Tag Archives: #YourTurnChallenge

#YourTurnChallenge – #Day6 – My Strangest Role

25 Jan

I hadn’t been in a play in several years. Almost 8 in fact.

But some friends of mine had a problem, an actress had dropped out several weeks into rehearsals. They needed someone new asap to fill in this one scene character.

Guess who they begged?

Me.

Guess what the part was.

A washed up, has been show girl, who now performed weddings in a cheesy dive on the outskirts of Reno.

The role of a lifetime, right? And totally outside my normal… anything.

Out of my closet came 4 inch heeled, thigh high boots, a red cocktail dress and my longest fake eyelashes. Into my head went the words and footwork for a brawl I got into with another character. It was very interesting since we were both teetering on high, high heels. Tipping over and spraining an ankle was not in the script.

By the last week of rehearsals (affectionately known as Hell Week) I had learned how to apply old age makeup, found a sequined over-shirt that hid my figure, practiced balancing a large red feathered headdress during a fight and chase (which included coming back through a curtained doorway. Ack!), and had all my lines down. Not bad.

I was a little worried when dress rehearsal went off without a hitch. Not usually a good sign. (Yes, theater people are weird.) However, I had a blast every single performance night. Plus, since I was only in one scene I was able to just sit back and read once my makeup was applied. I think I was reading Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch at the time.

But I digress.

That part pushed me to be loud, brash, and more than a little uncouth. (I do have to admit to changing a certain word to ‘darn’.) I stepped so far outside my comfort zone it was almost comical. Here was Rose D’Andrea, the weak-ankled, mild mannered, bookworm climbing the theaters back stairs in the near dark, clutching the hand rail praying she wouldn’t fall back down them, getting ready for a noisy scene with gyrating, insulting, slapping and running around screaming. And having a ball!

Yes There was the surprise. I loved it!

I loved the difficulty of the part. I loved pacing the house learning to walk in my ‘hooker boots’. I loved hanging out with old friends for hours and hours a week. I loved meeting new friends. I loved being in front of an audience again. I loved learning how to act on a theater-in-the-round stage.

I don’t think I will be back on the stage any time soon. Something about the imminent arrival of my first child**. But, when mommyhood is to the point where I can… I think the stage just might occasionally reclaim me.

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This is not the production I was in, but it will give you a feel for the play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npZV5TFb6FI

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**Literally. I am typing this between ‘pre-labor’ contractions. Very uncomfortable.

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#YourTurnChallenge – #Day5 – Sand and Kitty Litter

23 Jan

It has been a few years now since I needed this mixture. In fact I don’t think we even have any in the car right now. Not a good thing now that I come to think of it, since it saved my butt more than once.

You’re probably confused, huh?

My father has a habit of putting baggies of sand and kitty litter in his cars. It’s just right for sprinkling around tires that have lost traction on icy roads or drive-ways and become stuck.

My most vivid recollection of using this mixture was one afternoon on my way home when someone several cars ahead decided to turn off the highway. Not a problem. Except that someone ahead of me must not have been paying very close attention and the entire lane of traffic came to a sudden halt.

Everyone in front of me had the benefit of a sanded corner. I was just far back enough that instead of sand I was trying to stop on a sheet of compacted snow. It was either try and steer onto the edge of the road or hit the minivan in front of me.

Yup, snowbank it was.

That’s when the cool stuff happened. Even though my car was out of the way the 3 cars behind me parked where they were and the people got out and helped me get unstuck. With the mixture from my father, and 4 people pushing, my adorable clunker was back on the road in no time.

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I have to give my mom a thank you for inspiring this post. You see, I had been stuck on what to write about getting unstuck when she mentioned that dad had once again used this trick to get a vehicle back into motion. You never know when or how inspiration will hit. (Duck!)

And sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone who loves you will spoon feed it to you.

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#YourTurnChallenge – #Day4 – Worry 101

22 Jan

Today’s Your Turn Challenge prompt is ‘Teach us something that you do well’.

What do I do well?

Worry.

So here’s a how to / what not to do post.

Try not to take it too seriously. I won’t.

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The How To Class for the Beginning Worrier

Step one: The Choice

Choose what you want to worry about.

Believe me, as proud as you may be of your current ability to maintain a general state of worry, fidgeting with a single thought or what-if scenario until you have turned it into stress is an art form.

This could be anything from your health, to whether your coworkers think you stink, to why your (insert relationship) doesn’t call you more often. Just pick something you can stick with for several hours at least. Eventually you will develop the mental stamina to hold on to a topic for weeks, months, and even years. But pace yourself, this will take much practice.

With practice you can work up to worrying over several topics at the same time, but that was only for the advanced class, and my insurance doesn’t cover the liability. Not after the incident.

Now, take a deep breath.

And release.

