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9:06 AM - Thurs 2.08.18
The Way It's Supposedly Supposed To Be

Well, let's get this out of the way - Nothing's happening with acting.

In the first two weeks of the year I had one theatrical audition, two commercial auditions, and the museum thing.

But in the time since?


And that has me feeling anxious, bored, and depressed.

As I recently told my therapist, I'm thinking a lot these days about how I've put all my "eggs" in the acting "basket" - By that, I mean when I was back in Lansing doing community theater, I wanted to get the parts I auditioned for, but I didn't need to in order to survive. Now "want" and "need" are inextricably linked...and I'm not sure it's been the absolute best thing for my mental health.

But I'll get back to all that in a bit...

Anyway, since acting isn't happening, and I don't want to spend an entire entry crying about that unfortunate state-of-affairs, I'm gonna share some other things that are in my head these days.

(WARNING: Possible boredom ahead...)

Another thing I'm thinking about a lot these days has to do with the stories I've told, and continue telling myself, about "The way things are 'supposed' to be".

I don't know if I've thought about this much before - certainly not as much as I should have - but I'm realizing I can't think of an instance where I've thought "This is not the way things are supposed to be" or "This is not how this story is supposed to go", or even "I shouldn't have to do X,Y, or Z", and had that be a helpful, productive thought.

Maybe if I were a less passive, more proactive person they could be helpful and productive thoughts (At least the first two. At least in some instances) but they're not.

I guess we all have the notion in our head, of "fairness" or "justice" or whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

But it's never been a spur to action for me (As it might be for some others - "This isn't the way things are supposed to be - So I'll have to work extra hard to change that...!"). Instead, it just mires me in anger, depression, and self-pity.

And I can't deal with reality, because I'm too busy bemoaning that it's not the reality I like, the one I think is supposed to happen - I'm too busy feeling "unfaired-upon" to just cope with what's in front of me, and adjust accordingly.

I imagine that feeling, and the passivity I associate with it, came from being a foster kid - When I realized what I was (And I wonder when I really knew the deal. Not just when I was told, but when the "implications" really hit me?), I didn't like it, it wasn't "fair", and there was nothing I could do about it.

Seems very possible that set the "template".

I was thinking yesterday about how, when I was younger and realized I was not (to put it delicately) "conventionally attractive", I thought it "unfair" specifically because I was a foster kid - As if no other misfortune should ever be visited upon me because of what had happened.

(Which was definitely my reaction to going bald - "What the fuck? I have no family, I'm ugly and alone - Now I'm going to get even less attractive...?")

Flash forward to the present day - I'm having a problem doing the things I need to do as an actor because of my notions of "fairness" and what I "deserve" ("I had a bad start, so I should get a happy ending"), and my thoughts about how this "story" (Of my coming out to LA) is "supposed" to go (ex. "I came out here to make money acting, not to pay someone to let me act", or "I shouldn't still be having to work a day job...!").

I keep thinking about how, when I came out here, I assumed I would either totally "flame out" or, eventually, totally "succeed".

Those were the two alternate "stories I told myself" about how this little venture would go.

Pretty binary stuff.

I never considered the purgatory I've been in for however many years now - I haven't failed (I've booked work, I'm a recurring character on Shameless, etc), but I haven't succeeded either (17 years down the road, and still can't make my living solely on acting. And in terms of "acting as artistic satisfaction", there's not a role I've played out here - Kermit included - that I wouldn't have turned down in community theater as "not being worth my time").

And because I never considered being where I'm at, and it seems somehow "unjust" (Because I'm talented or "special" or whatever-the-fuck, because I've "put in the time", because I "deserve a happy ending" etc), I've fallen into depressed, somewhat resentful passivity over the state-of-things

(That's not all that's going on here - there are issues of financial anxiety, general depression, fatigue, etc - but it's a big part of the toxic stew.)

My therapy has become largely about this issue - Having to generate my own acting opportunities (Like getting myself back into theater), rather than wait for the auditions that (it seems increasingly) aren't happening, and spending the lion's-share of my time being bored and anxious as a result.

Cause I'm an actor.

And when it comes down to it, actors act.

I want to give myself some credit, because I'm very embarrassed at how what I've written is coming off, at least to my own ears ("Did you really think you weren't going to have to work in order for anything to happen? That you were just going to be handed fame and fortune because you were a sad little boy?") - I worked to get myself out here, I did the work it took to get representation, to get headshots and set myself up on casting websites, to get to auditions, to make enough of a mark on Shameless that they've brought me back over and over, etc.

So it's not as if I haven't made any effort, that I haven't "worked". I just didn't realize I couldn't stop working, particularly when the goal still eludes me (Of being a successful actor, of having it be the centerpiece of my life, of being part of a "community" etc).

Another area where I'm wrestling with the difference between the way I think things "should be" and the way things are is the giant orange douche-bag in the Oval-Office, and his cabal of evil, mean-spirited, boot-licking idiots.

