Advice is always a good thing. Personally, I don’t like giving advice but have given it if I truly believed it would help someone resolve some problem or conflict. Where I draw the line is where people think what they do and where they succeed is a blueprint for success for me. It most certainly is not! I have lost count of the times I have fallen out with people or lost friends because they start dictating to me what I should and should not be doing. I don’t appreciate, not in the slightest. What used to anger me, then irritate me then, now bores me is they fail realise that I have done or tried many of things they have suggested. Years ago! Those solutions proposed, didn’t work then, they don’t work now. Why and how do I know this? I have done it all. Time and time again!
The letter below was written as an email to a friend who truly cares. The letter is a response to a telephone conversation we had on Friday 2nd July 2010. She made many valid points, most if not all of them I have done or at the very least tried. Where she was correct was I can no longer afford to dwell the one’s past experience but to forge ahead and develop a new strategy and way of thinking in my approach to things. Again the process was well under way when she proposed it.
“Hi Dear Sweet M,
I enjoyed hearing your lovely sweet voice, even if the topic of subject was heavy going. I am not sure what the answer is or that I have the answers. If I did, I would have resolved whatever issues I have and be a lot further ahead than I am. In some ways I am further ahead and in many others I am most definitely not. Like most things going in the world today, I think and feel I need to have and implement a more radical way of thinking. I have already begun that process but as you keep on pointing out I constantly hark back to what happened ‘twenty years ago’. Unfortunately in the world of work (in my long, humble experience,) I often find people I have to deal with are set in their ways and continue to do things because it has always been done that way. It is a topic of conversation I am a little tired of having mainly because what works for many people doesn’t really work for me. That is an undeniable fact. I am multi-talented, multi-faceted, very adaptable, creative and very open to new ideas and ways of doing things. Unfortunately, that is not always what people want to see on a CV – Sorry but this is true. I can and have done two very types CV, one basic, one very much like the one I did for you. I sent them off and received little or no reply. That situation may change it may not. Only time, effort and perseverance will tell.
Now on to one’s personal ambition. I don’t for one minute expect you or anyone else to appreciate, respect or understand why so late in life I decided to embark on an acting career. I haven’t made a fortune doing it but in more than thirty years of a working life, I have made little or nothing in terms of material or financial gain. Of those thirty plus years, acting generally accounts for seven, nine if you take in my formal drama training. So in the scheme of things, it is still early days, even if I have suffered pitfalls along the way. It is interesting to note that the year before I got my first acting job, I got my BSc. Honours degree in Computing and Multimedia, spent everyday, every week applying for jobs, filling in application forms. This was immediately after being laid off from my market research job and you would think I was far more marketable back then than I am now but nothing happen in the course of that year. So I didn’t embark on an acting career out of idle curiosity. In many ways it was a radical move because up and until that time, it was just an interest. Again it hasn’t been plain sailing nor did I expect it to be. But as hard as the past eight years have been and believe me it has been exceptionally hard all the way because I devoted my time to it full-time for four years, made very little money out of it compared to a full-time job elsewhere (that is how hard it was financially,) which is why I went back into temping and seeking full-time employment four years ago and after all this time there has been little change, with the exception that I have probably done more on the acting/creative front than I have in any other type of work. In this time I got my Equity union card and my membership of Spotlight (the Actor’s Directory). I paid my dues and continue to do so. If you were to Google the name I have on Facebook, a whole wealth of information comes up. So I am marketing myself very effectively on that front. Like I said I don’t expect anyone to respect or appreciate what I do or the choices I make – Indeed, very few people do but then the choice is not theirs to make and the responsibility for my actions rests with me and me alone.
I try to avoid the subject simply because people think I don’t have a brain in my head. One would think that after forty-seven years on the planet that I have not made or attempted to do anything in terms of making a living. I used to get out of my bed many years ago and work a forty hour week to earn thirty-pounds a week. I say this not to impress you but to impress upon you that I have had a longer journey in life than you and have put up with far more crap, setbacks and lack of success careerwise and financially than most people. I am not in the a position to go on holiday, in fact I haven’t had the opportunity to relax, let alone go away and forget about my issues, problems, aspirations, ambitions etc. I am carrying my very own Pandora’s Box and each day I get out of bed, I am dealing with all of the above every minute of every single day with no let up. Life is one long fight and I have been fighting over a long period of time – most of my life in fact – and I have no let up, no respite from it all. Even when I work, I end up having to fight to get what is rightfully mine in terms of remuneration.
Choices. There are choices. Whether we know it or not, we make choices in life. We make choices in what our lives will be, what we do, what we think. We even make choices in allowing others to dictate what we read, think, do, vote even. It took me a long time to realise I was not even making a choice (even when I was,) in allowing myself, my life to drift along like a rudderless boat on the high seas of life. My life may not be perfect but it is one I can live with difficult as things may be in this life. But what makes my life more bearable, more worthwhile, worth living is I am making the choices. Conscious choices as to where I want to be, what I want to do, and the kind of life I want. As difficult and as stressful as life currently is, I know in the long run things will come to fruition and I will have the life I want and be the person I always wanted to be. I just don’t see how slaving away, doing things I don’t want to do, that neither enriches me or allows me to grow as a person is going to give me what I want. As you know well, Magdalena, I still occasionally work the nine-to-five regime for working life, when things on the Acting side of things are slow. All this continued experience does is re-enforce what I have discussed above. It doesn’t work for me. My ambitions lie elsewhere. That is my choice. My choice to make, my responsibility and my responsibility alone.