Get your own
 diary at! contact me older entries newest entry

? - 11.26.15
This Was Not That (Alternate Title: My Genteel Southern Upbringing)

This Was Not That (Alternate Title: My Genteel Southern Upbringing)

For the longest time, I've had two things I've kept thinking I wanted to write about in here, but for whatever reason, I haven't done it.

But considering the day, and considering a recent event I've already written about - involving me, on-set nudity, and a certain large prosthetic organ - and considering I don't really have anything else to write about (at least nothing that can't wait), here we go...

About a year ago, sometime before Xmas, I was thinking about what I would do with the Target gift certificates I'd probably get from a couple of friends.

In previous years, I've used them to "freshen my wardrobe" (Which always feels "shabby", really), to buy my Kindle Fire, and to get my first flat-screen TV.

Sometimes I've been almost fearful to use them, afraid I'd burn through them frivolously, only to regret it when some unforeseen "emergency" arose and I'd then have to spend money I could ill-afford to spend when I could have used my gift cards (I've had years where I thought, "Maybe I should just hang onto them, in case things go really bad and I need them for groceries").

But last year, it struck me that "I have everything I need". And I hung onto them, not as a hedge against disaster, just using them as the need/desire arose.

Pretty sure it's not the first time I've had thoughts along those lines. But I'm not sure it ever struck me with such clarity, down to a single declarative sentence - "I have everything I need."

Needs will "emerge" of course - my 25-year-old car isn't going to last forever, for example, and I could probably use a new pair of shoes (More on that in my next entry) - but right now, there's nothing I immediately need, and there really hasn't been for awhile (I've had desires to "upgrade" - feeling an urge to get a newer, nicer phone, even though the one I have still mostly works - but as of now, that's a "want", not a "need").

So all that being the case, I started thinking how most of my "discretionary purchases" don't do much for me, in terms of making my life any better, making the ones that do really "stand out".


1. The second rear-view bike mirror I bought - the first one attached to the handlebars, and was constantly coming loose, and having to be tightened (making it essentially useless, if not actively dangerous). But the second one is attached at the left hand-grip, and rarely needs to be tightened or adjusted (And adjusting it "on the fly" is very easy and feels totally safe). Beyond that, the mirror itself is wide-angle, while I don't think the first one was.

In short, I am appreciably safer now than I was before making the purchase.

2. Even though I already have a Roku, when I saw that the Google Chrome thingie was on sale at Target awhile back, I bought one (For $25). Now I can watch anything I can bring up on my laptop on my TV, whenever I want to watch it, even if it's not something I can get through my Roku (Certain things I watch online that aren't on Hulu or Netflix - And no, I'm not talking about porn...or at least not just about porn).

For $25, my life feels decidedly more...luxurious (ex. I've thought "It'll be fun to actually watch Shameless on TV, laying in bed, when the time comes").

3. It finally "clicking" that WAZE (And Google Maps as well), aren't just "maps", but will direct you, turn by turn, to your destination (I know - How did I not get that?), I recently bought a smartphone "window and vent mounting kit" for my car. Haven't installed it yet, because I'm nervous about "the frustration thing" in putting it together, but when I do, I expect it to make my life as a working actor a whole lot better.

(My sense of direction is dismal, which has made having to drive to unfamiliar locales for auditions or gigs very stressful - As I often say on those occasions, "I'm more nervous about getting to the thing than doing the thing". And it just sucks to have that kind of stress associated with the thing I specifically came out here to do, and want to enjoy doing.

So what's my point with all this, you wonder?

Wanting to remind myself that "wants" and "needs" are two different things?

That I don't really need very much to get by?

That, whatever my fears about the future, in the here-and-now, I'm okay?

That I really like when I buy things that, in some appreciable way, make my life better than it was before (because most things really don't)?

All of the above?

Maybe the over-arching point is that - however depressed I get or anxious I feel about the future - I am aware that "I have everything I need" and then some in the present, and that's not something everyone can say.


The other thing I wanted to write about was the...I don't know what to call it - The novelty/oddity/weirdness that has been my multiple experiences with "nudity on the job" this year.

In one of the episodes of Shameless I've shot this season, one of the female characters flashes me.

Then there was the Vodophone commercial, where I bared my ass - but ended up more "covered" than expected (More than anyone else) - and spent most of the actual shoot looking at the asses of the actor and actress standing in front of me (with breaks to, occasionally, look at the Malibu sunset). And where the fitting, oddly enough, ended up being way more awkward and embarrassing than anything else.

And of course, there was my "nude debut" on Shameless, that so traumatized me.

I think the weirdest thing about the "flashing" scene on Shameless was that I haven't seen a nude woman in my personal life in decades, and have had comparatively little experience with live-and-in-person female nudity in general.

