My Weekly Goals Project

Hi friends!

Okay, let’s get real for a minute: things are a bit of a mess right now. Whatever side of the political/social wall you are on (see what I did there?), I think we can all agree that the general climate in the United States has been a bit topsy-turvy for the past few months, and doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon. Deep rifts have ruptured in some of the closest of families. The Unfriend button on Facebook has seen more action than all of the Spiderman reboots combined. And my general mentality has been, “Well, we’re all gonna die, so I might as well finish the bottle/eat the whole bag/adopt all the puppies.”

With all of this, I’ve had a bit of a hard time writing lately. At first I was angry and sad, and I wasn’t inspired to put any of my negative feelings or thoughts down on paper (internet?). Then when I started to collect myself and things began to settle a bit, I tried to write a blog about all of the things we still have that make humans happy, but after puppies and Beyoncé I ran out of ideas. Blergh.

So I turned inward, and I began to actively seek out new ways to better myself, educate myself, and basically live life a little more mindfully. My #Today2017 project has been really incredible for that (read up on it here https://pattimurin.blog/2016/12/31/please-make-it-2017-already/), and between that calendar and coffee, waking up each morning is borderline joyous.

When January 1st came around, New Year’s resolutions were on my mind. But since they’re borderline impossible to keep for an entire 365 days (seriously if you’ve kept one, you are literally a superhero), I decided to go about it a different way.

Each Sunday evening, I sit down with my planner (yes, I still use a paper agenda, thank you), and I write a list of Weekly Goals, with a very simple set of guidelines.

It can be as short or as long as I want.
I write this list with the intention and idea that there is absolutely no pressure or punishment if I don’t achieve all of them. There will be no self loathing involved in Weekly Goals.
The list can change weekly, or stay the same.
And at the end of each week, I reflect back on what came up that wasn’t included in my goals, and I make sure that I commend myself for those things as well.

What is a Weekly Goal, you ask? Well for example, this week’s list is:
Exercise 5 times
Publish a blog (check!)
Finish half of a non-fiction book
Finish 2 fiction books (I read A LOT)
Eat well!
Try a new class
Don’t flake on any plans

And that’s that! It’s all about simple health and happiness at the core. Previous and future weeks have and will include Goals such as: volunteer, disconnect for 24 hours from all technology, donate to Goodwill, make chili, etc. Make sense?

The reason that I’ve found it so easy to keep this up, week after week, is because once I decide what I want to do and write it down on the Weekly Goals list, I become responsible for myself. The only person I’m hurting by not doing these things is myself. But on the flipside, the more Goals I complete, the more people I will be helping. If I don’t publish this blog, fine. But if I do? The chance that I could inspire even one other human being makes it worth it. As soon as I physically write down “exercise 5 times,” I become my own guide. I become my own teacher. And I become my own biggest cheerleader.

As I said, if I get to the end of the week and I’ve only worked out two or three times instead of four or five, IT IS OKAY. Things happen, roadblocks come up, and we have to be flexible and forgiving with ourselves. But by writing it down on my Weekly Goals list, the probability that I will complete these things raises exponentially.

Singling out each week, one chunk of the year at a time, has made it much easier to live in the present, and to take life day by day. I find myself worrying less, my anxiety level has dropped from a 9 to about a 3, and every single day I have the ability to feel accomplished, should I so choose. I’m happier, healthier, and my self worth has grown. This is better than any New Years’ resolution I’ve ever made.

So give it a shot if you want! Do exactly what I do, or tweak the concept as much as you would like. Your Weekly Goals, your decision. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work out.

PLEASE MAKE IT 2017 ALREADY

Hello, friends.

This year has been rough. For me, it started with an offer for a Broadway show on January 1st, which seemingly promised excellent fortune in the months ahead, only to have said Broadway show cancelled 3 weeks into rehearsal. And that looked like peanuts with what followed in 2016. This year is ending in an incredibly volatile political and social climate not only in the United States, but in the world. We are either approaching crisis mode, or are already in crisis mode and will only be able to tell when we look back and say, “Oh, how good we had it back then when we were in crisis mode and didn’t know it!”

 

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We lost David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, Edward Albee, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and the one that pierces my heart most of all, Alan Thicke. There are humans using social media to beg for help and say their last goodbyes to the world, as what is left of their cities are being savagely bombed, and they are watching their friends and family be slaughtered right in front of their eyes, all in the name of power.

 

 

And for the cherry on top of my own personal pity pie, I might have mono. Yes, the virus that most of us got out of the way our freshman year of college when we kissed 87 people in the same night with no thought of germs, much less maybe raising our standards a little bit.

So, with 17 long days left to go (please be a happy day, Christmas), I’m going to look ahead to 2017 with a new plan.

While shopping at a local small business craft fair here in Chicago this past weekend, I came across a page-a-day calendar. Not the kind I know you’re picturing, with the crappy plastic stand that doesn’t actually stand even though its literal name is “STAND,” and the row of glue that hangs over the pages further and further as the year goes on and is impossible to rip off without the whole thing coming apart. No, this one was special.

