New year´s resolutions and revelations
The beginning of a year has always been a good time to reflect on who we are and what we want in life. Phrases like: “A new beginning”, “new opportunity”, “New Year… new life”, abound at this time of year.
But have you ever had any New Year’s revelations? I do. And just on January 2, 2019, at 7:28 a.m. Twenty-eight minutes after my husband’s alarm clock sounded and we had to prepare ourselves to go back to the routine, I understood what the fudge going on with me.
This year that has just ended has been especially difficult for me. I had to abandon many things: my house, my country, my parents, my culture, my car, my friends, my theater group, my career, my students.
With great enthusiasm, we embark on this new adventure of living in Peru. It has not been easy but we have been very lucky. My husband got a job that he likes, we live in a wonderful street, our little Schnauzer dog could come with us. In essence, everything is fine. Except that not quite everything is alright.
Your mind can´t stop wondering
My mind (like anybody’s) is a weird maze. A labyrinth with lots of noise and thousands of things happening at the same time. Actually, my mind is like a big market in New Delhi. I have looked for a way to silence her by doing therapy, meditating, taking thousands of medicines, droplets of bach, homeopathy, going to church, etc. etc. but my mind does not shut up.
“You have to let it flow” I always think about that when my mind does not want to leave me alone. But, over the years I have realized that this will not happen. It will never be quiet. So I better find the root of the problem and what is wrong with me.
Failure and rejection
I discovered it starting the year! It is a joy that you can not describe. It is as if someone had discovered a chocolate ice cream that doesn´t get you fat. I understood it that morning on January 2 at 7:28 a.m: I do not know how to deal with failure and rejection.
Failure and rejection are two things that haunt us throughout our lives. If you have a slight problem of anxiety and depression like I do, you should know what I´m talking about. I can go back in time and identify episodes of rejection and failure up to when I was four years old and the boy I liked in kindergarten did not pay attention to me.
I have lived a divorce, several breakups, friends who have left my country and have ended up all over the world, my own escape from the country, among countless experiences of rejection or failure.
Not all of these episodes that I list formally constitute a failure or a rejection. They really are just things that happen in anyone’s life. The question is how my head and body process it. In all these years of events (let’s call it that) I have gained weight and lost twenty kilos (I have already risen ten again), I sought professional help to get out of depression and I have a dog that is the joy of my days.
Happy person vs. unhappy person
But back to my discovery of that morning of January 2, I must say that I understood for example, that I have been doing theater since I was fourteen years old and it has been the only constant thing in my life. Why? Because on the stage, the only thing that your body and mind perceive is the applause and the recognition of the audience.
My mind is so cunning that it forgets the bitter moments when a character or a play is just not right or everything that you suffered from the director or pre-opening anguish. But that’s the good thing about sensory memory, your body tends to remember the good ones and block or forget the bad ones (E.g. when a woman gives birth, it’s a traumatic and horrible pain but they do it again! No matter what).
In acting and performing, there are recognition, approval, and love for the work you have done. Even if you did not do it “so” well. In the rest of life, there´s not.
I currently work as a salesperson in my regular time like any mortal. I sell tickets for the Theater. It´s kind of tricky because, it’s like being so close to where you want to be, but not really being there. It’s hard for me not only because I´m not the one on stage, but because selling is one of the jobs that most rejection and failure entails. They can tell you “NO thanks” up to two hundred times a day. That is something hard to cope with.
People who are successful as Sellers are not the ones who “Wouldn´t take no for an answer”. The really successful ones are those who DON´T CARE that they give them a NO answer.
How your body responds to life changes
There´s the find of the day. How do your mind and body behave in the face of rejection and failure? I have spent all December with a great depression (yes, it is a real struggle) I have gained about five kilos in just less than a month, I do not want to do anything that implies a physical effort, much less that involves thinking about returning to work.
Especially I do not want to think about going back to work. In fact, I’ve been looking for a way to not continue there. Thinking about what’s wrong with me, why am I not good at this, what should I do better? In which course of becoming an expert seller in one day can I sign in?
Maybe the answer is to look for another job, or just dedicate myself to acting and writing … just do the things that you love … if only!.
I think I found the answer! Or at least part of it! Ok… at least I think I fund the best answer in the meantime: I just have to learn to deal with those episodes of rejection and failure and move on. Does it sound easy right? It is not.
But, you will insist: “Why don´t you dedicate yourself to the theater that brings you the recognition and approval you need?” It’s simple: we have to pay the bills and currently, the acting career has not been so profitable (for now).
Also, to have some chance on an acting career, you have to know the right people (always), be in good shape (mentally and physically), have a lot of energy, disposition and above all: be prepared to be told “No thanks”.
…Yes, I know… It is a vicious evil circle. Failure and rejection here we go again.
I´m wrapping this up for the day… Hey! I never said that I had found the solution to the problem … only that I discovered the problem! Eureka! That is the principle to find the solution: realize what the problem is and face it.
Remember the chocolate ice cream that doesn´t make you fat? That´s it! it will never exist or at least it´s not been invented yet. In the meantime, you can eat the normal chocolate ice cream, understand that you will get fat, and do something about it.
There are no magic solutions in life, so work for the changes you want yourself.