Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's Not a Test?

So if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m slightly nuts, lol. Okay, not like a total crazy person, but I have some “issues” (I like to say that they're all part of my charm), but sometimes, if I don’t deal with them head on, they can have the tendency to hold me back. One of them is stage fright. Most of the time I get so freaked out about it, I want to throw up. And right before I go on, I always ask myself, “Self, why do you do this to me?" (meaning: why do you make me go out there with the possibility to screw up royally and make an utter ass out of myself?) Now while I’m waiting in the wings as it were, I can’t find an answer to that question. I usually don’t want to go out there and if I could pay someone to go out instead of me I would (crazy right? I told you). But of course I go out there. I force myself to because I promised that I would. In a way its almost like jumping out of an airplane (not that I’ve done that or ever would) but I can just imagine myself in that plane before the big jump sweating, with my heart pounding so hard it could possibly break through my chest and my stomach in pain. And then me asking myself again “self, what have you gotten me into again?” Cause that’s what it’s like before I take the stage.

You might be asking yourself “self, if she gets so scared that she feels like she might die, why does she bother”? Good question!! The only answer I have is because once I’m out there I freaking LOVE it!! Last week before I sang at the cabaret, I was nervous. I just wanted to get it over with (some performer right?) but when I got up there and started to sing, I started to relax, something comes over me (remembering the first lines of the song usually helps, lol) and then when I did my patter between songs and people actually laughed, well that was it. I had such a great time. I don’t do drugs but performing is the closest thing to being high that I have experienced. It’s addicting!!

Now I NEED to remember that when my play opens in a little over 2 weeks (because I can just imagine the kind of wreck I’ll be beforehand). I think its the perfectionist in me that causes this. I want it to be perfect. I want to be perfect and then that little voice comes in and says "wow if you screw up you will be humiliated forever". But let's face it, what's the worst thing you can think of happening? Death right? Well if I screw up, I'm not gonna die. I will survive. I know this, but man, I still want to be good!! I read somewhere over the past week something that I felt I needed to remember. I wish I wrote down where I got it from but its about a woman who speaks for a living. “She stops asking, how am I doing? and moves to, are you with me? Instead of worrying, will they like me? She considers, what can I offer them? ‘The difference now is that I do not see it as a performance. I see my role as a sharer,’ says Shakin. ‘And when I share . . . my listeners are up there with me.’"

So I’m not going to see my play as a performance (although it is) but more as sharing a part of who I am. I love what I do, so I need to do it and I need to ENJOY it!! I can honestly sit here as I write this and tell you that I’m still gonna be nervous that I’ll forget my lines or that people will think the play is cheesy, but when I get out there and open my mouth I’m gonna enjoy every second of it because its what I love. And its an honor to be sharing an experience with those people in those seats. It’s not a test!! I need to remember that!

I usually feel like I've accomplished something when I write each blog, but I'll be honest with you, I'm not sure that I have here. It almost feels unfinished or somehow not cohesive. I guess it's because I'm not entirely convinced that I won't have a breakdown before the show, lol. I'll keep you posted. Its all a learning experience I guess. Thanks for listening! I hope you do what you love, because life is too short!!


Monday, February 22, 2010

“Stop the Insanity”

So I started writing this blog to talk about my "journey" as a performer, so I guess I should start talking about it. Well actually, I finally have something to talk about (yeah its been awhile, lol). I sang last night in a cabaret downstairs in the Rouge Winebar at The Paris Commune. That’s the reason why this entry is on Monday night instead of Sunday. I was pretty exhausted as well as in pain. I woke up Saturday morning unable to move my neck. As I told the crowd last night, I’d like to say its from some crazy, wacky, sexy event, but quite frankly I think it’s because I’m getting old, lol. I forgot to tell them that if they were smelling Bengay, don’t look around at your neighbor because its me. The tiger balm was in FULL effect last night and still today. Anyway, I took a muscle relaxer and went to bed, hence the no Sunday night blog, my apologies. I think it went pretty well, the cabaret, not the muscle relaxer, although it helped, but I’ll let you be the judge, when I finally get around to uploading the videos online (thanks JG for recording it).

