Tag Archives: Songs

The Music And The Mirror

I should be doing school work. Just thought I should get that out of the way. This balance of school plus work plus event prep plus yoga plus sanity . . . well, it’s teetering. I’ve got a lot of health stuff to figure out, too. Holding onto the light at the end of the tunnel . . .

Anyhow, even with all of this going on, it feels like something is missing. I’m sure a lot of things are missing, but there’s one thing I’ve been able to pin down.

I’ve never been good at expressing my emotions, and I’m still not very good at it. I’m currently battling with my brain over many things, but this week’s focus is dissociation. I’ve recently realized that I spend most of my life “not really there”. It’s easier that way, it keeps me detached, and feeling safe. It also keeps me disconnected from the rest of the world, which leads to a lot of loneliness. Trying to break that pattern is really hard. It’s exhausting trying to “stay in”, and my brain goes places I don’t want it to. It’s also picked up a new trick or two to keep me away. Sneaky bastard.

But in terms of expression, the only way I’ve ever been able to come close is through music. Dancing is a great expressive outlet, but I’m too focused on technique to fully let go. Singing, I can pretend to be someone else, and using someone else’s words, tell the world my darkest secrets. I miss it. I haven’t really sung for about 18 months now, since “retiring” from musical theatre.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself singing when I close the store (it’s the only place I have where nobody can hear me). While my deteriorating vocal technique stresses me out, the ability to belt at the top of my lungs feels amazing. I’m not a sobber, I’m not a yeller. I’m not good at attaching sound to emotion, but in singing, I do what I can’t do anywhere else.

Sometimes I wish I lived in a musical. Therapy would be so much easier if I could answer  “. . . and how do you feel about that” with a song. It’ll tell you more than my words ever will.

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Get Out And Stay Out

Get Out And Stay Out, from the musical 9 to 5

This was my “Get out of my head, ED” song during my recovery. This is not my bootleg, nor do I condone bootlegging, but I thought you should see the whole video. SJB is pretty stellar, and you should see her whole performance. 

Have you ever seen the movie, “Sleeping With The Enemy?” Julia Roberts plays a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. She fakes her own death to escape her husband, but he figures it out and tracks her down. *SPOILER ALERT* She kills him.

But what do you do when the abusive relationship is in your own head? It’s not just the eating disorder voice. That one I can recognize and separate myself from, but there is another voice. It’s been with me from my earliest memories, at 2 or 3, standing, staring in the mirror, telling me I’m fat and ugly, that I hate myself, and tearing chunks out of my thighs. That voice uses my own voice. I don’t know where it begins and I end, or if it is, in fact, me.

I was horrified this week in school learning about the extent of the irreversible damage starvation can do to your body. It made me realize: I wasn’t waging a war with my body, I was waging a war with myself. I don’t want to destroy my body, I’ve been trying to destroy myself, to kill off the part of me that is so unworthy and unlovable. I don’t know what part that is anymore.

But how am I supposed to leave my abusive relationship? If I run, it comes with me. If I hide, it’s right there beside me. I feel like it’s come down to the final showdown. I can’t live my life with this battle in my head anymore, but I feel like if I try to run, it’ll kill me anyhow. It’s “kill or be killed”, but it’s me either way.

It’s like being trapped in a burning building. Do you try to jump out the window and take your chances or give up and let yourself burn? I’ve got to find the courage to jump. I’m scared of what will be waiting for me. I’m afraid of what will happen if I catch up with myself. This is it: the big battle. This is where it started, and where it has to end.

Wish me luck.

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What Makes You Beautiful

Sometimes, I run out of words. But, when one runs out of words, one can always lip synch. Here’s a little happy from the cast of Anything Goes on Broadway, featuring Liza’s daddy, Joel Grey, and the lovely and talented human being, Stephanie J. Block. Thanks for making me smile today.

