🎼All The Things I Would Do If I Had A Little Money, It’s A Rich Man’s World…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!

The timing of this is quite interesting given that Abba recently announced a new album and tour. LOL! Oh, and they released 2 of the songs. I really like one of them

I had logged onto our Teams link early and had my camera and mic off when I got a notification from a friend that this release had happened. Since I was waiting for others to sign on, I was sure that I could read up on this more. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was already videos on Youtube for them. So of course, I watch them.

As I listened to “Don’t Shut Me Down”, I happened to have caught my reflection in the empty black part of the screen and it really struck a cord with me.

“I believe it would be fair to say
You look bewildered
And you wonder why I’m here today
And so you should, I would
When I left I felt I’d had enough
But in the shape and form I appear now
I have learned to cope
And love and hope is why I am here now

And now you see another me, I’ve been reloaded, yeah
I’m fired up, don’t shut me down
I’m like a dream within a dream that’s been decoded”

I don’t know why my brain always seems to make things seem like small magical moments. I mean what are the odds that this just happened to be what I heard when I saw myself. And I was actually happy with the position I am in. I can be hyper self-critical and sometimes landing this job still feels like it isn’t real. OR more appropriately, that I don’t deserve it. I recalled a report that I read somewhere a few years ago that was in regards to low income families and finances.

Dear Reader, it said that children who grew up in a low income household where money was always an invisible stressor (never spoken about but acknowledged) can get imprinted with the idea that this was supposed to be the norm. Some that don’t, find that there is a subconscious fear of surpassing the income level that your parents had because you won’t know how to “handle” it. It was this fear that potentially leads not only to self sabotage but could lead to fear of success.

I spent the last few days trying to find the report, but I can’t find anything like it. And I know I am not smart enough to dream up something like this, so I can only say “I solemnly swear that I did read this!”

I have always dreamed of having a job that will afford me the opportunity to travel without having to basically cut out all expenses… well literally EVERYTHING… just to get to my destination. Now, I can!

It was always a fight to keep my head above water because of the need to work on my theatrical endeavors, (Yes, I said need. NEEEEED! There is a home-ness I feel that I do not get anywhere else regardless of the self doubt and imposter syndrome that creeps in.)pay my obligations, and still have a roof over my head in the Bay Area, which is expensive AF! And I never minded the fight. I enjoyed my survival job because of my coworkers and I love the area because it is usually gorgeous outside. At least, when the whole state isn’t on fire… Then, of course, there is my hilarious family and beautiful friends. I’d also like to take a hot second to point mention this new work feels right. Feels like I can grow in the corporate world and the creative since I will be able to use both together.

For the last three decades, my acting teachers and mentors would say that traveling is such a great way to learn about people and find more of yourself by exploring the outside world to bring more to your inner world. That’s been one of my quiet wishes to do so I finally started to dare to look at places to travel.

I can’t wait until I get that first stamp in my passport! But first, I need to find somewhere to go. Choices! As this little world that is now globally connected through technology continues to shrink, I look forward to expanding my experience in it.

Thank you, Kind Reader, for connecting with me in this digital world! Maybe one day we’ll meet, if I don’t already know you. And for those that I do know, I will be cheering you on from the wings!

What was the first stamp in your passport? Are you like me and stampless? Then, let me ask, what do you want it be? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for your time. I adore you for it.

Be safe and alert whilst taking care and remember to share kindness.

🎼 …Then You Shoulda Put A Ring On It🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!!

It’s been a long time.  

I know in the last post (from a million years ago) I had mentioned that I started a new job. While it is a pretty stale excuse… YES that is my excuse for not getting back to the postings and what nots. But I am loving it. There is a TON of trainings that I have to do, seemingly nonstop, but it is a really fascinating.

In that same post, I had mentioned that I was triggered by something in the In The Heights movie and that it was a planned upcoming post. Well, guess what? That post is finally here. LOL! 

Now I know, my Dear Reader, you are most likely thinking, “like your last post, that movie is long gone” to which I would begrudgingly concur.  Firstly, can I just say how bummed I am that it did not do as well in the box office as I had hoped? Even with its flaws, it was still a celebration of an under represented culture on the big screen. But, I digress. 

