Today I’ve been pondering the torture and necessity that is auditioning to those of us who choose (or are chosen) to take the path of actor.

Now I think of myself as an artist open to all forms of expression and I take pride in having skill in a range of creative forms but acting has been at the center of my creative web since the first time I stood on a stage.

I haven’t thought about the moment I knew I wanted to be an actor in a long time but really sitting with my thoughts I can recall a very vivid moment in elementary school. A talent show or variety show put together in our music class or art class. I can’t remember the specifics. I do remember I used to be part of a gifted and talented class and worked closely with our music teacher on my performance.

What’s funny about the experience: I sang for this first performance. And singing still remains a slight fear for me. Yet the moment I knew I wanted to be on stage as often as possible involved singing in front of crowds of people. 

I was terrified. I was literally shaking. And yet this response that I had stirred this passion in me to learn more about performing. I sang in this talent show or variety show a song picked by my music teacher that went something like this: “when I’m shivering in my shoes I strike a careless and whistle a happy tune so no one ever knows I’m afraid” 

And I can’t quite remember if it was the words and finding that if I really believed I didn’t feel afraid or if it was the challenge of getting over my stage fright in order to accomplish my goal that really struck me – but something about that moment in front of parents and students alike and the congratulations I received afterwards from my music teacher forever branded me as a girl interested in the arts. 

Now add to that moment later on in elementary school being picked at random to take on a 2-line role in a production that came to our school – to make a cameo if you will – and you had a fully determined actor on your hands before I even reached middle school. 

It’s funny. I’ve never really thought about all this – but as I’m writing I’m remember so many moments about my early times on the stage and how afraid I was and how much that fear drove me to do it more. It was challenging to me. It scared me. And for some reason I liked that. 

I guess thats a testament to something very clear about my nature – I am determined and ambitious. I always have been. 

I may fear singing in front of crowds, but I can recall several moments after that where I have done just that. By choice even. And looking back that amazes me. 

I haven’t looked back in awhile. I haven’t thought about where I’ve come from. I’m realizing I’ve come from a place of deep determination and ambition that still lingers in me today. I may not always feel it as strongly as I once did or think I should – but I don’t think this determination will ever leave me. 

Auditions are scary. Singing is terrifying. And yet I do them. I’ve moved to a brand new city after graduation from college and I have made an active effort to audition for people I don’t know in the slightest – and to do so a multitude of times. It’s a funny thing we subject ourselves. 

We walk in knowing we are going to be judged. Judged on our appearance, our smile, our movements, our choice in monologue, our interpretation of emotions, our past work, our appearance in a photograph – all of it. We openly accept that. 

And then we hope and dream of being ‘well-liked’ ‘approved of’. We are the craziest, neediest, and probably some of the most determined people in the world. We asked to be judged regularly. It is our job to be judged by others and ‘ranked’. And our career is built on acceptance. 

It’s a strange world I live in. 

But its the world I’ve wanted since I first stepped into a spotlight and opened my shaking mouth. 

Teaching – Day 1.

Day 1.

The first day of any teaching job is a big “this is who I am. who are you?” It’s a pool of water and you dip your toes in to check the temperature kind of deal. Of course immediately after testing that water you have to dive right in to “I’m your teacher and this is class time” – but still test the water I did.

I think today I may have learned more about myself then the kids themselves. And I also learned a lot about what kind of teaching situation this is going to be.

By the end of the hour I will say I was having a blast and I left extremely excited to continue this work. This is my first time really being “head teacher”. I have another teacher in the room with me from the school I’m working in as a classroom management tool since she knows the kids so well – but I am the head of this program.

Speaking of this teacher from the school – today she may have been my favorite thing. We were told that we must always have a teacher from the school in the room with us and that it would be a challenge to always guarantee that. I, however, was given this glorious english teacher who is excited about this program, has been involved before, and above all has a marvelous power I strive to have in my teaching. She was my saving grace today in making me feel like I wasn’t a ship lost at sea with kids I didn’t know. She respected me as a young teacher and was always there to back me up. She made sure that I got the attention from the students I needed and truly helped me feel at ease in her classroom.

Today I only had six students. Six kooky and very typical middle school students with the attitudes of wanting to sit any second they could and not immediately wanting to be open and crazy. But it was fun watching over the simple class period how they became more focused, more excited, and just a little more open.

I can see how some of them are going to grow and others I’m just excited to see what brings them out of their shell. This teaching job will all end in a presentation of their making and I’m certain it’s going to be this beautiful experience – but I have no idea what it looks like. And that may be my favorite thing about this job. About this career. I don’t have a full plan, but I am the guide. I have ways to guide these students into artistic expression but whatever they express is their own.

I’m so ecstatic to see their expression, for them to find their unique voices, for their ideas to develop and change. I can see how its going to happen.

