Meds or no meds- that is the question? Molly as Hamlet

I want to go off my meds.

When I said this to five of my closest confidants they all had the same reaction. 

"Isn't that what most people that have your type of problem say?"

Um, yes? It is. Or so I gather. That's what I've heard in all the movies.

And yet I don't quite feel like most people. I've also heard people in movies say that. 

I would say I have a tinge, a smidge, a scoache (I don't know how you spell that word but I think you get it?) of mania.

Okay I know I lost 18 pounds and yes I didn't eat for a year but again I was still lucid and aware that I wasn't able to eat. I did go off my rocker one, two or three nights, but that was mainly due to a mismatch of drugs alongside my mania. 

I don't know.

What comes first? The chicken or the egg? The drugs or the mania? The mania or the drugs? Is the immune condition causing my symptoms or the bipolar drugs? It's truly frustrating and when I talk to any of my eight doctors it's even more maddening as they run around telling me to take Gas x. 

It's complicated. I'll spare you the deets.

I know what came last week. Depression. Big time.

My metabolism has slowed, I can't exercise with enough strength and my tummy looks like I'm about to give birth to a medium sized cantaloupe.

That's where the Gas x comes in, get it?

I literally look like one of those people walking slowly in the Prozac commercials. And the character on the screen hasn't even taken the Prozac yet! That's the BEFORE! I'm the before and the after at the same time.

That is not how I can be the rest of my life. 

I'm a walking cliche saying I can do it on my own aren't I? Yep. 

Currently 1/2 the people in my life think I really really need them and the other half think I'm misdiagnosed and hormonal and making this up even though it's come from two separate psychiatrists. I've learned people don't always believe in psychiatry. 

It's a thing. 

I can see both sides. I really can't win in my own brain. Some might call it bipolar, huh?

Here's what I know now.

I need to wait, take a breath, get my health back as my body is out of whack from either the medication or something else going on. 

I was surprised to hear so many of my close friends have such big concerns when I said I was going to give this a go on my own. They obviously noticed more than I thought. That is indeed something to think about. I understand that.

I also think these same friends will immediately have the guts to tell me if I'm starting to cycle rapidly. 

I'm not sure I'll know until I see what happens when I'm off, so let's give this a go shall we? 

It seems like the cleanest and clearest decision to make at this point. 

Thanks for listening on what has been an intensely stressful week and it's only Monday. Thank god for the sun today. 

 

 

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

The Simple 30: Another anxiety attack comes roaring back

For 30 days I intend to do the same routine every day.

I'll explain.

I had a big set back a few days ago after thinking I was basically cured of Bipolar 2. What can I say? I've always had self confidence, and after two weeks of feeling fairly focused, eating well and having a relatively normal days I thought, "Yep, definitely cured now". 

Both of my doctors, primary and psychologist warned against this saying it was too soon to tell, but you guys-I wrote a musical in a year from start to finish-so I'm basically a genius. 

I mean I graduated with a 2.9. Get me a white medical coat.

Cut to a few nights ago I didn't sleep well, a humungous gigantic trigger. Basically the only real reason I'm sleeping with some success lately is because my psychiatrist has allowed me to take Ambien, god love her. I basically bugged the sh*t out of her for three days, explaining that I don't believe she understands the degree to which I don't sleep and the amount of stress surrounding it. If I wasn't on sleep meds I would go five nights in a row on 3 or so hours of panicked sleep and take no nap during the day, and in the process create 5 businesses, 8 websites, and a choreograph a gazillion dance classes. And boom, get sick.

Okay. Fast forward.

I started to spin out the following day. My mind said, "Okay, here's what on the agenda for today Molls, listen up. You will have no concentration, mania, rapid producing of stuff that you're not going to use because well, it's all...useless. Have fun!"

I contemplated the following careers within the span of 3 hours. Maybe I should be?

  • A Barista at Peet's Coffee
  • A waitress
  • A salesperson at Nordstrom
  • Going back to school to get my Psychology degree
  • Wait that would take too long-should I get my Marriage and Family Therapy License?
  • I'd make a good lawyer, I argue really well
  • Wait that would take too long and I don't have any money to go back to school maybe I should go on the internet and get my Life Coaching license.
  • And then back around to I should just be an actor. It doesn't pay much but I'm good at it and it's easy.

