Make Yourself Happy – Acting Without The Drama

Laurie and Mark selfie from the Pantages Theater
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Small seats big hearts. We’re waiting for Motown to start at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

Make Yourself Happy – Dang it!

Ok, raise your hand if you have EVER been tired of the concept, ‘You need to make YOURSELF happy’.

Here’s me.

Out loud with fake smile: Of COURSE we should make ourselves happy!

Under breath: When is someone FINALLY going to care about making ME happy the way *I* go out of my way to make everyone ELSE happy???

Now I realize, this isn’t the MOST attractive sentiment I’ve ever shared in my quest for truth, justice and a way without chips, but nice or not, it was right there, underneath a multitude of my eating episodes as well under my public masks.

It was part of the cry of “Pathetic” from day 4, when I wondered if ANYONE would EVER comment. It was there when I was disappointed, yet again, by my family, my spouse, my life, my BCs, my cat, my little universe. It seems to me, that all good things were happy accidents, and all disappointments were to be expected.

That’s right. I EXPECTED at all times to be disappointed, and so I was.

How and why did this become the norm? That’s part of the therapeutic process. We go back into history and trace some of the reasons why little Laurie would develop a life view incorporating:

  1. The need to do EVERYTHING on her own
  2. The distrust of others to take care of her needs
  3. The feeling that HER needs were shameful and it was pathetic to admit them

And I’m not surprised after many years of therapy, especially my last year of therapy in conjunction with this show, I have much clarity around the origins of my disappointment surety. Guess what? The origin makes no difference. However it got there, I’m left with a wrong-headed and dysfunctional stance that DOES NOT serve me, my dreams or my relationships. Ok, so now we know this isn’t a good thing. Just stop it, right?

Hahaha!

Just put the freakin’ food down. Eat less, move more. Get thin. Solved.

Nope.

Just as I learned that for me, eating less and moving more would never solve my actual problem, I learned that knowing facts in my head will never solve my emotional problem. I need to learn and relearn from experience.

Just as intuitive eating is a long road of retraining my brain and body about food and how and why I eat, learning to ‘Make MYSELF Happy’ is a long road of discovering what happy actually is.

What’s Happy?

Laurie in her pajamas holds Tiger the orange cat in her arms. He looks sleepy and content.

Tiger aggressively let me know HE wanted to cuddle first thing in the morning. He longs to be held, but he also actively cuddles back. Tiger is the very definition of unconditional love and a joyful creature to be in a relationship with.

Tiger the cat is happy! He’s happy in this photo because he wanted to be held, and WOULD NOT STOP pawing, rubbing my leg, purring at me with little hopeful meows until I picked him up and cuddled him.

Well Laurie, isn’t this an example of YOU making him happy then?

That is exactly what I used to think. But I realized that Tiger, demonstrated some great tenants of making ourselves happy:

  1. He knew what he wanted
  2. He went for it
  3. He didn’t give up
  4. Once he got what he wanted, he took the time to relish it

Yes, but YOU gave IN to Tiger and picked him up. What if you DISAPPOINTED him by not picking him up? Tiger, would either have gone to Mark or found a blanket or a sunny place. Tiger would not waste time being disappointed that *I* didn’t fulfill his needs.

If you study this photo of us, what’s your first impression?

Are you thinking:

  • “Wow, you look FAT in that photo. What an unflattering angle!”
  • “Man, you sure have a double (or triple) chin!”
  • “Your hair isn’t combed”
  • “Oh God, another stupid cat picture”
  • “Look at that skin damage”
  • “Why would you PUBLISH a photo from first thing in the AM when you look all wonky?”

I bet you’ve guessed that all of the above isn’t really what I think YOU might be thinking, but rather MY fear and negative brain. But even if some of you have some of these thoughts, what *I* see, is love. Tiger doesn’t care about my hair, my age, my skin quality, my fashion sense, or my weight. Tiger and I have a relationship. It goes deeper than me having access to the all important cat chow too. Every time I see Tiger and he interacts with me, I tell him, “I’m Sooo happy to see you” and I pet him, or play with him, or hold him, or kiss his furry little cat tummy, because he is the one cat in one thousand who likes this. I brush him, I trim his nails, I rub his feet (again a rare cat to like THAT) and sing him songs featuring his name.