On Saturday morning, I had my first production meeting for the One-Act festival. It was great to finally see what this festival is about and what’s in store for me and our crew. Everyone seemed really nice and supportive. Then I sat down with my director (and friend) Corinne Lee to map out our rehearsals. We talked about the play and its meanings and what I thought about it. I clearly remember saying to her, that “I’d love to be in the finals, but just doing the best that we could, would make this a success in my eyes”, or something like that. And I truly feel that way. Giving my all and getting things done, bringing these characters and this story to life is my goal. And I hope people are touched by it.

Then we met with Joe and read it for the first time aloud. It sounded good. There are things that need to be changed and transitions that need to be worked out (its a work in progress), but its good. I think. ;) But is it good enough? Am I good enough? As I got off the train and headed home, I said (in my head…I don’t want you to think that I actually talk to my self out loud, I mean, I do but I try not to do it in public) so I said “yeah it would be nice to be in the finals” and then I felt deep inside, but that won’t happen. Now why should I feel that way? I haven’t seen any of the other plays, I have no idea what anyone else has written and we haven’t even had a full rehearsal yet, so why the hell am I feeling like I won’t make the finals? Why am I selling myself short?

Because things like this don’t happen to me. Winning does NOT happen! It's in our genes (like the Garrish curse, I told you about that right?) Well winning really hasn’t happened to me before, so why should it happen now, right? I did a monologue challenge once and I made the top 5. Did I win? Nope. Was it because I wasn’t the best? Was it because deep down, I didn’t think I deserved to win? Or was it because I was thinking that I’m not a “winner” and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy? Could be any of the above, or a combo of all.

Last night, when some of the guests were leaving the cabaret, they said a few kind words to me about my performance. One of them actually said something like, “you’re gonna go far”! I said thank you and I’m sure I said something like “we’ll see” or “I hope so” but a part of me didn’t believe her. I haven’t made it yet…will I ever? How do I mesh my desires with that nagging, annoying little voice inside? My dreams are screaming, “Go” and “Make it Happen”. But that little voice (I guess its my subconscious) inside says, “You’re not that good. You're not a winner”.

Well, you know what? Its time I tell that voice to “Shut the Fuck Up. You’re outta here, BITCH”!! So I’m stopping this NOW!!!! I’m not pouring everything I have into this, just to think that I won’t win! It stops now. As that crazy lady with the buzz cut, Susan Powter used to say, “Stop the Insanity”. I need to stop this before it continues to hold me back. Why can’t my play be in the finals? Why can't it win? Why can't I win an Oscar?! I can (well, I'm gonna start trying to believe it)! Change takes time!!

I’m plowing forward. Onward and upward- today, I booked all our rehearsal space…wow, I’m really like a big girl now, lol!!! I'll keep you posted!! Thanks for listening!

-R. Strago

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I got some good news this week. YAY! :) So why do I fee like the end of the world is at hand? :( Perhaps its because I’m CRAZY! Yep, I think that’s the answer, lol. See the One-Act play I wrote in January was accepted to the festival to be performed in March. You think I would be over the moon excited about it and a part of me is. It feels great to have written something and have someone think that it was good enough to be seen by real people (who aren't related to me) lol. But I am out of my mind scared and anxious about it. I know nerves are good most of the time because it shows that you care. And I care, a lot! I want this play to be amazing! It’s a great opportunity to have my work as a writer and actress be seen by people who can help me get future work.

However, I’m also extremely nervous because this is the first time I’m doing more than acting. Usually, I get a role and I work on it. I learn my lines, show up and do my best. Now I guess I’m the producer too (you think I would enjoy this since I'm kinda a control freak and yet I don't). I have to schedule rehearsals, get a director, make sure we have enough time to get done what needs to be done, get costumes and props, plus learn my lines and be an actress (what did I get myself into?). I’m not gonna lie…I’m OVERWHELMED!!! I'm having crazy anxiety dreams already and we haven't had a single rehearsal yet!

