One of my best friends was very depressed one day, and he came to see me and asked, "Judy, why am I so depressed? I don't even know why...all I know is that I'm on the verge of tears all the time." After talking with him and learning of his work schedule, and discovering that work was pretty much all he was doing, I gave him an answer. "The key to being happy is to balance out all aspects of your life: spiritual, personal, professional,family life, romantic life, health (not necessarily in that order). If you don't give each part of who you are equal attention, there becomes a deficit." And although I haven't found myself on the verge of tears, thank God, I do feel a little used up. Lately, (only in the last few weeks), I feel like a machine that everyone rents out, uses, and returns it without a second thought - person after person, but no one thinks to bring it somewhere for maintenance...I feel like a bank, Judy's Bank. People everyday continually making withdrawals...not deposits, and before you know it, there is no interest & the account becomes depleted.
Oh,yes, that's the word I was looking for: depleted. Now, I'm not talking about my average week full of shows and radio shifts and a few favors along the way. I am also not talking about anything I do for children. I would do ANYTHING for children in need of a boost...very hard to disappoint children. It's a policy of mine. Don't promise anything to a child unless you are 100% sure you can deliver. And when children need help, I have a hard time saying no. Okay, I diverted a bit. Getting back to feeling depleted.
I always do my best to put myself in other people's shoes - it's a good habit to develop - it teaches empathy & compassion...and if I put myself in other people's shoes BEFORE I talk, I find it keeps me from saying something stupid, lol. In the spirit of doing so, I put myself in so many people's shoes in the last month that I need some comfy, fluffy slippers. Here's the problem: No one thinks to put themselves in my shoes. And my shoes can be very very high heels that fit a bit too tight. And everywhere I turn someone is asking me for a favor. And there is really nothing wrong with it, but no one knows whether or not I've been sleep deprived or that I'm having difficulty with my voice because I have nodules on my vocal chords (they are like tiny callouses on the vocal chords that interfere with your singing - sometimes requiring surgery. The cure? Speech therapy can help, but it takes a LONG time...ideally a dcotor told me 'just shut up.')
I don't want to sound ugly here...I want you to know that I go out of my way to do EVERYTHING possible to help ANYONE who needs me...I believe in karma, and want to be sure that what ever comes around is a good thing. But...I am a human being...and when relatives and friends and strangers and deejays and promoters and booking agents and managers are all asking for favors - well, it's exhausting. Who do I blame? Myself. I have learned over the years to say no; and when absolutely necessary I will, but it never comes without an overwhelming sense of guilt - and sometimes I get yelled at, or hate letters because they are upset that I cannot help. Allow me to give you a taste of what it's been like of late.
I have received 8 requests to speak at schools (which I WANT to do), 11 requests to perform for fundraisers - and 14 requests for internet radio interviews all in one month!!...most of the dates falling around or on the same day. I want to be VERY clear - I am NOT complaining...I'm simply venting. To me complaining happens when you don't want to do something & venting happens when you do want to do something but don't know HOW. LOL. I was asked just yesterday to do a favor and "show up" at a party and sing one song. I couldn't do it because I had KTU from 4pm to 10pm and then a show with the band, Mirage, in memory of my friend Michelina...where, how could I make this private party? When I apologized and told the woman I couldn't make it, she proceeded to tell me I am a bitch and don't care about other people. Que que????? Whaaattt??? Although I know she spoke out of anger, she doesn't know that I gave a free concert to a school just this past Wednesday to special education students at Hungerfoot School in Staten Island. She doesn't know that I went recently to my local utility company and asked a representative there to give me the name of a random woman whose bill was not paid and I PAID it for her - complete stranger. So, Ms. Thang, don't presume to think you know me, lol. I'm acting all tough now, but last night I cried. Part of me cried out of sheer exhaustion - part because I felt hurt - part because I don't like to disappoint because I felt bad I couldn't do it all, and part because sometimes, dammit, I am NOT a machine. I am a human being. Being a performer teaches you very quickly that people don't want excuses - they paid to see you sing - You had better sing...they don't care if you're sick, or you have some family emergency, or that you're just tired. Oh, by the way, I was also asked to help a gentleman from Gaza City come to the United States because I'm a broadcaster and I can afford it, OMG!!! If I'm feeling like this, I can just imagine what Rihanna or J-Lo go through!
Well, I'm going home in a little while, I'm going to take a long bath, put on my coziest pj's and find a way to get rid of the migraine I've had since last night. On a positive note, I was asked about by one of the teachers today, lol...I said yes, but I have to check my calendar, lol. I need to figure out how to bring back balance in my life...and I have to clean my house too! LOL. Help. Someone hug me!!!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Last night we began the long trek down to the Freestyle Extravaganza 6, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT at 3:30pm...my scheduled showtime was 8:15pm. I was informed the night before that I would be second to perform in the line up. For a performer, sometimes that's not a great thing. I'm not one of those people that thinks, 'Great, I can get it over with and watch the rest of the show.' For me in the 20 plus years in this business of music, I have learned that the later you go on stage, the bigger the reflection on you; in other words - it's a GREAT compliment! I am very happy to know that from time to time being in this business has always HUMBLED me. I am very accustomed to going on last, or next to last...and there is a lot of pressure going on last. Going on last is implies that you are going to give a great show, if not - the best show. It is a lot of pressure, but I love the challenge. But this show I was second in line...so what does that mean? My ego began to get in my way.
