pep talk to myself

I am in need of a major pep talk.  Like a Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights pep talk.  Like a stop whining, get over yourself, let it go, keep your chin up, the world doesn’t owe you anything, look at the bright side, just do it pep talk.

Like a Dad pep talk.

The hubbie is fairly good at them, but he’s got a lot on his plate right now, so there’s no need for me to be all bummer, woe is me, on him. Plus, hubbies in general are known for throwing in that one innocent, idiotic comment that colors everything black and turns all the pep into poop.

Here’s my situ…Besides the funkety funk funk I’ve been feeling lately, I finally heard back from the representative of the first major celebrity I’ve gone after for my book project. I won’t name names, but let’s just say she’s uber famous and she writes a blog that rhymes with POOP. So the good news is, I finally heard back.  The bad news, and the reason for the needed pep talk, is that it was a THANK YOU BUT NO THANK YOU reply.

So, though I’m very happy with the progress of the book and VERY OPTIMISTIC about its future, I just hit my first hurdle, and it hurt.  And though I’m sure there will be more along my journey, I am just taking a moment, on the inside, and on this blog, to have a pity party.  A SHORT one.  No balloons, no booze, no bad karaoke. Just taking a moment to think why would I be stupid enough to think this mega-star would have anything to do with my book. And then, in turn, question what I’m even doing trying to get a book published when I have no experience whatsoever.

So to combat my negative inner monologue and kick those nasty pity-party-going thoughts to the curb, I will deliver my own pep talk, to myself.

Here goes…

Mare,

First of all, this doesn’t mean I/you won’t be able to get another notable person(s) to contribute.

Secondly, I/you don’t NEED celebrity contributors anyway. Though it would help to have a big name associated with the book, and it was our original idea to have notable contributors to show the universality of grief, it is not ESSENTIAL to the core purpose/message of the book.

Lastly, and most importantly, just because her “people” said no the first time around doesn’t mean I/you should give up hope on her and shouldn’t TRY AGAIN.

I remember seeing Maria Shriver on Oprah a few months ago (in fact I wrote about it here). She said it took five years of asking to finally get Bono and Gloria Steinem to speak at her woman’s conference.  She said, I tell people they might as well say yes to me the first time around because I’m going to keep asking until I get a yes. Granted, she’s Maria Shriver, a Kennedy married to the Terminating Governor of the glorious state of California, but, I’m Mary Burt-Godwin of Mama Mary Show fame, married to the one and only G-Money, and what?

Ok, Mama Mary Pity Party officially over. So now I will turn to the five things that have given me inspiration and hope today.

#1 – Lexi’s luscious laughter, even if she is keeping me up at all hours of the night.

#2 – This photo my hubbie took at Balboa Park a few weekends ago; Hope and glory in full color.dsc_0365.

#3 – This email from a dear friend’s sister in regards to the book project.

Mary, This is a wonderful project you are working on.  I look forward to reading the book when it is finished.  My father’s death was very difficult for me partly because I was not sure how to deal with the grief that I had.  It triggered so many feelings that I know I am still dealing with.  I think this project is such a great idea and I am sure it will be helpful to many women dealing with loss.  Thank you for doing this.

#4 – This photo of my dad, which arrived in the mail, randomly, from my Uncle Jim.  He found it as he was going through his things and sent a copy to my sisters and me.

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Pretty handsome fella.

AND

# 5 – This a card I found, given to me by my dad, at some point, years ago, when I needed a pep talk. As I’ve mentioned before, he was incredibly considerate when it came to sending cards, always with a caring, thoughtful handwritten message. I have many of them saved in a scrap book, and this one is my favorite.

The outside has a illustration of a cat (not the reason it’s my favorite) and says:

If you need a push, a pull, a tug, or just a hug…

And the inside, pre-printed message says:

I’m here for you.

My dad’s message:

It’s helpful for us to occasionally ponder Abraham Lincoln’s Road to the White House:

1831 Failed in business

1832 Defeated by Legisation

1833 Failed in business again

1836 Suffered a nervous breakdown,

1838 Defeated, defeated, failed, failed, defeated, etc.

1860: ELECTED PRESIDENT.

Mary, You have what it takes to achieve greatness, even if that amounts to nothing more than the realization that you have been a good person who has tried her best. Love Dad.

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So here I go. Trying my best.

Good talk.

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measure your life in love

The Tony Award winning musical Rent is more than just music, dancing, and a cool set. It is an inspirational story of love, friendship and redemption, of following dreams and dreaming of a better day. Whenever I see it, which is as often as possible and over ten times now, my heart beats up in my throat.  Tears flow from the first guitar strum of “One Song Glory” and don’t stop rollin’ until I am sitting in my car after the show.  The music, the lyrics, the characters and their struggles strike a cord in me that is profound and visceral.  And when I watch the actors on stage, feeling their joy spill out into the dark theatre, watching their souls soar as they sing, it fills a void in me.  It lifts me up.  It inspires me.  It makes me smile.

When I first saw it, over 11 years ago, I had been going through a proverbial Valley of Life.  I was mending a broken heart from the year prior (I roll my eyes now in retrospect — I wish I had just read “He’s Just Not That Into You” and been done with it!), I was overweight, drinking a lot, and wallowing in a sea of 2:00am carne asada burritos and beer goggles.  I was desperate for a change, for a light, for a kick in the pants.  Rent was all of those things, and more.

