- Trapped in the inevitability of what’s about to happen on Friday.
- Ashamed, thinking that I need to do more.
- Abandoned by those who are able to attend the March in Washington.
- Scared that I’ll be too scared to march in NYC.
- Governed by social anxiety of the magnitude I haven’t experienced in years.
- Proud to be escorting on Saturday morning.
- Grateful to have somewhere to be on Friday night, with like-minded, revolution-minded friends.
- Thrilled to be doing a play that actually fucking matters.
- Depressed and alone, on the couch, unable to work or think.
- Stuck in a spiral of news that makes my heart and head hurt.
I was supposed to go to an EPA today, but I didn’t. I know that’s okay. But it’s really just one small blip at the end of a long list of things that are hard today.
I’m not acting.
I could go through all the hard stuff– in October, I won’t have booked anything in a year, I can’t get seen for things that CDs I know are casting, I hate EPAs and I’m too poor for classes– but the reality is much simpler. I’m deep in a hole and it doesn’t feel like I can get out. This isn’t depression or anything. This is just the lowest part of a low in a career that’s all about those highs but mostly involves lows.
There are many reasons why I think I developed an eating disorder, but one main trigger for the restriction portion of it (which really kicked off the three years of awfulness) was fear and a lack of control.
I was an apprentice at a theatre festival, and in the first week, I got really, really sick. I had a tick-borne virus that basically knocked me out for about four days. In retrospect, I really should have gone to the hospital, but of course, I didn’t– I pushed through. But I felt as though I was coming in a week too late. Everyone had friends, everyone had settled into a routine, everyone had shown who they were, and I was still at square one.
So I worked. I worked and worked and by the end I was proud of myself, but I was also ten pounds thinner and at the beginning of a road that was going to be devastating.
This career forces you to let go of what you can’t control. I understand that.
But there are some things that are in your control, and so what happens is I run through all the things I COULD be doing to help get the next gig by am NOT doing, and immediately feel worthless and lazy and horrible. I feel scared and unmoored and invisible.
And so, my greatest fear grasps me around the neck and refuses to let go, whispering: If you walked away, would anyone even notice?
My last show was May 8. A matinee.
The end was so strange, so disruptive. Three months of independence and simplicity: knowing where to go, knowing what to do, knowing what my job was.
Now, my job is sitting here, at home, working on writing a unit on AP Art History, or editing an audiobook, or scrolling through Reddit, trying to find the diet or the workout or the journaling exercise to get me back to that feeling of confidence and ease.
I can’t find it. It’s not there, no matter how hard I look. I know that, and that’s okay. These are the in-between moments. They are always like this.
I just wish I had something. An audition. My cash flow is horrible right now, and my heart is achy. I miss doing what I love. I hate waiting for things to happen. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can really do at the moment. I just have to wait.
I hate waiting.
(only sad pictures because I’m trying not to show my face… just realized how depressing this is)
I am working. Not only that, but I am working at one of the top theatres in the country, making LORT B (second only to LORT A when it comes to regional theatre) pay, and playing two leading roles. It’s a three month contract which means I will get another six months of health insurance. I am housed. I have a car I share with two other actors. This is the DREAM.
Which means I want to remember this feeling when I go back to NYC. I’m already dreading it… that discomfort of not working, that pain of not auditioning, that hurt of wanting so hard you think you might break.
But right now?
First: it is very odd to me that neither of the gyms I’ve gone to now in AL have scales in their locker rooms… only ONE scale for the whole gym that’s out in the main area. Plus, it’s an old-fashioned scale. In NYC, you have old fashioned scales, maybe, but there are going to be at least three in a locker room. C’mon. What is this nonsense?
At my wig fitting a couple of days ago my hair person said that I’d lost weight since being here. I felt like it might be true– I eat less when I don’t have a nice boy to ask for desserts. Plus, I’ve been working out pretty regularly. A part of me felt a bit nervous about it– but not TOO nervous. My depression is under control, and I know my triggers. I’m not going off the edge, and I know that, 100%, with a confidence that really makes me feel strong.
Today, as I changed back into my clothes after a costume fitting, I pulled the scale down off the shelf and weighed myself in my show slip and socks.
I weighed the low end of what I usually weigh.
Part of me was disappointed.
COME ON, GIRL. GET IT TOGETHER.
I don’t want to lose weight– at the VERY least, my costumes need to fit for the next two months.
I’m not anxious or freaked out. I’m just always amazed at how ingrained our reactions to numbers are. I think that, at least for me, it has less to do with my ED than the constantly ingrained notion in our society (and my biz in particular) that we should always be losing weight… even if we genuinely don’t need to.
Life is weird.
Starting tech tomorrow. Here. We. Go. http://www.bykennethjones.com/elyzabeth-gregory-wilders-white-lightning-new-play-rum-running-racing-romance-premieres-alabama/
I’ve been in Alabama for about two and a half weeks now. I’ve settled into the apartment: figured out how to work the dishwasher and the heat, which way the door locks, and how to angle the showerhead. I’ve learned all my lines for show #1 and we’ll run through the whole thing off-book for the first time tomorrow morning.
I need to remind myself to take a step back and appreciate how incredibly lucky I am.
- I am working at one of the best festivals in the country.
