Headshotz Detox

** This post talks about food. And body. And stuff. So… FYI. **

Prepping for my headshots on Tuesday. The last time I got headshots, it was January of my senior year of college. I was deep in my disorder– unhappy with my body and terribly anxious for the future. I was flustered and overwhelmed.

The night before headshots, after taking my nutritionist’s advice and “pampering” myself (candles, hair mask, face mask, self-care), I binged on raw quinoa. Because that’s what you do when you have an eating disorder and you are incredibly anxious and vulnerable and alone.

The next morning, I woke to the overwhelming need to vomit. I did. Once, twice, three times. This is around 5am. My shoot started at 8am. I tried to go out and get a Starbucks egg sandwich, since I didn’t have any “tummy settling” food in the house (i.e. no carbs). On my walk home from the store, I felt a wave hit me again, and I found myself knelt over the lip of the sidewalk, vomiting my sandwich into the snow.

I have had worse moments than that, but none with such terrible timing. I gave myself food poisoning the night before my $875 headshots– my one main entre into the business.

So now I’m getting a second chance. I do NOT want to fuck this one up.

I’m pretty happy with my body now. I’m about where I want to be, about where I think I’m marketable. I’d like to stick here as long as possible, and having photos that show it will help me a lot. I’m also pleased with my hair color (slightly lighter) and my eyebrows (slightly lighter too, per my agent’s finally-heeded suggestion). But for the next seven days, I am on a Pre-Headshots Detox. Not a real detox, don’t worry, just one that I think will help make me the best I can be.

1. No morning EPAs.
No getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to audition for something I won’t book. If I’m meant to book a show, I’ll have gone to that audition. These can pass. I will survive. I have survived before.

2. Lots of sleep.
Along with the no morning EPAs, I need to let myself get to bed at an appropriate hour and get up at an appropriate hour.

3. Do the gym like I’m supposed to do the gym.
With no morning EPAs and no one to really impress this week, I don’t have to do my hair perfectly every day. This means I need to return to my gym schedule– 3x a week (Wed, Fri, Sun, Mon)and get those endorphins going.

4. WATER WATER WATER
I will drink AT LEAST 4 fillings of my 20mL water bottle. That’s 80mL. I did this today and I swear to god, I have never peed so much in my life. This is HEALTHY, people. I am clearly not doing a good job of hydration.

5. Cut down on salt.
Salt is bloating. Especially Sun-Tues, I need to avoid any added salt. Nothing more than a sprinkle on my eggs.

6. Veggies and less junk.
I am lucky enough to live with a lovely boy… who eats a lot of crap. He’s from rural America… it’s his way. I have eaten more crap since being with him than in the last 4 years combined. (just goes to show you that FOOD doesn’t make you fat, BINGING does). So, I’m focusing heavily on proteins (beans) and greens (kale, spinach) and fruits (apples). Not so much sugar. In fact, try not to do ANY added sugar besides my morning coffee.

7. No, I’m not giving up coffee.
Sorry. I have my limits. I’m not dependent on it, but I’ve gotta have some boundaries.

8. Any other recommendations?
I’ll take anything you have to share. I’m not dieting or detoxing… I’m just looking for a couple of simple adjustments to focus on so that I can look my best on Tuesday. This girl wants pictures that will make the casting directors drool. 🙂

xoxo,

B.

P.S. My birthday was great. 🙂 Happy 24th to me!

 

Pounding 42nd St.

I feel like shit.

First, I somehow contracted nasty food poisoning from SOMETHING. Had some cramping and weird appetite most of the day on Saturday, and by that night, was having really awful abdominal pain (felt like I had to fart but couldn’t… sorry for the TMI). That night I vomited twice– once at like 1:30am and the next at 2:30am. Both were heavily labored– hardly any liquid, just gross gross gross chunky bits that really didn’t want to come out. I told A that I felt like I wanted to poop, but couldn’t, and he suggested a laxative. I took a suppository (SOO much TMI, sorry) and peed out of my butt for a little while before climbing back into bed. I was bedridden, still achy, nauseous, and faint all day on Sunday. I felt well enough to drink some vitamin water, but within an hour of feeling slightly better, the stomach pain came back. I took a bath, then laid in bed, and ended up sleeping from about 1:30pm-8:30pm. That night, I slept soundly from 11:30pm-9:30am. Guess I needed it? I was still a little off yesterday (managed to have a cup of coffee, a banana, an english muffin, half an apple, and then overdid a bit on dinner– kale, eggs, and brown rice). Feeling better today, but still not 100%. WHAT DID I DO TO MYSELF?!

