30 days

Today I felt an old friend come back.

Overwhelm.

Perhaps it's psychosomatic due to a reduction in medication. Or perhaps that medicine is working its way out of my body and brain a whole lot faster than I imagined and leaving me with the realization that I am going to try and move forward on my own.

Why do humans have the knack for forecasting the future when we are usually incorrect? 

The reason I am able to write on this blog daily is because I have let go of any outcome and see it as a ritual. I won't become rich and famous from it and yet it has given me valuable lessons.

1. I can indeed sit down for an hour everyday and write.

I thought I would have difficulty coming up with things to write. Somedays it's more difficult than others. I have learned to trust the process and simply begin writing. Letting go of the idea that this is for anyone, and worse, everyone all at the same time, it releases a freedom from within and out it comes. 

2. One simple daily practice eventually turns into a collection

I make things so complicated. I overthink. We all do. However, now after committing to writing daily Monday through Friday as part of my practice I have over 40 essays that I can be proud of.

They may not change the world but they've done a whole lot for me. They've shown me patterns, proven to me that I have the ability to focus, and I've felt the joy of actually learning something new. How to write.

I'm not the worst writer. I'm not the best writer. I'm a better writer than I was last month and that is of value. It has certainly has given me a sense of accomplishment. That's what we all strive for isn't it?

3. I have gained more and more confidence each day.

At first writing was mega gut wrenching. I thought long and hard about what people would say, how they might judge me and then I had a realization. People don't really care. They may think about me while reading a post, but there's so much frickin' stuff going on in our world that out the window it flies once they see that next blog post.

I've got my friends, family and relationships that are in line with my values and that's good enough. 

But now as I take a step towards some sort of outside work in creeps that old friend overwhelm. 

I know my old way of working will not be sustainable if I want to stay healthy both mentally and physically. The old way sends me into a spiraling maniacal maze of wires crossing and pond jumping rather than climbing one ring at a time.

And so a new 30 days begin. I will apply the same technique as daily blogging with a new section of my work. I'm not going to write or talk about it in an effort to keep the energy within the work. 

I have made a pact with myself to not change the project mid month. This is the most difficult thing for me. But I know this is the key. This project will simply be what it is. If it needs to stand on its own after I'm done that's what it's going to do. If it wants to grow then I will grow with it. 

And guess what? Another 30 days is around the corner. 

I will use the same technique I have used with writing. Gut instinct. 

After 30 days I will see what value it holds for me. 

See you on the other side. And yes, I'll still be here writing.

It's a hard knot life: How I head off "knots" from my Hizentra infusions

Each week I look like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. 

My husband gives me a subcutaneous infusion called Hizentra which is a very expensive medicine, somewhere between $5000-$8000 a pop and I receive this once a week, at home, in the evenings, usually on Mondays and I do this for very specific reasons. People have different experiences, and I found this link to be helpful.

Below is specific to me and everyone's reactions and ideas are unique to their own body.

I use ice to keep swelling down, some use heat to help the rate of the flow. I'll talk about about flow rate at another point.

  • This powerful medication often makes me feel tired alongside the Benadryl, I take in order to keep the side effects down.
  • I get quite large balls that pop up on my tummy during my infusion. They're often referred to as knots because they are hard.and painful.  I use ibuprofen to help the pain. I also put a huge ice pack on my tunny while I receive the infusion and then after while I go to sleep, AND the next morning. 
  • I typically dance or exercise the next day, but I wait until Tuesday evenings so I've had a little under 24 hours to recover. I wear tight pants that (and sometime a waist trainer type thing to keep my stomach in place) because it hurts when I jump, or do that kick-ass hip hop class.
  • On day three it starts to go down and I no longer look puffy, more like two months pregnant, but sometimes still sensitive. 
  • Repeat the next Monday (or Saturday or Sunday if I'm starting to get sick and we feel I need it).
  • One thing I forgot to mention. It greatly benefits me to hydrate the day before the infusion, the day of the infusion and the day after the infusion, which for me is a pain in the ass. I have a small bladder as it is, but I do feel oh so much better. I pee all day long. As a result, sometimes I don't do such a great job. However, I can really screw myself in dance class the next night and start sweating profusely as a result of not enough hydration. So, heed my warning. I usually drink a little lemonade with mostly water. I also use a electrolyte replacement drink that my husband picked up for me. I use Ultima grape flavor because it reminds me of otter pops.

I didn't really know what to expect so I thought it might be a good idea to show what happens for those who may be about to start this type of treatment.

Side effects will vary from person to person and also because the medicine you receive is from human plasma and is therefore variable.  

My main side effects are knots, tiredness, sluggishness, and my tummy hurts for about a day a half. I can take the infusion in other areas, I just haven't tried it yet, but will do so soon because using the same area each week can cause scar tissue. Other people have other types of side effects and some can be severe and indicate you should call your doctor so check that out here.

There are a few other options here and I've listed them for your reference. There is another recently released med by a company called Shire called Cuvitru. (Where do they come up with these names?) Here are the rest of them and a quick overview (however probably best to take a look here.)

  • Gammagard Liquid-immune globulin infusion 10% solution – Baxter Healthcare Corporation
  • Gammaked™ Immune globulin injection 10% caprylate/chromatography purified – Kedrion Biopharma, Inc.
  • Gamunex® -C (immune globulin injection 10% caprylate/chromatography purified – Grifols Therapeutics, Inc
  • Hizentra® immune globulin subcutaneous 20% liquid  CSL Behring
  • HyQvia immune globulin infusion 10% with recombinant human hyaluronidase – Baxter Healthcare Corporation

Do I like subcutaneous therapy better than Intravenous? I guess so. I used to have to think about all this once a month. But it was a trip to the hospital, a four hour infusion, one time the nurse accidentally didn't connect my IV to the drip and it was spilling out for 45 minutes with no one noticing, so that's $3000 down the drain...just a mistake, no ones fault, and it's a little depressing. I looked like frickin' Elle Woods with in the infusion clinic because I refused to not get work done. (Bipolar anyone?) The SubQ allows me to be home, with my kids and husband and comfy and I can go straight to bed if I feel like I need to. However, it's weekly. Not only is it weekly but I think about it several days. The courier drops it on Thursdays (because it's so expensive, luckily we both work from home), I hydrate Sundays, infusion is Monday, I hydrate Tuesday and get knotted up and then hope I can make it to my dance class Tuesday night. In other words, it's a lot of mental energy each week. 

It keeps me alive and kicking so I'm not here to complain. I do think a lot about those who can't afford what we can. In fact, I just read something about medicare. Will I need to worry about when I turn 65 getting this covered in retirement? That's more than 20 years from now, still something to think about. At the very least something to write about, huh?

Did you know there is a monthly free magazine for people with chronic immune deficiency?  I highly recommend it. You can sign up for it here.

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)

Read More