Weekend Success Story

This morning, I had one of the most successful Sunday mornings I’ve had in months.

No, I did not cure cancer. Nor did I finish all my homework for the next two weeks. I didn’t get the interview done that I need to do for the student paper. I did not go to brunch at a fancy place with fancy friends and order fancy (and expensive) eggs Benedict (how does anyone like eggs Benedict anyway? One of life’s great mysteries).

This morning was a success only in the fact that I did nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I went to bed fairly late last night, after a wonderful evening rushing about town with friends. I ended up taking some benadryl to counteract my evening of petting and cuddling with cats–adorable, but allergy bombs for me–and the medicine knocked me out. 

morning in bed

Most weekends, I cannot sleep in past 8 or 8:30. The thought of all the things I have to accomplish in the day jolts me up and out of the bed and sends me stumbling to my Keurig. But this morning, I woke up at 8:30…and was completely unperturbed. I rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Amazing. At 9, I got up and ate a little breakfast, checked my email, but I was still feeling really groggy and tired. So what did I do?

I got back in bed for another hour.

I can see how this might not seem like a big deal. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it isn’t. But I live most of my life in a constant state of hurrying about, trying to stay on top of a million and one things, and hardly taking a moment to sit and just be. Every second of the day has to be spent accomplishing something.  This high anxiety personality of mine usually leads to some wonderful successes, but also to quick burnouts where I feel like getting out of bed is a chore. 

So this morning, I changed it. I ignored the pangs of rising anxiety (what about homework? Shouldn’t I be working on a blog post? Or reading! I could be improving my mind!) and simply gave my body what it needed: sleep. And lots of it.

Now I feel happy, rested, and ready to take on this next crazy week. It’s amazing what a tiny bit of change in perspective can do!

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The Worrier’s Guide to Relaxation

I came to a startling realization this summer: I have forgotten how to relax.  At some point in the last three years, I have gone from someone who could sit for hours enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, to a girl who gets anxious if I sit down for more than half an hour.  I’m conflicted about this personality trait. On the one hand, worriers get stuff done.  Very rarely do I panic about something that’s due tomorrow, because I’ve been working like a crazy person to get it done, and done well, for the past week. But on the other hand, I tend to work myself to the bone for something, and after I’ve accomplished it, thought to myself: “now, why did I freak out about that? That wasn’t bad at all.” Nothing like awesome hindsight skills. This semester has begun in an interesting way, and I’m already feeling a little out of sorts.  My past two years at school, I feel like I’ve known where I’m going and what the next goal is. Now that I’m beginning to steer a little more towards the English minor side of my degree, I’m beginning to feel a little bit out-to-sea.  How important is getting cast/called back? How important is it to be writing at least an hour a day?  How important is it to remain calm, cool and collected during the craziness? And, possibly the most problematic of all, how do I keep myself from sinking under the weight of all these questions? So I am making a commitment to becoming a better relaxer (I think that sentence says a lot about my personality: I can’t just relax. I have to COMMIT to it. Oi vey, y’all).  I’ve been brainstorming some ways to get my mind and body into that comfort zone…but I would love some suggestions! This is going to be a bit of an uphill battle for my little worry-wart self…good thing I love a challenge.

ways to relax

Perfect is Boring

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So! When we last talked, I was fast and furiously preparing for sophomore juries, which are sort of the capstone of your first two years in the BFA acting program.  You go in, perform three monologues in four minutes, and leave.  And the next night, you sit in a room with four members of the acting faculty for ten minutes, and they tell you all of the things that you need to work on/are doing well. A little nerve wracking.

Or, if you’re me, a lot nerve wracking.

I am a perfectionist.  I like things that are “in my control” to go perfectly.  Which is odd, because in so many other things in life, I’m a go with the flow, happy-go-lucky kind of person.  This year I’ve developed pretty severe anxiety about things “not going right.” Which is unfortunate, because acting is a live art form.  Meaning that things usually do not go how you expect them to.  I know all this, and it’s finally starting to seep into my brain, and yet anxiety issues are not something you can simply switch on and off.

 

But in the midst of my worrying, I realized something: it’s cliche, but I AM ENOUGH.  So I’m not perfect all the time.  I wouldn’t be in college if I was.  I’m here to learn, not to be the perfect student.  I get so worried about my teachers thinking I’m doing a good job that I sometimes forget how much I love what I do–and really, why act if you don’t love it?  There are so many easier things.  So no matter what they said, I would come out of there and still be Lauren. I’d still have an incredible group of friends and family, the most amazing boyfriend, great writing skills, a solid sense of humour, and a talent with making fatty delicious desserts. 

This might shock you: but my talkback was great.  Mostly positive things were said, all of which made my heart glow.  The biggest critiques were my unwillingness to forgive myself and my fear of losing control and letting it all go–both of which are necessary to good acting.  I cried through the whole thing (poor teachers!), but I felt so much release.  I know the faculty loves me and cares about me as a performer and as a person.  They believe in me and my work, which is an incredible feeling.

So.  Woof.  What a weekend.  My project this summer is going to be work on lessening my anxiety, learning to let go and have fun in the work, and gaining some self-confidence.  All difficult for me, but I am so pumped to take the next step in this amazing journey.

Goooooooooals!

We had to list goals for the semester last night at my sorority house, and I thought I might list mine here.  A double reminder, of sorts.

Lauren’s Awesome Goal List for Fall 2012!

1. No Panic Attacks!

Already broke this one a little.  Basically, I just really want to work on my anxiety, cause that crap has no place in my life.  Everything works out in the end, and I am going to get much better at taking stuff one day at a time. I promise.

2. Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul 🙂

Basically, I’m going to work out and eat healthier than ever before so I don’t feel like crap. But this also means taking what I love about myself to heart, and really appreciating what my body can do!  This is a difficult one for all girls my age, especially in such a looks-focused industry, but I am really going to work on it.  See my “Fitness and Recipes” page for help with this one!

3. Get Out There

With rehearsals, school, and everything else in my crazy life, it can be so easy to succumb to the temptation to just sit around and be bored when I have a free moment.  But not this year.  I am going to take care of myself, but I am also going to go out and have experiences and meet people and try new things.  I want to grow, damn it!

4. Budget and Get Crafty

No longer will I be spending $50 on sushi I don’t even like.  I am just going to work on wisely spending my money and living on a budget while still living.  This means getting crafty in my gift giving, which is actually kind of exciting.

5. Love.

Ah, my favorite word in the whole English language.  This year I am going to love harder than ever before. I am going to let the most important people in my life know that I appreciate them, and I am not going to waste time disliking people that have traits I can’t change.  I’m not going to let myself get walked all over anymore, but I will do it in a loving, always graceful way. And it will be great.

There you have it! I think with a little support and will power, I can accomplish these.  Might have to post them on my wall somewhere.  I refuse to sink into the Sophomore Slump!! It is going to be the best semester yet!