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Showing posts from 2013

Bermudaful

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"Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same....The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry - these things will always be the same."
Thomas Wolfe wrote these words in 'You Can't Go Home Again'. Well, apparently, I can go home and I have. It has been over a year since I travelled across the wide Sargasso Sea to this mid-Atlantic rock upon which I was born. The waters have changed as they are prone to do with the changing of the tides, the price of everything has increased and I have a new nephew who lights up my world. What hasn't changed is the familiarity of the faces that surround me, the slow pace of life, the inquisitive minds of the locals who demand to know every intricate detail o…

Horrified

This shocking and horrific story came to light yesterday across newspapers and television stations. It tells of a Bipolar woman who neglected to take her medication (as many Bipolars are prone to do - me included), had a panic attack, was restrained and then sectioned. As difficult as it was to read that someone was sectioned for a panic attack, what makes this situation far worse is that the woman in question was also heavily pregnant. She was sedated and social services obtained a high court order to proceed with a caesarean section at which point they took her baby from her and 18 months later refuse to give her daughter back and are attempting to put baby up for adoption. Their alleged position is that the mother may again forget her medication and end up in a similar situation.
Now in what world is a panic attack cause for removing a child from their mother? In what world is it okay to prevent a mother access to her child because she has a mental illness of which she has no contro…

Around The World in 70 Days

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Today in 1889 female journalist Nelly Bly began her successful attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. She beat it by eight days and back in 2004 I beat it by ten days. To be fair technology in the 115 years between our voyages might have made my trip a little bit easier. As per Instagram it seems that Thursdays are Throwback Thursdays these days. So as a result I visited my very first blog...my travelpod blog about my trip around the world. What a trip down memory lane! I suppose then I'll share some snaps. Between my London departure and return, my journey included surfing in Bali, museums in Melbourne, snowboarding in New Zealand (inevitable injury included), suffering from the flu in Sydney, beaching in Hawaii, loving Los Angeles, losing money in Las Vegas, locked in Alcatraz in San Francisco, mooching around Miami and burning around Bermuda on a moped. Beautiful memories were made. Celebrating my past today and the future adventures to come. 

Twenty Thousand

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I don't know what's considered a milestone in the blogging world, but today I noticed I've had over 20,000 views of my blog, which seems pretty incredible to me. I've received nothing but support over these last two years of chronicling my journey on this path called life and I have you readers to thank for that. As an homage to posts past I'm going to revert back to the old format. Music. Fact. Quote. All related to numbers. 
Music: Rent My favourite musical is Rent. I remember seeing it when I was 14 in London and again when I was 22 in New York and of course the film came out between those times. I've never been big on musicals, but Rent revolutionised them for me. I realised that my love for music and theatre could actually be combined into something that wasn't trite or cheesy and could carry a profound message. I went to Liberty Theatre in Bermuda and watched the movie Philadelphia with my dad when I was nine years old. I remember it so clearly because …

Waterfalls

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Check out my friends CAUGHT A GHOST's cover of TLC's 'Waterfalls'. I remember listening to the original version incessantly when I was 11 and how incredible the video looked at the time. Even at that age I was suffering from an internal malady that I didn't know how to explain. I was one of Left Eye's "folk who can't cope with such enduring pain, it keeps them in the pouring rain." That is no longer true for me, at least right now, but I know these things can only be dealt with a day at a time. Now all that remains is for me to go back in time and tell that 11-year-old me that it might take 18 years, but just hold on for awhile. Grip onto life so hard if you have to that even your knuckles turn white, because you only have one life. Act accordingly.   

It's Been A While

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My Dearest Year of Celebration,
I know. I know. I feel that I say this to you a lot. It's been a while. I shower you with promises that I'll write more. That I'll stop neglecting you. That I'll prioritise you and care for you. Is this an abusive relationship where I'm the abuser? I hope not. Because I do mean what I say, but as goes the old adage 'actions speak louder than words'. So today is a day of action. Hopefully the beginning of many more. 
Much has changed since we last connected. Those panics...well they've stopped. I don't mean slowed. I don't mean reduced. I mean stopped. I have lived with anxiety since I was about 21. I had always experienced depression from teenagedom, but the anxiety came later. It began to become unbearable in about 2008 and since then it's been a constant hum. It's always there, even if sometimes I don't really notice it. Like Bermuda tree-frogs at night. When you first come back to the island their …

