Thursday, February 8, 2018

Acro & Aerial Arts

I’ve discovered a new passion- Acro and Aerial arts.  It started with an acro-yoga class and the curiosity to try aerial silks, then BOOM, I was hooked.  Every week my husband and I go to an acro-yoga class together to work on our balance, strength, and flexibility.  It also helps us to maintain and improve communication and trust.  I highly recommend acro-yoga for all couples.
I attend silk classes weekly and have now tried other apparatus as well such as the Lyra (hoop), pole, and aerial hammock.  It’s an addicting and fun new way to exercise.










Thursday, February 1, 2018

Identity & Titles

For a long time I would hinge my identity on titles. Wife. Mom. Actress. etc.  After years of doing this, I realize that those things are aspects of me, but they aren't who I am; they are things I love.

Acting, for example, is something I could identify with for a really long time because it was a way for me to have cathartic release and artistic expression.  However, a chosen profession or hobby does not sum up who a person is.  Titles change. Hobbies change. Interests change. People change.

We go through life collecting titles, trying to validate our worth.

As a girl who grew up in a religious home, I was always taught that we are children of God, spiritual offspring of the creator.  This gave deeper meaning to who we are.  It planted a bigger picture than just a series of moments defining us, but an entire existence given so that we can learn and grow.

I’m grateful for the journey more than the titles, but, titles can help guide our journey along. They give us goals to work towards which is a good thing, so long as we don’t fall in the trap of letting it define our worth.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Context

The reason I wanted to start blogging again is because I’m ready to share the journey that has led me where I am today in hopes that my story can help even just one other person. I was ashamed and resisted it for a really long time but have finally made peace with that shame and believe that “we’ve been assigned our mountains to show others they can be moved.”

My story is about a battle with mental illness.  It first showed up in my youth. Early signs began at 14 yrs old and by Highschool I had begged God to take my life.  My parents chalked up my inability to get out of bed and dropping grades to being a mixture of teen angst and the Epstein Barr virus.  Mental illness was believed to be a character flaw rather than a disease of the brain.

It hasn’t been until these last few years that I’ve even seen my church acknowledge mental illness.  I always knew depression was a real thing, but what was depression, really?  Was it a psychological pattern that put people in a rut they couldn’t pull out of? Or was it perhaps a chemical imbalance inside of a persons brain that cannot regulate on it’s own? If the latter was true, what exactly IS within our control? How can we determine if behavior patterns associated with mental illness are “character flaws” or “acting out” uncontrollably?

These questions plagued my mind.  I had always been taught that we come to this earth with complete agency- and that’s what exposes our character.  However, when you look at other types of illness like cancer, or diabetes, it’s easy to see that without proper treatment these diseases can take the lives of those they inhabit.  Mental illness can also take lives of those it inhabits. The pain becomes so intense the ill-affected person would rather die than live through it. They feel the world would be better off without them. It’s irrational, but they aren’t thinking rationally. I was not thinking rationally.

I struggled for the next 17 years, believing that I could control my depression with a proper diet, exercise, and positive attitude.  I had periods of normalcy or "sanity", periods of extreme irritability, periods of paralyzing depression, and periods of extreme productivity.  I believed these to be the normal highs and lows, up’s and down’s, twists and turns that we all experience in life. I believed that chalking it up to anything more than that was just dramatic, and that I couldn’t possibly be affected with a medical condition that most people are afraid to utter.

It was about 4 months after giving birth to my son- our 3rd child, that my intense mood swings became so debilitating we knew I needed professional help.  I began regular therapy sessions and was put on an anti-depressant in which I could feel a difference literally 3 hours after taking it.  That’s not common. Anti-depressants usually take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to feel any kind of change. At first I thought the change was good because it was different than what I had been feeling. The depression seemed less, but the anxiety soared! I had a constant tickling sensation in my stomach, it was like constant butterflies.  I lost my appetite and rapidly lost weight, dropping lower than I had been in over 10 years.  At first I liked that side-effect, but the anxiety became too much and I requested trying new meds.

This began a whirlwind of frustrating experimentation with unfavorable side-effects. The peak of my disease hit in 2016 when my moods would switch so drastically it would scare even myself. I became DESPERATE for help. I despised who I was becoming and felt that my husband and children deserved better than me.  The depression became so intense that I would lay in my bed paralyzed with indecision of what my next move should be. I was put on a new medication and diagnosed with A-typical depression.

