…Meanwhile: On Stage

23 Jul

“One should always start a bucket-list role, and new job, within one day of each other on the same week,” said no one, ever.

…And yet: due to crazy scheduling for the summer, this is somehow my fourth week of work and end of my first week of rehearsal, with only the initial read going on a head-to-header.

“Wait Until Dark.”

…A classic thriller, period piece, with severe study prep requirement.

I love it.

Much psychological work, even more– physical. A sighted person gone blind, with zero percent light sensitivity, and only within the single year of her rehabilitation, six-months a newlywed, terrorized by three professional thieves and murderers.

Acting: gold. With a lot of room for error.

…Bring it.

This is my favorite. The more specific the limitations, the more specific the work. I’ve a plethora of materials I’m diving into, a list of props I’m constantly working with at home to develop specifics with, a working mental map of the set layout, for movement and point of reference,  many revisits to my severely sight-handicapped Annie Sullivan days, rehabilitation specific of the 60’s offered treatments, and constant focus work…to find the best levels for safety and movement.

…Seventh-freakin-heaven.

…And tonight, finally got to see “Maudie,” bio pic, which I had been salivating over since first seeing the trailer…to study the beautiful, beautiful performance, by Sally Hawkins.

 …Which one might think has absolutely nothing to do with this: yet absolutely does. Tonight I watched it for the art, but I WILL be seeing this piece several times for technique… and revisiting another favorite performance of Marion Cotillard in  “La Vie En Rose,” along with (strangely, “Miracle Worker,” on Helen specifics), “Patch of Blue,” “Ray,” and the Koren crime thriller, “Blind.”

…Of course there are the specifics of the disability to adhere to, but it is the truth and quality of life beyond the disability, which is my focus. “Maudie” nailed that beautifully. People who happen to be in this particular circumstance, who fight not to let it define them, or limit them.

Yes.

Again, a soul much braver than mine, with a much sunnier outlook of possibility. It will do me good to fight for her. And I’m thankful for the team I get to do it with.

…And I need to go and work on it, now. Especially with that beautiful, delicately, specific example just having been before me.

…Only wanted to state that: all is not lost in office-hell feelings of incompetence and newness. Some is very safe and happy in art-joy and yayness.

…Which should prob’ly have been the lead story, there. Trust me to bury the good shit.

~D

Almost One Month

20 Jul

I have two very good friends who recently came back from a month living abroad in Paris.

…They are multiple-discipline artists, who went, not as tourists, but to live and work amongst the natives. They are writers and painters and chefs and builders of bookshelves and boxes of homemade goods you can send all over the world, to administer creature comforts and small tokens of love to people you know…far and near. They had saved up their pennies and dollars and coffee allowances for god only knows how long, in order to secure that tiniest of flats with only a hot plate and toaster oven, in that magical city…because that experience was a requirement for their art and soul. So they made it happen.

…And so, (naturally) the leading question of nearly every person who sees them since they’ve come back, is more of a demanded statement: “Didn’t you just have the most amazing time ever?!?”

…And the answer: it isn’t quite exactly what one might expect. 

It is something like this:

“It was incredibly difficult. And we’re really glad we went.”

This does not mean it went poorly. This does not mean they didn’t enjoy it. It means: sometimes, even getting what you want is hard work. Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed no matter how prepared you think you are. Sometimes the language barrier, the tiny living conditions, the just not being where you know everything and where it is and should be, is stressful and exhausting and…a lot.

One month can be a long time.

…And I feel like all of that, is exactly where I am with this new job. 

Somewhere inside, I have to believe I am at the place I am supposed to be, but my fourth week in: my struggles are not rosey and beautiful. They are hard. Still. Like stress headaches and tear-bursting-while-on-the-toilet, kind of bad.

…I miss the stupid fact of just “knowing” things. I miss auto-piloting my day-to-day masses of crap. I miss being overwhelmed, yet still feeling fully capable. I miss that when shit came down– I knew how to fix it.

