Posts Tagged ‘art’

Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.


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Just before I left my new home in Austin to return to NYC for two weeks, I received a Facebook invite from a friend there, Stav Equality Meishar. Since I get around ten invitations a day on facebook, much of it not even remotely near where I live, or could feasibly attend, this was no big thing. In fact, I most likely wouldn’t have even noticed it if it hadn’t included a personal message that this event had made her think of me, specifically. Intrigued, I opened the event page at exactly 12:01pm on April 7th, 2013 to find that it was in fact a notice to audition for what looked like a Cirque troupe here in Austin. An audition that in fact had started just one minute before I opened the invite on that very day.

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

“Too bad I missed it, looks kind of cool,” was my first thought. Then, “well, I don’t have plans today…but I also don’t have a way to get there, or anything prepared.” Again, “well it looked interesting, maybe in the future.” Then, I told a friend of a friend who was staying in our apartment about it as I fixed my coffee. And suddenly I had the offer of a ride, just like that.  Wait, what?  “No, I’m not going, it already started.  I don’t have anything prepared.”

And that’s when I realized that I was saying “no.” I didn’t need a perfected audition piece, I had dozens of sequences on my trapeze, stage presence, a love of improvising dances on my apparatus, and I could RSVP to the audition and see if they still had any spots open for me to come in. To which I received an almost immediate “yes” back. And suddenly I was committed. I was auditioning for a troupe. Which was fine, I could always try it and see if it was for me, I could always say “no” later, in other words.

Somewhere around the part where we improvised physical theater with each other, I had decided these might be my kind of people. Yes, I was that stubborn about it. It wasn’t until the day that the cast was to be announced and I was anxiously checking my email that I really owned that I wanted to be a part of this group. And it wasn’t until two weeks later, back in Austin and attending rehearsals, timidly trying to learn the awesome dance skills other people were bringing to the table that I started to understand my own resistance and why this opportunity was so special.

The Great Circus of Cats

See, I hadn’t truly been a part of a group, a whole heart committed, 3-4+ days a week of rehearsals kind of group in five years. I’d dipped my toe into being a part of a circus group in NYC just before I left, but I’d never been able to participate much more than showing up for performances with my own act. I was overbooked, and that felt like all they needed from me anyways. That left my own theater group, which I’d disbanded exhausted, wanting more experience and more time to create my own work, five years prior. On my way to NYC, I learned that I was a core member of the troupe Crash Alchemy back in Austin TX and that we’d be putting on a show in just 5 weeks, on May 18th.

Okay, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I would be dancing and acting and creating and trapezing. I wanted to be a part of building this group, of creating something together. I’d fallen into a family of people who somehow magically wanted to make the kind of things that I wanted to make. And it had all almost happened by accident.  Or maybe by sheer force of the Universe reminding me to say “yes” and stop being so stubborn all the time. It was okay to commit to this. I was more creative, making more art in my life, not less. And the people in the group were there for each other, talented and into the vision of working in multiple disciplines. I think somehow I’d believed that I couldn’t find another group I’d love as much as my hand selected theater group years before. And I’d believed that committing to a group again would stunt my own work again. At the same time, I kept craving and wondering why I couldn’t find community in NYC.  Well, no wonder when I’m this gun shy about commitment, huh.  Head. Trapeze Bar.

May 18th has come and gone with spectacle and love and just more and more amazing talent, community and group love and support.   I am learning what it means to be a part of the right creative family for me, ups and downs, exhaustion and success.  And I wholeheartedly love it and am honored to be a part of it.

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann


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WARNING:  This post has lots of cool links…

I used to think that I needed to pick something and focus on it.  To pick one skill, one love, one talent and put everything I have into it with hopes of becoming the best.  I used to think that was success.  Being the best.

Fast forward past years of torturing myself over the knowledge that one can never really be ‘the best.’  And realizing that even in the unlikely event that you are say, Lady Gaga, a gold medal Olympian or what have you…that moment of best-ness is at best fleeting.  Man, no wonder I have depression.*

Lately, I’ve taken the “make small steps daily in all of your interests” approach to designing the life of my dreams.  I call it the Get Out of the Night Club Plan.  Every week I put real effort into each of 6 major projects.  And I have papers posted in my living room to document my progress.  Each week I do small things in each category, but real, productive and consistent things.  And I’m happy to say that its paying off!  Almost all of my projects are gaining in recognition and interest, some of them are even starting to pay a little.  I’m having fun because pay or no pay, I’ve decided that this is my work.  So I’m doing things I love for work.  I have a good feeling about this.

