Casa DeConfidence Podcast

Ep6 Valerie Hager-Confident Director, Writer, Performer.

May 10, 2020 Valerie Hager Season 1 Episode 6
Casa DeConfidence Podcast
Ep6 Valerie Hager-Confident Director, Writer, Performer.
Casa DeConfidence Podcast
Ep6 Valerie Hager-Confident Director, Writer, Performer.
May 10, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Valerie Hager

Valerie Hager is a writer-performer, director, movement artist, and former exotic dancer. She’s written six solo shows that have been produced in the US, UK, and Europe. She has been profiled by and reviewed in The New Yorker, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Time Out New York, Time Out Chicago, and many more. Naked In Alaska, her autobiographical solo play about her experience stripping in Alaska, has received rave reviews and been performed over 65 times for over 6,000 audience members. Awards include Edinburgh Fringe (Pick of the Fringe), New York City Fringe (Best Solo Show Award), Chicago Fringe (Audience Favorite Award), and GendErotica Festival (Featured Headliner). She performed Naked In Alaska at the Conference in 2016, and in 2017 the show received a month-long run, produced by Jess Hanna, at Bootleg Theater.
Her earliest training came working with her father, renowned San Diego mime Jerry Hager, as his silent sidekick Punky the Clown. Later, she continued to train in mime and movement under Rick Wamer (protégé of Marcel Marceau). More recently, Valerie has been working with individual women to develop and direct their solo shows.

Show Notes Transcript

Valerie Hager is a writer-performer, director, movement artist, and former exotic dancer. She’s written six solo shows that have been produced in the US, UK, and Europe. She has been profiled by and reviewed in The New Yorker, The New York Daily News, The Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Time Out New York, Time Out Chicago, and many more. Naked In Alaska, her autobiographical solo play about her experience stripping in Alaska, has received rave reviews and been performed over 65 times for over 6,000 audience members. Awards include Edinburgh Fringe (Pick of the Fringe), New York City Fringe (Best Solo Show Award), Chicago Fringe (Audience Favorite Award), and GendErotica Festival (Featured Headliner). She performed Naked In Alaska at the Conference in 2016, and in 2017 the show received a month-long run, produced by Jess Hanna, at Bootleg Theater.
Her earliest training came working with her father, renowned San Diego mime Jerry Hager, as his silent sidekick Punky the Clown. Later, she continued to train in mime and movement under Rick Wamer (protégé of Marcel Marceau). More recently, Valerie has been working with individual women to develop and direct their solo shows.

Julie:   0:00
I'm so excited you're here. Thank you again. Oh, my gosh, I can't I can't wait for this time together because I think it's gonna be super fun.

Julie:   0:09
Welcome to the cause of the confidence podcast. A podcast for women, about going in the direction of their dreams and the confidence takes to reach them. I'm your host, Julie Collins. I am a dreamer, A traveler visionary. Risk taker. I am a lover of books, activists, land and, most of all, a supporter of women. If you stumble into a casa first, welcome. If you've been here before, I'm so glad you're back. Grab your drink of choice. Battle in. Make yourself I, Dan. Julie. What do you look so happy tonight?

Julie:   1:09
I had my cup full of joy. Inspiration in girl talk?

Dan:   1:18
Well, by the looks of it at 7:30 p.m. At night. Your cup is full of something else too.

Julie:   1:24
Yeah, I've been drinking coffee and it's

Dan:   1:26
late. Wow. Yet again breaking your rules,

Julie:   1:31
I'm becoming a coffee person, and it's becoming a habit. I

Dan:   1:36
guess Maybe that's your new normal.

Julie:   1:39
You know, I've been taking magnesium to go to sleep, and I usually take magnesium, but I switched the brands of the magnesium, and it's actually making me sleep quite soundly.

Dan:   1:49
Oh, that's great. But then again, it

Julie:   1:52
just could be this new normal, and we'll go back to the old normal soon.

Dan:   1:58
So your cup is filled today, and I know you're talking about something else. So we this have something to do with our guest today?

Julie:   2:06
Yes, our guest today is a fantastic artist performer, writer, director in just whimsical friend.

Dan:   2:19
And what's her name?

Julie:   2:19
Her name is Valerie Hager. We were at her wedding and she was at ours. So as you know, Valerie is a wonderful, colorful personality, and every bit of her is raw and honest and open. The conversation did have some moments in which we talked about very serious stuff. I would recommend anyone that has little years to definitely use of discretion. We talk about a little bit of her experiences in the past, and perhaps there some families that are not discussing this type of thing with their Children yet, because again, everybody makes the choice as to what is right for their families. I do believe the conversation is important. What we're talking about is very timely and it broaches the subject that everyone should really not shy away. You know me. I believe that when you don't talk about something, you become complicity. And I believe that there's nothing wrong with dialogue in open and honest and upfront conversation.

Julie:   3:32
I am going to do my best introduce you because I'm pretty biased. I know you. It's a dear friend. We brought each other's wedding, and you are married to one of the most delightful people that I know and that, you know, I just I'm honored to know both of you. So, Valerie, you are a director, a writer, a performer. Ah, woman of on a mission to empower other women. And you are like a fairy. And I love you and again. So why don't you tell me a little bit about Valerie? And why don't you introduce yourself to the audience?

Valerie:   4:06
Okay. Well, you did such a great job. Thank you so much. And really, that is my practice. For the last I would say decade has been in autobiographical storytelling of my own and then working with other women, helping them to bring their personal her stories to the page and then to the stage. And that has, um, Overtime turned into directing women's pieces outside of working on my own. Um Co. Sort of writing them with women and also teaching workshops around personal hit her story telling and how we can tap into our stories for our bodies. Um, and so there's been like an accumulation of creation, collaboration and movement in all kinds of different ways.

