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8:53 am - Tues 12.08.2009
It's Not How Good I Am, It's How Good I Want To Be

It's Not How Good I Am, It's How Good I Want To Be

All my life, I've gotten down on myself for not doing things I'm "supposed" to be doing, instead of just doing them.

(Or, conversely, deciding not to do them, but being okay with it.)

The "things I'm supposed to be doing" are sometimes basic "chores" I'm procrastinating on - washing dishes or doing laundry, for example - but more often, they involve creativity/"self-actualization"; drawing, writing, working on my harmonica/guitar playing, honing my acting skills, reading more challenging stuff (Or, these days, reading at all), etc.

And for awhile now, this has been a big "issue" - To boil it down, I want to do this more, and do it better (Taking more more chances with what I say, and how I say it), but I end up just thinking about it, never actually doing it, then berating myself for not doing it, and feeling bad about myself as a result.

There's a part of me that wants to "be all that I can be", and clearly, another part of me that's terrified of the idea (and sees not trying, but feeling bad about not trying, to be a completely reasonable compromise).

And even what I'm writing right now threatens to be part of "the same old pattern" - Writing a journal entry about how I want to do things differently in here, but getting lost in analyzing why it's not happening, and feeling "bad" about it, instead of just making it happen.

So enough "analysis".


I have nothing scheduled for today - no WW meetings, no auditions, etc. - and I told myself yesterday I really wanted this to be an enjoyable day, instead of feeling like I "wasted" it, losing it, losing myself, in loneliness or boredom (Or the aforementioned upset over not doing things I'm "supposed" to be doing, since I'm theoretically this really smart, creative guy).

So I'm doing this, and doing it early enough that I have as much time and energy for it as possible.

And I'm going to see a matinee this afternoon (Probably at the Olympic Regal), because even though I'm stressing about money, I want to see a damn movie (Cause it's been too long, I like movies, I'm an actor, and there are things out there worth seeing).

(And the Olympic Regal is a couple miles away - I've never been. I only found it recently when I was driving back from Pasadena after a shoot - so that will serve the dual function of entertainment and exercise; lately, I've developed a round-the-clock eating schedule, and as a result, my weight's crept up a bit. So while I work on returning to eating like a normal human, I need to burn more calories, and introducing walking back into my life would seem a good way to accomplish that.)

That's all I've got so far...but I have some other ideas. Basically, I just don't want the day to be about bouncing back and forth from the tv to the Internet, and feeling crummy when I go to bed not knowing "where the day went".

Cause it struck me recently that, the same way I'm no longer the guy who was too afraid to "go for it" and be a professional actor - cause here I am - I'm no longer the guy "who would _____"(learn a second language, write, draw, work on his harmonica/guitar playing, etc) "if I only had the time".

Cause I have the time.

And if/when I don't have the time in the future - when I'm a series regular/in such demand as an actor I'm bitching about how "busy" and "overworked" I am - I'm going to regret that I once had hours and hours of time to do with as I wished...and did nothing.


On Sunday night, I finally did something I've been meaning to do forever, and saw some of my former IO classmates do their class shows (Which are free, so money is not an issue).

(I quit improv classes at IO after Level 3; from Level 4 on, performing in a weekly class show is a requirement - Which is one of the reasons I quit after Level 3.)

I got there early, so I walked around for a bit, then when I got back, still had time before the show, which was not a good thing - I had to shake off the imagined stink of failure I had just being back there (Putting it on myself, and imagining it from my former classmates - Who, btw, couldn't have cared less, really. They were just happy I'd showed up to watch them).

IO "Harolds" (A type of "long-form" improv) are a half-hour long, and I knew people in each of the two groups that performed.

The first group was so-so - some funny moments, but scenes went on too long, and the whole thing didn't really hang together - while the second group was great, and seemed totally ready for the main stage.

While all my ex-classmates handled themselves well, three struck me as being stand-outs - Amanda, Nate, and Mike; I won't be surprised if they end up being big deals, at IO and beyond.

(It was strange watching them - I felt alternately relieved that I'd quit, because I wouldn't have been able to keep up, and sad...because I felt like I should have been up there on stage, trying "to keep up".)

I took the Metro to the show - Partly out of laziness, and partly because I'm still nervous about leaving my bike outside for long periods of time when it's still so shiny and new and sexy and steal-able - and while walking from the Metro station to IO, I popped into Hennessey and Ingalls, an "art and architecture" bookstore on Ivar.

I just went in to pass some time (I know nothing about architecture, and can't afford to buy art books), but almost immediately stopped at a table with two paperback books with black and while covers.

One title was It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be, and the other was Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite, both by Paul Arden.

(They are specifically self-help books for ad people, but have a lot of advice that applies to any creative endeavor.)

I picked up the first one, leafed through it, and it "spoke" to me, particularly since I've not been happy about my creative efforts of late (Or ever, really).

I thought about buying the one book, I thought about buying both books, then I thought about buying neither one (Since I don't really have the money).

Then I told myself, "Jim, why don't you leave now, without the books, and if the store is still open after the show, then you can tell yourself it's a sign that you're supposed to buy them".

Well, the store was still open afterward, so I bought them.

It's the kind of counter-intuitive, "cosmic" decision I'm not used to making. But I choose to believe that since the impulse (Toward self-help/self-improvement) was positive, acting on it was not going to then turn out to be negative. I'm going to be positive and assume that, not only will that $25 not break me, but that it will turn out to have been an excellent investment.

And on that note, I think I'm going to see what's at the Regal, and when, and get out of the house (I always think I'm going to knock off an entry in here in an hour, then four hours later...).

Cause the sun is shining, and I have the day off...!


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