Here’s the scoop:
No, you probably haven’t seen me in anything.
No, I don’t audition every week, sometimes not every month.
And no, I’m not going to remember you when I’m famous.
I’m not going to be famous.
I mean, I can’t predict the future but – I decided to become an actor because I love it. Full stop.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve been working through this in Therapy. God bless my poor therapist…
The idea of success and accomplishments has been linked to being famous since before I can remember. Not just from family and friends but from strangers….
I cringe when I tell people that I’m an actor. I know that the first thing they’re going to ask me is “Oh have I seen you in anything?!” Then I say “Oh well, probably not.” Then I awkwardly start panicking and think oh my God what am I going to say? What can I embellish? If I tell them I did this Bertolt Brecht play are they going to know what that means? I mean there’s a chance they could have seen my improv show last Wednesday night at 10pm….Then I usually stick with “I’ve done a lot of one off things…probably nothing you’ve seen” Then they usually reply with an uncomfortable “oh cool”
Then we awkwardly change the subject…and I immediately feel shame.
I mean it’s so bonkers.
Okay, okay I know people don’t mean it to be rude. Leading an artistic and creative life is bold to be honest, and a lot of people wish they had the guts to do it, and most of the artists they know ARE famous. But ya’ll….when you really think about it, it’s a pretty rude question!
Here’s the thing though – I know it doesn’t happen to only actors. Honestly, I think this kind of pressure get’s put on a lot of people in all kinds of careers, especially as children. It’s the pressure to be the best, and to be someone of notoriety.
“Remember me when you’re rich and famous”
“Thank me when you win your nobel prize”
“You’re going to be a heartbreaker”
“One day you’ll save the world”
These words have such an impact. I’m not saying we shouldn’t believe in our children, friends, family or yes, even strangers. But if we applauded the journey as much as we applauded the distant and often out of reach result, I think we would feel so much better about ourselves.
I along with many people I know deal with feeling inadequate every day. I lose all the time before I ever win. When I’m asked “Have I seen you in anything?” I immediately feel embarrassed, uninteresting and at a standstill. I’ve booked so much great work, been in hundreds of rewarding shows big and small and I can almost guarantee that you haven’t seen me in any of it – because guess what, there are a ton of performers out there and about 10% of them are famous. I’ve spent so much energy on auditions and poured my heart out into my classes – but this not what people want to know about me. That’s a shame.
So, I’ve been thinking of ways to subtly change the dynamic when people ask me this question. I’ve also been pondering how I can be more mindful when asking about someone’s career.
Look, I don’t have the answers – not yet anyway. I just come here to my blog and shout my opinions at you like a coked up politician……wait a minute…..like most politicians?
We can never fully understand the ladders people have to climb to reach a breakthrough in their career or life path in general.
I’m going to make a conscious effort to grow more curious about the path and not the destination.
Lastly, if you ever ask me if you’ve seen me in anything.
I’ll politely respond with….“Yes….in your moms chest hair”
Self care, self flare.