A Finish Line
Dear world, you've made it.
You've made it through a year of chaos.
Through hurt, through loss, through pain,
Through fires, storms and rain.
Through failed systems and erupting plague,
Through people's sorrow and their rage.
Yes, people fought a lot.
They fought each other and your soil,
Still holding on to their dreams of OIL.
But they also walked through your natural beauty.
They hiked and camped and walked,
And nature's door was at last unlocked.
And what would normal bring along?
Would they defer to what was once fine,
Or will they rise up and read the sign?
That the world is not theirs to take but theirs to cherish,
Because all things are lastly due to parish.
So on this end of year, I wish YOU dear,
To make the most before you disappear.
Life is filled of unexpected turns,
Hold on to the wheel and ride the curve.
And maybe let go every once and a while,
laugh in joy, and sport a smile.
Because a year like this one is a rare gift ,
A year that points us all to an inner shift.
From loneliness to wholeness,
And from soleness to closeness.
Distance taught us all to go within,
And only there can we truly begin,
To mend the pieces of our broken hearts,
And finally give the world its rightful start.
The top photo is how my 2020 started. In Porto, a city I fell in love with and have been aching to return to ever since. The bottom photo is how I ended 2020. Traveling - well sort of - to Porto through a puzzle given to me by my wonderful friend Brigitte that never ceases to amaze me with her intuition and attentiveness.
So like so many other travel junkies, I did NOT do much travel this year. But I sure puzzled a whole lot.
Though - I'd still say I've gone to many new places. Mostly within myself.
We have all been forced to deal with chaos to some extent this year. Loss of a loved one... Job loss... Relationship shifts... Survival clicked in hard and heavy to so many of us. But this year has lead to a very positive metamorphoses to many of us despite the chaos or perhaps I dare say BECAUSE of it.
Some of my highlights of 2020:
*I wrote my first full length play.
*I started this daily blog in April, and have continued it every day for more than eight months. In the blog, I've written poems, short stories, and lots of blurbs about life, creativity and socially relevant political posts. It has been an accountability platform for me to exercise my writings, my voice and to face my perfectionism.
*I continued writing my in-the-works two television shows and a feature and introduced a new inspiring technique to my work thanks to Joan Scheckel's filmmaking labs.
*I started writing a new project that may be a TV show, or may be a film... but honestly it is too weird to be placed in a box! Unearthing a new creative story is incredibly fulfilling.
*I wrote a short film script in which I am now in pre-production for. I plan to direct it in late spring of 2021.
*While on-camera acting has reduced dramatically... I continued my VO career with multiple new TV shows/films for Netflix and I built an in-home VO booth and was able to work from home for most of them.
*I began a consistent daily meditation practice. Something I tried to do for many years...
*I reached a new level of self-care and am in the best shape of my life physically, mentally and emotionally thanks to daily practices of my beloved The Class and good ole' vinyasa yoga.
*I visited FOUR national parks this year: Lake Powell and Horseshoe bend, The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Joshua Tree.
*I learned how to ride a bike. Finally. Yes, I realize I am incredibly late to this party.
*I made banana bread, homemade pasta, and lots of other recipes I wouldn't think I'd be so excited about before, but ya know - perks of quarantine.
*I marched, protested and raised my voice in support of Black Lives Matter in the wake of George Floyd's murder, and discovered so many new activists, causes and inspiring voices to support!
*I have cultivated a healthier relationship to social media which means I have REDUCED it substantially.
*I have pulled away from some toxic relationships that were weighing on my heart and nourished the ones that have been inspirational, supportive and lifted my heart with their unconditional love. To all my friends and family: I love you. I love you. I love you. P.S. A major shout out to my W who has been the best quarantine partner I could think of. I hope we keep dancing on the kitchen floor post Covid! <3
With all its complexities, in many ways, creatively and personally - 2020 has actually been the most nourishing year I've had. When we go back to our 'normal' lives with crowds, parties, and large social gatherings, and more work opportunities... I hope to maintain the gifts from this year, and look forward to being socially close once again with a new perspective and a more open and fearless heart.
Thank you 2020. Now get the F out of here...
Happy New Year!
Word Of The Day
One of my lessons from this past year, is that I'd like to have more WILD in my life.
