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  • Trevor Powell

Obsessed


Unrelated pic of me not understanding beaches

TW: depression/mental illness, profanity


Alright, to get things rolling there are two pieces of exposition you need. The first is that I have spent the last 21 years passionately pursuing a career as an artist. And before you say ‘Trevor, that’s nonsense, you are only 22’ I will come back at you and say ‘right… I already edited to accommodate the first 12 months of my life.’ The second thing you must know is that ‘fuck’ is my favorite word in today’s modern language and I use it a lot. Grandma, I hope you enjoyed your time with us here on this journey, and there are no hard feelings if you feel you must hop off the train at this point… becuase it has most certainly left the fucking station.

Anyway, I just recorded my first self tape, something that people with BFAs in Musical Theatre and minors in Dance Performance traditionally do a lot of, since December 2020 and it made me reflective on where my life is at as an artist living here in the suburbs of the town I went to college in, working at a big box store that has absolutely nothing to do with what I always wanted to be when I grew up, paying rent that is 2/3 the amount of my monthly income. And yeah I know, everyone’s life has gone to shit (my second fav word) and so ‘poor me ANOTHER pandemic sob story’ but here me out folks! I am entertaining.

My reflection began with the realization that eight months is a longgggg time and the self tape was veryyyy bad. But it also made me realize that after spending two decades becoming more obsessed with creating a career based on art every day, in the last year that obsession had completely faded for me. Not to say I killed it, but I hadn’t put much thought into being a professional performer in… well I couldn’t really remember the last time I had seriously worked at improving my craft. And some how, without that obsession, I became the happiest I have ever been. This reflection was aided by half a joint, so I am not sure how much stock we can put into any revelations I made, but it did really open my blood shot eyes.

So, now that I am living alone with my cat, feeling like I am floating in the space between happiness and dreams, I feel like I have things that might be valuable to share. Which is conceited. I also find myself incredibly entertaining. Also conceited. But, like, this is stimulating my mind so shut up. You’re already four paragraphs in you might as well read to the end.

Chronological order is irrelevant to me, so Chapter One on our journey together is going to be about how graduating and realizing that your degree is fucking useless just like your asshole of a middle school english teacher told you it would be, is a really hollow feeling that makes you look longingly at your antidepressants. This was months ago, I have a good therapist, don’t worry, I’m fine. But in that moment I wasn’t. I am an insanely hard worker by nature, and I had worked myself into a spiral of disarray doing theatre, learning every crevasse of the industry, trying to be sexy, smart, fierce, powerful, skinny, strong, flexible, pretty, a master of everything, an infinite threat… and in the moment January started, and I wasn’t a student anymore after graduating in December, I had absolutely nothing to work on. There were no theatres to perform in, there were no dance classes to take, there was no script to analyze, and I was heart broken by the feeling that I was glad that was the case. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have any theatre to do, and for the first time in my life I didn’t want to do theatre.

How fucked up is that? I was screwed. But if we circle back up to the top here, I began by mentioning I had just recorded a self tape. Lesson One of Chapter One is that sleep is so good. I think after graduating, I probably slept an average of 12 hours a night and still managed to cram in afternoon naps. No one does that. But I was TIRED. I let an obsession control me for YEARS. I didn’t ever allow myself to look out a window, to enjoy a sunset, to cook a meal I wanted to eat. I didn’t ever prioritize other things that interest me like nature and boats and drunk painting with friends. Every facet of my existence was about furthering my craft. That made me not want to do my craft. I implore you, the two family members who are obligatorily reading this, pin point what your obsession is, and make yourself not think about it. For an hour, a day, a week, a month… Whatever the obsession is. It is the only way to sleep both literally and metaphorically.

Life is entirely about contrast. You can’t notice one thing without experiencing it’s opposite. For me, I couldn’t see my obsession with theatre until I spent time with it not being my obsession. I couldn’t grasp how unhappy the hustle made me until I no longer had the option to hustle. I couldn’t realize how emotionally, mentally, and physically ill I was until those things began to improve. One of the first things my therapist told me when I started therapy four years ago was ‘you can’t have happiness without sadness.’ It is the core of what keeps me stable now. See the line in the middle between your obsession, and your life without having anything to work for. Realize that that line is the median in the graph. There is as much on one side of it as there is on the other. Whether you like it or not. And if you can’t see that, you too will be dreaming of a Prozac smoothie. (I don’t recommend this. They taste horrible.)



But that’s the core of why I have decided to share my profane and inappropriate thoughts with the world. The last year has been the most important year of making me who I am today, and the next year is becoming what will likely be the most important year in making me who I am tomorrow. I have had some superbly incredible adventures and I intend to have many more as I learn how to be an artist again while still being a human at the same time. And since I hate vulnerability and have only a small circle of people I hold close in life, I felt like it was an adventure not only worth sharing with people who know me now, but an adventure worth documenting for people who come to know me in the future. So if you are still with me, here at the bottom of this first page, in this first chapter, with this first lesson, I hope you’ll join me for the next collection of thoughts and stories whenever it may be.


Balance: an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. -Oxford Languages

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