Big Country Blues Trailer

Big Country Blues Trailer
Sarah e Jacobs recognized as OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES at LA Webfest! And nominated for BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA at ITVFest! Click to watch the trailer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Universal Language

I sat on the makeshift bleachers in the middle of the trendy Soho office. An office I’ve been in multiple times over the years from my days as a promo model, hired by the Events company that inhabits the colorful space. In the past, I would be there to get briefed on the upcoming event I would be working. Usually it entailed standing on a street corner for long hours in all weather patterns selling or explaining someone else’s product that started as someone else’s dream.

From the event.
But this time was different. This time my Business Partner and I were invited as young, creative entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of The Wellness Project. We were invited to add to a wine-abetted conversation about what it means to Protect Your Magic, a movement started by another young, creative entrepreneur. I sat there, conversation swirling about the room, teeming with passion and purpose, and ethereal intelligence, and I couldn’t help but have a slightly less grandiose version of Oprah’s “full circle moment.”
How in the hell did I get here?
I don’t write much about The Wellness Project, but my life right now is consumed with my building this business. And there’s something that people don’t really tell you when they’re in the thick of building something new. It usually comes out later, and they say it with some nostalgic look on their face, as if it wasn’t really affecting, it was just something that happened and was left in the past. But here goes – starting your own thing is fairly terrifying.
Rachel and Me. Boots on the ground in SoHo.
And, I’m not a stranger to anxious energy. I’ve made a life of feeling terrified as I stand, costumed, in the wings. The light spilling from the stage to just before my waiting toes. It’s a discomfort that, over the years, I grew to find comfort in. But recently, the discomfort comes in waves unfamiliar to me. I’m trying to find my legs in a foreign sea of KPI’s, google documents, and PowerPoint “decks.” And aside from the general challenges of starting a business, I’m finding that I’m having to explain myself to certain people now more than ever…
Him: “So, what do you do?”
Me: “I’m an Actor and Nutritionist. Currently starting a business - a Corporate Wellness Program.”
Him: “Oh. Really? …That’s …so cute.”
Cute?
Or after giving an overview of TWP’s program, I've gotten, “look at you sounding like you know what you’re talking about…”
Sounding?
Ugh. I wish I were kidding.
With certain men (it’s just fact that no woman has ever responded like this) it’s like clockwork. He crosses his arms and the air around us becomes dense. His voice deepens, resonating in the space between us. Macho bullshit taking precedence over substance and progress. Without even knowing our business model, all sentences start, “you know what you should do…” or “let me tell you what you need…” And the questions come in swiftly and in numbers, the language getting more convoluted and ridiculous. I’m no longer participating in a conversation, I’m in front of a firing squad.
I am tired of my curves and long hair informing obnoxious assumptions. Sick of my face’s symmetry being confused for unintelligence. My conversational, friendly demeanor being mistaken for naïve exuberance. And my open and sentimental heart being seen as weak. It seems I have to lash my sharp tongue in order to get people to pay attention for the right reasons, and even then, I’m regarded as sassy or bossy – because it seems people have a hard time saying “smart” and “assertive” when it comes to describing women.
What upsets me even more than the feral condescension and immediate doubt is how it sometimes affects me. Frequently, I can very effectively shut down any joker that meets me with haughty resistance. But other times I seem to fall back, windless sails, and allow for such bullshit to commence before my eyes. My knees buckle, Nancy Kerrigan style, beneath my unsuspecting body.

I’d love to say that my skin is impenetrable, a force field of self-acceptance and confidence. But honesty is my goal here, not perfection. And, while I’ve clearly always accepted my sentimentality (this blog can attest), my sensitivity is something I’ve been fighting my whole life. I grew up with people constantly saying, “Sarah, you’re too sensitive.” And the pugilist in me always said, “Psh. Whatever. You don’t know me.” But #truth - they know me. And the honest fact is that despite what my face reads and my demeanor implies - I feel it more. Genuinely and quite viscerally, my body translates it to sparks just under the surface of my skin.
And I’ve been “feeling it” a lot lately. (Not to mention having made myself vulnerable in my personal life recently. More so than I have in years. …it didn’t fare well, but that’s a story for another day…) Anyhow, on top of the stress responses like wanting to eat cake for breakfast, this can be a bigger detriment if I allow it. But, I’m learning it can also be an incredible asset.
My authentic handwriting.
...like that of a 7 year old.
Back in the cool, SoHo office, in passionate discussion about "Protecting Your Magic," I fervently explained with conviction how I must protect my Authenticity, my chosen Magic. And I do this by investing in myself, saying yes and saying no, and by knowing when to fold.
The Devil’s Advocate came in the form of an Interior Designer sitting to my right. He kept arguing, “Why Protect? Why walk away? Why not share with everyone, spread your magic without boundaries?” The room joined in the bandying of ideas and thus the conversation got oxygenated life. I had already started writing this post, so my position in that room was timely. And my passionate disagreement with the Interior Designer (whom I hugged it out with immediately afterwards and we're now Facebook friends, btw) got me thinking. Am I being too protective?…
But after some thought, it’s not about not sharing. It’s about not giving it all away. It’s coming to the table with openness and complete vulnerability, but knowing that I will get up from the table with the same energy as when I sat down. That I will be as authentically me and as willing to put myself out there moving forward. And sometimes, that means being the one to push my chair back first.
Staying open is a daily practice, one in which sometimes I fail horribly. On occasion, reactionary, I do curl up, knees to chest and make myself as small as possible. And this goes for in my personal life, too.
But, I’m learning to use the porous nature of my skin to my advantage. Inspired by a common theme at SHEsummit, a conference I attended recently - succeed not in spite of my gender, but because of it - turn all of this energy I’m collecting, and make the decision to use it for fuel. Kindling that gathers at the base of my sternum. And when I do find myself in vulnerability hangovers, I work to pry my legs away from my chest and unfurl my ego from the fetal position. The key is to remain resilient – give credence not to the curling up, but to what happens afterwards.
So, I do need to protect certain parts of myself, like my Authenticity. That's contributed to how I got here. And it’s how I’ll get to wherever it is I’m going, while maintaining that same sense of who I was when standing on that street corner selling someone else’s dream.
On a run, lost somewhere in South Brooklyn, my mind was gripping onto various conversations I’ve had with naysayers, and I was missing relationships I’ve recently let go of. I turned an unfamiliar corner, hoping my brain would take cues from my body’s pivot. And on the next block, I was met with this –
I laughed. Out loud.