For one thing, almost every product on the table it was displayed on bore the phrase “you are beautiful,” and being a human with an ego, I like when inanimate objects give me compliments. But I loved the beautiful, simply artistic and classic vibe it was giving me, and I also really like Post-It cubes, so it really spoke to me with its vertical shape.

But it was the name most of all. The name of the calendar is “Today.” And as we launch desperately out of this mess of a 2016 and emerge with renewed hope in 2017, I’m resolving to take it day by day. I’ve said this a lot in the past, but I mean it this time. And this calendar is going to help.daily_calendar_matthew_hoffman_5_60dde3bd-4a4a-4436-b8b4-af953eac448a_1024x1024

Many of you have been following along with my #PartyWithPatti initiative this whole year, where I celebrated as many “National Holidays” as I could manage. It was hard, and required a lot of planning, and a lot of the joy of celebrating was lost because I was constantly feeling bad for missing celebrations, or being forced to celebrate things I hated, like vegetables and healthy things and vegetables. When people asked if I was going to do that again, my immediate reaction was, “Hell, no!” I had a fantastic time and actually made some great new friends out of it, but it was a lot. So this year, I’m trying something new with “Today.”

Each day of the calendar has a new thought, just a few words long, that can mean absolutely nothing or a crap ton, depending on what you make of it. So each morning, I’m going to look at the phrase of the day, take a picture of it, share it, and see how it informs the next 24 hours. No cheating, no looking or planning ahead, just a lovely thing to look forward to every morning to make the day a little more fun, more challenging, more exciting, or just whatever. There is no pressure to “do,” though I know I will be inspired to.

And yes, I know that January 1st is just the day after December 31st, and the universe doesn’t actually reset itself, but guess what? I don’t really care. 2017 will be better, because I am going to make better things of it. And “Today” is going to guide the way.

So here we go! Let’s all hold virtual hands and get through the remainder of this sh*t pile of a year together. The only way out is love. And jokes. Lots and lots of jokes.

(To buy the calendar for yourself: https://you-are-beautiful.com/collections/art/products/today-daily-calendar)

(Also I literally do not know this man, so I’m not getting any sort of kickback or free stuff or anything. He legit doesn’t know I exist.)

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Here’s a picture of my dogs, just for fun.

An Open Letter in Response to an Open Letter

First, read this:

http://www.littlethings.com/dog-owners-are-not-parents/

Now, read this:

Dear Angry Mom of Human Children,

Thank you for sharing your stance on this very, very important issue we are being faced with. In a world where our President could very well be an orange-hued racist pathological liar in just a few months, and where people get gunned down senselessly almost every single day, this is most definitely a worthwhile topic to spend your energy on.

You are angry about LochteGate when you should be angry about Syria.

But I admit, not every single thing I write about is full of world-changing opinions or information. So I’ll bite.

As the proud parent (yes, I said PARENT) of two dogs, I wholeheartedly disagree with your blog post. And no, it’s not because I think that my life as a dog mom is just as difficult and trying as your life with a daughter. It’s because what you have done here is instructed me where I am allowed to direct my love, and that does not sit well with me.

I have a lot of love to give. I am a loving person. I love people, I love dogs, I love spiders that aren’t too big or hairy, I love every baby animal that has ever existed, I love getting mail, I love those adorable POP Funko things, I love wearing ball gowns, I love feeling pretty, I love wine, I love very hot showers. Bottom line, I LOVE.

So when someone takes time out of their day to publish an entire diatribe about why my love is wrong and theirs is right, I get mad. I do not love that. I actually take great offense to it.

Love is the most important survival tool we have right now. It is free. It is everywhere, if you are willing to look. You can literally create it yourself. As long as you don’t love war or hurting things or pollution or Justin Bieber, you basically can’t go wrong with love. So perhaps instead of telling me that I am wrong because I love my adorable, loyal, innocent fur babies too much, you should look at dog owners such as myself, smile, shake your head, and think, “Look at all of that love she has to give. As silly as I think she is, thank goodness that love exists in this world right now.” And then hold your daughter a little closer because, as history has proven over and over again, love begets love. Love breeds love.

Also, please don’t define my family for me. If I decide that my family is my husband and our 87 dogs (Colin, I have something to tell you), then that is my decision and my prerogative. If I decide that having human babies is not for me, or worse, if I am unable to have my own human babies, I am allowed to choose dogs instead. You don’t have to agree with me, but please don’t judge me.CYtdZDUWcAA9Q71

I won’t even go into great detail about your bullet point list of why raising a child is different than owning a dog. I can sum it up for you in one sentence: One is a human being, and one is an animal. That’s akin to making a list detailing why Star Wars is not the same as Mean Girls. You literally just wasted your time explaining the difference between people and dogs to an entire Internet full of people who knows the difference between people and dogs. You say that parenting your child takes a lot of work and energy and dedication, so perhaps writing this list was a misuse of your time.

