I love you.
Let me repeat: I LOVE YOU.
I love that you are always there, waiting for my arrival.
You stand with open arms greeting me no matter the hour, no matter the place, no matter what hat I wear in this bizarre thing called life.
When I am in your arms - together we stop time. We move mountains. And we have epic levels of fun. We have been having fun since playground days, haven't we?
We had fun in the sand building castles, and putting puzzles together at home, and wearing costumes and making up stories of faraway lands. I kept chasing you around and to my absolute fortune - you stayed. Always there, waiting for me to notice you and swing back into your arms for that sweet embrace.
And all these years later - we still play this dance, you and I.
Some people will say you play it 'hard to get.' That you are a player and unattainable. Some even believe you are an illusion and that you don't exist. Some write books about you. Some plot how to find you. Some dissect every element of your being and some make shrines for you and pray for your arrival. Like a Messiah in a broken world.
And I...? I see you as LOVE. I see you as simply love.
Because like you - to me, LOVE is an ever present force that is there, and it's up to ME to show up to IT.
And how DO I show up to you?
By freeing my imagination.
By stepping into uncharted waters.
By following instincts.
By setting rules so I could break them.
By learning tricks so I could play them.
By being patient so I could breathe.
By relaxing so I could release.
By mastering my craft, and crafting my mastery,
By sensing inspiration from the roots of my ancestry,
And above all - show up in gratitude,
When you come see me in my solitude.
So all that is left for me to say is simply THANK YOU,
Know that you are dear to me, and that I LOVE YOU.
This word isn't an official word.
And you won't find it in the dictionary.
But it is alive and well in the URBAN dictionary:
*A con artist who makes their fortune by fooling wantrepreneurs into thinking they're getting a great deal or coming into some easy money when the reality is it's the contrprenour making the real money.
I came across a few contrprenours today. I could sense off the bat they were selling their kind of 'snake oil' to me. I have seen enough scammers to tell the signs of a con or a savvy sales person with hidden agendas, I refused my share of pyramide schemes proposals, and I've been told more than once that it is hard to sell me on anything... A few friends have even brought me along to car dealerships because I don't budge in those fierce negotiations. (growing up by the Muslim market in the old city of Jerusalem is where I learned the secrets of the trade). So I, fortunately, have been spared from getting caught in the net of a contreprenour.
But what about the less savvy buyers? The vulnerable who want to believe that easy money is attainable, is reachable and may be right at their footsteps? The ones who dream so big they lose track of the contrprenour drooling over his/her prey? The ones who don't imagine the cruelty of others.
To them I say: See that word above? Study it. Learn it. Memorize it. Know that it's real so you can recognize it when you see it. No more blind spots when the wolf is near, okay dear? And please don't throw substantial money at anyone without some thorough research. Okay!? P-leeeeeease.
Heart: Ahhhh... I can't sleep!
Head: Count some sheep. Take some pills. Do what you gotta do to SLEEP. So we can think clearly tomorrow and accomplish a million and two things. Then sleep again, and repeat. And repeat.
Soul: OR... you can be in the moment and do whatever your little heart desires. Even if it wants to stay up in four in the morning, binge watch your favorite comedy and swallow down a whole bag of chips. Life's short! Or long! Life's what you make of it, sugar.
Heart: Well, that's just it. I don't know what to do...! I'm... ah... I'm torn.
Soul: Just breathe... nobody known anything about anything, remember?
Ego: Speak for yourself. I know things. I know a lot of things.
Head: Ego's right. We know some things. Not all the things. But SOME things.
Soul: Forgive me for misspeaking. Of course you know things. But then again... what ARE things? Do things exist? Aren't we all 'things'? Really, what ARE things?
Heart: I'm so confused.
Head: It is known that sleep deprivation can cause slowness in your mental capacity...
Soul: Life is a confusing journey and there is so much to be confused about. It's okay. 'Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay - it's not the end!'
