I was having one of those weeks where I’ve started re-evaluating my year so far and The Resolutions. Not just ‘Stop Playing Bejeweled Blitz’ but ‘Spend more time with Actual Friends, look after myself more’ and all that. (I’ve started going to the gym and loving the experience. I did get chatted up but I think my nervous chortle may have been mis-read as ‘I’m laughing in your face!’ I haven’t seen the chatter-upper since… so it’s fun so far).
Anyway I came to a minor realisation one day the other week. I finally got closer to something that I think I am. Not what I’m meant to be, not what I want to be, but what I actually am. I can’t explain to you what I exactly am. I’m a man, nearly 40, a brain haemorrhage survivor, an actor, Anglo Malay, an actor, painter, voiceover person, I make people laugh (I can’t help it).
But something else. These things started to feel comfortable, which, for the first time, I started to like what I saw. I like what I feel.
Up to now, all my choices focus on what I didn’t have, what I wanted to be, not on who I am and what I have got and that was starting to feel really wrong, really negative. I was walking through London thinking about where the next paycheque is coming from, how I’m going to find the money to pay for this course, or the shortfall in rent or some equipment to make my studio run more efficiently, when it hit me: how do my friends and peers see me? They see me as somewhat successful, somewhat assured in my talents and fearless in my skills. I don’t wait around for things to happen, I try and make things happen, I try. If they don’t happen, I just keep doing them. It’s what I do.
But, as I said, it was one of those weeks when I wasn’t hitting the auditions rate, and after the self-esteem kickaround that was November, things could only get better, I said to myself. One of those really vacuum weeks where nothing I did felt right. Has anyone ever had those weeks? I certainly get those. My friends certainly had mentioned that I haven’t been my usual sparky self. (3 different friends on separate occasions. Worrying). One day on twitter I noticed that my follower rate was up, but theatre people. Nothing unusual about that but there weren’t any hot girls promising empty hot love if I spanked them. These were theatre people. I wondered what I’d just tweeted. Throughout the day a lot more actors and theatre folk started following me. Maybe it was the DM from Stephen Fry. I couldn’t work it out. In the afternoon, my actor friend Gabby Wong mentioned that I was on the WhatsOnStage Blog as Jo Caird’s 100 Theatre People To Follow on Twitter right after James Quaife and James Seabright. Read it. It’s an amazing list. I’m listed there as “@jamiezoob – tweeting about the trials and tribulations of being an actor.”
I thought ‘I’d better start taking myself more seriously and start tweeting about acting and theatre…’ To be honest, I don’t unless something really moves me. Sometimes I tweet minor revelations of process or acting. I tweet a lot about nonsense and inanities which seem to make people’s day pass lighter. But really, it made my day. It made my week, it turns out. In reality it’s a bloggers opinion list, in an online magazine which does get a wide readership. People have been following me all week since (and none of them have left, I must be doing something right). But really, it’s a list, it’s someone’s opinion and it’s published online read by other tweeters. I don’t really care. It was exactly the lift that I needed. Bizarrely, the vacuum imploded. I got a message from a mutual friend of ours saying that Jo was amazed that people are overjoyed for being on the list, but really, Jo, thank you. This may be the blogosphere eating itself and being self congratulatory but, more importantly, it made me feel like there was a stamp of validation on something that I rather like – just being me.