Julie:   5:00
Yeah, that's that's so cool, because I think that I definitely have seen and I've known you for approximately that amount of time, and I have seen the evolution, and I have seen the amazing Soto metamorphosis that you have made in life, and I know that there's been challenges overall, but mostly you, you definitely continue to reinvent and continue to find what the next step for you is. One of the things that I wanted to talk about is that you started performing at an early age, and one of the things that you and I have in common is that we're both influenced by our dads. You want to talk a little

Valerie:   5:41
bit about that? Yes, sure, that's so sweet. So I did start performing with my father, who is a professional mine. And he's also solo show artist and director teacher on. And he started performing, you know, in the late seventies, and his work started with working with developmentally disabled kids and adults, and he found this way to tap into, um, a way to tap into their hearts. And this that's where it all started for him. And it just evolved over time. And I was five years old when I was first starting to perform with him these outside arenas and his name was kazoo, the mind at the time. And I was punky, the clown conch a the clown clown. And I was like a little mini me of him. And I imagine that on some kind of, you know, level subconscious level that I was really inspired at this age, you know, watching my dad perform for people and seeing them smile and seeing how people would light up just by him, you know, being his best self. And so I think it really did start at that at that young age and also because he's a mime and movement artist. I think that that really played a crucial role in, um what? I ended up doing for the trajectory of my life? Um, all of it, you know, including pre, um, creating solo show work and everything, then influence that that, um, you know, was off the beaten track. But definitely, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Julie:   7:26
Yeah, I, um I think that those early influences, right and seeing someone go after their passion in being who they are having impact and create that in essence, muscle memory in our hearts. And And we learned to weigh, learned to pursue that. Now, what would you say to someone, for instance, that didn't have that type of lasting in impactful influence in their lives? What? What would be something that you say to someone that maybe didn't have someone like that?

Valerie:   8:02
I mean, I can only speak from my own experience, and I did have a connection with my dad at a young age, but I didn't have Ah, let's say, um there was a lot of turmoil that was going on at the same time. So the and I don't at all put any of this like I don't blame my parents or just sort of just was what it waas that I was going back and for us and that, um there was a long period of time that I didn't see my dad and that I was living with my mom and my except dad and my dad, um, remarried and had three boys, and there was a lot of those periods of time from, like, um, seventh grade Teoh. You know, senior, uh, you know, 12 corridor, whatever. Where it was tumultuous. Where I was by myself a lot when I was a latchkey kid, where I didn't really have that Those glimpses of inspiration that I'm talking about when I was five. So it's not like I'm talking from the perspective of, you know, um, and take it, friends and all of that kind of stuff, you know? But I would just say that there was a lot of stuff that happened, you know, Um and I think that looking back, all I can say is, if I would, I would have said to myself then was just hold out like, just hold out and just know like, I know you're gonna know. I know you're gonna think that sounds cliche, but just know that all of this stuff that you think is your defeat and the things that make you ugly or different or literally going to be the things that are your gold dust, Like everything you know that I thought made me, um, you know, on one Ted. Now, as I've grown and I've become this more evolved artiste, I understand that those dark spots are actually the cracks into the light. Um, so I would just say to somebody fine outside and for inspiration if you don't. If you haven't had a glimpse of inspiration from your own immediate situation finding outside, find it outside of whatever your situation is find it through Googling people who may inspire you, Find it through nature. Find it. You know, through books find find it through imagination. I'm get through moving your body, find it through yourself, you know?

Julie:   10:46
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that I I know that for me and many women, we have a tendency to want a show or portrayed this perfect pull together person and persona. And we're so afraid of the dark side and afraid of the crazy and afraid of the of the things that we feel that don't measure up and I think that what I've learned is in Burnett Brown talks about this, right? That that shame embracing it is actually would creates more power within you to to become into stepped fully into who you're meant to be in. I know that in my life I've suffered from shame, right. Shame over. Maybe being overweight would be one of them. Right? And I know that, you know, you identified with with body issues as well and we we tend to not want toe put that story out there. However, those are the things that when we connect to the rial ness of it helps us actually in the trajectory to becoming more empowered to achieve our dreams. Which is say that you can relate to that.

Valerie:   12:09
Yeah, I can relate to that. I was also looking over some of my favorite books before this call and one of the things that just going on what you're talking about one of the things that really saved my life in the Sun's was when I waas seeing a somatic therapist and somatic therapist for anyone that doesn't know is like a it's a body centred approach to therapy man. Basically, this amount of practitioner uses exercised and physical techniques to release tracks trauma are trapped. Tension. And so for someone like I was an exotic dancer for over 10 years, among other things, like you go there later. But this really tapped into, uh, all of that stuff that I didn't realize. I was trapped in my body and those trapped parts of my body had stuck to say And they had Ah, they had been pushed in corners or corked or, you know, shut over. And it was when I started to realize that it was about it wasn't about how you know, how a hop psychology used to say, like, just tell the boys to shut up. It wasn't it has not it for me. Actually, I needed to embrace and listen to those voices that I feel live at the bottom of my womb. And I needed you make space Teoh here, the one that you know is raging and, you know, once toe hot herself or hit a wall or, you know, the one that is, you know, wanting to feel sorry and like, drink her woes away, you know, or the one and these are all like aspects of myself that I realized through this kind of therapy. But if I could start to actually close my eyes, shut my eyes and see shut my eyes and seed and go down into the belly of my will and listen to those fragmented parts and start to hear what it was that they needed me to tend Teoh. Then I could slow, slow, start to thread together the whole of the woman that I know I am Dustin to be. But I can't skip over that part right. Well,