Then, about 10 or so blocks after that, I came upon a swingset and settled in. I faced the opposite direction of the little girls on the other end, opting for the view with more trees. On the backswing, between the links of a high fence, my eyes settled on the top of a distant building. And in bright pink letters, there it was again:
 
Ha! There are no accidents. Coincidence is merely listening when the Universe decides to talk.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Work in Progress

Vignette [vin-yet]
Noun

1. a drawing, photograph, or portrait that is shaded off gradually at the edges so as to leave no definite line at the border.

2. any small, pleasing picture or view.

3. a small, graceful literary sketch.

I would love to come to you with some bit of brilliance. Some lovely post that weaves story with feeling. The center some moral. A lesson learned, a truth revealed. But, recently, my brain has left me with ink blot ideas - amorphous and unrelated. Administration duties dulling my creative brain and the stressors and responsibilities piling high on my to-do list, clouding my usually colorful vision. Ordinarily, there are moments when words play and form neat sentences, clever conclusions, and clean lines.

But, life right now is a jumble of too many things to make sense in one linear composition. I have the usual scribbles. Pages of sentences and poetry and schmaltzy combinations of words that leak emotion and thought onto paper. Some stark and bare, and others too sentimental for words (so to speak)… And, so…

----

1.
The crowded coffee shop had attention in my direction. Our words in volley. No progress being made, just contention. Loud and potent.

My body cornered the thief. Blocked his exit. I was certain this man took my phone off of the table where my friend had been sitting as I went to the restroom. Certain. And I was certain he was not getting away with it.

He started turning his pockets inside out, blow pops of all flavors flying in various directions. He handed me his bag to search through, “I didn’t take your phone, girl!” He spat sternly. In an attempt to keep him put, I pulled out his belongings on the floor.

The tension in the air was taut. Electricity. Molecules on edge. The effect of a room full of raised arm hairs and goose bumps.

He started to push past me. Forcefully. I backed up a bit. He started pleading, “Please, girl. Don’t call the cops. I got a warrant. I got kids!” He whispered loudly. His eyes wide like a child, tugging at my female heartstrings… my girly sensibilities resisted. I’ve been in this city too long, my phone-stealing-friend…

“Should have thought of that before you stole my shit!” I said - emphasis on the “shit”. I decided to follow his lead, take to reasoning, “Look, I need that phone. I can’t afford another one.” I looked him directly in the eyes. “Please. Just give it back and this is over.”

…Wishful thinking. Didn’t work.


“I don’t! Got! Your phone!” He yelled. It was clear we’d reached his limit. He shoved past me. Instinctively I grabbed at his chest, clenched a fistful of his sweater. As he accelerated past, I felt the skin of my knuckles scrape against the fabric as I heard a loud rip. My friend who had been searching through our stuff in hopes to find the mistake was on me, stepped in prompted by the sudden physicality of the situation. There we were, two girls at the door of a coffee shop, desperately detaining a drugged-up thief from getting lost in the mix of 14th street with my iPhone 5.

After some time and some unsuccessful negotiations, something in the guy switched. I saw his face. He was tired, unaware when he nabbed the phone that two girls would put up such a fight. He turned around and bee-lined for the bathroom. I followed. He ducked into the door and then came out right as I turned the corner. “Here! Here’s your phone!” I grabbed it from his hand.

“Dick.” (I added that more for me than for him.)

“You left it in the bathroom!” He exclaimed. Like a kindergartner. Youthful and excited. It was a surprisingly smart tactic. Though, I knew he was now a thief and a liar.

He left quickly. (Long before the cops showed up.) In the entirety of the situation, Sam and I were left unhelped. No one came to our aid. No one interjected. No one. Finally, after the fact, I was approached by a bystander. “He definitely took your phone.” Captain obvious stated proudly.

“yeah. I know he did.” I said.

“No, I mean, I saw him.”

“You saw him?”

“Yeah, I saw him take it and put it in his underwear.” (Swell.) I was dumbfounded. Now he says something. NOW! Not worth another confrontation, I simply thanked him and accepted his business card, you know, “in case I needed help with the police…” #bullshit

A few hundred deep breaths and a couple disinfecting wipes later, I was home. My heart rate finally slowed to normal. Peacefully, via text, I recounted my experience to my Dad, my Mom, the boy I was dating, from the safety of my Brooklyn apartment. And while I had rightfully recovered my property, I had unfortunately lost a bit of faith in humanity and all around decency.

----

2.
Lorde Pandora. Background chatter. Glasses clinking. The ambiance on the porch was sun drenched and abuzz with assumed wealth and pretentious energy. The combination of diamond rings, flip flops, and Ed Hardy an odd display of money.

