Sunday, January 31, 2010



Something I have been accused of having from time to time. Somewhere along the way, in the past few months, I seemed to have dropped it. A tisket a tasket. But it was a momentary blip. I have stumbled and recovered. I got it. I get it. I get it now.

I think that the introspection about anger has helped me right myself, rub my ankle and keep walking. It has given rise to the lion cub within.

My fearlessness got lost in the stories I was telling myself. and when those stories didn't make sense - or I got lost in the telling - I would shake it off - and just get angry at the world. For the raw deal. The betrayal. The bad roll of the dice. But I have never been that girl. I have always been the one who rose up out of the cloud of dust, covered in soot, beaten and bedraggled and said, "Oh my God - a penny! Isn't that cool?" I was the one accused of making a feast out of a morsel - as if that is a bad thing.

When things didn't go as planned - and I couldn't reconcile the results with the picture in my head or the ending I had seen at the movies I started telling myself all about how anger was the backbone of fearlessness. I was calling up the hounds of hell to stand beside me and fight all the imaginary dragons. I told myself how anger was the only way that I could keep on going when the odds seemed insurmountable. That anger was the only way I could get past betrayal and...well...all the anger. Heh heh

But fearlessness is a power that super-cedes (and I don't care WHAT spell check says - that looks wrong) all other super powers. Fearlessness makes the anger go away. True fearlessness is a gift that allows you to look all things that hurt you and scare you, square in the eye and say - YOU are a figment of my imagination - GO AWAY.

But to be fearless is to live in the act of not fearing. That is a tough place to be on the best of days. And we all feel afraid from time to time. In my search to uncover the genesis of the story-telling that helps to mask my anger (yes, layer upon layer upon layer until we are all bored to tears) I found myself wide awake late at night a few nights ago - Surprise! - watching Rocky. This is my favorite movie of all time.

I was snuggled under a blanket, up all alone, when suddenly it hit me. Wait a minute. Rocky Balboa reminds me of ME! The scrappy fighter with a tender heart, struggling to find love and acceptance - check! He has drive - check! He has ambition - check! But above all, besides one scene of self-doubt, he was fearless - double check!

And I was so struck by Rocky's fearlessness. At his integrity with the odds stacked against him. How the right thing to do always won out over the easy thing to do. And once his decision was made, once the trepidation about choices were dismissed, once the doubt about his reasons for his actions, risking his life, his eyesight (Cut me, Mick. Cut me!) - he stepped center stage, as himself. Fully committed. Himself. He was aware of all his possibilities. But equally and deeply aware of his flaws. And he prevailed over his fears - and attained fearlessness.

Accepting and acknowledging these flaws produced his fearlessness.

And that folks - is a beautiful thing. Knowing yourself and accepting what you bring to the table in any situation gives you the foundation for a grounding that no one can shake. You are firmly rooted in your reality.

It isn't quite as simple as putting the chicken before the egg - but it kind of feels that way. I believe that if we stand tall and face the things that frighten us - it calls forth the backbone. Because, in that moment of vulnerability - before the anger shows up to vanquish the bad guys, we find our purpose. For Rocky it was Adrian (which is why my ex-Rocky was never a Rocky Balboa at all) - he did for someone else. He never once asked what was in it for him. He had a shot and sure he took his shot. But the fight was really about finding his footing and claiming his love.

My favorite little nerd - Adrian.

There is a great comfort to me in that whole scenario. Because if we discover our footing - our purpose - our reason for fighting - in the stillness before the fight - then the fight is not about winning - as much as it is about unleashing our possibilities. In the quiet, in the moment before we face our fears we truly discover who we really are and define our purpose. We acknowledge our position and our flaws and fight nonetheless.

There is no anger or fury only an end - only drive - only pure purpose. There is no reason to call the hounds of hell. There is no reason to build Cortisol and hate in our veins. We can get what we need by simply claiming aloud who it is we are. Stand firm. Find our footing. And move forward within the dignity of purpose. We can leave anger aside to raise its head at poverty, prejudice and injustice. It has no place in our lives while on our quest for self-acceptance and love.

To realize this - and to step forward regardless? This is fearlessness.


And the picture above is of me and my trainer Cas - who helps me every day to be a little bit stronger - a little more fearless. You have to be, to be in the dress I'm wearing...

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Am Enough...

I had an amazing birthday! With 50 or so of the most wonderful people at my home. Unbelievable Italian feast. Tons of drink. 1970s music going and the fireplace lit. Although my friend Michael was blackened as we tried to figure which way was OPEN on the damper. A great time was had by all - especially me!!!! Even those who had just planned on stopping by stayed until one o'clock in the morning.

