The Crown

Truth and the Pursuit of It - "If you're engaged in a fight with something, then it's not with me. It's with your own blindness." - The Crown

Yesterday, I had an epiphany.

To set the stage for it, I need to catch you up with how much the past few weeks have been. The place where I live is surrounded by massive, blazing wildfires. I finally got a serving job in LA, so I'll be making more money, which is pretty necessary. But until my first set of tips come in, money is still pretty tight for me. I got a callback for a really interesting play here, and while my confidence comes from within, it's nice to have that external validation that I am indeed a good actor, even if I'm not quite what they needed. It's the holiday season, which is one of my favorite times of year, and I am surrounded by cool new friends and great old friends and we're all having holiday parties. But I can't go home at all this year, and New York around the holidays is one of my all time favorite things, not to mention that I miss my family and friends there.

And, on top of and beyond all of that, last week a friend of mine from college died.

I want to take a moment here to remember her. Her name is Miriam. She and I worked together in the theater a whole lot, particularly with the Shakespeare group. She was always sweet and kind, she had this incredible zest for life, and this crazy amazing voice. We had fallen out of touch after graduating, but I would still see her on Facebook - she was an award winning screenwriter, and I admired the work that she was doing, and hoped that we'd maybe even get to work together one day. And it's shocking and upsetting to know that any chance we might've had at reconnecting at all is just gone now. People die every day, but the realities of it when it affects you are always surprising.

So yesterday, I was heading to an audition, and already felt like I wasn't going to get the role. I may be a good actor, but the character is a teenager and I knew I was auditioning with some actual 16 year olds. It's always good to practice audition technique when you can, but it felt like a lot of time to put towards this practice, and I was miserable, and there was nothing I could tell myself to make it feel better. All I could do was use the emotion - the character is supposed to be insecure anyway, so it's ultimately good, right? (For those of you who aren't actors, that doesn't actually help you feel better.)

The epiphany hit me like a freight train or, more fittingly, a speeding car: I don't like LA.

And that's okay.

There are people here who I care about a great deal. There are specific neighborhoods where it is pleasant to spend time. And I know I'll stay because the work I want to do is here. But as a whole, I just don't like it.

I didn't realize how hard I had been trying to convince myself that I do until I admitted that I don't. But now it feels like this incredible weight has been lifted from me. I don't like LA. And that's okay. And just acknowledging that truth makes everything so much easier and better.

No wonder we're all in pursuit of such obvious truth as artists. It's wonderful.

Queens and The Crown - "Then... long live Queen Elizabeth." - The Crown

When I was a kid and all of my friends were dressing up, I wasn't really interested in pretending to be a princess.

Asked why, I said that it's because I want to actually be a queen.

I was never especially popular in elementary school.

It'd probably be fair to say that I've decided to start my post about personal, internal strength because I just finished watching The Crown. Oh my god. I want to be Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II when I grow up. John Lithgow as Churchill is a revelation. And Matt Smith made me almost sympathize with Prince Phillip's actions towards the end of the season. Not writing any spoilers here or anything, but sympathizing with that is almost impossible for me to do.

But there's also a real reason I bring that up, which is that one of the things I was most impressed by was the growth of Queen Elizabeth's personal strength over the course of the season. As she grows into being Elizabeth Regina (as opposed to Elizabeth Windsor) and learns when she can and cannot say no and put her foot down. What she can expect from the people around her, and when they have disappointed that. How the people around her aren't just doing a favor to a pretty but outdated institution, how she's a real person and leader who embodies something more eternal. In short, how she becomes a queen. Because it's exactly what I want to do.

Don't worry, I don't have any delusions about becoming literal royalty. But it's about the way she holds herself and the way she sees the world around her. That's what I strive for.

I mentioned going through all of the stuff in my childhood bedroom in my last post. And it was an incredibly intense experience. Partially because there was so much stuff, but also because it was the first time I was forced to really confront the question "what do I want?" I've always thought of myself as someone who is fairly flexible and willing to go along with the things that other people want because it generally leads to new experiences for me. That's still true. But I had to go through things and actively decide whether or not I wanted them. And then I had to decide if I really wanted them, or if I thought someone else wanted me to keep them. Or if it was representative of someone, but I didn't care that much about the thing itself, like old birthday cards. And it made me start considering those questions in every aspect of my life.

Over the past month, I've started standing up for myself and my beliefs more. Because I've decided that I don't want to keep taking bullshit. I've regained the discipline I've lost over the course of moving and traveling and everything. Because at the end of the day, I'm a full person, too. I'm here to help my friends, but they are also here to help me. If I don't ask people to do things for me, then I'll never advance. And it's always okay to at least ask. Because I am worthy of assistance and being served, not just serving others.

It's weird to realize that I didn't entirely believe that before. And I still struggle with it, too. But while I may not be The Queen, I am still a queen in my own life and my own right. And I ought to treat myself like one.