Tuesday, September 15, 2009

With Such Grace

The other day I found a gray hair. Now this is not the first gray hair I have found, no the first one I found was on the eve of my 30th birthday. Talk about messing with my head. (No pun intended) I haven’t had many, like almost barely any for which I have been eternally grateful. But this gray hair was different. It was different bc it taunted me, it mocked me and basically just laughed in my horrified face. I saw it on my head and I proceeded to try and pluck it out. Only every time I went for it it slipped away and I ended pulling out a perfectly good chestnut brown hair. I stood in the mirror, tweezers in hand, and tried over and over again to pull it out. My arms were getting tired, my stomach in knots but there was no way I was going to let this ugly gray hair squat on my head. Finally, after a half hour of pulling out innocent brown hairs I finally got it. Phew! I could relax. Or so I thought. Two days later looking in the mirror there was that gross gray hair! What the…!!!

I spent another half hour trying to get it out, determined to get this little fucker. I finally grabbed the hair out of my head, flushed it down the toilet and combed thru my head to make sure there were no remnants of gray. What should have been a moment of victory, a la Rocky beating Clubber Lane, it wasn’t. Instead I began to worry. This hair was really in there and probably had many evil little hair friends and I was going to wake up any day with a head full of gray hair. I was starting to feel like I was doomed to old ladydome any minute and to be honest I just can’t take it. I simply cannot take the stress of wondering when I am going to start to drop. Trying to convince myself that it is a laugh line bc I am just so happy or it has just been the summer heat that has made my pores look so big. I should watch TV expressionless so my face doesn’t freeze in a furrowed position or I have to train myself to sleep on my back so my pillow doesn’t pull my face down. It is all just too much for me. I don’t know what I am going to do when my face is not my face anymore. I mean I am no Giselle but I want to keep what I’ve got!!

These are the thoughts that keep my up at night. I always thought I would grow old gracefully but it is clear that is not the case. And I REALLY do not want to have a face lift, I have seen Meg Ryan and it is not pretty. So now what? How am I going to get over this hurdle? The fact of the matter is that no matter how good the genes, your face at 50 is not your face at 30. It makes me want to die. So this is what I have been thinking about and thinking about and then I remembered this story:

A little over a year ago my younger brother was moving in with his girlfriend. Now any one who has lived with some one knows, no matter how long you have been together, how well you know each other, there is always an adjustment period that takes place. Conflicts will arise, some bickering will occur and there is usually one big struggle that you have with your soon to be roommate, which in retrospect, always ends up being over something trivial. For my brother and his girlfriend that was the bathroom towels. She wanted pretty, matching (clean) hand towels, which meant that the ones my brother had previously had in the bathroom had to go. He was not pleased. He wanted his towels in there. She was not backing down, his towels had to go. In her mind (and in many of our minds) why would some one choose a gross ratty hand towel over something that was aesthetically pleasing to the eye and to the touch? This battle waged on for a while frustrating both sides of the linens aisle. One day when we were helping them move a piece of furniture my brother and husband were riding in the moving van together and my brother was venting to Kris about his girlfriend taking over everything. My sage of a husband gave the best advice he could; “The sooner you accept it, the easier it will be.”

“The sooner you accept it, the easier it will be.” This piece of advice, this one sentence allowed my brother to transition into the next stage of his relationship with ease. Whenever his girlfriend suggests a new decorative idea, he just says to himself “the sooner you accept it, the easier it will be.” I can almost see the words scrolling across my husband’s head whenever I offer up any brilliant decision on our lives. My brother’s girlfriend, who works in hospital as a therapist, tells her patients when they ask why they have to be in the hospital, “the sooner you accept it, the easier it will be.” I have decided that this is going to be my motto.

