Tag: About me

Michelle Branch at the El Rey

Michelle Branch at the El Rey

As I’ve mentioned I’m a huge music fan. One of my favorite hobbies is seeing my favorite artists live. I touched upon that in my post, “My thoughts on Manchester”. Music means A LOT to me.

Michelle Branch at the El Rey 7/25/17

Michelle was probably the first artist I was ever completely obsessed with. I know she wasn’t the first singer-songwriter but she was the first one that really caught my attention. I’d never seen a female, my own age, write their own songs, sing and play guitar.

I remember being in high school and wanting to buy a guitar SO BAD after Michelle came on the scene. But I never did, not until over 10 years later. She was also the first artist I ever saw live. I remember I was just in awe of her. I saw her at the House of Blues on Sunset when she was touring for “Hotel Paper”. Everything about that experience was a novelty. “I’m going to HOLLYWOOD to a CLUB to SEE my favorite artist!!! Wow!” This was long before the smart phone, so the memory just lives in my brain.

When I saw her at the EL Rey in Los Angeles she was still super talented, amazing and had me in awe. I was such a different person when I last saw her on so many levels. I couldn’t have even imagined all the twist and turns I’d be in for in life. So the juxtapositon of those two versions of myself (old and current) was really eye opening for me.

In my own musical pursuits I have been trying to get back to the mental space of my youth (i.e. grade school). Before all the major hurts and doubts that gave me my, “art scars”. But the strange thing is that seeing her live REMINDED me why I fell in love with all of it in the first place. WHY I wanted to do it so bad so long ago. The clarity in that got really lost and muddled in adulthood. But seeing her again transported me back to my young 20-something self and it all became a little clearer.

Seeing her took me back into that same place I was at the House of Blues. It was like I remembered the primary reason why I wanted to create. I love how she can express her innermost feelings through song. That’s what I love about music as a whole. But this was the first person I saw, that I really admired, do it live and I think that’s why it was so powerful for me, then and now. As I wrote on Instagram it was a complete, “Simba, remember who you are..” moment. Except the voice was telling me, “Remember….!”

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I’ve never truly pursued music because of fear. My anxieties are endless but my desire to express this part of me is endless as well. My inclination to follow this path doesn’t go away.  It’s been with me as long as I can remember and no matter how much I try to ignore it, it persists. Maybe this reminder will finally help me get my ass in gear.

Vocal Lessons: A year later

I realized today that I have been taking my vocal lessons slightly over a year now. It’s been an interesting year and has forced me to really look at what stops me in life.

I love to sing, I truly do. It makes me so happy. I just love music in general, music heals me or comforts me. And I’ve always wanted to sing. I’ve already written about my internal battle with that though.

I’m actually still finding my voice, in all ways. I’m still breaking free. It’s been tiny baby steps though, teeny tiny ones. Before I took lessons I thought just walking into them was going to be enough for me to “unleash” and suddenly I was going to be so confident. But the opposite happened, it was HARDER for me to sing in my lessons, because I was in front of someone else.

I’ve wanted to quit MANY times. Especially after my last teacher left me. But my new one has taught me so much, and I feel like my 3 short months with her have yielded a lot of results. But the teachers that came before her each had their hand in teaching me several things too.

I’ve learned what a complex instrument the voice is. I’ve also learned that singing is a very mental thing. In the end my mind is hindering me most, even still. I can belt a song in my car but put me in class and it squeaks out. It’s not because I can’t sing, but just because my brain is freaking out and not letting me. Bridging that gap between fear and ability is HARD for me. But I am laying down those boards one at a time, inching along.

I thought I’d be across the water by now. I thought I’d have at least shared my singing with someone. But no, I sing a tiny bit in front of Adam but that is even very rare. I still don’t practice in my house because I’m shy for my dad to hear.

I don’t practice, another huge problem. I really need to. For abilities sake but mostly for confidences sake. The more you feel like, “Yeah. I GOT THIS” the better you will perform. AT ANYTHING in life. Singing is no different.

