In a world of 1402 friends I basically just feel shitty: Have you heard of Dunbar's Number?

I have 1402 "friends". That's just on Facebook.

I also have a ton more through dance, theater, and writing. It seems like as the number goes up, my happiness level is diminished.

Would I have been diagnosed as Bipolar 2 at age 41 if I hadn't been on social media for the past ten years? I'm actually not sure. 

I've been thinking for the last three months about the fact that I seem to have become more and more uncomfortable with my life in a way I do not recognize. I used to love my life and now I am constantly on a search for something else. 

To be fair I don't think I can blame it all on social media or modern times. It runs in my family. If you read my dads journals before he died you would see the trend. Perhaps at age 40 or so this was inevitable for me. However, the trend is not just in me. Many of my friends and family complain of this even if they don't admit or realize it.

I know it's a simple concept but could the decline in my happiness be directly related to my brain being on overload from an overabundance of social relationships most of which are shallow or competitive? 

I've learned recently about Dunbar's number.

Without going into too much detail Robin Dunbar was a British anthropologist who proposes that the cognitive limit in which a person can relate to another person is about 150. 

Now that's some fancy talk but it really means we ain't supposed to have more than 150 relationships. 

Although he researched brain size, primates and the volume of neocortex in hunter gatherer societies, Dunbar explained it informally as "the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar."

150 people. This makes total sense to me. Does it to you?

To go further than that, within that 150 people each person basically has the ability to be "the best" at something. If not the best then maybe the top 5%. Within our village of 150 someone gets to be the best cook, the best tennis player, the funniest guy, the sluttiest girl. You get the idea.

But in a world of 1402 friends you basically just feel shitty. All I can see is all the other people who are better writers than me. Better comedians. Better opportunities.

Although I can safely say my relationship with my husband and my kids is one to strive for, most of my time is worrying about all the people with nicer cars, cooler vacations, and weirdly white kitchen counter tops. Weird I know.

But I'm just admitting it. You may be more interested in granite. I get it.

This makes no LOGICAL sense because I know that I have a f*ckin kick ass life and a ton to be proud of. I mean I don't know it. I KNOW IT. I don't need more.

I'm feeling this way and I know so are a ton of other people.

My brain is being tricked into a feeling of inadequacy on a subconscious AND conscious level. Worse than that it flairs up every ten or so minutes when I check my phone like a mouse in a trap. 

Not one to sit around and let things happen to me I'm forcing myself into a change. I don't want to spend the rest of my days like this. I have so many projects inside my head. I want to have time to work on them and fulfill the destiny I believe I am made for.

I want to set a better example for my children. I don't know how to combat the stress that they will inevitably feel when they start comparing themselves to others on social media. I can only lead by example and right now I'm not a good example.

I was about age 30 when this all started. Now it's been ten years and I'm worse for it. What happens if it starts at age 13? Or age 11 considering my son has an Instagram account?

It seems so simple at it's core. But as suicides among teens rise, depression and anxiety intensifies, it becomes painfully obvious doesn't it? Too obvious not to do anything about it. 

Sorta like gun control huh?

I shed my closet down to 33 pieces (okay actually about 50-still working on it) and I feel better. 

I've limited my day to just 5 or so sets of goals for the day. Parenting, walking, writing, cleaning, reading, exercise. I feel better.

I basically eat 5 different types of meals in order to stay healthy. I feel better.

I look at my phone, maybe 50, 75, 125 times a day? I feel shitty.

I use excuses by saying I need it for business or to stay relevant. But the writings on the wall. It's a drug just like everything else. I can feel it.

I panic at the thought of writing here that I'm going to have my friend make a password for my social media accounts and not give it to me for 30 days. I'm an all or nothing type of gal. If I'm on this grand experiment to take my mental disorder, health, and happiness into my hands then I need to really dive in.

My blog posts, dance classes and important dates will be added by someone else. And I'm not going to write on FB "If you need me I'll be over here". That annoys me. If someone really needs to get a hold of me they'll find a way.

I'll see you on the other side. Let the withdrawal and the shakes begin.

The story of the yellow flats: addiction, meth and my next high

I've got an intense craving that isn't being fed. 

Two days ago I wrote about being a "happy depressive". Read it here. It's odd to me that I used the word depressed as if I have any idea what that word really means. Because I don't. I don't think I've ever felt depressed in my life really.

Like, ever.

But two days ago I wrote that I was depressed. Huh.

What I didn't say is that my mind and body feel like they're chugging along in a slow panic.

My center is calm, while my brain churns in a lower gear than normal, as if on a slow motion hamster wheel of thought.

Now as I write, I don't think it's a hamster wheel. Hamsters move fast. 

This is a lower gear. My mind is a ferris wheel, consistent and constantly moving. It's high and low. It's dragged out. It churns a cycle of thoughts during the day and a series of vivid dreams at night.

