Believing Is Seeing

Happy happy chilly chilly November my friends. I won’t apologize for posting in a while. Because frankly, there are more important things.  But I’m grateful that the cold is slowly sweeping into this crazy city. I love the cold. Its controllable. And it calms me and pacifies my crazy and sometimes overheated head of mine.  And boy, has it been overheated lately.

 

For those of you who get triggered by body image, body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders, I urge you to read with caution

As I scroll through instagram it’s the same thing everyday. Skinny. Gym bunnies. Models. Lingerie. Six pack abs. Perfect hair. Perfect teeth. Perfect Makeup. Happy Smiles. I KNOW it’s all bullshit. But I look at it anyway. And it makes me feel disgusting. I am a healthy 21 year old. I don’t like having sugar in my house other than honey, fruits and my cookie tin. I eat greens, whole meals, no milk, no cheese and though I have alcohol in moderation I don’t over consume. I go to the gym at least 2-3 times a week. Doing a small vinyasa flow everyday no matter if its five minutes or thirty. I sleep well. Take vitamins and down water like an elephant.  But with Body Dysmorphia comes gripping depressions and false realities.

I look in the mirror and see what I’ve told myself I am.  Love handles. Fat flabby arms. Round childish face. I always joked about looking like an upside down triangle. I always joke about how I used to be a little tubby. I always joke. But it’s never really kidding. It’s always with a hint of truth. Doing a show that has so many pre-contracted psychological ties, it’s hard for me to step into those costumes and at least feel a little bit prepared for the emotional journey.  But as a leading lady, you have to suck it up and do your job. And faking it sometimes is even more tiring.

I want to explain this blog title. I was always very adamant on blind faith. Mainly because I grew up religious and I still think Santa Claus is real.  But I loved the idea of having so much faith in something you couldn’t really see. People use love as an example. But you see love clearly in very obvious ways. It’s constantly around you. You feel it, you hear it, you can even taste it (I’m talking about cake). But as much as I wanted to apply this to every aspect of my life, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t apply this to seeing myself as beautiful.  Not beauty standard beautiful. My own.  My mom would always say to me, ‘You’re so beautiful inside and out. And even if you don’t see it, just know that you are loved.” And during my teens I could scrape by with that. But now, as a grown ass woman, it ISN’T ENOUGH.  

That’s why I have this theory. Thanks hugely to my therapist hahahahaha. The other day, during the show I had a huge sweep of insecurity. I could feel my satin trousers I wear in the show slipping over my stomach and falling below my hips. I know I couldn’t do anything in the moment because, well, I was too busy belting my tits off. But my insides were churning with a desire to pull my pants up and cover my midsection and ‘love handles’.  And because the scene was preventing me not to, I felt almost sick to my stomach. And as I looked out to the audience of hundreds and hundreds of people I couldn’t help but get emotional. Pissed off. Angry. Frustrated. And a huge huge wave of sadness. Everything hit me. They’re looking at you. They’re all thinking you look fat and ugly. How are you the leading lady of this show? Leading ladies shouldn’t look like that…

I had my intermission where thankfully I was undisturbed and had a change to re-center and re-focus.  I looked in the mirror and heard my therapists English accent in my head, “Challenge yourself to acknowledge not what you hate about yourself, but some traits that you may appreciate. Maybe one day you won’t remember to see your dislikes. And you may realize how unimportant they are to your person.”

Hmmmm…okay. Well, I like my eyes. I like my hair. I like my neck. Meh. Hahaha and of course like anyone, complimenting your physical attributes didn’t last long for me. But you know what? I was calm. In that moment I didn’t look at myself with anger or disgust. I was just Eva.

I tried practicing this technique over the next few days. And even up until now. I even covered up my mirrors for a while and that helped me loads. Not being tempted to look at myself and pick apart my body.  I finally woke up one morning and felt amazing. I felt strong. I felt womanly. I could feel my body, full of curves and different colors and okay maybe some Autumnal leg hair but it felt GOOD. Lifting my head from the captivity of anxiety, I could see clearly. Not because I was free of my morphed beliefs. But because I finally tasted a spoonful of believing I was beautiful. And with that liberation I could see it. I could see past the Body Dysmorphic. 

