#Blessed

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.

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The one they choose.

To be in my business in this city is to be one of millions. To survive in my business in this city, you have to believe that someone will choose you over the other millions. You have to believe you have something to offer.

And I do believe that. I can’t tell you how– I have no hard evidence beyond anecdotal– but a part of me really, truly believes that someone will choose me. They have before, and they will again. And that’s the key.

I walk around Penn Station, where most of the studios where auditions are held are, and see hundreds of girls in heels or in tights, most with backpacks or rolling bags, hair whipping in the wind. Each one of them believes that they have what it takes. And if they don’t, eventually I’ll stop seeing them. I peer through pages of agent’s websites, looking at their clients’ headshots, hundreds of girls with soft, flowing hair and eyes that stare out of the frame, lips naturally pink and eyebrow hair retouched to smoothness. Each one of them also believes they have what it takes, and they have already found someone they believe in.

I often feel like the only person who believes in me is myself. I have an agent, but don’t get appointments. I have friends who help, sorta, but not enough. Everyone else glances over me or doesn’t see me in the hundreds of smiling, pore-smoothed faces that pass through their days.

It’s exhausting to only have yourself, to maintain that belief that someone will choose you when you go for months without anyone proving that to be true. It’s hard to walk amongst those girls on 36th St and feel different, only to realize that they feel the exact same way about me and everyone else.

There is an abundance of girls like me. There is a severe dearth of work.
There is an abundance of work for certain people. There is a severe dearth of work for me.

I watch auditions come and go, most I never even get to go in for, watch the shows I didn’t get to audition for open, then run, then close, watch the actors who did get to audition and who did get the roles move onto the next, and I just stand there in the middle of the city and think, once, just once, I want to be the one that they choose.

Speaking of what I was just writing about:

One of my friends (a male) wrote this hilarious/tragic thing. Link here: https://medium.com/p/f919637ff615

CASTING BREAKDOWN FOR NEW STUDIO FILM

Seeking actors for the following roles in our upcoming studio film.

LINDSAY

Lindsay is the kind of girl you fall in love with immediately. She’s down-to-earth, fun-loving, just one of the guys. She’s also a girl’s girl, with close girl friends.

She doesn’t ever look like she’s trying too hard, except when she is, and then she’s the most gorgeous girl on the planet — perfect figure, smoldering eyes, flawless skin — you just can’t take your eyes off her. She’s got to be that kind of sexy that knocks you off your feet and sends your heart racing, but also that girl-next-door, completely approachable in every way kind of sexy.

You know Cameron Diaz? She’s Cameron Diaz meets Sandra Bullock meets Emma Stone meets that girl from the new car explosion movie whose name we forget. She is fragile, and strong. Hilarious, but dramatically powerful. A real goofball. But hot. A hot-ball, if that makes any sense. She’s rock solid, but gooey, like a warm cookie (Hot, basically.)

You can tell just by looking at Lindsay that she is withholding a fatal secret that could destroy the world. But when she’s thinking about the secret she’s got to look smoldering. Think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct meets Joan of Arc in life? Actresses must be comfortable with partial nudity and someone repeatedly poking them in the side of the face with a small rod, as this is an INTEGRAL part of the film. Please only submit actresses who can handle an intense workout regimen and diet. Also the rod.

Lindsay is a party animal and loves drinking and dancing all night long at the club, then going home and curling up with a cup of tea and a great romance novel. By day she’s a librarian at the local town library, by midday she’s a serial killer, by night she’s a college professor, but always hot, hot, hot. That never stops.

She owns a suit and wears a size 8 shoe, but never wears socks. How many pairs of Crocs does she own? None. No pairs. Actresses wearing Crocs in the audition will be thrown out of the room.

She has 26 freckles and many of the characters address her freckle-count at different times in the film, so please only submit actresses with this many freckles. Also Lindsay’s bones are brittle, so if we were playing Lindsay, we’d avoid Calcium on the week before reading for this part.

