Monday, October 8, 2012

The "R" Word

Romantic relationship has been on my mind lately.

Actually, it has been on my mind nearly every day for all of my life.  I had gotten good at pushing the desire from my mind for the most part, so that its incessant throbbing became merely a dull ache.  But this last week it has been catalyzed into full-fledged reawakening and it is consuming me.

I can't hold back anymore.  This is something I strongly want, but I don't know how to go about having it or pursuing it.  As I drove home through the dark tonight, I sobbed and railed against the injustice of it all and begged for clarity and direction.  Suddenly, after about 25 minutes of this, I reached a realization that I actually enjoy and understand.

In a matter of about 5 seconds, I went from despair to courage as I realized that the only way I can go about seeing any dream manifest is by starting from the very bottom and working my way up.

I have been doing this with my acting career.  I tried and tried to just jump right into getting roles and agents and all of that.  But I didn't have the confidence.  I knew I had raw talent, but I hadn't had any kind of training or constructive feedback from knowledgeable sources.  As wonderful and well-meaning as they are, the people that love and admire you aren't going to give an unbiased and constructive critique on your art.  They are going to say "Oh that's wonderful!  I'm so proud of you!" and leave you feeling fleetingly happy.  But the fertilizer is the critique.  The most important part of being an artist is allowing critique.  Because if you can take in a critique with grace and an open mind, and apply what was given, then you have allowed yourself to grow and flourish.

My mother keeps telling me I am an extrovert, and I agree.  Extroverts are not just outgoing social butterflies.  From what my mom tells me, people who are extroverts need to process things externally.  They need to bounce their energy off of the people around them so that they can see things clearly.  Thoughts and ideas are a mush inside... like a pile of yarn that, once uttered, knits itself into a coherent sweater.

I definitely am this way.  This is why I have begun writing again.  I need to at least see my thoughts on paper (or a screen).  Otherwise it is just this constant echoing, jumbled mess in my head that leaves me exhausted after I try to internally sort it out.

Introverts are the opposite, in that they need to process fully, internally, before expressing.  Their power lies in having it all clear within them before moving forward with any kind of interaction or expression. I need to just get it out there so I can see it, and most of all I need feedback.  I need someone to tell me what they see.  I need someone to be honest with me and point out my blind spots and show me what I can do differently.

This is why I have flourished so much in this last year as an actor, because I have two of the greatest teachers I have ever had in my life.  Not just the best acting teachers, but the best teachers OF ALL THE TEACHERS.  They are great because I know they already think I'm great, and everything they tell me comes from the desire to see that greatness emerge more and more fully.  THAT is what makes a great teacher, and I am so thankful to have found that in my pursuit of my acting dreams.

So what does this have to do with my desire for romance?

In the instant between despair and clarity, I realized I have been going about this whole relationship thing in the same way that I was once going about my acting career.  I've been trying to jump in with all four feet, without having been trained.  I know I have the raw "talent" -- I have the desire, the passion, the love and the sweetness.  I know I could make a wonderful lover.  But I have never had honest and objective feedback.  I've had feedback.  But it was heated and argumentative and tearful and all of that. I want to approach this big dream in the same way that I chose to approach my acting career.  As if I know nothing. As if every piece of information is gold and can help me on my path.  As if I cannot possibly lose, but only grow and learn as a lover.

As if I have never done this before.

Two years ago, I felt discouraged about my acting career.  I didn't know where to start.  I wanted to jump right into the fullness of the dream, but I couldn't wrap my mind around it, and I couldn't believe it to be a possibility for me.  Today, I know with certainty that I can and will succeed as an actress, and I will be great.  Even though the fullness of my dream has not manifested yet, I am living as much of it as I can fully grasp right now.  I am viscerally on my way towards it, and the momentum is increasing.  I am acting every week.  So far this fall, I have been filming every single weekend.  I haven't even had time for partying, and that is one of my favorite things to do!  But I haven't missed it, because I have enjoyed myself so thoroughly.

So this is my new intention.  Starting now, I'm no longer going to try and jump right into "the big one." Starting now, I am going to learn and grow as a lover.  I am going to take in every single bit of feedback I receive with an open mind and open heart.  I'm not going to take this feedback as a personal attack, but as an opportunity to see myself and allow that greatness that is already there to emerge more fully.  I don't need to shut down and cry every time I get some feedback.  Like in acting, I'll just take it in, make a note, and try my best to do it differently next time.  Like in acting, I will pull back every time I feel myself trying to rush ahead.  Like in acting, I will encourage myself and do every single thing I can do to improve and learn and grow.

I can do that.

Every day I feel like I know myself better and better.  I'm really proud of who I'm becoming.


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