Remember to say “I Love You”

The world is a very scary place right now. Maybe it’s always been scary, but with social media and a seriously Debbie-downer news media it feels almost crushing, ALL THE TIME. I feel as though the people I love are in constant danger, and I feel like I’m always in danger and that’s because we don’t know where the danger is anymore. Sure, walking down the middle of the Tenderloin in the middle of the night isn’t exactly a safe haven, but in reality it might actually be more safe than a dance club right now. Or a movie theater. Or a mall. Or school. Or work. Or church. Or a bus. When did this happen?

Now, humans for the most part do pretty well without having the daunting reality that we’re all mortal looming over their heads constantly. It’s how we need to function, to survive, to life our lives. Some people aren’t so fortunate though, and learn at an early age that little secret the rest of us need to ignore: we’re all going to die some day. The reasons, ages, and situations vary about as much as people do, but for some it’s a lesson learned that becomes life altering. I was 24. One of my best friends passed away from colon cancer at 24 years old, and watching her slip away from the world changed something in me. It’s weird to become hyper aware of your own mortality at such a young adult age, especially at that age, when you’re supposed to feel like the world is yours for the taking….it changes your perspectives. It changes your direction. After the initial shock and heartache started to wear down, something took it’s place for me: life. It became crystal clear, we have a comparatively short amount of time on this planet, with this life, and I started really looking at myself and asking “How do I want to spend that time? How do I want to be remembered? How do I want to treat people, and how do I want them to treat me?” And the big one that affects me daily, “If I die tomorrow, do the people I love know I love them?”

It’s a heavy question, but let’s be real, I’m human. I get mad at people, I get hurt by people, I can hurt people, and we all do it because we’re human. We shouldn’t shy away from that fact, these are emotions we need to feel human and express ourselves, they are actually good things, at times. However, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, that looming thought enters my brain, “What if something happens to them tomorrow? Or me? Can I live with this being the last interaction we have?” What I do with the answers to these questions varies, as one situation is never like the other. Sometimes I try to make amends because I do in fact care for this person very deeply, and I or they were simply angry or upset for a period of time. Sometimes I do not, and this is doesn’t happen often, but it’s the hardest conclusion to come to, because as much as I do not like to have ill-will towards people, some people don’t know any other way to live life. If anger and hate is something they thrive on, I’ve learned to just let that person be. They will find that life is small this way, and they are only harming themselves with that mindset. I do not accept that life is small. I accept that life is as grand as you want it to be, and I want mine to be grand. So I love people deeply, and I let them know as often as I can because if I die tomorrow I do not want them wondering. I do not want them questioning their time with me, or I with them. I want them to know, always, how I feel about them. And I can only hope that the ones that love me feel the same way.

Now, I can only speak for myself here, I can only tell anyone who reads this how I feel and what I believe is right, I did not write this with the intention of changing minds. I only write this with the intention of making some think for a second. As I said, the world is a scary place right now. People have a lot of hate and anger and fear in their hearts, and some feel it’s necessary to act out on those feelings by doing harm to others, because they do not feel full, so they don’t want others to feel the fullness they cannot achieve on their own. But maybe, just maybe, if someone dear to them told them how much they loved them, would they still feel the anger and the hate? Would they still want to harm people if that one person simply said, “You know you mean something to me, right?” We won’t know until we try.

Don’t go to bed angry and full of hate, you just don’t know if you or they will wake up tomorrow.

 

Inner Workings of a Brain with Many Hats

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like a “normal” person, (you know, with one “9-5” job, who doesn’t really have extra curricular activities outside of their job and home life), only really thinks about their one job. I mean, except of course for the things everyone thinks about, which we’ll call every day-to-day things. Those are things like “What will I make for dinner? Did I pay the cable bill? Oh, I need to take the trash out when I get home. Do I have time to go to Costco this weekend?”….etc. They flash in for maybe 10 seconds, you make a note, possibly just know enough to remember it, but it’s there. To me, that’s a “normal” person. What’s a “normal” person and why am I using “quotations”? Well, it is in fact the person that society likes to think dominate the workforce in this country – a person who has been fortunate enough to hold down one full-time job, and that one full-time job supports themselves and their family in what ever cost-of-living situation they find themselves in. It’s over generalized, I know, and not the reality anymore, however every ounce of how this country operates is based on this idea, so lets go with if for now.

Now, take someone who has two or more jobs, like me! I call them survival jobs, and I’ll explain why shortly. What goes though my mind (and let’s be real, about 90% of my friends) is all of the above, the everyday-to-day things, PLUS figuring it all with two work schedules into the mix. I like to think I’m pretty clever because I’ve got my two incomes broken down in such a way that one is strictly for bills (rent, utilities, cable, student loan payments, etc.) and the other is for everything else (groceries, bus fare, the occasional meal out, household items, the rare time I buy a new shirt, credit card payments, etc). I need to make sure I work enough at both jobs to get all the requirements met. So it’s a case of making sure the two schedules don’t overlap, making sure that I don’t accidentally schedule myself to work 14 days in a row (because that’s easily done. My two jobs don’t have the same “off” days), and that I schedule enough time between shifts on the days I do work doubles, (I promise, there is nothing more stressful than needing to be across the city, in 30 minutes, during Pride Weekend in San Francisco….for example).

