Sep 28, 2012

The Nature of Beauty

JayC Stoddard and I became friends through our blogs.  I really look forward to, respect, and enjoy what he writes and vice versa.  He may just be the author of my favorite blog to follow.  You'll learn a lot & be inspired by him, I'm telling you.  I adore him...and we've only met in person once, last week, briefly! I felt like I'd known him forever and started asking him a million things I only know about through his writing. :)

We decided we'd like to try blogging on the same subject.  Two points of view.  A male and a female.  We asked for suggestions and decided to go with "THE NATURE OF BEAUTY" for this first experiment.  Thank you, Lindsay Marriott for suggesting this topic! 


The beginning of this post may seem shallow.  Hang with me, because I will be working from the outside in.  I hope to leave you thinking.  The more I thought about what beauty means, the more bizarre and intangible it seemed.  

 “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  That phrase has always confused me.  It seems to be something said in defense.  As an explanation for finding something beautiful that shouldn't be found beautiful.  Someone or something not of universal beauty.  But who decides what is categorized as mainstream beauty and unconventional beauty? 

What attracts you? It is a strange thing.  It can be very elusive.  But lets start with when it’s anything but.  When it’s a very specific thing.  Sexual attraction.

You may or may not consider yourself to be boy crazy or girl crazy.  If you are, you may be surprised to learn there are types of people who are quite opposite.  I am one of the opposite.  I am not a person who has been attracted to a lot of people.  Truly attracted.  In general, at the same time, as well as through my life.  

I didn’t date a lot.  I had long term relationships.  I had very few dates.  I could probably count on one hand the number of first dates I had.  It was actually quite hard for me to accept an invitation, and there were a few times when I cancelled last minute because the thought of it was making me physically ill.  I wasn’t trying to be rude, I just couldn’t bear the thought.   

I went through all of high school with only ever liking and getting involved with two boys from my own school.  There were a few I liked from other schools, but only a few.  And I was in a large public school!

I was hardly ever interested.  I was hardly ever attracted.  

Let’s talk about pure physicality.  Most people say they have a type.  I definitely have a type.  In fact it’s very specific.  I haven’t met someone who is as specific as I am (I’m sure they’re out there, I just don’t know it).   

If you ask me to list my celebrity crushes, physical type, who I am attracted to (both male and female) I will give you the following...

Men: Reeve Carney, Robert Pattinson, Cillian Murphy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jackson Rathbone, Jared Leto, Michael C. Hall.  Women: Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Meghan Ory, Jenna Dewan, Ashley Greene, Kate Beckinsale, Rooney Mara.  

See? Pretty specific.  I find glamorous women with dark hair, pale skin (and red lipstick) extremely attractive.  I also like tall, slender bodies. I like runway models.  I also like waifs like Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy.  I also like a flat chest shown off:

Kiera Knightly wearing one of my favorite looks.

No, really.  I love high fashion.  It's beautiful to me.  People tend to think someone with a small chest wishes they had a big chest.  It's not true.  For some, sure.  But not for all.  It's like wishing you had or didn't have any other body part.  And if I wanted them I would have bought them long ago.  Trust me.  I am a plastic surgery supporter.  Thoughts on plastic surgery belong in a blog of their own.  But in a nutshell it's your body, your life.  If you need to make a tweak to feel like "you" then by all means, who cares what anyone else says.  This gets into another discussion of feeling like you're in the wrong body as well, so I'll save it.  I'll stop now and get back on track.  

Men and women reading this who gravitate to types like Christina Hendricks, Sophia Vergara and Scarlett Johansen will think I'm crazy.  So is this where I say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder"?

As for men, I am drawn to pretty faces, slender bodies, and light hair.  Musicians.  Rock stars.  Men with style.  A man with good shoes and a good hat? Oh.  Yes, please.  

Reeve Carney.  #1 on the dreamboat list.  And the fact that I'm a Spider-Man fan & he plays Peter Parker on broadway? Come ON.

I prefer little or no facial hair.  What about height? Women love a tall man, right? Wrong.  I once dated a guy who was 6’3 and didn’t like it.  Too tall for me.  I feel more comfortable when the two of us match in height more than not.  I have also been taller in heels than the man I was with and it doesn't bother me (In fact, I think there's something sexy about the way Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes towered over Tom Cruise.  And for the record, I find all three of them extremely attractive).