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Filed under Inspiration, Random Funny-ness

Easy To Be Hard

Yup. Sticking with the musical theatre titles. Somebody got paid to write them, so they gotta be good, right?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big pinner on Pinterest these days. I’ve never been a “plan your wedding” kind of girl, but I like a good picture quote, and the odd DIY project. A week ago, I found a quote from an actress I enjoy that made me pause and think. Allow me to share it, along with some space for you to pause and think.

“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continually shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too mushy. Too wishy washy. Blah blah. Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart. Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all – look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.”

~Zooey Deschanel

(pause and think here)

I always prided myself on not being emotional. Emotions were bad, inconvenient, wrong, so I shut down and stopped having them. Well, I stopped expressing them, at least. I learned that I could safely express them when singing, dancing, or acting, but only when I was playing a character. If they weren’t my emotions, there wouldn’t be any backlash.

Pushing them down obviously served me well. When emotions started getting bigger than “My boyfriend and I just broke up after 6 months,” and “OMG I can’t believe I didn’t get 100% that test,” I had to find some way to deal with them. Enter starving, puking, exercising myself into the ground, etc. When your mind is occupied with the rituals and routines, you can’t think of anything else. You don’t have to feel what you should be feeling.

I remember fighting with one of my acting teachers in a private lesson. She told me that I had no emotional experience. I argued that I had a lot of emotional experience, just not expressing it. She saw no difference.

Nowadays, I’m realizing just how right she was. Sitting in therapy, having no answer besides “I don’t know” to how I’m feeling, I realize how emotionally shut down I’ve become. I completely disconnect from everything, especially the things I should be most upset by. WGT and I have been struggling to figure out how to get me connected. She points out everything I do physically when I disconnect: fidgeting, covering my face (particularly my mouth), the way I hold my mouth, the tone of voice I get . . . the list goes on and on.

Learning to feel is hard work. My brain is so accustomed to finding ways around intense things that I don’t have a clue how to move through them. It’s a whole lot of retraining my brain. It hurts, it’s scary, and I don’t like it at all. I think it’s something that I have to do, though. I can’t even begin to live in this world if I can’t be affected by anything in it.

In The Sound of Music, the Mother Abbess asks Maria, “What is it you can’t face?” (although some people think she asks a different question altogether . . . people with very dirty minds) I think the answer to that question is the key to everything. It’s a question we should be asking ourselves all the time. When you look in the mirror, is it your body you can’t come to terms with, or the person living inside? The only way to beat your demons is to face them. You run, they chase you. You’ll be running forever. Aren’t you tired yet?

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Children Will Listen

Ever since I started making this blog public on my Facebook and Twitter pages, friends have been sending me links to various articles, pictures, etc. as inspiration. I have a bookmark folder full of pages, and hope to do as many of them justice as I am able.

Today, however, I found a link on a friend’s page that moved me, and I wanted to share it with you right away. The story is titled,

“Mom, I’m Fat:” One Mother’s Inspired Response to Her 7 Year Old

From the article on http://www.rachelsimmons.com/

I highly recommend you read the article, but if you’re (word)pressed for time, I’ll give you the Coles Notes (Cliff Notes, for you non-Canadians) version here. A mother of FIVE (impressive/brave enough as is . . . ) watches her 7 year old daughter examine her body in the mirror. The girl tells her, “I’m Fat”. After twenty minutes of feminist, healthy talk, the mom is at a loss. She finally strips off her own clothes, makes her body jiggle, and makes up a rap along the lines of “We are perfect, just the way we are”. The girl ends up laughing, but the mom is left unsure if she has changed anything.

Every generation, the pressure on girls (and boys) to achieve the perfect body seems to grow and grow as the “ideal” body shrinks and shrinks. The onus isn’t just on parents anymore to raise their children to be strong, confident human beings, especially since the media is often more present in a child’s life than her mother or father. It is up to every person to make the world a more loving, accepting place.

But where do we start?

As a child of three, I stood in the mirror crying because I knew I was fat and ugly and that I hated myself. At five, I sighed during story time, because my thighs were too fat to ever be a fairy tale princess. I knew these things to be true,  and nothing anyone could have said would have changed my mind.  These messages don’t come from nowhere, but the answer to countering these beliefs is just as elusive as the cause.