*(Of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated
*(Of a place or region) uninhabited, uncultivated, or inhospitable.
*A natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region.
The unknown that is always there - even though we try to hide it with our social norms and every day lives, and ambitions and accomplishments and so on - isn't sitting pretty waiting for you to tame it. It comes unexpected, uncalled for, WILDLY. Like the year we've all had. Some wild year was it not?
I sometimes think of this chaotic year: The fear from a global pandemic, the hardship of people looking to survive in a crumbling society, the anger towards governments mishandling the crisis, and the appreciation of some being the example for the rest of the world... and I can't help but wonder HOW LUCKY ARE WE.
On the pain and chaos I've written a ton, but I've neglected to really look at how lucky we are that this virus - as easily spread as it is - isn't deadly to the large majority of us and therefore our world is getting an opportunity for a test drive for a far worse virus.
Covid-19 has brought with it so much panic which lead to scientific cooperation and phenomenal achievement in vaccine discovery, technology and production. And with those - we are lucky to be somewhat more prepared for the next one. And sadly, there very likely will be a next one. And it could be far far worse... Hopefully now we will be more prepared and the next one won't amount to such global disaster.
So let's introduce some more WILD into the mix that is our lives.
The unknown is wild with all its surprises and unhinged chaos and as much as we'd like to pretend we are not... so are we.
The Storm Before The... CALM?
The first lockdowns here in LA happened the week of March 14th 2020, and they were the unofficial-sort-of-official entry to Covid days. It is now December 28th 2020. That is... 291 days of living in a semi lockdown state. (If I did the count correctly. But it's really like 47,800 days so who cares!?)
So here we are less then a year after our lives changed drastically (or not, to some lucky ones) and the vaccines have arrived in phenomenal record time. It is truly a scientific achievement that many of the greatest achievements of our times pale in comparison to. To all my anti-vaxxers friends out there - without getting to much into that whole debate because who's got time for that time-sucker - I'd only say... YOU GUYS ARE MISSING OUT ON CELEBRATING THIS EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT!!! Sure - always test test TEST to be safe - HELL YES to that - but vaccines are a frickin' miraculous incredible scientific achievement and I will happily take the Covid vaccine the moment I am offered to. And, um, no - big pharma is not putting a chip in my brain with them and NO Bill Gates is not behind it! (insert eye roll emoji here).
But I digress...
At this intense stage of the Covid era, we are seeing both Covid surge in so many countries including the U.S, and finally a long-awaited sense of HOPE. There is a literal storm from coast to coast, hospitals are filled to capacity in Los Angeles and many other cities, death count is rising by the day breaking records after records, and I can't help but think...: Is this the storm before the calm!?
I HOPE SO. We could all use a more CALM 2021.
Happy New Year, and good riddance 2020.
Question Of The Day
Is ANY cough Covid related this year?!?
Asking for a friend.
[insert wink emoji]
[insert panic emoji]
[insert hand on eyes emoji]
P.S. Is that [insert pointer finger up emoji here] how code is written nowadays? [insert thinking head emoji]
P.P.S. I can do this all day. [insert laughing emoji]
On Living An Artist's Life
How to battle crippling fears?
Face them head on and dare to fail.
An artist's life is full of uncertainties; The unstable life style, head in the cloud that is always seeking for inspiration, a constant balancing between the artistic life and the 'business' side, and often finding one's self defending the choice of leading an artist's life. (everyone enjoys art but many judge the artist - go figure).
I'd call an artist's life style 'a beautiful chaos.'
And the fears.... there are many.
What will be my next job? WHEN will I work again? WILL I ever work again!?
The inner critical voice and the outer critical voice both show up when one brings up the brave act of art into the world. Sure, one can repeat the mantra 'haters gonna hate' over and over again, but in the unkind world of social media... trolls are rampant, and haters carry a megaphone.
If you ever had a job interview...you got a taste of the fear of rejection that artists (this may be more relevant specifically to actors) face on a daily basis. How easy it is then to brush up against a shaky self esteem and a crippling self doubt. How easy it is to want to hide in a corner and not dare to fail again. Standing up again and again and facing the rejection, or the downfall, or the opinion of an audience - be it a reader, a watcher, a buyer... requires BRAVERY. The kind of bravery that you had on your first day of first grade, when you were shaking in your knees from the new world you were going to enter. The unknown world of your peers.