Did you enjoy that?

Good, because it’s the last one you’re allowed for a while.

From here on out it’s tense, shallow, breaths that only serve to provide feedback to your physical form that now is not the time to relax. Deep breaths have a habit of telling your body there’s temporal space for such occurrences. Do not sabotage all the upcoming training by providing physical feedback that will merely confuse your body and lessen the chance of an ulcer, stroke, or heart attack.

Now, do you have a topic in mind? Will it go the long-haul?

Good.

Step Two: Technique

Now, everyone, after a while, can develop their own style of worry. At this point I will merely walk you through a couple of the simpler forms and you can craft your own from there.

    Technique #1: The Silent One

This form of worry is all about internalizing your concerns, feelings, and the perceived feelings and concerns of all around you. Don’t let actual words be your only food for worry, see if you can find clues as to how people really feel about you by watching how they interact with others as opposed to you. Does Jake laugh a little more when talking with Bryce than when he’s around you? Does your boss spend more time hovering over Cindy’s desk and projects than yours?

This is good. This means that there might be something wrong with you. Go with that thought. Try to pick out exactly what it is about you, your personality, your laugh, your clothing, that would make someone like or respect you less than those around you.

In fact, spend a great deal of time comparing yourself to the people who make you feel inferior. What about them makes you uncomfortable? What would make people gravitate to them as opposed to you?

Now the important thing about this technique is that you never talk to anyone about your concerns. That’s why it’s called The Silent One. You bottle this up and revel in the feelings of inadequacy, mild paranoia and pent up anger and frustration. Talking about it might make you feel better. Or worse, let people know there’s something potentially wrong with your psyche and try to help.

We don’t want help. We want worry. Remember that.

    Technique #2: The Spewer

This one is similar to your first choice, but different in one way: You talk about your worry. To everyone. All the time.

Tread lightly, here. You don’t want to let them know that you’re too serious. Try to insert tones of humorous self-deprecation, flippancy, and biting sarcasm into your speeches.

I call them speeches because you don’t really want two sided conversations when it comes to ‘spewing’ your worry all over those who would try and help or comfort you. No, you don’t want them to get a word in edgewise, because they might manage to change the subject. If they manage that they may find a way to make you laugh, and that would not do. Laughter is one of the best ways to negate all the lovely negative hormones we are working so hard to generate within your body. Laughter would get in the way of graduating simple Worry and stepping into the glory of self-induced Stress. And as you know, deep, soul-crippling stress is the ultimate goal of every beginning worrier. Keep the prize in mind at all times. Do not be dissuaded by well meaning, but ignorant friends and loved ones.

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Have you chosen a technique?

Well done.

Now on to some of the tips and tricks that can speed up your eventual trip to the emergency room or, better yet, morgue.

Do not underestimate the power of the dark side… of looking at every eventuality that could happen. Don’t let reality play too big a part in this. The What-If Game is really just a free-flowing exercise to create tension in your mind and body. Too much ‘reality’ could get in the way.

Avoid watching comedies or feel good movies of any kind, children or animals playing, or tender moments between people who genuinely care about each other. There is an advanced technique for how to turn all these mushy, gooey things to your emotional advantage, but for now it’s best to avert your eyes and go through a litany of your inadequacies.

Do not exercise more than absolutely necessary! Exercising releases positive hormones that have been proven to undo the effects of worry. If you must be physically fit for any reason, try and develop a mantra that will keep your mind distracted from the positive effects. Who knows, perhaps worrying over your chosen topic while maintaining a higher than normal heart rate will contribute to heart palpitations.

Avoid healthy food and quality dark chocolate. Fried foods, sugar, and simple carbohydrates are your only friends. Not only will they quickly elevate your blood sugar and leave you hanging after a glycemic crash, they will also undermine your immunity to the viruses that are circulating your place of employment, the mall, and church. A good month long bout with influenza can be a beautiful thing for those attempting to create worry in their lives. You will have more time to sit on the couch contemplating your mortality, how nobody loves you, and why you don’t have or deserve all the good things in life.

Be proactive in the shower. Many people use time in the shower to relax or sing. Do not fall into this sappy trap. The acoustics of the bathroom are perfect for hearing your own voice as you go over your impossible to do list for the day and find all the ways your day could royally suck. If you happen to be a before bed bather use this time to go over the wrongs of the day; really cement them in your mind.

As long as we’re on the subject of talking to yourself, here’s a tip for the Spewer. Mutter. Mutter as you walk through the house, shop for all the wrong foods, or drive the kids to school (it’s never too early to scar them for life). This will set you up as a person to be avoided. No one wants to initiate a conversation with someone who seems to be just a little more than one step toward crazy. If you get really good at this it’s a great way to spread the worry. Those around you will begin feeling concern not only for your well being, but also for theirs. You never know, perhaps some serial killers started out as mutterers.

