Today is hard.

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.

Why?

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?

I miss acting.

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)IMG_2358.PNGIMG_1937.PNG

I’m a “Deathscort” and I’m proud of it.

Yesterday, I was a clinic escort at a women’s medical center here in New York City.

What’s a clinic escort?
A person who literally walks with a patient to the entrance of the clinic.

Why do we need them?
Because protestors use their right to “free speech” to hold up horrific signs, yell vicious lies, slander others, and get right up into the faces of women and men who are just trying to get healthcare while telling them that they are “murderers.”

My experience is best laid out by this woman, who escorts at the clinic I worked at yesterday:
http://the-toast.net/2014/07/02/abortion-clinic-escort-stories/
But here’s some of what I experienced:

Honestly, it was just deeply strange. I’ve seen this kind of stuff in documentaries and I guess maybe on the street, but it was a whole other thing to stand there for four hours with these people. When I told A about it, he couldn’t believe that what they were doing was legal. Emotionally, I felt just fine, since I was so sure that these people were in the wrong. The whole time, though, I really felt for the women and men coming into the clinic– they are forced to walk down a sidewalk crowded with people holding enormous, gruesome signs and swarming around them. No one wants that. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.

A few things that didn’t surprise me:

  • The crazy fundamentalist rhetoric. They brought slavery in within about ten minutes; the Holocaust came about five minutes later.
  • All of the escorts were women. The main leader was an older woman, around your age, who the protesters loved to call a communist. The rest of us were in our mid to late twenties. All of us were white, and all of us were really passionate.

And many things that did surprise me:

  • They got SO CLOSE to the patients. Literally, right up next to them, touching, arm to arm. We literally had to push ourselves in between the protestors and the patient, which involved a bit of very forceful “Excuse me” on our part.
  • How much they just YELLED. I was exhausted just ignoring them.
  • How many there were. There were about six escorts and at least twenty five protestors from just ONE church, not including the catholic church of about twelve people that spent an hour across the street singing and praying.
  • It was “peaceful,” I guess, but the language they used was so inflammatory, even when no patients were coming in or out. I was called more horrible things yesterday than in the rest of my life combined. Some favorites: “deathscort” “accomplice to murder” “wicked,” and those were just some of the most obviously hurtful.
  • The longtime escorts were totally familiar with most of the protestors; they come every week from one church. We weren’t permitted to use anyone’s name (even first names) while outside the clinic, because the protestors have tracked down and harassed escorts at their work and home.
  • How locked down the facility was. I have never seen a doctor’s office… heck, any office… with that much security. There’s a security guard outside, two inside. The walls of the waiting room are soundproofed so the patients can’t hear the screaming outside. You have to be buzzed in TWICE by a nurse in order to even get to the waiting room. It’s a fortress.

And what’s most sad about that is that the clinic is beautiful. It’s brand newand is growing every day. We were able to take a quick tour. The OB/GYN and pre-natal area was lovely and filled with light. Whenever we saw a patient with a nurse, they were both smiling or laughing (what a contrast to outside). We didn’t get to see the surgical area, though we did peek into the recovery room. It was so lovely and bright. The head OB/GYN nurse talked to us for a while in the conference room, telling us what the clinic does. There was a lot of information, but basically it’s just a great place for women to get HEALTHCARE. Imagine that. They even have special programs to help women who don’t have papers.

One of the Pastor’s daughters brought her husband and their TWO YEAR OLD CHILD. She held this child as she stood in our faces, telling us that we were murderers. They pushed the baby in a stroller all around the block where the protestors were, huge 4×4′ posters of “aborted” “fetuses”. It was horrific.

Honestly, one of the things the protestors said was true: “One side is the side of darkness, and the other is the side of light.” And know which one I’m on.

Every day is grapefruit day.

Today I close another show. This is how this career is… you’re deep in it, totally invested, your whole day leads up to those few hours at the theatre…

And then suddenly it’s over, and you’re unemployed, and you may never seen your castmates, who have become your family, again, or at least for a long while.

It’s a somber moment, and I’m feeling a bit somber today.

Last night, I went up on an entire speech– I froze onstage and literally couldn’t form words; didn’t know where I was– and it really shook me. It was fine, but awful. I forgive myself, because it wasn’t my fault– I know the speech front and back, I was focused and paying attention– I just short-circuited.

That, compounded with the closing of the show, is making today tough. The rain doesn’t help (thanks NYC).

This was so wonderful.

  • We were a New York Times Critics Pick.
  • We got amazing reviews (my work was mentioned)
  • My parents got to see it
  • I got to do Shakespeare!
  • I made some amazing friends and met some remarkable people
  • I got to work off-Broadway, which is a gift in and of itself.

But more is to come, I know. Including a weeklong vacation in July.

