"Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken"
I just got back from a trip East to visit my Nana. Her dementia has worsened since the last time I saw her, she no longer recognizes me. She lives in a senior citizen living community with other people coping with memory loss. Her room is covered in photos of the highlights of her life; school dances, college graduation, wedding day, becoming a Mother at the same age I am now, and stacks of letters she has saved throughout the years.
It was surreal to visually observe the question that crosses most people's mind at some point, "At the end of my life will I be fulfilled with how I lived it? Will there be regrets for chances I didn't take?" Seeing my Nana at this point in her life evolved my perspective. I have a habit of looking forward to what happens next instead of appreciating my current circumstances.
My goal is to find the balance of pursuing an acting career while not feeling like I'm jeopardizing other parts of my life. When I'm in LA, I feel like I'm not taking advantage of my time if I'm not preparing for an audition, submitting to castings, writing, prepping to shoot a webseries idea, or actually filming. I missed three auditions while I was out of town and a small, tiny part of me was relieved for the break. If I had been in town, I would have moved my schedule around and made a point to be there because a small thought always whispers, "You never know..."
I commonly hear people say, "Once I make it..." or "When I get to this point in my career." There have definitely been times that I've wondered what the future holds but I don't want to anticipate what happens next. I always think of the industry like a rollercoaster, there are times when I'm in callbacks that I feel my heart lift, I get my hopes up and I can see the peak, the part in front of me that feels it's meant to be. There are other times when I get feedback like I did last week that I'm not quite sure what to make of it:
I'm not going to lie, that last statement stuck with me throughout the day. I was genuinely curious as to why I
didn't look right for what they wanted. My next thought was what I could have changed to become a fit for the position. I debated whether I should have worn a dress, straightened my hair, worn heels not boots, and so on. However, all of these changes would have morphed me into a different version of myself that wasn't genuine. I would have been trying to be something that doesn't come natural to me. Then, I think of my Nana and that in the scheme of her life, none of these insignificant details really mattered. I want to respectfully listen to feedback but find the strength to believe that these opinions do not define me.
Quotes are one of my most favorite things in the whole world because I admire their succinct ability to get points across. Andy Rooney eloquently describes the balance I'm trying to find with acting and my day to day life.
I want to give myself the freedom to take the pressure off by not placing so much weight on acting. I've been auditioning professionally for five years. There have been points where I've felt burnt out, decidedly interested in other things and had to ask myself if acting was still something that brought me as much joy as when I first started. Sometimes I need time away to miss it and remember how much fun it can be. Before acting class in elementary school, my Mom used to always yell out, "Don't forget to have fun." It wasn't until I decided I wanted to turn my after school hobby into a career did I realize that I would constantly have to seek new inspirations to stay passionate throughout the audition process.
I'm curious to hear if you've gone through similar transitions of re-evaluating your outlook? What keeps you grounded? How do you find the balance?