Those again who prefer the muscular, rugged, tall dark and handsome man will laugh while reading my descriptions.  Sure, I can understand that women find Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Vin Disel, and Jon Hamm attractive. But they just don't do it for me. 
So.  We have our "types", right? I bet now you’re thinking that the boys in my past were only those who fit this description, right? Well guess what? The answer is NOPE.  Not even close.  

I have spent long periods of time with boyfriends who didn’t fit this mold at all.  I once saw Ben Stiller on the street, who clearly doesn't fit into my above descriptions, and I couldn't believe how sparkly handsome he was in real life.  My first heartbreak came from a shorter than me dark haired actor with glasses.  As in my life is over I am going to die kind of heartbreak.  When I first pointed him out to my friends at school, one was surprised to see what he looked like, since the way I'd talked about him he was, "expecting an Adonis”.  But I couldn't believe he didn't see what I was seeing.

So what is it? What is the it? Clearly, beauty is not physical alone.  And why, when we are attracted to those outside of our type, we feel the need to explain with, “this is so weird because they are sooooo not my type”.  

Does type really mean anything? 

You can be attracted for many subtle and various reasons.  Like the first boy I ever kissed.  Yes, he was handsome but what made his attraction even greater was the fact that he could dance, drove a vw bus and had a sexy back.  Yes, back.  I’ll never forget driving up to his house one day and there he was working in the yard, shirtless, back to me.  I was 15 and didn’t know a back could be so attractive.  

So, why are we sometimes attracted to someone out of our type? Why is it confusing to us when we are? Type is a starting point, I suppose but in the end it means absolutely nothing.  

If we stick to type and feel we aren't supposed to branch out, we limit ourselves.  We keep our minds closed.  We lose.  We shouldn't be surprised to find we can stray out of the borders we've set for ourselves.  We should lose the borders and the ideas we have about types and beauty completely.  

If I would have known this back in high school who knows how different my dating and relationship experience would have been? But I discounted those that didn't match my criteria.  

What is that something else? That something else that you can’t see, that you can’t pinpoint? The thing that is truly the beauty?

My life really changed the last year, especially in the last four months.  A death changes absolutely everything about how you view life.  How you view the way you lived previously and how you want to proceed.  You are reborn when someone close to you dies.  

Through the loss of a life, a new one begins.  

One of the biggest things I took away from that experience was that we are not at all our physical bodies.  When I really understood that and thought about the ego driven world we live in, it absolutely blew my mind to realize how backwards we have it.  Physical “beauty” has nothing to do with anything.  We can’t help (to a point) what we are going to look like.  If our parents were/are “attractive” or not.  If we are going to be considered “beautiful” or not.  

Yet physical beauty is what we strive for! We reward people for this! Celebrate them for this! And it's not real.  And it's fleeting.  It’s just the shell of the soul.  

How many times have you gravitated to "beauty", be it for romance or friendship and were disappointed when the person didn't live up to the pedestal you'd put them on? Or the relationship felt forced? What about when you've overlooked someone who didn't fit your mold at first, you end up giving them a chance and find out just how beautiful they are? I've experienced all of this multiple times.   

How limiting.  How sad for us.  How much do we all miss out on?

I think I'm starting to understand what beauty really is.  And it's not a physical trait.  It's not blonde hair, or big boobs (or small boobs ;) ), or straight teeth.  It's not.  

When do you feel beautiful? Really? I bet it has nothing to do with how you look.  It's actually a feeling.  And when you're feeling it you're not focused on yourself, your looks or your physicality at all.  

I feel beautiful when I am onstage, truthfully connecting, giving and receiving.  When all attention is off of myself.  When I'm doing what fuels my soul.  What I know I'm supposed to be doing with this life.  When I feel, however fleeting, I'm transcending.  I am experiencing beauty.  Beauty is something to be experienced.  

Beauty is also meeting a true love and being side by side for seven years and counting.  It is seeing my mother speak at her brother's funeral in a brightly colored dress because she refused to wear black.  It is sitting after a mexican dinner talking for hours with my parents and cousin about life and death.

Beauty is not limited to.  It is not definable.  Every person has a part of their life where they are at their most beautiful.  Every person.  When a person is truly in their element, with confidence, doing what they do best, what they love they are not focused on themselves.  They are sharing a sacred part of themselves.  It is always spellbinding.  It is always beautiful.  