And really, you can’t top what we did at the end of our performance on Friday, June 26. The day was already so joyous. Then we did this, and it was the best curtain call ever:

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Bad Career Week

In this biz, nothing’s ever certain. Sometimes a tiny little trigger (say, a part you didn’t get or a comment that irks) can send you into a hopeless place. Sound familiar, ED survivors?

So, for NEDAwareness week, I’m going to write down these beautiful things that some beautiful people I know wrote on my Facebook a few months ago. Remind me to come back and look, ‘kay?

My post:

EXPERIMENT.
I’m going through a major life change at the moment (moving, job hunting, closing a great show outside the city) and need a little encouragement, I think.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever been told? About the “biz,” about life, about “work,” about who to send postcards to… literally anything. It’ll be embarrassing if no one contributes so… like… don’t embarrass me.

Also will be planning a MAJOR clothing swap in October. Gird your loins.

CIARA: “A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t give up.”

MARK: “Well all I can think of is a Maguire acting class. So f…. Or fight. You know But in other words. I’m so happy about your show, wish I could see it, when you’re back I’d love to have a check in. I am SURE you’ll find an amazing apartment and more amazing work.

JESSIE: “Be gentle with yourself. Probably the best advice I’ve ever been given… for any situation.

MORGAN: As in acting..focus on and ride the manifestation and energy of the verb, not the construct of the nouns.”

MISSY: “Sh*t or get off the pot.”

TIFFANY: “Our clothing swap will be in October too! Come to ours. That’s my advice. Also wine.”

TIFFANY (another one): “No one can make you feel insignificant without your permission.

RACHEL: “everything happens for a reason.”

BEATRIZ: “Every time you see your reflection smile back at it.

KELVEEN: “It’s just life.”

CHRISTINE: “In life you will regret the things you didn’t do, not the the things you did.

LINA: “Want what you have and give what you need.

MARK (another one): “Make up where you want to be: A place, a life, a challenge, a goal… Use your imagination to flesh it all out in your mind’s eye (helps to write it out) Then … take an immense leap of faith.. And put yourself in a brand new locale — With no net. Live out loud. Be yourself. Trust in Life.

JORDANA: “Just read this and man I dig it: Everything is an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. Truly. Life is about our relationship to it if nothing else. Everything comes and everything goes. There will be fear, doubt, pain, fame, fortune, love, loss, learning, languishing, loathing, wondering, wandering, finding, founding, forming, feuding and overcoming. But how we experience each of these facets of being human depends on how we are relating to them.

CARLA: “I think Jordana nailed it for the rest of us. Hugs!”

HANNAH: “When I first moved to New York and was struggling so desperately to make sense of my life, my father always told me “fall in love with the woman you’re becoming and be proud” It didn’t seem like much then, and honestly I was kinda irritated he didn’t offer something I thought would be more useful. But to this day, every time I try something new, its with the intention to fall in love with the woman I’m becoming and to make myself proud. Maybe this will only mean something to me as it came from my daddy with Spock-like emotions but there it is.”

ANDREW: “Agents don’t matter.”

SUMMER: “Sometimes the biggest hurdles, or the things that are forced upon you via an unexpected change, are actually the catalysts for the most growth that would not have happened if you had stayed in your comfort zone. Literally, the year that my part-time side job — the one that gave me the knowledge that I would always have just enough money to pay my bills — went away, was the same year my acting income tripled and things really began to take off for me and my company. Now, was it scary? Yes. Absolutely. And there were sleepless nights, (sometimes there STILL are — and there always will be I think, because we are constantly challenging ourselves — never to get too comfortable) but I have learned to embrace the shifting tides, and have much more fun riding the unknown waves. You are a massive talent my darling. Truly. It is all going to come together for you, but you have to grab the slippery handles that are this business and hold on for the unknown …. ps: I love you.

MICHAEL: “Longevity in a career means that you endure the shitty times as they come, and remember and use them when opportunity arises.

MORGAN (another one): Whatever happens, when you’re an artist you have better funner friends than everybody else.

DAVID: “It’s not called show-art, it’s called show-business”. An actor’s job is to get the next job. Network, audition, take classes–always do one thing every day that keeps you in touch with being an artist.

JEFF: “As I was sweeping our garage floor, and doing a pretty poor job of it too boot, my dad told me something I’ve never forgotten. “Do every job as though you were the President, because someone is always watching you.” As I type this, it now sounds a bit eerie, but the advice has always stuck…even though I’ve given up dreams of the Oval Office!

