Sunday, December 19, 2010


Hiya, Fine readers.

How are you all today?? I'm going to talk about 2 movies i recently saw, so if you want to see them without knowing about them first, maybe don't read this.

I hope I can work my way out of the pits. I feel much better today, and hopefully i can "do" much better today, but it's been a bad week with food.

And then i think and ask myself, "Michelle, if you use FOOD to express your feelings, then what else is going on in your life that may be causing you to feel 'out of control'?

Good question.


For one, cliff's mom is on death's door every other day. I didn't realize until just yesterday that this is probably causing me lots of stress, watching my Mother-in-Law die. It's heartbreaking and like a roller coaster ride. One day we think she's dying, the next she pulls through, etc.. This has been very hard on Cliff and he needs me right now.

Being supportive for Cliff is a must but it comes with tension. What is my role? I'm more assertively minded than he is. "Call the home and tell them you want a new dr today!!" He's more laid back...wait and see, and it causes friction between us. I try to get him to see he has to take more control of the reigns, but sometimes i just have to let go.

His laid back attitude "wait and see, wait and see!" also affects how i feel about him. I do not like it when he has no cajones. I get angry at him. He is doing his best with his mom and running there DAILY to feed her, but the entire situation with the home, the staff, i could just scream. Why aren't they working as hard as he is to save him mom? I want to rip her out of that home and find a new one for her. But, she likes it there, and Cliff wants to keep her in comfortable and familiar surroundings. It is something i get intensely frustrated over, and i have to just let it in his hands. I hope he makes the right moves. And then i think, if i don't trust him, what am I doing with him?? He couldn't be more dedicated and devoted to his mother, it's just his style to be more, much more RESERVED than i am. And then i realize that and i realize how much he loves me and i him and no couples have the same style when it comes to parenting or taking care of parents. Couples always have friction in these areas.

But, it's been a stress. And my answer to stress is to eat.

I also have alot of music i have to learn in the next few months. Upcoming engagements always fill me with tremendous anxiety.

I have a christmas concert today i'm singing in. I'm trying to let go of anxiety and allow the music to come through me.

I want to be perfect and i'm not. With every imperfect performance, I lose confidence in myself, in my abilities. I look at all of the parts i screwed up on, instead of all of the parts i did well.

Did you see the BLACK SWAN?


There are so many life/performance lessons in it about confidence and personal power and insanity and the power of sexual energy and passion and getting stabbed in the back and competition in the arts and insecurity and self destruction and fear and independance vs. dependance and eating disorders and self mutilation and letting go vs control and so many more.... A GREAT film!

The most memorable lesson in the movie for me was when Nina's hot french teacher says to her (because she is too controlled and too frightened to play the Black Swan): "The only person standing in your way is yourself. Let go, and let a miracle happen."

Let go. Let go.

This is what my singing teacher keeps telling me.

I get so tense when i sing. On those rare occassions when i allow myself to let go of tension and allow the singing to come through me, i can make miracles happen, too. The french teacher in the film also says this and it's so true: "All of the technique in the world won't help you if you can't let go."

The movie is such an interesting exploration of so many themes i can relate to.

Another stress has been that my pianist is often passive aggressive and not very encouraging and supportive. This causes me pain. I should be more direct with him about telling me what's bothering him so that i don't have to experience what feels like abuse.

The more i write this, the more i realize just how much has been bothering me.

I also have a new opera starting rehearsals in 10 days. I'm somewhat prepared for it. The role is small and i've sung it twice before, so i shouldn't be that concerned about it, but, again, i want to be perfect. I have to learn from the Swan movie, that i just have to let go, let God, just trust, and relax. Do my work, study the music, work on what Dolores is teaching me, but then let go.

INSERTED LATER [I also have to learn the intense POWER of REHEARSAL and in SACRIFICING for one's art. You can't get GOOD if you don't put a LOT of DAILY WORK into it.]

