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Whose Life is This? Day 123

September 17, 2010

After only eight months of revising the role of Yes Man, pursuing like Alice the white rabbit down his hole, I find myself seriously asking, “Whose life is this?” Tonight, I stood soaking wet on a crowded bus to the Bronx, surrounded by screaming passengers as lightning struck nearby on my way to discuss modeling for a body art and face painting workshop at Frank Bee Clown Studio. Before dying, my phone delivered to me an email from Chrissie Rouse (Program Manager for Sarah Small), informing me that Sarah wants to use me as a nude singer in her Mini-Tableau Vivant next weekend. Losing the blog post I had written for Thursday (now Friday) when my phone died, it seemed every odd accident happened around me this evening. When we finally passed an MTA bus on fire on the third leg of my trip, my mind exploded simultaneously, landing somewhere between feeling overwhelmed and unbelievably blessed.

Somewhere in the midst of the madness of embracing change, I’ve stumbled upon a surprising stability previously unknown. Sleep sometimes escapes me as I try to balance learning new skills and abandoning excuses in my life with actually earning a living and paying bills. With little room for recollection of upcoming events, I rarely know what tomorrow holds for me until just before bed when I remind myself with Google Calendar. Strangely, it doesn’t matter; I feel safer, stronger, healthier, and happier than ever (knock on wood), not in spite of my newly open-minded and action-packed lifestyle but as a direct result of it. I even felt more confident at an early music audition on Wednesday because of the nude audition I performed on Friday for Sarah Small.

Moving to New York City three years ago, I felt a certain desperation to land a full time job or a lasting relationship. When I couldn’t seem to achieve either goal, I maintained the expected “young opera singer” appearance physically and relationally and felt uneasily unlike myself spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Now even I sometimes don’t recognize my life on the outside! Yes, actor and singer still dominate my career definition and personality, but nude model? Skydiver? Puppeteer who likes to frequent social media events? Musical theater singer and member of Actor’s Equity?

I love it! Internally, I have never felt better, and the energy I’ve gained opening up my life to so many new possibilities leaves me breathless and yearning for more. A chronic abuser of excuses, I used to fear the unfamiliar and sometimes still do; yet, somehow change has become my constant, and that gives me more peace than I could have ever expected to feel. My advice to anyone still afraid of change (including myself as I prepare to sing, nude, for an audience on the 25th of September):

  • Acknowledge your weaknesses (including fear)
  • Realize that you can almost always find a way to overcome or subvert them.
  • Make a plan that will inspire you to seek change beyond your excuses. I chose writing with a goal each day to leave my comfort zone. Milton Sheppard started a clown studio in the Bronx to teach others how to bring joy to their own lives and the lives of others while earning a living. My talented friend David Michael continues to learn to master photography and creates a new business for himself on top of his opera career while helping to raise his family. To each his own. Find yours.
  • Keep going. Phyllis Greene, at ninety, writes a blog to keep life joyful and productive during hospice care.

I have a lot to learn. Life presents its difficulties, and one never knows the future. Somehow, direction changes everything though, and optimism enters my mind even at the end of this bizarre and never-ending day. May tomorrow always be as fruitful .

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. doublejnyc permalink
    September 17, 2010 5:31 am

    Man blogging rocks. Thanks for sharing the journey, strength and hope. And the links.

  2. Amy Wooden permalink
    September 17, 2010 8:36 am

    Abby, You never cease to amaze me! I am so happy that you have found such contentment and stability in the unknown. I strive for that but am far from it at this point. I think I’ll just live vicariously through you for now! 🙂 If you have any other pointers I’d love to hear them. Love your blogs.

    -Amy

    • September 22, 2010 9:48 pm

      I’m so glad we reconnected, Amy. I think you’re amazing, and I admire all the ways you’ve stayed strong and stood up for your dreams in life. Keep me posted on your music, and let me know if you’d ever be interested in contributing here – I’d love to feature your music and journey as a songwriter sometime!

  3. September 19, 2010 11:48 pm

    Oh, let us keep skydiving every day!

    thank you for the inspiration…

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