On Chinese Medicine and Bed Bath & Beyond

Almost two years ago, I quit my soul-sucking job. It was a job that I had had since I moved to New York. On paper, it was arguably perfect. I was on salary, I received benefits, and there was lots of free alcohol. Oh, and I could leave to audition any time I wanted.

I know.

Right now you’re wondering:

1. Why would you EVER leave this holy grail of actor survival jobs?

AND

2. Have they filled your [obviously irreplaceable/gigantic/un-fillable] shoes? If not, where can I send my resume?

As it turns out, perfect on paper just wasn’t good enough. One day, I found myself in a bodega on the phone with my mom.

Mom: Where are you? Are you crying?

Me: Uh huh. Um… I’m in a bodega? Downstairs from my office?

Mom: Why are you crying?

Me: … I don’t know?

Mom: You’re in a bodega and you can’t tell me why you’re crying? You need to quit.

And so I did.

I never looked back.

[Ok. That’s an exaggeration. Usually, somewhere around the 1st and the 15th of the month, I had a low-balance-alert induced moment of regret, but it would always pass.]

I decided that I was going to recommit myself to auditioning and get into better shape. I started actually going to my gym. The months went by, and I became addicted to running. I was a veritable Forrest Gump [or something]. I saw the results of my hard work, and I was proud of myself. I enjoyed a brief stint as the mayor of my gym on Foursquare. I entered my very first New York Road Runners race. I had visions of running a marathon [watch out, Kenyans].

Meanwhile, I got myself mixed up in a sticky situation with a gentleman who was bad news. Suffice it to say that things ended badly. [Very badly.] As that situation deteriorated, I developed severe pain in my left foot. At first I ignored it. Eventually, it became so excruciating that running was no longer an option; in the mornings, just walking was barely manageable.

Fast forward a few months.

I was on a tour and having trouble sleeping in the sundry Comfort Inns, La Quintas, and Super 8s that dot the landscape of our fine country. I decided to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a mask and some ear plugs. I asked one of the sales associates to lead me to the sleeping masks, and she escorted me to an end-cap display. Hanging upon the end-cap was an assortment of purple and pink faux-satin eye-masks with phrases like “Sleeping Diva” and “Don’t Wake the Princess!” embroidered across them. I obviously hadn’t expressed myself clearly to the sales associate: I wasn’t looking for goody-bag items for a bachelorette party. I needed a sleeping mask that would ACTUALLY help me sleep. [Side note: I eventually found this one in another part of the store and I’m OBSESSED with it. It doesn’t touch your eyelids, so you can’t even feel it on you!]

Atop the display of novelty eye-masks, someone had discarded an unwanted foot massager [that looked sort of like an abacus]. I picked it up, wondering if it might help my plantar fasciitis [as it had now been diagnosed]. I flipped it over to find a foot reflexology map. [Reflexology 101: reflexology is an “alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques… It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.”] I scanned the map to find the precise location on my foot that had been causing me pain for so many months.

Lo and behold, that location was labeled “Sexual Organs”.

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What?

WHAT.

My mind was blown.

It wasn’t a coincidence that, when all the shit was hitting the proverbially fan with that bad-news gentleman, my foot started to voice [scream] its opinion on the issue. As it turns out, I didn’t need a podiatrist for what ailed me. I needed a therapist to work out my still lingering issues. My emotional strife had manifested itself in a physical way.

Armed with this new information [and my foot abacus and my sleep mask], I felt like I had a new plan of attack. Within weeks my foot started to feel better. [Knowledge really is power, I guess.] Last month, with my foot mostly healed, I ran a half marathon.

In conclusion, A Convenient List of Takeaways:

1. My body knows what’s what. It’s probably just best to listen to it.

2. The universe is going to give me what I need. [Maybe that will come in the form of a reflexology map affixed to the back of a foot massager left on top of some cheap sleeping masks in a BB&Beyond. You never know. The universe is a mysterious, saucy minx like that.]

3. Quitting a soul-sucking day job is ALWAYS the right decision.

4. If it looks like bad news and smells like bad news, it’s probably bad news.

5. Stretch before and after running. [Duh. Running 101.]

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NYC Half Marathon: Just Do It.

Since you’re my friend, you obviously know that I ran the New York City Half Marathon this weekend. [I wasn’t exactly modest with my facebook posts over the last 10 weeks regarding this topic…Sorrynotsorry.] Now, as a girl who got kicked off of her no-cuts track team in 7th grade, this is a pretty unbelievable feat.

The day before the race, I had to go to the Race Expo to pick up my bib and bag. There was a room where you could post a note on the wall explaining why you run. I took pictures of a few of my favorites (all of the snarky ones, obviously).

ImageWall o’ snark. 

ImageMe at the Expo, looking a little over-eager. 

I attempted to pay attention to my diet and bed-time on Saturday, but as they say: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I ate a few too many baked goods and gnocchi with alfredo sauce, and I went to sleep after midnight. Oh well. You can’t win ’em all. I woke up at 5:30 am on Sunday, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to throw some ‘bows at the Kenyans creeping on my sub 5:00 mile (oh wait… that must have been in my dreams).

