The weather on Monday was in the mid 70s. It was amazing. I got a lot of work done, spent some time with my best friend, and had a super fun rehearsal with a group that I love playing with. I was so happy. Tuesday started with massive chest pains and a lump in my throat. Anxiety. Over nothing, really. I went to acupuncture, and left feeling a ton better. I had lunch with a friend, ran some errands, got an oil change, went home to work on things, went to dance rehearsal. Somewhere in there, something switched, and I got sad. I was also super hungry, which didn't help. When I got home, I was almost in tears. I have no idea why. As the night went on, it got worse. In working on a routine I was writing with Fuzzy, I was so embarrassed and shy, I hid under a blanket.* I tried to edit video, but made mistakes and felt stupid for not knowing how to do anything. I held myself back from moving forward on a couple of things. I felt stuck and hopeless. The negative thoughts were running rampant in my head, and I tried to hide from them, but fell asleep on the couch.
Today, I woke up feeling off. I'm getting a lot done today, including getting something off of my to do list that's been plaguing me for months. I take great pride on not being on a lot of social media, because I know that I can't handle the constant comparison to other people. But somehow, from twitter, I clicked on a link that sent me to someone's Facebook page that sent me down this weird stupid self-hate spiral. Which was out of nowhere and completely unneccessary. And it's exactly the opposite of the life that I try to live every day--I want to be my best self, and not compare myself to anyone or anything. And I feel like I am successful at that most of the time, but even I am not immune to the evil clutches of feeling left out or being jealous.
It just goes to show that every day is special, and that life is a roller coaster. It is ok to have good days and bad days, and it is ok to struggle sometimes. We are human. When we feel these darker moments, I think it is important that we notice and acknowledge them, be good to ourselves and not beat ourselves up for having them, and try to move forward and past them.
I am aware of my flaws and my demons. I am a work in progess. And you know what? I am pretty great--no comparisons needed.
*The routine turned out great and really cracks me up. I love working with Fuzzy, that just shows the stupid influence of depression or whatever. I've performed with Fuzzy a million times, and I think he is brilliant, but my brain stopped me from being ok. But Fuzzy is SO amazing and incredible--he perfected the routine, and then gave me a super wonderful pep talk to try to help. We perform tonight, so fingers crossed that it goes well!
This is just a quick show promo! Fuzzy and I are teaming up on stage yet again to riff on the classic spooky romance thriller "Ghost" at Scene Missing! It's going to be a stupid fun time.
Wednesday, October 29th
Featuring the awesomest folks:
Brendan "Ghost Dad" Gardiner
Jen "The Shining" Ellison
Kris "Poltergeist" Simmons
Kendra "Ghostbusters" Stevens
Daniel "Beetlejuice" Shapiro
Erica Reid & Fuzzy "Patrick Swayze's Ghost" Gerdes
Hooboy, the last few months have certainly been a roller coaster. It's been busy times, with lots of shows and major events, and I am starting to settle into autumn and the impending winter. I'll confess, though, that my depression, negative thoughts, and anxiety have popped back up, and it's not been pleasant. I am very cognizant of this, though, and try to be good to myself and change my way of thinking when things get ugly, and listen to what my body needs when the anxiety gears up. The odd thing is that I don't really get super nervous for all these shows that I've been doing, but small and awesome things like seeing friends or leaving the house become terrifying.
But I have to respect my life and body and really listen to it. I am in control of my life and actions, so this means that I am making some changes. I have been overworked creatively, and so I am pulling back on the amount of projects that I am working on. I have turned down 4 shows and pulled out of 2 more in recent months. It is hard to turn down work, and I never want to let anyone down, but my personal health and well being has to come first. And I know that I am not able to give these shows exactly what they would need right now, especially when I am feeling the need to slow down and be quiet for a little while. I am dancing a LOT these days, and really enjoying doing one-night style performances like the ones I've been doing lately--they really speak to my sensibilites, require small commitment (cause I am not a fan of a long-term project or an open run), and allow me to really say things that I've been meaning to say. So right now, my focus is going to be working on the following: Steve Gadlin's Star Makers (which is in production, with 4 episodes wrapped and 22 more to go), directing SNORF, DJing for She's Crafty, promoting Drunk Monkeys, the one-off shows, Modet and a new dance project that I will get to in a second.
Ok, I am aware that that list is very long, and likely incomplete. But that's me doing less than usual, I promise.
SO--I want to talk about dance for a minute.
If you know me, or have been reading my blog for any long period of time (and I thank you if you have--what a journey it has been since I started writing), you have seen my trek through the dance world and reclaiming being a dancer instead of only a choreographer. You know about the forming of Modet and how joyful that has made me. I am happy to report that Modet is back from a small break, and we are starting to work on our Spring show--I even started teaching a new piece yesterday. I love choreographing for this group, because they are so talented and can really bring what is in my head to life.