Today I did something I hadn’t done in awhile. I picked up my guitar. I started just trying to learn Selena Gomez’s song, “Bad Liar” because it seemed like it’d be super easy to play, (it is!) but then a part of me is like, “You need to be working on a “Million Reasons” Malinda….” so I pulled out the chords I had printed and started to try to play it and sing. (My dad wasn’t here, btw) Then I just felt like practicing singing only.

So I sang it and recorded myself, then did something out of the ordinary. I listened to myself. Then I did it again. I got so emotional the second time through it I almost started crying in the middle of the song. Because I was just singing my heart out, the way I used to when I was 8 when I’d sing along to “The Little Mermaid” or any other disney or Madonna song.

I sang a lot of songs, I sang non-stop. But I never got the one thing I was looking for, approval. Someone to say “You sing pretty good” or “Maybe she should take lessons” no one ever pushed that part of me. I think it was because I was SO shy and SO introverted they probably didn’t connect the dots that I loved singing and performing more then anything.  I don’t know what it is. But my brain always just told me it was cause I wasn’t good at it…and then as I got older and got bullied it was as if I got confirmation of that fact.

And now I have Olivia Thai, winner of Thai Idol and also former contestant on American Idol telling me that’s NOT the case, that I have a gift I need to share…and I don’t believe her. I want to, I want to SO BAD. But my negativity drowns it out and says, “Bitch, you can’t sing.” The battle I am fighting is mental, it’s not ability based.

I think that’s why that moment made me so emotional. Because I hit the chorus in a “Million Reasons” with full force. Usually between the verse and the chorus I will stop, because she goes into the high notes and sings with so much power. I get scared and falter. But Oliva told me to the practice getting through the song, no stops, even if I mess up to keep going. And I smashed the chorus I could just feel it, it was like my real voice came out. And then I started almost crying. Crying and singing don’t mix well. lol

I have moved forward in this year and forward is all I can ask for. I’m excited to know with more confidence and more practice where I will be in another year.  Will I be posting a video for everyone to hear? I hope so.

Thoughts on everything currently swirling around in my brain

I apologize in advance because this post has no clear cut direction. I have lots of things running through my mind after my voice lesson Thursday, watching Wonder Woman yesterday and watching the livestream of the One Love Manchester benefit concert today.

I am a person who is truly split in two. I feel like two very different people live inside my brain. I watch Gal Gadot portray Wonder Woman and I know that person lives inside of me…the fierce warrior and then there is this other person, a terrified little girl that is afraid to be heard, to be seen. And they are constantly at odds with each other. Most times when I really want to be be brave, the little girl shows up. Terrified, shaking in a corner wanting nothing more then to keep hiding. Go where it’s safe. Maybe there is 3 actually. Because I feel torn in-between them.

I want to cuddle the little girl and scream at her all the same, “WHY CAN’T YOU BE BRAVE?! WHY CAN’T YOU LET SHIT GO?” But obviously that doesn’t help, because the words still wont come out as they should and I don’t shine as I should.

I am an introvert, and I got the message pretty young that I wasn’t supposed to be that way. I got a lot of messages and I built my foundation on a lot of things that weren’t true. So now here I am, a full fledged independent minded adult still believing what I learned decades ago…and still buying into it.

I am the shy introvert but I am a performer too. I want to express so much yet I want to hide. I have tried so hard to make these two sides work together somehow. There is no compromise because the pull of each is so strong. How do I reconcile the past of who I was with the person I want to become in life?

I’ve built too much and come too far with these conflicting houses. There’s a whole city on top of faulty, rocky ground. There is no denying that there is beauty to be found amongst that city. My life has had amazing moments but they seem to be always overshadowed by the bullshit.

There will be no reconciliation of past and present. I’ve tried so hard and its impossible. So I must rebuild.

We need to all start together at the same place and build together, with a love for both of my halves and be reborn like the Phoenix. But leaving behind the bullshit and only taking the best and the good to build with and taking the bad in stride. A new foundation a new city a new me. A person that accepts myself despite everything. I can’t change the past I can simply forgive myself for it and create a better future.