I was sitting outside of the W Hotel in Atlanta, the taste of day old bachelorette party in my mouth. I stuck out like steerage on the first deck – ripped denim and Target tank, eyes half open, heavy with the memory of a dimly lit club and 2am bouts of twerking with a tambourine. (seriously.) …it was not a good look.

I was waiting for my Dad to come pick me up and whisk me away to baby snuggling and family time. Ready to recharge and slide back into my place as the younger sister, the daughter, the bit of odd-ball at the dinner table.

After a day with my people, my body recalibrated to the cadence of GA life. Where the soft lilt of words seeps into the energy and makes days slower. There was time to breathe. And the air there is different. It’s greener and fresher and fuller.

I had quality “Fun Aunt Sarah” time with baby dance duets and slobber soaked kisses from the Nug. And I laughed with my people over food and wine until my stomach ached. And while there’s a lot going on with my family at the moment, I was grateful. Thankful that we not only love each other, but also quite basically, like each other.

----

3.
The discord of life in a town of millions sometimes drowns out my voice. The tempo of my thoughts fight to match the buzz of the city. The motley crowd of people usually giving me life and energy turn to annoyances. I trust no one. I turn inward.

I needed to step outside, see the city from afar and remind myself of the bigger picture. It had been quite some time, because shitty weather has been lingering- the irritating guy at the party that can’t end a conversation. I couldn’t stand it anymore. So last week, the air still a bit chilly with spring dangling over the town, an imminent gift, I went down by the water to my spot.

For the first time this season, I sat with my city. I had my first of many quiet mornings alone with my town that tries my patience, but has also come to teach me patience.

There are things about this place that I can only appreciate once I see it from the outside. Like a watch - a tangled mess of metal and gears. No one part making any sense without the others. But stand back and see that all those hard angles fit neatly into one another, and somehow make the jagged puzzle of a skyline filled with people that keep the machine ticking in some kind of offbeat rhythm.

---

So, that’s the thing of it. My creative mind has been frozen. Locked in and petrified, overrun by a volcanic output of "shoulds" and "musts". One morning recently, I had a terrifying thought - what if inspiration and creativity are finite resources? A well that can dry up, tapped out like Brooklyn Lager at a hipster barbeque…


Found a new swing set on a quest to
 let my mind wander...
Sometimes, I tread in a sea of “what," and lose the spark of the “why.” Forgetting that it’s best to look at tasks not as chores, but as conduits. Shoulds and musts are useless unless they are stacking upon each other to build something higher. And "work" has its own malleable definition. The work is sometimes the act of cultivating creativity. Inspiration takes work. It’s not to be found sitting at a table, cooked and ready for feast. It has to be hunted. Bare hand wrangled and coerced into submission. And it’s found in all sorts of ecosystems – books and movies and art and conversation. In life.

So while I’m trying to free myself of “shoulds,” I guess there’s one more “should” that I “should” keep… I should stop being so hard on myself. Love the necessary hard work, the ebb and flow of creativity and motivation. After all, I can’t expect to be anything more than human or I’m bound for the utmost of inevitable disappointments.

The fact is, sometimes I’m unfinished. Untucked and disheveled. Sloppy. Scribbles on notepads. Remnants of inspiration. My colors and corners bleeding outward, the brush too saturated. And like this town, I need to take a step back and allow the parts to become whole - big picture style. Allow those strokes to work in tandem and create something discernable. A vignette. A portrait of a person whose edges are blurred and whose lines aren’t always so clear.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Eff Word.

It came on quick, (appropriately) as if on cue - I started to cry a bit. My back pressed against the cold brick wall of a building on West 27th street. It was weird. I had just been to an audition that went extremely well. My monologue was great - connected and honest, the feedback was amazing. I should have been in a great mood after how things went in the room. But for some reason, I was overcome with emotion that I couldn’t really explain.

So, here’s the thing - I’ve been putting off writing this. I’ve been writing on short stories and poetry and films and even started a play… but I’ve put off this post like I put off dealing with my 1099s.

Recently, I’ve been feeling things that no Actor, or probably any artist-type, likes to admit. We go to great lengths to convince ourselves and others that this particular feeling isn’t in our vocabulary. But, it inadvertently rears its ugly head when we get asked things like, “How’s the acting thing going?” (ps Ugh. Never ask that question unless you want the person you're asking to immediately think you're terrible). In response, I hear actors all the time get that deep, guttural voice and start grasping for words to make it sound like they have so much going on. Like they’re just too busy for words with Pilot Season, and agent meetings, and commercial callbacks... And it’s sad. Like watching a puppy try and get out of a pool.

This feeling is frustration. We’ve all been there. And while getting my nutrition certification and starting my business is an accomplishment that does quell some of my anxiety about my life as a whole, the truth is that in regards to my Acting career, I’m feeling mega frustrated. And, yes, it is something that is hard to admit.

It’s a very conscious decision to try not to lump my work with my self-worth. Not put value on myself and my abilities based on the amount of work I get as an Actor. But, the truth is, I like movement. Preferably forward movement. And more than anything I hate feeling stuck and out of control of my progress. It’s like when I was 10 and my Brother would hold me down and tickle me to the point of pants-wetting. …okay, well, not exactly like that, but you get my point - I feel claustrophobic and debilitated.

