Anne Hegerty: Autism in the Media

As some of you may be aware, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is back on the air! Whilst many of you may despise the show, it has always been a family tradition of mine to tune in everyday during the run. There’s something so alluring about millionaires camping out and eating ostrich anus for meals. Along with that, you may have seen the name ‘Anne Hegerty’ around online news pages recently. This is because she is the first openly autistic participant on the show. As a person who has only recently found out their diagnosis, it has been a massive confidence boost. Whilst trying to come to terms with it, I can look at people like Anne and say ‘If she can do it, I sure bloody can too.’ Many traits I see in her I see in myself too, and it is so nice to relate to someone in the media like that.

However there is the other side to this. Whilst many are supportive of the publicity of autism, it’s not hard to find the negative ones calling her ‘pathetic’, her having and ‘easy 3 week holiday’ and her getting better treatment. What people need to understand is that as an autistic person, putting yourself on a show like that is already like a trial. All your rituals are destroyed, your privacy gone and all your senses are put into overdrive. Not to mention the sensory effects of bugs on autistic people (I almost vomit just at the trials). Everyday there can be a challenge for people with autism, and I applaud her for her bravery. As a person in a drama school, not many people are aware of the effects, but to watch her every night gives me hope to carry on and push through.

Sorry if this has been over the top, but I still feel very turbulent about the issue. It’s about time we talk about it.

Hope you’re enjoying the show!

Gabby

Back Stabs and Forgiveness in the Industry

Doing acting as a fun hobby since age 8 has given me so much happiness and many friends along the way. If it wasn’t for acting I would not have any friends at my old school and I probably would not have met my boyfriend. It is also the only hobby I can do and feel okay with myself in.

However this week has been one of reflection on that since I have completed my first term of drama school. I have also lost a number of friends because of my hobby. One in particular comes to mind. Her and I were very good friends for 4-5 years doing almost everything together, but after joining the drama club she was in without telling her she vowed to never speak to me again. This hurts me still to this day.

Many feelings are invoked when I think back: anger, betrayal, sadness but also regret. Something that brought us so close together broke us apart. I see now that she has done very well for herself, but my first feeling is one of jealousy that I feel guilt for. Someone who hurt me has done well, even a lot better than I have. How does one cope with that?

My honest answer is is that I have no answer. Well not really anyway. My mind has been so concentrated on her that it’s stopping me from succeeding. Why should I care how she lives? I’ve done well myself, I should be happy for me. But of course that is never enough. The fault isn’t hers but mine in that I can never be happy in myself, so maybe that’s my new goal to set, become happy in me not for other people, just me.

Whilst I may never be able to forgive her for her words, I do wish her all the best in the industry as she has worked hard to be where she is. In the meantime I’m going to concentrate on getting myself together this reading week and catch up on all the people I missed.

Treat yourself this week,

Gabby

Here is where I’ve been staying these past few days, it’s so nice to be away from all the stress and sounds of London.

Comic Con, Confidence and Catching Up

It seems I have died to the Internet for a while and there is a reason. This past week I have been organising myself for my first comic con in almost two years and to see a friend I haven’t seen in months. Comic con has this strange effect on me where I legitimately do not care what others think of me. Yesterday I got the train with white hair and buck teeth, today with long blonde hair and elf ears.

Usually you wouldn’t catch me dead cosplaying casually, yet comic con gives me an excuse to be inexcusably myself even though I’m dressed as someone else. Confidence is the main reason I go to comic con, and having so many people take photos of me in costume with my friend Toby was just incredible. Take that anxiety!

Sitting in a pub of characters such as Peter Pan, a sexy nun and Naruto really reminds me how bloody weird I am, and I love that. Again I don’t have much to say as my exhaustion is overwhelming, but until next time, good evening all.

Bless yas,

Gabby

Emotional Vulnerability: An Actor’s Guide

Hello, I’m an actor who is afraid of emotional vulnerability and I’m here to audition for your traumatising play! This is not an ideal way to start an audition, especially when their first question was ‘How are you?’.

As humans (particularly British ones) a stiff upper lip is sought so people don’t feel ‘awkward’. Emotion is so human, yet so unwanted. And yet yesterday I looked someone in the eyes so long that I cried. Holding eye contact for so long with a person I barely knew just opened something in me, like she could see into my being (even know I knew full well she couldn’t).

Part of me wanted to close off and shut my eyes, but Jesus it was intense. We are afraid to be open because people can hurt us, but if we let go of that we can find things about ourselves that we hid. I finally opened up and it felt good in all honesty. Stop closing yourself and your emotions overflow, like a release almost, as if whatever held me down let me go. So come at me emotions, I’m ready.

Really just an anecdote today, but hope it can assist somehow.

