Jealous as Hell
So, all my classmates and friends are moving to New York and I am jealous as hell. This is not entirely true of course as I have lot of people that I love here in Detroit, where I am now, and some of my friends are in other cities, but I am working retail and recording self tapes in my spare bedroom while people that I was in dance classes with two years ago are living the real life NYC actor dream. And sure, staying where I am for another year was an important decision to make for me in the long run, and I know that. Or at least I weekly try to convince myself that in therapy… I mean I was in a mental health crisis, I had fallen completely out of love with my craft, and I had absolutely no fucking idea how to make enough money to afford rent AND food for me and my cat, Barry. Who is needy. But never the less, it was ME who was supposed to be moving to New York right after throwing my cap at graduation. It was ME who was supposed to be on tour right now. It was ME who was supposed to be the idol for future mes. And instead I wear an Orange Apron every day. What the fuck happened?
As I am sure you are an avid reader, you know what happened from my last blog. I got burnt out. And I needed balance. But now I am stuck because I am ready to go again. I am ready to move to the next chapter. I am ready to catch those dreams I had been chasing.
I guess the lesson in this entry, we will call it Chapter 7, Lesson 3 just because I don’t give a shit about the chapters and lessons making sense, is that the foundation is the most important part of the building. I just watched an internet documentary on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which means it was 100% factual (I watched it right after watching a bunch of Flat Earther interviews if you were wondering what the vibe was) and it said that after building the first few levels of the tower, it became clear the foundation was not strong enough to support the building of more levels. Construction stopped for several decades while engineers pondered how to make a tall
building sturdy even in the mud. Now centuries after they figured it all out through their trial and error, the tower has stopped settling and at the most recent estimate, the foundation won’t need any structural improvements for another 200 years. Sometimes as we build something, be it a career, a life, or a tower, there has to be a cushion period part way through construction for the world around our new structure to catch up.
I feel the same way about where I am at. I found a fierce independence very early on in life, and jumped head first into theatre as soon as I could. I remember when I was in middle school I told my mom I was ready to start doing professional theatre. At 16 I got my first paid performance gig. I left high school early to get better training as a dancer. I opened a performing arts company at 22. I did everything super quickly. So naturally there became a point where I started leaning, just like the tower in France did centuries ago, and I had to take some time to put pen to paper and figure out how to put the next floor on without compromising the ones below.
When I started working in retail, it was supposed to be something that took me to the end of my lease in August 2021. I wasn’t going to stay for any long period of time. When I got into the process however, I saw an opportunity to add a whole new material to my foundation. Which I am realizing is a metaphor that I am reallyyyyy wearing out… #sorrynotsorry. But I made the decision to put myself in a position for growth. I was fortunate enough to gain a spot as an interior designer for a company that would pay for all of my training and certifications. While it wasn’t in a fancy set of offices selling the highest end products to the richest people, it was still a fantastic opportunity to gain a skill. And now, here at the end of September, four months into my latest chapter, I am starting to see the potential that I have gained by making the hard decision to apply for a job that meant another year on a lease in an area I didn’t think I would spend one year in, let alone five.
I could, and maybe someday will, go into more detail about this interior design journey I am on, but there is another big element that I have thought about as I have been working through accepting that my time spent improving my foundation is a good thing for me. I am watching as young people are moving to the city and seeing that they don’t have a plan to pay the rent. There isn’t a job, a parallel one to the job they have onstage, lined up for them that offers benefits that performance careers can’t give. I’m not talking about the bullshit ‘plan B’ that my parents always asked me about when I picked musical theatre as a life path, I am talking about a real job that gives some fulfillment and security. The things that are lacking from the entertainment industry that gives a path for expression and art. This is something that is so crazy important for someone like me. I have anxiety about the unknown and not knowing where money is going to come from is the absolute worst unknown there is in my book! I am not dissing on the folks who are moving without a solid plan, but in the words of my therapist, why would anyone want to move to New York right now anyway. It is a city that just got out of rehab essentially. Now is not the time to start a serious relationship with it for me. Waiting a year, gaining a skill, and missing theatre so hard it makes me dance ‘Magic to Do’ in the shower daily will only mean that when I do arrive in the city, I will be ready to take that bitch on.
So the advice to the reader, which is also the advice to me when I read this again in a month while writing my next entry, is to chill the fuck out. It is impossible that moving to the city when I am 23 rather than 22 will ruin the two decades of extremely hard work I have put in to get there. And now I will have a way to pay the bills and feed the cat.