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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

self-express yo’self.

In Rants on February 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I once told my friend the following…

I wish that life were a musical…until then, I’ll have to find other ways to justify my over-the-top actions.

Sometimes, something happens that is so incredible.

And you just have to dance.

Last night, I watched the Oscars, and it was clear that Colin Firth was thinking the same thing…

I started screaming at the tv..

Dance Colin! Do it!

He didn’t.

But it is ok.

Why don’t we do it?

Why are we so afraid to humiliate ourselves?

Here’s the thing.

We’re all human.

One morning I was driving through Hollywood, and trying to ease my way through a stressful morning. The way I usually do this, is to talk to myself. As soon as I talk through the nonsense in my head, its as if my brain can relax for a minute. Its as if someone recycled the contents, and things are more clear.

So it is first thing in the morning. And I’m talking to myself. I looked off to the right hand side as I was talking, and noticed a homeless man doing the same thing.

Talking to himself.

Sorting through whatever clutter was in his head that morning.

And we bonded.

He doesn’t know this, but I do.

Bonded.

Shared in a human experience, and on that very morning, we chose to express ourselves in the same way.

Today, celebrate self-expression.

I’m not saying go to a museum and look at other people’s art.

Just be you.

Be your loud, silly, singy, dancey self.

The world won’t laugh.

Hell, we’ll applaud you.

One of my favorite movies portrays this idea so well…and I smile every time I watch it.

Get happy.

In Adventures with Jenko on February 28, 2011 at 4:58 am

I’ve been listening to this song on a daily basis for months on end…

Take a listen for a minute or so…and close your eyes when you do so…then think about what you see…

Here’s what I used to see when I listened to that song.

Blackout on stage. Single spotlight shines down on a chair, with me sitting in it.

My head is buried in my hands.

The music comes up.

There is mascara dripping down my face.

I am alone.

All anger. All hurt. All resides in one place.

It has left my heart and gone to my feet.

I jump up from the chair and tap my way through the number.

All anger in my feet.

Every time the song blares “Get Happy” my feet get more angry.

The intensity, the suffocating, the haze…

It’s all left right there on that stage, as the lyrics literally drain me.

 

Get happy.

After months of feeling myself get lost in a suffocating cloud of depression, I told myself two words.

Get happy.

About 2 weeks ago I sat down with my mom and had one of the toughest conversations I’ve ever had. I told her I was unhappy. I told her that I felt like every day is a battle against myself. And I lose every time. I told her I felt like I was stuck in my head. Scared. Suffocated. Insecure. Unhappy. Drowning in a dark depression where I don’t have a desire to get out of bed in the morning.

And the last thing I told her, was that I wanted to get happy.

That night, I handed her a pair of scissors and told her to hack off a couple inches of my hair. I was desperate to somehow feel different. I changed my diet the next day. I decided to only keep positive people in my life. I decided that I would love myself enough to make better decisions.

I woke up the next morning feeling alive.

Radiant.

Different.

I felt like I could fight myself for the first time.

Two weeks into my new diet, and I feel noticeably different. I talk to people everywhere I go. I feel like I’ve downed a gallon of coffee everyday…without having to touch a glass.

Yesterday felt like a breakthrough day for me…

I was running on under 3 hours sleep, and I woke up ready to take on the day. I arrived at the theatre for a morning rehearsal for “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, and I had a different appreciation for what I was doing. I had a different appreciation for theatre. I felt alive. I felt like I was at home. Following a successful run of the show, I raced home to grab food and make copies of my script. I raced back to the theatre, and had the first table-read for my 3-woman show, “Princes Don’t Live in Cyberland.” Reading the show aloud with the cast for the first time was a completely surreal experience. I wrote the show in under 2 hours, but the stories had been stuck in my head for years. During the read, one of the more difficult segments of the show came up. I say “difficult” because emotionally, it was a hard segment to write. It’s the segment of the show where I relive getting over the death of my grandma. During the read, I burst into tears. Tears started welling up from the others during the read. I walked away from the read giddy. To hear your work read aloud is one of the single most thrilling experiences. It is also one of the most vulnerable experiences. Will people like it? Will it affect people? Will it inspire? I walked away from the read knowing that I had written something that hit home. I walked away knowing that it was a piece that people will connect to. It felt incredible.

