An Open Letter from Caitlin Moran

I like this.
–B.

The letter:

I can tell instantly as when you step up, darling. I know. The posture, the sleeves over the hands, something in your eyes – you the girls who are struggling right now.

Some of you are hard and tense with overeating. Others, anorexic, feel like starving baby birds when I  hug you – a handful of brittle bamboo canes. Maybe your arms are furious with criss-cross razor lines, or studs in your ear, your nose, your tongue, where you have tried to reclaim your bodies from something, or someone, with the snap of a piercing gun.

Sometimes your parents are there – standing in the background, nervous, their faces anxiously projecting, “She likes you. Please make her feel better now. Oh Christ, don’t break her.”

Other times, your parents aren’t there, but still present – their carelessness or rejection as tangible as if they were standing a foot away, casting mile-long shadows.

What do I say to you girl – you beautiful girls? You girls who are having the Bad Year – the Bad Year where you cannot remember why you were happy aged 12, and cannot imagine being happy at 21? What can I say in one minute, two minutes, three minutes?

So many things. That panic and anxiety will lie to you – they are gonzo, malign commentators on the events of your life. Their counsel is wrong. You are as high, wired and badly advised by adrenaline as you would be by cocaine.

Panic and anxiety are mad, drugged fools. Do not listen to their grinding-toothed, sweaty bullshit.

e is a promise, and a fact: you will never, in your life, ever have to deal with anything more than the next minute. However much it feels like you are approaching an event – an exam, a conversation, a decision, a kiss – where, if you screw it up, the entire future will just burn to hell in front of you and you will end, you are not.

That will never happen. That is not what happens.

The minutes always come one at a time, inside hours that come one at a time, inside days that come one at a time – all orderly strung, like pearls on a necklace, suspended in a graceful line. You will never, ever have to deal with more than the next 60 seconds.

Do the calm, right thing that needs to be done in that minute. The work, or the breathing, or the smile. You can do that, for just one minute. And if you can do a minute, you can do the next.

Pretend you are your own baby. You would never cut that baby, or starve it, or overfeed it until it cried in pain, or tell it it was worthless. Sometimes, girls have to be mothers to themselves. Your body wants to live – that’s all and everything it was born to do. Let it do that, in the safety you provide it. Protect it. That is your biggest job. To protect your skin, and heart.

Buy flowers – or if you are poor, steal one from someone’s garden; the world owes you that much at least: blossom – and put them at the end of the bed. When you wake, look at it, and tell yourself you are the kind of person who wakes up and sees flowers. This stops your first thought being, “I fear today. Today is the day maybe I cannot survive any more,” which I know is what you would otherwise think. Thinking about blossom before you think about terror is what girls must always do, in the Bad Years.

And the most important thing? To know that you were not born like this. You were not born scared and self-loathing and overwhelmed. Things have been done – which means things can be undone. It is hard work. But you are not scared of hard work, compared with everything else you have dealt with. Because what you must do right now, and for the rest of your life, is learn how to build a girl. You.

Love, Caitlin

http://www.stylist.co.uk/people/caitlin-moran-powerful-letter-to-the-girls-i-meet-at-my-book-signings-women-girls-anxiety-depression-love-feminism-moranifesto

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Sometimes musicals make you feel better.

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
Flying again

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.

What goes up…

And here’s the problem with not hearing from my agent and not auditioning as much as I want to be.

When I do finally get a call from my agent, it’s a video audition for a recurring role on a new series for AMC (and yes, the same casting directors as Mad Men).

Naturally, I REALLY WANT THIS PART.

But the second I want it is the second I’ll fail to get it and feel heartbroken.

So.

It would be cool to get, yeah!
It’s even cooler to have gotten the appointment. Right? Of course right!!

Cross your fingers for me, though, secretly, because holy shit.

