Wednesday, October 12, 2011

33. Don’t Go To The Hardware Store Looking For Oranges

“Get out of the habit of asking anyone for anything. Become self-reliant. The truth of the matter is nobody else has anything that you truly need.” – Kathryn Bild, Acting From A Spiritual Perspective

I live in a great little borough, east of Manhattan, called Queens. Astoria is my neighborhood. It’s one of these places that still has little “Mom and Pop” family-owned specialty stores. You buy fish at the fish market, meat at the meat market and bread at the corner bakery… that kind of thing. 

It’s great. You walk in the door at the hardware store. You know what you want… nails. It’s a hardware store. They’ve got TONS of nails. You get the size nails you need and you’re out the door, a happy satisfied customer. Easy.

Hypothetical situation …

Imagine what happens if you go to the hardware store expecting to find oranges... Well, sadly, you’re going to be disappointed, because the hardware store doesn’t carry oranges. And, in Astoria, the guy behind the counter will probably laugh, make fun of you in Greek, look at you like you’re slightly insane or possibly wonder if you're making some kind of innuendo when you ask him where he’s hiding the fruit. 

If you’re looking for actual oranges, go find a fruit stand. It will be a much more enjoyable and successful shopping experience for everyone.

In relationships... 

There are certain people that we know we can go to with certain needs in our emotional lives. I know that if I need a compassionate listening ear and some smart insight, I can call Haley and that’s what I’ll get. That’s just who she is with me. She cannot help but be herself. So I know I’m gonna go away from our conversation having benefited from Haley’s loving heart and unique point-of-view. Expectation met! (Thanks, H. Love you.)

I wish this was only a hypothetical situation…

What happens when you need a compassionate listening ear and some smart insight and you decide to take your vulnerable heart to a “friend” with a social skill-set that demonstrates neither compassion nor insight?Well, you’ll probably be frustrated and end up hurt. Or maybe you will blame that "compassionless-friend" for not being what you expected/wanted/needed them to be for you and end up angry. But why do we allow this to happen to ourselves?  I mean, who’s in-the-wrong here, really?

A hardware store is not a fruit stand and should not be expected to carry oranges any more than a fruit stand should be expected to sell power-tools. Therefore, “compassionless-friend” should not be expected to have compassion. 

Be smart about your emotional expectations. People are who they are.

Hardware store owners sell hardware. Fruit stand shopsmen sell fruit. That’s what they DO… It has nothing to do with trying to withhold anything from YOU. They just don’t have what you need. Accept that. Love them, but don’t expect them to make you feel good about who you are. That’s your job.

Don’t go to the hardware store looking for oranges.

Be smart with yo’ heart. Find a fruit stand.


P.S. Confession… This is another fun lesson in life that I seem to need to learn over and over and over again... Hence the blog-post about it. These lessons can make for some funny stories though… In my life, moments of epiphany can come at the oddest times and involve things like quinoa salad and bbq sauce… but I think I’ll save that one for next time we’re hanging out at the bar. Order me a gin and tonic with a twist of lime… and we’ll swap some of our hard-learned secrets of adulthood.

“If something is not working, don’t take it personally. Examine the situation for lessons and ask how you can be more cooperative in order to shift things. Stay out of martyrdom as much as possible and always take a proactive position.” – Lena Stevens, The Power Path


  1. Hi Virginia!
    So I've been following your blog since you introduced us, at the Juilliard info session, to it, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. It's beautifully written and it's so open and it makes me feel so much less alone as a fellow actor/grad school applier. You are apparently a very talented, motivated and generous person. I also applied to NYU and Yale, among a few others, last year and did not get into any schools. Did not even get called back to most-including NYU or Yale. Wondering if you could give some details about your auditions and results from your first two tries. I'd be so grateful to hear. Thank you!

  2. You got it, Sam! Check out post #34. :-)

  3. Love you Virginia :)