Finally the night wore down and the last of party goers left. My feet were killing me as I slipped out of my silver Cinderella slippers and loaded the dishwasher, still resplendent in my purple gown, and put out the last of the trash. A small bag compared to the 220 pounds I left in New York.

Kitchen clean. Living room, as picked up as it was gonna be. Backyard? Meh. I figured I'd hit it tomorrow. I turned down the lights and snuggled on the sofa with my daughter and we opened the few gifts from people who brought me tokens of their esteem and affection. A no gifts policy was in effect on the invitation - but my friends are a diverse group of rebels when it comes to birthday rules. I was kind of glad.

Champagne glass in hand, tiara planted firmly on my head, and feelings of joy and love flowing through me I opened my presents. Every one was accompanied by a card with warm and genuine sentiments that meant more to me than the gifts. It was amazing. Even those who didn't bring a gift, brought a card. They ranged from the hysterical - including one wishing me well on my 11th birthday to the personal and inspirational.

Finally I got to my daughter's gift, who by the way made the most beautiful speech to me in front of all our guests, including apologizing to me for being eighteen in all it's glory while I was having such a rough time over the holidays.

When I got to her gift I was stunned by the card.

With my Gabi, it is all about the card. I don't know if it's a teen girl thing, but it is what she takes the greatest care in preparing. For my card she had taken one of the photos of me from Christmas morning and printed it in black and white. In red writing superimposed, it read...

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes. I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But, if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." - Marilyn Monroe

And below that it said.

"This is you, Mommy. Remember that. Happy Birthday. I love you - Gabi"

It is me. I am enough. I am not usual. I am enough.

I had forgotten that this past year as I performed like a trained circus seal for an undeserving mook - trying to be things for him, that my parents and their immigrant parents slaved to overcome, so that I would NEVER have to ever hide my gifts, my talent and my intelligence to make someone feel better about themselves. And then unbelievably??? Not measuring up!!!

I had forgotten that I have a big mouth. I do. So what. And yes, it gets me into trouble, but it also makes me a lot of money. It is good. And it is me. And I am enough.

I had forgotten that I am where I am at this exact moment because God has a plan and I went with it, knowing that it would be OK in the end, because it always is. I have a raised a beautiful daughter 90% alone and stayed in show business and made a living. I am enough.

I had forgotten where I came from, who I came from, and what I have to offer based on my experiences.

My father was a child star in New York in the 1920s and 30s, who moved to Hollywood to try to make it as a "Dead End Kid" with his pal, Huntz Hall who was one of the Bowery Boys. My Dad worked all his life in show business as a singer, stand-up, opener, middler and star. He was Mr. Dynamite. He did the Ed Sullivan Show. He was written up in Variety. He moved on, at the tail end of nightclubbing, to the USO and traveled all through Southeast Asia, at the height of the Vietnam war, entertaining our troops with Martha Raye as his partner. Still, stardom eluded him.

So in 1968 he walked away.

He opened California's first halfway house for the mentally and emotionally ill. Along the way of his giving something back to society - which was my childhood, thank you very much - he forgot to get us, his five kids, our own house. So for the first few years we all lived together, Milo and Residents, in a refurbished Fraternity House a block away from the San Jose State Campus, called Milo Arms. Dad wanted to rehabilitate Vets returning from Vietnam and assist them in one day living on their own.

That wasn't what he got.

He went out to Agnew State hospital in our Chevy van that read MILO ARMS BOARD AND CARE HOME - HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? 297-3670, which was our actual home phone number and how I got to school - not that I'm scarred. When he got to the hospital he was awarded the dregs. The un-recyclables. The rejects. The ain't-never-ever-gonna-live-on-their-owns. And he loved and cared for them until the day he died.

All the while, Milo Arms was run like a nightclub. As a matter of fact he even dressed our guys in sort of uniform-type clothing. They looked like waiters. And he did a thrice daily "radio show" over the home's PA system to call everyone for their meals - with Spike Jones in the background. He made sure that everyone of them could tell and take a joke. He thought that was important for when they left.

None of them ever left. And that was OK. God had a plan. It was enough.

That's who I am. I am a child of dysfunction. I am a child of charity. I am a child that actually dispensed meds to the residents (what we called them to their faces) before it became illegal. I am the daughter of an entertainer. I am selfish. I am impatient. I make mistakes. I am out of control. I am hard to handle at times. But if you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

I am enough. And if I am enough, you are enough.

Are you ready Stanley?


Thursday, January 07, 2010

This Photo Makes Me Very Happy!

