It’s Only Us

“So what if it’s us?
What if it’s us
And only us
And what came before won’t count anymore or matter?
Can we try that?

What if it’s you
And what if it’s me
And what if that’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away?
What do you say?”

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 6 month wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our engagement.  We celebrated with a weekend in the city seeing two Broadway shows, and then last weekend went away to a very special Bed and Breakfast just over an hour away from us.

It was magical, and I found myself overcome with gratitude for my marriage, and for my husband…this miracle that entered into my life.

Miracle tends to be the word I use, because this union didn’t occur overnight.  It emerged out of a very painful divorce, and an earnest journey of four and a half years where many times I felt like I was banging my head against the wall and getting nowhere.

Have you ever felt like that?

After a 15 year marriage, I was completely disoriented.  I had to first understand,
how the HECK the divorce occurred in the first place
my role in everything falling apart
how to process the enormous anger that was pervading my days
WHY I had stayed in the marriage for so long trying to make it work

And then I had to understand and learn the most important piece,
What a healthy relationship actually looks and FEELS like.

Apparently, there were some huge gaps.

For years, I felt haunted by my patterns.

For me, it all came back to wanting to control the man, so I dated man after man that was unavailable.  It was devastating, because my biggest fear was I would end up marrying someone just like my first husband.  I would honestly think I was making progress, working with coaches, going online, being in therapy….and then after a few dates, I would have the HUGE realization….

Oh my GOD….he’s unavailable too.

It wasn’t until I learned how to be AVAILABLE myself that things turned around.  If I wasn’t in a control state, I was actually relaxed, so when I was in front of my dates, I just checked in to see if I was relaxed.  And if I wasn’t, and could feel myself reaching out and wanting him to be WAY different than he was, then I knew I was in my pattern and it was time to go.

And then I had my first date with my husband.
I had never been this relaxed on a first date.

It was actually mind blowing.

Was this possible?
Could I BE different?
Could I actually be relaxed and open?

Apparently those gaps were closing.  The chasm now had a bridge.

On our third date, we went exclusive, and within a year we were engaged and I had moved down to NJ.

And what I kept coming back to was a moment of amazement at how I FELT in my body with him.  I was changing.

I was recently driving to the train station to head into Manhattan, and was listening to the Spotify playlist I created for our wedding, and on came this song from Dear Evan Hansen, “Only Us”.

I love to sing along to this song, and yet, was overcome with emotion when the words,
and what came before won’t count anymore or matter…can we try that?

I thought of the journey to this moment. I thought of the fear that welled in me for years I would just go and marry another who would break my heart and leave me.  I thought of the fear that I would stay stuck, feeling unfulfilled in my relationships and feeling underappreciated and undervalued.

And there was a powerful question here in the lyric,
can we try that?

For years, I held on to my past for fears of repeating it, and yet, here I am, celebrating six months and more in love than ever.

What if it’s JUST this moment?
Just this marriage?
Just this relationship?

What if I was here NOW?

Because the truth is, I have mined and faced ALL of my divorce.  I have taken down that wall brick by brick to understand. I’ve come to clarity about WHY it occurred and my part in it.

The evidence?
The marriage I have now.

It couldn’t be more radically different.  And the way I know that is how I feel. Waaaaaaay more relaxed.

So, what about you?

Have you felt haunted by patterns in your Art?
Have you felt stuck in relationships that let you down again and again?

What is the relationship you deeply want to cultivate this year?

Is it with,
your perfect producer
your perfect publisher
an amazing band
Your perfect booking agent
the most amazing agent
a team that supports you and promotes you
a raving audience

Take a moment today and LOOK at those patterns.  Do you understand WHY you have taken the same actions again and again?

Do you understand why these relationships have either not happened or have fallen apart?

What if turning TOWARDS them is the answer to you changing them?

Because it’s when we have full understanding, we can make a new choice.  I needed to understand I was unavailable to fully call in a very different relationship.

And I’m sharing this with you, because your career and your success in your work ALL comes down to relationships.

You don’t get there alone.

And the beauty of all of this is,
change is constant.

Once you have clarity around the WHY of your patterns, you can release them.

In fact, that is when you will attract those relationships that have eluded you, because YOU have clarity.  It was never about them.  It was always going to happen inside you.

What happened in my love life actually had an effect on EVERY relationship in my life and allowed me to build a team that nurtures me, and go full time with my work.

You are a whole person.  Everything is connected.

So,
what came before won’t count anymore or matter….

Can YOU try that?

“We can try that
You and me
That’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away
And the rest of the world falls away”

What if the “world” you created where you always stay the same is just that?

Learn how to build healthy relationships and watch the old world fall away.
When you are available, your dreams rush in.

Photography: Dag Photo

What’s in a Name?

Have you gone through name changes in your career?

Have you agonized on what to call yourself as an Artist,
your band
your show
your brand
your pen name?

We look at some of the most iconic artists who had those BIG names that just stand out, and wonder,
How did they do it?
Was it the NAME that brought them so much fame?

Madonna
Woody Allen
George Orwell
Lady Gaga

We get so much advice around our NAME, and sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice to just ASK our audience…
does this matter?

Do you ever wonder if your own name is enough?
What’s in a Name anyway and how does that really play into growing your audience?

I’m asking because today is a big day…I’m actually at the Motor Vehicle office right now as you are reading this doing something I didn’t think I would EVER do again….and I wanted you to be one of the first to know.

