08 2 / 2013
Los Angeles, 2013
Once again, there’s a storm in New York and I’m in Los Angeles. Luck? Fate? I don’t know, but I feel blessed (and my friends hate me!)
I arrived Tuesday night and since then I’ve just been relaxing, enjoying the weather and getting my body adapted to the new time zone. No anxiety and no expectations. Just the feeling that I’m doing the right thing is enough. And the intuitive voice in my head telling me that I’m just saving my energy for something big… or bigger.
I’m sharing a beautiful apartment with a dear friend in Venice, I’m driving a Chrysler convertible and I even went to a Yoga class today… hmmm maybe I’m becoming a Californian too fast?? Well, you know what they say: “when in Rome…” That’s just what I’m doing!… While everybody else in New York is at home waiting for the snow storm to pass. Ooops!
Unfortunately, not everything is as amazing as it sounds. Being so far away makes me more vulnerable, and today when I got a few videos of my niece taking a bath, I just melted. And cried. Of happiness because she’s so beautiful and perfect and I saw that she’s a very loved and happy baby. Of sadness, because I’m not there with her, I don’t get to watch her grow up and I can’t hold her in my arms. I never thought that a camera phone video of a baby would ever have such an impact on me. But it did. Because I’m in love with this baby girl… truly in love and experiencing that long distance relationship feeling again… which I hate!!!
Anyway, I’m trying to focus on what I’m supposed to be doing out here. Ultimately, I’d like to get a job but in the meantime, I’ll just try to write more often, edit my new demo reel, enjoy this city and the company of my friends , hopefully get some meetings and auditions and be mentally and physically prepared for the challenges to come. More or less emotional, I have to be focused and take advantage of every moment out here. And try not to think of a plan B just yet. It’s not the time yet. Yet, I said.
I’ll keep you posted.
27 1 / 2013
John Lennon once said : “Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans”. People usually take it as “we shouldn’t be busy making plans because we’re wasting what life has to give us”. I take it as “I need to make plans, so that life will start happening… even if it’s not according to the plans”. My point is that if I’m waiting for life to happen, it won’t happen. If I make plans, and take an active part in my life, things start to happen. And also, the truth is I need to be busy anyway, so I might as well be making plans and work on them. Especially because I was living that weird phase in which nothing was happening and I was just passively waiting for something to come my way, I felt I needed to take some action. I was passive but my brain wasn’t dead. So I started thinking…
I was so happy when I spent those few weeks in Los Angeles. I enjoyed being there, living there, the people I met, the weather, the laid back environment. I also liked the business part of it: the meetings I took and auditions I went to. I felt very much alive, busy but not stressed out and most of all: I felt appreciated by the people I met professionally and socially. When I came back to New York, that small grey cloud over my head came back, and the colors in my life were not so vivid anymore. I wasn’t as “busy” as everyone else around me was, so I felt misplaced and the anxiety of doing and accomplishing more struck me again as a lightning. Luckily, it was time to go back to Portugal for the Holidays before that grey cloud caused any harm. And now back again in New York, not so anxious or worried, but still a little restless, it is time for me to make a move. The freezing cold weather, the beginning pilot season and a need for change made me think about going to LA. Plus, everything around me was pushing me to go: my husband and I decided we want to move there eventually, my friend Christiane asked me if wanted to go with her for pilot season and even the apartment we’re renting appeared without us even trying… Too good to be true? I was momentarily afraid of that but no. This is actually what I was “waiting” for. That “guidance” from the Universe, the “hint” I needed to go on. Not an answer yet but a direction. And it’s important to understand that I planned it but I didn’t force it. Initially, it was an idea I liked and hoped it would happen but I always kept in mind that if things started to get too complicated or if the Universe wasn’t pointing in that direction, I would decide not to go, because it was clear that I was not supposed to go. But it turns out, I’m supposed to go. If it’s a way of moving forward in the path of success or a way of changing the path, I don’t know. But it’s a way of moving and that’s enough for me.