It makes me sad to see how much time we spend striving for something that isn't tangible in the first place! And how do I know it's not tangible? Because of types.  Because of breaking our types (See? It's natural human behavior to want to branch out from labels and go beyond!) Because of small things that attract us.  Because of big things.  Because it's not possible for one thing to be beautiful universally.  But we are already universally beautiful.  

Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  

Society tells people that they are not pretty enough or too pretty to do/be.  That having physical beauty equates to a lesser than or greater than existence.  What the hell is that?! What a cruel illusion.  Beauty is already in us.  Each of us.  You.  Me.  Everyone you know.  We are all enough exactly as we are.  Truly, truly, truly.  

Think about all the worlds you don’t know.  I don’t know what it’s like to observe a lawyer kicking ass in a courtroom.  A surgeon saving a life.  A chef making an exquisite wedding cake.  Everyone has their thing, the think they were put on this earth to do and when in it, really and truly in it, they are beautiful. 

Just another reason why I'm sure what we truly are is in, not of our physical body.  Our physical bodies can betray.  They will decay.  When we connect to our essence, our real source of beauty, that is all from who and what we are inside.  

My final words are going to be, of course, about my sweetheart.  My partner through this lifetime.  If you don't know him, perhaps you're wondering how I relate all this to him? His golden insides match his golden outsides.  Completely.  He is isolated to me.  He is in a class above, beyond, out of reach of anyone else.  If you ask me, this guy hung the moon.  He is every bit of everything to me.  I called him my beloved before I even realized that his very name is the meaning of the word.  My David, made of gold.  

Now we'd like to hear from YOU.  

What does "the nature of beauty" mean in your words and world? 
Tweet me: @DeenaMarie 

Sep 27, 2012


Hi uncle.  Four months today.  Yesterday was the one year mark since this began.
I don't want to say too much here, I just wanted to post some pictures of you that I recently found.

A few days ago I laid down to take a nap.  I asked you to visit me while I was sleeping.  You didn't right then, but a night or two later I saw things in my sleep like nothing my mind had ever created before.

I haven't told anyone about this yet.

It looked like "heaven".  Was it yours? Was it mine? It was gorgeous.  It was gold.  It was huge! So big.  It was moving.  It was flowing.  It was absolutely grand.  I wish I had a snapshot.  I can't believe what I've seen.  I can't.

I've been silently repeating to myself the last few days, "this was the week I saw heaven".

You leaving has cracked me open, set me free, expanded me and taught me who I am.

And you continue to do so, and you continue to visit.  

Every experience carries more weight.  Every moment feels like the moment of my life.

Love you.  Love my family.  We are all one.  We remain connected.

I'm ready for this summer to be done.  I'm ready for the seasons to change.
I'm ready for all to freeze.  To thaw out.  To grow again.

Tweet Me: @DeenaMarie 

Sep 26, 2012


Something about my upcoming 7 week NYC stay has been causing me anxiety...and even a little sadness despite knowing I need to go.

My mom left town today to stay with and help my grandparents.  We had our goodbye yesterday.  I have my impending goodbye to my sweetheart.  To my pets, especially my Noodles.  I have to say goodbye to "The Winter's Tale".  I'll have one last time to see and say goodbye to my dad.

Yesterday as I hugged my mom I felt like I was a little kid going off to school or something.  I had all kinds of separation anxiety.  I've been feeling it all day.

What is wrong? 
Why am I feeling this way?

It just hit me.  Just now.

It's any kind of a GOODBYE.  Even temporary.  For any extended period of time.

It's because of Chuck.  I'm panicking.  I feel worried.  I don't want anything to happen to any other loved ones.  I don't want to miss out on time with them.  I have a constant lump in my throat.

I am so sensitive now to life, to experiences, and to everything being so incredibly beautifully and tragically fleeting.

I am having a really hard time with goodbyes.

I understand logically that there is no need, that I should be thrilled for the opportunity, and I still am.

But this year has given goodbye an entirely new feeling.

That's exactly what it is.

Sep 23, 2012



There was poetry in my bones
Ghosts on the stage
And the universe in my chest
Expansive as the entire room
Out of body
Everywhere at once


Sep 22, 2012

Melancholy > Happiness

"I am not a happy person. There are things that do make me experience joy. But joy is a fleeting emotion, like a very long sneeze. A lot of the time what I feel is, interested. Or I feel melancholy. And I also frequently feel tenderness, annoyance, confusion, fear, hopelessness. It doesn't all add up to anything I would call happiness. But what I'm thinking is, is that so terrible?

