After I blogged about Freddie and Alyssa answering a viewer question (my question!) I posted another question! Because I’m bold now.
Last night I listened to podcast #84. Check out the closed captions:
Just my luck I didn’t get a shout-out, but that’s okay! I’m thrilled they like my question. Check out their answers. Freddie’s is unexpectedly fantastic.
Since my goal to have an actual exchange with both of them, what’s my next move? Any and all suggestions welcome. Also, this isn’t stalking, right? I’m talking tweets or back-and-forth in YouTube. Comment below or get in touch.
Once again, we are skipping COVID-19 (sung to Gen-X anthem Come On Eileen) for mindless, pointless prattle: interacting with medium-level celebrities on social media!
My husband does it all the time. He’s become twitter-friends with New York celebrities Roma Torre, Amy Freeze and Sean Allen Krill, to name a few. I, on the other hand, barely used twitter until December when I sought DAYS fans who had access to super-secret fancy spoilers, and then fell ass-backwards into an awesome #writingcommunity.
In my teeny, tiny corner of the internet, I’m getting bolder with social media. I think my shyness comes from my boomer parents who think everyone on the internet is the government trying to “get you.” (Get you how? For what? No one cares what you’re doing on yahoo mail, Mom.)
But first, a reminder that President Obama follows me on Twitter.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I pivoted from fear and tweeted about my new blog. I tagged a certain two millennials whose definitely to blame for all of this newfound boldness.
Only 1 like. I know, I know: pretty lame. But it’s the quality, not the quantity, amiright? (No. I’m not right. It’s the quantity. )
Alyssa’s like is a gold star to me. I crave gold stars. My husband even bought me a gold star necklace so I’d always have one. Now I want more likes! More gold stars! MORE, DAMMIT! MORE!
In Episode 76 of The Freddie & Alyssa Show, they asked their listeners to post questions that they’d answer in future podcasts. I boldly went where no me has gone before: the comment section of YouTube.
They picked my question and talked about it! What do I win?!
Discovering new music is something I’ve struggled with since the disappearance of record stores as I’ve previously posted. Ever the dutiful student, I downloaded TikTok. (I haven’t played with it yet, but I downloaded it!)
Pandora is best at predicting music you’d like to hear, which creeps me out, but that’s my parents talking. No one is trying to “get me” with songs, Mom!
This is way more fun than I thought it would be. So, the next step in my newfound celebrity stalking… Should it be to get another question answered? To get a reply to a tweet? Get them to follow me back? Comment below or send me a message!
For the record, there’s another fabulous celebrity Freddie in my twitter-verse. The one who’s already tweeted me back twice.
If FPJr. can get past my horrible Fedtival typo, so can you.
I am definitely not Coronavirus-ing today. Instead, let’s do Chapter 8 Pivot Your Activity. Drop some knowledge, Alyssa and Freddie!
There are 3 kinds of activity that make your plans come to life. C activity, B activity and A activity.
C activity is research. Immersing yourself and learning as much as you can. Freddie uses baseball to illustrate: learning the rules, reading books, studying statistics, watching baseball on TV.
B activity is preparation. Buying a glove and bat, getting a group together to play at a park on the weekend.
A activity is action. Showing up at the park and playing baseball.
Freddie’s point is you can research and prepare ’til the cows come home, but you won’t know how to play baseball until you play baseball. His illustrates this further with his web series Addicts Anonymous.
He and his friends wrote the scripts, raised money, hired actors, got cameras, sweet-talked their way onto a college campus to film it and just did it, learning about marketing, fundraising, acting and directing along the way. Sure, they could have helped themselves a bit if they’d researched and prepared for some things in advance but the point is, the best teacher is experience.
My parents used to make elaborate plans to renovate our house. They would draw floor plans, argue over sofa styles, and have serious discussions about whether or not to add a bay window to the south side of the house. They made these sort of plans through their entire marriage. Once in high school I went to a friend’s house and was astounded to find his mother peeling wallpaper off the walls of their dining room. Mrs. Hymowitz was sick of it and was changing it. Right then and there. I was stunned. People actually made changes to their houses without months or years of design plans?
Mrs. H was all about A activity. Renovation plans were basically foreplay for my parents.
So, it’s no surprise that I hang out a lot in B and C activity. Especially when it comes to writing. I make schedules, I google stuff, I spend time following writers on twitter (#writingcommunity), I strategize how to query an agent… all before I have any completed writing to share, much less sell. For me, B and C activity help mask fear, which must be pivoted from!
So how do you get yourself to do A activity? Researching how won’t help – hey, that’s B activity (or maybe C activity?) Whatever, it’s not A activity!
Do your thing. Write a page. Submit your resume. Pick up the guitar. Run the Couch-to-5K app.