But the newest excitement to my dance life is with a company called Shmib. Melissa Talleda, Modet member and the woman who runs the dance studio that we are working out of (and who I am forever grateful for for donating her time, resources, and energy into Modet) has a company that she started in Baltimore and has now brought to Chicago, and in it, I get to just be a dancer. It is way out of my comfort zone, as the movement is primarily Modern, which I am not trained in, but Melissa is so loving and supportive, that I rarely feel intimidated or out of my league. We rehearse a few times a week on a number of different pieces, and it is bringing so much joy and stress-relief into my life. Case in point--last week, I was suffering from the beginnings of a panic attack. I canceled the plans that I had that evening, and started to breathe easier. I realized that in freeing up my evening's plans, I would be able to go to a rehearsal that was initially going to have to miss. I hesitated, not knowing if going was going to make things worse, but I went. And I moved. And I pushed myself. And I was surrounded with the other dancers who are amazing and beautiful and fun and full of love and compassion. And guess what? It made me feel so good. Stronger. Confident. I was full of life and energy and joy and I WAS HAPPY. I came home a new person. This feeling happens after each rehearsal. It feels good to move my body, and it feels good to feel successful in pushing yourself to the limit. It feels good to create something together and to see the outcome. It's great to just leave all my shit at the door and escape for a little while. I am dancing more now than I ever have, and I bet 18 year Erica, who gave up dancing because of her knee pain and physical limitations, would be FLOORED that 35 year old Erica is doing what she is doing and dancing so much. I am really proud of myself.
I am not currently in therapy, although I know that I likely should be. Things have been tough lately, both in my own life, and in the lives of the people that I love, and everything lately has just felt HEAVY. So right now, dance to me is my therapy. I can put my all into the movement, and I can forget all my troubles for a little while, and just move and sweat and laugh with others, and not be in charge for a little while. It is such a gift, and I am so grateful that this is what my life is looking like these days.
Though I am always sore. Like, always. Everything in my body hurts.
But you know what? It's worth it.
On Tuesday, I participated in Mac & Cheese Production's Potluck of Ideas. I loved the concept of the night--8 people have 6 minutes to talk about anything they want--and I had no idea what to expect. What I experienced was a postive and warm evening of brilliant and kind people. I went last in the line-up, which was intimidating, but turned out to work perfectly. I spoke off the cuff about the challenges we all face in life, and told the audience the things that we rarely get to hear as adults--that we are great, that we are doing a great job, and that it is ok to admit that things are hard and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. It was very emotional, and I talked with wonderful people afterwards. It was such a loving and safe space and I was able to talk about things that I feel I have to mostly keep inside. All in all, it was an incredible experience.
You can see all the photos from the night here.
I had the honor and privilege of being a guest on my friends Stephen and Ben's Star Trek Podcast, Space Lincoln. We talk about our personal Star Trek origin stories, our names, my family, and come up with perhaps the best idea for a burlesque show ever. It was such a blast, and I hope you enjoy!
Tonight, the perfect and wonderful Fuzzy took me out on a Mystery Date. He asked me to hold the date over a month ago, and I had no idea what he had in store for us. It was so exciting! So often we have to work at night, or have rehearsals, or have shows, so we rarely get to just GO OUT and enjoy an evening and a nice dinner in a fun restaurant. So I picked him up from work, and I guessed a million places I thought we might be going to. I was wrong on all of them, which was even more exciting.
We had 3 stops in our evening, the first of which was to a "doodle date" with Jana Kinsman of Doodle Booth. She was lovely and we had a nice conversation and now Fuzzy and I have this freaking adorable new piece of art for our home! It is the sweetest thing ever--I love that Fuzzy thought of this. Plus, look how cute and sincere his little eyes are in the drawing. Also, those are my trusty black tagua nut earrings, and I haven't worn them in a while. I pulled them out again today and thought "well, sorry, other earrings, but I'll be wearing these again for a while." So now they are captured in a portrait.
Thanks, Jana, for the amazing art, and thank you Fuzzy, for the wonderful gift!
There are lots of events happening this week!
Tuesday night, Oct 21, at 7:30pm
Potluck! A Smorgasbord of Ideas!
I have 6 minutes to talk about anything I want. This has been very difficult for me to decide, since I always want to talk about everything.
Friday night, Oct 24 at 10pm
Don't Spit the Water 10 Year Anniversary Show
Whaaaat? 10 years? That is crazy. I'll be donning the ole Cutie Bumblesnatch vest and rocking some Good Vibrations in this reunion/ Farewell to Paul Luikart show.
Saturday night, Oct 25th 7pm
Gapers Block Presents 20x2
Fuzzy and I will both be appearing in this evening of exploring and answering the question "How do you do?"
Hope to see you there!
Tomorrow is the last day of our fundraiser for our amazing TV show Steve Gadlin's Star Makers. If you have an extra dollar or 1000 to send towards our campaign, it would be very appreciated.
Today is also the closing day of a beloved Chicago institution, Hot Dougs. If you aren't from here, just google Hot Dougs and you will find many media articles and heartfelt tributes from all who love the food and Doug Sohn, who is just about the nicest guy you will ever meet. It is a little sentimental today, reading about the goings on of the final day, and so I will just post this photo taken the week that Fuzzy and I got married in July of 2006.
Thank you, Doug, for everything you brought (and will continue to bring) to the great city of Chicago.