My January 1 didn’t go any bit the way I planned and it kind of set the tone for the whole month, no matter how annoyingly positive I tried to spin things. But one thing January allowed me to do was to search for meanings in things. And to remember why I do the things I do.
And I think when it comes to acting we (or at least I) ask ourselves why we do it on a regular basis. We open ourselves up to rejection. We manipulate our own emotions and put our fate into the hands of others who many times ultimately aren’t as important or regal as the pedestals we place them on. For what?
Well…that’s a question I may have finally answered for myself. This post is going to be long and rambly and personal and it may well make some of my friends uncomfortable, but…it’s my story. And it’s one I’ve never told before…it’s one I’ve tried to forget, honestly.
It’s about the day, a long time ago, that I gave up on acting. I don’t remember the particular date…but I remember the year, where it was, & the time of year. I won’t reveal the exact location or year bc…well it doesn’t really matter anymore. But it was spring. I’d been poking around at acting & modeling for the past 5 years.
At this point I’d also nearly completed my 2nd BS degree and had been teaching talent & etiquette to kids on weekends (up to 3 weekends a month in my heyday!) for almost two years. I’d been a major cast member in plays at a drama festival two years in a row. My then-boyfriend had even introduced me to his friends as an actress (I realize now it was to stroke his own ego but…it was exciting in the moment). And the previous summer I’d recorded a demo cd but I’d gotten busy with MT school & hadn’t given it the attention and promotion I should’ve. But…overall I was still in the game.
It was a different game back then. Technology was different. Photos were more expensive bc you were paying for film & prints. Background work was largely obtained by standing in line with your headshot at the library and mooing thru a cattle call. And models were still basically heroin chic skinny, which I was not. But I’ve always had spirit and faith so…I was nothing if not persistent.
Until one morning. I was getting ready to go teach my Sunday morning modeling/acting/etiquette class and something upset my not-so-mr.-wonderful. Maybe it was me. I honestly remember thinking, “I have no idea why he’s doing this,” but…I set him off on a tirade. And I can remember leaving the house without my shoes on in order to avoid his bitching and hollering…I got into my car, ready to leave for work and he followed me. And even now I don’t really back down from anybody, so…things got heated.
He was basically, for whatever reason, saying that my job was stupid (it was a college weekend job, but to this day was one of the most rewarding, worthwhile experiences of my life & it covered the bills my scholarships & little student loan didn’t…but I digress). If I remember correctly he thought I needed to be home on weekends and blahdy blah, whatever. And for some reason we got on the subject of why I was wasting my time doing this job and the only thing I could muster was, “…because…I am an actress!”
And his response is something I think I legitimately repressed until a few days ago. Bc for whatever reason, those words set him off. The same person who’d previously introduced me as an actress was now enraged and belligerently amused by my use of the verbiage. And he laughed this dark, awful effing laugh and looked at me, as I was sitting in my driver’s seat with my car door open and proceeded to kick my door hinge in while screaming, “oh yeah?! Well where’s your fucking SAG card??” And…I can remember feeling pure panic and not being able to really even speak but still trying to explain my path while being stunned and confused and thinking, “this crazy bastard is gonna ruin my car!” (he was literally trying to kick my door off…which I later found out he’d done to a previous girlfriend’s Ford Escort. Seriously. Wtf. ) until I finally somehow grabbed the door handle and slammed it shut and sped off.
And I drove to work in a daze & I just did the only thing I could do to calm myself down. I blocked it out. It may well have never happened. The problem was I blocked out the wrong parts. I overlooked the abusive rage and I forgot the words, “I am an actress,” but I remembered the panic and I continued to live with that feeling for far too long.
After that day I lost contact with my then agent & my manager & my producer. I stopped mooing at the library. But I did everything that I was “supposed” to do. I built a career in healthcare and a family and all of the things normal people do. But…I think I kind of forgot about who I was. I lost who I wanted to be. I stopped entertaining people. I did what i was supposed to do. And you know what it got me? A decade & a half older (boo.) and two beautiful kids (yay!).
You see, some of us are born with this thing…it’s super difficult to describe. It’s this need to perform, the desire to entertain, this weird presence that makes our skin kinda crawl when we suppress it for too long….& it never really goes away. I was able to channel mine into entertaining my coworkers on off shifts and still teaching on weekends here & there, but it never went away. I just stopped daring to really pursue it outloud…until a year & a half ago, when despite having a tiny panic attack that morning before leaving for set, I did background on Hopeless. (No mooing necessary, so that was cool.)
And little by little, I’ve started thinking, this is what I was supposed to do all along, until just recently I started telling people on my livesteam broadcasts, “I am an actress.” And one day recently, I remembered when and why I’d stopped before. And I mean, I still don’t have a SAG card, but we all know that is not what defines an actress.
I guess it should be kind of embarrassing. That a fit of rage had that kind of impact…and maybe you could argue that I allowed it to, and you’d be correct. At that point in my life I just so desperately wanted somebody to love me that I stopped being the thing I wanted to be most. Humans are weird animals, dude. We don’t make sense & it’s a wonder we don’t all freakin’ self destruct.
But anyway…where am I going with this? I guess it’s that I screwed up a little. But I never completely lost hope or passion or something…so when I look at my life now and how busy it is and how absolutely insane I feel for still trying on the hardest days, I remember that terrified girl who gave up a little and I keep moving…because I don’t ever want to be afraid anymore and because…I am an actress. ❤️ #iamanactress #bebrave #moreglitter