Updated: May 17, 2022
Durability is defined as the ability to last over time, resisting wear, breakage, or deterioration.
Durability from a career standpoint can be defined as staying relevant, staying current, staying in the game, and embodying all the things that matter.
Or did matter.
Do they matter to me anymore?
Does what mattered to me two years ago, still matter to me?
I’m decidedly mixed on that - which brings me to my hardest question of all: Now What?
Now, what do I do? Who am I now when everything is so different?
The last two years have been a complete mix of awesome/awful. When life turned upside down I rolled with it.
Ok, let’s do this! A mandated time-out?! WTF? Okay! If that’s what’s required, I’m all in!
In fact, it felt like a relief, like a real break from the grind.
It was an outside force telling me it was time to press pause and take the pressure off. I was not in the habit of taking the pressure off. Ever.
Until that moment my experience of creating and maintaining a career as an actress took endless energy.
Endless stamina & determination.
Endless morphing into the “new”.
For the last thirty-five years, I believed that in order to maintain career durability I must perpetually keep the pressure on myself cranked up to eleven. This attitude is encouraged far and wide so no matter what rung of the ladder you’re on, you're always in a deficit position so this endless marathon takes its toll.
Hollywood is fickle.
It also has an extremely short attention span and doesn’t have the reputation for playing nice or being fair. My acting teacher called these the “harsh realities in the life of an actor". She was right. When you play in the big leagues the reality is that it’s going to be fucking hard. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Honestly, how many stories have you heard or movies have you ever seen where Hollywood is portrayed as a kind-hearted, gentle, and generous town? Yup. Me neither. In its defense and as a member of its club, I will also say
Hollywood is a place filled with honestly wonderful, creative, and generous people who also happen to be driven, competitive, and very hungry for success. And yes there are those willing to stab their own mothers in the back just to get ahead.
And so now in the great year of 2022, I sit here asking myself, now what? Am I up for more reinvention?
Am I ready to morph into the new?
Am I filled with endless stamina and determination?
And am I willing to crank up the pressure and hit that pavement yet again?
The truth is right now, that sounds awful. That sounds like the least enjoyable way to spend my time. It sounds like the kind of work I’m not excited to do. And that’s got me unhinged. This is the really hard part to look at because if I’m not an actress, ardently pursuing my career... who am I?
And, an even bigger question: is this still what I want to do? For the rest of my life?! I feel like there are so many other avenues of expression inside of me vying for my attention just trying to bust out. Am I limiting potential avenues of creation?
But then another thought comes into my head and rolls to a stop: What if I don’t have to do anything right now?
What if I permanently take off the pressure and just quietly unravel?
What if I let myself be curious and just breathe?
What if I just sat in the Unknown and scatter all the labels?
What if I just keep asking questions, the ones I have no answers to just yet?
What if I trusted instead of feared and held my own hand?
And finally what if, for now, I just surrender?
Yup. I’m going to do that. I’m going to step right over the edge of this cliff and let myself fall. I have the evidence of an entire lifetime that when I do this, when I step into the unknown, I am always caught. Always. And that just might be the secret of true durability after all.
Yup. I can live with this. Today I don't have to figure out now what. All I have to do is take off the pressure, let go and breathe.