the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 183 The First Day

Posted by themirrenlee on 01/07/2012

It’s the first day of the second half of this year; a year in which my plan is to change both the course of my life and my identity. To do this, I’m planning on going backwards in order to move forward. Huh?

What we do, why people give us money, defines us as individuals. We are lawyers, doctors, customer service officers, teachers, actors, artists, ad infinitum. I don’t like this restrictive way we as a society label each other. We limit each other, ultimately limiting ourselves as well. We come to believe that change is too scary, and we don’t think we can break out of the way we’ve been labelled. We say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” when of course, the reality is that
A) It isn’t true, and
B) We’re not dogs!

I have met, in the decades I have coached actors about their careers, literally hundreds of people who are not living lives of authenticity – that is, being who they really want to be.

My vocation – something I didn’t choose but which chose me before I even remember – is acting. It always defined me, no matter what else I did in between – waitressing, office work or any other “just a job”. Nothing made me happier or more fulfilled than when I was acting.

Then I started seriously coaching actors. I opened my own schools, and put on productions; then came the theater companies, the change to making short films, opening the actor’s agency, producing touring productions, freelance casting, writing shows, still acting but adding voice overs, expanding the coaching to the corporate arena, and then by accident finding a whole new career as a voice and dialect coach for American productions.

Finally, last year, when my health told me I had to take a break, I realized it was time to think about what I wanted to do the most, because I could no longer do it all, and in fact, didn’t want to.

My voice coaching had somehow taken precedence in my life, and I became known as “the American dialect coach”. It is a fine thing to do – fun and rewarding – but eventually I realized it was consuming all my time – and my identity. I missed my acting.

And, unfortunately, there’s only so far you can coach, or act, in Australia. Our Industry is too small and limited.

I have tried to get back to where there are greater opportunities, where I was born and lived until I was 18, and that is Los Angeles. The stories of why I had to keep coming back to Australia are for another day, but now my focus is to get well enough to go there for awhile and see if I can not only get my acting identity back, but also spread out the use of my various talents carefully, so that one doesn’t overshadow the other.

I started the year wanting to blog every day. CHECK!

I wanted to live with friends and family so I could save money. CHECK!

I wanted to do everything I could to improve my health and stamina. CHECK! (Proviso: Ongoing)

I wanted to write consistently so that I could finish a couple of projects. CHECK with a HICCUP when feeling unwell overwhelms me.

So my plan is to go back where I started, where I trained, and where I get energy from – L.A. or really Hollywood, which I love dearly for its weirdness, eccentricities, and opportunities.

I don’t know where I’ll be at physically when I’m due to leave at the end of October, but if nothing else I’ll get a holiday there.

I don’t put restrictions on myself, I don’t deal in fear thinking, I just do what feels right for my life; as this does right now.

It’s possible I won’t be able to achieve my ultimate goal this year. To paraphrase the saying, “Want to hear the Universe laugh? Try making plans.” But that’s okay because there’s always other paths I can go down to reach the same destinations – it just takes a bit of lateral thinking to figure it out.

The important thing, I think, especially with a chronic illness, is to never give up going after what makes you happy. Be like a shark and never stop moving! When you come to a standstill, you atrophy. I believe we can always do more than we think we can.

So I feel on track, except for my stamina and writing. Both need redoubled efforts, and I commit to those today, in order to achieve what I want tomorrow.

I’m just sayin’ …

One Response to “Day 183 The First Day”

  1. Tammy said

    That’s amazing and inspiring – never stop trying 😉

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