Julie:   14:31
I think you know, you hit the nail on the head. We we can't skip the process of the pain and we can skip the process of feeling the feeling's right, feeling the sadness, feeling the the whatever inadequacies, the pain or the trauma, right, depending on the person, the circumstances in really embracing all of those the good, the bad, the ugly, the not so sexy are the things that actually help us. Like you said, put together the piece of the puzzle and I think that I see that in my life, right and in I've people from the outside may see one picture, but I know that there is so many different puzzle pieces that make up who I am in. I need to In order to be more fully who I am, I need to be able to say, Hey, that puzzle piece, that is this ugly thing I need to embrace that. And I need to bring it to the forefront in order to be who I am in order to be whole and and And I love that, um, so thank you. I think that that's thank you for being so vulnerable in that respect. Now, you touched upon, um, one of your You're a background in your life that I think, um, you have definitely taken that part of your life, embraced it, and then you also have used it to and again. I was lucky enough to have seen you perform this and is

Dan:   16:09
to this

Julie:   16:09
day, and I'm a theater buff. I love theater, and it's probably one of my top five shows. And as far solo performances, it's probably the number one, Valerie. And because I have seen you just transform it, transport me to a new place. So tell me and tell our audience because obviously they don't know what I'm talking about. So tell us about some of your history. And how did you come to be regarded as hold on? Um, having the most celebrated show in three countries?

Valerie:   16:49
One more four even

Julie:   16:51
better. Okay, sorry. Four countries. So how did you get to write and perform the most celebrated shore in four countries?

Valerie:   17:00
Um, that's amazing that you said the most celebrated. I'm just gonna take it. Let's just take it most. So

Julie:   17:07
it is the most celebrated as far as I'm concerned, And I think the audience will know why. Go ahead.

Valerie:   17:13
Ok, so I, um uh let's see, I grew up in Santiago, um, on Lee Child and then ended up having 3/2 brothers. But before all of that, I struggled a lot of probably started around 14. 13 14 with body dysmorphia and bulimia, and that just kind of went into cutting and a lot of self destructive stealth painting. Um, you know, ways of dealing with things I didn't know how to deal with and the living environment. It just you know, it just waas I didn't know how to talk to, um I didn't know how to talk to the relationship that my mom and I had, which was a big struggle for both of us. And I didn't know how to talk. Teoh, um you know what was happening with my dad and his new family and not feeling a part of that school and really feeling like I was on the fringe and I felt fat and ugly and you know that I was worthless. I was not doing good in school. Um, I was isolating a lot. I would come home, be by myself, and then I would just kind of fall into all of these self destructive habits, and I trusted no one. And I really didn't really feel like I had a lot of friends. And so that just evolved. And I discovered meth, and I was like, Oh, cool, I can take this drug and it could make me skinny and give me a superpower that I'm craving, and that really doesn't last very long at all. I mean, literally, it doesn't last more than a day for me, and then after that, it was like trying to catch up to what that first experience Waas. And it just kind of goes down into this limitless dark rabbit hole, um, of destruction. And it was just spinning in these circles of, you know, drugs and affliction addiction. 14 15 16 17 18. And I had some situations in high school where I was raped and I was sexually assaulted two more times. And that was a time before me, too. We weren't talking about that stuff. We were. Nobody was saying, Oh, yeah, you know, you you should share your story. They were saying, Well, you shouldn't have worn that. You shouldn't have taken that drink. You shouldn't have fallen asleep next to that guy. You know, it just it's your fault. That's and it's your fault. And so I believed all of that stuff, not just fed into the shame that I already had around my body and myself were. And that then spiraled into an addiction where I think God hit a bottom and got clean and sober from drugs and you know, then I found stripping and I was like, This is awesome. I can make lots of money. I can sort of, you know, feel like star I can perform, and I can start to build confidence in myself that I didn't have and it worked for a while and tell it, Tell it dinner and then everything I had been running from before just caught up with me tenfold. You know, there I waas in this I'll never forget in this club in L. A. Flash forward over 10 years later and I'm dancing for this man and I I know some of me knows that he is completely assaulting me in this moment, and no security guard is caring and in another part of me is completely disassociated and is watching this happen, and the one that it's happening, Teoh is not able to speak on the one that's hovering above is just like being the neutral observer, basically creating like Oh my God! And I realized that those kinds of situations have been happening for a while, and then I find it myself home sober but not remembering how I got home even though I had drinker anything, and I really well, actually, um, it just was enough, like it wasn't stripping, so I have nothing. I have lots of friends who were starters, and I think that it can be a really empowering job but for me, I started to go against who I waas in that environment, and I wasn't tending to my soul or taking care of myself. And so all of the toxicity that was happening around me, I didn't have any protection, protective field or any tools to know how to deal with it. And so I left after, you know, over 10 years. And that's when my deeper path towards healing my soul happened where, since I had always, always already been somewhat of a performer, Uh, I start. That's when I moved to well, I already lived in. That's when I started putting these stories to the page. I have no idea what I was doing. They were horrible. At first. I was literally writing about, you know, women that I had met in the clubs and then performing them at open mikes. I have no idea how Teoh right, a solo show, and it was just through practice and failing over and over again, and more practice and finding mentors and unkindly understanding what a story waas on, how to tell it and why it needs to be universal and what's different between a story, an anecdote and all of these things, I really started to get into the you know, the guts of it that I started to understand how to tell, basically what is now called naked in Alaska, which is an 85 minute one woman show about my experience stripping for over a decade. But in the show takes place in Alaska because I also danced in Alaska. And But I play, you know, like 15 characters on, Really, At its heart. It's a show about a young girl who, basically security asleep securitised Lee, you know, finds who she really is, um, in the darkest of places inside of herself that you could imagine. And, um, it's basically been amazing experience and then it two word for five years, and I closed it on purpose at its height in l. A. In 2017. And, um, since then I I I just finished. I've been writing a pilot, a TV pilot on their deciding on. I finished that, and by the way, my husband obviously well, that well, he's a director and co collaborator on that project as well as a pilot, and, um, it's just a beautiful coming of age story that let holds note that holds no punches.