It took me a long time to even call myself an Actor. I was acting long before I ever endowed myself with the title (same as writer, for that matter). But once I did, and even more so with each passing day, dammit, I am an Actor. And, not only that, it turns out I’m a pretty good one. I go from audition to audition, pouring myself onto the floor and turning myself inside out for strangers, as we all do. And I say this without ego or pride - it is very rare that I get negative feedback. I usually get lauded with “wow”s and “great monologue”s (and there was that one time a casting director said, “She’s so good, I’d watch her take a shit on the floor." True story). Once booked on a job, I dedicate myself to a good performance and to a professional and fun working experience. In fact, the vast majority of people I work with, I end up working with more than once.

So when I left that audition and hit the open air, life felt a lot like a broken record. I did well. I heard great feedback. And… Annnnd… now what? I follow up. I send my updated info. …blah blah blah. And I’m still here. Wings clipped. Held down on the carpet of my childhood living room trying not to pee myself.

Y’all. I’m tired. I’m tired of waiting on others. I’m tired of convincing and fighting and schmoozing. I’m sick of feeling stuck. Treadmill on perpetual incline.

I go on auditions and get asked to do silly things like, let out a “cute fart” in an elevator (also a true story), or hide under my desk like I’m uncomfortable because of a “feminine situation”… and I’m at a point where I want more. I want real, challenging parts. And it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, red faced and veins popping, “I’m a fucking good Actor!”

…But it’s the age old question - If an actress screams in the forest…

Now, please don’t mistake my frustration for ingratitude. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities that do come at me. But I am frustrated. And I’m writing this and confessing this because I know I’m not alone. I recognize it in the relief when people hashtag #blessed on Facebook. I hear it in the defeated voices that answer questions like, “when can I see you on the big screen?” I see it in the people pacing in the audition waiting room, obsessively smoothing the part of their hair. And I listen to it from my friends when we have candid conversations over tea about our life choices.

We deal with so much outside pressure and eventually, no matter how self assured you are, it can get to you. I frequently get asked when I’m going to be famous or be in something big. And, It’s a little infuriating. Like when people look at newly famous actors and say things like, “She came out of nowhere.” I want to laugh and say that, actually, she probably waited on your table at a restaurant on the Lower East Side, or bartended nights and weekends without ever taking a break so that she could pursue her passion. She didn’t come out of nowhere, she came out of years of effort and dedication and hope.

I’m so tired. It’s a little scary to me. I mean, I wouldn’t change my decision to be an Actor for anything. I love being part of a creative, passionate, supportive group that are so inspiring and dedicated. And I love acting so much that it physically hurts sometimes. When I’m not working I get aches and my insides itch. But I’m also just exhausted. I’m tired of changing in Starbucks bathrooms that smell like hamsters and crack cocaine. And I'm tired of saying yes to everything (even when the answer is no), and being excited like a kid on Christmas about dog food or feminine products.

For God’s sake, I just want to do good work. And I made the decision a long time ago not to sell out to this industry, sleep around to get what I want, schmooze, and gun finger, and get all LA-name-dropping-annoying. …So, here I am. Feeling stuck and out of control of my own future.

So, I figure, I could give in to the frustration - try and forget the itch, and dull the aches. But, giving up has never really been my M.O.

Instead, I get pissed. (and not like the little-girl-me on the carpet). I get effing ticked. And then, like a true Actor, I use it.

So, I have to figure some shit out. Shift my focus and energy onto things that I can control. And of course I’ll stay in the mix a bit, But I refuse to rely on others realizing what I already know: that I am capable of some really awesome work.

But it seems, story of my life, I just have to quit crying and make that work myself. And maybe 5 people will see it, but somehow, that has to be okay with me. Because I’m starting to feel that at the soul of all of this frustration, is the fact that the conventional version of acting success just may not be my cup of tea.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cardio: My Apathy

Pink. Shit. Everywhere.

I hate Valentine’s Day. And, no, it’s not because I’m single. I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. While I’ve always been a passionate person, I’ve certainly never been a sappy one. In my younger days, it was a holiday where I realized that the boy I was dating didn’t know me at all. I remember going to Ninja themed restaurants, receiving Adam Sandler DVD’s, Sci-Fi books, and GMO corn syrup solids. It always sort of served as a reminder that my relationship wasn’t quite working.

BUT, all that said, that does not mean that I can’t have a heart on Valentine’s Day. After all, there are worse things to celebrate than Love.

And with the city’s landscape changing from speckled green and holly to a wash of pepto pink and hearts, it’s hard to escape the topic Hallmark so effectively shoves down our throats. And recently, having been challenged by someone with a fresh look on the dating scene, the idea of relationships has been on the forefront of my mind.

On a date, I was asked if I miss being in a relationship. It sort of stopped me dead in my tracks because the answer surprised even me.

 …the answer was yes. I do.

 And, now, this is a bold statement not just because it’s coming from commitment-phobe-me, but because as a single girl, you put those words out into the universe and it translates them into something entirely different. The mass market thesaurus spits out words like desperate and needy. And I can say, with certainty, that those words don’t apply.

But the honest truth is that I do miss being part of a team. Trusting, and maybe even more so, being trusted. However, not in a way that I’m willing to join any old backyard pickup league and settle for a pinch hitter.

People often feel the need to assure me that, “You’ll find someone,” or encourage with, “Don’t give up,” or state dumbfounded when I say I’m single, “But, why? You’re so pretty.” (?!?) Somehow everyone has decided that my life is lacking because I’m still cooking for one. But I think that’s just the opposite. I needed to commit to myself, make sure that I’m whole before I make any sort of commitment to someone else.

