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Contradictory Complimentary Commentary
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/users/qimono-1962238/
“Fly high and proud.”
“Keep your feet on the ground.”
“What are you waiting for? Spread your wings and soar!”
“Get your head out of the clouds.”
Thanks for the mixed messages, everyone. Not ambiguous in the slightest. I will now enter the nearest Twister competition teamed up with a bowl of spaghetti.
Apparently, I need to be up in the sky and yet down on the ground, trying to fly and yet also making sure that I am back down to earth. Pardon me if I resemble taffy while I try to balance such an elevation differential.
Other confusing sayings abound. Take for example these soupy servings of cornball crazy handed by haplessly histrionic homo-sapiens:
- "I know you believe you understand what I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!" -Robert McCloskey
- "Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious." -Michael Stipe
- "However confused the scene of our life appears, however torn we may be who now do face that scene, and we can go on to be whole." -Muriel Rukeyser
- "We all must do what we must do, for if we do not, then what we must do does not get done." -Chung Mei, Volunteers
- "Love is so holy, so confusing. It makes a man anxious, tormented. Love, how can I define it?" -Gao Xingjian (I believe you just did, Big G.)
- "Well, of course, their requests for subsidies was not Paraguayan in and of it is as it were the United States government would never have if the president, our president, had not and as far as I know that's the way it will always be. Is that clear?" -Emmett Fitzhume, Spies Like Us
- "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true." -Aristotle
I am sorry, but sometimes confusing things such as these make me pass out.
But now I will present you with another confounding conundrum.
We are encouraged to soar, which would require a rocket pack to launch. But we are also counseled to keep our feet on the ground, so we apparently will also need magnetic boots. But if neither Costco, WalMart, Fred Meyer, Best Buy nor OfficeMax sell them, where the heck can I even obtain them? How does one fly, when one must stay tethered and anchored? How does one sail when one must stay moored? How does one run when one must stand still? How does one talk about how one does what one does when one does something that one does? *thud*
I have returned.
At any rate, my son recently had a 2nd birthday. Unsurprisingly, it was Superman-themed: whether that was my idea or his remains unclear. (Mine.) What I do know is that there was enough red, blue and yellow to lure in any nearby Kryptonians with a penchant for primary pantones. Asher, however, is going through a phase where he is in love with all things Man-Of-Steel. I can only assume this is because a friend of mine is a rabid Batman aficionado, and we have superhero dominance arguments that I am sure Asher has overheard; but the truth is that I do not want my own son growing up like the deluded spawn that my confused Arkham Asylum-bound friend has sired. Superman is Superman, and he could crush Batman between his Super Butt Cheeks, and that is that.
At any rate, Asher was gifted a Superman toy that is composed of a material which I believe is a chemical compound mixture of automobile tire, nuclear radiation and unicorn blood. There is no other way to explain the magic that happens when you stretch it. No matter how hard you pull it or how far you stretch it (our record is from here to Oregon), it is still able to regain its composure. I assume the only way to destroy it is to send it with a hobbit into a volcano.
But it did get me thinking, as such innocuous allegory-inducing items are wont to do:
How do you maintain your composure and yet accommodate both soaring and standing still?
I humbly present to you the answer, which Gumby and Pokey seem to have figured out long ago: elasticity, or better put.....resilience.
Contract. Expand. Rinse. Repeat.
When plants and trees grow in the wild, the wind constantly keeps them moving. This causes a stress in the wooden load bearing structure of the tree. So, to compensate, the tree manages to grow something called the reaction wood (or stress wood). This stress wood usually has a different structure (in terms of cellulose or lignin content and more) and is able to position the tree where it’d get the best light, or other optimum resources. This is the reason why trees are able to contort towards best light and still survive loads in even awkward shapes. A contorted building like that would easily fall. The tree is able to grow in a more solid manner – thanks to the reaction wood. [ From "The Role of Wind in a Tree's Life" ]
I am no arborist, but stretching and bending and resilience all make sense to me however not in the same way that sentences with no commas do not. *thud*
I am back.