Last night, as I surveyed my progress over dinner, I realized that my output was starting to look like an artistic empire.  Something Kim Kardashian or Britney Spears would approve of.  After all, I have the beginnings of a jewelry line, an upcycled art line, a fire trapeze invention, a performance career, multiple blogs, an internet presence, a fiction project, and a few other surprises in the works.  “Damn girl,” I said to myself.  Indeed, why should the celebrities have all the fun?

I’m reading the $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau and so far its like having someone tell me, “yes, yes, you’re doing it right!”  Kind of makes me wonder where I got that whole “you can only focus on one thing” limiting idea in the first place.  I mean, I’ve always been a multitasker.  In high school, I’m not even sure I knew what extracurricular activity I was supposed to be at and when.  Same with Sarah Lawrence.  These were also some of the happiest, most productive times in my life.  Seems I get a bit bored and cranky when I try to be too focused.  I need side projects to stay motivated across all platforms.

And the good news is that means that one or more of my projects is more likely to be a success.  Because I’m putting out there what I think people might want and what I’m passionate about…but I can’t actually know what people will be passionate about, so might as well put out more than less, right? As long as I’m still putting out in each area, of course.  And as long as someone can keep me organized.  I personally have a lovely friend who works a couple of hours a week as my assistant to keep my crazy mind on track.  And it’s totally worth it.  I also pay someone else to do my laundry, which costs the same as 2 dinners out/month.  Again, it’s totally worth it.  Because then I get to do more fun stuff, like make this:

Necktie Coffee Sleeve at


*Just kidding, I know I have depression because my brain chemistry is all fucocked.  But I write this to clean up some of the messes my brain chemistry left all over my thoughts.

Oh, and here’s some cupfuls of kitten:

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Dear Ms. Universe,

There have been times in my life where you’ve just smashed me over the head until I understood what you are trying to tell me.  Usually a whole host of ugly, bad things happen because I’m stubborn and trying to make something work that won’t.  I don’t mean an “I should keep trying and not give up” type of scenario.  I mean a “that’s nice that you think you’re stuck or have to do it this way, but hello, dummy it’s not working” kind of thing.  Usually just accepting that I’m on the wrong path opens up a whole host of opportunities, because you are a good Universe when we listen.  Like when I couldn’t go back to Greensboro College because of money.  I got nominated for an Irene Ryan award, traveled to Oxford School of Drama, seriously boosted my employment experience and then got to go to Sarah Lawrence College, which was really a perfect fit for me.  You really did know best, when I finally listened.

So now, I’m in a similar place.  My current night club job is no longer working for me.  The late hours, some negative energy, my exhaustion levels…not conducive to the launch of my amazing circus career!  Its getting harder and harder to train working the graveyard shift.  I want you to know, my friend, I hear you.  I am getting the message.  I think I should be awake at relatively the same time as the sun.  I mean, I’m not talking 7 am, let’s not get crazy people.  But, going to bed at 3-5am is getting way old as I get older.  And my body is feeling it.

At the same time, I need to make a certain income.  And I don’t want to take a step down to some $15/hour over-worked, sell out thing that I can’t be at all passionate about.  I know, I’m stubborn. But I’m also building a trapeze and writing career that are actually getting some attention and momentum and I need a certain level of fulfillment, flexibility and time to accomplish those things.  So what’s a girl on the cusp of hitting the tipping point towards her dreams to do in the meantime?  I’m genuinely confused. Do, dear Universe, enlighten me.

Well, what’s a personal growth blog like this for, but to ask advice?  So, here it is.  I’m looking for part time or freelance gigs in the following areas, or a job that can support me in those areas.  And I’m asking you dear blogosphere for your feedback, or connections, or maybe just a virtual hug. ;)

Projects I’m currently working on that are making various levels of progress:

-Upcycled art and curated jewelry design: (http://cirquecouture.storenvy.com/  or  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Erinina7)

-Fire Trapeze, Burlesque Trapeze, Theatrical Aerial, Performance Art Aerial, Silks: (www.erininamarieness.com)

-Writing and blogging: (here, quixoticfiction.wordpress.com, unabashedlyyou.wordpress.com and a private blog with some interestingly more edgy, underground NYC stuff too)

-SEO, Social Media, Etc: I have been learning a ton about this stuff, learning curve only to improve.  This has been like my homework and fun reading for the last few months.

