“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”– Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath
Irene Rubinsky is one hot mama who has earned herself the “I’m no Sissy Award” For getting a live filmed interview. She’s faced some big fears….but has managed to conquer them all!
About 3 years ago, I was one hot mess. I know hard to believe. But after facing a string of friends and family members dying, I was more wound up then yoyo on shrooms. I think I had been to 9 funerals (all young people) in one 18 month period of time, including 2 uncles and my dad and many other friends who had really been too young to face their end. Sometimes I found it tough just waking up in the morning. And in an effort to not be stuck chowing down Prozac (Not that there’s anything wrong with that) I decided to move my ass and dance. Sometimes I’d get to class and Irene would say “You’d better smile, I don’t care if you have to fake it!” Dancing is truly the energy of the soul that allows movement to bring out the joy that sometimes gets stuck underneath the muck of fear. Without dancing, I don’t think I would have been able to live fearlessly over these past 3 years. I guess what I’m saying is that it was Irene who had saved me from landing in Western psyche without my shoe laces deemed to eat apple sauce and pudding. She really does deserve the “I’m no Sissy Award” and I couldn’t be prouder to call her my friend.
To find out more about Irene’s Dance Fusion class check out her website Here:
Last year I had the opportunity to interview Don Miguel Ruiz, author of the Four Agreements for a website called “Positively Positive”, a website I really love and helps kick me in the butt whenever I need a good dose of “Get that negative crap outta your head and start thinking good stuff!!” medicine.
The point that Don Miguel made was how important it is to replace obsession with passion, fear with love and joy, and the true way to transcend is to live in the moment, and get out of the way! For G-d sake, get out of the way!
I hope you enjoy Don Miguel as much as I enjoyed interviewing him! To view the short film click here:
A few years ago I had the chance to make Jessie Kahnweiler wear a green jacket that made her look like Kermit The Frog in a short film I wrote and directed called “The De-friender”, featured on Funny or Die about a girl (Played by my sister) who is de-friended on Facebook by her mom (Played by my real mom) on Mother’s day but is accused of being the wicked de-friender herself by home land security. It was fun, but the highlight of our shoot was definitely directing Jessie, who almost had me peeing in my pants from laughter. Literally, I wet myself a little. Okay let’s not dwell on that. Let’s just say her improv skills were mad! And I’ve been pretty fascinated by the risks she has taken with film and story telling ever since. She manages to tackle the most difficult issues in her own films, but always uses a funny lens. Saying she is the female version of Sasha Baron Cohen would definitely not be an exaggeration. Her latest film called “Meet My Rapist” is one of those difficult incredibly odd defying attempts to look at a difficult subject, and really get real about it! We are excited to have her on the blog and hear about what inspired her to make the film and how she overcomes her biggest fears.
Thelma & Louise: Hey baby doll, how’s it hang’n? You ready to bare your soul?
Jessie: As long, as I don’t have to shave!
Thelma & Louise: No one’s going to make you shave, as long as you smell nice- but this is the web, so you don’t even have to do that. Welcome to Thelma & Louise! We are so excited you have agreed to get real with us!
Jessie: Whoohoo – is Brad Pitt going to jump out of my shower?!
sorrry okay soul – lets get deep…
Thelma & Louise: Oh how we wish he would, Unfortunately Brad hasn’t graced us with his presence as of yet, we’re working on it though (no we’re not)
Jessie: He COULD be Jewish, Pittozwcawitx?
Thelma & Louise: Pittberg??
Thelma & Louise: Now we’re just pushin it…
Jessie: I love the name of your blog, by the way – I just love the idea of women supporting each other – we are all in this together!
Thelma & Louise: Thank you! Yes we are! WOOT-
Thelma & Louise: Jessie, Please tell us a little bit about yourself….You are a comedic actress, an incredible writer and filmmaker, how did you get into that?
Jessie: Ya so I started playing dress up when I was 2 and I never really stopped. But for serious – as far back as I can remember – it would be me in my room telling stories to my stuffed animals. I loved creating my own worlds – like inside jokes with myself. I felt so free.
Thelma & Louise: SO I wasn’t the only one who pretended to be Princess Leah to my cabbage Patch doll?
Jessie: NO I wish! – My stories were always super dark… I was always an orphan or a widow-
Thelma & Louise: I was always a monarch or Erica Kane from All my Children.