All my best,

Gabby

Holding Yourself Back

This is the proper weekend of the course, my calves feel as if they are on fire and my back is solid. Yesterday’s workshop really took it’s toll on, me not only physically but mentally. An ETA graduate called Andrew came in for the 3 hour workshop and the first thing he did was get changed in front of all of us which was surprising to say the least. What followed was three hours of intense games, running and breaking down each person’s monologue through getting them to shout angrily until they felt something. The feeling of being pushed like in the room was hard to manage at first, being so exposed in a group of 20 was daunting.

There were moments I thought about just stopping, where I had reached a limit I couldn’t pass, but when I stopped thinking about stopping, it didn’t become a problem. Andrew made a comment to me saying ‘You really continued even though you showed signs of pain, but right at the end you should of held your ground, you quit.’ If he said that out of the studio my anxious mind would not be able to handle that, but there I just nodded my head, He was right, I tried really hard but in the end I did give in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Quitting or failing does not mean you have given up, it means you’re human. It only means giving up if you don’t stand up again and try.

That workshop made me determined, it changed my thinking of failure and testing the limits. I was physically broken at the end, but ready again for another one. My anxiety always made me afraid of failing, already that fear is being contested. One thing that won’t change is having some quality me time and my lean towards the more macabre. Already my room is becoming decorated in some excellent pound land Halloween stock, now this room is starting to feel like home. I still await my tree tapestry (real student feels) but if anyone would like to donate some old hippie tapestries, my wall is still very bare.

As I write to you, the close sounds of heavy bass play echo from my flat (creative lighting students and their tech) . Tonight may be a good one.

Stay hydrated ya’ll,

Gabby

“Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”  – Marina Abramović

Enlight151[1297].JPGHaven’t named this skull yet, what should be the name? Also wish I could use real candles in this room 😦

Staying Motivated

I’ve almost completed my first week of my course and it has been a great one. Yesterday was spent talking on how to write our journals and then a movement class where we pretended to be rivers to music. You can’t make this up!

A couple of things have been getting in the way as of late however, one being tiredness. It seems no matter how much sleep I get I still can’t feel awake at 7 in the morning, which is a struggle when I take 3 hour workshops in the morning and assignments after that. For this I made a balanced structure: Complete the workshop, take a two hour nap, do some work, eat, finish the work and then video games. Tiredness is the killer of happiness, but how can I do the work effectively if I’m tired? You can’t, the aim is to know your working limit and work around it. Never do an assignment if your body says no, let yourself take a break.

Another problem has been pain in my back which someone described as ‘it looks like you have grown another bone in your shoulders’. I have always had a very tense back which worsens during stress. For now I may see a physiotherapist, but also have started doing yoga exercises for my back everyday. Just working on an tense area ten minutes a day does more than you think, I like to pretend I’m a little beetle on my back swinging back and forth. Makes it more fun.

Whilst uni has been a very stressful time, it’s the little things that get me through such as decorating my room, messaging people I miss, drawing, getting to know flatmates etc. On Saturday I may take a walk around the park, it’s a beautiful place and I might have something more interesting to talk about!!

Tomorrow is a long day, so wish me luck!!!

Have a great evening,

Gabby

A drawing I did a week ago, may draw something in the park perhaps?

The Acting Journey Begins

Today marks the official first day of European Theatre Arts Training and boy was it a long one. 9:30 start where Thomas (one of our instructors) spent 30 minutes directing us in silence using only mime. This was then followed by a sequence of games and activities involved in showing us how to use the space, such as pushing and pulling eachother, walking in poses, filling spaces etc. For 3 hours. This was then followed by a 2 hour voice session mainly concerning relaxing and speaking about our main concerns in our voices. Admitting to my insecurities was quite liberating as I was definitely not alone, so many people felt uncomfortable with their voice and yet we all supported eachother in proper ETA fashion.

I feel so comfortable with the group I’m in, it’s almost unreal. Before sessions my body tenses in anticipation about ‘what if I fail?’ Or ‘what if I look stupid in front of everyone?’ Yet that all melts away. In the rehearsal room I don’t think during activities, I concentrate on my body purely. I never thought that would be possible when most of the time I’m concerned about everything, like how I am in social situations, how people perceive me etc etc. This year is for my failure and learning because how can you learn if you don’t mess up? Already my grammar school mind is changing and adapting and I love it.

Only a week on and I feel like a different person, someone who can do a full course and live independently. Only 4 years ago all I thought about was my life ending, of hopelessness and no future. Now I feel the present and love the moment, I have a long way to go and a lot of demons to piss on but I also have time. Luckily this course also offers a lot of reflective thinking which I think is key for me. Learning isn’t taking notes and listening, it’s feeling and observing, it’s taking action. I might not be ready to let go of my medication yet (or handle the withdrawal) but I am starting to feel a sense of belonging here, no matter what mental disorder I have. And that’s beautiful.

Have a good day all,

Gabby

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