I’m Not OK & That’s OK

white ceramic sculpture with black face mask
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Hello Gentle Reader,

How are you holding up during this pandemic? I hope you are well and staying safe and healthy.

If you would have asked me last month, I would have said I am great. That would have been a 3/4 true statement. People ask now and I tell them I am doing ok. That is a lie, Dear Reader. A big ol’ bold faced lie, I tells ya!

I think I really hit “the wall” about two weeks ago. I have tried to keep myself busy learning some new things, completing yarn projects that I had started but never finished, and even moving all the furniture in my apartment around. I would have done a closet cleaning, but I did that around Christmas time. Every time I try to work on something theatre related, this deep sense of despair hits me like a kick to the chest.

Yup! Like Bruce Lee is kicking me in the chest…

Ever since I got the directive to stay home on March 11th, I have been having a hard time sleeping. I have tried sleeping pills and they do the trick, but I don’t take them repeatedly  because I don’t want to make a habit out of it. I used to find that using them for one night would reset my sleeping rhythm and I would be good until the next bout of insomnia.

Now, I think they enhance my anxiety more than anything else. When I do sleep, I either can’t get comfortable or I have nightmares that set the anxiety into overdrive or scare the shit out of me. Sometimes both.

I think of my friends every hour but I find pulling up social media to be less stimulating than actually seeing them in person or laughing with them and feeling that vibration fill my heart with joy. When I think about logging on, I just get overwhelmed.

I have an ongoing text conversation with my siblings and a cousin and my nieces, but it isn’t the same.  It is nice to have, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t the same and my brain doesn’t like the lack of punctuation and all the spelling errors thanks to voice text. LOL! I know, Kind Reader, I am being ultra whiney right now and I should be grateful for the contact. I hear you and I acknowledge you.

It’s true, Gentle Reader. I am being whiney. But here is the point of all of this. It is ok to not be ok. I have always said to embrace your feelings. Acknowledge them and walk through them. I am bringing them to light because maybe in doing so, it might help someone else that is struggling with this shelter in place malaise as well.

For me, I imagine working my way through them as though I was walking through a haunted maze or house during Halloween.  For those of you who don’t know, I love horror movies but am terrified of the dark. (Rereading that last sentence during editing makes no logical sense, I know, but then again, neither does loving performing but hating being in pictures.) Walking into a haunted house is always a sense of fun and dread, granted there is no fun in the feelings I am currently fighting. I jump at everything that pops out or screams at me. I have night lights in every single room of my apartment. I think every noise that the neighbors make is something other than what it is. I am a psychological mess. I freely admit that. I’d love to see a therapist, but worry that I would go bankrupt for all the sessions I would need to fix me. But I know I am not alone. And You are not alone.

So as we work through this and maintain vigilance in the face of this pandemic. Honor your feelings. Work through them in any way that you can. If you want to drop me a line, feel free to do so. Maybe we can trade ideas. If you feel like this is way too much, please, PLEASE, reach out to NAMI.ORG or you can call them at 800.950.NAMI or text “NAMI” to 741741.

My Dear Reader, we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself and to others.  We don’t know what others are dealing with. Be safe and be aware.

Until next time…

So I Said To Myself… Don’t Judge Me…

I recently began working on my next show.  Thanks to the Prom, I had missed 3 rehearsals and was meeting the cast for the first time.

Meeting new people always gives me a little anxiety.  But I knew the director and it was nice to just kind of chat with him a bit.  He quickly went over the blocking that I was given.  After about 10 minutes of that, we began running the show, with scripts.

My first entrance felt way clunky and jarring.  I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I can read things and sound totally casual, like I was making it up.  This particular moment though, I felt so out of step with myself.  I noticed that the other actors were really getting into their characters with motion and great choices.   I, on the other hand, kept checking for the markers for the entry points of the set before I walked out.