This photo makes me very happy. It does. No, not because it has the name of my new show - or my dream man in it. Although, I will admit it makes a great poster for the lobby, Mr. Harris!

The show is coming along great! I have almost put together all the pieces - and am fine tuning.

Getting past all the drama of the last two months has come to an end, too. As I suspected it had less to do with losing anything of value than it did having to let go of my hopes and plans.

I got better ones now that I have set my sights on what I truly want this time.

In retrospect - with vodka and soda on hand - I seem to have been through every category of man on the planet now - older, younger, smarter, not so much so, long-distance, boy-next-door, buff, fat, poor, wealthy - so I have decided that my happiness lies in the "talented and unattainable" category.

No. Nope Nyet. I will not say unattainable. I am Candi-Freaking-Milo - I may meet the guy and he will absolutely flip over me. Who knows? Well, I do, but we're trying to let Stanley in on it a little at a time let's keep it on the down low shall we?

Every time I look at this photo my heart melts a little. Geez, my poor heart has been through a lot in the past two months! But I look at this photo and I feel! I actually feel. I feel happy. I feel home. It feels right.

Yes. It feels right.

What makes me happy when I look at this photo is having a handsome man's arms around me - in that way. A way that is both protective and claiming - yet it is loose enough for me to run if I choose, or turn and face him and claim him right back.

His face buried in my hair also makes me happy. As if he believes I am beautiful and funny and smart and all his - and ain't he the lucky dog. As if he is saying, aren't we lucky after all we have been through to find each other?

The smile on his face tells me he is there because he wants to be.

And in a picture that semi-promotes a show I am writing about my vibrant dating life - ok the one in my head - I get to face forward and be center stage. I am not looking up longingly into his eyes, ala Nancy Reagan with Ronny. I am not standing beside him, with the requisite right shoulder slightly behind his. I am not being dragged by the hand in a mock send-up of holding hands. No. I am happy and confident. Facing forward. Knowing that there is someone right behind me, holding me. And if I choose to not be the tower of strength I have had to be of late - I can lean back and let him make the pasta tonight.

I know, he's pasted in.

But that's ok. Because I believe in the power of manifestation. Manifesting - taking the strength of your spirit, your highest and best, and the pure intent of your essence and willing it forward unceasingly to reach your heart's content. It goes beyond 'The Secret' - the laws of attraction - like begets like - act as if and you will create that.

No, I believe that if we concentrate and plan on something hard enough, with enough gracious intent, that we can actually bring it to fruition. We can manifest it. Some may scoff but love is mine to bring into my world and I deserve to love someone who finally and unconditionally loves me back.

I can create love in my life. I just had to know what it looked like first. What it felt like. And this picture takes my breathe away. It is all that I want in life. I am not as deranged as you may think - to believe it will actually be Stanley Tucci (it will be) - but I will create the feeling in my life that this picture gives me - with a man of my choosing. I will not settle for less than this ideal of love, this photo that captures two happy people who both want to be right where we are. We both are devilish and clever and happy. That is attainable.

I think you begin to manifest by making a list of priorities in aspects of your life - the kind of list that matters. I did this in an earlier post - where I declared what I want next time! We're not talking wealth,height, intelligence...etc. We are talking qualities of your life that will be fulfilled and made whole by being seen to by another. In my case, Stanley Tucci.

Safety. Warmth, Strength. Humor. Trust. Stanley. Passion. Intelligence. Tucci. Wit. Stanley. Joy.

Then you think about how you relate to these qualities. What can you do every day to bring your fondest dreams into reality? What part of every day of your life do you appear to be someone who naturally draws these things to you? Again, not lipstick, blush, push-up bra. OK. That does work. But I mean...when you enter a room do people notice? Do you make sure they do? Do you believe they do? Do you let them know by your grace and stance and stature that you have arrived? Do you look everyone in the eye and smile?

By belief we can all create what will attract and manifest the things we want. And when you believe, all the while chant...Does anyone here know anyone who knows Stanley Tucci that they can introduce to my friend Candi Milo? Or something like that...

I went into my fabulous gym today and worked out with a Bronx boy trainer - kill me - I looked up at God like this had to be the BIGGEST cosmic joke on the planet - who put me through the wringer.

Apparently I need to lose 975 pounds and must give up starving myself and the crying jags. I will work on it.

It's neat the way facing your fears has a way of healing you. Already I feel 90% - and the inventory of fault and blame has been fairly taken and wrapped up. The whole thing? Not a mistake - but not a move I would make again.

Know why?

It isn't this picture.