The Winter of my Discontent

Ironically, as I write this, we get nailed with another blast of snow on the 1st day of Spring!

Another brutal winter.
Bitter, bitter cold.
Though, gratefully, we did not receive the amount of snow that was dealt with last year.
Reminder – as I was in transition last year (geographically, thank you), I was based out of the Philly area last winter for the majority of the season. What Boston got his year, Philly got last year (admittedly to a lesser degree, but it was still brutal).
Anyway….I’ll take it. Much less snow to tend with; easier on the back and body – little to no shoveling.

But it was still a rough season, not just pertaining to the weather.

I’m going through something.
I have been for quite some time, actually; this winter just seemed to intensify it all.

Changes within myself: physically, emotionally, spiritually (?)
Changes outside myself: family, career, relationships (some redundancy there as my relationship with my family is changing)

Anyway…as this transition persists, I find myself challenged more and more by anxiety.
It is that anxiety that has been manifesting itself throughout my body

A nail-biting habit has reemerged.
Fortunately, I’ve been though this cycle before allowing me to recognize it early and deal with it before things got really bad (hypno-therapy works folks…just saying)

My back has been a source of pain and struggle too, over the last several months.
Things were actually going well, progressing for some time – until an unfortunate chiropractic visit set things off in my back. The morning after the adjustment, I woke up with the ability only to crawl. Since then, I’ve been living with a new types of pain and sensations along my spine.

To cope with this new obstacle I’ve tried different things:
*A light adjustment at another chiropractor
*Visited an acupuncturist for the first time (and I HATE needles!) – THAT was interesting, and wildly effective. I felt tremendous afterwards and have since gone back.
*Saw my old Alexander teacher to work on some posture stuff
* changing my work-out routine (I have since learned that my former routine my have been one of the aggravators…?)

Anyway…all indications lead to the conclusion that
1) There is no serious, nor physical injury to speak of
2) All issues are most likely a result of anxiety and stress

Hmmm – YA THINK!??

Short answer- all this is is likely my mind and my body adjusting and adapting to this period of change.
I feel some major ones are in my near future.
I constantly question the status and progress of my Acting career; I sincerely wonder if I have the stamina to continue…what is progress? what is growth? (the same ole questions)

I receive so many mixed signals.
On one hand, seeing what some of my contemporaries are doing – I feel stagnate.
On the other hand, many of the aforementioned contemporaries have many other things going for them: i.e. diversity, gender, extreme character cast-ability, etc.

On the other hand (Yea…I know…we only have 2 hands. May I borrow one?)
I receive much encouragement through the classes I take, seminars attended (a prominent CD called me in almost immediately after I took a “class” with her – not the 1st time that has happened) and projects in which I participate.

Just last night, I shared the stage with a bona-fide acting “hero” of mine: Mr. Frankie Faison.
(respectfully, you may not know the name off-hand, but google him – I guarantee you, you will recognize his face immediately!)
I call him a “hero” because he is truly one of those guys who is everywhere and just does great work ALL the time; from The Wire, to all the Hannibal Lecter films (he is the only one to be in ALL the films, even Michael Mann’s art-piece, ManHunter (based on Red Dragon).
Anyway…to work with an actor of that caliber, was a privilege. The only other time I was this excited to work with another actor was when I did a reading at EST with James Rebhorn, another one of my heroes (may he rest in peace).
Both men were kind, generous, and a joy to work with.

These are guys whose careers I aspire towards.
The journeymen/master actors who are everywhere. You may not know the name, but you most assuredly know their work and their faces. The extreme example of this type of actor is the now more-famous-than-ever-Oscar-winner, J.K. Simmons (of Whiplash, if you haven’t seen it yet, RUN do not walk!).
These guys are amazing!

The occasion that provided this wonderful opportunity is another one of those positive indicators that I referred to; little signals telling me that perhaps I should stick with this.

Back to working with Mr. Faison; last year I did a reading of a meaningful new play, Redeemed, by a young new playwright, Keli Goff.
She had another reading of the play last night, and she, personally, invited me to return to play the role of Jack. I was the only one from the original reading to continue on…a compliment I do not take for granted.
These little signals happen now and then; all welcome.

Anyway….I digress.
While I am what seems to be right in the middle of this transitional period (feels like forever), I don’t feel I could ever give up on my dreams of acting; however, I am exploring my options beyond teaching.
Last semester opened my eyes to a few truths.
I’ll get into that later…

Spring is here.
New beginnings
I am hoping the season not only brings with it a lovely thaw, but perhaps it will also provide some answers, or at least some opportunity that will guide me on my path.

I will keep my eyes open as we head out of the hibernation of the winter of ’15.

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