Julie:   24:31
You I have to say the show for me. Um, really. Again, I had a very different upbringing from yours. But I connected to the to the insecurity of some of the characters, the vulnerability and some of the characters. And then I connected to the to the empowerment that some of the characters also were able to through whatever and again, you have to go through the process to gain that empowerment in definitely is relatable from so many different perspectives. And I think that we as women tend to make judgments that oh, I am different than X y c right. We tend to categorize ourselves or put ourselves in these silos, but overall we're very similar. Were the same. We we have dreams, aspirations, goals and securities. And I think that the more than we're open to seeing how somebody else moved forward and continue to become a better version of who they're meant to be in who they want to be way could learn a lot from each other.

Valerie:   25:46
Oh, no. And I also feel like just made me think up when you're talking how even though I was in those clubs for that time. And this is where you know these things were happening. I really feel like, no matter what job that I was working, that all that all that stuff would have still happened. But almost think they I was. Thank God that I actually was. It did happen in those clubs because it made it all happen faster. And it made it happen, you know, more gritty and tough and faster. So it was like, what could have taken 20 years for me to kind of like, get on the other side of it only took like, a 10.5 11. Because no matter what, I still was going into that place at that time with low self work, with unresolved shame with whoa! Feeling like I was on ugly duckling with nothing to offer to no one and seeking outside validation at all costs.

Julie:   26:50
Right? And that could be happening to a woman in the board room. A woman is going in and saying yes or trying to compromise who they are, what they believe in in the board room or in an office or at a store with a retail store with a work right, Because they have that low self esteem. They have that self worth That is not, um, high. Or they're saying in an abusive relationship, a marriage or they're not seeking to do the things that they know because they have that intrinsically as well.

Valerie:   27:20
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like Teoh What happened when I started telling these stories? Waas. At first it was cathartic for myself. But what happened? What really happened was when I started to realize that that what you said a little bit earlier, that there was a threat that it wasn't just my story. It was like her story, his story, her story, her story, his story, that it was all of our stories and that it was not necessarily like, you know, where it was, what happened. But it was the core of what one experiences and feels of of, you know, the details on. I feel like you don't have to be a performer. You don't have to be, you know, a storyteller. It can simply be, You know, you're sitting, you're with your at dinner with your friend and you're having a heart to heart. And you're just, you know, wanting to share your soul and remove the mask that this kind of social media frenzied kind of, ah, society that we live in It kind of, you know, it kind of like bullies Keep it like you can bully people sometimes short susceptible to that, you know, belong me different mass. It's like actually, we all want to see everybody with a max ripped off. That's what we want.

Julie:   28:42
I agree. And I think that, um I am hoping that is, all of us seem to be on the same boat right now, and I am not 100% sure when the office this episode is gonna be released. But we're going through the cove in 19 Crisis, and I think that all of us are sort of suffering and undergoing the same process I would equate, and I've heard it said by a couple of different people. But I agree with this that it's sort of a grieving process. We're going through the five stages of grief and the whole world is really again feeling the anger the, you know, incomprehensible, um, sadness for also what what has been lost. And I think that we're going to be a changed people overall. So I think that that's that's something being coming down the pipe. So But I want to talk about and I want to change the subject from, um this because you said that, um, you Well, you alluded to having a mentor. And I know that there several, probably several mentors in your life. But tell me who is your biggest mentor right now and or who inspires you the most and has given you, um, do the biggest inspiration to be who you are and go after your dreams.

Valerie:   30:04
Okay. I can't just say one person. Okay, so

Julie:   30:08
you can say a couple.

Valerie:   30:11
Oh, well, first, I mean, first, I have got, like, I really have to say my husband thought, um, because I met Scott, you know, like in 6 2007 or something like that. When I'm all I was in a transitional period when I started to step into this part that I am now, but I was at the beginning of it, and I remember when I moved in with spot. And this sounds like what it sounds like. What? Like before that point I was still practicing bulimia was still sneaking cutting. I was still doing that at, like, you know, 34 years old or whatever. And it was I met him. That 32. I think I was when I met him and I moved in with him. But I felt this safety to just kind of rest and who I waas. And it was like all of that frantic energy just melted away. And it was at that point that I begin to unravel slowly, slowly, into kind of like settle into who it waas that I could kind of, like start to see myself becoming and what has been like my number one collaborator. I've written six solo shows, and he's directed and co written each one of them. So we are collaborators. Were marriage partners were best friends, and we have definitely are issues like Don't get me wrong. I mean, come on, this we'll

Julie:   31:36
do is we'll do

Valerie:   31:37
Oh, but it's like, you know, I think that also he is, you know, um, you know, he's in graduate school to become a therapist. I met him and he was studying spiritual psychology, so he has a lot of deep sold, he offers. That helps me to kind of, you know, check myself on a daily basis on Look at my own reactivity and really, you know, try to be better, you know. So for you know, on a daily basis is it's my husband and on a pretty and on more of like a professional, you know, Level is a mentor that I have Susan Hyman Hoffman, who's been my mentor for the last two years, um, of really starting to figure out how to take naked in Alaska and make it into a TV pilot. And she has been my believing nearer, like from the get go of the freeze. I got that craze, by the way from Matt Hoberman, who was my 1st 11 person show teacher who was also a huge mentor, and the reason that I actually committed to naked in the last of the play because I reached out to him in New York in like 12 4013. Something like that. And he was like rallying behind me. And he had this phrase believing near, and I was this like Oh my God, and he was definitely a big believing you're for me.