Okay, I’ll go into a little detail. Your list is also full of misinformation and incredibly overarching blanket statements. We fix our dogs because there is a severe national problem with overcrowding in shelters, and the less dogs that are in shelters, the less dogs have to be euthanized for space reasons. So we fix our dogs to do our small part in solving this massive issue. Also, the vast majority of us don’t breed our dogs and sell them “for a mint.” And finally, I was a babysitter for years. So I know for a fact that you can, in fact, drop your child off somewhere and pay to have someone bathe her. I know because I have been paid to bathe many children. It’s called childcare. CotPnuZWIAAfBih

As I write this, one of my two dogs is sitting at my feet, violently shaking because of an air show that is currently happening. The fighter jets petrify him, and he is helpless. He hides, he cowers, he accidentally pees himself. And my love for him grows exponentially by the minute. This is a living being experiencing crippling fear. It is my responsibility as an educated human to take care of him. Just because he is a dog and not a child doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve affection and safety and affection. So yes, I will give up my whole afternoon so I can cover him in a blanket and hold him as close as I possibly can. Because he is my baby, and I love the ever loving shit out of him.

With Love,

Patti, Petey & Milo

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Sometimes an Actor Writes a Blog Post After A Long Drought

Sometimes an actor hasn’t written a real blog post in months, and she feels guilty about it. And then she sits down to write and a lot of stuff comes out that she’s pretty sure many people can relate to. And sometimes she realizes she’s talking about herself in the third person and wants you to just read it, already. For all of the family, friends, colleagues, Muggles, aliens, actors, artists and humans who stumble across this, thanks for being here.

Sometimes auditioning takes forever. Anytime you’re told that you’ll have some news by the end of the week, they don’t necessarily mean THE PARTICULAR WEEK YOU ARE IN. It just means the end of whatever week they decide to give you the news in.

Sometimes the most nerve-wracking auditions are not the ones for people you’ve never worked with before, but the ones where you’re in front of all of your friends and the people you respect not just as artists and creatives, but as humans. The ones you’ve probably had a glass of wine (or 4) too many with, or who let you cry on their shoulder when you got divorced. Personal example: Andrew Lloyd Webber? Easy as pie! Alex Timbers? I can’t handle thinking about potentially disappointing him. I would have to quit the business and become a sherpa.

Sometimes you go to an audition feeling incredibly proud of yourself for not conforming to the “audition uniform” of a dress and heels, and then the casting director tells you that while you were the most talented person there, you didn’t get it because you looked like you were going out to the club. And that you need highlights. And to learn how to use makeup. And she’s completely right.

Sometimes they make you audition for roles you’ve literally created, and played for 6 months. And sometimes they give your role to someone else. And sometimes you have to look at press photos on Twitter of the person who got it, who is wearing your old costumes. And sometimes that’s a really terrible feeling.

Sometimes very important people eat entire bags of chips during your audition ballad. Very, very loudly. Like, I’m talking crunching so loudly that the piano is drowned out and you mess up because you’re having a debate inside your head about whether or not you should stop in the middle of your song and say something, but how could you do that because this guy is basically in charge of whether you get this job or not, and now the song is over and you’ve completely blown it. But at least his blood sugar has been maintained.

Sometimes you have to say no to auditions, jobs, concerts, etc. Sometimes your life is more important and you’re not willing to be away from your new husband to do a show for 3 months in Connecticut. Sometimes you love your life more than your career, and that’s okay.

Sometimes everything is going exactly the way you’ve always dreamed of, but you can’t help feeling unfulfilled.

Sometimes the thrill of walking in your stage door every single day is much more satisfying and emotional than a billion Opening Nights combined.

Sometimes you get really bored waiting to work one day a week on a TV show. And even though it’s very well paid boredom, it can still make you feel useless as a human.

Sometimes when people call you a “Broadway actor/actress,” you can’t help feeling like a fraud, as it’s been years since you’ve actually set foot on a Broadway stage.

Sometimes you audition for a workshop of a new musical, and you book said workshop, and you love it and meet one of the best directors you’ve ever had the privilege to work with. And then said new musical is announced to move to Broadway, and you’re going with it, and you have to drop out of a project that would have taken you out of town for 3 months. And then said new Broadway musical is cancelled just two weeks into rehearsals, and you are devastated. But then you audition for the most exciting project in your career, and you book it, and if you had been out of town for 3 months you would not have been able to audition. So sometimes, in the bizarre cosmic strings of this universe, Cancelled Broadway Musical = Most Exciting Moment in Career Ever.

Sometimes you read the paragraph above and realize just how confusing it is. Bottom line: Sometimes bad things make way for good things.

Sometimes, “But it’s work” is not a good reason to accept a job or an audition. If you do not want to understudy, you do not have to. If you want to dance joyously in the ensemble for the rest of your life, you do not have to pretend to want anything different. If you pass on 37 auditions because you only want to play leading roles, that is okay.

Sometimes, “But it’s work” is absolutely a good reason to accept a job or an audition. We are humans with bills to pay and other humans to take care of. Who says actors aren’t allowed to be unhappy at work sometimes? Just because we’re living the dream doesn’t mean the dream isn’t difficult at times.