I don’t know why I’m so afraid of this. I guess I’m fearful of failing but if I’ve learned anything from writing this blog and putting it out there, its that the only failure there is, is not trying (thanks Kelley Lynn for that comment). FEAR can be paralyzing and I’m gonna have to fight my way through it everyday! But I also know that what can feel like the scariest thing, can also be the best thing for you. So I’m gonna work my butt off and get this thing done. Don’t know how, but I’ll do it!! I refuse to let my anxiety get the best of me. I’ve worked too hard to get here to turn back now. Honestly, I could also use all your good vibes and support as well. And I want to thank my dear friend Joe Iozzi for accepting the male role in the play. It means so much that I can count on him (especially since I have no money and can’t pay him, sorry)! Love ya!

I'll leave you on this note. I read something over the weekend and I decided that I’m gonna read every day, and somehow I will make myself believe it! I don’t officially know who wrote it. I looked it up online and two names came up: C. W. Longenecker as well as Walter D Wintle. However, I think its true and I think it will help…

“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t.
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will—
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”

I think I CAN! I hope you think you CAN too!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Here's the truth and it's UGLY.

I’ll be honest, this is not a pretty blog entry. But I decided that when I started this blog I would be honest. It’s almost like a diary that I let other people read and sometimes what I feel in my life isn’t pretty, meaning that, when you read this you're probably gonna figure out that I’m NOT perfect. But let’s face it as human beings, we aren’t always “pretty” so I’m gonna let this out and I hope that you won’t judge me too harshly.

This year started out, as most do, full of hope for all the great things to come and for the most part I still feel that way (since its only February lol) but there are times when the opposite comes to the surface and it rears its ugly head. We can call this DOUBT, sometimes we can call it JEALOUSY and sometimes it can be known as POOR ME. Now if you really know me, you know that I try hard not to get caught up in the POOR ME game. I don’t even like to play the game with others (but I always let them win). I don't think its fun. I feel like it doesn’t do any good, except make us feel worse and try to keep us there. I think we have control over our lives, so why not stop whining about it and change things. Well, that’s really easy to say, but sometimes its really hard to do. Sometimes it’s hard to be positive all the time.

Right now, I kinda feel like I’m in a waiting room or stuck in a shade of gray, like there are great things right around the corner but my car has stalled and I don’t have enough money to call a tow truck or pay the mechanic. And I’m starting to get a little pissed off about it. Not that this feeling has just come over me right at this moment, I’ve felt it before in my life. I even wrote my first play about this feeling. And here’s the ugly part, the feeling is “When is it my turn?” Believe me I completely understand that this statement is absolutely 100% self-centered, but there you have it. “When is it my turn?” When do my dreams get to come true, cause I know quite a few people who have what they want (true, I doubt their lives are perfect) but they laid out plans for their lives and are now living it. I'm v happy for them, but well, when's it my turn?

I try not to be this selfish in my every day life but the more I become aware of people living their dreams and me feeling like I’m still on the starting line, it makes me disappointed. And then to top it all off, I feel really bad that I feel this way because I know how truly blessed I am and how great my life is. Perhaps its all my Catholic guilt, but I feel guilty for feeling dissapointed or jealous. I told you it wasn't pretty, but I think its important to share the things that get us down and angry and upset.

I’m putting it out there so that we know we’re allowed to feel these things, but that’s it. We can feel them, and then we need to get them out and let them go. We cannot hold onto them. We can use them to work harder and prove that we deserve to be where we want to be but we can’t wallow in them. Tomorrow's a new day. I will wake up and try to see the day as a new start. I don’t know that I’ll get through the entire day and not feel bad about something though. I can’t promise that when I read on someone’s facebook status that they just booked a guest spot on Law & Order while I’m sitting at a desk, I won’t feel upset. And I can’t promise that when I read someone’s tweet that they just landed a fabulous agent I won’t be a tad bit jealous, but I do promise that I’m working on it. And I’ll use their successes to know that it is possible. If people I know personally are succeeding, than I can't be that far behind, can I? And maybe I don't need a mechanic. Maybe I just need a friend with some jumper cables to restart my battery. That is what you use to restart your car right?

I kinda want to eat a bagel right now! Is that weird!