I called it depression.

I think I'm wrong.

Today as I drove to Whole Foods I had the thought that I should buy some shoes. Yellow flats to be precise. 

Okay, I admit, also perhaps a spring like top that would go with the shoes if I was feelin' it.

My mind clicked a little faster.

THREE times I thought about these shoes. Once at Peet's getting my morning tea, a spark. Then in the car driving over to the market, a flare. Once more while picking out avocados, I feel a familiar rush through my brain, a quickening in my heart and a lift in my blood pressure.

I want those f*cking yellow flats.

As I was deciding whether or not to get organic or conventional avocados it persisted. (I got organic btw.) That spike in my pulse is something very familiar but I realize I haven't felt it for a couple weeks. This is partially because of a new medication and I'm hoping because I am closing out week one of a 30 day regimen that concentrates on mindfulness, exercise, food and the rote of daily living that my therapist and I came up with called The Simple 30.. Each day the same.

I suddenly saw my cute yellow flats for what they were. 

The yellow flats are my meth. My body is craving a hit.

Oh sh*t, a hit of dopamine and those cute little yellow mother f-ers are gonna give me just that. 

And before you get all, Molly don't you think you're being a bit dramatic calling yourself a meth head? And I'm all no I'm totally not. And your all, I think you are and it's unfair to equate yourself to something that serious. And I'm all, okay maybe but that's why you read...let's just agree that it's somewhere in the middle and tell you this.

Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. People with Bipolar 2 tend to overproduce dopamine resulting in mania like behavior.

Apparently, so do yellow flats.

I mean I'm not a doctor, but that just makes sense. 

My body and mind crave it. It has sky rocketed me forward in my career, made life exciting, been my partner in writing musicals, teach insane dance classes and intense voice lessons at the speed of light. It's pushed me through illness after illness as I perform.

It has caused me to not sleep at night but still produce heavily during the day. It makes me talk fast, spin fast, and argue intensely. It's colorful, bright, exciting, just like those cute yellow flats- and it's, no biggie, almost killed me.

They say people with a high dopamine personality are characterized by high intelligence (okay if you SAY so). 

They have a sense of personal destiny (well my quest is to be the white Oprah, or the straight Jillian Michaels, or maybe the next David Mamet?)

They have obsession with achieving goals and conquests, (the only way I get work done).

Lastly, they possess an emotional detachment that in many cases leads to ruthlessness, (I mean I'm not a serial killer or anything but I have been known to take someone DOWN with my words and intense argument style. Guess I should have been a lawyer and would've been much richer).

Maybe then I could afford those yellow flats.

Too much dopamine can push some people over that fine line between genius and madness. 

Now I'm not mad and I ain't no genius, but I do know this.

My body will no longer tolerate it. Just like an alcohol, sugar, exercise, food or whatever your drug of choice is, if I don't self regulate my dopamine spikes I will fly off the rails, spin out making myself mentally and physically get sick. At 41, my bank account is drained (literally), my relationships fail, and my cuppeth literally hath runneth over.

In therapy today I was able to come to the resolution that I am in withdrawal.

I've thrived and survived with dopamine for over twenty five years.

That's where The Simple 30 comes in. Yes-I've already branded it. Duh. 

My 30 day plan to live life as a modern lady monk. Trying to resist surges in dopamine that aren't natural, increasing endorphins which my body can handle, keeping calm, methodic, and yes sometimes, bored. What I thought was depression is most likely withdrawal. 

Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was Molly's new life.

It doesn't have to be forever although it seems like it's taking forever. It's an exercise in patience, something I'm not so good at. 

It's living a life that's rooted in intention.

Not in yellow flats.

xo, Molly

3 ways I use meditation to help me sleep (a huge problem with bipolar 2)

Admittedly, this title is a bit misleading. The truth is I still struggle with meditation. It's hard for someone like me-usually doing five things simultaneously at the same time- to sit down and breathe for 15 minutes.

That sounds pathetic I know. But it's the truth.

Even I have to admit that after committing myself to this exercise each day I can already feel the difference in my life and more importantly in my sleep.

I'm no expert- no frickin' way- but I thought I'd tell you how this thing called meditation has helped me so maybe it can help you.

1. I wake up earlier to fit it in

I've committed to wake up early, between 6-6:30 am, heat up the water for my tea and then sit up in bed and meditate. I get up to make my tea so that I'm not just sitting up in bed and going back to sleep.

Just the simple fact that I'm waking earlier helps me sleep better at night because-duh- I'm more tired at the end of the day. God Molly, it's so simple.

Except, it's not. When I say sleep better at night, I am NOT saying I sleep like a normal person. The biggest side effect, if that's the right word, of bipolar 2 (for me) is sleep and mania. I basically haven't slept well for six maybe seven, maybe eight years.

