What Kind of Facebook Quiz Are You?

I can be pretty hypocritically judge-y sometimes.

Like when I scroll through my Facebook feed, and I see that one of my friends has not only taken but also posted the results to one of those inane online quizzes. Something along the lines of What Color Is Your Aura/What Russian Aristocrat Were You In a Former Life/What Kind of Sandwich Are You/What Would Your Drunk Game of Thrones Porn Star Cat’s Name Be?

When I see that someone has touted to all in cyberspace that they are, indeed, a ham on rye – just like they knew they’d be! – I’ll admit to a little eye-roll here and there. I might even smirk or let slip a “Heh, sucker!” under my breath while my cat looks on in uninterrupted boredom.

And then I gleefully take the quiz.

I might even post the results. Because who doesn’t want to know that I am really Alice in Wonderland and I should live in Paris and also in a cottage by the sea with no children and three cats?

So color me surprised when I happened upon a quiz the other day where I actually learned something not only useful but also inspiring – What Famous Poem Was Written About You?

Full disclosure – I’ve never really liked poetry all that much. I try, I really do. I really want to like it. I’m an actor and a writer, after all. I’m supposed to like it. But often I don’t get it. I read it, and it makes no sense. Like Shakespeare. I’ve been studying Shakespeare for 20 years. I’ve performed in many Shakespeare plays. I know what a spondee is. Hell, I’ve taught the stuff. But I didn’t really get it or like it until a few years ago when I played Olivia in Twelfth Night. In the span of a few short weeks it all kind of clicked together for me and I had one of those “Aha, Come to Jesus” experiences. The words suddenly made perfect sense and so beautifully articulated the soul of this character it felt like a gift to be able to say them out loud every night. So I like Shakespeare now. And I get it (kind of sometimes).

I saw this quiz and I thought, okay, let’s just see what kind of poem the programmer’s algorithm comes up with. After answering all the usual things like “What kind of writing utensil would you use?” and “What decade fascinates you?”, the quiz did it’s little bubbly, calculation-thingy as though it was actually thinking, and it spit out this:

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

It’s embarrassing to admit that I did not know the poem or the poet, and that I had to look it up. Go ahead and judge me, I deserve it.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

I was transfixed reading it. This poem speaks to me so clearly and straight to my heart. And while I’ve heard the last two lines before, I did not know the whole thing. I felt pretty stupid, but also like I was just given this huge gift. I’m eager to explore more of Henley’s work, and endeavor to learn a little bit more about this unconquerable soul of mine.

So, yeah. I’m the “quietly judging you but still taking them” kind of Facebook quizzes. What kind are you?

Portrait_of_William_Ernest_Henley
I see you judging me, William Ernest Henley.

 

A New Beginning

I had high hopes for starting my new blog on January 1st – how much more symbolic can a new beginning be than to start on the first day of a new year? Well, the Universe had other things in store for me, and instead of carrying out my grand plans I spent the last two days in bed with the flu. The best laid plans of mice and men…

I wanted to say goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015 with some kind of ceremony, to set the tone for the coming year. I got even more pumped up about it after Elizabeth Gilbert posted about her personal New Years ceremonies on her Facebook page. So I devised this: Flush It Out, Fire It Up: A ceremony of letting go and setting intentions.

On New Year’s Eve (before the dreaded flu had a firm grip on me), I handed my husband a role of toilet paper and a Sharpie. I told him that if he was game, I would love for him to join me in a fun little way to say goodbye to the things that have encumbered us over the last year. I suggested we write those things down on toilet paper and literally flush them away. To my surprise, he took to the idea right away and got to work on his list. He’s not always into these kinds of things, so I was delighted that he took it so seriously.

Over the course of the evening, we each added new troubles to our lists – ideas or beliefs that no longer serve us, that weigh us down and set us back. We didn’t share them with each other. But we did share our glee about how cathartic it is to literally wipe your ass with the things you want to go away and then flush them down the toilet.

Why, hello Worry! You have a date with my ass.
Why, hello Worry! You have a date with my ass. You, too, Self-Defeating Attitude.

The second part of this new ceremony was to take place on January 1st. I copied a drawing of a phoenix from the Internet, and again handed my husband a Sharpie. I told him to write down his intentions for the year. Not resolutions, really, because I don’t believe in resolutions. Resolutions are answers, and I’ve come to realize there often aren’t hard and fast answers or solutions in life. I think it’s more important to concentrate on personal intentions – to embrace the journey and not the destination. After writing them all down, we would burn them up in our fire pit, thus releasing those intentions into the world. Again, he was totally game and set to writing down his intentions for the year.

At this point in time the flu had me solidly in its clutches. I couldn’t move, let alone sit up and write down my intentions for the year. The 1st came and went, and my husband’s beautiful phoenix sat on the kitchen table alone. Then the 2nd dawned, and I picked up my phoenix several times during the course of the day, trying to concentrate long enough to come up with a good list of intentions. I just couldn’t do it. I could not get one thing written. Nothing seemed important.

By evening, I was feeling well enough to drag myself to the couch and watch a movie. I picked up the phoenix once again, and a red Sharpie. Without any thought, I simply wrote:

Believe in the Impossible

I sat there for a few more moments, red Sharpie poised and ready to fill in the phoenix with other intentions, setting it ablaze. But nothing came. And as I sat there and looked at that one statement – “Believe in the Impossible” – it occurred to me that it encapsulates all the intentions I have for the coming year. Pretty much everything I was planning to write down is somehow rooted in a seemingly impossible idea. Finish my first book and get it published? Impossible. Lose the 20 pounds I gained last year? Impossible. Find meaningful, well-paying work this year? Impossible. Move away from Los Angeles to a place that is more in line with our lifestyle? Impossible. Simplify my life? Impossible.

I’m choosing to believe in the impossible this year. Won’t you join me? Let’s do impossible things together!

Believe in the Impossible
Believe in the Impossible

LET IT BURN, BABY!