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Hello darlings. My name is Stephanie St.Claire and I’m madly in love with Elizabeth Blue. Ya heard right. She’s got some kick-ass moxie, this one. She asked me to guest post this week and I’m doing it, dammit.

I am a Situational Counselor and Lifestyle Strategist, writer, spiritual mentor, and diehard life enthusiast. I write a blog called BLISSBOMBED.com and I help people get their shit together.

So let’s talk break ups. I have gone through some sucky break ups and I have made them suck harder by doing A LOT of the self-sabotaging below. When you’ve just won the sorrow jackpot, a lot of this stuff makes sense. It makes you feel better temporarily. But doing this crap only delays your healing, makes you look like a psycho, and worries your mom. Stop it.

How To Make Your Breakup Suck Harder

1. Keep getting back together. Seems obvious, but this suck-harder pitfall wears a costume called “hanging out as friends.” It includes going to dinner, going to the movies, meeting for a drink, Netflixing, or going to his cousin’s wedding. The only thing this does is reinforce the emotional attachment that used to live inside of a commitment. Your psyche goes through hell as it tries to accept that there is no relationship, while your body gets flooded with endorphins as you hug good-bye.

2. Keep perpetuating the story in your head that you were true soul mates and you are the only one that can really understand him. Listen attentively to your inner social worker who feels compassion for him in this “confusing time” and knows he just needs some extra understanding and a cookie. Refuse to accept that he surveyed all the awesome soul-mateness and still walked out your door.

3. Text him to see if he’s okay. Text him to check in. Text him to say you got the job. Text him to say you’d still consider being friends. Text him to see if he got your last text. Text him to ask if he can help you move your couch next Saturday. Lock yourself in that airless chamber of expectation….waiting for him to respond. Lie to yourself and say you don’t care if he texts back. Wake up at 2 a.m. and check your phone.

4. Use media to your disadvantage: Make him a mixed CD of your old songs and throw in a zinger like “Bulletproof” by LaRoux or any song by Sarah McLachlan. Send him funny YouTube videos he’d like. Email links that will be helpful for his latest project. Send a picture of you looking hot, now that you’ve been on a diet of tears and hot tea for two weeks.

5. Stay in touch with his mom. Call his friends just to say hi. If you listen carefully you can probably get clues as to what he’s doing. Stalk his Facebook. Check his Friend’s List to see if there are any new female faces. It’s all the same: Keep his circle inside your circle.

6. Bad mouth him to others. Every time you create him with your language, you are creating an aberration of him in the room. He gets invited back into your life the very same way he was invited in when you were creating him with love and excitement….you are conjuring energetically. Love and hate are two sides of the SAME coin. (Hint: Your goal is neutrality.)

7. Torture yourself with “what-if” scenarios. Make a religion out of your star-crossed-loveredness, complete with candle-lit altar. Fantasize about him waking up and realizing he lost the best damn thing that ever happened to him. If he texts you to say hi, text him right back. Or make him wait 3 hours and then text him. Either way, just text him.

8. His stuff is at your place. Your stuff is at his. This can only be solved one way: The In-Person Exchange. Really? Or maybe you could make arrangements with a friend to drop his crap off. And maybe that friend wouldn’t mind picking your stuff up. Or maybe you could just throw his toothbrush out, cuz those are like, 3 bucks at Walgreen’s.

9. Constantly create long, anguished speeches in your head that let him know exactly how he’s tortured you. Imagine him feeling bad. Imagine him FINALLY coming to his senses, and concocting a plan to win you back. Don’t imagine him going out with his friends all weekend, moving on with his unrestricted life.

10. And if you REALLY want to make your breakup suck harder tell yourself that you will never love like that again. This is a good one, because when you are in heartbreak hell, that feels like the truth. And the thought of loving someone else makes you sick. Like the 3 margaritas you drank this morning.

How to Make Your Breakup Suck Less:

1. Don’t see him or talk to him for 60 days. If you could accidently run into him at the gym, grocery store, dry cleaner, or route to work- change your gym, grocery store, dry cleaner, and route to work. I know, I know, it’s not fair. But do it.

2. Join a new gym or sign up for a 5K. This is about giving your grief a physical outlet. Endorphins take a breakUP and make it a breakOVER.

3. Go out with your friends, both male and female. Do not dominate the evening with your break up drama. Ask them questions about what THEY’RE doing, what projects THEY’RE working on, how THEIR crazy family is doing. Something magical happens when you leave your own world for a while and get into others’.

4. Remember he’s not hiding at the bottom of that wine bottle. Drink lots of water, give yourself a salt scrub, get a pedicure, and kick Uncle Ben and Uncle Jerry to the curb.

