How to know you’re a grownup

I already have a wish list. I was hoping, soon, to make a wish book — a blank notebook where, aside from my list, I could also paste, staple, glue photos of all the things I want to buy, for myself, our home, my loved ones. I visit the Neiman Marcus, Tod’s and Bergdorf Goodman websites. I also go to eluxury.com. I salivate over the breathtaking Christian Loboutin shoes, the beautiful Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein dresses and gowns. And don’t get me started on the bags. Oh, the bags! I go to Ethan Allen and Furnitalia and I so many items there have my name written on them. If money grew on trees, I’d probably buy, among all the things I saw and loved, those that still run through my mind when I try to go to sleep at night. That’s still a lot.

But just a few days ago, while Juliana was taking a bath, I heard Yaya Lita mumbling and crying. Yaya LIta, who has been with Richard for more years than we have been married and is already family to us, was crying copious tears. A relative of hers had sold her carabao and she just found out about it (she hails from Zamboanga). A month before that I also found Helen, Yaya Lita’s niece who also works for us, crying because her pigs got washed away during the flood.

“P13,000 yung bili ko ng kalabaw, ma’am!” she told me. “Please give Yaya Lita a new carabao for her birthday, Mommy,” said Juliana, who loves her yaya so much. Helen was relying on breeding those pigs and selling them for added family income.

Now, how can I, in conscience, think of buying even half a Loboutin right now? Why am I telling you this? Because I just realized that I am not as impulsive as I used to be. Even before the whole carabao and pigs episode, I was never shop-happy. My dad would probably faint if he knew how much my designer jeans and Paul Smith tailored pants cost. I know he would say that Nestor can do a far better job for maybe even a tenth of the price (Nestor was our forever tailor, who made pants that fit so well and so perfectly). I grew up seeing Manoy Nestor every so often in our house in Ormoc, but he has since passed. He was a world-class talent, let me tell you. Nor does Daddy know how exorbitant designer bags can be — thank God.

There was a time when I really itched to own all that I wanted to have. But in the same way that I can happily window-shop, I can do the same online. I can look but not necessarily click and buy. Sure, I’ll splurge once in a while, but there are many things I can live without. Yes, I am all grown up because I really do not have to have every material thing my heart desires. Sometimes, dreaming about them is happiness enough. Looking at beautiful things can already be a joy in itself.

It’s nothing profound, but this insight has spawned the list I am sharing with you today. I’d love for you to make your own list, too. It’s actually fun, and you might end up surprising even yourself.

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I know I am all grown up because:

1. I do not have to have everything I want.

2. I take saving for the future (seriously).

3. I think about how life will be tomorrow.

4. When the situation calls for it, I choose to be productive rather than sleep an extra hour.

5. I actually ask God to help me honestly forgive those who hurt me (on my own, that can be hard to do).

6. I can pray for and honestly wish the meanies well.

7. I can let a lot of things go.

8. I can laugh at — even celebrate — my mistakes.

9. I only want a wash-and-wear hairstyle (makes life so much easier).

10. I choose quality over quantity.

11. Simplifying life is not an option — it is the only choice.

12. I truly welcome reunions because you want to touch base with people.

13. I don’t fret too much about eating too big a slice of caramel cake.

14. I make wish lists but they are just that: wish lists. They do not direct my life.

15. When you appreciate your dreams.

16. You laugh at yourself.

17. I don’t take life and myself too seriously.

18. I know that love is not a light word.

19. I can and will go out of my way to brighten a lonely person’s day.

20. It is a peaceful thought to know that not everything is about you.

21. I know that pretty flowers tucked in a vase on a table in your home does more than just make your room look pretty.

22. Living, like homekeeping, is a lovely art.

23. Comfort matters.

24. Not very many things embarrass me anymore.

25. I appreciate rituals and traditions enough to do what I can to make them live on.

26. Wine actually tastes good.

27. I care about what happens to our country.

28. I don’t make impulsive purchases.

29. I really want to learn the basics of cooking and swimming and driving, just in case.

30. Traveling is not just all about shopping.

31. I have learned to budget.

32. I also know that “no budget” does not necessarily mean “no money.”

33. Spending hard-earned money pinches.

34. I start remembering and applying all that Mom and Dad have taught me.

35. I have learned to really linger over a cup of coffee.

36. I savor experiences, moments, people.

37. I live the present moment as fully as I can.

38. There is this urge to stretch beyond your comfort zone.

39. The fear of failure does not stop you from trying out new things.

40. I have started using an eye cream that really works.

41. I know the value of saying no.

42. I will go out of my way to validate people.

43. I can find it in myself to gracefully acknowledge all the lessons buried beneath every pain.

44. I know what I will and will not wear.

45. I can be unapologetic about my choices.

46. I accept people as they are.

47. I have learned to celebrate the body I was born with.

48. I look for and appreciate order — on the road, at home, in my life.

49. When trying out new things, maskipaps can be more and more an option, and a happy one at that.

50. When peace of mind is a most premium possession, and a most desirable goal.

51. I choose my battles.

52. It’s easy for me to choose to rise above petty people, petty situations.

53. I can guiltlessly weed out toxic people and things from my life.

Gentlemen prefer Randy Ortiz

Getting these three men — Ogie Alcasid, John Estrada and my hubby, Richard Gomez — to sit down together at one time with their busy schedules is a near impossibility. But this fashion shoot, sporting Randy Ortiz’s creations, was an exception.

It’s all to help celebrate Randy’s gala show tomorrow night, his first in 10 long years, to be held at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.

Modeling Randy’s clothes will be John, Richard, Diether Ocampo, Dingdong Dantes and Bea Alonzo. Sitting with me in the audience will be Ogie and my friend Kris Aquino. Randy has said that I’m his “muse,” so I hope I can help inspire him to put on a great fashion show tomorrow.

These three gentlemen — Richard, John and Ogie — have marked many milestones in their respective careers, and not just a few of them were lived out wearing the fashion creations of Randy Ortiz. I spoke with them about Randy and many other things — inspiration, friendship, and yes, fashion. Here’s what they said.

What inspires you?

RICHARD GOMEZ: My dreams. You. Watching our daughter grow up and seeing how some of our traits are in her. It makes me happy.

JOHN ESTRADA: Cars. You work hard just to have nice ones.

OGIE ALCASID: Passionate people, talented people who make use of their God-given gifts.

Tell me an anecdote about Randy that you remember with fondness.

RICHARD: Randy was one of the first ones to meet you. Remember? We were on the Harley Davidson and we were going around Greenhills?

JOHN: When he cried to me because he had just broken up with his boyfriend.

OGIE: I always tease him about his love life and his supposedly nonexistent sex life.

What is your favorite Randy O outfit?

RICHARD: I am very comfortable wearing Randy’s tailored shirts and suits. He makes very nice suits, his pants fit very well.

JOHN: Everything.

OGIE: The gray suit he made for me that I recently wore to the Celebrity Duets pictorial.

Describe Randy as a friend.

RICHARD: You almost always see him in a happy and jolly mood, even when he is stressed or harassed.

JOHN: Very caring. Like a mother.

OGIE: Very funny, fun-loving, caring, sweet, and humble.

What is the design process like between you and Randy? Is it a collabo-ration? Or is it just a happy surprise, meaning you allow him a free hand?

RICHARD: He will ask what you have in mind and he will also suggest what he thinks would suit your style or what he thinks is the current trend.

JOHN: I let him take care of it.

OGIE: I allow him to have a free hand and I am always pleasantly amazed by the finished product.

What is his strength as a designer?

RICHARD: He is innovative and is not afraid to try incorporating details in his designs. He is also very well-liked.

JOHN: How he mixes and matches patterns.
OGIE: Originality and his trademark look.

What will you never wear?

RICHARD: Never, ever: baggy pants na baston pa!
JOHN: Turtleneck!
OGIE: Nothing. I will wear anything.

What is your personal style and how does Randy’s trademark touch enhance that?

RICHARD: Rugged. But when I want or need to dress up, I really dress up and go the whole nine yards. Details. I like the way he pays attention to details.

JOHN: Rugged. His shirts can go from formal to rugged.

OGIE: Casual, comfortable, classic. Randy understands me well. He never disappoints.

What is the best part of the work you do?

RICHARD: The nature of my job allows me to enjoy the best of both worlds: my schedule is fluid and dynamic and that allows me to pursue my other interests like cooking and photography, and also to do my sports. More importantly, I get to spend quality time with family and experience the joys of Juliana’s growing years.

JOHN: You don’t have to fall in line all the time.
OGIE: People appreciate the person and the craft.

What’s the best way to spend a Sunday?

RICHARD: Cook from scratch for family and friends.
JOHN: Golf and church with my kids.
OGIE: Doing nothing.

