Saturday, March 31, 2012

Check me out.

No worries, I'll be writing here soon, but I wrote a lenten reflect over at The Catholic Young Woman on judging people and I thought I'd share it with all of you.

This was sort of my main focus for this current season of lent. It was a struggle to articulate what I was learning, but I found that jotting down my thoughts helped articulate what wisdom I was drawing from God through prayer and observation.

Feel free to check it out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What is a 'Soulmate'?

God works in the most amazing and mysterious ways. Thanks to one of my dear and beautiful friends, our many deep conversations on love and soulmates, as well as the scraps in my journal, have been formed into art...

Oh, my falsehood. Oh, my shattered boy. My best written work thus far was the letter addressed to you that spoke to my undying adoration for your unclean soul. And even when I ripped up my articulation, rearranged the letters in order from need to want, my words weren’t enough to compete with your pride which stood eye to eye with my selfishness and "why's?". I sat, pen in hand, salt running down my face as I tried to find composure amid the lack of comfort in the space, but I couldn’t help imagining myself standing before you—feeling as if my heart were on trial. I stared into the murky blue, wondering why I wasn’t enough for you. How could one give so much and be turned away without a whim or thought and then not feel shame?  The game of confidence that I played, shriveled up and died in my own hands, at the thought of your eyes piercing mine. You were my everything and my nothing, the gift that never gave and here I was, broken, at the very utterance of your name. 

So I ask...


And while sometimes I ache, so many months away from my letters of plea bargains and tears, I’m glad you’ve given up on this little soul long enough for me to know… You weren’t a soul mate or a friend, just a stepping stone towards the man who will be my true best friend.

Thank you, God.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seven steps to being blissfully whole.

Lately I’ve been trying to formulate a satisfactory and personal definition for the word ‘whole’. Many times, in the program where I am studying, we are asked to analyze and assess where we are in our own personal journey. This past week, I came up with the most simple, least wordy analysis of myself to date:

“I am broken, but whole.”

And you’re like ‘Wow, Katey…always gotta be a walking contradiction, dontcha?’

But here’s where I was coming from….I’ve been hurt in my life. Physically and emotionally. I’ve built walls around my heart and mind. I have latched onto defense mechanism after defense mechanism to keep me at arm’s length from the people that I see as potentially hazardous to my health. And in turn, I have hurt people. Perhaps not physically, but emotionally, more than I can count.

I am broken, because I am human. And as a human, I am flawed beyond repair.

Well, that’s if you’re looking at life without hope. My faith has given me an infinite amount of hope. And as a person of faith, I can finally say…I am finding wholesomeness.

I wanted to share the seven key points that are helping me heal, grow and find myself during these bizarre years they call one’s twenties. Who knows, maybe something will strike a chord.

1. Be your authentic self. My mother has told me this since I was a little girl. I never fully understood it until I was faced with the reality of how harsh the world can really be. More specifically when I realized I was losing my voice to the broken, cruel girls that were surrounding me and trying to make me someone I was not.  Sometimes we get lost in the fads, the trends and suddenly we are swept away into the world of pretend and make believe. Pretending to be cool and making others believe we’re the real deal, that is. But why? Is this satisfying? Is something lost when we try so hard to make ourselves something we are not? When we try to make others like us? Sometimes, I think in the growing up process we lose a piece of who we were as children, and in many ways…I think who we were as children is probably as authentic as it gets. I’ll be honest; I was bossy son of a gun as a child. I was the ring leader of the pack, and I loved to play and talk and dance around. If something didn’t involve laughing, it wasn’t worth it. I was an only child who knew how to interact with adults and had very little patience for schoolwork. But once the world got a hold of me… I became reserved, nice to a fault…hiding behind a wall of sarcasm and constant smiling to keep people from knowing the fun-loving little kid that was scratching to get out of my bratty little body.

No more sarcasm, no fake more smiles…it’s time to just be me.

2. Believe in something larger than yourself. Of course, as I’ve said many times, I am Roman Catholic. My faith means everything to me…but it’s fine if you don’t believe in God. Cool, believe in humanity. Believe in the earth. Believe in karma. Believe in anything that is larger than you. The point is, life IS larger than you. The world does not revolve around your story, and if you don’t begin to understand that you are part of a grand design, one that you are not at the center of…you will be an infinitely less peace filled person than those that do. Yes, there will, in fact, always be people that are better off than you, but there will also be people that are suffering far greater than you—and that means that every moment of your life should be spent being thankful for what you have, not complaining about what you don’t. Life is short, live it to the fullest…and if you want to experience true happiness: live it selflessly.

