These Words Are My Diary Screaming Out Loud

Sitting home on Saturday playing my guitar, I thought, “It’s probably about time I put some sort of recording of myself singing out there.” I’ve been in LA for four years, half of that time doing Musical Theatre, and I have no recordings of myself singing (which is just ridiculous). Consequently, most people I know in LA, who are not part of my Musical Theatre world, did not even know that I sing till this last year or so. I wanted to play my guitar and sing so I picked the song that I am the most familiar with, making it the easiest. I chose “The Thief” by Brooke Fraser. It is the first song I learned to play when I started seriously studying the guitar just over a year ago.

I could have recorded myself playing that song over and over till it was flawless, and in the future I probably will, but this time I needed to put it up the way it came out the first time. It was hard for me to post the recording I took because I have always been a perfectionist when it comes to my voice, and now to my guitar playing. That’s probably part of the reason I’ve never recorded anything. If I can’t do it perfectly I don’t want to do it. I’m aware that that is a terrible attitude to have and I’m working on it, which is why I decided to post the video I did, mistakes and all. And believe me, there were mistakes. But it was important for me to put it up anyway. Why? Because I was scared to. Almost nothing scares me, so I have a need to make myself do the random things I find that do scare me. I refuse to be scared.

For a person who needs to be perfect in my artistic pursuits I sure chose a couple revealing avenues of life; music and writing. They are both absurdly revealing occupations to have. Whenever I write a song or a poem I always think about the lyrics in Anna Nalick’s song that was everywhere for a while, “Breath”. You remember it, right? In the last verse of the song she says, “And I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd, cause these words are my diary screaming out loud, and I know that you’ll use them however you want to.” That’s exactly how it is. You can’t hide when you sing, when you play music, when you write. If you try to hide in those things you will be unsuccessful and boring. I want to be neither. However, I’m aware that to be neither I’m going to have to start out being at least a little bit of both. And, honestly, I’m ok with that.


My Private Retreat

This week I started a private, personal health and spiritual wellness retreat. It didn’t start out that way, though. It started out as a “get hot” plan for ACL, a music festival called Austin City Limits that a couple friends and I are going to in October. I really just wanted to get into shape and then I realized my physical body is not the only thing that needs a little work. I’m sorry to say that my relationship with God needs some work. But I didn’t stop there. Not only did I want to work on my body and my relationship with God, I wanted to work on my music too. I rarely have time to write music since I work so far away from home all day long and most weekends, so I decided it was time to stop complaining and fix that as well.

My plan consists of this: For my body I am working out five times a week, not eating any dairy (which is a lot easier than it sounds), and not drinking any alcohol. For my spirit I am making it a priority to read my Bible, an amazing book called “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge (which I enthusiastically recommend to anyone who wants to see the world through the eyes of their heart), and spending time talking to God every day. For my music I must practice and/or write something each evening before I do anything else fun. These three things make up my private retreat and I’m doing this for five weeks. It actually takes a lot of time to accomplish these three things before I do anything else, but if that's all I have time for every day for the next five weeks, then that's all I have time for.

I’m on day four and doing great, so far. Peace has been surrounding me for the last couple days and I’m positive it has something to do with the focus I am putting on keeping my awareness on God at all times. That part is hard, I have to admit. My mind wanders, I start to worry, I make grandiose plans for my future, and I forget to include God in my decisions. But then I realize what I’m doing and put my mind back on track.

I’m starting to crave cheese….

This is the first week. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of week five. Send me your prayers and vegan baked goods.


I Can See You

The wonderful world of Skype. The pathway between your world and mine; not just verbally, but visually as well. Now we can do more than just talk to each other over the phone, being forced to keep up a good pace with the conversation, feeling awkward when there’s nothing to say, because if there are no words then nothing is going on. All of a sudden we have the ability to hang out with someone across the country, even across the world! You virtually in my room with me, me in yours with you. Does this sound a little too close for comfort to anyone else?

I hate talking on the phone. It doesn’t matter who you are and it’s not personal at all, but most of the time I just don’t want to talk. However, I text all day every day. Side note: If you ever need to get a hold of me, just text. Sometimes I won’t check my voicemail for days. So, you’d think video chatting would seem like a welcome relief to me. But no, I always thought of it as a more involved, high maintenance phone call. I enjoy the freedom that text gives me to answer when I want, think of a witty reply, and deliver it with exactly the right punctuation to get across my true meaning. Why would I want to video chat and be forced to have an actual conversation when I can just shorthand what I want to say in 160 characters or less?

Then, last night, my younger sister, Ashley, (whom I love dearly and always answer the phone for) rang me up on Skype. I hesitated for just a moment, purely out of my prejudice against video chat, and then accepted the call. I was immediately greeted by my lovely little sister’s face. We spent the next hour and a half or so talking, sharing videos online, getting to watch each other as we laughed at the stuff the other person said from hundreds of miles away, and sitting in unawkward silence as one person or the other took care of stuff in the room.

I’m just going to admit it. I couldn’t stop looking at myself in that little box in the corner! Not admiring myself, but just looking. It was my face right there with all my reactions and no makeup. I did not care for that at all. Also, even though it was just my sister, I kept feeling like I needed to fix my hair. “I can look better than this” kept flitting through my mind. I swear it was not vanity that made me think that. I tend to avoid mirrors (unless I feel something clinging to my face, I’d just rather not know) and this was like Ashley was sitting there in front of me hold up a mirror and forcing me to watch myself as I talked. That’s going to take a little getting used to.

We said goodbye, ended the video call, and then she was gone. As close as I am with my family, I don’t know why I hadn’t Skyped before now. I can see why so many people find it useful and I’m sure I’ll start to ring up my sisters and Mom. I may even add a couple friends that still love me with frizzy hair and no makeup.


Alone At The Movies

Seeing a movie by yourself always seemed a little weird to me. Every time I go to the movies with a friend and see an old man sitting there all by himself it makes me sad and I start wondering if he's there alone because he has no one else, or because his wife died, and that's how I feel about going to see a movie alone. I feel like it's a little sad and pathetic. However, I have friends that see movies by themselves because they like it. They are not sad or pathetic and it made me wonder if I would like it too.

So, a few nights ago I had nothing entertaining to do, I had not done anything recently I wanted to write about, and I wanted to see a movie that none of my friends wanted to see, so I went alone. I went to an 8:30 pm showing of The Ugly Truth at The Grove in my pajamas and with my hair as curly as I could get it (I always feel better when my hair is curly, as opposed to straightening it, and if it turned out to be a bad experience I at least wanted to have great hair). I smuggled in some chocolate and a beverage, picked a center seat in a row that was slightly further back than most people like to sit, curled my feet up on the chair next to me, and did not say a word the whole movie.

When the credits started rolling I got right up and left the theatre, which I always want to do, but I inevitably end up going with someone who needs to know who played "girl at the party", or who wants to see if they put any bloopers at the end. I don't care about that at all and I didn't have to pretend like I do.

It wasn't awkward either. I thought I might feel like a loser sitting there all by myself, not talking to anyone. I imagined people looking at me and thinking, "poor girl couldn't get a date", but it did not matter in the least what anyone was thinking. I know, thinking that people cared if I was there alone or not is pretty egotistical. I apologize for my slightly inflated ego on that subject.

Bottom line, I liked going to the movies alone! I'm the type of person who enjoys doing most things alone anyway, so I should have known I would like this too.