- 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.
Acting is a weird business.
You’re not supposed to want anything. WANTING fucks you over.
I want something right now. A part. Even talking about wanting it makes me feel really jinx-y. But I also feel like pretending I don’t want it is actually impossible right now.
The closer I get to the part, the more I want it.
The fewer auditions I have, the more I want to book them.
What the EVERLOVING SHIT is going on with me right now?
I had a pretty shitty weekend, emotionally. A was gone. I did some work and relaxed a ton, but got about as close to binging as I have in a loooong time. Had those terrible thought cycles and got constantly caught up in the emotional soup. Had what should have been great sex last night but wasn’t there at ALL.
Now today, I feel shaky and sad. This isn’t the numbness I felt this weekend, it’s a heavy wet cloud in my chest. Tears or screams or something always feel just on the VERGE of coming out. I have a cracked lip I can’t stop picking at and a pimple the size of Pluto that I can’t stop thinking about. My brain feels far and distant and it takes an exceptional amount of power to convince my self to do my actual job.
I don’t know how I feel. I feel depressed but also manic, unfocused and flighty, epically sad but also terribly anxious.
Is it just this time of year? Where things are ending and new things are supposed to be starting, but instead the days just slide into the thick humid fucking loooooooong days of New York summer? Why does the “future” look like a total jumble, just weeks and weeks of IcantevenimaginewhatIamdoingIhavenocluecanItakeanapandwakeupandsuddenlyhaveapurpose?
This better pass by tomorrow, because I’m turning fucking 25 years old and I deserve a good day. Goddamnit.
Sort of still coming down from the high of this weekend. I look forward to December, when I can stop worrying about getting it because, of course, I will have not gotten it. Right now, I am just frustrated. I wish this wasn’t a one-shot thing, you know? Like I wish I was auditioning for a few things I was excited about… not one thing I’m excited about that is so unlikely it’s laughable.
So yesterday was bad. I got moody and pissy with A, even when he was trying to be warm and supportive. I was in a terrible mood at work, and gave a half-assed audition for a play I don’t care about. Today is better. I woke up, and though still feeling sick (oh yeah! I have a cold!), I felt positive about my day. It’s just going to take time for this underlying feeling of excitement/anxiety to subside. And then I can feel happy. For now, I’m just plugging through and trying to focus on exciting things that are happening– my parents are coming next week! I love Christmas and the holidays!
So. I may or may not listen to musical theatre and self-identify in the songs. I’M AN ACTOR. Deal.
Just because I find myself in this story
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me
If I think the ending is fixed already
I might as well be saying I think that it’s okay
And that’s not right.
Even if you’re little you can do a lot
You mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you
If you sit around and let them get on top you
Might as well be saying you think that it’s okay
And THAT’S NOT RIGHT.
I make my own choices. My career is mine and I’m on my own road. I may be little, but I am strong. And I’ll fight for what I want.
Maybe we can’t be okay
But maybe we’re tough and we’ll try anyway
We’ll live with what’s real
Let go of what’s passed
And maybe I’ll see you at last.
I don’t need a life that’s normal
That’s far too far away
But something next to normal would be okay
Yes, something next to normal is the thing I’d like to try
Close enough to normal to get by
We’ll get by.
Perfect doesn’t exist. Normal as a goal is too high, too close to perfection. No… one day at a time. Go one battle at a time and stop stressing about the whole war.
But when you least expect
Opportunity walks through the door
You suddenly connect
To the thing that you forgot
That you’d been looking for
And there you are
Right in the middle of what you love
With the craziest of company
You’re having a kick-ass time
And being who you wanted to be in this world
You’re that little girl, with wings unfurled
Back in the backyard dancing.
I found my way back to then.
I’ve found it before. The quiet lull right now is just a transition into the next step. Trust your friends. Expect the unexpected. Be thrilled that you are certain of what you want in this life. Not everyone has it.
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. 🙂
2012: A RETROSPECTIVE
1 – Celebrated NYE with my parents, grandmother, and family friends in Idaho.
9 – Flew home to NYC. Attended a last-minute cat adoption seminar and was GIVEN my adopted kitty. Without any previous expectation, my girl joined my life.
22 – Begin a long week performing in a site-specific theatre piece in a hotel in New Jersey.
26 – The Tildas.
