I came into work this morning, and our 80-something-year-old secretary who sometimes sleeps at her desk seemed a bit bummed. I wanted to help, so after she chatted about her gout for a bit, I cheerily chirped “Well, it's beautiful out! So we should just, you know, enjoy being alive!”
She then dead panned me, glasses slipping down the crook of her nose, and said “Should we?” A little morbid for 9 am.
I know it's annoying, but I often have some obnoxious, sunshiny, daisy-shitting positive response to peoples' laments. I can hear myself being obnoxious, but the stuff just sort of spews out of me. I try to tone it down a bit, with things like “Just stay positive and keep moving forward! ...I mean, yeah your boss sounds like a dick.”
It's not that I can't be a bitch. Oh trust me, I can. But I am also a believer in a bunch of hippie-dippie hullaballoo, and following a few general mantras has helped me shelve my bitch face and improve my life overall.
One of the mantras I most believe in is "Ask and you shall receive." Or, to put it shorter, "Just ask." I try and live my life like this -- when I get an idea, before I shoot it down, I just ask.
And this, "Just Ask," is how I managed to convince my employer to allow me to telecommute from Hawaii, where I will work from an itty bitty studio apartment on the edge of an active volcano, and in my downtime, I will help my director boyfriend shoot a movie I wrote the script for.
Hawaii what? Movie who?
When visiting my family on the big island in February, my mother dropped the bomb that she had bought the sweetest studio she hoped to rent out as an investment. Whaddup, ocean views! We went over to check it out, I fell in love, and I started daydreaming about moving there.
And then I started fantasizing about it. And then I stopped sleeping, because I couldn't get it off my mind. I'm an editor and writer. Can't I work from anywhere? I am 25. I have no mortgage or children or ties. Why not pick up and move? My boyfriend, an independent filmmaker, was ready to come along for the ride.
And so, with a belly full of nerves, I pitched it to my amazing boss. I work for a small editorial team in Connecticut. Me leaving would mean the physical absence of 1/5 of of us. I figured it would be a hard “no.” But I knew I had to ask, just for giggles, because if I never asked, I would never know. So for an excruciating three minutes, I rambled about opportunities and responsibilities and commitment ...And she went for it!
With that in mind, here are a few other really amazing mantras I have faith in. They are all gag-inducingly cheesy but whatever, I dig it.
Live with intention, not expectation.
In my opinion, expectations lead to disappointment, whereas intentions allow you to surprise yourself and be surprised. Try not to expect people to act a certain way, try not to assume an outcome, and things usually are less cripplingly disappointing.
Give goodness, get goodness.
So cheesy right? But true! TRUE! When we put out good, positive energy, we get it back. When we do good, we get goodness in return.
Love with abandon.
OK, again, I am beyond drippy. But I try my best not to “hate” anything. Growing up, whenever I used the word “hate,” my dad would tersely respond with “Hate is for Hitler.” When someone is rude or cruel to me, I try and act with compassion. This is the hardest belief for me to chew on, because when someone hurts me, my automatic defense is to act with aggression. I am trying not to do that –- if they were able to hurt me, then that means I care about them, and so I should act on those gooey feelings instead of unleashing my inner rage kraken.
Do shit that scares you.
This is a less classy version of Eleanor Roosevelt's “Do one thing every day that scares you.” For real, doing scary stuff, from big to little, makes you feel way bad ass. Even if you're about to pee your pants in terror, pushing forward at least makes you look super fierce.
OK, back to trying to make my dreams happen and shit. If you're not into reading me as I babble about my passion project, quit while you're ahead!
A while back, I wrote a screen play called “Courtesy Flush.” It's a dark comedy about a young couple who, just after college, made a terribly done parody of an exercise video, called Fuck Fitness. As a joke, they posted it to YouTube, and it went viral. They end up branding it and expanding it into all facets of the fitness world –- DVDs, a reality TV show, horrible late night infomercials, all that good stuff.
Flash forward five years. They have outgrown their ridiculous image, and so they try to outrun it by moving from New York City to a small jungle town on the big island of Hawaii that rests at the edge of an active volcano.
When making plans for our move, my boyfriend and I started thinking: If we're already moving to the very setting for which I wrote my screenplay, then isn't this the perfect time to make that movie we have both been salivating over?
Within weeks, the screenplay was split into sides, casting calls were posted, and our idea turned into a project with a full cast and crew. Now, Courtesy Flush has a Kickstarter campaign collecting the funds we need to make our dreams a reality. And it all came from “Just Ask.”
As an xoJane exclusive, I'm including a video of outtakes from when we shot our Kickstarter campaign. None of this could be put in the actual Kickstarter campaign because it made us look like asshats. But I figured you all would appreciate it!
If you want, you can visit our Kickstarter for our actual, more appropriate video, as well as a purposely terribly done “Fuck Fitness” infomercial where Phillips and I are doing a whole bunch of really sexual things to a cheesy techno beat. There are fake mustaches. It's amazing.
But mostly, please (cheese alert) try and make your dreams happen. Just freakin' ask. Do something scary. If you fail, well at least you tried, right?