Breathe

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YOC,

I've been neglecting you. Well, really, I've been neglecting myself. The truth is I've been so caught up with what's in my head I haven't been able to focus on anything else. You see, dear reader, my head is haunting me. I am crippled by anxiety attacks and I don't know the cause. I've always suffered from anxiety, but in the last two months the panic attacks have increased astronomically. It starts as a feeling of bad butterflies in my stomach, becoming a pain in my chest, until my throat feels filled with a thick substance. This, in turn, makes me feel unable to breathe and I begin to hyperventilate. The tears then flow. This can happen anywhere, at any time, on the tube, at work, in my bed, in my kitchen, at a concert, at dinner....there's no telling where. But when I say they're crippling, I say that because they're crippling my life. For months I've been hiding in the bathroom at work as they hit, with my knuckles turning white. T…

Theatrically Yours

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In the last four weeks I've been blessed enough to see four plays. My mission took me from the Arcola Theatre Tent in Dalston to the very fringe Vogue Fabrics in Stoke Newington to the Orangery in Holland Park to the Noel Coward Theatre (again) in the West End. The first performance was put on by the Arts Council England-funded Generation Arts Future Stage Company. Generation Arts is a company which provides a training ground for young people who would otherwise not have such exposure to the arts. It works specifically with those in the margins of London who are not in education, employment or training and who are considered at risk. The Future Stage program allows such young people to form a theatre company for a year and put on a production, which I was fortunate enough to witness. I was immensely impressed by both the talent and the writing in 'Enough Said'. I usually don't like comedies, but I laughed out loud throughout it. I have to admit I didn't have the h…

Headshots

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Very pleased with my new headshots by Natasha Merchant. She's a fantastic photographer and a lovely person generally.






Panic and Frustration

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After two months of not even a sprinkling of anxiety I had major panic attacks last week. It was even more intense and overwhelming as I was of the (clearly misguided) belief that I had conquered them. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think and I was crying so hard I thought I might pass out. The worst part was that I couldn't remotely pinpoint the cause of the anxiety. I was racking my brain, trying to breathe, meditate and calm myself and I was incredibly frustrated by the fact that I couldn't seem to battle through. Yesterday, the anxiety finally lifted only to be replaced by depression and exhaustion. I was terrified that this would last, but after about 12 hours sleep I woke up this morning back to the mood I've been in for the last two months, which has been quite positive, calm and even elated at times. However, at the beginning of this happy phase of life I couldn't shake the worry that it would soon disappear. I just had to keep reminding myself that it…

IV

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Today (well tonight) four years ago I lost my idol, my hero, a giant amongst men and the first man I ever loved; my father Julian. I've discussed him many times in this blog, in life, to my friends, to strangers, to anyone who will listen really. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind about my admiration for him. 
I am my father's daughter and with that comes his legacy. When I was a child I always worried I would never come out from under his shadow. That doesn't worry me at all anymore, it is a glorious shadow in which to find shade from the heat of life. I used to hate my feet and the lines and the dark spots under my eyes, but since he died I've come to love them, because they're his too and I can tread life in the same feet as him and look at it through his eyes. I've attached a clipping from the front page of yesterday's Bermuda Sun in which I am referred to, as always, as "Julian Hall's daughter". I am trying to make a name for …

Exposed

Today I was exposed. In the most beautiful way possible. In revealing my inner darkness it has always been my intention to help remove the stigma of mental illness; to give a voice to those who cannot or will not speak for themselves. Those who are too ashamed and scared to even reach out for help. Because sometimes we need help and there's nothing wrong with asking for it. It is the solution to inevitable destruction.

I wrote an article for the Bermuda Sun, which was the most revealing and vulnerable piece I've ever written. Even in this blog I have not plunged to the depths of truth regarding my mental state. I have always been too afraid, but I figured if I was going to have an impact, I needed to be as authentic as possible. How can I ask others to reach out for help and to admit to their own demons when I'm not prepared to do the same?

Later on this afternoon I spoke to a group about my journey and those people shared back. To have so many people relate to me and to e…

Dashing Darcy

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"Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure."
Oh, Mr. Darcy! There are few literary lovers that live up to that of Mr. Darcy. So, therefore, it's quite a feat to act the role as there's a lot of pressure on that thespian to make women's heart race, to portray cold and reserved, yet filled with emotion. I went to the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park last night to watch a production of Pride & Prejudice. 
The genius of Jane Austen's work is that the story itself is so brilliant that it transfers well from book to play to film. So let's deal with Mr. Darcy first. I must say the actor playing Darcy managed to portray him very well and exceeded expectation. I say that because just as when I watch Romeo & Juliet (which I did a couple of weeks ago in another open air theatre, which featured my good friend Jason Eddy) I am prepared to dislike the actor who plays Romeo, because he couldn't possibly live up to my fantasy. The same …