But, I am starting to question this decision. Because even though my millennial gurus are self-quarantining in LA (omg they are so cute, check out their podcast), the rest of you millennials are freaking selfish, or crazy, or oblivious! Look at you with no sh*ts to give about spreading the coronavirus:
Dr. Deborah Brix continues to appeal to the millennial ego. “I’m going to call on that group…we need them to be healthy,” she coyly told America during today’s Presidential coronavirus press conference, “We cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.”
Get it together, millennials! Even Hilary Duff is yelling at you!
Most DAYS fans know about Alyssa’s and Freddie’s car accident in October 2014. Freddie takes us through the accident and the aftermath, and Alyssa shares the mental and emotional steps she took to heal her whole self while in recovery.
I swear, these two. How they saved themselves and each other is truly awe inspiring. The car accident wasn’t their only tragedy, either. When they were down, life kicked them in the collective nuts a few more times. (I won’t get into detail here because seriously, you should listen to this chapter right now.) They faced all of it with the mutual decision to learn from the events and to not make excuses when life was sh*tty. They each could have crumbled under the weight of these incidents, but they showed up to life every day with a positive attitude. They pushed themselves and pulled each other along.
I now understand why these two millennials are wise beyond their years. I’m so grateful I found their audiobook. Who would have ever thought that indulging in a sudsy soap opera when I was so sad would lead to so much positive change in my life. I hope I can thank them someday.
At the end, they present questions to help you pivot from your most-used excuses. I was like, I don’t make excuses. I have real-life reasons why I don’t write or exercise, which you celebrities don’t understand! I don’t get up early to work out because I need to sleep. I have a demanding job. Sometimes I’m up too late the night before – it’s my only time to catch up on my binge shows, or I get sucked into social media. I could hit the gym after work, except I’m usually too tired, or we have plans. I don’t write in the mornings because that’s my time to work out. My brain is too fried at night to be creative.
Oh my god, do you see this? I’m not only full of excuses, they are LAME.
What do these excuses actually do for me? They must serve some purpose because I make them all the time.
I think excuses help me placate my ego. If I have an excuse for not trying, I’m not exactly failing because I plan to try. Excuses enable me to fantasize that I’ll succeed without putting in any of the work. I keep my hopes and dreams alive because of the illusion that I’m working on it.
Oh, man. I am my own worst enemy. I’ve got to break this self-sabotaging behavior.
“Don’t wait until tomorrow,” Freddie says. “Please don’t give us that excuse.”
January 16, 2020. It took me exactly two months to get back to The Pivot Principle. I’d been on a serious roll just from the Intro and Chapter 10, and I was eager to see what else Freddie and Alyssa had to teach me. I dove right in to Chapter 1: Pivot from Fear.
There is a lot of valuable material in this chapter. You should listen for yourself. Here are the top things that spoke to me:
Freddie: I’ve been on 500 auditions. I was told “no“ for 485 of them. The other 15 made my career. That’s a 97% rejection rate. 97%!!
Freddie: Ask yourself, “Why do I care if someone rejects me?” I’ve never asked myself why I care about rejection, especially from strangers. In my late 20s, I quit my entire life to break into television and it was a disaster. I was rejected from loads of jobs, and when I finally got a job, I was told “no” every single day in one way or another. It was a demoralizing experience but it didn’t break me. It’s like I worked my rejection muscle really hard during that time, but now it’s soft as I’ve become comfortable.
Freddie: Rejection is inevitable so you may as well go for it. If you don’t try, you definitely fail. If I could withstand a 97% rejection rate like Freddie, then I go into it knowing that most strangers won’t like my writing. OMG! I get it: It’s not personal. That’s how Freddie lets the rejections roll off! That’s how he stays true to himself! MIND BLOWN.
Alyssa: To reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m more comfortable eating whatever I want and complaining about my weight than denying myself junk food. I’m more comfortable living a life where writing comes last than I am with doing whatever it takes to write every day. Change takes effort. I’m not making any effort. I’m very much into instant gratification. I’m not stuck. I’m…lazy. I’m very uncomfortable learning this about myself. Darn you, Alyssa.
Alyssa: There is no perfect moment. “Being ready” is an excuse. Seriously, how is she this wise at 30?
Alyssa: How are you going to put yourself out there and work on your fear and rejection muscles? I don’t know. What do unpublished writers do to put themselves out there? It’s got to be more than send query letters to agents. Looks like I just gave myself a research project.
“The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.” Over and over it ran through my mind. My heart raced constantly. I couldn’t sleep. I was hot all the time. Food tasted awful. The power of Alyssa’s words took me over. I was like a frayed wire.
I lost 14 pounds in 12 days. My plus-sized body was Pivoting all on its own.
Well, I wasn’t going to avoid any more work. I wanted magic! I looked over the lists of goals I’d written and decided to tackle the new job goal first. This was the one goal I could wrap my brain around while my body freaked out.
I’d been job-hunting all year, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was unfocused, haphazard. I’d send my resume to companies that looked cool or posted a too-good-to-be-true job listing and never heard back.
