December 31, 2010

2010 -- Year in Review

It's hard to believe that it's the last day of 2010. This has been a wonderful and incredibly challenging year for me as an artist, as a friend, as a wife and as a human being in general. I've learned and experienced a lot and, barring any incidents today/tonight (knock on wood!), it's been a year without loss of anyone in my family! Woo hooo!!! So, let's recap the year, shall we?? It was a LOT less insane than 2009 was, that's for sure! I don't think I could have handled another year like that, and I certainly would be divorced by now if I'd tried.
January: Show Boat in Concert
Role: Ensemble
Company: Lyric Stage Read the Review
May: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Role: Muriel Eubanks Company: Music Theatre of Denton Read the Review Read Another Review Read my Recap
June: Encore III –The Divas! Role: Director and Performer Company: Denton Community Theatre Read my Recap
August: The Producers! Role: Ulla Company: Denton Community Theatre Read the Review Read my Recap
I'd say that was a much more manageable year, wouldn't you?? I also kept most of my sanity this time and was able to focus on some Very Important Things such as my very best friend in the whole world getting married: ...and walking 60 miles in the Dallas 3-Day Walk for the Cure: I also wrote the following reviews for John Garica's The Column before I resigned from that post: Again, not nearly as busy a year for me. Last year I wrote 11 reviews! So, 2010 was definitely a lot less insane, but because of that, it was also a lot more fulfilling. The projects I did meant so much to me and they are so special to me (not to take anything away from the wonderful experiences I had in 2009 of course) because I was able to take the time over this recent 4 month break and really reflect on them as landmarks in this year. Rather than a blur of images that I have from 2009, each show I did in 2010 stands out clearly. I also went through some very major physical changes this year that have boosted my confidence so much that I enjoyed that time onstage so much more because I felt better about myself and I was able to do more and have more energy than I have in previous shows. 2010 was also the year that I had a spiritual re-awakening that caused me to even question what I should be doing artistically. I still don't case you were wondering. However, I do know that I've learned a lot about what I need to focus on (God, family, work) and that I am going to be a lot choosier about shows; picking of projects are going to mean the most to me and challenge me as a performer. I'd really like to work with some different theatre companies in 2010 and add a non-musical or two to my resume. I've been to four non-musical auditions in the past two months (though I sang at 2 of them, funny enough) and I have already learned so much about what I need to do to improve. I haven't been blogging about these auditions because...well, I'm a little superstitious and don't ever want to jinx them and also...because I know that these auditions aren't always going to result in a role and I don't want to just blog about each audition/possible rejection. That's just boring, so I'll just save that kind of talk for my husband and close friends. You're welcome! Finally...I've been hesitating about writing this next part for a few days now, actually, but I really feel like I want to share the biggest artistic discovery I've made this year. I am well aware that this is my own personal opinion, and you should treat it as such. It really does not matter "who you know" as much as people think it does. "Networking" will only take you so far if you don't have the talent and the work ethic to back up all your "connections in the business." No, that doesn't mean that meeting people in the field isn't important. No, that doesn't mean that you can just say or do anything you want because you don't care whom you offend. It's very important to meet other people in the biz because they are your future colleagues. But it's just more important, I feel, to show those colleagues that you deserve to be there because you are talented and you work hard and your behavior is above reproach. I've grown so weary of all the fake friendships and the walking on eggshells that so many people do around people who do not matter in the grand scheme of things. In a nutshell: Don't burn bridges...but also don't worry about the ones that lead nowhere. Consider if the bridge you're working so hard to build and maintain is worth the effort and energy. Don't spend so much time looking at what's on the other side of that bridge that you are completely disregarding all the awesome things that are right next to you. Is the bridge metaphor getting confusing? I'll be clearer: don't say no to projects because you're afraid of what other people will think -- if it's going to challenge and fulfill you artistically: do it. Don't spend hours and days and pieces of your soul keeping people happy who wouldn't do the same for you if it were asked of them, and especially don't do that if it means you're missing completely awesome friendships and relationships that are right in front of your face and so much easier to maintain. Okay, I'm officially getting off my soap box now! Cheers to an incredible 2010, and here's to an amazing 2011! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

December 13, 2010

One Year Fitaversary!

Tomorrow will officially be one year to date since The Day of Reckoning...aka December 16, 2009. The day I was SO proud of myself for having put together a successful musical cabaret with friends and then promptly went home, settled into bed, looked at my camera (which had been in the hands of a friend all night since I was kinda runnin' the show), and saw THIS:

No....surely that was just a bad picture, right? So I went to the videos that had been recorded of me singing. Here are some screen shots (that I hate):

Hmmm...but! But! But I'd just seen the rehearsal pics and those weren't so bad, right? WRONG:

I honestly saw myself in REALITY for the first time in a loooong time. I saw a girl I barely recognized. I saw someone that I knew wasn't what I'd been telling myself I saw in the mirror for the past year(s). I proceeded to cry until about 2am, and then the next day, after a long, tearful conversation with my sweet Kelsey, I decided to make the change to change.

