Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Angelina Jolie - are you a battler or a bawler?

I often try to rationalise and find the light in a situation, especially on here when trying to paint a positive way of dealing with the industry.  But sometimes I am unable to muse and meander my way out a bad day.  And I just cry.

Yesterday I received a gas and electricity bill the size of Greece’s national debt, got a ‘No’ from a fringe play I had auditioned for (I couldn’t afford to do it, especially after daring to use my central heating during the endless winter, but you still want to be asked!) and a ‘No’ from West End musical Matilda - you know those days when it all comes at once?  I was mostly upset because I hadn’t even been given the chance to sing for Matilda but that’s another reminder that casting directors hold the strings to your life.  Foolish me to think I had some kind of control.

But then I wake up this morning to the surprising piece in the New York Times by Angelina Jolie admitting she has had a double mastectomy to reduce her chance of contracting breast cancer from 87% to only 5% - a woman taking control of her own life.  I have read reaction articles citing it’s easy for a millionaire to be privy to such preventative measures especially when you have Brad Pitt stroking your hair, but surely the act of deciding to do something to fight is just a human reaction.  Yes money will help, but it was a personal decision that she now hopes, by going public, will do some good.  Knowing that preventative treatment is an option may provoke others to be as pro-active and positive instead of feeling defeated.

So not only did an article about family and cancer give me that good old jolt of perspective, we actors love a bit of self-indulgence, but it also got me thinking about how differently we can react to life’s problems.  Having a weep when sat on the steps of my teaching job because I couldn’t jump around on stage is utterly ridiculous despite it feeling relative to my world on that day.  I am sure Angelina had a little cry and moments of concern during her operations but she doesn’t choose to share those personal moments of weakness, instead she opts to inspire and inform.  No-one is an emotional robot; I truly believe it is better to actively work towards a solution instead of wallowing in your misery but I do think it’s healthy to have an emotional release now and again.  It can literally wash out the negativity and leave you free to see clearly.
A 90s reference for the ultimate self-indulgence!

Sometimes you need to be sad, have a good wail and let it all out and other times you need to steel yourself and be pro-active.  Battle your way through the crap.  Perhaps life just has two sorts of people – the 'battlers' and the 'bawlers'.  But I’d like to hope that we have the capacity to be both.

As an actor I am drawn towards being a ‘bawler’, my excuse is that we need to have our emotions on the surface and accessible at all times!  But because I am lucky enough to be surrounded by pro-active do-ers and reality-check folk, my boyfriend and family soon point me towards the ‘battler’ way.

Everybody has bad days, even gorgeous film stars, but sometimes within the gloom it’s worth remembering some perspective.  I’m not saying this to make us feel guilty about our genuine emotions – not in that “there are children dying in Africa” when you push aside your last fish finger, every child of the 80s had that one – but just to give the bawler in you a kick. 

So I intend to wipe my eyes and make a plan, if Lara Croft can do it so can I!

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