As soon as I decided to go, I felt lighter in “weight” and in “color”. Suddenly, I have a plan and it’s a good one. Now I need to get busy making it happen, make the proper arrangements, put together a new demo reel, book a flight, rent a car, and so on. A new ray of hope is shining on my face, and I’m relieved that I don’t have to start thinking of a plan B just yet. Also, as expected, this pro-activity and plan making also brought unexpected good things: after weeks of not having a single audition, I got one last Friday - the only day of the week I have conflicts because of class - and all of a sudden things seemed to be back on track. Running from one place to the other, my head spinning, grabbing a snack on the way to survive the day. New York, I love you (again)!
John Lennon is right. Life is happening because I’m busy making plans. Even on a Sunday,
17 1 / 2013
I’ve been struggling with motivation - or lack of it - since I came back to New York last week. In my mind, I’m super excited for this new year and I think it might be a great one. But in reality, I’m living a moment of stillness. Emptiness. Passiveness. No motivation to do anything but trying hard to find it. So in my brain, there’s a huge fight between believing and not believing. Hope and lack of it. Well, it’s unbearable to be me right now.
The lack of a plan is confusing me. No concrete goals in sight. Just abstract fantasies and dreams. My daily life is as boring as it can be. Although I try to do things, something prevents me from really doing anything motivating. Every time I think of doing my quick daily exercises for the body and mind… I try to immediately change “subjects” in my head. To begin to read a new book is proving to be really hard for me. I’ve been watching some movies yes, and I read some stuff but not nearly as much as I should be doing with the amount of free time I have. Even working out, although I did 3 times this week, I should have gone everyday… since I’m doing virtually NOTHING during the day. Being a housewife is not my thing… I like to cook here and there but the rest is murder for me. I’ve signed up to volunteer with children’s institutions but it all seems to hard to get… it’s a long process until you actually start. What am I left with? An empty house every day, a lunch here and there with friends, my lovely husband’s company and patience to hear my troubles at night and a lot of frustration. I’m reaching the limit. I need to work and I can’t. I’m still looking for a new agent. Almost no auditions. And class only starts tomorrow (and I’m afraid of going and telling my teacher I’ve been a bad student and not doing my exercises).
Solutions? None. People say I should write. More often and maybe try fiction. Yes, I’d love that but I don’t think I’m ready yet. My brain is not ready I think. It’s easy for me to write about what’s on my mind, what’s on my heart… but to invent characters, a plot, dialogue… a story with a beginning, middle and end?? I’d need MUCH MORE MOTIVATION in order to get the discipline needed to do something like that. And where is it???? Where???? Nowhere in sight, clearly.
By this point, you’re probably thinking I’m going out of my mind, screaming and crying and almost in depression. But I assure you that, strangely enough, I’m not. There’s something in me telling me to keep calm despite all this. I mean, I’m not super calm and “ohm shanti shanti” but I’m much more relaxed than before. I’m somehow believing that the Universe will give me an answer soon. How soon I don’t know. But soon enough that I don’t get crazy in the meantime. I’m not only believing, I’m trusting. I’m not driving my manager crazy with phone calls or emails saying: “what’s going on?” and stuff like that. She sometimes calls me to tell me she’s doing this and that, probably to ensure me that everything is on track. I trust her too. I’m trusting that I will get what I deserve. For I have fought this battle so hard and for such a long time. If I deserve it, I’ll certainly get it. And who knows if I deserve it? It’s not up to me to decide. I mean, even if nothing happens in this period when I’m still sane… maybe that’s for a reason and I should reconsider the whole thing. I have to keep in mind that this is not the only option in life. To be an actress. I can be other things and I might find a way of being happy doing them. I don’t know. I’m not looking for anything specific right now, I’m just patiently accepting that I have to wait for the Universe to tell me. The truth is I can’t “actively” do much right now to push my career forward. I have to be passive as I am being right now. And when the time comes to be active, I won’t have wasted energy in superfluous stuff and I’ll be ready to kick ass. I’ll bring my A game when it’s needed. Otherwise, I’ll stay still and wait. Until I can’t wait any longer…
Maybe, for the first time in my life, I’m just motivated to wait. Is that so wrong?
