Weeknotes 2023 W18:

May 1​–​7, 2023
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At work, I’ve finally switched to a remote contract. It was an on-site contract before, which I think was by accident, as I was very clear that I wanted to not work from an office. Previously, I had received a complaint from HR that I hadn’t been showing up to the office as required. That’s a thing of the past now.

Not having any social media apps on my phone is great. I removed them two weeks ago (see Week­notes 2023 W16: Envy) and it’s been great for mental health.

I don’t even take my phone with me anymore when I go to the bathroom, because there’s nothing interesting to do with my phone. It’s just me and the toilet, stuck in a fleeting, intimate moment.

I’ve now also deleted my Instagram account, which I wasn’t really using anyway, except to compare my life with others’ and then feel bad about everything.

Ahh, health.

My acne has been flaring up the last week or so, and it’s painful. I’m far beyond the age where I deserve this. I’ve had acne ever since puberty and it never fully went away. Time to make another dermatologist appointment, I suppose.

At the beginning of this week, I was suffering from quite intense back pain. Painkillers helped, but I need to look into what is causing it. My assumption is that I’ve been under above-average amounts of stress lately. In any case, I now finally have an exercise mat and a foam roller, which will be good for getting rid of those knots.

I’ve got complicated feelings about the particular acting lessons I’m taking. Acting itself is still something I enjoy and want to train myself in, but there is a chance that these particular acting classes are not working so well for me.

The first concern is the acting method. The classes are based on the Chekhov method, which is a psycho-physical approach which aims at evoking emotions based on physical gestures. The conflict for me here is that I’ve got such a vivid imagination and can readily produce emotions intensively and quickly (without emotional recall). This makes the physical part of the gesture not particularly useful, and it might occasionally even gets in the way.

The second concern that creates some uncertainty is the intentions and motivations of my coursemates. I’ve spoken to a few people and my impression is that for most people, the classes are a way of exploring their creativity and discovering what works for them. The classes are quite gentle, which makes sense as an introduction, but it means progress is slow and I feel I’m not quite getting as much out of it as I had hoped. I realise that I want something considerably more intense.

The last concern is that our teacher is quite nice and very encouraging, but that makes the feedback (so far) pretty weak: everything anyone does is good, even though I would like more honest feedback. I think it’s a great approach for someone just getting their feet wet with acting and to not get discouraged quickly. But for me, I want to get to failure quickly, because I believe that is the only place where growth is possible. A teacher who’s comfortable saying “no, try that again” creates excellent opportunities for growth: I want to know what my weakness are so that I can work towards removing them. The only thorough and quick way to become aware of weaknesses is to work with a skilled teacher or coach who gives honest feedback; finding your own weaknesses by yourself is particularly difficult and ineffective.

In any case, I’m certainly going to see these acting lessons through to the end. The Chekhov technique is good to have in my toolkit, at least, and it’s never bad to build connections in the community. (Oh, look at me… I’ve literally only taken two acting classes and I’m already planning out what I want to do with it in the longer term. I really can be quite intense.)

I’ve still got one huge worry when it comes to acting: my German is not great and there don’t seem to be many English-language opportunities in Berlin to practice my craft.

Another worry I have is that life doesn’t yield enough time to pick up a new activity and become reasonably good at it. This is especially concerning with a day job: 35%-40% of waking time per week is spent working, and fitting in the time to get better at new activities is not a simple task.

I finally finished the first draft of a short story I’ve been writing. I’m not very happy with it, unfortunately. I suspect that the second draft — assuming I get around to it — will be closer to a full rewrite.

Alongside that, I’ve been experimenting with dramatising a short story I wrote earlier, Mayfield, turning it into a play with one lead. Writing is hard, and dramatising perhaps even more so. But I’m happy that I am flexing my creative muscle.