The Dreaded Questions: “How is the acting going?” and “Are you dating anyone?”

Have you ever gone somewhere to get something important done, only to realize you forgot an essential thing you need to get that important thing done?? Let me give you a more specific example: Have you ever biked from Wrigleyville to Old Town for the purposes of going to your favorite Starbucks at North and Wells to get work done, only to realize you LEFT YOUR LAPTOP CHARGER at your apartment in Wrigleyville??

On another note, I’m getting work done from my warm apartment tonight and the Dairy Queen sign from across the way is shining brighter than ever though my window.

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So before I get into dreaded questions, a story: I had a setback at the gym a couple weeks back. I was doing a shoulder exercise and feeling pretty good about myself when all of a sudden, I felt something very painful creep up my back. I knew right away it wasn’t good and that my gym routine was about to change. Today I’m starting to feel much better. However I know I’m not ready to start lifting like I was doing before. So I’ve made a challenge for myself to find other things to do while at the gym that don’t include heavy lifting. Of course, there’s a reason I’m sharing this story: I’ve blogged before about setbacks. They suck. Sometimes that includes waiting. Now to put this in an actor’s perspective: When we are having trouble finding work, what are some other things we can find to do that will improve our craft? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Now for some dreaded questions. I caught up with my dear friend Kate on the phone recently. She introduced me to some friends of hers living out in Chicago – some of whom I now live with! Here’s a picture of me, her and my now roommate Eric, taken the one and only time the three of us got to hang out. They’re both pretty great.

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Since it had been a while since Kate and I had caught up, we asked each other the usual questions one asks when you don’t see the other for a long amount of time: How is life, how is work, how are our mutual friends doing, etc. Kate also asked me two questions that I get asked every time I catch up with someone from home – both of which I dread before they get asked. And I’d like to share them with you in the event that you dread them too: 1)” How is the acting going?” and 2) “Are you dating anyone?”

Let’s start with the acting question. Acting is going great right now. Even though I’m waiting tables again, August has been a hot month for me artistically. However, the minute someone from home asks me how the acting is going, I tense up. I usually tell them exactly how it’s going, but downplay it. There’s a fantastic example of this in one of the free Savvy Actor Videos. If it weren’t for what I learned in said video, I probably wouldn’t even acknowledging that downplaying my success is a problem. One of the reasons that my friends back home are so great is because (at least to my knowledge) they’re always rooting for me to succeed. And this, in my crazy head, creates this illusion that I’m on some big, Chicago stage, where I’m famous and far more successful than I actually am. I don’t want people to think that this is true when I’m waiting tables to pay the rent. So instead, I tell them what’s happening, but usually conclude it with a line I use in “El Stories:” “It’s not that big of a deal.” Guys. We’re allowed to be happy about our successes! Isn’t that our goal? To do what we love and be successful at it? I could go into a whole different rant about defining success, but unfortunately Dairy Queen closes in an hour and there’s no time for that.

Okay, now the fun one: Dating.

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Okay, that picture is a tease. It’s from a show I did last spring. I dread having to tell my friends back home that no, I’m still not dating anyone. BUT I should mention that while I dread this question, I ask my friends the same thing! I was literally going to ask Kate this before she asked me. I wanted to know if there were any boys in her life, if they were making her happy, and whether or not I needed to hop on a plane and beat someone up. So why do I hate the dating question? Usually because it’s the same answer and then I have to listen to the same response, sometimes followed by suggestions on how I can “find a nice girl. But after having this conversation with enough people I realized that much like my gym scenario, I can compare the dating scenario to acting: When I don’t get cast, it’s not because I’m a bad actor. It’s usually because I’m not right for the part. Same thing can be said with dating. Sometimes you meet someone and you’re just not right for them. Or vice versa. It’s not personal.

Another quick thought on the dating scene. Sometimes I get silly when it comes to analyzing my dating life. I often think things like “I’m the only one of my friends who are single.”  Sometimes I’ll hear others say something similar, only to learn they’ve fallen in love two weeks later. So because of this, it’s easy to think I’m the only one who isn’t dating or has gone as long as I have without dating someone.  Recently I heard two actors talking backstage about dating. Not only were they both single, but they were using the SAME EXACT words, phrases, and scenarios as I use when talking about dating. It’s rare when I find someone with a similar dating history to mine. But to find TWO people who were saying the same things as I do got me thinking. Whether it’s dating or something else, don’t get down on yourself because you’re “the only one” who is in your situation. Because I guarantee you’re not.

Oh dear. Dairy Queen is closing. Must run. Until next time!

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