Let’s wait until next week.
10 1 / 2013
Again, I’m sorry. I don’t seem to be inspired to write while I’m away from New York. I guess I’m only good at it when I’m somehow anxious, under pressure or slightly “lost”. When I’m warm and cozy surrounded with my family and friends, I seem to block my creativity out and I’m totally worthless. I can’t work, I’m not productive, imaginative or even willing to be any of those things. I don’t read books, I don’t do my daily exercises, I don’t work out, I watch crappy movies and TV… I eat, I drink, I talk, listen, laugh and make everyone else laugh and that’s about it. I’m completely useless but I’m happy (for a moment). No stress, never in a rush, no anxiety, no goals in sight to pursue, no pressure to accomplish anything.
However, towards the last week, something starts boiling, like a fever, and I need to do something, but for that I need to get out of there… leave the comfort of “home” and come back to one of the most uncomfortable yet fascinating places in the World: New York. Ah! It feels good to be back. Feels terribly good. Awfully right. Horribly amazing. Freaking out is my natural state of mind. And I feel just fine. Or not.
Am I a masochist? I mean, why do I like to suffer? I must like it since I’ve been living here for a handful of years (and dragged my husband to move here in the meantime) What do I really like about it? Is it the daydreaming about the future conquests? Is it the millions of opportunities that exist in this city and country (that I’ve been miserably failing to get)? Is it the abstract idea of the american dream that attracts me? Or is it the concrete moments where I almost reached it, that keep me moving? And now… that my husband got an “American Dream” kind of job, am I just relying on his dream? Or does it make me itch (even more) to get my own Dream? What the hell am I doing here anyway?
WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE? In this life, in this country and in this city?
Be specific. If you don’t know the answer, go get it somehow. Don’t bring any spiritual bullshit. Bring spiritual concrete, specific answers, if you want. What do you want to do? Really want to do? What do you want people to remember you for? Again, specifically. Forget the money. Forget success. What do you want to have accomplished by the time you’re 65 years old? And 40? And 35? Who do you want to work with? Who do you want to meet? What and who inspires you? What do you want to explore within yourself? What do you want to experience? What countries do you want to visit? What countries do you want to to live in? And finally, what’s your innermost secret wish for 2013? That secret you would’t want to share with anyone… that maybe embarrasses you or you just don’t have the courage to say because it sounds so unrealistic…
I just found out my New Year Resolution (believe me or not, I had none up until now): to answer these questions truthfully and selfishly. The abstract idea of “what the hell am I doing here” might just as well become concrete and specific, if I’m able to find the answer to all these questions. And this might have just made my day!… Or my year!… Or my entire life!
(Forgive me if I don’t post the answers here.. it might get a little too personal and intimate :) )
On a different note, this is the way my beautiful niece greets the New Year! She’s already fit to live in New York. :)
10 12 / 2012
Lately I’ve been aware of how things balance themselves in life. And how everything seems so unbalanced anyway.
Being married to someone who “balances” me has been key to my mental sanity while living this adventure in New York. I don’t think I’d still be here, fighting hard for my dreams, if it weren’t for that balance I have at home. A balance that sometimes looks unbalanced… but it’s still very balanced. Confused? Welcome to my world!
As I have mentioned in previous posts, life in New York is all about struggling. Struggling to get a job or to keep a job, struggling against the cold or the heat, struggling with finances, struggling to get a good apartment, struggling to survive. And to struggle by yourself is very tough, however it’s probably worse to struggle when you have the wrong person next to you. I’m lucky enough to have found the perfect person. Someone who supports me, who believes in me and in my dream but doesn’t get too involved… meaning, he doesn’t give too much advice when not asked for it and trusts my judgement all the time. He also needs my support for his own professional struggle and I’m always happy to help. These past few weeks were very interesting in that sense. He was (momentarily) unemployed and I witnessed his “job hunting” closely. Although I do not have any experience in job hunting in the “real world”, I’m a veteran in job hunting in acting. So I was able to play the part people usually play with me but just a “little” better… managing expectations, giving cautious advice, trying to “distract” him so he wouldn’t be looking at his email inbox every minute when he was expecting feedback, forcing him to get out of the house to get some fresh air and most important of all: trying to hide from him that I was almost as nervous and anxious as him.
