A MOMENT 2 MOMENT REFLECTIONBUT I THOUGHT THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING WAS ON MARCH 21st
At some moment in my childhood my brain processed that the first day of Spring was March 21st. For several weeks now I’d been anticipating March 21- imagining the many ways to receive this blessed season. Alas, Sunday, March 20th, was the first day of Spring and I was not ready.
Over the course of March 14th through March 17th, I had dreamed up and written this short playful piece that I would shoot and edit over the weekend and release on the unofficial first day of Spring, March 21st. (I’m not sure why I’ve hung on tight to this date, year after year.) Oh, and I would wear for said short film a sleeveless and fitted maxi dress that would tell the world of my sexy physique hidden for months underneath layers and a puffy black coat.
Instead. On Friday, the 18th, I wallowed over my relevancy and the “artistic pursuit.” On Saturday, the 19th, I washed clothes and remained in denial of the cold. On Sunday, the 20th, I updated and reached out to Apple support. Cooped up all weekend (minus a total of three coffee trips to Marcy and Myrtle) I tasked the hours away in unflattering grayish lounge-y clothes.
Days and days of anticipation had faded into what I recognized on Monday, the 21st, as a longing that had hung out with me on Friday and roomed with me all weekend long.
What was this longing?
To the point? A longing for a shift. A dramatic and evident shift. In me.
…Much like that shift you imagine happening when, once you reach your ideal weight and those jeans fit you exactly right, you are suddenly that person, who without pain or hesitation, can turn down a slice of brick oven pizza and warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a side of vanilla ice cream
Except that we all now know that only someone like my sister can say no to such food decadence. These people are rare! People like her and people who are allergic to chocolate and intolerant to cheese, of course. But I’m not! And so I will always be that person who feasts on the pizza and the chocolate chips. Will I ever reach my perfect size 4 like when I was 24? Maybe; but not at the expense of pizza and chocolate. That’s for sure. Ok, well, at least that life epiphany happened. One less thing weighing me down. But I digress…
Two and a half years ago I shifted gears in life. After many years of painfully fighting my heart’s desire (this is a real term. Please read Liz Gilbert or tune in to Oprah), I decided no longer to resist. And Act. Literally. To finally declare myself an Actor. Like, out loud, which is one of the hardest things a human from my part of the world can do. To say it out loud so as to declare that it was not just a hobby and not just for fun. But an actual professional path.When asked the always dreadful, “What do you do?” I’d respond, “I’m an Actor” and stand my ground, head high, underneath my breath a nervous hahaha. It was terrifying. But acting work, like paid, and like on sets, started to find its way. And then…
Six months ago, by the grace of the Divine, on September 21, I landed in New York City to further develop at Atlantic* my relentless heart’s want. How all the pieces fell into place, pretty miraculous, I must say. And then…
Six months later, here I am. My heart happy and at peace. Now, whoever can hear me, or read this, in that other parallel dimension, please tell 24-year-old Vanessa to stop her crying and just follow her heart. I repeat, follow her heart. Tell her that it’s hard to understand what that means at first, but all she must ask herself is “What do I want?” and trust. Oh and to get to Tolle, Chopra, Gilbert and Oprah stat!
Still, within this state of contentment, this knowing that, without a doubt, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, there are days with questions that make me wonder…
The pesky ones. Will I ever be “successful”? Will I ever really master this craft aka “be any good”? Will I ever really add something of value to this world professionally? The big dream ones. Will I ever get to work with the likes of Iñarritu and Gael Garcia-Bernal? Will I star in a Jolie film? Will DuVernay call?
…then make me long for answers… when they do (I must believe after all), will they be worth the distance away from home? Will they be worth the missing of traditions and birthday celebrations and holidays away from the people I most love? All those missed moments with my parents? With my cousins and my aunts and uncles and my grandparents? Will they be worth the end of my eleven year relationship? The distance away from my Sola, my beagle/pit bull pup? All of them, central and the pump to my heart.
…that make me long for further answers… Will I ever be a mother? Will I ever be a part again of a great love? Will I see my children and my little cousins grow? Will I be there for my parents when they need me the most?
…that make me long for this shift, this dramatic shake up, that would finally allow my heart’s wisdom to align with all these floating pieces. But, more than that, to tangibly feel them and see them and breathe them. Like on March 21st.
