This is the conversation I didn’t want l to have… what happens when you doubt whether you can do the thing you’ve dreamed about doing your whole life! Is it really my calling?
It is such a large topic that I don’t even know where to begin but I do know it is something I want to discuss and investigate!
When I was younger I dreamed so many dreams, one was a singer “pop star” and the other was an “actor.” Somewhere along the line I made the decision that it was acting that I really wanted to be. Honestly, I’m not even sure how I came to that conclusion but, I do remember making the choice. Now that I look back on it I believe the reasons to be:-
- I loved Television shows and always wanted to be in them!
- The fame, money and respect had a part to play.
- Living in financial freedom… linking to point 2
- Acceptance …. Linking to point 2
- An escape from the world i was born into… believing I was better than it!
- I never believed that I was clever but, I knew I was emotional and felt things differently to those around me and I believed it to be something I could do it! … but when I visualise things I see myself watching myself on TV or film more than actually doing the craft… this is something I have wondered about; what does it mean?
Yet, I continued down the GCSE, A’level, University route; in its own strange way, never believing that I could go down this route because I so wanted acceptance from my family and friends as well as not knowing where to start with the dream. Believing if it was meant to be it would find its way to me. I desperately wanted to prove to myself and others that I am just like them, that there is nothing wrong or strange about me.
When I graduated university and began working in offices, Acting was all I fantasized about, believing that was my key to my happiness when I felt so unfulfilled, bored and never really ‘fitting into’ any of the roles I did! I kept me sane and was my nightly happiness, my hope, my escapism!
When I got to the end of my Advertising career, I knew; even though I was getting paid a lot of money and I was partying, drinking and socialising, I wasn’t very good at it, in some ways I didn’t agree with it, I didn’t enjoy doing it and just sitting by a desk everyday was not what I wanted from my life!
So I left and finally had the courage to say that I wanted to work in television but, not having the courage to say ‘As an actor’ as it was still just the fantasy!… now I wonder if I enjoyed having it as my fantasy and escapism as I didn’t want to taint the image with reality!… So, I got into production and realised very quickly after the struggle of getting a good job in a well recognised TV show, that this was not making me happy either! It was basically still working in an office just for a TV show instead of advertising… not much different! The difference this time was I was good at my job but, still was sooo bored and didn’t enjoy it, so I asked for the opportunity to work on set which they allowed…. more years are passing!
Now I’m working on set, I thought this was going to be the answer to my dreams! I was either going to really enjoy it or I was going to be discovered because ‘God is good!’ It was a physically exhausting job where people treated you like a child! You had no say, no power, no recognition, no appreciation… no voice! But, I had built a reputation, had a group of drinking and debauched friends, had a relationship with one of the main actors, I thought I was enjoying the life associated with doing the job.
Looking back at the experience I realise I was numbing the unhappiness with trying to see the positive, hoping I’d get ‘discovered’ and enjoying the way people in social situations saw me because of what they thought of my life… I wanted my life to change but, in a contradiction of emotions I didn’t want to change my life. It wasn’t the main dream but, there were elements that’s were very close or adjacent to the dream!… but they were all dysfunctional.
What I remember clearly is being so unhappy when I was in my aloneness at night in my house…. still using my fantasy of acting to keep me happy and have hope!
Then my world collided… literally! I got into a serious accident, partly because of the time of year darkness, partially tiredness and partially from smoking into the early mornings when I had to leave home and ride a motorbike at 6:00 am, everyday! (This includes getting up, showering, changing etc!)
During my time in the hospital a new manager was brought in at work who I had never worked for, I went into some form of depression in the hospital due to being in the orthopaedics ward with very old people who suffered with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and calling out that they wanted to die during the night, plus withdrawal from debauchery and forcing me to sit down and be with my thoughts, no family as they are spread throughout the country with their own lives and I can’t remember telling my friends outside of work, so no visitors, feeling alone, sad and broken in every way! But I tried to keep going!