So it was mostly just strange, and I didn't quite know what to make of it internally. I think it felt a bit..."discordant" - Pretty much the entirety of my interaction with the nude female form these days is looking at porn on the Internet, and, well, "doing what one does".

And this was not that.

I'm amused now at the fact that I was "worried" - I mean, worried about what? Seriously, what did I think I was going to do when confronted with bare female breasts? Shout "Hallelujah! Come to Papa...!"? Pull out my phone and ask if I could take some pictures "for later"? Just start furiously masturbating?

Whatever I was worried about, the tape that was going through my head was basically, "Don't act weird, don't act weird, don't act weird...".

And, far as I recall, I didn't act weird, before or after (I actually remember thinking, "Don't act too friendly with her afterward, as if you've just shared some intimate experience - cause 1. You haven't, and 2. that would be weird. And creepy").

But really, other than the one unusual detail, the shoot was pretty much "another day on the set" - different camera set-ups, thinking about what I had to do in the scene, etc (There wasn't anything "sexual" or "erotic" about it, because - it turns out - "context" means a lot when it comes to seeing a woman nude/bare-breasted. Besides, me and the actress are some distance from each other in the moment, and...well, let's put it this way - When I'm seeing breasts on the Internet, I'm not typically standing across-the-room. I find the actress attractive, but my main impression in the moment was just that I was seeing more "skin", more "general acreage" than I typically do. It really wasn't, like, "Yay! Boobs!!"

After the fact, and as I write about it now, I both "get" that it was an odd experience for me and thus I felt odd about it, and feel like it was strange to "worry" about my reactions, as if I were a teen-aged boy and not a middle-aged man, who - even if it's been awhile - has seen a woman's breasts before.

I felt that same "don't act weird" thing during the Vodophone fitting, when they were taking mostly-nude pictures of us in the main fitting room, with what felt like a crowd of onlooking actors and production people.

The actress declined going somewhere more private, which suggested she was comfortable with people looking at her (Which, to me, meant I could not then be a "diva" and ask for privacy myself, which I very much wanted), and I still was responding internally as if I might look at her and scream, "Oh my God! You're NAKED! Yay!!" then have a spontaneous orgasm.

I think there was also a certain "courtliness" going on (A remnant of my "genteel Southern upbringing", perhaps?) - I didn't want to be "rude" or "unprofessional" by staring at her (Though, since I am a heterosexual male and she was quite attractive, I also really wanted to stare at her), so I - mostly - didn't.

At the same time, since I was also about to be pretty naked myself, and was terrifically uncomfortable about it, maybe my mind was doing a little "quid pro quo" thing - "I won't look at you and think horny thoughts, and you don't look at me and think grossed-out thoughts - Deal?".

But on the day of the shoot, a lot was going on in my head, and very little of it had to do with the actress in the spot. It was mostly about just how "nude" I was or wasn't going to be, how I was feeling about it, about the experience of the shoot in general (The Malibu location, how I felt we were being treated) etc.

And during the actual shoot, beyond the - at least for me - tense moment when the Director instructed the "Bride" and "Groom" to take their g-strings/dance-belts off (I wondered how I would have responded if it had been me getting the "request"), my main takeaways as I write about it now are the "strangeness" of it (I really did think "How odd, that life has brought me to this point..."), my own discomfort/embarrassment, it being relatively short but still feeling like it was taking a long time, and yes, a moment of appreciating that the actress had a nice ass (Which I really did get over in a moment's time, as I returned to focusing on my own, decidedly less-nice ass being photographed).

One thing I've thought in the time since (Particularly after my nudity on Shameless) - If there's onscreen nudity going on, and I'm supposed to be a part of it, I can't win. If other people are nude and you "cover me up" (like they did to a certain extent on this shoot), I'm going to walk away feeling bad about myself, and if I have to be nude and you don't cover me up, I'm going to feel really bad about myself.

Which brings us back to Shameless...

I don't have too much to add to what I've written, but there are a few things I don't think I've addressed that might be interesting...

The series regular who was involved in the scene made suggestions that horrified me in the moment - since it meant more extended nudity than the scene (as written) called for (When I didn't want to be there at all) - but he was totally right. Figuring out on the fly how to do the scene as indicated in the script would have taken forever and been way more awkward and uncomfortable than what was ultimately done.

They'd initially asked one of the regular extras in the show's Alibi scenes to do the scene (An older guy, with white hair and a beard), which - I'm embarrassed to admit - encouraged me, since I thought, "At least there'll be one guy who looks worse than I do...!" (Mike M. is heavy, but better looking than I am. And personally, I think excessive body-hair and general flabbiness trumps being heavy in the "Gross-Out Sweepstakes". But anyway...)

