it's all right to smile

I live in a constant state of longing. I'm constantly gunning for something. For my career. That's something I've been told I'll miss once I've reached a certain level of success or at least security -- that hopeful feeling of something always being around the bend. (I have two pitches today. I'm still excited about it and hold onto the belief, and perhaps it is a ignorant one, that with one word from someone everything would change. I see an absolute instead of the tangles and headaches that inevitably come after a "Yes" in Hollywood, which is all I might see later down the road.) I often have this feeling that once "x" happens, things will be great. Once I leave my job. Once I have money. Once I've met her. Once. If only. If I could just have. If.

And there is love at the heart of everything. We do it all for love, sure. It's all love, as Tim O'Brian pointed out -- it's why he went to Vietnam, to somehow gain the love of his country, his father, whatever he thought would make him accepted and embraced with an assurance that he wouldn't be let go. And this is a terrible admission to make, but I'll make it anyway -- in certain areas of my life I've always won. And when it doesn't happen, on those rare occurrences, which do happen, by the way, that someone tells me I did something sub-par, or I get a bad review, or I hear mean shit that's been said about me behind my back, it's hard to deal with. And here's what I'm afraid of, that I don't have a very thick skin where I really should because I've not really had to develop one. (In certain areas. In some, my skin is like a fucking rhino.) With maybe one day per year exception, I've always been completely confident in my abilities, talent, and the inevitability that I will reach a certain modicum of success. I think I have sooooo far to go as an actor and a writer, but nevertheless, to be honest, I've always felt I'll do pretty well. That's not to say that I feel satisfied, it's just that I have a deep core of patience within my growing impatience.

And so in all this, I'm realizing something. When I'm not dissatisfied, when everything is going well, I have a hard time. I'm used to problems. I'm used to there being things wrong, no matter how subtly. And right now there just aren't. But I look for them still. I worry that somehow my unemployment will stop coming, or that my representation will drop me, or that things in my love life will go bad. And none of these things are going to happen. That's the thing. I know they're not, but there is a small part of me that lies awake at night worrying about it, scanning the walls of the house for cracks that aren't there. And it's a very natural thing, but also something that is not necessary. I'm done with it.

It's alright to be happy. It's okay to love your apartment and your friends. It's okay to be very excited about people coming to visit and trips you're going to take. It's alright to be psyched about where your career is going and love the projects you're working on right now. It's fine to enjoy the other things you work on. It's alright that the things you worry about, your car, your cat, your family, are all happy and healthy and doing well. And it's fine that your personal life has become something you never really imagined: perfect. It's okay. It's more than okay.

And there is a point where I really just need to flop down in the mud, enjoy the feeling of my muscles hot with work and the roar of the crowd and have someone come up to me and say, "That'll do, stee. That'll do."

So here's more from my journal when I was twelve:

Jan. 16th '84

Derek and I had a late breakfast and then went bowling. I did O.K. I went to rehearsal and then went home.

(Well, obviously I deserve a award for that one.)

Jan. 17th '84

Woke up late and went to school. Tanya was really nice. Says my sister is tall. Mrs. Willins spilled our daphnia (I think it's some sort of algae or something we were growing.)

Mike and I went bowling and I did good then went home.

It's 10:35 and I'm watching Hart to Hart.

Jan. 18th '84

Woke up at night, rats fighting. (I had rats in a cage in my room. Hated those things. They ate my brand new OP turquoise shorts. Fuckers.) Went to school. Tanya was nice.

At trumpet we got a jazz piece and Greg Monkus played drums it sounded good and Greg was great! I thought. Went to rehearsal and came home.

It's 10:21. The radio is playing Hall and Oates' "Say It Isn't So."

...I saw a fake roast for Bob Hope the other night with comedians playing old time comedians from that era and Dave Thomas doing his Bob Hope in full prostethic make-up, and I have to say on the whole, it was one of the funniest things I've seen in my life. I fell down about five times. To the floor. It's a good feeling.

...Finally, please note that my email address has changed. It's

The Robert Downey Jr. Happy Song Corner


I sit at my table and wage war on myself. It seems like it's all, it's all for nothing. I know the barricades, and I know the mortar in the wall breaks. I recognize the weapons, I used them well. This is my mistake. Let me make it good. I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down. I've a rich understanding of my finest defenses. I proclaim that claims are left unstated, I demand a rematch. I decree a stalemate. I divine my deeper motives. I recognize the weapons. I've practiced them well. I fitted them myself. It's amazing what devices you can sympathize, empathize. This is my mistake. Let me make it good. I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down. Reach out for me and hold me tight. Hold that memory. Let my machine talk to me, let my machine talk to me. This is my world. And I am world leader pretend. This is my life. And this is my time. I have been given the freedom to do as I see fit. It's high time I've razed the walls that I've constructed. You fill in the mortar. You fill in the harmony. You fill in the mortar. I raised the wall. And I'm the only one. I will be the one to knock it down... speaking of which. This is my world. And I am Downey. That is my water glass. This is my blanket. That is my window. This is my bucket. That is my roommate. This is my script for the finale that I've been kicked off. Everything is in control even though my arms itch and the walls are bleeding. At least I am not Robert Blake. I am Robert Downey Jr. This is my mistake. Let me make it good. This is my Sloppy Joe. Hey roommate, please let me eat it? Damn.
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