April 29, 2011

A Crocker-vention

My sister, Dingy Dongy, once asked a psychic about me.  I had been in L.A. about four years.  I had taken 26, 000 acting and comedy classes.  I had performed in a gadzillion shows.  I had run myself into the ground and felt that my spirit and joy for acting had been beaten to death.  I felt like I did everything I was told and what I was asked, and as much as you hear you were a standout in the show, or your fellow improvisers think you're amazing, finding a legitimate agent and booking work just never ever happened.  At a size 10-12, my lame-ish agent told me I was 'too big to play ingenue (leading lady) but I was too pretty to play characters." 

The aftermath of a reeeal good baking session.

On the other hand, I was baking a ton. Every rehearsal or cast party, before every show, I'd bring baked goods along.  It began to feed my soul way more than the pursuit of that 'other thing' that gave me creative cancer and a horrifying case of soul-suck. 

 My first sketch show in L.A.... 'Sketch Me If You Can.'

I dabbled in both acting and baking for about a year not knowing which avenue to pursue.  I remember hating life.  I remember being tired.  I remember thinking, "Thanks a lot mom and dad for believing in me!  Why couldn't you have just squashed my dreams and forced me to be a doctor like all of the other parents!?"

The makings of Raspberry Almond Tart shells.

So knowing this, my sister goes to this psychic and happens to ask, "My sister doesn't know what she should do- be an actor or a baker.  Any thoughts?"  The psychic says, "You're sister needs to understand she's an artist.  She's both."

My door room window Sophomore year, painted for Christmas.

I remember Dingy Dongy telling me this and thinking, "Oh great!  How very crunchy, granola hippy 'do what ya feel, man!' of her to offer as an answer.  NEXT!  I couldn't wrap my brain around it.  I went with baker.  I couldn't see the possibility of acting in my future anymore.  It just didn't 'feed my soul.'

Deborah Wilson of Mad TV invited my cast to her birthday party. 
One of the coolest stories ever!
Cut to 80 lifetimes later... Here I am in Chicago.  I finally start a business.  I'm a baker!  I'm in the process of being able to work out of commercial kitchens and figure out how to make some money after missing the deadline for Farmer's Markets when The Great Break-Up Debacle of 2010 happens... all of those hopes and dreams fall to the wayside.  I have no money to invest in marketing & sampling so what the h-e-double-hockey-hell do I do now?  I thought I was a baker!?  I'm certainly not an actor!  ...I didn't think.  I JUST WANT TO MAKE MONEY AT SOMETHING!!!

Bop! Another comedy improv sketch group from L.A.

There's a point to all this aaaaaand my point is this:  Life is FUNNY.  Life is eye-opening.  Life is constant preparation.  You get the same lessons over and over in life until you learn them.  I'm finally understanding what it means and fully accepting (whether that woman was a looney tune or not),  my role on this earth... which is to be an ARTIST. 

One my many, um... 'characters.'

Case in point:  Everytime I see comedy my eye starts twitching.  Everytime I see a show with powerful monologues or scenes that move me, I redo them in my head for weeks.  When B McKay came to town she love-vomited me with delicious compliments and reenacted our days of yore, allowing me to remember parts of myself I'd long buried.  I came out of the womb wanting to perform.  I was born with color and dreams and magic and sparkles and all that crap!  I'm an actor!!! I forgot this in L.A. because through my overworking and financial ruin,  I lost faith in possibility.

I looooove taking pictures, too.  So I'd like to add photographer to the list!!!

Another case in point:  My ex is getting married.  He's a planner.  He is marrying a planner.  They are perfectly suited for each other, for having a future together.  They will have an impeccably well kept gorgeous house, incredibly brilliant children that they'll send to private school and have a wonderful easy life together.  That TOTALLY works for him!!! 

'It's All About Me!' A sketch show I co-wrote, produced and performed in.

I, on the other hand, can BE a planner... But I don't need certain things to feel safe and secure.  When life is down I'll 'follow the day and reach for the sun.' You know what I'm saying?  I believe in listening to your spirit, that what feeds your soul can change.  In that way, I guess I have always had a bit of 'hippy' in me.  (Who knew!?) I want a house that is well lived in, I want kids that sing and dance all over the walls.  I want a life full of passion and adventure.  Neither is right or wrong.   We're just different.  Once I got past the 'Why doesn't he love me!?' routine of self doubt and fear that I'll never love again, it's been a really beautiful thing in letting go and being able to wish him well.  (I love you, Homes!)

My seesters.  :)  :)  :)

I say all this because the word 'artist' has been rattling around in my brain lately like an old homeless guy that's kicking cans around, grumpy he's been ignored... 

A pretty, pretty Raspberry Almond Tart.

It's becoming very clear to me that I AM an artist.  I am both a baker and an actor.  I'm also a writer!  I'm a singer!  I'm a performer! I'm a dancer!  Granted, they all could use some work but there's just too much I love to do.  I get it, J-Lo.  I hear ya, Oprah!  I've always dabbled in a  lot of things.  And if I was still in that relationship maybe I wouldn't have been as open to possibility or felt comfortable enough to voice my creative needs and the gifts God gave me. 

Being a creative type is a very reasonless, purposeful, adventurous, creative, and faith-driven life. You HAVE to be present for every moment or opportunities get lost in a whisper. Creative energy is like riding The East Australian Current with Crush in 'Finding Nemo.' You just-kinda-have to catch the wave and ride it.  The less you try to control the more fun it is!  So, it's a life that won't always make sense.  It's not the easiest thing for a planner. I get it now. 

And the past eight years have all been preparation for my future...  :)

A chili cheese omelet is toootally a work of art, no?  :)

I've always secretly wanted to be Amy Sedaris.  Daytime baker, actress by night!  But I thought, "Pssh, it's already been done."  How 'funny' to watch on Glee the other night the same issue being discussed with Rachel.  She thinks about getting a nose job because show biz already has it's big nosed Jewish superstar singer.  (Baaaaahbara, dahling...)  So her friends have a Barbara-vention to say that there can be two! 

Well, dear readers.  This is my Crocker-vention.  I'm a baker.  I'm an actor.  I'm an artist.  I want to make money doing lots of things.  I have spent the past eight years learning how to not just live paycheck to paycheck... But how to be OKAY with it.  All for a reason.  DUH.  To be fearless enough to want this lifestyle you HAVE to be willing to give up your plans and your control.  You HAVE to be willing to view life as possible and stay capable of being joyful despite living in the financial unknown.  Example: I have no idea how I'm paying rent this month but that's between me, God, my spirit guides, the stage, Mrs. Cosby and Chase Bank. 

And THAT'S my life now.... endless possibility.  What else has this old girl got in her spirit?  :)



Darci Monet said...

Ah yes, the Jane-of-all-trades conundrum. This was a good shot in the arm for me today, as I seem to be wrestling with similar feelings, even though I don't bake. Or cook, for that matter. Anyway...I forgot about that visit with the psychic, ha! Cool.


Brandon Alexander said...

Everyone already knew this about you already! It's funny that you didn't. You can't fit yourself into a box that you're not meant to go in. You're one of the few people in this world that is talented enough to wear multiple hats but there's so few people like that in the world to relate to that you don't really have a way of realizing it about yourself. It's good to see that the Mandi I know is back! You're crazy funny, beautiful, talented, and almost as good of a writer as me! Don't forget that! I don't care how amazing your brownies are!

MandiCrocker said...

Hahaha!!! Love you, Seester. :)

Booger B... thank you SO MUCH. I can't tell you how much that means to me. You've no idea.