The beginning of this January caught me with a surprise, a need to undergo another back surgery. Almost 5 years ago, I spent close to twenty-four month in a wheelchair from a similar surgery, and had a very rough recovery, so I can't tell you I went into this bravely. Just quietly. But of course I put on a brave face, as we actors are so good at doing. I figured that if I'm going to be stuck without the ability to walk, I would learn to crochet while I wheel around in my hot rod red wheelchair.
So, after surgery and a better start to recovery than expected, I learned to crochet. I memorized pages of nonsense just longing for a script and a deadline. A role where I am healthy, stronger, and I get to be artistic.
So, in all this sobby story, I have realized something I've forgotten to do in my acting. As I learned to crochet and hold my yarn with tension but not too tight, in a way that works for my hands to create art, and continuously reminding myself just relax, I realized I haven't been giving myself that room in my favorite art. The acting that is my career and my passion. Since I'm still trying to behave and not injure myself while I heal, I decided to write this little blog, and hopefully share some insight that may or may not be useful to you. If nothing else, hopefully I've filled a few moments with quiet in an otherwise busy day.
Take a deep breath, and begin again. String around your fingers, learn your lines, loosen your tension, give yourself permission to be completely in someone else's shoes, and pull the yarn, say your lines. Close your eyes, make art.
When starting a new project, a new hobby, a new anything, it's okay if you aren't perfect. Mistakes are expected. They might suck, but we all make mistakes.
The trick is, you have to be willing to take a risk and make a mistake, and then learn from it. It took me awhile to get the center of my first crocheting project started. I had to keep reminding myself to take a deep breath, relax, stop holding everything so tight. Crocheting turns out to be one of the most forgiving arts I've tried, because if something doesn't look right or a stitch is wonky, you just pull it out and go back to a good spot and continue. In front of a camera, you might hold your body tight, your ability to speak clearly might suddenly escape you, your lines might fall right out of your head. BUT, when you realize everything is going to shambles, don't give up! Take a deep breath. Walk around. Review your lines, remember why you wanted to do this in the first place: you love the art. Whatever it is, allow yourself to make that mistake, learn from it, and then take a moment to gather yourself and try it again.
So practice. Make mistakes. Laugh at them. Start again. Perfect your skill that your bring to this beautiful art. You just might make something that surprises yourself.
Be good to yourself. Loosen up. Create. Surprise yourself.