Reality Check

Is it time to bite the bullet and abandon acting entirely? I have been trying and failing for over ten years now to get somewhere with it, and am much poorer than when I started; not to mention too short, too old, too fat, and not pretty enough for the industry. I do have talent, but that sadly counts for little when one lacks the other qualities.

I am not typing this for people to jump in, madly and positively shouting, ‘but you should always follow your dream!’ etc, etc. Following my dream has led me to depression (well, actually the depression was always there anyway, but my failure hasn’t helped), abject poverty with no financial safety net (the roof of my flat is literally about to fall in, and I need a new boiler, and can do nothing about either), and utter disillusionment. All confidence I once had in myself in my abilities, if it was ever there to begin with, is completely shattered. The trouble is, no matter what my talents may be, there are many, many people who are much better at them than I am.

I have reached a point in my life where I wonder if the struggle has been worth it; I am aware that to give up now means wasting all the years I spent training, all the money and effort I put into head shots, portfolios, showreels, finding agents, getting into Spotlight and Equity and keeping them renewed, and all the time I spent chasing auditions. Not to mention my still crippling student loan debt. However, I am not any further along than a 20 year old straight out of drama school – but they have a much better chance of getting jobs than me.

I think perhaps I should return to amateur theatre, as I can then take a job for which I will be regularly paid, and still act as a hobby. I feel like the utterance of that statement is like saying I think I’ll just pop out the back, and shoot myself. However, like the rest of the population, I must work to live. It’s all very well to say that material things don’t matter, but they bloody do when your roof is about to fall in. And yes, it is shallow, but I’d like to stop cutting my hair myself and buying clothes from charity shops and for once go and get pampered and buy something nice. I’d like to take my daughter on the holiday I’ve been promising her for the last five years. I’d like to stop living hand-to-mouth, month to month.

Each year so far when things have been bad, I have told myself I’d give it just one more year. Just enough tantalising little jobs have shown themselves to keep me vainly thinking for a couple of months that I might still get somewhere, but I always end up struggling. How many more years do I keep telling myself that before something has to change? I can’t face the thought of being 60 and still in the same position. Reality check time: you’re never going to Make It, Malloy. Get a job.

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