Yes, ITH has been out of the cinemas for at least 6 weeks, but what has reignited the issue was the newest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

While I am not Chinese and have no Chinese heritage in my ancestral tree, the same thing popped up as I sat in the auditorium watching this REALLY great movie. (Before I go further, YES!!!! YOU SHOULD GO SEE THIS FILM!) 

Anyway, the thing that both films made me aware that I was craving deep down in my marrow was this sense of belonging to something older; something wiser.  I can only call it culture or traditions, but personally, I feel it is something much deeper.  It is those old philosophies and histories that formed these groups of people that share this deep connection. It is deeper than simply knowing your nationality.  Disclaimer:  before you drag me for this, I KNOW IT IS A MARVEL MOVIE, so the cultural references may be inaccurate as all get out. LOL!

I think back to that impactful interaction I had with the middle eastern lady in my store in the Before Times. She spoke of her culture and the need for human interaction with inviting strangers into her home for coffee. 

(It must be nice to live in a place where people are that rational that you know this stranger isn’t going to bring harm to your person. I cannot fathom the idea in this country.) 

I think that woke up the idea in my subconscious because I take note of it more often than I used to.  In a previous survival job, an old coworker would always ask me where I thought this or that person was from when they walked by our office.  My response was always the same.  Why is that important to you? Isn’t it more important if they are a kind/good person? I think it was something in her culture that made her want to connect on a deeper level, and it doesn’t get much more deep than diving into your ancestry. She tried to talk to me about it, but I only had a superficial connection to not only my heritage but also my family. 

Growing up, I was told a lot of things that were contrary to who I knew I was inside. Even as a kid, I knew exactly who I was, most gay kids do.  I wasn’t macho or tough in the way the typical Latino male was “supposed” to be. I didn’t have role models to show me there was another way.  I’d like to believe that my family thought they were helping to toughen me up when they would put boxing gloves on us kids and have us fight each other.  However, I know that it was just for cruel amusement. The religion that my family was supposed to have marked people like me an abomination (talk about dramatic).   So I severed that cord. What was the point of holding on to something that didn’t value people like me? 

I have often voiced regrets about not taking pictures of or with dear friends during events or parties. This is very true. I don’t know how I feel about not having pictures of over half of my family. Half I don’t even know who they are, like names, ages or how we are related. The memories I do have are dark for a lot of them, like the forced boxing. 

The last time I saw my Nina aka Godmother (to me that is her name not the religious title) she pulled me aside and said I’m sorry for not treating you the right way. I was completely surprised by this and caught off guard that I nonchalantly told her it was okay. No worries.  I’m a such a dummy LOL! While I appreciated it, truly, I would loved to have had a really in depth conversation about it. I now I was a bit of a brat.

I have been wondering, if I had been more open than they were, would I have that connection that I am currently in search of. It is one thing to know where you came from, but as I watched those movies and hearing the tiny tidbits of philosophies or historical events, it seems like it is another thing to be a part of them. 

Now, Kind Reader, since this is supposed to be a theatre blog, I have to do the tie in! LOL!

This brings up a new journey for me. More like a new way of thinking about my character choices and how I build characters. Instead of merely going by the events of the script that motivate me or the ideas of what I think the rest of that character’s life up until the point of the play has been, I have this new factor that I can play with.  How did the events of his culture shape him? Was it a positive or negative impact? I am really looking forward to layering this new texture onto upcoming characters I play. 

Wait! I can hear it already. “As an actor, that is what you are supposed to do anyway!” Yes, this is true. However, every character I have played was always a kind of “every man” kind of character. There were layers to the characters, but because I, me myself, had no real connection to a heritage, it wasn’t one of the layers that was applied.

I am glad that there is so much to learn about what it is to be human. The complexities are so vast and it is what keeps my love of acting so strong.  

Thank you, Gentle Reader for taking the time to help me heal a little bit of my soul that I didn’t know needed it. 

So, let me ask you… Where are you from? What is one thing that you love about your culture? Let me know in the comments.  I have started to read up on history and looking into folklore but like literally an hour before I began writing this, so don’t quiz me yet. LOL!

Thank you again, and I look forward to learning more about you all. 

Stay safe and alert and share the kindness in your heart. 

🎼Just Let Go, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Let It Flow, Just Let It Go…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!!