About the third exit, I had to take a deep breath.  “Relax.  This is your first rehearsal.  These people have been working on this for almost two weeks.  You just have to catch up.”  I said to myself.  Once I realized that it was okay for me to be a little clunky, I was able to shake out whatever was making me feel awkward and by the time I had to improv a tango, the folks were giggling at my little dance.

The point is, most of the time, you have to get out of your own way.  The only way to do it though is to be aware of yourself and ask logical questions about such and such.  You can’t just sit there and say, “why am I sucking?” Ask smarter questions like “What is making me misread this particular script?” the answer; anxiety. “Why am I anxious about being here?” answer; meeting new people.  So I smiled at my fellow actors and when we had down time, I went over and asked what they did the previous two weeks.   Problem solved.  I didn’t get the chance to bond with the cast at the beginning when original introductions were made, so that added to my own silly neurosis.

Even after all the shows this year, I still have a problem meeting new people.  I guess it’s a process, but I feel like I am getting better at it.  But it is such slow going.

Do you get anxious over meeting new people? Or is it something completely different?  What do you do to get through it?

Thanks for reading!!

Until next time…

Thank you, Stress and Anxiety…

You have thoroughly ruined the majority of my weekend.  I’ve missed 3 festive gatherings because of you and I’ve decided that enough is enough.

One thing that I have always believed in as an actor is to honor your feelings regardless of what they are.  That being said, I feel that I’ve felt stress and anxiety as much as I can handle at the moment.  For an honest to goodness moment, I actually stopped and really thought if I was going through a period of depression.  I’ve been functioning, but not feeling like my usual jovial self. Maybe I am depressed, but every time I feel any sort of negative emotion, I have conditioned myself to take that energy and try and create something with it or to put it to beneficial use.  For me the thinking behind is it, is that after I’ve “memorized” what these emotions make me feel physiologically, this energy doesn’t do anything.  It just makes me fidget or eat (that’s the last thing I need to do on a budget as tight as mine.) but it doesn’t help me in any way.  So, I try to redirect myself to find a project that I can complete or begin.

SO…

One of my co-workers asked me if I have any New Year’s resolutions the other day.  I told her that I didn’t.  Because I don’t believe in them.  This seemed to surprise her.  But why do you need them?  I look at resolutions the same way I look at Thanksgiving.  When it comes to being thankful, it should be something that you do every single day.  I don’t need to be reminded.  Besides, what we are taught in schools is not why “thanksgiving” was celebrated in the first place.  It was for the slaughter of a nearby Native American tribe.  I am NOT thankful for that.

Resolutions are almost always about making yourself a better person in some way.  And what happens if you don’t keep to your resolution, for even a brief period of time? You feel like you failed.  After that, then it’s like “why bother?”   I am always looking for ways to better myself, so again, I don’t feel the need to make a resolution.  I do make goals not resolutions.  Goals can be created or revised when you need to re-evaluate.  Resolutions, we have been trained to believe, are steadfast.   Just call them goals.  Why put yourself through the ringer if you don’t stick to your resolution.  Check out this site for some interesting stats.  Or if your interested in seeing what the top resolutions are, check it out here.

I’ve still got some goals that I am working on.  Here are what I am working on:

1. Finding more performing opportunities.

2. Get an agent.

3. Pay off all my debts.

4. Fill my brain with more monologues.

and lastly,

5. Come to a definitive solution: sacrifice months that I can perform and get paid more OR keep my pay and audition for everything that I want to.  With everything I am supposed to do, in addition to giving up what I am most passionate about for a 1/3 of the year, I feel like I should be making more money.  If that’s not something that can happen, then I shouldn’t have to give up that 1/3 of the year.  If I need to leave the wonderful place I am at now, then I’ll have to take that into serious consideration.

So what kind of goals do you have? Have you ever made a resolution that you were able to stick to?  How’d you do it?  Leave a comment and let’s chat about it.  I am sure you can teach me something new!