When Lindsay walks, she swings her left arm kind of like this. Can you see what I’m doing right now? That’s what Lindsay needs to walk like. She needs to be able to cover the entire spectrum of emotion — from “crazy” to “cool” and then from “hot” to “less hot” but then back to “hot” again.

The actress needs to be 5 foot 4 with orange-ish hair and C-cup breasts.

MAX

Max is a slacker with a heart of gold who lives with his parents. A Seth Rogen type.

This is why we shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things.

Just some of the roles listed for self-submissions just TODAY on Actors Access. This is the MAIN website for casting calls, used by all licensed agents and CDs (all Broadway shows, TV shows, films, etc, use this site), so this isn’t like a trashy website for bullshit casting calls. These are taken from just the first page of results for a woman my age.

I’m curious what your reaction, non-acting-industry-people, are to this casting calls. Are you shocked? No? Do you find them strange? I’m so used to them by now that it’s hard to gauge my actual reaction.

BALLERINA/MODEL ]
LOOKING FOR VERY, VERY, VERY SKINNY GIRLS!!!! Casting Women 18 and older. I am looking for a very, very, very skinny girl to play an anorexic ring girl. This is a VERY important character!!!! You would be playing a ring girl in a boxing ring, you will be wearing a bikini carrying a piece of cardboard with the number 8 on it. you will have special effects makeup to make you look skeletal. And there is a part where young boys will be throwing food at you.

NUDE BEAUTY ]
Beautiful, caucasian girl who will be rapping the lyrics to camera. She is the main focus of the video.  My goal is to create one of the most disturbing and unsettling music videos ever.

[ROLE 3 ]
Caucasian Female, age 18 – 25.  Hot looking model/ actor with a good body and looks that can make her stand apart from a crowd.  Lead

OLIVIA ]
(22-25) She is a very average looking girl, who wears no makeup. Being with Sebastian makes things much easier in that regard. She wants to be viewed as independent, but cannot bare the thought of being rejected. She always feels guilty around her mum – for having abandoned her -, and strives to make her dad feel proud….FEMALE… LEAD…CAUCASAIN OR LATINA….

2 GIRL FRIENDS ]
Age Range: 24 to 30. Latin American, Caucasian (European or American) Female Models. Very beautiful high end looking model types. Because they are the 2 best friends of our lead girl who is playing a high end model. Skinny. CAN YOU SUBMIT BODY SHOTS AS WELL. Picture Submission Only

LEAD GIRL ]
age range 18-25, any ethnicity and body type, a natural beauty who is also very sexy. This girl must be very cool and down to earth but also very hot and sexy.

GIRL ]
Caucasian, 18-25, Perfect, bad girl, beautiful, dangerous, but also “a vision of perfection” so angelic with a bad streak.

The Ultimatum

I finally got the ultimatum I’d been waiting for:
If you take the acting job in Idaho, then you can’t be a full-time Assistant.

At the end of this summer, I will lose my job.

I have worked in this position since I was a sophomore in college, slowly taking on more and more responsibility. I have been salaried (LOW) for two years. This semester, my boss is on sabbatical so for all intents and purposes, I am running the Theatre Program. If I accepted the full-time position I’d have steady work with a good boss in a job I like and am good at, plus benefits, health, and a higher salary.

But I’m not taking it.

I should be terrified. I mean, I AM terrified. I haven’t been completely jobless in… ever. Really. And I like this job, and care about the work I do. But the main feeling I’m experiencing right now?

Relief.

Because this choice is not a choice. I can’t possibly forfeit a great, professional, $800/week gig for the stability of a day job. I have left other jobs for lesser gigs. I AM AN ACTOR. Not always, often not working, but this is my forever-job. I want to do this until my brain short-circuits and I can’t remember lines anymore, or until my legs give out and I have to play Blanche in a wheelchair. Admin work? That’s all to serve the dream.