I ended the day by driving out to LA to celebrate my birthday…a couple days early…but I figure that my actual birthday falls on a tech rehearsal, and I want my focus to be there..and spend another evening letting my hair down. The co-birthday was fantastic. I was surrounded by people I care about. Happy, energetic and lovable people that you just want to spend time with. It was perfect.

It sounds cheesy, but a part of me feels like I’m finding myself. Another part of me feels like I’m meeting myself for the first time. Meeting a person that I want to be. A person who isn’t holding herself back. A person who has insecurities, but who isn’t afraid to cry in front of people. I feel like for the first time, I want to date guys who are emotionally available. Guys who aren’t as guarded as I was. Guys who are genuine. I feel like I deserve better than what I’ve been looking for.

Yesterday, I listened to “Get Happy” on my way home from rehearsal.

I belted it in the car as usual.

But I didn’t just sing it this time.

I sang it.

I mean really sang it.

I really felt it.

I got happy.

And damn.

It feels incredible.

 

 


red bull gives me…nostalgia.

In Rants on February 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

I went grocery shopping as soon as I rolled out of bed this morning…and as I wandered to the self-checkout station, I saw the red-bull fridge.

Just sitting there.

Grinning at me.

With his mischevious smile that clearly screamed, “1.99, baby. Come take me away.”

And I did. I delightfully took the can, and giddily put it in the fridge to save for later.

I actually looked forward to “later.” I looked forward to guzzling my red bull. I’m a fan of the energy drinks, but I’ve slowly let it out of my life. Until today. I cracked open that can, and the first sip took me back to college.

No other energy drink does this to me.

The first sip took me back to my story structure class…the class where I got so dramatically hung over, that only red bull could cure me.

The next sip took me to the backseat of a car. Crammed in with a couple other people. Wearing some ridiculous costume. Listening to ridiculous music. Heading to a ridiculous party. And adoring every second of it.

The following sips took me to Starbucks. Cramming for a mid-term that I had forgotten about…an hour before the test. Relying on a photographic memory that only red bull could give me, as I memorized page after page.

Sitting in the editing bay at school trying to teach myself how to use final cut pro. Spending hours running around the lab trying to edit hours of footage into 4 minutes…for a project that was due that evening.

There was something about that portion of my life, where time was always of the essence. I could’ve been more organized. I could’ve gotten the work done earlier. I could’ve gone to less parties. But then, it wouldn’t have been the experience that it was. I wouldn’t have made a fool of myself in that story structure class, when I started arguing with my teacher that Disney sequels are just ridiculous…totally forgetting in my moment of passion that she was the writer of Hunchback of Notre Dame 2. In life, I might not be wearing a cape to show you that I have sweet powers….but damn, the wings aren’t too bad.

Is it bad that I’m craving another?

Seriously.

 

a walking musical.

In Adventures with Jenko on February 25, 2011 at 8:39 pm


This morning I picked up the phone to call a friend and wish her a happy birthday. “Wish her a happy birthday” ended up turning into obnoxiously singing “happy birthday” at the top of my lungs to her voicemail. Here’s how the voicemail sounded:

“Happy birthday to you…

Happy birthday to you…

Happy birthday…”

“ERIKKAAAAAAAA!”

“Happybirthdaytoyoubye!”

The squawking “Erika” came from my mother. When I got off the phone, she burst out laughing. I asked her, “What was the meaning of that? I was leaving a birthday voicemail!”

She responds with, “Sorry. I thought you were breaking out into song again.”

