When I am grateful, I begin counting things I’m grateful for and before I’m done counting that first thing, another thing I’m grateful for comes to mind, then another, and another. Kind of like when we cry, we think we’re crying for one thing but then all these other reasons to cry come flooding forward..
Today, I am grateful for new experiences, ones that make me stretch far beyond my comfort zone, far beyond what I thought I could handle, even if I had imagined it. This week I strrrrretched my way into guest star role on a sitcom called Young & Hungry. The incredible show creator David Holden and the network entrusted me with a responsibility of telling an important story. This always kills me, in a good way, when someone believes that I can do that. David and his writers packed in some of the most delicious comedy bites and respectful storytelling into a 22 minute episode of a comedy series.. So hard to do but they made it seem easy.
Their super talented director Andy Cadiff, is one of the best in the biz when it comes to this kind of TV, has a clear vision and map of how to execute it, guiding and trusting his performers and treating them with kindness and having a great understanding of what’s funny. Sidebar, at one point behind the scenes, Jonathan Sadowski sat in his chair doing an impression of Andy for all of us and Andy and it was loving and spot on, a tribute to his excellence, but also genuinely funny. I am grateful that we all have the ability to laugh, alllllll of us have that! Isn’t that amazing?!!
I felt so well taken care of by the crew, they all knew I had never shot a multi-cam (sitcom) before and they were beyond congenial, they made me family this week. This is a family birthed from kindness, not bitter, not competitive, or angry, but pure kindness. I believe that tone is set from the top and roots back to David and Andy. I am grateful for a kind crew. Then it all kind of cracked wide open yesterday when the whole cast was in hair and makeup together, we all, ironically, were putting on masks, and shedding our skin at he same time. For anyone who works in the the entertainment industry on the in-front-of-the-camera side of things, maybe you will agree with this.. Cast people tend to really open up and become themselves in front of hair, makeup people and wardrobe.. Everyone in hair and makeup yesterday, everyone, really became themselves or maybe that just where I became myself, and they all included me in their family, welcomed me into their ensemble.
The people who make up the cast of this show are, in the truest sense, so quick, so funny, so tight with their performances. I love to watch people
In their craft knock it out of the park. Every word, line, beat, joke – they hit it! I am grateful to learn from them.
For those who are reading this and are not familiar, I am obsessed with ensembles, creating them, welcoming people into whatever ensemble I am in that moment.. The ensemble at the grocery checkout, backstage at a show, piling in my small
SUV to go hiking, my ol’ softball team, and I’m even more aware of it since becoming Transparent family. I love ensembles in the art of media making and acting. My love of ensembles goes back to my roots in Maine and loving summer camp, being open to new people and understanding that there is no separateness. I am amazed that I only went to summer camp for a week in the summer but it was the most powerful week of my year, shedding the layers of my protective cloak in a matter of hours and digging in deep with other teens at camp and becoming an ensemble. I am grateful for ensembles.
I started on Monday this week and it’s late Thursday night and I feel like I went to summer camp, became part of an ensemble, a family. I am so grateful for this clump of new people in my life, even if i never get to do it again with them, I’m changed by them and this experience.
This work made me need to ask for help from my partner Sarah, to rehearse and run and lines with me – she stayed up super late and allowed me freak out a little and kept going even after she was past her regular expiration date that evening. I’m grateful for Sarah and giving me time and space to practice, free of judgment. My girl Sarah is never a dream-stomper, for that I am forever grateful.
I am grateful for having a previous experience in front of a camera, where someone my friend Jill entrusted me with another storytelling in Transparent – that experience helped me understand things that were completely transferable to this experience and helped me be less in the dark and a little less afraid.
I am grateful to know that more than one production is a tightly knit family, that welcome new members all the time. I am grateful for Jill welcoming me in when she did 3 years ago.
I am grateful for my friend Margaret who has supported me and elevated me from the time I arrived in Hollyweird. I honestly believe of it were not for her telling me a decade ago, that trans people need representation and need voices, I don’t know if I would have pushed with such intent toward my hopes of real change and chasing my love of entertaining/performing and being part of a love revolution for trans people. I am grateful to be awake to see all the amazing movement with trans people in media. Grateful to be awake, grateful for Margaret’s love and encouragement – always.
I am grateful to David and Daryl for working so hard for me and they barely know me – pushing so hard for me so I can go play with an ensemble. I am grateful every day for a bright, intelligent team!!
I am grateful for a man who changed my life 15 years ago with a postcard advertising a standup comedy writing workshop back in Portland Maine. Tim changed my life and plugged me into a love that had been waiting for me. I am so grateful for that comedy love discovery and and for your extended friendship Tim.
But even deeper rooted, I am grateful for my family and parents who, whether they realize it or not, have also elevated me as their youngest child or sibling and told me through their actions and exactly with their words, that it was more than just okay to be me, but cherished. I am grateful to have a family where that has always been valued. I remember being a kid and my mom saying “just be yourself and people will love you”. I am grateful those words have been embedded in me.
Those words helped me in the makeup room this week, where everything expanded.
To all my loving friends here in CA and in Maine and all over, I am grateful for all of you – you rock my world with your love, I am grateful.
At this point, this is surely seeming like an award speech – I’ve won nothing, and simultaneously, won everything! I am grateful I have won everything in this moment. I am grateful to be tired and laying in bed. Here are some pics from this weeks lovely ensemble.
Thank you to YOUNG & HUNGRY! Watch the show, it’s a funny and heartfelt, well-written sitcom on Freeform which used to be ABC family.