One night, way back in the summer of 1997, my dear friend and fellow thespian/theatre geek, Mike, invited me to a preview of the new hit, controversial musical Rent at the La Jolla Playouse.  I had heard of it from a friend who had seen it on Broadway, and I knew I just had to go.  We had 5th row seats.  We could see their sweat, tears and black nail polish.  I was mesmerized.  They had me at “Rent.”

The show rocked my world.  I was weeping (surprised?), laughing and bursting from the inside out.  I wanted to run up on the stage, hug the actors, ask them to be my best friends, do a little dance and feel the spotlight on my face.  I had not been on a stage for at least 4 years.  I did not realize how much I missed it until that night.

After the show that night I learned of the tragic story surrounding the death of the show’s creator, Jonathan Larson.  He had been a struggling actor, writer, director, waiting tables in New York and he finally landed it big time.  His little-musical-that-could,was headed for Broadway.  After the final dress rehearsal, on the eve of his dreams coming true, he died of an aortic aneurism.  He did not live to see opening day, or any of the gazillion accolades the show went on to achieve over the past 12 years.  Poetic injustice.  Irony to the nth degree. A reminder to enjoy every moment and follow your dreams.  Proof that there is “No Day But Today.”

I went home that night and wrote in my journal for 4 hours straight, scribbling feverishly through my tears.  But the tears were joyful tears, full of hope and new beginnings. Within a week I had seen the show three more times and was enrolled in acting classes.  I had lost a few pounds and found my self-respect.  I had, without realizing it, stopped thinking about the j-e-r-k who had dumped me.   The void I had been feeling was in fact not caused by him. I had been missing myself.  Ding, dong. It was an epiphany. It was powerful.  It was awesome. 

So when I say I love Rent, I mean I LOVE Rent.  I really think it changed the course of my life.  It inspired me to act on my dreams.  To get out of my head and into my life.  To measure my life in love, not loss.  Though I have put the acting thing on hold for the time being, I know I will get back to that part of my life, that dream, when the time is right.  At the moment I am happier than I have ever been playing the role of mommy with my girls as my audience (isn’t it usually the other way around?).

I am writing this post tonight because the Rent Live Broadway Filming DVD came out last week and guess who had a date night last night with her hubby, La Crema Chardonnay, and her dvd player?  (whoa Readers, whoa…this is a family blog).  All of my emotions from 11.5 years ago came flooding back.  It inspired me yet again, this time to keep pushing ahead on my book project. And it re-ignited my idea to turn the book into a play, utilizing the amazing stories I am compiling as the basis for the characters. That way, I can get back to the stage, where my heart beats like wild and my soul sees forever. Stay tuned for that chapter.

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Tonight I am thankful for Jonathan Larson, his inspiration and his light.

Trigger Happy Mama

And no, I’m not talking about Sarah Palin…  nor am I talking about the “stick ’em up bang bang” kind of trigger.  I mean me the set you off, make you mad and take you from A to Z kind of trigger.

A few months ago I attended a company meeting in which the guest speaker spoke of triggers.  He defined trigger as “stimulus that sets off an immediate and mostly unconscious reaction.”  Yes, I took notes, I’m a dork.  So we were in groups of 5 at small round tables and were given the assignment of writing down our own personal triggers.  I went to town, writing swiftly, barely able to get all my thoughts out in the allotted time.  Then, guess what, we had to share them with our table mates.  I was lucky enough to have Polyanna, Mary Poppins, Carol Brady, and Mr. Rogers seated at my table.  So Polyanna starts and only has ONE item her list… “Lying” she says.  And I think…”Liar!”   Nothing really makes her mad except people that are dishonest.   Hmmph.  Then comes Mary Poppins…she has “pessimistic people and rude people” on her list.  Of course she does.

Around the table we went and as each person shared their list of one or two items, I looked down at my list of 25 things and thought to myself, okay people, I took this exercise seriously. When it came my turn to share I embraced my trigger-happy-list and read off only 6 items, sparing the gang it’s entirety.  But then, wouldn’t you know it…I was called upon by Mr. Motivational Speaker to share my list with THE ENTIRE GROUP.  So not only did I have to share my personal list with the Sunshine Gang, but then I had to air my proverbial dirty laundry to the entire company.  It’s all a blur…I think I told a few jokes and sang “Shoop”to distract them.  Then I rattled off my list

When my toddler whines and wants something “now”

When my husband whines and says “I’ll do it tomorrow”

When people drive too slow (when I’m tailgating them)

When people drive too fast and tailgate me

When the commercials aren’t muted  (by my husband)

When people are late (namely my husband)

When my voice recognition thinks I say “Call Amy” when I said “Call Mom”  – how do those things even sound alike???

So what I walked away with from that meeting was 1) there are A LOT of things that annoy me (tune in for future blog on 1001 things that bug me) 2) I shouldn’t let things bother me as much 3) and now that I know what bothers me, that is half the battle – right!

I also came away with his business card – on the back of the card is the following quote.  I now carry it with me in my wallet…

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.  It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.

I posses tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture, or an instrument of inspiration.

I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or dehumanized.

If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

– Goethe –