Julie:   33:15
I love that. I think that if we could create a society or a group of people who walked around being believing mirrors for others, we could really continue to impact so many people and continue to change lives. And I think that sometimes we're so afraid of her own vulnerability that we're afraid of being that for somebody else. But I love that phrase. Um, I'm gonna I wrote it down because I want to be able to remember that

Valerie:   33:45
I love that price. And I feel like and and of course, you know, you know my dad, my mom, there's, you know, family. But in just keeping it rolled to these to these few, um, it's like I feel like the thing that they've offered each of them in their own different ways is none of them are just strictly cheerleaders. They they literally put me to the test to grow. They they have taught me that, you know, everything requires another at it. Another draft. And I'm not even just talking about writing down writing and storytelling. I mean, when when I think about having a tough talk with a person, you know, what it's like. OK, I've learned from these people through actually the craft of storytelling. You don't just blurt out what you say 1st 1st go Think about it. Digest it right The email Don't send it. Rewrite it Right it again. Put pen to paper, meditate on it, go for a job, Sleep. Wake up. How do you feel now? You know, and Scott taught me that, which is I'm so reactive and I am so I'm totally quick to anger and he's just kind of taught me, like open up your head for ice water down the top of it and just breathe before you, you know, take your fist out and punch someone. Not literally, but

Julie:   35:13
it's I think that, um I I am also married to someone who is not as quick to anger as I could be. And he he definitely has taught me a lot of tempering my reactions and in certainly one of the things that I am learning and like you said, right, there's a process if we whatever the circumstance is, affects us in all of a sudden, we think such and such person did that or this is this. Then our feelings are definitely gonna ignite in having passion inside as we will react based on that feeling and being able to step back, rethink and be in a clearer stead of mine and maybe thinking and one of the and And I know that this book is something that I've heard your reference before the before agreements, Right? You you you've got to believe that everybody is trying their best, and sometimes we make a lot of adjust. We make a lot of calls or we make a lot of judgments on people and react to that based on on how we think we're being wrong or or what not, but believing that everybody is trying their best and then coming back in shifting our our brain and then reacting based on a clearer mind tends to be

Valerie:   36:43

Julie:   36:43
good way to move.

Valerie:   36:45
I love that. And I went to this women's retreat not too long ago. Well before Kogan 19 like literally, I came back, and then we were in covert 19. I never got sick Faith Award, but But they were you know, the whole thing was about honoring Marion Woodman, who is basically kind of like a female version of car Leah. Yeah, all about. You know, the feminine, the dark, feminine, all of that. And one of the things that they were really talking about at the workshop was have a practice being really awake. Now it's like it sounds so simple, you know, body conscious. It sounds so simple, but actually, it's It's not, it's not. It requires work for me to actually say who's here if I'm walking down the street and some her scent and you know doesn't behave the way that I want them to, where they don't say hi back or whatever it is, you know one of those things, and I am not awake to who is running the show inside of me alls. One kind of response that's shitty back to them, right? I actually just have the space in between stimulus and response and basically take a moment, breathe and then asked myself Who is here inside of me and and really see from the outside what's happening Then it's starting to become conscious. I'm starting to become like an observer of what I'm doing instead of inside of something blinded that's still going on without me at all being in charge.

Julie:   38:27
Yep. I I love you. You made reference to the the Observer, right? The conscious observer. And And I think that in so many ways we are We're so program to be an auto pilot in our life, whether we way see it or not, we have tons of habits that impact how we go about our day in really bringing some intentionality and observing. Ah, lot of what we do in taking that moment does have an impact on how things may turn out during a conversation during an interaction and how we are showing up for ourselves and for other people. So I think that that's that's very important for sure. Um, are you confident?

Valerie:   39:19
I feel like I am. I am. I mean, I have my weak spots and I have days, you know, as everyone does. But I've done a lot of work, you know, And I It was a long road to hear. You know, as I say at the end of naked in Alaska, I think I say something like, you can't row yourself out of never land. You mean you can't You can't fly yourself. Sorry. You can't fly yourself out of Neverland. You have to row your ass back and it is a long row. It's a It's a never ending row. I still have plenty of flaws that I want to tend to and make more whole. But you know, from from all these years of, you know, therapy some, you know, somatic therapy, practicing my own spirituality. Inconsistent or not, I still practice it and finding mentors, reading books. Um, some of the ones that I love is lunch. I know you know, women who run with the wolves, Um, which is a great one. I also love the care of soul by Thomas More really great one and marry in Woodman's books are really how powerful and I feel like moving my body. Finding my own inner athlete and getting as healthy as I can from the inside out has made me the kind of woman that, as a kid, I always wished I would become It is not from the outside in so it never it hand all forever. On my best days at the Strip club, when I looked like you know, my version of J. Lo inside, I could be rotten at the core, you know, go always inside out. For me, that's the biggest lesson.

Julie:   41:20
Yeah, I think that in in many ways, through through my journey as well, I think that the places where I've struggled the most is when really the stuff inside is is sort of like that. That's saying at the back of the refrigerator that's been in there for a long time. It were afraid of Look, as we know, it's not gonna be good, but we don't have time to really clean it up, and we're pretending is not back there. I think that those heart places, but it's not until and their satisfaction and knowing that you actually did the work right and you cleaned up and you actually looked in and you did the work from the inside out and it becomes empowering for sure.

