Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thirty Days of Take That Fat!

There's a pretty long list of things I have trouble motivating myself to do, ranging from big things like "quit smoking" to more rudimentary, incredibly simple tasks like "throw out used cotton balls instead of leaving them on the counter". I'm an expert at the "I could [x]... but then again, I'm already not [x] or haven't [x] in a long time so why bother" line of thinking, which is probably one of the most sinister and quietly destructive ways of living if you intend to grow as a person and lead the life you actually want.

Like I said, the list of possible values for [x] is lengthy and varied, but there's a few that stand out. One of them, until recently, was "look for an agent" which I'll address in a later post - suffice it to say, for now, that it was worth getting off my ass and sending my portfolio out.

Two of the things that I'm really bad at both starting to do and following through with are blogging (ref. the fact that this is my first post in, what, three months?) and working out (ref. my entire life, my body, my self-image). And yesterday, I decided to combine them in an experiment I'm calling:

Thirty Days of Take That Fat!

I will be doing Joey Bothwell's Take That Fat! workout and stretch video every day for a whole month. I will be blogging, vlogging, and slogging through it, regardless of muscle pain, hangovers, early work days, burnout, apathy and self-consciousness. I don't own a scale but I'll be recording my progress in terms of three measurements (stomach, upper arm, thigh) and general reflections on how difficult the video is and how I feel afterwards.

For more information on Joey Bothwell and her workout video (I'll write about how I came to know her, and it, later on as well), visit her website.

And now, to shower! For I am sweaty and sore.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolution: Update Ever

We'll see how that goes.

The thing I hate most about moving is the lifting things. The thing I hate second most is the packing things. But the thing I hate THIRD most is the settling-in period. Not unpacking or setting up, no, I actually kind of love those, where you get to reinvent your relationship to the space you live in, maybe this time I'll make my bedroom more of a boudoir, what if I am in fact the person who has a beanbag chair and a shelf dedicated entirely to incense, etc. I like that, and I like that when I'm finished my apartment is literally the cleanest and most organized it will ever be again.

What I don't like is the recovery period from the trauma of moving. There's a part of me that so remembers how much it sucked to get my last place from "I live here" to "I don't live here anymore" that it almost doesn't seem worth it to live anywhere else again. The more I settle in, the harder it will be to clear out, and I'm not quite adjusted to the idea that I might live in a place indefinitely. Moving into a place reminds me that eventually I will move out of said place, and there's always a scabbing-over period where I need to do something extra to really convince myself that really settling in, letting the wound of moving heal properly, makes more sense than remaining in a state of mid-unpackedness for the rest of my life.

Usually I cope with this by buying furniture. Man, I love old cheap furniture. And I love that I'm still of the mindset where, if a piece of furniture does a thing successfully (holds books/tchotchkes/my ass comfortably and without collapsing), I could give exactly 10% of a shit how it looks or how it coordinates with the other things I own. Ratty black vanity that has teeny drawers and "needs a good sanding"? Gimme. Steamer trunk with the latch broken? WANT.

Only! I don't have a job yet! Which is the other worst kind of limbo, because I have money right now, but I can't predict when I will next have money coming in (aside from my security deposit from my last place, which I'm getting back entirely and will more than cover what I shelled out in the move/cleaning process, boo yaaaaah) so every single purchase has to be assessed not only in terms of "Do I need" and "Can I afford" but "Can I do without until". And that's not even counting the rather... comprehensive amount of debt I'm currently in ($15k to the government, $25k to a bank, $10k to my parents, fuck me). Not to mention the expenses and emotional expenditures associated with getting acting work - my headshots will cost some money (the shots themselves are paid for but there's a bunch of satellite expenses like make-up artist, a proper haircut, hidden costs for prints, etc), I've got to start choosing which agencies to contact and how, etc. And I keep thinking I should be using this pre-job time to write, to do something productive, so that even if I'm not getting paid I still feel like I'm working.

Basically it is now a race between "getting a job so I can start making my life what I want it to be" and "getting comfortable in my life so I can start getting or making the jobs I want". And for a race, I'm spending an awful lot of it sitting on my couch.

