Cory Monteith

I arrived in LA this past Saturday to pursue my passion for acting, knowing that I had a very limited time off from work to do so. I booked 3 audits within my first week of arrival to the best studios known in LA. My first audit took place at the Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop just yesterday.

An audit is essentially an observation of a class being taught live in front of you. I could not begin to describe how inspired and amazed I was from the start and end of the audit. I was even lucky enough to meet Anthony [studio director] himself as this typically does not happen until you reach a certain level in the studio. He started the class off by remembering Cory Monteith, who played a lead role in Glee, as Cory was actually a student at this studio. Seeing that I was watching a stage where Cory used to perform, just astounded me.

Cory

I was also struck by Anthony’s messages in relation to Cory’s death. His message was simply to say that life is too short and sometimes you have no control over it – so ask yourselves, what are you delaying your life for? Go for what you want, and don’t live in the routine of what life gives you. Give yourself greater permission to do what you want to do and don’t ever seek happiness from the outside.

Society has it backwards for us to believe if we work hard, we can succeed, and when we succeed, we can be happy. Inner happiness creates success, not the other way around! As long as we are happy with who we are inside, then everything else in life will fall in place for us the way we want it too.

And that is why I love acting. It’s constantly affirming me at the present moment and loving myself from inside out.

I hope I can get into this studio before I depart back home. Apparently, there are some people who have waited 5 months to get into this studio! As for now, I have two more audits this week – one in which I actually had to prepare my script! I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. Nonetheless, I do feel at home here.

More Than…

When your friends, family, or loved ones compliment you, do you shy away from them or do you thank them? Or both? Believe it or not, shying away from compliments is the worst thing you can do for your overall self-esteem and self-recognition. I’m definitely no stranger to this fact.

I was always the person who did not acknowledge compliments at all. It’s almost like a fight or flight situation when I was given compliments. When someone said I was “pretty”, I would get all awkward and nervous, and throw back a generic response, “No! YOU’RE PRETTY!” Or when someone said I was “smart”, I would give a fake smile and just say “Ohh, okay” and walk away. Because at the end of the day, I didn’t believe what they said.
It didn’t take long for me to realize why I was that way.

Growing up, my parents were very strict with high expectations of my sisters and I. Being Asian, this isn’t breaking news.

In Grade 2, our class had to sing Christmas carols in front of the entire school. It was an evening performance and my mom dressed me up to the nines. I did feel pretty and I felt confident and ready to sing my heart out. I got on stage with all my classmates, and as the red curtains unveiled, our class sang. I gave it my all. I was so proud of myself. As soon as I came to meet my mom, she said to me, “You looked so boring up there – like you didn’t sing at all” and started mocking me showing me how bored I looked on stage. I almost broke into tears. But I didn’t know any better. She was my mom. I never spoke out of line at that age – not like kids in this generation at least.

It was a cycle that never seemed to have ended since then. And it didn’t just impact me, but also my sisters.

My older sister was, and still is, very conservative in values and taste in clothes. When she got ready for prom, that was the first day I noticed how pretty she really was. So I told her: “Wow! You look so pretty!” She looked at me with these glaring eyes and said “Shut up” as if she was somewhat embarrassed by that fact. And that was that.

I can’t blame my parents for how they raised me because they were only victims of their own parents. And I realize that my self-esteem is a battle of my own and no one else.
I was inspired to write this post because I had so many limiting thoughts of myself this past week that I had enough – I was really sick of myself.

Things come into my life the funniest ways when I stop saying I’m not good enough and this week proved that:
• I used to always tell my roommate, an avid (amazing) runner, that I can’t run. Just yesterday, I ran 3K for the first time in over 10 months. Well, now I know I can. Next goal: 5K!
• I thought I performed poorly on the last two client projects I had. I didn’t think I would get recognized because of that. Turns out, my managers were satisfied with my performance and I was rewarded for my efforts. I couldn’t be any happier.
• I kept thinking I wasn’t as funny as my classmates in my improv class. Seems like, every class I enter, they think I’m hysterical. It feels so good to be able to entertain people. I just need to trust my instincts and go with it!

I am more than who I think I am. And I need to embrace who I really am. I am smart. I am funny. I am more capable of achieving anything as long as I put my heart into it.

No doubt that I am getting better in accepting compliments because it helps me reflect who I am and what I am.

And I don’t think anyone else should shy away from compliments for that same reason.

Game Changer

The best of friends are truly the ones that inspire you to be a better person than you already are. So I dedicate this to few of my best friends who inspired me this year to come up with an action plan, which I am so excited to share to everyone. But first, I want to acknowledge the few friends who have inspired me at this point:

Sara: I still remember the  random call I gave her back in March, after several months of disconnect, breaking down about the career path I was in. She inspired me through her own personal story as she shifted gears from the professional marketing guru that she was to now becoming a naturopath. Follow her blog here. Her fearlessness made me realize you can make changes happen at any time and no one can stop you but yourself.

