Monday, July 21, 2014

Forgiveness

One of my favorite movies is Just Friends and that is for two reasons:
1. I could stare at Ryan Reynolds until the end of time. Did you see him in Safe House? Holy hell.
2. Anna Faris sings this song about forgiveness and it makes me laugh very time. If you've seen it, it's now going to be stuck in your head for the next 8 hours, at least. Sorry about that.

If you haven't seen it, she sings "forgiveness, is more than saying sorry" in this obnoxious, super breathy tone that my dear friend Christa Sparks MASTERED when we were in acting school. (It's actually super impressive how well Christa does it.) The point is, Anna Faris is right. "Forgiveness" is absolutley about more than an apology. It is an act that I have found necessary in order to survive in this world. But here's my thing about forgiveness- I suck at it.

We all make mistakes, sure. It's easy to forget about that IOU cocktail your friend never made happen or how your roommate consistently forgets to refill the Brita Machine. Most of us will even forgive for lies we've been told. It's those life changing, heart breaking, completely fucked up words and actions that do not come with as much grace.

I struggle every day to forgive for the negativity from those that I thought were my support system. I struggle to truly move forward from pain inflicted by old friends. I struggle to look past what has been done and to see the potential and the positives that could be, if I would only just "forgive." I struggle because to forgive someone is to love them more than you love yourself.

I don't know about you, but there are things I've said and done, for which I am not proud- things that require an enormous amount of forgiveness from others. "I should have never lied. I should have loved with less conditions. I should have had more faith in them..." and the list goes on. I do not, however, want that list to include "I should have shown forgiveness." When I'm 97, I want to look back on my life knowing that the wrongs I have done and any wrong done to me has been completely forgiven. Mark 11:25 says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so your Father may forgive you your tresspasses."

I think it's one of the most difficult things to do, forgive. The words and actions of another can impact you so greatly, but I'm learning it is up to you to decide the kind of impact it has. If we live and do not forgive, we live a life of bitterness and resentment. We all need to be shown forgiveness, so why not bestow it onto others? All you need is some unconditional love and a little bit of grace.*

*Note to self.

-J


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Letter to 2013

My dearest 2013,

Let me start by saying, "Congratulations!" Unless I kick it before midnight, we've made it through this particularly difficult 365 days. You were a rough one; nonetheless, here I am. As I reflect back on the days we had together, there are a number of things that I know I will never forget.

1. Les Mis came out in theaters, DVD, and CD. I own both the DVD and CD and have since seen it a least a dozen times.
2. I moved back to New York City.
3. My car was vandalized. Twice.
4. Brooklyn's stomach expanded four times its size and her lungs almost collapsed.
5. I had an AMAZING job at Riverside Ranch and worked with some of the best people I've ever known.
6. I made wonderful friends and acquired a family that I will forever love.
7. I witnessed love in more ways than one.
8. I had a conversation with my parents that changed my life forever.
9. My faith was challenged. 

I believe you brought me more heartache and tears than any person should endure in a year's time. However, you also brought me more love and laughter than I think I deserve. 2013, I cannot thank you enough for the lessons you have taught me. I am not proud of every decision made during our time together, but because of you I will never again apologize for being myself. I will never doubt that with faith, I will also find light. I will remember to love those around me and those that aren't, even more. I will forgive harsh words and actions, and I will be the best friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend, and person I can be. 

So thanks again, 2013. Here's to you.

-J

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Time

Look at the clock. Sit in one place, breath, and relax for one minute. Watch the clock as you do this so you know exactly when your minute is over.

Time: Many understand it to be minutes and seconds- a hand on a clock, ticking away with each breath we take. Sometimes people say things like, "It's only a matter of time before I die," or "It's only a matter of time before something else happens" and so on. Henry David Thoreau said "You cannot kill time without injuring eternity" so I prefer to think of time not only as seconds and minutes, but also as a series of events that hold endless opportunities.

When I was first received my diagnoses, all I could think about was when I would have my next seizure. "It's only a matter of time..." I would avoid doing certain things because of it. I went from living an extremely hectic and almost sleepless lifestyle to one that had me working 10-12 hours per week, in bed my 9pm and up by seven. I started living my life by the minutes, by the wrong concept of time.

Yes, it is only a matter of seconds, minutes, days, preferably years before we die. But I would much rather think of it in terms of "only a matter of get togethers, inside jokes, weddings, birthday parties, and awards shows (you are all invited to the Oscars when I am nominated)." Think of the minute you spent before you read this. You watched as a minute passed, a minute of your life with which you did absolutely nothing. What could you have done with that minute? Now I realize I am the reason you spent that precious minute and you've now spent x amount of your day reading this. Thank you for making this one of your life's events and I hope it has impacted you in some way. If not, thank you for listening regardless.

We are allotted 24 hours in a day, eight of which we should sleep in order to stay healthy. So, for the remaining two-thirds of your day, the 16 hours or in my opinion, infinite events that could occur, what will you do?

-J



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Just" Breathe

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read this. I haven't written anything in a while. Many things have come to mind but I've had some trouble figuring out how to put it all into words.