Jessie: LoL! Well, I guess I was trying to work shit out. I have always felt really comfortable in the shadows of life – the issues we don’t talk about everyday. My acting guru Judith Weston says, “In filmmaking you get to tell the truth!!” it’s magic it really is.
Thelma & Louise: Was there an event in your childhood that led you to go to that dark place? Which parent was constantly threatening to walk out? (Or was that just my house?)
Jessie: No my parents were rad! I come from a typical Jewish home- you know where therapy was an extra carricular activity, they were always very supportive of self-expression.
Thelma & Louise: So why all the “Soap Opera” reenactments?
Jessie: I think it was a way to manifest all these feelings I had inside my head…I’ve always been very emotional/very sensitive – filmmaking/storytelling is a way for me to make sense of it all.
Thelma & Louise: What was your biggest fear as a child?
Jessie: Never getting my braces off.
Thelma & Louise: And?
Jessie: And probably “getting caught” of what – I’m still not sure
Thelma & Louise: Getting caught with your pants down, getting caught lying, getting caught being Jessie, and not some tall blonde who can cheer? What does that mean?
Jessie: As I said I’m still trying to figure that out. I think we all have parts of ourselves we’re nervous to show in the light of day. It stems from that-
Or maybe it’s just me.
Thelma & Louise: Interesting, so you were afraid to show your vulnerable self, the side that confided in her stuffed animals- the side that you think might be different..
Thelma & Louise: And you have definitely defied the odds in trying to manifest that side of yourself through your filmmaking, and that’s pretty cool. Your most recent film was probably the gutsiest film I’ve seen on the web. I have to say, it not only inspired me to start this blog, but it made me realize that we sometimes create our biggest fears by keeping our “secrets” secret. Can you tell us what inspired you to make the film called “Meet My Rapist”?
Jessie: Well first of all THANK YOU- it has been 8 years since my rape and I was just SO frustrated like, “Why wasn’t I over this thing already?!”
I’m such a “doer” and feel like I have a proactive approach to life but emotions, for better or worse are something you can’t control. But looking back I started to realize – fuck, I haven’t actually dealt with it – I haven’t stood still on a bridge and realized that I’m not okay and that I don’t have to be! So making the film was really scary but it was so personal – everyone told me not to make it but in the end I just had to follow my heart and JUMP!
Thelma & Louise: So can you now say you are “over” your rape? (If that’s even possible- Is that even possible?)
Jessie: No and I never will be, but damn – what I’ve learned in this whole process, by connecting with other victims, by being honest about where I’m at… is that I don’t have to be. I can have moments that I am, and moments that I’m not. But I don’t have to be “over it” to move on, I just don’t want to be alone in it anymore, that’s huge. It’s been really holy for me.
Thelma & Louise: Holy. Yes. Getting real is a holy experience.
Jessie: My issues are just chances to reach my soul potential.
Thelma & Louise: You have most definitely done that in your life, which is the bravest thing a woman can do! When you first came out with your film, did you get any negative reaction?
Jessie: Yea totally! People were really offended. Rape/comedy- not exactly the perfect funny cocktail.
Thelma & Louise: I imagine you were prepared for that reaction. How did you handle it?
Did you feel like you were being raped all over again?
Jessie: I was upset at first but then realized that it’s so not about “Me” its a larger issue and if it upsets and offends people than it is moving the conversation forward and that is a good thing. I wasn’t trying to piss people off – I was just being myself. As long as I stay true to who I am everything else doesn’t matter. I’m sure Moses even had some haters…
Thelma & Louise: Well he did, in fact an entire mob tried to start a rebellion against him, but eventually G-d had his back and had them swallowed up by the earth.
Jessie: The Earth?
Thelma & Louise: The earth!
Jessie: See, when it’s hard that’s when I feel the most connected to humanity- it’s my fuel….
Thelma & Louise: And that’s why being true to one’s self usually wins. A holy experience is one that has the capability of changing something mundane into something out of the norm, something that is pure, virtuous and free of ego. When we connect with our deepest self in a real way, when we are honest with ourselves and share that honesty with others so they also have the opportunity to grow, we break the mundane, we break the norm and we reveal the innocence and the integrity. And that is what creates a holy connection, as you had mentioned.
Jessie: Still, being truly honest can be hard, which can be a problem sometimes…especially when it comes to my choices in men:)
Thelma & Louise: Speaking of men, do you think that women have a harder time with getting real and honest than men do?