So yes, I’m scared, and sad, and a bit nervous. But I have time to think and plan, and I have a little cushion of savings, and I have a wonderful man and a cat who love me, and I have a 2 month gig that will take me home to my family, who will help me move to the next step. And I will also have freedom. Which is scary, yes, but also… you know… freeing.

I know what I want. And that feels good.

13 Things I Learned in 2013

1. JANUARY: You can get an A+ in “being an actor,” but it still doesn’t mean you’ll succeed.

It’s about being ME, and living my life, and knowing, deep within myself, that this moment is temporary. To forgive myself when I get another “no” or I’ve gone months without a “real” job. To acknowledge that I’m WORTH forgiving. To trust myself enough to believe that the next job will come.

It’s not that you don’t do the hard work– it’s that you don’t depend upon it to make your life perfect. I don’t think I expected that when graduating from high school, or when I moved to New York, or really… ever. Until the last two years of being in the world. I’ve become more and more comfortable with it, but I have to constantly remind myself that the balance is the key. As one of my favorite professors loved to say about the process of acting (and, ergo, the process of living) is “always balancing, never balanced.”

2. February: I want all the things.

This is something that has surprised me about my relationship with A. I never dreamed about my perfect wedding, I never felt like anything was missing when I was alone, I never wanted anyone to spend money on me. But with A, I google engagement rings (not that I want him to propose yet, but again… suddenly I want all the things). I want him to buy me nice dinners. I want him to get his book deal so he can take care of our little family. I want to cook for him. I want him with me all the time.

This is not to say I’m going to get married and become a housewife and give up everything I’ve dreamed of– I’m just as ambitious as always. But I realized that I maybe do want some of the things we’re told women want, and that’s okay. Like Hannah, I feel weird about wanting all the things, but truth be told… I kinda do.

3. March: I know that there’s no quick fix to this.

Everything hurts me.
I’m easily irritated, and I hate that.
It is physically difficult to do anything, and mentally even more so.
I feel as though I’m wasting my life.
I am not entirely sure that “I am enough” for this business at all.

My spirits are very low. And the thing that makes me the most happy in the world is so far away from me. I have nothing to look forward to. I don’t know what else to do. I’m scared and feeling very hopeless. Why can’t the universe throw me a bone? A small one? Any one?

I know this will pass. I know I will eventually work again. But right now I feel like my insides are made of hardening cement– heavy and painful. Nothing give me joy right now. Everything hurts. Everything makes me cry. I want to be nowhere; to hibernate until this time is over. And I just want it go away.

4. April: Our love is the truest thing RIGHT NOW, and for the time to come.

We talk about love a lot. So do most couples.
But my darling, I UNDERSTAND you. We FIT. “I” am not a “thing” without “you.”

Just wanted to share.
I never take you for granted.
I never am not surprised and grateful when you make me coffee.

Our love is energetic and exciting and romantic, but it’s also comfortable. It’s home. And that’s something that’s harder to put into words than the platitudes and poetics that make up the language of most relationships. A year ago, I couldn’t imagine a love like this.
Now, I can’t imagine my life without it.

5. May: Self-harm is the is the easiest game to play.

I’m always amazed by the ways in which I know how to hurt myself.

Food.
Cutting.
Watching videos of my boyfriend’s ex on his computer.
Saying “no” and staying in.

I have hurt myself more than anyone has ever hurt me.

6. June: The way I see myself, the way I see the world, has transformed.

Everything changes. It would take years and years to trace each seismic shift from its starting place, to its catalyst, to its change. There are patterns, of course. My triggers are familiar. Many of my dreams are the same. But the way I see myself, the way I see the world, has transformed, and on more than one occasion.

I’m okay with that.

As long as I still find those moments where all the pieces of my life, my desires, my city, can balance momentarily on a finger. As long as I feel those sharp flashes of knowing I’m exactly where and what and who I’m supposed to be. The inside transforms the outside, and the same is true the other way around. And maybe that makes me hope that I’ll never stop changing, that with each turn of the season and spin of the axis, I’m finding my balance on the point that feels just right, at least for a moment. And then I’ll fall off, only to tip and spin and flounder until I’ve found my perfect, temporary fit again.