I have been, and always will be, my toughest critic. I expect a lot of myself. And yet I feel like a grace-period of a month is more than sufficient to not feel like this anymore.

…I’m in mutherfucking Paris!

…I should just be blissfully contented beyond relief!!

…Isn’t this what I wanted?! Isn’t this what I left for?! More money and some damn self respect? 

I’m the holder of a Company Credit Card. Head of all accounts. Unlimited spending on whatever the hell I need to make this place bop and beep to whatever the hell tune I want it to.

 …And yet…

One month in– I somehow miss that abuseful bastard job, like it was my own pillow.

What-the-actual-fuck, you guys.

I’m exhausted. Still. Only kinda more so. And feel too full to add any more in. I *think* I’m still glad I left, but that totally depends on the day. 

I saved up all my “hope” pennies, and dollars to get here…and it isn’t heaven at all. I don’t super understand the language. The numbers are kinda douchey, but they treat me like a person and buy me lots of really good coffee.

…Yet, I am still incredibly overwhelmed.

This is all to say: New job – still processing.

~D

Last Day

23 Jun

Today: I end a ten-year shitty relationship with my job.

…In this day and age, that is epic stay-power, but I’d have to state truthfully this was more from fear of change and the “devil I don’t know,” than anything else. As is often the case with toxic relationships, this one seduced with constancy, and the thought that “this is better than nothing.” As if it was my responsibility to take the years of bull shit, because isn’t that what you have to do when you’re an adult and have bills to pay?

 … Doesn’t everyone who doesn’t make their primary wage via their passion, hate their job?

My theory was always: more or less, yes. None of us want to do the “thing we have to,” so we are all more or less in our own little “Office Space” versions of Hell.

…But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if you don’t have to hate the place you spend 8 hours a day at, five days a week? I’m not saying it will take the place of your passion, I’m just saying: maybe it doesn’t have to suck the absolute life and soul out of you.

…What if?

I waited too damn long to gamble that option. And today, I walk away from what I know, and freefall into that which I do not. On the lists of terrors, that’s epic height for Anxiety-fueled people. 

…But I’m doing it. With faith. With hope. With a whole hell of a lot of cheerleaders in my friends and family who have done nothing but back me 3000% of the way.

…It takes a lot of guts to stay by your post no matter how bad the weather gets. It takes more to realize that the storm isn’t your problem, not of your making, and aside from standing beside a friend in need…nothing is worth living like this. For years and years.

It’s only money.

I am not for sale.

I am worthy of a relationship demanding respect in all aspects of my life. Even the place where I earn my bread and butter.

Even my non-dream job.

Dignity.

This is the day, I get me some.

~D

Random

6 Jun

Often, I don’t know how I have survived this far. 

…I am sound enough in mind to hold down a job and function, and do all the adulting of paying bills (etc.) I’ve pulled a giant week already. It’s only Tuesday, and have already done payroll for 14 builders, balanced $900,000 in Open Orders, assigned 40 jobs, built nearly 80 contracts, did rehearsal for a Planned Parenthood benefit read, and tonight had another phone interview so intense, my butt started sweating.

…I hung up from that call with yet another interview (on Thursday) set, and two more hoops to jump through after that. So I immediately drove to the the site (in order to find it with ease, later), came back home again for a walk (in what I like to call “Money Hill,”) through sunset, while listening to my absolute favorite West Wing Weekly podcast episode to date (“Bartlet for America”), and now: I’m home.

Home, and cooking my dinner of tots, with a side of Mai Tai, listening to Caitlyn Moran’s ” How To Be A Woman.”

It is 10:47.

A part of me worries that as an adult human, this is just part of life. One can’t really say, “right now,” as I’m not exactly 20, with room to grow out of it. Ate a goat cheese arugula and cranberry salad for dinner last night. And now: I’m popping too-hot potato-coals into my mouth, laughing at both the pronunciation and content of the book, while simultaneously thought-posting and drinking juice-spiked alcohol.

I got my walk in. I did my work. I performed one hell of an interview. I have plans (after this) to turn in my 40th application, before bed.

