Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fight or Flight

This week was a very reassuring week. I was able to meet up with and talk to some of the people who inspire me and they gave me some stellar advice on how to relax and move forward and simply enjoy this new element of my life.

 I am slowly but surely relaxing. 

The week started off with having some almond tea with a good friend of mine, and fellow actress who inspires me. Her drive and work ethic is what motivates me to push for what I want in MY career and to always be as prepared as possible. I remember working with her and her being consistently present and dedicated to the work at hand in rehearsal. She knew what her body needed and was able to set a standard for me as an actor, she embodied what I wanted for myself post graduation. We talked for a few hours and she was able to help me accept my impatience and understand that having drive is great, and is something that we share, but at some point we have to learn how to relax and give up trying to control things.

A constant struggle. 

I am such a doer and I want to to have my hand in everything, which is impossible and by letting go I will actually let the people who want to help me do just that. I want control out of fear that these 3rd party individuals will "mess" something up. Learning how to trust myself and other people is a big hurdle, and is going to take constant maintenance to keep in balance. The great thing about my friend, Leah, is that her and I have a lot of similarities so to hear that she has/had the same issues post graduation was encouraging and made me feel much more at ease about this period of transition. 

Later that day I had a job interview, which ended up being a bust. Although I was excited about the prospects of working there the staff seemed pretty unenthusiastic about life and had the emotional colour wheel of Wednesday Addams. I know I'm better off not being there, and by not being hired life granted me an opportunity to work at a high end men's wear store that specializes in suits for men under 5'8". 

A perfect match.  

I had my second commercial audition this week and it was hilarious. I had to go in with a group of three other people and dance to some weird music and wave to an imaginary goat. 

Kudos to whoever booked that. 

I also got to chill with my mentor, the artistic director of Shakespeare in the Ruff this week. Every time we hang out he enlightens and charges me up. I talked about my issues with comparison and feeling like I am running out of time despite me having only been her for a month. I asked him about how he got through the hard times; where he felt stuck or questioned what he was doing with his life. I asked him about hits and whether it is more beneficial to be categorized or elusive. No matter what I threw at him he had an insightful and eloquent way of answering me. 

The biggest things I took away from our conversation was presence, patience, trust and that no one has the answers. He said this really great thing about forging ones own path; "Your path is only a path when you look back at it." It's easy to follow pre made paths and hope to have the same things happen to me as it did for someone else, but why not forge my own and see what things I can experience? I have spent so much time trying to emulate the careers of people who I admire and this tenancy will always fail me because I am an individual, everything that happens to me is mine and I only have control over what direction I want to take. 

Brendan also spoke about how important it is for artists to take the time to be present in everyday life, and to be present with themselves. As an artistic director, he said that he would rather work with someone who has experienced life and the love and pain that comes with it, than someone who has spent their entire lives in a black box honing their craft. 

In my opinion, the best actors (the ones I look up to) are the ones who have lived and are able to bring humanity and vitality into their work; cleverness and beauty will only get one so far. Perfection is boring, imperfections are what makes us human. And these imperfections are what people relate to in one another. I am striving for authenticity and balance, not perfection. 

We talked about my "hit" and how I feel like I want to capitalize on not being able to be pinned down. I want to be diverse and transform in everything I do. We talked about how this was an admirable goal, but in these early stages of my career I should focus on my ace card rather than pushing the whole deck on people. Once I am able to build up more of a career I can start showing my other hands, so to speak. I think this is a great way of thinking about it. It doesn't mean that I cannot show those other parts of myself, but there is a time and a place. Right now, I need to focus on what is marketable and what my strongest assets are. I need patience, and to trust that my agent knows what she is doing. 

Lately I have found myself wanting a break or needing time off, but then when I do get time off I don't do anything that I want to do. I simply eat crap and sleep. Perhaps I am still reeling from graduating and have yet to establish a routine so everything personally has gone to heck, but I can feel my body craving stimulation beyond endless Twitter and Facebook creeping. I use "networking" as an excuse to not be present with myself, I am obsessed with trying to maintain a constant online presence. I need to stop worrying about it so much. I have set up everything I need and now I should be able to relax and focus on the massive amount of book and movies I want to enjoy, but I don't. I waste countless hours looking at the same posts or trying to think of something funny to tweet. It's stupid. 

I went for run through High Park last week and it was liberating. I had forgotten the simple joy that comes from being in nature and taking it in. Then, the other day I went to the St. Lawrence Market and bought a Napoleon square and a butter tart. I just sat in the sun and took my time eating those deserts, not checking my phone or listening to music, just being there. It might sound goofy or artsy but these moments are what have stuck with me over the last week, not the tweets I favourited. There are certainly benefits to social networking, and I will always believe that, but there are more benefits to enjoying life and being present in each experience. 

I am slowly learning, from all of the artists that surround me how important it is to take my time and feel out this new environment. As I have been told over and over again, if I continue to speed through and distract myself from the simple things, I am going to have lived a pretty meaningless life. I realize that I feel uncreative because I am stopping myself from being creative. It is easier for me to eat a whole pumpkin pie, watch Arrested Development, surf twitter and listen to music all at once, then to simply give each thing its own time.

Right now, my career is in its first stages and I have to stop demanding it to be anything but where it is. My time will come and things will happen because I am afraid and that fear is what will push me to greatness. I need to let go and allow myself to flounder.  No one is going to give me the answers I want, because no one has life figured out (no matter how well they seem to have it together).

Babysitting is reminding me how present and unfazed kids are. They don't judge themselves or care what you think, they are real with how they feel and are constantly in a life or death situation. Things affect them deeply, but are able to go on with their lives. One moment they can be crying and the next running and playing. Things aren't as precious or dramatic, they just are. Life is just happening for them and they deal with things as they arrive. They aren't preparing for next week or what their next life choice is. Sure they don't have the same responsibilities that adults do, but there is a freedom and honesty about them that I want to rediscover. She is teaching me a lot about life and myself. 

I'm grateful for everything life is offering me right now. 

P.S. All the Wrong Reasons is being officially released on all platforms on June 23rd, so mark it on your calendars and pick up a copy of this wonderful Canadian film featuring some fantastic actors and yours truly. 


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