Now, nothing too remarkable about me loving my cat and feeling that my cat loves me back, most crazy cat ladies would say the same, but what IS remarkable, is that due to this relationship, I can see my photo without the negative talk I bullet pointed for you. I can see my photo and think “love”.

Hmm, you are SURE going a round about way to your point Laurie, IF YOU HAVE ONE.

Happy is Love

There’s my point, right there, in the subhead, want to see it again? Here, I’ll feature it in quotes.

Happy is Love

I didn’t need to look socially thin, young and beautiful for the photo to make me happy. I remembered and felt the love. The love made me happy.

Take a look at the photo of Mark and me at the Pantages Theater at the top of this post. You KNOW I’m squeezed into a terrible seat of torture in this historic theater. My hair isn’t combed, the lighting isn’t great, we don’t look like spring chickens. And yet, I look happy.

Why’s that, you getting better at ACTING Laurie?

No.

Despite the discomfort, I was sharing a moment with Mark. We were building our relationship. We were out having an experience. And, I didn’t know it then, but we had hope to see a great show (and we did). I felt love and confidence. I didn’t need to fit in the seat, or have good hair, or a diamond necklace or even a dry martini to be happy. I was happy because of the love.

Fine, but WHAT about Making YOURSELF Happy?

Hold your horses, I’m getting there. 😉

Both of these examples show me being happy because of shared love. Once with Tiger, once with Mark. And to be honest, I always assumed that ‘Making MYSELF Happy’ meant I had to be happy going to the show by myself. To not care if Mark was there. I assumed that ‘Making MYSELF Happy’ in the context of this blog and my podcast meant that I didn’t have to care AT ALL whether you commented or participated. That I had to sing tra la tra la in the face of crickets and be stoic and write for the joy of writing and record my thoughts for the joy of recording. I hated “Making MYSELF Happy” as a concept, because I never could. It felt like an impossible lie. How can I LOVE blogging if there aren’t comments? How can I love trucking up the mountain and baring my heart if I’m nothing but background noise to listeners? It’s plain my idea of love is in the sharing of ideas, in the two-way communication.

AND this blog and this show go through many ups and downs. It’s been challenging to me. There are people who love it and participate and then burn out. There are folks who are busy from time to time, there are folks who move on or disappear. There are times when I feel I was really stupid or didn’t write or speak well, and the comments and calls come flying. Other times I feel I’ve opened a vein, and…nothing.

Can’t tell. Can’t have expectations. And I bet you can guess just how much a compulsive brain loves THAT right?

Nothing I can do or not do.

This latest dry patch has been occurring since I braved the storm and recorded Day 111. Part of THAT show’s theme was enjoying the process. And I shared how what makes the SLOG of creating this show and blog so wonderful and worthwhile to me is hearing from you.

Wow, THAT was scary. I admitted a need. Out loud.

And….

:::crickets:::

BAM! Threw me right into my pathetic, needy place, right, RIGHT?

:::Shocked Realization:::

Nope. It didn’t.

I didn’t feel like recording right away to “get it right”. I didn’t feel like writing about my feelings. I felt like…studying my voice acting.

WAH?

That’s right.

I felt like increasing my skill with my voice.

I found a WONDERFUL podcast called Acting Without the Drama by Ben Hopkin. It is chock full of acting and breathing technique. Here’re the deets.

Acting Without the Drama Podcast on USA iTunes (or search for it in your country’s iTunes or visit Ben Hopkin’s website).

I started just going for walks every day. Not for calories to burn. Not to record. Not to even ponder about MY life. Just to get fresh air and learn something new. And one thing I learned is that ‘feeling fat’ doesn’t MEAN I am fatter than normal. Check it out.

