When actors run into each other, we ask the question, "What've you been up to"? Other variations are, Are you in anything right now, Anything coming up, or Did you hear who got cast in...
And my answer to these questions is...nothing, nope.
I'd like to say that this was a choice I made for myself, but that wouldn't be entirely true. It would be what some people might refer to as 'a lie'.
The fact is, I made a choice a couple of years ago not to audition for anything that I wasn't getting some monetary compensation for, unless there was a really, really, really great reason to go for it. I felt like this decision was best for me in trying to move my performing career forward. The result, of course, is that I go to far fewer auditions, and (logically) I get far fewer parts. In fact, in the last 11 months, no parts. And each part that I didn't get devastated me, and I've ended up ugly-crying on the couch in my yoga pants, wondering what's wrong with me, analyzing every moment of every audition, kicking myself for things I did or didn't do.
It has been tough. And amazing.
Over the past eleven months, I have had evenings with my husband. We go for walks and eat dinner together and make smoothies. We cuddle on the couch and watch bad tv, a luxury we haven't enjoyed since we've been married. We go to the beach.
Over the past eleven months, I have learned new recipes and sewed Christmas decorations and kept basil alive for a year. And I like spinach now! Yes, Mom, spinach. Like a grown-up.
Over the past eleven months, I've spent more time with my family. More trips out to Chilliwack to see my parents, and sometimes spend the night, not only because I've remembered how important it is, but because I realize that I feel happiest and most myself when I'm playing with my nieces and nephews and eating my parents' food and beating my brother-in-law at foosball.
Over the past eleven months, I came to the realization that my OCD and anxiety had gotten wildly out of control, and was eating away at me. I started getting help.
I want to be an actor. I want to sing. And I will patiently work and wait for doors to open and dreams to unfold.
But over the past eleven months, I have painfully realized that I will survive without it, because the very, very most important things in my life breathe and talk (well, some of them still babble and coo). And this doesn't make me less of an actor. Just because I'm not willing to sacrifice quality in every other area of my life, it doesn't mean I'm not truly dedicated and I don't deserve success.
I feel incredibly blessed by the past eleven months. It hasn't been my choice to be without shows and question my career path, but it's forced me to re-set and focus and sort some things out.
So thank-you to every screwed-up audition, every dance call that was over my head, every typecasting and blown callback. Thank-you to every No, to every person who worked a little harder or sang a little better or looked a little hotter. Thank-you to my nervous burping (yeah, that happens) and shaky legs. Thank-you to all of the reasons that I will never know or understand. And watch out...I'm coming for ya.