This past week I have been doing some thinking. Is this whole dream really worth it? A lot of it has been that I have been walled up in my house with the hurricane and all and have too much time in my head. My head can be like a haunted house when I am isolated and alone. Then again that is anyone. Here I am twenty eight. Although it is still young I am hardly a child, hardly the eighteen I was when I came to the city to attend NYU. Many of my normie friends have seemingly moved forward with their lives in the way that normal people do move forward. They have things like a house, a spouse, perhaps a child or two or three, a car, and not to mention a job with benefits as well as savings. I on the other hand feel like a perpetual Peter Pan. Held back and retarded in some ways because I am chasing that elusive and invisible star called my pipe dream, I live in a shoe box. There is no spouse because in between delivering the telegrams, writing, and the comedy gigs with my puppet children I dont have time to date. As for children I have puppet children. Those ingrates always eat up my money. The job with bennies is nonexistant, and savings, arent those for rich people?
Sometimes the dream turns into a nightmare. When I was a kid I had an acting teacher, a former NYU grad bitter and hardened from years of rejection and now reduced to being a housewife and mother, give us the horror stories. She said a lot of people wasted their youth waiting tables and chasing something that might never materialize. She said people approached industry people for a job and they were dodgy because they didnt have one for them and it's just the way it went. She said flat out, "If you can picture yourself doing something else do it." I had an acting teacher in college who was similar. She had been a favorite, slated to be a star but it didnt happen and now she was back to the fold because it was better than waitressing. Everytime it was bitterness. At the time it was alarming, but now I understand. This dream is a lot of late nights, a lot of uncertainty. There are a lot of talented, well trained people tending bar. There are a lot of morons that are stars. There is the looks factor but when those fade you are back at square one. Then it's who you know and who you blow but that only takes you so far. Some of it is luck. It is all the intangible.
A lot of people I know have left the business in the last few years. It is like dealing with a bunch of scorpions sometimes. There are only so many spots and everyone wants to claw each others eyes out, and it's never fair. One woman I deliver telegrams with is back in school part time for physical therapy. Her fiance says she doesnt make enough and needs to make more for them to get married. As a liberated woman it is easy for me to say that she shouldn't give up her hard earned dreams for some man. But the fact of the matter is, in this day and age both husband and wife have to work, especially if they want to have a child. Plus the fact of the matter is, my friend wants to have a house and have a baby. At a certain point in your life you get sick of the insecurity show business offers, and how you have to deal with phantom factors. Slugging it out on your own gets to be old. It's not about the baby or the house or even the man who's commitment and love are so so, my friend is getting tired and is asking herself, "Can I do this forever?"
Another woman I came across used to perform at UCB quite a bit but got tired of being what she calls "a delusional actress." She thought she was going to make it and after a while got tired of working promos. Now she uses her skills as a storyteller working as a special ed teacher. This particular woman doesn't regret her flight but says it was worth the journey.
I was at the PIT last Saturday after a show and a former classmate of mine, a fabulous actress, revealed she no longer acts and does makeup. She was talking to a friend of hers. Both had done an internship and were burnt out on performing. While the other woman was still performing, she said it best, "You are either one of the cool kids or you are not."
That hit me like a knife in the gut. So correct. Since things have started to turn around for me in 2010, I have had the chip on my shoulder about not being a cool kid. I am not male which works against me in comedy. Rather, I am female and in my act stand up to men. Not to mention I have a puppet which is a strike against you. Despite my television time and my worldwide fan base, I still constantly have to prove myself and apologize for never being cool enough and never being male enough and am still the bridesmaid. Actually make that retarded flower girl. However, because of my exposure I have done things with the cool kids from time to time, boring people for the most part. The Golden Children have been forced to swallow me. Still, while some of it is revenge some of it has produced a chip on my shoulder that I have yet to shake off.
After a while not being a Golden Child gets tedious. How hard to I have to work and prove myself? How often should I apologize for being hard working and ambitious simply because it lets some man sleep better or makes some overweight woman feel unthreatened?
As I felt my self-doubt pang I picked up a Backstage to see what auditions were being listed. One of the articles was "How Do You Know When It's Time to Quit?" I read it hoping it would guide me. While it mentioned Louis CK as making it in middle age he is a man and that is more likely to happen to him than anyone. It asked if I was being called regularly to audition, yes. It asked if I had a respected agent or manager, no. It asked if I was well known-well I am a brand. Still I felt baffled. It said do the five year check see how you feel.
I then spoke to my mom. She pointed out that if I worked a full time job I would be getting unemployment for the natural disaster that just occurred. I told her I wasnt so sure about that and no one even those will full time jobs could get anywhere because there were no trains or gas. My mom agreed. In the next sentence however she told me how proud she was of me and to keep up the good work. Still I was confused.
All signs were pointing to exit it seemed. Where would I go? What would I do? I was unsure but had felt so sure when I embarked on my dream. Where were the signs pointing? So I went to my tarot cards. I drew Judgment which meant the end of a phase. Then how I felt was the Tower, which meant disruption and is never good. For what was going for me was Death. Total ending. What was going against me was the moon, which basically means my perspective was muddying the waters. The outcome was the chariot which meant all outcomes were ending in victory. Now I was enlightened and confused.
Just then, I asked the facade a random question about a boy I met. Without my googling or planning or even knowing, something nuts happened. The Amazon ad for my book popped right up. There I was on my cover in my little heart costume. Excited, I took a screen shot with my phone and called my mom. She was excited and told me that she loved how things were coming together. She also expressed that she was printing it down and putting it in a scrap book.
Then it hit me. Maybe I wasnt a Golden Child but that was a really bad Eddie Murphy movie, and I had won the respect of many of those folks because of my ability to be myself. God didnt help me because I was lucky, He helped me because I got off my butt and helped myself. Plus I never spoke victimese about how I wasn't one of the cool kids when things were down, I just kept chugging. On every forum I have ever been dissed on, and there have been a few, someone always chimes in about what a hard worker I am. Suddenly I knew the answer to my question. The answer wasn't to go. Just like my single that was number one for five weeks on the internet my answer was to "stay."
Sure the cash would come, and it would come soon. The recognition was coming as well. The surprise of my little pop up put a little pep in my step. Not to mention my book is being reviewed by Mensa. It was God basically saying, "Listen, I got you. It's gonna be in my time, not your time. And I am always on time. But it's coming so be ready. So shut the fuck up and stop whining."
As I exited my house to get a sandwich and soda, much needed solid food, I saw a familiar face. It looked like my deceased friend Joe. But then I remembered it couldn't have been. I remember when Joe was alive and when he spoke to me through Thomas John, dead talker, he told me to relax and not to push so hard for things. Let them come to me. The universe was also telling me to chill the hell out. I could live with that.
And I made the decision not to throw in the towel but to battle harder than ever. Those Golden Children will one day tell stories of how they knew April Brucker before she was a star. With that I began my next project, writing the musical version of my book.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
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