What Do I Really Want?

Laurie with chin in hand in the glow coming from a lit fire pit in the darkness of early morning.
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Today I ponder my latest adventures in life and in eating and think about, ‘What do I REALLY want?’

The selfie above captures this morning’s unexpected moment of reflection as I awoke super early, grabbed a coffee and a banana and found a cozy pondering spot at the hotel’s fire pit. Again at a hotel? Weren’t you JUST at your voice acting lesson near home? Wah? Well, as I explained in a blog post last week, Mark and I are on a series of mini-breaks to get in enough stays at our favorite hotel chain to maintain our current loyalty program level. I also explained that I am more of a fan of this than Mark. So this weekend’s mini-break was me, staying solo, for the most part, in a property in Burbank that I love, even though is it only 15 minutes from our home. In short, it is kind of like me having an apartment in Burbank again – except I don’t have to clean it!

The Start of the Solo Adventure Break

Mark and I have been really trying lately to define and communicate with each other what we really want. I got some free tickets to a movie and Mark opted out. So I decided to combine seeing this film with my solo hotel stay. I checked into the hotel then drove back to downtown Burbank, parked in the Media Center Mall where the film was shown and thoroughly enjoyed the film – even though its reviews are not the best. Hmmmm, maybe that’s why they were giving out free tickets? The movie was Hector and the Search for Happiness. Now this topic suited to me down to the ground as I have been pondering that much myself lately. Whilst enjoying my free film, I considered a small traditional popcorn. But I wasn’t hungry, so I decided if I didn’t indulge in a treat I don’t really like that well except as a habit, I would be hungry enough to enjoy dining ‘Al Fresco’ at my favorite restaurant nearby after the movie. I noticed that almost without thinking, I had decided to forgo the lessor treat, for something I truly did want. A dining experience on the patio with a view of the Christmas decorations and a side of people watching combined with some yet to be determined fine glass of wine.

close up of Laurie sitting on a lit restaurant patio in the evening smiling.

Had to capture the moment with a selfie of me sitting on the patio of one of my favorite restaurants in Burbank while I watch the Christmas crowd beyond.

Lit Christmas tree at dusk with holiday crowd mingling

The public area just beyond the patio where I’m sitting. I saw and heard street musicians, families enjoying the Christmas tree and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, all from the safety of my patio seat with a glass of pinot grigio and a bowl of warm chestnut soup. Perfect end to my solo adventure.

What’s for dinner?

Now a big part of intuitive eating is actually getting in touch with WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT! Sounds easy, no? But after years of eating emotions, or eating by habit, or eating because food is there, it can be tricky to learn the inner cues that tell you the food that will make your body and your spirit happy and content. I admit, it is a luxury to try and do this every meal. Sometimes you just need to grab a sandwich because you are hungry. But, for occasions like this, it is an excellent time to try.

On my way to the restaurant I determined that I ONLY wanted to sit on the patio, not inside, nice as that is. I wanted to people watch and to be in the air. As I approached the restaurant, I didn’t see any customers seated outside. It has been chilly of late for Southern California, so I thought they may have closed that area. So the next act I undertook to be true to what I really wanted was to ask the host if the patio was available for service. I had decided to find another restaurant if it wasn’t. Success! No problem to sit outside by the toasty space heaters and to enjoy whatever I wanted to eat.

Next, I had thought on my way to dine that I KNEW I wanted pumpkin ravioli. I LOVE pumpkin and this restaurant does a wonderful job with handmade pasta. But my gaze was drawn to the holiday specials and the description of Roasted Chestnut Soup intrigued me. Since it is a cream based soup, I knew that it would be too rich to have with my beloved ravioli. So another decision. What do I REALLY want? The soup! So out goes the ravioli for another time and in with the chestnuts.

Close up of creamed roasted chestnut soup with leek oil swirl and bacon garnish

My lack of photo skill does not do the beauty of this soup justice. It was the BEST soup I have ever eaten. And I am a big time soup lover and chef. This roasted chestnut soup with leek, bacon, chicken and herbs was so well balanced, so homey in mouthfeel, just awesome.

I also felt that I was too hungry to only want soup – so to what did my wandering eyes appear? A delicious roasted beet salad. The only problem is it contained goat cheese. I think I may possibly, be the ONLY person on the planet who does not find goat cheese a tasty gourmet experience. Again, what do I really want? Salad without goat cheese. Knowing that the goat cheese had a role in the balance of the flavors, I requested gorgonzola, usually a safe substitute in recipes containing goat cheese. Success! I could order such.