At 3 pm, I'm tired from the day, at 8:30 pm I'm like, "yeah I got this", and at 10 pm my mind and body says "let's party! let's think!-let's talk to our husband who literally hits the pillow and is breathing slow and steady and out". It is so annoying. I am so jealous.

Turns out that is one of the boxes that have to be checked off in order to get your diagnosis, along with a bunch of other stuff. See this checklist I've laid out here on my resources page.

The caveate to this is you can't sleep at night AND you're wired during the day. And you know what that does over the long run? Yep, another study. Alzheimer's. Ugh, I am so f*cked. Moving on.

For years I secretly used everything over the counter- Nyquil, Benadryl, Unisom. Even worse, I sometimes felt better about my addiction if I got a cold that I could enjoy a double dose of Nyquil and zone out for ten hours. Bliss. Don't judge me, I'm already judging myself don't worry.

I basically just drugged the sh*t out of myself in a desperation to sleep.

I then read a study on the link between dementia and OTC nighttime meds. AGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! So I got up the courage to try marijuana something I had never ever tried before 38. More on that soon. I've got several stories. 

Then I listened to several books, including Arianna Huffington's book THE SLEEP REVOLUTION.  I used this book to get inspired to take action into my own hands. Sort of. I've implemented a number of things from her book but not all. - the first being getting my television out of my room. I felt like a superstar for doing this. Baby steps people.

Here are the links in case you're interested. I've included Thrive-one of my very favorites if you're looking for a little extra inspiration.

Thanks for reading...wanna subscribe? (hint hint)

2. I can use less sleep medication when I meditate

So although I am treated for the bipolar 2 with a mood stabilizer, I still need a sleep aid, currently Ambien, to sleep. I know I know- long term affects, but feel better because it's under the care of a physician. Plus my doctor explained to me that not sleeping for years and years could cause great harm to me in the future...um, great. That doesn't exactly make me feel better.

You know what does make me feel better? Sleeping.

The goal to figure out the right dosage of medication to keep my swings under control and that right dosage should help me sleep.

I was on various trials of anti-psychotics (sounds so dramatic I know) but they made my platelets fall  significantly and that ain't good. They did help me sleep however, an indication that in fact I am in fact crazy, I mean bipolar, something my psychiatrist and primary care doc have explained to me.

Anyway, after finding the right dose of a daily mood stabilizer I'll be taken off the sleep meds. I'm A LOT nervous about that- but I know that I can't stay on that stuff forever.

The great news is it's currently a low dose of ambien, 5 mg rather than than 10, and okay okay maybe in the past I've double dosed at 20 mg when I could convince my doctor that I was freaking out after not sleeping five nights in a row.

I believe the meditation is helping me keep it at a lower dose.

Another side note- When I first starting meditating in the height of my mental and physical breakdown this past year, I experienced what I can only call a static buzzing of my brain wires crossing. Let's call it brain buzz. I made that up because I love the alliteration.

I didn't know what it was, still don't-haven't researched it yet. I did know that my brain buzz started to get better when I was consistent with my meditation both in the morning and the night.

Then I would get busy, stop meditating, pick it up a week later and the wire crossing and bzzzzzzzzz would start happening again.

I'm getting off-topic, that's a whole post in itself. Coming soon- My new self help book about brain buzz. I'm joking, I hope you got that.

3. I think less about my problems at night

These days if I wake at 2 am, then 4 am I am less likely to panic. Also, because meditation has helped me to be more focused during the day I get more done, am more disciplined in my efforts and therefore worry less about work, money, kids, whatever the soup du jour, or should I say soup du nuit- that's French for night if you don't get it. I had to look it up and I've had five years of french so who's the dumb one here?

I can directly attribute starting the day off right through meditation and it will result in me not having flight mind (one thought after another) at night. Through practice I am learning to control my thoughts. It's slow going, but it's steady and I can only hope that with practice this will allow me more influence over time.

So, I'll begin to wrap this up now. I recommend reading Ariana's book.

It helped me understand our relationship with sleep, the history of sleep, and gave me that swift punch in the gut to make the hard decisions necessary (getting rid of my television in my room was a big one for me) to get better sleep even though I can't quite do it on my own yet.

As I said, baby steps.

I also recommend a few other tools that helped me along the way. Headspace is an app that guides you along the way. Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk with a degree in Circus Arts (random I know) who basically put on hip clothes to make meditation cool has a great soothing voice and South African accent. You have to pay for it, but I have found that if I pay for something I am way way way more likely to commit. Dan Harris (ABC news anchor) wrote 10% Happier about his struggle with addiction and an on air meltdown, and how he uses common sense approaches to meditation. I recommend listening. He tells his story in his own voice. It really helped me understand that there is no wrong way to meditate. Do what's right for you and it'll come naturally.