Valerie:   42:00
I think it does. On another thing, I alarmed from one of my mentors, who is my my somatic practitioner, is that tending to the small things. So it's like it's not just, you know, these big, you know, gigantic events. It's like the tiniest things. It's the like little voice inside of my head that tries to yank me over to the dark side and the small things of actually being awake toe when that comes in there and instead of letting it run, run wild, just tending to that to that moment and actually checking in, tending to the small things of how I wash myself in the shower. You know how it lotion on my body if it's itchy, You know what I mean? The time yesterday things, you know, why take the trash out or do I let it sit for days or whatever? You know what I need. And I feel like the tiniest of things could become the largest of things, and that's an ongoing process for me. But I you know that I all some days and I don't do so good at other dates and

Julie:   43:06
and again, I think that that's part of the process. And I think that, um, we we like I I realized there were a couple of days, Um and I I think sorry. Let me back up that we've talked a little bit about this offline. Um, I am, you know, was laid off through the crisis, and I immediately went into okay, what's next and started to is normally like, what in my direction and what are my dreams and or what do I need to do, right? In the last time I had undergone, I guess a crisis of sorts and that immediately went into autopilot was when I, um What? When I got divorced and you, you and Scott were there, right? You saw me go through that transition, and it was I did not allow myself right away to go through the fields of the grieving, the relationship changing What? What did that mean, Right and immediately went into action and fast forward to this situation. I saw myself doing the same thing, and for I would say a good maybe two weeks. I was in movement, and I realized that in that movement I was starting to neglect some of the little things, right. Like, my hands were so dry because I was washing them. I've been washing them a lot, but my hands were dry. And that action of, um of just taking care of the little things. And then I went into this. Um I had a day I had a date, like I decided it was my day of grief, and I let myself feel the fields. I let myself. I didn't get dressed. I stayed in my pajamas. I sat in front of television and and just grieved. And then I said, OK, it's enough. Let's move on in. We have to be able to, um, do do the little things because if we don't pay attention to the little things, it's easier to all of a sudden they snowball into the large things.

Valerie:   45:13
I totally agree. I mean, I feel like that plays out in my relationships and in my marriage, and and that stuff is hard, were the time and sometimes take the most amount of work when it comes to intimacy, when it comes to vulnerability, when it comes, well, you know, accepting responsibility. I'm talking for the tiniest of things, you know, it's easy to run over that and just be like, you know, Okay, you know, let's move on, move on. But it ultimately, you know, at the end of the day, it makes or breaks it, you know? Yep. Ho, to buy. Uh, it's like what? Work with what is rather than what you wish was there and I'm from Kara Vessel, but it's like work with what is rather than what you wish is there. And for me, that's been a huge thing That seems so simple. But it took me. I'm 45 June on June 29. It took me until in my forties until probably really two years ago really understand. And that's when I decided to stop performing naked in the last step and to go into another kind of medium that I have understood. But there was this whole grieving process around letting go performing this story, and I didn't even understand how deep all of that one, because for me, the people in the story worse impacted my life in ways that I can't get enough time to get into. So it was like I felt like I was leaving them. I was leaving you part of my life. I didn't want to let go, but I had been carrying around all of the stuff, my identity, a little bit of a block, and it was like when I started to really work with what Waas like. You said the grease, that's what's there. What's not. There is people applauding and receiving awards and having his continue over and over just like it always did. What was there was mess and grief and anger and confusion. And what the fuck do I do now and all of these others? You know what I mean? Adding into what was there, I started to go deeper, deeper down into my own womb and uncover all of the things that were still, uh, you know, scarred and cut that I thought were healed.

Julie:   47:40
Yeah, absolutely. I think that I working with what's their leads me to think that many women and and I I know I know many women who, for instance, are not satisfied with who they are in the you and I are writers. Many times I need to just get it out of my brain. I will write. But women sometimes were intimidated, right? Oh, I don't know what to say. I don't know what to write about or I don't know how to journal or its I'm afraid to uncover what's going to come out when I write. What would you say to someone like that?

Valerie:   48:24
Listen, I completely empathize with that because sometimes I don't want to write either. And there are days that go by that I just chuck my journal against the wall, like, figuratively not literally, but you any, like I don't want to write. So what I'll do is I'll go for a walk, all move my body. I will, you know, like that's literally what I dio. And that for me, has been more powerful. Sometimes that, for me is more powerful than putting pen to paper. You know, actually, just moving my body. And if I'm you know, if it's a person who doesn't do hit workouts or like, you know, crazy you know, you know, boot camp, literally getting up and shaking my arms out, shaking my legs like just moving all moving my body, throwing my head around, letting out sound, you know, stomping my feet, you know, yelling into a pillow. It's like basically the point of it is, is how do you penetrate through the steel wall that's in front of you and who you truly are, you know, So if you don't feel like writing, maybe maybe there's a part in you that's like, let me let me contra pillow. Let me scream into it, you know let me run in place for 30 seconds. Go crazy, right? Yeah,

Julie:   49:50
One of the best gifts I have gotten from Dan and he's a good gift giver. Is I? I got the apple home pod awful. And every once in a while, when I'm thinking or feeling just really stressed or a how to say and I'm not going to say her name. But Siri, I'll say, Hey, plead me whatever. And algebra and I have a playlist called Serotonin because it reminds me that I need a little serotonin two and moving my body, even if it's for the 22 minutes There were three that a song plays it makes makes a big difference. And it helps me, I think, also going for a walk as well. Like you said, I missed that about New York City. I know that some of my best thoughts happen while walking in Central Park or by by the Hudson when I lived in Brooklyn as well, because it was just a time in which you you are alone with your thoughts, and sometimes we want to run away. We want to listen to a pockets, and I'm love hoping that people listen to this podcast, and but I definitely I encourage everyone to also take the time to to not only move your body, but to really spend time with yourselves and your in your thoughts.