I hate to shatter the glass.  It isn’t a guarantee that I’ll never suffer again. But the next time a mirror presents itself, and maybe that day I’m bloated, maybe that day my body hadn’t been to the gym in a week…I’ll be ready. I don’t want to look like Gigi Hadid. Even though we’re tempted by social media and all the shit out there. Keep strong friends. Cut the bullshit. Give yourself at least that. Believe that you are incredible the way you are. Believe that those thighs are beautiful. Your smile is beautiful. Believe that despite anything, you are made uniquely and you are sexy, stunning and strong. Maybe then you’ll see it clearly. Maybe then, you’ll see what matters.

 

E x 

Do you have a self-compassion deficiency?

*sigh*

Well, it’s been a while hasn’t it?  I have no excuse other than the lack of creativity haha. There has been this over-emotional bug in my system for the past few weeks and it’s been eating at my desire to believe I have anything interesting to say.  I’ve slowly gotten over it.  I came to realize that when I may go through stages of ‘being down’ that it isn’t the end of the world.  In fact, it’s those testing trials that allow me to understand myself more.  And with this chapter of life, I could write a book with how much I’ve learned.  

And I wanna share with you what I’ve come to terms with.  

I am slowly walking through the journey of accepting my body.  It is a tragically beautiful walk, but with my friends by my side I know I am not alone.  I understand how powerful it is to be a woman.  To have curves, to have hormones, to have breasts, to feel strong, to feel fragile, to cry, to belly laugh and my goodness so much more.  I’m slowly teaching myself self-compassion.  Which is a weird concept.  Aren’t we always the first to criticize and bully ourselves? It’s a safety thing.  We bully ourselves the best and then no one can tell us what we don’t already know

^ Speaking on that last sentence, what we think doesn’t always mean its true. Let me give you an example.  For those who suffer with body-dysmorphic, you may understand that the body and appearance you do have is different than the one you see in the mirror.  You already have a pre conceived image of yourself.  It can be anything.  I have fat arms. I have flabby love handles. I have a weird shaped face.  BUT, the people who love you would never tell you those things…simply because they don’t see it.  Burn your microscope.  Burn the assumptions.  Another example… ‘I texted her and she responded like that which means she's mad at me she has to be because earlier that day I responded to something she said weird and blah blah blah’.  STOP.  And start deconstructing your thoughts. I wake up in the morning, stretch and look in the mirror. ‘Ugh. I need to go to the gym. I look fat.’ But then I practice the technique.  Challenging my thoughts.  Deconstructing my thoughts. ‘Well, just because I think I’m fat it doesn’t mean it’s true.’ It sounds silly. But I promise you.  The power of speaking with self-compassion to yourself is something that will be strange.  We need to become more familiar with that language.  

Also, how many of you still micro manage every part of your life? I found myself starting to.  Micro-managing everything I said to people, how I said it, and then creating scenarios of ‘what could’ happen. It’s tiresome.  Micro managing everything from my calorie intake to how my arms look in a certain top.  I asked myself a few days into my funk…why am I giving these insignificant bits so much weight? I didn’t figure out the answer. I kind of realized I didn’t need the answer to come out of the other end stronger.  And that’s what I did.  I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that everything that I was, wasn’t good enough. I know. I’m preaching to the choir. Everyone is insecure.  And isn’t that the root of it all? 

Isn't insecurity so present in our lives? Doesn't insecurity sometimes drive us to be better and also drive us away from the important issues at hand? Im starting to force myself to acknowledge the hard truths of my short comings.  BUT, splitting the difference. I don't need to micro manage myself.  I don't have the control to manage anything outside of my reach.  However, I do have the power to control my reaction.  I have the power to control my perception of life and how I choose to live out each day to its utmost potential. Same goes for relationships.  I have the power to call my friends and meet up with them.  Rather than assuming they wouldn't want to hang out with me because I'm 'down'.  See what I mean now? Why do we allow ourselves to fill our brain and body with this toxic smoke?