Before we start, take a second and just breathe.  We do this all day, every day without thought. Now take a moment and imagine not being able to "just breathe." Imagine being told "your body doesn't breathe correctly," and feeling like breathing is a chore, like on some days if you are able to breathe without thought, it's more of a luxury than a natural habit. 

My actor's lab instructor at NYCDA, Ms. Ruth Nerken insisted that there was no such thing as "just." You never just sat. There was always a specific way you were sitting- legs crossed, indian style, feet flat on the floor, etc. She did her very best to try and break us of being "just" actors. Acting is about the details because life is about the details. If we are going to convince an audience, we must first convince ourselves and when something is happening, it is never "just" happening. It is always happening in a very specific way. For example, breathing. 

Let's try again. Breathe. Observe what is happening to you. Notice if your shoulders rise or stomach expands;  if your lips are open or pursed together. Are you breathing quickly or taking long, heavy breaths? 

No matter how you are doing it, you aren't just breathing. Each time your lungs are naturally filled up with air you are being allowed another moment to live, another moment to love and enjoy life. Don't take a single breath for granted.

I hope that you will embrace the day (I guess the evening, rather) with the mentality that nothing is "just."

-J

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The world around us is consistently changing. It experiences death but then creates life in a matter of seconds. There is constant growth and discovery and the same things never happen twice. Why, then, does it amaze me every time my own life changes? It could be because many times I don't control the change. Yet I have come to see that the greatest amazement comes from the results of my own decisions.
Life. 
Friends move away, family members pass, and we go on. But the minute we decide something that ends in a way we didn't expect, all is lost. The familiarity we had is no longer- our world slowly begins to crumble and then it all collapses. There is still hope, somewhere, but we can't find it. There is air to be breathed, places to be discovered and people to meet, yet we are incapable of seeing and feeling anything outside the physical pain this one, single decision has caused. 
It sucks. 
So what do you do? Do you stop making decisions and hope the world can make them for you? Do you shut yourself out completely and close off to everyone and everything that makes this world good? Maybe you continue with the world, but you become so incredibly cynical towards anything related to this decision that you are unbearable to be around.
No. 
You cry. You scream, you yell, you throw something (preferably not at someone). You talk to yourself because "no one understands you." You listen to sad songs so that you can cry some more. You fall to your knees and pray with all your might. And then, you pick yourself up. You wonder around aimlessly for a while, but you figure it out. Maybe you write about it, or paint, sing, dance, yodel, ANYTHING. 
You breathe.
You embrace the next opportunity you have to make a decision because not everyone in this world has the luxury of options. You chose, whatever it is your heart tells you to. And when you pick the wrong one... again... you start from the top. 

-J

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letters to Passengers on Flight 1581

Dear 11C,
Because of your inability to read the departure time on your plane ticket, we had to wait an extra 10 minutes for you and now I am stuck sitting on an airplane for more time than I intended.  I'm sure you're too self absorbed to care but I hate flying. Even more than flying, though, I hate sitting... on an airplane... that isn't going anywhere. My ass is now going to hurt for a longer period of time. Thanks a freaking lot.


Dear 10A,
I realize your daughter is only two years old, but I would really appreciate it if she would stop screaming. I mean, it's 7am and no one should have to hear something so shrill this early in the morning.  We are allowed two carry on items, but screaming children are strictly prohibited (it's in the fine print). She may take up less room than some of the carry ons, but if she's gonna scream the whole time, maybe you should have checked her with the suitcases... Just a thought. 


Dear 11E,
I'm very personable and can typically strike up and hold a conversation with anyone without issues. If someone wants to go out of their way to talk to me, I'm more than willing to comply and entertain them with small talk. But for the sake of all things holy, STOP TALKING! It's 7:30 in the morning and Satan's offspring in seat 10C has been screaming for the past 30 minutes. The last (and by last I mean the thing right before everyone on Earth dies) thing I want is to hear about your teenage grandkids that don't appreciate you. That's a little heavy, especially since this is a rather short flight, don't you think? My suggestion? Get a journal... or maybe even start a blog.

Sincerely,
11F

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey Facebook-Define Love

"Love is bullshit."
 -SMW
"Love is nonexistent."
-KC
"Love is simple."
-AS
"Love is blind."
  -LB
"Love is laborious."
   -LBP
"Love is magical."
-DM
"Love is necessary."
 -JL


I must say, I am intrigued by the diversity of definitions. The ones above are only a few. I also received fickle, addicting, and not f***ing worth it. How can one word be defined as so many things?


I understand the answers I received, however, I disagree. Love is undefinable. It's something you feel and believe in. I refuse to put something as huge and obviously diverse as love into a box and contain it. 
Our society, along with so many others, already defines too many things for us. As scary as it is at times, we have to do things ourselves and one of these things is to love.

It sucks sometimes. Like really really badly, but you gotta do it- the bullshit, the magic, the hard work and the simplicity. And be sure to really sit in moments in which you feel it's nonexistent because although I believe these moments to be the absolute worst pain one can endure, you can say you've seen the worst of it. After that, it may be hard work, bullshit, fickle, addicting, but it's there, in all of it awesomeness. And you better not let it go.

-J