“Aha!” You want me to do what?!

I really appreciate when I have an “Aha!” moment. You know the one: a sudden realization that helps you understand in the split second of a moment all that has past and all that must come forth as a result. I like to think of it as giving Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” a positive spin.

If I look back carefully over my life thus far, I see a series of “Aha!” moments, all connected to one another and leading to the next one. The “Aha!” moment when I knew I liked dance better than sports. The “Aha!” moment when the joy of singing became bigger than my fear of singing publicly. The “Aha!” moment when I knew I needed to move out halfway across the world. The “Aha!” moment that sent me yearning to learn more about my faith and the subsequent “Aha!” moment when I knew I couldn’t continue studying it academically. All of those moments, big and small (including the “Aha!” moment when I knew an apple would satisfy me more than a banana would that one time) all culminate into the groundwork for decisions we make about where our life will go next. I took tap and jazz instead of playing soccer. I burst out in song at karaoke. I moved to Ireland, I studied theology in Ottawa, I decided to be the actor I already was.

You see, all of those “Aha!” moments are actually more than just groundwork: they are like little inner compasses that direct you towards where your heart truly lies, and a mighty big one hit me yesterday. I was covering a shift for one of my coworkers because she needed some extra time to study for an upcoming exam. It had been a while since I worked an 8 hour shift because the past few weeks had been spent intensely rehearsing and performing Orpheus Musical Theatre Society‘s production of Hairspray, so I was pretty tired and cranky by the time 10pm rolled around. I came home disenchanted and gruff, and found myself thinking back to the run of Hairspray. I always have to laugh at first because some of my family members seem to think that being an actor is very glamourous. Well, who can blame them, really, with all the press Hollywood gets for their award shows and galas. Life seems like one hell of a party if you’re an actor. Playing Tracy Turnblad in Orpheus’ production of Hairspray, however, was no picnic, let me tell you. Imagine having to don a fat suit every performance that makes you look about 50 pounds heavier. I have one word for you: sweat. And that’s without the clothes and wig on! Add clothes, a wig, the makeup, plus all the dancing and moving around for almost 2.5 straight hours (Tracy Turnblad is basically on stage the entire time) and I can tell you exactly what you’d be thinking if you were in my shoes: I really hope I don’t have to pee during the first act! Also, could someone please hand me a towel? It was work, real work to get through the performances each night, so much so that I needed my day free before I went to the theatre to make sure that I was getting enough sleep so my voice would hold out for our final performances (folks, I tell you, I cut it close!). I was tired, I was antisocial, I was absolutely, positively pooped. But, as I was reminiscing I thought to myself, I’d sure as heck rather be pooped singing and dancing than sitting at a desk.

AHA! Cue the moment where in a split second I could see where I needed to go and no amount of fear could hold me back. No matter how much I could try to convince myself that I would be happy doing something other than performing, that I’d hate a big city like Toronto or New York, that I’d never get married or have a family if I chose this path, that “Aha!” moment was strong enough to squash all those doubts and fears by the simple fact of bringing to light all that I have known in the deepest parts of my soul about where my heart truly lies (indeed, you just have to look through some of my past blog posts to see the thread of light shining through every once in a while). Tada!

And what will I do with this new-but-in-all-actuality-not-so-new information? What any rational person would do:

“You want me to do what?!”

Hey, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough!

Joyanne :D

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That moment when…

… you just have to call it a day.

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January 28, 2015 · 10:42 pm

That moment when you realize that afternoon classes are the worst #zzzzzzzzz

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January 21, 2015 · 3:12 pm

That moment when you realize you just had a perfect night.

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January 20, 2015 · 10:28 am

We’ve Hit Another New Year’s Eve???