Crescent Moon

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Life is good. Really good. Celebrations are in order as I've officially gained representation with Crescent Management. I'm very excited to join this lovely agency with lovely people. When I went in to meet them I immediately felt at home and really adored all the members. So, hopefully, I'll start getting some work and keep moving forward.
In other news, I just am elated at the moment. I'm remembering to take my meds and I've quit all my anti-anxieties and flushed them down the toilet. I realised that for nearly four years not a day went by that I wasn't completely present. I was unable to respect my feelings. No matter how I felt I wanted to change it. If I was up I'd take and drink whatever I could to make myself more up. If I was down I'd want to be in oblivion so I couldn't experience that. Now, I'm realising I'm human and that it's natural to encounter the ups and downs of everyday life and process them appropriately. Life has cha…

Contrast

Oh, London. One day you amaze me with the beauty of your residents (see last post). The next day you remind me of why I can fear such residents. In great contrast to my Friday morning, my Sunday morning started off with a horrible interaction with a Londoner (with a German accent, but let's call him a Londoner for the sake of convenient comparison). I live on Brixton Hill down the street from The Fridge Bar. Now when I was 16 or 17 I used to go to the Fridge and Dogstarr and other Brixton haunts on weekend escapes from boarding school. Although Brixton was dodgier 12 years ago (yes, I just gave away my age) I remember the bars as amazing, but either my drunken memory fails me or they really were amazing and times have since changed. I think the Fridge has actually been shut down a few times since then, but it's like a cat with nine lives. Anyway, this place is open from 4am to 11am on weekend nights, which is basically a direct invitation for anyone high on blow and molly to c…

The Loveliest Londoner

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It's amazing how a day can seem so hopeless and then turn out beautifully. My plan was to audition at The Albany Theatre in Deptford this morning then to go to work in Wimbledon. I woke up to find that I hadn't been paid. Therefore, no money in my account and only £2 on the ole oyster travelcard. The life of a starving actress is a precarious one and I find myself walking that tightrope often. Cue me frantically calling a family member for help. He thought perhaps I could go to the station and use his card over the phone. The Underground staff at Brixton were no help, but they said that the train station could do it. I went to the train station. They don't do oyster top-ups. One word: SCREWED. The man in the booth at Brixton train station started trying to brainstorm with me, asking me if I knew anyone nearby. Of course all my friends in the area are at work. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to cancel the audition and work for the day, therefore missing…

Writer's Block

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I've been negligent, I know. It's not just you, YOC, it's every piece of writing in my life. I'm suffering from the dreaded...dun dun dun...WRITER'S BLOCK. I'm not even sure if that's the right terminology for what I'm experiencing, because actually it's more that I'm hating everything I've written in the past. Since losing my laptop I haven't written a single new word of The Hardest Part, my novel-in-progress. Likely because I lost the last 15-20 pages and I'm resentful. It's been stagnating on page 287 or whatever for two months and I now think I hate it. There are parts of it that I love (usually individual sentences), and I know what I'm trying to do, but I'm just not executing it in the right way. I keep opening the manuscript, reading it, becoming exasperated and deciding that before I make drastic changes or toss the whole thing I'll leave it a few days until I'm in a better mood. The thing is I've bee…

Hello, My Name is Elder Price

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In the space of a week I was lucky enough to see two plays in London's West End and they couldn't have been more different from one another. As explained in last week's post, Peter & Alice inspired in me such depth of thought regarding my own life. Book of Mormon on the other hand just allowed me to escape from my life for a couple of hours.
My relationship with comedy is an awkward one, because whilst I love a good laugh, I also rarely choose to watch comedies so it's up to someone else to suggest them. The lovely one always remarks that unless a film makes me cry I'm uninterested in watching it. That's entirely untrue. I just enjoy films with depth and meaning (and maybe a good dose of death). Whenever I attempt to watch comedy I prepare myself to be disappointed, because frankly, most of the time it's not that funny. Yes, it can be mildly amusing or quite funny, but it's rarely leaving me in floods of tears (I suppose maybe the litmus test for a…

Bermuda Arts Council Grant

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I woke up this morning in a foul mood. That turned into hysterical tears as I skyped with the lovely one and complained about my life. My worries revolved around my choices in life, that as much as I have maintained my integrity regarding my career dreams, I'm poor and nothing is really going on for me professionally. Now that I'm back in London I see all my friends from law school frequently and they're all in stable jobs, earning quite good money and I'm just struggling to stay afloat. I usually comfort myself by admitting that I would be miserable if I had taken that path, because it's just not for me, but sometimes all this integrity can be overwhelming. 
Then a few hours after this panic that had emotionally exhausted me I received some fantastic news. The Bermuda Arts Council has decided to provide me with a grant to help publish The Little Cottage. I was ecstatic for the rest of the day and actually felt a certain level of validation concerning pursuing the c…