****UPDATE*****

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. 🙂

new york i love you (but you’re bringing me down)

I recently found a blog written by an actor in NYC recovering from binge eating disorder. She writes about that never-really-discussed thing of having eating disorders when you’re in recovery—even as you’re trying to accept yourself the way you are made, and love yourself through your body’s process, you still need to be a certain size to do your job. Now, I have it a bit easier since I’m not going out for chorus roles (generally I don’t need to be lifted by gay boys), but in order to play the roles I’m right for, I need to be a certain size. That’s just the way it is. If that lovely girl is reading this, first I want to say to you: you are awesome and 100% not alone!! And second, it might be the way it is, but you have worked and made connections and done your “job” at all the sizes you’ve ever been. It feels like a limitation, but the reality is that you’re still working, even though it feels like you’re not. Finally, this too shall pass.

The moral of the story is this—the girl moved to Hawaii for a time and is finding and healing herself away from this city of cattle calls and stunt casting and bitchy agents and pay-to-plays. New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

And it got me thinking. What would happen if I just… left?
If I just… stopped auditioning and moved home to Idaho?
If I didn’t check Playbill and Actors Access and Actors Equity anymore
If I unsubscribed from Backstage
If I didn’t consider throwing down money to meet agents that aren’t looking for clients
If I didn’t go out late at night to try and stay friends with people I want to hire me
If I didn’t wake up early to go to morning calls
If I moved my headshot and resume from my desktop to the trash

final2.png.300x300_q100

What would happen?

And I realized my worst fear—that nothing would happen.

That I’d stop getting emails offering me auditions
That my agent wouldn’t call me since she already doesn’t call me
That nobody would miss ME in the New York theatre world.

And of course I then thought of A’s ex, who I’ve done okay at detoxing from, but still glance at occasionally. She left the city completely, stopped acting, didn’t try and get auditions, didn’t look at Playbill, didn’t submit to everything she could. She seems to be stupid happy, working at fucking lululemon and living in a city most famous for its racism… and here I am, doing just as fucking much (ie nothing) yet not stupid happy at ALL. Just… normal happy. Just doing fine.

new+scuba+sizzle+inkwell

But then there’s a part of me that doesn’t really believe that that’s what would happen. That thinks that eventually, someone would reach out to me because they wanted me.

I have to believe that I’m not living in a vacuum here. I have to believe that I’m not the only one working, that for all the darts I throw into the universe, some actually do hit the target.

Otherwise, it feels like I just have an irritant that detracts from my “regular life”—like my career needs to be scratched and taken outside to shit and I get NOTHING from it except this cycle of non-productive chores.

And that, my friends, is terrifying.

 Benghazi__112

How the fuck am I supposed to do this? How am I not too broken to be another person’s one person?

On Jun 20, 2013, at 5:26 PM, Awrote:

As of late, due to the general hectic-ness of life, you’ve been feeling your feelings. Which is great.

Because of you feeling your feelings, you’ve been more internal as you’ve been going through the world. Also fine – totally understandable.

I think what I’m feeling is just a sense of being left out. Often I find, whether I’m the one coming home or the one home already, when I ask about your day and things that have happened, I’m getting a short answer in response and that’s about it. However, I’m often looking to discuss it a bit more.

For example, today: it was your first rehearsal for a new play. Granted, you didn’t do much and you were reading through the play-within-the-play, but I guess I was expecting more conversational traction from that – people in the cast, your expectations, any other design stuff that wasn’t brought up, your general thoughts.
Now, if you’d prefer not to talk about it, I understand and I don’t mean to nag or place pressure; it’s just an example of how I’ve been feeling of late. I miss you. In no circumstance am I trying to make you uncomfortable, or would i want you to be anything but real with me –

I know there’s a lot happening right now and if you really do need all that space I will most assuredly grant you that and do whatever I can to be of help or comfort. I just wanted to let you know what was going on in my head and how I’ve been feeling. Bear in mind this all may certainly be magnified by what I’m going through and how I’ve been pretty non-social of late, but it’s still what’s going on with me.

Also there’s just that silly part of me that wants to make sure everything is really ok.

So much love,
A
xoxo

On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM, B wrote:

Lover,

I appreciate this email more than you know. Sometimes it’s easier to get thoughts and feelings out in writing– I know that’s the case for me– and you reaching out like this reminds me how much you do care. It also helps me understand better how you’re feeling. I want to know how you’re feeling, especially when what I’m doing effects you.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know why I feel this way. I hate that it pulls us apart. I don’t know why I don’t want to talk. Maybe it’s because I genuinely don’t have anything to say. Or I feel like I don’t have anything to say. Right now, I don’t have opinions. I don’t want to "do" anything. I’m not interested in anything. I’ve mentioned to you how the world can feel like "too much" for me at times. This is one of those times.