My mother knows me too well. I’m completely ok with that. I’ve always believed that in her heart of hearts, she’s an actress…but she’ll never admit it…and I doubt she’ll ever see it. My whole family is a group of actors at heart. My brother produced/directed a play that he performed in when he was still in high school. To market “Reduced Shakespeare” he showed up at school dressed as a girl. My brother is the shit. My grandmother could’ve been a movie star. She was that old hollywood type to a tea. Tragic, gorgeous, bizarre. She would’ve made it. She used to put on plays in the backyard when my mom was growing up. She’d direct the shows, and all of the neighborhood kids would perform in them.

Yes, we’re a family of entertainers. We talk with our hands. We impersonate each other. We’re passionate people. I however, was the only one silly enough to actually pursue it. I am grateful for my crazy family. We drive each other crazy, but at the end of the day, I don’t feel alone in what I’m doing with my life. There’s support. And whenever things get hard, and I question every choice I make…I listen to this song….because, damn. Barbara Streisand just puts it eloquently…

Damn you, Wheat. Damn you.

In Rants on February 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

It is 1:38.

And I haven’t had one cup of coffee.

Normally, I’d be proud of that fact….today, not so much.

Brewing cup as we speak. Since I’m out of creamer, I’m giving myself permission to include cool whip and cinnamon in my coffee…it’s only fair.

I had a weird early afternoon. I got dressed in what can only be called, “an erika outfit.” I think I only own 2 “normal” pairs of jeans, and everything else is…well…almost like costume pieces.

Today I was feeling funky in my coffee-less state, so I left the house in neon yellow tube socks, black leggings, rainbow hiker boots, an 80’s workout tank top, and a sweater. Ridiculous. But I own it.

I walked into Subway to buy a salad. It’s difficult to buy a salad when there are a billion delicious $5 footlongs to choose from.

But I ordered a salad.

yes a salad.

And let’s be clear.

I’m NOT. I repeat NOT on a diet. I’m going completely wheat-free…yes..no beer, pasta, bread, pizza…all of my food groups. Bottom-line, I have a wheat allergy. My reaction to wheat isn’t a breakout in hives…I have the rare version…it literally makes me depressed. Can you believe that? Beer makes me depressed. Beer is the juice of the gods…and yet it makes me depressed. So why am I just now trying to fix this? Because, c’mon, would you give up pizza and beer just because it made you moody? I don’t think so. A week ago, I decided I wouldn’t screw this up, and I’d literally go without bread, cereal, beer, etc. I’ve tried this in the past, and I give in a few days in. I’ve given in once in the past week or so, and it wasn’t pretty. I snuck up to the fridge, and peaked inside (knowing full well that there was a vat of tuna noodle casserole) sitting inside.

Tuna noodle casserole isn’t great even when it’s heated up.

This stuff was cold.

Sitting in gladware in the back of the fridge.

Nonetheless, I snuck up to the fridge, opened the container…and guilty hunched over the container and ate a couple noodles…cold drippy noodles.

It was endlessly pathetic. But it happened.

The good news is, I’ve been eating ridiculously healthy. I live on veggies and anything wrapped in lettuce….and pretty much fruit 3 meals a day. I have more energy, and I am incapable of sleeping past 9:00…so all in all…this could be a good thing.

Until I have a panic attack in public because I need a beer.

Stay tuned.

Lightsabers in the parlor…

In Sexy Nerd. on February 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

My life at present: I am still in my pajamas…and the time is 12:27.

Unacceptable. What is even more unacceptable is the t-shirt that I chose to wear to bed. I bought it at Old Navy last year, because it ended up in the sales bin. It’s a hot pink t-shirt that reads, “The Boys Love Me.”

A tad obnoxious, I will admit. But last year, I dug it…mostly because it was only $3 but that’s beside the point.

