Uncategorized

You Can’t Deny Who You Are

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“If you can do anything else in the world, do it,” my acting teachers said. They meant as a career choice. Like, if you can not be an actor, if it’s not a part of the fabric of your soul, wherein you are unable to do anything else in the world, then be an actor; otherwise, find something more lucrative and less disappointing to do. It will only make you miserable.

This irked me. It seemed like some sort of challenge, one I wasn’t sure I could match, but which I would damn well try to. Of course I couldn’t do anything else, I’d think. Why the hell else would I spend seven years trying?

But, down deep, in the wee hours, around 3:05 a.m., I wondered…maybe I could.

And here I am, no longer an actor. I get it now. I saw there was a way out and other things I could do for a living. However, what I’ve also learned is that once you’re an artist, whether it be an actor, a writer, a painter, or a musician, you’re always an artist, whether it’s your job or not. It will always be a part of you, an avocation perhaps, instead of a vocation.

I tried to deny my artist when I quit acting. I wanted to be a regular person, whatever that means. Well, no. To me, being regular meant going to work from 9 to 5, coming home to the kids, eventually going to bed, and doing it over again. Oh, and not looking back.

I’m not looking back, because if you look back, you’ll be going that way.

However, I now realize I need to have some sort of art in my life. I need to express myself, I can’t help it. Hence, I write this blog, and I wrote my book.

I remember when I got a new puppy, a hunting dog, I wondered what to do with her, because I didn’t like to hunt. I thought she’d be fine not hunting, despite her giant, capable nose and her magnificent ability to chase. We would take walks in the woods, and she’d play around the house, and I avoided taking her hunting. But, ultimately, the dog found ways to hunt. She’d uproot mouse dens, kill rabbits in the yard, and give any type of critter a run for its money. She couldn’t help herself; it was in her nature.

I read somewhere that not allowing your natural talents to express themselves is like denying an artistic child a set of magic markers. You can choose not to give him the markers, but, when you do, you will see his best self come out. He will make beautiful pictures, and he will be happy.

I’m happy too now, when I’m writing and doing artistic things.

I’ve realized I can be an artist and a “regular” person at the same time!

And, that, as Robert Frost wrote in The Road Not Taken, that has made all the difference. 

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Motivation, Self-Help, Uncategorized

If You Look Back, You’ll Soon Be Going That Way

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I carry a fortune around with me in my wallet, one I got from a cookie at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. It reads: If you look back, you’ll soon be going that way. Wise words. Living in the rear view mirror is not a good thing, something I often struggle with. It’s like I want to correct what was wrong, rework it, like your brain does when it dreams (or so I’ve heard). I often wondered when I’d dream, why all the characters in my dreams are figures from my past, none in the present. It’s because I want to change it. I want to do a redo, but, unfortunately, I have to accept what’s done is done. And, on top of that, maybe be happy that those negative experiences happened so they could bring me to a more positive future.

My brother sent me this quote today, which relates:

The broken thing you keep trying to put back together, can’t even compare to that beautiful thing that’s waiting to be built.

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I feel like I have made so many regrettable life choices! I want to shake my former self, yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??” Like, why would I choose to be an actress, of all things, as a career? Seriously. Like that’s the worst prospective career choice, ever. BUT, I can look at it this way now: had I not tried it, I’d be wondering, “I wonder if I could have made it…I’m talented…maybe!” Now I have a retort when someone says, “You’re so funny! You should be on TV!” I can say, “Oh, I tried that….” and here we are…I don’t regret that. I used to lament that those years I spent hitting the NYC pavement could have been better spent climbing the career ladder, but, hey, I’m just different. I never like to walk the straight-and-narrow.

I’m bent.

Oh, one of my favorite things to do is recycle old relationships that went awry, hoping to change history. Like, I’d recycle old boyfriends, seeing if it would end differently. Guess what? It never did! Or, I’d focus on friendships that just dissipated, wondering, “What did I do wrong?” And when I’d reconnect, I’d realize, oh, yes, this is why we are no good for one another. 

Recycling is for paper goods, not for people.

I realize now that when I wrote my novel, Honor Girl, I was trying to rework my past. I was trying to fix what was broken, writing what I had hoped had happened. This is contrary, of course, to what people think when they read it and assume it is my life and what happened. It is not. It is perhaps what I wished had happened… I was working things out in my head. Writing helps that way. Try it. That’s also why I blog: I’m working it out.

I am going to try to work on looking forward, living a dog’s life. That way, I can focus on what I’m building, not what’s broken.