Valerie:   51:10
Yeah, because I feel like it's just like there's differently. There's different ways that people learn right result. There's different with nobody learning. Every person learns the same way. Not everybody is a visual learner, but there's different ways of backing the steel wall within. And sometimes that's writing. Sometimes that's drawing. Sometimes that's craft making. Sometimes that's moving your body and sometimes, well, the one thing that I realized sometimes it's just breaking messy like it doesn't need to be. I'm not talking about writing like writing in the lines you can write in circles. You can write big marker like I don't hair whatever you know. You can move like crazy, a turn on funky beats. It's like all this is about is coming alive. You know it doesn't have a right way or wrong way, and it doesn't ever look like nice Coming alive looks wild. Yeah, I think that's what everyone wants.

Julie:   52:17
I I agree in when you're when I'm hearing you speak. One of the things that I I I've read about you, um is that your show was fearless, candid and personal. But I think that aside from that being a description of your show, it really is a description of you and a description of everything that you're talking about that you go through when you do, in order to feel alive in for many women. I I'm hoping that we continue to create an environment through our actions through our time together that they can feel that they're going after their dreams. Ah, and whatever I might be, even if they don't think that and again, every dream is worth having, I believe. And I think that many women believe that Oh, I don't want to dream of writing own award winning show and it could be something small. But what is your advice for them?

Valerie:   53:19
I mean, I guess advice are things that have been said to me by my mentors. Which one of them, one of my sort of in our you know, gremlins or saboteurs is it's too late. It's two way. It's too late is too late because I started laid on almost everything. You know, I didn't get married till I was 36 I didn't really start creating my own the work until I was in my thirties. You know, before then I was, you know, hustling as an actor and trying to get everybody else is. You know, I speak for everybody else's words. So I think that one of the things I would say is it's never too late to be what you might have been, which is a quote that I love. And I think that you know what? It's never too late. It doesn't mean but it's gonna look like it would have looked like he would have started when you think you should have started. Like I told my family the other day, you know, had things gone differently In my younger years, I wish I would have been an Olympian, actually, you know, actually, more than anything, but it's never too late to be what I might have been applies to that, because I can still be the best athlete that I could be a 44 years old. I can still inspire 44 year old women to get up off them booties 50

Julie:   54:48
year old women to get off their booties girlfriend.

Valerie:   54:53
So it's like I may not ever be in the Olympics, but I can be my own Olympian within my community. Within myself I was like, It's never too late to be what I might have been on Lee applies if I don't try. Onley applies If I shut If I close my arms and turn my back against my own heart, you know and my brother have it up on my wall. I hear one of my brothers gave me this, um would plaque on any? Probably heard of it. It says Turn your demons and are in tow. Art your shadow into your friend your tears into fuel your mistakes into teachers on your weaknesses into reasons to keep fighting. Don't waste your pain. Recycle your heart at you're gonna make me

Julie:   55:41
cry That's beautiful. And I love it.

Valerie:   55:46
I love it. And I feel like that is basically in a nutshell. How why I'm still here. You know, I never finished college. I'm 44 years old. I'm going back to community college to finish my B A So what? So one. So what?

Julie:   56:08
I tell women. And I tell, you know, in the business world, and and even now in the mentoring programs and the things that I do, I say, you know, life is happening anyway.

Valerie:   56:21
That's right.

Julie:   56:21
So you you you have a choice. You can choose to say it's too late, like like you're saying and give up or you can decide why not, Right? I'm gonna go. Time is gonna happen anyway. What are you gonna do in 10 years? You're gonna look back and say, Oh, then it's too late,

Valerie:   56:40
right? That's the whole thing. And I took me a long time to get that that I was like, Oh, I'm saying this is too late. So so forget about it. But in two years, it's still gonna be there haunting me like this little warm Reaper. And I'm going to say, I could have already done what you know what I mean,

Julie:   56:59
right? Absolutely In I think that that is a valuable lesson for all of us, no matter what. And I It's one of the reasons I started this podcast, right? Like I've been thinking of doing a podcast for our ever, and I think, Oh, it's too late. Everybody's in the bandwagon, but it's It's my time in my I want to give back and I wanna be able to have a message for women that maybe not not everyone gets to hear.

Valerie:   57:29
I also know what you're talking to is really crucial because that's also let's just backtrack around like creating something. Uh, it does not happen overnight. It is a small steps. It is starting and failing and starting again. Editing re editing it is figuring it out inside the trenches. And it takes a year, two years, three years, four years. However many years it does not All of a sudden we get an idea, and we have, ah, well known podcast. All of a sudden we get an idea and we have Ah, ah! You know, Ah, award winning touring show right is not all that happens. There isn't incredible amount of work and devotion on believing years that we need to find our side of ourselves

Julie:   58:16
believing mirrors for sure.

Valerie:   58:18
That's right, because that's I think what can get in the way is like, Well, I thought this was gonna, you know, be a result faster or anything happening. Yet I've put so much work in already and actually for me, I learned that the biggest thing is f the result effort. You just take it off the table because at the end of the day, like a week, this TV pilot, at the end of the day, if nothing happens with it, here's my biggest thing. I learned from Roy Slavin, Scott's dad, who I know loved very, very. He says. His biggest thing. Do what you say you're gonna do, do what you say. You're going to dio on what I haven't that is, and follow it through. That's right. You say you're gonna do and follow it through. The result is out of our control,

