Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ticklish Much?

OK. My thoughts on tickling. I think tickling is a trust issue. And I know people who are really ticklish are going to hate me for saying this. But I believe it. Almost all kids are ticklish. They’re taught to be. It’s a game you play when you’re little. You are uncomfortable being touched by others, so it’s a defense mechanism that is acceptable and expected. You giggle when someone is tickling you. You actually don’t find it funny, but it “tickles” and because you giggle that makes it “OK”.  People who are ticklish usually hate being tickled. It’s only the ticklers who really find it funny. And if you’re making someone laugh, why would you think you were making them uncomfortable. Most adult women laugh when they’re uncomfortable too, and men don’t realize that. But that’s a whole other issue.  I was ticklish as a kid. Then one day, around age 11 I guess, someone pointed out to me that I couldn’t tickle myself. And I’ve tried. But I can’t. I know where my own hand is, and I know what it’s doing. I trust myself. There’s no element of surprise. And once I realized that, I became all powerful. No one can grab my ribs and startle me. No one can grab my knees and make me wiggle. No one can torture me with the threat of tickling. Go ahead and touch me. I won’t let it control me.  I’m also a massage therapist and my clients know that when I touch them, I mean business. It’ll be comforting, soothing, or commanding, but I don’t aim to tickle you. I think people who are still ticklish have a defense wall up around them that they refuse to drop. I’m sure different reasons for each person. And perhaps each region denotes a different issue. Knees=fear, back=past, neck =change. Or maybe you broke your leg as a child and you’ll always be protective of that region. Or worse. But the next time you “let” someone tickle you. Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. And see if your body talks back. Stop giggling and say why you’re uncomfortable. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Search of Romance

Romance: Noun. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention. ,a romantic spirit, sentiment, emotion, or desire, romantic character or quality.
Romantic: Adj. to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams, to think or talk romantically.

Basically, you can not define the word “romance” without using the word “romantic” and vice versa. And look at the beginning of the definition, “a made-up story, full of exaggeration or invention”. What?! Are we not ALL in search of romance? And yet, we’re searching for something that doesn’t exist?

Working backwards, I feel like my earliest memories of the word began with…”Love Boat”. Right? Every couple would end up on the Lido deck at night, under a moon, soft breeze. She’s have a light wrap on and her hair would blow. They’ve have their first kiss and just KNOW they were meant to be together.

Cut to, about 15 years later, I’m on my first cruise ship, performing. My boyfriend and I had been cast together and I said we HAD to find a chance to kiss on the Lido Deck, under the moon light. I’d wear a gown and a wrap. On formal night, I was wearing a long white and sequin gown, with a wrap, my hair up and sparkly. I chose the outside door to the theater’s lounge to go outside at night. The wind pull was SO strong, I do believe that my dress and I appeared like a flag, at half mast. I literally crawled my way along the guard rail desperately clinging onto my jewelry, wrap, dress (sometimes up around my head), and probably cursing “Love Boat” the whole time. I don’t recall my boyfriend meeting me there, or any sort of “Titanic”…”I’m king of the world!” moment either. I do recall thinking, “I could die right now.” and…romance, is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Working more backwards, I’m guessing Shakespeare was among the first to build up our hope of what a romantic evening means, only to generally end up dead by the end of the play anyway. Still, we want our significant others to make grand gestures, sword fight on our behalf, lay coats down in mud, and visit Club Med with us so we can play on the beach.

In reality, if my boyfriend drew a sword at someone, I’d pretend not to know him. If he laid his coat in mud, I’d calculate the cleaning bill, and as he likes to say about me, “You like the IDEA of the beach, but not the ACTUAL beach.”. It’s true. I’m extremely pale and the sun tires me very quickly. Plus, I’m not the strongest swimmer. So the beach is nice to walk on or take pictures. But I’m usually done after about 20 minutes.

It’s the same with all, “romantic” spots I find. I see a bench in the woods, I think, “OH! So romantic!” I sit there. I wait for something exciting to happen. Maybe I expect sudden fireworks overhead or little animals bringing me flowers. But that never happens. What do I expect will happen at Club Med? Or on the balcony in a hotel in Italy? Or anywhere else they tout as being a very, “romantic” location. Unless there’s a small string quartet hidden in the bushes, along with 5 gorgeous men holding grapes-at-the-ready to feed me, I think I’d best get over any search for romance that I may have. It’s, “a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention” and I think we should all search for reality.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Honor Your Mother and Father

I've become a mean person. friends might say otherwise. But my parents think I'm mean. And I am. Recently, I observed some family members with their parents. Mean. Impatient. I get it. We have the least amount of patience with the people we love. We're invested in them understanding our point of view and unconditionally supporting us. But I think that rarely happens.
 My parents have only seen the worst part of my personality for years. I'm extremely grateful to them for all they've done for me. And I have no desire to be mean to them. But I was.
 In my every day life, I work to be patient and kind with all my massage clients, and with all my friends. I'm not sure how I didn't extend that to my parents. But I didn't. And I know they deserve as much kindness as I give everyone else. They do their best. They may not hear me, understand me, or be able to communicate with me. They may have their own way of doing things, that I don't understand at all. But they mean well, and they definitely want the best for me.
 So, I'm changing.
 I'm a passionate person. I am easily excitable about things that either inspire or upset me. But I know I don't NEED an opinion on everything. I certainly don't need to FIGHT for anything. Just the things that really, really matter. So I'm pledging to stop fighting with my parents. Stop being mean to them. I don't think I'll suddenly have any more patience. I've been working on that trait for 25 years and it's not gonna change. But I can extend the same kindness to them that I hopefully employ in the rest of my life. And I hope you will too. Who are you being mean to?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Advice/questions on learning?

10 years ago I took an intensive course in Hawaii. I hate it. I learned nothing that I had gone there to learn. But, out of the experience, I got a 18 page article I wrote, a 45 minutes solo show, a really good friend, and 1 word of good advice. On the last day, our teacher said to all of us, "When you go home to your loved ones, don't immediately break up with them because you've had an experience that they didn't have. They can't understand what you've just been through."

That was really good advice. And if you expand it, it works for a lot of situations. How many couples have broken up because, "I've changed, and they didn't change the same way."

I remember when I was 18, my boyfriend and I went off to different schools. There was no Skype, no cell phones, no digital cameras. We barely had phone access. I made him take a ton of photos of every person and every place he'd mention so I could picture it as he talked to me, or wrote to me. I didn't want us to break up because I had no frame of reference.

Every year, twice a year, I go to the Maine Media Workshop in Rockport, Maine to be an Actor-In-Residence. I go by myself, with friends, and finally last year, I got my boyfriend to go take a class at the same time. Every time I come home, I have PMD: Post Maine Depression. I have been doing nothing but acting, eating, creating, and having fun for a week. And then I have to go home to the real world and attempt to explain to people why I love it up there so much. I feel part of a community. I feel like a contributing valuable member of their society. I have nothing to do but relax and act on film for a week. So yeah, I come home, and want to break up. Every time. So it's great that my boyfriend came last year. Within a day he said, "yeah, I get it. I know why you love it here and keep coming back." I love taking friends there that come home and say, "that totally changed my life. And things will never be the same." It gives me more people in my life that have my frame of reference. It sounds like a cult! But it's just a really great, supportive, smart place to make photos and films.
Maine yin/yang

I've done a great deal of self help work in my life. I'm not perfect. Maybe I should stop trying to be perfect. But I won't stop reflecting, learning, and attempting to be the best person I can. I fail miserably sometimes at that, and I have a tough time forgiving myself. But at least I work on it.

Rockport harbor sunrise
Over the years, I've learned some communication tools, some coping mechanisms, some understandings. I constantly try to apply these skills when dealing with people. Sometimes it works, because they have a similar skill set. And sometimes, it doesn't. It only points out more differences between us. Along the way, I've lost friends and family because...I had an experience that they didn't. Does a person break up with members of their family because the person's had a learning experience that their family hasn't? Because suddenly, it's noticeable that their family doesn't take their feelings into consideration? Or do they except their family and friends for being the same people they always were? They their family/friends haven't changed, but YOU did?

I don't have answers. I have questions. But I know that I can't have an amazing experience, and then break up with everyone around me. At least, not right away, for the wrong reasons. So be careful on your learning journeys! Be patient. And please, remind me to be the same along the way. And...breathe.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

loving oneself?

OK, I need your help on this one. Comments are very welcome.

