Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Final Speech

As the microphone slowly descends and the orchestra crescendos into their "shut up now" flourish, I speed my speech in fear that not everyone will be thanked before I am gently escorted off stage and the cameras go to commercial...

I went on and on about my struggles, my strife; I gave the quintessential advice in never giving up and proclaimed that it was all worth it...I thanked my family, my friends, God...I blew a kiss to my Dad who was watching from above...

But who did I forget to mention??? At the pinnacle of my moment in reaping the benefits of my tenacious efforts in attaining my dream, who did I forget to thank? Ah... perhaps the ONE person who made this all happen! Without him noticing me and being attracted to my vibe, none of this would have occured....

Thank you Andrew Nathan Bergdahl, the love of my life!

Thank you for seeing me, for instantly seeing the happiness and beauty within me that went sooo unappreciated by other men. Thank you for seeing the things that make me ME, and for being drawn to me. 

You may have been too shy to approach me and I may have been too distracted to know you were there, but because of your friends seeing that you needed help and therefore playing "match maker", we met, we talked, we came to realize rather quickly that we had a lot in common and the love story of my life unfolded so easily that I found myself saying YES to your proposal a year and four months later!!! 

He proposed under the Redwoods!!

When I first started this blog, I honestly did not believe I would ever find my soul mate. I was fed up, disappointed, confused and looking for answers. All sorts of revelations started to surface the deeper I plunged into my soul while writing blog posts for the world to witness...airing out all the hilarious, embarrassing, gross, sad, difficult parts of my life. I admitted I had dated some real jerks, I recounted the dark tales of Mark's death and how that affected me for years, I begged Aphrodite to release her curses on me, I said goodbye to my Father, I threw the rock, and I finally found solid ground where I could start my journey as a healed woman headed for a secure future in being "OK" without finding my love and without having children to call my own. I was absolutely rock solid and happy... and that's when I met YOU.

The wisdom you have within you drew us together because I finally possessed true happiness within myself.  It was perfect alignment. 

You are my dream come true. 

I KNEW you were out there ever since I was a child; HA!! and people told me I was unrealistic in waiting for a man like you. I'm glad I disagreed with them all, and I'm glad I continued to wait, hope, pray, beg, and blog. 

I may be older now (turning 40 next week!!) and I sure did wait a long long time for you to appear, but you are worth it all, Andrew.  

Stay tuned for a new blog with a new title cuz this girl ain't single no more!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second Chances

About 4 weeks ago I was laid off, thank GOD, from a job that I tried to convince myself I liked; but in fact I have been miserable and stuck in a conservative office for way too long.

Since that blessed day when my boss let me go, my life has opened up in many profound ways and I have found myself starting a journey down a path that I believe has always been there, waiting for me.

I'm the leading lady in a show

I'm reading my book to classes

I'm moving to San Francisco to be with the love of my life

And I'm teaming up with a life coach to keep me on this path of happiness and self acceptance

I will continue to honor myself by staying in the sunlight and being true to who I am and what I need in life to continue to shine!

Thank you, Universe, for giving me this second chance on life!

Friday, April 26, 2013

They are going to find out that I’m a fraud

Sacramento Music Circus (despite its strange name) is one of the most esteemed regional theatres in the United States. Every year they hold auditions in multiple cities.  Basically, it’s a bitch to cast in one of their shows.

After 7 years of auditioning for them, I FINALLY got cast. I felt like a celebrity shortly after being offered the role. People started buzzing that I got it and I received a lot of hugs and congratulations from my fellow actors who stood in those long audition lines with me, day after day. 

When the artistic director called me to offer me the role he said, “Theresa, you were the ONE person I picked out of 2000 people.” 

 Despite that huge compliment, I was nervous as HELL in Sacramento. I had one week to learn an entire show, and I was clean outta practice in the professional theatre world. I spent the past 7 years auditioning, not actually WORKING! I felt out of place in a world I had been trying to break in to. 

As I was commiserating with one of my cast mates about my insecurities, he said to me, “Oh believe me. I’m scared too! I’m wondering when the director is going to realize that I’m a fraud.”  

I realized that I too thought I was a fraud.

Fast forward 6 years and I’m now working in a high rise office, on the verge of being laid off because my new boss does not feel that I am qualified for my new position.  I was hired before she got here. 

She gave me my 90-day review and basically told me that I’m not up to par. We are to reconvene for a 30 day review at the end of May. Oh, I’m sooooo getting laid off, but that's ok. I don't like the corporate life anyways.

I am a Corporate Girl fraud and they found out. 

Look, I tried like hell to quit acting and get a grown up job.  I thought I could convince myself that I’d have fun playing the part of Corporate Girl.