After that opera, i have a HUGE role to relearn in one month - not that much time. i have to relearn it by feburary - feb is not that far off - and i'm quite concerned. i mean, i KNOW the role, but relearning it with my new teacher is also a HUGE stress. I did the role pretty freakin' fabulous before. I have to remember to not lose what i learned from my old teacher that worked for me.

As a matter of fact, the fact that i'm taking lessons from a new teacher has ALSO been a very big stress. She IS trying to teach me to just let go, drop the tension, and just allow myself to sing, so i KNOW there is hope for this direction of work together because i have done some amazing singing, better than EVER in her studio. What she is teaching me, it is exactly what i need. But she has in many ways, 'pulled the rug out from under me." My old teacher showed me how to "control" my technique. My new teacher is trying to take away my control. She wants to take me to the NEXT level and take away all of my crutches and all of my unnecessary tensions. It is a challenging process and within it, i have become more and more insecure in my ability to perform, because i have difficulty letting go and keep continually failing in performance to sing as well as i do in my lessons. Then, i go to my lesson feeling badly for having so-so perforamnces, and end up having the most incredible lesson where i've never sung BETTER! Wonderful lessons are exhilerating, but so-so performances are heart crushing. [I need to practice more.] Feeling that i need to rely on a teacher to sing well and that i can't yet do it on my own causes me undo stress also because i still have to perform and i've come to the point where i KNOW it won't be good enough now. I'm beginning to expect failure on my own. [I have to practice more.]

You know what? I just need to work more and stop complaining. I don't practice enough. If i want independance then i have to work at it. [There you go. I have to practice more.]

In the Black Swan, Nina's teacher, a hot womanizing frenchman, is trying to show her that she has it within her to push herself past her limitations, to let all of her passion out when she performs instead of being so controlled. My teacher is trying to do the same thing.

But it's scary. And i need to express my fears instead of eat over them. What good is it if i rely on food to allay my terrible insecurities??? I feel very much like Nina, the Swan, who begins to pick at her skin and cut herself and experience a complete mental breakdown as she tries to "let go" with her art. Two nights ago, at my rehearsal with my accompanist, i sang a high note poorly, so later on, I asked my accompanist if we could do that section again. (wanted to actaully DO what my teacher told me and when singing the high note, just "let go" and drop all tension.) Well, i did it, brilliantly! It felt so good, so free, and my accompanist said he got chills!!! Then he said he thought it was "a fluke", and questioned the direction i'm going in with my teacher. I came home severely distressed and ate. CAN i do that again, let go and allow the miracle to happen, or was it just a fluke? And do i have to eat over it just because his questioning my direction was distressful and unpleasant? Do I have to be supported by EVERYONE? Can't i handle a little irritation without eating??

Facing other people's opinions is a terrible challenge, sometimes. The Black Swan is ripe with backstabbing and gossip and underhanded actions and underhanded compliments and motives and insecurities and aging in art and questions about who to trust. Who DO you trust??? It's sometimes HARD to figure out just WHO to listen to, which direction to go in...

I actually trust my teacher. How amazingly i sing in my lessons gives me hope for the future some day. It's ME i don't trust, that i can accomlish it. [That has to change. I need to practice more.] I need to work more, and work more on my terribly lacking confidence. Confidence!!! [There you go. WORK MORE.]

Sometimes i think i should run back to my old teacher, who had me singing at a very good level... But, it was not 'free.' Yet, in trying to achieve freedom in my sound with my new teacher, i've experienced a collapse of many things i worked for years for, like a low larynx and an engaged diaphragm. Yet, something in me says that this new direction is worth it, that i will get there,...but it will TAKE TIME, will take PRACTICE...will take CONFIDENCE..and BALLS to actually relax and allow all of that to happen, naturally, instead of forcing it. My old teacher taught me to force. I may have to get through some imperfect and forced singing until i realize i CAN let go and relax, and learn to get good at trusting the new way. Basically, i have to teach my body to let go of order to achieve control of my voice. Perplexing but true.