I found simple techniques helpful.  But I'm open to how YOU train your heart to be compassionate. What are some ways you've learned to overcome micro-managing your insecurities and began to appreciate yourself? 

I know this may seem like a random, off spin and miscellaneous post.  But for me these are the main issues that have been circling my brain over the past few weeks. I love you guys.  Be kind to yourselves.  

 

E x

YOU >

The rain today in Manhattan for me, is overdue.  I was caught in the thick of it coming from soul cycle as I made my way back home.  It gives me a cleansing feeling. I'm hyper-creative under a wet grey sky.  My head seems to come from out of my own ass and back straight atop of my shoulders.  Yes, you read that correctly. MY OWN ASS.

The Tony’s were incredible! It’s hard to describe. It was such an eventful evening. I find myself remembering the least impressive moments to be burned on my brain; shoving cake pops in my mouth at the Plaza with my boy, getting my makeup done before the performance and the utter happiness of seeing friends scattered about the night.  

Well, understandably you may ask….now what? Truthfully, I don’t know.  And guess what? That’s okay.  Why is it that the unknown is so terrifying? Why is it that when someone doesn’t go ‘by the book’ it’s already doomed? It’s already off course.  Already a failure.  It’s simply not true.  The brilliance of humanity is that we seem to find happiness and stability despite whatever path we choose.  No matter where we live, what we do, who we love and how we prepare for the future.  With the word, ‘stability' I don’t mean financially.  I don’t mean relationally.  I mean finding your own unique balance throughout your life.  

Think of a dancer.  Without strengthening their core, a dancer cannot perform to their full abilities or extensions.  They can raise their arms and kick their legs all they want…but to do so with strength and grace it couldn’t be possible without a solid core.  In my life I see my core as a number of things; my heart, my instinct, my brain, my psychological and my physical health.  When life throws shit my way the reaction I have has the power to either grow me or pull me back. And I’ll easily admit…I’m not the best at reacting.  I’ve gotten better.  When I saw the pictures from the Tony’s I could’ve easily sank into my dark place and brood about the fat spilling from my armpits and my crooked teeth showing from my ‘bad side’.  But.  I breathed. I had my small moment of looking at the picture.  Closing my eyes and telling myself, “YOU ARE MORE THAN THIS.”  And it worked.

It’s taken me years to learn how to do.  I’m not master at it.  But it freaking worked.  I didn’t want to spoil those amazing memories with the worry of not looking how I should’ve.  And to what standard was I holding myself? A Victoria’s Secret Model?? (shut up you know you love them too) Well, yes. There’s no such thing as truly believing your beautiful only IF you look like someone else. IF I’m the same dress size as so-and-so then I’ll be beautiful.  It’s fake. False. Wrong. 

AND YOU ARE MORE THAN THAT.

Let that be the repeated phrase of this blog.  I see you all on instagram and twitter.  We make up the hundreds of thousands of followers that the Jenners have.  That Chrissy Teigen and the endless 'fitspiration' models have.  Following them isn't the problem.  It’s using them as a standard.  Using celebrities as your bar of beauty and bar of acceptance? How is that fair to you? To be honest…it has nothing to do with you. The celebrities’ job requires them to be beautiful and current.  Sometimes to maintain their social status no matter what they have to compensate;  nose job + (any facial surgery) = success. Or maybe social media in general is all too much? Fine. Great. Delete it all and give yourself a break. You deserve it.  You have the blessed choice to love yourself as you are.  With no one else in the picture.  With no one else to compare yourself too. In fact, how wonderful would it be to look at an old picture of yourself and see it with love and say, ‘Wow. Look how far we’ve come.’