For years, I've heard the pop psychology phrase:
"You have to love yourself".But honestly, I couldn't. I wouldn't. I didn't know how.
 About 6 months ago I had a little epiphany. I could, at least, be lovING to myself. I'm loving to others. I love others. I know how to do that. And I was certainly NOT doing that for myself. I don't think most people I know are treating themselves well. I do something that doesn't go well, and I call myself names. I disappoint myself because I'm not perfect, and can't forgive myself. I make the same mistake twice and I go into a downward spiral of a prediction of a dismal future. Do I expect perfection out of others? No. Would I EVER call any of my beloved friends a bad name because they had a brief moment of forgetfulness? Never. In fact, I get upset seeing my amazing, beautiful, kind, funny, talented friends call themselves, "stupid, fat, lazy, etc.". They are not any of those things. They are human, like me.
 The jury is still out on whether or not I can love myself. I kinda feel like, "I'm here, deal with it." and I just don't have a choice about that. But I do have a choice what I say to myself.
  My friend, Nancy, on the first night I met her, told me that thoughts either help you or hurt you. And if they hurt you...drop them like their hot. And I do...95% of the time.
 Treat myself as I would expect any good friend to treat me. Be loving. So I challenge you to be loving to yourself. It's a start right?

love you. Tamar

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Q and A, How to Run an ensemble audition

2 years ago, I self published a book, “How To Run Auditions” which is available for purchase all over. It’s really a guide for film students on running effortless and efficient auditions. Today, I was asked the question, “How would you suggest that I handle an ‘ensemble’ audition. I have a number of people whom I think would do well individually as actors and actresses, but I’m not too sure how to find out if they would work well together. For ‘ensemble’ think of series like ‘diGrassi, East Side Kids, etc.’”
I thought that was a really interesting question, and perhaps you, also have that question. So here was my answer:
Partially, it depends on the type of project you’re doing. I think there are many options, here are a few ideas that come to mind:
1)If there’s a script with a scene that has lots of characters talking, then have a call back and use that scene. You can at least see if people look good together and hear how their timing is compatible to each other.
2)Play some sort of theater game with a group of people. An improve game (I can suggest a few if need be) that would use several people. But not everyone may feel comfortable in that situation, so it’s risky. Even Charades or Celebrity can show how people get along with eacher, listen and pay attention, and how creative they are. Or perhaps you know some fun games that get people interacting with each other.
3) There’s the Chorus Line option. Gather everyone, sit around in a circle, give each person 2 minutes to talk about themselves, and then open up for a discussion. Might be time consuming, but might be really interesting!
Also, depending on the project you’re casting, check the background/training section of each person’s resume. There may be overlaps from resume to resume that will give you an idea of how each person’s process will be.
The main thing is, talk to each person auditioning. Get a sense of what they are like as a person. If YOU like them and want to work with them, that’s really what matters. You’re in charge anyway and will set the tone of the working atmosphere. As long as everyone is respectful, responsible, and hopefully fun, then you shouldn’t have any major issues. Good luck!
Readers? Ideas? Questions?
buy the book, "How To Run Auditions"


Sunday, June 6, 2010

A sense of community

   As a child, I was constantly asking questions. I didn’t take (and still don’t) a, “Because I said so…” as a reason. I want full explanations to convince me to see your point of view. For years, I heard people talk about schools, religions, clubs, organizations, and more, as, “Communities”. But I didn’t SEE it. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t make friends easily, because I was very shy, and yet, somehow, still very opinionated (even at age 5). As a child, most choices of schools, clubs, religions, were not my own, but my parents’ choices. I didn’t have anything in common with anyone I met, and I most certainly didn’t feel supported by my peers or leaders.
   As a young actress, I kept finding myself being pulled into theatre companies. But I’m an only child. I work on my own. I depend only on myself. I had no idea what the benefit of being in a company was! I was too young, too shy, too new to society to grasp the possibilities of having a group of people to brainstorm, to invent, to create, to support and grow. I didn’t know it took a village. In fact, I didn’t really know what that meant until recently.
  2 times a year, I would hear David Lyman (an educator, photographer, sailor) give a creativity lecture. The same lecture, 2 times a year, for almost 10 years. Every time I heard it, I learned something new, because of where I was in my personal development. He speaks of 3 kinds of people: the starters (the idea people), the do-ers (process people), and the finishers (producers). He says you can be 1 or 2, but most people are not both. You simply MUST surround yourself with people that balance you in order to get things done. Some artists will continually edit the same work and never finish, unless someone finally grabs it from them and says, “It’s done. We’re showing it.” I, personally, am an idea person and a finisher. I hate “process”.  I hate re-writes. I hate practicing. I want to think of something and just do it. So I have to surround myself with people that push me to improve my work. That’s team work. That’s…community.
    THAT is why people join clubs, companies, organizations, churches and synagogues. To find like-minded people to support you, encourage you, and HELP you to follow your dreams, while they follow theirs.
 As I said in my last blog entry, I have a community in my tap class in New York. I would not be ½ the tap dancer or ½ the person I am, without my friends. I also have a film community in Washington, DC. DC Dogs. A team of people who support and encourage each other to keep creating films. We compliment each other. I have a massage therapy community in New York and Los Angeles. I keep track of all the wonderful massage therapists I meet in each place, and use each other to heal, to get and give jobs, to ask questions, or to vent emotions on hard days. And, a few years ago when my parents in New England became ill, I was never more grateful that they had a community to help support them and me until they recovered. Every day I work on creating a community for myself in every aspect of my life.
  I think I’m just starting to GET it. I understand why it takes a village to do things. Because although we CAN do things on our own, it’s much easier as part of a team. In fact, it’s much BETTER as part of a team.
  So do it! Reach out. If you’re not part of community yet…start your own. And if you’re reading this…you’re in mine. So thank you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

