Friday, August 24, 2012

Like and Love

"If the need to act is so strong it wakes you in the middle of the night, then stay with it."  - Frank Langella

There are things in life that we like. I mean, really really like.

These might be the things that we crave for comfort on a tough day, or hope to get for Christmas. Nectarines, tea, a new dress, a smartphone.

What lights you up?
These things we like might even be people that warm us or cheer us up or speed up our workday. The guy with a joke about everything, the friend who listens to our ideas. We really, really like them. We want them to sit near our cubicle and come to our happy hour. We want to hear what they think. Their presence is like a refreshing bath or breeze.

The things we really really like might even be activities - hiking, reading, writing, swimming. Things that revitalize us and strengthen our health.

Then there are those things that we love.

The distance between the things we love and the things we like is subtle and sometimes confusing, but it is a sudden and shockingly deep precipice nevertheless. One day we might wake up and realize that the thing we thought we only liked we actually love, or vice versa. And then it might turn into one of those sprinting-to-the-airport, buying-the-cheapest-ticket-to-anywhere-just-so-you-can-bolt-through-security-and-race-into-the-gate-and-declare-your-undying-love-over-the-speaker-system-and-embarrass-the-crap-out-of-everyone-but-end-up-passionately-making-out-and-not-caring-anymore movie situations. That crossroads moment when everything is silent around you but the cry of your heart. The "once you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start right now" kind of deal. (God I love When Harry Met Sally.)

But until that day, how the heck do you know?

Sometimes I can't tell the difference between the lands of like and love. I squint and scrutinize but blur the line, spill something on my map, and lose track of where the boundaries are. Like is like love, I say to myself. Like is love in a way, I say to myself.

I think myself in circles, spending a lot of silly time trying to understand my feelings about things, and develop feelings for my feelings, and try to feel my way back to knowing whether or not my feelings are feelings of like or feelings of love - or feelings in a different category entirely unrelated to like or love.
Feelings, WTF!

Or whether my feelings are really a factor at all?

The thing about love is you can't think yourself into it, out of it, or around it.

It is, or it isn't. Right?

The thing about love is that it's mysterious and nonsensical. It can appear and disappear sometimes, and sometimes it can be a permanent weight in a small corner of your heart. Sometimes it can easily be mistaken for something else, or not acknowledged at all. It can be the huge writing in the sky that helps us make a choice, or it can be the choice we don't want to make.
King Kong's feelings are clear.

Love makes us alive. Right until it we fall off the Empire State Building.

The reason I know that I love acting - not like it, but love it - is because I just KNOW. No thinking necessary.

Sometimes I toy with the idea of talking myself into liking acting and loving something else more, because loving acting is complicated. I sometimes want to love something that's easier to love. Something that's nicer to me.

But that's just ridiculous. Not to mention impossible. The heart wants what it wants. And what else would I do with my life for goodness' sake, make model planes? Grow a pea garden? Not there's anything wrong with those things. They're just wrong for me.

Tina knows EXACTLY what love has to do, has to do with it.
I remember my making-out-passionately at the crossroads moment with acting, when I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with it and I wanted the rest of my life to start RIGHT NOW. It was when I got the phone call that I was accepted into the Actors Studio Drama School, and felt for the first time that a life as a professional actor was ACTUALLY within my reach. I screamed so loud, and jumped around like such a crazy, I am sure I embarrassed everyone on the block. Or at least my brother. And it was amazing.

Today, Gentle Readers, I trust that you can also know what you love. And that you can have it.

You'll just...know...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life and Happy Thoughts

I don't know about you guys, but the beginning of August has been a bit rough and tumble for me emotionally, and it's not just the heat-and-humidity-induced smell of the city that's getting to me. Two amazing men in my professional life passed away this month, one of them much too young in the prime of his life. Both spent their time inspiring other people and tirelessly throwing themselves into their passion for this industry. 

Life is funny. Day to day I'm auditioning through the longest dry spell I've had so far in New York, simultaneously struggling to keep some perspective on why I'm still duking it out AND YET knowing with absolute certainty that there is nothing I want more than to act. I'm an actor, dammit. You don't really decide to be one. You just kinda are.

And so, August, I will begin my blogs in you with life filled happy thoughts. Because life is a gift. It can disappear startlingly fast. It can revive and rout the enemy with miraculous chance. It switches on a dime. And you know what? Life is great. Therefore, August, I will revel and rejoice in life. I will fill my brain with good thoughts from great people. Here are some I have commandeered:

"Life is too short to not have fun." - my Dad

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." - Gilda Radner

"After each experience, you grow up, you get enriched with something, and you don't know how you're going to be in six months, you don't know what you're going to want, what you're going to need." - Audrey Tatou

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost
"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The world owes you nothing. It was here first." - Mark Twain