Posted by fxckfeelings on January 19, 2016Share This Post
No one’s life is really controllable, but if you’re one of those lucky people who works freelance, dates long distance, and generally has as much control over his life as a cat wrangler over his herd, then you know a special kind of chaos. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can avoid falling into these categories, but it does mean that you must work even harder, not to stay sane, but to respect yourself for tolerating frustration and loneliness while persisting in your efforts to pursue goals that you truly value. Your life may feel out of control, but if your goals are steady, then you’ll be able to stay the course.
I am an actress in my 30s, and I was on a roll after not working for a year and a half. I booked an amazing movie and met a guy, fell in love quick and deep, but then I had to go home, thousands of miles away from him. I went back to being busy with work, doing well, looking forward to getting back to his town with another job, but of course it didn’t work out this way. I got close on some jobs and was working with a life coach who told me the job was coming, but 9 months went by and I was working a part-time job and getting depressed about the dude as I hadn’t heard from him and suspected he had moved on. I forced his hand and decided to go to see him anyway, so I saved a bunch of money to go see him and have my heart broken in person (and then make peace), but then I got home early only to discover my part time job and apartment were gone. The life coach tells me I have to get a regular job and that I sabotaged my career. I feel like the last of all my friends to get my shit together and it’s all a bit overwhelming. Plus I still have feelings for the guy and I’m still 9000 miles away. I want to go move home, closer to my family (and to him), but need money to do so. I feel lost and pulled in a million directions—I want to really focus on my craft and making a living doing that, but also have a boyfriend, and it always seems like it’s one or the other, and my feelings get the better of me sometimes. My goal is to figure out how to make it all work.
While most of us would like to believe that you start every year with a clean slate, the fact is that you already have two strikes against you, the first being that no actress has ever figured out a surefire way to make an acting career work. Being sexy, savvy, or second generation Hollywood doesn’t even insure success. You can learn your craft, work hard, and hope for the best (and if you achieve success, hope that it actually lasts).
Second, and equally nonexistent, is a guaranteed way to make a long distance relationship work, so it’s unlikely that you can revive your relationship with your previous boyfriend. Given that you’re in a tough field and looking to be with someone who can accept you, your career, and your need to travel, best forget about old regrets and a clean slate, and begin this year with a clear-eyed acceptance of your position.
Assuming you’ve read the above carefully and will no longer pursue unrealistic goals, there’s much you can do, starting with dumping any coach who tells you you’ve sabotaged your career. As long as you’ve done a reasonable, professional job of preparing for auditions and networking, you should take pride in your efforts. Yes, you should continue seeking a day job, but don’t give up your calling.
Get a coach who knows how hard it is to be an actress and can help you through the tough times when you do everything right but work doesn’t materialize. For 99.9% of actors, that’s a big and unavoidable part of the job.
Don’t date someone just because you fall in love with him, regardless of how deeply you fall; as an actor, you’re paid to feel, but in a relationship, it pays to think about your choices and protect yourself. Hang back from the edge of the love-well until you find someone who is as steady as he is interesting. Look hard and carefully, be patient, and never relax your standards.
You’ve already distinguished yourself as an actress and you know you can fall in love. Now develop the standards and perspective that will allow you to deal with the hard, random, unrewarding nature of your profession and the burdens it places on your personal life. Then you may be lonely and frustrated, but you’ll never be a failure, and your sense of pride won’t be an act.
“I feel like I must be screwing something up, given how close I am to success as an actress and in my love life and how far I am from taking the next step. I will accept the fact, however, that acting gives me remarkably little control over major areas of my life, so that I must be extra-careful not to judge success by the results of my efforts, but by how well I continue to pursue them when the results are disappointing.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname