August 13, 2018

Here’s the thing… The thing is… I can’t articulate the thing. I spent the evening at a work-related workshop I got invited to, and I can’t quite capture my feelings. On the one hand, it felt good to be in a space working on my craft. On the other hand, I don’t think I had a lot to contribute tonight. Maybe I was off my game. Maybe the material wasn’t accessible to me. Maybe the writing worked well enough that it was easy to ignore the flaws but not so well that it blew me away. Mediocrity, or something just north of there, is easy to gloss over because it’s hard to correct.

So, instead, I ate chips and thought about whether or not my stuff would land. Would I be mediocre without a solution? I had no notes for the first person, but I honestly thought it was okay. It felt like a scene I’d seen before (do NOT pardon the pun), so it must work because someone has put money behind that at one time or another and it probably met with some level of success. So who am I to say it doesn’t work? It DOES work, it just isn’t exactly what I would want it to be. But who am I?

Should I tell her that if I wrote it, I’d want it to show more push and pull, more fighting, more struggle, more frustration, more lightness, more everything? Or should I smile and nod while eating a seemingly endless bag of chips, which is what I actually did?!

And then there’s that very real moment where I had to wonder – really, really wonder – if what I would bring in is actually better. Or worse. Or the same. Or neither. I listened and I watched and I felt like I was truly being faced with things that needed a lot of work. Great. Let’s work them. But why these are all working writers and directors? What are they doing differently than I am? Maybe they’re not bitching about it online… Hard to know for sure. I don’t know anything anymore.

But then I left my confused state behind in that theatre momentarily when I got a text from my parents bringing me back down to the reality of my life. I hate those texts. I hate that I look at my phone afraid I’ll have one. I hate that I hate hearing from them and I hate that I hate the way even a confused moment can seem “good” in comparison. I just wanted a normal moment where I thought about my career and not about the pain and the struggle and the fears and the deep down awfulness of the rest of everything. Thank goodness for modern technology reminding me that that’s not possible.

Day 64 – I Don’t Know Anything Anymore

June 29, 2018

I had a conversation with my friend today, and after watching me practically fall apart in the passenger seat next to her for no apparently reason, she told me it’s time to let go and be free. Right now – and for the last two years – I have been doing what feels to me to be things exclusively for other people. And I have been burying my own needs and mental health concerns underneath all of that. That is NOT to say I haven’t had plenty of selfish moments because to be honest, I have them far more often than I want to admit. But I do a lot to make other people happy/not mad at me/not disappoint them, and it’s starting to take its toll.

Or else, I suppose, I wouldn’t have been crying in a Prius. Actually, there’s probably plenty of reasons to cry in a Prius, but that isn’t what happened tonight. Tonight, I realized I can’t make everyone happy.

Other people’s expectations, man. It’s hard to live up to them and it’s hard to be responsible for them. You know what I’d do on a dream day? I’d wake up early, play tennis, eat (obviously), go to rehearsal all day for a show that I wrote, do stand-up comedy at night, eat intermittently throughout all of that, spend time with friends, and go to bed with the person I love and my dog because my dog is the cutest. Yes, she is, and no, yours is not cuter or better in any way.

At no point in my dream day would I have to live up to anyone’s expectations of me or feel like I’m failing anyone or in any way feel the constant guilt I feel that I’m not what I’m “supposed” to be. Because, for real, I literally want to eat and hang out with friends and travel and do comedy and write and be on stage and cuddle with my awesome dog and the love of my life. Why do we want more than that? That, to me, is success. So why can’t it ever be that simple? I know life is hard, trust me. I know I’m acting idealistic and unrealistic. But, seriously, if people didn’t have so many expectations, I could have all of that free of judgment and guilt.

Also, I should probably see a therapist, but that’s a thought for another day.

Day 29 – Other people’s expectations suck.

June 19, 2018

One of my friends, Molly, asked me to cover for her at a workshop. It has been a hot minute since I’ve done any real, tangible work related to my career goals, so I jumped at the chance. But I had to play it cool, so I was like “ugh, when and where is it?” But then I got worried she’d find someone else so I followed that up immediately with, “but yes I’m going to do it no problem doesn’t matter where or when should I go now and stake the place out?”

