So I was talking with my phlebotomist a few hours ago (because THAT is how you expect a BonBlast to start off, right?) and thought of y’all.

Let’s be clear — I think about y’all a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

You’re my babies. But more like my nieces and nephews and cousins. 😉

Even if we’ve never met, I’m always looking for lessons to share, ways to use things that are happening in my life to underscore the principles of Self-Management for Actors, and of course inspiration in unexpected places. Sharing these things with you is very much a part of my day-to-day.

(And very specifically, recently, I realized I was packing for the SMFA Escape happening in Desert Hot Springs saying, “Oh, good! Victoria will love this!” and, “I can’t wait to share this with Laura,” and, “OMG! Connie is going to eat this UP!” And then I have to remind myself, “These ladies aren’t coming this year, Bon. You’re going to have to share it with them some other way.”)

(We can blame the good drugs for some of this I’m sure.)

So, my phlebotomist goes to take my blood from the already-embattled spot and… OMG, I don’t feel it. I mean, I *feel* it, but I don’t wince with pain like I did with two of the last three vampires that did rounds to grab some of my blood to test out.

I said, “You’re magical!”

To which he replied, “Yes. I once was in the hospital for six months — and you know how often we draw blood while you’re in here — and when I got out, I knew I’d make sure no one feels preventable pain with this.”

How beautiful.

He specialized on something incredibly minor in the scheme of all the things he surely experienced in those six months and decided he could improve someone else’s life by getting really good at that one thing.

He became the kind of person he needed when he was in pain, scared, and alone.

Immediately, I thought of you. More specifically, I thought of who I am *to* you, perhaps.

Everything I’ve built with Self-Management for Actors — from that first column I wrote in 1999 kicking off years of interviewing casting directors all the way to the very last piece of advice I gave in a private coaching session last week — stems from the struggles *I* had as an actor.

It’s shit that would’ve made my life as a creative storyteller better. Y’know, when I was in pain, scared, and alone.

Right after that little a-ha moment (as the little bandage made its way to my arm), I thought about you and your storytelling. The ways you share your many gifts. Who you are as a creative. How you heal with your work.

You do realize — even if you happen to be at a tier right now that makes you feel as though you would take ANY role in ANY project for ANY amount of pay (even none) — that your greatest gift, your most significant talent, your best joy-filled expression of self and spirit is that thing that was missing when you needed it most.

Y’know the lack of stories that existed as you were growing up that reflected where you lived in the world, what you experienced in your life, or who you saw in the mirror? That reality was created for you to experience so you can now — with NO need to study like you would for a role playing anything else — create the kind of magic that heals… when others are in pain, scared, and alone.

Please don’t take this power lightly.

Especially when you’re in the position (or at the tier) to say yes to stuff that doesn’t so much feel aligned with your greatest storytelling gifts, consider that maybe you’re at that “six months in the hospital” stage that inspired even greater magic in the work of today’s phlebotomist during our brief encounter in our lives.

Consider that you’re learning something incredibly valuable to your VOICE as an artist, to your story as a performer, to your work as a role model — because you are. Constantly.

I learn so much from you, beautiful. Thank you for who you are in my world! And for who you let me be in yours. 🙂

Much love,

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Jaye March 20, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Bonnie, I actual have a spiritual mission. Part of my Chaplain training. I am here to help keep the world healthy through comedy. I feel ready to do this. UCB is training wheels for me. Well! Get me a bike helmet and take off those trainers, baby, ’cause I’m ready!❤

  2. Laura March 20, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Just WOW, Bon. I keep seeing this as “Become the person you need yourself to be.”


    Thank you for sharing your stories, your life lessons, and your toys. Love you so much! Happy healing!

    1. Constance Zaytoun March 20, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Yes, yes, yes!!!!
      I’m with you, Laura – !
      We ARE storytellers/artists to demonstrate that we are not alone and if we have not already “been there done that here’s what i experienced” then I always know that most stories I don’t absorb in the moment are going to come back and tap me on the shoulder in the future. (How’s that for crazy tense use?!??) My encounter in the past more often than not finds me in the future. It’s happened time and time again and when I used to teach, I could see a similar path being laid down for my students.
      There’s a lot of uncomfortable space in-between tiers and I so appreciate your helping us/me navigate all of the sticky stuff–the sticky stuff we encounter before the past catches up to reveal something, you know?
      Growth. Surrender. Breathe.
      LOVE YOU!

      1. Laura March 20, 2018 at 12:36 pm

        You go, you time traveler! 🙂

  3. Grace March 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    I think I know why I chose acting over teaching. The opportunity for the glitz and glamour, the possibility of owning a home in the hills, the massive attention to the stories I wanted to tell, and the award season: the visual and physical representation of a gold star. But when I pull back, I recognize that both jobs have a tough road ahead, both experience massive amounts of underappreciation, both aren’t considered by society as highly valuable — currently that spot is reserved for engineers and ceo’s— but both are integral to our connection as a society and both are representative of the art of storytelling. So why is it I still find myself going back and forth with which would bring me more joy in the moment on this journey?

    I can help heal people’s pain points in learning. I make thingngs easier to understand. That is my gift. Is there a place for that in the Entertainment business?

  4. David Bonderoff March 20, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for the inspo, Bonnie! I always say you are the best version of yourself, you just can’t see it all of the time. You are the role model!

  5. Sheila Houlahan March 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Wowwwwwowowowow do I feel this in my bones.

    This has been my mission from day one as an actor of color. As a survivor of incredible mental and physical health issues. I want to be the voice that I needed, that I know someone else will need.

    Thank you for this. It is so grounding to remember why it is we do this!!!

  6. Erin Zapcic March 21, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Jaye, I love your specific WHY. So powerful!!

    So important to remember that that past has lessons for us, even when we can’t see them at the time, Connie. <3

    I think there is absolutely a way to merge your gift with what brings you joy, Grace. Even if it's not apparent at the moment. Maybe your teaching can supplement your acting? A side gig helping first-time producers navigate paperwork and red tape? I'm sure you can find a way to marry the two.

    What a great mission, Sheila. You're inspiring!!


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