Tag Archives: acting

64. James’ Defense For Not Knowing What the Fuck You’re Doing

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“A Bitch and His Hoe” or “How To Hook A Man In 3 Seconds” or “How To Make A Man Blow His Load With One Look”

Lemme give you a brief history of James-Up-To-This-Point:

When I was little, I would watch Ace Ventura when I wasn’t feeling well. I thought Jim Carrey was the funniest bitch there ever was.

Then in middle school, I did this weird play, but it was super fun because all of my friends were in it. I had a blast. I got to see my friends every day, and we got to be freaks on stage.

Then I saw Moulin Rouge, and I thought, ‘This is the worst piece of shit I have ever seen. WHY won’t they stop singing?! STOP SINGING AND DIE, SATINE!’

Then I realized that I actually really liked singing. My best friend Dalila and I used to listen to my cassette tape of “My Heart Will Go On” on REPEAT. I would go over to boombox, press play, lay down on the ground next to Dalila and we would SCREAM along with Celine Dion. And when the song was over, I would get up, rewind the tape, and do it ALL over again. I’m sure my babysitter was somewhere in the house begging God to please explode my boombox.

Then in intermediate school I was throw into the school musical where I got the leftover parts. Well the JOKES ON YOU, because the leftover part was Buzz Lightyear, and I got to sing, “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” with a complete fucking stranger. This was my real first foray into acting as I pretended to be able to care about anyone but myself and Kit-Kat’s.

Then in my middle school choir we sang “My Heart Will Go On”, and I auditioned for the solos because CELINE FUCKING DION GOD DAMNIT. I don’t remember if I got it, but I’m positive that I sounded like a fucking superstar in my audition. A gay-ass, prepubescent, definitely gay, someone-please-love-me superstar. God, I was a fierce fucking alto. #neverchange

Then my friend (read: friends, plentiful and bountiful, for I was super popular at all points in my life) and I would sing the high soprano part at the end of the song “Phantom of the Opera”, and I used to be able to screlt those high notes (note: “screlt” is a portmanteau of “scream” and “belt”, which is a word for “to sing as high as Jesus”). I would screlt those notes ALLLLLL the time. Again, I think this was another point in my life where my mother begged God to please send a chupacabra to ravage my voice box.

When I was 14, I started dating people over the internet, because I was gay in my head but not out loud and I needed to talk to SOMEONE about it so I did the logical thing: I turned to complete strangers. I used to go to gay chat rooms and talk to other people like me. Sometimes we would become boyfriends, and that was pretty cool. But one day spikyblueeyes88 stopped logging on to AIM, and that was the first time that I had ever been ghosted. I’m sure I handled it appropriately: opening my journal, picking up a pen, calmly pushing my bangs out of my face, and then SCREAMING into my journal until the pain went away/ I fell asleep out of utter exhaustion from having so many feelings come out of the hole in my face. My heart said, “Rest, you weary son-of-a-bitch. It won’t get better, but someday you’ll have a blog to put ALLLLL your emotions in!” (Yeah, I end sentences with prepositions, because I’m a boss-ass bitch (with).

Anyway, back to internet dating. So I was 14 years-old, and my prospective internet boyfriend was 17 or 18. I had to woo him to be my One True Love. We were chatting, and it came up that he was a singer.’I’m a singer, too!’ I thought to myself. ‘I scream along to EVERYTHING I hear on the radio. I love singing; I’m a singer, god damnit!’ Well, Prospective Internet Boyfriend wanted to hear me sing. So he called my home phone and I picked it up on the first ring. He had a hot, sexy adult voice. I had a closeted, insecure 14 year-old boy voice. He sang first:  “Amazing Grace”. It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. He was a professionally-trained angel, and he was going to take me to the Promised Land. “It’s your turn,” he said. Well, I had to pick a song I knew all the words to. At the time, I was SUPER into Evanescence. I knew every god damn word to every song, and it was my favorite music to cry to. So I decided to sing “Going Under“. If you don’t know it, go listen to it. It’s tragic. It starts with her growling these super depressing lyrics. I gave my Future Boyfriend my best Amy Lee:

“Now I will tell you what I’ve done for you
Fifty-thousand tears I’ve cried
Screaming, deceiving and bleeding for you-”
*CLICK*
“….Hello? ….Hello? Are you there? ….”

Yes, he hung up on me. And I didn’t even get to sing the chorus which is the best part and the part that really shows off my vocal ability! I sat there blinking, clutching the phone to my ear for a few minutes, and then I calmly replaced the phone on the charging dock.

‘He hung up on me because of my singing voice…’

So I recorded myself singing, and then I played it back to myself. I was DISGUSTED with myself. ‘JESUS CHRIST, JAMES, YOU SOUND AWFUL! I WOULD’VE HUNG UP ON YOU, TOO! YOU SOUND TERRIBLE! NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU SINGING LIKE THAT, YOU GAY IDIOT BITCH.’

Then I realized that I even hated my speaking voice. I was hitting the “s” consonant too hard, and THAT’S how everyone at school knew to call me a “faggot” and throw batteries at me! Eureka! Mystery solved! Also, I kept finding myself walking around with limp wrists. ‘HIDE YOUR SECRETS, YOU GAY T-REX!’ So I trained myself to walk with my arms glued to my sides as if they were stapled there. ‘Ha, now they’ll NEVER know!’ Then I spent HOURS recording myself talking and trying to adjust my voice to sound less gay. I dedicated so much time towards trying to figure out where to place the consonants in my mouth to sound less gay. Recording my voice, playing it back to myself, banging my head on the desk hoping my tongue would fall out so I would never have to say “s” again, and then doing it all over again. Funny enough, I feel like my “gay speech” calmed down after I came out of the closet. Alright, Jesus… I see you.

Also, after this experience, I saw Evanescence in concert FIVE times. I would go to their concerts and jump up and down with the biggest smile on my face screaming, “I WANNA DIE, TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Also, this story about the “Amazing Grace” guy hanging up on me singing “Going Under” is Kelley’s favorite story, and if we are EVER on the phone and I start singing she will ALWAYS hang up. She’s REALLY funny….

Also when I was 14, I auditioned for a production of Seussical the Musical. I was cast as a panther, and I was surrounded by so many talented people and that was the moment I decided I wanted to pursue musical theater.