Happy meditating and most of all happy sleeping! If you have any suggestions for me, I'll take those in the comment section. Also, let me know how you're doing and if I can help. I can't guarantee anything but I'm a good listener. 

Not really. I actually talk to much. 

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The above links are affiliate links. It means if you click through from my website I get a little kick-back without costing you a thing. It's a win win right?  A girls gotta make a living-well I do anyhow. Thanks for your support as always!

Why I told people on FB I have a mental illness

It feels somewhat ridiculous to "come out" on Facebook as someone who has just been diagnosed bipolar 2.

Mostly because I hear people say, "I don't really go on there, I don't even care about it" and yet they seem to know what I ate last night for dinner. Taco salad if you're wondering.

Or, "Oh I just check it once in a while,  I use it mostly for business."  But in deeper conversations I hear, "It makes me feel bad about myself, I wonder why others have so much more, how much money do you think they make?" an on and on.

We also use it as a way to get back at each other. I've been known to put out the passive aggressive post that's actually aimed at one person.

Just me? Now I'm embarrassed.

I have, on more than one occasion, let loose, ranted, and in general voiced my frustration with the frickin' news and MULTIPLE persons have thought it was directed at them. Oddly, on each occasion that I've found out about this, it was not addressed to them. Maybe they see it as a reflection back at them? Boy that's deep. You're welcome.

Facebook has changed our lives for better or worse. Kinda like that Australian boyfriend who followed me from NYC to Cali and ran up a $200 Blockbuster (RIP) bill when he house sat for a neighbor.

What can I say? I liked his accent.

It is on FB that so many things happen. We constantly compare ourselves to each other, our democracy was literally hacked in this last election because of crazy Russian bots, and it always reminds us of what we don't have. Ugh, I'm completely stressed out now.

One of the ways I started to figure out that something was going down mentally for me was the ranting and raving I was doing on this god-love-it-hate-it platform. Close friends and family mentioned it politely while smiling at me through gritted teeth. I could see it. I could feel it. I was not able to control it. After about a year of having a full meltdown in front of everyone-well everyone online-AND in person-I like to go big in life- I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2. 

And don't get huffy. I wasn't diagnosed because of what I was doing on FB...no no, this was a long time coming, but it was indeed a clue into my psychiatrist(s), I have two, yep, and my therapist. I've just got one of those.  

The decision to say something

I am at a point in my life where I'm tired y'all. I've literally been sick for 25 years and the last thing I need is to spend energy hiding something as big as mental illness from people who are friends, students, fans, and often, dare I say it, see me as a leader. Okay maybe not always a leader, but def know I have a big mouth and I'm not afraid to use it.

It was scary. It still is scary. At school drop off I wonder to myself-does that chick think I'm crazy? I saw a woman this morning looking at me kinda funny and thought, uh-oh she read my FB post! Uh-oh she read my blog! Or perhaps she saw a pic of me playing Britney Spears and thinks I'm a stripper.

Side note-I would have made a great stripper-but I've got cellulite now. I blame my grandmother. Thanks a lot Mamma. (RIP to you and your cellulite).

So on New Year's Eve, when EVERYONE was posting life changing, self-affirming statements towards their 2018 goals- btw-I was silently judging them- I thought "Hey! I don't want to be left out! I want t be judged too! Waaaaaaaahhhhh! Let's call it a giant case of FOMO.

That's fear of missing out for you non-abbreviation types. Lol. Omg. WTF-my absolute fav, obvi. 

To be honest I'm not sure I would have done it if I hadn't had a glass of wine or two...okay three. I sat there in my red snuggly onesie while we watched the ball drop-at 9pm East Coast feed -and quietly, so no one would change my mind, spilled my guts out.

Then I read it over and over again trying to decide if I should hit the post button.

Then I sat on the toilet and edited more.

Then I maybe finished my wine, can't remember.

And hit post.

Then immediately thought about all the people that were like "My god, Molly is so dramatic". 

Sh*t you guys-I am so dramatic. But I'm fun at a party. People literally hire me to run their parties. And I've been to a lot of parties that need me to run it.

TBH, (to be honest) l embarrassed to read it. It's so something an actress like me would do.

But, it led me to have the confidence to write more about my struggle-the struggle is real y'all- and I was encouraged but not surprised that it resonated with people. I received loads of texts, emails, private messages. I'm so popular you guys.

But seriously, some thanking me because they too have a mental illness. Some reaching out to give me their support. Others just saying it was a breath of fresh air to hear something real.

Oh god. Now I have to show you what I wrote, and I really really want to comb through it and fix the drunken mistakes or TMI I might have said. I'll just close my eyes as you read it. Okay, go ahead.

The post

My obligatory and somewhat brave post tonight and my (hopefully) new life in 2018. I know it's dramatic but that's who I am.

