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August 2, 2008

All or Nothing

I'm stressed. The task(s) of updating Self-Management for Actors is overwhelming at times. I need to simplify, to break it down into much smaller list items, to ask for help.

I actually said to Keith, yesterday, "I'm aware that I need help. I'm ready to ask for help. But there is no way to communicate the whole of what I need to any one person--or team of people--in such a way that will yield the result I need." In fact, when I did actually come up with a very easily-communicated, single task for which I *could* ask for help, I got none. I posted to my Proofer Patrol two days ago that I needed someone to volunteer to fact-check an old column I had written. It's been a couple of years; perhaps the info needs updating.

Now, on my team of Proofers, I have people who have already said they'll be experts in certain areas. So, I HAVE fact-checkers. Yet no one bunnied up. And when I asked again, yesterday, no one bunnied up. Do I need new volunteers? Have I asked something so completely unreasonable of a group of people who have agreed to fact-check by requesting someone "call it" so I know at least THAT little bit of my overall burden is being addressed?


But this is not a post in which I bitch about people who are graciously donating their time and energy and expertise to help bring this new edition to life.

This is a post in which I attempt to work out some of my "all or nothing" issues.

As you may know, we're working on getting corporate sponsorship for the Cricket Feet Showcase. So, our grant writer/corporate sponsorship proposal writer, contacts me every now and then and asks for things. A bio. My casting resumé. A list of current sponsors. Statistical data about our showcasers.

Yesterday, she asked for a list of the festivals at which the films I have cast have screened. I used to keep up with that. I used to keep a list of every single festival that every single film I cast went to. I kept a list of the awards each film won as well. And whenever I would discover one that I had missed, I would be livid. I would panic. I would scramble to update my website and resumé and then I would fret about how I had missed learning about the festival sooner. Had the producer neglected to inform me (despite the fact that it's in my casting deal memo that I will be notified of all festivals)? Had I missed an email? Was my server down? Had I been informed but was so busy at the moment the email came through that I hadn't made the update in a timely fashion and then forgot that I had been informed?

It was crazymaking.

So I stopped keeping up. Nearly every film of the 40-something I have cast has gone to a festival (some, up to 25 festivals). Every film I have cast that has gone to a festival has won an award somewhere. This was very important information to detail, per the corporate grant proposal writer. But I have let go of keeping up with it all! Believe me, when a film I've cast plays at Sundance or wins at TriBeCa or gets an Independent Spirit Award, I'll keep up. But for my own sanity, I had to let go of keeping that list.

"So, give me what you DO know. Give me your old list," the grant writer instructed.


You mean you want an OLD list. An OLD list that had ERRORS which is why I abandoned the list-making to begin with??


"Yeah. Just give me the list."

Panic panic panic. I have to update a list I stopped keeping up with 19 months ago. I have to get all of the information I've neglected to keep updated. And I have to get it NOW. I have to STOP working on the book I'm getting no help updating (again, I know both that I am getting help and that it is really no one's responsibility to help me update my damn book. I'm sharing the spirally place my brain went at that moment) and update a list I haven't been updating BY CHOICE and I have to get it exactly right and I have to do it right now.

Panic panic panic.

Even woke up in a panic attack this morning.

Still trying to shake it off.

My heart hurts. Physically.

Now, the logical part of my brain says, "Score 85% Gillespie. It won't kill you. Most people in life show up and score less than 65% and skate on by. MOST of the time, you score 99% and still kick yourself for that 1% you 'failed' yourself and others. By scoring 85%, you're still going to be ahead of most people on the planet AND you're still going to be providing something excellent. Trust that."

And the part of my brain that believes even 99% is a complete and utter failure on my part says, "SCORE 85%?!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?"

Now, I know I've come a long way. Despite my extreme "self-talk" example, above, I really am a lot better than I used to be. I am a very high-functioning obsessive-compulsive. I know that. As Beffers said yesterday, "Your OCD is so much more productive than mine." Yes. My OCD is much more productive than most. And it's also much more productive than it used to be. It used to grip me like this... a lot. It used to block me from workflow. It used to require rituals that everyone noticed. Now, it requires rituals no one really sees. We have containment. ;) Me and my OCD have become co-conspirators for focused work.

MOST of the time, I use it as a tool to help me focus--to the exclusion of almost all else--and get more work done than most people could ever hope to accomplish. And do it well. I know that. I appreciate that.

But when the "old OCD Bonnie" comes back around, she gets REALLY freaked out about how it's going to happen. I'm suddenly back in grad school and even though I have a team of undergrads whose job it is to earn a grade helping me check facts in my Master's thesis and there's a huge committee meeting deadline looming, I know in my core that there is no way they'll ever do as good a job as I would do with the tasks because they couldn't possibly care as much as I do. About getting it right. About having it work. About delivering 99% or better. And if I don't deliver on time, I'm stuck in this degree program another semester... and that's simply unacceptable. (Why? I do not know.)

Just gotta keep reminding myself what I already fucking know.

It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."

I know. I know. I know. I know.

Even if I use all sorts of logic to break this down, even if I let myself off the hook for any self-imposed deadline, even if I say, "Screw it. I'm out. Not even going to do this," I do not get relief from this GRIP of fear, this panic, this block.

So, I'm not looking for logic. I'm not looking for, "there, there." I'm looking for a way to FEEL BETTER about where I am and what's stretched out ahead of me. And oftentimes, writing about what I need gets it going for me. ;) It's like the post relieves a bit of the pressure. So, that's what this is. It's an invitation--perhaps a demand--that the peace come.

Then the rest will flow like crazy! I know that for sure.

Posted by bonnie at August 2, 2008 10:19 AM