EPISODE 4: AYA CASH
On the privilege of emptiness, the guiding light of jealousy, and seeing misbehavior as an opportunity.
Aya Cash is my guest today. You probably know Aya as the star of the FX series, You're the Worst (2014), for which was nominated for a Critics Choice award for best actress. She’s also been in a ton of movies. You might remember her from The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). She’s constantly doing off Broadway plays in New York. Most recently, she starred in the play, KINGS, which had its world premier at the Public theatre. You can watch Aya on the upcoming FX show about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, in which she plays, Joan Simon, the wife of playwright, Neil Simon.
QUOTES FROM THIS EPISODE
18:22 ~ “I was alone in LA living in a one bedroom that was totally nice… But I was just alone and lonely… I had no life, I had no nothing, and I was like, ‘what? I don’t get it. I thought this would fix the hole inside me’... because I also thought that how poor I was was a huge reason I was so unhappy for a lot of me life, so I thought, ‘I’m rich now. What is wrong with me?’ And then I’d go into the self-hatred of what is wrong with me. But it was really good that I went through that… It just made it so clear... It’s not important. All this success stuff is actually just so not real. In so many different ways, it’s so not real.”
21:17 ~ “A part of success is seeing that it’s empty. But you cannot see it until you have it, so it’s a huge privilege to be able to see that emptiness and I still struggle with it. I think I sort of always in the back of my mind think, ‘Oh yeah, but if I had...’ because you can always look up… You can always feel bad about yourself… And there’s always someone there to help [you feel bad] if you’d like... but that’s really unhelpful. And also, I’m not a gratefulness journal type of person, but I do have little tricks to just jolt myself back into reality… The reality is, yes, you should be insanely grateful for all of this opportunity… We are so goddamn privileged, but it’s okay... that it doesn’t make you happy and that is part of what success is, is realizing that that stuff doesn’t make you happy at every level.”
40:15 ~ “What I have learned from my jealousy has been very helpful… In my best version, I use [jealousy] as a way to deal with that ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ kind of question… ‘would so-and-so do this? They have the kind of career I want... they chose the kind of projects I’m interested in, they get all the opportunities I’d love to have…’ That’s the jealousy part… ‘why can’t I get that, they get everything, and oh, they’re so good and they’re so beautiful and they don’t struggle at all’ (sure.) So that’s how I use that to help myself, like ‘you know what, so-and-so wouldn’t do that and that’s the kind of life I want to live, that’s the kind of career choices I want to make, so I’m also not going to do that…’ I also use my jealousy… like, for example, not wearing makeup… I either wear none, or I do it up, right? And I’ve actually just started to try to just wear a little instead… Because there’s this idea of, ‘who is the woman who wears no makeup? Who is the woman who wears a ton of makeup?’ And I’m the same person if I’m wearing a ton or not, but it means something to me and I look at women who handle how they dress and how they present themselves and I’m like, ‘Wow, I wanna be confident enough to go out without makeup…’ but I also, it’s okay to wanna… like, right, now I’m wearing mascara, like that’s okay, that doesn’t mean I am less of a woman because I wanna put mascara on, and to take away the black and whites... Again, I just look at the people I admire and say, ‘do I wanna live my life like that, or do I wanna live my life this way?’ I use my jealousy to signify that’s a value that I’m interested in or that’s a career that I’m interested in… And that’s why I’m so jealous.”
45:14 ~ “Instead of denying the jealousy, because it’s so uncomfortable… to go and say, ‘No, what is it that I’m really needing and wanting? And how can that inform me in this journey and this lifetime? How can I expand from this [jealousy] rather than contract from this?’ - KF
52:35 ~ I would just say give people the opportunity to step up… we make a lot of decisions about what other people can and can’t do and sometimes that’s real. I mean, if you have someone who’s really misbehaving, sometimes they can’t step up, but again, you can’t take over responsibility for them and the only way they’re going to step up is if you backoff sometimes. Because sometimes you’re that crutch that allows them to misbehave… I misbehave most with the people I love the most… [I’ll] completely [fall] apart with [Josh], because he knows me so well and because I can. So sometimes, you just have to say, ‘Nope. You don’t get to misbehave around me.’ I’ll tell [him], ‘Just leave. If I’m trantrumming, you should leave. You don’t deserve that…’ And vice-versa.”
53:56 ~ Feelings move through us. Feelings are like the weather. They come and they go. And it’s very valubale, in my opinion, to be able to say, ‘Feelings are just feelings. They don’t mean anything. They’re not that important.’ Just because you are tremendously angry, it doesn’t mean that your anger should have you do something about it… Sometimes we’re just really angry and our minds say, ‘Okay you have to put an end to this situation, or you have to really confront this person, or write that email’ or whatever, but that’s not always the case. - KF
1:38:10 ~ “I’m being real honest... That’s where the ugly thoughts go, is like, I go,‘I’m not that’ and I don’t know why I need to be that, because for years, I actually felt pretty damn good about myself and where I was at, and success brought back... Success amplifies those things. So it wasn’t gone. It was just sort of in hiding. And now it’s back and I think my show ending brings up a lot of things, because I’m like, ‘Oh, I have to get back into that game’ I’ve had this beautiful, amazing job, where I was valued for what I do, I was paid for what I do, I was working with friends, who I genuinely loved… I had this utopian, amazing, and not to say we didn’t have bad days, but it was a fucking amazing five years. And now I’m coming off that going, ‘I don’t know… do I have to perform again? Do I have to pretend to be something else again?’”