Now, let’s talk about my acting career on top of all this. Every successful, (meaning working. Not famous, but working) actor out there knows that in order to make it in this industry you have to hustle. You have to constantly be on the prowl for auditions, and then you have to set aside time to prepare for those auditions, then actually GO to said auditions. You take some classes, network with other actors/directors/playwrights, maybe do a little writing of your own. You get inspired by reading plays and scripts, going to plays, watching the newest hit TV show or movie (yes, that is actually part of the gig), and then the big one – Perform! Which doesn’t just include the “ACTION!” part of the deal, which does need to be scheduled into your life, but the rehearsals, rehearsals with specific scene partners when regular rehearsals weren’t enough, research into your character and all the extra homework it takes to actually become a different human being. Then there’s costume fittings, tech rehearsals, and all the other fun stuff you need to be a part of in order to put on a production…be it theater or film. In my case, both theater and film are involved in my life so I work on all of it at one point or another. It’s a lot, ask any successful actor how much time they devote to their craft and they will say it’s an ongoing process – all day, every day. There’s always something to learn and discover, because with each gig our job is to represent a person, a human, and there isn’t an end to how much you can learn about humans. Now to explain my use of the term survival job from earlier: I need those jobs because in this industry there is no guarantee of a pay check that comes from any of the hard work described above. It’s the best perk when it happens, but it’s rare and usually not that lucrative so you can’t exactly live off it. In short: the survival jobs pay the bills, the acting jobs pay for my next film class or new headshots. The survival jobs need to be flexible, otherwise all the work it takes to be an actor is interrupted by things like meetings and “set schedule”. Which is boring, and no fun to someone like me.

LASTLY! Because my crazy brain doesn’t have enough going in and out of it, I also am the co-founder of a non-profit. This is something really close to my heart, and as long as it is alive I will be involved. The short version – one of my best friends growing up had been diagnosed with colon cancer when we were 19 years old. She fought hard for 5 years, but at the age of 24 she lost her battle, and passed away in late December 2011. If you’re thinking what we all thought back in late 2006 when she was diagnosed, it’s this – “Colon cancer?! That’s an old man’s disease! How on Earth did she get colon cancer at 19?? Wait, what is colon cancer?” Well, that’s what Roanne’s Race was created for. It’s a 5k/10k run/walk that takes place in my hometown of Livermore, CA once a year, and all the money we raise gets donated to colon cancer research, specifically in finding why young adults are getting diagnosed more and more frequently. During the course of the year we are involved in many events to support other causes and promote our own, as well as preparing for our own event that takes place every November. There’s always something to do, emails to write, donation and sponsor letters to write and send out, questions from our participants to answer, and something to learn. I co-founded this with some of my closest friends, and none of us knew what we were doing! So every year we learn a little more and work hard at making this event better.

Lets recap! I’m an actor who has to hustle to gain an inch in her career, I have two part time survival jobs, and a non-profit…..that’s a lot to flash in and out of ones mind! Over the course one day I guarantee my mind has covered all of the above subjects at least once in the form of a to-do list, it literally doesn’t stop. Not to mention I have a life. I have family and friends I want to spend time with when I can, a loving boyfriend who has become increasingly understanding that I can’t always hang out, let alone GO out because something undoubtedly has come up. It’s stressful.

However, I can sit here and complain about how I’m nearly always broke, have no idea what my future holds, and seem to be really tired all the time, BUT…..I won’t. I love my life. Sure there are moments that I really question what I’m doing and if it’s the right call, but at the end of the day I’m doing what I want to do, and not what I have to do, to survive.

About

Welcome! This is my attempt at telling the world (or those that care to know) of my adventures through this magnificent journey of life. For some reason I feel compelled to share my experiences, as there are many and as a friend once told me “It’s like your life is a TV show, these things just don’t happen!” So, with that let me tell you a little bit about myself:

~My name is Erica Andracchio. I live in San Francisco, CA, and have for more than 6 years. I grew up in what us Bay Area folks call the East Bay, about 45 min east of San Francisco, so I consider myself a local. I refer to myself as “one with many hats”, because I don’t have a single, 9-5 career that gives me satisfaction. I have a multitude of things I do to feel complete….

First and foremost, I’m an actor. I’ve been acting since I was kid, and that has always and will always be my number one love in this life. But lets be honest, making a full time career as an actor in SF? In a word, difficult. So, I have random part time jobs that keep me afloat in this majestic (and increasingly expensive) city. At the time of beginning this blogging adventure I have two jobs that give me money: one is being a receptionist at a hair salon in the Downtown Union square area, the other is being an usher at the SFJAZZ Center. Both jobs give me endless exposure to some of the most interesting and sometimes eccentric people, which as an actor and writer is golden!

Aside from being an actor, and working two part time jobs in SF, I have a third “hat” that I wear. I am the Co-Founder of a non-profit organization. Roanne’s Race is a 5k/10K in my hometown of Livermore, CA that raises money for colon cancer awareness. Me and my closest friends founded this in honor of our beloved sister, Roanne Cairel, who sadly passed away from colon cancer at the young age of 24. This event has shaped a lot of things in my life, especially since her passing, and over time I’m sure more will be reviled about that situation.

So, there you go! Scratching the surface of me and the insane life that I lead. I want to stress to anyone reading this that I have never really considered myself a writer. I have a very active imagination, which leads me to my chosen career path of being an actor, but I’ve noticed that the interesting stories that draw me in are the ones that are true to life. When you hear someone else’s story, that’s where the meat is. So that’s my point, to tell not just my stories, but others that I encounter and how it all mashes up.

Enjoy!