I know we all have our our lives and on FB, watch others lives and wonder. Are they happy? Do they make more money? Are they more perfect? Should I have that type of job? Should I be a stay at home mom? Dad?

I gather so much inspiration from many of you, some of you I actually see in real life and have spent this year lifting me up. After a year of mania and losing over 19 pounds, my long posts on FB, losing my mind over politics and so much more, I finally have a diagnosis that runs alongside my Common Variable Immune Deficiency, which many of you know I have due to seeing me receive weekly treatments. But a month ago, a new diagnosis that brought clarity to most of my adult life: Bipolar Disorder 2. My early 40’s has launched me into the throes of it and I am starting down another path and they run concurrent and often overlap. Still, I am optimistic and felt less alone and more empowered by a diagnosis. It has clarified what I want to do, who I want to be around, who I want to be. They say that crisis does that.

Some of you I have confided in, and others I have not. I was going to keep it off FB- but I know that means I’m hiding as this is my largest platform as an artist and performer and instructor. I can be a leader in demystifying the stigma of mental health and this is my goal for 2018.

I have been listening incessantly for the last ten years about blogging and the world of teaching online in my ears, to podcast, books, more more more, with no clear idea why. Now I know why. Or MAYBE I know why. Who knows? Who cares? I want to be brave.

My mind often will not rest or let me body rest and as I get sick more often I need a break or change from my numerous careers, I hope that my mind will let me do that. Because my body needs a break.

It's early days and this is a long game project for me, and I am used to short day projects. So I must be patient.

I hope this year will be a change my career into being an online artist and blogger/podcaster and take people through my journey and not be concerned about what others think of me. I've been told people think I have it together and sometimes I think I do. I’m lucky to have a great family and husband. But I am the same as you. I think of what everyone thinks of me. We all do. Let's make 2018 an honest year. At least the people who are looking at this. I'm tired of pretending.

So, I made a video. Because this has been a tough year on me, and as I've gathered from many posts from you, a tough year on many of you. So I've used video and pictures of those people that have inspired me to be brave, and some of you don't even know. And how many of us are comfortable in our homes in California and their is devastation happening that we need to open our minds to and not just realize it when it affects only us. And be inspired by people that are making change, being decisive, taking action.

This was just a version of the start of taking a stab at how my mind feels and I'm done being nervous about telling my story. Yes I get nervous too.

I think the more I tell mine the more others will tell theirs. I don't even think I know my story. I'm excited to find out and to figure out what my mind has been doing over the past year, the past ten years and even the past 25 without me even knowing it. I'm not sure I can upload my video, Fb might kick it off but I had fun doing it and some of you make cameos in it and you have HAVE to wait for the Rylie cameo at the end it's so sweet, but I'll try, but here is the link to my youtube channel and also you can see more of my story on my new updated new blog

Have a safe happy new year all! I am literally at home eating sushi in my new Xmas onesie that I got this year from my son Ryder and feeling optimistic. Thanks for being a part of my life...since I can't see you all in real life, I'm glad you're in it virtually or not. Despite wondering whether or not FB is good for us or not, it has brought me closer to you all those I would never see otherwise....I hope you'll check out the video. I'll try and post it on Studio Molly as well to see if it'll let me. Be safe all. See you on the other side, I will be asleep!

Am I glad I did it?

Okay, my eyes are open now.

Actually I think that was fairly eloquent for someone sitting in the WC editing. Yes, it is embarrassing to read something so self important but it did get me over a hump. I can now speak freely and set out to do what I've been wondering about for a while. How to me my natural normal self. Perhaps you've thought I've always been. I haven't. I'm just a good actor.

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Join me in the conversation

What's your 2018 goal or truth that you'd like to get off your chest? Tell me about it here.

Trying not to worry

Most of all our drama is wrapped up in worry.

Worry about the future, worry about losing our house (we rent ours so our landlord could literally say, hey guys I'm selling this place), worry about if our kids have may have made an fake Instagram account that someone caught....oh just me?

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My go to worry is to panic

and immediately try to fix it

By 1. Panicking 2. Getting experts to validate 3. Research 4. mMore worry 5. Calm the sh*t down and watch some television that's more no brainer. Right now those include Real Housewives and Keeping up with the Kardashians and I'm obsessed with The Profit, but then start to worry am I building a business that Marcus Lemonis would approve of? I know I'm dorky. He is my business guru.  But let's all remember that some people in the world watch Naked and Afraid, or Naked and First Date, and Naked and running from a bear or whatever it's called-so who don't you be judging me. 

For the past three days my I've napped at about 2 pm.

