the MIRREN LEE

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

Day 319 Motivated for Pain

Posted by themirrenlee on 17/11/2012

Roman just walked in the door, back from his week long conference in Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve had the great fortune to do two dialect coaching jobs there, both for American commercials, and it’s such a lovely place. Everyone says New Zealand is like Australia thirty years ago, and since it’s also said Australia is 20 years behind the U.S., that makes it in the Jurassic Era! It isn’t really, but it does run at a gentle pace, and it is a very beautiful country.

With the world financial crisis that we keep hearing about – and experiencing in many countries – there are always three places that pop up on lists as ones that are great to live in: Canada, New Zealand and Australia. This is from a purely lifestyle point of view in that jobs are available and well paid (the minimum wage in Australia runs at about $15. an hour, with most people getting more than that), there’s a social safety net in place for the disadvantaged or sick, and  the environment is pretty clean. The only trade off to all this luxury when living in NZ or Australia is that it can feel as if you’re living at the end of the world, and we’re more than a step or two behind when it comes to pop culture. As a person whose heart is in the entertainment industry (and pop culture), I find it hard. Even one of our ex Prime Ministers, Paul Keating, referred to us as “The Ass End of the Universe”!

This is why I really need a trip back “home”, to get an energy burst from the input of Los Angeles. I grew up in Southern California, went to drama school in Hollywood and I feel very comfortable in the whole acting system there. A quirky side note to my drama school experience is that I found out years later that the guy who ran it (The Lawrence Merrick Academy) was shot dead in the parking lot of the school by a disgruntled student. Talk about taking rejection too seriously! The place is no longer there, unfortunately, so I can’t go back and reminisce.

The hardest thing about having a chronic illness is not being able to do what you love, which in my case means not having gone to L.A. sooner. People don’t realize how hard actors work. It’s long days and a lot of concentration. That’s why I’m realistic enough to not be thinking of trying to do anything more demanding than commercials, voice overs or short guest spots. The good news is that’s all I want to do. I don’t like working in films because they’re too tedious to do, I stopped liking theater long ago (I know, that’s considered blasphemous, but it always seems unrealistic to me after film and TV.), and doing twelve or more hours a day in an ongoing TV role becomes, again, tedious to me.

I’ve been blocked many times from staying in L.A. because of personal issues beyond my control, but I’ve made the best of it and done lots of work in Australia in all areas of the Industry. However, there’s only so much one can do here, and the quality is lacking. Why do so many Australians flock to L.A. or New York? Because there are many more opportunities, incredible projects, and much more money, which is always nice.

All of this is to explain how I’m finding the courage to go through the next couple of weeks with the dentist. I HAVE to get a lot of work done before I go, both for cosmetic reasons (one cavity can be clearly seen now) and the pain of some of the teeth. As I knew would happen, today my cheek hurts where the two injections went in (the first one wasn’t enough – as I’ve said, local anaesthetics don’t do well by me), the corner of my mouth is rubbed slightly raw, and the tooth itself that got filled is still sore. All thank you to the strange pain receptors from Fibromyalgia.

The dentist is being very patient and gentle, though, and the rest is up to me. I simply have to breathe and meditate the best I can while I’m in the chair, and keep remembering that soon I will have a fixed mouth – hallelujah! I have a trick I do with unpleasant things where I try to see myself on the other side of them. Before I know it, it’ll be Christmas Day and the dental work will be behind me. For the moment, anyway. (I discovered another great trick to make time go quickly – just borrow books from the library. Before you know it, you’ll be racking up fines!)

I realize that for people who have never had trouble getting dental work done, it must seem almost incomprehensible what a big deal this is for me. I even need anaesthetic gel to get my teeth cleaned. On the other hand, I have no fear of needles, operations, general anaesthetics, or medical tests in general. I’d take ten Pap Smears and a hundred mammograms over one teeth filling any day!

I am very motivated, though, so I will lie back in the dentist’s chair and think of Hollywood.

I’m just doin’ it …

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