Um, is the promoter or booking agent mad at me? Did I say something wrong? Am I being punished? Was it that they were dissatisfied with my performance last year and just wouldn't tell me? Is it because I don't have dancers??? As you can see, I am a sensitive & worrisome soul, lol.
On the wall, the order of the concert was posted, and indeed my name was second in line. Okay, I've accepted it, lol. But then I see my length of showtime: TEN MINUTES! My show is typically 20-25 minutes; 30 minutes if we're all having a great time...but ten minutes...wow, that's tough. But that wasn't the problem - the problem was my showtape was 12:54 seconds long. I had been granted permission to use that showtape by one of the promoters, but suddenly my road manager, David, was telling me, "Judy..you can only do 10 minutes." I looked at him. And then I continued to look at him. I was attempting to telepathically tell him, 'I don't care what you have to do, PLEASE don't tell me I'm going to be cut off in the middle of my show!!' And I looked at him for another second..."Okay Judy...I'll go talk to them." He's worked with me for 14 years...and we work well together! I am blessed to have him around!
I saw some familiar faces - the TKA posse, Sal Abbattiello of Fever Records and Crystal Waters. It always feels like I'm home when I see the "freestyle family." - TKA, George Lamond, Cynthia, etc. I was greeted, and I walked through the hall to my dressing room that I was sharing with Rockell & Crystal Waters! I was happy to share it with them because Rockell & I get along superbly & I am a big fan of Crystal Waters. While we were all putting on make up, we were exchanging information about favorite cosmetics and the state of dance music, and how the basic "song structure" has somewhat changed..but that's a whole other blog...and then something strange, odd, oh, I don't know...something unexpected happened, something I had NEVER been asked while in a dressing room in my entire life.
A woman, who I do know but not all that well, approached me while I was putting on make up in front of the sink...I only had 10 minutes left before I had to report backstage. "Judy, can you just move and give me a minute so I can brush my teeth?" Que, que?!?! Huh?! Oh, what a dilemma I had been put in. I had to choose between finishing my face and covering some flaws, or allowing this woman to keep with her dental hygiene routine intact...oh, what to do, what to do!!! I was literally dumbfounded...I can't have this woman walking around with stinky breath, but I can't go on stage with this sudden pimple on my nose that I had to cover. I mean the diva in me thought, "I'm getting ready to go on stage...can u wait one second?" but I'm not rude like that, lol...and then an angel named Crystal Waters decided for me. "Hey, I'm done, if you want you can use this one." Bless you, Crystal..now my pimple is taken care of and this woman has fresh kissable breath!
The show began with Rockell. Mid-way during her show, she took her shoes off. I TOTALLY understand...sometimes the shoes, as cute as they look, inhibit you from freely moving around. During her last song I said my prayers, and my road manager walked up to me. We looked out into the crowd..and I told him, "There are some empty seats, because a lot of people are on Latino time...(they're late)" LOL My concern was that the next day, the fans would be angry with me that they didn't get a chance to see me. But he said, "Don't you worry about that." "Oh, I'm not worried...I'm going to do my best & perform for the ones that are here now!" Then he told me the one thing that I hate people telling me right before a show: "Judy, don't talk. You can't talk." Um, excuse me...lol...but doesn't everyone know that after all these years, talk is part of my show??? It is a part of who I am. Telling me not to talk is like telling Oprah not to ask questions during her show. So, I responded the way he wanted me to. "I know...Ok. No talking." Yeah, right!
My name was announced...I walked on stage, took a deep breath, and without even realizing my mouth opened and words sprang forth involuntarily!! "How's everybody doing tonight? How far back do you want to go? Let's go back to before you had the kids, before the bills...the year was 1987, the song was No Reason to Cry." Whew...they let me talk. The music began and I had SO much freaking fun up there...it's as if we were all so hungry to remember easier times...I began to revisit some dance steps that were popular during the 80s: the Wop & the Roger Rabbit. I had just as much fun as the crowd did, believe me! In fact I was having so much fun that during I Love You, Will You Love Me, I forgot a couple of words. Holy crap...I just did a Christina Aguilera! Just like her, I sang words but in the wrong place...I don't think anyone noticed, but Christina probably hoped the very same thing, hahaha! And then during Come Into My Arms, the last song, I felt a strange sensation...as I was dancing, I became a little winded because I usually talk before the song, and it brings my heart rate back down, but it wasn't happening tonight. I was so afraid that they were going to cut me off...but the people were standing up, singing and smiling...please don't cut off my song...please - I'm almost done. And then my foot began to hurt. I ignored it. Fighting to breathe through the dancing and singing, I finished & I felt good about the show...
I walked into the dressing room, removed my shoes, and there it was: part of the shoe cut right into my toe and the top part of my foot was throbbing...oh well, at least I didn't fall. I walked over to Lisa-Lisa's dressing room. I love that girl beyond words...she's so honest, blunt and she's forever kind to me. We chatted a bit, and then I said hello to Coro, hugged him and walked over to TKA's dressing room to wish them luck. I had to leave...the limo was on a time constraint and there was nothing I could do about it. I was really hoping to see MC Hammer and Bobby Brown perform...but at least I can say I was on the same concert as they were...so cool! Freestyle still lives!! Thanks to all who came out to support us, to support the music and to support the legacy of the freestyle culture!! Muah!