Wednesday, August 04, 2010

All that I thought I knew

A Crisis of Faith

Hard as I try to avoid using this space as a means of airing my personal pathos, sometimes it's unavoidable. In the absence of being able to turn to Someone with Answers, I'm putting this out into the universe in the hopes that Fate breaks character and uses it for something other than kicking me in the balls.

I'm losing my Faith.

By that I don't mean "faith in God" I lost most of that ages ago. I don't mean faith in others, I place a great deal of faith in the wonderful people around me. I mean faith in myself. Faith in my mission and what I'm doing this town in the first place. I mean I'm losing faith in my abilities and in whether or not I even know who I am anymore.

Now that you're thoroughly depressed, let me explain where this is coming from. Today someone told me, "I hear you used to be an actor." Used to be. Naturally my immediate response was, "I am an actor." He got all shocked and I immediately started to question myself and equivocate, "Well...I have acted." It went on in that vein for a bit, but it raised the question. What the hell am I doing? There didn't used to be a doubt, but four years in the same job, several raises, the fact that we're starting to look into buying a condo, and so on; I don't know if I can claim to be an 'actor' anymore. I have acted. I love acting. But as I get older the odds that I will do so professionally, and provide for my family doing so, become remote.

I don't know if I'm that person anymore. All I know is that as I work at my day job I know that I am categorically not the person my job wants me to be. Much as I wish I could be that person. I ache to have been born the guy who gets excited about money and numbers, selling and closing the big deal, profit margins and growing a business. Much as I have learned and grown as a business person, I will never be that person. I will always be someone cut from a different cloth from the rest. A square peg in a round hole. Someone who Doesn't Fit. I keep doing it out of momentum and necessity.

I know that what keeps me in this pattern is fear. Fear that if I Make A Change it will mean failure, destitution, and the loss of everything that's important to me. Lately though another thought has occurred to me. What is scarier? The idea that I might change things and fail, or the idea that I might just keep going as I have been and never try at all?

I don't have The Answer, or I wouldn't be writing this.  Do you? If so I'd love to hear it.

Next blog post returns us to our regularly scheduled rants about Apple, comic book reviews, and comic strips.

3 comments:

  1. I know you will believe me when I tell you - I hear you man. I have been there and am living there in every moment. This is what made me run to Colorado for a spell. I hoped answers would find me... and they didn't really. But what I can say, is that I found a renewed sense of steam. I have had to reanalyze my priorities and how I hope to achieve my goals. I am hope that with my new drive, that somehow I will magically manifest those goals. But every day I wonder why I can't be happy doing something 'normal', y'know the numbers, profits, family, condo, etc etc thing... And it's because I am not normal. I desire things that do not adhere to that traditional American Dream. I desire to do things that involve passion and creativity. I want to inspire and create and feel the rush that only the arts, or perhaps superior athletes can recognize.

    But then I question whether or not this in of itself is not truly the 'norm'. In fact, I would bet money that 9 out of 10 of those profit driven 'normal folks' are actually just the exact same as you and me. In fact, I am sure of it because we both have friends who are these people.

    I do not know why it is then that they can push that desire down and basically force themselves to focus on that bottom line. Responsibilities to those other than themselves? That's my guess.

    It is a very difficult path that we march to achieve a goal that so many wish to achieve. There is no guarantee we will ever get diddly squat out of our efforts. But I would rather try than not. And thankfully we have a brilliant group of friends who will cheer on anything we do. And you have a brilliant wife who does the same.

    And frankly, what we need is friends, like each other to push and prode and motivate us beyond our normal bounds.

    You ARE an actor. You ARE a director. And you will give it your all, roll the dice and see if it comes up sevens or snake eyes. And we will be there to cheer you on all the way.

    Did I ramble? Probably. Was what I said even relevant? I don't know - I think it started out that way... Wait - this is YOUR blog. I really need to get out of the house.

    - Jeremy
    A Fellow Doubting Creative Type

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  2. Hiya.

    I hear you - believe me, I hear you. Not many days go by before I don't teeter on a complete melt down of "What the hell am I doing here?" in this industry. And as both you and Jeremy pointed out, if I could be someone who loved crunching numbers and felt a thrill whenever I stepped into a cubicle, believe me, I would. I would in a heartbeat.

    For artists like you and me (and Jeremy) the world is a tougher place to navigate the responsibilities and balance of it all. And to have the type of personality where you will always wonder "what if" if you settled for anything less than your dream - I know it's hard.

    But please, please, please - don't give up.

    That's the main difference between those who achieve their dreams and those who don't. Those who succeeded never, ever gave up until they had what deep down made them satisfied.

    Does that mean you shouldn't work a day job? No. Does that mean you have to abandon your family or let them down? Absolutely not.

    There is a way to do this, to earn a living and do your best at becoming a working actor. It just requires a lot of energy, and faith in yourself, and an indomitable spirit to get back up after the business and the world and traffic knock you down on your ass.

    Go get 'em, kid.

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  3. Hey.

    Bully on through. Just yesterday I was having similar thoughts... and I have about as stable an arts career as anyone could want. Still, I have those days where I wonder if this is IT... or should I be pursuing other dreams? Eventually I come around, for the same reason you will come around. There will be SOMETHING. Something that you will say, "I did that." For me, it is usually a kid finding themselves in the moment on stage; or watching a perfectly executed scene change sequence that had never gone right before; or a simple "thank you" card. Something will come along for you too. A class. An overheard comment. Reviewing your demo reel. Something.

    You will get though this slump. We are not defined by our jobs. Go be an actor--not because of training or profession, but because of your nature. In the middle of the night, when you can't sleep and you look at your core, you know what you will find. I know him. He's an actor.

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