tap dancing

I tap dance. Up until about 2 days ago I would say, "I take tap class." But as of Sunday night, I think I'm allowed to say, "I tap dance." I performed tap dance at Tap Extravaganza with 13 of my dearest friends. I performed in the same show as a bunch of the most famous, well respected tap dancers alive. That is pretty cool.
 I've been a dancer my whole life. My dad was a ballet dancer and did folk dance and could do ballroom when asked. So it's in my blood to be a mover and shaker. I feel very sad when I haven't been physical for a few days. I express myself in dance. I release negative emotions in dance. And in recent years, I've created a community for myself in dance. Tap dance. Growing up doing ballet and disco and jazz and whatever other modality I could, tap dance did NOT come naturally. Every teacher I've had could attest to that. I took a few tap classes at age 16, I took a lot from age 18-21. And then, after tearing everything in my knee, I took 8 years off. And then I found Lynn. My teacher. I've been studying with her for about 9 or so years.Taking from her is a little like a joining a cult. Us elders induct or reject the new recruits who come in. But if we like you, you'll be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to follow your bliss, eat hummus with us on a regular basis, and work your butt off in weekly tap classes.
 People ask me all the time why I take tap class. At my age. At this point in my life. Am I pursuing tap? Aren't I doing enough THINGS to keep busy? Do I think I'll be a brilliant tap dancer by the time I'm 60 years old? I love it. I love all dance. Even the kinds I'm not good at. But I found a community of people who love me, accept me, support me, make me laugh, and grow WITH me. Learning tap has been exciting, frustrating, moving, emotional, painful, and so much more. It took me years to relax my ankles. It's taken about 10 years to remember to breathe. It'll take another few years to get rid of other bad habits that snuck in. BUT, I've come a lot farther than I thought I ever would. And 2 days ago I performed, onstage, for a paid audience, with some REALLY good tap dancers. And that, is a huge accomplishment. Am I pursuing a career as a tap dancer? Heck no, that'd be crazy. My talents lie in other places. But I wouldn't trade the community of love and support I've joined for anything in the world. That's the gift. That's the secret to life. That's the joy in the dance. We were all onstage...together. And that's how we make it through life...together.
 follow your bliss.
love, Tamar

First post and welcome

hello! Thank you for reading the first post of my new blog. I've been thinking about doing this for quite some time. I'm happy to take questions about life, the Universe and everything. I'm pretty good at advice giving, and I do my best to take my own advice. So far, it's worked out OK...I'm still HERE, I'm still living, breathing, and doing my best to enjoy life. People constantly say to me, "you have the most exciting life!" And I always say, "look at the alternative!" Who wants a boring life?
 To be honest, the stuff floating around in my head doesn't make living easy. I was not a very happy child, young adult, adult...but I'm doing OK now. I always worked as hard as possible to get the most out of life, but "working hard" is not the best way. "going with the flow" is really the best way, and that's what I attempt to do now. I say attempt, because it could be another 10 years til I've really gotten into that habit.
 I have so many thoughts rushing into my head that I don't even know where to start. So welcome, and I hope you go on this journey with me, because we all need support. I'm here for you, so I hope you'll be there for me.
 love, Tamar