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Friday, November 23, 2018

Sticking with It.

Sticking with It

Yes, this was the most flattering picture of me. I'm not proud.

Thanksgiving this year was... different. Instead of the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes deal, we went to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, with Mongolian barbecue thrown in to appease those who can't stand the sight of one more fried offering. Definitely not me. My first plate was covered in a blessed array of meats covered in batter and sizzled in oil. 

I regret nothing.

We did this, not in protest of a problematic holiday, as you might think. We manage to deal with the cognitive dissonance of that on a yearly basis... and yes, I realize that is part of our privilege as whypipo. I see the issues and choose to focus on family and gratitude. I'm picking my battles. 

Anyhoo, the reason for this year's outing was that my wife was working (she's a labor and delivery nurse, read "badass"), and it sounded like fun. Our traditional meal will come Saturday, so if you were totally stressed out about our break from societal norms, fear not. Turkey desecration will still occur, albeit belatedly.

While we were there, we found ourselves introduced to the young family seated next to ours in a dramatic fashion. One of their boys came into the room, paused for a moment, then vomited up the contents of his stomach. It was impressive. It was disgusting. It was A LOT OF VOMITUS.

Now, you might think that this kind of event would stop a family outing in its tracks. Not so for this plucky young brood next to ours. Not only did they not leave, not only did they continue eating, they continued to feed the young boy who had just upchucked all over the banquet hall.

Questionable parenting aside (who knows, maybe they were going with some kind of aversion therapy), I want to talk about the kid for a moment. He kept eating. And not just a little bit. The dude put down more food after his "episode" than I did during my entire stay, and I'm a grown ass man. I'm also cheap enough that I try to get my "money's worth" when I go to a buffet. We can talk about my dubious logic later, the real point here is that this little guy ate a ton of food. All after making a spectacle of the contents of his stomach moments before.

I'm not saying this was a good thing, necessarily; but I will say that I gained a measure of grudging respect for the tiny tyke. He was not going to let something as insignificant as an upchucking jag keep him from enjoying his bacchanal. Hells to the no.

We, as actors and writers, could learn a lesson from this specimen of spew. As we begin our artistic journey, we're going to make mistakes. We'll toss up our deepest angst, wanting to be "real" and "raw" and "artsy." Or we'll overcommit, take on way too many projects, fail spectacularly, and feel horrible about ourselves. We'll hesitate when we should step in and step in when we should hesitate. We will make ALL THE ERRORS.

And then we'll keep going.

Instead of slinking off in shame, we'll take a look at what we did wrong the first time around and then go back to the table. Instead of going for the meat the second time, guess what our intrepid toddler consumed? Ice cream. Again, questionable, but you get the point. He tried something new.

Honestly, it doesn't even matter all that much if we make the same mistakes over and over. Sometimes, our mistakes are what set our work apart. Those errors are our uniqueness. I know that goes against the grain for all you perfectionists out there (it does for me), but perfectionism is a problem in and of itself, isn't it? Hasn't perfectionism kept us from putting our work out there before it's "ready?"

So, I guess what I'm saying is, go upchuck your art. Make a mess. Act. Write. Let it be messy and gross and inappropriate and uncomfortable. Then keep going.

We can always clean up after, right?

And then tip really, REALLY well.

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