3. Fall in love with your own vulnerability. Vulnerability is a beautiful thing. Say it with me now: Vulnerability. Is. Good. Emotions are not the devil. Yes, we can fight that ‘We are not our emotions!’, but they are also not the enemy. Our emotional releases are our connection to the visceral and passionate core of our being. This part of us is not only animalistic, but is crucial to our spiritual beings. Weeping uncontrollably is not a crime, even screaming every once in a while is healthy. Falling apart, not having things put together, being a complete and utter mess every so often is not a sin. Because once those emotions are up and out of our body…that energy can fade. Tears can fade, anger can fade, pain can fade, hurt can fade. Shoving everything down and not dealing with the reality of life will not fade. Cutting yourself off from the natural and so uniquely human gift of release, will only make for more suffering. Vulnerability is the gift of healing. It is often made fun of, or belittled, but more often than not, our vulnerability is what helps us reach into the soul of another person to tug at their essence until they realize that we are brothers and sisters on this broken earth. Embrace your defenselessness, let people get close to you…and enjoy learning how to simply be present to something we all have in common.

4.Trust in providence. It’s as simple as this: If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t sit and worry about making a wrong move—because in God’s eyes, there is no such thing. Even people that don’t believe in God can recognize that there is some sort of rhyme or reason to their lives. Even if it takes them till they’re lying on their deathbed looking back, most people can see why they didn’t get this job or why they married their third girlfriend instead of their first. Things are constantly moving, changing and altering so that your life can be what it was meant to be. We all have a plan. We were all put on this earth to complete a mission—and even if that mission was just to compliment someone on Valentine’s day to keep them from losing it, or to be really good at doing math so that a building could be made without collapsing….or simply to touch one person’s life with something you wrote once upon a time on a stupid blog you started for funsies—we all have a plan. We are constantly influencing and changing the world. We move people to tears, to laughter, to love…isn’t that beautiful? Trust in that. Maybe it won’t be the life or mission you dreamt of, but who are we to judge the worth of our lives because something we wanted didn’t come to frution? Come on, we’ve all seen It’s a Wonderful Life. Let’s not make Clarence come to town to show us what the world would look like without our impact on it, because we all know we’d be shocked to see how much the simplest actions truly changed the world.  


5. Dress for success. Okay, okay…you’re probably like ‘Seriously? This is in your list of things that make you feel whole?’—but go with me on this. When I’m in a killer outfit, or I’m wearing make-up or I’ve taken the time to do my hair—I feel great! I feel like a million bucks with a little rouge on my cheeks, and my lips suddenly get more pucker-y when I’m wearing lipstick. I feel feminine and lovely when I’m wearing a dress that drapes perfectly around my curves. Whenever I’m depressed or down, you can most likely find me in my bedroom playing dress up, like a little girl. Similarly, sweats make me feel great after a day of heels and auditions! Dressing for happiness, comfort and success is a silly, yet simple and effective way, to make ourselves feel good. Maybe I’m wrong here, or it’s just a weird Katey-quirk,  but I truly believe that taking a little extra time to feel and look special on those days that you’re struggling to see your own beauty and worth, will make your day. And what better way to show people how in love with yourself you are than to dress up for no particular reason or person other than to put a smile on your own face!

6. Live in the moment. The past is a mere distortion of what truly was and the future is nothing but an idea of what could be. Why bother with things that are not real? This moment, right now—it's as real as it gets. Embrace it. Fall in love with it. Sink your teeth into it’s rawness. Life is as beautiful as you make it, so don’t waste it by living in another reality.

7. Reach and withdraw. This one is going to sound a little counter my  ‘Trust in Providence’ point, but I think it’s a good one, nonetheless. This mindset, in my life, usually comes up when I’m dealing with more intimate relationships and friendships.

When you like a person, as a friend or perhaps more, reach for them. Let them see that you care and that you exist. Do all you can in your power to see if they feel the same. Shoot them a text. Invite them for coffee. Get to know one another. And once you’ve made your intentions clear…let them go. When something is yours, if it’s truly meant to be, it will come back to you. I’ve found that many times our own desires and wishes can smother what truly is meant to be because we’re so eager, we suffocate the good.

 I mean, let’s be honest…you can’t send someone that you’re interested in twenty texts in a row without looking kinda nuts…

Sometimes people need space to understand what you mean to them, and sometimes that space makes them forget you entirely.  Regardless, don’t you deserve to know how they truly feel, without their feeling that you manipulated them into caring for you? Reach and withdraw. Let go; attachment is suffering. Let what will be, be.  

So, that’s it.

It’s as simple as you make it, really. Life is short, fall in love with yourself and your life, give all you’ve got to make others happy…and you will find your own definition for the word ‘whole’.

I guess, for me, I’m finally learning that being ‘whole’ doesn’t actually equate to being ‘perfect’….and let me tell you, it’s so freeing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The gift of listening.

