8:30 pm - Mon 12.12.16
Until recently, I'd seen very few movies this year, and what I had seen was almost all superhero stuff (With, I think, the lone exception of Don't Think Twice, directed by Mike Birbiglia, about the trials and tribulations of an improv troupe).
Used to see movies on my own all the time, and didn't mind it at all.
Then I fell into a movie-going thing with Howard C., and we saw something pretty much on a weekly basis, if not more, which was fun for awhile.
But we had a falling-out (I think his personality just wore on me over time), and I never really got back into the groove of going to things by myself.
So it's been nice in the past couple weeks to be able to take advantage of award-season screenings through SAG (They offer them so you'll know what you're voting for come SAG Awards time...but as I paid my dues recently, I thought they probably also do it to get people to pay their dues - You can't go to screenings, or get the screeners they send out, unless you're paid-up).
So far, I've seen Arrival, Sully, Manchester By The Sea, and Nocturnal Animals (Enjoyed them all, but Manchester By The Sea and Nocturnal Animals were particularly good, and I enjoyed the Nocturnal Animals Q&A with Michael Shannon a great deal).
So I'm enjoying "catching up" on the year's movies, and plan to take more advantage of these screenings if I can (I'm particularly interested in seeing La La Land and Moonlight)...but they also make me feel sad - It's lonely, for one thing, even among a big group of actors, cause I always feel like I'm the only person there by myself.
But the bigger issue is when I go and am really impressed by what I've seen - particularly the acting - because it's depressing to think "I've been here 15 years, that's what I want to be doing, and I don't think it's ever gonna happen".
And at this point, I'm almost as afraid of it happening as I am of it never happening - I haven't acted in a very long time (Being on-camera and saying a line or two doesn't count), and how do I really know if I can "deliver the goods"? What am I basing that belief/hope on, exactly? "In a pinch, I'll be able to deliver the goods, because I really, really want that to be true"?
I learned a helpful physical phrase recently - "Escalation of commitment" - which has helped me understand why, even though Trump is quickly reneging on just about everything he said during the campaign, I've not come across much in the way of "buyer's remorse" from Trump voters online.
"Escalation of commitment" is basically when people rationalize their decisions, actions, and investment when faced with increasingly negative outcomes from an action or actions, rather than change course.
Basically, a lot of people would rather "double-down" on a bad decision than admit they were wrong (Or worse yet, admit they got conned).
From my perspective, it's incredibly frustrating, because if Trump can just do anything he wants and his voters won't hold him accountable for it, we're really and truly screwed (I think, in a very real way, Trump just turns out to be a regular Republican politician - Telling the rubes what they want to hear, so he can get in office and do what he really wants to do, which is make himself and his fellow rich people ever richer - He's just better at "working the con" than most).
So it's a good phrase to explain why Trump voters probably aren't going to change their tune anytime soon...but it's also a good thing for me to consider in my own life - "Am I responding to the bad results of my decisions by 'escalating my commitment'...?".
Amy B., a leader I work with a couple times a week, has been talking lately in meetings about how "You can't control the first thought that pops into your head...but you can control the second one".
And I don't know if I've been influenced by her, or if my thoughts just happen to be moving in that same direction, but I've had that conversation with people a couple times lately - conversations about how, at a certain age, your "default responses" to things are just there, and there's not much you can do about it. All you can really do, I've said, is learn to catch that "first thought" when it happens and deny it power over you (Or as someone once said, "Don't believe everything you think").
That's the textbook definition of "easier said that done" - I'd say my "default response" still runs away with me more often than not - but an even bigger problem for me, I think, is that I get really angry at myself for the mere existence of unhelpful "default responses" (Which strikes me as an "unhelpful default response" itself).
So...I don't know. Maybe that's where my current therapy comes in, which is more "emotional" in nature than "cognitive/behavioral" - Maybe there is a way to change my "defaults", provided I change the way I framed the experiences and emotions that led to them.
(Or maybe I'm just fucked.)
I've been growing my beard back for a couple weeks now (I think I'm somewhere into week 3 at this point - long enough that it's not fully there, but definitely looks like a beard).
For some reason, I was procrastinating on telling my team (Brianna, Scot, JS, and Brett), and feeling guilty about it - It's been dead in terms of auditions, but I wouldn't want to get one and then tell them, "BTW, I'm growing the beard back" (Though if I'd gotten an audition before telling them I was growing the beard, I probably would have just shaved - After all, it's not like I'm on a beard-growing schedule or anything).
But earlier today I finally broke down - what was the hesitation, I wonder? - and emailed them as a group to tell them about "Operation Silver Fox".
And everyone was fine with it (As they were last year, when I did it for the first time) - Brett actually expressed his preference for it, and Brianna seemed to agree with my assessment that it might be helpful, in terms of casting.
And though I really just prefer the look, I am also hoping it might shift how casting views me, because at this point, I think all they see is "old, odd-looking guy" that they don't know what to do with. If growing my beard and mustache and letting my hair be it's natural color nudges me towards teacher/professor/scientist roles (Or western/homeless guy/eccentric roles, if I "let myself go"), I'd be up for that.
Tues 12/13/16 (10:20 pm)
I got a notice from my health insurance that I won't have life insurance once the two union health plans are merged in January, because I only qualify for SAG Plan II, and apparently the life insurance add-on is just for Plan I people (But I can opt to continue it thru...AIG, I think it was, if I wished to).
I had no idea I've had life insurance all this time - a $30,000 benefit (I've been covered through Aftra's health plan for the past number of years).
So if I die before the month's over, Mark & Jane and Cary & Kay would make a nice little bundle. Which would be cool, because they've all done so much for me.
(I'm not gonna kill myself to make this happen, mind you, but it's nice to know that if I die unexpectedly in the next week or two, it won't be for nothing.)
Still thinking about death a lot these days...and by "a lot", I mean "almost constantly" (And just heard a short time ago that Alan Thicke has died. He was 69. Which, at age 55, doesn't seem nearly as old to me as it used to).
I've told myself there's a certain novelty to my anxiety over death - For once, I'm worrying myself sick over something that is definitely coming my way sooner or later - but the "novelty factor" doesn't seem to help much.
Don't know how I'm ultimately going to deal with this reality, but I have a feeling it may end up working on two fronts - Telling myself, on the one hand, "Hey, when I'm dead I'll be dead, and that'll be that. There's no point in worrying, because worry or not, I'm still gonna die". And on the other, focusing on how to have a better time while I'm alive, since there really isn't anything else (And when I say that, I don't just mean there's no "afterlife", but there's no lasting importance or significance to anything I do - I'm not living a life that's going to be in the history books).
I've gone through my life struggling with feeling insignificant, and feeling like I don't matter, and what I'm coming to realize is that I am insignificant, and I don't matter. So armed with that knowledge, hopefully I can stop feeling bad about that, and just go through however much time I have left being nice to people, trying to be of some use, and having as much fun as I can being here.
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