5. Read funny/inspiring blogs (THIS ONE and Rocket Shoes are two of my faves), create a kick-ass collage of your new life, and write a letter to your future husband. Create a fresh relationship with your faith. Press into God. Write down the wisdom you are learning from all this.

If you are struggling, and need a hand out of the ditch, email me. I would love to talk to you.

With much love,

Stephanie xXo

Email: stclaire.stephanie@gmail.com

You can check out my blog here: BLISSBOMBED.com

Join me on Facebook: Stephanie StClaire: Blissbombed

Or Twitter: @BLISSBOMBED

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On Sunday night I had the pleasure of going to the Ladies Salon NYC  (a group for women in the creative and healing arts), where the guest speaker was acting & life coach Rhonda Musak. She’s the real deal. And what I mean is—She stayed longer than was scheduled, hung out with us afterwards, and was extremely present in each of our conversations—her passion for working with people overflows. She worked some magic using her “solutions-based coaching” approach. I left the meeting completely refreshed and refocused on what I WANT creatively, out of that space of stuckiness and perfectionism. And now, I get to use all that WANT to drive me forward!

Today, she is the guest writer on I’m Doing It, Dammit. Here’s Rhonda!

I AM doing it dammit! I have started my own acting studio.  Big inhale…and breathe out.  After having taught acting at another studio for 10 years, Art & Soul Acting was beautifully launched into the world at the end of October 2010 and has been sailing forward ever since.  Through that major and yet almost inconceivable step I have become a proud mama, a visionary in action, a farmer up at the crack of dawn every day lovingly tending the crops, and an angel whispering “Grow!” over every blade of grass. 
 
It’s not so much that I put off opening my own acting studio; I just tried to avoid it.  In fact, I tried anything and everything under the sun, but no matter how intent I was about teaching acting through other schools or venues, the persistence of my own vision kept tapping me and chasing me and grabbing me.  I finally turned around and embraced it.
 
I recently heard an inspiring story about two doctors, husband and wife, who were offered chief positions at one of the finest universities in the US.  The positions along with the opportunity of robust private practices were lucrative and would have earned them together close to $1,000,000 a year.  They, however, chose to move to a remote part Africa to be a part of a team of three doctors who, at an underfunded clinic, would oversee several thousands of patients a year.  When it was suggested to them that this is something that they had always wanted for their life they quickly corrected the inquirer: what they wanted, they explained, was to be safely and stably employed through the university and private practice; however, their work in Africa was unquestionably where they were truly and deeply called to be.
 
Essential to me in their story is that they willingly and knowingly chose to abandon themselves to a calling that seems to have personally chosen them. 
 
As I DO IT DAMMIT! I have chosen a path that feels very much like a roller coaster right now.  My most incredible moments are when I’m working with my students (soooo incredible!).  My most challenging moments are when I am figuring out what my next steps as a business owner should be.  My scariest moments are when I take action steps that I’ve never taken before.  My most joyful moments are when I see the risks that I am taking—both as a teacher and as a business owner—begin to pay off. 
 
This, however, is a roller coaster I ride every single day!  On the most practical level, the highs of celebrating my students who book jobs through the work that we’ve been doing together is balanced by a huge sense of I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next-ness.  And, like those doctors who want to be ensconced in a more practical and easier way of life, I want to be an actor.  Admittedly, it’s no more practical or easier than being an acting teacher, but I honestly miss the amount of acting that I was doing prior to this choice; I love acting.  But, I know that I know that I know that this is the calling that has my very own personal name on it.
 
In showing up 100% every day to this calling, I know that the “whys” of it all will begin to be revealed in due time.  On this journey, I have often felt like a picture wants to be painted through me but I am not the painter.  My honored work is to let the painter through in the form of ideas, visions, actions, and my daily unwavering presence to Art & Soul Acting.  

Rhonda S. Musak is the proud owner of Art & Soul Acting.  As an acting coach with over 10 years of teaching experience as well as an accredited life coach, her acting coaching blends powerful acting techniques together with solution focused life coaching.  It is a dynamic combination that insures that students both learn sustainable acting tools as well as know when to use them and why. 
 
Acting class begins on February 9, 2011.
 
For more information about acting class, private coaching and Art & Soul Acting’s Book Club for Actors, please visit www.artandsoulacting.com
 

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This is my very first improv group, Frank. We formed our all-girls group right after finishing our Level 5 improv class. I think this photo is now 4 years old. Crazy!!! We’d put together shows with improv, sketch, video, and dance, with that wild fired-up newcomer energy. The girl on the furthest left is Desiree Nash, an unstoppable lady who is guest-blogging today. She isn’t writing about running marathons, although she’s run a few of those, or performing on the professional musical improv group Baby Wants Candy… She’s writing about something much more challenging: online dating!  Here’s Dez!