What were you doing earlier, right before you headed for the shoot?

RICHARD: I came from a baseball game.

JOHN: I went to church and prayed that the shoot would not push through.

OGIE: I went to the gym.

Where are you going from here?

RICHARD: To Ben Chan’s surprise birthday dinner.
JOHN: Goma’s house.

OGIE: Home. Reg and I haven’t seen very much of each other, we’ve both been very busy with work.

What is your idea of a perfect Zen moment? Or what do you do to relax and get into a Zen mode?

RICHARD: When I’m very focused on my game or when I’m acting out a role during a shoot; I do not hear the cheering of the crowd or noises on the set when I am in that mode.

JOHN: Looking at old pictures of my kids, family and friends.

OGIE: I play the piano.

On a rainy day, what would you most likely do?

RICHARD: I love driving on a rainy day.
JOHN: (Laughs) I don’t know…
OGIE: Sleep. Maybe.

What’s your weirdest food quirk/pleasure:

RICHARD: The first time I tried eating Century Tuna and Sky Flakes broken down into small pieces. At first it was kinda weird to see it served that way during a drinking session with friends by the side street. But while eating the concoction, the crispiness of the cracker complemented the spiciness of the tuna very well. It tasted even better with a dash of calamansi.

JOHN: Sinigang with chocolate cake.
OGIE: Rice with chocolate from Batangas.

What can you cook?

RICHARD: It depends on what is available in the pantry or in the refrigerator.

JOHN: (No answer)
OGIE: Japanese noodles. Ramen.

What are you craving right now?

RICHARD: Chocolates! Lots of chocolates, like Cadbury or Patchi or Lindt.

JOHN: Bolognese.
OGIE: Really delicious pasta.

If you could be anywhere else in the world right now, where would that be?

RICHARD: Japan. It is my favorite destination.

JOHN: Venice. But if I don’t change soon, I might find myself in Hell!

OGIE: Sydney.

Your favorite drink?

RICHARD: Yogurt drink, Gatorade or 100 Plus.
JOHN: Iced tea.
OGIE: Water.

Given all your blessings, how would you like to “give back”?

RICHARD: I help quietly. I like putting kids through school.

JOHN: I have a foundation back home in Zamboanga.

OGIE: I do my best to help organizations that deal with children.

What’s the best style tip you learned from Randy?

RICHARD: Comfort and style must go hand in hand.
JOHN: You can wear a tux with sneakers.
OGIE: Always wear great-looking shoes.

How often do you wear a Randy O?

RICHARD: Often enough for him to be an easy favorite.
JOHN: Every week. Walang choice eh!
OGIE: Every Sunday.

Does being a celebrity affect the way you dress up, or your choice of clothes?

RICHARD: To a certain extent, yes. As a celebrity, people always expect to see you dressed fashionably.

JOHN: I just make sure I don’t look like a fashion victim!

OGIE: Yes, it does.

What do you like about where you are in your life right now?

RICHARD: I make my own decisions and I can take on bigger responsibilities.

JOHN: My kids and my friends and my nice girlfriend.

OGIE: Since I am in my 40s, I am enjoying the fruits of my hard work.

What do you have a lot of in your wardrobe?

RICHARD: Shirts, underwear and jeans.
JOHN: Shirts. And dust.
OGIE: Shirts. And jeans.

The most inexpensive item in your closet?

RICHARD: Socks.
JOHN: Socks.
OGIE: I have a Coke watch.

Your biggest fashion pet peeve?

RICHARD: Baggy pants. When it was in fashion, I was also guilty of wearing them; but looking back, I never should have. And even if it comes back, I will never wear them again.

JOHN: People who wear bonnets in this country.
OGIE: Fashion victims.

What would you like to see women wear more often?

RICHARD: Nice, skimpy bikinis at the beach.
John: Mini skirts.
Ogie: Skirts and nice tops.

How would you size up the local showbiz scene, fashion-wise?

RICHARD: More and more celebrities are learning to invest in quality clothes.

JOHN: Okay lang… Pwede…

OGIE: Most everybody seems to be trendy and makes an effort to look good.

What’s Randy’s most endearing trait?

RICHARD: He always has a ready smile.
JOHN: His hair.
OGIE: He has a good heart.

