Since being in Austin I have been faced with the trouble of creating relationships. Meeting people is easy. Meeting people you like is also relatively easy. Developing a relationship beyond drinking or smoking at a bar… Wildly difficult. In the mean time, I’ve found myself surrounded by people that are not necessarily like minded and sometimes at a maturity level that is less than that of mine. But, I have been going through a phase of learning to accept people for who they are, so I thought it would be fine. I was wrong.
I would like to begin by saying, I am in no way a victim, and this is more an account, a telling, than it is a complaint or lament. Many of the people I’ve been surrounding myself with exhibit behavior similar to what one might expect from… say, a middle school student; Massive. poorly constructed excuses, Insecurity masked by a judgmental eye, and the habit of thinking any all things are about them. I did what I could to be myself in situations where one or more of these habits would appear, in hopes of being a beacon for a different way of living and I imagine that I was successful at this for some time. The other day, things went South.
A woman I know was upset after having knocked over one of her own glasses. I started to ask her a question, “Do you know where your speaker is? Oh, no I’ll wait because you’re busy,” I stopped asking the question as not to be a distraction to the cleaning process. The woman responds to my question with, “Oh, wait, do you have anything? No, because you’re poor.” … Please refrain from laughing. I thought for sure this a joke or I heard he wrong, so I asked, “Did you just say, ‘Oh, wait, do you have anything? No, because you’re poor’ to me? To which she responded, “yes”.
Now, I wasn’t personally offended by this, because it was possibly the saddest attempt at insulting someone. I was, however, surprised with her need to go “there” or to think it was ever okay to talk to me that way…. You think that’s acceptable?
So, I got to thinking, how did I end up in this situation where I’m surrounded by people I’m not incredibly crazy about, that don’t see the value that I have, value I spent years learning to appreciate in myself? I realized I knew myself to be better than what the people surrounding me thought me to be… But, how?
I did what I always do when I’m going through something, I WATCH. I turned on How To Get Away With Murder and watched the Fucking-Amazing Viola Davis performance in the Winter Finale. I’ve always thought Viola Davis to be a great actress around and not just because I met her in person, in Brooklyn years ago, while she was filming Eat Pray Love. This woman has tremendous talent. Davis gifted us the truest performance I’ve seen on television in some time. The Desperation. The Vulnerability. I was in shock with what I felt while watching the performance and to what degree. And so I wanted to know more about Viola Davis. I’ve already watched a few interviews of hers in the past, but I decided to dig a little deeper, read some biographical info. I came across The Hollywood Reporter’s Actor’s Roundtable, which took me home.
It’s been SO long since I’ve been surrounded by actors, sharing our experiences, talking about the craft of acting, of being a human, of our fears, things we’ve over come, how we approach characters. EVERYTHING. I felt like I was in the room with them. I was talking to the screen as though I were in the room with them. And that’s how I realized…. How.
Rewind Sound Effect
I realized I knew myself to be better than what the people surrounding me thought me to be… But, how?
I know that much of my confidence and a certain degree of who I am, is rooted in role as an actor. People respect me, because of my work. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, but rather, when someone sees a performance they appreciate, they respect the actor, they see value in that person, they appreciate that person. Most people in Austin, haven’t seen me perform. I can’t tell you what they think of me, but I’m sure it’s not a person dedicated to a life of performance, a person who went to Theatre Conferences, a person who reads Moliere for fun, a person with a passion.
I don’t think acting makes me better than anyone, but I do think, when I don’t honor myself in how I present myself it often leads to this sort of thing. I don’t need to talk about myself or my work constantly, but I need to get back to it fully and know that the corresponding people will show up in my life. I left Philadelphia, with performance on the list of things “stressing me out,” so I didn’t focus on it. I focused on my stupid work at the bar and getting by. But, there is a large part of me that I’m not expressing, which I think has led to my mis-match friends. I spent 4 or 5 hours diving into… what I like and I feel empowered and I haven’t even “done” anything yet.
“Just keep moving forward and don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks. Do what you have to do for you.”
“You have to be odd to be number one”