I was reading an article about What to Do in an Active Shooter Situation the other week (because it’s now something so common it requires the same kind of practice drills as natural disasters) and there was a concept explained in the article that resonated with me for multiple reasons. When people are in an emergency situation, many freeze up and don’t do anything because our brains are predisposed to to assume that things will be “normal,” so it takes us longer than it should to accept that things are not “business as usual” and that we need to react to the new circumstances and take action. This left me wondering, how often does it happen that our lives change in either subtle or very big ways while we carry on holding tightly to our last sense of normalcy? Moreover, how does this impact (or hinder) the ways we are able to evolve as people and as creators?
The last two years have held both shocking, grandiose changes and subtle, little shifts in my life and in myself as a person–and yet, in many ways, my approach to the work has been the same…filled with the same old challenges, and similar results. On the same note, my approach to and expectations in personal relationships are also the same as they have been before and filled with the same old challenges, and similar results. If things have changed as much as they have (and they have–I’ll expound in a minute) then why am I still approaching it all with the mindset of a less experienced woman? Like updating your resume to include new jobs and skills, we need to update what we know about ourselves, others, life, and the world as we learn it and allow this to affect our output as creators and people.
In the last few months since I blogged some major things have occurred, I’ll name the two most positive: I fell in love, and I got cast in and shot the biggest movie I’ve been fortunate enough to have a large supporting role in. Both of these things were/are life changing and outside the normal loop of my what has, thus far, been my daily life. While I always hoped I’d work on a movie with the incredible quality of cast and crew as I enjoyed on The Weight, and always hoped I’d experience a deep, sincere, romantic relationship–as either had yet to happen, when they finally did (and almost simultaneously), my world changed, but I found myself standing still. As an actor my M.O. has always been more on the side of over-prepping and going quasi-Method…a theatre actor first, I love rehearsing and multiple takes. The Director of this movie earned the nickname “One-Take Thomas” and I had to adjust to making choices in the moment and trusting the Director that it was working. This was terrifying–but ultimately, extremely beneficial as an actor to learn how to let go and work that way.
Similarly, in my new romantic relationship, the ghosts of old aches and pains have started peaking out in very distracting ways. For most of my adult life the default of my heart was set to “unrequited longing.” Longing for closer relationships romantically, with family, with friends, people who have left for one reason or another or, more frustratingly, no known reason at all. To now have someone closing that gap, reaching back at me with arms wide open–this defies my perception of normalcy and my brain keeps trying to turn this new love into a rejection…because longing for it is more comfortable than having it.
Longing for it is more comfortable than having it. When you spend your whole life working toward a goal, either professionally or personally, and you start achieving it–be careful not to stand still, for action is what is required. When the world changes, you must change with it. I’m not the same actor that I was before this movie in many ways–I’m going to make a conscious effort to change my perception of myself, the way I approach the work, and the value I place on the work I do. I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve trained hard and continuously, I’ve worked consistently, I am good at it and I’m going to mentally raise my own valuation of my work to force myself to only continue to do better, higher quality work that will build the kind of career I want to have. I’ll say “No” to projects with confidence and work harder to get opportunities at the “next level” while trusting myself to be able to handle the opportunity when it comes. And, in love, I’ll work harder to not let the pain people have caused me in the past negatively impact my ability to accept the love I’m receiving in the present.
My world has changed, and I’m not going to stand still.