- I am the only girl in a cast of five in show #1, and I’m playing a lead in show #2 as well.
- I like my castmates.
- I’m making good money.
- This job could have gone to ANYONE. But it went to me. Can you believe it?
I started this blog so long ago, it’s insane. I started it before I had an agent. Before I had my AEA card. Before I had gotten a single job worth bragging about. I was single. I was sick. I was unhappy and struggling and anxious and alone.
And now, look how far I’ve come.
Life is funny like that, and being in my industry reminds me of it all the time. Hard work is part of it, of course– beating my eating disorder was probably the hardest things I’ve ever done, and god knows I wouldn’t be working right now if I hadn’t worked REALLY hard to get the auditions in the first place and then nail the auditions later on– but a whole lot of it comes down to luck, or the way circumstances shift. I used to believe that people “deserved” things, but now I’m not so sure. I think everyone deserves everything– we just don’t always get those things. If everyone got what they deserved, there would be nothing left. We are all just pioneers, trudging forward on a path with a vague idea that we’re headed in the right direction.
My days generally hold the same shape. I get up around 7:30am. Most mornings, I meet M (my costar, who is my age), and we go to the gym. We work out until about 8:45, when we come back to the apartments. I turn on the coffeemaker and hop in the shower. Often I have to be at rehearsal at 10am, but I’m not in every scenes so many times my call is later. I eat a smoothie with peanut butter and oats. I pack an apple for a snack. I walk to rehearsal, through the apartment parking lot, under a small arbor, down the road between the park and the parking lot, and to the rehearsal room, punching in my code to get in the back door.
Rehearsal is slow, occasionally frustrating, but generally fine. I trust my fellow actors (well, I only have scenes with M) and I enjoy being around them, though the director is kind of a weird dude. I have issues with the play, but I know it’s going to be very well-received. Sometimes, that’s enough.
We get out for lunch at 1pm, and if one of us drove the car over (I share a car with M and our fellow costar L), we carpool back. I usually eat, watch some TV, and go over my lines. Nothing too rigorous. We’re back in rehearsal at 2:30 and work till 6:30 or 7pm, depending on the day. We drive back together to the apartments. Most nights, I come home, feel lonely, and eat dinner solo. My brain hurts at the end of the day, so I rarely want to work, even when I know I should. Sometimes I go out with M, like last night, when we went to a Mexican restaurant. We get along well, though we’re quite different. The more we get to know one another, the more fun we can have onstage.
I’ve never had issues with romantic scenes (even when I’m not a huge fan of my costar, I can suck it up and kiss ’em like nobody’s business), but there’s always a negotiation. You want to be the best possible partner for your partner, which means everything from making sure your teeth are brushed to pushing through to the intimacy early (especially as the woman, because men tend to get nervous that they’re doing too much too soon– I like to take charge to ease the tension and show it’s okay to touch/kiss/whatever in a scene).
I go to bed around 10:30/11pm.
We open this first show in early March (I can’t even remember) and I’m excited. And I am SO, SO lucky. Who knew this would be my reality.
There are the stars–doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven’t settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings out there. Just chalk… or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. Strain’s so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.
–Thornton Wilder, Our Town
I’m not working right now.
Well, not working “in my chosen field.” I still spend long hours at the computer, attempting to put together lessons and exam questions and nonsense I am highly unqualified for. Which is still 1000x better than working in a restaurant.
Fall is supposed to feel hopeful. I’m supposed to feel refreshed. I’m supposed to be breathing fresh, crisp air and not continuing to roll through life unshowered and apathetic. My friend runs cabarets for kid Broadway performers. There are constantly pictures of her events with them. Kids join and leave shows more often than adults (they grow, they age, they get tired because they are still CHILDREN) and it constantly seems as though a small child is weeping about making their Broadway debut. This is actually from one’s Instagram (bolding mine):
I am so incredibly excited to FINALLY be able to announce some awesome news!!! I am both thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of Fun Home on Broadway- making my Broadway debut!!!!!! I am going to be the newest#superswing, learning the roles of Small Alison, Christian, and John! This new journey has only just begun and everyone is already so kind and supportive and I can’t say thank you enough!! I have always imagined myself being able to step out onto that stage as Al, it really goes to show that with dedication and hard work- dreams can come trueeee!!!#funhomemusical#funhome#funhomebroadway#broadway#honored#YAAAAAYY#okimfreakingoutalittlebit#justkiddingimfreakingoutalot!!!!
Yes, sweet wee eleven year old. Hard work.
Like being born in the tristate area.
Like being able to afford to take classes.
Like having a mom to drive you to auditions.
Not that I begrudge any children that. While some child actors are irritating, others (like the girl this one is replacing) are sweet and down-to-earth. I can only speak from my world.
And in my world, hard work don’t make dreams come true. It helps, but you also need relentless ambition, a willingness to make yourself very uncomfortable, the ability to be told “no” constantly and yet still be willing to keep going (in other words, being a masochist), and a really fucking enormous scoopful of luck. ENORMOUS. SCOOPFUL.
I know I always get like this when I’m not working. I try to keep a bright attitude in life, because how else do you make it through?
But here, I can break. Here I can whine. Here I can feel stuck and angry and lost and bitter and JEALOUS OF AN 11 YEAR OLD. That’s where I am today.