7. July: I hate this business sometimes, I doubt my strength when the going is tough, but I honestly CANNOT imagine my life any way but this.

And those raw moments of the play, where the only thing that exists is the look in Reed’s eyes-the kiss or kill- or the way Angie skips onstage after a betrayal, like nothing has happened, or the genuine nerves and laughter of the epilogue– I am so much myself. I get to experience worlds different from my own, physical contortions, and heartache and lust and love, it really just boils down to ME, really looking, really hearing, really standing there and taking it, and letting myself feel every bit. No hiding.

It’s not really disappearing, I guess. It’s allowing honest feeling to seep out and be seen. I am actually standing there, actually slapping his face, actually kissing his lips, actually blocking her way.

And unlike life, much of the time, I get to experience it fully. That’s what I share with the audience. And that is joy. That is release. That is certainty.

8. August: I ate pasta for dinner. And I feel A-OK about it.

Starving made (and makes) me angry. Being hungry sharpens things, sure, and I’m more productive, but I’m also touchy. I’m isolated. Everybody and everything annoys me. It’s manic, but it’s also pissy. I’m never more outwardly angry than when I’m hungry.

Binging makes me sad. I turn inward here, too, but for different reasons. I want to be invisible. People don’t piss me off– I just feel as though I don’t deserve to be near anyone, like I’m worthless and I want to be alone. It’s almost more painful because of the shame. Not eating isn’t shameful. I don’t care what anyone says. For women, and anyone who has ever experienced an ED, eating is shameful. Not eating means self-control. This is not the objective truth, but it is the truth we live every day in this society. I would get more auditions if I was starving than if I was binging. If I’m sick from not eating, that’s almost understandable. If I’m sick because I tear into myself with food, punish every body part, my stomach and my brain in particular, I lack self-control.

9. September: I am a participant in so many tiny universes.

Looking at A’s Facebook page today, loaded with those lovely “Happy Birthday!”s that pop up through the day, I noticed my universes converging. That’s how life goes, I guess, and love is the catalyst for it. Actors I worked with last summer post greetings after friends from college share their blessings. A knows these people and they know him because I exist. I love A, so I bring him places. I love my friends, so I make a point to go to those places.

I know I’m not the only one with these many orbiting galaxies, meshing and meeting, with only me, my strange and special life, at the center. How did I become someone whose world has so much variance? It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I exist.

10. October: I have confidence that I can care for myself, for the first time in a long time.

Look at all this SHIT I had to fight through, tooth and nail, to get to this point. Look at how hard I worked. Look at all the time I spent fighting for the life I have now. I battled an eating disorder, crushing anxiety, self-hatred, depression, mania, self-injury in every way you can imagine, and I’ve come out the other side. And I have confidence that I can care for myself, for the first time in a long time. Isn’t THAT crazy?”

My life is nothing special to me, as I walk through it. And yet, I realize that I have walked through incredible forests, forded wild rivers. I am lucky to have it, and I am grateful. Overwhelmingly.

11. November: Eventually, someone will reach out to me because they want me.

Andddddd. Here is me letting go. After a day of excitement, then a day of so much nervous energy I could have powered NYC… And the video audition is taped, looks just fine, and was sent off to my agent. Now. I can feel good about this. I just need to stop fantasizing about it.

What’s next to get me excited?! Anyone? Mom and dad are coming for thanksgiving in two weeks! Artie and I have two movie dates next week! I have a play audition on Monday! I have amazing supportive friends! Life is good, y’all. And that’s the end of this chapter. Page turn, cover close, on the shelf, as high as it can go. :)

12. December: I love that in spite of EVERYTHING, every time the lights go down, my heart fills and beats just a little harder.

I love this community, despite its flaws.

I love this craft, despite its strangeness.

I love these shows, despite some of them being kind of dumb.

I love this city and its passion, despite the fact that it’s exhausting.

