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12:51 am - Fri 9/10/04
Jim Responds To His #1 Critic

Jim Responds To His #1 Critic

Thurs 9/9/04 (11:23 p.m.)

I was embarrassed enough about my last entry that I immediately considered just deleting it (Adding to the embarrassment? I actually sent a note out to the people on my list–"Hey, look everyone! I'm unhappy! Come watch me flog myself!").

But I'm not deleting anything. Welcome to my world. Welcome to my head. This is what it's like sometimes to be me.

But here's the thing: I'm not embarrassed, really, because I called myself names, or showed you how much I don't like myself sometimes (I seriously doubt this constitutes "news" to anyone who really knows me). I'm embarrassed because this unhappy round-and-round is so stale, so old and tired, that I'm ashamed of myself for trotting it out yet again.

I need to sit myself down and say this–"Jim, if calling yourself names won you prizes, if beating yourself up for your perceived flaws was the way to success, you would now be ‘Ruler of the Universe'. And Jim? You are not ‘Ruler of the Universe'".

Don't put yourself down, Jimmy-boy. Just do shit differently, if you want a different outcome.

So, since I do want "a different outcome", exactly what "shit" do I need to "do differently"?

1. I need to make acting my #1 priority.

One way or another, I need to be acting at any given time. And scary as it might be, if that conflicts with work, then it's my work situation that'll need to change. I have to have faith that things will work out, I need to have faith that I can work things out. But in any case, the bottom line is this–Acting is my job out here. Anything else is simply "what I do for money".

2. If I'm not happy being some 50 lbs overweight, then I need to lose weight. There are aspects of my appearance I can't do anything about right now, but the one thing I can control is my weight.

I definitely use food to "medicate" myself. I use food to elevate my mood, because of my sleep issues/low level chronic depression. I eat when I'm unhappy, when I'm bored, when I'm lonely, when I'm stressed, etc and so on, and that's all gotta stop. I'm unhappy with my appearance, and I'm putting myself at increased risk for all kinds of health problems (Diabetes springs to mind).

And it's not about dieting. Diets don't work. It's simply a matter of eating good food, and not eating shit. It's a matter of eating when I'm hungry, not for "comfort".

And drinking lots of water (And for a time, if I still need caffeine, I can drink tea, which unlike diet soda, actually has some medical benefits).

And this will be tough, because I've told myself I "need" this stuff, or I "deserve a treat", or "What difference does it make if I'm a big fat mess?".

The fact is, I obviously don't "need" this stuff, or else I wouldn't be walking around looking like I'm shoplifting a watermelon under my shirt.

And if I "deserve a treat", it's the "treat" of not being ashamed of my body.

And it makes a big difference whether I'm "a big fat mess" or not. It makes a difference in terms of my health, and it makes a difference to me as an actor (In terms of what I get cast in, and in terms of the energy I have to bring to the work).

And this is all on me. This is one of the only things I have total control over.

3. I need to devote less time to tv and the internet, and more time to more meaningful pursuits.

I'm totally okay with my journaling. I see it as valuable and necessary, and I just plain like to do it. But I don't need to go online 20 times during the course of a day because I'm bored (I cycle through the same handful of online journals and websites over and over, because I'm too lazy to actually do something with myself).

I know I'm never going to be filling every second of the day with productive activity, but my life is going by without my doing much of anything that's actually worth doing, and that's not right.

I've mentioned "consolation prizes" a couple times in here–Basically, wondering what my "consolation prizes" are in lieu of having the satisfactions in life that normal people have–but a big "consolation prize" I can give myself is time. Right now, I have nothing but time–Time to read, to write, to exercise, to draw, to dance around the house, to work on the guitar and the harmonica, to sing, whatever.

4. I don't know what the fuck this thing is where I can't get myself out of the house on a day off, but that's gotta stop.

I have a hard time thinking of things to do where I won't feel uncomfortable, or lonesome, or what-have-you, but I can't hole up in the house just because I don't have anyone "to play with".

5. I have to confront my fears, and not just automatically give in to them.

This is a biggie, because I think "fear" is a big part of why I'm so unfulfilled. I'm afraid to do things I think will put my job at risk. I'm afraid to do things that'll make me feel frustrated at first, or uncomfortable. I'm afraid of trying anything I might fail at. I'm afraid of needing help.

And when I realize how controlled by fear I am, I then get mad at myself for being "weak". Which is just a tricky way of letting the status quo remain the status quo. I'm "weak", I'm an "asshole", I "can't control myself". All that self-deprecation is much easier than having the courage to change.

It's very difficult for me to proceed as if the way is going to become clear for me as I go, that I'll figure out what I don't know as I go along, that I can fail, and still get up and try again. I want to make sure "all my ducks are in a row" before I do anything, and when in the history of the world has that ever happened for anyone?

Basically, what I need to find out here is my courage. The courage to face up to what I really want, what I really want to be, instead of going "Oh Woe is me. I don't have this or that or the other thing that ‘real people'have".

I know there's a better way to live than the way I've chosen up till now. I just have to have the guts to start making new, better, tougher, scarier decisions.

And have a little faith in myself.


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