It's Dec 13th, the evening has draped itself on me, the Florida winter has taken a turn and sent a message to the citizens and bit them with a 40 degree day, I just finished filming a movie today, the apartment is waiting for the new semester to start, the other grads are with their families across the country, I'm listening to Paul McCartney's live concert on Sirius, my bags are packed, the fridge is empty, and all through my head repeats a phrase over and over again. "What the fuck just happened these past 4 months".
To quote my favorite movie line... "Well, that happened". I walked on this campus on Aug 19th with a broken heart, anxiety, strength, confidence, confusion, pessimism, optimism, regret, power, experience, a clear head, a broken head, and my peripheral vision waiting to take on anything. And after becoming a pedophile, a duke of Ilyria, a cheating husband, a cuckold, a husband at wits end, a retarded brother, an uptight brother, a prejudiced worker, a neurotic scientist, a king, a kabuki fighter, and a raping soldier, I realize I'm 25% done with my training here at UCF.
I learned how to breathe. I learned to stand up straight and not sit in my lower back. I learned that an entire character can be found in the vowels and consonants of their lines. I found out that I know way too much about theater. I learned I don't know jack shit about theater. I learned how to write again. I learned how to go to school again. I learned how to use the internet. I learned how to talk to 20 yr olds. I learned how to make a new batch of friends. I learned that people can't drive in any city. I learned that everything in life can be found in your breath, which is why we die when the last one fades out. I learned that my family is the rock of my life. I learned that life is fragile. I learned that even though I'm 34, I care about pleasing others. I learned I don't give a fuck what other people think of me. I learned that I can't do basic procedures on a computer. I learned that most kids here can start WW3 with their laptops. I learned the difference between Word and Text Edit. I Learned How To Drive.
We do an end of semester review and what was told to me came as no surprise but it is the thing that keeps me just behind the brilliance line. I'm a wonderful thinker. I can analyze. I can figure out how to get out of a problem. That doesn't help me on stage, though. I am able to always keep an arm's distance from drama and really feeling something. It's something I learned after 9/11, the deaths of family members, being a New Yorker, a bartender, cancer scares, near fatal accidents, being an optimist, depression, anxiety attacks, bad breakups, and did I mention being a New Yorker? Because of these events in my short life (and I don't even think I've been through as much as others), I've learned how to survive. I'm happy just to wake up some days, have air in my lungs, a smile on my face, enough money to make it through the day, the capacity to love, trying a career that doesn't make sense but can make the world better, air in my tires, food in my stomach, and friends to laugh with. It's sad that that's not enough to make art. True art comes from an internal struggle to need to share. A passion for communicating. It's not safe. It's scary. It's a view of the world that others haven't thought of. It's not always fun. It's tearing out your soul and heart and putting it on a table for others to praise or smash.
Do you only want praise? Yes? I feel sorry for you. Do you have a need to be the best you can be and create even if that means never having a dime, a lover, stability, a schedule, or an identity? Yes? You're almost there.
Deconstruction. That's what I'm getting at. I have spent the last 4 months deconstructing everything I've done in the past, made into a habit, believed in, practiced, and taught. In order to construct we need to deconstruct. What is getting in my way of being the best I can be? What gets in my way of showing true emotion? What makes me get defensive? Sarcastic? Angry, happy, or sad? Tighten up? Move certain limbs? Tense certain areas? Purse my lips? resist certain emotions? Not correctly channel what I want to communicate? It's a lot. I've been in my head for a long time and letting go scares the shit out of me. I think I'm a pretty good actor now, but if I'm able to let go, becoming an empty vessel to communicate art, let go of my critical side which judges me and puts myself down, I could surpass everything I ever thought I could be.
I need to learn how to love again. It's a foreign concept to me. It doesn't make sense. I have trouble believing it exists in my circle. Just as the perfect woman can be a muse for an artist, my void of love has been my muse for this section of my life and writing. "This too shall pass". I know. I'm getting there. But I've learned a lot about myself and life through this struggle and am going to use every thought, emotion, and tear to make myself a better person, actor, and future spouse.
Some of my favorite mental images of my first semester:
Coming together the first time as an MFA class, holding hands, and making a circle and making the realization of ....... "oh my god".
Wearing shorts on Thanksgiving.
Raping Trevin in Blasted!
Chic Fil A opening up
Everyone doing homework poolside
The 8 of us piling in my car in the morning
Opening night of How I Learned to Drive
Here was a free thinking rambling of my first semester. I can't imagine where I will be in 3 more semesters. I head home tomorrow. I'll sit on the couch with my niece and watch cartoons. I'll hug my mom and dad for an extended amount of time. I will make each day count. I'm just trying to change the world, one day at a time.