One of the awkward parts of heading home over Christmas was the amount of times I had to answer the question, ‘So, are you still acting?’ Because I gave up so many months ago (though, really, if no-ones asking you to audition for anything and you’re not getting paid any actual money, is there anything you’re actually ‘giving up’, really?) and then wrote several blog posts about it and then put those blog posts on Facebook, I kind of assumed everyone would have gotten the message. I mean, obviously my family and friends have all subscribed to my blog and eagerly await each new post, which they then read in minute detail, taking notes so that they can later discuss me and my life choices at some kind of ‘Jenny blog’ reading group they have, right?
Apparently that is not the case (do they not LOVE me???) Nothing like heading home to have to come face-to-face with a whole bunch of stuff you happily ignore in your fake, not-quite-adult, day-to-day Berlin life.
‘No, I’m not acting anymore.’
‘No, I’m not writing either.’
‘No, no theatre, none at all, absolutely no interest, but, anyways, HOW ARE YOU?’ (Mental note: must get better at effective conversation subject changes)
The next question then is, ‘Well, what are you going to do now?’
To which the response is, ‘I don’t know.’
And, then, inevitably, ‘Well, what do you WANT to do?’
To which the response still is, ‘I. DO. NOT. KNOW.’
This is a troubling answer to a lot of people. Who doesn’t know what they want?
(Side note: I often don’t know what I want, but usually it’s 8pm, I haven’t eaten since lunch and someone is attempting to figure out what restaurant to go to. At which point, my response is to cry until someone finds the largest possible plate of the nearest available food and gives it to me)
See, I knew what I wanted. For many years I knew what I wanted and that was to work in theatre and I didn’t know how that was going to happen, but that’s what I wanted and I was going to make it work. Somehow. Many people told me that was not what I wanted, or I that I shouldn’t want that, or that was a stupid thing to want, or a bad thing to want or blah blah blah and it turns out those many people were right. Kudos to them, I hope you all feel very proud of yourselves and wow, wouldn’t life have been swell if I’d listened to you all. No, really, I’m not bitter at you, I’m bitter at me.
ANYWAY, the main point is that after having given up on that one thing that I actually wanted, I literally am left with nothing else.
That’s rather melodramatic. Of course there are plenty of things that I could do, and, furthermore, have considered doing, but exactly how does one choose between them? When there is no strong feeling guiding you in any direction? My main criteria at the moment is, ‘must not choose wrong thing again,’ which I’m sure you can imagine is fairly crippling. I do have one other main criteria which is, ‘cannot work shitty, casual, low-paid, soulless work anymore’, which is also kind of ephemeral and all-encompassing and, in it’s own way limiting.
Despite my ridiculous amounts of fancy schooling, I am trained in nothing useful and nothing necessary.
And, to have people still asking me the same shitty question that got me into this mess (‘But, what do you WANT to do?’) is just the icing on the cake.