Again, you have no idea how shocked I was (and still am) at the amount of emails you guys are sending me and how they are full of vulnerability and honesty! I am so proud of you all! Really. I may not know you, but I love you very much.  Without you guys I would not be where I am today.  And I hope we can continue to walk this together. I never want you to feel scared to approach me or talk to me.  It’s an honor to be where I am today. 

In the meantime, I wish everyone an amazing weekend. If I can challenge you with anything it's filtering your social media. Seriously.  Celebrities that have nothing but a negative affect on you NEED TO GO. Buh-bye. Unfollow.  Not sure if it’s a negative page? If you scroll through the pictures telling yourself you'll never be that beautiful and because you don't mirror him/her you're already a failure then CLICK UNFOLLOW.  Also for those of you with an amazon account check out Audible. You can sign up for free as a trial and then pay a sensible monthly membership fee. Needless to say, I am obsessed now with audiobooks. My recommendation to YOU is “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown. (see image) It is incredible and has infiltrated parts of me that I didn’t know were thirsty and exposed. Top five life changing books.

Available on Audible.com through Amazon

Available on Audible.com through Amazon

Well that’s that.  Talk soon you beauties.

E x 

DEVIN ILAW

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GUILTY PLEASURE: BACKSTREET BOYS

JUNK FOOD: WINGS AND A PIZZA. FULL MEALS. 

CELEBRITY CRUSH: MILO VENTIMIGLIA

HOLIDAY DESTINATION: MACHU PICCHU OR GREECE

SPIRIT ANIMAL: OWL

 

 

 


E: So, Devin...What do you love most about theatre?

D: You can learn a lot about real life and your life by watching other peoples lives. And it doesn’t have to be real but it can be real to you and I love that.

E: Same with performing?

D: I love being able to inhabit other peoples lives and being able to live out realities that are not mine.  Exploring different life paths that may never be mine.  Also trying to bring a life to life, and imagining someone fully. It’s so fascinating to me because it helps me meander my own life offstage.

E: So you find connections between performing and real life as Devin?

D: Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes it doesn’t manifest itself until years later.  I look back at a performance and I go ‘oh wow” i was going through that at that time in my life. Or I understand this now. And it totally enriches your experience all around of both the show and then yourself in your life. And it makes you far more forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes and also understanding of yourself when you make achievements in your life.

E: You’ve got a positively potent energy. How important is energy to you and can you describe what energy you bring?

D:  I think in color often. I love blue. Not because its sad, because it’s calming and surrounding. I was told in college, that I was very yellow. I was very ‘celebration’ and ‘springtime’ and I loved the idea, not of being green but being two separate colors that can be looked at so differently- like yin and yang. A dark and bright that work together, that don't blend to become green but are actually coexisting.  I like thinking of my energy like ‘okay, are you feeling fiery and red now?’ I can put it to use at work or let that subside so I’m not letting my emotions take control.

For my room, I try to space clear once a week, with sage to release good intentions in the space. I try to share that energy with everyone who comes in. I love an idea of an open door policy.  Keeping the door open lets my good energy profade into the space, but also to share it with others and let them share it on as well. Of all the things in my life that make me centered and happy in life are people. People are always welcome. They see pictures of people who make me happy and remind me of good times in life. Also diffusing different essential oil depending on my mood. I love the Young living Sacred mountain oil right now - really calming.  

Some of Devin's pictures in his dressing room.   

Some of Devin's pictures in his dressing room.   

E: How are you able to prepare yourself for the show?

D: That’s case by case. There’s no formula. Cause you never really know. There are days when you feel really off and you say ‘it’s probably the weather’.  There are some days when you can turn it off, go to the gym, build up some good positive energy and come to work and beat it.  Some days you just want to stew and allow yourself to feel down, and have a good cry even if you don’t know why you’re crying! There are some times when you don’t have to beat it.  I try to meditate twenty minutes a day to step outside myself and watch myself and observe and question, ‘where are you at today?’ But that doesn’t mean answer it…just notice it. I think one technique I work on is called noting (Nod to the Headspace App!) You note, ‘oh I’m not where I am right now, I’m just thinking about something else…oh. Suddenly I know exactly where I am right now.’ You acknowledge it and move on rather than become overcome by it.  I like routine. I diffuse my oils, I turn on my humidifier and I steam for ten minutes.  These things help me feel ready for the show.

