So first off I must apologise for the lateness of this post. It really is inexcusable, and has taken generous protein-charged bites out of David-day (read his post first, wayyyy more useful and informative!) but let me just state for the record I’ve had a rough old day. I will explain, but first, to avoid confusion and unwarranted felicitations that serve as painful reminders, let me preface it by clearly stating the fact, I DEFINITELY did not get a role in a major movie franchise this morning. That did not happen. Please remember this as you read through the post and I convince you otherwise for reasons of dramatic emphasis and emotional investment, cos after checking all known inboxes for the 215th time today, I can assure you that that did not happen.
Still, when I awoke this morning at 6am to write today’s blog, I felt the happiest I’ve felt in months. I was so elated! All my problems and worries and imaginary problems had been vaporised at once by one pivotal phone call! “How wonderful!”, I thought as I lay in bed this morning, happily recalling the whirlwind succession of events of the past few hours. How wonderful that one of the producers of the Potter films had suddenly come to be working on the new hobbit films! How fortunate that a casting call for a young adult female elf had been made just as he had been drafted onto the production team. And how lovely it was of him to remember me, call me up after two years of no contact and make an unconditional offer of the elven ingenue to me. Such serendipity has never unfolded so gloriously in my life until now! Yet I did not question it-the instantaneous presence and manifestation of it in my life, the unlikelihood of securing a role I never even read for, and also the small fact of the hobbit films already having been made. So satisfied was I with my agents’ earnest congratulations, with the producer’s magnanimity in presenting me with this highly coveted offer, and with the blind faith he placed in my as yet unestablished elvish impersonating abilities, that I swept all doubts and glaring inconsistencies away -as you do when clinging desperately to an eventuality you so passionately wish to be true- and filed it, safely, in the general category of being one of those good things that ‘happen when you least expect it’.
Content that this brand new development was widely recognised enough as a ‘life change’ to reasonably shirk all responsibilities for the day, I decided to forego working out and blogging for the day and instead enjoy a blissful two hours extra sleep, before waking up and dealing with the more urgent and formidable task of moving my life to Australia for my Rivendell adventure to begin. Melissa would understand, I reasoned. The Fittie fam would cut me some slack. I fell snugly back asleep. Two hours later I reawaken just as happy though perhaps less bleary and set to the task of emailing Melissa with my most fabulous and unbelievable of excuses, the like that would make even the most seasoned math teachers’ eyes boggle, when it occurs to me how funny it is that I fell asleep worrying about the content of tomorrow’s weekly Fittie blog post, and awoke fretting about mastering the Elvish tongue. And how strange that the email from the resident hobbit costumier enquiring of my height and sword measurements with a subject line reading ‘THE HOBBIT- COSTUME FITTING’ -that is as vividly emblazoned in my memory as the image of my beloved first pet cat’s dead body splayed bloodily across the road- was mysteriously wiped from all inboxes. Alert and panicking now, I start to scroll through my latest texts, calls, whatsapps, skype log, any possible mode of contact that movie producers could legitimately have or (stretch your imagination guys, I’m desperate!) guess. I even paw through the trash, searching hopelessly for what I can only assume was discarded owl post (blasphemous fandom crossover, but stranger things have happened…) before I slump back against the wall, kick my useless phone away and let the sad realisation slowly settle..
It was all a dream! There was no elf princess! There was no midnight movie-man phonecall! Hell, there was not even the usual mistake-ridden morning greeting text from my mother on her new smart phone! The day had taken a turn for the dull, boring and completely uneventful and I couldn’t help but feel really gutted about it. Not to mention tricked and cheated by my amazingly detailed, idealistic, and surprisingly unicorn-less (for once) subconscious mind. My oh-so-fabulous excuse was suddenly a big fat joke. Everyone thought it was pretty funny, and I admit even I laughed along and saw the humour in it at first.
Still when people responded to my riveting account of getting and losing a major role in the space of about 5 hours and all within the comfy confines of my bed, with exclamations of “that’s hilarious!”, “that’s so funny” and “you’re crazy!” I couldn’t help but feel they didn’t quite get the strength of emotions I’d experienced as a result of this hyper-realistic dream situation. ‘You don’t get it! You weren’t on the dream-phonecall! You have no idea how convincing and beguiling the scenario my subconscious created was for me! An elf of Rivendell! Na vedui!’, a small inner voice protested as a renewed heaviness settled inside. Cos even though it hadn’t been a particular dream of mine to be in The Hobbit, even though I’d never even auditioned for a role in the movies, even though, at 5”2.5 it gives me immense pleasure to think that I could be deemed too tall to enter hobbit-ville, and even though I didn’t particularly enjoy the latest Hobbit movie because I like cute things and the goblin-king with the scrotum attached to his chin (sorry) made me feel so nauseous I had to leave the cinema at one point- despite ALL those things that should make the reality of the situation easier to deal with, I still felt really bad after coming to this realisation and being back at square one of my career, or at least, the same square I was on before I fell asleep last night. (though admittedly not as bad as that time I dream-MURDERED someone, stashed the body under my childhood bed, and then woke up and spent a good ten minutes sweating, shaking and scheming before I could summon the courage to check under my bed and confirm that I was not indeed facing life imprisonment!)