That’s it for Worry 101. I hope you learned some ways to make your life and the lives of those who pretend to love you truly miserable.

Have a crappy day!

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Now before you get all huffy with me, please know that in the past I have worked up a class 3 cold sore within a couple of hours. I used to worry so hard I lost weight, catch every illness that came through, and (especially as a college student) silently cry myself to sleep without disturbing the sibling in the bed four feet from me.

That’s not to say I had a horrible life. I just didn’t know how to deal with the outside pressures or how to silence the inner critic that constantly told me I wasn’t trying hard enough. I know how blinding a tension headache can be, how to hold in the tears until an appropriate location could be found, and what it feels like to tamp down a panic attack while still taking notes so you don’t completely fail this class.

It sucks. A lot.

But it’s possible to turn things around. Not easy, mind you, possible.

A few tips that worked for me:

  • Eat a high protein breakfast. This will give you the level blood sugar to help keep some of the more self-sabotaging thoughts at bay.
  • Their bad day is not your bad day. Just because someone else is in a foul mood does not mean you have to absorb their negative vibes. (I am still working on this one, especially when it comes to loved ones.)
  • Dark chocolate. When you have a few moments to yourself snap off a couple bites of your favorite chocolate. The darker the better. If you have trouble portioning try the smaller, individually wrapped pieces sold by Dove or Hershey’s. If you totally can’t be trusted with it in the house, then try setting a time or two a week when you go out and treat yourself to a small bar. Just remember to savor it. Let it melt in your mouth as you relax back and take a few slow, deep breaths.
  • You time is very important. One of my earliest discovered techniques was a warm bath and a good book. Find something relaxing that takes you away from others but out of yourself: a good book, a favorite movie, a walk through a favorite park. This is not being selfish. Self care means you are making sure that you are in top condition to face life as the best version of you. Do not let anyone, not even yourself, make you feel guilty for taking a few moments during your coffee break or an hour in your evening, to bring yourself out of your day and to a more centered emotional state.

I hope some of this helped. Or at least that the Worry 101 class made you chuckle. 🙂

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Mmm, now I’m thinking about chocolate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoTqa23fV_c

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#YourTurnChallenge – #Day3 – Sex Ed.

21 Jan

“Alright, settle down.

I know you’re all wondering who our guests are today. This is Mrs. April Anderson, Mrs. Beth Beckham, and Ms. Crissy Crest. They are here to talk to you about pregnancy. We’re going to let them each have a couple minutes, then we’ll open it up for Q and A. April?”

Clearing her throat, April begins, “I used to have adorable size 8 feet. Last week I bought these. Pretty, huh? Right now I’m a 9 wide. They say there’s a chance your feet will go back to their original size, but I’m not so sure. My mom’s didn’t. …”

Beth, “… I threw up a minimum of twice a day for 9 weeks straight. My record was 6 times. I was so exhausted I didn’t even have the strength to cry when a good friend passed away. …”

Crissy, “… You know how everyone has a personal space bubble? A certain portion of this planet seem to think you’re public property when you’re really pregnant. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to have a complete stranger reach out and touch your belly. Then there’s all the questions. Seriously, how many times a day do I have to say that I’m due next month? …”

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How many teenagers (and adults for that matter) would think twice about getting it on without putting one on if they had to sit through an hour of listening to pregnant women tell the truth about the pregnancy glow?

Yeah, the glow. After a week or two of basking in the wonderfulness that is impending motherhood all the symptoms come crashing in and that adorable glow is now caused by hormone induced hot flashes, or turns ashen as you spend your days always knowing where the nearest trash can is. Just in case.

Not fun.

I’m not saying that all pregnancies are horrible, daily life altering slices of hell. But they aren’t all parades through rose gardens, either.

Kids need to know the truth before they figure out what tab A is and why it goes into slot B.

Take two days ago. I spent half the day crying. Don’t ask me why, I just did. And it wasn’t that poetic single tear down a cheek stuff. Oh, no. It was soul-wrenching sobs, puffy eyes, tears dripping off the chin, blow your nose before you get snot bubbles crying. Sexy, right? (ugh)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this kind of wide spread info would stop all unplanned pregnancies. That would be an impossible task. We’d just drive ourselves insane attempting it. However, I do think it would give people (girls, especially) a more realistic idea of what they would be risking (besides STD’s and a bit of a mess to clean up).

Yup, just let them know they could possibly get stretch marks on their perky C cups, mood swings that take one from elation to suicidal thoughts and back, or projectile vomiting just because they smelled onion and they might even give abstinence half a thought.

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(Sorry, not little ears friendly, but so true!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf8B6UQSrW4

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#YourTurnChallenge – #Day2 – Failing Forward

21 Jan

Yes, you read the title correctly. Failing forward.

