I get it. It’s hard NOT to do, especially today with Social Media! We broadcast anything and everything instantly and expect everyone around the world to like it. Super double-edged sword— we get to see what’s going on around the world, we get to see what’s going on in friend’s lives who don’t live nearby— so great! But sometimes, we see it and think, "wait a minute…. should I be doing that, too? Should I be backpacking through Europe? Should I actually be married to my career? Or should I also have had 3 kids by now?" Actor version: "Should I have already booked a co-star this year, it’s February? Should I also be testing for series regulars if I have one friend who told me she did? Should I be at a top five agency by now even though I only have one credit? Should I have at least 3 guest stars on my resume like the girl who has ten years on me?" All aboard!
You are you. You are not your friends. You are not another actor or actress. If you are lucky, you have friends who are also actors and on the same loony toon roller coaster. I’m the ones with my hands up, heyyyy!!! And then they share with us they are doing this, working on that, and the other. And then we are like… wait a minute… I’ve been here for three years and haven’t booked my big tv series and they just started like yesterday and they booked a co-star… That’s when the roller coaster plunges into the pitch black.
So. See where the problem of comparison starts? Our first reaction is to say “Congratulations!” Because that’s what we generally really feel! We are so excited for someone we care about to be succeeding! If one of us rises, we all rise. Then you go home…. and it’s easy to start thinking… “That's so great, I'm so happy for her, it's so inspiring!!! She did it!!! But how... hmmm.... we are the same age, she's just blond... but the breakdown said any ethnicity... well…. I know that casting office… why wasn’t I called in? Wait a minute, she has red hair and I’m a red head…. why didn’t I audition for it? Oh, we both auditioned for it and she got it…. why did they pick her, not me? I was better.” Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. I can honestly say I will never forget the time I shared something with someone and they said, “Congrats! That’s such an exciting opportunity!!” Then a few minutes later… “I wonder why you got called in and I didn’t.” They didn’t mean anything malicious by it at all. It was the subconscious thinking out loud, I totally get it, but I now realize… Ohhh. Comparing. Realizing. (Insert I love Lucy face.) The only thing this person and I had in common were that we were female. And look. I’m not saying I’m so innocent and perfect, but I see why you would think that. ;) I’m totally guilty of being curious why one person was called in and I wasn't... I think it’s only natural. But, allowing that comparison to consume you? DANGEROUS. Because then you’re thinking about that person and their success and not your own! Girl. Get yoself back on track and be selfish and be concerned with yoself and your own sitch.
What’s even worse is comparing yourself to yourself. That's fun! I don’t recommend this. Doing this might lead to a depression that involves a lot wine and buffalo wings and crying hysterically to your new teacher yelling at him saying that you think monologues and Shakespeare are stupid through painful, snotty sobs and ruining your last pair of hard to obtain RWSP lashes and then your teacher tells you… “it’s okay to be feeling like that. You’re human.” You might even cry harder after hearing this. Not that I have experienced this first hand or anything. *(Since this alleged conversation, I have been open to monologues and Shakespeare. We are making progress.)
The opportunities you had last year are not the same opportunities you will have today or next year. Last year, there may have been a ton of opportunities and you ended up with a great booking rate. I don’t want to refer to it as a success rate. Success is subjective. Ideally, things work like you get a promotion every two years. A little more work, a little more money. You know. How things "normally" go. This year, those opportunities just do not exist so how can I be auditioning and booking things that aren’t there? (There is another blog post on my page about this!) So then, I start to compare myself and my perceived success to last year. "Well, I booked A, B, C last year. This year I should be booking A, B, C, D, E, F, G AND J!" Then, when there’s only an A this year… I’m really disappointed. I’ve set myself up for failure by comparing myself this year to myself last year. This leads to a really ugly shame spiral of a lot of other ugly feelings and it’s really gross and doesn’t feel good. #TrueTalk
So, hey. Come here. I wanna tell you a secret.
Did you know… all of our paths are different? All of our talents are different. All of our timing is different. All of our energies and essences are so incredibly unique to us that we shouldn’t even begin to compare ourselves to each other, especially our previous selves for that matter. We need to sit back and realize we need to appreciate the change! How many of us can say that we were the same person we were the year before? I know for a fact I cannot say I am the same person as I was a month ago, a year ago, or even three years ago. Talent wise. Skill wise. Heart, body and mind. I thank God for the chance to evolve and grow and make new discoveries about myself everyday. I have to remember I am no one, but me. And I love that.
So go on. Be there for your friends and supportive of them!! They need our love and support and cheering them on. And remember. So do you.
I hope you have a really great week.
Alyssa, No One's Daughter