So I built a life that fuels me, with accomplishments I’m proud of. In the past 3.5 years, I’ve realized that no one else can make me happy. And they shouldn’t have to. Completing someone else is a big freakin’ job. And I don’t expect anyone to be able to fill my heart, or be my other half, or belong to me, or be the light of my life… or whatever other bullshit people are writing on Valentine’s cards these days.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a best friend, a relationship based on insane trust, a mutual respect for opinions and passions, compromise and communication, an immense openness. I do, in fact, want to create and share something awesome. And not in the unrealistic, fairytale way. But in the make-a-commitment, work-on-things way.

But this inward work had some ramifications. It seems in all my dedication to building my own life, I also may have succeeded in building up some fairly serious walls. A surrounding moat complete with sassy little, skeptical guards only really letting people get to arm’s length.

My initial instinct when faced with someone that makes me feel feelings is to fall. Fast. And hard. And I’ve done it more than once. I’ve quickly handed over my heart trusting that it will be held delicately with two hands. And the few times I have in recent past, effortlessly he’s let it slip between his fingers with an oops and a smile.

And more than I’d like to admit, it’s affected my approach. Without realizing it, I’ve actively tried to slow down my feelings. Rationalize and ruminate. Listen to my head, when my chest wants to beat and my brain resists rational thought and I talk with my hands and feel heat in my face. I learned to measure these responses and turn feelings into pragmatism.

And I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be unafraid of consequence. I used to say, “as long as I’m honest, I don’t care what happens” throwing myself into the world trusting that it was way smarter than I’ll ever be. Aware that hurt could come, but wanting all of it for the experience that it brings. Remembering that no matter what, feelings are fleeting and healing is inevitable.

After years of dating - truth shrouded in odd texts and games - I lost my selflessness in a cityscape of preservation. My love for feeling, layered under thoughts of being “smart.” I’m not sure when it happened, but it did. I told my Mom my issue, rationalizing this and overthinking that, and feeling out of sorts because it’s not the reaction that comes naturally. “Sarah,” she said to me, “stop it. That’s not who you are.”

For as open and honest as I try to be, I needed someone to hold up a mirror and show me that I’ve let my heart become a little cold. I’ve gotten pretty cynical about relationships. Dating extensively will do that to you. Trusting is hard, and my eyes are narrowed. When I see a couple fighting on the street I think, “Nope! I don’t want that!” But I completely forget that beyond the tears and raised voices is something worth fighting for.

I needed a fresh outlook that shocked my Valentine’s averse heart out of cardiac arrest. So I’m going to try to at least remain open to possibility. Just open my fists and shut my mouth. As complicated and simple as that is. Stop being so cautious and protective because of what I’ve had, instead of hopeful for what I could have.

I should trust that I’ve done the inward work and I’ll make room in my full life when the time is right. I’ve had plenty of men question if I’m able to do that because I wasn’t willing to do it for them, but I think if presented with the right opportunity, I’m not opposed to trying. And that is a nice realization to make.

So, I leave you with this: it’s Valentine’s Day. Which we all know isn’t complete without quoting an insightful cab driver and a dead poet, so…

My cab driver, Mustafa, had this bit of advice after a life assessing cab ride from Williamsburg to Park Slope, “Sarah, you’re smart. But be careful. Don’t be too smart.” A sweet man. We hugged it out on the corner before he flicked on his light and drove off into the bowels of Brooklyn.

And Rilke said this,

“A good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it…robs one party or both parties of their fullest...development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole, and before an immense sky.”

How nice to see someone and be seen as whole before an immense sky.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow White the Red Nosed Sarah. (...Or, whatever. I blame the cold medicine.)

I stood in the middle of the street. The only things audible: Some children laughing in the distance, and my own breath echoing in my ears like an astronaut in space. I existed in the wintery scene, a lone pioneer. With everything covered in white, modern distinctions and rough edges are less discernable. Present melds into the past and I tend to feel some odd connection with the NY of old - the city we see in pictures and textbooks. And I feel, in the snow, more than any other time really, like a part of this town’s history.
 
A dynamic sense of peace takes over the streets used to hurried movement and stark contrasts. There’s a new kind of magic in this town when it snows. When white silence lulls the city to sleep, the world seems not so harsh. Like it will cradle you if you fall.
And with some pretty heavy things going down in my family’s world, a bit of softness, even in the form of precipitation, was appreciated. With all of my grandparents on an unfortunate decline at the same time, it’s a lot to handle. I hate that I’m not much help from so far away. And while there’s a lot of stress in GA, there’s a lot going down here in BK that I have to be happy about, which creates an interesting tug. But for lack of a better saying, it is what it is.

God must have felt my guilt, because amid all the things going right in BK, I was struck with an unfortunate case of the plague. Of course I was! After a full year of health, my immune system looked like it was kicking ass and taking names. White blood cells prepped and ready for a winter of Braveheart warfare… But, no. I fell to the invaders from the Army of Yuck. And right during the same week I was opening a show, shooting a commercial gig, and having final meetings with some prospective TWP clients.
I HATE being sick. I don't take it well. No energy, no work, no gym... no bueno. Upon realization of my body’s defeat, I quickly went into health freak overdrive. Zinc, and elderberry, and apple cider vinegar, and manuka honey, and olive leaf, and turmeric, and ginger… I'm a walking experiment on the toxicity levels of holistic cold remedies. (BTW, if I do end up croaking, I want it noted that it was in the name of Holistic Medicine.)
So anyhow, how’s about some deets…