I’m a dutiful student. I took Freddie’s advice to heart and wrote a detailed list of what I wanted.
Goal: New Job
Must have a mission statement I can get behind. After years of working for law firms, I’d finally gotten my first in-house paralegal job with a non-profit news organization. What a change! I was so proud to work for a company whose mission is to inform the world, rather than to bill the client as much as possible. Wherever I went next, it had to be about more than making money. It had to be for a profit company that wanted to make a difference.
Better salary. Non-profits do amazing work, but they usually don’t pay well. I loved where I worked, but I was severely underpaid. I live in NYC – I needed more money.
Good fit with the new team. Personality mesh is an important part of the job process. Who you work with can make or break a place. I reminded myself that I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. I’d know if we “clicked” and if we didn’t, I’d keep looking.
Once I was clear about what I wanted, I applied much more strategically than before. I researched the companies’ business filings. I checked sites like Glassdoor for employee POVs. Several applications and a few interviews later, this approach paid off. In December, I accepted an offer that hit every one of my requirements: A for-profit company whose focus is health. A salary that reflected my skills and experience. A team made me feel welcome and valued. I would start my new job at the beginning of 2020.
November 16, 2019: I was two weeks into my new obsession with the Days of our Lives time jump story. It was soapy, sudsy awesomeness: Why is Sonny so sad? Why is Justin kissing Kayla? How did Adrienne die? Why is JJ on drugs? His girlfriend died?! WTF is Xander about? WHY IS WILL IN JAIL. WHY IS HE CELL MATES WITH THE GUY WHO MURDERED HIM A FEW YEARS AGO. Where’d that baby come from? What happened to the other baby? Kristen’s a nun? Why is Ciara a super sleuth? He’s the father of the alive baby and doesn’t know it, but she knows? Gabi is CEO!
It was such a blast because it was the perfect distraction from the sadness, and the rest of my life.
Generation X is well settled in to its midlife crisis, and so was I. My job depressed me. I was overweight and eating terribly. Worst of all, my writing was beyond stagnant. I fancy myself a scifi/fantasy writer (time travel’s my thing) and I hadn’t written much beyond a few short story drafts in a couple of years. Crappy job, crappy health, no creativity, and incredibly stuck. I wanted to change but I’d get paralyzed and overwhelmed and do nothing. So I threw myself into DAYS! Way more fun than throwing myself into me.
Both Alyssa and Freddie narrate the chapter but Freddie’s part got me. He talks about his issues with weight with a frankness and vulnerability that is brave and heartfelt. His quest for balance after following several “meal lifestyles” (I love this term) really got to me. He suggests writing out your goals and a detailed description of the outcome you want. Get specific about how to achieve them, and figure out your “why”.
I’d written out goals, but I’d never really thought about the details to achieve them. My goals are more like, “lose 30 lbs” or “exercise”, but I didn’t ever write down “log food every day” or “30 minutes of cardio 4 times a week.” I made a mental note to try it sometime soon, and moved on to “Introduction.”
There are a handful of times in my life when I’ve had an A-ha moment. When I recognize a truth that I feel in my heart and soul, this wave of tingles sweeps over my whole body. It’s how I know I’ve learned something important and I’m permanently changed. This happened to me when I heard Alyssa say at 2:42, “The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.”
The truth of her words literally changed me, right in that moment. My heart dropped. The tingles spread all over me. I had to catch my breath! How could someone so young be so wise? Alyssa and Freddie had an understanding of our world that eluded me.
I was ready to learn.
I grabbed my journal and started writing out my goals, and all the steps to achieve them.
Not just health/weight goals, but my career and my creative writing, too. It took several pages. I felt amazing when I finished. What else could I learn from the millennials?
A bit of backstory on my journey to millennial-palooza:
I started watching Days of our Lives in college thanks to my roommate who was obsessed with Patch and Kayla. I’m a sporadic viewer. Every few months or so I catch up on a couple of recap blogs and tune in when something interesting is going on.
The time jump was one of those interesting things.
OMG, it was amazing. AMAZING! On Friday (11/05/2019) Jennifer Horton slipped into a coma after being pushed off a balcony by her cousin Hope, whose evil alter ego Princess Gina had recently taken over. On Monday (11/08/2019) Jennifer woke from the coma, to find a whole year had passed. For all of us! Super sudsy drama and angst, and so many questions painstakingly answered in tiny morsels over weeks. It was exactly what I needed. I worked for a news organization, and onslaught of Breaking News was starting to break me.
I went from casual viewer to all in. I watched DAYS every day. I scoured the internet: you name it, I found it! (DAYS fans are the most devoted fans in the world. They take care of their ships!) But I needed spoilers. I started following as many DAYS actors on social media as I could, hoping they’d give up something, any sort of clue.
I found myself on Freddie Smith’s Instagram. Freddie plays Sonny on DAYS, half of the fantastic supercouple Will and Sonny (#WilSon).