And then there’s that silly thing called my career.

I went to a screening of the film made by the people I worked with over the summer on the show in NJ. I LOVE these people. They are brilliant, kind, connected, generous, and all-around glorious. They were part of a cool new festival in the city called First Time Fest. I’d seen the movie twice before (once in the cast house over the summer, again at another screening during the summer), so I was excited to bring A. Plus I was told there would be a red carpet I was wanted on.

Why? Who knows. I was completely uninvolved. BUT. Can I tell you how good it felt to be ushered by my friend S onto the red carpet with her writer/director partner, T, telling the photographers, “This is B, she’s the star of T’s next project.

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So yay, I felt good for a second.

But.

I still don’t have a job. I haven’t been paid to act (at least in a weekly/non-stipend form) since SUMMER. SINCE JULY. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone.

Everyone tells me that “this is how it is– you’ll never have a consistent job.” Which I get. But I barely audition, you know? I mean, I do, I go to stuff, I get auditions occasionally, but, per example, the last appointment I got from my agent was for a four-show stipend project that CONFLICTS WITH MY FOUR DAY TRIP HOME. This is why I don’t go home, mom, ya see?! And so I hope I don’t book it, but of course I hope I do… and I don’t know what to do.

That little dilemma was the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning and I burst into tears. That, plus anxiety about money (I usually have two jobs– my salary one plus an acting gig or a freelance thing– but haven’t for a few months), plus A’s anxiety about money (since he hasn’t worked since Feb.) just bowled me over.

I feel like I’ve been dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean trying desperately to swim to shore, but there are no lifeboats or pieces of driftwood to help me make it there. Y’know? I just feel really young and really stuck, and I hate it. I hate feeling helpless, and I hate not being able to do anything. But I really can’t. I’m doing my job.

I attend EPAs (the open calls held by the actor’s union)
I submit on ActorsAccess
(a site where I can self-submit for stuff, and my agent uses my profile for her submissions)
I spent the $280 to film and upload video clips to ActorsAccess

I give good auditions.
I’m doing all the superficial shit
(lightening my hair, losing weight–goal hit–, and fixing my skin)
I’m constantly saying “yes” to workshops and readings.

I can’t afford casting director workshops, and I also fucking hate that shit, because seriously… if I need that I obviously don’t have a job which means I obviously don’t have the money to pay for your workshop!!

I keep telling myself that it’s only a matter of time– that opportunities pop up in the oddest of places in completely unexpected times. Everything in my life has happened because of some odd cosmic alignment. I do all my homework, but I know that that’s not the be-all, end-all of this biz.

And I love A, but it’s hard that both of us are struggling artistically and financially.

And I hate that he sees the disappointment and frustration in me, and I hate that he feels like he can’t really help. I hate that I feel useless and lost and yes, depressed. I hate that I can’t even audition for things I’m right for, because they won’t go to someone like me. They’ll go to a bigger name or someone with a better agent or someone this or that that I’m just NOT.

Ugh.

 

 

The Rest I Make Up

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One week and one day since I flew home to NYC from home in Idaho, and today was the first day I called my parents. It’s like my energy flags when I think about calling– I just can’t. Finally, my boyfriend told me over sandwiches at Lenny’s that I really should, and that as we walked to his work, I should call. I’m telling you, the kid is a wonder. So I did, and it was good– mostly because my mom could only talk for a moment, and my dad is easier to talk to. Plus, there was only small mention of my sister’s illness. I have a very hard time finding compassion and understanding… I’ve written about this before. It’s something that gives me great guilt, but I struggle to even discuss it in a way that doesn’t make me feel “less” important, “less” vital… I don’t know.

