My little sister graduated from college last weekend. She is an actress with plans to move to New York.
I feel as an older sister, I should share my life’s lessons with my younger siblings but I struggle to come up with something orginal.
We’ve all heard or read the Sunscreen Speech. I do think sunscreen is important and often remind her to moisturize daily (especially the neck area – people forget about moisturizing the neck – its very important to prevent “neck rings” later).
So here is my attempt to share some bits of wisdom and a lot of love…
I remember holding you as a small baby. I also remember you spitting up on me often. Despite the spit up, I adored you as a child but I looked forward to the days when were both adults – to go shopping, travel and just have fun without worrying about your nap time or you wondering off. And now here you are – all grow’d up and starting your “real” life (although you may still wonder off and I still like naps.)
So what can I tell you that may help as you take this huge step in your life? Well, for a start, watch that Sunscreen Speech – do everything he says (and follow my moisturizing advice).
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like a “grown-up” yet. I still don’t. At least I don’t feel like what I thought being a grown-up would feel like. I think that’s OK. Who wants to be a stuffy, boring, old “grown-up”? I hope I am still a kid at heart when I am 90 (please wheelchair me into concerts and turn my hearing-aid up).
We Are All Impostors
To some degree, everyone suffers from the Impostor Syndrome. Some more than others and most won’t admit it. You picked a good field because in reality we are all acting and most of the time shooting from the hip.
If you find yourself at an audition, or after you get a job, wondering who in the room is better than you, if you are going to choke or if someone is going to ask you “what the hell are you doing here?”, just remember that everyone else is thinking the same thing. No matter how confident they seem, those thoughts are there – in everyone’s head. It’s natural. Use this as a strength not a weakness. As Tim Gunn, says “Make it work.”
Be a Swan
See also: “Never Let Them See You Sweat” + “Six Degrees of Separation”. A former boss once told me to be like a swan; glide across the water graceful and calm but under the surface paddle like hell. Confidence and composure can open many doors. Break that appearance too often and doors can close a little or all the way.
While your friends know many aspects of you, the people who can pull you up in the world may only know you from a few brief encounters. It is those encounters where they will determine the type of person you are. Make those encounters good ones. Oh and the tricky part here: you never who that person may be.
The economy sucks right now. Theater’s everywhere are feeling the impact and this will impact you. No surprise to you here, huh? The upside?
There really isn’t a better time for you to be getting out of college. You don’t have debt, an established standard of living or ties to a hefty lease or car payment. You can get by very cheaply. I’m not saying this will be easy, but it will be easier for you now than it will be 5 or 10 years from now. Be smart, keep living cheap and you will be fine.
If You Can Make It There…
Go to New York and give it every thing you have. NY is a tough city and it won’t be an easy adjustment. Embrace it; be ready to learn from it; don’t let it break you down. Your experience there is more valuable than any education. Take in all the sights, sounds and life it has to offer.
Make Your Own Peace
NY can make you tough and give you sensory overload. Find your favorite park and go there for peace. Find a favorite museum or library and go there for peace when it is too cold to go to the park. Learn to meditate.
Live With No Regrets
Be happy with whatever you do and no have regrets. If you decide you want to do something different or live somewhere else, I will be behind you all the way. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. You can physically go back but you can’t do over. We have good guts in our genes, follow yours.
Quoting the Wise Ones
Remember these quotes:
“I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with. I’m going to do a terrific show today! And I’m gonna help people! Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!” ~ Stuart Smalley
“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~ William Faulkner
I am so proud of the person you have become. You are so talented. You are smart, hysterically funny and beautiful inside and out. You are kind and generous. You are crazy, silly and don’t take yourself to seriously. I can’t tell you how often I talk about my incredible sister and brothers. All of you impress the hell out of me! [inner thought:"What the hell am I are doing here?]
Three things more important than anything else I can tell you:
- I love you with all my heart.
- I will always be there for you.
- There is nothing you could do that could ever change #’s 1 & 2.
Love you sis!
P.S. If all else fails, we can get the band together and go on tour. Hix – Live!