Objects in the Rear View
Yeah, that's not me.
Or rather, it is me, but I don't look like that.
This picture is one of those cases of "on my best day, with the best make-up, in the best lighting, and then also with the best Photoshop I could possibly, maybe look like this again".
My husband and very sweet friends cry, "But I've seen you look like this once before, I think!" Which is nice, but again, I don't/can't look like this every day.
And yet, in my previous acting life, in Los Angeles, I used to submit this headshot and my slightly embellished resume for work on a regular basis. Why did I do this, especially when I knew better, and knew that this practice has much more potential to harm rather than help?
When at 20 years old, I found myself still doing what other ordinary 20-year-olds did (going to college, doing school plays and trying to buy beer on Friday nights) I was depressed that I'd failed to be "young and impressive", in spite of everything else I'd managed to accomplish. The belief that I was a 20-something wash-up was further supported when I moved to Los Angeles, at the ripe old age of 26, and immediately found my niche playing "mom" roles. (Please don't hate. At the time I didn't realize what a kick-ass role "the mom" actually is!)
Thankfully, with age comes a sense of security that I most certainly did not possess in my 20's. Now, instead of wishing I were further along, I've vowed to appreciate where I am today. Don't get me wrong, I still want my successes yesterday, but ultimately I know that things will happen for me at exactly the moment when they are supposed to, and not a second earlier.
So for starters, I've stripped my resume of the things that I did not actually do, and I will never embellish my credits again. You couldn't pay me to do it. Knowing that I'm handing over a resume containing lies or even half-truths only makes me more nervous, and getting back into the audition game is challenge enough without the added pressure.
Secondly, this time around, I will celebrate my actual successes instead of downplaying them. For all the big talk I used to do on my resume, I downgraded the things I'd actually done to friends and family because nothing ever seemed like enough to me. Now, regardless of the cache a part may lack, I know that we all have to work too damn hard to book something to pretend like it doesn't matter. And each little thing can lead to something else, even if it's just in lessons learned.
Finally, I must add that I learned something this week from a four-year-old little boy. He was from my hometown, and he passed away on Monday, after a two year battle with cancer. I did theatre with his dad in high school, but he and I never met. Nonetheless, through his brave battle with a horrid disease, he taught me that you can't spend your entire life thinking that it's over and wishing you were younger, skinnier, prettier than you are today. Every day is a chance to do the things you dream of. Do them now. And please cherish where and who you are. You've earned your place here, but you won't have it forever. Make it count today.
(Photo courtesy of Theo & Juliet)
-- Erin Brese