The Weight is Over – Week 39: Don’t Wait Until You’re Ready

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I’m borrowing today’s topic from my daughter, who addressed a version of this subject in a short video, “Begin before you are ready”  last week.


Saeri Star Wilde, Doni’s daughter

The idea of “being ready” was on Saeri’s mind because she was embarking upon three potentially scary firsts: hosting a webinar about yoga, teaching a free online yoga class, and finally, the biggest undertaking of all, she created an online yoga club. (Of course, I’m a member. I’m her mama!)

Yoga Club ANC ad (1)

She also wrote a column for A News “11 Solutions to Get You Happily on a Yoga Mat”.

Back to her video, where a few of Saeri’s lines especially resonated with me:

When we wait for feeling that we’re ready, we never do it. And that is an expression of perfectionism.

When we are trying to be perfect, we freeze. 

This sentence, in particular, hit home for me: You may not feel ready, but you still have that imperative inside you.

That imperative, that’s the test that tells us the degree of desire we have to do something, ready or not.

The other evening I was with friends, one of whom – Marilyn Traugott – spent many years working as the director of Mercy’s hospice program.

Friends, from left: Cindy Moore, Doni Chamberlain and Marilyn Traugott.

Friends, from left: Cindy Moore, Doni Chamberlain and Marilyn Traugott.

We were talking about taking risks, and Marilyn shared her observation that when people are faced with their last days, and mull over their lives, they usually have more regrets about what they didn’t do, than what they did.

We all have regrets, but even the small ones can stick in our brains like a sharp pebble that burrows in more deeply with each year. Most of the things I told myself I wasn’t ready to do had more to do with fear — of imperfection, failure, rejection and ridicule — than readiness.

It’s strange how it’s so much easier to remember what we’ve not done than what we’ve done, which is why memories like my nephew’s wedding reception come easily to mind; where I wouldn’t/couldn’t get up and dance, because I felt self-conscious. I wasn’t ready.

When I started this weight-loss and fitness journey with Matthew Lister at Align Private Training in December, I was afraid to start because I was afraid to fail. Was I willing? Yes. Was I ready? No. It took all my mental strength to push the doubt and negative thoughts from my mind and swap them out for positive thoughts of my imperative – to get fit and healthy.

That imperative inspired me to write Matthew that first inquiry email, which led to the first phone call, which led to that first appointment, which led to the first workout. And here I am, nine months later, 30 pounds slimmer and so much more healthy, fit and happy.

The thing about trying one thing, even before we’re officially ready, is that if it doesn’t kill us, we’re more inclined to try it again.

That’s how I recently found myself auditioning for a part in “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Shasta College. Acting was on my bucket list, after being bitten by the acting bug in June at Riverfront Playhouse, where I was invited by the director, Marilyn Robrahn, to be one of the guest actresses in “Love, Loss and What I Wore”. I didn’t even have to memorize anything. I just had to sit, and stand and read, then sit, stand and read, and sit, stand and read.

Doni, so happy after her first quasi-acting experience at Riverfront Playhouse.

Doni, so happy after her first quasi-acting experience at Riverfront Playhouse.

As an aside, let me stop and point out that I never would have had the courage to agree to the Riverfront gig if I hadn’t first experienced success with my weight-loss. No way I would have gotten on stage 30 pounds ago.

Being in the play was so much fun that I told myself that I’d try my hand at acting again some time. Along came “To Kill a Mockingbird” — and I told myself to go for it. Ready or not.

I learned that prospective actors could either memorize a monologue to recite, or just read cold from something provided by the director during the audition.  I arrived to the audition completely unprepared, and mingled with kids – literally kids – who had prepared monologues, like from a scene from “12 Angry Men” – kids who knew the audition ropes, and knew how to read a script.

I knew nothing. Talk about out of my element. For my audition I read a piece that was provided, something about the murder of a ferret.

Hours later, after having read twice, the director, Dr. Gregory Thorson — who’s already demonstrated his talent with such winners as this summer’s The Producers — came out and thanked everyone for coming.

You know that feeling of elation that comes after surviving something scary you forced yourself to do, even when you weren’t ready? That was me after auditions. I felt so relieved when it was over. I drove home patting myself on the back. “Good for you, Doni! You did it. You auditioned. Cross that off your list.”

Whew. That was close. The truth was, the whole out-of-my-comfort-zone audition experience freaked me out enough that I was having second thoughts about being in a play. Doni! What were you thinking?!

That’s why, on some level, because I wasn’t ready for his acting stuff, I would not have cried me a river if I’d never received a call back for a second audition.

No segue, but it may or may not have been a good idea when I marked the place on the application that said I was open to any part. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?

I was called back.

I don’t know how long it’s been since you read “To Kill a Mockingbird” — or watched the movie, but there aren’t that many parts for women of my – uh – maturity level. Bear in mind, this is a Shasta College play, which means a lot of college-age students are in the play.

I got my part. She’s not pretty. She walks stooped, with a cane. She clashes big time with my new fit sexy-60 persona. Meet my character, Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, a mean old Southern woman with a morphine addiction who screams awful things to the kids as they pass by her front porch.

As my twin has said all along, whatever part I get, I’ll rock it. But little did either of us know that I’d get a part where I’d literally be rocking.


Who knows why I was chosen. Maybe it’s because my hair is lighter, or maybe it’s because I’m so much older than the student actors. Either way, I’ve got my part.

Am I scared? Yes. Am I ready? No.

Will I follow through with my imperative and my intention to try community theater? Hell, yes.

Ready or not.

Meanwhile, what are you telling yourself you’ll do — when you’re ready?

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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