Peter & Alice

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London: Love/Hate Affair. I have been utterly miserable for the last few weeks. I've been homeless (let's not exxagerate, Liana, you have been staying in spare bedrooms at lovely friends' lovely flats, says my inner self). I've lost my laptop. Yes, LOST. Not stolen. Not misplaced. LOST. Because I am a moron. To be fair, with all the moving around I was carrying so much of my stuff, shuffling from one fantastic friend's flat to another. I was overwhelmed, flustered and getting soaked in the rain and somewhere along the way the laptop disappeared. Woe is me. First world problems. Wah. Wah. Wah.
And then suddenly, this past weekend, I was alright. Not fantastic. Not great. But alright. Surviving. I was staying at my friend Zoe's flat and she and her boyfriend Ben had gone away for the weekend and for the first time in a month I had some proper sleep. I slept all day Friday and Saturday and I suddenly felt normal. I hadn't even realised I was sleep-deprived. …

Magnificently Magical Music

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What a week of loveliness. London has been good to me thus far. Yes, there are ups and downs of moving countries, especially as I'm jobless and homeless, but London has so much going on that there are fantastic distractions. Those distractions this week were two amazing concerts. The first one on Tuesday was Langhorne Slim & The Law and The Lumineers at Brixton Academy. The second was The Avett Brothers at The Forum supported by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.
I had intended to review the first gig the day after, but I was up until 3am the night before and then life took over (coupled with a good amount of exhaustion) and I kept starting the post and failing to finish. So here we go:
A phenomenal display of musical genius. That's how I would describe Tuesday night. Those two class acts deserve nothing but praise. Before I continue I should admit, as a disclaimer on any grounds of bias, I do call Slim and David (his banjo and keys player) friends. So one might think that …

March Forth

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Today is March 4th and it is the birthday of my late father, Julian Hall. As a result of the date of his birth, his motto for life was his birthdate itself: March Forth. The photo is a picture of my tattoo I got this past summer. The squiggle underneath is my dad's signature. 
My father was a brilliant, intellectual giant of a man. Although not in really in stature - he was tall and very, very skinny. He was a barrister and Member of Parliament in Bermuda. He was an imposing public figure who believed strongly in social justice, but was not without his own demons. He also suffered from depression and anxiety and he was from a time where the stigma of mental illness meant it was unlikely for him to get help. Since I've found some level of peace in myself after seeing the right psychiatrist, I wonder whether it would have worked for him. Then in floods regret. Coco Chanel once said "guilt is the cousin of death" and she was absolutely correct. I felt so much guilt in my…

From Rain to Fog

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I can't believe it's been a month since I last wrote. Time has certainly flown by and life has changed dramatically. As of a couple of days ago, I am officially a London resident. I said farewell to the Vancouver rain and hello to the London fog (no doubt the rain is not far behind). 
Why did I leave the west coast? Well, both Canadian and American immigration processes are nightmares. I got far along in the process with the US, but need to put together more evidence. I haven't even tried with Canada as the waiting process is two years. And I need to be working now. So I'm now ensconsed in the joys (ha!) of job-hunting. I so wish that my acting and writing paid all my bills, but alas, that is not the case (for now). I've been applying to all sorts of things, legal work included, but I'm really looking for something that will spark my creativity. So that I'm not dreading the work day and I feel like my 8 hours per day are spent doing something I enjoy. Alon…

Please Remain Seated

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What a week. In terms of an emotional rollercoaster, this one was the triple loop. I wish I could make a cultural reference to a famous rollercoaster, but I've always been one to hate them. Genuinely hate them. Same goes for horror films. I don't do well with fear. Some people thrive on it. I cower and cry in a corner. 
So did anything precipitate this wondrous ride I went on? Well, actually, no. I've experienced some pretty traumatic and stressful events in my life (and conversely some exhilarating, miraculous ones) and this week was a flatliner. There were no blips on the radar or snags in the fabric. There was just my brain chemistry and the havoc it can wreak. 
I've been sober for 50 days. That's probably the longest stretch since I was 15 years old. What I've learned about myself in these past 50 days could fill a book, but it's a novel I'm not yet ready to share with the world. In case you're wondering, sobriety isn't easy (understatement…

Young and Unafraid

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On Sunday night I saw the new Tom Hooper directed film adaptation of 'Les Miserables'. Feeling raw, I came out of the cinema into the darkness of the night. For the first time since being in Vancouver (and possibly ever) I was grateful for the gloom and rain, because the dramatic streak in me revelled in the pathetic fallacy. I did not trudge home as per usual, shivering and blinking away the rain. Instead I glided alone along the pavements that "shined like silver" and indulged in some self-examination.
Sporadically, there will be films I watch that touch me in unimaginable ways. That remind me of cinematic magic and the reasons I need to be an actor. I love writing and for the last year I've questioned whether I could be content doing just that. The answer is yes, that I could be content, but that I am never as ignited as I am when I am performing. That's what this film reminded me of. I have had experiences in theatre and performing where I have been bles…