So I went HARD. During Seussical, I met Miss Sara, and she started an all-men’s beginner tap class. I started tapping with her when I was 15, and I’ve been tapping ever since. I started auditioning like a motherfucker. I would go to the library and check out every CD for every musical they had and I would INHALE THEM. I knew every lyric to every song. I would do all the school shows, and I would audition for musicals in the community as well. I started taking voice lessons with Wendy when I was 15, and she changed my LIFE. (More on her later.) By my senior year, my schedule was jam-packed. I joined the Madison Youth Choirs, I played bassoon in the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, I took voice lessons, I took tap class, I took an acting class through UW-Madison, I worked at a bakery, I worked at the movie theater, and I performed in shows. There was a point where this was my schedule: School 8:15-3:25, School musical rehearsal 4:00-6:30, Madison community theater musical rehearsal 7:00-10:00. I was eating, breathing, sleeping musical theater. I felt like I was finally doing something I really cared about with people who really understood me.

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Word of advice: don’t every try to out-do Katie in a selfie. Just be blessed to be in her presence and do your fucking best.

When I was auditioning for colleges, I went all in once again. I auditioned at NYU, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University and UW-Stevens Point. While I was auditioning, I was so scared and I felt suddenly inadequate. I was having a breakdown in one of my voice lessons, and Wendy listened to doubt myself and cry. When I was done, she had the best fucking response ever. She started singing Evanescence to me: “Fear is only in our mind, taking over all the time. Fear is only in ours minds, but it’s taking over all the time.”

*MIC DROP* BY WENDY. Did I MENTION that she’s the coolest ever?!

So I went to UW- Stevens Point, and I STILL went hard AF. I took the maximum credits allowed. I took some of my pre-requisites over the summer at a community college so I would have more room during the year to take theater and dance classes. I took every class I could get my hands on. I weaseled my way into modern dance, jazz dance and tap dance classes usually reserved only for dance majors. I auditioned for everything, even the dance shows that I felt underqualified for. And in the summer, I would do summerstock theater. I worked my ass off.

I graduated college in May 2011. I lived at home for the summer and performed in a musical while waiting tables. Then I hosted a benefit concert to help me raise money to move to NYC, and I moved here in September 2011.

When I first got here, I went to every damn audition. There was one time where I went to five auditions in the same day. I hustled like a motherfucker. It took me a while, but I finally started getting cast. I’ve been here for  four years now.

Now here’s the one event I can’t quite pinpoint. There was a moment where I didn’t want to eat/sleep/breathe musical theatre anymore. I started putting on Eminem instead of Sweeney Todd. I wanted to talk about music and comedy instead of my favorite Elphaba riff or which role I could play in Wicked. I wanted a life outside of musical theatre. To be frank, I didn’t want what I had always wanted. I didn’t want to do the things that I should do anymore. I didn’t wanna take ballet class or acting class or classes with casting directors, and I didn’t want to go to auditions for shows that I wasn’t right for just so I could get seen by a prominent casting director. I didn’t want to hang out with actors anymore. I didn’t want to sit in a holding room anymore. I didn’t want to do any of the “shoulds” anymore.

Last week, I was on a bus to Boston and since no one was around me, I started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack again in private. I listened to “Wait For It” three times in a row, and I started crying to myself. I thought to myself, ‘What happened to the Old James? Where did he go? Why don’t I love musical theater as much as I used to? Why is it no longer my life source? It used to be my EVERYTHING. I was on this path with my nose to the pavement for the past 12 years; what am I supposed to do with myself? What am I supposed to do when I wake up one day and realize that I don’t love this thing like I used to. I don’t want to spend my time and money on things I don’t love. I don’t wanna network for something that doesn’t fulfill me. I don’t want to know the lyric to every Broadway show. I don’t care to know every actor in every musical. I don’t care to know the career paths of musical theater stars. But why?! Where did Old James go? GIVE HIM BACK TO ME. I NEED HIM.’

Loss of clarity is horrifying. It’s scary. I don’t want to think, ‘Well I’ve spent 12 years becoming someone I don’t wanna be anymore; what now?’ I don’t want that. I want my certainty back. I want my fire back.

But I can’t have certainty, because it doesn’t exist. Certainty exists in the same imaginary world as control. But I don’t want to wander aimlessly. I don’t want to be lost. But then I looked around at my friends. One of my friends knows exactly how I feel: went to school for something completely different than what she’s currently pursuing. Another one of my friends worked at a job she fucking hated, and now she’s doing something she loves. One of my friends studied psychology, and now she works in finance. So. Okay, James. You’re not alone. Actually, you’re in the perfect company to be lost. But if “lost” terrifies you too much to be included in your vocabulary, then choose something else: curious, wandering, interested, well-rounded.

I’m letting go of the “shoulds”. I started taking tap class regularly, because it makes me happy. I only audition for projects I want to be a part of. I let myself listen to whatever music I want, and now I have a music soulmate at work and we could talk about FKA Twigs and Rihanna and Jai Paul for hours, and it’s some of the most fulfilling conversations I’ve ever had, because I don’t feel so alone. I’ve accepted that I’m good at hospitality, but that doesn’t mean I need to be a Career Server. I’ve looked into classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I bought a guitar so I can start learning to play Evanescence/Celine Dion mash-ups. I went to a Zedd concert, because I felt like it. I spent a week in San Diego by myself. I stopped auditioning for an entire summer, and let myself have a life outside of theater. And the most exciting thing? I’ve started writing a comedic web-series with a friend. We meet about once a week and we sit and we write and laugh so loud that people stare. And when we don’t want to write our web-series, we write comedic sketches. I feel like I’m finally doing something I love. Oh. And I write my blog. Because I love writing.

I’m letting myself be who I am, and I’m not trying to make myself fit into whatever the Successful Musical Theatre Professional mold is. I’m letting myself exist, and it’s terrifying and liberating and I’m so proud of myself.

My baby sister recently told me she was jealous of me, because I knew exactly what I wanted and I’m finding success in doing exactly what I wanted to do. Leah, I would like to apologize to you for fooling you so fabulously. I wrote this blog to set the record straight. Some people dabble in different things, looking for something they care about and freaking out that they don’t have some fiery passion that “everyone else” has. And some people are me, and you’ve been working your tits off for 12 years for your passion only to realize that maybe you don’t want it anymore. Both are horrifying. But both are okay. Just do things you fucking like to do. Work at a job that either fulfills you or pays you enough that you can do things you enjoy doing. And don’t judge yourself for the things that you like. There is value in doing things for pure enjoyment. I promise you. Don’t judge yourself for listening to Fetty Wap twice a day, everyday, for two weeks. It’s okay. It’s okay to take a hip-hop class once a week even if it doesn’t further your career. You are more fun to be around when you’re having fun.

Now excuse me, Trap Queen is calling.

“Baby girl you’re so damn fine though. I’m tryna know if I can hit it from behind though.”
~”679″ by Fetty Wap

you’re okay.

