Several years ago, my girlfriend, Aileen, started a New Year’s ritual where she asked a group of friends and family to choose a word that encapsulated what we each want our intention to be for that year. For example, in prior years, I’ve chosen ‘creativity’ and ‘abundanza’ as my words. In reflecting on 2012, it really was one of my most abundantly creative years. I created from my heart. I created projects and characters that really spoke to me and I ended the year feeling more satisfied than ever as an actor.
When I started studying acting at the American Academy of Dramatic arts in 1989 I was so full of hope and passion. I wanted to say something through my work as an actor. I wanted to make people feel and think and be inspired. With little understanding, I delved into varied and dynamic characters in brilliant plays like Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and played a character with a cockney accent to Top Girl’s by Carly Churchill where I was a Japanese woman to Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthologies playing a grieving mother who had lost her child. It was all so wondrously interesting and exciting.
What I lacked in know how, I made up for with unbridled passion and determination to do a good job. I completed AADA in February 1992 and in April 1992, I was a working actress on All My Children. How could I turn that down? I was getting paid to do what I loved and only two months out of school. I got on the speeding train of All My Children and created a character that people loved to hate. I was proud of this accomplishment. One year later in 1993 I did Carlito’s Way and I was even more proud of working with Al Pacino and Sean Penn and holding my own. I was a professional actress now but extremely unhappy. I had a single minded focus to succeed as an actress but I had no clue who I was as a person or how to get along in the world. Further, acting had become a job to make money and have success and gain the attention and approval of people in the business. I found myself being tossed about by the waves of life.
I had no anchor for my personal life or confidence in my creative ability. I’ve spent the last 20 years rehabilitating my life and my art. I am persistent if nothing else. For the better part of that time, I’ve learned to be a wife, a mother and a good friend to myself and others. That’s been my priority and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Still the passion and hope that I had in 1989 when I went to acting school has not waned. It’s been quietly smoldering within me for 20 years and from time to time I’ve had the opportunity to turn up the flame. And the times in between, I often feel like I may combust. I must create to be at peace with myself. The best compliment that I got from people about the short film “Dancing Still” that my husband and I made last year, was that they were inspired. I want to continue 2013 with creative momentum. So my word this year is YES!!! Yes to creating as much as possible. Yes to seizing opportunity. Yes to creating big effects. Yes to embracing each moment. Yes to pushing beyond my comfort zone. Yes to the richness of life. Yes to success and abundance and love. Just flat out YES!!!
Wishing all a blessed 2013. What is your word? xo