That, my friends is what an anxiety attack looks like for me. And before you say, we've all had that. Uh-uh. Complementing this anxiety attack is my body's response, crying. Often uncontrollably or if I'm lucky it just wells up every 5-10 minutes, but when it happens it does not feels not in my control and not connected to any rationality.

I cried in the aisle of Whole Foods while picking out pickles. 

I one time cried while eating a chicken fried steak. If you know me, a girl from Texas, who loves chicken fried steak...with gravy...fried okra...and a butter bun...and green jello. Nevertheless, I was crying.

Crying is the body's natural coping mechanism. Even if it's irrational, I find it best not to stop myself because holding in that feeling will cause another anxiety attack later that afternoon. 

And to the lady picking out kosher pickles next to me and wondering why this blonde chick was weeping over sweet or dill, I say, deal with it. 

Actually, it's pretty embarrassing. 

After crying I have a feeling of apathy and exhaustion. I don't have the ability to do much the rest of the day. My body has released most of the anxiety but leaves me feeling apathetic and uninterested in continuing through on any projects. 

Sometimes I can break out of it by exercising or walking. Usually I turn inward and put my earphones in and listen to podcast and books. I can do that for three hours and would continue until I was able to take that Ambien and fall asleep, but I'm a mom so that ain't happening. 

My children do not see any of this btw, they're blissfully unaware, or so it seems. Maybe they'll end up in therapy because of some deep seeded anxiety I have can't see, but most of us have that anyhow as we get older, some I'm not gonna take credit quite yet. Plus, I've always had a lot of doctors appointments so they're used to it. I will indeed be talking with them about all this though.

Transparency is key to my eventual success.

I would never want to hold something as big as this from them, as they might be afflicted by it one day. I have learned that mental illness runs rampantly throughout my family and I'd like them to have the tools rather than running around for 20 years thinking they're just high on life like I did.

Luckily I saw my therapist just two days later. I recounted what had happened and self diagnosed my own core issue. I have the unique ability to do that. It's as if I hover over my life as I spin from thought to thought and intuitive Molly analyzes and course corrects crazy Molly. This time I came to the conclusion that for now I do not want a gigantic career filled with ups and downs, excitement, fear, and general "bigness."

Right now my body craves simplicity calm, focused days, weeks, months, where I can get joy out of small even tasks and goals that perhaps no one even notices. 

  • Making the bed
  • Cooking a meal
  • Paying the bills
  • Writing

Simplicity. 

I crave it. I want it. I need it. My mind, however, spins me into a whirling dervish of thoughts and destroy any notion of my zen like hopes.

My therapist, who is just amazingly awesome and has basically saved me from years of misery, had the idea of me living life as a Modern Lady Monk.  Or a MLM for short. Actually, I made that name up. Sounds cuter and pinker than a regular robe wearing monk.

Just so you know The Modern Lady Monk wears soft relaxed cotton yoga wear from Athleta, and cashmere. I love me some cashmere.

For 30 days I will commit to doing the same thing everyday, write out on paper my commitment to myself and stick with it. 

I will not worry about the outcome, what happens on day 31, or making money. I will simply stay within the guidelines I have set for myself of my day and night. 

We call it The Simple 30

Thirty days of Molly living as a Modern Lady Monk. That doesn't mean doing nothing. I will outline my daily routine in my next post.

I felt immense relief upon contemplating this idea from my therapist, as I somehow needed to have permission from someone else to do it, for whatever psychological reason that is. 

And so I begin. 

This section of my blog will be dedicated to The Simple 30. A series that documents the what, why, and how of my 30 days. 

I'm a little nervous. My body and mind is used to chaos. It's my natural go to. It has moved my career forward at a rapid pace and now I need to embrace the slowness and perhaps monotony of everyday life. 

It may be boring. It may be simple. It may be tedious. 

But I guess I believe it will keep me alive.

I hope you all have a great Friday. I will be here.

