I am exactly where I’m supposed to be

Joke of the Day! MY LIFE!

No seriously, Joke of the Day!

Actor: I’m an actor in LA!

Snarky Person: Really? What restaurant?

So I’ve recently met a new server at the restaurant I work at, and surprise surprise, he’s an actor. As we were sizing each other up and asking how our respective acting careers were going, (not much since we both find ourselves working at the same restaurant), a stark difference between us stood out like a fucking diaper rash on a pristine baby’s bottom … AGE.

Ugh. He’s a young 26yo pup, around the same age as me when I came down to LA (25) to seriously pursue this. Don’t get me started on the 23yo starlet that’s auditioning up the ass as I cover her shifts since oh-I-have-nothing-to-do-since-I-have-no-auditions-and-all-the-time-in-the-world …

Bitter much, Thi?

The kid asked me, “How long have you been pursuing this?” What a loaded question. To answer this question, I was forced to do the math. I came down here, August 2011, about to turn 25. I am now 31 and by August, it’ll be 7 years. Fuuuuuck. Instinctively, automatically, immediately, I berated myself. You’ve been here 7 years and what do you have to show for it?! You’re in the crux of your 30s and you’re still working at a restaurant alongside highschoolers? You suck, you’re nothing, you should just quit and die as your dream dies too. 

Hahaha, as I write my thoughts out, I literally just lol’ed (I’m so current). Because seeing that thought process on paper kinda makes it sound and look soooo dramatic that it reminds me of a kindergartener crying the biggest tears as her clip gets moved down the behavior chart, from “ready to learn” to “needs improvement”.

I’ve been subbing for a kindergarten class for the past few days and everyday one kid or more cries. Whether it’s my fault or not (telling them what to do, moving their clips down the behavior chart, not giving them a sticker, paper cut, mispronouncing their names, missing their mommy, etc.), they cry as if it’s the end of the world and they’ve lost an arm. So, to make them stop crying, I ask them, “Are you bleeding?”, “Did you lose an arm?”, and “Is it the end of the world?” As they answer “no” to each of these questions and reflect why they’re even crying, I squash their woes with my ace question, “Then why are you crying?” and lo and behold, it’s a fucking miracle, they stop crying and realize they’re being silly drama queens.

So. Asking myself these questions, I know for a fact that I’m being a silly drama queen. At first glance, at face value, on paper, where I’m having this conversation with someone 5 years younger than me at a job I hate, it’s easy for me to dismiss all the progress I’ve made throughout these 7 years. So let’s don’t. 

I’m making the most consistent money I’ve ever made before, being able to afford to travel to Spain, Hawaii, Viet Nam, Nola, or to do anything (i.e. Burning Man, Coachella) whenever I want! I’m driving a car that has blue tooth and windows that work! I have goddamn health insurance people! (Still no parking spot, but oh well. Win some lose some.)

I’m so much more confident than when I was at 25. I don’t get as nervous as I used to whenever I’m in front of people, because I’m getting in front of people more! I’m on stage, I’m making people laugh, I’m storytelling and being vulnerable and sharing myself and people are enjoying it and I get a high out of it and it validates me.

My acting is so much better where I’m making specific choices that make my personality shine because I’m actually proud of who I am. I’m currently rehearsing for a play in which I’m a lead actor!

My writing is so much better because I’m able to tap into my experiences and feelings and express it in a way that I could never have done at 25. I’ve been working on a pilot, writing poetry and short stories that I’m proud of. 

I’m calmer, less neurotic, less driven and less defined by the lack of tangible measurable results. I don’t judge myself so critically and have these unrealistic expectations for myself. I’m just acutely aware of where I am right now and am ok with it. I accept it. I’m not bleeding, I haven’t lost an arm and it’s not the end of the world. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. 

drama queen

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Progress

So two weeks ago I had an audition for a commercial. I was sincerely grateful for it because I had gone through a drought and was feeling incredibly useless. It had been over a month since my last audition. Unfortunately the audition was on a very inconvenient day.  I found out on a Thursday afternoon that I had an audition the next day at 4:40pm.  I had work that Thursday night (at the restaurant) as well as the next morning (at the assistant job) up until half an hour before my audition time slot, so that left little time to prepare for the audition (research the company of the commercial).  Also, because of this audition, it threw off my plans Friday afternoon. I had plans for tea with some girlfriends at 5pm across town and obviously wasn’t going to make it in time with the audition and rush hour. Bottom line: I was not mentally prepared nor present for my audition.

