Fine, probably.

‘Don’t know what to tell you man, it’s profit share, there’s no money in it right now.’
‘Oh really? Aren’t there professional actors in the group, what do they think of this?’
‘I am a professional actor.’
‘Oh.’

Oh indeed.

I’ve said it before, I wasn’t exactly knocked out at the height of my career, but a couple of years ago I was in an ok place. I was working with better companies, I was auditioning more, I was finding other ways to use my skills to actually get paid in between. I was progressing exactly as I should have been, and then I got sick. I was out for two years, and now I’m more or less starting again. And I keep stumbling, getting discouraged, I have doubts. Partly because I refuse to work with some of the crooks and jackasses I did the first time around, which is a whole other discussion. A certain amount of compromise is to be expected in any artistic endeavour but dear God, people, can we PLEASE stop excusing flat out exploitation as part of the God damn game? Yeah, I’ll work for expenses. Yeah, I’ll work for nothing. Yeah, I’ll pay to be in your play. Really?

I did some crappy jobs, but also some good ones. I was doing ok, though at the time I would have said I was struggling.

I didn’t know what I was doing. A couple of years on, I don’t know what I’m doing. Will I know anything a few years down the line? Probably, but I’ll likely not be able to see what I know. Most likely I’ll be looking at today and thinking how great I had it.

It’s easy to lose track of where you are. To feel you’re going nowhere. Not helped by people actually questioning you, confirming the voices of anxiety telling you you’re a fraud, you’re nothing, a joke! A lie! You’re-
It doesn’t matter, nobody thinks that, nobody means anything beyond ‘oh, I didn’t know that. Huh.’

Should I be worried about what people think or don’t think anyway? There’s already plenty of chatter in my head to deal with, beyond my status as an actor. I know what I am, where I am, I could justify everything, reel off my qualifications, as actor, as writer, as anything I’m trying to accomplish, but ultimately the chatter about what I’m doing or not doing professionally is covering for the deeper insecurity, the other voice telling me I’m not a real person. Which. I can’t really prove anything. I’m here, I’m doing what I’m doing, in many ways I’m falling behind, but in a couple of years I’ll probably look back and think obviously, I was doing just fine. Whatever else I can call myself, I am human, and I’m pretty sure the doubt is a part of that.

Advertisements

Lighten up, damn it.

Sometimes you come through a little rough patch- a run of bad luck, a few too many late nights, falling behind with work or therapy, whatever sets off a low. Sometimes you come out of it and look around and realise you’re doing better than you thought, and things aren’t so bad.

So you must invent problems!

I’ve had a busy week, good busy. A lot of working and socialising with a lot of good people. And suddenly I’m suspicious of all of them.
‘Great gig, you done good!’
Ok obviously she’s just saying that, but thanks.
‘Good to see you, you ok?’
Ok? The hell is that supposed to mean?
‘We will definitely meet up soon.’
This person definitely thinks I am scum.

Jesus, it’s always something. If you’re exhausted reading my over analysis, try living with it. I quite often want to step away from the neurotic garbage heap that is my brain but that’s what we’re working with! So.

As it is, I have trouble trusting my mind at times. It’s a lot better than it used to be, and I have ways of dealing with it, but it can still be a problem, particularly in knowing where I stand with other people. This in itself is not a problem, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what people think of you, and it’s not always possible to know. But sometimes, like this week, when I’ve been busy and having a lot of different conversations with a lot of different folks, the wondering can become overwhelming, and turn into catastrophizing.

And I know where this comes from, my question is will I ever stop finding the negative in a good week? It is exhausting to look at yourself sometimes, worrying over nothing, and think really? Really? We can’t just enjoy this? Bloody hell, Kate.

Just telling yourself to get over it doesn’t always help you get over it. You find a way that works for you, with practice, and being honest with yourself. It’s a case of finding a balance between wallowing in a problem, and denying that it exists. Both are trouble. But every now and then it is possible to acknowledge the voice of doubt as a separate entity and tell it to just take a damn day off.