It begs the question with food. I'm in severe distress about what to do now with food. "Let go of order to achieve it." What does that mean in terms of my food? Do i implement severe rigidity again? Or is rigidity and discipline exactly what i need??? Do I learn to "let go" and "trust my body"...and just eat what i want and forget about raw??? Or submit to a discipline that I know has worked for me?

Another thing that really has been bothering me is - if i do indeed have the ability to go professional with singing. Everything is against me, my escalating age and weight, but, YES, i have the voice, no doubt. But can i control it or learn to let go of control, learn to MASTER MYSELF in time to really DO something?

There is talk lately about really successful opera singers having a tough exterior and a nervous system that can handle severe stress. I am delicate, i really can't handle much without breaking down, and i have a jelly interior and exterior. One person says something to me negative and i crumble.

I so lack confidence.

Insecurity haunts me.

[I need to meditate more. I need to practice more. I need to want it more and stop complaining.] Yet, i remind myself that many of the best most talented people who have achieved great success in their fields have battled terrible insecurity and addiction.

All of this eating has so much to do with the mental state i am in this week - very, very depressed, very, very hopeless on so many levels. I guess these demons have always been at my door. Finding pleasure and stimulation in food has become a habit. I need to find a new way to cope.

Does the EATING cause the depression and the mental breakdown?? Or does the depression and the mental breakdown cause the eating???

The role I have for February is Lady Macbeth. Do you know Shakespeare? Verdi took Shakespeare's words and turned them into a masterpeice opera. The Lady is a heavy duty role and the music is NOT easy, but i can do it. I did it VERY WELL with my old teacher. Now, CAN i do it with my new one? Maybe if i relax and trust [and practice the new way], i can do it better than i did it before. That is the hope, but i seem to let myself down repeatedly recently. Can i let go and turn the tide? [practice more.]

All of this eating is a huge expression of nerves, sadness, lack of confidence, insecurity, fear, the list goes on and on. Poor singing is also a barometer or how i'm feeling. The soul sings. The sad soul can't sing.

And gaining weight makes me feel like the biggest failure on the planet, too. And not feeling able to get my food back under control makes me feel the same way.

How do i get my food back in control? 811? Raw Gourmet? Vegan? Vegetarian? Eat whatever the hell i want? Legalization? Weight Watchers? OA? What will work? In a state like this, i feel like NOTHING will work. How do i harness my power to succeed?

There are other stresses in my life, too.

I feel a tug of war between Cliff and my mother. He wants me to stay home with him. She wants me there with her. Now Cliff has not been feeling well and is worried about his health and he needs my help with eating better. Why is his eating better my responsibility? Men have become too used to their mother's cooking for them. I have to cook for my mother, too, that's been my responsibility for her, since she doesn't do it for herself. I feel so much co-dependance going on. Where is the line drawn between helping someone and them growing dependant on you? Do i have to take care of everyone? I'm going downhill. I need someone to take care of ME!

[I realize now that Cliff needs my support as his mother is dying.]

My mother is doing better this week and maybe she can let go of me a little and do more on her own? She has been. She's had a solid week of being active. It seems the time for rest is fadig and she's growing into the next stage of recouperation. She is not just lounging around the house, moping, feeling depressed and exhausted anymore. Her mood is much much better and she's able to accomplish more. Bravo, Mommy.

I added another day at work. I want to add more. Work at Arnold's is a pure raw joy and if i'm busy and not bored there, i thrive. Arnold's is such a magical place. Dustin and Meredith came from COLORADO to visit! What raw inspirations they are!

I used to be a raw inspiration. I still could be one if i could clear away all of this fog and actually become disciplined and work at it.

I'm thinking about getting a real cooking job somewhere. I CRAVE stimulation. EATING Food has been substituting for WORK stimulation. I need to get busy. Can i get busy MAKING food...and get PAID for it? Or should i just throw myself into my singing and practice at LEAST an hour a day?

Bills, bills, bills. Money is a stress, too. When you don't work and take care of others, you don't bring in the bacon. I have to take care of MYSELF better.