Jessie: That’s a great question – I think there’s so much pressure for women to “be everything”… to bring home the bacon and then cook it AND be light and carefree the entire time. I often get paranoid about sounding whiney or self obsessed or worst of all NEEDY, but I think looking at those fears in the light of day or the light of film is the easiest way to walk through them.
Thelma & Louise: Yes we all have our own “boogie man” hiding that tells us we’re doing it all wrong, don’t we?
Jessie: Yep! It’s the same voice that tells me my thighs are too fat or my legs are too hairy or my dreams aren’t possible.
Thelma & Louise: Our thighs aren’t fat, they’re just not ankles-
Jessie: Do you think its possible to have thankles?
Thelma & Louise: All dreams are possible. All dreams but that one.
Thelma & Louise: Its interesting that by exposing your story, you managed to stare it down, and because of that- it made you braver. Tell us, what would you like to tell women who have been raped and who are struggling with it?
Jessie: I would say that however you are feeling in this moment is right and to honor the process of your emotions.
For anyone experiencing trauma – if it feels right, share your story,
I’m listening. We all are.
Thelma & Louise: Jessie, you are very courageous, and part of letting go of fear, is to stare it down in the face and really walk on it. I am so privileged you are my friend, and that you have taught this to me, and in turn now to my audience is a great gift.
Jessie: oh chava!!! I feel the same way! You are so special to me and always will be-
Thelma & Louise: You mean Thelma-
Jessie: Ahem, Thelma, right.
Thelma & Louise: So what’s the next project you’re working on?
Jessie: Right now I’m developing a show that’s based on tackling topics people are too scared to talk about. It’s comedy but also weird and out there and emotional and ME!
Thelma & Louise: So you date homeless guys, join gangs and go to Burma?
Jessie: Exactly. Just me playing dress up in my room all over again.
Thelma & Louise: Once again, you tackle the hard issues, totally courageous and insane, just how we like our women:)
Don’t forget to get real or go home! Or as Jessie would say Just Jump!
Check out @Chavatombosky’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/Chavatombosky/status/407298191004938240
Becky Brownstein is a mother of 5 and lives in St. Paul Minnesota. She’s not only hilarious but is an incredible writer as well. We welcome Becky to this blog and hope she continues to send us her big fears….Take a look at a candid interview she was brave enough to share!
Thelma & Louise: Becky we’re really excited you’ve agreed to be interviewed and walk into our lair, getting real is never easy, and sometimes it hurts a little, lets first start with a little background. What do you do for a living, and how many kiddies do you have?
Becky: For a living I am a mom, but I also work part time at my kids school here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am a teacher’s assistant. I have thank G-d 5 children. I’m excited and nervous. Not sure what’s going to be uncovered here…
Thelma & Louise: Well that’s good, we promise we won’t bite, and we’ll keep this as painless as possible. Imagine you’re getting a wax. in the beginning you hate it, but then you’re all, “Wow that wasn’t so bad, and look how clean and pretty I look!”
Becky: I’ll try to keep that in mind.
Thelma& Louise: Becky you are also a very accomplished blogger, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Becky: Accomplished is a little bit of a stretch…. After my 5th kid was born I was having a hard time dealing. In an effort for human interaction and to help me change my mind set I started a blog called spits and giggles where I could post funny things that happens in my every day life. It helped me view things in a lighter way. I then shelved the blog when my oldest daughter found out I was writing things about her for all to see.
Thelma & Louise: Nice, throw your kids on the bus, listen we’re all guilty of that. But seriously, you say that you had a hard time dealing with things after your fifth child, what changed that put you “over the edge”, that forced you to write things down?
Becky: Oh boy.
Thelma & Louise: I told you we were getting real.
Becky: K I guess I just dive right in then…
Thelma & Louise: Like a wax, just rip it off
Becky: I had postpartum depression-
Thelma & Louise: Oh Cool!
Becky: I totally lost my shit.
Thelma & Louise: We love when that happens, tell us more.
Thelma: Becky, postpartum sucks, did you crawl into a little ball like I did after my third was born and refuse to make dinner?
Becky: Pretty much- My husband has been in school for the past 9 years. He was hardly home, I was having baby after baby and I reached a breaking point. He is now a psychologist on the way to becoming licensed. Thank the Good
Becky: Right- I knew I needed help when a box of spoons from Sam’s club spilled all over the floor and I started to cry hysterically.
Thelma: Spoons, huh….ya that would have pissed me off too. So what were some strategies you came up with in the aftermath of the Costco Crazies? Did you go on drugs, or did you just rely on your writing? And don’t think I’m not seeing the irony in the fact that your melt down happened while you’re husband was becoming a shrink.