13 – Had my first audition for what would be the biggest show of my life. Earlier that day, on the train, I received the worst email ever from an agent I was hoping to work with. Cried halfway down the shore, realized I had forgotten a second headshot, cried walking towards the beach, auditioned, and cried all the way home. Subsequently, met with P and got drunk on happy hour cocktails, and then saw WIT with L. Thanks to my finagling, we were able to go backstage and meet Cynthia Nixon. Without expecting it, today became one of the best days of the year.
21 – Had my first callback for American Stare in New Jersey. Nailed it.
27 – Had my second callback for American Stare in New York. Nailed it.
28 – Booked a gig reading student plays with the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Came back on the MetroNorth only to hop in a cab to go to Grand Central to get on another train for a callback for a production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Halfway through the callback, I received a call that I’d been cast in American Stare. Left the callback.
3 – Flew home with Franny to visit for my mom’s birthday.
13 – Did my first extra work on a half-day shoot with Whoopi Goldberg. It kinda rocked.
17 – Ushered a show at Second Stage off-Broadway. Met the boy who would turn into the love of my life.
29 – My 23rd Birthday. Spent alone in a cemetery. And it was great.
14 – A pretty nasty self-hosted dinner party at my friends’ that really marked the beginning of the end of our friendship.
21 – A year previously, I graduated from college. This year, I had my first day of rehearsal for American Stare.
25 – Boarded the Amtrak for DC to visit with my family. My mom was singing at the Kennedy Center with her choir on Memorial Day.
1 – Left Franny with her catsitter and boarded a train to New Jersey to finish rehearsals for American Stare.
16 – Opening Night of American Stare.
8 – I first met the agent who would later sign me.
15 – My “friends” from “my” “company” came to the show. It sort of sucked.
17 – Met that boy for the second time. Was pretty sure I was already in love.
22 – Closing Night of American Stare. A hard, hard night.
24 – Met with the agent who offered to sign me.
3 – Phone was stolen. At least it was on a really really fun wonderful night with my American Stare ladies. Got a new phone. A was away at drill. I missssssed him already.
20 – He said he loved me. I reciprocated. Of course.
22 – Saw Sleep No More with the boy. It was something.
1 – Went with A to visit his family for the weekend. It was lovely.
14 – A and I spent our first real romantic weekend in Amish Country in a B&B. It was remarkable.
24 – Huge audition, huge meeting with agent. Even thinking about it now makes me anxious.
6 – First step of the major move into A’s place.
13 – MOVING DAY to Washington Heights!
20 – Very late night shoot for another non-paid gig I never got paid for. But A came with me and waited for the full 3 hours while I did ballet in Times Square in a leotard at 3am.
29 – Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. We stayed safe– not everyone did.
3 – Saw my favorite show of the year at Playwrights’ Horizons, The Whale by Sam Hunter. A was called into active military duty– with no timeline. I might have lost him for a month. Instead, he was home after a day or so.
6 – Barack Obama is back in the White House, and I cast my first official ballot in NY State. Also, we had date lunch and double-featured Argo and Lincoln.
21 – Left for PA to visit A’s family for the holiday. We also visited Gettysburg, which ROCKED.
4 – The beginning of a week of fun with A, where we saw Nutcracker at NYCB, Golden Boy on Broadway, “my” “company’s” show off-off-, and the Big Apple Circus!
17 – Home to Idaho with A. He left after a week, I stayed till the 29th. We had fun. When he left, I missed him almost more than I knew how to handle.
31 – Celebrated the New Year with the best thing in my life (A), in PJs, with a kiss and a toast.
Here’s to 2013 being the best year yet. I’ve got a good feeling about it.
Happy New Year, my dears!
I’m alive. I’m okay. In fact, I’m in love and I’m on a sort of half-baked vacation, so really I’m doing great.
Except for the moments when I’m not.
Isn’t it funny the way that they way we feel has such fluidity?
I can instantly retreat inwards, protectively, at the drop of a hat. He doesn’t immediately introduce me to someone. WHOOSH. He talks about the tour on which he met his ex. SWOOSH. He talks about himself in the past– a him I never knew. BAM. I close up tight.
But then, sometimes the little mushy parts are so easily exposed, and I can let myself NEED and FEEL and LOVE. Tucking my head under his arm and on his chest. PHEW. Feeling him reach for my knee under the dinner table. AAH. Having him ask about my family situation, and seem to really want to hear the answer. SWEEE.
There have been moments of this relationship that I’ve felt so in love, I’m afraid I’m manic. Because I was bipolar primarily as a young kid (I stabilized around 14 with the help of Zoloft), I have noticed the “manic” tendencies less apparently than the depressive ones. I doubt if I’d even still be diagnosed as bipolar at this point– but there’s no denying my moods are ever-shifting, and my ups and downs seem to move at a pace and an intensity that is, let’s say, more than most other people.
