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Why on earth have you started another bloody blog?

To be 100 and 10 percent honest with you dear reader, as I intend to be, I’m not 100 and 10 percent sure. I think that it’s a culmination of a few thing as I shall go on to explain the best way I can.

So to start, the obvious, why have I got the time to be writing blogs/rambles for potentially nobody to read? Well dear reader, thank you for asking, I am an actor. Not ‘aspiring’, for if I say that I’m in a constant state of limbo, but shall we say ‘between jobs’ instead. I studied acting at university and like the majority of my graduating class I am searching for work. My future is looking quite empty currently. Which excites and terrifies me equally. Who knows what’s next but equally who knows if this is what I’m actually supposed to be doing?

I work as a waitress in my muggle life. Anyone who is trying to pursue a creative field and has read/watched or is Harry Potter will understand my reference to the odd half life to which I am referring. One which I will attempt through these blogs/rambles to document. It’s hard between jobs to keep your creativity flowing. Unlike the wonderful facilities I had while studying unfortunately at home I don’t have free rehearsal space in which to make art or student fiance which allowed creating to be my only real focus (other than the occasional party etc). This means that I am desperate for a creative outlet and here we are. As I was saying I am a waitress, this is because I need to pay bills and save money like most other human beings and being ‘between jobs’ means acting isn’t really supplying the dolla bills I need. Ideally I will transfer into a muggle job which is more in the industry but for now it will do. The people are nice, the tips are good and I can walk from my house. I am grateful for a job at all.

I live at home. In the box room. In a bunkbed. I’m 22. I will forever be grateful to my wonderful parents for taking me in again after I graduated and was broke. They are hugely supportive and I wouldn’t change them for the world. I am not sure however that they understand exactly the creative world I got a taste of at university so perhaps dear reader I am trying to find others who have sipped from that cup, because my god once you do it’s really rather hard to stop.

Then there’s this strange last point which I myself am still deciphering. You see it’s sort of an oxymoron. I have since as long as I can remember wanted to change the world for the better. Along with my dream to be an actor you can see I was a very realistic goal setter. Despite being told I am a dreamer, an optimist or even a naive little girl I just can’t shake it. I have absolutely no idea how it will happen or even where to start. I thought maybe I would use acting to tell stories that needed to be heard and give a voice to those who need it most. But I can’t wait and so I’ve got to do something. It also means I have to care a little less about what other people say and think. The oxymoron part is that for as long as I can remember I have also wanted to gain peoples praise, love, validation to know I’m doing okay. I will have shared or posted this and will be terrified of the response or lack of I might receive.

However. It’s a new year, a fresh start, a blank page – which I intend to fill. The same me, just a little bolder. I hope whoever you are reading this (Hi Mum and Dad and any other poor sod who’s made it this far) I can entertain, enlighten and encourage you to fill your blank page too. I’m making a leap…are you coming?

It’s cool to be kind.

Well it’s been well over a month since my last post. I won’t apologise; I wasn’t ready to write and nothing sprung to mind when I thought of things to try and squeeze out a post about. So I’ve waited. I’ve turned 23 in the time since we last spoke. 22 wasn’t my year looking back, although I am grateful for what it’s taught me. Patience really is a virtue and a rather hard one to master too. I have learnt if you want something you actually do have to work really hard to get it. Nothing falls into your lap, you must go out and take it. What you put in is what you get out. I have also learned more about loving the skin I’m in, and not feeling cringey or cliche when I write that but really meaning it. About the marvel of our uniqueness.

And now to business…

If you asked me what I believe in I would struggle to answer you, I am still learning and don’t think I could pin it down. I do however believe in kindness with all my heart. It can sometimes be hard to remember in the fast pace, self obsessive, consumerist world we are living in but it really is cool to be kind. Please let me assure you that there are days for me where being kind isn’t the top of my priority list and that it’s something I am working on. I do not profess to be the queen of kindness, not at all. It’s just that recently I have been witness to acts of kindness which have really got me thinking about how I live my life but also about the crazy acting industry some of us are trying to break into. I want to tell you about it.

I saw Emilia at the Globe last year and it blew me away. If you didn’t get to see it do yourself a favour and buy the play, soak up as much of it as you can, start a petition to bring it back. It will change you. Having sobbed for long enough after the play finished I leapt on twitter to share my excitement and spread the love of this glorious production. On following Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (@mogster) the genius writer behind this powerhouse play the cherry for the top of my cake was served. She takes the time to reply to most responses she receives, she is down to earth, she created space for mothers with young children and babies to see Emilia when the issue was raised by enough women. This kindness breeds kindness and trust and openness. It replicated the feeling of sisterhood I felt at the Globe which I now carry around with me most days.

