Are You Working It?

Several years ago I knew a girl who used to say, “You better work” all the time. We decided to be roommates in Manhattan after we finished school in Dallas. I barely knew her, but she seemed very demure and let’s face it, not too many people are willing to move to the big city from Texas.

Shortly after I had sold everything I owned and moved in with her, I became privy to her lifestyle. She met trainers constantly, was always flying somewhere or going out until all hours of the morning at private clubs or parties and shopped on Madison Avenue constantly. I didn’t understand how she could afford to do all that, since I never saw her go to work.

Hanging out with her was rare, due to my schedule at work and her lack of one. Also the financial difference was a problem. I made assistants pay and she seemed to have an endless supply. She wasn’t one to offer to pay or help you out, as money was something she coveted as much as I did her shoes, but every now and then she would be generous and offer.

This would entail a night out. She always invited me because she said I had good sense and would tell her when it was time to leave. It was seldom that I went, but when I did, the evening would always be something out of a movie.

Velvet hot pants and Karl Lagerfeld pumps were the name of the game, so while she helped herself to my clothes, I helped myself to hers. You thought the hot pants were hers? The pumps were, but those hot pants were mine and she loved to wear them. And the men loved to see her in them! Oh my God! They would get neck lash from staring at her.

There was no place that she didn’t feel at home at. She would direct the cabbie to a hot spot with a line going around a building and proceed to walk to the front, flash a coquettish smile to the bouncer and we were in. I would say, “there’a line of people, we can’t just cut.”

Lines were for losers (her words not mine), only an idiot would pay for their own drink (also her words) and if some poor unsuspecting guy happened upon her who wasn’t wearing what she deemed suitable attire, she simply looked at him and said, “I’m so not impressed” and he would walk away shamed probably never approaching a woman again.

She had an energy about her that was off the charts confident and equally chaotic. If there was drama going on, she was the director. One night she called me from an after hours place and asked me to come and get her; that meant take a cab and escort her home. I obliged. I knew she had no one else to count on, despite the fact that she had many acquaintances, many admirers, many hanger-on-ers.

When I got there she had a broken nose. The people in the place wanted to go home but she was frenetic as one could only imagine, and was in shock. They only wanted to be rid of her. I calmed her down and wiped her face of the blood. She was distraught and scared to death of what the break might do to her looks. She told me that she had called some guy a loser who had been sitting with her and some girl because he expected them to pay for his drinks.

I once questioned her safety with the choices she made, especially the mouthing off to men, to which she replied, “I pity the f-er who ever crosses me!” I admired this about her. She called it knowing her worth. She said I didn’t know mine. That I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted or required. I didn’t agree at the time and was upset about it. She didn’t care. Her words were her currency and she had a lot of them, and it, because she never stopped speaking her truth.

I stayed for almost a year being an apprentice at a bougie salon to a complete prima donna and decided to return to Dallas with the knowledge I had gained. I worked there for many years and we lost touch. It wasn’t until I was returning to Manhattan to open a new salon that we reconnected for a brief moment.

She told me that she was returning to Arizona where she was originally from. She said she was going to become a teacher. I wondered how a person who worked it could ever possibly work, but as she sat there packing her bags and talking about how tired she had become of working it with people who didn’t know their worth, I could see that she was ready to go to work and wished her well.

My old friend may have known how to work it, but in the moments where we were together in our one room at the women’s home, she showed me a vulnerable side to her that no one else ever saw. She treated waiters with kindness and cabbies too and had a keen sense of when others did not. She watched people; observed them like they were some species under a microscope. More importantly, she knew who valued themselves and who did not.

She was right about me. Back then I didn’t know my worth. I settled over and over again for less than what I was worth. I accepted crumbs, disrespect and disregard time and time again. She knew her worth so well, that men who didn’t know theirs, would be willing to do just about anything for a moment with her. It’s how she was able to see this flaw in me; the one who would accept the unacceptable in hopes that it would lead to more.