13.  2013 was not a “banner” year. My career was slow. The first bumps in my relationship appeared. I struggled with friendships, I struggled at work. I fucked up a lot. It’s hard to look at the strides I made last year (huge show, Equity card, agent, new boyfriend, moving in with boyfriend, new cat) and compare them to last year. Yet 2013 was not devoid of growth. It was just that the growth was subtler, harder to see, less exciting, less bright.

I rekindled incredible friendships through the process of R’s wedding.
I did a show that reminded me why I love the theatre.
I shot my first lead in a TV episode, and did really well. And had so much fun.
I am happier with my body, and also more content with my “recovery,” than ever before.
I took some great risks (new dance studio, solo vacation, new doctors).
I supported my boyfriend through a career change and the ups-and-downs therein.
I watched my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend in a play, then watched her leave the state, and slowly stopped letting her hurt me (still working).
I had my final appointment with my amazing therapist.
I said what I wanted and boldly asked for things (“I want an audition for this.” “Could you please do the dishes?”)
I reconnected with my relatives (though my grandmother would disagree).
I attended my first wedding.
I looked more beautiful than I have ever looked before, and I felt that.
I accepted that there are things that I can’t do because they make me feel bad, and that’s okay.
I was more in love than I’ve ever been.

So yeah. 2013. Things happened. As we enter a new year, I want to continue to make things happen. I want to continue to take risks. I want to give back. I want to be kind. I want to keep learning.

What did you learn this year? And by the way, I’m so grateful for your presence in my life this year. Happy new year!

Irks and Happy’s

Things that irk me:

False, ceaseless, unrelenting positivity. Look. If you spend this much time blogging about how GREAT your positive life is, how MUCH you love yoga, how DETERMINED you are to give back, how REWARDING it is to free yourself from the material things… I’m not going to believe you. That’s what people find so irritating about a lot of these “healthy living bloggers.” The way they write makes you feel like shit because they are constantly on the “right track.” They are self-aware and GOOD, focused and DISCIPLINED, and you are a schmuck who has good days and shitty days and is honest about it.

Look, here’s the specific example. I’ve done… okay… at detoxing from A’s ex’s social media. I’ve definitely cut down. However, i still occasionally look at her blog. Basically since January she’s been giving up one thing per month and writing about it. At first it was stuff like giving up meat, giving up social media, giving up sugar, etc. Normal human tests of will. Now it’s like… giving up NEGATIVITY, giving AWAY EXCESS (not shocked this came around the time she started working at Lululemon)… and all she writes about is: “I have the important things.  Family, friends, dogs, food, water, shelter… everything else is secondary” and “Can you come out on the other side as a positive person?  You can.  And that will change your life.” and  “I’m grateful for you coming on my journey this month.  I hope you learned something too.  🙂  Stay happy!”

THAT? That makes me want to punch someone. Partly because I irrationally hate her, but partially because of that thing of “who are YOU to tell me what happiness is? Who are YOU to change your entire life in one month and be like, oh my god! I figured out the universe! Who are YOU to post affirmations without humanizing them?”

I don’t know. Am I insane? Because I post happy shit too but I don’t think I’m quite so annoying? Why am I so bugged by this?

But now, onto the happy (you get both here, folks):

Things that make me really, really happy:

Walking outside and discovering it’s bright, clear, and warmer than you’d expected

Rehearsing with someone, and looking straight into their eyes– it’s like this totally bold way of connecting that is truer than almost anything in the world

Noticing a card that fell from someone’s pocket into a seat on the subway and giving it back to her before I leave the train

Wrapping Christmas presents for A

Looking up as I walk into the courtyard into my building and seeing the star on our Christmas tree through the window

The first moments in bed at night, reading, and the first moments after the light is out, snuggling

Getting an audition

Completing a transcription project (side jobs, sigh)

The weight of the cat when she lies on my legs

Realizing you’ve memorized something faster than you thought you could

Wearing a cute outfit to a student meeting and feeling important

Lots of red wine and the Sound of Music live telecast

People who read my blog. 🙂