I knew as a child I wanted to perform as an adult. I forced my poor parents and their friends to watch endless tutu dances and princess plays after their candlelit dinner parties.
Then I got caught up in life, school, Oxford education and before I knew it I was hurtling towards dullsville as an ad exec. But none of it made me jump out of bed in the morning with glee. I made the cut at dinner parties when snotty merchant w@nkers asked what I did but I my voice sounded hollow as I described my so called fabulous job, writing contact reports and listening to obnoxious clients moan all day long.
Then at the young age of 32 - my so-called dream come true - I became a marketing director. Actually it turned out to be my worst nightmare. No life, no relationship, no time for friends. My only comfort was my BlackBerry which I slept with.
Unsurprisingly I then got booted out of my job, out of the blue. It was the shock of my life. I was knocked off the proverbial pedestal and I believe it happened for a reason. Buddhists believe if you don't follow your true dharma or purpose in life, the universe will do something to get you on the right track. I lost my high prestige job so that I could be free to connect with my creative self. It sounds like pyscho-babble but its utterly true.
My dad also passed away around that time and whilst I adored him I always felt I needed to live up to his career expectations. A protective Greek baba wants to know his little girl is provided for. Even on his death bed he fretted about me missing meetings and signing contractual agreements (ever the lawyer).
The truth is I'm not a meeting person. Nor a powerpoint one. Sitting at some plywood desk on a nylon chair all day long is pure torture for me. I used to detest it all - usually because everyone talks a lot in business but does little. I once got so frustrated about some ad boffin arguing the toss about which images to put in a presentation I walked out, kicking a bin on the way.
I often felt like Ally McBeal conjuring up imaginary beings and having conversations with myself in the ladies about the pointlessness of it all.
Then my dad died and I met my soul-mate and everything clicked into place.
I started writing and writing and writing. I had no idea why. Maybe as therapy in my bereavement. I made myself cry as I poured out my heart.
I also started taking acting class again. I chose one of the main schools in Paris, the Cours Florent, and found myself amongst teens and students. It was liberating and bewildering. No matter how much I told myself I was like a Kristin Scott Thomas or Jane Birkin with my briteesh French accent I had no idea where it was all going.
Then I was introduced to Jack Waltzer. A true and bona fide Actors Studio coach from New York. He was trained by Stanislavsky and Stella Adler and knew all the greatest actors of our time.
It was like being born again. His technique classes teach you to be real not just act. Scenes are accidents they should happen by chance and surprise the audience. Unlike other artistic professions you can't fake it. Dancers have to be specific about their choreography yet actors can fake it. Not with him. He sees you for who you are and what you are trying to do. Everyone on the course is aiming for the same - relentless pursuit of emotional truth.
It's true that his technique has helped my writing become more honest. It also has somehow created opportunities at a subconscious level. Am now meeting agents for real work and about to see publishers about BritChick becoming a book. We will see.
All I know is that I can look at myself in the mirror and say I love what am doing. Whatever happens I am living out my need to express myself creatively.
I can hear you cynics say ah but what about money. Its true, the artistic path is a not always a lucrative one especially not at the beginning. But you can get a balance. For instance journalism helps me finesse my writing style whilst earning money. I have a friend who is a great actor and works in a hip cafe in Paris for money and also to observe clients for future character work.
Just do it. Live your dream. It's not a cliche. It's a life truth. No one will do it for you. Steve Jobs did it and his life was cut short. He could leave life satisfied and replete.
How many regret on their deathbed the things not done, the passions not yet fulfilled....too many I would imagine.
I was lucky, fate or destiny gave me a shove in the right direction. I could still be sitting depressed lonely and empty inside in my old office. Living for the next coffee break.
Don't wait till its too late.
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