I haven’t been practicing the art of dating for very long.  Only about 5 years.  All of those years were spent dating improvisers, so I’ve never known anything else.  I don’t even know how to meet men who aren’t improvisers.  Even if I did go trawling around the New York Stock Exchange or sports bars, these men probably won’t be funny, right?  I can’t date someone who isn’t funny.  I just…can’t.  Plus, who the hell is going to stand me seeing shows/rehearsing/performing 6 nights a week?  How is there even room for him?  That’s why dating improvisers made sense.  If I was busy doing all of these things, at least my beau would be by my side for most of it.

Ok, so why have I decided to not date an improviser?  Well, lemme break it down like this:  I’ve been single for a year.  In that year, I dated six improvisers.  Nothing was exclusive, and some of them barely lasted a month.  They were all guys that I’d already known for years, so the idea of first dates and courting were lost on both parties.  Then, all of a sudden, it’s over and we still have to see each other at the same bars and theaters.  Then, I find out every girl they ever dated/slept with and I know them as well.  It’s a tiny, incestuous community.  It started to make me feel less special.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to matter to someone.  The thing I was yearning for was just good ol’ fashioned dating.  Butterflies in the stomach-chivalrous-dim lights and wine dating.  I’m not saying improviser men are incapable of these things.  Just, apparently, not the ones I get involved with.

Some friends and I decided to start an online dating blog earlier this year.  We wanted to remain anonymous, so we all chose Facts of Life characters as aliases.  The blog didn’t last long, and I don’t mind revealing:  I was Tootie.  Here it is for reference:  www.30daysofdatingme.blogspot.com

As you can see, I wasn’t very successful.  Admittedly, I didn’t try as hard as I could have.  This time around I thought “I am going to get a date no matter what!”  It wasn’t as desperate as it sounds.  It was more like looking for the next “What else?”  in my life.  The next thing I’d like to experience that I hadn’t yet.  I  sign up for match.com, pay my lonely $75, and get to searching.  I send messages and winks galore!  Still, very harsh out there.  You can see who’s viewed you and, subsequently, NOT responded to you.  Still, I refuse to give up.  I’ve met people that Internet date.  They aren’t all studs and hoops.  I’m a catch.  Maybe not the giant catch that you take a picture with and put on the mantle, but good enough to bring home for dinner.  I also had to throw out my secret desire to be chased and just face the facts:  Life isn’t a game of M.A.S.H.  and I’m not gonna meet a man who would be played my Ewan McGregor in my biopic.  After a couple of weeks of no responses to my messages, one gentleman finally replies.  His profile pic is of him acting like a dinosaur in front of, well, a dinosaur.  He claims to be a “nerd,” which I feel a lot of men label themselves as but really aren’t.  You know, the hipsters that like comic books and didn’t kiss a girl until they were 17.  They think they are nerds, but really they have a stomach full of confidence and the jerk-factor that often comes with inflated egos.  I’m curious about him and want to know more, so I send him a message.  We message back and forth for a couple of days and then, gulp, he says we should meet.  He seems to be alright with the fact that we can’t meet until 11:30pm because I have shows.  That’s a good start, I think.  I’m feeling pretty nervous, but am less so once I see that he seems the same way.  He doesn’t talk much and I think I’m talking too much.  I guess I’m not comfortable with silences, so I just fill them with ramblings.  I’m pretty self-conscious about what I’m saying because this dude is smart.  I’m not very smart, so I’m trying to hide that as much as possible, but eventually, the jig will be up on that one.  He has a Masters from MIT and his Amazon “Wish List” is just calculus books.  I can’t even talk without saying the word “like” excessively… which I become increasingly aware of. I’ve even restructured some sentences in this post to get rid of “likes.” We do have a common interest in running.  Any time I feel lost for words, I just bring up more running things.  If this had been an improviser, we would have just geeked out on comedy the whole time.  I would have been comfortable.  That’s not the point, though.  It’s about, pardon the expression, following the fear. At the end, he walks me to a cab.  He seems stiff when I give him a hug (I don’t know what I’m supposed to do on a first date!) and shocked when I say “You have my number, so feel free to call.”  I didn’t think I’d ever see him again, and I thought “Well, at least I did it.  I went on a date with a stranger, and I was (for the most part) myself.”

Cut to weeks later, we’ve been on five dates now.  I gotta say, I’m quite smitten.  This is the best part of when you first start dating someone… the butterflies are still fluttering.  Don’t worry, I’ll save all the gushy details for my bedazzled diary.  I’m not a very optimistic person, so I still think that if this thing ends it’ll be because he’s too smart for me.  Then, I will go back to match.com and start a new search.  Keyword:  No dinosaurs.

