I’m struggling.

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It’s been a pretty rough month. First, the trivial: I am getting my ass whupped in Fantasy Football (49ers suuuck, so long playoffs), as well as the most current – my poor parked car got smashed Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning to see the hubcaps leaning against their naked tires along with the entire left side scraped and dented. Claim agent said it looked like a drunk driver in a big car, slammed in my car and ran. I blame Saturday night, Dodgers winning and myself for parking in a corner of a busy, two Stop signs intersection. SIGH. THE IRONY: it was a parking spot RIGHT in front of my apartment! I knew the busy intersection well but I took the chance because parking in KTOWN is an achievement in itself. AND I stayed in Saturday night to prevent myself from going out and spending money. INSTEAD, I’ll be paying a steep deductible to get my car fixed as well as losing the expensive buy in for my Fantasy league.

Circumstantially, I’m struggling. 

Also, it was my birthday at the top of the month. I chose not to cry this year, which I didn’t. I splurged on a birthday tattoo and after it was done, I HAD NO BUYER’S REMORSE. I spent a lot on the artist and his design aesthetic and I love my tattoo. You can call me boojie, but I needed to treat myself externally so it’d distract me from what I felt internally.

Emotionally, I’m struggling. 

I’ve been going through some family drama. In such emotional turmoil and angst, I had a moment of clarity one morning. I suddenly found an explanation to my birthday blues and to my desperate need to be an actor. Yes, I didn’t cry this year on my birthday (nor last year — let’s celebrate the little successes) but it didn’t mean I wasn’t wary of my birthday.

I have a complicated relationship with my mother. I follow the usual trope of “my parents really fucked me up,” and I’ve grown up broken. Look, I am a firm believer of what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and I refuse to be a victim of circumstance, but after years where suffering and brokenness are compounded on top of each other, it’s easy to feel weighed down and drowning all the fucking time.

My mother made it known early on that me and my sisters were a burden. As a child, I felt the complete reluctance when I wanted my birthday party at Chuck E’ Cheese. During the party, my mom frowned the entire time, worrying about the increasing total cost and never failed to remind me how much time, effort and money she put in this little party. I never had a birthday party after that.

This is just one example of my relationship with my mom, and yet it’s indicative of the underlying conflict I have with her. Here’s a woman that gave me life and yet showed distain in the mere obligation of raising me.

Hindsight is a gift and I know as an adult she had a lot going on. She was a Viet Nam refugee, uprooting her life to a foreign country, working full time, going to school at night while raising 3 kids in a one bedroom apartment for a good 10 years. Because of hindsight, I can forgive my mom and let any resentment towards her go.

But as a child when I wasn’t able to make sense of what I was feeling, that feeling that I didn’t matter left a very lasting scar into adulthood. That’s why I feel the way I feel towards my birthday. I don’t matter, so why celebrate? I’ll just take up space and waste people’s time and money.

It’s interesting to note that I also tend to fall for guys that don’t value me and easily discard me. Last year I was ghosted and the year before that, I was just another ho on his ho-tation. Maybe it’s a Freudian slip, and I like guys that remind me of my mother, because they give me this feeling that I don’t matter, a feeling I’m all too familiar with. And I’m confusing familiarity with love. Isn’t that sad?

So what does this have to do with acting? Where’s the connection. For a story to affect me so emotionally to the point that it’ll guide my life long decisions, where its characters were the contributive factor to this, shows me that they matter. They are essential and necessary. You can’t have Indiana Jones without Indiana. You can’t have Star Wars without Han Solo. YOU JUST CAN’T. THEY FUCKING MATTER.

So, unconsciously I wanted to be an actor to matter.  I wanted to be integral to a story that could affect people’s hearts and minds. And then they’d remember me, value me and maybe want me.

But no one ever told me just how emotionally taxing it would be.

Emotionally, I’ve BEEN struggling. 