That first day of first grade repeats many many times in an artist's life, and the artist must walk into the classroom with an open heart, bravery, and the daring to fail.
Mantra Of The Day
We live in the age of choice, no?
Democracy tells us so. Ads on TV tell us so. Dating apps tell us so.
So in that case, my choice is clear:
We so often choose misery and suffering in the face of an ordeal. And yes life's tough and includes many unforeseen hardships. But all we can really do in the face of those hardship is... deal with them.
So I say - if we got to deal, let's choose to deal with joy.
Being upset and feeling like the world's against ya is EASY. The greatness is in choosing joy. Work on that greatness. Choose JOY.
Terms Of Entitlement
Some people are born to be a part of the world.
Some are born to observe it in fascination, or sadly despise it and seek an exit.
And some choose to live in a world of 'us vs. them', of 'rich or poor' of 'deserving' and less so.
The latter types are the untitled ones. You know them. Heck, you may BE one of them. Or let's face it - in one moment or another we may all feel more deserving for something.
The entitled ones walk through this world with an invisible crown, and expect others to bow at their glory.
Sometimes it is a small seamless entitlement - that person in the restaurant that complains their food took a minute longer than the neighboring table, or the pregnant lady at the bus that simply expects (and maybe justly) that the teenage boy will clear his seat for her.
Other times, entitlement is more grotesque and will show up in the words 'Don't you know who I am!?'
Or in rich parents breaking the law all for their children's acceptance into ivy league colleges.
Or it shows up in the face of the president of the United States (not for long, hallelujah!) exclaiming how he is the BEST at this and that and therefore - he's above the law.
And sometimes entitlement appears more discreetly: A news reporter on TV describes a person being deserving of a gift after the troubles they've had this year. After all, it's 2020... Or the girlfriend proclaiming in support 'You deserve a good marriage after the last one!' Or the colleague gossiping 'He didn't deserve that promotion.' These types of seemingly innocent words of entitlement may seem harmless, but they are the most common forms of entitlement and just as divisive in their nature.
We see entitlement in the way humans rule over animals and the environment. Such hubris.
We see entitlement in our primal tribal mentality - I mean, we still glorify patriotism and not make note of the flaw in placing one group of people over another.
We have a long way to go if we want to let go of our terms of entitlement and stop viewing the world as 'us vs. them.'
I suggest we try 'Us ARE them.'
Who's with me??
There is a friend I love,
I'd like to tell you of:
My friend is like a sister
Oh how I long to see her...
Her ginger hair is fire
It has so many admirers
She is a fairy in human form
who is in a midst of a heavy storm
A storm that's wild and heavy
To be in it - she must be ready
Ready to fall without protection
And to face her own reflection
She may not like what she will find
No one would - in their right mind
I wonder - is she strong enough to deal?
And her broken heart to seal?
Some people drown in storms
Some float to shore and then transform
Some fairies learn to fly
And some - forever try and try
I do not know where my friend's future lies
Oh how I hope that she would rise
To be the goddess she was born to be
To stand tall and rooted - like a tree
And to my friend - I wish her well
Because she has one heck of a story to tell
And I myself - will be waiting at shore
To hug my friend - a friend I simply adore.
Dear Los Angeles
Dear city of angels of mine,
Driving through you today, I noticed the roads were nearly as crowded as they were pre-pandemic.
I don't know where everyone was going, but they definitely were headed somewhere.
A holiday escape, perhaps? Rushing to buy gifts with their, ahem, unemployment money? Headed to the airport to a stressful flight to see family for the holiday? Running errands across town like me?
I started thinking - is it possible that I was the city's last recluse!?
It sure seemed like it today.
Take care of yourself Los Angeles - you are the epicenter of the pandemic in THE WORLD.
Get your shit together and stay home people. I got newsflash for ya: Christmas is MADE UP.
You can make it up to be in another day this year or next year. That's okay - Jesus, or Santa wouldn't know. I sure won't tell them!
And as for you dear Los Angeles... stay safe. Take care of yourself. The year is almost over. This storm is soon to pass. Hang on tight a tiny bit longer. You've been through earthquakes and fires and you have toughened up to bear this disaster as well. So c'mon, be an angel, will you?
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