That weekend, I bought a scale and weighed myself. The verdict? A frightening and unhealthy 210lbs.

WHAT?! I am 5'3" so there is no way that is healthy. I was in a size 16 pants and wearing size XL tops and dresses. And I was miserable.

So I made a change. I started counting my calories. I started exercising. I registered for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure. I set goals (one of which was to lose 40lbs by the next December 16th). I made progress:

I got more confidence in myself, and I was finally able to fall in love onstage*:

A lot...

Are you noticing a trend? was a good year... ;)

I played a role that I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought I'd get to play (Ulla in The Producers):

Now my video screen shots were a LOT more appealing:

My best gal pal Anna and I walked 60 miles in November for an amazing cause:

And while last year's holiday portraits were a precursor to The Day of Reckoning (when I first started noticing that I was a lot bigger than I allowed myself to believe):

I'd say this year's show a tremendous amount of improvement and a MUCH HAPPIER me:

My friend, photographer, and one of my biggest cheerleaders, Lynn Michelle, took a few very sexy photos of me to help commemorate the occasion of a year of weight loss:

It's been quite a year. Back when I wrote my Half-Fitaversary post, I thanked a WHOLE bunch of people, without whom I couldn't have done what I did this year. Just go read that post...and even if you're not on there, you reading this allows you to assume you are STILL one of those for whom I am thankful.

I do have to kinda play favorites though...Kelsey and Michael. Seriously I couldn't have done it without the two of them. Kelsey talked me off of SO many ledges this year and celebrated the tiniest victories (1 lb of weight loss per week, etc) as though they were MONUMENTAL.

My sweet husband put up with the very very worst of me, when I'd be ANGRY-hungry (you know what I mean). He also was very sweet about eating what I would cook...and about not making any kinds of comments ("oh a few won't hurt you!") when I avoided chips and salsa, cheese fries, etc. He is a KEEPER.

I really am thrilled with how far I've come in a year...but I am disappointed that I allowed myself to get so comfortable and lazy, especially once I wasn't in a show (and especially since the 3-Day ended, when I've pretty much been anti-exercise at all after the toll it took on my body).

I haven't gained anything back and I continue to be in smaller clothes, but I would have liked to have reached my goal. BUT! I am not discouraged! NOTHING is stopping me from continuing to work hard and setting new goals.

As of this morning, according to my $10 analog scale (the same one on which I weighed myself that dreadful day), my current weight is 179lbs. For you math folks, that's a 31lb weight loss!

It kind of bums me out that I haven't really lost any weight since my post in June... :-/ But, my body has continued to change and sort of...for lack of a better word...compact. I'm wearing a smaller size jeans than I was in June, so that's good. And it's totes my fault that I haven't worked harder. I know this. But anyway...

Current sizes are as follows:

Jeans: a pair of size 12 jeans that is awful when I first put them on, but baggy-ish (and comfortable) by the end of the day

Dresses: 10

A few key pieces (tops, one dress) that are my BFF: 8

I'd call that a success, wouldn't you? Well, actually I don't care what you'd call it, if it's anything other than "awesome!"

So. **twiddles thumbs** What now?

Well, I go into the holiday season with a renewed sense of "get up off your butt." I feel really good about some upcoming auditions (see my theatre blog for that kind of stuff), I'll be registering for the 2011 3-Day walk probably some time in January...and after that who knows? I think the toughest part is going to be moving forward to reach new goals when I'm really just so happy and feeling so much better than I was a year ago. But I know I can do it.

And now, I leave you with a video. It's a video from the production of The Producers I did with DCT. It's actually not my favorite singing video of myself (Belting + Mandy + Exhaustion = praying to Jesus I'd make it through this song every night), but I love the way I look in it (Vain, Party of 1) and the words are just kinda perfect for how I'm feeling lately (minus the kind of skanky implications). So! On to 2011 and more reasons to "flaunt it!"

*Tongue-in-cheek reference to the Musical Theatre Dictionary, where I was able to define myself as a "character actress." Character Actress-noun- Talented women often who are often too fat, short, or quirky to be considered ingenues. Due to their physical shortcomings, character actresses often exhibit great acting tactics and multi-octave belting skills. Sadly, a character actress will almost never fall in love onstage because, as we all know, only pretty people have dreams and genitalia.