Oddly, this whole dream saga, that should’ve come and gone by the sunrise and definitely by the time I’d had my morning weetabix, stayed and dogged me throughout the entire day. Cos it felt like a setback. It got me thinking about where I am in my life. About what I’ve done and not done. About the things I’ve achieved so far and the endless laundry list of stuff I’m trying to achieve. And it made me think about Progress and how little of it I seem to make on a daily basis, in the grand scheme of things. About the audition I screwed up last week cos I still haven’t figured out how to ‘command a room’. Or the one a few days ago where I had a coughing fit, confessed to having the flu and almost certainly convinced the casting director I was unhirable and uninsurable on the grounds that I don’t consume enough oranges/vitamin C. Or the dozens of others I never even heard back from. I spent the whole day thinking and getting pissed off about this pressure to keep making progress in things, and how much of a goddamn uphill struggle it all is, this adulthood thing. It’s in every facet of our lives, our work, our education, our relationships, our health and fitness and It. Is. Endless. And even when it’s positive and we feel energised and good and confident about where we are going, there is still this pressure to just keep going, keep doing, keep improving.
In this turbulent state of mind, I went to yoga. Though I wasn’t sure how or why, I knew vaguely, somehow, it would relax me. And I went cos that’s what I do when my mind is in turmoil and it feels like my sanity is fraying at the edges and I’m gonna break down and cry at any minute from the constant mounting pressure of being another actress in a sea of actresses, far away from home, and the ensuing frustration of never seeming to make any progress. Cos when I feel like that it’s my default to just go to yoga, do something active and physical and get through it that way. That is one statement I will say about yoga and stand by it- it always, ALWAYS makes me feel calm, relaxed, and more fit -body and mind- to take on life. Honestly a lot of the stuff in yoga class washes over me and some of it sounds a lil bit too spiritual. I still don’t quite get the chants, and the ‘OM’ sound makes my ears buzz uncomfortably, and god forgive me for admitting it takes a hell of a lot of willpower sometimes not to reach over and poke someone in the ribs when in down dog just to hear the resultant loud ‘SQUEAK!’ (that’s the last time any of y’all attend one of my yoga classes…). But today, something about what the teacher was saying started to penetrate: ‘Don’t strain, just go at your own pace… This is YOUR practice… Your body. Listen to it. Honour it. Block out everything else. Lose awareness of your surroundings and focus the energy inwards on your body. Breathe through it.’
I’m not one for dramatic epiphany moments that upend your life and revamp your whole way of thinking (dreams on the other hand…) but I definitely realised something about the practice of yoga today and why it is so important, in a world of goal-setting, target-meeting and progress-making, that we make an effort to incorporate yoga into our everyday life. Yoga is about ‘being’, not ‘doing’. It’s about being present and centred in the now, exactly where you are on your mat. You can’t rush it. You can’t rush breathing, or being, or your position in life. You just take it step by step, one breath at a time, honouring wherever you’re at with your practice in the present moment.
I’m hoping this post will serve as a sort of introduction to yoga on this site, or at least what yoga means to me. I will be talking about postures and sutras in greater detail in the coming weeks and promise to try make my posts more fitness based (and definitely less schizophrenic!!). I truly believe yoga is for everyone and hope to impress that philosophy on the Fittie community. If you are someone who has ever made the excuse ‘I’d love to try yoga but I’m not flexible enough’, DISPEL IT immediately!! That is not what yoga is about. In yoga, you enter your own space, where you are your best teacher. Yoga is perhaps the one practice that can go under the header of exercise but that should NEVER be competitive or ego-driven. Let yoga be that one thing in your life that’s not about progress but simply practice and honouring your body, wherever it’s at. I’m not going to go into the physical benefits here that will inevitably occur in your body through consistent, careful practice but suffice it to say there are TONS of ‘em!
I’mma leave you with the first of the yoga sutras, which translates roughly as:
“Now we begin the study and practice of yoga”
It’s open to interpretation but I take this to mean ‘Now is Yoga’ and that in order to establish the union of mind and body that yoga emphasises we must be entirely present in the current moment. We must accept and honour ourselves as we are, and from that point, begin the practice of yoga…Think about it!
Now it’s 3.15am and I’m feeling confident I can wake up tomorrow with a starring role in the next Hunger Games! Huzzah!
Much love, Fitties!