New Yorkers! GO SEE Dez’s hilarious one-woman show, Check Please!, all about her dating adventures… And many other amazing characters’ trials and tribulations in the search for love. Playing next Thursday, 12/30, at the PIT at 9:30! Follow Dez on tumblr: suckinlookfunny

P.S…. Check out the blog Dez mentions… And see what “Natalie” has to say too! 😉

P.P.S… I broke my Facebook fast for 2 minutes to post a link to this entry… But I didn’t even check my notifications or read statuses! Ah the trials of the post-modern world…

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photo by Keith Huang

 

My dear friend Marshall, a ridiculously talented and hard-working musician, actor, and improviser, spent the month of January, 2010 writing a song every single day.  Here’s what he has to say about the experience:

Everyday in January of 2010, I wrote and recorded a new song in a day.  As a result, I ended up with 31 songs in 31 days.  I did this for personal reasons and it ended up being one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.  It was incredibly fun and I ended up going to corners of my head that I didn’t know existed.  There were times when it wasn’t easy; many diversions called out to me (namely television).  But discipline is the grease that provides lots of surprises along the way.  Day by day, it can be done.  A challenge like this is a gift you give yourself.

Here’s a sampling of the work he created during that month. His song, “Party Lights” makes me want to groove out on a beach drinking a pina colada. Check out the rest of his blog to listen to all of the music that he created that month.

This inspires me. I think once I am done doing 30 days of bikram yoga I want to take on an artistic challenge!

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My friend Jen Curran is a woman who does it, dammit. When I was just starting this blog and describing many things people want to do such as: losing weight/doing yoga challenges/quitting a job/starting a business/ETC ETC!, I realized Jen had done all these things and immediately asked her to write a guest post. She writes a blog that has inspired me since she started it, follow my bliss. In fact, that’s how we became friends. I was stalking her blog and wrote her fan mail. She continues to inspire me with her bold choices (both on stage and off…) and her approach to life. Basically, she rules.

I’m stubborn. And sometimes bossy. And my boyfriend often laments the fact that when I decide I want something, it’s hard to stop me from going after it – even if it’s ill-advised. In fact, since I was a little kid I’ve always tended to operate independently and impulsively.

So when my dear friend Blue asked me to write a post reflecting on my own experience relating to her blog, I realized that “I’m doing it, dammit” has been my methodology for as long as I can remember.

Of course, my impulsiveness hasn’t always been for the better. I’ve gotten in trouble with the law, I dropped out of college for two years, I wracked up debts it took me forever to pay back. I bought things I couldn’t afford and made choices I couldn’t undo. I even once shaved my head on a whim. (I don’t recommend it.)

But there’ve also certainly occurred a few memorable incidents in my young life where being stubborn in my convictions and grabbing the bull by the horns has actually paid off.

I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties when I finally decided enough was enough in terms of my weight problem. I’d been unhappy and heavy for far too long and I’d hit a point where I refused to feel so awful any longer. I knew I had no choice but to finally tackle the issue, and once I started, I didn’t want to stop. It’s not that losing weight was easy, it’s that I was too stubborn to give up.

I had the same experience with quitting cigarettes in my mid-twenties. Something inside me – or perhaps something greater than me –made the decision for me. When I finally knew it was time for me to quit, I thought, I’m doing, it dammit. And that was that. I know not everyone has such an easy time kicking that habit, and I probably got lucky. But I also felt intensely convicted about stopping.

And I quit my desk job last year in similar fashion. I’d been employed as an office administrator for years and I didn’t want to work at my low-paying long-hour’d job anymore. So I started a blog about how much I wanted to quit. Except I didn’t act spontaneously this time – I actually spent nine months saving and planning and writing posts about what I thought I might do when I finally quit my job. In the meantime, I worked on creating a small baking business with a friend and plotted my next steps as a writer and an actor too. But despite months of planning, I still didn’t know exactly when I’d be ready to actually give my notice to my boss. Then I woke up one day and just knew it was time. I quit the next afternoon. It was one of the best days of my life.

Now, almost a year later, I’m happier, more professionally fulfilled, and know more about myself and what I need in a job than I’ve ever known before. And I’m glad I didn’t stay at that job for a day longer.

Being spontaneous and courageous in your commitment to yourself and your goals – saying “I’m doing it, dammit!” especially when you’ve been hemming and hawing for way too long – can be terrifying. But practicing making bold choices can also help you to feel powerful, confident, and secure no matter what you do. Take a leap of faith and trust that that universe will catch you. Do it a dozen times and you’ll almost feel like you’re walking on air. There’s nothing quite so rewarding.

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