I’m changing my name.

 

I remember when I got engaged the first time.  I was 21 and had stars in my eyes.  I was in my second to last year in college and preparing to move to the city and pursue my career full time as a professional performer.

I had grown up with Peterman as my last name, and had never really felt much connection to it.  Especially as an actress, I didn’t think it had that “ring” to it.

My soon to be married name?  That had flair!

Nikól Wolf.

It sounded exciting, a little dangerous, and edgy.  Nikól Peterman was going to become Nikól Wolf and I couldn’t wait to go into my first audition with this name.

I got new headshots, created my resume and moved to New York City, booking work so much I was turning it down.  This new name was GREAT!

 

Until it wasn’t….I started to really struggle with so many aspects of the industry.  The rejection was starting to wear on me, feeling like I had to have it all together all the time, constantly comparing myself to other dancers….and then even with my husband, who was also an actor.

He was a natural comedian, and even though I usually got cast as the funny character…I doubted myself.  My husband was the funny one, not me.  I had taken his name….this wasn’t mine.

I even created a personal email address that was “the other Wolf”…..I really wasn’t owning it.

I remember a teacher telling me,
when you walk in the room with your red hair and bright voice, people expect you to be funny!

I knew he was right….and it terrified me…because I didn’t think I was. I was starting to put up a mask, saying everything was ok, when it really wasn’t.  I started to panic.

And then the man who I changed my name for left me.

The name disgusted me….
It felt like something dirty I wanted desperately to wash off.  I had to wait for nine months before my name would officially change back to my maiden name, and in the meantime, I went by my middle name, changing my social media to:
Nikól Bardol

When the divorce was legal, I started the very long and arduous process of changing my name…it took YEARS.  For months, I would walk around with my divorce papers in my bag because everyone seemed to need to have them faxed, scanned, or look at to change my name.

With all the hassle, I swore I would never change it again.

And then something magical happened, I started to really get to know who Nikól Peterman was….who she had been, and who she wanted to be.

Out of the fog of extreme loss and pain, I started auditioning again, with headshots and a resume that had the name I had for the first 22 years of my life.

And I found out something radical….
She was funny
No, I mean she was REALLY funny!
And she was strong, quick, powerful.
She actually didn’t have to compare herself to anyone, because she was now clear what made her stand out.

And it had nothing to do with her name. It actually had to do with something far deeper….something that was constant no matter what name she had…..

I remember getting my new drivers license with Nikól Peterman on it, and being so taken by the wide smile of peace on my face.  I showed it to my therapist who asked to see my license picture that had been taken just months before my divorce.  She looked at the two pictures and said,
Wow, there’s a big difference.  The old picture you look so foggy. In this new one I can actually SEE you.

Oh.

Yes……in my new picture I was clear.  My eyes were bright staring straight into the lens with confidence.  Why?

Because I was no longer afraid to be seen….all of me.  I knew it didn’t matter what others thought…I knew who I was.

And it took re-connecting to my birth name to realize it never WAS the name.  I just needed to discover that I actually had all I needed within.

So, ironically, I was cast a TON with the new name.  I was cast as hilarious characters and stepped onto the stage OWNING my voice.  Broadway directors gave me free rein to PLAY, and I loved it.  There was no more mask.

In releasing the mask, I found peace in Peterman, and launched my company ZenRedNYC.

And then I met Chuck. And I fell in love.  Things were getting serious, and the question arose,
Will I change my name again?

I really took my time with this.  When we got engaged, I stared at the ring and opened the possibility.  I found myself remembering the headache of contacting endless platforms and providers to change my name…the pieces of mail that were STILL coming with Wolf on them and how I hated seeing that.

Maybe I would just stay with Peterman….

Then in June, I went on this epic trip to Alaska with my family to go bird watching, and started to have strong reactions to smells.  I spent a day in bed because I didn’t feel well, and my father looked at me and said,
I think you’re pregnant.

My hopes skyrocketed, and my fiance and I went to get a test….which was negative, and then I got my period. But something about feeling the possibility of life stirred something even deeper.

The next day, we were at the main gift market in Anchorage, and I looked straight at Chuck and said,
I want to take your name.

His face lit up like a Christmas tree.  He had never asked me to do this, but clearly, this was his vision. And I knew it was mine too.  My vision has always been a family name.

And now that I knew who I was, it didn’t really matter what my last name was.

On September 16th, I stood in front my closest family and friends and vowed to love Chuck every day, eyes open and awake…..much like that photo taken of me after my divorce.

In truth, this was the vow I made for my LIFE.

And that is what allowed me to finally be at ease in front of any audience of any size, and grow globally. That is what allowed me to connect to you.

 

So, what about you?
What does your name mean to you?
Have you made it more than a name?

Who are you REALLY as an Artist and are you claiming that and owning it?

 

As we approach the end of the year, take stock.
Change is constant.  What do you really need to grow your audience in 2019?

This is deeper than the “perfect” name, or a Facebook ad, or learning the latest algorithms.

Because at the end of the day, you are able to grow your audience when you are clear who YOU are.

So, I’m excited to announce and share with you this special moment.

 

Hello, my name is Nikól Rogers, and I’m so grateful to see you.
Truly SEE you.

Eyes open and awake.

 

 

 

Photography by: Dag Photography