It all sounds good. But we all know change is NOT that easy. Very few people can wake up and become a different person.  But to be honest, I’ve never worked that hard at radical self acceptance. Or my music and my other passions. There’s so much risk in pouring your heart into something isn’t there? Because there is always the possibility of falling flat on your face despite all your best efforts.

My dealings with romantic relationships, however, have always gotten my full attention. Every ounce of me went into situations that were not beneficial or even good for me. For so, so long.

That’s a major difference with my current relationship. He does not deplete me, or take and never give, or require me to worry and wonder and fear. Our bad days are so minimal and small. It’s healthy and happy. I attribute this not only because I’m with a wonderful person but because I have done SO MUCH work to get to where I am today.  But why then do I still let past things bug me? Things that don’t even matter anymore?

I want to walk into my future and I want to become the best versions of every facet of myself. The scared little girl and the warrior both have a place at the table but they need to work together instead of constantly fighting each other.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I am. Because I’m tired of being afraid to be whoever I’m supposed to be.

The power of positivity?

I, of all people, am no stranger to the idea that “what we think, we attract”. Or, “that our thoughts create our reality”. And even, “our thoughts have energy and power”. I believe this to certain extents. I don’t believe just sitting there staring at a map of Walt Disney World is going to take me there, however.

I’ve done A LOT of introspection since 2008. Trying to figure out when I think certain things to be true or act certain ways. Trying to pinpoint the exact moment I picked up a false belief system. Reckoning, dissecting, denouncing, fighting, surrendering, lamenting…I feel like I have done it all in the name of “fixing myself”.

I just believed that I was going to have some Oprah worthy a-ha moment and BOOM my life would shift and I would suddenly, “Get it” and go climb Mt. Everest. Well, the Everest part is a lie but the rest is true. I have been wishing for that a-ha moment harder then anything else. Still waiting…

I have had moments of clarity or understanding, but they feel fleeting and then BOOM I am back feeling the way I used to feel, but now even MORE frustrated because I saw the greener side of the grass for awhile.

With one of my Audible credits I purchased Shawn Achor‘s “Before Happiness: The 5 hidden keys to achieving success, spreading happiness and sustaining positive change” And let me tell you I was SKEP-TI-CAL. Martha Beck book about steering by starlight, bring it on! Metaphysical stuff doesn’t make me blink and I love reading it. A book by a Positive Psychology researcher? Uhhh, I felt like I was going to be asking for my Audible credit back.

In the beginning I was half listening…hoo hum, positivity does amazing things, blah blah. At some point I did ACTUALLY start listening. And I was like, “That makes sense…..” I started to think about the things I did a little more, my reactions, my view on the world. Then I ran my 10k and literally used something I heard in the book to stop panicking and get back on track. Maybe you are on to something Shawn-y boy.

This book asks you to do a lot of things, but it DOES NOT make you wrestle with your past. Everything is based on the NOW, the CURRENT MOMENT and your thinking in that moment. And to keep reconciling your brain to stay there. It doesn’t kick up the shit from the past.

Do we need to evaluate and wrestle with our past? Absolutely, without a question! But I’ve been on that island so long, we’ve done the dance and it’s getting stagnant. I think now it’s time to wrestle with my very perception of…well…everything that makes me unhappy.

Is this the author that’s going to change my life? Probably not. I’m the only person that can really do that and this is just another tool and view to help me do it. I’ve been in the “stuck” mud for awhile and I’m hoping this gets me moving again.

RunDisney Tinker Bell 10k

RunDisney Tinker Bell 10k

Prior to the Tink 10k I’d done 2 other RunDisney races. The 2016 Disneyland 5k was my first and the Star Wars lightside 5k was my second. This was my first time attempting the 10k distance.

When I was signing up for the race and realized it was the day before mothers day, that made me pick the 10k vs the 5k. I thought, “I can do it for my Mom!” It sounded like a lovely sentiment and since you register so far in advance I thought I’d have plenty of time to prepare. Right?

Then I had the bright idea to change my job and change my entire schedule. Long story short, I was NOT fully prepared when the day crept up on me. I had started training some but then I got sick the week before and didn’t work out once. . This made me a little nervous.

