Thursday, September 9, 2010

the fear is falling away (like feathers on fire)

I promised explanations and now I'm kicking myself for it. I really, REALLY hate explanations. There's a reason why my blog title translates to the thing speaks for itself.

Explanations are boring. And I have a low threshold for boredom. But some of you asked me to tell the long version of stories and I agreed because what I hate even more than boring is having people feel left out or lost. So tell me if you've ever felt this way: that you weren't good enough.

Tell me if you've ever sat in the room and thought, I have no idea what I'm doing and if they find out I'll be shot for sure.

Tell me if you, like me, grew up in a house of grenades, each step or word the possibility of an explosion, and it made you so nervous to draw attention to yourself that you cloaked yourself in silence so that when the grenades went off you were far, far away from the shrapnel. Tell me if you still carry that on your jacket of self-worth, that quality of staying in the back of the room, flying low under the radar, the fear you carry like a knife to protect you but you're noticing more and more that it just ends up cutting down all the growth in your life.

I walk this walk every day, in an industry that tramples on people who don't think they deserve attention. I have been blessed by the opportunities I've had so far in trying to be an actress - people who have literally written roles for me, or jumped on board a project when they found out I was involved, or looked me straight in the eye and told me they'd go wherever I went because they trusted me. I'm honored by this - and I don't take it for granted. Not even for a second.

But the other side of it is that I suck at marketing myself and I'm pretty much my own worst enemy. If you read my guest post over at Lira's you know that while I was already going through a fairly big life change of moving in with that boy I adore, she helped me pack and shrieked a lot - at the same time, seriously - about how I needed to use this momentum to finally DO.SOMETHING. with my fairly stalled acting career. I had put it on the back-burner yet again because...because...wait, I'm thinking...

Because I'm scared. Because the voices in my head that scream the loudest are the ones that tell me that I don't have any talent, that I've got a one in a million chance to make it in this town, that I'm nothing.

That I'm worthless.

So I gathered what momentum I could and cut my hair cuter, gently "fired" my talent manager (who's still one of my best friends, thank god for his emotional maturity when it comes to business), scheduled not one but two different headshot sessions, and called in a favor. This favor was that I needed a referral for all the new managers and agents I'm gonna submit myself to and therefore risk rejection from - and I knew who I wanted to call but was afraid I'd piss off this casual acquaintance who also just happens to be one of the biggest casting directors in Hollywood right now. But you know what sucks more than rejection? Not trying.

So I bit the bullet. I asked the casting director for a referral. And do you know what he said?

He said not only would he love to refer me but that he would personally meet with me so that he could recommend some specific agents and managers that I should submit to.

Now, I know that I want to be a success, and that my friends and family are interested in it because they want to see me happy.

But with my low levels of self-esteem these days... I never dreamed that someone who knows my work and isn't related by blood or love would actually be interested in seeing me make it in LA. I didn't know...and I never expected it.

I'm starting to get bolder, and less scared, and starting to think this crazy notion that maybe, just maybe, I deserve good things to happen to me. That's tough to explain to someone who grew up thinking she was a magnet for all the bad in the world; it's tough for me to understand that maybe I deserve good just as much as other people. But I'm working on it, and I've come too far to go back now, and the changes are coming a mile a minute and I'm working my ass off to make sure I land on my feet when the fire's gone out and there's nothing but smoke left.

(This is also the reason why I named myself Phoenix.)

And for those who asked about my friendship with Lira - I'll just say this. There are many, many guys in my life whom I call brothers. There is only one female on this entire planet that I call my sister, and that's Lira. She grew up in the same kind of home that I did, so she knows. She gets it. And when things got really bad in college she physically took my hand to the student counseling center and stayed with me while I filled out the What's Your Damage form and counseling got me talking and talking got me less angry and less angry saved my life. So you could say that when she tells me to do something (shrieks, even), I listen.

Eventually.

38 comments:

Anthony Duce said...

Keep thinking the way you are thinking and you will do fine.

Robin said...

I wear a disguise
I'm just your average Jane
The super doesn't stand for model
But that doesn't mean I'm plain
If all you see is how I look
You miss the super chick within
And I christen you titanic underestimate and swim
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
(CHORUS)
And I'll be everything that I wanna be
I am confidence in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I'll shoot the shot, bang, that you hear round the world

And I'm a one girl revolution

I'm a one girl revolution
I'm a one girl revolution

Some people see the revolution but most only see the girl
I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world
I declare my independence from the critics and their stones
I can find my revolution I can learn to stand alone...

(CHORUS)
And I'll be everything that I want to be
I am confidence in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I'll shoot the shot, bang, that you hear round the world...

And I'm a one girl revolution

Bathwater said...

That sounds so great. I can't wait to hear more from the casting director side.

I lived in a house like that also, not in anyway as frightening as you but enough to understand the words. I remember trying to make myself invisible in plane sight when my mother would be on one of her rants.

I hate the marks it leaves.

Scarlet-O said...

the industry is shot to shit- it's dead and dying- well- rather- going through a metamorphosis... all the money-men with their focus group films tanking one after another, still dinosaurs stuck in the studio system... it's just hard right now. but you're right, this place is like... i'm not going to be too negative... it's amazing in so many ways... but it's WEIRD, and it's HARD, and it's PHONY, and you can depend on nothing. but i don't believe in luck. i believe in you, in your talent, and in the fact that it will carry you as high as you wish.

love
s-o

Maggie May said...

oh this is awesome to read, this is really good to read, this momentum and push for yourself. you DO IT.

krista said...

uh oh. where did my comment go? blogger ate my comment.
it basically said that growing up the way you did makes it possible for you to understand the human condition that much more. or it makes you a drug-addicted psychopath. and i'm glad you chose actor.

g. fox said...

one word answer: attagirl.

Smita Tewari said...

u look lovely in ur different modes!
and we have died a 1000 deaths out of sheer boredom!
ennui, perhaps! but we bounce back!
so not to worry.

Elisabeth said...

It's so good to read about you rising from the ashes of your self doubt, Phoenix, and getting on with your life.

Life's too short to linger too long, though lately I've had have to teach myself to slow down.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

A name like Phoenix is perfect for both the writing and acting worlds, which are filled with rejections. You've got to be able to pick yourself up over and over, but from what I've read from you, you've got the heart and courage, and, wings.

Marion said...

I'm so proud of you!! You deserve the best of everything, Phoenix. Keep your chin up and hang in there.

I'd love to see your name up in lights at the movies really soon. You're so beautiful, loving and caring. (We need a picture of your new look!) Break a leg. Love & Blessings! xoxo

Robin said...

I left you the lyrics to your song yesterday to know that it wasn't an accident. I didn't know what exactly was grabbing you by the throat and throwing you around; I just knew you needed reminding of how strong and special you were. And that you deserved some ATTENTION.

I came back because that was more impersonal than I normally comment. I do know what it is like to allow your fears to rule your world. If you read that blog I wrote (not so long ago) I gave away a leading role in a play in high school because I didn't want to play someone old for both of my high school plays. Basically, I didn't want both of my leading roles in the main plays to be old people. That was so dumb.

BUT, it all comes back to this feeling that I had in my head by that time that I was never going to meet someone who would actually love me. It was a very strong feeling. I wasn't thinking I wouldn't meet someone. I was thinking I would never meet someone and get the good love. The true kind. (unfortunately, I am still waiting on that, so that feeling isn't so wrong)

Anyway, that feeling is responsible for a lot of the yuck decisions I have made in my life. That play was just the first. Now that I understand the law of attraction better, as long as I was in vibrational alignment with that feeling ~ well, that was going to be my reality.

It's really too bad I didn't have a strong conviction at 16 that I was going to be a moviestar. Well, because I would be a moviestar. Or, in my case, probably on a soap. I really don't want to be uber famous. I don't like the idea of losing my ability to go anywhere w/o being hounded. But I would be doing work that I loved and getting PAID for it. Pretty awesome.

What I am trying to say is that the only real obstacle you have to overcome is your brain. Your belief in yourself. Once you believe it down to the marrow of your bones, then it will be your reality. Lira, your sweet guy, me, the rest of your wonderful friends... we believe it already. We don't count. We will cheerlead you all the way.

Believe it. You are the voice yet waiting to be heard. You'll shoot the shot *bang* that you hear around the world!

CatherineJ said...

Great post! Motivational- It is hard to put yourself out there! But I know you are going to do great!

drollgirl said...

girl, you ARE A PHOENIX! you are rising! you deserve all the success in the world! i know it is hard to put yourself out there, but you are ON YOUR WAY!!!!!

don't forget us when you are rich and famous! :)

Lira said...

Yes. Sisters. There really is no other word to quantify what you mean to me.

I love you.

Indigo said...

This could have been 'so' written by me. You don't leave home at 16 and never look back without a reason. And when it comes to fear...got it in boatloads when it comes to my writing.

Add in all the insecurity of growing up hearing disabled and finally becoming deaf...the fear escalates into...am I ever going to be good enough "for me".

Thanks for inspiring me to take the bull by the horns and do what I do best...write. (Hugs)Indigo

P.S. I hate explanations too (shrugs). Sometimes there's no explaining away why we do the things we do or are the way we are.

Annje said...

Good for you, taking an emotional risk like that, I am so glad it worked out.

Lori ann said...

your title says it all. you will be fine tracy dear.

xoxo,
lori

Gwen said...

