By Allen Levin
Yesterday’s blog dealt with dealing with pain. The way to deal with pain remains the same. The cause of that actual pain has been alleviated. Loopie has been found. She has been living with my neighbor for the past 6 days. She’s as happy as I’ve seen her in years. When I found her yesterday I had a tough choice. What do I do? Do I bring her back home where she’s furious all the time? She hisses and lashes out at the other pets. Do I let her remain here, happy, loved, and taken care of by others? She’s mine, right? Shouldn’t I bring her home?
Tough choices are really good for an actor. They are fantastic to play on stage. Don’t know everything. Don’t know much. Discover as much as possible. The truth is that in this case I don’t know what the right answer is. At the moment I’ve left her next door, which was very difficult to do. She’s happy. She’s loved. I told them that I’d do anything for her at any time. Food. Money. Anything. Call me if anything. They were so happy to keep her. She was happy to remain. I still don’t know if I’ve done the right thing.
In life and on stage our characters will battle an internal war with themselves. I’m still at odds with the right move. I’m, for the time being, leaving well enough alone. Loopie is an outdoor cat which means she has the ability to come home at any time. I hope she does. The truth is I want her to be happy. If she’s already happy, well then, I guess, there we have it. The other cats (3) in the house are happier (with the possible exception of Kenya, who misses her) and the dog is definitely happier. Emily and I both miss Loopie. What do we do? The fact that we don’t know is ok. We are discovering what’s best.
As an actor it’s satisfying to play a character that is learning and discovering the truth. Who wants to play a “know-it-all?” How boring. “My character is a genius. She knows everything already.” Pass. How about “my character is finally learning to ______ after all this time.” Love that! That’s something that might be fun to play. See “My Fair Lady” or “Pretty Woman.” Now those were great roles. These were dynamic characters.
What about in life? Is it ok not to know everything? Absolutely. It’s human. It’s a beautiful thing to admit when you don’t know. If someone asks you a question at an audition and you don’t know the answer, feel free to express that. “I don’t know, actually.” That’s a very relatable and honest thing to say. Let go. Be truthful. No need to guess. No need to prove anything. Be relaxed. Enjoy the interactions. Let go of any needs or expectations. If you are nervous, tell them you are nervous. It’s honest. It’ll actually help your nerves. It’s ok not to know-it-all. It’s ok to be a beginner. All of us were at one point.
I’m guessing I’ll get advice on this issue. You are welcome to voice your opinion. I’m truly not sure what the best solution is for Loopie. I want her to be safe while at the same time I’d like her precious years to be happy years. She doesn’t like Tato or Bella (hates might be a good word) and she’d quickly pass on Toby. She loves Kenya (big shock, everyone does). It’s a strange thing. Leaving her there yesterday after 5 days of searching was a sacrifice for her. I wanted to carry her home! I wanted to feel that all was right in the world again…. but all was already right. She was purring. She had “heaven eyes” the entire time I was there. She looked healthy. The people taking care of her were elated to have her.
Is it possible that the best thing is to let her stay at the neighbors? Yes. She can’t come back in the house because she has stopped using the litter box. She’s done terrible lash out things for the last 4 months (before Jimmy Tato arrived out of no where and came into the family). Is it possible the best thing for her would be to bring her home? Sure. That won’t last however. The last time she was home she stayed for one breakfast and was gone inside 20 mins.
In any case, the main point of today’s blog isn’t about finding an absolute right course in this or in any topic. It’s about letting go of the concept of right or wrong and learning. Searching is good. Finding that things may not be completely right or wrong, but the truth lives somewhere in the middle. Compromise may be the answer in this and in other cases.
As characters you should love it when things are ambiguous. See the movie “Doubt.” What a great piece! What great performances! What is the truth? What was the best action? We may not know in this or in anything. All we can do is follow our gut and try our best to do our best for the greater good.
If you find yourselves sure of any one answer you have missed the point of this entire blog. Open yourselves up to that it’s ok if you don’t truly know. I don’t. I loved her and took care of her for 13 years. I have a good brain. I don’t know the answer. I simply know it’s not about me. If it were about me, she’d already be here. I miss her. I want her company. I want to know that she’s ok every moment. It’s not about me. It’s never been.
It’s always been about helping her to find a happy journey on Earth. It’s been this way ever since the day in 2005 that I unscheduled her euthanization. I asked the shelter worker who was next to die. They pointed out Loopie. I remember wishing it had been any other cat as she seemed the coldest. I remember that day clearly. I remember her nonstop meowing as she marched through my tiny Burbank apartment. I remember the day she escaped from my girlfriend’s balcony and I searched for her for 30 hours until I found her on Petharbor.com and I raced over to retrieve her. I remember the many car rides (she adores a car ride) and the walks we took with her on a leash (yep!).
Ha…. I’m working myself up again and I could burst into tears once again. Today it’s a bit different. It’s different because yesterday I didn’t know my sadness was all about me. I was worried about her. Today I’m confident that she’s happy and healthy. My sadness is about me. Just the realization of that has quieted the emotion. I’m so incredibly lucky to have had her. We are all so lucky to have the animals in our lives. Sometimes people…. not so much. Animals? Oh yes. So lucky. I’ve never been more grateful in my life.
This has never been a blog from a writer that knows everything. I’m learning alongside all of you. I’ve studied this topic for over 2 decades now and I continue to learn and grow. There are plenty of times I’m asked a question where I say “Great question. Ask ______. I don’t know.” Let’s not fear tough choices where we don’t know the correct route. Let’s go where our gut tells us. The easiest route isn’t necessarily the correct one.
Onward and UP.
PS – I could have easily blogged on “Joy” today. My heart is full.