Close up shot of a plate of roasted red and yellow beets on a bed of greens sprinkled with cheese

I LOVE roasted beets and this salad with a lemon vinaigrette was fab!

Next the important discussion of wine to accompany this feast. Pinot Grigio with a slight hint of pineapple and berry was decided upon. Delish!

The end of my adventure meal approacheth. The age old question: To Dessert or to not Dessert…

Checking in with tummy, it felt satisfied. Checking in with spirit, it wanted something to cap the meal.


close up of Cappuccino with cinnamon stick stirrer and tray of sugars and chocolate chips as garnish

My favorite way to end fine meal. Decaf Cappuccino.

Back at the Casbah…

I spent a lovely night watching HGTV and Food Network shows from my deluxe bed without worry about how Mark would feel since he was safe at home watching whatever he darn well pleased. I was happy and content with my evening except…


One reason I was here in the property near my home was that I still needed to attend my voice acting class. It is located nearby in a Burbank recording studio. Luckily, my room was next to the ice-room and so I had no neighbors. I informed the hotel I was working and didn’t need housekeeping and proceeded to warm up my voice using a handy pillow to muffle my mouth when my sounds got up to my carrying pitch.

Then I worked on the subtext of several character voice monologs, researched ways of creating voices and basically tried to analyze my way out of actually DOING any character voices. Time was ticking…tick…tick…tick So I bit the bullet, picked one, and whipped out an old southern voice I had learned in drama school years ago for a production of Look homeward Angel. I practiced with my stopwatch and noted my mistakes and polished the sucker as best as I could. I actually rid myself of fear and went to class.

Things aren’t always as we’d like

Confident as I can be given my traumatic outing LAST character voice day, it was my turn in the booth. I took a deep breath, and SWALLOWED BY FEAR AND STAGE FRIGHT F’ED THE WHOLE THING UP HORRIBLY. Oh Lord, not freaking again! Here I was moth pinned to the wall as I heard my director explain in graphic detail, as only he can, that my accent was too much, my articulation was no good, and my acting the very opposite of good choices. Fudge (not what I really said) I KNOW I am better than this. On character voice day, my director made me DROP ALL CHARACTER VOICE to see if I could act at all without it. I did better take two without, but having practiced WITH the accent, my timing was shit. He gave me direction about the irritation my character was supposed to feel. Even changed a line to ‘Hell no’. Take three I ran with THIS and scared the Bejeezus out my class with my torrent of anger. Hmmm, maybe too close to home? Then the director gave me some line reads to better communicate the direction of this part. By now I’m sweating bullets I feel like barfing and ALL I WANT is to escape the damn booth. But, “What do I REALLY want?” I want to do the piece as I had practiced it. I ask for permission to try the accent again as I had practiced that way and had been nervous first take. Director gave the nod with the strong caution, “Just a little”. By now, I had already proved my incompetence so what did I have to lose? Take four, unheard of to have to do four takes in class. Hit it. Did my accent, did the part. Was declared good. I was wrung out, and never so glad to leave the booth. But I could have escaped after take three and it was me who asked to go again. I’m proud of that, though I still have a fear of character voice and even in my dialog that followed, heard from the director that my French accent, sorry Stéfanie, is not good. So far, every voice except my own, and the stuffed nose voice, has been declared not good. So what do I really want? I want to keep trying. I’m not convinced I CAN’T do voices. I’m convinced I haven’t found my way yet. I’m convinced I’m glad I’m emphasizing bravery on this show and blog as I NEED IT.

Mark comes to dinner

After class I had arranged to drive home for Mark as he loves the restaurant at this property. Trying to be supportive, he asked, “How was your class?” ARGH. “Ok”, I said and ordered some wine. We ate and drank in silence, me not wanting to tell him how I’d fared. This was supposed to be a nice, companionable dinner, not a Laurie gets to bitch session. But finally I sighed. What do I really want? Authentic relationships, including one with my husband. I told him the story. He said, “Well at least it was better than last time!” I laughed and enjoyed the rest of my meal. What do I REALLY want? To live my life to the fullest, good, bad, in-between. I want to feel my emotions and not eat them away. By the way. Why did I have just a banana for breakfast? Despite the trauma of the day before, my tummy wasn’t hungry.

Comments box:

15 thoughts on “What Do I Really Want?

