#14 – Jes

I don’t know Jes as well as I’d like to, but I hope that will change.

I met her through a friend in the theatre community and was immediately enchanted by her wit, style, and killer smile.  I’ve known for a while now that she yearned to make the leap into self-employmenthood wanting to finally fulfill her dream of being an image consultant.  She’s recently taken the big step and I couldn’t be happier for her.  Ok, that’s not true.  I was even happier when I realised she needed to test out a new service and would offer me a substantial discount to be a guinea pig.  Yes please!

I had the pleasure of trying out Jes’s Style Direction service.  I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at first, but now that it’s done I am so glad I went through it.  During our first session, Jes asked me a ton of questions ranging from tame to fairly personal about all aspects of my life (fashion, home, employment, health, etc.).  Then over the next week I had to do 19 pages of homework.  No joke.  19 pages!!!  And it was all worth it.  Who doesn’t like spending time thinking about objects you love, or finding inspiring images, or rewatching favorite movie clips?  Once Jes had a chance to look at all my answers, we got together for my second session.  The second session’s purpose was to narrow down my style to two words – my core word and my edge word.    With the core being worth 80% and the edge worth 20%, the idea is that I now have a sense of who I am and can make better stylistic choices.  For example, she claims that it’ll be much easier for me to shop now because I’ll be able to discount 70% of the stores in a mall instead of driving myself insane trying to find something that screams “me” in a place that is nothing like me.    Or I’ll have a better sense of why a certain room in my home doesn’t feel comfortable, because I’ll start recognising which objects don’t satisfy my emotional and practical needs.  Or it’ll make putting outfits together easier because I just have to dress with my core word in mind and accessorise thinking of my edge.

 
In her words this can feel like a “hippy dippy” process, but Jes does an amazing job of making the intangible become practical.  She was full of useful suggestions on how I could concretely apply this new direction to all elements of my life, from how I dress to what art I might buy to how I interact with my family and friends.

I’m not getting paid to sell you on Jes.  Jes sold me on Jes.  You can tell that, through her new challenges, she is taking the time to better understand herself and her bran.

And that confidence and enthusiasm is contagious.

Check her out:  www.jeslacasse.com

 

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#12 – Pier

While I was waiting in line to grab a coffee before my meeting with Kate, I ran into Pier.  I don’t think he and I have properly spoken in a long time.  Maybe even years.  Sure, we’re friends on Facebook.  I stay up to date with his company’s work, but it’s been a while since we… talked.

This is strange in some ways.  He hired me for my first major professional acting gig.  I stage managed and assistant directed on a beautiful Brecht piece he worked on.  DD5 and I saw him perform at her school.  He was a witness at my first wedding ceremony and sang at my second.  (Same guy.  Long story. Don’t ask.)

I’ve always been in awe of him.  I hesitate to call myself an artist, but wouldn’t for a second hesitate to give him that moniker.   I greatly admire his passion for children’s theatre and his organic creative process.  All of this admiration can be scary though too.  One day, I watched him in rehearsal release an actress’ voice so much that she was sobbing by the end.  I was afraid I’d be next!

Pier has a way of bringing out vulnerability in people.  Getting to the core of what they didn’t know they were capable of.  Thankfully that often translates to depth and truthfulness on stage… and not just tears in the rehearsal room.

Our brief chat while I waited for my coffee was typical Pier.  A bit of a whirlwind.  Charming.  Slightly self-deprecating.  Always creating.  He said he was at the cusp of something new in his life, and that he’d really like to reconnect properly.  He said something along the lines of he thought it would “do him some good.”

I think it would do me some good too.

#11 – Kate

Looking fierce! (And yes, my youngest daughter was born with a mohawk.)

My friend Kate has given me an amazing opportunity: the chance to direct again.  I’m not just directing any play.  I’ll be working in the theatre for young audiences realm, specifically for kids 5 to 9.  Wheee!

 

I feel like Kate and I have a special bond.  We have daughters near the same age.  We both did the single mom working theatre contract to theatre contract thing.   We both have twisted, and often dirty, minds.  (Which we would never bring into our theatre for young audiences work, of course.  Ahem.)  We’re both hard-working, driven women with nice faces and yummy gooey emotional centers.    Nom.

 

We recently got together for our first brainstorming session about the new play.  I’ll be honest, the first time I read this piece I put it down after the first page.  It did not grab me, at all, but I gave it a second chance.  After all, I trust Kate.  She wouldn’t give me a bad piece to work with.  Right?

 

I’m always a bit intimidated when, as a director, I meet up with an Artistic Director because I want to make sure I impress them.  Confirm that they made the right choice in hiring me.   Reassure them that, though I couldn’t remember to bring a change of clothes to my daughter’s daycare, I’ll most certainly meet all deadlines with verve and creative gusto.    I had no real reason to be worried about meeting with Kate.  Within a few minutes, I confessed my original uncertainty with the script and she told me she felt the same way.  The more we talked, the more I realised we had a lot of the same questions about the narrative, the characters motivations, about costuming…  I mean, really, does he need to have a full-body fish costume?  I mean, can’t he just say he’s a fish and we’ll believe him?  Anywho, I digress.  The point is Kate is an artist and a being an artist involves having a lot of questions, and worrying that you’ll never find the answers.   The creative process ends up being trial and error mixed in with random silliness in an attempt to make sense of things.  And often the end result is an artist’s best attempt at making the answers interesting and beautiful enough for an audience to soak up.

 

I love doing all these things with Kate.  I think she’s a pretty talented lady and, when I’m around her, I feel just a bit more talented too.

#2 – Hayden

He has been both my assistant and my student.

He’s the child whisperer.  With infinite patience, boundless creativity, and the calmest demeanor.

Two weeks of musical theatre drama camps would be significantly less pleasurable without him making me laugh.

He’s smart, he’s witty, and he studies biology (or some equally difficult and important subject) yet can’t stop thanking me for how much my university level Theatrical Event class challenged and stimulated him.

Actor, teacher, student, aspiring EMT, nerd and all around amazing guy, he’s well-rounded and level-headed.

Charming, funny, gentle and kind, I feel calm around him.  Like he’s got my back.

He’s as much at home on stage in character, as he is making sure a diabetic student is eating properly, as he is making sure that a down syndrome student feels at home in our class, as he is talking about first aid training.

He may have been my student.

He may currently be my assistant.

But I don’t think he realises just how much he’s taught me.

Day 69 – Ding!

I’ve had a few “eureka” moments today (complete with virtual light bulb flashing above my head) but instead of blah-blah-blah-ing about them here, I’ve chosen to share a few quotes of what others have said about ACCEPTANCE.  I think we spend way too much time analysing and criticising and not enough time embracing who we are.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

– Joanne Kathleen Rowling

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”

– Henry Wadworth Longfellow

“One must not attempt to justify them, but rather to sense their nature simply and clearly.

– Albert Einstein

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

– Dolly Parton

P.S.  You know what’s also beautiful?  Sitting on a fleece slip-covered couch drinking red wine and chatting with a good friend.  You should try it sometime.  I highly recommend it.  Very therapeutic.