What if I told you that you can change your life and transform into the person you’ve always wanted to become in three ridiculously easy steps?
Do you know how many emails I get in my Gmail promotions folder that start like this? When I have the time, I’m like, “Okay marketer, you’re on. Go ahead and tell me how ridiculously easy it is to transform my life. Ba. Ha. Ha.” That’s industry. They do this, because that is what sells. If the marketer had titled the email, “We know you don’t like your life right now, but there are other options out there and we sell products and services that will [eventually] help you get there,” I am guessing they’d have a pretty low click rate. People want quick answers to “how to get flat abs,” “tone up their arms,” and/or “have the job they’ve always wanted.”
Despite industry myths, the power to change and transform is very real; are you open to it? I certainly have been.
Transformational energy is what drew me into bodywork, in the same way that it drew me into theatre. What is a theater, after all? It’s a room that has some walls, floors, lights, and hopefully a few seats. But why is it different from your living room or a college lecture hall? Because people fill it with energy. The room transforms from a space into an experience where energy can dance between the audience and the storytellers in an endless feedback loop. That is true transformational power. Can it be accomplished in three ridiculously easy steps? Not a fucking chance. Just ask an actor what “tech week” involves. Ask a stage manager how early they have to arrive. Ask a house manager how many items on their checklist have to be done before the first audience member even walks through the door. I can guarantee you it’s a hell of a lot more than three.
Step One: A Train Wreck is Born
In some ways you could say “transformation” is my middle name—my area of expertise. I’ve gone through quite a few big ones in the last decade.
In 2005 I sold my car and most of my belongings, packed up what was left into a 10’ Budget truck and drove to Chicago from Dallas. My dad nervously copiloted the two-day trip. He supported my dreams of being an actor, so he kept his doubts about the big-scary-city to himself, and heaved most of my crap up three whole flights of stairs—even though I only lived on the second floor. #ChicagoLogic
I hit the ground running and worked for every small, new, up-and-coming-yet-failing storefront theatre that would hire me. I got an agent right away, thanks to my work voicing cartoons for FuniMation, and would stay up until the wee hours of the morning recording voice-over auditions for commercials—a market I knew nothing about—on my shitty, cheap USB microphone under a cozy fort of blankets in my “vintage” Rogers Park apartment.
As is the cliché of broke, starving artists, I stayed afloat financially by collecting dreary day jobs. Actually, I did like a few of them, mostly because of the people I worked with, but none of them quite fulfilled me in the way that performing did. I enjoyed supporting people in administrative work, but ran screaming to happy hour at the end of the day. The tedium of analyzing growth trends, documenting potential strategic partnerships, and implementing endless fucking PowerPoint transitions was draining my brain. I also loved socializing and serving others in sales, but cowered at the looming goal of winning a sale or a commission in every conversation. “Are you one of our rewards members?”
My distance vision rapidly declined, my back throbbed, my neck hurt, and my fingers sometimes started going numb after sitting at a desk and staring at a computer all day. The shock of seeing my chin and waistline nearly double in the two years I had been in Chicago was demoralizing. Maybe if I just drank more coffee and smoked more cigarettes, I would stop mindlessly eating at my desk. I woke up and hit snooze repeatedly every morning. I was tired to the bone and dreading the day ahead of me. Was this what 26 was supposed to feel like? Was I supposed to hate my life this much? Wasn’t there anything I could do that had more meaning and purpose to it? Did I have to take things from others to make a living? Couldn’t I give them something instead? I knew I didn’t want to quit acting. I knew I needed a creative outlet in my life, but I also knew I couldn’t keep up with my current track. I needed to make some serious changes, and hopefully before I went dead broke, or collapsed face-first onto my desk.
Here’s where the montage of clips would fade in to cover the very boring period of my life where I considered all the various skills, strengths, and passions I had, weighed against all the stuff I hated, was really bad at, and had no interest in doing. I thought about it non-stop, read What Color is Your Parachute, and while I was busy soul-searching—mostly on Yahoo—the internet bots that leverage advertising discovered that I was the target audience for “transformation” ads. A few of them landed, and in 2007 I had decided to 1) lose twenty pounds, 2) fix my horrible posture, and 3) become a massage therapist1