Monday, February 10, 2020

Comfy Cozy Blues

Yes, inspirational sign, I'm doing that! So why is my soul so blah?

Text from Paul:
Were you annoyed with me this morning?

I read his text and sighed. It wasn't a mystery why he was asking... I had snapped at him a couple of times during the morning routine. Not only at him, but the dishwasher, refrigerator door and peanut butter jar were all victims of my wrath. And yes, my kids got an earful about their usual offenses during the morning routine; not packing up in time, forgetting socks, wanting the jacket that was in their rooms rather than the one right next to the door. After the house was empty and the kids were off to school with Paul, I took a deep breath and regretted all my brattiness from the previous hour and a half.

My response:
Eh, I'm just kind of feeling down lately... a bit lost so I'm easily annoyed. Trying to figure it out... 

And that was and still is the truth.


To be blunt, I feel pathetic again. Yes, after all my big talk about being proud of my choices and career direction, I'm questioning it all. After a particularly horrendous callback I had a few months ago for a high-profile television commercial, I've noticed the auditions have slowed way down. There is zero evidence that one has to do with the other, but my mind is screaming that I ruined my reputation as an actor and casting agents are avoiding me like the plague. Before that cringe-y experience, the frequency of auditions were very steady and encouraging. I felt like I was making very significant progress. But what was once a steady stream has slowed down to a trickle. Along with that (probably) imagined drama, my love for improv is waning. Or rather, my dedication to improv as a totally volunteer gig is wearing on me. I never expected to make a living with improv, that's laughable. Most of the theaters are barely making ends meet (or so we as students/performers are led to believe), but I'm not ashamed to say that for as much time and money I've invested in becoming a solid improviser, it should not be a volunteer gig all the time. People don't go to school and get degrees in order to lose money on the field they studied. Look, if I were in a big city where I had a chance to be plucked for bigger and better things, I'd be investing the time and stamping that stage all I could, but the reality is that here in Denver, that ain't gonna happen.

This is a familiar feeling. I've felt pathetic for a myriad of reasons throughout my life... only now, as much as I hate to admit it, the intensity is much higher because of my age. My search for direction didn't feel so urgent at 27, but at 41? Yikes. I'm in a constant battle to turn my mind's eye away from the rearview mirror reflecting my lack of accomplishments. Also, once that vulnerability door is slightly ajar, the rest of my insecurities barge through in an organized march and just exacerbate my despair. Everything from ancient career blunders to the voices of my life-doubters resurface at deafening decibels.

The other morning as I drove my kids to school, the core issue of why I'm feeling lost sort of hit me in the gut. Apropos of nothing, it was as if the words in my head were being announced over an intercom:

You need a challenge.

You aren't seeking anything outside your comfort zone.


It was as if a blinding light had just flipped on. And, to be honest, I was sort of shocked. While I love watching a contestant on Project Runway struggle with making menswear when she has always been a bridal designer, I've always considered myself to be a permanent resident of the land of comfy cozy. As I've written about before, my past is filled with me bypassing opportunities because they require too much work or appear too difficult. I've made progress with that flaw and I'm proud of how far I've come. But lately, it's as if I'm finding some allegorical bed sores from all the comfiness and well, I'm anxious to heal them before the pus starts.

Another reason I'm surprised by this recent discovery is that I had believed that if I were pursuing my passions, I would never feel pathetic. Back when I wrote about being an average (at best) employee at my various corporate jobs, I felt so woeful because I had no love for the work. I thought my sadness about my career was fueled by my nagging desire to be a part of a creative community. I just knew that if I ever got on that path to being a professional actor/comedian, my emotions would be sailing on smooth seas with Yacht Rock blasting tranquil hits.

I suppose the most recent venture that launched me into a scary space was starting this blog... and it continues to serve that purpose for me. As I've said before, this blog has saved me. I gave myself permission to do it and prepared myself for the worst... only to find it's been the absolute best. There are very few personal accomplishments that I'm more proud of than Impressionista. So, it's not going anywhere.

I'm really grateful for this life lesson. And no, I'm not giving up on acting or comedy. I'm just tweaking my dreams. In the process of writing this post, my brain has been on overdrive with ways to put myself out there that will both challenge me and fulfill my evolving goals. Along with evolving as a person, I have found that what I want out of my career is also developing in very surprising ways. What's also incredibly cool, is that I'm looking to get out of my comfort zone in areas that have nothing to do with my career. Areas which may not increase my income, but will contribute to becoming a better person.

Here I go... I'm ready to scare myself out of this fluffy place. There are many things that will take me out of my comfort zone, and I'm looking forward to the risk and certain reward. My little rut was like a punch in the gut, or a kick in the butt and so deep like a cut, but... I've climbed out and will find a new route so I can be proud... no doubt. Hmmm, slam poet perhaps?!? No, no, no... that would just be incredibly scary for everyone else.

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