-I love food, food politics, how nutrition affects different people different ways, and ways to move and workout to keep your body healthy

Jobs that I think would be a good fit:

-Teaching kids aerial, teaching all ages theater/performance workshops-also available on aerial.

-Performing my stuff, for now: static, dance trapeze, burlesque trapeze and silks.  Fire coming very, very soon.

-Writing for Ezines, publications, web content that falls into my areas of ability and interest (fantasy fiction, happiness/self-help/inspiration articles, reviews of theater, food or events, underground NYC tales, travel)

-A part time, positive environment, afternoon office job where I can write as long as my work is done, & no customers are there.

-Travel gig.  Writing about travel, small trips or big.  Reviewing places, etc.  Not looking for 24/7 on a plane like a flight attendant.  ;)

-Places where I can learn/practice skills I love as an additional benefit to the qualifications I bring to my job (rowing, sailing, circus, fitness, physical theatre, burlesque, art making)

-Part time, flexible, good pay.  Sorry, I’m 32 and do have a lot of skills, and a lot of bills…not looking for internships or entry-level stuff.

-A book advance on one of my various projects (no idea how that works, do you?).

-I also have a very small amount of money that I would invest in the right Start-up.  Small amount and right Start-up are the key words here.

Experience I bring to the table:

-Management (of people and spaces)

-Theater Direction/Coaching


-Burlesque/Go Go Dance



-Social networking, Promotion



-Customer Service


So, there you go Universe…I’m putting it out there.  I need a new part time gig.  Probably an interesting combination of part time/freelance gigs.  Trying to keep an open mind.

Your friend,


Image Source: http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/Zwrench/God-Cat.jpg

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Warning.  I don’t do this often.  But, I’m about to get all hippie spiritual on you all.  Seeing as how its all true, I think its worth sharing, but you have been warned.

Monday night I had an actual enlightened experience.  Or a spiritual hallucination.  Or…something.

A little background: Sometimes, when I’m not doing anything else, or if the mood strikes me, I check in with what others probably call energy work.  I don’t know if its something special I can do, or something anyone can do if they’re taught, but this little game started for me when I was a little girl having nightmares.  One of my parents or maybe some combination of my parents told me to ask Jesus to fill me up with the holy spirit to keep bad things away.  In my head this meant light and love.  And when I did it, some crazy stuff happened.  I could feel my body heating up, my self being filled with light, and on good days, I could actually fill my room or the whole house with this energy.  I can feel it, sense it…see it in my mind’s eye.  It helped with nightmares, it helped with energy from bad people.  It was interesting.  It was mainly something I played with when I was upset or bored or whatever.  And whatever place I seemed to be in physically, mentally and spiritually seemed to affect how able I was to fill myself with the energy, much less send it to someone else or fill a room.  That’s all it really was for me.

Until one day in college.  A night drinking and hanging out, some friends professed to being able to read auras.  And aura reading each other became a fun game.  Being me, I decided to secretly do an experiment with this game.  When they decided to read my aura, I closed my eyes, filled myself with the light and love (at this point, I no longer had a Christian interpretation for this energy, it was just pure love) and then slowly started filling the room with the ‘energy and light.’  When I was done, I opened my eyes and one of the aura readers was crying, and the other one was looking at me in total shock and awe…and my boyfriend of the time ran out of the house and later told me he thought I was some kind of freaky celestial being.  Talk about impressionable youth!  But since I’d sort of doubted whether they could actually read auras, much less my specific type of energy, this was very interesting.  It added some aspect of reality and credence to my experience.

But this story is only to give some background to the game.  Which I was playing Monday night when I couldn’t sleep.  I also seemed to have a lot of the energy and light Monday night.  It was exploding out of me (my heart chakra?) so hard I was near tears myself at the beauty.  And that is when the vision started.

It was like the Universe was talking to me in pictures.  But, I’ll translate.

You are a beautiful twisting tree.  You are meant to stretch and grow and always reach for the light of the sun.

Do not waste your time worrying about whether you are doing the right or good thing.

If you are following your true higher bliss, your heart’s truest desire, the good will take care of itself.

For instance, as you grow, your branches may form shade that someone may take shelter under.  But you cannot try to grow in order to make shelter or you will lose the sun and shrivel.

