"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

There were quite a few tough love commenters on my Friday post, who for one reason or another, must have felt that they were too tough and then immediately deleted their comments. I want you tough love commenters to know that what you said to me meant a lot because I know you said it out of love. [update: while writing this post I discovered that Blogger may have accidentally made comments disappear. I did not delete any of them as I feel I (and perhaps others) need to read each one.]

One tough love commenter even used his full real name, a very BRAVE thing, especially because now I know who you are and your comment bears more truth and weight than it would if you were anonymous, and I really, really appreciate that. When I went from anonymous to my real name on this blog, that was a somewhat terrifying thing to do, but allowed me to connect to my readers more. This commenter leaving me his real name felt the same; someone who leaves their real name does not hold anything back and is 100% accountable, fully honest, and feeling the need to connect to me on a personal level. He then, however, deleted his comment, [or Blogger did!] which I was very sad about, because I want to touch upon a few things he said.

I am, however, taking out the name, as he did delete his comment, so I will leave him anonymous. Here's the entire comment:
[Redacted] has left a new comment on your post "My Hurt Heart":

I may say some things that may be unpopular here; please know I mean kindness. My tiredness may make me miss my mark. First, you're a huge success by many measures and basically everyone who replied has likely said so, or should have. You've already entertained millions and you are clearly capable. Example: I just a few weeks ago pointed a friend to "Validation" and they were delighted. It was much needed delight after a rough few days. You have made progress, that is a fact that could be stipulated in court, not mere opinion. And making progress does not require you to be happy.

I too know the feelings you describe in this post. Last month I let my agent ago. Two days before that I had a call back, through that agent, for a very nice national commercial, but we weren't a good match. While  I know that letting go of the good to make room for the great is vital, and that no longer being with them is a good thing, there is temptation to panic since I'm currently unrepresented. It's tempting to buy into many people's stock views of what progress looks like. When I don't give into that temptation, it is partly because I remember I did not move to LA to have an agent.

  Please know I don't mean to be harsh, and also please allow for any rough edges in my words to be forgiven as the late hour at which I am typing here: you are so committed to struggling that you made it the name of your blog. Big bold letters. I have encountered your blog many times before and have not subscribed because of the name. The posts, your thoughts, and their value in my life can not blot out that name. I am not struggling. It may be seductive to ruminate on what I do not have that I would like to have, or that others have, or others think I should have. But I am not a struggling actor. Neither are you. This is not new age wishful thinking; we are not the title of your blog. The title is simply goals perverted into self-reproach and fear. Even though either of us could make up a long and thorough list of lack, want and disappointment, that is not who we are. Not what we are. It is not True. It is the explanation fear asks us to hide behind. The opposite list more solidly comes to mind; it so readily comes to mind that you could not help yourself from including it partly in your post.  Things like honed skills, knowledge of both craft and market, and most of all your obvious passion and joy at acting that creeps out between words and sentences, despite the title above them.

Your blog title is wrong. It is as wrong as anything in life can be wrong. It is a lie. Whether you believe it is or not. Using such a title does yourself, your readers, and me a disservice. If you feel like you are the eponym of your title, you can keep feeling that way, but don't for a moment indulge the lie that it is actual and any more than emotion.  If you want a different first name, use your own, which as far as I can tell is either a form of money or a beautiful instrument.

I hope some warmth made it into these words, and if not, I'm sorry for that and please forgive me. Hope you have great dreams tonight, and that they don't end on waking.
First off, let me thank you for taking the time to write what you did. (If only my lack of sleep could produce such beautiful prose!) And please understand that I know you mean everything you said with the best of intentions, and with love in your heart.

And please understand that I am about to say the following with the same.

please know I mean kindness.
I know you do. You have no idea how much I appreciate that, you, and the time you took to reach out to me.


I know that letting go of the good to make room for the great is vital
THIS is an excellent point that I think a lot of us Struggling Actors forget. If we don't like things that we can control the way they are, we DO have the power to change it, as you did with your representation. All too often I see friends of mine who are settling into a rut (me included!) because we accept our lot in life. But we have to let go of the good enough to make room for the great. Fantastic words.


You are so committed to struggling that you made it the name of your blog. Big bold letters. I have encountered your blog many times before and have not subscribed because of the name. The posts, your thoughts, and their value in my life can not blot out that name. 
I disagree. And I don't want to offend you, but I believe you are projecting onto me. I am an Actress, yes. I do define myself that way, but I am also Struggling. For the most part, I am an Unemployed Actress. But the words Struggling and Unemployed do not take away my talents, my hard work, my ethics, or my compassion for my fellow Struggling Actresses who are going through the same things I am, and are on this same roller coaster. Google "struggling actress" and this blog pops up. Which, in fact, is what one European Journalist did. She then contacted me and interviewed me for a video for Sky News.

