Ok, yes, I was raised a tomboy, but I don't know why that is a "thing" to be ashamed of. I don't get it as often as I did (I think it's because now people can feel my self confidence and know that their words won't penetrate) but back in the day, it was almost a stigma. What??! A girl who liked to go 4-wheeling with her dad? A female who knows how to handle a gun and enjoys target shooting? A woman who can handle pretty much any equipment at the gym and wants muscle??!!
I exaggerate a little, but back then, being rough and tough and gettin' down and dirty just like the boys seemed to make you masculine, less like a girl, and more like an anomaly. The more time I have under my belt, the more I can see just how wrong they were.
Side note...why do complete strangers like to come up and verbally attack you anyway??! What is there to gain in pushing your own insecurities onto someone you may never see again??! I digress...
Yes, I am a tomboy but I am still a woman. I can be sexy and sensual when I want to, and I can be just as convincing being powerful and strong. My strength comes from the connection with my being, not necessarily the muscle mass I accrue or the amount of weight I can lift. Strong can be sexy, and it doesn't make me any less of a woman.
So yes, I still like athleticism. You'll find me working out at the gym 5+ days a week. I train up to 3 days in Shaolin Kenpo, because I think the martial arts are fascinating and I love finding strength in being exactly who I am. I also started Rough Cut Fight Lab with my fight and choreography partner, a place where I get to practice my stage combat, stunts, and film fighting techniques with like minded people.
I can't change who I am at the core and quite frankly, I don't want to. I am an action chick, an actress of power, a tomboy who loves film and television. And you'll find no shame in me for that!
Spoiler alert...I'm not perfect. I think that goes without saying, but every now and then it stands as a good reminder. I am human. I am faulted. I make mistakes.
Now, I'm not saying this to bash myself and open up for waves of sympathy; I'm saying it because every time I "take two steps back", it allows for some great introspective thinking. Well, in my case that's what happens, although I used to spend hours berating myself and rehearsing in my head how it could have gone differently. Good thing I've grown up.
This all came to mind today because I had an audition that wasn't necessarily a failure, but it was one where I flubbed a word and knew that I would more than likely NOT be booking it. As I was walking out, it did cross my mind that I went from a HUGE audition for a New Line Cinema feature film and NAILING it, to mumbling a single word in an informercial audition where dialogue is key. It wasn't a matter of nerves, it was just a matter of learning.
Whether big or small, lengthy or short, all my auditions are important to me and they all leave me with a lesson: I've come a long way, I've got a long way to go, but I'm right where I need to be. This is a journey and if I didn't "flub" or "stumble" every now and then, I wouldn't be able to assess where I am and work toward where I'm going. If all my auditions were great, would I really know that if I didn't have the opposite to compare it to? At least my hiccups now are menial compared to what they used to be, and it's a whole lot easier to put them behind me and continue forward where I used to wallow and belittle myself for days.
These little moments...they remind me not that I'm a failure, but that I'm human, and since I'm still working from a place of passion and positivity, I know that my victory is coming...some of it may already be here. Work on making those little bumps in the road pavement you can be proud to walk upon in the future.
I just realized that my last post was mid-training and here I am, now, writing after the fact. Time surely does escape me when I'm focused, working hard, and centered on a goal.
But no excuses, not from this ninja.
Building up to this moment - running my first half marathon in over two years - has been quite the challenge. A lot of people only see this as a physical endeavor, but mine was more mental than anything else. Having come off an injury to some seriously necessary tendons that connect the adductors and hamstrings to the inner groin, doing the same activity that caused these injuries was slightly challenging. What if I did it all over again? Why would I put my body at risk? Wasn't this just the definition of INSANITY???
Well, yes, all runners are a little insane I'd venture to say, but coming back to running was like coming back to myself. We all have things that we love to do that just speaks to an inner need that others cannot see and most everyone has a hard time understanding. A lot of my family and friends felt that I was being reckless in my choices, that there were equally good alternatives that wouldn't put me at risk. Yes, certainly there are, but nothing connects to my creativity, gets my brain pumping and my positivity overflowing quite like running.
You may not understand it but the 22,000 other runners at the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach sure knew exactly how I felt. Who else gets up before the sun to pay to run when they can run the same mileage for free ANY DAY? Athletes. Who else gets fed by the surge of fellow runners, ebbing on the wave of their energy and overcoming obstacles and shattering goals? Athletes. Who else can walk around post-race, cramping in places they never knew really existed, smiling through their pain and vocally planning their next race? Athletes.
So back to that mental battle....
To say that I completed EVERY SINGLE RUN that my 9-week training plan presented to me would be a lie. There were times that I mentally just wasn't there and couldn't force myself to get through anything let alone a run. I mentally feel back even though physically I could have gone on for miles. My lungs were there and ready, but my mind had convinced me that those twinges and pains I was feeling were serious enough to call it a day. I struggled through this training almost every single day. But I still showed up, I knew what I was up against, and I was determined to reach my goal: run my first half marathon in over two years without injury, and under two hours.