The extra in question said "No thanks!", and they hired an actor of similar age and hairstyle, who has a better body at 70-something (I'm guessing) than I do now (Likewise, Bill Macy - who's not in the scene in question, btw - clearly works out, and has a way better body than I do while being at least a dozen years older). But while I wasn't going to get to make myself feel better in comparison, the actor ended up being a great guy, who was very happy to be working with Mike and me, which was a nice "grace note" on a difficult day.

My initial entry about the shoot, in the heat of whatever-heat-I-was-in, made it sound like the day was pure, undiluted misery from beginning to end (And I've had moments of regret for writing it - What if John Wells or somebody had read it, and thought, "Okay, if he finds doing something outrageous on a show called Shameless so difficult, maybe we should relieve him of his terrible burden...").

But that's not strictly true, that it was "undiluted misery" with no bright moments - I enjoyed the time spent with Mike and Dana (The actor I was just talking about) prior to shooting the scene, for example.

And since the scene had a "performance element", the fear/adrenaline rush of doing it for the first time, with the assembled actors, extras, and crew seeing it "fresh", was - dare I say it? - almost "fun". Because in-the-moment, I suddenly wasn't thinking of anything but "getting it done", and the first crowd reactions felt spontaneous and real (In a perfect world, I would have been able to put my clothes on and go home immediately, cause after that, it was mostly a depressing, embarrassing slog...though there was some improvised stuff at the end - that probably won't even make it into the episode - that, again, was sort of fun).

One fascinating takeaway from the experience happened some weeks back...

I was thinking about all the rationales and various mental strategies I was using to make what I'd done - and the fact that it was going to end up on TV - "okay" (How people on-set were nice, no one was out to hurt my feelings or make me feel bad, the scene wasn't making fun of me or my character, the focus wasn't all on me, the scene will be shorter than I imagine and edited to "work",etc.).

Frankly, I was marveling at just how "intelligent" I was, to be able to bring all that to bear in order to "ease my pain", when it struck me - "Jim, you could have done all that before you shot the scene, instead of after - it might have helped".

(So much for that marvelous "intelligence"...)

Going in, I gave myself virtually no "emotional cover" - I didn't want to do it (because of bone-deep insecurities), told myself I had to do it (Because I'm an "actor"), convinced myself "It'll be like skydiving...!", and that was pretty much it.

No wonder I was a basket-case afterwards - What's the point of being smart (And I am smart), if you can't figure out when and where to apply those smarts to best effect?


Fri 11/27/15 (5:05 pm)

So Thanksgiving was yesterday.

Had planned to go to a friend's house - where I have a standing invite - but found out they were actually going to another friend's house themselves (I was assured that the friends wouldn't mind if I came along, but it just felt like "a bridge too far").

After that, it felt weird to call anyone up and say, "My first plan fell through - mind if I use you as a back-up?". And honestly? There's always a part of me that just wants to bag the whole thing anyway, because I can never get past the feeling that "I don't really belong".

So I did.

And it was okay - I did this and that and the other thing, and at no point was I writhing in psychic pain over what I was missing out on (I'm also trying to lose weight, so part of my decision was "the coward's way out" of a holiday that's basically a celebration of over-indulging).

So today I went to my Friday morning WW "member meeting"...and I was up almost 2-and-a-half lbs (Erasing two-thirds of the progress I'd made the previous week).

And suddenly, I was bummed that I'd "missed out" on Thanksgiving - If I was going to gain weight anyway this week, why deprive myself of turkey and stuffing and pie?

I've struggled the rest of the day really - the weigh-in seemed to "break open" a lot of underlying unhappiness (Which is happening a lot lately - I really have to thank my Therapist on Tuesday, for creating the circumstances where I'm now just a walking, talking "open wound", at the start of what's typically my worst time of year).

But in a final bit of good news - shitty weigh-in notwithstanding - this week I joined the Y!

I think that's a very big deal - If I stay with it, potentially a "life-changing deal".

On Tuesday, I swam in the pool - the first time I've swam in years - and on Wednesday, I did my first-ever Zumba class (I could see growing to enjoy it over time...but on Wednesday, I thought it might be my first and last Zumba class).

And tonight, in just a little bit, I'm planning on going down and seeing what new trouble I can get into...

So I'm trying to make something positive out of something that didn't feel so positive "in the moment", which makes it seem like I at least want to feel better, and am willing to give things like "working out" and "getting back into therapy" a shot.

So "Yay me!"...


previous - next

0 comments so far
about me - read my profile! read other Diar
yLand diaries! recommend my diary to a friend! Get
 your own fun + free diary at!