Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Beautiful Life

While checking an ancient hotmail account I never use anymore, I came across a draft of an email I wrote as sort of a journal entry that was such a downer that I didn't even want to write it in my actual journal. It was from 5 years ago, just a few days after my birthday, expressing how depressed I was. I vaguely remember writing this, but as I read it again today I actually started feeling really good because I realized that the girl that wrote it is a far cry from the woman I am now. This is what it said:

"everything depresses me. i watch movies and i'm depressed that i've pretty much given up on acting altogether. i listen to the radio and am depressed that i don't sing anymore. i go on myspace and read about other people doing things they love and making things happen. i'm depressed that i don't have the drive to make things happen. i'm depressed that i can't make up my mind about what i want to do instead. nursing? how depressing. i read the stupid gossip magazines at work and am depressed. i read a book, and i'm depressed that i feel i have no creativity left in me. like i can't create anything other than a meal. i have a hard enough time trying to fully develop an idea. i don't even try to improve at anything i was ever good at. guitar, piano, singing, acting, anything i though would help me grow into my future is pretty much gone from my life. i'm at a complete standstill, and it's depressing. the economy is depressing. the fact that i know nothing other than what i'm told is depressing. i have a hard time listening to my favorite musicals anymore because i feel like i'm going to cry all the time - not only because they're so moving, but because i once believed it was my destiny to be in them at some point in my life and at this point that seems impossible. and depressing. any time i realize i actually feel happy, it's short lived because it reminds me of all the things that depress me. the realization of happiness reminds me of being depressed, what's more depressing than that?"

What's funny is within the past few weeks I've actually realized and acknowledged how happy I've been lately. I have an abundance of good and supportive people in my life, from my family to my friends to my boyfriend to the people I work with (who I also consider friends). Just months after I drafted this email that wasn't ever meant to be sent I started acting again and never looked back. A year after drafting it I achieved one of my dreams and was cast as Mimi in Rent, and then again cast in the same role just months later. I got a manager the following year, continued singing, acting, began auditioning for film and television, got cast in American Idiot and joined AEA and travelled the country, I'm in class for acting, I'm taking dance classes... Such a huge turn-around on my life in the span of 5 years.

And what caused it? It could have been any number of things. At some point in 2008, with the encouragement and financial support of my mom, I actually did several sessions of hypnotherapy to help with drive and focus. I got a breast reduction that fall which made me finally feel like a normal, proportional person. I was getting ready to go to nursing school that coming January, but when I saw Spring Awakening in December of '08 I remember thinking "that is it, that is what I have to be doing." Even when I told my dad - who was going to pay my student loans - that I decided not to go to nursing school, all I got was support.

I also recently got another wake-up call. Last year I was shocked to find out that a classmate of mine from college died. It was declared that he died of natural causes at the age of 32. If you ask me, it's not natural to die at the age of 32. And just two weeks ago another college classmate died. She was my age, too, and I don't even know how she died. It was bad enough to hear about one death but another one? Just a year later? It effected me more that I would have imagined. But I also think it made me remember that I only have one life, and really it's flying by, so I have to do everything in my power to get what I want out of it.

There's an ebb and flow to life. I think it's especially apparent in the entertainment business: pilot season happens in spring, everything is sooo slow during the summer, things pick up again for episodic season, and there's theatre auditions here and there but always at the same time. This week in particular has been one pleasant surprise after the other, almost to the point of being overwhelming! Three auditions and two callbacks between Tuesday and this coming Friday (and one I had to turn down because I'll be away when the play opens), plus being invited to participate in a reading of a show that I love at a theatre company I've always wanted to work with by a friend who is one of the most talented people I know. All of my coworkers have been huge rockstars helping me rearrange the schedule to be able to fit all this stuff in. It's all crazy and amazing and... whoa I just got another callback. And another audition. I'm not even joking.

As I said on my facebook, it's amazing to see and experience what can happen when you choose to be happy and open your arms to the world. I know this was all very existential, thank you for getting this far. Now go and live every moment of the beautiful life you have.

Rest in peace, Inocente "Chente" Cervantes: Mar. 18, 1980-Aug. 13, 2012 
and Jhade Peralta: Jan. 21, 1985-Jul. 28, 2013