Friday May 12th I had to go pickup my bib from the Health and Fitness expo at the Disneyland hotel. I’d never picked up my stuff on a Friday and I’ll probably never do it again, there was WAY more traffic then Thursday. It took us forever to get into the Expo and once again I didn’t get to look around much. :/ That seems to always happen!

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Cool castle photo op with my bib
I got my bib and then I hit the official merch spot. It wasn’t nearly has crowded as it had been for the Star Wars half weekend. I went a little merch crazy because HELLO I was gonna run my first 10k! (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Aside from the stuff below I also got ANOTHER shirt that said, “I did it!”, a magnet that said the same and a cute bandana that is M.I.A. at the moment.

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Official race shirt and cute Tink shirt

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I heard someone complaining that they didn’t like the lost boy theme for the 10k but I did. I thought it was perfectly fitting actually, I feel like a lost girl sometimes. Last minute I had ordered a shirt from an Etsy/instagram seller to run in. I love it!

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We had dinner at Tortilla Joe’s, the wait wasn’t too bad for being Friday. They quoted us an hour but it was only 45min. And it got our parking validated. While we were waiting I went to Wonderground Gallery and bought the new HerUniverse tank. I missed the Ashley’s by like 20min! I also bot a postcard by another artist.

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Wonderground Gallery purchases

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Dinner at Tortilla Joe’s in Downtown Disney

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This dog looks like Reggie IMO

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Reggie is ready for his race
We got back late and I went to bed even later. Come 3:45am I did not want to get out of bed! If i hadn’t bought all that merch I might not have, lol.

We got there, I got to my corral and off I went. I have to say that the first two miles were the WORST. Because I was having a mild freak out attack that I had to do 6. I literally had to refocus on WHY I was even doing this…my mom. I thought about my mom and my sister and listened to my music and it carried me through the race. I didn’t fly through it but I was at least a minute under the minimum pace. Hey, not bad for someone that was coughing her brains out even days earlier!

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Before my corral went

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Matterhorn at sunrise

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Paradise Pier at sunrise

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Note the difference in my face lol

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This person in the yellow is chill and I’m ready to pass out, lol

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Victory!
Crossing that finish line was TRUE accomplishment. I also thought of my mom and it made me super emotional, I almost started crying when they gave me my medal. I had made it through, somehow. I couldn’t have done it without Adam’s love and support. Who else would get up for me at 3:45am on a Saturday?!

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Overall it was a wonderful experience. But I swear next time I’m going to train more. I’m supposed to do the Disneyland 5k AND 10k in September. Please don’t ask me what I was thinking when I signed up…I was reading this motivational book and…things just… happened.

How did I get here?

This morning we had a meeting, actually, it wasn’t a meeting, it was a job interview. The head of my department is leaving and they are having potential applicants meet with the ENTIRE department, at once. Think a long conference table full of people…asking them questions. Talk about pressure. And then it hit me again, as it so often does, “How did I get here?!

You see just a year ago my life looked VERY different. I was at a job that made me miserable on every level. It was completely unfulfilling and thankless. I worked M, W-S. Yes, I didn’t even have 2 days off together and I woke up at 4am everyday to go to work. I was on production and all that really mattered was my output, it was slowly crushing my soul.

I am a self help book junkie. This started when I purchased my first true self help book, “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle that and Super Soul Sunday sent me down the self help rabbit hole. So I kept reading over and over in different books, “The energy you put into things is what you get out of it”. So I made a choice, even though I couldn’t stand my job I was going to put nothing but good energy into it. Even though it felt meaningless I was going to create meaning. I worked at a lockbox, basically the meaning I gouged out of it was that I was helping people pay their bills, I was helping them get the medical bills paid so i did the best I could possibly do, for them.

A few months into this thought shift, an opportunity came up for people to travel to another site and do work. I had been there 6 years and this chance had never been available to me. But because my quality of work and knowledge were so high, I got the chance to travel to Boston. Paid by the company. Sure I had to work but in the evening we would go out and explore. I saw where the Boston Tea party happened, I visited Salem, I saw so many sights in Boston. I believe 100% this was due to my effort in shifting the energy I put into my job.

