New Year, (Maybe) New Me?

Goodbye, 2018! I won’t miss you at all.

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Though I will say there were several amazing things that happened last year. I finally left my god-awful job of two years to work much closer to home, started freelancing again after taking a three-year break, and gained a lot of new skills. In September, I traveled to Scotland for the first time ever to be there for my cousin’s wedding. And a month later, I got to welcome my adorable little nephew into this world.

That said, I’m in desperate need of a change. 2018 was not a good year for both my acting or my mental health. A lot of the tools that I need to break back into the acting world require money, and it’s money that really I don’t have. Headshots, lessons, and reels add up fast, and I need my income for other things right now. And while I’m so glad that I no longer rely on antidepressants, I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to my anxiety and overall lack of motivation. The fact that my last job was completely destroying me both physically and mentally only made things that much worse.

I’ve spent the last few months laying down the groundwork for more freelance and personal projects, and I’m already setting them into motion. Some will take more time than others, but I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Hell, they’d better be worth it. I’m tired of feeling like I’ve stagnated.

Save More Money

At the moment, considering my current pay-rate, this is almost impossible. I’ve just restarted my job applications, so hopefully I’ll get more income very soon. Nick and I will be moving this year, and we’re both looking to go on trips and save up for our dream careers. On top of that, we both have debts that we really need to pay off. Since moving back to New Rochelle, I’ve already cut down my spending habits drastically. With a higher paycheck, I’ll be able to put a lot more into my savings account.

Work on My Overall Health

This isn’t just better eating habits, a regular workout, and all that stuff that Instagram labels “self-care.” This means seeing a primary care doctor, an eye doctor, and an OBGYN to check up on parts of me that need to be looked after. This means finding a good therapist to work through my anxiety and past upsets so I can really focus on bettering myself. It also means seeing a chiropractor or acupuncturist about this reoccurring pain in my neck and shoulder. And if I could see a dermatologist about this goddamn body acne and thinning hair, that’d be awesome too.

Work Towards Full-Time Freelancing

This one will take constant work. It’ll mean hours of searching through job sites and reaching out to old clients. It’ll also mean more complicated taxes and way more complicated insurance options. But if it also means that I get complete control over my work hours and holidays, and finally getting to do the work that I want, then it’s all worth it. I already have one consistent job that’s been going on steadily for six months, If I can get two or three more just like it within the year, I’ll be all set.

Network with Other Actors/Filmmakers

What I miss most about the acting world is all the people I met along the way. I miss sharing horror stories about gigs and auditions. I miss hanging out and chatting while we’re off camera, or going out to eat after a day of working. I’m hoping to find meet-ups that take place in the city so I can better connect with others in the industry. And now that my project preferences have also changed, I’m hoping these can be especially helpful.

Be Less Wasteful

I already stopped shopping at fast fashion stores two years ago, since I decided that I hated their quality. We only use tubeless toilet paper in my apartment, and now I only rely on reusable bags when grocery shopping. Starting this year, I will no longer be purchasing the following:

  • Shaving cream
  • Disposable razors
  • Pads/tampons
  • Plastic soap bottles
  • Plastic tumblers
  • Plastic toothbrushes
  • Ziploc bags
  • Loofahs

Gradually, I will be replacing these with more sustainable options, such as a Diva Cup or a Boie USA Body Scrubber. As for the shaving cream, I can easily just use body wash or conditioner.

Support Small Businesses

This is more of a continuing promise to myself. I’ve made it a point to consistently support small businesses for the past few years. Throughout that time I’ve found all of my favorite restaurants, breweries, jewelry and clothing designers, artists, home decor, and body products. Not only will I continue to support all the businesses that I love, but I’ll also be searching for more both online and close to home. I’m even planning on doing a weekly post showcasing all of my favorites.

Will all of these be accomplished in 2019? Only time, and my motivation levels, will tell. But I’m definitely feeling more optimistic right now and already started doing some of the work for some, so that’s a major plus.  Be sure to give me a follow to stay updated, and let me know what you hope to achieve this year.

A List of Pre-Birthday Musings

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My birthday is just over two weeks away, and it’s a pretty big number this time around.  While I have no real intention of throwing a massive party, I will definitely be celebrating all month long. I have a five-day weekend coming up, and my roommate bought us tickets to Yankee Stadium on July 4th. When I have time after work, I’ll be visiting some of my favorite museums and bars. I’ve got the Oddities Flee Market in Greenpoint is coming up on July 21st. And, who knows, I may even stop by Coney Island one weekend.

It’s safe to say that I’m no where near where I thought I’d be at this age. I once thought that by now I’d be completely settled in a successful career in acting and filmmaking. I thought I’d be happily married with my first child on the way. It’s pretty safe to say that that’s not where I am at all. But instead of being bitter, I feel more prepared and determined than ever to make things happen. I’m in the middle of transitioning from a soul-crushing job into freelancing full-time. I’ve spent the past five years being single, and during this time I’ve become more confident and self-reliant than I ever was before.

The truth is that sometimes you need hard lessons and disappointments in order for things to work out in the long run. And no, I’m not talking about severe emotional trauma as that only makes things worse in the long run. I mean that sometimes things have to get messy for a while. Sometimes you have to dive into life completely unprepared, screw things up horribly, and figure out what went wrong so you don’t make the same mistakes again. While I’m still anxious about what the future holds, I’m now more ready than ever to face what happens next.

As an early celebration, I wanted to share with you some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during my time on this earth. While I know that I still have more to learn, and there’s no doubt that some of you are as stubborn as I am, let’s take this moment to appreciate how far we’ve come and how much further we can go.

My List of Pre-Birthday Musings:

  1. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself and adapting to what ever it throws your way.
  2. It’s impossible to be liked by everyone, so don’t bother trying. Just be who you are, and the right people will come along.
  3. Family members usually mean well, but they don’t always know what’s best.
  4. Those who think they know everything always have the most to learn.
  5. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a romantic partner, never waste time on anyone who doesn’t make you happy.
  6. Some people will criticize you no matter what you do. At some point, you can’t take them into account anymore.
  7. There truly is no such thing as “normal”  in this world. There’s only “social acceptable.”
  8. Good intentions mean nothing if the end result is an absolute disaster.
  9. There are certain people in this world who are just too toxic for their own good, and nothing will ever get them to change. Avoid them as much as possible, as they will only crush your soul.
  10. Shared interests are fantastic, but they can’t be all that you base your relationships on. Shared morals and life experiences make for an infinitely stronger bond.
  11. Those who seem the happiest have usually been through more than you can ever comprehend.
  12. While someone else may always have it worse, your own struggles are still valid.
  13. Nothing is more liberating than completely and unapologetically embracing who you are.
  14. Femininity does not equal weakness. In many ways it’s much stronger than masculinity, so never be afraid to embrace it.
  15. You will be happier once you stop comparing your life and progress to others. Everyone moves at their own pace, and you never know what struggles they’ve had to overcome.
  16. Never, ever let love blind you. When those you admire say or do something wrong, hold them accountable every time.
  17. Your relationship, or lack thereof, does not define your worth as a person.
  18. Just the same, you are worth more than any job you’ll have in your lifetime.
  19. There is no age limit when it comes to finding love. In fact, you may have better luck when you’re much older.
  20. True love and devotion should never come with a price.
  21. Despite what you’ve been taught, there isn’t someone out there for everyone. And, to be honest, that’s perfectly okay.
  22. Children can be wonderful, but don’t let anyone make you feel like they are needed for a fulfilling life.
  23. Life is not a work of fiction. The evil in this world is greater and more enduring than anyone will ever know, and those in power will stop at nothing to maintain it.
  24. Even the smallest act of kindness can make all the difference in the world.
  25. The love of an animal is one of the purest things there is.
  26. Your mental illness may never go away, but it doesn’t have to define your life either.
  27. You are only as old as you allow yourself to feel.
  28. From a favorite book to an everyday commute to work, inspiration can be found anywhere.
  29. True friends really are hard to come by. So when you find them, never take them for granted.
  30. No one’s life ever goes the way they planned, so don’t ever feel like a failure when you see that yours hasn’t.
  31. (BONUS LESSON) It’s never too late to change your life for the better or to pursue the things you love

I love you all!

I’ve Moved! (Platforms, at Least)

Why hello there, strangers!

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As you can see, I’ve moved to WordPress.

Blogger had been giving me trouble for a while. It hadn’t updated in years, and I felt limited by how I could customize my blog. I was also unable to share a lot of my work, and had been rejected by Google AdSense several times. Also, after comparing both platforms for years, I decided that WordPress was simply better for the professional blogger. I have more ownership of my work, am free to promote it to a larger platform, and am given more tools needed to create a blog that is truly my own.

Obviously, I still have some work to do when it comes to appearances (not me personally, I look perfectly fine thank you), but it’s a damn good start towards my long-term goal of becoming entirely self-employed.

 

I don’t normally do this, but….

For several years now, I’ve made it a point to not talk about my personal problems online. For one, not everyone needs to know what’s going on. And two, I’ve never been a fan of unsolicited advice. But, to put it bluntly, I’m far from happy right now.
I’ve had the most unfulfilling job, with the most toxic work environment, for the past two years. I’m unable to save up any money, as every last penny goes to food and bills. I’ve been searching for a new job for close to a year and have gotten absolutely nowhere. Everyone who was at this company when I first started has left and managed to find better jobs, yet I’m still stuck here. My having no car is only making my job search that much harder. To top it all off, I have no real connections to speak of that could lead to a better paying job, and I’m now getting the impression that family members don’t want to hear about my struggles. At this point, I truly feel as if the universe is trying to tell me something:
This mundane work life is not meant for me.
I was happiest when I was acting and writing, or at least able to work within the entertainment world. I was happiest when I was surrounded by those who shared my interests and mindset. The pay may have been terrible, but looking back that almost doesn’t matter. I don’t care for a six-figure salary, and fancy house, or an expensive car. All I want is to support myself just enough that I’m able to have time for what I love.
I actually began freelance writing nearly four years ago. Things seemed to be going up-hill for some time, as every week I was being offered another transcription or ghostwriting job. But my desperation for money led me to take on jobs that either didn’t pay well or were clearly out of my skill set. Ultimately, circumstances forced me to move in with my Dad in New Jersey, and my desperation to get back to New York forced me cast my writing aside.
My lack of motivation has plagued me for over a year now, as I always come home tired and angry. All I really want to do every night is sit on the couch, eat, and binge-watch Forensic Files. Hell, most of the time I never even care to take off my shoes and bra just so I can get comfortable. But it’s safe to say that I’ve reached my breaking point. I’m tired of being unhappy and unable to do what brings me joy. I’m more than aware of how much I’ll have to hustle in order to make this work, but it’s more than worth regaining control of my life. 
Stubbornness, which can be either a blessing or a curse, has been consistent trait on both sides of my family. For most of us, especially my grandmother, it’s been nothing but a curse. For her entire life she’s refused help, interfered when she shouldn’t have, and even pushed loved ones away for no logical reason. At ninety-two she lives alone and is barely able to move around her apartment, yet still insists on fighting us over the idea of assisted living. I, on the other hand, am determined to turn our wretched family trait into a blessing. I will not settle for what no longer serves me. I will pursue a happier life, no matter what it takes.

Am I Done With Horror?

I’ve asked myself this question for over a year now.

To those who’ve known me for most of my life, I am the horror queen. When I first started acting professionally, I searched through every single casting site I came across just to find posts for horror films and haunted houses. I wanted to collect every bit of horror and Halloween merchandise I could find and decorate my apartment with it all year ’round. Though I’d studied classical theatre since high school, I wouldn’t be satisfied until I was officially labeled a “scream queen.”

Yet, since last spring, I find myself stepping away from this genre more and more. While I’m still all about the dark and macabre, straight-up horror is no longer as appealing to me as it once was. I find myself more and more drawn to fantasy films and thrillers. The Crow and V for Vendetta have been my favorites for a long time, and I’m anxiously awaiting the next season of Game of Thrones. While I still do a good amount of home shopping in October, most of my decor now consists of pagan imagery, animal bones, and dark portraits from artists I’ve found on Etsy. And during the rare times that I now search sites for film and theatre castings, I pay more attention to the summary and character description than the genre of the piece in question.

In no way am I 100% done with watching and acting in horror films, but I do have three good reasons to step back and really explore other options.

1. Very Selective

For one, I’ve always been very picky when it comes to my horror. Compared to other genres, it is the easiest type of film to create, which is why every filmmaker tries their hand at one at some point in the career. At the same time it’s also easy to botch, which explains all of the train-wrecks. While some have achieved cult status, countless other films released from the 1970’s onward are all but forgotten thanks to awful writing, directing, and acting. In recent years, however, it has gotten a bit better. I was highly impressed with ‘Mama,’ ‘The Woman in Black,’ and ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.’ I have yet to see ‘The VVitch’ or ‘Get Out,’ but I absolutely intend to. I would have even included ‘American Horror Story’ among my recent favorites, but after the third season, I’ve had little to no desire to watch it. Though I will say, next season’s theme has me very intrigued.

To be completely honest, I’ve never liked gore-heavy films. I won’t watch Cannibal Holocaust, the 1988 remake of The Fly, or anything from the Saw franchise. And no one could ever pay me enough money to watch The Human Centipede. I can remember a day at college when a friend borrowed a DVD of a film called ‘Feast.’ I joined her halfway through as she was watching it with two other students. By the time it was over, I had to go take a walk around my building because I felt so sickened.

More than just plain gross, however, I consider gore-porn to be a massive cop-out. And while I have absolutely nothing against on-camera nudity or sex scenes, the same feeling applies to excessiveness of both. All I see, when looking at a mountain of both, is the work of a so-called filmmaker with limited ideas and a few possible fetishes that should be kept far away from any filmset. If I want gory details, I’ll watch a true crime documentary. If sex is all you’ll focus on, don’t forget that porn is still a massive industry.

2. Pass Events

Looking back on my acting career, I’ve realized that the most negative experiences I’ve had have involved small horror films. I’ve been cheated out of a role I was cast in (twice), had a director flake on me after pushing the production date back repeatedly, and witnessed another director talk so rudely to his cast online that I backed out of his film. It shouldn’t surprise you that the storylines in all films were questionable at best. After reading one script and meeting the producer and main actor, it became more than obvious that the man just wanted an excuse to film himself with a lot of attractive women. Thankfully, I never had any scenes with him.

Not to mention that the worst directors and producers I’ve encountered also happened to be the most arrogant. Every single one brags about his years of experience, demands respect from everyone, yet can’t be bothered to hold up promises made to anyone breaking their back for him. It seems as if anyone with a pricey camera and a dire need to shock and offend thinks they’re some sort of artistic genius.

To my filmmaker friends reading this; if I am still speaking to you today, obviously this does not apply to you.

These negative experiences have also included the fans: both mutual fans of what I love and fans of work I’ve been a part of. My father told me, while I was deep in a man-hating period of my life, that I should stop looking for love within the horror scene. Only recently did I realize that he has a point. Of course, many of these fans are incredibly lovely. Others, however, are drawn to this genre simply for its political incorrectness, which then gives them an outlet for their own daily frustrations and fuels them into spewing out viewpoints that are not entirely based in fact. To them, even the smallest amount of disgust in horror films is viewed as some sort of persecution. This then explains their voting preferences, views about oppressed groups, and why I have decided to stop speaking to them. Even some of the most liberal can’t seem to pick up on blatant social cues, such as when I have no interest in dating them, or that I don’t want to be tagged in an inappropriate online post.

3. Creative Drive

All that said, my strongest reason for stepping away from horror is that I’m now seeking out work that will truly challenge me. After playing nameless monsters for much of my career, I now find myself dying to move on and break type. I want story-lines that are carefully crafted, and characters that are well-rounded and relatable. I want to be a part of something that grips the audience to the point that, as soon as the credits start to role, they’re motivated to take some sort of action, even if it’s something as small as checking on a loved one. While some have been quite fun, the horror films that I’ve acted in never did that for me. Even main characters are simply too flat for my liking.

I must confess that this was an enormous reason for walking away from my web series gig, ‘The Sin Reapers,’ last year. I had just found a new job and was trying to save money for an apartment, so my once flexible schedule was now gone. At the same time, I was fleshing out the plot line and characters for my own dystopian fantasy series, and was becoming so engulfed in it that coming to set was beginning to feel underwhelming. I was growing increasingly frustrated with portraying the same type of character I’d been given for years while writing another that was completely unique to anything I’d ever written before. I quickly realized that I had to step away from my role and really focus on my own projects.

While ‘The Sin Reapers’ was perfectly fine and everyone was amazing to work with, I could no longer be a part of something that my heart just wasn’t into. So on my last day of filming a three-part episode, as soon as we had completely wrapped, I pulled Kevin and Matt (the producers) aside and told them that I had to step out. To my relief, they understood, and even thanked me for waiting until all was finished to let them know. They have since found another actress to take over my role, who I think does a much better job with the role than I ever could have.

As I said earlier, I’m not done with horror at all. I still enjoy looking for new films to watch in my spare time, and there is still some merchandise that I want to collect. But for the time being, I would like to move on to acting in other genres and finding other sources of inspiration. Being a “scream queen” no longer appeals to me. I simply want to create work that’s both meaningful and uncomfortable.

It’s beyond easy to shock and offend. It’s easy to put on heavy makeup and prosthetics, hide in a dark room, throw some special effects together, and make everyone jump. But to make your audience think, to really get them to look deep down within themselves and question their own thoughts and behaviors to the point of crippling fear and anxiety: now that is a true gift.

Hello, Again!

Did you miss me?

It’s been two years now since I’ve last written any sort of blog post. We can attribute that to poor mental health, no inspiration, and a need to get my life together. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

During the time of my previous blog, I was living with my mother in our multi-family home in New Rochelle, New York. My grandmother was living on the floor below us. I was constantly seeking some sort of steady income while trying to be a part of every horror-related gig I could find online. I had the daily routine of a literal vampire; waking up in a dark room almost every afternoon, cruising around during the evening, and watching strange television until the sun came up, which was when I finally went to bed.

When I first started this blog back in 2011, I had intended for it to be my acting journal, detailing all of my gigs and posting announcements for stage plays or festivals I’d be featured in. For some reason, however, I never wrote much when an actual gig was taking place and, as time went on, it became more of a dumping ground for my small frustrations.

Since my last post, I moved to New Jersey to live with my Dad for about sixteen months. During that time, I struggled to find work, finally found a full-time job in the city, traveled to Italy for the first time, and decided to walk away from the only acting gig I had. My new job also forced me to adapt to a “normal” schedule of waking up at 7AM and going to sleep at 11PM. On New Years Eve, I moved back to my beloved New Rochelle, where I now share a tiny apartment with my former boyfriend, Nick, and our two special needs kittens, Reese and Milagro.

Mentally, I’m in a much better place than before. While I’ve put acting on the back-burner for now, I’m still in need of some sort of outlet when it comes to my writing. I decided to revisit this blog back in February and, after looking through all of my old posts, I realized that they no longer served any real purpose for my image or my mental state. Hell, some were even riddled with typos. So I saved some posts to my computer for nostalgia’s sake, deleted everything, and decided to start from scratch. In between drafts for stories and scripts, this will be my much-needed outlet.

On this new blog, I will discuss what it’s like being an actress who’s met with type-casting and being in a rough industry with poor mental health. I’ll also go into great detail about what keeps me sane, and showcase some major inspirations for my writing. You can also expect my input on the state of entertainment, politics, and culture; I did say a few months ago that we need our artists now more than ever.

Side Note:

You’ll notice that my creative preferences have changed as well. While I still love horror, I’ve always been quite picky about the kind of horror I watch; more psychological tricks and less gore-porn. When it comes to story inspiration, I much prefer thrillers and dark fantasies; think V for Vendetta and Game of Thrones. You will definitely see the influence of both in the coming months as I go into detail about my newest creation.

Until next time, bless you all!