Hi Again, Look at me blogging twice in one week! Wow. Today I want to talk about fear. Something funny just happened when I typed the title of this post, in the title box, I misspelled it as Frear. When I saw it misspelled I thought: ” Oh maybe that’s a sign, if I write this I will get free of my fear”. I will be ‘Frear’. Honestly I do not expect to become free of my fear, my hope is to keep moving in spite of it and to use it as a compass. One way I am doing that is by writing here on this site. I have been afraid of it and therefore putting it off for a really long time.
This week all kinds of fears came up. Last Sunday I closed a play, it was the second play I had performed in back to back. So I had been in rehearsals and performances for the past nine weeks. Then on Monday I started Spring Break from my day job as a teaching artist. So was thrust into some serious free time. I imagine a lot of you are already shaking your heads saying “Yup, that’s scary”. But I had all these grand plans. I had been ‘looking forward‘ to the time off. I planned to start writing this blog and begin making new goals and submitting for acting work and get back to my satire writing and stand-up. Well, it did not turn out that way. The first couple of days were nice, my partner took two days off to spend with me and we did some fun stuff. But I had this restless feeling even during our picnic in the park and dinner dates. I was feeling, untethered? Disconnected? Alone? I really don’t know. But by Wednesday I had an anxiety attack and canceled plans. Thursday I did not leave the house (except to do laundry). But Friday I was back-tentatively. I had made plans to see a friend for coffee and another friend invited me to be their plus one to a play. I hadn’t necessarily resolved anything but I made myself keep these dates-IN THE RAIN! I took myself to those things in the state that I found myself. I had not all of the sudden felt great or back to normal or motivated. I still felt scared and unsure but I did not expect myself to feel differently. I took myself to life as is. This is something that I have found makes a huge difference in creating change for myself. It requires me accepting who and where I am and bringing myself towards the life I want in spite of whether I think I am good enough for that life. It really works (for me).
As I thought more about where this fear might be coming from, that I was experiencing this week, I considered that it might be a feeling or worry that I may not get cast in anything for a while. I was not consciously thinking that way at all but maybe in some deep corner of me that thought was occurring. Maybe in some deep corner of me, that thought has an apartment and gets its groceries delivered there. I also considered if the fear was about the fact that now that I finished this period of productivity and creative satisfaction, that now I have to move up a notch. And maybe I fear that I am not ready or strong enough or capable enough to do what it takes to move up a notch. I kinda think that’s it. Now that I have landed on that, I get to choose how I am going to tackle it. Here are some ideas I have; one is to keep posting on this blog because it scares me and I feel like I am bad at it. The second and I really hate to admit this is that I have to audition for scarier things. I want to get my Equity card but I avoid Equity auditions. I have not had to do a monologue for an audition in a while and I feel like I do not know how to do that, right now. So I think that I have to do that. I have to go to a “really scary” Equity audition, do a monologue, leave and then show myself how I survived it. Those are some plans for the moment.
I want to say one or two final things about fear. This week while I was experiencing fear about what I just mentioned above-mostly career stuff, I began to get scared about unrelated things like money, my families’ safety and my health. That is what’s so insidious about irrational fear, it does not stay in it’s lane. And I really had to figure out where the fear’s root was in order to tackle it because otherwise I might start making decisions about stuff that’s unrelated. If I decided to focus on being worried about money I might decide to get a second job or cut out a bunch of stuff from my life because I think I’m worried about money. Then I would just get further from what I really want and who I really am. This is really important to remember about fear. It’s a distraction in it’s most dangerous form, but when used as a tool it can be a compass of sorts.
Lastly, I want to talk about fear of the unknown. That is our biggest issue as humans right? This is what causes us the most cosmic distress; there is very little we can control, there is no such thing as certainty. This is one of the gifts of creativity, it is a thing that thrives on uncertainty and invention. I think this is why people love artists so much, though they don’t realize it. One of the things an artist HAS TO EMBRACE is uncertainty. Uncertainty about our careers, about our vision, about our choices but we do it anyway, because we learn that the outcome does not matter, the act of doing is why we live. I think people are responding to that aspect of art when they revere an art or an artist. They just don’t know it. Btw I’m not saying that artists love the unknown, some do, maybe most, but it’s not about loving it, it’s about doing it anyway. Okay let me make my point, my point is that this embracing the unknown is one of the only ways to get good at life, to be more easy on yourself, to enjoy life, to be easier with other people, to making better decisions. Basically it’s a really VITAL element to being alive. And I think that the internet and our culture of convenience is taking that away from people. It is our nature to shy away from the unknown but it is vital to our survival to embrace it and the internet is making us weaker and shittier. This occurred to me last night when my partner and I were getting ready to see the new Avengers movie and he told me he was reading an article that said what the best times were to go to the bathroom during the movie, because it’s a three hour movie. And I was like “WHATT????!??!??!!”. Seriously that is so fucked up. We can’t just go through life and maybe have to go to the bathroom during a movie and miss a couple of minutes? We have to design a way to mitigate the affects of missing a couple of minutes of a movie? We are fucked if we do not believe in our own ability to sustain the emotional trauma of missing A COUPLE OF MINUTES OF A MOVIE. We are stronger than that. But this media is making us believe that we are weaker, that we need it. That we NEED to know how many stars a restaurant has before we go eat there, because how will we possibly survive an imperfect meal?
I will end with this. Convenience is needing to put gas in your car and being thirsty at the same time- lo the gas station sells drinks- convenience. Never leaving your house for anything is Agoraphobia.