I also came to realize over the last week that a major issue I had with this trip to Idaho was that in introducing my wonderful boyfriend to my family, rather than receiving wonderful words about how great/handsome/kind/smart/lovely he is, instead my mother made our relationship all about ME.

“Oh, you’re so affectionate! I’ve never seen you like this before!”
“Well, you were very distant on this trip, because you have someone else supporting you emotionally. But it’s better than outright anger!”

“Oh, no, I didn’t think that you’d die alone. I figured you’d die with a bunch of cats! Haha!”

It’s like all they could think about was that, like medication or therapy or whatever, having a serious boyfriend was somehow a proof of my “health,” of my “okay-ness.” Which makes me feel, once again, as though I’m inherently defective, and everything I do must be aimed towards proving I’m “okay” and “better” than I was. According to this theory, I’m not inherently “okay” and loveable and grounded and successful. Every “normal” thing in my life is some triumph over my illness, my inherent not-“okay-ness.” See how that’s a really irritating thing?!

So I guess there’s a huge part of me that’s glad to be home, here, because I’m not constantly proving I’m good enough. I mean, at least at home. I did receive a fairly passive-aggressive email from my agent last week: subject line “Happy New Year!” and body “You need to upload video onto ActorsAccess. It’s becoming imperative.” Which freaked me out (totally irrationally), so I emailed her back immediately listing all my awesomeness and how hard I’m working (which I AM, goddamnit!)

  • I reached my goal weight! (how? we’ll never know. perhaps even eating worse food but not binging really is the ticket… I’m not complainin’!)
  • I got great feedback from one callback– didn’t book it but was second choice!
  • Have another callback this week! Plus an audition next week! (now I have another audition the day of the callback, plus an EPA, plus therapy… plus meeting with my agent.)

Have tried to get video footage! Failing but trying!!

Anyway, I’ll meet with her on Thursday. I’m really anxious, but fuck it. What she thinks of me/tells me is not in my control. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. (right? I mean… right? Jesus Christ, sometimes I think I’m insane to do this job.)

And speaking of agents, A just signed with one. A literary agency. In London. For his book trilogy (he’s written one). The agency represented George Orwell.

Yep, let’s just get this out there:

  • A posted his book in an online forum sponsored by HarperCollins. We both did a bunch of work on it– social networking, making edits, commenting on others’ books, making friends. The ultimate hope would be to reach the top 5 on the site, earning a review by the HC editorial board. Thanks to our hard work, A’s book was likely to get there in the next couple of months. Since mid-Oct, his book rose from ranks in the 5,000 to around 150.
  • A got a message from an agent on his “profile” on the site. He said he loved the beginning of the book and would love to read the rest of the manuscript.
  • January 2, A got an email from the agent that he was halfway done with the book but he loved it so much he wanted to offer to sign A.
  • Today, he and A had a phone convo. The deal is set — A is signing– and the agent seems sure that he can get a great book deal for A and his trilogy.
  • My boyfriend is going to be a professional writer.

Which is what I wanted. Truly– this was what I dreamed for him, and I couldn’t have imagined anything more serendipitous.

Yet. There’s a part of me that, now, is anxious and a bit jealous. Why isn’t MY agent getting me great deals? Why does any email from her cause me anxiety slash why am I so certain she hates me (she doesn’t… I feel like she can’t… but fuck it, who knows)? I need to book a gig. And fast. Just to get my brain and heart out of this place where I feel like I’m failing and falling behind. Logically I know I’m in FINE shape– I have an agent, I’m in the union, I had a callback I almost booked, I have another callback this week, two audition appointments, an offer for a role in April, and it’s still technically the “break.” But.

I’m an actor. I’d like to act, please and thanks.

