I had a dream once. Believe it or not, I used to want to be somebody. I used to want the whole world to know who I was. I wanted to be an actor, and a famous one at that.
When I was very very young I used to sneak downstairs to the basement of our old house to watch horrible local TV channel’s midnite flick. One night I went to watch the movies on the tele, and I was presented with this wonderfully cliched film about a young boy who runs away from home and joins the circus. He becomes something of a child star by doing trick horse riding. A girl comes along and she is supposed to be trained to ride with him. An accident happens and the girl gets hurt. The boy does the noble thing and returns her to her home.
For some reason, ever since I had seen that movie, which as you can tell I can’t remember the name of, I wanted to be a star. I wanted to be at the center of the circus ring with grownups all standing around applauding. Again, believe it or not, I have done this. I was something of a prodigy at acting as a kid, well teenager really. I had one moment that will stick out in my mind as the crowning achievement…of my whole life really. I finished a show, I wasn’t even the lead in this one, and I came out for my bows, the theater held 987 people or so but there were people sitting on the stairs to see this show, and it happened, a standing ovation from at least a thousand people. The feeling is indescribable, especially in words. To steal a show for a standing ovation with a part that was fairly small. Of course I had already developed somewhat of a following then, so there were a few fans in the audience, but the audience that night wasn’t all my fans. I probably had ten at most. Its one hell of a feeling though.
That was opening night. That night I went up to a friends room and ate some chips and salsa. For some reason they had decided to pick that night to try and find the negative space in the house. The kicking was right above my bed. So I couldn’t sleep. They got in there eventually. They found the negative space. I went back to bed.
I woke up early, which was rare even then. I had to go to the bathroom. Number 2. I remember getting back in bed and almost as soon as I got back in bed I had to get up again, only it was more urgent this time. That happened alot. I can’t even count the times it happened, before I started to vomit. One end had been cleaned out. The other seemed ready to be cleansed as well. I went to the infirmary. My memories after that are spotty. I remember the pain and the vomiting of bile, the number 2’s that were just yellow oil that smelled worse than well anything. I remember they gave me a shot for the pain that had developed in my gut. The shot was in my bottom. Well, the shot cured me of my stomach pains, and I do mean pain, like I had never felt before horrible screaming pain. It was gone, but now I had a pain in the ass, quite literally. The nurse must have hit a nerve or something because it hurt like hell, not as bad as the stomach had. So they gave me some sort of pill to chew on, they wanted it to enter my blood stream before I could through it up. Slowly over the course of the day I vomited less and less. The first thing I said to the nurses that was anything beyond tears of agony was to call the director of the show. That was early in the morning, it was getting late now. My mentor had stopped by to see how I was doing. She was something of a second mother. I can still remember her kind face looking in from the doorway. She was back-lit, like an angel or something. She was glad to hear I was feeling a bit better, told me to focus on a little beam of light coming out of the center of my forehead, to ease the pain. She also told me that as soon as the director has heard how ill I was he had someone on book learning the songs and lines, yes it was a musical.
That night I was actually drinking water. I was sure I was ready to go on stage. When the nurse took my temperature she laughed. It was down to 103F. But I still had to go on. As they say, the show must go on. I didn’t want to miss it.
So I tried to go on and do the show. I remember laying on a couch in the green room. I could hear the whole cast downstairs singing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow”. After the opening number and the first scene, I went back stage and gave in. I’m not sure if I fainted or what. I was scared. I remember I was scared. I was scared that I would faint on stage. I was burning up, or so the costume gal said. She was one of those real motherly types. A rather large African American girl to be truthful. She was a saviour of sorts. She kept my forehead cool with wet paper towels, the brown paper towels that one encounters at places where they are too cheap to buy paper towels that can actually absorb liquids. They were like sheets of wood really, only minus the splinters. But they held enough cool water too soothe my head. I told someone to tell the director that I couldn’t go on. He came back and asked me if I was absolutely sure. At that time I was sure. I was sure I didn’t want to go out there again, on that stage with all those people watching me.
That was my first run in with performance anxiety. Well, my first run in with any sort of fear really. I thought I was going to die once before. I was full of fear then, when I was much younger and caught some sort of stomach bug that stayed with me for three months. The doctors didn’t know what it was so they kept running tests. Anyway, I asked my mother to promise to not let me die, she said she couldn’t promise that. That was my first run in with imminent death, or at least in my mind.
So when this stomach thing hit me after that one great show, I was done. Oh I was great in rehearsal and in little private shows, but I never reached greatness again on stage or on camera. See I kept on lying to myself telling myself that I could still do it. I did this all the way through college, and even for a little time after. I held on to that dream. I don’t know why. I guess acting was all I ever knew. All I was ever really great at.
As you might have guessed I had to say goodbye to that dream. Now I don’t know what my dream is. I don’t have a goal except to keep making it though each day. To keep enjoying the little things that I enjoy. To play my guitar. To give my, someday wife hopefully, a biiiiig hug. To watch a good movie. But there’s nothing beyond that. There’s no more dream. Just day to day life.
I am pretty much cured now, of the anxiety disorder. I still have to fight it, but I can live life. Now, I wonder what my dream is supposed to be. Do I want to go back to the life of acting? The lifestyle, it doesn’t really suit me. The struggle. The small theaters. The no money in your pockets. The thousands of others that want to be actors too. I don’t know if I want that anymore. That life. I know I still like to make people laugh. I know I still get depressed around oscar time. I want that fame, or part of me does. But part of me doesn’t want the life that it takes to get there.
So what’s my dream now? That’s not a rhetorical question. I really don’t know what dreams are for anymore. I have been living without them for so long. Maybe that’s why i’m so bored, hence this blog. “TheMostBoringBlogInTheWorld”, why because I was bored. You know, and this is not some sort of foreshadowing for my future suicide (I am terrified of death so I laugh when people get scared that I might do that, not me, I’m gonna live forever), the weirdest and greatest wuicide note ever written was during the “Great Gatsby” era of unimaginable wealth, it read “I was just so bored.” Well I don’t bore myself to suicide. I bore myself into doing new things. Hacking. Tinkering. Picking up the piano. New Jobs. But this dream thing. It keeps nagging at me.
Oh well. I’ll figure it out sometime. Since I am planning on living forever, I have all the time in the world.