Allen: To be honest, when Allen told me he wanted to start a food truck, I giggled. He graduated from university studying economics. So from there, you would think the typical path would be somewhere in the corporate world. But not for Allen. He’s on a mission to start a food truck in Toronto, by traveling to L.A. and Asia for food inspiration. He knew the corporate, white collar job was not for him. And he’s not afraid to talk about his mission to start a food truck on his website, twitter, or tumblr. Alllen’s drive and passion for food made me realize you need to love what you do – and people will love you for it too.

Bryan: Bryan is probably one of the smartest friends I know from university. He could be anything he wanted to be without even trying! After a short stint doing the office job, he just had the bug to do what he always wanted to do: teach snowboarding in Vancouver. I couldn’t be happier for him. And with that said, I wanted to try something I always wanted to do too: acting!

So what’s my game plan???

I’ve decided to accumulate all my vacation days (and some additional leave of absence days) at work to take two months off next summer to travel to LA to learn acting and find opportunities for some acting gigs. It’s always been on my mind to go back to the City of Angels since my last visit in June! To do what I love to do in the city I love would only be a dream come true. As they say:

Passion Crazy

Relationships with people are similar, if not the same, with the relationships that you make for things that you are passionate about – intangible things, that is.

A representative from the Institute that runs the accounting profession in Canada came into my grade 11 accounting class. The whole discussion of “prestige” and “reputation” and “distinction” were all confident terms to impress me in such a way that was almost like love at first sight.

The relationship grew, and became stronger than ever, by second-year at university. There was obvious battles with jealousy, of people who I thought were better than me, that can take away my dream, or what I called, “my love” at that time. But I overcame that, because I knew I deserved this more than anyone else and I was more capable of achieving and attaining anything I wanted. It was almost like I was unstoppable, as silly as that sounds.

Once I landed that internship out of hundreds of applicants, it was like I was married already. My love renewed and I began that journey of that “honeymoon stage” where, even the silliest fights of late hours, meant nothing to me, but just part of that endeavour to learn more about myself in this relationship.

As soon as my internship became a full-time career, things started to plateau…

And differences that were once so small, grew into bigger gaps. These differences seemed so big, it was almost like they couldn’t repair itself. As a result, I went through a whirlwind of emotions, which I frankly documented in this blog since March.

But then I recently met acting. Acting was always on my mind but I never gave it a chance until just less than a month ago. And now I’m in love, and quite frankly, I’m questioning whether my love for accounting was even love in the first place. Could it have been lust or infactuation? I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out myself.

One thing is for certain, is that I am passionately in love with acting. So much so, that, it almost scares me. I feel like I’m cheating what I once knew or loved. I’m honestly confused with my own thoughts.

I’m really looking forward to continuing my relationship with acting. But I know it will only go so far to the point where I’ll have to choose between accounting or acting down the road.

Relationships are truly hard to decipher and translate from emotions to words. But when they do, everything just seems to fall into place. I’m hoping that everything will work out for my highest good.

Becoming An Actress

As you perhaps already know, I rarely hide my true emotions from my readers. And to say that I never thought that I wanted to become an actress at various points in my life would be a complete and utter lie.

At the age of 7, I thought I could make an awesome Sailor Venus actress if they ever made a live version of the movie.

By the age of 13, I went on a tangent and thought it would be fun to be a model. So I attempted to do some auditions but only failed as I was unable to get a single booking. (I wish I had my portfolio with me so you would laugh at my headshots as I proudly smiled with my brace face.)

And by 17, I auditioned and landed a (un-paid) role in a commercial that was dubbed in Cantonese, to which I never even actually seen on TV.

Since then, I never thought once to ever go back into acting.

Until now.

I truly thought that the idea of doing acting was a dare to try something that is so out of my own comfort zone. But I still didn’t get the concept of WHY I was doing it – especially out of all things that I could dare myself to do.

I finally found the answer on the first day of my acting class.

I had my first session this past Monday at Armstrong Acting Studios. My instructor, Laura, gave me my monologue, from the movie, The Social Network. I was playing Erica Albright, the “ex-girlfriend” of Mark Zuckerberg. It was the scene where she bluntly tells Mark that he’s an asshole for insulting her family’s name, her bra size and rating women based on their hotness. I memorized my lines off by heart, recorded my voice, and watched myself act in the mirror for two hours. I was confident. I was ready.

I walked into class and met a bunch of beautiful, and quite lovely, people from different walks of life: models, economist, stay-at-home mom, etc. All of us shared one thing in common: we were always curious about pursuing a career in acting. And as Laura put it “we’re crazy enough to do it now”.

Right off the bat, she made us perform, one-by-one, our monologues on camera in front of EVERYONE. I was nervous. I was petrified. As soon as it was my turn, I lost all my lines. I completely blanked out. I was so dissappointed in myself, that I did not hide my frustration while the camera was still recording.