Sometimes, the girlfriend of the guy you’re playing opposite in a show hates you, and you get into a drunken screaming match in the lobby of a hotel in Atlanta. And then 4 years later she becomes one of your best friends, and one of the strongest, most honest women in your life. And the story goes down in the books as a win for all of you.

Sometimes you and your husband both go out of town on different tours to play dream roles, and in exchange for that dream coming true, you end up getting divorced. And sometimes, that’s okay.

Sometimes, your ex-husband marries the girl he played opposite while on said tour. And that is also okay.

And finally, sometimes, the random guy you’ve known for 8 years who once got your mom and dad house seats for his Broadway show asks you to marry him. And you finally have clarity on your perspective as an actress, as a woman, and as a partner. And even though happily ever after is not instantaneous or constant, you realize that it’s a state of mind rather than a state of being. And sometimes, you find the strength to keep on going.

“Bachelor in Paradise” Recap! Heaven or Hell?

We’re back. WE. ARE. BACK.Bachelor-in-Paradise-1500-logo

After a snooze of a season with JoJordan emerging as the final victorious couple (for now), even the opening credits of “Bachelor in Paradise” give us all hope that the good times are here again. It’s a grand gathering of some of our favorite zany characters from previous seasons of the shows, all hoping to find love in a hopeless tropical place! (Special shoutout to Daniel, Lace and Jared, whose intros show that they’re not afraid to make fun of themselves.) And away we go!

We get a quick recap of some our BIPers, including Nick (Most Valuable Runner Up), Lace (the nutty hottie from Ben’s season), The Twins (Emily & Haley, who are apparently being treated as one human being), Evan (fixes penises), Chad (meat eater), and Daniel (Canadian who literally can not pronounce the word “Bachelorette”). Chris Harrison is actually, physically there to greet all of the hopeful, sparkly eyed alumni who are there for the right reasons. Or…are they?

We welcome Amanda (young single mom from Ben’s season, looking fantastic), Nick, Jubilee (military girl) and Evan first. Jubilee has been calling Evan “The Penis Guy” from her couch, so she doubles down on her efforts to learn names and give everyone an honest chance here in Paradise. Then come Vinny (JoJo’s season? How quickly we forget), Carly (Karaoke singer), Grant (JoJo’s season), and Daniel, who is NOT impressed with any of the women who are already there. He actually goes so far as to say that they are like “washed up street dogs.” Earlier in the episode, he likened himself to an eagle who is not willing to settle for a pigeon, so early observations of Daniel tell us that he loves animals. Oh, and also that he’s a disgusting pig that I wouldn’t even eat bacon from. Suck on that, you Mean Canadian.

(Also, adopt, don’t shop.)

Sarah arrives (Sean’s season, sweet as pie), and I am reminded that while she is not the sharpest crayon in the box, her determination to find love makes her incredibly likable. And then, we have The Twins.

HALEY FERGUSON, EMILY FERGUSON, CHRIS HARRISON

(ABC/Rick Rowell) HALEY FERGUSON, EMILY FERGUSON, CHRIS HARRISON

Haley and Emily, Emily and Haley. They insist that they are different, though they go everywhere together, do everything together, speak at the same time, and actually put up with the rule that if a guy gives one of them a rose, the other one automatically gets one too. I mean, for real? Nevertheless, Daniel the Mean Canadian perks up when they arrive, doubtless with visions in his head of Dancing Twin Maids-a-Milking all around his bed. He further solidifies his role as the only Canadian I’ve ever seen who is a real dick by wishing for some “fresh fruit,” as all of the fruit here looks like it was “bruised in transport.” I could say the same about your face, Dan Dan.

Then we have someone named Izzy, who insists she was on Ben’s season even though no one remembers her, Lace, and Jared, who we all remember from last year’s BIP as Ashley I.’s awkward conquest, and who we all pray gets to actually have some fun this year. Jubilee is excited, but so is Emily. So we can assume that Haley is also excited.

And then….CHAD. He arrives, much to Daniel’s excitement and Evan’s dismay. Some people, guys included, have been excited to meet him, hoping he will be entertaining and fun. More on that later. MUCH more. Daniel and Chad instantly couple up and wade into the ocean together while making plans to dominate the resort. Chad lists his priorities in what I like to think is in order: “Me, Daniel, roses, alcohol, girls.” That sounds about right.

And Chris Harrison is back! Wow, he might actually be staying nearby this season. The men will give out the roses at the first rose ceremony, and all of our friends are let loose to find love and get some seriously intricate sunburns. The first couple to delicately emerge are Vinny and Izzy (which is awesome, cause WHO?), Lace and Grant (briefly), and Chad and all the lunch meat from the fridge , which is inexplicably encased in a fridge-shaped basket. But Lace gets drunk after her first sip, and pushes Grant to the side in favor of Chad. And this is where the craziness begins.