At present, it is 12:28 and I’m still wearing this ridiculous shirt, and I realize that this shirt might be lying. I mean, sure…the boys love me. I’m goofy Erika. I love talking about farting. Most people who know me have never seen me with my hair down, so even though it’s kind of juvenile…I’m kind of a tomboy. I have a lightsaber on a display stand in my room. I own every Lord of the Rings soundtrack. I don’t spend more than 5 minutes on my makeup because after 5 minutes, I’m completely bored. I look at a trip to the nail salon as a modern form of medieval torture. I would rather clean a cat box…which brings me to my cats. I have two of them…both named after halo characters from red vs. blue. So, yes…the “boys love me.” I’m not high maintenance…and I have a ridiculous appreciation for ridiculous things.

So, the boys love me….kind of like Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice.” The idea of “Elizabeth” is a good idea to some…but no one is jumping to dance with her. She doesn’t have the blatant sex appeal of her sister Jane, who gets asked to dance not once…but twice a night (what a slut). Elizabeth is seen sitting in a corner not getting asked to dance by mister hot Darcy at the parties. She apparently has a complex about her nose, which she doesn’t even realize until it is pointed out to her. I’m totally Elizabeth!

And yes, I’m reading “Pride and Prejudice” for the first time….so bear with this for a moment.

One of the quotes in the beginning of the book caught my eye…

“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.”

The perfect example of recognizing someone’s flaws, and explaining them in a way that is poetic. To be honest, I have issues with people trying to psychoanalyze me. It happens all the time. People want to be the archeologist in my life and try to dig up the dirt. Here’s what I would appreciate. Take my flaws, and talk about them in a witty fashion, rather than trying to understand where they came from. I would appreciate it more if you said, “Erika, your lack of social decency should earn you a gold star. It’s like you’re celebrating freedom of speech on a daily basis!” Instead of trying to figure out why I have verbal diarrhea all the time, and will randomly start talking about sex and bowel movements. Sometimes, I wish that life was a scene from “Pride and Prejudice.” If you don’t luck out in one parlor or find yourself sitting in a corner questioning yourself, there’s always another parlor. There’s always another major event with guys who will refer to your flaws in a way that will put your bloomers in a dance. For now, I’m toting around that damn light saber, and I’m gonna enjoy my flaws. Because they’re me. Although…I could still probably lose this ridiculous shirt…

Bye Speckles.

In Adventures with Jenko on February 10, 2011 at 5:50 am

Dear Grandma:

I know a letter is somewhat formal, but you used to write them to me all the time, so I’m simply returning the favor. As you know, Speckles has been living with my parents since you passed away. I never told you, but when you passed away, I hated that cat. Now, I know that “hate” is a very strong word. And I’m sure I didn’t actually “hate” the cat at all…but to me…8 years ago…when you passed away…

It just wasn’t fair. Your cat was 15 years old at the time. She was well past her nine lives…and you…

You were young. It wasn’t fair. I wasn’t ready to lose you. When Speckles outlived you, I was livid. As the years went by, the cat grew on me. At some point, she lost her hearing. When she lost her hearing, we had to be extra careful when backing cars out of the driveway, because she used to snuggle up against the tires. I never told you this story, but one day, I was in a hurry trying to get Kurt to hockey practice on-time, and I forgot to check under the car for her…

And I ran her over.

I ran Speckles over…

And she lived.

The damn cat not only out lived you, but she outlived my moment of sheer stupidity. I couldn’t bring guys over to the house after that day, because mom and dad liked to embellish the story by saying, “Erika hated the cat so much that she ran it over with the car.” Not true, grandma. I swear, I just forgot to look.