I’m not okay, babe. I’m never going to be completely "okay." We can pretend that mental illness is like Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook, but it’s not. It’s quiet and pervasive and distancing. It’s not cute. This email took me over an hour to write because I literally have no words. Nothing I could say could possibly be worth saying.

I feel like this is bullshit and sounds like I’m trying to "excuse" my behavior, which I know makes you feel left out and isolated. I wish I could tell you why, and I wish I could tell you how I was going to fix it. I can try. I WILL try, and I’ll do my best.

I’ve never spent this much time with anyone. I sort of include my parents. For most of my time at home, they found me utterly unbearable. It wasn’t until I moved out that we had a relationship at all. This EXACTLY is why Chris broke up with me. This is what got me down to 90 pounds and got me to cut myself up. I’m terrified that I’m hurting you, and I’m terrified that I’m pushing you away. I am terrified that I don’t know how to weather these patches with someone else. As you can see from the whole of this paragraph, I have NEVER done so successfully.

I don’t expect you to respond to this. I know I’m an over sharer and I’m already second-guessing myself. But there’s also a part of me that feels like if I can muscle out SOMETHING, that’s better than the nothing i’ve been giving you.

I recommend reading this blog article. http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

I love you more than anything. I have never loved so hard and so deep. I promise to continue to try and let you in.

Your B.

Dearheart,

I know and understand as much as I can. I’m not sure if recent events in life have exacerbated the distancing, because – to be honest – it’s never felt as much as it has the past week or two. (Unless I’m just in some kind of place because of edit-stress that allowed me to feel it fully.) But either way, I just wanted to let you know about it.

I love you. I love how much you love me, and the way that you love me. I know you’re trying to be the best, most productive you you can be. Remember that I like and love the you that you always are.

I’m so happy we’re life-sharers.

Can’t wait to kiss you tonight.

A

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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.

1

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.

 

 

Re: Home

Dear A,

For all that I love home, it’s also a place I hate the most.

I hate the feeling of lying in my bedroom, frustrated for getting yelled at to do something I had already done, and hearing my mother talk about how disappointed she is in my “behavior.”

I hate that I can’t force myself into a better mood… I can’t force myself to “get over it” when I become irritated.

I miss feeling my feelings with you.

I feel guilty for frustration; I feel guilty for being tired. I feel guilty for being irritable, and I feel guilty for wanting space or wanting quiet. I feel guilty for not cheerfully completing every task asked of me or suggested to me. I feel guilty when I don’t do things right away, like wash the dishes, or help unload the groceries. It’s almost harder to complete any “tasks” or “chores” because I know if I don’t get to it fast enough or do it grudgingly or don’t do enough I’ll just feel guilty all over again.

I hate this, babe. I hate

I know I’m overly emotional at the moment because I’m running on very little sleep, a very high stress time, and I’m on my period. But it’s really, really hard for me right now and I miss you a lot. You’re not disappointed in me at every turn. I don’t fail to meet your expectations.

I wish home was a different place than it is, and even though in the last six years I’ve gotten better at not expecting perfection, every time I’m here these feelings of not being good enough and disappointing her wash over me. I’m afraid to do anything for fear of doing it wrong. I think I probably isolate a lot here because I don’t want to deal with the pressure of possibly disappointing her or making her mad. Every interaction is dangerous.

Among all the other things I love about you, I love the way you make me feel. I get waves of inadequacy and guilt and “not good enough” feelings, because of course, but when I’m with you they pass. I don’t isolate. I don’t fear interaction. And frankly, this is the first time I’ve really felt that way, and the discrepancy between my life with you and being at home is really quite astonishing.

Lots to talk to my therapist about, haha. I’m sorry, this is a mopey Christmas eve email. I probably won’t send it till after Christmas eve anyway. 🙂 Happy Boxing Day!

I love you.