Girl I am so proud of you!!! You are making the biggest steps forward just by putting yourself out there. XOXO

Ed Pilolla said...

okay, look, you're probably never going to stop the anxieties you experience about yourself. i know them well myself. but see, i have a feeling that, like me, you use these anxieties as part of the creative process. i find it's part of the rich cycle of creating. death and darkness is a part of life, and if we write about life or act the part of life, we must have those parts of us alive and well within us, which means we keep company with some messed up characters inside us. our experiences implanted many of these dark and delicious characters inside us. i have a genuine killer inside me. you do too, sounds like. be firm with your killer. he's not going away. deal with him more appropriately.
if i'm way off base here, forgive me.
my email is epilolla@yahoo.com. yeah, i have a couple a cool green images to send your way if you want 'em.

Barbara said...

I've been reading you long enough to know your history and you've had a lot to deal with. And you've dealt with it really well.
Inside, all those feelings of self-worth may be battling, but you're coming out ahead. That's because you are taking control once again and doing something to change and improve your life.
You chose a particularly difficult business too. One that damages self images constantly. It' tough to keep fighting the fight day after day when it would be easier to give up, but you're doing it and even though your friend has been so supportive, it's still YOU who is making the changes. Good for you, Tracy. I'm here rooting for you.

Kristin Quinn said...

Hold your head up high girl! Your new headshots that I saw are so great!! And I'm proud of you for asking someone that you know for a favor. That is so difficult to do but it always seems people are more willing to help than we give them credit for sometimes. Keep pushing forward!

Jo said...

I love this, and I get this....so much. This is one inspiring post, lady!!

Liza said...

If you act the way you write success must be just ahead.

Eric W. Trant said...

You'll make it just fine, you know, hand grenades and all.

I once remarked during an engineering interview, when the interviewer asked: Eric, what is your greatest success in engineering?

I said: It's that I'm a chemical engineer in an electrical engineering industry, and I haven't been fired yet!

I got the job, and it was an elec. eng'g job.

So I get you on feeling like you'll be shot for not knowing what you're doing. Fake it. Fake it good.

Then, if it gets messed up, blame someone who can't speak English (that's Homer Simpson's advice).

- Eric

littlemissjuicy said...

Love you...miss communicating with you. Wish you all the best-
Nahl.

Lori ann said...

hope all is well with you sweetie.
xoxo

Dionne said...

If anyone can do it, you can. You are such a strong woman. So many women are content with just giving up and lurking in the shadows, filled with regret. You take life by the horns and ride it no matter how many times it's kicked you down. Go for it!

Carissa said...

you do deserve good things! I know I struggle with that sometimes, knowing what I deserve and demanding it, or maybe asking politely for it :) but I'm so happy to hear that you are making things happen for yourself. you are so talented in so many ways and I can't see you finding anything but success. sometimes it takes a good kick in the butt from our best girl (or guy) friend though to really believe it! we all need friends like that.

can't wait to hear more as you soar to the top, Phoenix! :)

jonas wunderman said...

A sort of solid happiness settled down on me after reading to the end of this post ...

You are several kinds of impressive rolled into one.

J x

Smita Tewari said...

I am sure some day,you'll rise from the ashes like the phoenix you are!

thanks for visiting my blog & ur comment.

Terresa said...

Sorry, I'm late coming to this post, hectic stuff with school starting again, out of town bday celebrations, etc...but I can't stop by without commenting!

First off, you can do it. You are brave, bold, beautiful, and have what it takes, a head of your shoulders that *thinks*. :)

PS: Love that you have a dear heart friend, Lira. I have one, too (different name, of course), without her, I don't know where I'd be, she is that much sister cool.

Kris said...

Keep rockin LA girl!

ps stop by for an award!

Joker_SATX said...

Well, I am finally back at it after a long ass hiatus.

I am glad to see that you are finding your stride and that you have surrounded yourself with people who care about you....

That is way important! Keep the faith sweetheart and keep in your heart something that was told to me during my moments of self perceived failure....

Remember, you are more superior than you THINK you are.

Purple Cow said...

I think some day you will be very very famous! Like Angelina Jolie, like Nicole Kidman, like Monica Bellucci so I have some questions for you on my blog!

Dionne said...

Hey, no new posts from you in a while. miss you!

Heather Taylor said...

Tracy, you deserve everything grand and wonderful this world has to offer you. I'm so proud of the initiative you took to ask for the referral, the whole time I'm sitting here reading this post and just going "You go girl!" over and over. Something tells me I'll be seeing you on the silver screen pretty soon...make it happen girly! ;)
PS, I missed your blog like crazy. It's always been such a favorite of mine. Thanks for sticking by mine. I don't think you know this, but it was after you left that comment on my depressing glass walls post that I immediately snapped out of my funk and decided to change everything up. Thank you for that.

Lira said...

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

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