A Case of the Mondays
This is about my 9th Monday in my new home.
In my new city.
In my seemingly new life.
Every Monday has been similar-a feeling of THIS is the week that I make some changes. A residue of gloom or depression laces the air. It's not a feeling of a fresh start as much as it is "I have to deal with what's on this plate."
So, today, my goal for the week is simple. Keep on going. Maybe don't eat any pizza (last week, I ate ALL the pizza). Hit the gym. Try to smile and laugh. Take care of your wife and dog. Try to create. Don't be so hard on yourself.
Yesterday, at my job, someone mentioned a phrase that has been pivotal in my life:
"It's okay to not be okay."
A therapist said this to me once and it turned my world over.
I spent years (and still do a little) thinking that I needed to appear okay. That I needed to seem like I was in control and that I knew what I was doing. I was a New York City actor, I needed to appear confident that I was happy about it. That I was constantly training, auditioning, working on 'my craft.' The truth is I wasn't happy about it. I wasn't training. I wasn't seeing shows. I wasn't 'playing the game.'
But I couldn't let myself feel NOT okay about it. This ultimately affected my mood around my family and friends. I was withdrawn. I wouldn't open up about my feelings about ANYTHING.
So, back to therapy I went. I spent a lot of time on the therapist's couch as a kid. Apparently, if people know you come from a divorced family AND you attempted suicide, they want to make sure you are effective at communicating your feelings. It was the best thing that could've happened to me as a kid. It set the tone for my ability to empathize and connect, and ultimately prepared me for life as an actor.
But when I began to see that my career wasn't going where I thought it would, all that muscle memory started to atrophy. I thought of myself as a failure. I had let down parents who had supported me both emotionally and financially. I was letting down my wife by not providing a loving and supportive husband. I was letting down my alma mater who had built me up to success.
I was NOT okay. And I was NOT okay with NOT being okay.
So, fast forward to therapy, and my therapist drops this nugget on me. I started to let go of the need to appear okay. The need to seem okay. The need to always be okay.
And now, okay is about being neutral. Okay is a place I live. But I also spent a lot of acknowledged time in NOT okay. And yes, that's okay.
I would still like to perform on Broadway.
I would still like to be a professor and director.
I would still like to be a father.
There are many things left to do. I continue to give myself time and credit. Time to accomplish the things I want to and credit for the things I have accomplished so far.
And when I look at the mountain of things I put on my plate every Monday, it helps me breathe easier knowing that if I don't accomplish all of it...