20 things to discover about Randy Ortiz

This interview happens on a lazy Sunday afternoon at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel, another wet and gray day, perfect as most Sundays go. It is also, incidentally, exactly just five days after Randy Ortiz’s birthday celebration in his cozy Makati pad. I mention that because almost half of the people present in the room now were also present there. Same cast — John Estrada, Ogie Alcasid and Richard Gomez, plus a handful of others — they were all there. Then there was as much food as there were drinks, and even more good wishes than there were guests, even if the latter ran aplenty. And as it always is when Randy throws a get-together, the mood is casual, fun and light, punctuated by lots of raucous laughter. It was an evening that stretched way into the wee hours of the morning, with whatever that was left of the rich dinner already presenting itself desirably as breakfast food. A highlight of the evening, as we all would find out the following day, was Ogie falling into Randy’s little fountain by the foyer, and breaking it. It was something that did not bother the birthday boy one bit. This Sunday is not much different. There is an abundance of food — pizza, fat sandwiches stuffed with bacon and scrambled egg, freshly baked banana bread from the hotel’s resident bakeshop, pancit canton, a couple of boxes of handmade chocolate that were a giveaway from a christening affair that Chechel Joson, the makeup artist, had attended the day before.

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Birthing pains

Birth pains. Maybe that’s what it was. Ever since we started the show early last year, almost every taping day (two in a week, Mondays and Tuesdays) was dotted with some kind of mishap or delay.  Nothing major, really; just small frustrating ones that could be negligible and tolerable in any workplace but when piled up in rapid succession all in the same day become nothing short of monstrous. I remember many times I would go home, drained. But still somehow happy, deep inside of me. Yes, I was happy because I loved the format of the show, it is something close to my heart, especially the arts and crafts section, and I was very fond of the people I worked with.

My co-host, Wilma Doesnt, cracks me up along with pretty much everybody else on a regular basis, and we have more than just a handful of quirky, colorful characters on the set to back her up, all of whom I know Adam Sandler would love to meet. He could benefit a lot by using them in his next film.

There are makeup artists Snow White and Barney and Jerome; the first is very mahinhin and very poised and has a talent of making every woman from 14 to 40 look like a doña from a posh subdivision; the second is a strict vegetarian who has a four-year-old son named Elijah, who follows diligently in his footsteps, eating greens and anything natural only (although he is allowed maybe a cupcake or two every three or four months). Pork and any other animal with four feet is their enemy. And there’s Jerome, my makeup artist, who never fails to make me laugh with his comments and thoughts even when he is not trying to be funny.

Laughter is very important when you work 12-hour days two days a week. It becomes a tool for survival. Josh is another character, straight from a funny movie, too, a Vietnamese living in Manila who brings trivia plus a nugget of wisdom said in very good and very straight English with every cup of coffee and plate of egg sandwich that he serves.

Aside from being happy, even when things were still as inefficient as they were, I was also very hopeful. All the signs said it/we would get better. It was a good team to start with. There are talented and competent writers, a hard-working art department, from the Zaido boys (I do not know who started calling them that) who move around the heavy furniture like they were only paper toys, to the arts and crafts team, our producers, the cameramen, the guys who take care of our meals led by Mang Danny (a Godsend; what would we ever do without him?), all the way up to our female bosses, Ms. Jenny, Mother Mildred, Ms. Gigi. We had the raw materials, it was a promising team fueled by the same vision of putting on a show filled with ideas that will make life sweet, in ways both big and small.

But from the onset, things did not always turn out the way they were supposed to. The intention to make it work was always there but was somehow never carried through consistently. There was always something that someone had the right to whine, complain or nitpick about. Sporadically, there just would be bad days and life has a not-so-funny way of testing and stretching your patience when you least expect and want it to.

And so meetings would be set. There would be bright ideas and not-so-bright ones implemented and if those failed, the team would manage to churn up more of them. Sometimes the not-so-bright ideas would even turn out to be more realistically brilliant than the seemingly very bright ones, proof that things are not always what they seem. Sometimes you have to go deeper, explore and discover more, and yes, think outside the box (forgive me if that sounds like such a cliché).

I do not know exactly when the change happened but we are now in our second year and for the first time in a long time, I feel that the team is finally gelling together. It’s been a long time coming but hey, things seem to finally be in place. The dust has settled and personally I find even more reasons to be happy about the show.  There were many baby steps but I now know they were at least definite ones. It’s clear to me now that we all were, after all, traveling in the same direction, in the same slow boat that has taken us from there to here.