If I were to look at larger moments in my life as manic (after age 14), I could tag off my years at boarding school– I was an overachiever, always put together and organized, and eventually crashed into a horrific depression after I wasn’t accepted to Juilliard– my summer as an apprentice at a fancy-pants theatre festival– the beginning of the unconscious restrictive behavior, bouncing back from an illness by working EXTRA hard– and perhaps moments of this last summer– enormous joy quickly supplanted by depression upon returning weekly to NYC. I could pull out a number of times in my life that my bipolar moods (whether clinical or simply active) vacillated from mania to depression.
But maybe actually being in love isn’t clinical mania. I’m not restricting, I’m still messy and imperfect, I still get angry, I still tell him when I get angry. But is the excess of love an OVERexpression set in contrast to the amount of times I feel scared or upset or sensitive? Or is that what being comfortable with a person is like? I know that’s sort of what being with my family is like… And when I was a kid, oftentimes the mania was expressed by clinginess and an excessive need to express my love. Is THIS love THAT love?
I don’t think so. But again. I have to get used to feeling this way about someone. I’m so used to my own moods now, to allowing myself to regulate myself, to separate when I need it and feel when I need it and not have to do any of that in front of or around anyone else.
But with A, I have to negotiate my feelings with HIS feelings, my moods with HIS moods, my affection with HIS affection, my frustrations with HIS frustrations, etc etc and on and on. A lot of times this makes me anxious. I’m afraid that by feeling angry/frustrated/unloved/uncomfortable I’m pushing him away– I’m not doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing as a girlfriend/roommate/lover etc. But the fact that I am willing to go through that process with him, and I never want him to NOT be there, to NOT interact with me and my feelings, is a sign that there’s something right in all of this.
I tell him all the time that I’m still relearning how to BE with someone else. I’ve grown so used to only dealing with my own cyclical moods and my own mental hangups. I ask him to cut me a lot of slack… which I know is asking a lot. And THAT makes me anxious (of course). But I haven’t scared him off yet. I have been a bitch and a depressive and an angry, irritable crankster around him, and he’s still here. He still misses me when I’m not by his side.
And I feel the same way.
I’ve never really approached love in a way that tied into my mental issues. They have been the END of relationships, and I did have one relationship in which I said “yes, I want to” to someone who I eventually had to leave because it was a selfish kind of thing– I wanted his affection because it made me feel beautiful and special– but I’ve never been someone who had a lot of manic sex or lashed out at significant others or kept them out of my struggles (at least in a conscious way). And I’ve never felt more in love than I do right now.
Every day. Every fucking day. Isn’t THAT crazy, you guys? We muddle through every day with a portion of our brain always processing, always tuned in, because if we stop, we fall. If I don’t process what I’m feeling, it will take me over. That’s sort of how the ED stuff happened. But it can be an exhausting task. That’s one of the reason I like having A around. He helps me stay on the boat, even when the water is rocky.
“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”
― Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
I’m trying to keep my mind distracted from the incredibly anxiety-producing election returns. Lying here with a cat on my lap and a boy clacking away on his computer across from me, writing.
I just stumbled upon a blog written by my boy’s ex that she’s keeping secret. I had known about her previous blog because it’s linked to her Twitter, which I found from googling (YES I’m a stalker, try and convince me you’re not too). She’s made me anxious because they had been together for so long (4ish years), they had gotten this apartment together, and they were on the fast track to… something very big.
Anyway, this new blog doesn’t have her name on it, but I know it’s her because I follow her Twitter– and the blog is all about “Can I find a man who…”
If I didn’t know it was her before, I know based on what she writes about wanting. There are MANY traits that A has that she elucidates: he leaves love notes. He remembers everything I tell him. He’s funny.
There’s something so schaudenfreude about the whole thing… I guess I’ve been the girl that got the guy a number of times (although I have NEVER in my life thought about it like that, like stealing or winning), but there’s something that makes me feel special for having something that someone else no longer does. Does that make me a bad person?
She writes this (clearly about me): “Like, 3 or 4 year relationship ends and a few weeks later, my ex is facebook official with some girl that either looks a lot like me or that everyone says “if she weren’t with _____, you’d be friends with her! you guys would get along so well!” ….Shut up. No, we wouldn’t. Because she is with _______. And because of that, I think she’s ugly and stupid and probably really, really lame. And well, when she looks a lot like me, that just weirds me out.”