For instance, your branches may be cut off for someone’s use, but if you try to hide from this to avoid the pain, you will not feel the glorious rain and you will dry out.

All you have to worry about is living and growing and following your truest desires and love.  Do not let fear hold you back. 

When you do this, the means and the way will always be clear, and who and what you need will come to you. 

When you worry about how to do this, you will constantly be struggling, looking for something from every encounter with someone else, like a trader or a thief.

Just grow.  And twist.  Move and love.  Seek the light and the joy and worry over nothing else.

Of course, this hardly does the vision justice.  But it was beautiful, and seemed to lift a huge burden off of me.  The biggest part was knowing that if I’m following my heart’s truest desire, it is not selfish.  I am already doing good in the world.  Maybe just by showing others that they can do so too.


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Its amazing what baby steps can accomplish.  2 years.  Times of giving up, feeling pretty apathetic.  So many battles to find the right materials, rehearsal space, manufacturers, equipment.  2 years.  And I made this.


It’s real fire.  Its really me, on my very own invention.  It’s a dream realized.  And the funny thing is, after accomplishing it, it all seems so easy.  Because now I know how to do it.  But it wasn’t easy (really, its still not easy), and it wouldn’t even exist without some pretty amazing people who believed in me, my idea and pushed and picked me up when I was feeling defeated.  People who’s knowledge is also going to keep this project from killing me.  ;)

Big thanks to Darrell O’pry and Miguel Caceres, Circus Warehouse and The Muse for all of your expertise and support.  And big apologies if you follow me everywhere and have seen this announcement and photo plastered on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m like a teenager in first love.  I want to shout it on top of mountains.  :)

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I can’t believe it.  Seriously, I just blew my own mind.  I am so self-critical and judgemental that I actually get mad at myself for ‘wasting so much time’ working each day.  That’s right, some little voice in my head is yelling at me for taking the time everyday to write, learn, promote and generally keep up with the businesses that I am working on.

In all fairness, I think this voice is screaming at me because it wants to be flying, and conditioning at home (no matter how awesome my body looks) isn’t meeting its needs.  But, if you could hear this voice, you’d think I was just watching TV and drinking mimosas all day.  Not that that’s never happened mind you.  In point of fact, I think that this voice comes from periods in my life when I do little more than watch my Netflix queue, shift from guzzling coffee to wine around 5 and troll Facebook ‘liking’ people’s posts in a lonely attempt to feel connected.  Because that’s what I do when I get depressed.  And depression is a thing for me.  A battle that I’m so glad I have Zoloft to help me fight now.  Zoloft and this blog.  Because sharing my strategies in this battle might hopefully help someone else to win the war too.

So then, this voice is a throw back.  An unheeded warning cry if you will.  Screaming into my psyche that spending too much time on my computer, alone in my apartment, in my comfy bed, means I’m not fulfilling my goals.  But this is kind of the great thing!  I’m not depressed.  I’m actively trying to reach my goals.  I’m showing up to the page each day to write.  I’m researching marketing and internet concepts.  I’m trying things out, failing, and keeping at it.  I’m learning how to create, run and manage my online store.  I’m consolidating my ‘brands.’  I’m working.  And I happen to enjoy the fact that I can do this from my bed before I even put clothes on!  How great is that!  I love it!  I enjoy it so much that the first thing I do in the morning (after pouring coffee) is check out my internet presence to make a plan for the day.  I’m not mindlessly trolling through Facebook like an outsider.  I’m checking up on my community, looking for role models, just writing.  How cool!

But as Lisa Neumann says, that screaming voice (whining teenager, inner critic, child, pessimist, whichever one it is) needs to be heard.  I suspect that its distinctly possible that it is screaming because in past moments of depression it went unheard.  But it is also possible that my body is crying out for my passion, my trapeze.  Because writing and working takes time out of training.  And I’ve had to work more hours at the bar lately, so its hard to find the time to commute to the gym.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m training my butt off at home with some pretty awesome tools, but I don’t yet have my trapeze up, so I miss being in the air 5 days a week.  And I deeply miss my aerial family.  I need to listen to this voice a little bit, reassure it, come up with a plan.  Maybe I really should consider going out of my apartment sometimes to work, or setting ‘official work hours.’  And I do have a super stellar practice scheduled for Wednesday on my fire apparatus!   But I think that I also need to find the voice inside me that honors my very real work.  My cheerleader voice.



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