E: How do you cool down after a show?

D: I’m lucky that I end relatively early in the show during Act II.  I try to eat something. I have a couple of books that I try to read. I try NOT to go on social media, but you do sometimes.  I try to get back to normal.  Sometimes you get caught in the show or what’s going on within the show.  Even the stresses of the day.  I realize its almost over.  

The handsome actor in his reading nook.  

The handsome actor in his reading nook.  

E:  How has performing changed you?

D:  It’s made me so much more empathic and understanding of others.  You can watch the characters and what they do to you in your real life. A show does that sometimes.  You find it within your vessel and making it real. Especially when you're doing a really down show that requires a lot of depth, pain and hurt..it’s in those moments where it might bring you to a place where you’re dark in your own life.  And you stop and say, ‘OMG I understand that in other people so much more.’  And it It makes you not only forgiving, but understanding and also supportive of people.  Or when you’re in that place.  Also kindness. Not only to yourself but in everything you do.  This business is huge on criticism.  Sometimes its so hard to find that encouragement.  Art is hard work.  Because thats when you start to question how it’s affecting you and affecting other people.  

E:  What’s something about you that most people won’t know?

D:  The first thing that comes to mind is that I have a lot of depth, but that comes from a lot of pain. But I think people see and understand that.  Secondly, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life and in my life.  And its not a down thing. It’s kind of wonderful. I’m trying to keep all my horizons open to see what I want to do artistically. But also where do I want to go, who do I want to meet, who do I want to be in my life? Now I see free form is so much better then structure.  

E:  Amazing. I love that.  Now to close out…if you were to have a quote that represents you what would it be?

D:  Oh God. A single word. Mabuhay. It’s Tagalog. Long life. Good life. Live your life. Life is good. Make life worth it.  

Devin Ilaw is currently playing Thuy in Broadway’s Revival of Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre.  He plans to get a tattoo of Mabuhay repeated in the handwritten script of his loved ones.

 

 

 

Cutting Through the Noise

Last Tuesday May 2, 2017;  I, Eva Noblezada was nominated for a Tony award.  

A TONY award.

Personally, it’s overwhelming in the best way.  And with all the business that comes with awards season, I’m doing my best not to get lost in all of the noise. I’ll only say this; for me THIS is a win. Just the recognition for the show.  For my colleagues and all of the work put into it.  I am not only surprised but hugely hugely thankful to even be on Broadway.  So to be nominated is beyond words.  I immediately see my supportive family.  They’re my rock.  My colleagues in every show I’ve been in.  You know who you are. The family and friends I made in London.  My beautiful souled boyfriend.  That’s who it’s for.  

That’s all you’re going to hear about it okay? 

Okay. Now to what I wanted to write about.

I absolutely love getting to meet everyone here.  Theatre goers, actors and performers and so many more sassy New Yorkers that make me feel at home.  Home.  That’s something that I am always asked. 

“How are you liking New York?” I’m always asked.  

And when I first moved here my immediate reaction was, “It’s amazing! I love it!”

But I hate to break it to you.  I like it.  But I’m sorry NYC…it’s not love.

I understand I haven’t been here too long.  I haven’t made my trek to Harlem yet, I don’t know where my favorite deli is and I hate Times Square.  I was wondering for ages, ‘why don’t I feel at home?’ 

You may or may not know that I left a massive piece of my heart in London.  Everything about that city I fell in love with.  The people, the food, the atmosphere and lifestyle and my favorite little spots.  

I’ll tell you something that not many people know…that first year in London I was only seventeen. I was a baby.  Most of you may think that would be the best year of my life.

 It wasn’t. It was the toughest.  