(Literally, my 40th. I am not playing at random number drops.)

This is my life.

I’ve just got to accept it.

…Caitlyn is now on a stint talking about the labia, pronouncing it, “lab-ia,” and I am (not for the first time) charmed by our tomatoes/toe-ma-toes cultural differences. It is a rare moment ‘tween a myriad of “minge” and “front-bottom” when she calls out the actual anatomy. My favorite thing about this book is that The Brits have more ways to talk about private parts, without ever actually saying the name of the private part, than probably any other people in all of time. And also: Moran is pretty fierce. I’m not 100% on her team…but like 90% is a damn good sell these days.

…Meanwhile: am out of tots and I’ve got more job boards to scour. 

It is 11:10.

…Lets do this thing…

~D

33, And Counting…

25 May

 I have 33 job applications out there. 

…Have taken 5 Interviews so far, and every day at work is like trying to survive a crawfish boil…as a fucking crawfish.

Once you get really serious about it, applying for a new job is actually taking on a second full-time job, unto itself. You really can’t half-ass it if you want to win your release from this other job-Hell.

…Course, adding to that problem, is the fact that you already have that full-time job which is stressing you out this badly to begin with.

…So: you get monster headaches and migraines and stress-cry-release in your car at lunch, while sitting in the Amtrak parking lot under a tree…(the closest, safest place just off campus)…where you hit the job boards some more, do your call-backs, conduct your first-round phone interviews…then go back to work and dive into that shit-hole for another four hours, before you come home, take a walk to at least *try* and uphold some form of mental health release, then hit the job boards again…with Buffy figuratively slaying all your life-shit in the background. 

Until you pass out.

My strategy is simple: get out. Whatever it takes.

…Except not really “whatever”…which is why I still don’t have a new job.

I won’t give up nights or weekends. Thems theater holy times, and I am unwavering in my faith. 

…If this whole thing has taught me nothing else, it is that middle management is the butt-boy of already shitty Corporate U.S.A. No life, or outside interests, and willingness to do absolutely anything for money has become a minimum qualification. Fuck your degree.

…Guys: it’s only money.

I’ve skipped paying a bill before. Ain’t never skipped a performance. That’s my quantifier of “life balance.”

…And so: I search on.

…And on, and on, and on…

…So many job boards: I wanna puke. So many applications, I have to log the fuckers just to keep track from email to voicemail to first and second interview notes. The back of my car is a damn mobile office, less a fax machine. I’ve got my Interview Suit on permanent stand-by, front of my closet. And the risk of losing my shit in a stress blow-out at any moment of day or night, is, (I feel), imminent. 

(Someone should be selling tickets.)

…Yet, I plaster that crap on, for every single phone call I get, offering me hope. I’m the most charming mutherfucker you’ve ever met! You only wish you could hire me! If only I’d sell my soul and give up every Saturday and Sunday, and take the second shift after hours, Friday…

But: I won’t.

I’m bruised as hell, but I’m still standing. After TEN YEARS in this damn place. 

…I can make is a few weeks more, to stand by the few morals I have left.

So few…

…Sooo few…

…I mean: where’s a damn casting couch when you need one…?!

~D

This Time, In NA…

5 May

Studied up and ready to open “Water By The Spoonful” tonight, with an energized and eager company. Fantastic post-preview talks, last night, with some of the production-family, reinvigorated my brains within Odessa’s headspace. 

…I love nothing better than spinning those connecting webs of collaboration…from the AD to the Costume Designer to the Actor, and how each take and builds from the others’ contribution, making this art-from-art kind of Celtic knot of seamless (we hope) common goal-reaching.
Am proud of this team, and honored to be a part of it.

…And honored to portray those who struggle with substance abuse issues…to tell their story as truthfully as we can, as raw and naked and serving the fact of that moment to moment struggle. Am very thankful at how much research I needed to do on the NA side of things…in that I have been fortunate to not have the first-hand knowledge of its world. The devastation it leaves in its wake is such an astonishing payment with ripple effect. After living in that headspace even only as an actor, the empathy for its victims is another study on the frailty in our humanity…but also the stubborness of our strength, the frustration in our circumstance, the fate of our birth, the pomposity and arrogance of our gambles with death, and the fight and fight and fight we can put up, when life throws fists in our faces, time and time again.