Some days i feel like the scarecrow in the wizard of oz. you know that scene on the yellow brick road where the scarecrow gets an arm pulled off, then a leg, then the other arm? I feel like i'm being pulled by everyone else in so many directions that i don't even know who i am. I feel like i want to throw myself into a job i love and let that help me to do better with myself. Hanging out at the Retirement Village with my parents is not stimulating.

Cliff and i also saw the movie, "The Fighter," which was not a very well made film, but had some really nice life lessons in it that were paralell to the Swan about confidence, about finding your personal power, about practice/rehearsal/discipline/sacrifice, about trust, about questioning who is really supporting you... And....about addiction.

Feeling very much like an addict lately, i could really relate to the crack-addicted brother in the film. A washed up Has-Been, he's constantly promising everyone he's going to make his come back into boxing. And then in the very next scene, he's back at the crack house getting high and missing important appointments that could help him and his brother, an up-and-coming boxer, himself.

Watching the crack-head brother self destruct, i saw myself. Food and binge eating have become my drug again and i'll do anything to get some food, even if it means my life is going down the tubes. My raw inspiration story is cooked. I'm getting fatter and fatter. Everytime i get in and out of the car, it's harder and harder to squeeze myself out and in. Yoga on Thursdays is a joy, but all of this extra weight on me reminds me of when it used to be easy.

This week has just been a wash out. I stopped writing Megan daily. I've not been able to stay on any plan and i'm just eating all of the time, feeling hopeless and frightened for myself, where i will take this. Back to 425? Maybe 450 this time?

I saw where the black swan took it. She had to die in order to achieve artistic perfection and allow her passion to take over her dancing. I don't want to die.

If my life is too stressful that it's causing me to self destruct, then, I have to learn to handle stress better and meditate more or change my life. Get a more alkeline diet. Work the Secret. I can't keep doing what i'm doing. This doesn't work.

I saw the brother in "The Fighter" overcome his crack addiction and go on to success, to creating something wonderful and powerful within himself and for his brother.

What do i want? To eat non stop and kill myself? Or to overcome my demons and MASTER MYSELF and become the person i so want to be - the successful singer, the succcessful former binge eater, the successful formerly obese person...the successful raw foodist?

I wake up and say, "I'm going to only eat bananas for the rest of this week." And then i'm in the kitchen eating bread and butter, like 10 peices of bread and a 1/2 stick of butter.

Try, try again.

Once i do that, i feel excited and rebellious and triumphant in "doing what i want." Wow, isn't that great? After i walk down the block and my legs rub together or i can't fit in the car anymore i realize what i want is sick and not the best thing for me and it confirms what a failure and fuck up i am and i say, 'fuck this" and just eat all day. [There is ALOT to say for DISCIPLINE and PRACTICE in ALL THINGS. If I want raw, i have to practice it.]

In that kind of state, the worse i feel physically, the more i eat. I start to smell and leave the house a mess and litter my car with food wrappers all over and i say to myself, "you are a peice of disgusting shit."

But i know i'm not. I'm the Swan. I just don't always act like it.

After watching both movies yesterday, i recognized myself in both leading roles. I suffer terribly from lack of confidence like Nina and Micky. I keep getting knocked down, like the both of them also. I suffer from depression and maybe some sort of mental illness like Nina, and terrible insecurity like both characters, making success seem elusive.

Success has felt...ELUSIVE.

But both of these movies end on a high note. Nina becomes the swan. She achieves artistic perfection! (But at what cost? Her life.) Her teacher KNEW she had it in her and she proves it to him. "I felt it," she says with her dying breath. And Dicky and Micky win fight after fight.

Triumph. Achievement. Success! They didn't THINK they could do it, but somewhere deeeeep down inside, they KNEW they had it in them.

I know i have it in me.

I just have to act like it. I know it is within me to succeed. "The only person standing in my way is myself. Let go and watch the miracle happen."

xoxo michelle joy

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Do you think the ending to Black Swan was just another hallucination? Dan and I saw it and came out frustrated not getting answers to any thing. Maybe that's what the producer had in mind.