We’ve Got A Lot To Do To Work It Out

Hello again people who somehow still read this blog regardless of the amount of activity, you guys are the best. As always being a student at drama school, there is a lot going on and a lot of projects on the way to worry about, to which I’ve started planning my own project.

Upon reflection at my time so far in first year, I have definitely made progress in my performing but there is also a part of me that is disappointed. It feels to me as I have successfully established myself as the joke of the year, the one that is there to make you laugh and be laughed at. I usually would enjoy this role, but trying to perform a serious role can be pretty frustrating when all you hear is laughter because ‘the funny one is being serious how stupid’. And me, relying on others for performance validation, goes into a state of depression after every performance.

With this in mind, it led me to wanting to organise my own performance external to the curriculum. If the first year hasn’t given me a script to really bond to, then I’ll just do it myself. Whilst I know this will be stressful to organise, all I want is to be proud of myself working in a group and entertain. It’s a lot of work yes, but that’s what theatre is. I don’t just want to settle for how I am seen, I don’t want to just be the butt of a joke, I want to be proud of my work and I want to share that with the group.

I’ll update perhaps on how the show is coming along.

All the Best

Gabby

Also I took myself out to a garden and saw the most amazing birds. Here is a wild parakeet native to Bexley just chilling out. The day out was needed.

Getting Away From it All

Today I’m writing on this blog all the way in Sainte-Maxime in the south of France. Term finished on Friday and the Saturday morning me and a group of friends were on the way to the airport for our strange adventure. Only a flight, tram, train and bus to where we need to go!

The last few days of a term are always the hardest for me. My self esteem takes a hit and I worry what the next term will bring. For now I’m trying to just get as much sun as I can and spend time with the people who make me happy and a couple of bottles of wine.

It has been hard recently what with going through a break up too, so I’m trying to find who I am without him at Uni. It’s strange, but my friends have been so good to me recently, which is what I love about my course. It’s not about the individual being strong alone, it’s the ensemble that stick together that make a piece work. I’ve found my insane ensemble who care about me the way I am, not in how I can be better. I am a decent person who just wants people to laugh and feel better, it’s just remembering that which is the hardest part.

Call a friend, you might need it,

Gabby

Short post for now until I get back on track with my break away from uni. I’ve been so disoriented:’)

I Am Enough

You know they say ‘fake it till you make it?’, well I’m hoping this philosophy may work on me one day. This has been the focus of my mind recently and one I have been discussing with a few of my friends.

Because what is ‘enough’? Enough for what? A pint of milk? (I am hilarious). I always thought my idea of not enough was a recent one, sadly I was wrong. Have you ever seen those ‘a post from x years ago’ and then you see the post and cringe badly? I had that the other day in a post from when I was 12.

Whilst still cringey in nature (and I obviously didn’t know how to capitalise letters) I’ve had this feeling of not being good enough for YEARS. This toxic mindset has been following me even before my edgy teenage years to almost adulthood. Why did I let this happen!? I’ve let it ruin relationships with people because all I want is validation for my ‘not enough’ complex. It’s got to stop.

My first step was accepting I need medication again and telling myself ‘It’s not because I’m not good enough, it’s for my health’. Also I’ve been looking more positively at the progress I’ve made a drama school, convincing myself I belong and spending more time with people. There are still some problems I need to address in me, some that will take more time but right now I need time for myself, to not hear from the things that bring me down. I am enough to live, I am enough for my course, I am enough to love and I am enough to prove I’m enough.

As Kesha sang: Don’t let the bastards bring you down.

You’re enough,

Gabby

Photo from my parents who are away on holiday living it up, you go guys.

An Anxious Actor: Gary Oldman Interview and Reflections

Hello all, long time no see. No I have not forgotten about this little blog I have created, I just have needed inspiration and motivation, something that has been in short supply as of late due to the amount of work I have had. A few weeks ago, my school had an old student return to do a talk, that student just happens to be Gary Oldman and I was lucky enough to see his talk, which opened my eyes a little bit to the acting world.

The talk began with Gary (I guess we’re on a first name basis) talking about his life before Bruford. He told us how RADA told him to ‘look for another job’ after his rejection was pretty shocking to hear. He went on to talk about the content of his old course and how things have changed. After talking a lot on his process and the difference of film and theatre, he began talking on the topic of mental health regarding regret. He mentioned how he had declined roles where the actors had gone on to earn oscars for that role which led to overthinking. ‘What would have happened if I actually took the role? Would I have gotten that award?’. The topic was furthered when Gary began to speak about ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.

