For the first time, I had the displeasure of having a “fellow” actor ridicule me for my work. It doesn’t feel good. Especially since it was done in a very public way. Low point in my life indeed. I don’t know whether that role, or the mocking of it, is worse.
So anyway, as an act of brain defragmentation, I was going to write a monologue about it, it certainly started that way (but then it got too long, and now it’s more of an open letter). One of my teachers used to have us write our own monologues. He’d feed us prompts. Dude used to say stuff about actors like “having the gift of vulnerability” (to describe us glorified, romanticised crybabies).
Actors’ psyches are fascinating, aren’t they? Even if they are dull characters as real-life people? And now one actor has actually insulted my work as an actress for the first time. Thank you for that.
This piece is kind of pathetic and I’m rusty (I haven’t had anything published in eight years). I wish I could have done NaNoWriMo this year, but I was so busy with work, I could barely focus on studying for the UN YPP. Let alone write long fiction.
But anyway, before proceeding… I just wanted to point out that:
- While this is inspired the real-life experience of being humiliated, it has dramatised and exaggerated (not the level of upset, but the circumstance). My real life isn’t nearly as exciting.
- Again, I cannot stress this enough: This is half-fiction, so I am not actually suicidal—that concern is non-existent.
- This fictitious letter contains profanity (this is half-fiction and here I play a cussing, suicidal character—this is not me, not who I am as a real-life person).
So here goes
I will never forget that type of teasing from another actor. That was literally the first time I’ve been teased to the point of wanting to commit suicide. I’m not okay.
I went to the office today, which I was excited about because I enjoy being productive. And it’s great to do dignified work: Nothing to tease about, a lot to be proud of. It helps me stay balanced, keeps me sane, and feel like a respectable human being. Unlike working as an actress.
But I still had to lock myself up in the toilet to cry about your teasing today. I know it was unprofessional because this happened during office hours, but I kept tearing up and I couldn’t really hide it. I can’t get it out of my head.
I’m sure I will never recover from this. It’s not even comparable to rereading something I wrote that was published eight years ago and cringing now—by comparison, I feel proud of that work now after what you’ve done to humiliate me.
Do you have any idea how many times I’ve cried since I saw those stills?
Suicide by shame. Hara-kiri for honour. Mort by mortification.
This is the first time anyone’s every teased me for anything that pushed me hard enough to want to off myself. At my age. At your age. I was severely bullied at school and those girls were harsh—some of the things those girls did to me made me feel so violated and get anxiety still. And none of that stopped until I started grad school. But none of the bullying I experienced during my school years ever pushed me so far over the edge like this. Humiliating me into wanting to retreat and disappear forever, or simply die.
I already tweeted these:
But I still couldn’t feel much better for very long.
I don’t take myself seriously. You know that. I don’t my mind people making fun of anything I produce myself (self-produced videos and sound bits, fanfic, my tweets, photo sets). But please don’t make fun of stuff I have very little or no control of. I’m very insecure about the work I do professionally, I’m not professionally trained. And you know I barely function as a normal human being in everyday life.
I took that role when I was vulnerable and needy. You knew why I was that way in October 2013. You were the first person I spoke to about what happened at that wedding party. You of all people knew why I took that 15-year-old role. You knew the circumstances. You know that about me. I fucking told you why. How could you mock me still?
And I’ve explicitly stated that all my self-deprecation is a just ‘pre-emptive strike’. My way of telling people I’m aware of my limitations, so they won’t have to point them out to me, because God knows I couldn’t handle having my insecurities pointed out to me by a third party. It would hurt too much. You knew that.
Et tu, Douchecanoe?