Anyway, Speckles is now 23 years old. She lives in the house on a plush bed next to the fireplace. She orders around her minions who wander around on 4 legs. You’d be impressed by her….at least I was…

I came home from rehearsal tonight, and before my dad finished the sentence, I knew what had happened. Speckles was put down tonight. She was barely hanging on, and she wasn’t doing too well. As much as I hated that cat for outliving you, I realized that I never really hated her at all. Quite the opposite actually. She was the only living thing that truly reminded me of you. Something I could see everyday, and without realizing it, she was somehow consistently keeping you in my life. I’ve had a hard time letting you go, grandma. I wrote a 3-woman show a couple months ago, and you’re one of the main characters. It was the first time I was able to mourn your death…even though it was 8 years later. That silly cat was a prop from your life. A prop I could keep in mine. A prop that wasn’t a note you wrote me tucked away in the piano bench in the living room…the notes I run across “by accident” all the time to feel like you’re still around. The cat was real….not like the pieces of furniture from your house that hit me like surprise attacks every time I walk past them in my parent’s house. What I’m trying to say is, I miss you. I still do…and please send Speckles my regards. Love you.

Since when did Cupid become the villain?

In Dating. on February 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

When I was a small child, my parents wrapped me up in a blanket and placed me gently in a basket. They drove hours from our home and ended up at the outskirts of the infamous witch’s lair. They hiked for two days up the mountain, with the basket in hand. When they were at the top of the mountain, the witch let them in and offered to place a curse on me. My parents, having always wanted to have a cursed child, agreed to this. The witch placed a curse that when I grow up, I shall never have a boyfriend during major holidays.

I’m positive this is not how it went down, but even if it was, I have to admit that I am not entirely ungrateful. In my adult life, whenever those holidays role around, I somehow find myself single. Some people would’ve stomped right up that witch’s mountain and knocked her off a cliff…but not me. Holidays are always associated with love, and the first thing we think of when we think of love, is the relationship. We feel like if we don’t have our soul-mate by our side on Valentine’s Day that we have somehow failed as human beings. We decide to curse Valentine’s Day and proclaim it to be an “advertiser’s fantasy in which silly lovers spend way to much money on each other.” We decide to wear black and go into mourning. We decide to drink our sorrows away. We decide to curse men, and say that we don’t need them anyway. We decide to watch too many chick flicks to figure out what we’re doing wrong.

How do I know all of this? Because, I’m guilty of doing all of these things.

This year, I’m grateful for that damn witch on the mountain, because this is the year I change my outlook.

It all started with a facebook update from one of my friends, saying that someone else might be joining us on V-day. The plan was to Suit-Up and watch a ridiculous amount of “How I Met Your Mother” all the while sipping the beverage of Robin: Scotch. As we started to make plans for that day, it was no longer about “making sure none of us single folk were alone on V-day.” Or, “doing anything in our power to forget that we are single.” It was about being with friends, and enjoying a day together that is hard to come by with our crazy schedules.

This Valentine’s Day, here is what I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful that I can say that I’ve been in love. I’m even grateful that I’ve had my heart broken. It’s called life, people. Live it.

I’m grateful for the men in my life who it didn’t work with relationship-wise. They’ve shown me what love can be, and also that friendship isn’t a consolation prize…but sometimes, friendship is the best form of love between two people.

I’m grateful that I have a fantastic father-figure in my life. Anyone who can discuss my netflix queue for an hour is my absolute hero.

I’m grateful for the love of my family. We drive each other crazy. We scream. We yell. We throw things. We disagree. But at the end of the day, we care about each other. Otherwise, we would probably just be silent.

I’m grateful for my friends. I’m spastic, A.D.D., loud and confused. Anyone who can handle that for more than five minutes and still want to keep me around, is ok in my book.

I’m grateful that I am single. Am I anti-relationship? Hell no. The one thing that people forget about when they are single, is the “hope factor.” There is the hope that something new is on the horizon.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget what the day is about. It’s not about red balloons. It’s not about expensive restaurants. It’s not about maxing out your Victoria’s Secret credit card. It’s not about crying and being depressed.

It’s about Love.

It’s too bad that we need a holiday to remind us of it, but sometimes, we need a kick in the ass to get there. Happy V-day everyone, from my heart to yours.