Lace. Oh, Lace. She and Chad spend approximately the next 40 minutes drinking, kissing, fighting, name calling, making out, wrestling, acquiring a whole lot of bruises that they won’t remember in the morning, making friends with the blurry spot that hides all possible pornographic shots from the viewing audience, dumping each other’s drinks in the hot tub, and hitting each other. Yes, you heard me correctly. Lace starts to sober up after a bit and comes to her senses enough to realize that a wasted guy calling you a “bitch” isn’t anyone’s idea of Paradise, no matter how many muscles he has. She finally draws the line when he tells her that he’s going to “throw you under a bus, hold you down and dogtie you up and make sure you smell like peppermint.” I believe that is a direct quote. I’ll wait while you stop screaming and pick your jaws up off of the floor.

While this is all going down at the house, Jubilee and Jared are out on a date, as Jubilee got the very first Date Card! Jared was thrilled to go, and they look at their dinner in a room filled with piñatas. It’s all going well until A FREAKING CLOWN SNEAKS THROUGH THE PIÑATAS AND SCARES THE CRAP OUT OF THEM HOLY GOD I WANT TO DIE THIS IS THE WORST DATE IN EXISTENCE HOW DARE YOU ABC. Jarilee is much less horrified at this than I, and they begin to hit the piñatas and laugh a lot. Then the clown mimes sex, and I’m OUT.

JUBILEE SHARPE, JARED HAIBON

(ABC/Rick Rowell) JUBILEE SHARPE, JARED HAIBON, A CREEPY CLOWN

Back at the house, Lace is trying to shut Chad down by walking away from him, not speaking to him, requesting that he leave her alone, and doing everything that is mature and appropriate to do when someone is harassing you. Lace is still drunk, but seems to be more in control than she has all night. Although she does admit that on a scale of 1 to 9, she’s a 9 disappointed. Perhaps she lost the 10 in the hot tub when she was trying to drown Chad “playfully.”

And then, I do believe he commits a cardinal sin and calls her the worst name you could ever call a woman: a c*nt. I refuse to even type the whole thing, it offends me so. Sarah takes this opportunity to tell Chad exactly what she thinks of his behavior, and he responds by saying, and once again I QUOTE, “Fuck that one armed bitch.” I’ll wait while you sweep up the remains of your TV and/or laptop after throwing your rosé glass into them in a rage.

Yeah. Yeah, we are going there. After years of fairly tame rudeness and “most dramatic moment evers,” we have finally gotten to what is truly….The Most Dramatic Episode Yet. But this time, it’s not about heartbreak and romance. It’s about an obviously mentally unstable man who is unable to control himself and his emotions. It’s a horror show. And it’s not over yet.

Daniel and Evan both try to get through to Chad because for some reason they still believe that he maintains any semblance of rationality. Chad swings at Daniel and goes stalking off on the beach, grunting and flexing like the Hulk. Finally Chad passes out by the hot tub, and one little red crab seeks shelter in his hair as he snores like the Chad Bear that he is. There is peace for a few hours.

The next morning, Vinny and Izzy (Vizzy!) are smitten, Lace has regained her senses and is once again flirting with Grant, and Chad has woken up in his bed with no underwear on. And thanks to some of the guys, we know it’s BECAUSE HE POOPED HIS PANTS. Chad. Pooped. His. Pants. And vomited all over himself, but that doesn’t matter because HE POOPED HIS PANTS. Is it funny? Kind of. Is it sad? Incredibly. But what is even more pitiful is how he wakes up and joins the rest of the group as if nothing happened. He doesn’t seem to think that calling Sarah “Arm-y McArmenson” is anything more than a casual joke between friends.

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Poopy pants in Paradise.

Luckily, Chris Harrison does. He gathers our love seekers and gives Chad a chance to explain his actions, but Chad seems completely ignorant. According to CH, “[Chad] told everybody at this hotel last night to suck a dick.” Hearing those words come out of our wonderful host’s mouth is startling, not to mention indicative of how big of a problem there is. CH asks Chad to leave, and Chad is…absolutely shocked. Shocked. He can not believe that he has done enough terrible things to earn him an early flight home. He tries to plead his case, but verbal harassment, attempted physical violence and soiling articles of clothing with excrement are enough crimes to kick his poopy butt out.

And here’s where it gets truly, truly sad. Chad paces around the property shouting phrases like, “I have nothing in my life,” and “This is my life and you’re gonna make me look like a bitch,” and “I can never be the Bachelor now, what else can I do?” And there it is. A desperate, sad, lost man who is searching for a place to call his own in this crazy world. Unfortunately, reality TV is not going to help him find it.

And we are To Be Continued! Next week’s previews still include Chad, so I don’t think the focus is going to be on love until he is actually gone. Rest up, fellow BIPers. We go 2 nights a week from now on, so drink those protein shakes and get in shape for a LOT of drama.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy (or some crap advice like that)

Fun fact: I’m a diagnosed clinically depressed human. Okay, maybe not so fun, but I’m very open about it, I can joke about what I call “my crazy,” and I’m not ashamed of it in any way. But I’m aware that there’s still a huge stigma about depression, and that the vast majority of people can’t seem to recognize it as an actual medical deficiency or condition as opposed to one huge, irrationally sad mood. My brain doesn’t work as well as others’ brains when it comes to making connections that have to do with, well, keeping basic sanity. And not overreacting to things. In my specific case, not dramatizing situations, which I’m preeeeeetty sure was the whole reason I’ve been known as a Drama Queen for my entire existence.