JAMES

P.S. After posting this blog on Facebook my mother commented: “Clearly I didn’t know all this. But I’m relieved to know that when I suspected you were surfing porn sites in your teens, you were only attempting to find a boy friend.”

NOTHING’S CHANGED MA. STILL SURFIN’ THE WEB LOOKING FOR THAT WIFEY DICK.

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Her only goal every day is “Be 7 years-old” and she’s doing just fine. #selfieinception

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49. James and His Dad / The Old Bitch and the C

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My dad and I share the same birthday. Every year we call each other and take turns wishing each other happy birthdays. I once wrote a blog about how much I love my mommy. Now let me tell you how much I love my daddy (my actual dad, not “daddy” as in “oooo yeah daddy” like in the sexual way).

I used to be afraid of my dad in the way that I think all gay boys fear their fathers. So naturally I came out to my mother first sometime after my freshman year of high school. It took me another year-and-a-half or so to tell my father. I kept putting it off, but my mom finally told me that I really needed to tell my dad. So I mustered up the strength to come out to my father… after sobbing into my bass clarinet, of course.

So at this point in my life I am a junior in high school. It’s winter. My dad is picking me up from friend’s house in Middleton and driving us back to Waunakee. I figure I have about 15 minutes to tell him. So I spend the first five minutes of the car ride trying not to vomit and shart myself at the same time (a skill that I am grateful for today). And then I start sweating a lot and turning red. I figure my dad either thinks I’m holding in explosive diaRhianna or I just did a lot of ecstasy. Then I feel like I have a boulder growing in my stomach and that I’m slowing sinking into the passenger seat. Then I realize I probably couldn’t feel any worse, and I should probably just say the god damn words before I burst into a million pieces of rainbow confetti. I’m pretty sure I just blurted it out… and by blurted it out I surely mean I mumbled it in a way that made me sound like I had just thrown a handful of pebbles into my mouth as I was crashing HARD from my imaginary ecstasy high. After the words tumbled out of my mouth with the grace of someone freewheeling down five flights of stairs, my dad said, “Does your mother know?” And I said, “Yeah, I told her a while ago.” And he said, “Well, why did you take so long to tell me?” I thought about my response for a few moments and then eked out, “Because I was scared of you.” I know these words hit my father harder than I expected, and it took him a few moments to gain his composure. But when he finally spoke his voice cracked as he said, “Well, I don’t know what I did to make you afraid of me, but I’m sorry. And I still love you, James. You know that, right?” And everything inside me at that moment shattered into thousands of pieces and healed itself completely all at the same time. And even though I had suffered immensely by keeping this huge secret from my father, I would have willingly suffered a million years more if I could have taken away my dad’s pain upon me telling him I was afraid of him. A million billion years.

But I did notice a huge change in my father from that day onward. I mean, I don’t know if it was because of me but he voted democratic in the next election. Haha. 😉 But there were other changes, too. I wasn’t scared of him anymore. I’m not sure if the change happened within me or my father but it was significant. My dad made an even bigger effort to tell me loved me all the time. Even now when I come home from NYC, my dad will come up behind me while I’m on my computer writing a blog about some sort of slutty activity and he’ll kiss me on the head and say, “I’m so glad you’re home. Have I told you today that I love you?” Or he’ll say, “Have I told you recently how proud I am of you? Cuz I am. I’m so proud of you.” And I’ll respond with something self-deprecating like, “But what for? I haven’t done anything for you to be proud of yet.” And he’ll pause for a few seconds and he’ll calmly resolve, “Well, James, I’m still proud of you.”

My mom once told me that she really wanted our house to be a hub where us kids and our friends all hung out. Reality definitly surpassed my mother’s wish. Most of my friends just walk into the house without knocking and some of my friends even think of my mom and dad as their second set of parents. My parents have willingly taken on this role. When my friend Jian Li is in town she’ll stop in to say hello to “Mr. Marvin and Melissa”. My friend Stacy is not only welcome to all family affairs but she is asked after when she doesn’t attend a family gathering. Before Stacy made her big, big move to NYC a couple weeks ago, my parents took her out for coffee. When my friend Edward was looking for a place to live for a little bit, my parents offered up my bedroom. My parents drove two hours to my friend Maribeth’s wedding, and then drove two hours back at the end of the night.

My maternal grandmother passed away this past winter, and my dad really stepped up to the plate to be there for my mom. I was 1500 miles away but my dad gave me daily updates about how my mother was doing.

But let me tell you the most amazing thing about my father. Sometimes I get really down about auditioning, and I get really tired. I think to myself, ‘Yes, this is my dream but when will I catch a break?’ Well my dad’s dream job is to be an engineer. When he was in college, it took him seven years to earn his engineering degree because he was paying for it all on his own. And for at least the past four years, my father has been interviewing every week for engineering jobs while also working 40 hours a week at Home Depot so he can support his family. And when I get discouraged working 35-40 hours a week waiting tables while auditioning during the day, I call my dad and he says, “Well, don’t give up, bud.” I don’t think my dad is trying to be anyone that’s insanely inspirational but I am left speechless by his gumption and determination.

My dad is a stand-up guy. If I run out of the shower in just my towel, my dad will whistle at me. If you are a friend of mine at my house and you are bending over, my dad will smack your ass. And if you ever need a hug, my dad will give it to you.

I feel like I’ve spent most of my life taking my balanced upbringing for granted, and then one day I opened my eyes and realized how lucky I had it. And I thank Whomever every day for my mom and my dad.

So happy belated birthday, Dad (and Mom). Dad, I know you think the internet exists somewhere in the ether between Limbo and Nirvana but I’ll ask mom to guide you to this specific webpage. Also, Dad, when you feel like you’ve read the whole blog remember to scroll down; sometimes there’s more than fits on the screen. Also, a computer isn’t like a book so don’t try turning the page. Also, if the screen suddenly goes black make sure the computer is plugged in. And make sure the cord is plugged into not only the computer but also the wall. Also, if you want to tell me what a smart-ass I am, feel free to call me. 🙂

I love you. You’re old as F.

Love,
James the C
(Also “C” is a bad word that rhymes with…chrunt…)

“I pooped my pants, and I liked it.”
~My father’s favorite alternate lyrics to “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

48. James’ New York Survival Guide

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Alright so I’ve been in New York almost three years now, and if you’ve read any of my blogs since I’ve moved here then you know that it’s been a roller coaster ride for me; I’ve had my ups and… Bitch, I has had my downs. But I’m finally grasping what it takes to survive here in all facets: financially, emotionally, mentally. So I thought I would comprise some tips for anyone who is struggling HARD in New York. Or think of it as a comprehensive guide for anyone moving to New York. I think of these things as the basics for survival. (As a precursor: I am in no way perfect, and I still struggle. But these things help me get through.)