Shared Intimacy: Underground. With actor Biniam Tekola
After swearing off theater until TWP is moving along, I was met with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Over coffee, a producer that received my name from a reputable writer I’ve worked with in the past, presented me with an idea for a play unlike any I had heard before: A conversation. On a NY Subway (literally). Overheard by whomever. For an invited audience of few. The idea is that, in New York, moments that should be private are often had in public. The city bringing a sense of anonymity, and in turn, intimate conversations become public domain.
To add to the circus, the thing is written by 3 different writers in the matter of a week. Then we rehearse it for a week. Then DO IT ON THE SUBWAY. …When I said “crazy show,” clearly, I meant it. So everything is variable. The audience, the train schedule, the bystanders… EV-ERY-THING. It’s an amazing exercise in focus and trust and serious anxiety management.
For example: Show number 7. Mid scene. The train rolled to a stop. …and didn’t move. It stayed there. For 15 minutes!!… We sat there in silence. Awkward. My next lines were, “Come on. Move it.” …but we, quite simply, had nowhere to go! So we sat there. Very quietly. The scene suspended in anticipation and adrenalin soaked energy. I can now tell you, 15 minutes with an audiences eyes on you feels like an eternity. AN ETERNITY. I forced my body into a state of calm so that I gave away nothing. No tense shoulders, no darting eyes, no telltale sign that Sarah (the actor) was slightly freaking out at the silence that went from momentary to monumental. Impatience wasn’t hard to convey. …FINALLY the train creaked and began in the direction of safety. “Come on. Move it.” I said as I awkwardly kicked the foot of my scene partner to continue with the feeling left over from eons of silence as spectacle. We stood up and walked to the double doors, the audience falling in behind us. A collective sigh of relief as we spilled onto the platform at some random station in Brooklyn we had never been to before to continue the show on a street we’ve never seen before… Oy. So. Many. Variables.


With Actor Audrey Kovar

We just finished our insane run, and I have to say that I’m incredibly grateful for the experience. There’s really nothing like being that close to an audience. It’s connection that’s on a whole new level. And to be so on our toes and flexible, allowing each unplanned moment to change and dictate what comes next so fluidly - Really, I’m lucky this one came at me. And with such awesome people, too.

Chef Maria. Buon Appetito, Y'all! ;)
I also just shot a commercial gig for an Italian food brand. I was Chef Maria. Preparing plates of pasta with precision and prowess. …not to mention, trying not to eff up the Italian language too terribly. “Catanisella Lunga Pasta Number 28 with Putanesca Sauce” became the bane of my fake Italian existence. They kept switching the order of the words around - "is it 'Catanisella Lunga Pasta Number 28,' or lets try 'Catanisella Lunga Number 28 Pasta.' Wait how about 'Number 28 Catanisella Lunga Pasta...'" After a few bloopers and slips of English curse words, I pulled it together quickly and nailed the takes. And soon, Housewives across America will be cooking gluten centric grub along with me.
 

Nug's first Christmas! (wrapping paper was just as exciting as toys)
It’s been a while since my last post, and Christmas came and went, and the New Year is here! As you know, I’m big on setting intentions for my coming 365 days (make plans, not resolutions). My mantra, “Brave in 2013” did very well by me, and I look forward to continuing that badassery into the new year.  I was asked a million times why I didn’t skydive, or do some other life risking stupidity. But brave for me was writing, and dating, and vacationing, and running, and business starting... Putting myself out into the world in ways I haven’t before. And while I still struggle sometimes with a certain vulnerability in my personal life, I think that I’ve been pretty damn brave. Lack of skydiving and all.
This year I’d like to be more aware and present. Just have and enjoy the moments. Fully. And, as far as hard goals go (it’s scary to write these out, btw. Nothing like a having a blog for accountability), I have plans to produce the short film I wrote, finish writing a book I started, run a half marathon, get employees across NYC healthy, and make TWP a viable source of income.
…So, yeah. It should be a good year.

In the near future, however, I’ll be pounding vitamins like frat boys do shitty beer on game day in hopes that my illness is kicked for good. Because, as you can see, I got some shit to do. :) And I’ll be watching snow fall outside my Brooklyn window, cup of Echinacea tea in hand, thinking about and reveling in the solitude of the quiet snow. And I'll try to appreciate these white washed, nature imposed breaks from the world.
Happy New Year, y’all.


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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finding Peace This Season.


Every time I have a hard time formulating a post, I realize it all harkens back to my lack of honesty. To myself and to you. It’s hard to remain transparent on the interwebs. And I talk about it a lot, but as I’m constantly putting myself out there in my regular life, on here sometimes I get a bit self-conscious. So here it is. My return to brutal honesty and sickening transparency. Nothing like ending the year with a little self-exposure. …the legal kind.
Truth be told, I’ve been overwhelmed as all hell recently. It’s a common misconception that I constantly skip around town with a smile (though, slightly sassy disposition) and a fervent zest for all things organic. Real talk: Yes, occasionally I too, want nothing more than a plate of gooey chocolate and fried things. And I, too, must occasionally fight against the urge to cut a bitch. Recently …let’s just thank goodness chocolate onion rings aren’t a common menu platter and I don’t keep straight razors lying around.

My lack of rainbows and sunshine all came to a head a couple weeks ago after I was cornered by a close talker with the social skills of a feral cat. Locked in by two walls with flecks of spit from his quickly moving mouth flying in my face. We were chatting about my career path. He was curt. Accusatory. “So, you couldn’t make it as an Actress, that’s why you went into nutrition.” He kept saying it. Over and over. Just changing the order of the words.

