Routine Resistance

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is assimilated by the Borg.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is assimilated by the Borg.

Captain's Blog: Stardate 30117.3

Ever since my graduation from college, despite my best efforts, my life has fought the concept of routine. Whether it was the shifting schedule as a server in a classy Italian eatery in the Mall of America, or juggling a desk job during audition season, my craving for repetition in my daily life has never been sated.

But then I looked closer. I have a routine. It’s a routine of Resistance.

Let’s start with today. March first. It was my intention to “re-kick-off” my workout today, using the time between now and my April birthday to move towards the body I want to have. Instead, I’ve been watching giant, telapathic gorillas terrorize Central City. Now, in order for me to get to work on time, I have to start my commute in forty minutes. There’s no time for a work out.

So, I stepped back and looked at my morning. There is a routine in place. Wake, turn on the stove, check my email and social media, start breakfast, make lunch, watch the news portion of Good Morning America, kiss my boyfriend as he leaves for work, watch TV, shower, write until it’s time to leave for work. This is a typical morning in my home.

Wait…so if there’s a routine in place, why am I so unfulfilled? My brain tumbles into a place instructor Bonnie Gillespie would call “actor mind taffy” where I keep pulling the thoughts back and forth, stretching them out and making them bigger and bigger but not actually achieving anything.

If I don’t get into better shape, I won’t get work. If I don’t get work, I will have wasted my life. If I’ve wasted my life, all those people who believed in me will have wasted their time and energy on me. I will have let my loved ones down. I will have let myself down. I will be nothing. 

Huh. That’s fucking ridiculous.

Let me break this down. Looks: Bonnie has said “there is a place for everyone in this business.” Granted, if I don’t have a six pack I may not be the lead in the CW show of my dreams but…wait a second…has anyone else seen “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”? Here’s a woman who is beautiful, vivacious and hilarious. But, by many of society’s skewed standards of beauty she could never be an ingenue…and she’s playing the lead in a network show that she created and has won a Golden Globe for her performance. So, right off the bat, my focus on my appearance doesn’t hold water. Next!

Time: Ian McKellan has said that everyone in this business hits their “stride” at a different time. it is I'm possible to look at your career by the metrics of others because no one will ever have the same career as someone else. Period. So, realizing that I may hit my stride in five minutes or twenty-five years, as long as I am taking steps every day to move my career forward, which I am, then my time is not wasted.

Loved Ones: This one is tricky, because relationships with people come with variables that we don’t have control over. Our parents have fears for our well being, our partners and friends have their own set of career goals and challenges they’re working through. Sometimes, what actors have to do to achieve their goals flies in the face of “conventional” wisdom and can appear, to some, to be counter intuitive to the progress of a developing adult. But if they truly love us, which they do, they have come to understand that this comes with the package. If they didn’t understand that, they wouldn’t be here.

Okay, so now that I’ve torn down my argument over why not working out this morning would ruin my life, what’s left?

Resistance.

Steven Pressfield has written about the concept of resistance in many of his non-fiction books, including The War of Art and No One Wants to Read Your Sh*t. They’re great books and quick reads. So buy them. Read them. Read them already? Do it again.

Resistance is a force within us that keeps us from doing our work. It thrives in the parts of our soul that demand instant gratification. And as I write this I am realizing the role Resistance has been playing in many aspects of my life. With each key stroke I am realizing how and where Resistance has been cropping up in my thoughts, my actions, and my inactions. 

I see you, Resistance. You have sauntered into my daily routine in ways I couldn’t see. You have used grief, finances, age, appearance, and countless other false metrics to slow me down.

Today I declare an all out war on my Resistance. I may not have hit the gym today, but I have picked up the gauntlet and I will crush my own Resistance. This is day one.