Before the filming process, Gary had experienced severe anxiety due to the expectation weighted on him. He had made Alec Guinness into an almost ‘bogeyman’ and almost dropped out of the role of George Smiley, thinking they would see him as a ‘charlatan’. His anxiety got so bad he took Beta-Blockers to cope until the first day of filming where he realised his anxiety was for nothing. The first day went really well, and he went on to win the BAFTA for best actor. If that isn’t the best case of unwarranted anxiety I don’t know what to tell you.

I mentioned the interview as hearing from such a well renowned actor about his fears makes me rethink my own. Everyday I have a moment of self doubt and I’m sure many do, but from an Oscar award winning actor is something else. He is a normal person just like you or me, an ex student of my school who made it big through hard work and perseverance. From my voice teacher who was a year below him, Gary Oldman was always working which led to his success. It shows that if you love something enough, with enough dedication it will pay off no matter how much later as long as you carry on.

It may be true that in my case that I am one of the weaker performers of my course, it may be that I have a long way to go in performance, but I’m going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my course. Acting is what I love, and I’m not going to let my mental health destroy that for me. Not ever.

All the best,

Gabby

Only my fringe is visible in this photo, but still counts as PROOF!!

Believing the Delusion

Hello again, I’ve had a bit of a longer break as I have just finished my Devising module which was 12 hour days Monday to Friday (am still exhausted!). Today we were supposed to start our new module but unfortunately a lot of our tutors are unwell so hopefully we start tomorrow.

Whilst the 12 hour process was exhausting, it was also very fun! I really loved my group and our dynamic and was really proud of our devised piece. Whilst there were some lows, they mainly erupted last weekend. I’m always one to turn something good into something bad, the happiness I retain is quickly overtaken by ‘Your happiness is not worth what you have done, you should be disappointed.’ I am a perfectionist in a perfection less job and it’s exhausting.

During Devising I was so distracted I didn’t realise how deluded I was becoming. My bad thoughts had slowly taken over to the point I 100% believed I was worthless and a waste of space, so much that I wasn’t even sad about it, it was just ‘true’. That’s a dangerous place to be. The thing that saved me was reaching out and not letting it continue. An outside perspective can help rationalise those thoughts and get you back to reality (as said by Eminem).

Whilst it seems my whole time here has been filled with rises and pitfalls, I have no intention on giving in. My mind may never be ‘healed’ but I will never let it stop me from doing what I love.

Sleep well

Gabby

Picture of how we decorated the stage, hundreds of bags not including our plastic bag hand puppets.

Pushing Yourself Above and Beyond

Hello all, hope you are having a good start to your week. As this is being published, I am most likely still in my college completing my 12 hour Devising day and getting ready to go into my pyjamas and pass out. From Monday to Friday last week, my group and I have been exploring devising with games from 9am-9pm, something which I never thought I would be capable of and yet here I am, still on the course and not expelled for laziness.

My mental limits have always been an issue for me, the ‘Can’t do’ and ‘No way in hell’ statements still ring in my ears to this day. As a child it was the same with athletics championships where my worst enemy was myself. If anything causes me more than mild discomfort, the doubting side of me starts talking and the work becomes harder. Yet here I am, alive and well after five days of hard work and games. Nothing is harder than having a loud doubting voice and it’s hard to shake.

One key thing for me was knowing when to break to keep sane, letting yourself have some time and rewarding the self. For an introvert, hours with people is extremely draining so I have allowed myself to drink some coffees to keep me going. Additionally talking to my group members has raised my confidence, so being open about my mind and state helps pick me up and get me working. Knowing the final limit is so important, but most limits we face are false, much like hurdles in a race, and soon I won’t have as many hurdles.

See you on the other side

Gabby

An example of a bag outfit we completed last week, so many bags in our piece.

My Biggest Fear

All of us have fears, fears maybe like that of spiders, heights, the dark, death etc. All of these are perfectly normal to have and nothing to be ashamed of. One of my fears however almost brings tears to my eyes and something I try not to talk about, one I’m ashamed of. It’s my fear of mediocrity, of only being a joke to people and nothing more.

The ‘m’ word is one I use a lot for myself, to hurt myself and put me down. In my head there is nothing worse than being mediocre, because at least if you fail you are remembered for something. It’s a pattern in my mind that is almost impossible to revoke and follows me in everything such as: ‘I’m a mediocre actor’ or ‘My singing is just mediocre for what it should be’ and one day it will be too late to change that thought pattern. The worst part is confiding this fear to someone, because they will think I’m attention seeking or get annoyed. You can never truly win.