Then a week after going back to work I was called into the office and they told me that my contract was running of and they thought it would be best if I got experience with another show! i.e I was let go! That was it!!! Too much!!! I was now broken!
I then spent the next two years lost, confused, scarred… trying to put my broken pieces together! Out of it I realised I didn’t want to go back doing the same job with another show, it was acting that I really wanted to do … the thing that kept had kept me sane, safe and comforted throughout this time… I was so low in life and I thought if I had the difficult challenge of rebuilding myself I was going to do it truthfully to who I am! Go after the things I want in life. I believed it all happened to me so it would lead me to my true path!
So I began to take lessons; first a weekend course and then a year’s course. Acting courses are very expensive, I has been unemployed for over two years and I was turning 30 to say that my father and mother did not approve or understand is an understatement! There barrage of not particularly supportive comments continued as it had for the previous two years of doing ‘nothing.’ They never saw, wanted to see or probably didn’t know how to deal with such an emotional being who felt so alone, lost and broken! (They are both accountants!!!!) But, somehow I found it in me to continue to fight and try to move forward, to be all that I can be and to be truly happy in all aspects of my life!
So the acting journey began, I stopped going out just to get drunk, I started spending less time with my ‘friends.’ I finished school, eventually got an agent, went to auditions and got cast and paid as an actress! There are so many no’s in this industry. I was reminded by those who were not in the industry that my background and age, coming into the industry at a late stage in life would make it tough; almost impossible to get parts. I haven’t been cast in much and it requires quite a high level of intelligence to leans pages of dialogue, listening, interacting, moving, seemingly unplanned and true to life! It was what I wanted and dreamed about so I continued. If I had to fight in life, I was going to fight for the life I want!
When I eventually got here I thought things would be easier, smoother and things would fall into place as I am being true to myself, sober, a better human being, etc… I believed that this is where God steps in and helps me along in becoming what I was meant to be; HAPPY! That unfortunately, has not been my experience, still struggling and fighting! Not sure if I am any happier!!!! Still alone, misunderstood, ignored and passed over!
Is this really my calling? I can’t help but wonder! Shouldn’t it be easier after the struggle? When I’m in class I feel that I am good but, when I worked I didn’t think I was particularly good, that’s not self deprecating but just true! The nerves and anxiousness can get overwhelming sometimes! Wanting to be great but not getting the chance to improve through the experience of being in a professional situation. I believe I, like everyone else, we improve with experience! Still doing classes but it’s not the same!
It’s my anxiousness that is my self-destructive characteristic now! Constantly questioning myself and having self doubting myself when I know I have the potential! My teacher, classmates and I knew in my last class: I smashed it but no new jobs and they are just commercials or corporate videos, not TV and I can’t book them, EVEN when I do a good performance, they do not pick me!!! Why…. is this really my calling? How do I really know if this is for me? I enjoy the learning associated with it, about myself and the humans I portray, I enjoy doing it and get the most amazing feeling when I do it well. The feeling I had when I booked my job was a feeling I can’t describe in words… full of joy and potential! I feel through my learning I have been able to help others through my new levels of compassion, listening and understanding, my reduction of judgement! Is this enough to believe that this is what I was meant to do? The struggles make me better, but it is so exhausting to the soul!
I pray for a sign, help, guidance, support yet all I get is silence!!!!! What is my next step?! How do we figure it out? How do we do the job that ‘aligns our personality with our purpose?’ I know what needs to be done, I just haven’t figured out the HOW!
When in doubt I always go back to Oprah…
“The truth is, I try not to let other people define for me whether I have power or don’t.”
“You cannot hear the still, small voice of your instinct, your intuition, what some people call God, if you allow the noise of the world to drown it out, so, shut out the haters and the well-wishers and the sales clerk who thinks that dress is “so versatile.”
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
So I continue to… try, love, fight, figure out, to have hope, to believe!
To all who continue the fight, I praise and wish you love and strength.