In December, I’m flying back home to spend 14 days with family, friends and people that are dear to me. My feelings about that? Mixed, to be perfectly honest.
A year ago I was at home, still quite freshly settling down and feeling culturally shocked after my time spent in the USA. I was lucky enough to get involved with a German feature film shot partially in Prague and as I was there on the set, I couldn’t help but wonder about what my move to the UK was going to be like. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Not to mention that Christmas was the time when I saw most of my family and relatives and had to tell them that I was leaving again. We didn’t see each other for a year and half while I was in the USA; I just got back and I was saying my goodbyes again.
My family had no idea about my career choice. I mean, they were always there cheering for me whilst I did five years of school theatre, they came to see my performances, took photos and told me how proud they were. While I was in high school, they knew about my acting and watched some of my work. Yet I had the feeling that as I was growing up, they took it less and less seriously and kept asking what I really want to do and if I’d thought about the future. “I want to be an actress” wasn’t quite the answer, and they would react to it with a head shake and talks about how impossible that is. They cheered for me when I applied for business college as a continuation of my business and law high school education; I was one of the lucky few people who actually obtained a place on the course. “That’s where the money is, you are going to make yourself a great life!” they said. Well, you should have seen their faces when I told them I turned it down, had decided to work full-time for a few months to save up money, then was going to go to the USA to learn English so I could pursue an acting career abroad as that was what I’d always wanted. When I left as an au pair, they thought I was just going to have some fun, grow up and come back ready to go to college like my brother did. When I came back and told them what I did, everyone finally started to take me seriously. Hallelujah! Yet I’m still going to need to prove myself.
Now I’m heading back again, having had the most exciting, busy and productive 10 months of my life career-wise. I’ve fully focused on my career, dropped out all the non-acting related fun such as going out and travelling, and invested all my money and energy to acting. And man, it has borne fruit. However, it has also taken its toll in the form of stress and constant not knowing what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Whilst this is like the dose of adrenalin in your bloodstream that keeps you going and always doing your best, even the most dedicated and stubborn person gets tired.
This is going to be a well-deserved holiday and I will come back recharged. And I definitely do have a lot to tell to my family. However, it makes me think – how am I actually going to explain all that? They have no idea how showbusiness works, in the Czech Republic or in the UK or USA. They are hardly going to appreciate that I’ve spent my whole time training and volunteering at the Actors’ Centre – that’s probably going to sound to them like such a waste of time. Not to mention that blogging, Tweeting or networking won’t make much sense to them either. All the things that I seemingly have seeds planted for, but are not quite happening yet. That’s the trickiest bit. The only thing they might be cheerful about might be me getting my UK theatre debut as one of the lead characters in the Actors’ Centre’s Christmas Show – my first acting job in English. However, I just hear the questions coming – one role in 10 months? Is that all? What the heck have you been doing? Is it not going well over there? When are you coming home?
The explaining could never end, but after all I don’t really need to explain or justify anything. I’m proudly going to point out some highlights of my stay and that’s it. I know that they just want me to be happy and I love them for their worries. Going home doesn’t have to be stressful and humiliating as some people might feel, I believe that we should be proud of what we do no matter what that is, as long as it makes us happy and fulfilled. I think the key might be in the way we put it out. We get what we give.
Image by Rainer Hungershausen.