Michaela Cole (Black Earth Rising, Been So Long) wrote and starred in Chewing Gum, the BAFTA nominated comedy series. Having received huge acclaim for her work she did something I hadn’t ever seen done before. She shared the scripts and notes for Chewing Gum Series 1 for all the world to see (you can find in her twitter bio for those interested, @MichaelaCole). For all aspiring writers to pour over, learn from and enjoy. This generosity wasn’t necessary but it was full of kindness. Rather than being protective of her work and her success she wanted to share it and help and encourage other writers do the same. The respect I have for her is immense and I cannot wait to see what she does next. She is the sort of person I would jump through hoops to work with.

Michelle Obama said “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” That’s the sort of world I want to live in. Idealist, I know. But I am seeing it happen at the top of the industry, at the very start and everywhere in between. It is often said that the industry is cut throat, every person for themselves, greedy but I have seen another side. Where people share their process, the contacts they’ve made, the play you should see, the book to read, the notes they made at the workshop you couldn’t get too. It’s happening and I know which side of the industry I want to be working in. If nothing else think of your brand. The people I have mentioned are all people I would love to work with. If you echo their kindness, the vibrations will ripple right through industry and the feedback will be that you are the person people want to work with for your generosity and kindness.

More than that though create acts of kindness, not just in the industry but in all aspects of your life. Start small. Practice kindness with your friends, family, nearest and dearest. Give help where it’s asked for, eek out when it might not have been but is still needed. Can you imagine what would happen if we all tried it? Think about all the karma points it would give you. Remember to be kind to yourself too. Life’s tough, but you can do it. Whatever it is, acting or not. Climbing the mountain. Quitting your job to pursue your dream. Overcoming your anxiety to go for drinks with a friend. Telling that person you like them. Coming out. Setting foot in the audition room. Starting the novel you dream of writing.

How much easier would it all be if people were kinder, more generous? What would the world look like? Try it. I dare you. I’ll leave you this, what better feeling is there in the world that doing something truly kind purely because you can.

Trust Your Path

Feeling incredibly grateful to currently be sitting on a balcony in Crete looking at the sea. Also feeling spoilt with the opportunity to write and therefore planning to make full use of my time here. Alongside some other projects I have now taken the plunge and committed to, whether on my own, with friends, or other companies, I am also going to be try to write a few of these. So bare with me; if you’ve just joined, welcome and if you’ve read from the beginning, thanks for sticking with me.

The last time we spoke I had actually managed to bag myself a proper, profesh audition with proper profesh peoples. I explained about being nervy and overcoming the self doubt which quietly creeps in once you leave the safe space of university/college/training. (If you want to read my rambles on this it was in my last blog ‘Check Yourself’). It turns out I didn’t make the cut for that particular show. Having been offered the chance to receive feedback it would seem my rendition of ‘Om pa pa’ was more ‘Om pa na’ (God, that’s awful but I couldn’t help myself!). I know full well that my singing skills leave a lot to be desired but I also know I don’t want to be a singer, only maybe for myself – in the shower. So I hold no grudge.

I was however somewhat surprised and elated to find that although it was bad news I received I felt a great sense of peace and acceptance. Slowly but surely my self doubt is creeping back to wherever it came from. I think by sharing, speaking, and writing about it all I have found many others in the same position as me. Scared to move forward yet detesting where they are. Everything moves forward, and time does too. It’s natural to keep moving, don’t fight it.

I have been trying to reaffirm what I was told in an audition with an incredible director just prior to graduating; not getting the job is not a reflection of your talent, nor is it personal you are simply not what that person/persons needs right now. It seems to be working, I feel more content than I have in months. I am working on projects, I have things to fill my time. They might not be with big companies or leading theatres but I bloody love them and am excited each time I sit down to work. If I keep going, keep moving forward then perhaps these projects and others which are similar will be picked up by the big companies or leading theatres. But I will get there by moving forward with people I admire, care for and trust.

I was not meant to get that job because it would mean missing the projects I mentioned earlier. The old ‘one door closes’ scenario I suppose. (So many clichés I know, but it’s what you came for). Trust your path.

Keep sharing, speaking, and writing. Keep looking for new opportunities, people, places. Keeping moving forward. You’ll stumble across things you never ever knew you could have. The world is your oyster, you just step out into it.

Speak soon, M x

Check Yourself.

She’s on a train again. But today she’s heading home from an audition. HURRAH – she’s finally got an proper professh audition (only taken two years since grad).

As much as it would be easier for me to tell you that the jobs just weren’t out there and people never reply (both these statement are pretty true and don’t aid an artists cause), I promised I wouldn’t lie to you and in doing so myself. If you want to audition for things you have to apply.

Funny when you write it down. It’s all much simpler. The simple fact is I was too chicken. I was scared. What if I had lost all my skills? What if I got in the room and failed? It was easier for me not to apply than to apply and get knocked down. Or know I could look back and say that I hadn’t tried my best, hadn’t given it my all and that if I had maybe I would have gotten further. I was giving up before even really trying.