We played a game of focus. Passing the clap around a circle of 8 people. It involves a lot of focus and eye contact. These students were wacky and energetic in the way of wanting to just joke around with one another. But this group of kids played this game for 10 minutes until we could have two claps simultaneously going around the circle without missing a beat. (now I know if you don’t know the game I’m not exactly explaining it…but its not easy.) It becomes a fast paced game and they suddenly found a beautiful rhythm – all of us did and it was a marvelous high point to end the class on. We came together in the last few minutes into a steady beat.

And its only day one.

Needless to say, I’m pretty aware that right now: this is my calling.

 

(Clearly this post is not up to poetic standard I usually hold for this blog – but I am too tired and too full of words like “excited” and “ecstatic” to say much else. I promise my poetic charm and way with words will be back next time to eloquently describe the art in my life.)

Out of sickness, into battle.

I feel as if I’m coming out of a deep coma or an extended nap that left me woozy for days. Basically last week I was stuck inside, in bed. I’ve been woozy, exhausted, stuffed up, unable to talk at full volume. I’ve been so sick its like I spent a week getting out all the bad feelings and toxic emotions I’ve been having lately about my job, money, society. I’ve been lost in a dark place fretting over how much I hate my daily job and how much I worry about the cost of living for a young artist.

I feel that I’ve let down a lot of people in the past week or at least brought down my reputation in some sense. For a week I have been less than myself. I have been selfish and incapable of the work I pride myself on.

Now I do believe it is right to be selfish when you’re so sick you can’t stand for longer than an hour without feeling terribly exhausted and dizzy. I think I needed the time to wrap myself up in a blanket cocoon and stop thinking for long enough to sleep more than 7 hours. I needed the time to write, to reflect, and to remember that everything I had been feeling was not me.

I am not the girl who hates her daily job, I am not the girl who feels broken on a daily basis because of something a stressed out co-worker said or a cranky customer mentioned, I am not the girl who fears chasing her dream because it means facing the uncertain. I will not be the girl to succumb to “the grind” and high demands of society to fit into the little box of “the working class”.

Excuse me while I refuse to be the typical.

I can’t give into fear now when I am so young. It is only the beginning. And yes there is a major challenge in all that I have planned. Yes it is going to be hard, but I have got to get back to myself. Back to the warrior that I am.

“In my heart of hearts I am much warrior”

That is, for all time, my favorite quote ever written into a play. It has stuck with me from the moment I saw it on my textbook page and underlined not once, twice, but three times. I wrote it everywhere. And I continue to. Because its true.

I am declaring war. That sounds cheesy. All of this sounds cheesy. But its the way I feel. Today is the last day that I rest on my couch to fully recover my clear mind and unstuffed sinuses. I have been given a week to rest, to recuperate, and remember. It is time to work hard at my daily job in order to keep up my positive energy and make the money I need to survive – but only that. Because alongside that it is time I start diving so far into my art. It’s time for me to seek out as many opportunities as possible. It’s time for me to prepare for change and put my dreams as far first as I can.

I’m hoping for change in the near future – change that demands I work my days in my art and my nights at a job to make ends meet. I need to get it together and remember who I am.

I can’t take things as personally at my day job as I have. I can’t worry about that job every night because it’s not worth it. It is not the rest of my life – its a stepping stone to the rest of my life. It is the one thing that keeps me in this city instead of living with my parents – and that’s something. That. is. something.

I graduated college and I have not yet had to move home with my parents.

Here’s to positive thoughts. Positive energy. Laughing at my humdrum coffee shop job, smiling at the customers and co-workers who stress me out most. And most of all to owning that I am an artist. That my life is uncertain and that is the way I want it. For now.

Uncertainty is exciting. It is promising because anything can happen.

My life is like a blank slate that I get to paint all over. I’m going to make sure it gets covered in the most vibrant variety of colors.

I want my children to hear fabulous tales of their mother’s life. I want them to look up to all I’ve accomplished. I want them to dream as big as mommy because mommy went far and did so very much. I want to live a fabulous life that I can be proud of and they can be proud to tell their friends about. I want to take the world by storm. I always have.

his purring at my heels
with my knees pressing back
on the bathroom tiles
my hands firmly grasping
to the cold porcelain of reality
of ‘this is what human is….’
imperfect
instable
inconsistent
but his purrs echo the same
a consistent vibration
that hasn’t changed since the day
I brought him home
after catching his eye through door glass
to curl up in a plastic box
And play with a garbage bag
because at least
he wasn’t locked up
alone.
I think not being alone was key
before he could see
everything
but now he sees someone else
a ‘big cat’
holding up some strange rectangle
recording his littlest meows
and belly mrawrs.

that lack of change (f0r me),
that comfort of one constant
of one simple
“I’m here” in the touch of
his too long claws

knowing when I let go
of the porcelain
and turn on the bathroom light
to pretend I can handle
the brightness
at least I’ll have one thing:
the lulling
of a cat’s purr against my
ankles.