It is hard to compete in this industry, let alone in this world right now. Where superficial, immoral and antagonist people win without any consequences, it’s hard to find a place where I fit and won’t lose my soul. Why, why are shitty movies being made? Why are unskilled influencers getting paid beaucoup money? Why is the GOP so hateful and yet have all the power? I’ve been frustrated with myself for wanting so desperately to eat at the cool kids table, knowing full well they are soulless and corrupt. And I know full well that I’d defy them and refuse to abide by their standards (or lack thereof). And yet, I am lamenting at my circumstantial brokenness because it feels almost like a punishment to want to be good and fair and free.

I have been feeling like I just don’t fit anywhere in this world. And my circumstances have reiterated that feeling. I’ve been going to therapy to reconcile this internal conflict as well as to turn off the noise. To me, it is such an overwhelming problem and yet my therapist said this so easily, “Your brilliance is not meant to fit.”

I question the validity of this statement because emotionally it’s not ringing true to me. I’ve never thought of myself as brilliant so to believe it is too far a leap to make. And to hear that I was never meant to fit is hard to accept because for so long I’ve wanted to belong and yet never questioned if I ever should.

EVERYDAY, I’m struggling. 

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Progress Report

Life is weird. Sometimes when it rains it pours, but then other times, when one part of your life is shit, another part is good.  The latter part is true for me right now. On the making rent and having enough money for food, it’s been a struggle.  I’ve interviewed and trained at a number of new restaurants lately, but maybe because I was spoiled at a corporate restaurant (where they have their shit together and there’s a rigid structure to abide by), I have been continuously disappointed by how many restaurants do NOT know what they’re doing.  So, as of right now, I’m restaurant-less.  In addition, maybe that’s a sign to get out of the restaurant industry.  I’m currently living off of unemployment — though I do not intend to for long.  I’ve applied to a non-profit that I have my fingers and toes crossed for.  Wish me luck!

So where there is a lack of abundance of money, I’ve had an abundance of AUDITIONS! Yay!  It’s awesome!  I’ve never had so many auditions around this time in my life! Like I’ve said before, auditions are an accomplishment in themselves.  I haven’t booked anything, but just the whole process of studying the part, the scene, reading between the lines, doing my homework and practicing has made me really ENJOY auditioning.  I’m more confident and comfortable auditioning.  I used to be so nervous and let my nerves shut me down. But now, it’s FUN, it’s weird and it’s a way for me to learn something new.  Last month I had an audition to be a lost Japanese girl in the woods.  My agent called me to assure me that she knew I wasn’t Japanese, but the ppl from the show liked my look and gave me a shot. So to prepare, I watched a YouTube video on the pronunciation of Japanese.  It was really interesting to me, I had fun doing it and I got a callback for it!  I mean who really gets to do this as their occupation?

 

Speaking of callbacks, I got a callback for a movie in Dallas!  I told them I was down to be a local hire, where if I get the job, I’ll pay for my way there and my own living costs to better my chance of getting the role.  To prove my word, for my callback, I got my cousin to hook me up with his reward miles and fly me to Dallas.  I airbnbed/hosteled it and used Dallas’s public transportation (which is awesome btw) for over a day.  How RANDOM. I met the writers, casting director and the director.  The director and I did the UCLA cheer together! UUUUUU CCCCC LLLLLL AAAAA UCLA FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!  I was prepared, did my take on the role and the director said he liked it, but in a surprise tone, as if my take wasn’t what he had envisioned, but was pleasantly surprised when I made the role my own. I didn’t get the part, but I think I made an impression, and if not for this project, perhaps another one in the future.