A hard nap, zonked out like a truck hit me. Then I went and looked at my labs and found out my thyroid has skyrocketed. Hashimoto's runs in my family and this is is hypothyroidism. I've noticed a slight tremor in my hand about 10 am, get anxious, run around cleaning or panicking I'm going to be late getting somewhere and then have rapid heart beat, calm down and then boom...after lunch I'm ready for a nap. But after speaking to my doctors it's because of a medicine I have been taking called Depakote and turns out my platelets have dropped. I worried less now as they said they are weaning me off that medication and going to let my platelets come back up and then we will see about something else.

I put on a podcast to put my mind at ease and sleep hard. 

And then I wake with worry. Because at first I thought it was the CVID acting as a problem people and there is a significant amount of people who have Common Variable Immune Deficiency that go on to get an autoimmune disease which is when your immune system, which defends your body against disease decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result your immune system attacks healthy cells. An autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue, depending on the type.  (Thanks google)

But that wasn't it at all.

Or so my doctors think. It was the Bipolar meds. Less you think, should on bipolar meds, aren't there side effects? Of course there are.  They worry me. To be honest I'm not sure. I'm not convinced of what to do yet.  I can't function without them yet so I'm on a path to have one fit on one side of the spectrum and one side of the other. I'm still learning and early. But I have two children who need a mother who can be them for them. I need to be able to sleep and eat, two of my biggest challenges.

And yes I  am worried about the medication.

I've already been taken off two meds because of adverse affects. 

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Rylie goes at lighting speed

Just like me. Let's see what she creates? I'm excited to watch what she does.

So after I got myself together, and after Rylie, my littlest five year old was losing her shi*t in the next room because she accidentally broke an ornament and was afraid I would be upset. (I thought those were shatter proof?????) Kurt and I made our sweet potato and black bean chili and my awesome guacamole. It's really the only thing I'm good at cooking wise so far. Ii'll have to start getting better because I committed whole foods diet is in my future. 

And the worry subsided and we watched non fluff television, an inspiration series made by RedBull Documentaries Called Visions of Greatness

Worry is a naturally part of this process and something that learning meditation, and putting systems in place will help me worry less. A friend of mine, considered a mentor now is going to help me learn to change my inner mantra of I'm going to die to I'm going to live. That should be interesting and fun and something Molly last year would never have done.

Thanks for listening,

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Do you worry too? What about? You can tell me here.

A few steps forward a couple steps back

Merry post Christmas!

It's been a flurry of activity and we are almost to the 2018 and I have good days and I have bad days. Some days I'm wrestling with my mind which ramps up and other days I'm wrestling with my body which is breaking down. It is very obvious that I need to rest. It is so difficult for me to be patient and know that this will all work out in time. 

My life has been confusing because it's difficult to tell when I'm "acting" at being calm and when I actually feel calm. I've been diagnosed Bipolar 2 disorder for about a month now and it's different than any other "project" I've ever had to work on in my life. It comes with doctors appointments, meds, therapy appointments, sickness, too much meds, changing meds, ER visits (well one actually that I will detail for you-both hilarious and scary), meditation, living with the knowledge that people don't believe it's an actual disorder, or that it comes with a deep amount of shame, or that I'm doing something the wrong way. Everyone has an opinion, just the world has an opinion. You read articles, they all contradict each other. So I go with my gut. And I lean on Kurt to help me with that instinct.

I've been sick this holiday season and had to go for a round of antibiotics.

All the while, I continue my opposite life: two flash mobs, a Studio Molly Cool Yule Dance classes, a fun live holiday video card that I produced for Fleet Feet Menlo Park, it's awesome check it out here!  I edited all day on Christmas Eve day in a state of flow leading to believe, oh maybe this is what I should be doing. I have so many ideas all day long. I keep waiting to say, this is the last one. But it doesn't come yet.

I'm not done being an artist. I want to create still. Still a week off should not feel like it's going to kill me. But it kinda does, in a weird way. Like I'm not feeding myself somehow. 

We make Christmas special for my kids, and then I start to worry that it's too special. That they grow up with a sense of doing no service in the world and that's mainly because I'm so busy thinking, doing projects for Studio Molly. And so I turn to a project that will add value to the world that I plan to release this week. And so I got sick and then that is why at midnight I simply posted on Christmas eve that I was tired and sick, and posted yet another video, since I had been in the recording studio I took advantage of some of my time. I'm just being honest. It's rewarding and at same time it's hard. Hard for me to stop. I take advantage of every opportunity. As if I'm running out of time. And now maybe I am running out of time because I can't stop. So I guess this is not a good week for me, I would say. That's okay. Patience.

It has become obvious in the last three days that my body is starting to give out. I have to change. I will not be able to sustain at the level I'm going and I'll write more about that. I think my job now is to wait, be patient and see if something will come along to help me with that transition, rather than trying to pull myself up and make something happen. Just sit and be still for a while. The hardest thing for me to be. 

 

 

How I may have spent 20+ years imitating others

With my new diagnosis of Bipolar 2 disorder (Bipolar description here) I feel as if I've opened Pandora's box and started to unpack my behavior and experiences.

