Life is simply a series of changes in plans. I hold true to this statement as I thought I wanted to pursue theatre and only theatre as a lifelong profession. I thought that to be my only passion and absolutely nothing could stop me from pursuing, what I deemed, the pinnacle of my profession.
My second year of college I had a professor of the theatre arts program call me into his office. At that time I was a communications major who had done shows within the theatre department. The professor/one of the heads of the theatre department said these words which then rang in my ears for years, “What else are you going to do with your life other than theatre? What else do you enjoy?” Apparently, I was an easy sell because I immediately changed my major.
The pinnacle for me used to be that of simply working full time in the performing arts and nothing else. I had a stretch of 8 or so years where I made that a reality. I toured, I worked regionally, and I travelled all while never having a home base. I was a hippy who never joined a union and never reaped the benefit of a savings account or health insurance.
Years of traveling and pursuing/achieving that very fulfillment began to turn into something of a bit of a void in my life. I began feeling that touring and traveling throughout the country to be an annoyance. There was always the feeling of pressure and desperation in the pursuit of new work as a contract ended, which always happens. I never want to feel that again.
Then suddenly my motives of being a performer had changed. I desired the opportunity to live and work in New York. I had aspirations of joining the actor’s union and performing on Broadway. I had always sublet apartments in New York in the past as a means of auditioning or simply visiting friends between contracts in the past but had never thought of leasing my very own place with my best friends in Manhattan.
It all became a reality and at first I felt such joy and freedom. Upon moving there I gained approval of casting directors who called me in repeatedly, I had an agent, I auditioned and got into an actual new musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and I got into the tail end of a tour that allowed me to perform internationally and work with some big wigs in the directing and choreography world. I was living my dream.
Then came winter… I know it sounds ridiculous but anytime winter hit in New York my mood instantly changed. Apparently, I am simply a victim of circumstances and those circumstances are presented to me in the form of slush, snow, and negative degree weather.
I am a product of Southern California for God’s sake!
This seasonal depression was a constant cycle for me that would continue to deteriorate and chip away chunks of my soul each year never to be recovered. It was in these circumstances that I would constantly be reminded of how far away I was from my actual family. I had some great support from friends… who constantly left to work at theatres somewhere else besides New York.
I stopped auditioning, the drive left me. I stopped pursuing classes and furthering my education in my “passion”. I realized suddenly that I had NO savings whatsoever and that I was all alone.
I was then driven to pursue full time work to feel financially stable. I was working full time in the restaurant industry. I was a server at various restaurants, I even found myself being a supervisory role at one restaurant with benefits.
I found myself becoming a career server of some sorts with no time or energy to actually fulfill what I had thought my dreams of living in New York were. This began to make me a spiteful person on the inside which then exploded out in instances involving cars almost hitting me in crosswalks, pedestrians standing in my way as I was walking, or simply not being treated well by customers.
In short, I was unhappy, far from home, and unable to actually make connections with other humans due to the fact that I was depressed. I found solace in happy hours and sitting in my room and watching netflix.
This seasonal depression would then find itself to spill into all seasons and I found myself in a toxic state.
One evening I called my wonderful friend, Cheyenne, who I didn’t visit often enough because I decided the trip from Manhattan to Astoria to be too long a trek for me (In my mind it was a treacherous walk and train ride that would take a fortnight). That night I broke down on the phone with her, I found it hard to breath. I self diagnosed myself with a panic attack. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, my self worth was deteriorating. This was not the real me!
The next day I had an instant change of heart. I needed to leave. It wasn’t a feeling of running away. It was a feeling of finding positivity and discovering that there is so much more to me than what I had filled my depressed brain with.
So, here I am, typing this blog entry after almost finishing online real estate courses and closing a show in Florida. I purchased my very own energy efficient Prius and will be en route to San Diego this September. I am not saying that my passion has changed. I still have passion in the arts but I also have passion in my own mental well being.
Saying I am excited for this new chapter in my life would be an understatement.