In the meantime, my own struggle felt much easier to deal with and I was definitely not so much self-absorbed with my own anxieties. Him and his well-being were way more important to me during those couple of weeks. Yes, you read it right. He’s such a lucky bastard, he got a job in less than 3 weeks (with Thanksgiving week included!). And not just a job but THE job he wanted. But now that my mission is almost accomplished with him, I’m left “alone” with my own struggle again. And, of course, the day after he won his battle, I lost one myself. A battle I was positive I was going to win… and I didn’t. So over the past two days I’ve been floating through emotions. I was happy and then I was sad, I was proud and then I was disappointed, I was hopeful and then I was hopeless. And vice versa. Can you get more bipolar than this?
Life can be very ironic, sometimes. It gives you one hand to help you stand up and, at the same time, slaps you in the face with the other. I guess we can never get everything at once, can we? WHY NOT?? Does something always have to go wrong in order to have something else go well? I don’t want to believe that… I don’t want to be suspicious every time something goes well because it might mean something bad is going to happen soon. I can’t live like that, but I have to admit that those questions pop up in my head once in a while, and now it’s one of those times. It’s that balance I was talking about before. Sometime I wish it was more unbalanced. That good news could come all at once so I could celebrate hysterically two victories in a row. And my marriage kept being so perfect and everyone I care about was healthy and happy. All at once. Would that be possible? But how about the inevitable “fall” after reaching the top? Wouldn’t it be terribly painful? Is life protecting me from bigger “falls” or disappointments? Does this balance have a purpose after all? Rationally, I believe it does; emotionally, I wonder if it’s bullshit. I’d like to try the “unbalance” to experience how it feels like.
Call me crazy. Or unbalanced. I’m balanced enough to take it.
22 11 / 2012
Today is the day Americans chose to give thanks. To take a moment and think about all the things we should be grateful for in our life. Everything counts. Or as they say in charity, “every penny counts”. It’s an interesting Holiday for a foreigner to spend in America. It’s an interesting Holiday overall.
It’s not religious and it’s not political. It’s the most important Holiday in America, because it’s the only one that brings everyone together - it doesn’t matter if your Catholic or Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist, Black or White, Rich or Poor, Republican or Democrat - everyone is invited to celebrate and be thankful. Certainly, there are lots of people that don’t have much to be thankful for, but there’s always something, even if it’s just the size of a penny, that we recognize as a blessing in our lives. Well, the truth is we complain to much. We always want more. We are never really satisfied. At least I’m not. Today is the day to look at the bright side, dig into our souls and find what makes us happy, feel blessed for having access to the needs we usually take for granted: being healthy, having a roof to protect us, friends and family that love us and whom we love so dearly, and also food so we’re never hungry. Funny enough, Thanksgiving has turned out to be so much about food and that over sized turkey, but we’re rarely grateful for the food we put on our mouths everyday.
As an immigrant, it took me a while to understand the importance of this holiday, and up until now it was always about “imitating” the American tradition, eating the Turkey, and finding a group of people to do it with so we don’t spend the day alone. It has always been fun and I usually eat and drink a lot on Thanksgiving. But over the years, this holiday has started to make more and more sense to me and now I appreciate it in a different way. I still eat and drink a lot, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a real tradition, it’s the third year I spend it with the same group of friends and they have become something very important to be grateful for. They are my New York Portuguese family. And most of us met for the first time on Thanksgiving Day 3 years ago. I’m so blessed to have them in my life… they are certainly a great support system in the roller coaster ride that my life is nowadays.