This piece of advice that was meant for one guy moving in with his girlfriend from another guy living with his wife will hopefully allow me to grow old gracefully. It is not going to be easy and I am sure I will have to be reminded on occasion. But I am not going to let that gray hair wrap itself around my neck like a noose. By accepting that we all age will enable me to hold my head high the first time I have to book an appointment to have my hair colored. It will allow me to look back on old photos of my young face with pride. I will feel rested from an amazing night sleep in the fetal position, face squashed against the pillow. I will laugh more knowing that some simple restylane injection around my mouth will plump away those despicable…oh dear. Well I said it wouldn’t be easy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Runner Up Is...

I went to a casting workshop a few weeks ago. I was really looking forward to it as this casting director casts some big shows. These workshops are great b/c you get yourself in front of a CD and can often get called in to audition. It is a class of actors, the CD comes in gives us a scene and we get about 15 minutes to work on it before we have to put it up in front of the class.
Once you put your scene up the CD will usually give you an adjustment or a couple comments and then you sit and watch the other actors. However, this casting director told us he is going to assign the same scene to groups of people and then the class will talk about how each actor did and decide who would get the part.
Lovely. I am instantaneously flung back into the mental state of my 7th grade self. Which, if you were to have had the opportunity to glimpse in, you would have noticed it was an ugly mess. Come on, Kate pull yourself together. I decided right away to get a grip, I am a good actor and just needed to focus on my scene and all will go swimmingly. I went outside and worked on my character, which was a 17-year-old girl, (though that is neither here nor there) and was ready to wow the crowd.
Now let me just say, that the girl who went before me was a pretty, petite girl with long flowing red hair and sparkly blues eyes. The girl who went after me was South African and probably a model. We all do our scene and then the casting director asks the class what they thought. One guy says he thought the 3rd girl had a lot of energy. And she did, as I did get to see her scene. But then the casting director asks this “well who’s face do you remember the most?” What?!?! Why would you ask that question when we are supposed to be focusing on the acting? I sat there and listened to each person say the 3rd girl, the South African model-looking bitch (fine, I am sure she is a nice person). The casting director agrees and says “there is something about her milky white skin and almond shaped eyes that really draws you in.” Then he says “but there is also something about the 1st girl and her red hair that really stands out.” Waiting. Waiting. I am sure something pretty about me is coming next………… “Ok on to the next scene.”

Now most of you who have known me must often think – “this is an ironic career choice for Kate”. And yes I have often wondered that too, given that I spent most of my formative years 5ft 9, 90lbs soaking wet with a perm and braces. Pretty as a picture. So I will take a brief moment to defend my choice of careers. As a kid I had always dreamed of being someone else, looking like someone else. I used to try and take on other people’s characteristics. Usually to no avail, like the time I tried to have a smile like Farrah Fawcett. Big and toothy. Lets be honest, not everyone can or should pull that off and that became quite evident when I opened my 6th grade yearbook, dying to see how amazing I was going to look with my new shiny smile, instead saw a psychotic loon staring back at me. It still gives me nightmares knowing that that picture is out there. Or the time in elementary school when I watched a girl cry b/c she got a bouncy ball smashed into her eye. She looked so pretty and angelic as her bottom lip curled under while tears streamed down her face. I too wanted to look like an angel crying! However, it is not easy to remember a new cry once you are crying so what I would do is catch myself mid-cry and then curl my bottom lip. I had more than a few people ask me what was wrong with my face.
Despite those and many other missteps in my character transformations, I didn’t stop or want to stop. Acting allows you to be someone else, something that everyone has wanted to do at some time or another. And yet, here was this casting director doing IT to me again at thirty blah blah years old, talking about how pretty the other girl is. There is a difference this time around though, a big one. During my years of feeling like an outcast I developed a gift, a great gift, one that I will be eternally grateful for. A sense of humor. And a pretty great one at that. Now I may not have vibrant red hair, or the ability to hypnotize people with my fancy South African accent, but I will make you laugh. And I don’t have to be the pretty girl, I will play the weird girl, b/c I have learned that they are the most interesting anyways.