You, my good voiceover friend, are in an industry that requires you to be Gumby. To be Pokey. To be Stretch Armstrong. To be Asher's Superman toy.
To be resilient.
I did my research, and I have discovered the truth. Like my son's Superman, it appears that Stretch Armstrong is made of latex rubber filled with gelled corn syrup, which allows it to retain shape for a short time before shrinking to its original shape. After experiencing such an epiphany and craving the same resilience for myself, I have been methodically ingesting a steady diet of car tires and corn syrup, and son of a gun - I am indeed expanding as a result. If only more people knew. My shape has not yet contracted to its original svelte form and function, but I believe this is also due to Taco Bell. In the end I hope to land in the same hospital that Michael Apollo Lira serves in so that we can talk about voiceovers and how I will soon die from pure stupidity.
My point is that this industry requires you to be resilient. It is possible to fly high and proud whilst keeping your feet on the grounds. Be courteous and alert Air Traffic Control of your intentions in order to reduce the risk of aircraft and corn syrup-filled latex collisions, yes, but it is possible.
How do you stay grounded?
- Good Business Acumen
- Realistic Expectations
- Think things through logically
And how do you soar?
- Dream & envision
- “Shake it off”
- Plan for the future
- Treat expenses as investments
- Make a wish list
- Learn from absolutely everything
That towering BFG you see shooting up out of Washington state is me. I am usually around 35,000 feet up at any given moment; while simultaneously at 0 feet above sea level. You will see me twisting and turning, gaining speed, slowing down: soaring, hovering, enlarging, contracting, burgeoning, recoiling and other present participle verbs. In a fantastic back-and-forth dance of juggling altitude, I am everywhere I need to be at all times. Do not mistake me for an inflatable tube guy: I truly am succeeding.
I am planning, employing good business acumen, setting and hitting goals, proceeding on realistic expectations, training, thinking, dreaming, envisioning, planning for the future, treating expenses as investments, making wish lists, and learning from everything. I am corn syrup filled latex goodness on a constant quest to adapt to whatever life throws at me.
When I do not get that audition, I am at 28,000 feet and climbing. When I am planning to invest in new equipment, I am at 43 feet and slowly descending. When I receive a negative response to one of my marketing emails, I am gaining altitude and shooting across the sky just like a phoenix who shoots across the sky and is a phoenix. See? Similes.
When I make a mission statement or mantra, I am standing firm at 3 feet above sea level. And at any altitude, I am always resembling, or eating, taffy. Mostly eating. Especially the peppermint kind.
Tall and short. Thin and wide. Shallow and deep. "Bounce back." "Adapt and overcome." Like my son's Superman.
A lot will test you in this industry. Many will cave and bail. Many will run the gamut of emotions: elation, excitement, depression, despondency...all in a single day. Case in point, just the other day:
- I was awarded two jobs
- Then I lost both jobs within a few hours because one client couldn't speak English and the other wanted a full buyout for measly price
- Then I gained a new agent
- Then I realized I might potentially be facing a frustrating legal dilemma soon
- Then I was awarded a new contract and finished the week with over $7k generated in new business across 14 jobs.
- Then I got jealous at someone else's success in always being "chosen." I am looking at you and your fabulous blog on this one, Sumara Meers. Stupid fabulous blog that everyone likes and that is successful. (Disclaimer: Sumara knows I think she's fab.)
The point is that we must remain balanced and resilient. We will have moments of high altitude, and we will have moments of waiting in the wings and preparing. It is the latter that enable the former.
As much as I love flying, I relish being in the wings and getting ready to make the next flight even more successful.
When Asher and I pull on that Superman, all of the latex gets put to the test. It is how it regains its shape that shows its poise, its resilience, and thus, its strength.
Come on over if you need us to tug you in opposite directions to help you regain your poise. Glad to. Then you can strap on your rocket pack and magnetic boots, and have a go.
Just make sure that you always know that I don't not want to not stop wanting to stop not stopping wanting for you not to succeed.
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
- Like this blog? My children are counting on you to put bread on our table through the purchase of one of my books. By the way, low-guilt-trip sales pushes are my specialty
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire