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I. Am. Job.

May 5, 2014

If you know what movie that’s from, we will be fast friends.

I want to be a lot of things. Luckily, I live in New York City, where you can be and do just about anything. I came here because I love theater (musicals, especially, and I’m not ashamed to say it), and I wanted to be a professional actor. It would seem that half the earth’s population had a similar idea. After six years of soul-sucking rejection, insignificant survival jobs, and teetering on the poverty line, I’m realizing that I may not value a life in the theater as highly as I thought I did. I want to marry my wonderful boyfriend. I want to buy a house that has a lawn and a porch. I want to travel! I want bleeping health insurance, for goodness’ sake. There was a time when being a professional actor would have topped this list 10 times over, and although I know that my priorities have shifted, there’s a part of me that feels sick over thinking about throwing in the towel.

I’m one of those people who actually love living here. Yes, it is expensive and dirty, but it is also full of beauty and life. I always pictured myself living here, regardless of whether or not I ended up acting for a living. However, there is something about the thought of continuing to live here without the daily audition struggle that makes me so depressed I can’t stand it. As miserable as it frequently makes me, I can’t be here and not try. Somehow, I have to find the means to keep theater in my life in a significant way, maybe one that even still contributes to my distant dream of being a working actor, but I’ve got to figure out how to reach some of these other goals, too.

I’m preparing to be criticized for such a lukewarm, wishy-washy position. I’m sure there are many people out there who think that if I’m not in 120%, I should get out now and make room for the people who are truly dedicated. There are those who will read this and think that it warrants the “theater is hard, and if you can picture yourself doing anything else, go do it, because you deserve to be happy” speech. I do not mean to sound condescending: I appreciate and value the advice of my fellow industry professionals, my friends, and my family.

I’m brand new to blogging, and though none of my readers here have asked for it yet (if I have any readers, knock on wood!), here’s my response to the advice you haven’t given me: I have been in this 150% for 20 years. I will pit my dedication to the pursuit of my career against anyone’s. I honestly cannot picture myself being truly happy in another career, and that is why I’m sitting in front of my computer on the verge of tears. I don’t know what to do. So, here is my question to you: what do you do when you get seriously bogged down in the pursuit? When your proverbial “dues” (and literal electric bill) become too costly to pay? When you’ve broken apart for the millionth time, and you’re afraid you’ve finally lost some of the pieces? Because you’ll find more that look like they could almost fit, and you might even be able to jam them in there with your thumb, but they’re never going to be the right piece.

I look forward to the pleasure of your company on my journey to find my missing pieces.

To finishing the puzzle!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2014 2:36 pm

    Hey there – First thing, you aren’t alone in your feelings or desires. At least twice a week I think to myself “is this really what I want to continue doing?” “is there a better way to do this?” “how can I work smarter as opposed to harder?” or the more honest thought of “FUCK THIS!!!!”.

    Once I accepted that no matter where I am or what I decide to do for money I’ll always be an “artist” and will bring my artistic sensibilities to everything I am part of and once I stopped basing “success” on impossible standards (set by both myself, my community and society) I started to enjoy the journey and feel fulfilled. And this is something that is a work in progress and literally happened within the past 3 months because quite frankly, I was VERY unhappy for awhile.

    Performing Arts is an incredibly difficult career. It sounds like you are frustrated but not ready to “give up”. Have you thought about ways in which you can use your acting skills in other ways that are fulfilling – perhaps teaching or devising your own work? It doesn’t mean that you should stop auditioning or living the actor life but it could help bring some new perspective into your work and allow you to enjoy performing in a new way.

    I gave this article to my students at the beginning of the school year and it resonated with them. You may find it interesting at this point in time as well – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-renee-lent/am-i-a-dancer-who-gave-up_b_3696775.html

    I look forward to following your journey and am rooting for you.

  2. May 5, 2014 3:38 pm

    Thanks for your comment – that article was lovely. I do teach, actually. It’s something at which I’ve always been very good, and I love my kids, but it’s not my passion. At least, not in the classroom, lesson planning kinda way. I do, however, love to choreograph for musical theater. I’ve never been fully convinced that I love it as much as I love performing, but it’s a damn close second, and I’ll shamelessly toot my own horn and say that I’m damn good at it!

    Side note: I totally choreographed The Redheaded Actresses’ first dance with her hubby at their wedding. 🙂

    Anyways, just in the last couple days, I’ve been grabbing at choreography opportunities right and left. I’ve applied for a couple of jobs, and I have application deadlines coming up for a big ol’ competition and a professional observership. I’m taking some initiative, getting my marketing materials together, and trying to get my name out there. While I’ve been choreographing for 14 years, I’ve never truly given it a go professionally. It feels really good to be at the start of something new, to feel like anything could happen. I like feeling that way about something again. Anywho, I’ll be posting about it more real soon! Thanks for reading!

  3. May 5, 2014 11:26 pm

    Don’t stop believing in yourself and your dream!

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