I have not been very good at this. Tough to make any excuses, but I’ll try by saying, “I’ve been busy.” It was never my intention to go this long or be so inconsistent. For those of you who have followed me or been looking forward to some of the posts I promised, I am so sorry. I am going to be better.
Let me move forward by saying that I am in a better place now. I recently moved for the … sixth time? since I’ve been living in New York and I can actually say it’s been one hell of a journey that I am proud to have gone on.
A little over a year ago I moved here from Los Angeles as a trainee for the Blue Man Group. I worked tirelessly, as anyone does when they have an audition, in hopes that I would grab a spot in the show. After three weeks out of an eight week training process (prior to being in New York, I learned drums for six months) I was cut; but the words that came out of their mouths were hopeful: “The door is open for you to try again in a year, a year and a half, or two. We like you.” I will never forget that day. The night before I had my “to the death” performance, I knew that I was going – intuition was strong. Even though I knew, I didn’t give up. “This is the last chance to have fun and go all out!” So I did. The next day, I went for my morning meeting after the show and the moment I was called into the HR office instead of the “critique” office, I took a deep breath and went in. On my way there it had been raining and was heaving after the meeting. I took it as an omen – a fresh start. There were no tears, I was happy I made it this far. Not to mention, I was in the city of my dreams, and with the money I had, the clothes I brought, I made the decision to stay.
Yes. I wanted it. It would have changed my life! I could move toward being independent financially, and it would be a job incorporating everything I had done previously in my life – that in itself was exciting!
I had nothing in LA. After two years post graduate school, I was struggling staying house to house and on food stamps just to get by, and this decision gave me the opportunity to start over again with my head a bit higher. Somehow I knew there was more for me and this was the reason I had not made it.
I was allowing my circumstances to eat me and my dreams alive in Los Angeles and felt that attempt after attempt to get a steady job were getting me no where except on the list of people not to associate with because they were so negative (depressed). I say this with understanding: I had just earned a Master of Fine Arts in Acting, but could not earn employment as a busser or waiter. On paper I was too inexperienced for an administration job in my industry (there no way I could afford to do an internship without pay), but over-qualified for something that was not. I heard plenty of excuses and became worn down, lost, and feeling like the biggest failure. My career as a performer was totally different, but my personal situation was affecting my work. As an Actor, there’s the expectation that you’re gonna get plenty of “No’s” before you hear “Yes” and that I could take, but hearing “No” to being able to live and feed myself doing something I didn’t really love doing was unbearable. It was like going to a battle with someone three times smaller than you and losing.
Three things that kept me going: 1) I started attending church with a friend who was also letting me stay with her, practically for free. 2) I had some friends who had seen what I am capable of and would remind me that I was talented. 3) Deep down, I believed in myself. Booking this audition and training with Blue Man Group was the ticket I needed to cut the fat and really “do this.”
I did not leave LA without learning valuable lessons that have pushed me to where I am today. During all of that time I journaled, and somewhere in the middle – probably around the time I started volunteering for Inner City Arts, I realized I had all the tools I needed. I was someone who organized events and brought people from different backgrounds together. I was a multi-disciplined artist. While in church and watching Oprah’s Master Classes, the question “What is your life purpose?” was continuously asked. I didn’t know how to sell what I knew to make it work for someone else’s business and I didn’t trust many people to talk it through with.
Eventually I started asking myself what I wanted. What did I want?