Heart: Are you sure about that? All this confusion is giving me a belly ache.
Belly: Hey did someone say ache...? Oh no, can someone get me to lie down please.
Head: Sleeping on the left side helps the digestive system.
Heart: But watching five hours of 'Schitt's Creak is good for me...
Soul: And me!
Head: Well, I need sleep or I will be low functioning and put myself in danger of deterioration or worse.
Heart: Pinching thought...
Soul: I think your Head is trying to tell you something.
Ego: You 'think?' Head is definitely saying something.
Soul: Ego you don't always have to come to Head's rescue. You're a free agent. Just saying... but then again... what do I know. Nothing. I know nothing. I just AM.
Heart: AHHHH! All this... inner conflict is tiresome. I'm going to sleep. Goodnight all. Until we meet again tomorrow and do this all over again. And again. And again...
Have you ever had a mind-blowing earth-shattering A-ha! moment that came randomly without a poetic sunset or a classical tune greeting its arrival? Have you had a moment so grand - yet in a moment so random and so... seemingly unimportant?
Today, I was sitting on the couch drinking my celery juice (yes I love it, yes it's gross, and yes it's trendy) like any other day. Still in my pajama with a more-than-healthy amount of cat hair on it. The window was slightly open but the air was still. Not cold, not warm, not EVENTFUL in any way. An ordinary moment in an ordinary day. And just then... my A-ha! moment revealed itself like a newborn uttering her first cry: After years and years and YEARS of pondering - I had finally realized what I do in my life.
And by that... I mean: the purpose, the why, the mission, the story behind the 'I'm an actor!' 'I'm a writer!' 'I'm an engineer!' 'I'm a mother!' 'I'm a pilot!' To me, our work and identity is much deeper than the labels of the jobs we do or positions we take.
So if I had primed you effectively you may be a bit curious right now... wondering - 'What is it she does!? She's already said two blog posts ago that she does empathy... so what A-ha! moment does she have NOW?'
Well, I'd say that Empathy is my tool and I'd say the number one tool. It's the HOW I do what I do. But what is it that I DO? Beyond the 'I'm a storyteller.'
What is the WHAT?!
What ties my acting, my writing, my jewelry creation, my voice work, this very blog, my constant obsession with creativity and storytelling... is that-
I strive to make my limiting beliefs - my superpowers.
Full disclosure: I don't always do it well. Sometimes my limiting beliefs shut me down. Sometimes that happens on this very blog...
But I strive to turn my limiting beliefs into superpowers in each and everything that I do:
*I have tapped into my irrational fear of spiders with my jewelry line by creating spider webs looking creations. In a sense- putting myself in the spider's shoes in my work.
*I have worked tirelessly on reducing my foreign accent since moving to the US - and now I have a career as a voice actor portraying the AMERICAN versions of foreign characters in some of the most most international TV shows of our time.
*Growing up in an environment where I felt like I didn't belong and was invisible as the only secular in an environment of extremely religious groups - has inspired me to tap into many other characters and worlds and put myself in the spotlight as an actor and storyteller. I made my story of 'not belonging' - a storyteller's superpower.
Why the A-ha! moment chose to arrive today out of all days is beyond me.
But the random timing of this mind-blowing thought (MY mind was blown, you are welcome to brush it away and roll your eyes - an A-ha! is an A-ha! in the eyes of the experiencer...) adds to the magic of its discovery for me.
It was unexpected. It was smooth to show. It was unannounced and uncalled.
Once again... I learned that the most special moments in life are the seemingly mundane ones.
Ahhhh here you are again. I should have known you'd be here... you never miss an opportunity to perk up when a new endeavor is on the corner.
I can feel you in my chest, beating on me real fast. I can feel you when I am in love and butterflies are dancing in my stomach. I can feel you on stage when my voice trembles and my face flushes red. And sometimes you show up in less predictable times - out of the blue and announced - I feel you throughout the day, like a flying insect in my tummy, or a ticking clock, or a wood-pecker that longs to be noticed.