As it turned out, you guessed it, if I haven’t yet lost you, that my overwhelming disappointment and uneasiness over this first day of Spring was not because (a) it wasn’t on March 21 and (b) the Cinderella birds and their Cinderella chirp and the magnificent Lion King sun were missing. But, rather, because the cold and the layers and the puffiness of my black coat made all these pieces still feel so distant on this particular March 21st, my six month anniversary of Eat, Act, Totally on Your Own.
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SOME iOS WISDOM
Thank God for the iPhone. And these constant iOS updates and upgrades (insert rolling of eyes GIF).
Allow me. Briefly. Sunday equaled 10 hours spent clearing up space on my Mac so that I could backup my phone and update it. Alas! Some important applications failed to update because my MacBook Air’s operating system was not yet Os X El Capitan. So, ok, Hola Capitán…except that administrator passwords. Need I say more? This turned into 2 hours! on Apple Support with Mario, who, strangely, reminded me of my high school severed-my-heart-twice love. And after surviving several episodes of arrhythmia, and several attempts by Mario to bond over our native Spanish tongue, all was updated and upgraded ready for more data overload. Except that I was left with more questions about syncing and libraries and how iCloud really really really works!
But, that’s it! These questions and this wanting to know what takes time to get to know. The only way I will ever become an Apple user expert, and stop throwing fits, is if I really use these devices for all that they are worth, choose to learn how they all work together, and not shy away from Apple support. And, still, the technology will keep changing and I will continue to update and upgrade as I go along.
Crazily similar, on this journey, the only way the pieces of my life will ever fully sync up is if I really do my heart’s work, all that it calls me to do. Because, in the end, very much like the geniuses designing this software, a genius has designed for all the parts of my whole life to work together. As long as I put in the hours, the commitment, and trust. (Insert Steve Urkel “I knew that” GIF)
INSIDE OUT: I NEEDED YOU WHEN I WAS SEVEN
Choosing a professional path like acting is full of questions and all these unknowns much like these operating systems. It is a profession packed with this longing for promising collaborations and the fulfillment of dreams for the sake of those you love (especially for those of us who’ve emerged from a life paradigm quite unalike this path). It is some days as scary as the baby with the scissors waiting under the bed in Pet Cemetery. No, it’s not. Well, ok, sometimes. (But that might be a distorted memory of the film. I was like twelve years old and had my eyes closed for practically all of King’s nightmare.)
But most days, all day, there is this certainty of deep joy. Not a jumping up and down joy, but a heartfelt, quiet, joy. A peaceful state. If you met me, you wouldn’t think so. I’m a rather mysterious introvert. I was also not built to chat. But, believe me, if you had met me even five years ago, you’d totally see what I mean. My twenties were ROUGH! (insert woman having a break down GIF). Just, trust me, the joy is there.
Oh, right, I hear your Q. So where was this so-called joy over these four whine-y days? Good question. Over a bagel and cream cheese on Tuesday morning, the 22nd, I concluded, Fear kinda tried to shame it and tell joy that it was misplaced.
You know, Fear, like in Pixar’s Inside Out? Genius film, by the way. (And I’m not being sarcastic. I truly love this kind of introspective stuff. Plus the animated characters…just genius). I’ve figured out everyone in my life by their dominant emotions. But I digress…
But it’s what Fear DOES. Most especially when moving into new territory. For years, again the twenties, Sadness + Fear equaled Me. And as Joy is settling in and claiming her right to speak, inevitably I can seep into these moments of longing for the big answers and the big manifestations to announce and reassure me that I’m not an illusory misfit. (I’m not! I know. This is not a ploy for attention. I think).
OPRAH, YOU’RE GONNA LOVE MY AHA
However, good heavens!, I now know, that it is NOT about these grand visible and climactic shifts. That in the process of -the eight-hour work days, evening classes, daily attempts at expression, calls home, visits home, lonely days, days pouring with a friend’s care, momentary connections at a cafe, on a dance floor, on a plane, tears dropped, laughter shared, and future grueling auditions-these constant updates and upgrades are ready for me. All I need to do is log in.
So! all bundled up, though a little less, I continue on this journey, moment to moment, resolute not NOT to eat gluten, dairy and sweets, (I secretly do want to be that person who can stay away from these things), but aware of the longing and the questions that may never go away. Simply trusting and having faith, as the first two years of this journey taught me and the last six month’s affirmed, that my Heart’s Desire in partnership with the Divine’s Wisdom already Knows.
Spring is here peeps. And it is March
*Atlantic Acting School