It is still the same team. But it’s a more empowered one now. I feel we have all stepped up to the challenge of trying even harder than we already were. Who knows? Maybe we all decided at the same time that we were tired of always feeling tired, and lost.

We have all given each other a chance. In the same way that we cannot choose the family we are born into, we also cannot always choose the people we will end up working with. But that’s okay. The diverse personalities make life richer and, even if you don’t always agree with one another 100 percent of the time, you can always choose to learn from each other. This show has taught me to take people as they are. They are not bad people just because they are not the way you want them to be or they do not act the way you would given the same situation. They are just who they are, the same way you are who you are.

Yes, birth pains is what I would call them. After the pains, we are now really starting to savor the joys — and I’m happy to report they now abound. It is showing in the quality of the episodes, the mix of guests, the number of advertisers, the ratings even. We have been rating very well, and consistently at that. We sowed the right seeds from day one, and despite what we thought were mistakes, it is starting to feel like harvest time already. Trust that we will all work at making it even better.

* * *

“The Sweet Life” airs Mondays to Fridays on QTV 11, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Saying yes

It’s finally over.  For the past two months I have been troubled by the fact that I was scheduled to perform a dance number in front of a live audience, during a live performance no less. That means what will be will be; if I make a mistake, I will not have the chance to redo it. There will be absolutely no cuts; the show must, and will, go on. Unlike a taped show, everyone involved in a live performance only has that one moment to do what must be done. Wait, “troubled” is not a very appropriate word. Anxious, scared, terrified is more like it — and if there was one word that meant all three, that would be the word that would best describe me.

Let’s backtrack a little here. I’m sure I have mentioned enough times in my past columns how shy I am, painfully so. I never liked performing even when I was in elementary or high school and I used to dread all those school programs that were de rigueur growing up. I enjoyed en masse performances, where everyone in class had to do the same thing but I hated spot/solo numbers. I would wriggle my way out of them every chance I got. College life was no different. But instead of spot numbers I had to deal with class presentations; it was bearable if I was part of a group but to do a presentation all by myself scared me enough to give me a real fever.

To this day Rizza, my funny friend from college, always guffaws at what she proclaims is “the irony of it all.” She remembers clearly how I would hide behind her during class presentations (what was I thinking? I was much taller and bigger than her). As a mater of fact, I did not know I was doing that until one teacher blurted out “Lucy, why are you hiding behind Rizza?” Rizza always says she cannot connect that girl from college to the girl who now appears on TV, and regularly at that.

I myself do not know how I landed here. There was no conscious effort; it was never even a dream or a wish to begin with. Sometimes you just go where the wind blows, you embrace what you are given, and you find yourself in places and spaces you never knew could exist for you.

The past three, maybe four, years for me have been growing-up years. By that I mean I have made a conscious attempt to stretch my personal limits and take concrete albeit baby steps outside my comfort zone. I don’t know when the awakening came but I just realized one day that I had this desire to conquer my fears, no matter how inconsequential, no matter how unfounded, they may be. Time has taught me not to question fear — if it’s there, it’s there. I will accept that. But I already know now that I can always choose to deal with it positively, and at the very least acknowledge it enough to propel me to work diligently at quelling it, in whatever way I can. I try to always remind myself gently that if I face my fear(s), in the process maybe I will find real freedom. I was tired of being always scared to even try. Why should I be so afraid? Really, what’s the worst that can happen anyway?

So I guess that was my mindset when I said yes to doing the ceremonial tee-off at a legit golf tournament three years ago (it was the Omega Cup in Davao). No biggie, you might think, except that I stupidly forgot I do not even play golf to begin with (where is the common sense there?). The day before the tee-off I was on the golf course, laughing my way through a crash course patiently given by Bong Lopez, a great and serious golfer himself. On the day of the tournament I was already shaking like a leaf. My sweet Jesus, what had I gotten myself into?

It was the same thing when I danced at the Meralco Theater two years ago. I said yes to do a rumba number, for a show that Edna Ledesma, my friend and ballroom teacher, was staging. On the day of the show when we were doing the final rehearsal, it dawned on me that I was the only non-ballroom dancer in a legit ballroom dancing show. I was in the company of amateurs and pros; me, a greenhorn just starting to learn the ropes of ballroom dancing for a couple of months. Again, what was I thinking? And yes, why do I do this to myself? That was the last thought on my mind before I stepped onstage to dance the rumba to the song Because Of You.