I’m also learning how important it is to be thankful without asking for more. Accepting the good things in life without thinking “now I just need this and this more and it would be perfect”. It’s a very hard thing to do and I’m honestly still struggling with it but I’m learning. I remember when I was little and I was taught how to pray, I was told “First you thank God for all the good things that He gave you and then you can ask for something”, as if praying was some sort of a trade-off: “I thank you but you give me something back”; or “see, I’m a good girl, I’m thanking you for what I have, so now you can give me a reward”. That shouldn’t be right, should it? I mean, I really don’t know how to pray nowadays… I question if asking for something when I have so much already isn’t too greedy? Like so many of us, I pray when I’m in despair but then I ask myself if I even have the right to do it. Who am I to ask for a career opportunity, for example, when I see homeless or hungry people everyday around this city (not to mention Africa or the rest of the World)? I should probably just be really and honestly thankful for what I have (and I’m telling you, I do have a LOT) and work my ass off for my other “wishes and goals”, even if they seem impossible without the hand of God. That would be the fair thing to do. Leave God out of this, YOU build your own destiny if it’s not given to you. Work with what you’ve got, make it better, make it YOURS. But for that to happen, you have to really SEE what you’ve got, in detail and also the big picture. And when you SEE it, then you will REALLY be grateful. And that’s a good start.
With that being said, I thank YOU for reading me. It makes me want to write more.
14 11 / 2012
I broke the point and I broke the rules… Spent too much time without writing. More precisely, 33 days… but who’s counting? And I have so much to tell, where do I begin?
Maybe from the beginning and see where that leads me.
And since this is a blog about dreams… well, me and my dreams, I’m pleased to share with you that I have already fulfilled a dream. Probably not the one you’re expecting, but it’s still a dream that came true. I skydived!!!!!! I jumped out of an airplane at 13,500 ft and was in free fall for 40 seconds followed by an amazing parachute ride! Yes, I know… the timing was perfect. It came right after that breaking point, after those big changes in my life and although I didn’t think about it before I “jumped”, it all made so much sense in the end. This “jump” worked like a “leap of faith”. A perfect metaphor for what was going on in my life at that moment. Trusting someone else with your life, having the courage to actually jump, dealing with the adrenaline running in your veins, struggling with the wind and air coming in your direction when you’re falling (don’t forget to breathe!), again trusting that there’s a parachute to save you, living each second at its fullest to remember every single detail, enjoying the silent parachute ride after the fall, saying “I love you” to your husband in the air… laughing your ass off when you land… No fear, no limits… Freedom! And then you want more, and exchange experiences, share all the details of your journey and the excitement doesn’t fade until you actually fall asleep later that night. The next day, you don’t believe you actually did it.
Thank God (or in this case, my bridesmaids) there were pictures and videos taken!
2 days later, I was flying to Los Angeles for another adventure. Another leap of faith. I stayed for over 3 weeks and the goal was to meet as many people as possible, audition and see what could be my role on that “coast”. I have to admit I really enjoyed being there. And again, the timing was perfect. Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast while I was enjoying the beach weather in LA… and then just before I left, the Nor’easter also hit with lots of snow. I missed all of it and had a super productive time over there. And yes, I have to confess I spent some time dreaming I was going to live there, with that perfect weather and relaxed lifestyle. I still dream about it… And I know one day, it will come true. People just seem happier there…maybe some of them are “faking it” - because you get that a lot over there - but it feels good to have people being nice to you at a meeting or audition instead of the usual New York “I’m not going to show any emotions” poker face. In New York you survive and you struggle constantly, In Los Angeles you live and you let live. That’s my conclusion (for now).
So I’m back to Survivor Mode, let’s see if I learned something with the Californians and let it flow for a little while before I start panicking again. Hopefully, something good is already on my way… and the light that comes with it is so strong it blinds me. I like that image. I’ll stay with it.
11 10 / 2012
I know, my last post was too dramatic. And yes, PMS’ing is not a good excuse. Well, it was all true, maybe just a little overacted but definitely honest to what was going on inside me. That’s the whole point of writing this blog, by the way.