I’m almost, but not quite, embarrassed to admit that I feel like my 20+ career as a creative has been someone else’s career. I remember very clearly my voice coach say that I was very good at mimicking other’s styles. He went on to explain that eventually I would find my own unique voice and that’s when I would really blossom.

I’ve used my ability for mimic to my advantage. I have said more than twice to someone off stage, “They’re not laughing. Okay, i’ll turn up my fake Kristin Chenoweth impression and watch them laugh so hard they don’t even know what they are laughing at." Works basically every time. It’s not a skill I’m proud of, manipulating an audience into thinking they are seeing great work because the frenetic pace and high pitched nasal voice that I use is so quick and sounds funny they think “I think this is supposed to be funny, it sounds funny, I’ll laugh.”

I met Kristin Chenoweth at a New Year's Eve concert with her headlining and Andrew Lippa conducting. I met her at the after party and she's lovely and indeed short.

I met Kristin Chenoweth at a New Year's Eve concert with her headlining and Andrew Lippa conducting. I met her at the after party and she's lovely and indeed short.

In twenty years I have blossomed.

I’ve done fairly well creating a name for myself in my little bubble in Silicon Valley. I made a clear decision not to make my career in NYC because of a very specific reason. I have many friends working successfully and I do panic every six months or so that I will regret my decision and will never fulfill my dream of being on Broadway. Just last week I almost made a phone call because I’m fairly certain that I could charm, finagle, use my salesmanship and talent to get into the chorus of a show appearing in NYC right now.

In my experience, however,  working on a Broadway show doesn’t necessarily lead to contentment. There’s always more to hope for.

  • Get your first show chorus

  • Understudy lead

  • Get to go on on Wednesday/Sundays for lead (disappointing the audience-even though in my opinion understudies are usually better, especially in the case of a star lead)

  • Get supporting lead

  • Get leading role

  • Headline show

  • Get name above masthead in Broadway Show

  • Get television show because now known in Broadway community

  • Move to Los Angeles

  • Move back to NYC

  • Want more

  • Want more

  • Want more

It seems exhausting to me even though I know this is some people’s life

I knew enough about myself to know it is not mine.

I suspect that if I had danced my way down that path I would likely be divorced with no children. My friends who live in NYC have given up  a lot of this. Now you may say, that’s their choice, maybe they didn’t want children? Totally, I get it. Good lord, I get it. This is not about them, they’re truly talented people and have more guts than me. This is not about them. This is about me.

I wanted the life I was brought up in. A happy marriage, an artistic lifestyle, children, a house inspired by the clutter free issue of Real Simple Magazine. And technically, I got both. I strive to be clutter free because it helps me keep control of the clutter that is in my mind. Once again, I blame the bipolar 2. (This bipolar thing is sure good to blame stuff on).

Technically I made my Broadway debut opposite Neil Patrick Harris in a concert reading of Party Come Here written by David Kirshenbaum and Daniel Goldfarb at The Manhattan Theater Club, a Broadway theater, on a Monday evening, on an Equity contract, playing NPH’s wife and killed it.  So yeah, I did that. It was wonderful to be in Manhattan, put up in a hotel and paid a union wage while I rehearsed. I was the only non-Broadway actor on the show, but I held my own and stood out as the “non-Broadway” person, something that happens to me a lot as if being on the West Coast means that we are less talented.

Neil-Patrick-Harris-Party-Come-Here.jpg

NPH

"Party Come Here" by Daniel Goldbarb and David Kirschenbaum at The Manhattan Theater Club, I'm just gonna call it my "Broadway debut"

Truthfully, we are not necessarily less talented. I’d call it less committed to a certain lifestyle.  I don’t think that’s entirely accurate either and therefore I sense this idea somewhat controversial and so I will explore this topic in another post. Let me say that each year each year somewhere between 5-15 students, friends, co-worker choose to move to NYC, stay a bit, not really getting jobs and then come back home to live a normal life as an artist. Did they fail? I don’t think so.

Anyway, let’s get back to the main topic...

Me. Duh :)

I flirt with success. I wrote and composed  Real Housewives The Musical opened at Garry Marshall’s Theater in Burbank one year before he passed away. Previously called The Falcon Theater, the cute little gem is a small theater with a big name so it got some attention. I got to live in Los Angeles for six weeks, rehearse with super talented women, one man and my producer/director Roger Bean a wonderful man who took a chance on me and helped me bring my ideas to life, silly as they were.  I received a memo,  from "the desk of Garry Marshall" with a few joke ideas after the first preview. In other words, amazing stuff. But the show is not written in my true voice

When I perform in the show I have the ability to move it closer to my voice and the show succeeds, people are swept away with my charm, my ability to move the script along at a pace that is too fast for them (the audience) but yet they still laugh because I put them at ease. But when others play the role it does not quite succeed. It has very little to do with the actors talent. It has more to do with the audience not always connecting.