We'll see.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In Our Darkest Hour

I woke up this morning with a clear, concise and powerful urge to listen to a song that I probably haven't heard since 2003 - Phantom Planet's "In Our Darkest Hour". Back then, I was 19, living with two of my best friends downtown. I'd been depressed for ages. I'd dropped out of school and was hemorrhaging my parents' money. I was smoking two packs a day, drinking every night; I was stalking the guy I'd lost my virginity to. The eight months I spent in that apartment were some of the darkest in my life.

 I don't remember where I was going with this. I'm sure I had something important to say about how music ties into memory, or hipster culture, or the Jason Schwartzmann/Phantom Planet "He is an actor but makes music as well, he is two things holy crap" novelty (astonishing then, but obvious now - creative people create)... but really, I'm just amazed at how clear the urge was. I woke up with the song in my head, with no ambiguity or confusion, no "ba da ba da, BA da ba da... what's that from again? This will bug me all day."

It's not even the most important song from back then; that honour goes to The Delgados' "Accused of Stealing", which was the last song I listened to as a tenant of that apartment. My best friend had kicked me out, forcing me to move back in with my parents in the suburbs - still the best thing she's ever done for me - and all my belongings were packed in the truck. At my request, she put on the song, a shared favourite, and I went into the empty room and cried quietly for a minute; it was an overture for tears that would later that night explode in a breakdown with my parents about how badly I'd failed, how sorry I was, how ruined and stupid and useless I felt.

Catharsis means "a purging". My best friend forced me out of a poisonous pit, and my body and mind began the slow process of expelling that vitriol, that self-hatred, that infection from my system. That breakdown blew open the places where the poison had leached in and began a cleansing ritual that's still going on. Most of it's gone now, but I'm still finding that poison hiding in crevasses, carved in my bones, stored in fat cells and false life lessons (an idea I will probably devote a whole later entry to, because it's a doozy).

I still feel the little pricklings of the poison when my apartment gets as messy as it is now; I haven't done dishes in weeks, I'm throwing garbage on the floor, I'm letting stains set in the carpet because I can't be bothered. I remember that I never cleaned back then, though I repeatedly promised I would, because fuck it, that's why. There's a part of me that is on constant alert for the switch between "can't be bothered" and "fuck it, that's why", an alarm that goes off when I'm near that particular threshold, and then I either pare the mess back from "filth" to "clutter" or, if I was dangerously near the edge, I recoil with a day of furious cleaning and get my place as close as possible to spotless. (Yesterday I bought a SteamVac. Coffee stain on my carpet, you are going DOWN.)

My time at the apartment is the phantom limb of my life story - gone now, long gone, forcibly amputated to stop the spread of necrosis, but still sending out little shards of pain to remind me it was once there. I wouldn't trade it, but man... sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to never have had to lose the limb at all.

Friday, October 8, 2010

To Those Who Sin

To the Westboro Baptist Church, to Fred Phelps, to the hideous lying propagandists of the American Family Organization and Focus on the Family, to the official dogma of so many sects of Christianity, to Anita Bryant, to those vicious hateful proponents of the opposition to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign, to everyone who looked at the above list and secretly hoped for a message of support:

Rest assured that you are evil, and the servants of evil. No good will come of you. That victorious feeling, the sickly sweetness in the back of your throat as you raise your signs high and vomit hatred upon the world? That is the taste of sin. Enjoy it now, because if anyone burns for anything, eventually you will burn for it. Eventually you will see how wrong you are.

I could explain why you are wrong, why you are unholy and sinful. I could cite science, but you won't listen. I could cite psychology, but you don't care. I could cite your own religious texts, but you would tune me out entirely. The research, the evidence, is there for the people that crave the clarity of fact and reality. But this message isn't for them; this message is for the people who find comfort in the cloying vitriolic cushion of choosing hate and pretending it is Love.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But some opinions are wrong. You, to whom this entry is dedicated, are wrong: fundamentally, ecumenically, intrinsically wrong.

I can't force you to see that. But I can say it, as often as possible, as loud as I can.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


What's that word for when you're caught in a current and you can't get over it until you drop under it?

This is where I will direct all of my mental currents from now on. Sometimes I don't make a whole lot of sense.

I hear that to be a writer you must just start writing things. I want to be many things, a writer among them, and this seems like as good a place to start as any.