Also, I’m catering this specifically towards actors but it can ABSOLUTELY be applied to any frield. Whoa. That was supposed to say “field”. But it’s such an amazing typo that I’m leaving it…. “Frield”….hahahahahaha.

Ready Set Go-Hoe

1) Eliminate Money as a Stressor: I know this probably seems impossible, especially for actors, but it’s very possible. And there are many things you can do. If you want to live in NYC as an actor or any sort of freelance artist and you want to make the most money while having the most flexible schedule waiting tables is really the way to go. I’m sure there are other possibilities but I’ve discovered that waiting tables offers good pay and a flexible schedule. Yes, it is grueling emotional labor, but just shake it off! Honestly, catering is the most flexible but the work is extremely varied, and it’s not always constant. For example, catering is very busy in the summer months for weddings and at the end of the year for Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s/Office Holiday Party events. But it’s a little difficult to make a budget. You can also save money by sharing your room, like me! I share my room, and I wait tables. I rarely worry about money. I’m not rolling around in bathtubs full of cash, but I’m comfortable. Now, if you don’t want to share your room and you don’t want to wait tables, then you can just choose to live off of less money. You can choose not to go out to eat and to pack a lunch. You can choose to brew your own coffee instead of getting Starbucks. You can decide to pregame before you go out to the bars. It’s all about choosing which  luxury you want. I try to incorporate all three of these rules; yes, I make good money at my restaurant and my rent is cheap, but I still try to live off of less. The secret to wealth is to keep living like you did when you had less money even when you’re making more. I save my money for the luxuries that I value: dance class, voice lessons, eating yummy food with friends, plane tickets to go home and….clothes… 🙂

2) Be the Motherfucking Boss of Your Life: Know which sacrifices are worth making and set boundaries. Don’t let your survival job run your life. YOU run your life; nobody else. If you want to audition during the day, tell your job that you are only available to work nights and weekends. Also, don’t work yourself to death because you feel like “your job really needs you”. Your job is a business; it does not need you. Your boss does not need you. The business survived before you, and they will survive after you. To put it harshly, you are simply a cog in a machine. Yes, you are expendable to their business but DON’T FORGET that they, too, are dispensable to you. You can find a job ANYWHERE in NYC. Now I’m not saying that you should have no qualms about burning bridges left-and-right, but I am saying that keeping your job isn’t a matter of life-or-death. You can find something else. Maintaining good connections is EXTREMELY valuable, but you need to set boundaries. If you don’t need to work 40 hours-a-week to survive, then don’t. I’ve started asking off for arbitrary days at my job, because they’ve been scheduling me too much. They don’t need to know why I’m asking off, but I need to set boundaries. I am the boss of my life, and I am not working 40+ hours every week when I don’t need all that money. And if you’re laughing at me for saying “I don’t need money”, just remember there is a difference between desire and necessity.

3) Establish a Supportive CommunityI cannot even begin to stress how important this is. This is one that I struggled with a LOT when I first moved here. When you move to a new city, it’s very easy to feel lonely. And when you live in a city like New York where almost everyone is specifically driven by their career goals, it’s VERY easy to feel lonely. Also it’s important to not have only actor friends, because it’s not always easy to be supportive of each other. Sometimes they lash out their own insecurities on you. Sometimes their insecurities start to seep their way into your own mind. And sometimes they just brag a lot and you want to choke them. So it’s important to find friends who don’t do theater. OR find theater friends who can go five minutes without mentioning: an upcoming audition, a past show they have been in, various casting directors, getting an agent, their favorite Elphaba riffs, etc. I am extremely lucky because two of my best friends from high school (soon to be three!!!) live in NYC. I realize how rare that is, and I am thankful every damn day. Neither of them do theater, and it’s amazing. Now if you aren’t as fortunate, there are still many possibilities! Go to church, volunteer, join a book club, join a sports team, join a meet-up. One of the great things about NYC is that so many people here are transplants from other cities; everyone is looking for a community. Starting up a conversation with a stranger is terrifying but as long as you’re not a creepy bitch, I’m pretty positive they’ll talk back to you! (Hint: don’t stare at their titties/pee-pee.) I also have a very supportive home community here. My roommates are amazing. We are all each others’ cheerleaders. I feel very loved and comfortable in my home. Also, I’ve made an effort to see friends on a weekly basis. My friend Jian Li and I try to hang out once a week in whatever way possible: coffee, dinner, whatever. And now my friend Stephanie and I just made plans a few weeks in advance to see a couple shows together. Sometimes having fun in NYC takes a bit of planning, but it’s be worth it! (Another typo that I find too funny to delete.)

4) Make a Home: Find an apartment you like and stay there. It will not be perfect, but you can still make it your home. Hang up some cool lighting in your room. Get pictures of the people you love, and tape them to the wall. Cook yourself your favorite meal. Get comfy shit for your bed. Get roommates that you like coming home to. Live somewhere you don’t hate, or learn to love where you live. For example, the window in my room opens into a courtyard where I regularly see my neighbor stick his dick out the window and pee. I don’t get much sunlight, and I see the same crusty dick every day. BUT my room stays cool in the summer, because I don’t have the sun shining through my window. And it’s easier to sleep in.  Just make your home a place that you like to be. Make it your safe haven on the days when you want to light bitches on fire.

5) Be More than an Actor: This is very important. My roommate Caity the other day was telling me that she read this thing about how freelance artists always pressure each other to be extremely busy, and they brag that they spent their day-off doing laundry. But that’s disgusting! For some reason, we as a society admire those people who go-go-go and never take a break. They seem invincible. But that’s not sustainable. Where’s the self-care?? Like Caity said: there are many other parts of you besides being an actor, and all these parts are equally as important and deserve to be nurtured, acknowledged and valued. My mom told me that it’s ok to take a break from auditioning sometimes. It’s hard for actors to accept this, because so many of us are thinking ‘WHERE’S MY NEXT JOB?!?!?!?’ But it’s okay to take a day off from auditioning and taking class and looking for the next audition. It’s okay to take a day to sit outside and read a book. Or to take a day to write a blog. Or to have a dinner party. Or to take a ceramics class. Or go hiking. Or go dancing in a club with your eyes closed. Or go on a date with someone who prematurely asks if they can fist you and then pee inside you (true story). Be a well-rounded human. Don’t be a theater bot; because you may be the life of the party for theater kids but you will be intolerable to everyone else.

6) Know When to Leave: I was in therapy last year, and my therapist helped me identify the signs of  being burnt out (which I feel like I am slowly approaching once again). For me, I know I’m burnt out when I’m crabby all the time, when I want to decapitate slow-walking strangers on the sidewalk, when I’m crying all the time, when I’m depressed, when I feel like a zombie just moving through the actions of my life, when I have no desire to do anything, when I have regular desires to not be here. It’s healthy to take a break from NYC (permanent or temporary). And while going home would be ideal, it’s not always financially feasible. It’s much more affordable to take a Megabus to Boston for a weekend. Or to take a train to D.C. and explore! Or to rent a car and drive to Upstate New York or the Jersey Shore. It’s super cheap to take a day off and ride the subway to a beach. Or go to Fire Island! Oh my god, these are amazing ideas, and now I’m super excited to go on a mini-vacation. There are little getaways all over. Escaping the concrete jungle is not impossible! Don’t become one of those people who start rotting from the inside out; go away and recharge your batteries every now and then.

7) Make Your Own Art: You don’t need to be cast in a show to be creating art. Don’t wait for a casting director to grant you the right to create. DO IT NOW, DAMNIT. Get a guitar and learn to play it and sing songs and then go play at an open mic or in the subway terminal. Find a scene you want to do with a friend, and DO IT. You don’t need an audience! You’re making art even if you’re not getting paid for it, and if that fulfills you that’s how you know you’re an artist. But whatever you do, USE your art. Don’t let your creativity go to waste. Your creativity is an energy, and it cannot be destroyed. If you don’t use your gifts, they don’t just leave you. They sit inside you, begging to be expressed. And if you ignore these creative urges, they’ll eat away at you. You’ll start hating your friends for using their gifts. You’ll start tearing down the people around you to make yourself feel better about squandering your talents. Then you’ll start to think that you suck since you haven’t been practicing your craft. It’s an awful downward spiral. So just express your creativity. Grant yourself permission to create. It’s never too late.

8) Do Something: New York has boundless possibilities for you. And yet sometimes it’s easy to feel immobilized by the countless opportunities. For me, I feel like there are a million things I could do. I could pursue stand-up comedy, I could try drag, I could pursue musical theater, straight plays or film, I could pursue modeling, I could pursue writing, I could pursue something philanthropic. There are so many possibilities that sometimes I don’t even know where to start! And so I do nothing. But here’s what I should do instead: pick something I like and give it a shot. Pick one thing and go violently in that direction. Give it your all, and see what happens! If it doesn’t turn out, then pick the next thing on the list. There are a billion available back-up plans in NYC! So it’s okay to “fail” at shit. That’s fine! Just think of the amazing stories you’ll be able to tell when you’re an old whore! Just pick something and go. Just move in a direction. Any direction is forward.

9) Compare Yourself to No One but You: This is essential. If I spent my time comparing myself to my friends, I would never get out of bed. My friends are amazingly talented humans, and they have some really awesome things happening for their careers. But their success does not negate mine. I am not any less talented just because my friends are talented. It’s useless comparing my journey to theirs. They have totally different life experiences than I do. They have different skills and different goals. So why would I compare? It’s like comparing a fork and a spoon. They’re both awesome, but one is meant for frightening bar patrons while the other is for binge-eating Frosted Flakes. I want to only compare myself to me. Have I made progress since I first moved here? Have I honed my craft since moving here? Am I better equipped to survive in NYC than I was two-and-a-half years ago? YES, YES, YES A MILLION TIMES YES! (That was an orgasm. Thank you.)

10) Believe in Something: I know this is hard. I know this is very, very hard. But this is what keeps me going. I am imbued with these gifts for a reason. When I feel like everything is against me and I think, ‘Should I give up? Should I just try something else? Are these signs that I’m going the wrong way?’, I just remind myself: ‘No. I wasn’t given these gifts for nothing. I am navigating a difficult path, but I will have retribution. And it will  be sweet as fuck.’ Know that not everything happens for a reason, but every event has significance. I don’t think there is a reason that my grandmother died. But I do know that it was like having a bucket of ice cold water thrown in my face. I was reminded that I don’t have all the time in the world. I was shown what sacrifices I’m willing to make. I don’t think that it happened in order to teach me these lessons, but this is what I’ve learned because of it. I believe that I have a specific purpose on this earth. I believe that I am here for a reason. I don’t think that my desires and skills are an accident. I believe I’m supposed to do something with them. This fuels my fire on the days when I feel like everyone is taking a diarrhea-dump on my fucking face.

 

New York City is an adventure. I don’t know if it’s the city or if it’s the age that I’m at, but I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m learning what’s important to me. I’m learning what I’m willing to let go of. I’m learning what battles are worth bleeding for. I’m learning who I really love and the types of people I need to be around. I’m learning about the capacity of my heart. I’m learning what success means to me. I’m learning my breaking points. I’m learning where I want to go.

These are my guidelines for a basic New York City survival guide.

And remember: it’s okay to be a little bit selfish at this point in your life…

Just don’t be a fucking douchebag.

😉

Don’t give up,

James

(Look at these awesome pictures!!!!)

48.1

This is a picture of my mom with my nephew, Jackson. I had a rough night a few days ago, and I looked at this picture for a good twenty minutes.

48.2

I’m trying to get started in modeling. My friend Reeves Watson took this picture. I like to call it “Hey Good-Lookin’, You Look Like a Bucket of Chicken that I Wanna Stick My Dick In”

 

39. James Prepares His Going-Home Speech

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There are a few things to expect if you are moving out to New York to follow your dreams of becoming an actOR. For example, whenever you come home people will ask you, “So, have you done any shows lately?” That’s the first thing to expect. The second thing you should expect will be your sudden impulse to make your life sound super cool. Like this:

“No, but I smiled at Fred Armisen the other day and then he looked back at me like he saw dried blood between my teeth.”

or…

“No, but my neighbor got murdered so that reeeeeeally sucks for me.”

“No, but I waited on the executive producers of this hit reality show and they yelled at me and some of their spit went in my mouth.”

“No, but I cater for this company and they only hire pretty guys so I’m, like, pretty and stuff.”

“No, but the other day this stranger told me I was handsome and then kept walking.”

“No, but I accidentally sat on this girl on the subway and she called me a ‘tall, skinny motherfucker’ but she also called me ‘skinny.”

“No, but I walked out of my apartment the other day in shorty shorts and someone said, ‘LEGS!'”

 

I get all nervous, because when someone asks something as simple as, “How’s New York?”, I automatically hear, “How successful are you?” When people ask how New York is,I feel like they want to hear about how awesome it is. And how fun it is. And how fulfilling it is to follow your dreams. I feel the need to say, “New York is super awesome! Every day is a success! And the only reason I’m not currently cast in a show is because all the casting directors fought over me and it ended in a bloody massacre with zero survivors. Gr! Doesn’t that suck?” But what I really want to say is the truth:

“New York City is my abusive boyfriend to whom I’m addicted.”

“I was released from my show, because I am too tall to play the role of myself.”

“The other day I totally embarrassed myself in an audition, because I didn’t have a suitable additional song when asked.”

“Everyone in NYC is so gorgeous it makes me wanna stuff my underwear just so I feel more confident.”

“The other day I was waiting tables, and I got so desperate for food that I ate cake out of the garbage.”

“One day while waiting tables, I started crying because I couldn’t find any clean forks…. FORKS, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

“I go to the bathroom to talk to myself in the mirror when I’m feeling shitty.”

“When I get up in the middle of the night to pee, I turn on the light in my room because I watch too many scary movies.”

“The other day at an audition, I ran into a guy who I was seeing that randomly stopped responding to my calls and texts. And then I HAD TO MAKE AWKWARD CONVO IN THE ELEVATOR WITH HIM.”

(True stories. All around.)

This time when I came home, I was on the plane thinking about what my plan of attack was gonna be. How am I going to make my life sound super flawless and totally sin-tacular?! What will my angle be? But after much deliberation, I decided to be honest without making people wanna cry for me Argentina. When asked about New York, I was vulnerable and truthful: “It’s hard. It’s really, really hard and really, really expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fun. But it’s hard. I have a good network of friends who have become my family, and I love them to death. I’ve realized how important it is to come home to people who make you want to come home at the end of the night. Because being away from Waunakee, my HOME home, it’s easy to feel lost. My apartment isn’t the physical symbol of home like my house in Waunakee. But coming to my apartment at the end of the day to people who are excited to see me and vice versa, that feels like home. And my friends have become my home. So blah! It’s hard work but I love it for the most part. And I’m not giving up.”

And you know, the phrase I’ve heard most since being home is:

“James, I’m proud of you.”

I’ve heard: “James, it’s not easy but you’re still sticking it out. You’ve been out here for almost two years, and you’re still going. It’s really hard in a city like New York not to be dragged down into the dumps. So good for you. I just want you to know I’m proud of you.”

I’ve been feeling pretty lost lately. But you know, I feel like when I look at my life since moving to New York, I think, ‘Well, James, keep going and maybe you’ll eventually accomplish something worth being proud of.” But the people I love are already proud. It really warmed my heart, and it gave me the inspirational fuel I needed to keep going. Because I should be proud of myself. I moved out to New York one-and-a-half years ago. I can now afford groceries. I’ve booked 5 jobs so far in my field. I have a nice apartment. I have an amazing group of friends. I’m finally catching fire with certain casting directors; they’re remembering me by name. I’m still auditioning. I’m taking dance class and voice lessons. I’m taking care of my body. I still care about being  a kind person. And I try really hard not to sit on people when the bus suddenly jerks forward while I’m trying to plant myself in a seat.

Oh, and I’m not giving up.

And then all the really cool things about my life in New York come to mind:

I can wear the gayest outfit in New York and not give two shits.

I can go wherever I want whenever I want.

I get to pursue my dreams.

I get to ride the subway with Vanessa Bayer.

I have a manager who believes in me.

I have an acting coach who believes in me.

I have a voice teacher who believes in me.

I have friends who believe in me.

And I have a million people in Wisconsin rooting for me.

 

Bitch, I’m still fighting and working and serving up body-ody-ody, Jesus. And I is not giving up. And that is something to be very proud of, James.

 

“Kendrick have a DREAM!”
~”Backseat Freestyle” by Kendrick Lamar

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

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35. James Is Painfully Poor

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Friends.

I am broke. I know I already wrote a blog about being broke. But I have learned more things. Also, I have significantly less money than last time I claimed I was broke. Now, I am not homeless. So I am not the brokest. You are NOT broke and have no right to whining, “Waaaaaaaah, I have no moneyyyyy” [a la Lucille Ball meets some bimbo from the Jersey Shore] if you are any of the following:

1) You have a savings account in which you actually save.
2) You know what savings account is.
3) Your savings account has more than $96.
4) You can afford to go out to eat at least once a week.
5) You have no debt (student loans, credit card, Pokemon cards, whatev).
6) You have a sugar daddy or something of the like that purchases you things regularly.
7) You have an allowance.
8) Your parents bail you out.
9) You take taxi rides.
10) You drop off your laundry.

Now. Some people live like this and claim that they are not broke. They may be just as foolish as the people who don’t live like this yet claim that they are broke.

Here’s how you may know you are poor:

1) You are on food stamps.
2) You steal large amounts of napkins from food stands because you can’t afford paper towels. (Thanks for teaching me that, Steph 😉 )
3) It takes you 2+ hours to commute because you can’t afford a taxi.
4) You owe your parents money… and it will take you surely more than a year to pay them back.
5) You have filed for one or more deferrals for your student loans>
6) You can’t financially afford to have your own room.
7) You take Greyhounds or Megabuses (Megabussi??) instead of planes.
8) When you take a plane, you can’t afford to check a bag.
9) When taking the Greyhound, your bag exceeds the weight limit yet you can’t afford to pay the extra fee so you either try to load it into the bus on your own or you set it down and run onto the bus and hide so they can’t charge you and then you realize how ridiculous it is for a 6-foot-3 man to hide on an empty bus so you instead hide by…putting up your hood…
10) When you go out to eat, you don’t look for what you want; you look for what is cheapest on the menu.
11) Your savings account is empty out of necessity.
12) You spend on credit.
13) You thank Whoever-Is-Listening that your NEW credit card has a limited time of 0% APR. (Literally. On your knees and thank that Bitch in the sky.) [#sacriligeous #blashpemy #jesuslovesjokes #andtanningbeds]
14) You re-wear dirty clothes, because you can’t afford the laundromat (in terms of sacrificing money and time).
15) You only call people outside of your cellular network plan when the minutes are free and you text in the meantime.

Alright. I’m a rude bitch. You get the point. But if you don’t, here it is:

BEING POOR SUCKS. It sucks. It blows. And every time I think that, I have to remind myself, “I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what I love, I’mdoingwhatIlove, whatIlovelovelove.” And everyone says, “This is the life you chose.” Or sometimes people say, “Money can’t buy you happiness,” but honestly those people have never been poor. Am I f*cking RIGHT, LADIES?!?! I mean, really. It can’t? Can it not?! Let me tell you something:

I borrowed $1400 from my parents so I could afford this new apartment that I am still unsure of whether or not I can afford. I have thus far paid back my parents $365. Wee! I have not started paying a single cent of my student loans. Not one. Yes, I am aware that interest in currently accruing. Well. It can do whatever it wants. My student loan interest could get gay-married for all I care! Cuz I don’t care! I don’t! I would rather sit on the bus next to someone who I am pretty sure will rob me or kiss me on the cheek (without permission) than shell out the cash to take a taxi. I sniff the armpits of my dirty clothes to make sure that they SMELL dirty before I put them in my laundry basket. If it smells like food, eh, you can just spray it with cologne. Body odor? Well, it depends on the severity of the stench. And when I DO go to the laundromat, I shove as much clothing as I can into the smallest possible dryer (because it’s the cheapest). I would rather not wash my hair every day so I could reuse the hair product that I put in it yesterday, but now I’m seeing a cosmetologist and my hair gets nasty dandruff cocaine-like flakes when I don’t wash it regularly. DAMN. When someone asks if I want to go out to eat, I PRAY that they want to go to 2 Bros. where I can purchase dollar slices of pizza. My gym costs $10 per month. THANK GOD. I can’t sacrifice that because I’m nervous my lack of endorphins will lead to nasty, nasty poverty-induced moods. BUT. My gym hands out free pizza once a month. And Jesus-In-Heav’n, after my workout today, I ate not one, BUT TWO pieces of free Domino’s pizza. My B’way Body was MAAAAAAAAAD but my wallet was OH-SO-McHappy! I unplug all my appliances when I am not using them to save money on electricity. I don’t go to bars. A drink is like $7 and it tastes like nail polish remover… (to be specific, it tastes like the bad-tasting nail polish remover, not like Jessica Simpsons edible line of nail polish remover… [that’s a joke…although I did once eat some of Jessica Simpson’s line of edible lotion and it gave me a massive tummy ache… but that’s really beside the point… I would say it’s even further than beside the point; it’s literally MILES to the point…which will be coming back to you in 3…2…1…]). My savings account has $96. I don’t have a steady job so I can audition. I don’t know how I’m gonna make next months rent. (Hopefully I can use my security deposit from my last apartment… if I ever get it…) I recently lost my EBT benefits and I NEED them back. I need them. I can’t afford food without them. My room smells but I just put on cologne and hand lotion and leave the door open and someone with yummy-smelling farts comes in and blesses my room. I get all my music from the library. I apply for the benefits cards at every place I spend money: Pinkberry, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Starbucks, Subway, AirTran, you name it! Because I NEED that money to come back to me, Lord. I try to only spend my credit card that gets me points that I can one day turn back into money. I try to never spend cash so I can be EARNING from the money that I spend. I wouldn’t be able to afford plane tickets without credit cards.

Woof. You get the point. And I know that halfway through this blog my mother will call me and tell me that she will give me money. But I will kindly refuse her. Because I am 23 years-old damnit. I am an adult. My parents couldn’t be better parents. But perhaps I could be a better son. And for me, that starts by taking care of me, because that indirectly leads to taking care of them.

Being poor is not romantic. It just isn’t. I’d like to believe it is, because I watch too many god damn movies. It’s not. It really isn’t. Getting judged my countless checkout clerks at grocery stores for using my EBT card: not fun. Turning down plans because I can’t afford it: not fun. Listen, I know it could be worse. Of course it could. And I’m sure– nay, I am POSITIVE that rich people have problems, too. But holy fuck, I wish they could live a single day in my shoes so they would stop whining about their silly trifles. (And I’m sure people below my income level feel the exact same way about me.)

But I have talked to people who make more money than me. I have talked to people who make at least 13x more than me. And you know what they say: “Money doesn’t make me happy.” And that’s coming from people who really can afford happiness. Financially. But fuck it, if money really doesn’t make people happy then maybe it’s time to stop waiting for a cash flow to smile.

You know what I think the real cause of unhappiness is? Variables. When I see people talking about what made them unhappy that day or the other day or the day before that other day, I think to myself, ‘Damn, this hoe has too many variables in the equation of happiness.’ Think about this: what has to go right in your day to make you happy? Maybe the subway has to come on time, there needs to be a seat on the subway, there needs to be space on the subway, you need to accomplish everything on your to-do list, you need people to say the right thing to you even though they have no idea what the right thing is, your internet needs to be working, the weather needs to be perfect, you need to have a friend to hang out with. That’s SO MANY VARIABLES! All of those things need to go right for you to be happy? Damn, when you ARE happy, it’s like a freakin’ miracle. BUT: chances are that you lack the gratitude to enjoy that miraculous happiness. Because I think gratitude is the cure to the blues. Or the everyday crabbiness. (Disclaimer: I am talking about ordinary unhappiness; NOT clinical depression or anything related to medically treatable mental health issues. DIS.CLAIM.ER.)

Yes, it would be nice to get everything you want, to get all those awesome things…and the money things, too. But let’s be honest, it’s a pipe dream. Tain’t gon’ happen. The events that get you down probably won’t go away. Like my poverty. (My father thinks I’m gonna be rich but I know better.) I’m gonna be poor for a while. And that is something I could change if I adjusted my career path, but the sacrifice is too great; I did not move to New York City to be financially comfortable; I moved here to follow my f*ckin’ dreams. And while being financially stable is a dream, it is not the dream. THE dream is to move people with my art. To cause a critical change to their fundamental being that makes them more human. And it’s hard to remember that. Because for a lot of people around me, money is the dream. The dream. But that’s not for me. Because I know it won’t make me happy.

Someone once told me, “I wish you would let things roll off your back more.” And I took that advice to heart. I bumped my head today. But I thought, “Thank God I’m not bleeding! I really like this shirt!”

I cried today. Because I felt like my journey was wrong. I compared my journey to someone else’s around me. And this friend isn’t even on the same career path as mine. But I just felt like I was failing compared to that person. And worse, I felt like they agreed. And I thought to myself, ‘What if my path doesn’t lead to redemption?’

But you can’t compare your path to anyone else’s but your own. Don’t judge yourself, because I PROMISE you other people will do that for you. But f*ck them. They don’t get you. They’re not on your path, and you’re not on theirs. So there’s no way they could understand. All that matters is this: “Am I better off today than I was yesterday? Have I progressed compared to yesterday? Or one year ago? Or five?”

Toni Colette delivered pizza.

DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. Following your dreams isn’t easy, but if you keep with it you will have a hell of a story to tell at the end of your life. There’s no shame in being poor. Think of the sacrifice you’re making and the rewards of that sacrifice. You will have your redemption. Don’t quit before you get there. Be someone who your children will be proud to call Dad. Or Mom. And remember: your parents ARE proud of you. If you’re happy, they’re proud. I mean, my mom was probably proud when I drew landscapes for her in kindergarten… and I can barely draw a stick person so I can’t imagine that “landscape” looking like anything more than a skidmark on a page. (And by skidmark, I’m definitely inferring that I shit on my page intended for artwork.)

Oh, and don’t forget to laugh. Because the Universe is telling you joke after joke after joke and it’s just waiting for you to laugh. So pull that stick out of your ass (unless that’s how you get your jollies) and LAUGH, GOD DAMNIT. Because THIS SHIT IS RICH, JESUS. It is RICH.

I may be poor of pocket but I am rich of SASS, BETCHES!

If you haven’t laughed once, imagine the sound of a queef in a quiet study hall. If you are not 5 years-old and that did not make you laugh, “A man walked into a bar. ‘Ow,’ he said. And then he died on unrelated causes. The laughed. Heartless bitch.” If that impromptu, absurd joke didn’t make you laugh THEN I DON’T KNOW. Convince someone to do the cinnamon challenge! Try to fart quietly into a toilet! Play the Penis game! But mostly, try the farting thing. And then imagine how stupid your face looks.

OK. Now as a non-sequitur, HERE’S A PICTURE OF MY ROOM:

Are you super turned on? I know I am. And here, I decorated my wall on a down day:

TADA!

Ok recap:
1) Money can’t buy you happiness.
2) Let things roll off your back; decrease the Sadness Variables.
3) Practice gratitude.
4) Queefs and farts are the composition of hilarity.

“A lot of times things don’t go the way that you planned them, okay? That happens- for a lot of us out there. But let me tell you something! You pick up the hallehula hoop and you put it back around your waist. And you work the hallehula hoop!”
~Shangela from Rupaul’s Drag Race

#DON’TGIVEUP

JAMES

34. James’ Reasoning for Actors’ Fckd-Upness

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It’s really hard to be an actor. Perhaps you don’t find it to be a taxing career: “Oh, so you got paid to prance around on a stage like a cat? That’s your job? TOUGH. TITTIES.” Ok. Fair enough. But if I can understand your point of view, why don’t you kick back, grab a brewski and a frozen kit kat, put one hand on your money maker and read this. (For the record, you’re putting your hand on your BINGBONG for a sense of warmth and security; not to get your jollies…. please don’t jerk it to my blog. I asked you politely.)

If you’re silly enough to become an actor, you surely have your reasons. And I have mine; I get addicted to the connection. I’ve done scenes with another actor where I felt more passion than I have in some of my “intimate” relationships. When I’m in a scene that is really clicking, I forget about everything else and all that matters is that connection with the other person; all I care about is them. And it feels REALLY good because I know that all they care about is me. That’s it. The connection is all that matters; the fact that two people are having a singular honest moment together without barriers, without fear. And then the scene is over, and I go back to the mundane. I go back to the world of defenses, insecurities, walls, blockages, emotional ineptitude, indifference, selfishness, solitude and disconnect. I hate it. Sometimes I feel more alive when I’m living in imaginary circumstances. When I am thrust back into the cold, heartless, narcissistic world I constantly crave that connection. But I want it in real life.

I want someone to be with me. To really be with me. To be present, and not just physically. When we connect, all that matters is that connection. All that matters is that raw, bleeding, pus-filled honesty. And those moments aren’t taken for granted. They’re cherished. Because in a scene, all that matters is that current moment. Each moment is unique and precious. And you cherish it while it lasts, but you live for every single moment. I want to take the vulnerability of the scene-work and inject it into my real life; relationships without walls, without fear, without indifference, without solitude. I want intimacy. That real intimacy. I want to feel alive. I want to feel the selflessness of making someone else feel their own beating heart. I want that beauty of tearing yourself open stitch by stitch for someone else, hoping that they’ll love what they see, hoping they’ll love you more for shattering your own rib cage just so they could see the true nature of your heart. And then I want them to do the same. I want to feel at home.

And here’s the kicker, motherfuckers. Actors don’t really get to have a physical home. Most people who live “normal” lives get to find a city, find a job there, settle down, find a neighborhood, make a home, be friends with their neighbors, etc. Most people get to nest somewhere. Actors? Ha! Only if you’re lucky. We go where the work is. Some contracts last 2 months. Some maybe last a year. But all jobs end. And then you go somewhere else. And you meet people, love them and then leave them. And then you do it all over again. So we don’t get to call any physical place our home. Instead, we look for someone to call home. I know I do. I want to look someone in the eyes and feel at ease; like that feeling when you’re sitting by a fireplace drinking a cup of peppermint tea in your most comfy sweatpants, socks, long-sleeve tee, infinity scarf, snow falling lightly outside, Christmas tree tastefully lit at your side, sound of crackling firewood. I wanna look in someone’s eyes at feel that. I want that someone where it doesn’t matter where we are; it’ll always feel like home.  And maybe I get lucky enough to find someone like that at a contract. BUT THEN THEY LEAVE. They leave. And I get thrown for a loop. Cuz where the fuck did my home go? When will I feel at home again? Where do I call home? Most people, they get sad and they go home. Where is that for an actor? Where the fuck is that? Home is where the heart is. Show me where that is, please.  Cuz every time I find a new home, it gets ripped away. So I may have misplaced my heart. So what do I do? What does any other actor do? Find another contract. Go through the robotic movements as follows:  Audition. Connect. Book job. Take job. Make new friends. Finish contract. Rip out heart. Go back to auditioning. Piece together heart. Start over.

Excruciating. Trust me. Excruciating.

I don’t have the luxury of being stationary. I think a lot of stationary people lust after this transient lifestyle. Well, bitches, appreciate what you got. Because, unfortunately, I don’t  got what you do.

Perfect example: I’m in a hotel room tonight. Hoping to take a 12 hour bus ride back to New York tomorrow. Just to audition more and then leave the city again.

Don’t get me wrong; I love acting. But this is why we’re all fucked up. So if you see an actor and you think, ‘Damn, that hoe looks tortured.’ They probably are. They’re probably in love. And they’re probably thinking, ‘Fuck, love is quite inconvenient,’ and….

‘I wanna go home.’

home.

“And I’m surrounded by a million people. I still feel alone. Oh, let me go home. Oh, I miss you, you know. Let me go home. I’ve had my run. Baby, I’m done. I gotta go home.”
~”Home” by Michael Buble

JAMES.