To say I descended into a black hole of self-loathing and self doubt was an understatement. I rolled my silverware and cried, wondering what I was doing with my life. I mean, there HAD to be something I was doing wrong. Everyone says comparison is the death of happiness and good work, and I know that, but that day, I had no option but to indulge that toxic stream of thought. I kept trying to check myself and remind myself that our paths were hugely different, and that comparison was totally useless. That I've hit some major roadblocks (i.e. the sickness and loss of my mom) early in life that kept me from being able to pursue acting to the degree I initially planned. I reminded myself that she was so very talented, but I was talented, too in my own unique way, and with positivity and hard work I could get somewhere someday too, right? ...Right?
After finishing work, I promptly ran through the snow across the street to the nearest bar and got wasted on Maker's & Ginger Ales. I believe I had about five of them. In the process of this wildly unhealthy consumption, I met two chefs from Alinea. I implored them to tell me about what they loved about food and their work. The two boyish chefs catapulted into individual monologues about how happy food makes them, how this opportunity meant everything and that this is where they were meant to be. I was intoxicated by how they spoke so passionately about the field they were in, and realized for me, with acting, that artistic arousal hadn't been ignited in a very, very long time. So I had some shit to consider.
I went home and drunkenly took some videos with my cat. When I awoke the next morning, I frantically sent an email to my mentor with the subject line, "I'm worried I'm a bad actor because I can't book." Then I worked out. Then I felt bad for myself some more. And then I racked my brain trying to figure out where this level of pain and claustrophobia in my own skin was coming from. It couldn't be just about the fact that I don't have a Golden Globe by the age of 27. I mean, how many people do?! What a ridiculous thing to hate myself for! No, it couldn't just be about that. As Bethenny Frankel instilled in me, "It's never about what it's about."
I went to my mentor the next day, where her and another mentor of mine (beautiful, honest ladies in the biz) listened to me complain and rattle off how confused, bored, and disappointed I was in myself. At the end of the story, I said, "So, yeah I shot a commercial last week, then I auditioned for Chicago Med on Friday...". I said it like it didn't matter, like it was a throwaway.
"I'm sorry, what?" The ladies looked at each other utterly confused and on the verge of laughter. "Sorry, but you have to understand the absurd irony of you finishing this monologue with the fact that you shot a commercial last week and then auditioned for a TV show the next day. You realize for the average actor, that's like, a REALLY good week."
"Well, yeah but--"
"No. I'm not trying to be an asshole but that's a really good week."
I had no retort. She was right. For some reason, any achievement I've ever gotten in this field, I've felt the need to throw away or minimize. I regarded those achievements as a fluke. I didn't truly believe I deserved them. Step one to getting a Golden Globe or really to just being a happy human being: KNOW YOUR FUCKING WORTH.
For the past year, beginning my podcast, attempting stand-up, working on this blog, I thought I could be the brand. I thought acting wasn't something I needed, but that a long term goal of mine would rather be to be a TV Personality a la Chelsea Handler or Giuliana Rancic. I knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry, and was content with the idea of being actor-adjacent, without being an actual actor. Then, after the Golden Globes, after that feeling of wanting to rip my skin off from feeling so fucking stuck in it, after realizing that I AM doing the thing (the commercials, the auditions, the THING) and I'm still missing something only proved to me that there was an artistic side of me that hadn't been fed a hearty meal in years. And that was my fault. I realized that it's not about the glory of booking the fancy commercial and showing off on Instagram, or having the honor of playing burn victim number five in an episodic (And I truly mean it, that's an honor. Those things are great.). I realized that I am an actor, but I'm also an artist, and need to stop downplaying that, or leading my life in a such a way that denies me chances to do that. I need to take some damn responsibility. So the hunt for scripts has begun, the insatiable desire to put up a work that I'm truly challenged by, the artistic rebirth so to speak. So I have to say, THANK YOU to this Golden Globe winner. Thank you for giving me the chance to reflect on where I'm at and realize where I want to be. And it's not necessarily onstage in a designer gown (although I certainly wouldn't complain if I got there at some point), it's making an effort to do work that thrills me.
Stay alert. Stay self aware. Stay challenged. Stay excited. And dammit, continue to grow.
Kisses, squeezes, sparkles,