The good news is I’m in a completely different state of mind right now. Much better, thank God. I decided something had to be done because whining and complaining is really not my style. At all. So I let it all happen. I cut my hair short. Really short. I left my agency because they were not as excited about me as they should be (mind you, I have the best manager in the world so I’m not left alone in this insane “world”). And I’m going to LA for a few weeks and let them “meet me” or, in this case, my new “me”.
If this all had happened a couple of weeks ago, I’d be really stressed out right now, dying of anxiety and thinking the world was gonna end. But I’m so confident. Almost strangely confident. Things are happening at the right time and place and if this trend goes on for a few more weeks, it might be the answer to all my prayers or, in my case, to all my questions to the Universe. The decision to cut the hair came from my deep frustration and anxiety. My manager saw me in such a state of distress that she said: “If you’re feeling like this, you should cut your hair” - we had been sitting on the idea for a couple of weeks but the final decision was made in that minute. “Book an appointment for this week” and I did. The best decision of my life. I love how it looks, I love how it feels and I love living with my short hair. And of course, since my husband LOVES it and almost everybody else likes it too, I feel much more confident. However, deciding to change your look so dramatically brings other problems to solve: new pictures had to be taken and be ready before I leave to LA. More money to be spent. Deciding on photographer, make-up artist, coordinate dates. Then came the announcing of the change and the trip to LA. Another breaking point. If someone doesn’t support you or doesn’t show interest, it’s because they don’t deserve you. Got rid of them. And other supporters started showing up, and feeding my ego. Much more important supporters in my opinion, so I’m happy. And other challenges came up such as: working on a British accent for an audition in less than 42 hours and choosing the right head shot from a pool of 200 pictures. Can’t complain and won’t complain.
Now, I’m all about looking ahead. What’s there for me in the near future, focusing all my energy on the new people I’m gonna meet, new possible agents, lots of opportunities. All I need is one more person, or maybe 2, to REALLY believe in me and make others do so as well. I will do the rest, I promise. I will close that deal!
Oh, and did I mention I look fabulous with my new hair?… I did? Well, it’s true! Too bad the rules of this blog don’t let me show it to you!!! Here goes a teaser:
Yeah, I told you it was SHORT!
Stay tuned for the next chapter. It should be interesting, to say the least.
01 10 / 2012
I’m tired. I thought I was strong but I feel weak. I thought I could handle it but it’s getting too heavy. And I feel embarrassed. For not having accomplished, for not having fulfilled my own expectations, for not having been able to make it. Even in the tiniest way. I failed. That’s the harsh reality I have to deal with. I failed, I have failed and I continue to fail. Every day.
I am not who I want to be. I’m stronger than I ever imagined but becoming crushed by all that strength. Strength needs a direction and, in my case, it’s just coming back to myself. I’m crushing myself with my own strength. I need to change directions. I need to place my focus somewhere else, outside of myself, maybe on the opposite side. Give that strength a chance to grow and do something useful. I want to break free from all the expectations, anxiety, pressure and guilt. I want my ego out of the way. Become a better person, a happier woman, a hopeful human being. WHY IS IT SO HARD??
I want to move. I want to break. I want to cut. To another apartment, maybe to another city. Free from expectations. My hair short.
Put the ingredients of my life in a cocktail shaker and fearlessly shake it, and see what comes out of it. Accept whatever it is, knowing that I did all I could, took all the possible risks and that I’ll have to work with what I’ve got and not with what I wish had: even if it tastes bad, I’ll have to drink it. And if I have to give up some dreams in order to move forward, I will. Dreams are dreams and most of them don’t become reality. So face it, you’ll have to give some of them up. Or not. We’ll see.
After I break the point or the point breaks me, a new beginning will take place, either with old dreams and new hopes or new dreams and old hopes. Well, it’s countdown time. 3, 2, 1 ….
Or maybe I’m just PMSing…
Ha! Who told you Being Benny was easy?
26 9 / 2012