A Notice

One important statement to make about everything that this blog is. 

Writing is my escape. My one major outlet that never fails to make me feel better about my artistry, sanity, and own self. Language is the most powerful thing in my mind and the most beautiful.

Thus I write when I’m feeling all emotions. 

The more I’m writing means the more volatile my emotions are. When I’m in the worst of moods my keyboard is in the best of moods. 

So trust me when I say: what I write comes out in extreme emotions – at times I tend to over exaggerate my feelings – and my words will come off harsher in the moment then how I feel once they are all written. 

Please excuse any harsh commentary I make it if offends you or upsets you in any way. I have no idea who’s reading these words, but I want you to know they are not targeted at any of you.

 

With that all said: I don’t apologize. I warn. I admit my words can be extreme and scathing, but I do not apologize. 

Human beings have been given emotions of all kinds and we have every right to feel all of those emotions. 

my young eyes don’t begin to tell my story
what I am inside and out and what you perceive to be unseen
are two parallel lines
they never meet. 
you move around me like I’m 
a post in the road…
I am in your way
causing a fork where a clear path should be.

I am not doing my job
you say
ask her to take your hours
she told you
because clearly I’m not doing enough
my smile and constant 
false enjoyment of small talk with strangers
is not enough
doing as you are asked, 
even if done poorly with a woozy head and sniffling nose,
is not enough. 
because personal time is not allowed
this job is about others. 
serving.
serve them
serve her
serve him
but you…..
your cup should remain empty till the end of your shift
your parking payments will eat up half of your tips
and you’re only answer will be “yes of course”
“I’ll be there” 
and make it five minutes early.

the service industry will eat you up
and spit out just a frame.
a carcass of could’ve been,
should’ve been.

and I think to myself:
this isn’t what I want. 
10 years, 12 years
of making someone else’s coffee,
claiming a small space to be my own
when really the owner’s are out driving
vintage cars and tanning 
on some far away coastline
in search of the next
“Featured Farm Series”. 

So I apologize if I’m sick
and I don’t come in
(as the flu advisory from headquarters advised: if you’re sick, call your manager, and don’t come in). 
I apologize if I don’t see any of you 
years from now
for this is a place I won’t be.

This is not where I want to die – an artist lost in translation.
No, I dream of bigger things,
of vaster adventures,
of variety.
I dream bigger
thus I must be bigger….
so you’ll excuse me 
if I say:
I’m quitting this summer
heres my 4 month notice. 

The adult sick day. 

 

I may not be as sick as I was earlier this week, but I still have the woozy brain and stuffy nose syndromes today. Still by 3:45 I have done more than sick 5 year old Hayley would ever imagine of doing.

I’ve worked a 5 hour shift – talking and standing nonstop for those 5 hours mind you – dealing with childish adults demanding their coffee or latte or cappuccino with no foam. Sticking their hands out for their change the minute they hand you their money in the first place. 

I’ve drank a cappuccino while reading Bukowski. (I will admit this choice came from wanting to see my delectable boyfriend who happens to work at the coffee shop I frequent for reading hours – but still. It was an adult choice. 5 year old Hayley only dreamed of Prince Charming – she didn’t have one).

I ordered and picked up headshots and resumes. Resumes being super cheap and wonderful at a FedEx office with a cashier who wished me “Good luck!” and who almost got a good luck from me in return since I’m completely on autopilot at stores and always assume they’re saying “Have a good day” and I always wish them “You too!”. Headshots being super cheap only because the Walmart Employee (yes I go to Walmart for headshots merely because when I need them in a bind 8 by 10s are cheaper than any place else within driving distance) couldn’t scan the barcode for my pictures and clearly didn’t give a shit so she picked a photo package and typed it in making my purchase more than half off what it really should have been. 

All this is preparation for an audition Monday afternoon. 

On top of all this I got the lovely surprise of one of my Amazon gifts arriving. Where I work daily gave us amazon gift cards for Christmas and I spent all of mine in one fell swoop. The items that arrived? A paper cutter and a lunch organizer. Yes. I got excited over a paper cutter and a lunch organizer. These are the gifts of an adult. An adult who loves organization and clean lines. 

 

Oh and the very cherry on top of this adult sick day. (I’ve completely gone on a tangent at this point. This post has nothing spectacular to say besides “this is my life” but sometimes….I like reflecting on my silly, little life). The cherry on all of this: I came home with all my things in my arms, opened my apartment door and the door swung open super wide revealing my cat sitting their observing. Usually my cat with a door this open would bolt out to explore, to escape, to do whatever it is he desires to do – my cat for the first time just sat there watching me. He didn’t bolt, he didn’t scurry – he sat there waiting for mommy to get inside and pet him. 

