Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Decision

I'm guessing that you ladies and gents were wondering about my decision this weekend.

Well... I decided not to decide just yet. When I went into a panic on Friday, I stepped into an old habit that I've been trying to break. I moved past the balance point from living in the now with an eye on the future to worrying about the future and forgetting about the now.

Because of that, I ended up trying to make a decision when I lacked the information.

As Sherlock Holmes said in the Robert Downey Jr. movie: "Data data data. I cannot make bricks without clay..."

So... I wrote out a short (very short) resume and mailed it to the people doing the auditions. If I get called, I'll go. If I don't, I finish my degree. If I get chosen to play the role, I'll go into solving-two-place-at-one-time-issue mode.

Not before.

In the mean time, I will register to finish that one subject, because I refuse to drag my failure to complete the course with me for the rest of my life.

On that note, I would just like for you to help me pray for God's will to be done with regards to the role and that I have the wisdom to see His will when the time comes.

Do you have any prayer needs?

Friday, May 27, 2011

A wrinkle in the plan.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I have been so focused on everything else that I forgot one detail. A big one. So big that I can't believe I missed it.

My degree. I have one subject to do. The exams are in November. Should I win the role I mentioned, I'd be stuck on the other side of the country from my for most of the time from September. Not to mention that the show will be touring. The two are mutually exclusive.

Now, maybe I'm counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I can't, just can't spend another year with this freaking subject hanging over my head. I won't.

Nor am I willing to just let five years of studies go down the drain. The dream is sweet, but I'm talking about HUNDREDS of thousands of rands worth of tuition, textbooks, accommodation and living expenses that would amount to nothing. I could feed about five HUNDRED poor families with the money that would go to waste.

I just can't do it. As much as I want the role. As much as I want to get into my career of choice. I know that if I don't finish the subject, I will drag it with me for the rest of my life. My most expensive failure.

I can't do that.

So... Now I have to decide if I can cope with the demon of my degree, economics, while missing classes and having to study on my own AND rehearsals and performances.

Hell, I might not even get the role, but what if I do? What if I'm setting myself up for an even bigger disappointment?

Have you ever had to make a difficult decision? How did you decide? Am I being silly/premature with my concerns?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm dancing again!

After almost a year of missing it, I took up Ballroom Dancing on impulse.

Now I remember why I love it so much. It's so much fun. I met great people and I get to do some exercise without it feeling as if I'm going to gym.

Monday's lesson was the Jive. Fun, lots of movement. My hips (yes, hips) were aching with the exercise. By the time the hour was done, I was getting a stitch. All of it without feeling as if I did exercise.

And I know from experience that there isn't a ballroom or latin dance that doesn't work in some way. I've found that most latins (Jive counts as one) are great for cardio. Ballrooms are great for core, because you have to control your body with every movement you make.

I'm thrilled that I'm dancing again. I really missed it last year. Still, now it doesn't look as if I'll get back to fencing because my schedule for evenings look like this: Monday: Dance, Tuesday: Choir, Thursday: Dance.

It's not just time, though, it's money. I'm paying for dance classes and solo classes on Tuesday afternoon. If I have to pay for another class, it will be to refine my acting. As much as I love fencing, I know that it might be a distraction more than anything else, so I'll have to see if I'll actually do it again. Luckily I enjoy ballroom as much, so it's good that I can exchange the two without feeling too much pain.

So I'm focusing on the dance for now and looking forward to doing the Tango on Thursday!

What about you? Have you tried any more hobbies recently? Or picked up old ones? How are you feeling because of it?

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Working! (And it might work for you too.)

I lost 2.2 pounds last week! And without forcing myself away from the foods I love. All I did was to start choosing what I needed vs. what I wanted and started to cut back on my portions.

I haven't even felt hungry except for the time I ate two hours later after a 40 minute hill walk. I really like the way this diet works. It's as if I'm choosing better foods just because I'm aware of what I've been stuffing into my mouth before - and how much.

Speaking of how much, I should say that the first few days is a bit of a pain, because I had to measure every. damned. thing.

But, while I still measure everything (guessing portions are dangerous with high-calorie foods) it's become a habit and it's giving me a sense of control. I am aware of how much I'm eating, so I can decide whether I really want/need that much food as well as helping me to measure whether something is worth its calories.

I've done calorie counting before, but ended up failing because I couldn't find a way to easily work out how much of what I'm eating. The site I joined solves it all for me. There are lists both for food and for exercise, conversions, stats to keep track of my progress, forums to chat with other dieters, articles to motivate and on and on and on.

The only down-side is that I'm paying for it. Still, given how much I've spent on special foods and tablets before, I think that it's a good investment.