A new year, a fresh reminder that life is too short (see my last post for details) and tiny baby steps have helped pull me out of this rut. I have been reading more (‘Feminist Don’t Wear Pink, and Other Lies’, ‘Conversations with Friends’ and ‘Small Great Things’ are my latest recommendations) sleeping earlier, having good long conversations with some of my favourite people, seeing more theatre and getting outside more. I have applied for everything and everything that I can almost everyday. Because if I want my dream to become my everyday I gotta put the work in everyday.

Slowly I am working to shift my mindset.

I am learning to back myself because someone’s got to in an industry that can be so cold. When you do apply you rarely get a response and we all know how cut throat an actual audition can be. Look out for yourself. But also trust yourself. I have to put myself forward, to take the plunge and if I fail then so what, but at least it was whilst I was really trying.

We studied Comedy at university and, more than any other skill, it taught us to fail. Over and over and still pick ourselves up. Take a risk, make yourself look like a complete idiot, squirm in the silence of an audience and then try something else. It’s only since graduating and facing the big bad world that I am truly beginning to comprehend the value of this lesson. FAIL – first attempt in learning. Maybe it’s for this reason I chose ‘Oom Pah Pah’ as my unaccompanied song for my audition. Bold, I know. Thank you Pat Welsh (if you know, you know).

I have also watched more theatre in the last month, and seen good friends soar to new heights. A few months ago I struggled to separate my excitement and joy at seeing friends rise and my jealousy at not getting anywhere myself. Again so ridiculous when written down as firstly; I needed to be applying for things to get anywhere in the first place. Secondly; the roles my friends have received would never be something I could play (not because I lack the skills but because I’m just not right for that part). And thirdly; because how on earth can I call myself a friend if I cannot celebrate their successes.

You have to check yourself and your behaviour; call yourself out on your bullshit to allow yourself to grow. It can be really tough, to realise you have been in the wrong, made mistakes or even hurt people. But a dear friend once told me I have to be able to own my shit. Learn from it and move on.

Show up for yourself every day, say yes to more and know you’re good at what you do. Dust off your skills and practise them. Help friends. Accept help from friends. Never be afraid to try. Keep going. What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. To let the dream fog over for a while. But you reach a little crossroads, which I’m sure I’ll meet again, where you have to decide what you want and how much you want it. The truth is; acting, telling stories, creating sets my soul on fire. And I won’t stop. Not for anyone ancd certainly not for my doubts. The fog is dispersing and there, a little closer than before, is my dream. Clearer than ever.

Speak soon, M x

P.S. the picture for this post is work by Florence Given, an incredible London based artist and thinker. The thoughts, for me, extend to men and non-binary people too, any artist in fact, but the art is too good not to share. Check her out at @florencegiven or https://www.florencegiven.com.

Life’s too short. It’s too short.

I never made any promises to myself or anyone else about how regularly I would be posting on Another Bloody Blog. I think it was in an attempt to keep things loose, easy and free. I didn’t want to have the pressure of making sure I had something every week/month. I am doing this because I want too, so it makes sense to write only when I want to. This is only my second post and yet I have already felt a weird sense of pressure to write. Life however has had other plans.

I’ve had a shitter of a month personally and at home, and it’s meant I haven’t thought much about anything other than my nearest and dearest, the muggle job and my next coffee fix. So I haven’t written, but I am on a train to London to visit some beautiful human beings and I felt like writing – so here we are.

Life really is too short. It’s so easy to forget it sometimes and then life comes right out of nowhere and reminds you with the mother of all gut punches. We are all mortal. As far as I’m concerned you get one ride in this life, potentially many more await, but I’ll be damned if I waste mine. Silver linings are a funny thing. Sometimes they’re impossible to see, sometimes they are staring you right in the face and sometimes they reveal themselves sliver by sliver. My most recent one is the latter kind. Almost cruelly slow, posing as the first, but sure enough it’s there, winking at me.

Whoever you are; whatever you do, do it because you LOVE it. Don’t settle. You are deserving of whichever life you chose. But chose. Be bold. Claim it. Because life won’t wait for you.

It’s all very easy for me to type this for you, but I am also trying to life by it. Trying. It’s hard to find the motivation when you know you’re one in hundreds of thousands of people trying to crack an industry which seems uncrackable some days. But I keep telling myself no one got anywhere by not trying. I want it. So I’ve gotta try.

I’ve learnt and am still learning that we are all on our own paths. It doesn’t matter how quick or slow you go, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t get that job and someone else did, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t do work today. It’s okay. You’ll find your way. Just don’t give up.

Keep pushing. I’m with you. I see you. You got this.

Speak soon, M x

‘If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint”, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

~ Vincent Van Gogh