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Not too long ago, a friend of mine once asked me, “Do you still consider yourself an actor?”
This person was also an actor. AND a parent.
And I took that shit as an insult. They may not have meant it that way, but did they even know me anymore? Were we even still friends at that point?
But why did I take it as an insult? That was more shocking than the actual question. Why was my first reaction EXTREME RAGE?
Just because I’m a parent DOES NOT doesn’t make me NOT an actor EVER AGAIN. I have a degree in the field. I have a resume full of credits that prove it. I’m just not acting RIGHT NOW.
Being an actor is a huge part of who I am. It’s always in my head. The roles I would love to play. The roles I am writing for myself. The stories I want to tell. It is always there.
However, the longer I go without “working” the more disconnected I feel from the “scene.” And I don’t care enough to put any more effort in it right now other than friendly networking with other actors, on hiatus or otherwise.
But I’m still a fucking actor. I’m still an artist. No one can take that away from me.
I realized what made me so angry over what this person said to me is that I was placing my validation on how other people saw me and not how I saw myself. What I find so sad about what my friend said to me was they were probably projecting how they felt about themselves onto me, that because they no longer have a job then they were somehow invalidated as an artist. And they couldn’t be more wrong, especially since the only reason they lost their gigs was due to a pandemic. I chose to walk away.
I am still an actor. You are still an actor. Whether or not you have a job. Whether or not you have become a parent.
This is how I know:
I play make-believe with my kids. If there’s anything that has kept my skills sharp it’s playing with my kids. The stories they come up with are hilarious. They also love to reenact the scene where we first meet Anna and Elsa in Frozen, and let me tell you it is adorable AF. We also were lucky enough to be part of a group of families to test drive the newest iteration of the Places, Please! Theatre Subscription Box called PLACES, PLEASE! Littles the past few months. It is a fun way to share my love of theatre with my kids! Review coming later this month!
I’m creating my own work. If I’m not playing, I’m writing. Mostly loglines and script ideas. When I have time, I work on the TV series I’ve had living in my head and computer for the past 18 months.
I am still connected to the industry via my friends and social media. I keep up with what’s going on as best as I can. I’ve joined relevant FB groups and join in the discussions. I’ve participated in a few friends’ passion projects just for fun. I’m still doing stuff, but on my terms.
And when I return to the industry, it will be on my terms.
I’m still a fucking actor. So are you. Here are 5 Affirmations for Busy Artist-Parents because I still believe in you. You should, too.