It’s a hell of a piece of theatre.

…And a pretty damn good production. (If I do say so myself.)

And: I do.

Happy Opening, team!

~D

My Brain Soliloquy

5 Apr

People talk a lot about Depression. They talk about Anxiety.This excites the hell outta me, because these things SHOULD be talked about. They are major issues for a major part of our society, and are absolutely not to be taken lightly.

…And we’ve seen the unfortunate affects of trying to ignore them.

…Something I additionally deal with (because my brain is just this uber sauce of awesome) is not as frequently discussed, and as a sister-cousin of Anxiety, can live and procreate and feed and feed and feed for days, weeks, months…sometimes even years…with no formal medical go-to coping mechanism.

There is no pill you can throw at it to reset the chemistry of your mind.

…So far, the only help you can offer to ease it is therapy to try and coach the brain alternatively. Which, for me, has worked exactly as effectively as tell me to calm down during an Anxiety attack–in that it helps zero-much.

Zero-much.

Hyperchondria kinda gets the bumb-wrap of Schizophrenia in how the world relates to its victims. What I mean by that is: they fold it into comedies on film to make a character more “interesting” or “dark” or “off” or “quirky” or just “disturbed” in general.

What I can tell you about actually HAVING it, is: there is not a single, solitary thing that is funny about it.

…I can make fun of my Anxiety (eventually) in nearly every circumstance, after it is over. That is how I regain my power back from what it has taken. It is how I “win.”

…I had been diagnosed since early childhood with Hyperchondria…and what I can tell you about it, is that never once have I “won” even a slight piece of ground, from it. The way that it has manifested in me is so deep, and from so young, for reasons which even the shrink couldn’t conjur up…and it is (and apparently always has been, and WILL be) a constant.

…And when I say “constant,” I mean: I am deathly afraid of at least one thing, if not also another, at all times. I can have fleeting moments without…sometimes even a few days…but I’ve never made it a week. I’ve never seen an illness of another and not mentally had to go to war with myself about it. To the worst case scenario. Every single time.

… I never have an itch or ache or bump that I don’t lose sleep over. 

…Literally: lose sleep over.

…And it is always a blooming congregation of thoughts, which bloom horribly. Death is not the “fear” here…it’s the prolonged torture of horrendously, slowly, long-term eventually dieing.

This disease (often coupled with Anxiety for obvious reasons) makes this horrible little forever nesting environment in my brain, where it can feed and fester…and does. And because it has been so constant, I have been able across the years to build up a bit of a functioning tolerance to it. 

…The brain will fight. It will fight hard for you. Which is pretty cool. When it isn’t tearing you apart.

…But sometimes I get into pockets where it begins to overtake me wholly. Much like hitting the ceiling in Anxiety, when I need to ultimately fold and take the damn Xanax.

…Only, as I said before…there IS no “Xanax,” or other chemical brother, that exists, which can help.

Which means…when I hit this supremely arresting level of legitimate terror –say, I’ve been in for a good while now, directly after I finished my last bout with Anxiety…it’s like no-sleep, sweaty-shakes, zombie-esc central.

…And that is always fun while performing a show, rehearsing another, and holding down a full time work week.

So: I battle. I keep losing. I’m terrified damn near every minute about at least three things that currently come to mind, and am even physically manifesting my terrors bodily as the ultimate thing that takes a Hypercondriac out of commission in any joy or normal life department.

And though talking about it, has never helped me. And laughing about it, is never a possibility. I guess I’m putting it here in print for those who suffer from it too.

The terror is real. I get it. I understand you. I know it doesn’t help you even a little bit to know that. But: now you do.

I know.

And: I’m really fucking tired of knowing it.

~D

%d bloggers like this: