Tag Archive: giving up

I’ve been trying, desperately to do two things this year. One, develop a regular habit of going to the gym. Yeah, yeah I know. Typical New Year’s Resolution thing but the difference for me is that I’m actually training for something. I have an end goal and I’m serious about reaching it. And two, stop casually buying so much food. Bagel here, cinnamon bun there, dinner because I didn’t feel like packing it, breakfast sandwich because I felt like it, that kind of thing. So far, I have to say, I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve only bought dinner once because I didn’t pack it and lunch once because I literally dropped the one I’d packed on the floor. I’ve only had one week where I didn’t make my goal of three times per week (2/3 isn’t the end of the world, right?). This may not sound impressive but to have kept up these habits for two whole months while working two jobs and rehearsing a show (and trying to keep my relationship afloat) is honestly a huge accomplishment for me. I am the QUEEN of giving up. One bad day, one bad week and I am the first person to throw in the towel and decide it’s all for naught. This is an impulse I have been battling my whole life and, so far, I’m losing the war. Sticking to it is hard. I don’t understand those people who work a lot but also eat healthy and have crazy muscles and also pursue dreams and volunteer and have hobbies and maintain successful relationships and… Sorry, I’m getting off-track. But, for real, it blows my mind. I admire those people and their self-discipline and self-control. Maybe they work just as hard at it as I do but they make it seem so effortless and sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair.

All of this is a long winded way to admit that the other day, I had a bad day. I felt really sick all day, I was exhausted from a long week (like almost-falling-asleep-at-my-desk exhausted) and I was absolutely dreading my post-work workout and then post-workout rehearsal. I wanted so badly to skip the workout to go home and take a nap and then to call in sick to rehearsal and go to bed. Like so bad. But. I didn’t do it. I dragged my feet into my car and used all my willpower for my arms to guide my car to my gym and not to my house. I dragged my feet and forced myself through my planned workout. Yes, I went a little easier than I might normally but I didn’t skimp on my cardio time and I only allowed myself to go five pounds lighter on the weights. Did I feel energized and chipper afterwards? Honestly? No. I still felt like total shit. I was still nauseous, I still had a headache and now I was even more tired than before and also sore. And, I still kind of wished I’d gone home for the nap but still, I’d done it. I’ve probably never walked so slowly and pathetically in my life but I dragged my butt into the car and away from home, towards rehearsal. Which led to my second predicament. All I wanted was a bagel. A double toasted bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese and a peppermint tea instead of the shepherd’s pie and slightly limp peppers waiting in my trunk; just some comfort food for a long and terrible day. Also, I was early and I have a bad habit of going to get food to kill time when I’m exorbitantly early, as I often am. I allowed myself the tea but skipped the bagel. I ate the shepherd’s pie. (I skipped the peppers.)

So what did I do yesterday? I went to the gym and I ate the dinner I’d packed for myself (sort of). It doesn’t seem like much but the point is that it’s important to acknowledge the little victories, whatever they may be. For someone else, this may be nothing. But for me, queen of giving up when I just don’t feel like trying anymore, this is a small victory of a day that will help me when I come up against bigger, more difficult challenges in my journey to be a better version of myself.  I’m going to win this war, one little victory at a time.


Thoughts on Taking a Step Back

I read something recently about “earnest prayer.” I’m not, nor have I ever been, religious but I will admit that sometimes I long for the solace of prayer and believing that there is someone there listening. Sometimes I find life so overwhelmingly complicated that I yearn to be able to put it in the hands of someone else. Unfortunately for me, I just can’t bring myself to really believe in a higher power nor do I even believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that you make what happens and that sometimes pure chance either helps you out or knocks you down. Nonetheless, this earnest prayer that I was reading about was from a lifelong actor who prayed that her call to the theatre would be taken away from her until she was ready to go back to it and this struck a chord with me.

I’ve been out of theatre school for the better part of two years and have done exactly one project that I cared about. One single project that filled my artistic cup and made me remember all the reasons I got into this messy life in the first place. Sure, I’ve worked on half a dozen shows in this time period but most of them were the bottom of the barrel. Take-what-you-can-get kind of stuff and I can’t seem to “get” anything worth doing. I feel out of my element and lost. I feel like I’m drowning in the overwhelming task of making a life in the theatre. I love it. I do. There is nothing in life that gets me more passionate and feeling more alive than working on something that I love but all of these projects I’ve been doing just to do something have left me feeling drained, frustrated and hopeless. Which is why, lately, I’ve been wondering if this is the right path for me and why reading about that prayer nearly brought me to tears.

I’ve been considering the idea of just giving up. Of packing up my vocal warmups and my transitive verbs and my clown nose and putting them in a box in the darkest corner of my proverbial closet but every time I get close to a decision I get scared. I’ve done basically nothing with my life in the last 16 years that didn’t revolve around theatre. I don’t have any other passions in life. There are other things I like, other things I enjoy but there is nothing else that I have ever encountered that makes me feel the way theatre does. So if I give that up, what do I have? And if I give that up, how do I hold on to my pride and my identity? What will my theatre school friends think? How many I-told-you-so’s will I have to listen to from my friends and family who have always thought I was out to lunch to even go to theatre school in the first place?

I know I could never give it up forever. That is not an option but I am exhausted from failure. I have completely and totally failed in pursuing my dreams and while that is not necessarily a bad thing (all good theatre emerges from failure, after all) it is demoralizing and I can feel my spirit breaking. I just need a break. I need some time to figure out what I really want in life and to revitalize my will to get there. Writing this down is the closest I have ever come to speaking these words out loud. And, of course, we all know that saying it out loud makes it real. I’m still not ready to do it for real, I don’t think, but I’m getting closer. So, I guess in a way, this is my version of an earnest prayer and boy is it ever scary.

I wish that somehow this could be easier or that someone could just hand me a neat and tidy solution but life’s not like that. There are no pamphlets or neon signs or perfect little ribbon-y bows, there is just a mess of desire, emotion and fact that never seem to get along. But If I can’t find revitalization from what I love then maybe the only answer is to leave it be. I’ll come back to it, I know I will, but maybe, just maybe, now is not the right time to be in it.