To this day, the things I see in the mirror quite often disgust me. No matter how many people tell me differently, I don’t know how to love my body. I KNOW that the content of a person’s character is what matters. I KNOW that my body does (most of) what it’s supposed to, and it’s easier to walk and run and dance when I’m not emaciated. But these beliefs are ingrained in me. It’s all I know. I’m told that I should stand in front of a mirror and tell myself I’m beautiful until I believe it, but honey, a girl’s gotta work . . . I can’t spend all my time in a mirror.

I’ll get there someday. It’ll take a lot of work, and a lot of opening up to new ideas that make me ridiculously uncomfortable. Sometimes being kind to yourself is more painful than cruelty.

But that’s beside the point. How do we make this different for the next generation, so they don’t have to suffer the way we have? The mother in this article had the right idea.

Wherever we turn, we see women who are dissatisfied with their bodies. It doesn’t matter if they’re fat, thin, or in between, everyone wants to change something, and most people do it quite publicly.

“I can’t eat that.”

“Do you know how many calories are in that?”

“Ugh, I need to go to the gym.”

Women we emulate on tv, in movies, and in real life for their brains, kindness, achievements, etc. are on a diet. If we want to be like them, then we should diet, too, yes?

There’s a woman I admire very much. She has struggled through many unimaginable obstacles in her life. She could have let the pain overwhelm her, but instead she decided that she had more to offer the world than another suffering body. She did the work. She learned to love herself and her body, and doesn’t apologize for it. Anyone who spends any amount of time with her wants to be like her. Yes, she is gorgeous, but she is also brilliant and kind and caring and loving and the personification of “light”.  She is going to change the world.

This change doesn’t start with other people, though. We can’t change other people, but imagine what we could do if, as a generation, we decided to only speak positively about ourselves, and be ok with just “being”. Our children (well, not MY children . . . that ain’t happening) would see successful women who live  the proof that it’s ok to love themselves.

Women (and men) of the world, I want to issue a challenge. Let’s stop striving for perfection, and instead strive to be someone we’d like our children to emulate. I know, it’s going to take a long time and a lot of work. We’ve all harmed our bodies and souls, and learning to live another way won’t be easy. But next time you’re on the subway, look at the little child in the stroller across from you (no, not the screaming one . . . pick one you don’t want to strangle). What do you wish for that child? Now go and make that wish happen for yourself.

” . . . maybe if we are surrounded in beauty/Someday we will become what we see”

~Jewel

Jan. 19/12 – just found this article that echoes what I was saying . . .

Parents’ New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Behaviors Can Contribute to Eating Disorders in Children

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Day 9 – If Music Be the Food of Love, PLAY ON!!!!

“2 Songs”

Seriously?!? How am I supposed to pick just two? Ok. The first one is easy enough. If you know anything about me, or have been reading the past few days of blogs, this should come as no surprise.

1. Over the Rainbow It’s just a perfect song, and Judy does it so beautifully. I want to introduce you to another version of it that I love, by Eva Cassidy. There are few interpretations of this song I love apart from the original, and this is one of them . . . maybe the only one.

Number two is harder. I love so many songs . . . but this is a song I refer to as “my song”. I was (to the best of my knowledge) the first person in Canada to sing this song, and it’s always meant a lot to me. This video is of a very talented singer and actress (and a lovely human being) named Stephanie J. Block. For those of you “in the know” in the theatre world, she was Liza in The Boy From Oz, Grania in The Pirate Queen, Judy in 9 to 5 – The Musical, and the role of Elphaba in Wicked was written for her. This song is from a musical called Piece by a young, up-and-comer named Scott Alan. The lyrics in this video are not the finalized version, but I just love SJB’s performance here. Enjoy.

2. Neverland (Fly Away)

I also have a playlist that I will share with you at some point (when I’m low on inspiration) full of musical theatre songs that I find inspirational and to have some “ED” metaphor hidden within. Stay tuned. Get it? “Tune”d? If you don’t hate me for that comment, share some of your favorite songs in the comments.

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