It is a great gift to be able to sit and listen to another person. To allow oneself to be completely open and present to another’s vulnerability as they share a story or a memory is an exercise that many people in our society struggle with. To many people it’s uncomfortable to let down their walls of stoicism and selfishness to be empathetic towards a person outside of themselves. It seems counter intuitive to take care of another person when you yourself were taught by this culture of domination to find the limelight and kick all others out of it…

And let’s be honest, that limelight is pretty addictive.

When I was growing up as an only child who liked to talk to adults and partake in conversations other children my age weren’t necessarily sharing in, I was taught the importance of being able to really take in another person’s words. ’It’s one thing to wait until your turn to speak, and another to listen carefully’, my mother used to tell me. Her words lingered in my mind, as I tried to understand the complexity of her meaning. It was hard to wrap my mind around the idea of truly listening to another person.

Wasn’t I listening when I heard the story? Wasn’t that enough?

But that’s not right, is it? She didn’t use the word ‘hear’ she used the word ‘listen’.

Is there possibly a difference?

As an artist, I can only vouch for myself when I say I love to hear myself talk. I can talk and talk and talk all day long if you let me. I used to babble on about absolutely nothing instead of searching for the most precise way to say things [in many ways, this terrible habit has leaked into my writing—as I’m sure you’ve noticed]. It wasn’t until I was forced to be around other artists that I realized how obnoxious this could be.

And so art school painfully taught me the difference between listening and hearing.

To listen was to embrace the person with every fiber of your being. To acknowledge, empathize and read between the lines. To listen was the gift of getting out of oneself to attend to another’s needs and wants without agenda.

And to hear? To hear was to take the words at surface level and move on.

We are so jaded. Being able to articulate your thoughts is a blessing, but how often are the thoughts that are being articulated worth speaking?

Perhaps I sound cynical because I’ve heard too many pointless stories or have met far too many people that like the sound of their own voice…but I’m beginning to realize how dynamic a relationship becomes when you simply let go of self and begin to truly listen to someone outside of yourself.

How many times have I been shocked to find that someone that I’ve judged to be ‘superficial’, suddenly bares their honest and beautiful souls once they are given the opportunity to be real— what a difference being attentive can make. Others who are seen as rough around the edges, melt as soon as they realize that they don’t have to be hard to be made visible. And sometimes people are so numb to not truly being listened to that they find they are uncomfortable when they’re finally given the space they deserved in the first place.

Funny how that works.

In a way, the bashful, the fearful, the introverts, the loners, the modest, the sheepish, the wary, the unresponsive, the unwilling and unsocial…those who may be seen in this society as not speaking up, could be seen as the pioneers in the world of truth and intentionality for being given the gift of listening. Many of them have the innate ability to listen, while others have taken it upon their shoulders to learn how. And while we hope that they teach us every day by example, one can only wonder. What of their story? How many people ask them questions about themselves? Surely their stories are just as rich, if not more, than those who love to talk? Who will listen to them?

My new goal is to truly listen to someone I’m not close to each day. I feel that this is the time in my life when I am being asked to learn to speak only when necessary, and even more so…speak volumes with silence.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

So much to say, so little coming out.

I’ve been having a hard time putting my thoughts into words as of late. As an actor, I often find myself speaking other people’s words. Because of this I unintentionally have moments where I mimic the way my favorite author's write. There are seasons in my life where I can't come up with something of my own, because I am so in sync with another's words, I can't seem to express my own journey without their coloring my images. Perhaps that’s why I have an obsession with quotes—why say something worth quoting, when I can find another person’s words that better fit what I want to express?

But for someone who considers herself an artist, a storyteller, and sometimes a writer….it’s frustrating to feel like I can’t articulate all that’s buzzing through my brain.

I wrote once last month. Just once. Granted, I know I don’t normally write that often and that my voice and story isn’t necessarily impacting the masses…but only once? I’m disappointed that I didn’t take the time or make the effort to share myself. To share my head and heart. Because it’s so full…full of joy, full of sorrow—Full of life!

I want to share with you who I am. I want to make you smile. I want to create an atmosphere of understanding and trust. Where people can simply breathe and not sit in anticipation of the judgment that might pass.

I want to do so much in my lifetime. Part of me wants it to begin with my own words, but here I am…struggling to get past the wall that I have built around myself.

Oh God, I am broken.

Is there strength in silence?

Is discretion important?

When does life begin? Or has it already?

Why has God given me this path and not another?

Who am I?

Are my words important?

How can I help people?

When is it my turn?

 I have so much to offer the world, and yet there are days that I feel so frazzled…I don’t even know where to begin.

So I write my thoughts down, and hope that I will find peace in each breath. 
I pray for happiness to make me sweet, trials to make me strong, sorrow to keep me human, and enough hope to make me smile.
Until all is clear, it’s in His hands.