If you want to check out the site, go to http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk. The first day is free, so you can check out how the website works. I took 45 minutes to realize that it was what I've been looking for. So feel free to check it out. If you do decide to join, let me know and we can buddy up! ^_^

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gotta have Faith...

That's another aspect to my life that I want to work on: My relationship with God.

Last year, I discovered some parts of me that brought deep meaning to my faith and how I understand my place in God's plan. Unfortunately, that discovery brought some experiences and ... uhm... side-effects that served as a pretty distraction and resulted in our relationship reaching a bit of a winter season in December.

But at the beginning of the month, I started reading A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and among days of good and valid messages, one struck me.

No matter what, I should focus on God. Any feelings and experiences are extra. Bonuses. NOT THE POINT!!!

When I realized my mistake, I prayed for God's forgiveness and asked for some guidance.

Lo and behold, I get an e-mail from a guy responding to a mail I sent months ago (November) who asked for a meeting so that he could help clarify some of the things I've experienced lately.

The meeting was great, explained so much to me and helped me put a lot of things into perspective and now, I can feel God's presence with me again. So here's to a new season in our relationship!

Anyone else been experiencing a distance between you and God? Anything that you need a prayer for? Feel free to contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you want to talk but keep it private.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Update on me.

So far, my lifestyle change is slowly coming about. I started counting calories and if I want to lose at a rate of 1kg per week, I have 1223 calories to eat. It's actually not that hard, except for those darned hidden calories.

Olive oil, for instance. Or... cheese... or margerine. Did you know that normal margerine the same calorie value as a third of a 100g slice of bread?

So yeah... counting calories isn't quite as instinctive as I would have hoped. Still, I'll get on top of it soon. I've got extra incentives. I've already started losing weight and centimeters. ^_^

Writing wise, I have a new idea going, but I'm going to wait out May before starting to write it. That way, I can use it as a reward when I get through some revisions.

So that's my life. What's happening in yours?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where a new opportunity pushes me to focus on an old resolution...

I think my family is starting to take my ambitions to land on stage seriously. 

My mother was the one to tell me of a great new role that will be cast by an open audition. This might just be the sort of role that will open lots of doors for my career. Should I be cast, of course. 

Which brings me to the resolution. See... the role has an image involved... so... 

In short, I have about 3 stone to lose. But this time I refuse to diet. I'm just going to adapt my lifestyle. Less food, healthier options and more exercise. 

I will definitely not lose all that weight in two weeks, but the first step in the audition process is the submission of photos and c.v. so if I can just lose enough to look great on my pictures, I'll be happy. 

Anything will be better than where I am now. And I plan to keep on losing, because even if I don't get invited to a live audition, I'll still have a great figure to look forward to. 

Anyone else on a diet/lifestyle change?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Dreamed a Dream

Today, I am not referring to the famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Instead, I am talking about my own dreams. The title refers to the song from Les Miserables, as sung by Fantine. The video quality is a bit bad, because it was shot in the days of VHS, but it just felt wrong to post any version that wasn't sung by the original Fantine, Patti LuPone.

Personally, I hope that my dreams turn out a little better than hers. After all, she died in the end (sorry for the spoiler) because her dream involved marrying a man who got her pregnant and left her to fend for herself. When her colleagues found out that she had a child out of wedlock, they got her fired, forcing her to sell her hair, her teeth and finally her body to keep her child alive. And... then she died.

No... I'm hoping my dreams end up a little better. Why then, you may ask, did I post this sad song in the first place?

Because that's one of my three big dreams. Not the selling of my body. Getting my butt on the musical stage.

Yes. I am one of those little girls who had dreamt of becoming an actress and never stopped dreaming. Please note. Actress. NOT famous.

I've never been all that fussed with fame, really. I just enjoy entertaining people above almost everything else.

I guess that love is the other reason why my second big dream exists. The one people are most familiar with. I want to become a published author.

Last but not least, I want my own clothing label.

Why am I sharing this? Well. You know where you get people who want to be engineers above all else? Or doctors, or presidents or astronauts and all those things? Well, I spent the latter half of my life thinking that I had no such passions because I was basically told by everyone I knew that I was to clever for my first loves.

So, in a way, that song fits, because since I was in the eighth grade until my second year at university (seven long years), my life did kill my dreams. Only my love of writing remained.

In 2008, my life started to choke me out. I couldn't handle the course, so in an attempt to save myself, I changed courses to a clean commercial degree. I thought that I would take six months to recover from the worst period in my life to date (and that includes the death of my Grandfather and the later divorce of my father). I was wrong.

It spanned a total of two years. That feeling that I was living in a dark hole. That feeling that I didn't have the power nor the inclination to climb out. What was the point? I'd think to myself. It wasn't as if my getting back to high performance made me happier than before.

