I used to want to be Tom Cruise

I used to want to be Tom Cruise when I was younger. That was my dream. However, that dream was based in ego. When I imagined that lifestyle, that of Tom, I saw the parties, mansions, mountain homes, adulation of the ladies and gobs and gobs of cash. I came to the realization in my last year of graduate school that I was not seeking out the work so much as the above mentioned trappings of stardom. It was celebrity I was craving. It was my ego I was seeking to massage and realized that self massage is really just masturbation.

Asia. I received a grant to study ritualistic mask dancing from village master teachers in Bali and India. This trip was supposed to take about a month and once there, turned into a year long adventure. So many visionaries have been inspired by the East, in general, and especially Bali. What a beautiful country. What this trip afforded me was a perspective that I sought. I wanted to see that there is a different way of living life. I wanted to see that theatre (and art) can be and is more than what I knew to be so in New York, what I am accustomed to.

I had a bit of a crisis upon graduation. I had spent four years in college and then immediately went into three years of graduate school. At no point had I entered the market, prior to graduating grad school. Graduation was a rude shock. What I ultimately learned is that the clothes I was wearing, who I was attempting to be, did not fit. I did not want to do what I had been trained to do (commercial path of theatre and film/TV). I wanted something else, but did not know how to go about achieving it. This plagued me. My desire to be Tom began to fade.

Asia served, for me, as a vision quest. It enabled me to explore my creative impulses without the fear of social judgment or horrific reviews. In other words, it gave me the freedom to fail, which I sorely needed. And I did. I failed in a lot of ways. I failed as a lover. I failed in some of my creative works. I failed as a friend in some ways. But, I learned. That year in Asia changed my life and sent me off in a new direction with courage, hope and a sense of destiny about me. I still did not know what I was ultimately going to be doing, but threw myself towards it nonetheless.

The resulting adventure was filled with debaucheries, steamy jungle dances, an entering of the belly of the beast and a shedding of my proverbial skin.

To be Continued…

Next Up. The Many Types of Seduction Found in Asia. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.


Jim Hart


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