Laurie seen from the mirror

Q. Why or why are you snapping selfies in the park ladies’ room?
A. Because I DID NOT look at fat as I felt at that moment! (And I’m wearing the skinny-for-me 18Ws again)

I saw myself in the mirror and I felt…

LOVE

:::gasp:::

I worked on my voice acting and singing and I felt…

LOVE

:::gasp:::

I told Mark what I wanted the other day, and he didn’t feel the same. I said ok, and worked on my voice exercises instead and felt..

LOVE

:::gasp:::

I had fewer comments* to answer so I went for walks and learned new things and I felt…

LOVE

:::gasp:::

Like Tiger, I FINALLY learned how to make myself happy. Be clear with what you want and need and be persistent. But if that doesn’t happen JUST as you would like, go find yourself a nice place in the sun, create some joy and feel the love.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

*PS, Thank you Dave and Dawny for your multiple comments during this timeframe

PSS, the TECHNICAL TROUBLE is now fixed and I’m done, done DONE with this post. Go ahead and comment though 🙂

Comments box:

5 thoughts on “Make Yourself Happy – Acting Without The Drama

  1. Fionna

    Hi Laurie! I was feeling really down today for a multitude of reasons, and I wanted to let you know that literally the only place I KNEW I could turn to in order to find some comfort and understanding was Compulsive Overeating Diary. All I had to do was read your most recent blog post and I felt so much better. Laurie, you just get it. I don’t know what “it” is exactly. Maybe those of us that connect here are the same type of sensitive people-pleasers. Maybe we had similar childhood experiences. Who knows. All I know is, sometimes I feel like I could have written these posts! Especially the “when is someone going to care about making me happy the way I care about making everyone else happy” part. Thank you so much for all you do, Laurie.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Hugs, Hugs, Hugs, Fionna. I’m so sorry to hear you are on the downside of Happy town today. Yep, I do think that for us BCs to have such similarity in our thinking is probably due to sharing some common experiences and traits. Maybe it is just the Lull coming for you after all of your adventures lately with songwriting and musical directing and exploring. But come back here anytime and LISTEN to your wonderful song, because if you NEVER did another darn thing, that would still prove just how generous and amazing you are, and how much I, and all of the BCs (yes I generally speak for them, like it or not) LOVE you. xoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  2. Cheryl

    Man! You are getting so great at these posts! What wonderful practice for that book you’re going to write! I think I almost like the posts more than the podcasts because I can savor what you’re saying by reading it over and over.

    Btw, I would have added one more thing in the paragraph about who or what disappoints ME. That would be ME. I have such a penchant toward letting MYSELF down. THAT’S the hardest betrayal for me to handle.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Wow, this is a GREAT point!

      Btw, I would have added one more thing in the paragraph about who or what disappoints ME. That would be ME. I have such a penchant toward letting MYSELF down. THAT’S the hardest betrayal for me to handle.

      I think I have lived SO long expecting to disappoint myself I don’t even notice it anymore – rather, I am surprised if I manage to pull anything off! But that is a big, big part of what I’m working through in my therapy. Lack of trust outwardly is usually rooted in lack of trust inwardly. That’s why letting go is so important for me. I have always felt stuck wherever I land, and every decision set in stone, and that paralyzes me. When I trust myself to change moment, by moment, forgive and adjust, I find I can take more risks, reach out to more people and in general FINALLY cut myself some slack. Even the writing you’ve been enjoying. After my accident, it was SO hard to focus on written word. I still cannot read very well for very long. The words don’e make sense to me easily. Hence, it was hard to get used to writing words too. But going to my writing group this year, and just writing by hand week after week, kind of unstopped that damn, and what I think you are reading in my posts now, is that my voice is more able to flow through my fingers again. I’m very excited by this, and feel I may be FINALLY able to write long enough to work on my book. I’m also excited that I think my book will be a very good practice for me to learn audio book narration and editing. After all, if I am the author, I can hire myself! LOL, As always, thanks for the great thoughts. xoxoxoxox

      Reply
      1. Cheryl

        “I have always felt stuck wherever I land, and every decision set in stone, and that paralyzes me…”

        Me, too. I wonder if that’s because we’ve lived our lives as if there are NO options.

        Reply

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