I recently have had a slew of different auditions and callbacks, which has been great after a rather long
period of what has felt like a lengthy dry spell this winter. Sometimes just getting that email or call from my agent is enough to spark the “yes I’m still an actor” in me after I have periods of time when I wonder if I’ll ever work again, or even get the opportunity TO work again. The times when I get to audition and go back into the room in callbacks remind me that I’m still in the game-which is great. I had a series of callbacks for something recently that I was very excited about. The heart ache and disappointment of realizing after going so many rounds into something that you probably didn't book it just plain old sucks. The doubt creeps in immediately. Am I not good enough? Did I do something wrong? Should I have read the scene differently? Do they think I’m fat? Why am I still doing this? Do I really have to keep experiencing this tide of happiness and emptiness?
Yes I’ve been in that wicked place this week (ugh). The place of questioning everything that I do. I used to never allow myself to go there-I would push all of those negative thoughts and feelings away, desperately afraid to give into them. Well fuck that, I want to experience all of these parts of my experience. Allowing myself to question my career and my choices has been scary to me because the questioning causes me to become vulnerable. V-U-L-N-E-R-A-B-L-E is something I have NOT been comfortable being, which seems crazy since I’m an actor. For the love of God we HAVE to be vulnerable, otherwise our work is complete shit. The best artists ARE vulnerable and they embrace the fear of being vulnerable. WHY are we afraid of our vulnerability? WHY are we afraid to question our choices and to live our experiences (negative and positive) fully? Why are we afraid to admit that we’re wildly disappointed to not book a big gig?
When we admit our truth it puts us in a position where we feel exposed, like someone is sitting across from us and laughing at our pain. We feel unworthy to feel upset over something so mundane because after all there’s poverty in the world, terrorism, and things of greater importance so surely we’re being selfish. In the age of positive thinking (which I’m ALL about positive thinking) we feel guilty for thinking negative thoughts, God forbid we actually feel them. We are tortured (or maybe I’m alone in this) by the reality that negative is a part of our experience, and we just don’t want it and we certainly don’t want to give into it. I’m learning that vulnerability and true acceptance of the Universe and what is contained within it means an acceptance of the light and the dark. The positive and the negative exist within us and human our experience, and they certainly won’t be going away anytime soon (life isn't perfect). How about we try to recognize that the negative thoughts show up for a reason, as do the positive. There’s a reason I had a mental meltdown this week over the realization that I probably didn't book a role I really wanted-and what made it worse in the beginning was that I was desperately trying to push the experience I was feeling away. I was angry at myself for feeling the way I was feeling, I was mad that I allowed myself to go there. Well now that’s just crazy isn’t it? I’m human-it’s how I was feeling. So what happened when I FINALLY allowed myself to experience the pain I was feeling?
Freedom married to vulnerability. I realized how fragile I actually was and how I had ignored that side of myself. I wasn't protecting myself by pushing away the painful thoughts all of these years-I was actually hurting myself. I was hurting myself because I wasn't allowing myself to fully explore my vulnerability. I was cutting myself off from feeling the negative, which put me in an even worse position because I no longer was able to examine all of the questions and thoughts that the pain brought up for me. The silliness of the whole “I’ll never work again” thing really is a real thought that entered my mind, and my allowing myself to finally work with that thought-I was able to find out where that came from and acknowledge the deep insecurity within myself that seems to be the fertile soil for the seeds of insecurity that sprout throughout my life. Examining my truthful thoughts is teaching me a powerful lesson and giving me a much needed evolution and release.
Because I allowed myself to feel the vulnerable negativity didn't mean that I was attracting more of that. It meant that I was allowed the storm clouds to come in and do their thing knowing eventually they will pass over. I’m now in a more empowered place than I was five days ago, so many questions have been answered and I feel relief having given into my vulnerability. Why am I hiding my fullest expression of myself? The expression isn't just happy and smooth sailing all of the time!
I’m not afraid to admit the fact that rather than seeking out adventure in my life I've resorted to “comfort.” The biggest risk in my life that I took was deciding one day after Grad school that I would move to NYC. It was the only thing that made sense. And yes it was very frightening…but I did it and I survived. I've landed on this island and have settled for a level of comfort within myself that doesn't honor my deepest self. Allowing myself to feel my recent surge of feelings in their fullness has allowed me to learn that my deep inner self is crying out for change and crying out for more risk and more vulnerability. Within that vulnerability and risk comes action and choice. That action and those choices lead us to the next thing and onto the next and even further. The vulnerability allows us to fully be ourselves and to fully honor our experience with integrity. The frustration accumulations when we don’t honor our experience with the integrity of knowing we are here to experience life in its fullest, and that includes ups and downs and everything in between.
I’m learning to take risks and to live a life of integrity. I plan to continue to honor all parts of myself, even the parts I don’t always want to visit. Recently I was feeling like I was coming down with something, I felt tired and completely drained every day. I normally would push my way through the feeling and try to come out of the other end like a marathon runner. I decided I needed to listen to my body. I forced myself to plan a day of rest, a day when I would sleep late and do nothing but lay in bed watching movies and sleep. I honored that fully-yes it was difficult but I did it. I slept and recharged my batteries and I immediately felt better the next day. Had I not honored what my physical body and experience was telling me (no matter how I judged it) I probably would have been in bed the entire week sick. Part of me didn't want to honor it because it felt weak and vulnerable to admit that I needed to just rest. Who cares? Once I surrendered to that vulnerability and listened to it I was able to lean into it and allow the experience of surrender to carry me through. And I came out the other end much stronger for it.
So here we go—from now on I’m listening to those feelings good or bad and without judgement. I’m going to float along the cloud of whatever is and happily take risks and experience the gains and the losses. It’s time to stop being so careful.
I hope you do the same.
Peace and love always