Friday morning hits and it’s a hot day. My mind’s preoccupied with the upcoming events and I leave my make-up that I’ll need for the audition in the car while I’m at work. Work’s done, and I get in my car to make myself pretty for my audition but I find that all the make-up has melted. Yup. Let’s add that my skin is super dry and I have a sty. There’s a glop of Vaseline in my bag and I rub that over my dry ass skin. Gross I know. So now I’m not physically prepared for my audition. At this point I’m thinking, well I have no chance of booking this, so whatever, let’s just get this over with.

Now, I know the title of this post is “progress” and so far it seems that I’ve done the opposite. Patience alright? There were some pluses. I had researched a little about the company of the commercial and knew what colors to wear during my audition, light blue, grey and white. (You want to wear their color palette and not their competitors. i.e. if you audition for Disney, do not wear orange, because that is the color of nickelodeon. bizarre industry, right?) I also arrived early to my audition.  Unfortunately the audition process was more of a cattle call and I didn’t get seen until 5pm. at that point, I just wanted to leave and go to tea ASAP. I didn’t even care anymore.

So it’s my turn to audition and after slating my name on camera, the camera guy asks me this question: what do you think our society, as a whole needs to focus on more?  Ok, so the role I’m up for was ‘student at night school’ so I couldn’t get education out of my head. But education is one of those issues that has been focused on, so what was I going to say? I blurted out this: “the teacher’s union. Yes education is a popular issue, but nothing can really be done unless the teacher’s union is broken up and we hold someone accountable.” ugh. Even in hindsight I loathe my answer. It is something I believe in, but at that time it just came out so lame. I’m sure it didn’t really matter what I said but how I said it, so I tried my best to say it with as much conviction as I could to overcompensate the lame answer.

Next, there was a desk with a notebook and pencil set up. I was to sit down, look forward at an x at the wall which was to be my teacher, take notes, and let my mind wander off in the distance with an optimistic look on my face. This part was easy because by then I just didn’t give a fuck, so I just did what I was told as quickly as I could to get out of there.

With the thought of having no chance of booking the job, I was super surprised when the following Tuesday I got a callback. WTF. I thought I blew it, but I guess they liked what they saw.

At the callback, there’s an actual ‘teacher’ and she asks the question, what are the four presidents of Mount Rushmore? I’m at a desk by myself and I have to raise my hand and answer the question. I had no prior knowledge what the question was going to be. So I raise my hand as instructed and the teacher picks me and then I realize, I actually have to answer this questionDo I even know the answer? So my mind’s racing, I’m nervous, and I say, “George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Jefferson, and … John Adams?” teacher says, “close. Here’s a hint: one of them is a Roosevelt.” I say, “Awl, Teddy!” and she says, “Yup, that’s it! Thanks!” and scene. End of callback.

Ok, so cool. I did the best I could and honestly at that point I had no idea what to expect. When I thought I did badly at the audition, I got a callback. After the callback, I thought I did fine, so going along with the pattern, did that mean I wasn’t going to book it?

Sunday afternoon rolls around and I get a call from my agent. He says, “alright, it’s down to the wire and now it’s just a matter of what direction they want to go. They want you to be “on available” (basically that means on standby) this coming Monday and Friday in case they choose you and you can come in for a fitting and the shoot.

Now, sorry to break it to you guys, but I didn’t get called in on Monday, so I can assume that they won’t need me on Friday, which ultimately means I didn’t book it. However, I’m in good spirits because wow, that’s like the third round. That’s the furthest I’ve ever gotten on anything. I’ve never really gotten past a callback until now. So booyah, there’s your progress, betch.