Monday, February 27, 2012

a little gold statue, a big dream fulfilled

I remember the first time I sat down and watched the Oscars all by myself, all the way through.  It was the year that Reese Witherspoon won for best actress, and I was so happy because I must have watched Walk the Line about a hundred times in a row.  Then I was very sad because Joaquin Phoenix didn't win for best actor.  Ok, so I'll admit that Capote was a great film and the award didn't go to waste, but those two country star players were just amazing together, and I thought how appropriate it would have been for them to both take home the award.  Oh well, I'm sure that when Joaquin gets back on the radar and off of his hermit kick he'll get another chance to prove himself.

That was in 2005.  Now, 7 years later, I still watch the Oscars every year all the way through to the grueling end, all 24 awards that are presented and sorted, and suffer through some of the musical numbers that have been less than Grammy-worthy.  But I really love everything about the show.

This is something I look forward to every year, along with the Grammys, the Golden Globes, and the SAG awards... I could go on about why I really award season, but the Oscars are the all-American apple pie of award shows.  It's what film actors strive for, the movie role they get that year could be the role that scores them lifetime recognition, and people won't argue about your abilities as an actor onscreen when you've won such a prestigious award.  Actors become who they are because of that life-changing award.  Even actors that might get made fun of.  (Everyone has a Christopher Walken impression, but that doesn't negate the fact that even he won an Oscar and has massive amounts of respect from Hollywood at the end of the day).

Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep because she has worked her entire life to be a better actress day in and day out.  Her 17th nomination this year gave her the third Oscar of her career, and she really truly did deserve it.  After so many times of being nominated, she's got to win, right?  And you should have seen the shock on her face, and her excitement because of how used she had gotten to losing!  She's so great that one of her last nominations was for an only ok movie (The Devil Wears Prada) and only Meryl could shine through something like THAT. (Not that it was a bad movie, just saying we didn't foresee Oscar nods from it).

I heard her speech and I cried.  And I heard Octavia Spencer's speech, and I cried.  When I watched the SAG awards I saw Viola Davis' speech and I bawled my eyes out.  Seeing someone feel as though their life's work has truly made it all worth it in the end, makes my soul tingle.  I knew I wanted to be an actress when I was five, but when you see actor after actor shake and cry and laugh and yell and whoop and holler, it's no question as to why I want to do what they do.  You live the black sheep lifestyle of an artist, you become successful, and you are recognized as being successful.  It's an amazing outcome.

Now I'm not saying I want to become an actress just so I can win an Oscar, although of course that would be nice.  I am saying that I see their passion and their love for what they do pour out of them in that moment of winning.  That's what I want.  I want their happiness and love for what they do.  3 out of 4 Americans hate their jobs, and I never want to be one of those people.  Award season continues to inspire me, for the love of acting and being an artist.  There's nothing like it.  Follow your dreams people, you never know what could happen in the end.  Maybe you'll simply be inexplicably happy for the rest of your life, who knows.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Lent considered just as cliche as a New Year's resolution?

I remember when I was a kid growing up and I'd hear about Lent.  I didn't understand what it meant, or why it was even important.  I just knew that it was "Catholic" and we didn't do it at our house.  I never went to CCD, and somehow was jealous of the group of kids I knew who somehow had a bond that I didn't because they were forced to take a bible class once a week to prove they were worthy to be a member of the church. 
"I got confirmed this weekend," some kids would say, "and now my mom says I don't have to go to church anymore."  Whatever it meant to be Catholic, as I grew in my faith I just knew that it was easily blown off and somewhat of a fashion statement to say you were one just so you had a "thing" with other Catholics.  It's a culture that Irish Massachusetts people tend to have, and oftentimes when I tell people I go to church and that I believe in God, they will say something to the extent of, "Well I'm Catholic, BUT..." as if to say they're covered either way.  They'll go to church for funerals, weddings, and maybe a Christmas or an Easter when their Grandmother makes them, but they'll save their lifestyles for when they have kids and make them go to CCD and suffer just as they did. 

