Oh New York, our Love Affair is so hot and cold...
Sometimes I think we are made for each other. Sometimes I think you are the love of my life.
but then sometimes I hate you. passionately.
and so it goes, back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes by the minute.
But whatever the case, whether I love you or I hate you, I will always be thankful for you. I am thankful for the things you have taught me and the realizations you have brought me. I think when you move to New York you can't help but let it change you...perhaps change is the wrong word. In fact, change is definitely the wrong word. It is more like New York awakens the parts of you you never thought you had.
As an actor I am aware of the full humanity of all of us. That is to say, whatever one of us is capable of doing, we are all capable of doing. We all hold the same capacity to feel every single emotion, to do any or every deed. Being aware of this common humanity is essential to great storytelling and to creating believable, relatable characters. And while I always believed in this, I would still find myself thinking, "I wish I could be as bold as this person" or "I just don't have it in me to do that" or any number of thoughts of that nature.
And then I moved to New York. And now I can say, with complete conviction, all those people you wanted to be like, you are already like them. All those things you thought you didn't have it in you to do, you have it in you. All the strenghth. All the boldness. All the silliness, and the joy, and the hope, and the willingness and anything else. We all have everything inside us.
and sometimes you need to move to New York City to let it out.
and sometimes you love it. And sometimes you hate it. and sometimes you feel both at the same time and you have absolutely no idea how that happens...
but that is precisely one of the things that makes you love it.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
When I ran through my living room and *somewhat ashamedly* announced to my roommates that I was on my way out the door to do a spur-of-right-that-moment something that was absolutely beyond silly, I paused for a moment to hear their feedback. I waited with anticipation for the gentle, loving teasing that was going to come, ready to bear it with head held high! or at least with head held up... but to my surprise there was no mocking to be had. Yes, they giggled for a moment at the sheer ridiculousness of my plot, but then Dana said, "It is just like Dani says, 'it will be a story for when you are an interesting old lady'".
I have probably heard Dani say this before, but for some reason, as Dana quoted it to me, it struck a new chord.
I think, perhaps, of anything I have wanted to be an "interesting old lady" tops the list. When I reach the age of old lady, whatever that may be, I want to have a slew of tales to share. I want to earn that interesting title and give it more meaning than it ever had before!
In discovering this desire in myself I have found an incredible freedom. For one to become an interesting old lady, one must begin to build their arsenal of stories and experiences now. So whenever I feel so inclined to do something bold or silly or important or frightening, I now think to myself, "This shall be one of the tales for when I am an interesting old lady" and suddenly I am free of that pesky fear that sometimes likes to hang itself from my shoulders.
and I will have you know that said ridiculous plot was completely worth it.
I am going to be a very interesting old lady.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This memory snuck up on me today and warmed me right through the rainstorm happening outside.
When Rachell and I were 12 or 13 we spent a lot of our time imagining our futures, as children are prone to do. I had big plans to be a Broadway star and Rachell was already hatching a plot to become the CEO of the Disney Corporation. However, seeing as we were young teenage girls, the vast majority of our discussion focused more on our romantic futures. We would lay in bed and watch the clock tick away the wee hours as we tried to avoid getting in trouble for being awake far past our bedtimes. We reached inside ourselves and examined our delicate girlhood hearts. Back then they seemed so strong and resilient; they beat out a lively song and they were smooth and pink and waiting expectantly. Our hearts were so open and ready then, they were eager and hungry and practically bursting out of our chests. Of course they had yet to be touched then...yet to be broken. I like thinking back to the way we envisioned Love then; considering the unblemished view of what we thought the future would hold. Some of the uncompromising hope from those days always sneaks back in to my heart when I remember those sleepovers and hours of giggling.
On one occasion, for whatever reason, Rachell and I decided we were going to design for ourselves the perfect boyfriends. We were going to get out our pens and paper and write our profiles of our dream men, and their attributes, and the stories of our relationships with them. That way we figured that should any unwanted advances come our way we could say, "sorry, I have a boyfriend" and then be prepared with a backstory...Not to mention we just thought it would be fun to think about. Perhaps we believed that in writing all this down we would will it to be true...
So Rachell and I set to work thinking of the perfect names and occupations and backstories. We made lists of the good qualities they would have; important things like "good hair" or "nice to his mom" or, for Rachell, "wears a backwards baseball cap." After we had created sufficient backstories and molded precisely the correct character we sat in my bedroom with the unfortunate pink walls and read them out to each other. Rachells "boyfriend" was named Shawn, as she had a deep and undying love of Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World. He was a bit of "bad boy", at least by 6th grade standards. He skateboarded. I don't really remember much else about him, but Shawn was effective for Rachell...she used him as her imaginary boyfriend when needed and he suited her just fine.
As for my imaginary boyfriend, I cannot remember what I named him because as soon as I read his profile out to Rachell I promptly ripped it up and threw it away. As I was reading it I realized I didn't like him at all, in fact, I had created for myself the world's most boring boyfriend. And from that day on I have refused to make a list of who the "perfect man" would be because I realized that real people are so much more interesting. I realized that while I may know myself well, I need to be open to being surprised. I need to understand that there are some things that I don't know I desperately want. So often the best things in life come in those surprising moments, in the things you never expected, or the things you thought you never wanted. I don't want to miss those things.
There are many lessons I am so glad my heart has learned, despite the inevitable damage those lessons have inflicted on my heart. I can never love the way that soft girlhood heart would have loved, because I am different now. I like to think I am better. I am thankful for the way I see Love now. I am thankful I can see it as something real and tangible, something to find with my feet on the ground, something that exists not in this lofty realm that is above us, but rather on the streets and sidewalks we use everyday. But I do think there is still a bit of room for the core of that little girl heart that is still inside of me. There is a space for its hope and wonder and boldness; for the open arms it welcomes life with.
So I will try to unfold my arms from across my chest and let a little bit of surprise in. I will let some real living into my life.
This is one of the most beautiful videos I have ever watched.
"we don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." -George Bernard Shaw.
This is what I want for my life. I want to never outgrow some shenanigans, and to always remember how much fun it is to hop in puddles, and to always have people living beside me who are willing to play.