Friday, November 16, 2012

Storytellers


When I first decided to take this journey as a professional performer, I had no idea about the psychology of acting or my job as a storyteller. I hadn't read Uta Hagen, Stanislavsky or anybody else. Still, haven't actually. I just wanted to sing. Now I've come to see the developmental arc or just plain old story in all art be it photography, painting, choreography, modeling, et cetera.

In addition to storytelling as a profession, I've been thinking a lot about the stories we tell ourselves everyday. Like "everything is all right," when it isn't. I don't think it's always that we're lying to ourselves as much as we genuinely don't know how to recognize the signs. Pain is a warning that something's wrong. But "pain" doesn't always hit you over the head right away. Over the last few months I've had my run in with depression. Despite the obvious (to others) weight loss, barely controlled crying fits (that I kept largely to myself), lack of enthusiasm (more than usual) and feelings of loneliness (even though I see my very close friends often and even live with one), I didn't pick up on the signs. In retrospect, I was absolutely depressed. And because I internalize everything, nobody could help me. I was near tears in my doctor's office Monday answering questions about whether I'd had a flu shot. (I had not.) After a discussion about my diet and just a general conversation about my concerns since my last visit, he said, "Why don't we get you some help?"

Help can be a tough thing to ask for, but we all need it. It's not for "other people;" it's for all people. But, dear reader, none of this is a major cause for concern. Nothing can be gummy bears and sunbeams every day. I accept this heartily. Still, there's the regular into-every-life-some-rain-must-fall shit and then there's I-don't-care-if-I-eat-or-live-because-what's-the-point...-oh-yeah-fuck-my-life stuff. That last one will make you go, "Um, I think we better call somebody."



So what did I do? I looked under the hood at what was really going on. My work is one sore spot. I realized that I don't have more success because I haven't really sacrificed anything. I haven't AT ALL spent the time honing and sweating and giving everything I've got to my craft. I'm terrible at time management and I'm lazy as fuck, but not where bullshit is concerned. Case in point: the number of profiles, sites and various social media I'd registered with online over the years surprised me. Including this blog, I was OVER thirty. Thirty. WTF? And I can think of about two offhand that I forgot to put on that list. The story I'd been telling myself was that I could continue to peruse these sites all day, jerk off and crunch up all the towels (okay that's kinda funny) and still receive any real advancement or recognition for my work. In what world? No seriously. Where because I'd be all over that shit like Petraeus on Jill Kelley's man arms.

So yeah. I listed all the sites so I could a) see them clearly and b) have something to strike through as I deleted them. And you know what? It's working. How can there be room in my life for the things I want (and need) when I'm constantly shoving in so much of what I don't want (or need). I watched a clip of a Prince interview this week. He said he didn't really listen to a lot of other peoples' music because he "makes it." Of course that makes sense. Oprah doesn't spend all day watching TV. She's on the shit. Le sigh (That's French for "Exhale, bitch.)

Ever try to shit out a planet?* That's what being an artist is like. Planets are just big old bunches of rocks that pull their shit together to eventually form a mass large enough to have a gravitational force strong enough to make other shit spin around it. Okay, this Oprah metaphor is getting old, but you get me, right? The constant energy it takes to always be out working to get people to notice who we are and what it is we do and why you should come out makes one exhaustipated. No. Just because you grow it does not mean anybody's coming. It takes a lot. AND it takes a lot to make sure that whatever it is people are coming to see isn't busted so they'll come back. I stopped even telling friends I'm doing anything. If other people aren't talking about it yet, then it's not hot enough. Back to the rehearsal room. Gah! But that's the work. AND I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHIT! :)) A few months back I sat at the piano and hammered through a tune (poorly), but it felt wonderful to be thinking about inversions while I sang along in the studio room. There needs to be more of that.

So I'm more focused and I feel better. I'm eating more and crying less. Though some crying is cathartic. I've been a bastard; I need to keep the heart from icing over again. At this rate, my ego will be back in no time and I'll be wearing shades for breakfast. I'm back with the band on a regular rehearsal schedule and I've already accepted work on the theatre's next production. I'm not all Mother Teresa and shit, though. (The woman did not keep a stylist.) I'm still keeping a few online profiles. A FEW! Not to mention the fact that I hardly need to look for new blood. My phone is full. But seriously. When my head totally clears, some lucky little dude (not 100 dudes) is going to have a very sore asshole ;-) I don't know this guy, btw. He gave me his number and I forgot to save it before I deleted my account :-(

There's also been the issue of just getting older. Latest revelation: At my current age, my mother had already been a parent to me for 16 years. I can't imagine having a 16 year old right now. Yet, my mom did. I remember thinking how much larger than life my parents seemed to me then and how much, dare I say, older. But now that I'm their age (then), I don't feel all that diminished really, except my knees creak every single goddamn time I get up. Wtf? Am I...old? Like, for realz? When the fuck did this shit happen? I blame my performance in A Chorus Line last year. Never had any knee creaking prior.


We all want to stay young and remember things "as they were," but getting older isn't all bad. I'm not ready to move into the Marigold Hotel, but I'm really okay with not being 20 anymore. I've been living in the moment long enough. It's time to actually plan some of this time I have left. Time. Is. Running. Out. On. Everything. And. Everyone. I want to have a husband and some children. Yeah, I guess I want a family ;-)

I was floored by Rihanna's admission of still being so in love with Chris Brown her stomach drops when he walks in a room. I want to have that with someone. Recently, a friend finally returned my text to say that he'd been off the radar because he had a bf. I've thought about this guy a lot over the years. He lives in the next town over from me. I've even imagined our kids. (Shut up.) But here's the thing: You have to tell people how you feel. Surprisingly, I wasn't sad in the least when I heard that news. I rejoice in the happiness of others, especially when I love them. That and I just don't have it in me to cry over a man anymore. Sneakers? Definitely. The fact is, we all get our time up at the mic. If I'm not at the mic, it's not my time. So how do I feel? I feel that I need to turn the page and start writing a new chapter. I'm happy to do that. And yes. You read that correctly.

I'm happy :)

*An example

Recognize anyone?


video


Now?

What About Now?