in ANY competition. I’ve never been in sports or really done anything that was individually competitive like this.  It’s just that I’m new to competition on the whole.

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I’m really, really sorry, Mama T.  I’m new to all of this, and it’s no excuse, but I’m on the right track now.  Forgive me.  Love you bunches!

Until next time,

D.

 

 

Note to self: Grow, Darn You! Learn Something, Here! October 1, 2014

Hello, all.  It’s been a while, I know.  Life just gets away.  Computer problems at work, changes on the horizon there; keeping the Offspring in line, which is a full-time effort; continuing personal efforts with weight watchers, low carb eating, etc.  And today’s featured program, filed under the category, “Probably Should Have Figured This One Out Years Ago.”  Well, ok, there is likely a ton of stuff that falls under that category, but this one in particular is titled ‘How an adult deals with not being as good as she wants to be at something she wants to be good at, while someone close to her shines at it like the freaking Dog Star’, alternately titled “But Mommy, Why!?”

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So I tried out for another theater show this weekend, the show I mentioned in the previous post.  There was no character I was desperate to play, but I thought if I were going to try to be in this show, there was one character I thought I had the best chance to get.  So I tried out, and for the second show in a row, was beat out for the role I wanted by… wait for it… my best friend.

Her breakout role... Madame Thenardier in Les Mis.

Her breakout role… Madame Thenardier in Les Mis.

 

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I mean I really gave it my all this time.  I sang a character song that required me to attempt to have humor, and choreography, sort of, and to walk out on stage with a pillow under my shirt… it was just a complete step out for me.  Then too, I had to do a partner audition where I read part of the script with someone else, which was actually pretty funny.  The other actor and I had never even met before, and we were reading a part of the script where the characters are being very flirty and sexual.  So there we are, up on stage, pretending to play a kinky variation on the game of Twister, and he puts his hand on my rear end, and the whole audience of fellow auditioners was just ROLLING.  It was great.

 

Gooch

This was what I sang- It’s from the musical Mame.

 

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The next night I had to sing part of a song from the show, something I had never really heard until I looked it up on YouTube the night before, and I did the best I’ve ever done, volume-wise.  I pushed it, I belted, I sang loud… my music teacher best friend said she was so proud of me.  We did a few other readings, and auditions were concluded.  I approached the director and tried to explain that I had been hoping for a particular role, but she had never asked me to read that part.  I said I had been trying to decide whether to even ask her to let me read it, and that I knew the character had to dance a sort of tango-like dance and I knew I wasn’t that great a dancer.  Then I told her about how in one show I was involved with, they had to do some creative editing to help cover the fact that an actress cast specifically as a big dance character actually was not a strong dancer.  I was TRYING to say I was sure I could learn it if she wanted to let me read the part.  Unfortunately I think what I communicated was, “I wanted this role, but I can’t dance, so you might as well not cast me.”  That really kills me, because when I first started talking, she did say she had considered me for the role.

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Anyway, I have been rolling the situation around in my head, thinking about how there must be some sort of lessons I am meant to learn from all this.  As I mentioned earlier, I felt pretty discouraged with myself for the fact that this lesson is coming up at this late point in my life.  It feels like most people learn this sort of thing by high school or college at the latest, this lesson of how to deal with someone else (especially a best friend) being better than I at something I really want to be good at.  In high school my best friend and I were a lot alike.  We both were among “the smart ones” and our GPAs were always within a few tenths of each other.  She was on the academic team but I didn’t really care to be.  We both sang in the choir, but neither of us was just mind-blowingly better than the other, although she had had a lot more time in choir than I.  We were similar physically so no competition there.  I’ve always envied her sense of style and her ability to decorate and accessorize, but I’ve never envied it enough to make a priority to improve myself in that area.  Oh, and there was one guy in high school I liked who seemed to date, chase, or flirt with every single one of my friends except me, but that was a different type of thing.  Similar, but not the same.  (And that same situation has arisen in the theater as well.  The crush is pretty much resolved, but the feeling of, I don’t know, just sort of insult maybe, is still there.)

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My two younger sisters had their own things they were good at, things that helped make them feel special.  Middle Sis is an athlete and Baby Sis was good at art and music.  She had taken lessons and had been in choir practically since she was a fetus, but I always thought each of us was good enough at singing in our own way.  I was somewhat envious of her opportunity to have taken lessons, but we weren’t competing in any way.

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Since high school and college I have never had a friend or other person in my life who was better than I at something I REALLY wanted to be good at.  It’s just never come up until now.  Yesterday was pretty rough.  I was feeling pretty bad about things, wondering how I was going to handle this, what I was supposed to do to learn the lesson the Universe so obviously wanted me to learn.  What options did I have?  Just quit altogether?  Flip the time-turner and pretend I never heard of Ardmore Little Theater and take up stamp collecting or something?  Nope, I couldn’t handle that.  I love the place too much, and I enjoy most of the people, and it has really created an opportunity for self-growth and development.  (For proof, see current situation!)  Should I just be more choosy about the roles I try out for, waiting until something comes along that I just desperately want to play, prepare really well and just hope I get lucky?  Well, yeah, I could do that.  But it wouldn’t be completely satisfying.  I suffer from FOMO syndrome.  Fear of Missing Out.  I like to be there, I like being involved, I like feeling like I’m part of a team, a group.  So only setting foot in the theater once in a blue moon when they had a show I was strongly interested in just wouldn’t be enough.  My philosophy is if you’re going to be involved, be INVOLVED.

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So what other options were there?  Decide I was just not good enough to be an ONstage presence and resign myself to only being involved behind the scenes?  Managing, tech crew, etc.?  Sure, I want to learn all that stuff- I still want to learn the lights and the sound board and the fly loft and all the things.  But never ever being onstage again?  Never singing for an audience?  Never conquering the nerves and the lack of confidence that keep me from really shining at auditions?  Nope.  Couldn’t handle that either.  I want to gain enough experience to see if I really love it.

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Finally, what I came up with was this:  If this theater thing is for me, as The Golden Goddess (see Meet the Cast) told me yesterday, “not a hobby.  It’s a passion.” then I need to work on getting better.  I need to pick the brains of my friends at the theater and ask for feedback and critique and advice on how to get better.  I need to maybe take a few lessons and try to improve my technical singing skills.  I need to, as another dear friend told me, “make them see that you are impossible to overlook.”  Can I just say I love him for that? 🙂  So that is what I plan to do.  I’m going to talk to people.  I’m going to listen.  I’m going to observe and learn and soak up.  And then I’m going to get up there someday and land the roles I really, REALLY want.

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Mask win Oscar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing my own star!

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.

Broadside

Smart and surprising

Mostly Bright Ideas

Some of these thoughts may make sense. But don't count on it.

Mad Scientist.Crazy Mom

Welcome to my laboratory: five kids on a farm

A Clean Surface.

simplicity, organization, inspiration, minimalism, humor...and reality

Princess Nebraska

If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. If would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in a cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it. -Frances Hodgson Burnett

She Likes Purple

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Crazy with a side of Awesome Sauce

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

musings of a madwoman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Glam-O-Mommy

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

happily ever me

a life in progress

Our Little Geekling

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

mighty maggie

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

Writing Finger

Translations of Poetry from Galician and Spanish into English

The Better Man Project ™

a journey into the depths

An Unexplored Wilderness

A writer's journey