I have come again to a point in my life when I am hampered by a massive fear of failure, which is also wrapped up in a shiny package of fear of success, all tied together, neat and pretty, with the bow of self-disappointment.

See, if I succeed then fail there will be a much larger audience to witness my mistake.

However, if I never try how can I ever win the ultimate prize of financial independence?

Step right up, folks! You won’t want to miss the prize fight of the season! Avoidance of imaginary future pain versus fact and logic.

Yup. Makes lots of sense. But, there it is.

How do I create forward momentum?

I think the only thing to do is to simply allow myself small attempts. Perhaps with several small successes I can work up the courage to seriously implement larger goals; build up my writer/entrepreneur self-confidence. It’s worth a try, right?

Right.

And wouldn’t you know it, I have already started. Clever me. I have published 3 short stories on a website called Quarter Reads. I don’t think I’ve made any money yet, but at least they were accepted and are up and ready. There are a few more in my Word files waiting for submission. It’s just taking me a while to get them over there.

Why?

Why else? Fear of failure.

You see, part of me expected to make a couple bucks right off the bat after the first story posted.

Now that I have had a few up for a little while that part of me is crowing that this ‘experiment’ was a failure.

The question I should be asking myself is, Why am I listening to my inner critic (who can be a real bully some days)?

Quarter Reads only went live in October. It’s not like they’re huge. It’s not like I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in advertising. In fact, perhaps this lack of self-confidence has led me to not market enough, so that this whole situation becomes a messy self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m just digging deeper and deeper, aren’t I?

“It’s all so complicated!” She wailed dramatically.

The thing is, though, that I haven’t failed at all. How can you fail if you haven’t really tried yet?

I have a book of poetry on Amazon. I have 3 stories up on Quarter Reads. I have countless unfinished ideas, stories and books sitting on my computer… waiting. How can I fail if I haven’t given it a real go? How can you lose a race when you’re still on the starting block?

Failure is part of learning, growing. How many times did you skin your knee learning to ride a bike? How many times did you bruise your butt learning to ice skate?

Failure means you’re active; you’ve given it a shot.

So, back to Failing Forward. This is my thought: I will try.

More stories on Quarter Reads.

Complete an anthology and publish it on Amazon.

Actually market my products.

Try.

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Besides, nobody’s perfect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqqqV50zaAc

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#YourTurnChallenge – #Day1 – Finding Adventure

19 Jan

by Rose D’Andrea

A few days ago I came across a blogging challenge.

(Don’t ask me how, because I honestly can not remember.)

This challenge lasts 7 days and merely asks that you post every day about something from your perspective.

They also supply writing prompts. I’m not sure if I’ll stick to the prompts or strike out on my own. I guess that’ll just be part of the adventure.

Lately I have been viewing a lot of things as a possible adventure. I don’t suppose most pregnant women look forward to childbirth as a chance to find out, deep down, what they’re made of. Probably even fewer choose to view the impending ‘hell week’ after bringing home baby as another intriguing experience. You never know what to expect. The kid could react to the fact that I’ve recently eaten chocolate and get the world’s worst gas. She could be a sleeper and have to be woken for feedings. She could come out like the kids on the British show My Hero already talking and uh, flying. (Although that last one is highly unlikely, regardless of how many times a week I refer to my husband as my hero. Besides, I’m pretty sure he’s human. Probably.)

This recent sense of adventure is perhaps what led me to join in this blogging challenge.

And that is perhaps a good enough segue into today’s writing prompt:

Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge?

I have been thinking, for a long time now, that I need to get back to a more frequent blogging schedule. However, it has not been happening. Imagine that, blog posts don’t magically appear just because we think they should. Huh.

There has always been an excuse: my computer won’t cooperate, I wouldn’t know what to write, I’m sick, tired, too distracted, or don’t have the time.

Now for a while there I was too sick to do more than clutch my water bottle and pray that something would stay down. That was legitimate. But what about the several months now that have been relatively easy? What about the occasional thought that pops into my head that I think would make an awesome post?

That, my friends, was just plain laziness. Pure and simple. Yes, there’s a little shame in admitting it, but more in wallowing in indecisiveness and self pity.

So, what am I going to do to turn this around?

Apparently jump on the #YourTurnChallenge like it’s the last life boat off the Titanic. It’s like God said, “Yes, you’re not alone in this. Now, get off your rump and get back to actual work.” So here I am, blogging the first day of an enticing journey. Hopefully this week of work (and, fingers crossed, some feedback) will spur me toward keeping up a more regular presence on this blog baby of mine.

Hopefully my actual baby won’t mind when I blog over the top of her a few days a week.

And if she does mind, well, I guess that will just kick off another adventure.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6gZe-fUCWg

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