Everyone around me was so supportive and encouraging me that it’s okay and that they screwed up too. But I felt like I did the worse out of the entire group. I let myself down so hard.

As the monologue performances were done, Laura gave us general pointers about how to improve but told us we need to study our performances (as they were individually recorded each on a separate dvd) and ask ourselves the following question:

  • What did you do well?
  • What did you need to improve on?
  • Would you hire yourself?
  • Did you tell a story?
  • Etc.

Throughout the rest of the class, I was absolutely bitter about my performance. I never felt so low about myself in a long time. I really felt like giving up.

But then Laura gave us one pointer that stuck to me to this day. She actually explained the WHY that I needed to hear.

She said, “In acting, the power is in the NOW. Being in the present has so much power”.

And that was my “AH-HA!” moment. I was meant to be on this path in taking acting classes because I have struggled, and still do, in living in the present moment. And if there was one thing that I learned from Louise L. Hay’s book, it was that the power of the present moment can make you absolutely unstoppable in achieving the best in life that you deserve.

I just find it so amazing that even in my acting class, itself, is teaching me about personal life lessons that ring true to me. I’m actually still in awe about it in this very moment.

So after reviewing my embarassing video of myself, I realized, I can only improve from here. It was my first day, and as long as I stay committed, I can improve.

I am truly so grateful to have such loving friends who support me through this crazy adventure. It’s insane but I love every bit of it.

Metamorphosis

A few weeks ago, I confessed to my friend, Sara, about how I’ve hit a plateau with the positive affirmation exercises founded in Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life (see: “New Hope, New Me” post). I felt like I was back at ground zero: fighting against the negative.

As I was telling Sara my situation, I reminisced the last time I felt truly happy in my life, which so happened to me the day of my convocation:

  

McMaster University, 2011

I told Sara, “I wish I could go back and be that person again.”

Sara responded, “You know, you never really go back to ever being that person again.” And that’s when it hit me.

Whether I like it or not, I’m constantly changing based on whatever new knowledge or experiences are presented before me. And how I absorb that knowledge and experiences will determine my perspective and outlook in life.

Luckily, I stumbled upon this article on Forbes called “How To Be More Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps)” . This article really caught my eye because it incorporated cute visuals to convey the simple message of just being more interesting. I thought the article was a great complement to my positive affirmation exercises because it made me dare to do something creative and bring in more fun in my life without having to try too hard.  

With the new inspiration, I took my very first (absolute beginner) hip hop dance class today and loved every minute of it! It was great knowing that everyone was learning at the same level as me, and that it was totally okay to embarrass myself. I can’t wait for the next dance class. I hope I improve through each class so I can hopefully move to the intermediate level by the end of the year!

I’ve even taken the time to try new recipes. My first attempt at spanikopita was great! They make look a little challenged, but they smelled and tasted amazing:

  

Delicious and healthy!

 

I also had the chance to make waffles from scratch too:

  

You can’t go wrong with topping it with strawwberries!

 

I have found ways to entertain myself and yet, I never realized how much I can accomplish on my own. I am now loving and embracing change more than ever.

Did I also mention I’m taking acting classes? I still cannot believe I got myself to register, but I did. With the costly fee, there is no turning back! That will be something worth blogging for next week (as classes start on Monday). Stay tuned!

Happy Two Year Anniversary…

.. to me.

It’s official: I’ve been single for two years – roughly. I don’t recall exactly the date of when I broke up with my last “real” relationship. But who wants to remember that date anyways?

I’m not absolutely depressed about being single, but I’m not exactly ecstatic about it either. I embrace the days where my friends are fighting with their boyfriends/dates (which is ever so sad), but I also throw fits of jealousy when I see them happily engaged in such a loving relationship.

Hey – at least I’m honest.

When I visited my aunt in LA, she asked “Do you have a boyfriend?” I responded “No… no time”. That is essentially true when you’re a young female professional! My aunt responded so proudly “That’s a very good way of thinking!”

I feel as though my entire family approves of being single … until you suddenly get married. As if there is no “actual relationship” that goes on in between single life and marriage.

When I came home to Toronto, I told my mom about the conversation with my aunt. My mom  said to me “It’s not so much you don’t have time.. it’s just that you haven’t found the right one.” You always were too smart for my own good, Mom.

With that being said, here is a short list of why I have loved being single thus far:

  • I can dress super scandalous and sexy on my nights out without having to worry about what some boyfriend would think
  • I can give more time and love to my closest and best friends and family
  • I can meet new guys and flirt with no feeling of guilt  or commitment
  • I can focus on achieving my dreams of moving to LA without worrying about leaving behind someone I truly love
  • I take more time in learning about myself in new ways and new experiences
  • I travel way more than I ever have in my life and met new and interesting people

At the end of the day, if I really wanted someone in my life, I could have him right now. But I’m just not willing to settle. Being single can be hard at times, but my life wouldn’t be adventurous and interesting if it was too easy.