...Happiness is a treadmill of a goal for people who are not happy by nature. Being an unhappy person does not mean you must be sad or dark. You can be interested, instead of happy. You can be fascinated instead of happy."

No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
― Martha Graham 

* * * * * * * * * * *

The irony is that I happen to be posting this on a day, at a time of my life when I feel more "happy" than not.  I guess that's why I'm thinking about it.  Because what I've posted above pertains to me so specifically that when I am in a longer "happy" phase, it feels foreign.  I know how fleeting it is.  I can't relax into it too much.    

I also feel great comfort in the above.  It's me! I've just never known how to put it into words before.  And it let's me know that how I am and how I feel is OK.  

Tweet me @DeenaMarie 

Sep 18, 2012


Unreal.  I can't believe you! Who would have known? You are still here! You continue to show us the ways that you are here.  You haven't left at all.  Today I knew it more certainly than before.  Even though I really did know all along.  Today it made me happy.  Today you made me laugh out loud.  You did.  I am choked up from it still.  My eyes are full of tears, but it's not sadness in me.  Not at all.  You come to visit.  You didn't leave, and you know we certainly didn't leave you.  You are still here.  
Keep coming to visit, please.  

There is no death, only a change of worlds - Chief Seattle 

Of this, I'm certain. 

Sep 16, 2012


The word of the moment.
The word of the soul (my soul, reflected of yours).
Everything.  All things.  
To the brim.
So filled up, I've run out. 
The assignment of the vessel, I carry out, I tire. 
A blip in my endlessness.  
We end where we begin and begin where we end again and again.  
In all things.  In everything.  

Sep 13, 2012

NYC bound once again...

If you are a loyal reader of my blog then you know how I feel about NYC (In fact, you might have read the 40 posts that make up "My New York Diaries").  I love it there.  NYC has been my mistress since I was 10 years old.  I am always drawn to her.  Sometimes we fight, but she always has a part of my heart.  We are never finished.

Life is so funny.  If I can boil down all I've learned so far, it's that there is no such thing as sticking to a plan.

You may also know that my life completely changed nearly four months ago, since Chuck.  I find myself silently saying, "Thank you, Chuck", daily.

I said it before and a I'll say it again, these last few months have been everything and everything has been in these last few months.

If you told me at the beginning of the year that the chain of events since then would have led me to this spot today, I'd never have believed it.

I feel a special connection to theatre all over again.  Every so often you fall in love all over again.  I've realized that's where I've ended up right now.  In love.

Everything has been new since the shedding of my old skin four months ago.  I see differently with these new eyes.  I've fallen in love all over again.  With my husband.  My pets.  My family.  My life.  My career.  It's all new.

Because of this I have a rekindled drive to learn, to get better, to immerse in what I love, to live.

When I graduated from high school, I had a scholarship to Southern Utah University.  I wanted to study Shakespeare.  But at that time, I knew a small town would have been suffocating to me.  Then Westminster theatre department courted me.  They talked me into it.  I figured I'd try it there a year while I figured out what school to go to in NYC and I had a great time.  But as soon as I could I was off to NYC where I graduated form the wonderful Atlantic Theater Company Acting school.  I took summer courses through NYU's CAP 21 (musical theatre) and  a few years later fall courses through Juilliard.  When I came home I was lucky to keep working, and eventually, working professionally.

I've always known I love acting because it is never the same.  We are different people all through life, every few years.  Everything we go through changes our relationship and ability to the stage and roles we play.  We are never, ever done learning and getting better.  The reason why we perform is a constant question and the answer changes through time.

Right now I can best tell you I do it because it is my particular outlet to be part of storytelling.  Storytelling is essential to remind us we are all much more alike than we remember.  It is a way to heal.  It is something to relate to.  To give comfort.  To give hope.  To be part of the same whole in a world where we so often forget that.  I like to participate in that reminder.  I feel most like me when I'm doing so.  I feel most alive when watching it done well.

What I learn through acting, through my spiritual journey, through life is always the same lesson in a different way.  That all things come down to one thing: we are part of the same whole.  We truly are all one.  Made of the same stuff, reflections of each other.

