September: Clean Slate

September: Clean Slate

1Bye bye, summer.

Hard to believe it’s already over and there are only three months left of 2016. This makes Fall my last chance to make the most of this tumultuous year. I’ve had my ups and downs during this spin around the sun, and I intend to end it on a high note.

September marks the beginning of a new school year, and I’m among the bright eyed and bushy tailed eager for a fresh start. Do you remember what it was like on the first day of school? You walked right into that building with a perfectly ironed uniform, (Catholic School) a pristine school bag, and a new attitude. You told yourself, “This year is gonna be different!” and you believed it as you walked down the halls clutching your perfectly organized Trapper Keeper. A new school year held so many possibilities and September was a clean slate which felt liberating and exciting.

I’m having those same feelings again. As I face my second foray into the NYC rat race I keep reminding myself, “This is gonna be different.” This spring I accomplished a lot with my education, but I also I hit a few bumps in the road. I’ve had a lot of time to think about my craft, and what kind of artist I want to be.

When I discovered acting as a kid I saw it as an escape. It was a way to pretend to “be someone else.” I relished in the idea of being another person–if only for an hour. Acting made me happy. I thought the happiness I felt from acting came from it’s ability to turn me into someone else. (Yes, I know. Get a therapist. Blah blah blah State of healthcare in the US blah blah.)


But since starting an education with the Upright Citizens Brigade and The Penny Templeton Studio… I’ve learned that acting isn’t about pretending to be someone else. UCB tells us to play to the top of our intelligence and find our truth. The deeper I dive into acting, the more I realize a good actor is an honest one. Acting isn’t about hiding behind another personality at all–it’s about exposing yourself entirely.

This terrifies me.

I’ve been telling people to call me Jo Pincushion for almost a decade, but (obviously) that’s not the name I was born with. It used to be a metaphor for millennials’ alternate online personalities–but is anyone real anymore? It’s a reference to a number of my heros, but what have they done lately to contribute to my inspiration? I went by Pincushion because no one ever tries to pronounce Van Thuyne correctly. Then I get to NYC and all the open mic hosts start pronouncing “Pincushion” like I’m French and I’m all– NOPE! Not French, just trying to hold onto my Hot Topic member card.

The personality I crafted years ago is starting to fade like the My Chemical Romance hoodie I bought in 2010.

I <3 dis hoodie
I <3 dis hoodie

If I want to be an actor and comedian I have to be honest with my audience. How am I supposed to find my truth when I’ve been hiding behind a name I created when I was 16 years old? How is anyone going to take me seriously when I can’t take myself seriously?

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate some things. After all, it is September. Time for a fresh start.

One thought on “September: Clean Slate

  1. I remember that moment, 40 years ago and all of the other times since then. New starts, restarts, false starts, each time an expectation of what should be or will be filled my mind and blurred my eyes to the reality of the randomness or mild chaos that comes as a result of living in the universe of infinite possibilities. I thought I had the roadmap to that success we all yearn for, the one that people write bestselling novels about, but it turns out I have the mind and heart of an explorer, each time pushing the boundary of discovery to find a new and wonderful talent I never knew I had, but for an inkling. So I roll with the flow, try to be honest with myself and see what that next blind curve will bring.

    For you maybe its time to determine what is of more value to you, the journey and all that it has to offer or the big reward we all hope is at the end of it.

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