I always seem to miss the anniversary of this blog by one day (Happy 3rd birthday to us!), which then reminds me that I haven’t written in here for quite some time (I guess that whole “Mini Moments” test in breaking procrastination failed slightly…). But that’s what New Year’s is for: for making copious amounts of resolutions and then failing to accomplish every single one within days of the new year hitting. But, well, maybe this year will be the year. All it takes is a bit of motivation, organization, and time management to make a resolution stick…

Hold on. What am I saying? That’s why I always seem to fail with resolutions: motivation, organization, and time management are not usually my strong suits. I feel like recognizing my shortcomings, however, is a step in the right direction, isn’t it? Baby steps, my dear Watson, baby steps.

And yet… I just went back and reread last year’s New Year’s Eve post and you know, I feel like those things that I hoped to accomplish during 2014 really did come true. For the most part my family, friends and I have been in good health, and I have had my share of blessed experiences that have, I believe, helped me continue to grow into a woman I love and am proud of.

Perhaps that’s what I need to remember for this year too, that it’s enough to take each day as it comes and seek the little moments that make the bigger picture fantastic. Indeed, I have already begun to speak the mantra “One Day at a Time” several times a day. It really does help put things into perspective and take the pressure off ‘future-thinking’ (which I do a lot).

So, with that in mind, I take my leave. The only thing left to say, it seems, is I wish you all God’s blessings for the last remaining hours of 2014 and the beginning of 2015!

Joyanne :D

P.s. I totally will start the “Mini Moments” thing… Promise!

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Mini Moments Ho!

It’s a brand new segment! Well, it’s not that new, since I’ve been thinking about creating this segment for about a year. The new part is valid, though,  because I’m actually doing it. Near the end of my stay in Dublin, I found myself being caught up in what I have come to call “Mini Moments,” i.e. those moments that you would share on Twitter or Facebook and have a number of people knowing exactly how you felt in that moment. I began writing them down while I was at work (very productive, I know) and now I find I want to share them, plus all the moments that I find myself experiencing every day. I’m hoping this will be an exercise to get me writing again, just a little bit every day (though I actually am writing quite a lot; studying theology does that to a person).

Okay, and it’s also an exercise in procrastination…

*Cracks knuckles* Back to work!

Joyanne :D

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“We’re so excited to have you here!”

“Thank you!”

“Yes, it’s always great to have more lay women here with us.”

I am a lay woman. That is my label. I’ve never really thought about it before, but as of yesterday I’ve been called that twice. Not only that, but I’ve been heartily welcomed into my Eastern Christian Theological classes because of that. Not because of my personality, or my obvious thirst for knowledge and a deepening of my faith, but because of my gender and vocational orientation.*

This would never happen to a man. There is no such thing as “Men’s Studies.” Whether due to historical tradition or patriarchal hierarchies, a man** is always the default setting, the norm, and anything outside that (i.e. a woman) is abnormal and therefore solicited. In this case, I am praised for having chosen to study a subject that, like many, is chalk-full of the male perspective, no doubt so I can chime in with my (supposedly) opposite, female perspective.

This begs the question, “What if my views aren’t any different from a man’s?” Does that all of a sudden make my opinion any less female and relevant? Of course not! Because my opinion comes from me, it is automatically a female perspective (see Always’ “#LikeAGirl” video to see what I mean).

That seems like a lot of pressure, to be welcomed into an area of study because of one’s gender and vocational orientation, almost as if one is a mythical creature. Because the truth is, I am just like any man, lay or otherwise, who comes to study the same subject. We all come because of an itch, of that thirst to know more, to have a deeper understanding of things we can never fully know. Yes, the product of our studies may be different, but our faith and scholastic journeys are the same. We’re all going to the same place, whether we’re female, male, religious, or lay. So why does the distinction need to be made here and now if in the end it doesn’t really matter?

Food for thought. Your turn.

Joyanne :D

*Not true for all of my classes, but I’m simply making a point.

**If I’m being completely accurate, I should say a white, straight man is the default setting, but since I’m only discussing gender, I thought I’d stick just with men in general.

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