Becky: Drugs. It’s all about the drugs
Thelma & Louise: Totes, drugs is the best. What was your flavor- Celexia, Wellbutrin, Zanax?
Becky: Wacky on prozacky Yo!
Thelma & Louise: Hoo-WAH! Nice-
Becky: I lost my shit when I was 16 and did well on prozac then. Depression runs in my veins..It’s a constant battle.
Thelma: I had a very similar experience after my third child, and infact did go on meds, but had decided to replace that eventually with my own seretonin called Jazzercise, an extremely well choreographed exercise routine that makes you look very white and very Jane Fonda.
Thelma & Louise: How old is your baby now, and have you managed to wean yourself off the meds at all?
Becky: I was only on it for a year. Just to get my mind shelved and organized. I was one big overwhelmed mess. My baby just had his 5th birthday.
Thelma & Louise: But it sounds like you really got your life together, tell us how did you do that?
Becky: I went to therapy. I specifically wanted someone who specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Someone to help me learn how to not get so overwhelmed.
Thelma & Louise: What were some of the tips you received in therapy?
Becky: That I am only one person. Not to stress over the things I cannot control. And as soon as I feel overwhelmed, I take a pen and paper and make a list and then put it in order of importance.My home does not need to be spotless. It’s okay if laundry is not clean and folded in drawers every single day. I learned how to survive. Because before, I would mop my floor 4 times a day.
Thelma & Louise: So just putting things into perspective, helping you to not become so detail oriented, and having the good sense to see the bigger picture.
Thelma: Can you come over and mop my floor? Sounds like you’d be good at that.
Becky: Nope. My OCD tendencies have been cured. I kind of miss them sometimes though.
Thelma: Wow, I’m really disappointed. Sounds like your therapist was top notch good-
Becky: I started crying over something at one point and he looked at me and said “Rebecca, I am not joining your pity party.” I was like, wow, you are so right!
Thelma & Louise: Sounds like he had your number, that’s a good therapist! Becky, If you could give one piece of advice to women out there suffering with depression, what would it be?
Becky: You’re not alone. Everyone struggles. We just like to hide it because every woman thinks they must be doing something wrong if they can’t keep their shit together.
Thelma & Louise: Ya we do like to give that “Stepford Wives” impression, don’t we? The funny thing is, 99.9% of us are all a mess in one way or another, huh?
Becky: Totally! Some moms can be huge bitches…. mothering is not a competition or what you can post on Pinterest. At the end of the day, I need to be able to stand by my children. I do not want obnoxious annoying kids. And that is something that is taught by example.
Thelma & Louise: That’s really the point of this blog, to become less afraid of getting real, to become authentic and to learn how to open up and stay connected to those around us and to our higher source. We are so grateful you were willing to be candid with us today!
Thelma: And I must say that although I’m disappointed you won’t come over and clean out my drawers, I think you’re seriously the coolest Chicka around!
Louise: Ya seriously, the COOLEST! Please free to post your essays on our Thelma & Louise site, we love having you!
Becky: Thanks love!
Thelma & Louise: One more question….
Thelma & Louise: If there was no Pinterest, do you think birthday parties would finally die out for good? And how do we pass that in legislature?
Becky: Haha! Pinterest was created because of those frickin birthday parties. Think about it… Those moms work so frickin hard to make their kids birthday The Best! So they created Pinterest to show it off to more than just their close family and friends. It’s pure genius. Like I want a medal for having 4 successful epidural free V-bacs. Where’s pinterest for that?
Thelma & Louise: Great ending to an awesome interview!
Becky: Now I have a question for Thelma…
Becky: Blast from the past question: Remember we lived down the block for a little while and you backed out of your garage INTO MY FRIEND??
Thelma: UM- I hit your friend? OMG, I’m such a terrorist!
Becky: haha I still laugh about that.
Thelma: ye, I do sort of remember, I’m trying to forget that, but thanks. Thanks for bringing that back.
Becky: My pleasure
Thelma: Am I the only one that turns into a raging lunatic the second I enter a vehicle?
Becky: Ya put glass and metal between a mom and a road, and suddenly the beast is unleashed.
Thelma: Glad its not just me.
This has been an exclusive interview for Thelma & Louise
NOW GET REAL OR GO HOME!
(To get interviewed on your biggest fear, contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org- if we think you make the cut you might get interviewed, but you gotta be as messed up as Becky.)