Sorry, Come Back Another Time
I have nothing new to report.
2019 has been an odd year so far. I can't, for the life of me, seem to get motivated to create much of anything. Every option seems pointless. Every possible avenue I could go down at this point in my (non) career, I feel like I know where it leads. I've been to all those dead ends before. And I'm tired of the brick walls.
After getting unceremoniously swatted down last year after attempting to write a pair of intensely personal projects, I've been pretty much in creative shambles.
What's worse, I can't even summon the energy to create some sort of bullshit realization about myself to sell to people, which is what I usually do in leaner, more embarrassingly empty times. You know, if I'm not doing The Work at least I can say I'm doing Work On Myself so everyone feels better about my failure to succeed.
The truth is, I haven't pushed any projects forward this year and I haven't learned a goddamn thing about myself. I've just been in blob mode, floating through, trying to avoid forming a shape of any kind because that kind of commitment generates more anxiety than I can handle, because putting myself out there naturally invites criticism and anymore I'm scared of what even the most gentle criticism does to me.
One thing I promised myself I'd do this year is take a class. And I did! Or, at least I tried. I signed up for an introductory acting class and after flying 12 hours from London to get home last Friday, went to bed and woke up and drove down to Hollywood to finally--almost two years after moving to LA--Get It Started.
But! Oh no! I couldn't find parking. Anywhere. I circled and circled and circled and finally had to park half a mile away. By the time I walked into the the acting studio, I was 20 minutes late and wasn't allowed to enter the class. So I would have to try again in a couple months, they said.
I drove home, completely shattered and unsurprised. Of course I couldn't find parking. Of course they wouldn't let me in. What evidence have I ever had in the last 15 years that anyone actually wants me to be in this industry? I was rebuffed and ignored and overlooked by every single gatekeeper in Chicago, what every made me think it would be different in Los Angeles, a place that 's infinitely more complex, competitive and filled with assholes?
I know, it's just a class. Just a fluke. But when it takes you two years to build up the courage to do something and then you try it and literally CAN'T FIND A SPACE TO PARK YOURSELF and get told YOU CAN'T COME IN, you know, it's hard not to let that be submitted as evidence in the case of John Loos vs. Should He Even Try.
It comes after many years of being told thank u next, after getting rejected from 12 festivals in a row for the web series you still feel is the most "you," after never getting a callback for the auditions that are the key to getting into the Cool Chicago Improviser Club, after never getting asked to be in the improv team that's LITERALLY ALL ALUMNI OF YOUR COLLEGE IMPROV TEAM even though at the time you lived in a three-flat with THREE OF THEM and one time even were asked to watch one of their dogs while THE TEAM OF ALL ALUMNI FROM YOUR COLLEGE TEAM rehearsed upstairs. It's being the 15th and last man off of the bench in high school basketball, who never plays and when he does people react like a three-legged dog is on the court. It's being in 5th grade and never getting picked for any of the sports teams, or summer tournament teams, or having any evidence, really, that you're actually good at anything.
When you live inside this giant ski-slope forehead of mine, it's another chapter in a narrative that has been written your entire life. That you're not right, you're the wrong thing, you don't fit, you're too big, you're too butch, too femme, too gay, too untalented, too ambitious, not good enough. Just play football and like it, John. That's what you're made for.
That's why, when I wrote that pair of personal projects last year, the rejection felt like an iron maiden closing in on me. The writings were the most "me" I had ever been, and to be rejected felt like people were saying "you are wrong. You are incorrect. That you try at all is the greatest joke in history."
I get that this thought process is entirely stupid, and is a byproduct of my pernicious depression. I should be able to handle criticism without it totally wigging me out. But I can't. I don't have that skill or that level of emotional intelligence. I understand the absurdity of it all. Believe, that's yet another thing I spend long hours beating myself up over. But understanding it doesn't make it go away. If anything, it just amplifies the narrative of being a giant mistake that I can't seem to shake.
I want to want this. I do. But I just want someone to want me to be in it, too.