But for what is the "suffering" that they put themselves through?  Is it just so they can continue a family tradition?  Is it because a part of them feels as though they have to, simply because everyone they know does it as well?  Or is God somehow in there somewhere in the mix, waiting to be discovered and weighing in on hearts to keep a luke-warm connection with Him?

So back to my middle school days of listening to girls at the lunch table, comparing their Lenten sacrifices. 
"Well my parents order fish n chips every Friday so that we don't eat meat, but last week my brother ate a bologna sandwich for lunch.  Mom made him go to confession on Sunday, but Father Reily said it was ok."
"I gave up chocolate, and then two days later I totally forgot when my Gramma brought over cookies! I felt bad but, whatever they were good cookies."
"Oh I gave up chocolate too!  My sister gave up ice cream.  Too bad her birthday is during lent, but she can still have cake."

If you see the pattern here, I never once heard God in any of these conversations.  I only knew, (after asking my pastor at the Federated Church) that because Jesus was tempted for 40 days in the desert, Catholics chose 40 days before Easter to give up something that tempts them.  And because Jesus fasted during that time, they had to give up meat on Fridays.  (Granted, there are Catholics who fast every Friday during Lent, or they fast periodically throughout, but those are hard people to come by these days).  ONLY FRIDAYS?!  And these girls were complaining about chocolate, when Jesus starved and prayed for 40 days with Satan trying to get knocked out in the second round??  Oh, I'm sorry I guess giving up sweets qualifies for your ticket into Heaven.  Didn't realize it was as spirit-breaking as being the Son of God and dying for sins or anything like that.

Ok, that was a harsh last couple of sentences, but the whole thing just seemed silly to me.  Until I decided to challenge myself two years ago and give up something not because I wanted to be part of the fad, but because I was trying to understand the real true point of Lent.  I didn't want to say I was doing something and then give up after three days like a gym membership after New Years when everyone does it and then everyone forgives each other for not following through.  That year I was determined to do something that would change my spirit for the better.  Jesus' spirit and faith and livelihood was tested during His time in the desert, so I chose something that I had an issue with that was making me terribly unhappy, and I gave it up.  I gave up sex for lent.

Two years ago I was in a dark place.  I was in a dark place for most of college, as some of my friends knew.  I was depressed and I felt neglected and alone.  The boy that I thought I would somehow end up with in a fairytale sort of ending, didn't turn out the way that I had planned and prayed for.  So I pursued attention and love from anywhere I could or couldn't get it.  I was used and abused, and while I was enjoying the attention, I felt awful most of the time.  Giving up sex made me realize that I had the ability to figure out well ahead of the game just what a man was looking for when he first met me.  Sex or girlfriend?  There's only two options, really.  Even if they don't fall in lvoe with you in two seconds, you just seem to know right away if he only wants to get laid or if he's more than just that.  The power that I gained over my self control and my discernment was absolutely a turning event in my life.  That was the Lent that snowballed into changing many habits that I had; habits of a girl that I didn't recognize or like most of the time.

Last year was a sad Lent for me.  I was trying to give up sweets and overeating, because those were habits that induced my bulimic tendencies.  If I ate a half carton of ice cream, I could be sure it was coming back up.  My bulimia was so bad, that I couldn't go to work at the cafeteria without eating three platefuls of food a couple of times throughout the night.  I remember taking home food to repeat the process when I got home.  I told everyone that I was giving up sweets, when really I was giving up the abuse I was doing on my body.  Honest to God, only through prayer did I get through beating an eating disorder, because He knows I wasn't telling anyone about it.  I was in therapy for four months and never said a word about it. 

Two years ago, Lent was something I decided to take seriously and truly explore what spiritual change could do when you sacrifice something the flesh is tempted by, even though I'm not baptized as a Catholic!  So this year I still have about a day to decide what I'm giving up.  I try to do it the right way and fast on Ash Wednesday, so maybe I'll be able to make a real decision by the time the sun sets.  Although I have nothing that's really killing me emotionally or physically this time around, I'll have to take something away or add a habit that I've been meaning to add that could really help me in the long run as oppose to only up until Easter.  Because if it weren't for Lent, I would probably be without any idea of what a healthy relationship is and I wouldn't remember what it was like to eat a meal just to enjoy it.  So I have a lot to be thankful for due to something that some people think is just as BS as a New Years resolution.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

days that make you feel like an incompetent know-nothing hack.