I think the name is VERY important. People new to this town can Google and find me. They can Google and find a lot of information on how to get started and what to do correctly on this blog. I am very proud of that. I have taught people how to get free headshots, how to correctly write an acting resume, and how to use Actors Access to their best advantage. 

But all the negative connotation you associate with the word is yours. The word Struggling, after all, is defined as Striving to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance. Is my life path difficult? You bet your bippy. In fact, you know yourself how hard it is! Do I believe I am going to accomplish my goals? Yes, I do. And I'm here to prove to people that with enough effort and skill, We Can Do It. And people have been reading, and watching, and cheerleading me on, and supporting me when I need it. It's a huge blessing to have the following I do. Every single loyal reader is a gem to me. I am surrounded by the best, shiniest, diamonds! 

The title is simply goals perverted into self-reproach and fear.
The word Struggling, to me, is a pregnant one, about to give birth to Victory. I am sorry you do not share my sentiments. 


Things like honed skills, knowledge of both craft and market, and most of all your obvious passion and joy at acting that creeps out between words and sentences, despite the title above them.
It is part of the birthing process. :)

Your blog title is wrong. It is as wrong as anything in life can be wrong.
I agree to disagree.  And I love the point you make next because it's got a great story that sums up how I feel:

If you want a different first name, use your own, which as far as I can tell is either a form of money or a beautiful instrument. 
My father took great care in choosing my name. I am his first daughter, and he, a thoughtful man, had chosen to name me after a constellation. Maybe so that I could marvel at how small and insignificant we all or, maybe so that I would feel more connected to the world, as we all look up to the skies and marvel at the blinking lights above us, and that no matter where we are in this hemisphere, we can look up at the night sky and immediately feel at home. Maybe, as he likes to joke, he took one look at my screaming red face and thought, Yes! She's a Star!!

But the thing is, he spelled my name wrong. It should be Lyra.

Do I go around, moping at being misspelled, at people mistaking me for a currency, instead of the lovely Sky Harp I am named after? No. Because my dad still named me with all the best of intentions. I don't harp on him (pun intended; I AM my father's daughter!!) that people will see my misspelled name and therefore me as a mistake. Because I'm not. And I don't see myself that way.

I don't see The Struggling Actress blog title as a bad thing. I see it as a beautiful thing; as something I am working really hard for and will one day achieve. I have a fantastic rags to riches story to tell, but I'm still at the beginning of my tale.

I am, and with all sense of the words,  a Struggling Actress. But I am proud of that. And maybe now, you can be too.

I hope some warmth made it into these words, and if not, I'm sorry for that and please forgive me. Hope you have great dreams tonight, and that they don't end on waking.

And I wish the same for you.

Again, thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into your comment. I appreciate it all more than you know.

UPDATE: My friend Evan says it best and way better than I can: "The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength."

7 comments:

  1. It is all a matter of perspective, no? I am glad you got the great feedback and see all of the positive sides of your struggle. If it came easily, you wouldn't appreciate it. Not nearly so much. The struggle makes you hone your craft. In the honing, you become stronger and exceptional. You're amazing Lira. xoxoxo

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  2. i agree with the person who left the comment. if you brand yourself as struggling, that's what you'll be. good luck with that.

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  3. Well, Anon, Haters Gonna Hate.

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  4. if you think that's hate, then ok. but from this end, there's no reason to hate. i'm repped, i work and i'm happy and i absolutely love being an actor. but in the moments i'm not working, i don't dwell of what i havent accomplished, i put my energy on what i have. where you focus your energy, that's what you'll produce more of. we clearly have a different mindset. mine works for me. hopefully, yours works for you too. but if it's not working, time to re-evaluate. but either way, keep pushing. nobody said this was easy. and we both know that if it was, everybody would do it.

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  5. I can understand both sides of the Struggling argument. The bottom line is what the word means to you. My blog name is Wannabe Pride because I want the Wannabes of the world to be PROUD. Lots of people dream about being actors or writing a novel etc. Real Wannabes get out there and DO IT. We get out there and get knocked down and get right back up even when it hurts like hell. We're dreamers AND doers. We do what everybody else does - work a day job, do the laundry, the dishes, take out the garbage, sometimes go to school and/or raise families ....and then we keep going. We don't bitch about not gaming time to follow our dreams. We just do it. Your damn right its a struggle. And I'm proud of it. In the words of Jim Croce "I've got a dream" and "if it gets me nowhere Ill go there proud".

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  6. I like this blog. Both Lira and her reader's comments are two sides of the same coin...

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  7. Love, love, love this discussion! I think I see both points as valid (as others have said) and I think all of it is meant with love and (hopefully) kindness. I don't see anyone making these comments, Lira, because they don't want you to succeed - but people are ALWAYS gonna be super opinionated about what has helped make them successful. At the end of the day, YOUR success will look different from anyone else's because it's YOUR life. There is more than one path to achieve what you want and whether it's sending out positive vibes or being brutally honest about where you're at, it can't hurt you because that's how YOU'RE gonna do it!

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Play nice.