This got me thinking about Molly. She’s incredibly good at keeping busy with workshops and screenings and filming… She flies to London, then back to LA to have a meeting or shoot a scene or attend a VIP event, then to the Bay Area, then back to London, then back to LA, all while maintaining a successful career. And I just put it together (because I have time, sitting here on my couch) that she makes all of this happen for herself. Basically, she hustles. I’m a bad hustler because I’m immediately concerned that people won’t like me and I am not good enough and I don’t know if I have enough to offer and when they ask “so what are you working on?” all casual and sweet and I will be like “bingeing shows on Netflix and working my way through a Ben&Jerry’s pint,” they won’t see me as an actual candidate (my fault, yes) so then I get all nervous and don’t go. The thing is, I know I have a lot to offer. But if you have to discuss your resume every time and then that gets you discounted because they want you to say “I wrote Book of Mormon” or I am a cast member on SNL – and you can’t say those things YET – then they immediately discount you and move on. But how are you ever supposed to get those things ONTO YOUR RESUME IF PEOPLE DISCOUNT YOU BEFORE KNOWING WHAT YOUR SKILLS ARE??? Sorry for yelling. It’s a tough world out there with all these Catch-22s. And all this debilitating anxiety.

But I don’t think Molly has any anxiety. Like, none at all. She just has confidence. Maybe she’s an alien.

I haven’t even been diagnosed. But, like, do you need an actual diagnosis when you’re breathing into a paper bag? Do you need a professional to tell you you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder when you’re picturing terrible things happening all the time and have constant knots in your stomach and worry about everyone and everything? No. No you do not. I can tell when I have a headache. I can tell when I have a cold. I can tell that I have anxiety. But I would like a solution for it that requires no effort and doesn’t necessitate going to see said professional, because that makes me anxious and then I won’t go/won’t do it. Possible? Yes? Does anyone out there know this anxiety life?

Day Nine – Anxious

June 17, 2018

I skipped a trip to Vegas partially because I felt bad that I hadn’t seen certain friends of mine for a while. But then they ended up working all day today so… I spent the entire day on my couch. Oh, until I went to Complete Foods to get cookies and brownies saying to myself “I’ll eat one today and one tomorrow,” and then ate two brownies and three cookies and now here we are.

Instead of doing something useful, I watched a documentary, then a romantic comedy, then more Parks and Recreation. And ate junk food. I don’t know how to do this right.

I called my dad for Father’s Day and he complained and talked a lot and then hung up on me when he got out of the car because “I don’t know how to get the dang thing off my car once I’m talking on it.”

The movie I watched was about a woman who is a writer who struggles to get her work seen and find love. But of course, within one hour of watching time and one month of movie time, that all changes. Love, work, friendship, success, career satisfaction, and the meaning of life all get worked out in one movie month and it’s, you know, a little disheartening to realize that if I were just a movie character instead of a real person, my shit would get figured out a whole lot faster.

But for some reason I have to figure out my own shit. What a crock. No one tells you about that. When I was a kid, no one sat me down and said, “hey, when you move out of here, you’ll have to pay for literally everything yourself, you cannot actually do anything you set your mind to (people have to hire you and to get hired, that’s called nepotism), and success is but a construct that everyone else you know will fulfill except you. Oh, and someone will invent Facebook and Instagram and people will start to pretend they’re perfect so you’ll get to contend with that. Good luck.”

I made a pizza, a to-do list, and washed dishes today. I also put on real pants (leggings). Where’s my gold star?

I checked my steps counter on my phone. 1700 steps. That’s not even a mile.

Day Seven – Well, I cried at a clip of someone singing on America’s Got Talent. If that tells you anything…

June 16, 2018

I did an Escape Room tonight. The fact that I’m trying to literally escape my life is not lost on me. We did not succeed, which cuts me to my very core. I’m unfathomably competitive and more than slightly controlling, so it wasn’t easy for me to “fail.” Plus, I’d just love to have some wins these days, you know? I’d love to just win. A lot. At everything. Skee-Ball? I want to win at that. Bowling? I want to win at that. Escape rooms? My career? Getting my dream job? Family? Finding a parking place near where I’m going? Life? I’d like to win at all of these things.

The theme was Master of Illusion. A magic theme. It was awesome in that sense and not awesome in the other sense, the one where they had a word translated from Russian to English incorrectly so it gave us the wrong instruction so we couldn’t get that part of the clue correct. I’m not bitter. You’re bitter. (Also, I’m bitter.)

I just wanted to succeed, you know? Sometimes I just want to succeed. Even a dumb, small, nonsense success would be nice for a change. I am in desperate need of a few things going right – including but not limited to when I got breakfast with friends today and they were out of every single thing I tried to order and then didn’t bring me the one thing they said they had. By the end of breakfast, I still hadn’t gotten it, so I gave up. I failed at ordering breakfast. I should’ve known it was a stay-home-and-curl-up-in-a-ball kind of day.

Also, I was brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush and took it out of my mouth for some unknown reason while it was still going and all of the toothpaste vibrated off the brush onto my shirt. And neck. So my once gray shirt is now completely speckled with white toothpaste. Which I tried to wipe off and consequently spread all over into larger, more permanent stains.

Day Six – World 5, Me 0.