  • I bought a suit at Macy’s (my costume)
  • I interviewed for this position (my audition)
  • They asked me for a second interview (my call-back)
  • They offered me the job (I got the part!)

What I am not – An Actor Fraud.

I have been performing and studying this art form my entire life. I have a legitimate degree in Performing Arts. I have been hired to perform on stage, in films, in commercials. I’ve been selected to sing on recordings and etc. I’ve even been asked to teach this craft.  I am a professional, despite the fact that it’s difficult to make a living at it.

I realize now that I was not a fraud in Sacramento. I EARNED that role and I deserved it.

Mom and Dad visiting me in my dressing room

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Finally Figured Out What I’ve Known All Along

Big News…I’m an actor! 

And I just figured this out?

While earning my degree in Performing Arts, pursuing an acting career in LA and NYC, and doing show after show, I spent a majority of those 20 years convincing myself that I was NOT an actor. As I was waiting for my life to begin, I:
  • studied acting
  • fine-tuned my singing voice
  • went to dance classes
  • auditioned
  • begged agents to represent me
  • banged on the Broadway stage doors to drop off my demo cd to the music directors

I did:
  • gorilla theatre
  • community theatre
  • fringe shows
  • regional shows
  • wrote and performed in my own cabarets
  • I even directed a play
  • sang in musical theatre workshops
  • sang on recordings
  • landed a major recording – The Stephen Sondheim Album
  • shared the stage with Deborah Gibson and Elaine Stritch in a musical
… But all the while, I was NOT an actor. 

I was a:
  • nanny
  • babysitter
  • administrative assistant
  • temp
  • waitress
  • cater waiter
  • assistant stage manager
  • senior marketing coordinator

Yet I was NEVER an actor.

I grew tired of being the stereotypical struggling artist. I was done putting my life on hold for the day I would land that one big role that would jumpstart my career and make me a REAL actor. So I tore up my Equity card, left NYC and all of my dreams, and I moved back to Cali to get a “real life”.  
Well, I have that real life now. I landed a “real” job (Senior Marketing Coordinator) and I’m no longer that struggling actor because I’m not doing shows anymore. I finally got my “real life” that I wanted.

But why have I been so depressed lately?

Andrew, my beloved and handsome boyfriend, noticed my gloom and doom and so wisely said to me “You need to do a show”. 

  • Hell NO!
  • I don’t need to do that stilly acting stuff anymore!
  • Hum…I’ve been in a 2 year dry spell. No shows since 2011.
  • Maybe he’s right?

Then all of the sudden the clouds parted. I had an epiphany.
I figured out what I have known all along. 

I AM an actor. 

  • I need the stage
  • I need that license to act goofy without any judgments
  • I need to express myself through acting and singing


If I don’t, my light grows dim.  

"Wait Until Dark" Newport Theatre Arts Center

I actually AM an actor, and I have been an actor this whole time! 

And what a better situation than to have a full time job that I actually like, and have the flexibility to do shows on the weekends. 

Rediscovery is bliss.

Hello to the New Me who I’ve always been!

Come see me play my dream role, Audrey, in Little Shop of Horrors at Long Beach Playhouse!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where Is Your Happy Place? Part I

What do you do when you find yourself bogged down with that stress, anger or sadness you wish you could wad up in a ball and sling shot to another universe?  I was reminded recently of finding my happy places in order to sooth my anxiety. When my demons roar, which they have been lately to a deafening degree, I try to think of at least one specific thing that I absolutely love.  

Happy Place #1… San Francisco

I love being in this city...The stacked Victorian apartments on top of mom and pop shops... 

The wind, the cool weather, the cypress trees...

The fact that it’s only an hour flight away, the nature that is in and around the city, the steep streets that lead up to beautiful vistas...  I love the eclectic outings like going to a party inside a theatre or doing yoga in an old Victorian house...

The view from my boyfriend Andrew’s apartment in Upper Market,  Philz Coffee in Noe Valley, shopping on Chestnut in the Marina (Rabat to be exact), Fort Funston and the lovely view of the beach...

  I love the fact that the city cares so much about the environment...

 Scooting around the city on Andrew’s Vespa and holding on to him tightly when we weave our way through traffic, I love our long walks with Emma Dogg,  in fact I love Dogs now!

 I love the store “Under One Roof” and how their proceeds to go the AIDS Foundation (I have to visit it every time I’m up there)

 I love that there are way too many fun things to do and see...

 Wine tasting in nearby Napa and Sonoma...

Art galleries in Sausalito, Golden Gate Bridge...

Crab in a cup at Fisherman’s Warf, Golden Gate Park, random acts of nudeness...