See, I'd thought that it was my failure to perform academically that got me in Actuarial Science. It wasn't. When I left the course, I almost immediately shot up again. For a while. After a while, it didn't matter and by exam time, I was back in the same hole that I'd struggled out of six months before.

My mother and I fought endlessly by this time, because the girl she knew, the one filled with determination and passion was gone. By the end of 2009, I was a shell. I'd hit rock bottom. I wasn't even looking up anymore. The hole had become my home.

I didn't even get predicate for two of my subjects. That was how miserably I failed. It was also one of the most important events of my life. Because in a discussion with one of the lecturers to allow me special predicate, he asked me something that shook me to the core.

Just who are you trying to please? 

Just like that, my thinking changed, because I realized something.  All my life, I conformed with what people expected of me because of the fact that I happen to be somewhere in the upper percentiles of intelligence. Because of that, I killed my own dreams, settling with second best and writing when there was supposed to be so much more to my life. I'd lost everything. Who I was, how I measured myself, everything, because I listened to other people too much.

Of course I wouldn't be able to function. I was forcing myself to leave 70+% of my God-given gifts unused. Because my intelligence is one gift. A big gift. But just one. What of my ability to entertain? To sing? My creativity? My ability to face crowds without stage fright? My love of drawing and designing? My love of Art in general? Where were they being used? How were they being explored, stretched and grown?

They weren't. And that's what was slowly killing me. I'd been trading my soul, thinking that the individual bits wouldn't be that big, but forgetting how much I've already traded in order to please people who had no idea what it meant and could therefore not be grateful for my sacrifice.

I went digging for my dreams through the debris of my crumbled life, hoping that I had something that I could salvage. Writing came out first. It was the one I kept alive. The one that kept my soul together when the rest of my life was trying to get to me. Now it became bigger. I decided to stop starting WiPs and to finish one and pushing it to publishing.

Next, I found battered and bruised Drama. That's the one I love most. Also the one least tolerated. The one people did their level best to stamp out. I'd thought that dream was gone, but it was still there, but week. I hid that one until it became strong again. It took me about two years to mention this one to anyone I knew, but this time, it isn't going to wither. I recently started taking action to open a door to theatre. By taking singing lessons, I'm making it possible for me to perform in musicals. Drama lessons to refine my raw talent will follow.

Finally, I heard the small whisper of a voice reminding me of its existence. Design saw the assaults on Drama and went into hiding. Now that Drama is up and running, Design decided it could test the waters again.

And so, after months of looking for a dream, a passion, I found three.

And this time, I'm not letting go of a single one.

What are your dreams? Do you still nurture them?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome to my life.

Yes... Welcome to the insanity that is me. Recently, things have calmed down a little, but only because I focused on one aspect of my life. My writing. 

Well... Now I'm done with my rewrite and the rest of me is feeling a little neglected. So I decided to start this blog to remind me to pay attention. I've been wondering how I should approach this taking charge of my life, so I thought... why not recap my New Year's "resolutions" as posted on My First Book? 

Ah yes, I referred to my resolutions as guidelines. Good thing too. I HATE goals and resolutions. Anyway... Here they are:

I want to finish my first rewrite of Doorways by the end of April or the middle of May. 
Done. On 25 April.

I want to do this while working. 
I did that. 

I want to be back to fluency in French. 
Cough cough. Not yet. Really should start working on that. 

I want to revise and study Mandarin. 
Same here. Picking up French will be much easier. 

I want to speak Italian at at least a moderate level by next January. 
Probably should start this first, as I don't speak any Italian. At all. 

I want to have written at least half of Guardian by December, but this is of lower Priority, since...
Good goal, this. I just need to find the character again. And her voice. And her story. I haven't touched Guardian since January.

I want to start querying Doorways by next year. 
I'm planning to start edits in May, which might make writing Guardian a bit more difficult. 

I want to get back to stabbing people for fun. (For those of you that don't know. I'm not completely psycho. I fence.)
Really still want to do this. But this time slot was taken up by singing. Singing might become something serious, like... a ticket to the stage. 

I want to be back on my healthy lifestyle by the beginning of February. 
Failed miserably at this. Only getting to it now. 

I want to stay on that lifestyle indefinitely. Or at least until December. ;-P
Let's get to the lifestyle first. 

I want to finish my degree and get completely out of the previous phase of my life, since this year will pretty much be spent in limbo. 

I want to make a stronger commitment to God. 

I might or might not want to read the complete works of Shakespeare... 
I might want to start reading again. Period. 

I would really really like to have about 1000 followers by December. 
So far so good. I'm ahead of schedule. Perhaps I might even have 1500 by December. We'll see. :-)

So... that's me. Then... I'll post a bit more about recent developments tomorrow. 

What do you want to achieve by the end of the year?