Okay. I’m not trying to throw this girl under the bus, just to be clear. I am sure she’s lovely. Anyone who spent 4 years with A must be. I have no beef with the girl. We’ve never met!
But again… there’s this part of me that relishes feeling better than her (I know, I know, I am the WORST).
We don’t look the same. My hair is blonde-ish. I weight at least 20 pounds less. SO PETTY SO AWFUL but it makes me feel good?!
And knowing that she has stalked me too, and that she knows she no longer has A…. It’s a weird good/bad feeling that I can’t describe. I’m not sure what it is… but I had to share it and I sure as hell can’t share it with anyone who actually knows me or A (!).
Love to all. Check in again soon.
It’s been a long, long while.
A few updates to get you the gist of where I am:
1. Still with the boy (A). Head over heels, struggles and all. Great sex, good talks, complete dedication on both our ends. I’ve never felt like this before. Moving in with him next month.
2. Been on 3ish auditions since I signed with the agent. BIG one today with casting director who was one of my profs in college. Then I have to have a meeting with my agent to talk about styling and pictures (which I hear as “lose weight you fucking fatty”). I’m terrified about it.
3. Spent the weekend a few weeks ago in Amish Country with the boy. We bought a quillow (a pillow that folds out into a quilt). I love him. It was glorious. I did not want to come back.
4. My sister probably has endometriosis. It depresses her and it’s depressing the hell out of me.
5. The last week I’ve been in a depressive funk– binging and starving and staying in bed and whining and crying and feeling like shit and feeling jealous of the boy’s ex for getting to see him at work every day which is dumb but still it just adds to the “feeling like shit.” Hopefully finishing today will help.
6. I think this feeling is anxiety. It is a nervous warmth, like an electric current, that runs from the pit of my stomach into my throat and stays there, buzzing. It clutches my throat, makes me feel nauseous. I don’t know why I’m anxious. I don’t know why I’m so scared. I want all the “things” to go away– no requirements, no needs, no work, no negotiating with A to make sure we get done what needs to get done, no one to tell us where to go or what to do… just time, open and warm.
7. The boy was supposed to come home with me over the holidays (he still hasn’t met my parents). BUT he works all through December (literally 2 days off– 24th and 25th). He was suggesting a quick two day trip (fly in 21st, stay 22-23, and fly out 24th so he’d be home for Xmas), which sounds completely insane to me. Completely. And he’d have to take shifts off, which wouldn’t make him happy. I don’t know what to do. I’m going home for Christmas… does it make sense to do a week in November, a few weeks in December, and then come home for Christmas? I don’t think so. But what are we going to do?
9. So far so good with the new birth control. Had some breakthrough bleeding early on, plus moodiness, but now, about 1.5 months in, I’m in pretty good spirits.
10. The anxiety, the fear, the sadness, the overwhelmedness, grabs at my throat as I sit here and type. I feel my little fluttering self beating fast inside my body… easily hurt, easily wounded. I have to be strong today. I have to show everyone that I’m beautiful and brave and confident, but all I feel is like a small, scared little bird who isn’t quite enough for the big bad world. Even though A skipped working on his own music this morning to stay with me to keep the anxiety at bay, when his ex texted him to come in early to work (basically she’s his boss… yeah, I know), that little bird burrowed into my throat. I told him, “I wish I could hire you as my admin assistant so anytime I texted you you’d come right away.” And the thing is, he does do that for me, obviously. But that little bird of insecurity, the little flutter inside my throat and my eyes and my lungs, teetered dangerously. I feel off the ground… unbalanced and unsure. I don’t trust my body to do what I need it to or my voice to stay strong and solid. I don’t trust my eyes not to drip with tears throughout a meeting about how I look. I don’t want to talk about how I look. But that’s what this meeting is. Sometimes I think that the theatre is a fucking awful place.
11. In six hours, it will be over. After he goes away with the ex this weekend (for a run they scheduled in Disney months and months ago), he’ll be back and he’ll be mine. And I’ll know it. My feet will feel solid under me. I will feel good enough and special enough and I will breathe. In November, we’ll move. And maybe we’ll go to my home. Or maybe we’ll just have our holidays in NYC together, set up a tree, and then I’ll take him home next year. And then I’ll be home for Christmas, for food and love and warmth, for the sweet town I love and the family who cares. And then life will continue, up and down and around and back and forth, but it will continue.
It’s exactly what I’ve been telling myself for the last week.
It will suck, but then it will be over.
It will be over.
It will be over.