Doing the same thing tomorrow.

xo, Molly

I cannot convince you

I move at a fast pace. I talk fast, I turn fast, I walk fast and yes it truly bothers me when someone strolls two steps behind me. It. Is. So. Annoying.

Keep up.

But this past year as I overly expressed myself- okay basically screamed from the rooftops LISTEN TO ME! NOTICE ME! GO AS FAST LIKE ME!- I started to see the pattern of me insisting that other people listen to me. Follow my advice.

Why the frick' am I doing that when I can't help myself? I'll tell ya why. Cuz it's easier for me to focus on other people rather than myself.

Here we go.

I cannot convince you that you will be unbelievably changed by having the guts to take a dance fitness class that will push your mind and body all because you can't stand to make an ass out of yourself.

I cannot convince you that the economy is changing and there will be no job left for you because you've moved yourself out of the market.

I cannot convince you that your company should be curating your own content on the internet and you should be learning all about the new marketing efforts that a competing smaller company is doing and eventually will land them ahead of the game and not you.

I will not tell you that same thing goes for singers. Painters. Comedians. Sales people. 

I will not tell you that you should break the rules first and ask for forgiveness later. 

But I'm telling you that okay? Old norms don't matter.

But I'm not telling you that, remember? (I say while slapping myself in the face).

Alright alright, I get what you're thinking-and now here are the other things I am not telling you.

I cannot convince you that standing right there in front of you is a mentor that will rapidly accelerate your life into something you've been complaining about for years and you simply need to ask this future mentor to help you.

I cannot convince you that it's important to set parental controls on your kids phone because you'd rather have know idea what your child is doing and you may regret it in the future. But I will tell you my child is not going to hang with yours as much. 

I cannot convince you that you should take your child's phone out of the bedroom at night because indeed they are sending me an email at 2 am. 

I cannot convince you that the reason you're not in a relationship is because you're not spending time listening, like ever-ever, and people want to talk about themselves. I mean work the system, my god.

I know. I can be bitchy. 

The truth is I really do think about those sort of things. It's maddening. How about we brand me Mean Molly? MM for short.

Except now...I'm stopping. As in- Full. Stop.

Because I have realized this past year that I should stay out of your mother f'n frickin' flippin' beeeeeeeezzzzzzz-wax. 

Here's the truth that I've stumbled upon in this my gigantic year of a 41 year old mid-life crisis.

PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO BE PUSHED INTO OPPORTUNITIES. They need to discover them on their own.

This. Is. So. Annoying. To. Me.  It would be so much faster if they allowed the help. But stop. STOP.

Who am I to judge? It has taken me 20+ years to get to this part of my life. AND I'M NO LONGER GETTING PAID FOR THE BULK OF MY WORK.

And guess what?

I am happier.

Yes, for f*cks sake, I am worried. I am terrified, each day and everyday that this grand experiment of writing at home, simplifying, trying not to die early, trying like hell to be authentic without pissing people off, is going to result in...well, nothing. It looms over me, crushing my spirit. Especially at the end of a long day. Especially at night.

I would wake up over it in the middle of the night, except I'm currently on Ambien for this crazy thing called bipolar 2 that has roared into my life like a mack truck. And after not sleeping for almost a decade, I look forward to taking drugs each night so I can get the shi*t out of my head that plays on repeat during the day. It's bliss. 

And yet I continue on like a brave little soldier. I'm a BLS you guys.

BUT, I will no longer tell you what you should do. I WILL tell you what I would do. How I've done it. How I've struggled against it. How I've pushed through it. How I'm embarrassed. 

Because I could be wrong about you.

Or, maybe I'm right about you? But you're on your own path. I get it now. 

Enough said. You go be you boo. I'll be over here being me and the truth will set us free. 

But I'm not telling you that.

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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.

 

Pushing past illness and CVID

Two years ago I finally got a diagnosis after 25+ years of being sick. 

I’ve had a history of infections since around the age 18. I don't remember being sick as a child, I'd say more "snotty".  I always walked around with a stuffy nose.  The first symptoms of Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) that I can recall were mostly gut related with ear and tonsil infections sprinkled in to keep things interesting.

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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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