The Price We Pay

Everybody has a breaking point and I seem to be flirting with the border of another one, unsure if I’m being self-destructive or wether smashing the work I’ve done so far is part of the healing process.

Will I be kintsugi pottery or are we creating something new?

This week, I’ve once again heard the voices tempting me to kill myself or everyone else. You’ll be glad to hear that if my fury erupts out of me like a fountain of lava, it simply couldn’t be one individual that experiences my wrath, but the whole population. I wouldn’t allow one person to feel this, that doesn’t seem fair, seeing as nobody is to blame for the catalysts that trail my wake. It would be for every, single, one of you. 

And yet… that too doesn’t seem reasonable. It isn’t your fault that witnessing some cosmic calculation planted some potentially nefarious seed in me. This had to happen for that to happen, and the latter is such a good thing, that the former simply has to occur, despite the costly exchange, for which I must pay the price.

There is a sort of rage brimming inside me, boiling and burning, and I do my best to not let it burst out. I take it for walks so that I can regularly cry, as if bleeding a radiator, I workout at the gym, run on treadmills, lift weights, and balance that with ballet exercises, so that my dancing alone in the apartment has more finesse. I practice my violin, ingest other languages, and consider new chess positions to palpitate the cerebral side of me.
I no longer drink alcohol nor smoke anything to give myself rest, before I return to an appreciation of those naughty treats. I eat relatively well. I’d like to thank my hands for masturbating me on occasions, really lovely stuff, thank you. I will buy you warm gloves for Winter.

I do everything I can to not see the poster of a missing child when I look in the mirror.

“Who the Hell are you and why have you hijacked me?”

Nobody deserves the anger I have in me, but it keeps rising, causing tremors, and as it surfaces for air, all I can do to make sure it doesn’t unleash on some unsuspecting victim is take myself to the side and throw punches to my face or torso.
Which can sometimes be quite comical, as I always end up hurting myself, and we all love a little schadenfreude, even if it’s an audience of one.
Occasionally, I burn sage so that I may extinguish it on my skin. And no, I know, this doesn’t seem healthy, but I can’t begin to tell you how cathartic it is, to feel like you have a body. 

It’s as if I am forcing some intangible part of me to return to the physical World. It is odd to have experienced such a level of Death that it is now as palpable and breathing as Life itself.

Perhaps I’m wrong. But the blast radius of this idea has permeated in my reality and I can’t see how you’re going to get me out of here.

Last month, I finally paid off the credit cards I used to survive the pandemic, and this week, I’m edging back into borrowing money from banks without the promise of employment on the horizon. I suppose the middlegame of any actor’s career looks like a surfer catching waves with high wages and riding it all the way to the sandy shore, heart pumping, adrenaline mixing, and a big grin on its face, only to look back at the ocean and wonder when the next paycheck is going to come.
That’s not why I follow my passion. The money helps, but it’s not why I do it.

I love cinema, and performing, and making people laugh. I don’t do it for the dollar dollar bills, I do it because it nourishes me more than food. I’ve lost count the amount of times I forgot to eat because I was in such a good creative flow.

As Carl Jung once said, “Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense— he is “collective man”— one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.”

But there’s rent, there’s bills, a late tax fee, a fine for not paying for healthcare (that’s right, you get fined in California for not affording healthcare), a registration price for a motorbike that needs fixing if I’m to have a job in one of the biggest cities on the planet with one of the worst public transport systems, an increase in insurance, the cost of being in a union, this, that, here and there, and now my tooth hurts and I’m popping pain pills to avoid seeing a dentist because that will cost me an arm and a leg. The tooth may hurt because of the punch to the face, so… lesson learned.

I hear the clichéd echoes of “get a real job”, but now in my mid-thirties, after more than a decade being a clown, it appears my résumé leaves much to be desired. 

So what experience do you have? 

Silly faces and I can speak in front of thousands of people without being scared.

What else? 

Sometimes, the characters that I am hired to play come to life in such a way that I am their avatar and I become a bystander to very powerful theatre.

OK, what else?

That’s it. Give me money please.

When I first started writing a curriculum vitae to desperately get a quote unquote real job, I wrote “I’m an actor, I can act like whatever role you want”. 

It might be no surprise that I received no replies.

It’s evident that I’m all in.
An addict at a table of actors waiting for a good hand.
Yeah, sure, there’s skill involved, there’s calculations, effort, gusto, sweat and tears, courage, but how frustratingly true to accept that there is luck, sat in a waiting room as they call out numbers which nobody has been given.

And so, I keep my head high, and mutter mantras to myself so that I can “turn that pain into power” and little lies like “fear is fuel”, and prance about with the belief that everything will be alright, because when you’re covered in scars, that’s kind of true.

Sometimes, it seems like the day just writes itself, and we’re just under the illusion of control. Maybe that too is an excuse I tell myself.  Fingers crossed…

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going 

No feeling is final.

                                     – Rainer Maria Rilke


And then…. 

I receive an email from someone who listened to my podcast where i share my struggle with suicidal thoughts and pine for the silly part of me that died, and they tell me that it helped them, made them feel less alone and allowed them to laugh about their own trauma, and just like that, my suffering becomes worthwhile. 

Thank you for reading this week’s journal entry.
This podcast is called The Benefits Of Having Nothing, which I do with friend, comedian and bastard Jeffrey Baldinger. He’s wonderful and I hope you enjoy our time together as much as I do.

Donations to keep the roof from collapsing will be gratefully accepted, haha. Thank you in advance:

Speak with you next week.
Lots of love,