And finally, I’ve been overwhelmed with the outpour of kindness and support I have received from my friends and my family. I’d be a hot mess if it wasn’t for everyone that has helped me — whether it was covering my tab, or helping me film a scene, treating me out to bingo — I feel loved.  I know that if or when I fall down again, I am surrounded by people who love and care about me. This thought makes me feel stronger and unstoppable. Thank you you guys.  ❤

It’s wedding season and I’m sure this song has been overplayed, but who cares! I love love and it’s really how I feel toward my support system, so here’s john legend YAY 😉

Fuck That Shit

Ok, it’s been almost a year since I’ve been down here in la pursuing this.  And yes, there have been some milestones (good team, good headshots, business savvy, meeting casting directors, making connections) but lately I feel like I’ve digressed.

Coming back from acting class tonight, I bombed in everything I presented to my teacher.  Even while doing the scenes and cold reads, I knew I wasn’t applying myself.  I knew it felt wrong, I knew what I was doing wrong even before the scene ended.  I didn’t prepare, I didn’t do my homework, I didn’t apply the things I’ve learned.  I didn’t apply myself!

Wtf is wrong with me?  I’m wasting my teacher’s time, my time, my money for what?  For me just coasting along?  I’m mad at myself because I know better, but I’m not doing better!  I can be sooo good, but I’m wasting away taking naps in the middle of the day, watching saved by the bell on Netflix, fucking Facebooking for god’s sake! Ugh!

I reflected this back to a friend and he asked me “do you care anymore?  Do you even want to do this anymore?”  This shocked me!  I don’t care?  Does it look that way?

The thing is, I do care! That’s why I’m mad at myself.  I’ve been reading Ayn Rand, atlas shrugged (I love Ayn Rand, phenomenal philosopher of objectivism) and in her book, she uses characters that are driven to their potential solely by pursuing their passion passionately, vehemently, even selfishly.  Especially selfishly.  And by accomplishing, succeeding, being the best in their passion for themselves, do they actually contribute to the world.

“No matter how hard a struggle he had lived through in the past, he had never reached the ultimate ugliness of abandoning the will to act.  In moments of suffering, he had never let pain win its one permanent victory: he had never allowed it to make him lose the desire for joy.  He had never doubted the nature of the world or man’s greatness as its motive power and its core.”

I was watching mad men and one of the characters had quit her job to pursue acting and wasn’t getting anywhere, so her mom said, “This is what happens when you have the artistic temperament but you are not an artist,” and that alarmed me!  Omg, what if that’s me?? What if I only think I’m an artist, but really have no skill or right to be in this field??

From this little thought, I’ve been getting into the mindset of “Oh I suck anyway, why bother applying myself” which perpetuates my mediocrity.  It’s no excuse to be lazy, but in a way it’s a form of protection from getting rejected or god forbid to the possible reality that I just might not be good enough.  That’s so scary.

If I continue with this laziness, am I not letting “the ugliness of abandoning the will to act” happen?  Am I accepting defeat and just going through the motions??

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Reading this entry out loud, I have to say, fuck that shit! No way am I letting some stupid intangible inconsistent insecurity get in my way.  I will not be weak, I will not accept defeat.  FUCK THAT SHIT! booyah.

 

It doesn’t happen overnight

I have to constantly remind myself this because with so many frustrations mounting up, I sometimes want to throw in the towel.  Actually not sometimes.  All the time! Word around town is that my agent doesn’t do anything, and duh he hasn’t been doing anything.  I need new headshots because I look like I work for Disney.  It’s not the image I’m going for.  I don’t want people to perceive me as a Disney actor, but rather a serious young adult. Once I get new headshots, I’ll have to hustle again for another agent. I feel I’m not getting any better with improv and the last class is this coming Tuesday where we’ll find out if we pass or not.  If I pass or not, I still have to put down hella money for classes to improve.  Money that I don’t have because I’m broke ass, and with the holidays rolling around, how can I afford gifts for the people I care about? How do I make money as an actor when I don’t go on any auditions? How do I keep myself available for auditions, if I’m caught up working at the restaurant? Ugggghhhhh!!! It doesn’t happen overnight! It doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen overnight!  I must persevere.  I must.