I think that is the most amazing thing – the most beautiful thing that happened all day. 

My cat feels happy enough with his little life full of cuddles and all the food he can eat to just sit and wait – to not try and run away. That little rascal. 

 

So back to my point about adult sick days – I don’t know what my point is. Their much different than days spent on the couch watching movies and tv shows while your parents bring you orange juice and pudding. They demand more attention. They demand movement and facing the blowing wind. They demand that you continue on with your life as well as you possibly can while still trying to heal. Healing in motion. That’s what adults do. Healing by continuing to fight and move. Healing by buying a new shade of lipstick (or maybe that’s just me). 

Healing by writing out all these minute details about my life just so a few people (and my boyfriend) can read about it all later. And more than likely learn nothing. But even nothing is something right? 

the way candlelight plays on bathroom tiles
the shower dew inching down the slick surfaces
pulling down, down
gathering near my vulnerable feet
as I dance to find a constant heat
a constant source 
of undeniable warmth 
the way that candle reminds me of blinking eyes
of flashing lights at 5 am 
when the roads are empty
and snow-covered sidewalks glisten
under the last moments of moonlight.
the exact way the droplets of shower water
remind me of steaming tears rolling over curves
of cheekbones
of your shoulder blades
the shower head seems to blurt out all these things
saying over and over “you remember….
now forget” 
because no matter what –
the water always drains out 
beneath my feet. 

Balance.

I’ve noticed the biggest challenge I’ve faced out in the ‘real world’, the post school world, is that of balance and organization.  

Suddenly my life is no longer broken into blocked of dictated class time, study time, rehearsal, and break. I don’t have a printed schedule handed to me before each “semester” of my life and thus I have all this open space. Open time to create my own blocks, but in life – those blocks don’t mix well and the majority of life isn’t shaped in different size blocks to fit in columns known as days. 

I get excited about one venture, I dive in, I make my promises, and I miss one day of writing in said ‘block’ of time and suddenly another opportunity comes and tries to fit in the open spaces that I only imagine to be there. 

I forget about former promises and find myself trying to fit the old around the new and make it all work at the same time. 

A long time ago, well more like months but it feels like ages ago, I made an initial promise – a promise to create this idea that would become a class of my own. From there communication was little and choppy – then suddenly I realize all the time I have promised without realizing it. I have classes that yes I can teach, but I didn’t fit into my schedule as well as I could have. 

Thus I became the annoying unprepared young artist who emails to person planning the classes over and over again – trying to explain, trying to apologize, trying to make it all work without revealing that I’ve planned too much. I must appear so young and unprepared to her. I’m sure I will not be a teacher she wants to contact directly again. 

Now I don’t see this company as one I need to work in over and over again. I don’t see it as a place I plan to work for long into the future. But I say every connection is a good connection. Every positive review about me as a teacher or as an artist is one I want. 

Reputation is the way this business works. I know that.

And I’ve always prided myself on a positive reputation. On being likable. 

I may not be the most talented at first look, but I have always been one who was liked, persistent, and hardworking. I want to continue that. 

So here’s to making things better. Keeping my reputation shiny. And attempting to be less of a whiney, annoying, unprepared artist. 

 

I’ve discovered a weakness: I say yes too often. It’s time I start saying no in order to keep balanced. 

“To hell with them. Nothing hurts if you don’t let it.”

— Ernest Hemingway

 

I stumbled across this quote today as I sat sick on the couch using as many items of technology as possible. I read it over once and merely nodded my head in agreement. But then I went back. I started at the words I few more seconds before pulling out my journal and writing it down, circling it with brackets for added emphasis I suppose and now I’m here. 

I’ve been all about goals lately. Goals with my career. It’s been all about my career. And then I have a few personal goals about my fitness, but I haven’t really made goals for my perspective or my nature or anything else truly personal to me. Besides my body I haven’t come up with a goal for another part of me. 

Well here it is. 

I’ve always been far too aware of what other people think of me. I’ve been sensitive, emotional, distressed over the smallest things – over the people who don’t matter and the job that merely pays the bill. These things are the things I shouldn’t be stressed about. They make me upset and distressed for no good reason. 

My goal personally this year is about those little things, those people who don’t matter to my life – to hell with them. This is a year to claim for myself and to not worry about the things that don’t matter in the big picture.

I deal with people who are cranky, upset, tired on a daily basis and they take out their frustrations on me. I work at a job that is exhausting, repetitive, monotonous which brings frustrations to my artistic soul. To hell with them. These customers, these coworkers on bad days, this job doesn’t matter in the long run and these things don’t have any power over me. They shouldn’t break my soul, break my essence. 

This year’s motto: “To hell with them”. And I think that’ll make a more confident artist out of me. 

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