  1. Stéfanie

    Lots of times life passes by while I am trying to figure out what it is I want. It’s the weathervane in me. Like right now…. I have too many options…. so what am I doing? None of the options. Just lying i bed doing f*all.

    Reminds me of this xmas wreath I’ve been looking for. It’s been 3 xmas seasons since I’ve been searching for the perfect one – but since I haven’t found it, I just don’t get any. This is not a big deal, I know. But accumulating this kind of un-satisfaction on a regular basis can drive me nuts. Why can’t I choose? Why am I so ambivalent and picky?


    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Well it sounds like you are resting from all of the activity you’ve been going through Mon Amie, and other than that, I suspect the little perfectionism bug. Wanting to make the right decision, and find exactly the right thing can be another protection mechanism to keep you from moving forward and “failing”. I know exactly what you mean about the un-satisfactions piling up. Part of what I’m trying to do is practice asking myself what I want. And ALSO, what is good enough, and what is a deal breaker. I have never asked either of these. Perfect was good enough if *I* was responsible for doing or picking or deciding. No standard was applied if others were doing, picking, or deciding for me. This yin yang of me being held to high standard, and people in my life to low standard, made me bitter and resentful. (Not saying YOU are, but your question brought these sad facts up for me). I let people, no I ENCOURAGED people to walk all over me, not feeling I was good enough for respect and lucky for any attention, even bad attention. I also strove for perfection to TRY and be good enough for respect and love. Now I practice. Just as I practice singing. I practice being good enough. I notice how upset I am and calm myself with gratitude and trying to find the positive in things somehow. And I also try to notice if there are dealbreakers happening. Whether in personal relationships, in business dealings, in the way I feel after I do things, if there ARE items that impact me mostly for the negative, I try to mitigate. Wow, this is WAY beyond picking wreaths. For wreaths, I think I would go shopping and get the best one I could find this season, and know that I give myself permission to replace it, if I ever find better. xoxoxoxox

  2. Dawny

    beautiful recap Laurie, I love this, it’s as if I got to live your little get-a-way vicariously thru you and your description..

    Im sad that your class didn’t go quite well, however it’s awesome that you did depict some positive of it, and super awesome you chose to request a take 4, although greatly discouraged already

    Sounds lovely your little experience all together, im slightly jealous LOL LOL

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Oh Dawny, thanks for the support. The lesson was really, really hard on my confidence. But I am proud I stuck through, but I am wondering if I am close to the fork in the road where I move to another path. Maybe I’m just not suited. Either way, at least I gave it a try. I may feel better after next week, when we go back to dialogs. I think I secretly wanted to be FREAKIN’GREAT at this, and am sorry I am middle of the road at best. That doesn’t mean I can’t work hard and improve, but I do need to take into account how much I love the work vs. not for the result. Don’t ask me today though, I’m barely hanging on to the towel right now. The rest of the days were good and bad. As I feel all of my emotions through my practice, I get some hard stuff to sift through. But practicing things like thinking at all points in the road ‘What do I REALLY want’ is like trying to learn how to tell if I’m hungry – tricky, but once you get it, it’s “ahhh, so THAT’S what I want….ahhhh” and then you make decisions to support that. Eventually, life matches more with what you want and not so much like a tumble weed being blown here and there. xoxoxoxox
      PS, I’m jealous of all of your friends inviting you places. I don’t have much of that anymore. Out of sight out of mind. – so you see, grass can look greener 😉

      1. Dawny

        lol don’t be jealous Laurie, it’s not friends, it is husband, kid, and mom LOL, my ‘friends’ they are the kind to ‘turn me down’ for doing stuff, but then tell me all about their fun times they had =-( im not sure where I go wrong in that department

  3. Dawny

    I really LOVE LOVE LOVE how you ‘lived’ thru ‘what do I REALLY want?’, I should ought to try this.. lol

    today I know i REALLY want to eat out LOL but.. I chose to stay in and make a salad with chicken and black beans, and some butternut squash fries.. odd combination, but it worked. LOL im no longer hungry, but i am having a ‘hankering’ for just ‘something’ so sad LOL.. i’ll make it..

