I took a month off of acting class in May. I was burned out. Stressed out. I had given so much of myself during pilot season, had some amazing experiences, close calls, my work never better, but at the end of the day had nothing to show for it. Well let me rephrase: I had nothing IMDB or bank account worthy to show for it — I knew that I had grown leaps and bounds as an actor. But still, at the end of the day, was I just not enough? Without the million followers or network series on my resume, was it even possible that could I be?
Being enough is a phrase that has plagued me since I moved to LA. My acting career has always been an uphill battle. I wasn’t picked out of a crowd for my looks or off the college stage for my talent. I was never told that I had that ‘It’ factor. The establishment around me, especially once I got to Hollywood, told me that I was the smart one, I would succeed on the business side, in the corporate realm. They said I should run a studio, not be knocking on the door of its casting office. And on one level that made sense. I could make a splendid living, have power and prestige. But deep within, there was something else. A voice that told me I had done that before, in another life, and had been miserable. That the person I would have to be to succeed in that world would be my shadow self. That my true self was still waiting to claw its way out of my layers of childhood baggage and insecurity. That voice spoke to me when I was acting. It spoke of truth and beauty, of authentic human pain, and of a journey of self discovery. I knew I was a neophyte, ill-equipped to embark on the journey, but there was this deep emotional well within me that bubbled and churned and promised a life of meaning.
So I listened to that voice and embarked on the journey. I thought it was to become a successful actress but it was something more. The ups and downs were tremendous — just when I thought I had my ‘big break’, it would break my back, so I had to temper the turbulence by infusing other creative elements into my life — new media producing and blogging, which lead to sci-fi writing, which ultimately led to co-founding Scirens But my creative arsenal still didn’t fully protect me from the onslaught of this business obsessed with youth and metrics. So I knew it was time to check out.
I used the time off to focus on these other projects. I got into writer creator mode and the acting hat went into the closet. I meditated and journaled. My Scirens group finalized our TV pitches. I published (for the first time) three pieces on Medium — odd creative works that came to me in a flash and that I fleshed onto the page and published as if I had a top-shelf deadline. And I took some writer meetings that forced me to get my work out there — specifically my big scifi project with Mark Gantt Finally. After 5 years. It’s friggin’ impressive. This project is definitely ‘enough’ – and it all came from me.
It’s amazing what a little time and distance can do for one’s perspective.
So as an actor, maybe it doesn’t matter if I’m enough in Hollywood’s eyes. Because what does that even mean? Enough what: of a star? Of a draw? Of a brand? Those are all things, objects, ideas. My time off reminded me that I have succeeded, because I’ve grown into my true self. I know that as an artist, as a human, I am absolutely enough. And I am now starting to think my job as an actor (and a writer) is to help YOU see that YOU are enough. We need to see people in movies and TV that are authentic and flawed. We need to be reminded that all those perfect Instagram feeds and jet set Facebook posts aren’t a reflection of real life. They are a moment in time, a product. No one should feel worse about their life because they look at someone else’s on a screen. The screen should be used to inspire, educate, assist… to empower people to listen to their true voice. As I look to the future, that would be more than enough.