I heartily resisted the urge to feel defeated. My eyes narrowed. Daggers. “Sooo, I’m going to take a stab in the dim light, here, Bob. Tact isn’t your forte?

Afternoon hustle. Boots on the ground.
In attempt to get TWP out on the town, it was my third business meetup in a week. Spliced into the usual madness of my motley life, I was in a constant state of go, attempting to stay charming as I was face to face with person after person after person. The conversation with Close Talker was the straw that beat the shit out of the camel. I couldn’t. I was done.

“Ok...Looks like I’m done.” I said with a smile. I gathered my things, slung my tote bag over my shoulder with firm bitchiness. “Have a good one.” I managed as I headed for the door. Too many people have been forcing their opinions on me. From boys demanding that I just don’t know what’s good for me, to near strangers telling me “what I should do” with my business (that they know nothing about), to finally the Close Talker, I couldn’t handle anymore outside commentary. The noise was maddening.

Two trains later, I trudged up the stairs of the Bedford station in Brooklyn. Upon exiting the tunnel, my phone dinged multiple times with the sound of incoming text messages. Brring! Brring! Brring! My knees buckled. Without looking I pressed the power button on instinct, and plopped down on the stoop of a conveniently located apartment building. My hands gripped the cold cement stair. I focused on the hard chill that worked its way through my jeans. Breathed to get all of my body’s mechanisms measured.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a proper anxiety attack. A common occurrence in my youth, I’ve learned techniques to find my Zen and keep a pretty steady state of calm. But that day on the cold stoop of a random building, I was as close as I’ve been in a long time to numb extremities and severe hyperventilation.

TWP is out in the world and people are interacting with us. We get emails on the daily about new opportunities and clients and buzz. It’s truly amazing. Honestly, every now and again, Rachel and I get overwhelmed with the awesome possibilities of what started out as an idea over coffee on a busy, Brooklyn street.



Coffee Shop Office.
I’m insanely proud of what Rachel and I are creating and accomplishing, and I am having a blast. But, as much as I hate to admit it, the Close Talker got me thinking. Recently, people constantly ask me what takes up most of my time, and I don’t even know how to respond. On any given day I go from audition, to meetings with Pilates instructors and health coaches and business mentors, to meetups, to talkbacks. There’s no single focus. Recently, it’s true (if I’m going to be honest with myself) I haven’t been as dedicated to Acting as I used to be. I mean, for obvious reasons, but still. I know I haven’t abandoned it, but on some level, what if that terrible guy was right? Am I letting go of my dream by shifting focus? Have I failed?

I know many people that hold on so tightly to the idea of being an artist that blinders shield them from seeing that in the grand scheme, their life simply isn’t working. I’d like to think that I’m setting myself up for success (even in my acting career) by hopefully finding stability elsewhere. I got to the point with Acting where I’m sick of waiting. No matter how good I am or how hard I try, it just may not happen. I hate that my success hinges on the fact that someone else gives me a chance.

As Actors, we’re constantly told to “never give up,” and to “keep going,” which I agree with, to a certain extent. But, for goodness sakes, I gotta make a life that works. Even if it means adjusting what’s been my identity for as long as I can remember. So, after some thought, no it’s not failure. It’s smart.

But I do strive for balance, and I’m having a hard time finding the perfect combo of my creative life and my professional life. While TWP certainly does take creativity, I can’t help but feel the burning need in my chest to create in the Actory sense. To slip into a role and connect with other actors and an audience. It starts as an itch and grows to a burning sensation akin to a condition worthy of an antibiotic.

So, I keep turning all my pokers in the fire. Because without them, the fire just dies. And that is the worst feeling in the world. I’ve done a few acting gigs, and go on auditions here and there (a few pretty awesome ones coming in the near future). And, I write - sent my short film to some people and am working on a few other projects.

All the while, winter has officially blown in to town. Fingers are stiff from the cold and the smell of hot dogs and chestnuts seems to cut through the air. The train is, once again packed with oversized coats and the sound of boots on the pavement has taken over the city’s soundtrack.


My favorite word is cozy. I’ve started bundling up with scarves and hats - a walking swaddle. Warm drinks are my lifeline. It’s right about now, in the bud of the season, with the first taste of bitter cold that the pang of claustrophobia from a NY winter makes its way into my bones. Time to cuddle up and wait out the storm.






Thanksgiving came and went. I had a great time with my silly family. I ate way too much, laughed a ton, and had mini dance parties with a semi-sick and fussy Nug.
 
 
 

Life is going by in a hurried Holiday frenzy. The season shortened with a late Thanksgiving. My earbuds pump constant Christmas music and I walk about warmed by the season. I’m going home this weekend and can’t wait to party plan with my Mom, wander the Costco with my Dad, and snuggle the shit out of the Nugget. His first Christmas. So exciting.

Until then, I’ll be the go-to date for my manfriends’ holiday parties and I’ll run from business thing to acting thing trying to stay warm. So if you need me, I’ll be in sparkles somewhere, sipping wine or bundled like a refugee tucked away on a crowded train going over sides for an audition, or giving a tour trying to make money to buy Christmas gifts, or sitting Indian style on a bench in a cold café researching web designers (ps if ya know one, I know a start-up that’s in the market) or writing about my nutzo life. Sometimes all in one day. And I’ll be pouring over my creative outlets, trying to scratch the inevitable itch. Accepting that I can be both a business badass and an artistic actress. And I’ll be resisting the Close Talker’s boring square box, and creating a life that’s some odd shape all my own.
Happy, Healthy Holiday Season, my friends. I wish you all good things.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

This Getting Old is New


Hey Everybody!