Again, I don’t take myself seriously and I don’t care if people laugh at/with me. If making people laugh didn’t genuinely bring me joy, I wouldn’t even be here. I love making people laugh. But what you mocked wasn’t just me, but you had to mock my situation. And that is unacceptable, Sir. And that was what hurt me the most about it. You weren’t even laughing at me per se. And you can laugh at me, but don’t laugh at the pathetic situation I’ve found myself in because I happened to be born in Indonesia. And living in Indonesia, I really had no choice but to involve myself with shoddy productions like that. Not only because I had to get my foot in the door, but also because there isn’t much to work with down here. I don’t have the resources to get into quality television and film, no matter if I turn out to be talented. It’s not like being mocked for choosing to be pretentiously ‘artsy’. So you can shove all your ‘prestige’ roles up your arse. You’re a snob. Even the foreign opportunities I get are awful. You know what Marvel makes me think of now? Try Googling “Indonesian bar girls”. That’s what. It’s almost racist what you did up there.
It’s like you’re punishing me for being born in Indonesia and having to start an acting career in its low-standard industry. It’s slightly racist when you think about it, isn’t it? It’s not my fault I was born into Indonesia’s culture of ‘acting’. I thought I already explained that to you—I even blogged about it recently. I’d think after that blog post, you’d be more understanding of the my situation. That I don’t even have the benefit of having my sides 24 hours prior, you know I have to compete against people who are willing to pay for roles, that casting directors make me do improv in the audition room—or worse change my character if they change my mind after they’ve seen me in person, that I have to think on my feet during auditions, and that I had to ask for the script beforehand even for a part that was already mine and was to film in less than a week. So how could you still make fun of me? Why?
FFS, those people only gave me one bottle of water for nearly 14 hours of work, we filmed in a remote middle school building the middle of nowhere, where the shops were closed and I only had a few spare water bottles and boxes and cans of coffee in my car—I was in its most literal sense, thirsty on set. I could literally feel my lips chapping, I’m too scared to look and see just how dehydrated I must have looked and I’m so insecure about my teeth and what happened to them when the nannies and maids were away.
FFS, that production company that I did my first role with had a Confederate flag, hung side-by-side next to a Union Jack in their offices as ‘decoration’ probably because they thought it ‘looked cool’ but they had no idea what they were hanging on their wall. Or what it meant. Can you imagine yourself ever having to work with a production company that hangs a Confederate flag in their offices? I bet even your very first role, your worst, lowest-quality production, the ones that either go straight-to-video or get end up getting shelved aren’t even like that. That pilot I did? I found them because they posted an open casting announcement for a so-called “sitcom” when in fact they were developing an SNL-style sketch show “with an attractive cast” to compete with normal sketch shows with, you know, actual funny people? Those people were all about the profit. They wanted us, actors—none of whom are professional comedians—to do improv comedy up to thrice a week, with a possible upgrade to five to seven days per week. You can’t even expect an entire writing team to come up with material for that many nights, let alone expect non-comedians to work with basic concept and do improv on them. They didn’t know the difference between ‘skit’ and ‘sitcom’. You work with some of the best productions, not even just in Indonesia, but in the fucking world.
So get the fuck off your fucking high horse.
You stooped very, very low when you lowered yourself to actually making fun of my work!
We’re not near being at similar stages of our acting careers—and frankly, I don’t even have a ‘career’ yet. But you’ve broke me already. We’re not even playing the league…
You know I have trouble looking at myself on camera. I can’t stand myself. I can’t even listen to my own voice. It took me a full year to learn to listen to my SoundCloud and even now I can’t bear to go back and listen to some of the early ones, the one where I sound squeaky and my lisp is audible? Compare that to the voice work you’ve done. And That video of my hand-acting? I posted it here without even looking at it, without ever clicking the ‘play’ button. When it pops up on the telly, I stuff my earlobes with earphones. I overheard someone singing the chants and I squirmed. It was a struggle to get myself to watch my “July 6” video, and even longer to accustom myself to looking at my own selfies even. Not to mention actually staying calm enough to even take them without looking away.
I’ve never even seen myself in that role you parodied. That you thought was so amusing. You must think you’re so clever.
At least that was me pimping my acting. Not my personal life. And you know what? My roles may suck, but at least I’m not such as arsehole that I need to pay for love. And I’m glad I’m not that thirsty.