When I was first diagnosed in 2001 during my junior year of college, going on antidepressants was a quick fix. A clean, simple solution that I’m not sure actually worked, given the craziness of that time of life and the ever-changing relationship status I had with my boyfriend. After a few years, I decided that I wanted to “fight it on my own,” a phrase that makes me laugh in horror at my young, rebellious, stubborn mind. I mean, if I was diagnosed with asthma, or gonorrhea, would I have decided to “fight it on my own?” Absolutely not. Even things like acne and motion sickness are emotionally and physically damaging enough to warrant many different forms of medication and treatment without a second thought, or without suggestion that the sufferer is “too shallow about their looks,” or “would be better off just walking everywhere.”

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Credit: @RobotHugsComic

I started taking Zoloft again a year and a half ago under the medical advice of my psychologist and my general practitioner. It was a terrible start, complete with extreme nausea, insomnia and all kinds of fun things happening in my intestines. I considered quitting every day. Until almost two weeks in, when I realized that I could hear myself think. I remember the exact moment. I was in the car with my boyfriend (now husband; thanks, Zoloft!) and he asked me if I felt different. And the only answer was, “Yes.” And I asked him if I seemed different. And he just said, “Yes.” And then we both cried.

I was still sick to my stomach, couldn’t sleep for weeks and developed an awesome sinus infection to boot. But I was an adult woman with some side effects. Just three days earlier, I had been a confused, overreactive, sensitive woman with some side effects that made life seem unlivable at moments. I finally understood that I hadn’t felt human in years. I had been made up of feelings that came from what my brain was telling me to do and how to feel and think. And now, I was made up of actual emotions, and gut instincts that were louder and clearer than ever before. The impulses to take things the wrong way or to get irrationally angry still came up. But I just didn’t feel like acting on them anymore. It didn’t interest me. And eventually, they stopped coming up at all.

Now, I’m not trying to pretend that antidepressants are some sort of Magic Happy Pill, where everything is unicorns and tiaras, and cartoon characters run around singing and cleaning your house for you. There is definitely a lot more of that, for sure. But the main difference is that, instead of a jumble of physical reactions and chaotic thoughts entering my brain and body whenever I’m required to feel things, there is calm. Unless I’m mad. Then I feel mad. But now I know that I’m actually genuinely mad, as opposed to reacting in a mad way because my brain isn’t communicating well with itself.

Everyone has their own path to happiness. Some may involve therapy, some medication, some meditation, etc. There is no correct way. And while people fear that drugs of this ilk may leave them as a blank android of a person, I say: I have never felt more alive.

My name is Patti Murin. I love to sing, rescue dogs, live tweet “The Bachelor,” and hug my husband. I am also clinically depressed. And I’ve never been happier.

(Note: I am not a doctor. But I play one on TV. Though I play a pathologist, and that’s mainly dealing with dead bodies. So consult your real doctor if you’re considering any course of medical treatment for clinical depression. And know that there are different solutions for everyone. Love you all.)IMG_3961

The One Where Patti Takes On the Chat Boards

Warning: The following blog post is going to make me either incredibly popular in the theatre community or incredibly unpopular in the theatre community.

As an actor, and as a human person, I’ve always cared about what others think. Whether it was that mean girl in fifth grade who made fun of my glasses, or the boys who teased me about my braces, or the popular girl in junior high who pointed out that I wasn’t wearing the right brand of jeans, I cared deeply. And so on and so forth, until I found myself in a career where it legit revolves around what other people think. Am I good enough, am I pretty enough, am I friendly enough, etc. We get reviews written about us, which other people are allowed to, and overwhelmingly encouraged to, read when they are delivered to their inbox or front doorstep. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people pay cash money to come sit in a dark room and watch us work. This is what we do and we love it.

Just two days ago, I was in the middle of rehearsing for a really fantastic new Broadway musical called “Nerds” when we got shut down because our financing fell through. Literally, we were singing the lyric, “Live your dream” when our producer walked in the room. You just can’t make this stuff up. We are devastated, we are in varying states of shock, we are angry. But most importantly, we laughed as we sobbed and decided to perform our show one time for family, friends and the designers who worked their asses off for this show. Because as angry as we are, we choose love.

The immediate outpouring of support and love from our fellow theatre nerds and friends and families and fans was outstanding, overwhelming, and breathtaking. A devastating moment in all of our lives was wrapped in waves and waves of positive energy and text messages and emails and pizza and a CRAP TON of booze. I found myself at home, with beautiful fresh roses from my husband (who was out of town) blooming on the table, sitting with 4 of my girlfriends who had dropped everything to feed me, bring me cookies and wine, listen and let me cry. It’s hard to sink too low when you have that kind of beauty in your life.

