Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My head is about to explode

Actually, I think it's been in a constant state of explosion for just over twelve hours now. And I don't exactly know what to do about it.

I'm enrolled in the 500 Clown class through Actor's Gymnasium, which has been both revelatory and cathartic. One of the things I quickly learned about myself in the first two weeks is that I have an ability to completely open up physically and put my body at risk as a performer. The deeper lesson in that realization is that I have honed that ability to compensate for the way I lock myself in emotionally. Last night was the third class, and that weakness took center stage. I had broken down all those walls by the end of the class. I was crying and laughing and furious all at once, and without an agenda other than release. It was a shining moment, and I think it's knocked something loose that has been waiting a long time to be knocked loose, because it's not going away.

Most of the class hit up Ghirardelli's for some post-mortem sundaes and then I rushed off to dress for a show we open on Thursday. This show, which will remain nameless but not difficult to figure out (hint: --->), has devoured my life as well as my soul. I know it's gauche to talk bad about a production you have a direct hand in, but I hate this show. And I'm not using the 'h' word lightly. The utter level of disorganization and miscommunication and ill (or un-) planning would have been enough to throw me off my game, but I also question the artistic instinct of many of the people involved in the production. (That's not fair or true. There are some great people involved. It's just that the people who should be in charge form a black hole that is sucking the artistic worth out of everyone else -- myself included, I'm sure.) I keep wanting to apologize for being so vicious towards a work that I am a part of, but when it comes down to it, I don't want this show to succeed. This is bad theatre. I am involved in bad theatre and I am dying inside because of it. To apologize for acknowledging that will only kill me a little faster.

And so, fresh off of a 500 Clown catharsis/show-from-the-devil's-asshole hollowness combination, I got home at the ridiculously late and vomited my heart, mind and soul out to my roommate, Lloyd (who is a beautiful person and a godsend for putting up with all of my shit). I had freshly locked my emotions back into their cage after class, but sharing that experience and going right into the trevails of rehearsal opened that place back up again. Yay, accepting one's feelings! Ah, but here's the rub: I haven't been able to get them back inside again since then. I was a ball of rage and tears last night up until I passed out sometime between 2:30 and 3:00. I wanted nothing more than to put my fist through something. And had I anything around that I didn't value or mind dealing with replacing, I would have. Repeatedly. As it is, I tore up some paper and went to sleep, assuming that things would be back to normal in the morning, as things usually are the rare and limited occasions that I get in a similar state of mind.

Things are not back to normal. I woke up, sat up, and was in tears within three minutes. The rage came back shortly thereafter. Some deodorant got chucked across to the bathroom -- I believe it was Lloyd's. That was a somewhat unfortunate choice, but it felt a little better. But it made me realize that something was different in this than in the 500 Clown breakdown. I had the sadness and the anger, but the joy was gone. It was an even mix in class, but ever since then, the happiness has been absent. That's when I decided some changes were in order.

The lack of joy was because I hadn't done anything that brought me pleasure since class. I hate the show I'm working on, I come home and pass out, only to get up in the morning and go to a job that isn't horrible enough for me to quit outright but is frustrating enough to keep me on a constant half-ass search for a new line of work. After work, I will go straight to a final dress in which we won't get shit done despite the fact that we've have a lot of shit that needs to get done despite the further fact that we have an audience tomorrow. By that time, it will have been over 24 hours since the class -- the last time I will have taken time apart to do something I derive pleasure from. I'm throwing bedtime to the wind tonight and going from rehearsal to run lines with Annette, another beautiful person and godsend who will be learning about this entire development and that she's been outed on my blog all at the same time, and then having to put up with my shit as well (I don't envy her) -- after we run lines, of course (I'm not a complete asshole). And I will be dead tired on Wednesday, but it will be worth it, because if I don't see Annette tonight, it will be a full 48 hours of joylessness. How did I get myself in this position?

I was seconds from quitting my job this morning. The odds are still better than 2:1 that I will give my two weeks notice by the end of the day. I have a job interview Thursday afternoon, but it's nothing I can bank on, and I don't have any other prospects on the front lines. It would be completely stupid to give two weeks without having a job in place. It would be throwing myself into a great unknown. It would also be liberating. And it would make me happy(-ier). I'll probably do it. And as I type that, I start wavering again. Please, anyone with any advice of any sort: comment. I need words. They don't have to make sense or have any answers or even relate to what I'm going through. I just need your words.

I've been on the brink of tears all morning. I want to tear the handset off the phone everytime it rings (and sure enough, it seems to have been ringing twice as much as usual this morning). And the part that scares me the most is how much I've internalized. I can feel the insane amounts of tension gathering in my neck, shoulders, and lower back. In the last twelve hours, I've released years of bottled emotion. How can I have tucked this much into my deep, dark corners as well?



GreyZelda Land said...

I've been where you are.

Kali and Loki are very close and in your atmosphere. Embrace them, but remember your own space, what you've built and how that might need to sustain in the aftermath.

My best advice ... try with all your soul to stick things out on the professional level. Fire's definitely spinning around your sphere, and that's ok, but you're at that point where it matters how well you walk through the fire. And how well it walks with you.


David said...

Stay, leave. Quit, continue. Release, tighten your grip. Explode, implode.

I just tried to do a very "wise" and counselor-like riff on Rebecca's very intelligent note (I like what she says about non-dualism), but erased it because -- and you probably figured this out already -- I don't really have any good advice about what you should do right now, in this situation, in this moment.

But let me be so obnoxious as to offer some advice for two-weeks from now: Forgive yourself.

Two weeks from now, part of you is going to tell you that you should have quit your job. That you chose "security" over freedom, you wimp.

Or, part of you is going to say, "Dammit! I should have stayed in that job!" (Or should have tried a different tactic re: the play! Or shouldn't have thrown that deodorant!) If you're at all like me.

I'm not saying, "Don't do your best to listen to your rational and emotional selves, and try to resolve the two, because it doesn't matter." What I'm saying is, it helps to acknowledge that we make millions of choices, large and small, over the course of our lifetimes... and I have to believe that (circumstances beyond our control excepted) if we generally try to do the right thing (I'll let you interpret "right" for yourself) we'll generally keep going in the direction intended.

So maybe what I'm saying is, in addition to acknowledging how you're feeling right now, try pretending you're sitting -- somewhere -- on October 31st at 8:30 a.m. Where are you? And how do you feel about it? Does this exercise give you any perspective?

Scott Walters said...

Don't you hate it when you pour your heart out and then somebody gives you a book to read? Well, I'm going to do it anyway: "The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters." Despite the word "acting" in the title, it isn't a theatre book. But I have read it recently, and am rereading it, and am finding it very helpful in thinking through where I am and what I need to do. Give it a read, and see if it says anything to you. Good luck.

Paul Rekk said...

Thanks so much for your advice and even more for your support, everyone. The blogosphere rocks the most! After a day of reflection and introspection and discussion with the near and dears, I officially gave my two weeks notice this morning. And the world has yet to collapse. I think I'm gonna be okay in some way or another, thanks in no small part to your words.

Mankind really makes me smile sometimes.

Paul said...

Paul, I'm in the same 500 class at a different timeslot, and let me tell you: Most of our class is going through the same trip.

There's something about this class that's bringing emotions to a boiling point. I've spent the better part of the two-three days following any given class in a state of emotional soreness, for lack of a better term. Don't get me started.

At the risk of sounding precious, your body could be working out the stress you're experiencing from the production and it's all coming out at once. I'd rest in the fact that the emotional peaks are temporary and not entirely unexpected, punch a pillow or two, and finish your gig.

And congrats for turning in the two weeks. That's bravery.