How the Academy Awards Took My Numb Out

If our emotions shut down, are we aware that we're not feeling? Perhaps this is a bit like asking if the falling tree makes a noise when no one is around to hear it... and we'll get to that, but first a non sequitur...

This year's Academy Awards had a few highlights, but I'd say it had a few more low-lights -- John Travolta being perhaps the dimmest bulb of the bunch. Idina Menzel, though no longer in face paint, looked a bit green but managed to defy the gravity of the situation despite her surprisingly visible nerves. From green to Pink (another unexpectedly subpar performance), to Gravity having way too much of a pull, to the writing that lacked originality (pizza, really?!), to Ellen who was so nonchalant she basically Skyped it in; it was a different kind of Oscar show, lacking the class and originality of Oscars past.

The good news is that for the first time in a long time, I felt something -- aside from my humble opinions above.

Ever since I can remember, without fail, I would cry during acceptance speeches. When the winner would talk about how they used to practice their speeches as a kid, or say, "if you have a dream, follow it and don't give up because anything is possible," I'd go through several Kleenex boxes. They were talking to me. It was my dream to be a successful working actor, and I knew my Oscar speech by heart. Yes, my tears were from frustration, but they were also droplets of hope envisioning myself holding that gold hunk-of-a-man.

But then one award season something happened. No more tears. No more feeling. As the song I once sang from A Chorus Line says, "I felt nothing." After trying so hard (while raising my kids) to break into the business, I felt the crushing feeling that maybe it wasn't meant to be. All the headshot mailings, the attempts to secure a theatrical agent within the paradoxical Catch-22 of needing credits I couldn't get without said agent, the acting workshops to build my chops and get exposure; nothing worked in procuring my big break. Instead of focusing on all I had accomplished, I could only see my life-long wishes and grandiose dreams exiting stage left.

When we feel nothing, are we aware that we've become numb? Do we realize that we have unplugged from the things and from people that give us vitality and a reason for being?

Wading through the muck of challenging times takes courage, faith, patience, and acceptance. I felt a great sense of loss, hurt and disappointment... three nominees for best reason to become numb. These emotions can cause us to tailspin into autopilot coasting right into Numbland. This can be a very lonely place, and it's important to allow either a partner who can play a supporting role, and/or a supporting cast of friends to be there to remind us that who we are is not defined by what happens to us and to trust that we are, in fact, going to be okay.

We also need to be kind to ourselves. Here's a good way to remember how to be your own best FRIEND:

Fake it 'til you make it.
Remember that things happen as they're supposed to happen.
Imagine life the way you'd like it to be.
Every day take small steps toward your goals.
Now, right now, think and feel 'as if' what you desire is already happening.
Dwell on all that is positive in your life.

What we focus on and work toward will create our reality. So to that end goal, I imagine approaching the podium at the Oscars with my theme song playing, to say:

I'd like to thank my theatrical and literary agent for believing in me in Act 2 of my life. It was so exciting to have my book You Want Me to What?! become the premise for a TV show for which I had a lead role, and now being optioned as a movie. I am beyond thrilled for my recurring role on General Hospital, as that show and a very special person there has kept me believing for over 30 years! Writing for Oprah magazine, and having a syndicated newspaper column is another dream come true. It has also been an honor to speak to and work with men and women on improving relationships at home and at work and I look forward to doing more.

I want to thank my friends and family for putting up with my pity parties and helping me to realize that it's never too late in life to follow your passion and feel fulfilled. Because of challenging times I am stronger and more appreciative of the little things and have learned how to focus more on all that is good in my life. Most importantly, I want thank my grown children for being my constant source of support, love and inspiration. I love you so much!

"And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true..."

If you were to write your acceptance speech, as if what you want is already happening, what would you say? If you'd like me to share it to be posted anonymously, please email it to me at, comment on or write me at