I arrived at the park (it was FREEZING!) by 6:30 and headed to my corral. The race didn’t begin until 7:30 (I didn’t actually cross the start line until 7:47) but the corrals were full long before then.

In the words of Annie, “LEAPIN’ LIZARDS!”

You guys. I’m not gonna sugar-coat it. It was HARD.

For those unfamiliar with the course, we ran the loop of Central Park (going up the East Side and down the West Side… which I have come to know as the “easy” direction), then down 7th Avenue through Times Square, across 42nd Street, and down the West Side Highway to the South Street Seaport.

The first mile was a breeze. I vaguely remember miles 7 and 8 being manageable. Most of the park was difficult (it’s not exactly flat). Before I began training, my major goals were to finish in under 2 hours, and to not stop or walk the entire time. Many weeks ago, I came to terms with the fact that my sub-2 hour time was merely a pipe dream. However, I knew that the no walking/stopping goal was entirely attainable and completely within my power. Sadly, my body had different plans for me. Around mile 9.5, my right ankle decided to go on strike and I had to walk for about 3 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to resume running, but 3.5 miles seemed like a pretty far distance to walk (especially after I’d run so far to begin with) and so I forced myself to start again. My ankle screamed at me for about 1.5 miles, but eventually adrenaline did its job and I was able to resume my previous pace.

Are you all familiar with ridiculously photogenic guy? Well, there will NOT be an internet meme created for me and my stellar race photos. Below, I present to you past race photos (that I’ve obviously screen-capped…. No, I will NOT be paying $47.95 for 3 pictures of me looking like a sweating, suffering Quasimodo, thankyousomuch). I think they are hilarious, for the most part, because they are SO UNFLATTERING. This time around, I attempted to smile every time I saw a camera pointed in my direction… partly so that I could have some non-heinous photos (to screen-cap), but ALSO so that I could look back at the race photos and remember what an amazing and exhilarating experience it was – I may have been running 13.1 miles, but I could still smile!

ImageMe at the Scotland Run in April 2012.

 ImageMe at the Al Gordon Classic in February 2013. 

BeforeDuringAfter
Before | During | After

Unflattering
Lots of unflattering pictures.

With about 200 meters left to go, I saw my friends in the crowd. After you’ve run for over 2 hours, there is nothing like a few familiar faces. I screamed and threw my hands in the air (but I didn’t stop running cause I still had a time goal that I was coming very close to missing). During our post-race celebration, there were re-enactments of my reaction to seeing them, which were all precious and priceless.

The race was an emotional one for me, for so many reasons. I ran in support of breast cancer research. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. So many people that are very close to me have been deeply affected by breast cancer. Throughout my time training, there were countless moments when I wanted to give up. However, there were so many people who had donated on my behalf that quitting just wasn’t an option. When I was having a difficult run, or lacked motivation, or simply felt lazy, knowing that people were counting on me lit a fire under my ass to put the hours in. For that, I thank every one of you. I am so humbled and blessed by your love and support.

As I crossed the finish line, I had a good ugly cry. Luckily there were no photographers around at that point. [Maybe that could be my meme? Post-race-ugly-cry girl? Hmmm.]

My friends came over to my apartment where we consumed: Boozey Shamrock Shakes, Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, Peppermint Patty Cake, lots of pizza (there MAY have been a pizza with ham AND bacon on it… no judgment), beer, and whiskey. I, for the most part, remained planted on the couch and people brought me drinks (thank you to my friends for being such gems).

In conclusion, I have a few thoughts (which I will gather in an enumerated list, because that’s how I like to write this blog).

1. If you are thinking of running a race, JUST DO IT. There are SO many resources out there to help you (training programs, running groups, online communities). Whatever your fears may be, just acknowledge them and then tell them to fuck off. In my race, there were: people over 70, people who were overweight, people with only one leg (that guy passed me at mile 11), people who had never run a half marathon before. If you want to run a race, just do it. [Nike was on to something with that slogan, I guess.] You will be so proud of yourself.

2. Sorta piggy backing on Number 1: I recently had a conversation with someone (I have had SO many conversations about running this year… I can’t remember who it was. Apologies!) wherein they recounted that their father (who was a runner) told them: No one likes running. Everyone likes finishing things and winning. Running provides you with opportunities to do both of those things. When I was in my darkest moments of the race, I knew that no matter what, I was going to finish the race. That is a powerful motivator, let me tell you! Sure, I wasn’t going to WIN (the winning time was just over 1 hour. 1 HOUR! WHAT?!), but there is always the opportunity to compete with yourself, and that, in my book, is winning.

3. If you want to run, run for charity. When you feel like giving up or slacking on your training, that accountability will light a fire under your ass. Your laziness or long day seems sort of inconsequential when compared to the larger issue you are fighting for.

For those who care, my time was 2:09:21, which is an average of 9:53/mile.

ImagePre-race. || My bib, with my mom’s name and my roommate’s mom’s name. || Post race (use your solar blanket to impersonate Darkwing Duck, obviously). 

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Anxiety: Ain’t It a Bitch.

I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety this week.

Sources?

Poor Friday night decisions (poor Saturday night decisions, for that matter), auditions, my inability to motivate myself to go on auditions, auditions that I bomb, work, lack of work, the half marathon, why I prefer to have a crush on a person who has no interest in me rather than pursue something with someone who is really interested, insomnia, the messy state of my bedroom, why my health insurance doesn’t kick in for another 17 days, money, how much I miss soda, how I should drink more water, money, my achilles tendon, my need for a new perfume (I like this one!), when I will have time to bake Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and Peppermint Patty cake before Sunday, my plantar fasciitis flare-up, my phone’s inability to keep a charge for a whole day, how I want to clean my apartment…

You know. The usual. [Oh wait. These things don’t keep you all awake at night, too? Oh. Hmm.]

Anyway, I’m brainstorming some ideas to quell said anxiety. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Pot – I’m the worst at this. Once I had some crazy brownies and I found myself googling “Can you die from a pot overdose?” This is probably more anxiety-inducing that relieving (for me), but I’m open to anything.

2. Yoga – A friend of mine should call me “the girl who cried yoga” for all of the times that I’ve told her I would come and take her class and then bailed at the last minute.

3. Passionflower – It’s a natural, herbal treatment (like pot? Hmmm). The interwebs are raving about it. I’ll pick some up at Trader Joe’s and report back.

4. Running – There’s nothing like an endorphin release, right? Sadly, I’m having those running related anxieties, so it’s not quite the same high.

5. Cleaning – Chaos begets chaos. Clean is the way to go.

6. Reading – I’ve started reading before going to bed, and I think it’s actually really helping me! I know when I was in high school nothing put me to sleep better than my required reading assignment… HardyHarHar.

7. Xanax – Why not just bring out the big guns? Kiddingnotkidding.

What do you do to quiet your brain?

February Blues

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have a confession.

2013 has been rough.

Already.

There is [was] this boy. He’s a relic of 2012 (2011, actually). It makes me feel like this Grey’s Anatomy clip, except that it’s not like that at all. I hate boys and their life-ruining ways. 

 

Anyway, instead of dwelling on the things that are getting me down these days (and there sure seem to be a lot), I’ve decided to document my gratitude. Because that sounds much less self-pitying. 

1. I’ve already run over 100 miles this year! You guys. I’m gonna go ahead and pat myself on the back because I am impressed. 100 MILES! GO ME! [Also, I’ve been using logyourrun.com, and I am pretty obsessed with it. It makes me want to run faster and faster so I can lower my pace. I definitely recommend it!]

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Because I am like a 5 year old, I motivate myself by coloring in each day that I workout. These calendars hang on my bedroom door. Ya’ll. It IS really motivating. 

2. I went on a DISNEY CRUISE! It was amazing! It was so wonderful to see my dear friend Steven shining in his element, and to reunite with my lovely friend Bryce who left me for the West Coast a couple years ago. 

ImageMickey, Me, and Bryce aboard the Disney Wonder! 

3. I visited my friend Dana in Boston. It felt like my own little mini vacation. 

4. I didn’t drink for the entire month of January! The first half was pretty easy because I was still in California with my Mama [it’s amazing how easy it is to NOT drink when you spend your evenings drooling over Shemar Moore watching Criminal Minds and going to bed at 10:30]. The second half, ooooh child, was much more difficult. HOWEVER, I learned that *gasp* it’s possible to have fun without drinking! I went to a party and had interesting conversations with people. I hosted a game night and had an awesome sober time playing Cards Against Humanity. [I need to remember this. 12 days off the wagon, or halfway through “Fucked Up February” as my friends christened it, and that fire water is causing more harm than good.]

5. I’ve gotten a few callbacks! Yay!

6. My friend Katie gave birth to her adorable son Jack. I’m planning to visit them in the Spring!

7. I finally reunited with some of my Junies. I miss them so. And that show. 

ImageHey, Junie Beatrice!

8. I’ve lost 8 pounds. Go me. [Why aren’t they coming off faaaaaster!?]

9. I’ve begun the process of doing some major purging: closet, papers, general shit that I’ve hung onto for too long. 

10. I’m no longer drinking soda and I cannot believe how clear my skin is. It has BLOWN MY MIND. Like. I can go outside with ONLY mascara on and not feel like Quasimodo. If I can SEE such a drastic change in my skin, I can only imagine how much healthier my insides are doing. Did you know that soda is really close to battery acid on the pH scale? Gross. 

So. People of the cyberworld. What are your failsafe, fake-it-til-you-make-it, get me out of this pit of despair tactics? I’ll take any and all suggestions, coffee date propositions, and spontaneous Ikea ferry requests. These winter blues have got to go!