Synchronicity is everywhere.  I won't go into those details but a chain of them led me to this perfect timing of being able to fly out the morning after the beautiful "The Winter's Tale" closes (Sept. 30) and stay with good friends through mid November.

I will miss my sweetheart and pup so much I want to cry every time I think about it.  It will be the longest time I've ever been away from them.  But I have also recently learned that time is tricky and that everything is so very, very fleeting.  If my sweetheart wasn't this incredible, I wouldn't be able to go.  Because he is the way he is, he fuels me to follow my heart.

I'm going to immerse myself in what I love.  For this NYC trip, and in life.

I'm going to be studying Shakespeare with Seth Barrish of The Barrow Group as well as various workshops, including Red Bull Theater.  I am going to visit friends, my favorite places, read and write.

An artists sabbatical, in a way.  I have no idea what to expect.  But as I've learned, such is life.

*favorite previous entries:

The Summer My Uncle Died 

The Always of Opposites

I'm Going to Need a Minute

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

Sep 9, 2012


What she said.

"For a start we can think about all the times when we do lose ourselves.  It happens when I dance, when I'm acting.  I'm earthed in my essence and my self is suspended.  In those moments I'm connected to everything.  The ground.  The air.  The sounds.  The energy from the audience.  All my senses are alert and alive.  In much the same way as an infant might feel.  That feeling of oneness.  And when I'm acting a role, I inhabit another self and I give it life for awhile.  Because when the self is suspended so is divisiveness and judgement."

I'm earthed in my essence and my self is suspended. 

Wow.  Exactly.

"And I honestly believe the key to my success as an actor and my progress as a person has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and insecure."

I said this very thing in a different wording yesterday when I got home from one of those turning point rehearsals (specifics coming in a later blog).  I can't believe the lifetime I've lived in the last three months.  They have been everything.  And everything has been within them.

Sep 7, 2012

First celebrity crush

"Who was your first celebrity crush?"

That question was brought up last night on a break during rehearsal.  

Mine? Brad Renfro.  I'll never forget the first time I saw him, it was in the movie "Tom & Huck".  Something happened that day that hadn't happened to me before.  Woah.  I was obsessed for a long time after.  I'd daydream about driving to Tennessee to meet him.  Sure that at first sight he was going to fall madly in love with me.  What can I say? I was super young.  I rented his other movies, watched them countless times until they were memorized.  Plastered my bedroom walls with pictures of him.

Unfortunately his cuteness didn't last much longer.  He was at his peak of dreamy-ness in "Tom & Huck" for sure.

When he died in 2008 I heard about it from my mom in a text.  My dad had told her and neither one of them wanted to tell me.  I couldn't believe it.  It still bothers me.

I'll always hold a special place in my heart for the one who paved the way! 

Sep 2, 2012

Cracked. Open.

Today I am cracked open.  I began cracking last week when I picked up a new book.

How do you explain cracked open? It is just that.  It is the image above.  That's the first image that popped into my mind when wondering how to tell you exactly how I feel.

Last week I was at the bookstore with my dad.  I was picking out a mug for my mom before heading into the books.  I had it in my hands.  "The Universe Knows" it said on one side.  "Enjoy the Journey" said the other.  I turned around and found myself face to face with a new book by one of my favorite authors, Augusten Burroughs.  Unlike his others, this one was in the new releases in self-help.


You know how I've said before it seems like we end up reading exactly what we should be at the exact right moment? I wish I would have waited to say that until now.  :)

Only...I'm equally aware of how universal this book is.  Because while what we experience is unique to us, we are all so much more alike than we remember.

A couple of years ago I saw the documentary "I AM" by Tom Shadyac, and I felt it should be required viewing for all mankind.  No, really.  After just having just now finished  "This is How", I am declaring for the second time in my life, having just come across something that should be required reading for all mankind.

Sometimes someone unexpected words something in just the right way.

Again, we just don't know what it is we don't know.  And we don't know, until we know.

If I get into this deeply, and I'd like to, I'd be here for hours.
So please...just get it? Buy it? Borrow it?

Life changing.  Healing.  Clarity.  Comfort.  Shaken.  I am experiencing all at once.

My views on body image, happiness, confidence and being present have all been altered.

It is the book for you.  For me.  For everyone you know.  Please don't let the self-help category throw you.  If it could be found under "Guidance for any and every human being for any and every reason", that would do it greater justice.

Please.  Please.  Please.  Please.  Read.

Read some excerpts 

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie