We all know that’s hyperbolic, right? Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat, because I don’t want to disappoint: there’s just no way I can tell you everything you want to know. Really, even giving you the day- by- day would be wicked boring. We’re still going to get into it a bit, though.
I did my typical “dinner before dessert” thing throughout the Craftsy experience, which I’m really happy about; loads of work up front with the idea that it would give me space and time to breathe later. I didn’t actually give myself room to relax, exactly— I still obsessively read my script on the plane and in my hotel, I was still looking for ways to make teeny improvements up to the moment we filmed a lesson— but I had the security of knowing that the bulk of the work was out of the way almost as soon as I was given a deadline, and that made this feel manageable. I scheduled out this work to what I think for many people would be a frighteningly obsessive degree, but it felt good. (I am happiest with lists, order, and schedules— as long as I am the one making them.) If you can stand working that way, I recommend it.
The process itself is great, though- lots of support, and the team is really, really positive. Craftsy is in Denver/ the Denver area, and Hallie (who just moved out that way) tells me that people in Colorado are really upbeat in general. That might be true- I have no way of really knowing, I’ve only ever crossed through/ visited. Definitely, though, everyone I worked with on the Craftsy production team was very friendly and helpful in this real, completely non- creepy way. It is a little disconcerting to run into that many people who are that happy and that nice at a single place (how do you screen for that during hiring at a larger company?), but it’s also really damn refreshing, especially once you get on the ground in CO and start doing a few long days.
Things I thought might happen that definitely did: I felt weirdly shy when talking about what I was doing with my friends. There are certain words and phrases that are just weird out loud when you aren’t used to them, and “my producer” and “talent coach” don’t seem normal or even okay to say sometimes when you’re just hanging out, eating cupcakes and being a jerk. I was totally, absolutely stoked to be doing this and really wanted to tell friends about this big exciting Thing and ALSO did not want to be That Guy, you know, which I really didn’t need to worry about— I was waaaayyyy too nervous about doing this in the first place and also about being That Guy to actually manifest as That Guy. It’s a thing, though, and it’s a way you could feel, too. I still feel weird about promotion in general, and it’s a completely necessary thing that I need to do. Aaaauuugh.
This was great for my sense of surrender and acceptance, though- speaking of things that I thought might happen- I needed to work around unfamiliar elements, flow with change, and allow for divergences. Discomfort was the name of the game: SO MUCH TIME IN FRONT OF A CAMERA, SO MUCH SMILING, QUITE A BIT OF EYELINER. (Lindsey, you did not lie. Oil cleansing method for the win.) More discomfort, later, actually— after several days of work, all that material is in someone else’s hands being reassembled, so this really is an act of faith as all that effort is edited into a final product. I’ve done some video editing- not a ton, but a little, for a job years ago- and boof. This is trust.
I lived off my water bottle and craft services for those few days; I’m not kidding when I say that after day of filming my body felt pretty much about as beat up as I’d feel after a day working the floor at a Stitches show. If you do one of these, a few things I’d recommend: tons of water, eat more than you do usually, stretch constantly, no alcohol (I’m not a drinker but if you don’t live at altitude it seems like a terrible idea), and generally treating this like an athletic event. Scads of meditation if you’re into that kind of thing. Bring at least one comfort item. (For me, three: mala, miniature statue of Ganesh, and my travel watercolor set.)
Hallie and Christina both live in Colorado, so I got to see both of them while I was out there! Christina was the ultimate hostess— she and her partner Jesse took me in the evening I arrived, fed me up, kept me in pets and love and generally made me feel warm and at home. Things like that make a huge difference when you’re on the road, do you know what I mean? And then Hallie was working the class as my assistant, so we were pretty much constantly together; it was just this odd, fantastic coincidence that she happened to move out that way just in time to be there as I was coming out to film. There was no one better suited to pop in as an assistant, obviously, but I’d also been in pretty deep Hallie withdrawal. I did not get to meet up with Tara this time out, but if I’m out that way again it’s a top priority- it’s been years since I met her in New Hampshire! I was just so very crunched for time— and really, if you do a class, expect that, too. They aren’t kidding when they tell you that this is work: it’s FUN work, but boof, you work your tail off.
I’m such a different girl these days when it comes to travel- still me, still so happy and at home in airports and living out of bags, but so much smarter about it now. That Saturday night, once everything was done, I landed at about 10:30 and I was in my living room by about 11:15 that evening. 8 years ago, I would have been in pajamas with a single finger of a good whiskey in hand before bed to celebrate a job complete. Now, though, it’s a totally different story.
I came home, took off my boots and immediately popped some coconut oil on the double boiler, then threw in tons of eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and a bit of clove. This is like making fresh, organic Icy Hot in an oil form, except it smells WORLDS better than Icy Hot ever could. I make another version with cocoa butter and cayenne extract and oh, SUGAR. Muscle rubs do not need to smell like nursing homes- they can be downright self- indulgent. (Things have come a LONG way since I first started living with spasms and neuropathy- I’ve learned so much.)
I let that warm & blend on low while I changed, ground up some outstanding hybrid MMJ and made myself a little mint tea. I unpacked, then sat down with Sam and massaged the pain relief oil I’d made into my arms, neck, shoulders, legs, and feet using a modified Thai technique while I vaped, sipped tea, and told him all about the trip. Before I started doing yoga and bodywork I wouldn’t have taken the time to attend to my body like this; now, it’s second nature to stop, check in and open up the spaces in my feet, to loosen cramped muscles & crunched joints, to listen and do the work. (I’ll repeat this recipe later in the month and take the time to pay attention to how I made this so I can share it! It’ll be a lot easier to write things down when I’m not focused on OMG OMG my aching feet though.)
Knowing that I’ve come to a place where I naturally- habitually- care for myself on this level feels like a victory. I don’t take my body for granted these days. More importantly, I’m beginning to take the time to be as kind and loving to myself as I am to the people I love— to do the same services for myself that I’d happily offer Sam, Kiddo, or friends if they’d had this sort of exhausting, exciting experience— and that’s pretty fantastic. That healthy level of maintenance was never modeled for me, and growing up I was taught to devalue myself pretty intensely; it’s been a long, hard road, learning these things.
So hooray: I went to Colorado, and Christina and Hallie were there which was a bundle of fun, and I made a Thing, which I’m really excited and nervous about and that should be coming out SOON, I’ll let you know more about that when I have more details but TRUST ME, if you follow me anywhere you won’t be able to miss it once that happens, I’ll be very loud and nervous and happy about it all. I’ll also have just a few giveaway codes, and I’m mulling over ideas for how to hand those out in the most enjoyable way possible.
COMPLETE ASIDE: are any of my readers fans of The Walking Dead? (Radical subject change, I know.) We were at an epic WD season finale party with friends last night and I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about what happened last night, as well as a string of very emotional all- caps messages from my kid on the subject. (I didn’t get those until I’d already gone to bed, kid. I am old and boring and midnight is my cutoff. Agreed, though: the writers are brilliant monsters. Also, POIDH.)
There’s the basic rundown on last week, although I’m sure to have missed things, including the story of how we were diverted to Omaha on my way out— and how that ended up turning out to be a really nice thing. How often does that happen, right? Next time, though; this is already far too long. Have anything you’d like to know in particular? Feel free to ask away- I’m off to work on a cowl and do some edits. Here’s hoping you’re spending today being productive and also, kind to yourself. It isn’t an easy balance, but it seems it’s something we can all learn to get better at.