Every day is grapefruit day.

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

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

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

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

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

This was so wonderful.

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

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

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

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My Year in Numbers

1     friend I lost

1     job I lost

2     jobs I got

3    plays I did

6    friends of mine who got engaged

10     places I visited

Idaho, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Waynesboro, PA, London, Scotland, Amsterdam, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine

25    days it took to find an apartment in NYC

26    plays I saw (in NYC and London only)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Mothers and Sons, Richard III, Big Fish, Murder for Two, The Oldest Boy, Our Lady of Kibeho, A Delicate Balance, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Sex with Strangers, The Village Bike, Hand to God, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, The Happiest Song Plays Last, Under My Skin, Sweeney Todd (NY Philharmonic), Fast Company, The Substance of Fire, The Killer, Cinderella, Mala Hierba, American Hero, Hotel, Bring up the Bodies, Showboat (NY Philharmonic), You Got Older

34    blogs I posted

Better than I thought, actually.

73    books I read

My favorites: The Invisible Front, The Circle, NOS4A2, A Tale for the Time Being, Into the Darkest Corner, Dept of Speculation, Tenth of December

365   days I got up in the morning and went to bed and night and existed on this earth.

Jams I’ve Been Jammin’ To

One of my jobs right now is writing study guides about musicals and plays for a new website. It’s a shit-ton of work for shitty pay, but it’s really fun for the most part. One of the parts of the job that is the most fun is finding video clips for every show and every character. I love musical theatre songs because A) I’m a theatre nerd, B) it’s my job to be nerdy about theatre, and C) each good song is a glimpse of a moment in time for a character. More than songs of any other kind, musical theatre songs are about people and their stories.

So. Here’s some fun stuff for you.

First, a little girl who KILLS it. Sydney Lucas singing “Ring of Keys” from my favorite musical of last year, Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir about growing up a lesbian with a closeted gay dad. SO. GOOD. (this video is from an event, not the show)

Keeping it in the same with the same composer, Jeanine Tesori. This is “Lot’s Wife,” the insanely amazing 11 o’ lock number from Caroline, or Change.The whole musical is on YouTube– I highly recommend it.

This wasn’t from a show I did a guide for, but it came on shuffle and made me feel good. Lots of good songs from this show, but this week in my life, this was the one. “Remember This” from The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown.

So… Newsies doesn’t always do it for me, but this song gives me serious shivers EVERY time. “The World Will Know.” Super good dancing in other clips– recommended for that.

Love this musical. If you loved the 1970s documentary, you’ll love it too. This is my favorite song, but there are lots of good ones. “Around the World” from Grey Gardens.

The harmonies!!!!!  “Sunday,” Sunday in the Park with George

I love this whole musical. I don’t get why not everyone does. Here’s just a little taste of The Secret Garden.

And, because there’s never enough Matilda:

Scrappy

I know a girl, my age, who is on Broadway right now in a featured role in Cabaret with Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming. She went to Juilliard.

I’ve bitched about this before, because it’s neverending. It’s hard to say that I am GLAD I didn’t get into Juilliard, but I try to remind myself of what I have that’s unique (a fantastic education, scrappiness, a sense of agency, etc). It’s not easy when I watch these girls, no more or less talented than me or any of my friends, seem to have smooth paths to success. They have teams with huge power, they have opportunities I don’t. Because of what’s on their resume.

my graduating class. imperfectly perfect.

my graduating class. imperfectly perfect.

So I often feel bad about this. I feel jealous and frustrated and small.

But I also know that I’m on a different road than they are. Just entirely different. And with the tools I have, my team, my skills, my scrappiness, I’m doing okay.

one time I didn't get picked to do something so I did it anyway because #idowhatiwant

one time I didn’t get picked to do something so I did it anyway because #idowhatiwant

Today I recorded a commercial voiceover demo. I’m really proud of it. I paid for it, a lot of money, but got a good deal and you know what? Did a fucking amazing job.

I fight harder. My cache is different. I am glad that my friends aren’t super skinny girls on network TV shows; my friends are those downtown theatre artists saying “hey, I’m making what I want to make,” and even starring on AMC shows but staying grounded and realistic and genuine and reading every. damn. day. I am proud of what I have accomplished with the tools I have. William Morris didn’t sign me, but someone did. Because I am who I am. Period.

scrappy but award-winning theatre

scrappy but award-winning theatre

(B, remember this next time you feel like shit, k?)

My demo is live. Check it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oxor7SBEnY&list=UUyw8oawxDvhYkEAYNWMK31Q

#myfriends

#myfriends

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.

It’s nice to feel proud.

Tonight I went and saw a show at my alma mater/workplace. I’ve admired the play for a while, since it was done downtown by one of my favorite off-Broadway incubators, Soho Rep, so i was thrilled when it was selected for the season. It’s appropriately edgy for this school (god forbid we do the expected) but it’s fresh, unique, and utterly do-able. I was proud to come from a program that would take risks like this, and with intelligence and deliberateness. This was thoughtful theatre. That meant something.

(It’s also pretty darn cool that we hired the playwright to teach Playwriting last Fall, and she’ll teach again this fall. Yeah, it’s pretty freaking cool.)

Last night we did our third runthrough of the show I’m currently rehearsing, which runs March 1 – 30. The run was really good, I felt great, and the director even specifically commented on how he thought I was really on track. It’s nice to do a show that you audition for, totally fresh and without knowing anything, get called back, and get cast. No politics, just good old-fashioned picking the right person for the part. And to do a good job– that’s the icing on the cake.

NOW it’s time for this little Belgian to go to bed.

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What have you been proud of lately?

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.

It’s Happening.

I’m really happy. For now, and the work continues, but I’m going to honor happiness for just this moment and brag.

Tuesday, Feb 25, watch me get murdered at Lululemon on the show Redrum on Investigation Discovery on your local TV. 9pm. Apparently I’m good. I haven’t seen it. All I know for sure is I’m super bloody.

This September, I’m going to get paid the most I’ve ever been paid to do a month-long run of Steel Magnolias at a professional Shakespeare Festival in the West. I auditioned just “cuz” for the Artistic Director over the Christmas holiday, knowing the season was mostly cast. It’s merely my luck that they were actually looking to cast a part– he had me send a video, and I just found out I booked it.

It’s the little things.

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!