Wow! June and half of July flew by and I didn’t realize how intense it would be. Between the last post and now, I got offered an incredible new job, had a family vacation for the first time EVER, and had a birthday. Then I saw In The Heights three times. 😂. That gave me all sorts of feels and things to think about that I froze up from writing because it was a lot of personal things that I realized I wasn’t dealing with or hadn’t admit that I haven’t dealt with.

But this particular post is a review of the Celadon published book, Love People Use Things: Because the Opposite Never Works. I love books that talk about creativity, like where it comes from and such.

What intrigued me was that this was a book about “minimalizism” not creativity. However, it did have a chapter on how it can influence creativity and it did not disappoint.

This book immediately drew me in. For something that seems like such a dry topic, the book is filled with not only useful information, but shared the emotional and psychological attachments that come with letting go of things that clutter up not only your home but your mind. It even talks about the not so obvious clutter distractions, like technology. There were so many nuggets of gold that I mined from these pages.

The minimizing of the clutter itself is obviously a big part of the book but the other chapters speak to the different aspects that get freed up if we were to remove all of those distractions, like our relationships with others, our perception of what we value, money, and facing our personal truths (no matter how hard it can be.) The experience is never quite the same for people because we are “… three dimensional beings living in a world of two dimensional expectations.”

What I loved about the book was that it challenged my idea of what creativity was. To me, creativity is the making of something new out of something that already exists or out of nothing at all. They propose that creativity is the asking and answering of questions presented by a problem or concern that needs to be addressed. Up until this point, I would have only considered that problem solving. But, what do you need to solve problems? Ideas!

It also made me rethink about the types/amount of work I do. I tend to try and do a little bit of everything and make little progress on each of them, which makes me discouraged and eventually end up creating things that are way, WAY below the quality that I had hoped they would be. “It is not enough to be busy; so is everyone else. What are you focused on?”* I would take on different work projects in addition to all the theatre stuff I would do and find that I would say ‘I’m too busy’ to friends or family inviting me to do stuff. I love the notion that I can say no to stuff and focus on only what makes me super happy to work on. This would allow for a more healthy work/life balance as well.

While the main reason I was interested this book was the creativity aspect, I took away so much from each of the different sections. Someday, I would LOVE to do the project where you pack up your entire home like you are moving and only unpack the things you need as you need them (including furniture) for a month then donate the rest of the stuff. I don’t think that Perry would let me. 😂

Anyone that feels like they can/want simplify their lives more will definitely find this book useful. I hesitate to say to go minimalist because that isn’t quite necessary. But hey if you want to give it a shot, by all means… I know I will still have a lot of things as I get rid of stuff but I am prepared to toss or donate a lot of things that I was keeping because I thought I could repurpose them. To jump back to that busy versus focus point the book made, I know I won’t be doing any repurposing anytime soon, so I can focus on doing other projects. So all that repurpose stuff is just clutter. Thanks to the authors, collectively known as “The Minimalists”, I am looking forward to this project and all the great things that will be a by product of it.

Have you ever wanted to declutter your home? Or have you decluttered already? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below! Give the projects in this book a try! Once I get to actually do the projects, I will definitely post about the whole process.

Big thank you’s to Celadon Books for sending me this book!

*Millburn & Nicodemus. p. 228

🎼Hold Both Hands Right Over My Eyes, Deafen Me With Music…🎶

Hey Gentle Reader 👋,

Wow! What a whirlwind the last two weeks it has been! (Well, by now, it has been more like 3.) You see, a few weeks ago, a friend approached me to workshop an original work. I have started writing this post several times because I am not sure what I can say.

Let me preface this WHOLE post by saying I honestly believe I have a type of imposter syndrome. I can’t say for sure that the end result is I fear I will be found as a fraud. I think it is more like I fear that I cannot live up to my “reputation.” I don’t even know where that came from. I just try to do my best and find the humanity in my characters and go from there. So I guess it IS a fear of being seen a fraud. Anyway…

Can I just say I went through a gamut of emotions between the moment of initiation and the past weekend? At first, there was shock. Then, anxiety decided to stop by, followed by fear, excitement, and finally curiosity. And of course anxiety, again. This was all just from the initial ask! The excitement returned when the welcome email came through. I have never had the opportunity to do something like this before.

When I got the script, I began to wonder if I was the right person for the job. Aside from being comedy relief, I was not who I would think of upon first read. However, I have learned that reading a script once is not the best way to see what it was the casting director saw in that role to make them think of you. So I reread the script 3 more times.