We’ve all seen people who accept the unacceptable. I saw this recently when I was in Florida. There was a young woman, probably 24, sitting with an older gentleman, probably 50 by the pool. She kept taking selfies and ordering things from the waiter, and entertaining herself as though he was’t even there. She would hand him her drink as she snapped away and then swam to the other side of the pool and threw him a bone, as she spread her legs poolside, taking more photos. She wanted people to notice her and I gather he did too. The pool was quiet and elegant and she had no respect for anyone around her, not even the families with children. It was such a spectacle! I felt sorry for him.

At some point you gotta ask yourself: Is this enough for me? Am I willing to keep making choices that cost me my self esteem? Am I willing to keep spending time with people who only measure my worth by what I am doing for them or what I am giving them? Or do I love myself enough to want more? Do I love myself enough to know I deserve more? That maybe, just maybe, there is somebody out there that will tick all the boxes for me, but maybe in order to have that, I need to tick them myself.

If we are working it; meaning putting on a mask, pretending to be all that, bringing a player vibe, then we will get exactly what we are being; transactional. But if you are working on it; meaning yourself with all your issues, then you won’t require anything from anyone because you can give it all to yourself.

Waiting for someone to save you, to see your worth, validate you, make you feel special, or to fill a void, are sure signs that you’re working it. Because when you’re working on it, you don’t have to pretend anymore. You just get to be you.

So, are you working it or working on it? Because one is a whole lot more empowering than the other.

What’s Cookin?

I’m obviously a fan of cooking! My company is called Eighty Sixed It; a common kitchen term used by chefs, and I created 4 decks based around food and people who deal with it.

It occurred to me that one of the reasons I am so drawn to this genre is that it is so incredibly relatable when it comes to life.

When you make a cake you need certain ingredients. If you make a cake without sugar, well, your cake is not going to taste very sweet. If you don’t cook it fully, then you’re cake is half-baked as they say.

Would you eat pasta right out of the box? I guess you could, but it wouldn’t taste so good. You need to follow the instructions on the package, like add a dash of salt to the water and make sure it is boiling.

If you are going all out and making something that takes an extreme amount of effort (like the chinese dumplings my son and I made), you gotta plan what you need ahead of time, because most likely you don’t have rice vinegar and all all of the rolling pins it requires to make the dumplings flat enough, and of course splits of prosecco to keep the chef happy (him not me).

When you think about relationships or work, it’s fascinating how similar creating a recipe and the other things that matter in life require the same ingredients in order for it to be digestible. Every chef must contribute their specialty in order for the meal to come together. If one chef is slacking, the meal will die on the pass (go to shit).

In cooking if we put too much salt in, the meal will taste horrible. Not enough and our meal is tasteless. The same can be said about butter. Is there ever too much butter? The answer is no.

So if we think about life in accordance with recipes, we would ask the following. Are you giving too much to something? Putting in all of the effort, adding this, tweaking that and still feeling like you are coming up short? Is what you are giving all of this effort to giving you something in return?

Most of us will probably feel as though we are master chefs, like Gordon Ramsey (without the yelling); giving all of our time and attention to shoemakers (A derogotory term for cooks who burn everything) and that they have shown us that they are incapable of cutting the mustard, let alone adding anything to our recipe.

This was my aha moment over the past week. Thanks to my brother in-law Eric for pointing this out to me when I asked his advice on my acting career. (I recently had the pleasure of slipping away with him and my fabulous sister for a long weekend).

His words: “Stop caring! Care less!”

I translated this to give less. If I see someone or an opportunity meeting me at the same level of the energy which I am giving, then I will give more. But until someone or something is bringing an ingredient to add to my recipe, they get only the recipe and nothing more.

They don’t get the extras! The way I add the little bits of this and that. The way I tweak something to make it more special. And they certainly don’t get my recipe card with all of the special notes, because I like to keep those close.

People are only capable of giving you what they feel worthy of themselves. You will never change anyone. Ever! They aren’t ever going to be able to give you the truffle salt, when all they know is Mortons.