I've never been so depressed and so out-and-out alarmed at the state of our government. It feels like we've been in a constant state of emergency for the past year - It's (the majority of) citizens against a president and administration that seem intent on bringing Democracy down around our ears, by any means necessary, just so long as they emerge on top when it's all over (And yes, I think all decent people who love this country and what it stands for should be opposed to this guy - If you voted for him, I judge you and judge you harshly. I don't know what America could have possibly done to you to make you hate it so much).

I don't imagine I'm alone in my horror at how the "lunatic fringe" is now running the show, at how a sizable number of people fell for an obvious con-man who told them all their pipe dreams could come true, and everything wrong with their lives was the fault of brown and black people.

But beyond the political - cause a lot of the political part of this shit-show is just standard Republican contempt for anyone who isn't a rich white man - the fact that we have an amoral, stupid, mean, snake-oil salesman in the highest office in the land deeply offends my sense of "the way things are supposed to be".

And I realized recently I've developed an "addiction" to conflict/outrage during this time-of-crisis that isn't helping me - I watch CNN all the time (via clips on YouTube), and I realized some time back that no Trump lackey was ever worth listening to, because there's never any actual information to be had.

But I watch anyway, because I'm addicted to the emotional satisfaction of a host calling them on their bullshit, or a Liberal guest batting them around like an intellectual chew-toy.

But it's not actually satisfying - It's depressing, actually.

Because I never understood, till now, how there's truly a fucking army of unprincipled sycophants out there who will say and do anything for money, for power, for attention, etc. And it's a game of whack-a-mole - one goes down, because of a scandal or what-have-you, and another pops up immediately to take their place.

I have often complained about the degradation of news - It's one of my first go-tos when it comes to the question of "What went wrong?" with the country (The 24 hour news cycle, the rise of Fox News, news as profit-center rather than public-service, have all led to keeping us in a constant state of fear and anger, and telling select audiences what they want to hear rather than what they need to know) - but here I am, contributing to the problem by watching Kellyanne Conway sling her patented bullshit, or seeing Ana Navarro yell at Jason Miller for the umpteenth time).

None of this feels like "the way things are supposed to be", and I feel that same sense of angry impotence, depression, and lethargy I feel about the state of my career (Though, if anything, I feel more impotence regarding the government than I do about my career).

So I need to wean myself away from conflict that goes nowhere and does nothing but frustrate me, and figure out how to be informed without being constantly addictive as that may be.

So what else is going on...?

(The short answer is "Not much".)

A couple months ago, I noticed my kitchen sink had sprung a leak.

It turned out to be maybe the best thing that's happened to me in awhile.

The plumber looked at it, and determined I needed a new sink altogether (Which was one of those times I was glad I live in an apartment, and thus would not be footing the bill).

Before he started the work, partly out of embarrassment and partly from politeness, I cleaned the area around the sink best I could (If you haven't been reading along, I'm a serious slob, so things were pretty disgusting, with dirty dishes, dead roaches/roach droppings, assorted detritus, and numerous unidentifiable stains.

Well, I'm happy to report in the time since, I've kept the sink free of dishes, the counter space clean and relatively detritus free, and while I still have a roach "issue", the fact that they have less cover and less of a food source than they used to has meant seeing less of the little bastards than I used to (I've been addressing the issue with roach hotels and and poison, but now that the area is relatively clean and clear of debris, I can have the pest control people who are on retainer come in and deal with things for real).

(Also happy that I've made the apartment a little more interesting for Hamlet as a result - Before, I had so much shit on the counters that they were not cat-accessible, but now there's a new area he can explore.)

And all that was motivating enough to get me on something of a cleaning/organizing kick - I tossed a lot of old magazines and junk, (re) discovered there are a couple recycling bins in the basement and made use of those, got all the loose books that were on the floor and put them on my bookshelves, then actually alphabetized them (which was both tedious and oddly satisfying).

I'm not going to make the cover of Apartment Living anytime soon - there's still some cluttered areas, the bathroom is still pretty awful, and I'm not sure I've ever vacuumed the floor - but there's a substantial difference between the "before" and the "after".

And like Hamlet with the counter-tops, I'm really enjoying having the extra space - It's nice to walk from here to there without kicking or stepping on something.

And I'm hoping that opening up some extra floor space will make it easier/more inviting to do a little dancing/exercise at home (I live in a small apartment, and mess made it even smaller).

To that end, I just used a Target GC I got for Xmas to buy, among other things, a Champion 3-in-1 "resistance band".

I'm happy I'm Zumba-ing (And recently re-added a regular third day, on Tuesdays, so "Yay!" on that front), but I've been bothered that I'm not doing anything to improve my muscle situation.

Now, I could lift weights at the Y, but I'm not doing it, so I'm hoping I can, with the aid of my additional floor space and the proper use of Netflix for a distraction, "resistance band" my way to a better, healthier body (So when Kermit has his big sex scene this year, people will say, "You know, for an old guy, he has kind of a rockin' bod...!").

And on that hopeful note, I think I shall close, and attempt a nap...


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