In other news, I got word yesterday morning that Maria Irene Fornes, one of my great heroes, is nearing the end of her life in hospice in upstate NY. As you may recall, I played the lead in one of her plays when I was a junior, and it was the hardest/most rewarding role of my life. Subsequently, I got to meet her on her 80th birthday. I wrote about it here: http://goo.gl/ipRr4

Basically, she has Alzheimers’, and unfortunately, in the waning years of her life, was placed in a hospice by her nephew– her legal guardian, but one who by no means has her best interests at heart. Being so far away from her community in NYC is very hard for her, and she really has no one except the few friends who occasionally visit. In the last week, she had refused both food and water (a symptom of loneliness and depression, not the Alzheimer’s), so it was looking like the end was near.

My former professor, Irene’s agent and dear friend, and the woman who introduced me to Irene, has been keeping people in the loop via a Google group and on Facebook. I sent Irene a letter, and I’ve been keeping updated on her progress. She has a Facebook page, and every day she has visitors, they will read the messages on Facebook, faxes received from loved one, play music Irene loves, and share photos and memories. The outpouring of love I’ve seen towards Irene from folks in the theatre community (whether they met her once, like me, a thousand times, or never at all) is remarkable.

The idea of Irene passing makes me incredibly sad. It sounds trite, but this woman is one of my greatest inspirations and heroes. Especially now, when I’m feeling kind of all-over-the-place and anxious about my life as an artist, Irene’s work and attitude never ceases to remind me that that’s all bullshit– the most important thing is the joy and the love of the art that you find within yourself. This woman is always smiling, always laughing, always singing. Her work is vast and inventive and unique. She thinks of her characters as having been born from her body. She sees honest artistic passion as the only reason to be an artist. As a playwriting teacher, she led physical exercises and songs and encouraged her students to paint and explore and play. Even in the darkest moments in her plays, there is humor and compassion.

I would love to be a great actor like so many I could name.
But I want to be an artist like Maria Irene Fornes.

If you pray or think (or think and pray– Shakespeare joke!), send some thoughts Irene’s way. She will pass, and it’s likely soon, but I truly believe that every single intention of love somehow reaches her and gives her comfort.

xoxo, my dear blog friends. 🙂
B.

My most prized possession. The amazing story won't move you unless you know who Maria Irene Fornes is, but long story short, she has dementia, no one thought she'd ever write again, someone encouraged me to ask for an autograph despite this, after a bit of pressure on all sides I said, "no, it's fine, I don't mind," and then all of a sudden Irene wrote in my book. Her documentarian, friends, agent, etc. all passed this around. Who knows-- I may have one of the last specimens of Irene's writing.

My most prized possession. The amazing story won’t move you unless you know who Maria Irene Fornes is, but long story short, she has dementia, no one thought she’d ever write again, someone encouraged me to ask for an autograph despite this, after a bit of pressure on all sides I said, “no, it’s fine, I don’t mind,” and then all of a sudden Irene wrote in my book. Her documentarian, friends, agent, etc. all passed this around. Who knows– I may have one of the last specimens of Irene’s writing.

"Of all the people I know you are the finest. You are the person I respect and feel most proud to know. I have no one to talk to. And sometimes I feel hollow and base. And I feel I don't have a mind. But when I talk to you I do. I feel I have a mind. Why is that? Why is it that some people make you feel stupid and some people make you feel smart. Not smart, because I am not smart. But some people make you feel that you have something inside you. Inside your head. Why is it that you can talk, Henry, and Lloyd cannot talk? Why is that? What I'm saying, Henry, is that I want you. That I want you here with me. That I love you." --MUD, by Irene Fornes

“Of all the people I know you are the finest. You are the person I respect and feel most proud to know. I have no one to talk to. And sometimes I feel hollow and base. And I feel I don’t have a mind. But when I talk to you I do. I feel I have a mind. Why is that? Why is it that some people make you feel stupid and some people make you feel smart. Not smart, because I am not smart. But some people make you feel that you have something inside you. Inside your head. Why is it that you can talk, Henry, and Lloyd cannot talk? Why is that? What I’m saying, Henry, is that I want you. That I want you here with me. That I love you.”
–MUD, by Irene Fornes

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"What’s the meaning of life Irene?"The meaning of life?
It’s doing what you like to do -
As simple as that
Doing what you like to do -
And enjoying it
Doing what you like to do -
And doing it
"Is that what you did?"
Yes
"Is that what you continue to do?"
Yes
And . . . doing it well
Doing what you like to do -
and doing it well
"And what about other people?"
People are a part of it
Doing it with people you like -
And people who do it well
See how simple it is?