I played Joanne the main character in Real Housewives The Musical. It's a fun story about a woman who has it all, loses it all, and uses authenticity to get her way back. Me anyone?

I played Joanne the main character in Real Housewives The Musical. It's a fun story about a woman who has it all, loses it all, and uses authenticity to get her way back. Me anyone?

And so, I flirt with success.

Let’s call it “my success.” It is not lost on me that I literally sing, act, dance, and teach others to play, dance and sing for a living. I could work a “normal” job, in a cubicle, most likely killing it in sales. As I’ve mentioned before, and I don’t mean for this to sound annoying but rather factual: If it was a priority  to make a million dollars I could do that.  Truthfully, I may have made half a million but have spent it rather than reinvesting into my business. Again, I blame it on the bipolar! Seriously though, I would quit everything I’m passionate about, hire a babysitter and go work from one of the 20 + companies I have developed relationships with from being a networker in the Bay Area. I think about it a lot, almost every other day. It seems like a simpler life in many ways.

But something stops me. I continue to flirt, never feeling truly successful because I know deep down, well not even deep down anymore, I just know that I am not speaking in my true voice. I’m just not. I have taken on the role of mother of two and Lululemon wearing blonde wife who seemingly has her life together. I do have my life together. Well, except for the fact that I’m having a SERIOUS mid-life crisis.

I take my mania just up to the edge of not bothering others, sometimes,  

just mildly annoying. 

I teach too fast, I move too quickly, I speak in what my therapist says is a male voice in a female body. I take initiative in the room. I’m aware that some people might think, “geez Molly is once again taking the lead.”

Several times this past year and just last week on The James Altucher Show I have made note of the fact that innovation, clarity and breakthroughs come at the intersection of two ideas. I’ve said it out loud, clarifying the idea in my head. It’s not really a new concept.  It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time now.  In true Molly fashion I began formulating a plan to  merge my voice coaching style with my dance fitness background. This will eventually become SING by Studio Molly. The website is done, the idea clear and ready to be executed. And has been for five or six years.

music-movement-studiomolly.jpg

I use the technique on my students to great success. I think, oh my god, I’ve really got something here. Then I think, wait, I’m not a trained choral coach with a vocal pedagogy degree. Hell, I just had to look up vocal pedagogy. I don’t even know how to say it.

I stop.

I think, I’m such a fraud.

I picture all the people who know what vocal pedagogy is shaking their heads at me. In my head they’re usually white older men- I have the most difficulty with older or authoritative white men who do not like my tone. They’re the same people, btw, that shake their heads at me when learning that I wrote Real Housewives The Musical and Becoming Britney (yes that Britney) with co-author Daya Curley and there’s no pedagogy in that unless you count vocal fry...which I do, so let’s just leave that for later.

BBritney-StudioMolly.jpg

But wait. My student has just told me that never in their lives have they sung with such ease. They understand, now, the way the air moves through their body, they feel a release because my technique has allowed them to get out of their head and into their body.

But, vocal pedagogy. Fraud. I’m halted.

And now here we are again. I am at the cross section of multiple streams of my life. Two distinct cross sections are Common Variable Immune Deficiency and Bipolar 2 Disorder.  And from behind all the wires crossed in my mind,  I hear my voice. It’s hidden behind other streams in  my life:, writing, singing, comedy, entrepreneurship, business, parenting, wifehood, teaching, leading. I think to myself. Do I have the guts? Can I be authentic?

Have I found my voice? Maybe.

Have you found yours? Let me know here. Resonated with what I said? Feel free to share :) Thank you for reading.

 

WTF, I'm bipolar 2? What's that now????

Last week I was asked by my therapist "What would be your perfect day if you had control over it?"

Control over it?  Hmm...where do I start?

One week ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder. Two weeks ago I was asked what my perfect day would be. Three weeks ago I was crying into a chicken fried steak at Luby's restaurant in Houston.

Two hours before that I was crying at my Airbnb with my family in the other room and then had a panic attack  and fell asleep for about an hour and a half.  (I never nap)

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Molly at age 18. How I spent $3000 in a few weeks at the equivalent of Forever 21 and my first hypo manic episode.

That moment when you're told you're bipolar 2 and you think....

Oh. My. God. I am BIPOLAR.... WTF?!

It was almost like being told “you’ve been blind most of your life but just kept trudging through, running into walls.” I feel like, duh, of course I’m bipolar and not in the “oh stop talking so fast, what are you bipolar?” High-larious.

Don’t get me wrong. I think comedy will be a huge part of my process as I walk alongside it, if not through it.  I think of my real life examples that I now understand this disorder to have affected or perhaps caused.  Some of them comedy gold and some, a little sad.

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