In acting class the other week we were asked to write a letter to whomever or whatever has held us back from being the actors or humans we want to be... And if you know me, you know I would relish in this... I love a philosophical, deep, over analysed chat (or blog) So I am 'Showing up', as Brene Brown would say. Writing the letter, publicly.
By the way, I have insecurities... ones I have from my Mum, Some from my Dad. Some from school and my friends and my teachers and my enemies and the people that don't like my pics on insta or the stranger that laughs at my hat... I once read an interview with Kate Winslet, when a reporter asked her what her biggest insecurities were and her reply was 'I'm not going to tell you that, because then people will notice them, when perhaps right now, no one else does' She has a point... but I find myself doing the opposite. I have spent years pointing out my insecurities like Eminem does in the last scene of '8 Mile' when he addresses good ol 'Clarence'...
It's armour. And as Caitlin Moran says 'You cannot dance in armour'
In Brene Browns book, the power of Vulnerability, she talks openly about a society in which we live in now, where to have an 'ordinary' life seems quite frankly too 'ordinary' That we are now so accustomed to chasing an extraordinary life. That perhaps our lives are not 'extraordinary', unless we are posting it on Instagram, letting the world know (via a square picture) that we are 'drinking a glass of champers on a rooftop'. Where we don't put in the caption #ispentmylast10bucksonthis
What she says holds true... I don't want an ordinary life. Nor do I think I should have to if that is not what I want. But my perception of 'extraordinary' has changed. Extraordinary being that I have time to do the things I love. That I can do anything and everything I want to do, because, why the hell not.
When I was eight I wanted to do what Bette Middler did to me when I watched her in Beaches. I wanted to tell stories like she did.
When I was seventeen, after a lucky break in Harry Potter I decided I wanted to own a house like J lo and buy lots of things, If I am honest, I think I wanted to be famous.
When I was twenty one, after a year of being out of work, and reassessing, I decided fame was hideous and I decided I wanted to be a real actress and book a massive job so that I could pay my mums mortgage and for her teeth to done. I wanted to have it easy. I wanted to do a few acting jobs here and there, not be in debt. Holiday. Drink cocktails. (I secretly still wanted to be a well known actress)
When I was twenty seven I wanted to just book a job, any bloody job, one job, just give me one freaking job where I can act, so I could call myself an actress. I wanted to tell my family I booked something, I wanted to feel justified in the sacrifices I made, to not having moved on in the last ten years. Most of all, I wanted my agent to praise me, have belief in me. I wanted to feel that he would push me because he knew I had it in me, whatever 'it' was... I wanted him to validate me I suppose.
After booking a life changing job, and then losing it, and ultimately losing any confidence I had left, that agent lost confidence in me and dropped me. Which, for the non actors reading, is an actors worst nightmare. To be agentless. What the eff was I gonna do? Stalk Nina Gold, send flowers to Des Hamilton? Having an agent, made you feel like you were a part of the business. You felt like there was hope and possibility. Without any of the above... I felt helpless.
I am now thirty. In case you hadn't quite caught on. I'm THIRTY. I'M MEANT TO BE A GROWN UP! And all of the wants I have for success in the business, the want to tell stories and make people feel like Bette Middler did for me aged eight, it's still there, but it's never been more apparent to me, that the whole reason acting was fun, is furthest from where I am at in reality. I am, as you may have guessed from the last post... frustrated, and bored and honestly, completely underwhelmed at the whole dam acting malarkey. I am peed off at myself for putting a lot of eggs, if not all, into one small little basket. I am also at the dumbfounded conclusion, that I in fact, believed that (the industry) would fill a void. That booking a job would make me feel whole, and would perhaps, validate me.
There is that bit inside of me that beats myself up, that doubts and questions and has me fearing the worst. The bit inside me that used to be jealous (believing I was not capable also), or envious (that I was capable, and I wanted it too) 'HEY WHY NOT ME, WHY NOT PICK ME FOR THAT TV SHOW'?) That bit that hates having no control, or little control.You hold your breath waiting, it's like you slightly don't begin your life because you think... well, when I'm working, then I will buy a house, get engaged, have babies. You (even though all the self help books tell you not to) somehow end up putting life on hold. I believe I have made every effort to live, to enjoy the process, get on with my life... Because you grow used to the chase, the journey. You get accustomed to it. Accustomed to this being an actors lifestyle. You actually get stagnant from it. But the scariest thing for me is that you start to accept the no's, more than you expect the yes's.
I want to live my bloody life. Enjoy it. I want a lifestyle (and I don't mean cocktails at 10am on a rooftop... well...) I want a lifestyle that I have been told forever and ever in some form or other sub conscious or otherwise way, that I cannot have. Or that it's difficult to have or who do I think I am to have...
Brene Brown talks about the gremlins of 'shame' that we all have. On one side there is that voice I have always had in regards to acting and anything I might do, which is 'Your not good enough, you are not a real actress, you got lucky before, you could NEVER do a Meryl' and that is always balanced out, when you talk those Gremlins down, when you ignore them and shut them up, with a good ol helping of '
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are to want a extraordinary life? Who do you think you are to think you can act, book a job, and spend time wanting and chasing something that truthfully (the Gremlins tell me) I don't deserve.' I have been tainted with feeling that anything I might think I can do, or I am good at, or is worth doing is perhaps too much, too selfish, too obtrusive, too arrogant, too undeserving, too obnoxious, too self righteous, too try hard, too sensitive, too defensive, too dramatic, too complicated, too extraordinary, too bloody everything...
I went to LA...I definitely spent too much. I bought a few too many cocktails. I Shouldn't have bought that skirt that I will only wear once or that foundation that only matches when I have a tan. I should have pestered casting directors and sat on Scorsese's door step. That time Spielberg walked past me I should have asked for a job making him chai tea with extra lean, no fat almond milk from those special golden almonds. I should have been more confident aged nineteen and believed in myself way more. I should have not felt small, or made myself smaller. I shouldn't have acted irrationally when I didn't book a job. I should have been kinder, nicer, funnier. More assertive, less aggressive. I shouldn't have sat around doing nothing. Those book ideas I should have written them. Script ideas I should have filmed them. That money. I should have saved it. Jeremy kyle? How did I waste so many days, months watching it? There are so many shoulda, woulda, couldas in this industry, for the acting job, for the career I wanted.
Someone said to me... don't go to LA if it's an excuse to give it up, if nothing happens. She was right. It is easy to do that. Because god forbid you had a bit of 'extraordinary' God forbid the world saw you trying and it didn't pan out the way they thought it might. But what if it was to discover all of these fears and put them out there so perhaps they are no longer scary any more.
It's good to finally say out loud I don't think I want acting enough.
I have realised the real reasons why I do want it and have discovered it is definitely OK to not just want it for the love of the bloody craft (
For that I can put on a show every week with my friends and perform it to my Mum and Nan. So I guess this letter is to the fear that I wasn't good enough and to the thoughts that always crept in when I thought that I was!!!