After each performance of It’s Only Lipstick, I would get asked, “What was your process?” Hmmmmm. Thinking about it now, it’s not about how I developed the show, it’s about a lifetime of learning to enjoy the process. Not so easy!
Growing up in an Italian-American family, I learned through discipline, fear and the wooden spoon. Most people just have to deal with their mothers. I had to deal with the three Italian Mamas – my mother, my aunt and my grandmother. I couldn’t get away with anything. There was no process. It was do as your told or WHACK! Then, of course, there was the joyful Catholic school experience.
I was so afraid to make a mistake. And, it was important that people in authority were pleased with me. I needed their approval. My father was my only saving grace. He would often say “if people didn’t make mistakes, there would be no erasers on pencils”. It wasn’t until later in life that I started to understand his words of wisdom. There is no process without mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.
Enjoy the process. What process? Since childhood, everything was work. Start and finish. Get it done. My life was structured on every level. Make your bed. God to school. Do your homework. Set the table. Do the dishes. I carried this work ethic with me throughout my life. I was a Type A personality. I didn’t enjoy school; but, I needed to get an education to succeed. I even went to school at night to get my MBA, while working 65-70 hours a week. I didn’t enjoy work. It was what I had to do under rules I didn’t make.
As a marketing executive in the beauty industry, I spent a lot of hours developing plans, working the plans and having contingencies. I, also, had a plan for my career. What do you want to be in five years? Ten years? I was working around the clock to get to my goal - and, I was exhausted. Until I realized, It’s Only Lipstick!
After 22 years, I walked out. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I became a small business advisor. Nope! I thought about going back to corporate. Nope! Then, I started taking acting classes for fun. The tiger was let out of the cage.
Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be an actress. Instead of focusing on making a living with a real job, I started to pursue acting. I thought I was crazy. I didn’t even tell anyone, because this was not responsible. But, I was actually enjoying it. Except, I started putting pressure on myself. I told myself I had to make a living at this. I had a plan. And, then a contingency. And another contingency…Since I started this career later in life; I needed to be in control and reach my goals FAST! It took a few years to realize this career choice was a different animal. I had control of about 3% of my life; and the other 97% was in the hands of other people. Without question, this was an uncomfortable place for me.
I’ve also come to understand that life happens in unexpected ways. In January, 2010, I was in serious car accident. Due to injuries that affected every aspect of my life, I had to learn that I was no longer the same person. My therapist said I needed to embrace the new me. This was a very painful process. Then, something amazing started to happen. Another phase of my creativity started to emerge. I began to write. I started to write poems. This was new. I never wrote poetry before; and I was surprised. Yet, it seemed to come naturally. I didn’t have to work at it. Then I started to complete my one woman show, It’s Only Lipstick. I had started it eight years before. I was in a writing class. I wanted to learn how to write this show that was burning inside of me. And, I learned something. Since I’m an actress and a storyteller, I acted out my stories first; and then wrote them down. This was a natural process for me. And, I got it. Then, the accident. It wasn’t until 2015, that I met my solo show acting coach. She always says “when the student is ready, the teacher will come.” I was ready. The process seemed daunting.
But, I started to tell my stories and weave them together. It’s Only Lipstick was born and premiered on February 10, 2017. I then did a 7-week run and received some pretty amazing reviews.
I have discovered I am a butterfly. The butterfly has to go through a process of complete metamorphosis. Its entire DNA is changed. It starts out as an egg, which becomes a caterpillar (larva), which becomes the pupa (chrysalis).
Out of that gooey ooze emerges a beautiful butterfly.
I came out of my cocoon and learned to fly when I realized…it’s never too late to go after your dreams.