I reached my goals, but not without a final test of wills. My iPod, which I use to get in the zone and track my progress, froze around mile 3 and refused to start working again. Ten miles to go, and the only noise I could hear was the sound of my breath and the beating of my heart. My beloved music, gone!!! How could I possibly finish now? Maybe I should just quit, stop, and turn back...but no, no, I set a goal, I've worked hard for 9-weeks, I showed up and there is nothing holding me back except myself so SORRY BRAIN, you gotta put that negativity to rest because I am on a mission. I will not stop. I will not fail.
I crossed the finish line at 1:55:14...and I even sprinted there with a smile! My tendons held, my brain took my side, and we glided to victory with minutes to spare. All in all, it was a wonderful experience with one reoccurring through-line: your journey is unique, your experiences are your own, so quit comparing yourself to others and start making goals to accomplish what YOU really want out of life.
Plus...it's really nice to be back in the running world.
It really felt as if the universe was against me this morning. I quickly put on my shoes and headed to the gym, only to realize that, once I was there, these were my weight lifting shoes and not my running shoes. I shook it off and headed to the locker room where, to my great dissatisfaction, I noticed that my ear buds were there, just not attached to my iPod. I couldn't help but sigh and roll my eyes as I remembered that it was still at home, sitting in the charger. No problem, shake that off too, now I could really focus on...well..focusing! Today is the first day of intense training for my upcoming half marathon, and I was determined to get on that treadmill and complete the day's program, even though my usual routine was rocked right from the beginning.
If you know me or have even followed me for some time, you'll know that this day really does mark a turning point for me. I haven't run competitively since my first marathon, and that was two years ago. I had torn a tendon that connects the adductor muscles to the pubic area (don't ask, quite the awkward tear!) and, since I was delayed in getting it looked at, my healing has also been slow and steady. Running has always been a huge part of my life: it's my therapy, a chance to let my worries go and unharness my creativity, my way of overcoming obstacles and achieving athletic goals. Being without it for almost two years has been a real mental challenge.
I've been working closely with my chiropractor, physical therapist, and massage therapist, as they truly believed that surgery wasn't necessary. It was a long, slow process of re-adjusting, massaging, strengthening, re-adjusting again, re-building, ice, heat, stretching, rest, recovery, wash-rinse-repeat. I remember my eyes welling up with tears as voiced my concerns to my physical therapist that I would never be able to run again. That thought felt as if I was losing something that I thought helped define me. She smiled, acknowledged my fears, but told me I had nothing to worry about.
A year later, I started doing 5Ks, learning pose running, really taking my time to correct what had gone wrong and ensure to the best of my ability that I would never do it again. But I also learned that I couldn't let my running (or lack thereof) define me: I have been in the best shape of my life, even without running, so I knew either way that I would persevere. But I loved it, too, and wanted that thrill, that adrenaline, that excitement of competing and breaking records to come back again.
So without iPod, in shoes that weren't exactly for the task at hand, I mounted that treadmill and mentally saw myself finishing the 5 mile program the day had in store. Despite slipping on my sweat and nearly face planting on the moving treadmill, I completed my first day and left the gym with a huge feeling of satisfaction....and two drenched towels that had sopped up the tears of my fat crying.
Am I 100%? Not yet, for as I sit here writing that little area is pulsing with activity. I'm more aware, I'm careful, but I'm also very determined. There seems to be a way around most things in life; may you always find the way that makes you stronger, happier, and that much more closer to reaching your success.
Here we go....1 day down, 62 to go. :)
So hopefully by now the shock and surprise of Gal Gadot being cast as Wonder Woman has started to subside, seeing as the production is headlong into filming. That doesn't mean that there are still those of us who are skeptical of how she's going to take on that iconic role.
Okay, I admit, ashamedly I am one of those people. As much as I want to be all "Yay, go get 'em!" and support all my women of action/adventure, I am having a difficult time picturing her as an imposing Amazon warrior. Don't get me wrong, she's beautiful, but Wonder Woman goes WAAAAY beyond that. Seeing as she's one of my favorite DC characters, I look up to her and would love to embody some of her powerful characteristics. When I heard they were casting, there were a lot of women who came to mind: Adrianne Palicki, even though she was on the short-lived series, MYSELF (oh come on, you know I had to!) even though I'm still "unknown" to most fans, but honestly Gal Gadot was as shocker, and yes, for me, it came down to the fact that she doesn't come off as physically imposing and fierce.
Fortunate enough for her, she gets to train every day, as her job. The thought of being at that point in my career just makes me giddy! As I stand now, wanting to do what Gal is getting the opportunity to do, I have to train hard during the early morning hours, do my career work during the day, and then work my survival job at night so that I can do it all again come morning. Wash, rinse, repeat. Yes, it gets tiring, and there are days when I wish that working out was my job, but I do it because I have passion and am setting myself up to be ready when the opportunity presents itself. I am curious as to what her regiment is right now, but I can't for the life of me find it on the great world wide web. Maybe she should train with my while I do Dwayne Johnson's Hercules workout; he looked pretty god-like up on that screen, and sets a pretty high precedent for dedication and focus.
I don't mean to come off sounding envious; if anything, her opportunity not being mine is even more fuel for me to hit the gym, practice my martial arts katas, and continue putting good food and positivity into my body. I am learning a lot by watching roles I'm perfect for getting cast, so that I can get an idea of what I'm up against, and what's expected of me. At least I know I am ready.
And yes, Gal, I'm routing for you, please blow my mind come 2016.