Hi guys, I'm so excited you popped by.
After I published the blog post titled, My General Hospital Surprise, a dear friend reached out and said “I wanted to know what happened, how the death of your character made you feel and how you dealt with it.” He went on further to ask if I felt like a piece of me died with the character and how I got over it. What a great question, right?
I had a dream a few months prior to the death of my fictional character, Abigail Martha Haver, where I'm caught by surprise as I read in my script that I die in an explosion and no one from the show had warned me this was going to happen. I guess you could say it was my subconscious warning me in a little nightmarish way. However, General Hospitals lovely casting director, Mark Teschner was incredibly gracious by giving me a heads up it would be happening in a month or so, not too long after I had that dream. ABC had received word that General Hospital would be the only soap left on air as All My Children and One Life were being canceled creating a lot of changes.
Before Abby left for Chicago on a business trip she gave Michael a day planner filled with things they'd do together in the up coming year. It was her romantic way of saying "I want to be with you and look at all these things we can look forward to doing together." She gives a passionate goodbye kiss and off to Chicago she went. Neither her nor Michael knew that would be their last kiss, their last goodbye.
I knew this day would come since I wasn’t under a contract and frankly, I thought much sooner. Without sounding like it was no big whoop, I had to keep my mind prepped for this. The build-up to the last days neared and it was bittersweet. Hanging with Chad Duell on set goofing around, rehearsing together, starting to say my goodbyes and looking forward to what was next was all swirling around in my heart and my head. I had no idea how things would end. Wishful thinking had me hoping the writers would send Abby off for a bit to pursue her career elsewhere and have her pop back in to Port Charles occasionally. I built up the idea that while other shows, networks and opportunities would be knocking on my door I'd be juggling jobs and feeling more and more accomplished. This was positive thinking, with some high expectations. I wasn't anticipating a death or having my last on screen moment be in the morgue with the very talented, Chad's (Michael's), tears falling on my face as I (Abby), remained expressionless and dead. My big, tough yet tender heart said ouch. This is acting though, right?
The General Hospital team was wonderful and yet my own negative thoughts of everything from; you're too old, you gained weight, to your acting isn't good enough, you're not pretty enough, all clouded up the positive things I should have been focusing on during my exit. The excitement of going to work regularly playing Abby was over. I was absolutely loosing a piece of myself. Loss of a love for going to the same set regularly, bringing much of my essence to the role, putting my heart into my craft, the people you enjoy working with, the validation of being a working actress. It all messes with you and I felt more sad than I expected. Your psyche is suddenly challenged on how to let go in a new way. I'm mourning the loss of a fictional character I played on TV, what?
I mean for Abby, it was quick and sadly painful, she did get hit by a crane in a construction zone after all, but at least it was quick! As for myself, time started to pass with little opportunities and few jobs and I was in a slow downward spiral of self destruction, questioning everything, wallowing and didn't quite understand how to access my inner strength or awareness to pick myself back up yet. Have you ever caught yourself masking feelings? I was trying to be great on the outside but when alone, I hated sitting with myself and judging it.
You know that feeling when one thing gets you down? And if you wallow there, you unintentionally self destruct by creating feelings that now everything is getting you down? Suddenly the world is against you and the dark cloud is hovering over your head while everyone else seems to be thriving? Landing in these feelings the percolating confusion about my happiness was concerning.
Fearful I'd never work, find fulfillment, fall in love, get married, be a mom, feel happiness, be proud, etc.... you name it, I was worrying about it. 2012 became my year flooded with tears, emotions I didn’t want to feel and a search for purpose. I was fixated on all the things I didn't have and couldn't stop crying about it. Self loathing was imploding me. My poor parents and closest friends were undeniably wonderful but I knew it was paining them to hear and see "happy Andrea" like this. The dreadful feeling of being unwanted was carrying such weight at the core of everything... this is where we have a chuckle together. I chose to be an actress, which is often filled with more rejection and being unwanted than any other profession out there, perhaps? I had to pause and look at what was working in my life; what activities, behaviors, creative outlets, people I surrounded myself with and life-style choices propelled the opposite of this unwanted feeling and do more of them. I needed to figure out what it takes to balance out the highs and lows of my career. I realized it was in fact a choice and I wanted to be happy.
This experience and the self work it forced me to do taught me valuable lessons about expectations, letting go of the past, a need to have my future perfectly planned out and to BE MORE PRESENT. It lead me to deeply explore the healing powers we have with-in when we choose to show up for ourselves. I am an optimistic, glass half full kinda gal. Regardless of type of person you may label yourself as, let me encourage you to check-in with your mind, body, spirit connection. I can assure you, you are far more powerful than you may realize.
I had been practicing yoga for almost three years sporadically. I knew it was positively affecting my mind and body and yet I wasn't extremely consistent. I often felt the pull to get to a class during times of adversity so this was one of the major things I brought awareness into and listened. My yoga mat and my ego soon became my two best friends. I had a lot of stuff to let go of and the more I hit my mat the more these things fell away. Breathing deeply, grounding yourself and finding stillness will stir the pot. Emotions get revealed, awareness starts to stare at you in the face and it's up to you to decide what you want to do with the challenges. Trapped in thinking that if I wasn't on set working I didn't have a purpose was an association that I had to detach from and I did. I connected with one instructor in particular whose class is beautifully orchestrated in mindfulness and strength with an emphasis on the practice being much more than just burning calories and flowing through postures. In this personal journey I began to discover the connection to my inner self and I leaned into all the discomforts, tears and disappointments. Instead of pushing them away I became more accepting of my own truth. It's remarkable when this begins to click.
As I praise yoga for the healing I've found, it's also important that I convey, transformation happens when you're ready to address the changes you'd like to make for yourself and take the steps to see them become present and consistent. In my experience, it probably won't be just one thing, it will be several, so open your heart up to that. My yoga practice was the gift that shined light into the dark corners inspiring me to create a happier life and seek transformation. It glimmered in front of me saying "please learn more about me and share me with the world." I am inspired and addicted to the everyday joys of life and open to the knowing and trusting that this is always a work in progress.
Those of you who don't know, as I dove back into teaching tiny dancers every Sunday, that passion brought sprinkles of exceptional joy to my life. I combined that love for teaching with my curiosity to develop a strong yoga practice and became a certified yoga instructor in 2013 and haven't looked back. If you read my first Inspirational Addict blog post titled My Journey To Becoming A Yoga Instructor you'll get a pick up from where this is going to leave off. I've gone on to have very successful years as an actress and lull's. The message that I hope you all take away from this that we're all in this together. There are more people today seeking ways to calm the mind, find balance, and heal from the moments that knock us down and sometimes take a beat to get up from than ever before. The hope is that you never stop learning about yourself and how to get back up because you can. I absolutely believe in YOU!
While it remains unknown if Abby Haver will rise from the dead and appear back in Port Charles, I will continue to be grateful for all the moments I had playing her. I was a part of a wonderful show with such talented people and I shall relish in how much I learned and grew from her death. I am thankful. If there is anything you want to share with me... I'm just a comment or e-mail away, I love hearing from you.
Thank you Jake Ferrer for inspiring me to write about this. Also as mentioned in my video log, a big thank you to the fans for keeping Abby's spirit alive with all the tweets and shout outs you continue to send out into the universe. The memorable youtube videos are fun to get caught up watching every so often as they bring back some really special memories in life for me. Special thanks to GQJJFan's channel for the one above. And I thank Chadly Pants for his occasional silly outburst!