Again: I was vulnerable when I took my 15-year-old role. How much emphasise do I have to put on “vulnerable”? You knew that, so you should know better.
You can laugh at me, but don’t ever laugh at my situation. Not without my invite.
I didn’t mind this whole irritation game at first, because you started off by making fun of my self-produced stuff. Going back and forth, and I made little skits of you—of work that I know for a fact you’re actually proud of, and were all produced in a professional manner. But then you then you had to enter that forbidden territory.
I definitely don’t classify this as some sort of “meet cute” scenario (it could have been… Until you crossed that line). Now you’re not Mr. Darcy and I’m not playing hard to get. You’ve destroyed me as a person.
I’m never going to be the way I was before that ever again. That was no humorous jab, that was a soul-killing. You’ve caused destruction to one part of myself that I had been constructing and cultivating for years now. And I’ve worked so hard on it, and now I’m back to ground zero. Do you have any idea how long it took me to build that? And I’m running out of time, but now I don’t have any time or energy left to build it back again. I don’t have it in me to fix it. And don’t touch me, you’ll just make it worse. You can’t fucking undo this.
You’ve teased me about my situation, not about me. There’s a big difference. Big. Huge. It will forever define who you mean to me. There’s no undoing this. I’m surprised you’ve made it this far with your acting career with that level of insensitivity. Where would you be without all those connections and ass-kissers singing you praise, raving about your work? You’re a prick of the highest order. Plus, you go around schmoozing everyone so they can say nice things about you back. But me, Lemon, I would rather never get praise for my acting ever in my life—hell, I would rather Variety call me wooden—if it meant I could unsee what you’ve done.
That was not feedback. You did not provide me with helpful input. That was not constructive criticism. That was no peer-review. That wasn’t even one of those irrational and inexplicable, “oh, I can’t stand her screen presence, I just can’t. IDK and I can’t explain why! Help, she’s so annoying!” comments, Lemon. You mocked. You made fun of me. You teased me.
What you did was so incredibly cruel, and to bring your friends into it.
I became a “former actress” on January 6, 2015.
What I had there wasn’t a bad day. I didn’t just have a “bad day”. That was one of the worst days of my life. You made it happen. And I will remember it forever.
The day you and your band of imitators mocked me. And you did it just for the fun of it. I hope you’re all happy. You and your buddies. If front of all those people. Some of whom—if all of this isn’t just my imaginings, I’m sure, were in on the joke too.
I blogged about those hurdles! I blogged about quality that makes ME look bad. As a fucking defence. How can you people be so heartless so as to tease me about it after the fact, in such a public way… As you yourselves get praise for your own work?
How could you? I get that you guys must be proud of what yourselves, feeling like you’re all on top of the world. But was it so necessary for you to make me feel so low? You all just picked me up, carried me, and dumped me into a gutter. That was an emotional slum for me, I felt like such a lowlife. Making me feel shitty doesn’t make you any more successful.
You can win all the awards in the world, but your true contribution to the acting community is that you killed another person’s spirits. Don’t you ever forget it.
Now I’m so paranoid and scared—and I don’t bloody care how self-absorbed this sounds—but I’m too scared to go to auditions anymore now, in case the auditions tapes leak. I feel watched.
It feels like I’ve reached a premature end and I’m so ashamed that I can’t ever audition again. I’m so ashamed, I can physically feel it: My back is hunched, I feel like I have slime on my skin, I don’t want people to see me, and I can’t even face myself in the mirror anymore. How the fuck do you expect me to get dressed, put makeup on, and drive to casting offices from now on? I can’t even look at the only two acting books I managed to find at Kinokuniya without feeling mortified.
Who cares if “everyone I went to school with has done it and I haven’t” anymore now? Two out of five isn’t bad—but I don’t know if I’m more embarrassed about quitting before reaching my target of five roles before 2024, or for sucky roles as 15-year-olds that I tried my best but ended up humiliating myself anyway.
Even after I’ve quit acting, I will never forget this to the day I die. It’s a permanent, un-delete-able file in your section in the Acting Department of my Mind Palace. And it will define who I understand you are, it defines my understanding of your identity, forever. You can literally save my life, make a grand apology, and it will still never go away. This is who you are to me now. Nothing you say or do will make this go away, because it’s etched in my little gray cells and the thought of it makes my chest fucking hurt. I may smile and laugh at your other jokes, but this memory will never be deleted.
And I’ve only just seen the stills. Even then I can’t look for more than two seconds without having to look away. Had I seen it on video, I would probably be dead from suicide by now. I literally feel an urge to physically harm myself to distract my mind from the emotional pain this is causing me.
I’m sitting on a bench somewhere on Jalan Thamrin on my way to Grand Indonesia to get eye-cream, holding myself back from throwing myself in front of speeding cars. I’ll try to make it home just to ensure this gets posted, but I can’t guarantee I can hold back any longer. Especially not if you keep this up. And when I do decide I’ve have enough and need to die, I’ll be sure to mention you, by name, in my suicide note.
For God’s sake! I cried at the office for reasons completely unrelated to the actual office work! What the actual fuck? When has that ever happened to me before? I’m so professional. Before that, I was too depressed to leave the apartment, let alone walk to the bus stop to work, I lost my appetite, and couldn’t keep food in.
I’m very insecure about my acting as it is. So why would anyone, especially someone of your professional stature, at your level of your career, have to tease me about it? I don’t even qualify as your competition.
I can’t read another one of your pretentious “actorly talk” interviews about ‘process’ and with your faux-humility about being “blessed” anymore. You are not humble, although I’m sure you and your PR people would like to think you are. You’re fucking arrogant, heartless, and you’re a bully.
I sincerely hope something happens to you to bring you down a peg.
For your own sake.
And I hope you suffer.
I’m a fucking crybaby, but so are you. Maybe self-involved too.
We’re all but romanticised, glorified crybabies. You’re a glamorised one too, that’s for sure.
People can say you’re ‘talented’ but I’m sure there exists people who are way more talented than you are out there… Just less connected, less lucky in life. What would have happened had you chosen to be a barrister instead? Do you think you’d be a successful one? Think about it. I sacrificed a lot and took actual risks to pursue acting. Not the kinds of ‘sacrifices’ you took (oh, look I ditched Broadway to play lead in my very own television show). But real ones. You know by know why I left in 2010—what happened after they found out irrelevant-to-acting information about me. You know how much I’m paying for staying away from those casting couches. I took serious risks. One of them was, unlike you, starting from the very bottom at the risk of humiliating myself—and I did.
And now you’re throwing shade at me for it.
And you just had to involve and deploy your colleagues to humiliate me along with you. How many casting couches do you expect me to sleep on to meet your standards?
Not only are you ungrateful and greedy, it seems to me now, when you do see less fortunate people like me, you just look down on them. I don’t know if it’s because you’ve had it so easy compared to me, or you’re genuinely so insensitive to the point of being unable to empathise. Shutting the fuck up about your embarrassment of riches and crap-talk like you “know what’s like to struggle” would be a good start. Stop playing victim, you play it badly. You’re embarrassing yourself.
You’re full of shit, pretentious, arrogant, and you’re a suck-up to people you deem superior to yourself or can somehow benefit you. But then you treat people below you, people like me, this way. You’re fake, and I’m just trying to make an honest living with what I have without the benefits you’ve enjoyed in your life. Have you ever done anything like that?
I’m not even talking about you being well-connected, you should know by now that I don’t even have the benefit of having positive parents, family, and friends to support me in all this! Don’t fucking give interviews about how you “struggled” because it’s obvious your Mummy and Daddy love you very much and that alone makes you so much less struggling than the easiest I’ve ever had it. Don’t even bother selling that saccharine BS, you’ll just look like a fucking moron. Which is exactly what you are anyway. These are your true colours, aren’t they?
This is who you are?
What you did was a step too far, and you’ve crossed that line. And I now I’m certain that, no matter what you say, deep inside, you will never respect me as an equal as a human being and I know it for sure now. Do you have any idea how many of your insecurities I held back from writing about online to respect you? OMG, who knew Mia could be so considerate, I thought she was just a self-serving famewhore! And yet you have no problem doing this to me.
How ungracious of you to mock my lowest point when you’re at your highest yet.
I was never bitter about well-connected people, in fact I was never jealous of you in that respect. Which is why it hurts so much that you would have the heart to tease me about having to start form the humiliating bottom and being put in those positions like that.
What kind of human being are you? That was like teasing a classmate for being born poor! How old are you? There’s a difference between childish and immature, but what you did was the latter—and that was not cute. WTF is wrong with you?!
All that PR with your faux-underdog persona you’re trying to sell for sympathy is just vile. It’s insulting to people like me, and people who are even less privileged than me. So much for Hollywood phonies ‘crying’ and feigning ‘feewing touched’ over acceptance speeches about coming from developing countries. But look at you up there on stage humiliating me like that, as a joke. Just proves the place is full of hypocrites. And find it so offensive that people have this notion that you’re doing all this to gain an increased level of “artistic freedom” and better scripts, that you’re ‘dependant’ on that status you’re chasing like mad now so you can get “better work”. Are you fucking emotionally blind? You and your coworkers up there after getting into a great project have the nerve to make fun of my lowly work and still complain about getting better scripts? You may not be as independent as you’d like, but you’re not exactly trapped in that professional cul-de-sac some of us are in! You’re in very good shape career-wise.
Meanwhile, I did what I had to do and you ridiculed me for doing it.
I will not apologise for lacking the privilege you’ve enjoyed in your life.
And don’t start planting the notion that you have “no filter” because you’re an Autie or Aspie, because I know you’re not. You’ll just give the autistic community a bad name using autism as an excuse for your mean behaviour towards me. See, the thing with you using “mild autism” for all that rudeness is that you did this together with your castmates. I’m sure the entire cast is autistic too… And don’t feed us with your supposed “abandonment issues” either—other children would kill to have what you had. You must think you’re Holden Fucking Caulfield, don’t you? Aw… Because have you seen the fillings in my teeth that I got from the years being away being nanniless? That is health-related abandonment. That’s a physical scar on me. And they’re certainly not landing me any jobs! They’re a painful reminder for me and I haven’t had them fixed, because I can’t. So for the love of God, stop your whining. It’s so fucking beyond offensive.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you humiliated me about the lowest point of my life as an actress while you’re possibly at the height of yours—as you receive accolades for your own achievement, no less!
Your lack of shame for your lack of grace is appalling, Sir.
I don’t need this right now. You don’t need this right now.
I’m trying to build confidence to do what needs to be done, but you had to permanently crush my self-esteem.
You’re obviously buried in your own issues—but they’re all your own doing because it’s never been enough for you. You totally brought this onto yourself when you decided you couldn’t just be an actor. You have so much more than most other actors. But your hunger is insatiable. Nothing has ever been enough for you. It never will. You’ll just hop from one thing to another… And that’s always scared me about you. I doubt you’re going to learn anything from this. You’re hopeless.
And I really feel bad burdening you with this monologue/open letter, but I have to let you know this isn’t okay. Can you understand that?
I don’t believe in many illogical things in life that we can’t scientifically prove, but I do believe in karma.
I hope you experience ten times the embarrassment and shock I had when I saw those stills.
I’m going to watch you burn. With relish.
What you did was not okay.
I hope you suffer.
Please tell me that my imaginings aren’t real.
Please go away.
You know what it’s like for me. A beautiful mind with Truman syndrome. My sanity. Have mercy. Please stop it. Leave me. Surely you can’t be in on it too?
Sincerely from the bottom of my heart,