And that’s awesome! So why are some people going to hate me, you ask? Because there’s also an annoying, petty, gossipy, catty side to our business that seems to creep up over and over again. For all of you non-theatre peeps, there are various websites dedicated to theatre and Broadway. Playbill is one, as well as Theater Mania, Broadway.com, and Broadway World. They are all wonderful in their individual ways, and over the years I have been able to count many of their journalists and photographers as friends. They give us love, we give them love, they report the news, write professional reviews, take great pictures, and it’s all done with mutual respect and understanding.

And then there’s the Chat Board.

Over on Broadway World, there is a whole section of the site dedicated to “Chat Boards,” where fans and theatergoers and heck, even producers masquerading as Muggles can write whatever they want about theatre. There are plenty of genuine people who truly want to discuss and debate their opinions, connect with other theatre fans, and to listen to what others have to say and respond in a mature and educated manner. These people use the chat boards to learn and spread positivity. If you are one of those people, I adore you!

But then there’s also a nasty faction of “fans” who take our hard work and turn it into gossip, and pissing contests over who can come up with the snarkiest insult or meme or GIF, and bragging rights over who is the most insider-y when it comes to Broadway and theatre secrets. It’s snarky. And you know, I like some light snark. But it’s nasty snark. Immature and uninformed people are hiding behind screen names and posting incorrect information, passing on rumors as facts, and just generally being dicks. To each other, and to us.

“So don’t read them, Patti!” That’s the obvious answer, right? And you know what, I actually try not to. I found an awesome website that taught me how to block specific websites, and if I REAAALLLLY want to look, I have to go through the whole process of unlocking it. It’s like having to take a Breathalyzer before you text your ex. But every time I go to Broadway World, they’re there, just staring me in the face. And sometimes the temptation is just too great. They’re the 3rd column on the top, beating out other categories, such as “Jobs” and “Students.” Only “Sections” and “Shows” are more important. I have many friends who have gotten upset over things that are said on them. I’ve had to explain to my parents multiple times that the people posting on them most likely do not know what they are talking about. Even if I don’t personally read them, they are ever present.

So I’m going to do the only thing I know how, and I’m going to write about it. I took some time this morning, and I searched those goddamn boards for any mentions of Nerds, or of me. And now I’m going to respond to some of them. And then I’m going to ask Broadway World to shut them down. Because this is just a teeny tiny blip in the chat board map, but I think it will give you a pretty great idea of how bad it gets.

First, there was this exchange when our show got announced:

the guy who wrote the music for this show is an executive at Jujamcyn. is the longacre a Jujamcyn theater? if so, then that’s how they got it. even with such a terrible show like this. -JM 226 1/14/16

The Longacre is a Shubert house. -(screen name withheld)  1/14/16

why wouldnt his own employer find a theater for his show -JM226 1/14/16

They’re referring to Hal Goldberg, our brilliant composer who happens to work for the Jujamcyn organization. This theatre fan knows sooooo much about how Broadway shows actually come to fruition, that he/she assumed that all you have to do is work for a theatre company. Geez, if I had known that, I would have gotten a front office job years ago.

Then there was this gem:

How lucky we are to be alive right now to decide between seeing Disaster or Nerds on Broadway. What a vibrant era of artistry in which we live. -BroadwayConcierge 2/11/16

I’m guessing that’s sarcasm? And also, please note the requisite Hamilton reference.

This one popped up in a thread about the first preview being delayed by one day:

Wow, this news should be shocking to no one. This show is already a mess. Maybe it’s a simple score with simple script and staging, hence they only need 5 weeks of rehearsal.     -Gypsy101 2/12/16

Okay, so here’s some guy, who maybe saw the show in Philadelphia a few years back, or North Carolina, or the NYMF show about 10 years ago. But said guy has not seen a single moment, script page, or photograph from the current production. Also he posted this 10 days before we started rehearsals. So…..yeah. Obviously an informed and highly researched opinion.

Then we have this, which was posted before our cast was announced:

LightsOut90 said: “(Name withheld) is apparently reprising his role from the 2013 production.

I hope he’s not playing either Jobs or Gates because neither of them are mentally retarded. -ClydeBarrow 2/19/16

WOW. Wow. This is offensive for more than a million reasons. As I’m typing this my foster puppy is crying in his sleep, and I’m pretty sure it’s because this upsets him as much as it upsets me. So not only does this guy insult an actor in the most degrading, cruel way, but he disgustingly insults an entire population of people, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with this show. Ironically, ClydeBarrow lists me as one of his favorite performers. I’m flattered, and I thank you, but what I would really like is for you to be a better person.

These next few are some of my favorites! On the day the cast was announced:

I feel bad that such people like Patti, Lindsay, and Rory are attached to this. They’re all so talented and they can’t find better work? -neonlightsxo 2/22/16

It’s all about paying the bills, people. It’s a very, very short list of Broadway performers who are in a position to turn down a show of a quality they consider too low. Pretty interesting, even maybe great cast—even though this won’t be anything but a flop.             -BroadwayConcierge 2/22/16

Thank you so much for being so concerned about us and our careers. But did you ever stop to consider that the show is…wait for it….good? And that we couldn’t find better work because we jumped at the chance to do this because we loved it? And that our director, Casey Hushion, is maybe one of the most genius women to ever cross through the land of Musical Theatre? And that we would have given our left thumb to work with her? And that all of us in that cast had multiple projects on the horizon that we turned down or backed out of because this opportunity was truly incredible? And last but not least, consider this: Maybe we are REALLY GOOD at making decisions for ourselves and we don’t just work to be working, even if it’s scary to say no to something. If that was the case, we would all be working on shows every single day of the year. But we wait until the good things come around, the things that make sense for our families and careers and personal lives. And this, neonlightsxo, was a really, really good thing.

