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.

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