Truth is - you are one of a kind dear Anxiety. You show up when things are good, when things are bad, and any and all times in between. Like, right now as I am about to take a leap into a new direction.
Frankly, I am used to adding more hats to my collection - after all I am an actor, a voice-over artist, a screenwriter, a poet, a blogger, a jewelry designer, a business owner, an aunt, a partner, a cat mama, and lastly - a Clubhouse enthusiast... and YOU, dear Anxiety, have predictably shown up at every single of ones of those new endeavors of mine.
You are often there with Fear and Self-Doubt and together you three are making me feel like I'm the smallest speck in the universe - far too small to take on a new endeavor. Will Power and Optimism have had to peel me up with all their might to put you three on simmer at times. Sometimes you three fight back and even bring Terror along for the ride. In rebuttal, Will Power and Optimism bring in my secret sauce - Confidence, and all is well that ends well.
Sometimes when things are better - you bring Excitement along with you and together you make me a giggly bubbly version of myself. You are always a collaborator dear Anxiety. Rarely show up alone. You have many MANY friends inside my body, heart, mind and soul...
Today you showed up with Fear, Self-Doubt, and Shame to scare me off.
You showed up to warn me, like:
'Um, do you really want a piece of THAT!? We're not ready for that though, are we? No, we're not. Yes, we are! No! We are NOT ready for that. It's too much for this little frail body.'
It worked. You scared me. You made me anxious. I was warned enough to shut my computer down and announce: 'I am not ready for that!'
But then... a little voice popped up. A little voice of Acceptance.
So now here I go, with Acceptance, breathing you away, and breath by breath you seize to warn me. You seize to knock on my belly anxiously. But hey - I know you are my protector. I accept that. I honor that. I appreciate that! I know you mean well and only well.
But I don't need more protection now, dear Anxiety.
I've been here before and I can be here again.
Your services today - dear Anxiety - are no longer needed.
New endeavor - here I come!
With a loving send off...
If anyone asks (um, IS anyone asking?) my advice is always:
'My advice is - don't ask for advice.
Nobody knows nothing about anything. There is no right and wrong and everything is invented, so carve your own way in this bizarre adventure called life. May it be a good one!'
Now... I don't wish to discredit the brilliant minds of thinkers and scholars and geniuses in this world who could take great pride in their vast pool of knowledge. They would definitely have better advice than me. So if my advice of 'don't ask for advice' rubbed you the wrong way... I get it. I hear it. I see it. I invite it.
What do I know, right!?
Exactly: I KNOW NOTHING. Let's face it: I will probably contradict my own "advice" and will totally ask for advice if I had the opportunity to meet some of my very knowledgeable heroes. But YET - I aspire not to 'know everything'. I rather have a BEGINNER'S MIND that feeds my curiosity and keeps my life richer with constant new discoveries.
Full disclosure: this 'beginner's mind' advocate has been a KNOW IT ALL for most of her adult life. Frankly - even as a child I was a know-it-all. (sorry mom!) But one of the perks of the last year, um the pandemic year, has been all about re-shifting my thinking, re-evaluating my limiting beliefs and inviting the unknown with open arms.
And I'll leave you with this paradoxical thought by Socrates:
"I know that I know nothing."
Figure THAT one out. (insert thinking emoji & mind blown emoji)
I stepped into a therapist’s office. My first time there.
There was a vase of flowers on the wooden coffee table. Lillies, I think.
One chair and a sofa. I chose the sofa - naturally.
I sat down and after a very brief 'meet and greet' chat, I announced: "I am here because I am a workaholic! I’d rather die than being unsuccessful and when I don’t work - I feel enormous guilt and shame and want to bury myself under a rock."
I could tell the therapist was not shaken by my words.
Nor was she impressed with them.