This was actually the same year my Mother and sister died. My mom had passed away before I went to Boston, my sister passed away a month after. Even through this bleak miserable time I still made sure to always bring positive energy to work.

This never altered the fact, however, that everyday I wished I could leave. But honestly, I didn’t see how. I only had a H.S. diploma, I only had experience in customer service and lockbox…the only place I felt I could go and be paid a decent wage was another lockbox, more of the same.  I said I wouldn’t leave for another lockbox, I wouldn’t leave for a similar job.  I’d look whenever they’d upset me, but get over it and stay. Everyone constantly talked about wanting to leave, but no one left because it was safe. We got paid ok, we had health benefits, I had 4 weeks vacation (I couldn’t use…lol, thats another story). It wasn’t bad on that front… just for me personally it gave me little to no fulfillment.

Long story short, they had approved some of my vacation then tried to take it away, the WEEK BEFORE I was set to take it. I was livid, I was angry, their reasons were ridiculous. I fought back, with reason and logic, and they ended up not taking it away but I was still upset. I gave these people everything I had and they couldn’t even give me my week vacay?

So I started googling jobs, as I always had, and somehow I found the listing for my current job. It was divine intervention. I read the job description and thought, “I could do that…” even though it seemed total different from my current job. It had a lot of the same attributes. I sat on it for a week…but it just nagged at me. Something about this job felt different, it felt right.

I didn’t even have an updated resume, let alone a cover letter.  I felt SO inadequate, like there was no way in hell I could actually get this job. But I kept reading the specs, “I could do that, I could do that, I could learn that, I’m detail oriented…” I didn’t believe I’d ever hear from them. I sent in my newly cobbled resume and cover letter anyway.

Two weeks later, I got an email asking me to set up a phone interview.

Took the phone interview thought, “Omg, I blew it…there is no way they are going to call me.”

They called me in for a regular interview.

Going to that interview was one of the most TERRIFYING things I did in my life. I was terrified I would blow it. But from the moment I walked into the building, met my potential new managers, and yes, I got interviewed by my potential new coworkers…I walked out of there wanting that job more then anything else. It wasn’t the money (a substantial raise) but it was the ENERGY of the place. The employees looked happy, said they LOVED working there, they loved the organization and their jobs. Literally I felt like I had glimpsed heaven. If you understood the environment I was in at that time…you’d know why I felt that way. It was night and day.

Obviously, you know how the story ends…I got the job. The first and only job I ever applied for after being at my last workplace 8 years. Everyone around me has a degree, everyone around me has worked in the non-profit world before and then there is me. I got here because experience counts for a lot more in life then we think. I literally made lemonade out of lemons, in my eyes. No job is without its challenges and I still have other goals, but my life literally looks COMPLETELY different then it did a year ago.

My 6mo anniversary just passed. I’m honestly still getting used to the freedom and level of respect I’m given by my colleagues. I work with so many strong, opinionated, intelligent women it makes my heart sing.

I believe 1000% that my choice years ago to shift the energy I put into my work brought me to where I am now. I completely manifested this. It didn’t come from thin air… I worked my ass off at my old job and I work my ass off now. Even though I sorta didn’t believe that there was no way I’d get this job, I tried anyway and put my best foot forward.

I would love to tell you I am always positive, but that’s not the case. In other areas in my life I am VERY MUCH a work in progress. But this is something I am really proud of. And I hope anyone that is in a job that is less then fulfilling can get some hope, things can change if you want them to. Start by changing the energy you put into the work, who knows where it will take you.

May the 4th be with you!

May the 4th be with you!

I couldn’t start a blog on this day and NOT post this! I’ve been home sick for two days (bad throat infection) so I had plenty of time.

I’m a Star Wars nerd and Funko pop collector among other things. (Including but not limited to anything Disney, t-shirts, Disney pins, Alex and Ani bracelets and ANYTHING Little Mermaid.)

I’m not a hardcore “I’m going to wait in front of Hot Topic when it opens” Funko collector, mostly because I’m lazy. I collect a lot of dope female pops, disney pops, and just anything I find cool.

This IS the post you are looking for.