  And I love the man who lives there.

Where is your happy place?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is an Epic Journey Ever Over?

I did it! I finally finished my book!

And you can buy it on Amazon or Create Space

In April 1996, as I was heaped in a ball, crying inconsolably over Mark’s death, my Mother dug into the earth and planted a sunflower garden that would become the most beautiful lesson I had ever learned. It also became the inspiration for the book I wrote, illustrated and recently published. 

A beautiful sunflower garden took over a corner of our backyard that summer. There was one flower in particular that grew so big that I had to climb a step ladder to touch the top.  I don’t know about you, but I have always been awestruck by those humongous sunflowers that are taller than me. I feel flutters of magic and I just want to sit in their shade and look up! 

At that time, in the midst of my grief over my first love, I was unrealistically searching for Mark in anything, and yep, you guessed it, I fancied the thought that a bit of his soul was in that towering yellow beauty. I just loved that garden, and I mostly loved my Mark Flower. 

Eventually all the flowers dried up and died. We pulled Mark Flower from the earth and laid him off to the side.

The rest of 1996 flew by. When summer came around again, I found myself thinking about the Mark Flower and wondering about the old garden. You’ll never guess what happened next! I walked out to the backyard and discovered a whole new patch of sunflowers already in full bloom! What a wonderful surprise!  “I have to write a children’s book about this with the moral being that we are never completely gone, even when we die!” 

That idea marinated in my heart for 10 years. I knew eventually I would write it …

Skip ahead one decade to a New York City subway train. There I was, frantically writing my book. My pen couldn’t scribble fast enough.  I was impulsively moved to put that story to ink after I had a HUGE awakening in therapy.  I had finally come to terms with the deeply disturbing complexities of Mark’s death that I had squelched for so long.  Everything was surfacing for me, including the long awaited story of the Sunflower. Suddenly my heart began to lift, and it kept shedding all that weight for the next six years as I illustrated and fine-tuned the book that would become an epic for me.

Many hurdles slowed me down along the way.  I had no idea how to draw or how on earth I was going to magically become an artist. For months I begged my brother, Troy, to partner with me since he has a background in graphic design. Finally he suggested, “Why don’t you just illustrate it the way you make all your greeting cards with your magazine cut outs!” Ah yes! My mixed media, collage, tear-outs, thing-a-ma-boppers… OK! I can do that. Great idea Troy! 

So I set off on a very long journey looking thru every magazine and catalogue I could, searching for the most interesting prints and patterns in all the colors I needed. Along the way, I came up with more and more ideas of how to make my book look really cool. I used all those hours in audition lines to rip and cut my way thru colorful pieces of glossy paper and sort everything into zip lock baggies.

Next hurdle:  illustrating the faces of my characters. I had no idea how to draw! So I asked my brother Allan and my friend Deni, hoping one of them would save me.  No such luck! Allan said “Whenever you’re on the subway or needing to just veg out, grab a pencil and just start drawing. Doodle! Give it a try! You can teach yourself how to draw.” That was great advice, because after months of waiting around for someone else to do my job, I finally picked up a pencil (very reluctantly) and started drawing my way to new discoveries. I’m not proclaiming that I am a gifted drawer, but I’m proud of what I’ve done and I’m happy to say that I found my own style that works for me!  I think my book came out to be pretty darn cute!

I had laser focus for long stretches of time.  Some weekends were flat out dedicated to staying inside and illustrating. I honed in for weeks racing home from work, eating dinner in my car, skipping the gym, and planting my butt in the chair to do more cutting and pasting. Long hiatus’ were also part of the equation.  Sometimes I was distracted doing community theatre.  Other times I took long breaks because I straight up needed a time-out from little pieces of paper fluttering around my apartment and Gluesticky fingertips. 

For about a year, I had my artwork strung up on my walls, hanging off of hemp string by paperclips I “borrowed” from work. 

Petal by tiny petal I cut and pasted my way to 27 pages of illustrations!

What a lovely journey. Healing from a painful part of my life, saying my long goodbye to Mark, expressing myself in a new form of art I had never tapped into before, all the while processing my day to day life, moving from New York back to Cali, entrances and exits of various romantic relationships, births, deaths, weddings and etc.  The recent passing of my Father gave me the urgent inspiration to finalize this cathartic work of joy. 

This book is not only about Mark. It’s about ME and the colorful patterns and layers of 16 years of highs, lows, dedication, prayer, discovery, and reflection. During this process, I grew up and became the woman I have always wanted to be. “What David Taught Me” embodies everything that I am. 

If someone asked, "Who is Theresa?" I would hand them my book and say, “Well, here’s a start!”