Julie:   59:13
right? The process is the teacher. It's not. It's not the destination that teaches you when, ah, and I think you know your where it might in my pilgrimage to Spain doing the community. Santiago. One of the biggest things that I've learned is that I have yet to make the pilgrimage come to fruition. Right to end. I've walked hundreds of miles, but the lessons are not in arriving and my destination the lessons have been in the roads, the trails, the people the experiences, the choices I made, maybe having a little too many glasses of wine one night and had on that affects your body the next day when you're trying to walk for miles, right? Like, Oh, maybe that was not a good idea or the choices you make and how much. The first year I went, I decided to pack a lot of makeup. Well, not a good idea. So certainly that's the road. And and I love that. And I think that most so many people in our society again, in the social media frenzy we look at, we look at someone's instagram photo or we look at how nice you know, something looks from the outside. But we didn't look at the effort behind it, and we didn't look at at the nights that we toiled over something. We we really have this comparison despair, but it really is about the process, and the process is what we should focus on. For

Valerie:   1:0:56
sure. I heard this quote that I love. That was like her success is not my failure. Mm, I love that. And that was something that took me 1/2 my whole life to kind of that been doing? Want One of the things I've been called contemplating on lately is how fast time has gotten to where it is now. And if that's how fast time has gotten where it is now, then then how fast it's going to be if I make it another 45 years. You know what I mean? So I'm really trying to sit inside of the core of what do I want my life to stand for? What do I want to stand for? Not what do I want to do? No. I want to be in the world because that will inform whatever it is that I'm going to do, right, Right? Absolutely. And that's messy. Yeah.

Julie:   1:1:53
And and it's gotta be. And we have to be okay with the mess. I I Robin Roberts, Um who who she she was diagnosed with with myelodysplastic anemia like my dad. And that's what my dad passed away from. But, um, I listened to her say, You know, make your your mess, your message. And I think that all the successful dreamers and the people that I know that have achieved some of their dreams and achieved something for themselves are making their mess their message in I know that you continue to touch lives. And as a director, I I also I was very sad that your solo fire workshop is not here because I really would like to have taken that just putting it out there. So when you're getting ready to go on the road and take the workshop to different communities, you will have an audience outside. So now I do want to close with one thing. There is a really fun fact about you that you and I have in common. So what? We have several things in common, but this has a really fun thing that not a lot of people have in common. You and I both were red shoes to

Valerie:   1:3:17
our wedding. Yes, that's amazing.

Julie:   1:3:25
Yes, it it occurred of me the other day. I was like, Oh, we

Valerie:   1:3:29
both wore red shoes to her buddy. Oh, a everything toe having fun. That

Julie:   1:3:36
is a great thing to have in common with someone. Uh, I appreciate you so much you are in on fire alive, So vibrant. And I thank you for being here and for being so open and vulnerable. and inspiring for sure. As always,

Valerie:   1:3:57
I adore Eo and actually have this one passage very short. Okay, Is that I would love to close with. Yes. And, um, I guess I would also just like to say for anybody who Even the one person who who listens to this that I would just want you to know. Um, just don't give up Whatever is in front of you, Just know that even if it's underneath around the corner through a tunnel, you don't see yet using a ladder. Whatever you're getting, finding wings on the ground and putting them on your back, there is a way to get around whatever feels insurmountable. Just don't give up. I just want to say that on this was a great, um uh, in women who run with Wolves book it says, Go back and stand under that one red flower and walk straight ahead for that last hard mile. Go up and knock on the old weather door, climb up to the cave, crawl through the window of a dream, sift the desert and see what you find. It is the only work we have to do. You wish psychoanalytic advice. Go gather bones.

Julie:   1:5:14
I love that. I think that that is the perfect way to close this episode. So thank you, my darling. You are your spread your joy in my heart today. Thank you so much. I appreciate you

Dan:   1:5:32
great conversation and one take away is I totally forgot that you both wore red shoes to your wedding.

Julie:   1:5:41
I know I had totally forgotten is well, but I love it that we have that in common, among many other things.

Dan:   1:5:52
But Valerie's entire dress was red.

Julie:   1:5:56
True, Her entire dress was red in mind was not, But I did wear a black belt with my wedding dress. It was out of the ordinary because we're both originals.

Dan:   1:6:10
And now I'm stuck in a conversation about wardroom.

Julie:   1:6:15
Dan, you're married to me. You should be used to it by now.

Dan:   1:6:19
Yep. Never thought I know the shoes with red soles are Lou batons. But I know that now. And I can't unknowing

Julie:   1:6:27
you can't un know a lot of things you learn through me. Just think about how much I've enriched your life.

Dan:   1:6:33
There's just too many ways Teoh even count.

Julie:   1:6:37
Listen, it's a good thing that this podcast is for women. Otherwise your friends would ask you to give your man card back.

Dan:   1:6:47
So the one concept the value is talking about was the believing year. That's kind of any concept. That's kind of you know it's having that friend you can go to. Yes, kind of like the concept off the lemons. Yes, the lemons, those people. But it's friends that will talk to you friends that will, that you can have a radical candor with. Absolutely, they could tell you how you're messing up, how your shining or harder shining. That's

Julie:   1:7:24
what A mirror doesn't tell you the truth. That's why you keep me around

Dan:   1:7:29
because you're so darn positive. Not all the time. I'm positive. I'm hungry now. I'm hungry also. So to wrap, put your coffee away.

Julie:   1:7:41
It's done

Dan:   1:7:42
it. Let's go grab some growth.

Julie:   1:7:44
Okay, so, Dan, let's go confidently to get some dinner.

Dan:   1:7:48
All right, remember, guys,

Julie:   1:7:52
go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have. Imagine

Dan:   1:7:57
thanks for joining us this week on the concept of confidence podcast with Julie Deliver, Collins remembered a check her out on Instagram and Facebook and always click subscribe to catch every new episode. Remember, leave reviews continue to bring you fresh content, and that's always go confidently in the direction of your dreams.