Jane: For I Love Myself

I am living proof that you can have the life of your dreams – even when your dreams change.

I grew up the eldest of four kids in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. By the seventh grade, I realized I wanted to be an actor. Through acting, I realized I was freed to explore the human condition – something that seemed completely mysterious to me for much of my life.

More than wanting to act, though, I didn’t want to fail. Didn’t want to fail my own dreams, and didn’t want to fail in my parents eyes. So I kept trying to shove acting onto the back burner. I kept trying to make my other interests – politics, empowerment of women – into my life. I told myself I wasn’t pretty enough, tall enough, accomplished enough, whatever enough, to really “make it” as an actor.

I found a middle ground with a politically-oriented day job, around which I fit some theatre work. At the time, I was married to a terrific and smart man who was as conflicted about my acting as I was. Toward the end of a particularly successful run of a play in Washington, I found myself with debilitating stage fright.  As the theatre kept extending the run of the show, my fears rose to paralyzing levels, and I had to stop.

I didn’t put two and two together for almost three years. I didn’t see that being afraid to act was my ego’s way of resolving a dilemma: If doing what you love risks being loved by your family, an easy way out of the conflict is to stop doing what you love.

Over this period, I would get calls from two dear director friends asking me to do a show with them. One finally bargained, “If you want to quit, we’ll find a replacement. Just start out and see what happens.” Indeed, I did try to quit – two nights before the press opening. It was a blessing that Leslie kept her head enough to say, “Okay. We’ll find someone to take over but we just need you to get through the rest of the week, okay?”

Of course, I ended up not needing the replacement. I discovered I could operate without the fear and stay in the love – and I began performing show after show after show.

My marriage didn’t last and he ended up with his exact RIGHT partner, down the road. It was during this period that I discovered the ideas of Shakti Gawain, Dr. Deepak Chopra and other metaphysical teaching. They showed me that what you focus on is what you bring toward you.

What I wanted then, most of all, was to bring in the exact right partner for me. I thought long and hard about what I was looking for. I looked at what was attractive to me and why. I ended up writing a letter to a friend about what I wanted. Within the month, I discovered Jeffrey B. Davis. The night of our first date (March 29, 1988), we decided to marry. We haven’t looked back since.

With Jeff’s love, confidence and support, I began to head toward being a full time actor instead of an actor with a day job. Within 18 months of meeting him, I was doing commercials at a rate that allowed me to have union health insurance, and I took the leap.

I loved so much about that work. I loved the rehearsal process, where we could explore choices and motivations. Watching the energy around me, with everyone locked into a specific task, and how it would all come together, was one of the huge gifts of being on a set. Learning how to hold my own energies, how to be ready when the camera rolled and not three minutes later – it was all great fun.


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