My friend confessed to me that he ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's while nursing an ankle he'd rolled at an audition. I was less interested in the ice cream (a pint is a single serving, for the record), and more interested in the injury.
"Before you went to the audition, did you have a feeling that you should just skip it?" I asked. He had hurt himself at an ECC.
He launched into a detailed explanation. He didn't want to go to the audition. The job didn't pay enough for it to be worth it to leave New York City. But he was at the studio anyway, having finished another audition. He'd just gotten off the phone with his dad, he felt pressure to keep trying and put himself out there, etc, etc.
But he finally admitted that, yes, what he really wanted to do was go home and lay on his couch.
I'm here to tell you that sometimes it's okay to lay on the couch.
Every single time I've wanted to skip and Equity call and I've gone anyway, something has gone awry. Sometimes it's as serious as an injury. I have sprained my left ankle five times. Sometimes the trains fuck me so severely that by the time I get there, all the appointments are gone. Sometimes I just audition badly.
Every time this happens, I kick myself for not listening to my gut and staying home in the first place. It took me about ten years in this business before I learned to listen to my instincts. Try it, and you will discover how much simpler your life becomes. You'll be in the flow, as in "go with the flow."
"Learn to trust that small, still voice that says, 'this might work and I'll try it.'," Julia Cameron writes in her epic book on creativity, The Artist's Way. She is referring to nascent artistic projects: a new audition song, choreographing a piece just for the fun of it, starting an audition blog. She's absolutely right. Keep working creatively, regardless of the outcome, and you will find yourself a lot happier and, frankly, having a lot more fun.
However, I'd like to add to that. "Learn to trust that small, still voice that says, 'this isn't worth it, so fuck it.'"
Or, as Cheryl Strayed so eloquently put it in Tiny, Beautiful Things, "No is the power the Good Witch yields."
Most of the actors I know are driven and determined. They work their asses off. We run all over the City, squeezing in classes, auditions, coachings, day jobs and drinks at the bar that we write off later. We have lofty goals and chutzpah to spare. We do not hit snooze when the alarm goes off. We get up and launch ourselves into our days. We do not listen to that small, still voice that says, "Your body's tired, and you need a rest." The voice that says, "You can't work in Arkansas at $600 a week." Or "Just don't bother with this one."
This bleeds into other areas of our lives as well. We ignore the voice that says, "This relationship is over." Or that says, "I am being taken advantage of." Or the one that says, "I deserve better."
It is always okay to follow your inner guidance. Don't even question it. If you can't separate your instincts from your anxiety, start talking to a therapist. Or start journaling. Or take ten minutes a day to meditate. Once you tap into your instincts, you'd be amazed at the millions of little ways they can influence your life. You take an umbrella. You pack an extra protein bar. You skip an ECC, only to find out that it was mostly cast already.
Instincts work the other way, too. I've sailed into an EPA halfway through the day and gotten an appointment even though I was sure it was a waste of time. But something told me to show up anyway. And then I've gotten a callback. I've met someone cool/important/interesting when I went to the bar instead of staying in and watching House Hunters.
If journaling is too hippie dippy for you or you fall asleep every time you meditate, at the very least learn to ask yourself "is it worth it" instead of "can I make this work?" Of course you can kill yourself to make it work. But sometimes it's not worth it. You have to make room in your life for the experiences that are worth it. You know deep within yourself what those experiences are. Don't settle for anything else.