I recently found a blog written by an actor in NYC recovering from binge eating disorder. She writes about that never-really-discussed thing of having eating disorders when you’re in recovery—even as you’re trying to accept yourself the way you are made, and love yourself through your body’s process, you still need to be a certain size to do your job. Now, I have it a bit easier since I’m not going out for chorus roles (generally I don’t need to be lifted by gay boys), but in order to play the roles I’m right for, I need to be a certain size. That’s just the way it is. If that lovely girl is reading this, first I want to say to you: you are awesome and 100% not alone!! And second, it might be the way it is, but you have worked and made connections and done your “job” at all the sizes you’ve ever been. It feels like a limitation, but the reality is that you’re still working, even though it feels like you’re not. Finally, this too shall pass.
The moral of the story is this—the girl moved to Hawaii for a time and is finding and healing herself away from this city of cattle calls and stunt casting and bitchy agents and pay-to-plays. New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.
And it got me thinking. What would happen if I just… left?
If I just… stopped auditioning and moved home to Idaho?
If I didn’t check Playbill and Actors Access and Actors Equity anymore
If I unsubscribed from Backstage
If I didn’t consider throwing down money to meet agents that aren’t looking for clients
If I didn’t go out late at night to try and stay friends with people I want to hire me
If I didn’t wake up early to go to morning calls
If I moved my headshot and resume from my desktop to the trash
What would happen?
And I realized my worst fear—that nothing would happen.
That I’d stop getting emails offering me auditions
That my agent wouldn’t call me since she already doesn’t call me
That nobody would miss ME in the New York theatre world.
And of course I then thought of A’s ex, who I’ve done okay at detoxing from, but still glance at occasionally. She left the city completely, stopped acting, didn’t try and get auditions, didn’t look at Playbill, didn’t submit to everything she could. She seems to be stupid happy, working at fucking lululemon and living in a city most famous for its racism… and here I am, doing just as fucking much (ie nothing) yet not stupid happy at ALL. Just… normal happy. Just doing fine.
But then there’s a part of me that doesn’t really believe that that’s what would happen. That thinks that eventually, someone would reach out to me because they wanted me.
I have to believe that I’m not living in a vacuum here. I have to believe that I’m not the only one working, that for all the darts I throw into the universe, some actually do hit the target.
Otherwise, it feels like I just have an irritant that detracts from my “regular life”—like my career needs to be scratched and taken outside to shit and I get NOTHING from it except this cycle of non-productive chores.
And that, my friends, is terrifying.