You are the truffle salt! So stop giving to Mortons! There is no need to keep shopping in a deli, when you have elevated yourself vibrationally to a Balduccis.

Let people meet you at your energetic level. Do not keep lowering your vibration and ruining your recipe, by meeting people at theirs. You are perfectly perfect just the way you are, so why ruin what you have worked so hard to create, by sharing it with people who can’t even begin to understand all of the effort you have put in.

Keep cookin! Just don’t share your fabulous meals with people who don’t even understand your ingredients.

Shakin’

I heard this song the other day and it reminded me of a session I had with a prosperity coach named Annita. Just writing that sounds funny, but let me explain.

On any given week I can audition up to three times. Before this disastrous piece of shit known as covid came into our lives, sometimes it was four or five. “Back in the day” I had the opportunity to get up in front of people, now like you, when I want to meet people I am potentially going to work for, I have to sit at my computer.

While most of you probably don’t worry about your background or lighting when taking these meetings, I do. It’s a production! I have a ring light that I cart around the house with me to try and find the best background.

Generally I would use my make-shift studio but my husband’s office is in the basement so I can’t go there. The kitchen is off limits, as is the dining room and living room, because my youngest son is at home now being taught on his computer and he has decided that being near the refrigerator is the best place for him to work.

I get it! He literally eats every two hours! The kids weighs 180 and is rock solid muscle! I like having him home; he’s a real charmer and it beats the three hour commute he takes daily when he is in school where I worry about him non-stop. I don’t know how many times you can tell a kid to make sure they call you when they get on one train to head to another, but this guy has been told at least a thousand and still…no call. The up side to him working in the kitchen, aside from the fridge, is I get to hear when he isn’t paying attention. “Do you have an A in this class?” is all I need to say and he quickly re-engages.

With all that said, I usually go upstairs to take the meetings because my two older boys are off at college and I have my pick of two rooms. They are complete opposites in taste and style, but have an equal amount of brilliance, so it all boils down to where I can’t hear anyone downstairs. My family is loud. I hate loud!

I don’t know about you, but trying to find a room in your house that isn’t like you are in surround sound is becoming a hot commodity. It’s not normal for people to be home together all the time. Men left the cave at some point to go hunt for months at a time! The only hunting going on over right cheer (read here), is me trying to find quiet space!

Sometimes, like last week, I log into the meeting early (I am always early to everything) and just sit there and go over my lines. I’m always prepared but then the committee gets involved and I start to get nervous (the committee of course are the million thoughts in me head that ask why are you doing this, followed by you will never get it!) Sometimes my hands sweat and my mouth gets dry. I start to forget the lines I have so well rehearsed. It’s at this point that I want to cancel the call and say f%^& it! And I have!

Well, I never understood this behavior because I like acting more than anything. Annita, who happens to be a Human Design expert, looked over my body graph chart and started explaining open centers and lines and I was blown away. Apparently I am a Projector (only 20% of the population is). Not only does this type have to wait for the invitation, they can burn out when they go after things they haven’t been invited to. . Me, wait? I’m a go-getter. I don’t wait for anything, which explained why I feel burned out a lot of the time. She also said that due to certain numbers and lines crossing and being unidentified, I will reject things before they have the chance to reject me.

The lingo was quite intense but the message was very clear. Keep doing me but don’t push. Allow for the opportunities to show up instead of trying to make them happen and most importantly, feel the fear and do it anyway, because fear shuts down abundance and fear is nothing more than excitement without breath.

In the 30 minutes I talked to her, I felt as though someone finally got me and on top of that, everything she said made perfect sense. I now go into auditions with that shortness of breath and stop for a moment and realize this is nothing more than excitement because I have an opportunity in front of me.

So, my message is learn to love the shakin’. It means you are excited and that an opportunity for something really awesome is right in front of you. What you do with it is up to you, but I now embrace the nerves because I know on the other side of them is happiness.

And may you find quiet space in your space and covet it. I personally live for Saturday and Sunday when my husband drives my youngest to New Jersey to train with a coach. Ahhhh….I can almost hear the nothingness now.