A seventeen year old girl.  Not yet woman, not yet understanding how living an independent life works to her own advantage.  Not even knowing how to do her own laundry.  I was stood in front of a mirror, literally and had each and every single one of my flaws exposed.  

“FAT”, “UGLY”, “UNQUALIFIED”, “UNTALENTED”, “TOO YOUNG”, “CHUBBY”, “UNDESERVING”.

 I heard all of my demons screaming at me from every direction.  And I listened to them for the next few years. It took me a long time to tear myself away from self-deprecation.  I know we all fall victim to it. I know I’m not the only one.  But how was I going to make the most of that amazing opportunity that had been put in front of me?

Look, I’m still figuring it out.  But I did manage to hold onto several things that got me through that tough period.  

I WILL NOT COMPARE MYSELF TO ANYONE ELSE. This is something I tell everyone. It’s only natural to compare yourself to others, but it shouldn’t be. We are all born with so many strengths and individual beauty.  I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit and self love.  Speaking of love.

LOVE YOURSELF MORE IN ORDER TO LOVE OTHERS.  RuPaul has made his tagline famous and I obviously completely agree. You can’t give anything to anyone else without filling yourself up first.  You are more important than you believe you are.  You are more beautiful than you think you are.

I AM F*&$@%G BEAUTIFUL.  Okay. This one is the hardest.  And even though I still struggle with all of these mini challenges, I find this one the worst.  You may look at yourself and tell yourself that you’re ‘too’ different. Whatever the hell that means haha. But we ALL do it. We’re always not good enough.  We’re always too much of something we don’t like.  Step back.  When you put a 10x mirror scope on your insecurities of course you’ll feel smaller.  I’m telling you this now. You will never look like that (photoshopped and fake) woman on the magazine.  And that is a GOOD thing. Will forcing change on yourself make you happy? 

As silly as I am, sometimes by saying I wish I looked like that so-and-so bikini model I know deep down that I would never ever be truly satisfied.  The day I learned how to love myself and my body, I saved so many tears. (I'm still learning;) ) So many wasted moments to enjoy my life and let irrelevant things like dress size determine how I live to my potential. 

Don’t think I’m steam rolling anxiety, eating disorders or any other demons that hold you back.  I suffered with bulimia from sixteen to nineteen.  So bad at one point I couldn’t sing for two weeks because of all the damage I had done to my throat and vocal chords.  I stand with you guys.  You are not alone.  But you are also the only person who can truly love yourself. 

Now after reading this let me ask YOU something.  

What changes can be made? We can’t immediately change what Vogue photoshops. (& I’m an avid Vogue reader so I get it) How can we influence others? And more importantly, what inspires YOU to love yourself? For me it’s yoga. It’s a good bottle of Malbec and good conversation. It’s finding new hobbies. It’s my friends and family. Tell me what makes you feel at peace. Books? Crafts? Music? TELL ME TELL ME by going to the contact page.  

Well, then. Until our next chat.

E x 

Bonjour. Read me.

Hey, everyone.  
I firstly want to thank you for taking the time to see what this blog/vlog is about.  I have always wanted to write.  I've always wanted to share my story and my experiences. But this isn't just about me.  
This is for YOU.
What can we do together? In our world today where love and empathy are so scarce, it's vital that we keep an open dialogue.  An honest one, too.  Stop branding yourself. Stop believing that you aren't good enough.  Start remembering that with your imperfections, creative passions, faults, gifts and ideas that you are not alone.  
In this blog you'll find many wonderful things like videos, interviews and fun pictures.  One of the things I'm most excited about are some of the blogs being sent in from some of my best friends from around the world.  
Top of the list is the gorgeous Celinde Schoenmaker.  
She is currently playing Christine Daee in the Phantom of the Opera in the London's West End.  She sings, she takes pictures and her knowledge and open honesty is something we all need.  I know you'll latch onto her gorgeous mermaid-like appearance and fiery Goddess personality like I did! 
Anyway, I hope this page brings you joy and laughter as I know it will to me.  Enjoy.
E x