I found small details that I could latch on to to build this character and make him fully realized with what I can bring to the table.

There was only a few days to analyze and one week to rehearse before we had to put this on its feet so I had to work as fast as I could. The catch, it had music to learn! Now, you, Dear Reader, might say, “so, it’s a musical, you’ve done those. What’s the big deal?”

Well, the thing about the musicals that I have done, they were established already. This show didn’t have sheet music yet! It didn’t have anything that I could reference or listen to to get a feel for the rhythms. I have mentioned several times that the singing side of performing is what I feel the least confident about, so, to not have the music to plunk out my notes brought back all the self doubt that I had.

The first day we all got to be in the same room was like a breath of fresh air. Sharing the energy of the others in the cast was a long missed feeling and I just loved it. This coincidentally was the same day we learned all the music for the show. Our assistant director and vocal director was one of the amazing cast members of the SmoJo’s from early 2019 that I wouldn’t shut up about because I was so proud of these artists. I was already floored by this talented fella, but to watch him listen to a piece of music and pop out harmonies for all the different vocal groups blew my mind. His musical acuity is just amazing to me. Even though, this was a new type of challenge for me, I absolutely enjoyed the process.

We did the scene work over Zoom which was quick and easy. Then, we had 2 days to put it all together and present.

The whole project was exciting and I was shocked that there was no point while working that my anxiety or fear popped into my head. I was really surprised when I stopped and thought about it. I am so grateful that I know now I can invite fear and anxiety to the party but letting them know they are not the host.

The experience has left me on a bit of a Cloud 9 and filled with much needed artistic happiness. I still hum the songs. LOL!

Well, Kindest Reader, I don’t know about you, but I am really thrilled at little discoveries like this. Have you ever had a kind of epiphany that teaches you something about yourself? How did it change your views going forward? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, I hope you get a chance to gather with those you love safely. I CAN’T WAIT TO HUG MY FRIENDS OR YOU IF WE MEET!!! 😂😂😂

❤️

🎼C’mon! Hit Me With Your Best Shot🎶…

Greetings Gentle Reader!

Today is the big day!

I am actually really excited to get my second dose of vaccine. I was afraid at first because I hate needles. I mean, I HAAATE needles. So imagine my surprise when the vaccine administrator was right and the shot did NOT hurt. Because, you know, they always say “this won’t hurt” or “you’re going to feel a little pinch” and they are lying! LOL! I swear something traumatic must have happened to me with needles or something…

My first dose caused me a few minor side effects. Nothing too terrible, but enough to make me take the weekend really easy. A little too easy for my temperament, but I did it. I had a pretty bad back pain that was reminiscent of when I actually had Covid and I couldn’t breathe or move or sleep because of that pain. The side effect just lingered in that same area and definitely had me on high alert.

I also had the urge to cough often. Yes, I know that isn’t bad, but when one isn’t coughing at all and then this pops up, it again sends up a red flag of alertness. Oh, and I had a wee case of the chills.

Even if I have to put up with all of that again, I do feel that this is totally worth it. Not only that, but I hear there are murmurs that the Pfizer will need booster shots periodically. Bring it on! I was expecting that from the very start.

It doesn’t make sense to try and create a one time process (you know what I mean) to help fight off something that has the ability to mutate and become resistant to the current vaccine. The common flu is still kicking tons of ass with the shot being available for decades. So, yeah, I am expecting boosters or this becoming an annual thing like the flu shot. I just hope it isn’t always going to be a 2-dose process. I don’t like having to miss two days of work. I had to drive to a different city to get my doses. I could have waited for my local Kaiser, but then I would still be waiting for my first dose, or just be getting it now. I opted to go outside of Kaiser and my boss recommended CVS. DONE! It’s just I have to drive from Santa Clara to Watsonville. Not bad, but nearly a 2 hour round trip along with 30 minutes to get the shot done and complete the wait period. So while not missing the full day, there is a big chunk of time, I would rather not miss. But, again, it is worth it.

I can’t wait to see friends and family and do stuff again. I was gonna say go to a mall, but I haven’t been in one of those in YEARS! LOL. Hell, at this point I just might. 😃

How was your vaccination? Did you find that the needle still hurt?

This is a shorty post cuz, you know, shot!

Until next time, Dear Reader! Stay safe and alert and practice kindness.

❤️