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Yes my friend, this is a great skill to combine with your program. For food and for things you do. It does take practice, but keep asking, “What do I really want?” You don’t have to act on it, just ask and start listening. Pretty soon you will hear answers and can decide from there. It is a small still voice for sure. Works for food, for taking on responsibility or not, for going out or not, for resting or doing, everything. xoxoxxo PS, your meal is EVERYTHING I like to eat, so I would have been pretty satisfied with it 🙂

      1. Dawny

        IM working on this, and realizing that some-times what I REALLY want to feed my hunger is NOT food at all, because the hunger is not physical.. DOH.. learning and learning

      1. Stéfanie

        Haha no such though ever crossed my mind when reading your well thought comments. Actually I really found it insightful. You are nothing close to “tired, disappointed beyond middle aged lady”. I know you meant it as a joke, but just in case, I am Sending you lots of love girl. Xx

  4. Amy from WI

    ((hugs)) to you, Laurie! What a difficult thing, to be criticized in front of others…ouch, ouch, ouch! “Constructive feedback” is difficult enough in private, but so very hard in a public setting. I’m so proud of you for giving it another go and doing better the final time. Other than your voice acting class, your solo adventure sounded like a pretty good time!

    I hope that you can let the difficult feelings go soon, and find some better ones to cling to! I’m terrible about reliving embarrassing moments over and over again, so….don’t do that!


    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Hi Amy, thanks for the encouragement! Yes it is hard to hear the critique in front of the entire class and visitors. BUT That IS what we pay for. Our teacher/director IS an award winning commercial director/producer as well as actor in his own right, so his critiques are what he would say (pr think) if you came in to do this read for a job. And from what my VO friends say, he is, if anything, kinder than what one may face out there. Most of this comes from my own issues. Nobody likes to feel like they are failing. I have this as a pretty deep button that I’m working through in therapy. I’m SO GLAD for my therapist. We discussed all of this prior to the lesson and what I might feel and how could I handle it. So I’m doing pretty well. Part of my sharing with you guys is to show that bravery involves risk and growth. Sometimes we need to take a leap even if we might fall in order to gain what we really want. So this process is good for me to determine if the pitfalls of an audition life where rejection is rampant is something I can tolerate. And to see if I can build a skin thick enough to deal with the actual work. BUT I AM SO GLAD you gave me hugs. Sometimes we just need that bit of lovingkindness to feel better in situations like these.

  5. Cheryl

    I admire you so much for taking these artist dates by yourself. Lordy, how I wish I was more comfortable being by myself like that. Maybe it’s just because I’m stuck home day and day out that I just feel so strongly the need to have friends around when I do stuff like that.

    I gotta say I love reading about your voice acting lessons. It has given me a new appreciation for TV commercials and radio commercials (of all things) like the timing of them, etc. I could NOT do what you are doing. I am great behind the scenes helping out, running things, but I freak out if I have to be pointed out for anything. You are one brave cookie! And you are so right. The whole idea of taking classes is to learn. Stay teachable is the most important thing, and I think you really do that DESPITE the feelings you struggle with. What a beautiful example.

    This was a really great post!

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      I admire you so much for taking these artist dates by yourself. Lordy, how I wish I was more comfortable being by myself like that. Maybe it’s just because I’m stuck home day and day out that I just feel so strongly the need to have friends around when I do stuff like that.

      I have to admit, I would MUCH RATHER have some handy friend who was close to being “on the same page” with me to do these outings with. Mark is not even within spitting distance to that. 😉 So, expediency, more than anything dictates my solo-ness. However, I think that as long as I AM the only one to please, it IS a great chance to practice actually PLEASING myself. And the only way to do THAT is to figure out what myself would actually like. Maybe you might try it for one meal or one walk around town? It’s kind of fun to try. As you can see from my post, I didn’t do the entire weekend solo, but ran home for Mark to at least have a warm body and heart support me in my voice acting misery. And I think voice acting is good for me, whether or not I actually make use of it commercially. It is teaching me A LOT about facing fear, the joy of risk, letting me meet a completely different set of folk and to stretch myself incredibly. As you can tell, this stretching doesn’t always feel good. But sometimes it’s awesome. And learning that these two feelings are pretty much the same is a big deal. The prep is the thing. The trying is the thing. The improving as you can is the thing. Then, the MAIN THING. After all of these feelings, is voice acting still what I want? So far, yes. But if the day comes where the answer is no, I’m prepared to follow my heart which gives me comfort. I think in the past, because I had STARTED voice acting, then even if it tortured me, I would stick until I had no choice but to be forced to give it up. That is my old pattern. Thanks for saying it was a great post for you, high praise indeed my wordsmith friend. xoxoxoxoxox
      PS, I now fast forward the shows to listen and imitate the commercials! hahahaha


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