After a few months of hell my life started turning back around through a series of pretty miraculous events.  My hope is to find the silver lining within mental illness and do my part to help end the stigma surrounding it. Vigorous treatment helped me pick up the pieces of 2016 for a much better 2017.  Now here we are, 2018.  Let's make this year a great one!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Catching up from the last 5 years

Hey bloggy blog!
I stopped blogging in 2013 & started using Instagram instead. Now that it’s 2018 I’d like to start back up on topics such as: balancing family life with career, set backs, step ups, and lessons learned.
I took my instagram from the last 5 years and made a collage of creative project highlights for each year that I missed on this blog. Here they are:












Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Radioactive

As promised, this blog has become a place to share with you the things that I learn along my creative journey. My hope is that maybe somebody out there can benefit somehow from the milestones and set-backs that I experience and share.

I recently shot a music video and sang with the Salt Lake Pops Orchestra at the Grand Theater in Salt Lake City Utah.  The SLPops is an orchestra that focuses on modern pop music and brings in artists to sing with them.  I met the director of the orchestra two years ago and co-wrote a song with him for a cine-play called "Rings of the Tree" and was invited back to sing a song with his orchestra.

I was called up the day before Nathaniel wanted to record and asked to learn the song "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons (which I had never heard before at the time.)  I went to his studio to record the next day and learned two key changes on the spot that he added in as well as singing with a half second delay because the equipment was broken.  I felt pretty proud of myself for going with the flow and trusting that it would be cleaned up in post. The whole thing was nerve-wracking, but exhilarating at the same time.  I enjoy the pace that Nathaniel works at and his "just do it" attitude.  He's one of the people in my life that have inspired me to just "put it out there" without waiting for it to be perfect. Often times perfection doesn't come and the person who refuses to move forward because of imperfection never stretches and never grows.

I was asked to shoot the music video with short notice as well.  I was in the middle of a film shoot and only had one day available to shoot the video with the orchestra.  Luckily it fell on the same day and I just went for it.

I had a lot of fun singing with the orchestra.  Their music is so beautiful and I am simply awe inspired by what they create.  I felt so grateful to be a part of it.

A few months later the music video was released and the youtube feedback from the fans were overwhelmingly negative.  They didn't like several things about the video, but mainly they didn't like me.

At first it was hard to swallow. I knew that the negative comments would continue to come, so I had to learn to somehow be okay with it.  After all, they didn't know what circumstances we had recorded under, the time and budget crunch we had to work with, and I was being compared to the original singer.

I think that's what finally made me okay with it.  I knew they were comparing our piece to the original and it was a much different feel.  I also knew that people were unaware of what circumstances we had recorded under, the time and budget crunch we had to work with, and I was being compared to the original singer.

I was asked to sing live with the orchestra for that weekend and part of me wanted to back out.  Finally I decided that even if people didn't like it, I could live with that.  What I could not live with is being a coward.  Backing out of something just because I was afraid of what other people thought.  I love music and singing and I decided that's what really mattered.  A quote came to my mind and gave me the courage to continue:

"Man in the Arena”

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt


Those words continue to inspire me and continue to make me want to go out and try new things.  This particular video may not have been a "success" but I can tell you that I believe it's a stepping stone and that other ones will be stepping stones as well, through failure & success.

One thing I HAVE learned since then is the importance of contracts. SLPops released the video before my consent and had not fully fixed the delay I was asked to record with. The result was a very innacurate representation of my abilities, and I paid the price through internet slaughter. The only redemption that came from the experience was learning my worth is not determined by the opinions of others & continuing to get up every time I fall.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The actors workshop: TAW

Last night was my first night back at The Actors Workshop in Salt Lake City.  It's an intensive course where you perform monologues and scenes that are filmed and broken down in the class.  The concepts and words of wisdom that stood out to me were:
  • Key words
  • Rhythm
  • Pacing
  • Levels
  • Variance
  • Beats
  • Listening


Acting is about bringing the passion. Passion in whatever emotion it is you're feeling.  It's emotionally draining to prepare and perform a scene but by that same token it also fills me up.  I feel most alive when I'm doing this and when I'm surrounded by other people who love the same thing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gearing up

When I'm not on set I'm studying my craft.  Next week I film a commercial and industrial and am also making my directorial debut for a new youtube series I'm creating of "Defining Moments" in peoples lives.

I'm taking an acting class with Michael Flynn at The Actors Workshop that starts this week. I'll be sharing with you the things I learn and take away from the workshop.

Have you ever heard of "The Opus"?  It's a new video made by the creators of "The Secret".  An Opus is a legacy you leave behind not because of what you accomplish but because of what you become along the way and how you share that with others.

My Opus is to share this journey with you.  I believe life is meant to be lived with passion and we should inspire each other to live our individual dreams!