Grow. Explore and embrace the territory beyond my comfort zone, like any child would. I thought of that when I said yes to hosting. More so when I said yes to hosting a dance show on TV (that naturally would require me as the host to also dance from time to time). I think I say yes too much.

There have been many more opportunities in between but those I just mentioned are the majors. The one constant? I can get really makulit knocking on heaven’s doors. I pray, and I don’t mean that lightly. Maybe my prayers blossom primarily out of fear of what could happen to me while I expose myself to the great unknown but yes, I pray, simply but persistently and unceasingly, asking God and all His holy friends to just be with me and see me through all the things all my ignorant “yeses” have entailed. Damayan ba. I refuse to be in this alone; I will involve my friends Up There.

That said I think you will agree with me that it is no coincidence, really, that on that sunny day in Davao, heart thumping and knees shaking, I was able to do the ceremonial tee-off successfully at my first try. They say my ball actually flew over 150 yards, direct flight. At the Meralco Theater, I was able to finish the dance with no major mishaps — I did not forget my steps, I did not trip over my partner, my costume did not fall off, I did not make a fool of myself. Sure, I could have done better with the dance steps but given the time frame, I did what I could with what I had and what little I knew then.

But come to think of it now, even if the ball did not fly, and even if I did make a fool of myself there, so what? I can live with that. I know how to laugh at myself. All will be okay — besides, I do not have to take things, myself included, so seriously.

I ran all those thoughts through my mind again after I had said yes to do the live dance number. (What do you know? Of course I said yes again without thinking!) It was for the launch of the new TV5 and had all the makings of a very tricky and very technical performance — I had to do two quick changes within the three-minute dance, no stopping; the costumes had to come off as I was twirling and moving, in split seconds.

Twenty minutes before I had to go onstage I was waiting at the wings, armed with bananas (two of which I already gulped down) and a bottle of energy drink. I kept myself warmed up, stretching and moving around just so my mind and muscles could be busy with anything but fear and nerves. Several times I got tired so I stopped. But then my stomach would turn and I would seriously feel like throwing up. The logical thing to do was to just keep moving until I was actually breaking a sweat. I don’t know how but that helped. My hands did not feel as cold somehow, and my knees did not quiver as much.

Right before I went onstage I placed both feet in a very shallow puddle of soda (the real dancers taught me that; it makes dancing on even the most slippery floor manageable) and then I said a little “big prayer.” I had rehearsed religiously given the available time; it was now all up to Him. I had done my part, Your will be done, Lord.

The crowd was noisy but it really is true when they say you don’t hear a thing. It’s just the music and a loud hum, just like in the movies. The costumes came off in perfect timing; the dance was over in no time at all. The crowd was amazed at what they thought was “magic,” the way the costumes came off one after the other, from black to a fuchsia pink and finally to gold. It was glittery and fast. Literally, the most glittery and fastest three minutes of my life onstage.

I had to do the same dance, but with one less costume change, exactly five nights after, in a different venue, for a different audience. Except for the floor being extra slippery at the tail end of the dance because of all the confetti, I survived. Again. God is good.

Why do I do this to myself? Because it is more than an act of courage, it is a leap of faith. And I know now there is no such thing as small faith or big faith. Faith is either there or not there; as the Bible says, all you need of it is the size of a mustard seed.

We all have to do things we would rather not do but need to do. I have a wonderful job, I am part of a show I truly love and yes, there are portions of it I am not entirely comfortable with. But that’s okay.  I would like to think that facing my fear and stepping up to the challenge build character. And discipline. More importantly it stretches you in ways that both empower and enrich. It is empowering, not because you think you did a mighty fine job but because you had the courage to at least give it your best shot. That makes the experience enriching. That is the part of it that makes the heart soar.

Maybe I keep on doing this to myself because I know I can always pray boldly, anchoring my confidence not in myself but in God’s ability to watch over and take care of everything that concerns me; yes, even if it is a matter as petite as a live performance. For things both big and small there is always Him. If God brought me here then He will give me the grace to be here. That makes for a thought that never fails to bring peace to my heart.

I still am not half the dancer I would hope to one day be. Maybe time will find me in front of a live audience again, dancing with abandon the way I do at home, in the shower, in my bedroom, as if no one was watching me. But until that happens, at least I know that surviving and conquering my fear can really just be as easy as saying a little prayer. That is enough for now.

Yes, it’s finally over, this one. But I know that given my job there will be more to come. By then, I trust that it should not be so dreadful.

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