The following are things that I have gotten rejected from in the past week:

1. Two parts that I got callbacks for, and yes I'm fully aware that actors whine about that crap all the time but just let me be annoyed for 24 hours before my next audition tomorrow night and save your, "you'll do great next time" bullshit.  One of them was such a challenging and fun role and the other was with a really connected company, also a fun part, and neither of them are mine.

2. A job that had perfect hours (noon to 6pm!) and was 1 mile from my apartment.  My problem with this was that she started interviewing me on the phone without telling me that she was interviewing me... to clarify, basically she had said she wanted to meet with me and instead of meeting me she just started asking me very specific questions about how I would do my job if she hired me, obviously none of which I was mentally prepared to answer and I think that's completely unfair.  Don't call someone to schedule an interview and then just decide to do it now and make judgments based on answers that they had no time to think about or prepare properly for!

3. Being able to sing in the worship band at my church.  I'm SORRY WHAT?!?!  First off, this one clearly upset me more than anything because shouldn't I be able to count on my church to let me participate in church run groups?  I wasn't even allowed to audition, this was based solely (according to the guy who said no) on my attendance during the holiday season to church and how inconsistent it was.  Well I'd like to know if he held the same standard to students who went thousands of miles away to see their families and weren't around for a month??  Just because my mother lives in Worcester and I went to a Navigators reunion and my home church on those Sundays means that I was penalized and tabs were being kept on me?!?!  Wow and people wonder why I have trust issues.

Basically everything that can go wrong, has been going wrong this weekend.  I blame the full moon, idiotic people, inconsiderate people, bad luck with other stupid and I don't even know what else.

As an actor, I deal with rejection all the time.  But when it comes all at once from different parts of your life, it's a pain in the rear.  I'm miserable today, and that's all I can really say about it.  I need a punching bag.  I need a cocktail.  I need a hug from my boyfriend.  I need a girlfriend who whines about the same things I do and makes me feel like we're both in a rut together.  I need to pray and feel like it'll change something.

These are the sort of things that when you get rejection from all points, you feel like you're not talented in any aspect of your pursuits. 
Can't get a job?
I have no marketable skills for a job.
Can't get an acting gig?
I'm a shitty actress.
Basically, you start to give yourself horrible explanations for these things and it makes you hate the rest of the world for making you feel this way.  I don't want to hear that it's all in my head I'm mad and I want to feel justified in being angry right now, OK/!??!?!!


Monday, February 6, 2012

myths I tend to believe

I'm a person who is most definitely superstitious.  Here is a complete list of normal everyday superstitions to ridiculous beliefs that I have:

1. people act different/abnormal things happen to you when there's a full moon
            -- Not joking, I drop almost everything and feel very depressed and anxiety ridden whenever
               there's a full moon.  And no, it's weeks away from PMS so they're unrelated.  My family will
               fight a lot, I lose things a lot, and I really just don't feel like myself.

2. not eating birthday cake or wedding cake is bad luck
           -- You should always have a piece of cake at your own birthday or wedding

3. Engagement rings from broken relationships are bad luck and therefore will curse the next relationship if they're used for another proposal, no matter who the giver/receiver of the ring is.  Same goes for cancelled weddings, that dress that was bought is bad kudos.

4. If you think there's a ghost in your house and you invite that sort of negative energy towards you, a ghost will be there.
          -- Sounds silly I know, but my family has always believed in energies and that beliefs draw
             negative and positive energies towards you.  Even if it's not a ghost, there's something.  Our
             old apartment in Worcester had voodoo people living there before us, aka chicken feet hanging
             from the ceiling and creepy stuff written on the walls before we lived there.  I always thought
             the place was haunted and trust me, it was.

5. What goes around comes around.
          -- Whether you're talking shit or doing something you shouldn't be doing, being negative all the
              time will only affect yourself in the long run.

 That's all I really got for now.  I'm sure there's other things I'm forgetting about at the moment like you have to eat the whole fortune cookie before reading the fortune or it won't come true...