ANNIE: “Breathe. Always ask for help. Always keep laughing–particularly when you are having a trying time– when you are hungry, for food AND for creative action, say yes to everything, and IN everything you do. But also remember that you can say NO too, if you instead need to go home and see your mom and dad or go to a movie with your sweetheart, or don’t want to play a playboy bunny who gets assaulted by frat boys. Cultivate joy and peace in all ways, and the highs and the lows of the career seem less Himalayan– but always always ask for help and community, just like you have here! XOXOXO

DAVID (another one): “hang in til you can’t hang in anymore – then stay a little longer.

MORGAN (from before): “Also, go see Annie in Illusions, because it is amazing and rejuvenating to see good theater, always. And hard to find.”

LINDSAY: “No matter what are doing, strive to be the best you can at it. When you get your morning coffee, be the best customer you can be. When you audition, be the best actor you can be. And when you go to your serving job, be the best server there is. If you let your inner light shine, you are unstoppable. Nothing happens by chance, so embrace the challenges. They are a stepping stone to your next success.

FARISO: “You have to do it yourself.”

IRIS: “ set a goal and then release how you will achieve it and then also tell me when you’re clothes swapping, cause honey- ME TOO!

KEVIN: “close your eyes, breathe and give yourself a big bear hug.”

DANIEL: “Two pieces of useful info. 1. No one is coming – i.e. what Fariso notes above is true. You have to be the one to get yourself through any challenge and when you do you will be glad of it. 2. There is a great mystery behind all that is material. Take time to cultivate your attention to larger patterns and questions that emerge as you walk through your life. They will give you clues/signals about the ways forward when things seem to be their most challenging.

TONI: “Be yourself. Always.”

DAVID (another one): “live each day one at a time.”

KATHERINE: “I recently chatted with someone who’s successful in TV and he said that the business can seem so huge and overwhelming, but the key is to make it small: to cultivate people and projects that speak to you and go for those; to create a village of people that you know and trust.

LEAF: “That the universe holds us no matter what and if in the midst of our busyness if we stand still long enough what calls to us will reach our ears.

SAJEEV: “Stay in the present. 🙂 Hope that’s useful.”

JAY: “Your future is determined by every decision you make. Decide wisely.

DAVID (again): “…every decision you make” or decide not to make. Kinda like voting.

HALEIGH: “Keep it simple. – we get tide up in emotions and what we think we should do etc. Just keep it simple.

Apartment Hunting, boom boom

We found out we’d have to move after sending our landlord a kind, intelligent message about the raise in rent and the change to a month to month lease on September 23.

I was still away doing a show. I did some legwork and he saw a handful of apartments. This was three days or so worth of agony (this is NY real estate after all). We put in an application on a place I didn’t even see on September 28. We felt sure.

We waited. And waited.

Two weeks of waiting, I had had enough. I scheduled a number of viewings on October 10. We saw four units that were fine and then… the one. We still hadn’t heard from apartment #1, but this one was so clearly “it” that we didn’t even care. We got our application in that day.

October 13. Find out the first application for the first apartment was rejected. Unclear reasons. We’re not married, our income is too low, our guarantors are out of state… the bottom line is that they’re obviously assholes so who cares. We found a better place anyway.

October 14. Today.

We find out we lost the second apartment. A hair’s breadth too late. I am heartbroken. I am exhausted.

I spend hours staring at a screen, sending emails, making appointments, completely unsure that I’ll find anything at all, alone and crying and frustrated because it’s NOT FAIR. It’s NOT FAIR that we are good people with a great rental history and good credit and amazing tenants and now it’s no no no no no no no.

And I am binging.

I can feel myself hurting myself because this is too hard. It’s too much. I can’t handle my own feelings of anxiety AND A’s, because his are strong too. I can’t do this much longer.

We’re living in an apartment that is completely packed up. I haven’t unpacked from my two months away. We don’t have fall or winter coats.

I am so tired of this. I am so scared we won’t find another place we love. I am scared we will be down to the wire with this move. I am scared that I won’t be able to get back on track… this month feels like it’s running away from me. So does this year.

Why did I get to have such joy to come “home” to such awfulness?

The things that make me happy are not making me happy because all that’s in my head is 1 bedrooms west of broadway pullman kitchen dishwasher laundromat across the street .5 miles from the A train sunny Hudson Heights steps from transportation roomy comfy converted uptown rent stabilized walkup low fee broker fee st nicholas eat in kitchen

My eyes are crossing and my heart is hurting and I’m hurting myself because I don’t know what to do.

It’s amazing how quickly…

..you can go from feeling good, solid, grounded, successful, PROUD…

to feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and stuck.

Questioning every decision.

Hating hating other people, and resenting resenting their success.

Ugh.

“Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic – jealousy especially so – but better to feel it and talk about it and walk through it than to spend a lifetime being silently poisoned.”
Anne Lamott

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.”
Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs

“Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

But I don’t believe it for a second.

I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork.”
Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

“Jealousy is the most dreadfully involuntary of all sins.”
Iris Murdoch