I know there are other people who feel the same, who may have that low view of themselves and I want them to know they aren’t alone. I wish I had a cure or something to help, but it’s all linked to self image. It’s again admitting you have a problem with self image and that your view of yourself isn’t the only one. That false view can be challenged, and mine is a long road ahead of the ‘not good enough’ voice and the Grammar school mindset I’m stuck in. I’m hoping it can change with work, but I’m not expecting massive steps in a short time.

Stick along me for the journey if you want!

Gabby

Currently in the middle of 12 hour days at Rose, loving the games and group but hating the exhaustion and mental gymnastics.

Taking Breaks and Medication

Hello people who still read my blog! Hope you’ve had a good few weeks, if not I hope the following days will be much better for you. This was the first Christmas my family have spent away from home and it was pretty nice, something about the ocean air helped clear my mind.

One thing that has been plaguing me recently is the concept of a ‘break’. This is my first holiday in a while where my school has not dumped piles of work onto me for Christmas and it feels strange, wrong almost. Where is the pure guilt and anxiety that usually accompanies my Christmas? Then I realised it’s actually a break, a time to just relax, develop myself and skills and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Humans are so preoccupied with ‘doing things’ and ‘not being lazy’ that we forget to let ourselves just ENJOY things. Don’t let yourself be consumed for what should be a time to recharge and recollect.

It has also occurred to me how bad my lifestyle is this Christmas (I’m sure I’m not the only one). I’ve been on medication so long I’ve used it as an excuse for bad living habits and not trying to better myself. At this moment I have decided to try and wean myself off of medication but with a change in lifestyle. Things like: better diet, exercise and yoga, meditation etc. Being a student with a good diet may be hard, but in the long run I hope for it to change my outlook and get me off medication for the first time in two years. One thing I will try to keep in mind that I may slip back onto them and to not shame myself, take a breath and wait until I am ready.

Drink more water (more a note to self here)

Gabby

Here is my first Bob Ross painting, I’ve gotten back into art and it has been helping me through this holiday 🙂

Schools: How They Fail the Students and Teachers

Hello all, yes I’m still alive and I am very much looking forward to having time off for Christmas. Drama school is quite full on now and the dark weather is not helping the feelings of isolation, but I know I’ll make it through.

Over the last week my mum went on the radio to talk about me as a child and how I was bullied by a teacher. Not only a teacher, but the Special Needs Coordinator which brought back a lot of memories of my school life and how I was treated. My biggest fear wasn’t the girls themselves, but actually teachers. For many years I have sustained a fear of being picked out by teachers and being called back from the class. I wasn’t one for the rules, but was terrified of the repercussions and punishments.

I would love to speak to any person who said that school punishment ‘helped’ their behaviour or that they learned anything. It’s a system built on shame, shaming those students who don’t fit into little educational boxes or who cannot sit still for hours at a time.

But why is this? Because teachers themselves are under pressure. From my old school they used to have competitions on which subject had the most A*s (used to be textiles that won, but the teacher was really rude and strict). Teachers have to plan up to 5 classes a day, take those classes and mark the work that was set for a terrible wage. If their students don’t do well, then they could be punished and lose their job.

It’s a triangle of hierarchy where punishment is the easiest way to get results, where the arts are neglected because they don’t yield as many higher grades and there’s no solid mark scheme. I love to learn, but I’m so happy my school days are behind me, I’m just disappointed how the system is only getting worse rather than better.

Maybe we can change this… any ideas?

From a contemplating Gabby

Where is this Blog Going?

Hello all, I’m back again already doing an update on my thought processes. Firstly I want to say that I’m proud of myself for carrying this on, as one of my less familiar names was ‘quitter’ as I would start something and literally quit after a month. Go me! The past couple of days I’ve mainly been concentrating on getting back into playing instruments on my own terms (many thanks to my brother for letting me use his electric piano).

As I lay in bed in another state of social isolation, I started to consider about where this blog is going. It was not until recently that I knew how many people I knew actually read this, which really warms my heart. Adding to this there are a few people who have also followed me on here, so hello you guys! It’s good to have you.

My one problem with my blog currently is that I don’t go into as much detail as others, so my main aim from this point onwards is to have more discussion but still keeping it fun. This may be hard at first, but hopefully will make my content more worthwhile to readers instead of fulfilling my own little writing ego. The English Literature part still isn’t dead (my English teacher would hopefully be proud).

Also I apologise a lot, but if you got this far I applaud you people.

Have a good day,

Gabby

One of my little doodles, it’s good to have a doodle book just to draw down what you feel at the time and it doesn’t have to be good. Just personal