I want to talk about Joy today. But before i do, i need to tell you the remarkable thing that happened to me last night, served up in the form of a hard lesson. I went out to meet an old friend at the J. Clyde in Birmingham. After about an hour and a half there i went to the restroom. When i washed my hands i took off my rings, an original artist’s piece i bought in L.A. and a ring that belonged to my grandmother who recently passed away, and laid them by the sink. I didn’t pick them up. I just forgot. I proceeded to sit at the table for 30 more minutes not noticing that i did not have those rings on. I got on the road to Jasper and drove about 3o more minutes. i was fiddling with the back of my middle finger, the way i always do with the back of the ring, and realized that i didn’t have them on. I called my friend who was still there and asked her to go into the bathroom to see if they were there…not there. They asked the bartender if anyone had turned any rings in…they hadn’t. I turned around and went back. While i was driving, my friend and another girl we were sitting with went around and asked every woman if they had seen rings in the bathroom. No one had. I got there, in tears, and walked around again, to every table and explained that it was my grandmothers ring, and if anyone saw it to please turn it in. Nothing. I was so devastated. Im such a believer that people do the right thing. I try to do the right thing and hope that, when something like this happens to me, it will come back to me. But no one was doing the right thing. I finally had to leave, feeling terrible. I had lost the one thing that i felt connected me to my grandmother. This ring. A ring so different from all her other jewelry, it suggested that she had some other life that she was keeping secret from everyone. I stopped to get gas and my friend who is a manager at J. Clyde called me…someone turned them in. I imagine, after realizing that they had picked up not just a piece of jewelry, but a piece of my family history, that they felt guilty. Not wanting to turn it in while we were all standing there, they waited, until we left. I just want to say thank you. You did the right thing, and though i was so careless with something i value greatly, i am forever grateful that you turned in those rings. See, things do come around. People are good. So try to do the right thing. You may want someone to do it for you one day.
Now, on to what i wanted to talk about today. Joy. Yesterday I met with my coach who is helping me with my grad school pieces for the first time. yesterday. It went really well. We talked about the monoloues and about my feelings toward grad school and the impending auditions. She told me that i didn’t seem to be finding much joy in this process, and possiblly in acting all together. It was true. I love acting so why can’t i find joy in doing it? I imagine it is rooted pretty deep. When i got home and started thinking about it, i discovered patterns in my life. When i was young i was a dancer. Jazz, Ballet, and tap. But I don’t remember finding joy in it, even though i have always loved dance. I do remember how i hated being the tallest in class, thinking i looked awkward, and wondering why i couldn’t do the rib isolations and plies like all the other girls. Eventually, i got frustrated and quit. Then in middle school I played tennis. Again, I love tennis, to this day i watch it religiously on t.v. But i couldn’t find the joy here either. I was a doubles player, but wanted desperately to play singles so i could get the recognition, be seen as a great tennis player. Everytime my coach put me on a singles match, i would lose. I could never get my serve the fastest. Frustrated once again, i quit this too. This goes on, throughout my life. I find something i love, and then all my demons rear their ugly heads and the need to be perfect, loved, and recongnized takes precedence over serving the art. I cannot find the joy. When it comes to acting, it is no different. I am constantly putting pressure on myself to do it “right.” I feel i am being judged and must be “good” or seen as “talented.” But that isn’t what this is all about, and not why i intitially fell in love with acting. She encouraged me to change the way i looked at the audience and what i was doing onstage. With the image of a mighty oak in my mind, roots deep and growing toward the heavens, i needed to start grounding myself before i perform. I also am working to change the way i look at performing all together. Instead of seeing it as standing in front of a judgemental audience and trying to win their approval, i need to start seeing it as a time to share a bit of myself. To give of myself and serve the audience, the character, and the piece as a whole. I like this new vision. I want to work at it. JOY. Finding the joy in acting again. Finding the joy in the process. Finding the joy in life. Now i have to be careful to not make this a competition as well. I mean i can find the joy. I will find so much joy, everyday. I will channel my inner Ren and Stimpy and find so much happy and so much joy that it will make your head spin. I….
Stop. Breathe. Ground yourself. This is the challenge. To overcome the habits and form new passageways. To fight my demons. I haven’t quit acting. It’s the one thing that stays in my mind and that has to mean something right? So here’s to not quitting, not giving up on the things that you know in your heart bring you joy, even if you are having a hard time finding it.
What would you like to find more joy in?