groundhogs-facts

I got cut this week from a Broadway audition.  Everyone I knew got kept, except me.  I waited for the usual feelings of shame, anger, and disappointment to bubble up.  I chatted idly with one of my friends, expecting it all to creep from my subconscious into my conscious mind to depress me.

It never happened.

On the way out I saw another friend in the lobby, and I felt no emotion as I told him I had been cut.  On the train ride home, I dug deep within myself for self-pity and self-hatred.   I came up empty-handed.

I had run out of shits to give.

I wondered if I had reached an enviable state of Zen enlightenment, wherein my self-worth wasn’t determined by ability to impersonate a hedgehog.  (That was literally part of the choreography.   I have a degree, by the way.  It was expensive.)  But I didn’t feel like I’d reached Zen enlightenment.  I felt numb.  Detached.  Like I’d been through this so many times before that I just couldn’t bring myself to care.

I went home and Googled ‘burnout.’  Here’s what I found:

“Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.”

Boom.

The article goes on to explain that burnout is different from stress.

“Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and psychologically. Stressed people can still imagine, though, that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.

“Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up. And while you’re usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice burnout when it happens.”

Until it bites you in the ass while impersonating a groundhog.

Or maybe the groundhog was the last straw.  Whatever the reason, I am so tired of this industry.

I believe a lot of people in this industry feel burned out, but since they don’t always notice it when it’s happening, they’ve learned to accept it as a sad state of affairs.  They become increasingly hopeless, cynical and resentful.  I don’t believe that what doesn’t kill you– for example, constant rejection– makes you stronger.  I think what may not kill you will drive you crazy.   Or make you sad, angry and depressed.  Or a little of all of it.

If you let it.

The only cure for burnout, as far as I know, is to do more of the things you love.

Here’s what I love to do:  write, teach class at Physique 57, take Delilah to the pool and to the park, cook and eat dinner with my family, drink wine, catch up on TV, read.

So that’s what I intend to do until this bout of burnout passes, until I find a project I’m excited about.  Actually, I have one:  I’ve been cast in a play in Morristown, one of my favorite places in New Jersey.  It runs January through February.  The theatre is in a museum on a road lined with mansions.  The play is part ghost story, part black comedy.  (There’s been a murder in a Victorian manor on a snowy night.)  I’m excited because instead of singing and dancing, I get to say lines on stage, which, truly, has always been my strength.  But I’m also looking forward to just chilling with my family over the holidays.   To not putting myself into positions where I feel depleted.  I don’t want to not care about a Broadway show.  But I also know that life is more than a series of shows and auditions.  And that I have more to offer the world than my impersonation of a groundhog.  Thank God.

Plus, it’s incredibly freeing to finally run out of fucks to give.

 

 

 

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