How it started. Vs. How it's going.
On the left is the very first headshot that was ever taken of me...believe it or not, 10 years ago. That boy was shy, quiet, freshly out of the closet and extremely unhappy. Bullying, acne and the pressure to get into college ruled his existence and he liked to hide in his room studying or blogging day in and day out. He had a dream of being famous. He thought it was the only way to escape his life and get out of his hometown. After college fell through, he thought his career was over. Without college, a degree in theatre or the training to back his talent, it seemed pretty hopeless. Jonathan became a teacher and a waiter to pay his bills and moved out right after graduating.
Some of the years between these photos were the hardest, especially the first few after graduation. I remember the days of waking up at 4am in the winter, showering with a broken window in the bathroom, lucky to have hot water long enough to get the shampoo out of my hair and walking a mile to the train station/bus stop to take public transportation almost an hour for work. I would clock out only to go to my second job teaching classes at night. This cycle continued for a while as I tried to somehow balance an acting career on top if it. Until one day...I quit. I didn't have a plan other than to find a nighttime restaurant job that paid me enough to have days off or at least to use my mornings for auditioning. It was the step I needed to take my career seriously despite the financial aspect of it all.
Now? Now, I don't have a restaurant job. I don't have a college degree. I don't have a million dollars in my savings account. I don't have a house to invite my friends over. I don't have "stuff". What I do have is happiness. I have experience, an understanding of culture, self-respect, dedication to myself and my art and even my Equity card. Something I only ever dreamed about. I am a professional actor, working in my field without a full time side hustle. It took ten years from my first headshot to have one I'm proud to submit but it also took ten years for me to find the love I have for myself to look at a photo and be happy at what I see. That smile on the right? That's PURE bliss. That's a true reflection of "How it's going".