This morning I treated myself to a ham & cheese croissant the size of a newborn goat. Sometimes I use food to celebrate and this morning it was appreciating the completion of another project. Last night was the closing performance of a show I had posted about on this very forum several times in the past, and perhaps I’ll post about in the future as I reflect upon it. Anyway… this AM I walked in to an establishement I’ve been to several times and the friendly blonde woman behind the counter smiled even larger than normal when she saw me. She informed me that she had seen me on television a lot, but had been seeing me even more lately. I smiled, confirmed what I figured she had possibly saw me in and thanked her. She then asked me pretty standard innocuous question which triggered me to write this blog.
Her: “What’s your name?”
Me: “My name? My name is Tom.”
Exciting stuff, right?
While I usually say my entire name, this morning, exhausted from lack of sleep, that answer seemed to be more than enough for her. Funny as she had probably seen my credit card a dozen times in the past, with my name on it, but this particular morning she just wanted to hear it directly from me. She then repeated it once or twice to herself as to drive it into her memory.
Her: “Tom. Tom.”
Nothing earth shattering, nothing interesting… but what was noteworthy to me was the string of internal feelings I had afterward. I really like just being me. Reflecting on what I’ve done. What I’ve achieved. What I’m working on, personally and professionally. That’s not to say I’m near perfect or my life is flawless or easy… but it’s really great just being myself. Having my own unique history, in my own situation.
I hope at least one of you understands what I’m disclosing here. While I’m an actor and I professionally play, meaning I get paid to play, other characters all the time, it’s really nice to just be me. Playing a fictitious super star celebrity with a false history of fake box office smashes for the past few weekends has been a fascinating opportunity in many ways. Literally able to walk in another person’s shoes, albeit a made up character’s shoes. I got to PRETEND to be a rich, enormous box office success, with other actors and audience members pretending all around me.
Every night I would very happily leave that character at the venue, and head home… too emotionally spent to go out. Too drained too make any more small talk or force my way into conversations where I would bullshit endlessly. My ears ringing from the music, overworked from trying to decipher what was being said… my body vibrating from energy completely foreign to my own fabric.
It’s a great feeling to be authentic. I don’t remember exactly when in my life I stopped actually wanting to be someone else, and appreciating my own story as it’s happening, but life has been far more enjoyable since. That’s not to say I’ve completely thrown out random fanatasies that help me escape reality some times, but the days of wanting to be someone dramastically different have long gone…long, long gone. And what’s even stronger is the wisdom to know if there are aspects I want to tackle, change or challenge… I have the ability to take those individual things on and make improvements.
In a specific conversation with a cast mate before last night’s show, he asked me about something which keyed off two particular stories from my past. The first was where in one day, more than twenty years ago, at two separate auditions, I was told flat out two opposing things. The first audition I was told that I was too skinny to even audition, and the second I was told I was too fat for the role. Yes, true story. Same day. He asked if I would write something about what we talked about next, how you can never be what other people want you to be, you can only be you, all the time. You can be different aspects of you, but you can’t escape your own skin. You can try to change it. You can attempt to improve it. But you can always be too handsome, too ugly, too ethnic, too pretty, too tall, too short, too blonde, too curly, look like someone’s ex, sound annnoying… whatever, and yet, you are always… PERFECT.
The second story I told last night before our last show was where one day, probably twelve years ago, when I was literally walking to set already hired for a particular job, and the director started walking alongside of me. In a manner he thought might be helpful or funny he tapped me on the belly and told me I would do better as an actor if I lost weight. Another true story. He didn’t have to do that. I didn’t think it was funny, nor helpful, but with a smile I didn’t skip a beat, when I responded.
Me: “You do know you hired me, right?”
I kept it light, but even at that time I realized, I am who I am when I am doesn’t mean I’ll be this way tomorrow or was this way yesterday. Some times I’m thinner, some times I’m thicker. It doesn’t matter, I’m still me. And yeah, sometimes I celebrate with food, and some mornings I like an occasional ham and cheese croissant and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I just took a look at our neighbor’s cat who is visiting us again this morning. Seeeing him sleeping on a towel we put out for him I’m reminded how my girlfriend makes a big deal about how cute every little thing is about him. In reflecting about him I’m reminded that in everything about every single one of us, there is something to truly appreciate. It’s really powerful to like who we are. To operate within a code of conduct that we can respect and to accept what others or even we may perceive as flaws. Because what is becoming so obvious to me the older I get is, while there is definately images out there of perceived perfection, it’s temporary. People change. Times change. Styles change. What’s sexy today may be unpopular tomorrow. I spent so much of my youth wasting energy trying to fit in and figure out what cool was, that when I was called “cool” for the first time decades later it literally put me back on my heels, and stunned me even more because I had long given up on the thought of being cool, or what made someone popular.
Maybe I’ve gone off on a tangent, or perhaps you see the through line. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Me? I’m Tom. I now have a thirst to be the best Tom I can be, to continue my pursuit of simple truth and happiness.
Thank you for being part of my journey. For pointing me out on TV to your friends and looking me up on IMDB. For subscribing, following and watching my videos. Thank you to all the friends I made while doing the show, friends that came out to see the rotating random carnival of bullshitting ass clowns, and even more to those who came and embraced the bullshitting along side all of us lunatics in the temporary asylum.
There are a lot of photos and videos in past postings of mine here and Instagram and postings from the PR people from the show and other cast mates, but here I post a link to LIVE video of me entering the party/show last night as someone else: https://www.facebook.com/tomkiesche/videos/10154250303968842/ I hope those of you not on Facebook will be able to watch it too. The lighting in the limo may be a little dark as the driver couldn’t seem to turn the lights on, and the camera shots are a bit shaky as I just stuck it in my jacket pocket. Still you might find it fun. Oddly I think I sound a little like Rodney Dangerfield.
BTW one last thing…did you ever see the Closet Singer video with the pirate that everyone calls Louie? The show we closed last night at times reminded me of a certain Ting Ting song, and in that particular Closet Singer we paraodied the song “That’s Not My Name,” along with a few others. It’s a weird one, but check it out if you dare. LINK: https://youtu.be/o9bOLqb1j4A
– Quiche Out
Oh and if you haven’t figured out why I write “Quiche out,” it’s a riff on “Peace out” and my last name, Kiesche. For the past thirty plus years, ever since those days of wishing I were someone else, and not fully appreciating who I was, it’s been pronounced by myself and my friends as, “Quiche.” Over time I’ve came to embrace it.