And then there’s this guy in a thread about the Tonys:

I WANT LINDSAY MENDEZ TO WIN! oh wait… too late. -Call_me_jorge 3/9/16

Okay, so you’re just a dick.

Now we got some truly loving support from Lesli Margherita, who tweeted the following:

Takes millions ($ and peeps) 2 put up a Bway show & when it doesn’t work it’s💔so think before u write assy stuff on a blog/hell board

Now I have never met Lesli, but I adore her from a distance for her insane talent and take no shit attitude. She’s beloved in the theatre community for her sharp hilarity and her big heart, and this tweet makes me even more obsessed with her. One of the responses to this tweet on the BWW message board is the following:

Lesli Margherita calling this message board a “hell board” is kind of rude. People say nice stuff about her all the time on here. -gypsy101 3/8/16

And we are back to our friend Gypsy101! So because people say nice stuff about Lesli, she doesn’t get to dislike the board? Even if posters are slaying her friends and shows left and right? She’s not allowed an opinion because people say she has a great voice, which I’m fairly certain she’s very confident in already, thank you very much?

And, there was one thing that kind of bugged me about Lesli’s tweet. I understand that no one likes it when people talk about them or what they do etc in a negative light. However, I’ve felt that if you’re in a profession where you’re opening yourself up to the public, comments, good bad and otherwise will occur. It happens in sports, TV/film politics and music etc. What makes Broadway any different? I get it, there are things that people shouldn’t say or things that get too out of hand in terms of commenting etc. But, it is going to happen. -Islander_fan 3/9/16

So because people are legally allowed to say shitty things about anyone and anything they want, you want to be an asshole too?

I love Broadway World. I have been writing recaps and blogs and features for them for the past few years, and I’ve made a few very good friends who work for them. I think they do a fantastic job of promoting theatre in new, exciting and creative ways. I will always say yes to interviews, article requests, etc from them. There is no denying that they are a major force in the Internet/Broadway connection.

But for these boards to exist on a website like BWW, one that is all about the joy and love and passion and artistry of theatre, is a direct contradiction of everything they stand for. They love and support actors and directors and creators and designers and dressers and  box office staff and ushers and the awesome people who stand in Times Square when it’s 20 degrees outside passing out flyers for shows. So I want to know why they would willingly cultivate a cesspool of ignorance and negativity? Many of these posters are mean to us, and they are just as mean to each other. I’m sure the traffic flow has something to do with it, as this is quite a popular destination, but is it enough?

I am officially asking you, Broadway World, to take down your chat boards. Create a whole new website for them that has nothing to do with the incredible content you generate. But placing that negative bullshit next to a joyous article about a Broadway show opening does not make any sense to me. To be clear, I’m not asking for them to be shut down forever. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions as loudly as they want, just like I am right now. But they should be their own entity entirely, because much of the time, they are not in the spirit of creating, and cultivating art, and supporting people who are taking real risks to do what they love.

To all of you who I have quoted, or who just want to say hello, please introduce yourself to me. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Facebook. I would love to know who you are and see your faces so I can remind myself that you are also an actual human and not just an angry, nasty Gollum who finds sick joy in other people’s failure (cause that’s kinda how I picture you). We make ourselves vulnerable every single night on these stages, and now I’m asking that you make yourself vulnerable as well.

One last random chat board gem, in reference to the high note Glinda sings at the end of “Thank Goodness” in Wicked:

CATSNYrevival said: “Don’t they just have someone off stage singing her high note at the end of “Thank Goodness?”

No. Most Glindas can hit it with the exception of a few. (Name withheld), (Name withheld) and Patti Murin couldn’t hit it and usually a Glinda understudy that is onstage in her own track sings it instead. -mailhandler777 8/29/15

Mailhandler777, I don’t know where you get your bunk ass information from, because I sang the shit out of that high C, as well as every other note in that show. So SUCK IT, and go handle your mail elsewhere.

UPDATE: Robert Diamond, the founder and creator of BroadwayWorld, reached out to me within a half hour of this posting. He was immediately open to a dialogue that can lead to change for the better (sorry, I couldn’t help it), and rolled out a new feature, a “report to mods” button that exists on each individual post. It’s been in development for a while now, and Robert rushed it through to show how serious he is about improving the boards. We have a lunch meeting this weekend, where we will collaborate and most likely hug, and see where this goes. Thank you, Robert, for being so understanding and caring about this entire community.

UPDATE: I changed some wording after realizing that I made it sound like I don’t read the boards at all. I do at times, whether it is pure curiosity, or because it does provide information. I apologize for that miscommunication, which was entirely my fault. 

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