Yesterday at the gym I got annoyed, I mean really pissed while working out on the cardio machine. Not all that far in I developed stomach cramps and generally felt crappy about pushing myself and sweating and carrying on doing the basics that theoretically will carry me to my goal of fitness and weight loss. I hit a point where the pain and distance to my goal caught up with my attitude and dragged it down into the dumps. It’s just frustrating to think all the effort and discomfort will really only have minimal effect – and only if I keep subjecting myself to it.
Slogging away on the machines at the gym I can just imagine the parallels between working out and working on my career as a voice actor. It’s easy enough to intellectually grasp that it’s going to take a lot of work for me to become a VO success; I’ve accepted that it’s going to take years. But it’s when I’m sweating and hurting and getting progressively irritated that I have real appreciation of just how long that is. (Well, ok VO work doesn’t usually hurt, though sweat is occasional, the pain tends to be more emotional.)
Anyone who’s ever tried acting – for any medium – knows it’s tough enough just to get cast, let alone make some money. It feels like there is a ton of rejection, but in fact it’s the deafening silence that can end up really soul-crushing. Some days I just have to ask myself if I secretly love punishing myself, a la Sisyphus, by pushing a metaphorical boulder up an unforgiving mountain.
There are days, though, when I can sense forward movement. When something heartening comes by and it doesn’t seem entirely hopeless. It’s when the workout doesn’t hurt all that much, and finishing the weight lift reps leaves me feeling stronger than before I started. It’s also when I see my name printed on a program for performing in a screenplay showcase or when I hand someone my brand new business card. It’s definitely in every compliment I get.
Off days, whether I’m making mistakes or I just can’t fight off self-doubt, are sure to come. Some days my body and my mind will gang up against my resolve and convince me to back off. But that’s part of the process of getting somewhere, I’m convinced. There’s the squishy way out – be nice to myself, take it easy and come back again later – which includes forgiving myself for taking the easy way. *shrug* I guess if it works, then that’s fine. But I’m trying to accomplish something and I don’t intend to make “trying” a way of life. I’m gonna do it.
So… there’s no conclusion to this. I go to the gym with the intention of getting fit; I pursue voice acting with the purpose of making it my career. That was my opening thesis and the long hard slog of days that don’t seem to get anywhere are as much a part of the work as the occasional successes.
Yesterday, on that &#$*!@% cardio machine I eased up and pushed through the whole program. I went through my stretches, carefully pushing back on the nausea and finally headed home. The shower afterwards felt heaven-sent.