I dare to say she may have had a twinkle of enjoyment in her eye... but I wouldn't know for sure. The cloud of self-indulgence may have fogged my awareness at that moment. All I could think of was: 'What is she gonna say?! How is she gonna help me?! CAN she help me? Am I doomed!? Or is this a completely idiotic thing to say to a therapist!? After all, there are far worse problems in the world than being a "workaholic". Like boo--hooo! Other people don't even HAVE work they can get addicted to! And you are complaining that you actually love what you do so much that you rather be doing it 24/7!? Um, yeah. First world problems is an understatement here.'
The therapist finally spoke to me as if she read my mind. (Because let's face it -some people absolutely know how to do that despite the complete lack of evidence)
"Seems to me like you are not very gentle with yourself, are you?"
Gentle with myself. Huh.
Wait, that’s it!? Be gentle with myself? Um, yeah, I know that. I mean. Who doesn’t? This isn't as profound of a gem as I had hoped she would drop at my lap.
Then, she proceeded: ‘How do you self care?’
I mumbled: '...Well... I love what I do...'
‘I realize that.’ She continued.
'But how do you self care? DO you self care? Let's brainstorm together some ways in which you can self-care.’
I didn’t knew what to say.
I was dumbfounded by the simplicity of the notion of 'self-care' to fix such a giant life/death problem (not really, but you get my drift...hopefully) and by my inability to answer what seemed like a fairly simple question.
The session continued with a discussion on the various self-care methods that may help me be 'gentler with myself' and before I knew it - time was up and I was out to the races to investigate what IS this mysterious thing called 'Self Care!?
Naturally - I opened my calendar - as a workaholic does - and squeezed in a weekly ‘chore’ to go to the Korean spa weekly, and unwind in the best way I could think of: Five different types of sauna, hot mugwort bath, and a scrub or a massage if I felt like splurging on myself that week. Several months later - I was acing my spa version of self-care. My muscles were thankful and my skin was enjoying the pampering.
But... I was still a workaholic.
And more importantly - I was still talking to myself in a very UN-gentle way.
My therapist noticed. I mean - we were far from strangers now, and have had long talks about my childhood and what's not, and as a preceptive and empathetic person would - she recognized my tendency to be guilt-ridden and be hard on myself way too often.
She asked me: 'How do you talk to yourself?'
I grinned: 'What do you mean? I don't talk to myself. I mean - I talk to my cats occasionally when no one is around, but to myself? No, never been a person that does that...'
She laughed at my momentary innocence: 'I meant - in your mind... in your heart. How do you talk to yourself? What do you say to yourself? How do you self-talk? Self sooth? Self-reflect?'
I proceeded to laugh at myself and finally got on her wave length.
'Huh. I am not the most versatile in my self talk I believe.'
'Okay, well... how about you diversify the ways in which you talk to yourself?'
Once again - my therapist had me dumbfounded by the simplicity of her questioning.
And here I was - down with a challenge and determined to diversify the ways in which I would 'talk to myself!'
For as long as I remember - if I have had a hard time telling someone dear in my life something important - I’d write a letter. Even if I would never send it.
I wrote a letter to my grandmother when she passed away - as a way to deal with the loss and grief, I wrote letters to my teen boyfriend when I didn’t like how our relationship was going but found myself unable to tell him in person, I wrote letters to my parents and never sent them. And since the process of letter writing to my loved ones had always brought me some sort of understanding and even joy - I thought to myself 'Why not write... to MYSELF?'
So in a true 'yes, and' fashion - I started writing letters to myself.
And in order to diversify - I started writing to different aspects of myself:
To the guilt that came up, to the perfectionism in me that seemed to have a hold of me sometimes, to the sadness when it appeared, to the pride when it came over for a visit, to my body in the days when it needed a mental hug, to my inadequacy when it showed up, and my self-doubt, my fear, my rage, my innocence, my joy…..