Quit pooping on my 30 year old parade.

I’ve been saying I’m “almost 30” for the past few months and people keep responding to my age with apologies and sympathetic, furrowed brows. “Oh! I’m so sorry.” “Oh, no. You’ll be okay.” And my personal favorite, “Oh, I’m not worried about you…”

???

Everybody seems to want me to freak out about this particular milestone. But, Everybody, respectfully and I mean this in the nicest way possible… I must tell you to shut it. :)

 
I just might love 30. This age suits me, I think. Lord knows I don’t want to relive my 20’s. A time spent in a constant state of Middle Ground. My footing always uneven. Feeling like I was constantly waiting for my life to start. And I’m not saying I have it all figured out now (that’s for damn sure), but I am much more aware of the power that I possess. And maybe, more than anything, I’ve accepted this whole life-situation as a moving, changing entity. One without right or wrong. Time, a flow that brings you to the next step. Never able to get there without being here.

Sure, when I was young I thought that by 30 I would have an Oscar and a husband (oy). A house. High thread count sheets. My closet wouldn’t be full of polyester blends, and I would be the most conventionally successful person the world has ever seen! …Reality is, I live in a “charming” prewar apartment, I’m more singular than I’ve ever been, and not only is the majority of my wardrobe from the Super Target, my sheets are from aisle 5. Clearly, Nostradamus was a bit better at the whole “predicting with accuracy” thing.

BUT, In the grand scheme of my younger days, I also had aspirations to be happy and to fill my life with things that I love. And I can tell you, unequivocally, I can check those two doozies off of my list.

Getting older is amazing …and incredibly weird. My body is a mystery sometimes, sleep is a hard and fast necessity. My friends are pairing off, moving to (ugh) Jersey. And my brother has spawned another human….I mean, shit is weird! But 30 years of collecting knowledge is pretty cool, too. Tucking lessons away like lint collected in a back pocket. Saved tid-bits from parents, friends, and strangers. Things I’ve learned from wild successes and blunt failures. From building relationships and watching some crumble to jagged pieces on the floor of a midtown living room. From sharing quiet, dark parts of myself with people I’ve trusted (and some that I didn’t).

After 30 years maneuvering through the world, I now know that attitude is everything. Connection is critical and words are powerful (Though, so are glances. Ask anyone that’s been on a crowded train). I know never to underestimate the value of a good, solid nervous breakdown. That outfits should go, not match. That the thread between people is thin, and a smile at a stranger can change the course of the world, especially if it’s before 8am.

I know that the days you really don’t feel like it are probably the days you need it most. That many people value money over basic human interests- and that many people have fucked up priorities. I know that falling in love is insanely fun. It’s also insanely annoying. Nothing can interrupt your day quite like a barrage of hormones. I know that almond butter may have more nutrients, but peanut butter absolutely annihilates in a side by side taste comparison.

I’ve come to realize that no matter how hard you try, you can’t make people do things. Or feel things. The same is true in the opposite direction, no matter how much you wish it weren’t so. I know the universe talks. Listen. That people can surprise you. But you shouldn’t count on it. I see that loyalty is an incredible trait. But sometimes nothing will do like a firm, incontrovertible goodbye. I’ve confirmed PMS is real. And that baggage is inevitable. But that you should be wary of people that keep having to buy new suitcases. And I’ve found that honesty and authenticity are drama's worst nightmares.

As it turns out some of the age-old (pun intended) stereotypical things are true, too. I’ve grown to appreciate quiet Friday nights in. Flats. Black coffee. Productive days. I’m most confident in yoga pants on a lazy Sunday morning. And I'm aware that nothing good happens after 2am. I love a good Farmer’s Market. …Hell, I love a bad Farmer’s market. A gross bar bathroom is enough to make me call it a night. And if you see me doing shots of anything other than wheatgrass, aliens have taken over my body. I love conversation as opposed to chit chat. And over the years, my parents have become close friends.

I still struggle sometimes with the passing of time, with everyone around me getting older. And, to a certain extent, with the idea that success doesn’t look quite like what I thought it would. But it looks like time is pretty damn inevitable. And all the things that I’ve done and all the people I’ve known have brought me here. Fingers typing this 30 year old story to you.



Recent commercial shoot. The Hubby buys me a car.
And, I mean, I’ve got a lot to show for these 30 years. I’ve been through a lot and remained (relatively) sane. I’m pursuing things I’m passionate about, and putting (sometimes hurling) myself out into the world. And I’m capable. I can move through this life with dexterity. (Some days are more graceful than others, but still.) I have to remember that changing course is not defeat. And (while I know that I’d blow Anne Hathaway’s every performance out of the water :) ) I’ve accepted that someone else’s accomplishments don’t mean my failure.

Between getting my own Start-up off the ground, auditioning and working as an Actor, being Fun Aunt to a super cute nugget, and writing (including attempting to write a screenplay- a creative project I’m finally okay sharing with the world) I have so much going on that I’m excited about! Every day is a new adventure.

And I get excited thinking about the next 30 years. About how much I can get done. I mean in the past 30 I had to learn to walk, and talk, and make it through high school without getting arrested or pregnant. I don’t have to do any of that! So much opportunity…

So, Everyone, yes, I will be okay. And, no, don’t “worry about me.” Because I am doing fine. I just try to keep widening my eyes. Keep seeing 30 year old things as if they’re new. And I try to meet each day as if life is saying, “Oh hey, You. You’re right on time.”