Oneonta, May, 2009

"...I've been saying words in my head to see if word spirits would come... to join other words that were there... We just have to learn to listen and to let them come in easily because they... want to join other words to express something... of beauty or longing or despair." (Letters From Cuba, 2000)

“What’s the meaning of life Irene?”
The meaning of life?
It’s doing what you like to do –
As simple as that
Doing what you like to do –
And enjoying it
Doing what you like to do –
And doing it
“Is that what you did?”
Yes
“Is that what you continue to do?”
Yes
And . . . doing it well
Doing what you like to do –
and doing it well
“And what about other people?”
People are a part of it
Doing it with people you like –
And people who do it well
See how simple it is?
Oneonta, May, 2009
“…I’ve been saying words in my head to see if word spirits would come… to join other words that were there… We just have to learn to listen and to let them come in easily because they… want to join other words to express something… of beauty or longing or despair.” (Letters From Cuba, 2000)

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"The colors for me are very, very important. And the colors of the clothes the people wear. When it finally happens, the play exists. It has taken its own life. And then I just listen to it. I move along with it. I let it write itself. I have reached that point in plays at times. I have put scripts away then and picked them up three years later, and, reading them, suddenly I see the same picture with the same colors. The color never goes away. It could be ten years later. The play exists even if I have not finished writing it."

“The colors for me are very, very important. And the colors of the clothes the people wear. When it finally happens, the play exists. It has taken its own life. And then I just listen to it. I move along with it. I let it write itself. I have reached that point in plays at times. I have put scripts away then and picked them up three years later, and, reading them, suddenly I see the same picture with the same colors. The color never goes away. It could be ten years later. The play exists even if I have not finished writing it.”

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“You know there’s something that comes to me right now which is an expression – ‘seize the moment.’ Seize the moment. Grab the moment. Don’t miss it. Don’t let it pass without paying attention. In a way it can be confusing because it can be that ‘seize the moment’ means to hang on to it and stay there. But that’s not it. What was meant was not to stay there necessarily, but rather to just touch it. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the touch of cold glass against your hand. For no reason other than because it’s pleasant. The slightest thing, to acknowledge and respond to it, to let the moment be. You grab the moment. Don’t disown it. Don’t ignore it. It doesn’t mean that you become a crazy person saying, “Oh let me write this down because I may forget that I did this, or that this was fun, or that this was beautiful.” You could misinterpret it and become some kind of collector of little moments that really don’t need to be collected. But it’s very important to be in touch, to open yourself up, even to your own negative thoughts, negative feelings, to embrace those too, as well as the beautiful moments from your inner sensibility. So . . . I don’t know how I got into this, but here . . . we . . . are . . . “ Irene Fornés, Miami, February 2005

“You know there’s something that comes to me right now which is an expression – ‘seize the moment.’ Seize the moment. Grab the moment. Don’t miss it. Don’t let it pass without paying attention. In a way it can be confusing because it can be that ‘seize the moment’ means to hang on to it and stay there. But that’s not it. What was meant was not to stay there necessarily, but rather to just touch it. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the touch of cold glass against your hand. For no reason other than because it’s pleasant. The slightest thing, to acknowledge and respond to it, to let the moment be. You grab the moment. Don’t disown it. Don’t ignore it. It doesn’t mean that you become a crazy person saying, “Oh let me write this down because I may forget that I did this, or that this was fun, or that this was beautiful.” You could misinterpret it and become some kind of collector of little moments that really don’t need to be collected. But it’s very important to be in touch, to open yourself up, even to your own negative thoughts, negative feelings, to embrace those too, as well as the beautiful moments from your inner sensibility. So . . . I don’t know how I got into this, but here . . . we . . . are . . . “ Irene Fornés, Miami, February 2005

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