Before long - I had found my way to talk to myself. To ALL parts of myself.
'Dear Self' is the collection of all those letters.
What drives you?
When you are on the engine, what gets you to spend hours, days, nights, and years achieving your goals, mastering your work, honing your craft. The grind, the hustle, the hard work towards a goal or with intent, the ambition to achieve, to accomplish, to master and finesse a craft or a job, the rush to go against all odds, the stamina to make the impossible possible, reaching new highs because let's face it - the sky is NO limit when you are driven. Those are all come hands in hands with being DRIVEN.
But what is it that drives you?
Some call it Grit.
Some call it Purpose.
To some, it is a Calling.
To others - the 'Why'
Sure, sometimes it is the limiting beliefs that drive us. Like the need for some of us to prove ourselves, or to make a name for ourselves, to be validated, to be the children our parents want us to be, to fit in the mold of society's expectations, to be seen, to 'be a contender!'
But when we tap into our purpose beyond our limited beliefs - we are driven in a different way. There is a different essence to be driven by a force of a calling, a purpose, a grit.
It took me a long time to understand what it is that drives me to spend hours on end embodying characters, people watching, analyzing the psychology of imaginary characters, going to the depths of the emotions of others so other others can feel something. As an actor and writer, or a storyteller as I prefer to call it - what I ultimately do and work in is the practice of EMPATHY. I have spent my whole life practicing the arts of embodying others and creating others - which is a great lesson in empathy. But Empathy is more than a lesson. It's an absolutely necessary tool, and to me - it's a purpose. It's a calling. It's my 'why.'
When I think 'what would make the world a better place' - I don't hesitate when I answer: 'If empathy would grow substantially. If people would see each other not as separate - but as themselves.'
The Mayans greet each other by saying 'Hello, myself.'
I always wonder - how does a society change when its inhabitants use empathy in the language like that? Or if the society highlights and prioritizes empathy and understanding? Or when parents teach their children a less comparative mindset like so many do in our over-achieving western society, and rather prioritize teaching how to grow in empathy and understanding at a young age? I don't know the answers for that. But I know somewhere deep in my gut... that if we understand each other, and if we feel what others feel - the world could be kinder, could be happier, could be wiser.
I'll end these thoughts on a late Thursday night, by greeting you all with:
Today I got a little treat for ya:
Fairy / Faerie
*A small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one.
~I don't know when was the first time I said to myself: 'Yeah, I'm a fairy in a human form. I'm a fairy y'all!' I mean, quite honestly - I don't wake up every day feeling like shouting that to the world. I'm more of the matter a fact - too cool for school kinda gal. But a FAIRY is an identity I am more than happy to wear every now and then. Don't get me wrong... Wendy rocks. But I've always been more of a Tinker belle type. Because hey - who doesn't want to fly around and spread magic everywhere!? Seriously - #goals.
Looking at this definition - I think I possess some magical powers, am fairly small in figure, and I am most definitely female. So take away the word 'imaginary' and give some freedom to your definition of 'magic' - and you'll see the fairy in me. Maybe - you'll also start seeing the fairies in others around you. Or maybe even in yourself. Many of us fairies are out there, floating around, running around doing a million things and trying to spread joy or talents or love everywhere we go. Look close - and maybe you'll see us. Maybe you ARE us.
All you gotta do - is believe in magic...~
Sing us a lullaby -
For the days that passed
And the ones that have left us
Who are asleep at last.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the tiresome helpers
Who despite the chaos
served as protectors.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the song that has died
And with it a dream
Of harmonious life.
Sing us a lullaby -
For the friends who are gone
And the love that we cherish
That we must carry on.
Sing us a lullaby -
That we shall always remember
One that pinches the heart
And will stay with us - forever.
*Today, there are recorded 2.48 million deaths worldwide due to the Covid 19 virus.
This poem is in memoriam to those millions of lives lost, their heroes and their loved ones.*
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman