Sorry for the late blog post all, I don’t really have a good excuse other than I got home late last night and was too tired to write anything. Onwards. I’ve been wondering a bit what to write about this week, I could tell you that I went to a cool creative night on my birthday called Pecha Kucha where people got up and talked about projects they had or cool things that they’ve done and how it semi-inspired me, at least to possibly make my instagram public.
But I’ve been reading Mara Wilson’s book ( you know the child actor who played Matilda) called Where am I Now? Besides being an incredibly cool person there has never been another self memoir book that I’ve related to so much. Every chapter I’ve read is a like a chapter out of the book of Reba. She talks a lot about anxiety, self doubt, and not being Hollywood’s standardized version of beauty anymore. All things I can more or less relate to ( minus the Hollywood part – but not being what I would call conventionally pretty makes me feel like I can relate )
Anxiety. Oh boy. I could write forever about anxiety. There’s a part in Mara Wilson’s book where she says I could do a whole show about all my anxieties. And I’m like um yes. There are other people that do that too? I’ve always been an anxious person. There was possibly some times in my childhood that I wasn’t super anxious but even then I worried about things. A lot. All the time. Mara Wilson describes thinking about worst case scenario’s as a kid and thinking about terrible things that would never happen. When I was a kid I worried about things like if I was left in the car someone would break in and drive the car away with me in it. It’s why I always wanted to go into the store with my parents. In my childhood there was breaking news about a guy who drove around in a white van and picked up small kids and they never saw their parents again. I became paranoid that this would happen to me and my heart would leap in my chest every time I saw a white van. (Which was often, everyone apparently drove a mini van in my neighbourhood)
I had my first panic attack when I was 11. It was over something like not being able to figure out a math question or not understanding why I couldn’t get it. I was dizzy, light headed, sweating and I couldn’t stop crying. At the end of it I had no idea what had happened. I don’t know if my parents did either, but years later found out that that was a panic attack. Through out high school I had them, and into my adult hood I’ve continued to have them.
So anxiety has always been a part of me. When I went to Europe or right before I went I had multiple panic attacks, which for me includes spells of being dizzy, hot, sweating and crying a lot and feeling like I can’t breathe. I was entirely convinced that I didn’t want to go and if I went I would get taken. My dad told me that I had to tell my travelling partners about my anxiety, or my anxiety attacks so that they wouldn’t be freaked out if I had one during our trip. I was nervous as all hell to tell them, I don’t like to talk about my anxiety, but was so relieved when I did and they were just like oh, ok. Good to know. And then asked if there was anything they could do if I ever had one during our trip.
Back to Mara. Besides feeling like two peas in an anxiety filled pod, she actually inspires me. And I don’t like throwing around that word. She talks about how being creative, specifically writing ( for her ) helps her battle that anxiety, her self doubt. She has taken meds for her anxiety and her OCD ( which I never have but have totally considered ) she says something that my parents have been telling me for years. And apparently I only listen when famous actor’s tell me things I’ve been hearing my entire life.
Fighting with anxiety makes it worse; instead, accept the anxiety and it will become less scary. We aren’t responsible for our thoughts, we are only responsible for what we do with them. Own my anxieties and I wouldn’t be letting them own me.
I am an anxious person, I think sometimes it’s easier for me to pretend that I’m not though. To not share that part of myself with other people. Being an actor I’ve gotten probably too good at just letting people see what I want them to see. For the most part they don’t see my anxiety, my panic attacks or that I get anxious when I think people don’t like me. I have some auditions this week, and as is normal probably for any actor I’m nervous. But I feel like my anxiety is way higher than most people’s. I want to do well, I want to be good, I don’t want to fuck up. Oh yeah, I’m also a perfectionist which really sucks when you have anxiety. But I can’t fight my anxiety. It is there. It follows me around like that dark cloud over Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh ( coincidentally Eeyore was always my favourite Winnie the pooh character, yes I know he was sad and depressed somehow that made me like him more, I don’t know I was a weird child )
So I’m going to try and breathe and take stock of my surroundings ( like Mara says to do ) when I’m in that audition room this week. It may work, it may not. But I am a person with anxiety, and on some level I have to own that.
I’m not saying that you live under a rock if you don’t know who Mara Wilson is, maybe you never watched Matilda or Mrs. Doubtfire but here she is talking about her anxieties and how it’s ok to be anxious, and a good breathing exercise at the end.