Presently: Sober

I’m one year and four days sober today.

That’s the longest I’ve gone without drinking since I was 19 years old.

Anyone reading this probably remembers my “year of sobriety” back in 2015. I decided not to drink for a year, thinking it was a cute little New Years’ resolution when in actuality, it was a subconscious cry because even back then, at 27 years old, I knew I needed help.

It took four years for me to finally get that help. From 2016 until the end of 2020, I struggled. If you knew me during those years, maybe you saw it, maybe you didn’t. I was very good at hiding it and even better at lying about it. I was a good liar, just, in general back then.

To say I was in a rut might be the biggest understatement I’ve ever made, but I guess that’s what it was. It was a muddy, sticky, dark, and incredibly sad rut and I had no idea how to get out of it. So I lived in it, waiting for someone or something to come save me.

I thought if I just got my “big break” or met “the one”, then I could be happy. But, auditions were sparse and the men I attracted never really wanted to be there. So, that game plan quickly crumbled and it became very clear, my knight in shining armor wasn’t coming.

I thought about giving up. I thought about leaving LA and settling down in a normal town to have a normal life. In my head, I composed the email I would send to my reps to tell them I was done. I called my mom to cry it out while secretly hoping she would tell me to keep going because I didn’t actually want to quit. I just wanted to feel better.

I considered giving up altogether. I had suicidal thoughts and ideations on multiple occasions. I look back on those moments now and I’m overwhelmed by how strong my mom and my sister are and I’m overwhelmed by how grateful I am to have them. They kept me alive.

It still took me a few more rock bottoms and about a year of hypnotherapy and talk therapy before I finally realized that the person I was waiting on to come and save me had been there the whole time. It was me.

I quit drinking on September 13th 2020. It took me a few more weeks to be able to say “I’m an alcoholic” and if I’m being completely honest, it’s still a hard thing to say sometimes. There are a lot of preconceived notions and common misconceptions associated with the word. I think the general population has an idea of what an alcoholic should look like, talk like, be like because of the way addiction plays out on TV or the way it’s discussed behind close doors. It can be made to feel very shameful and I think that’s why I put off owning this part of me for so long. I was carrying enough shame around, I didn’t need to add to my load.

I work every day to continue owning this part of myself and all the other parts I once thought were “unlovable”. I’ve learned through doing the work to get sober that every piece of being human is lovable . We all came into this world whole and that’s how we’re supposed to live in it. Of course, that’s easier said that done, but the more it’s done, the easier it gets.

It’s been 370 days of sobriety and healing and learning and growing. It’s been painful, joyful, every-emotion-on-the-spectrum-ful. I don’t know what the next 370 days will bring, but I’m already grateful that I get to experience each and every one of them.

Presently: Had Enough

There’s something that’s been on my mind lately. And by lately, I mean the better part of the last year. I’ve tried blogging about it, I’ve talked to close friends and family about it, I’ve even composed a lengthy tweet thread that will forever live in the drafts folder. I wasn’t sure how this was ever going to come out or if it would ever come out. It’s a bit controversial and my fear is/was that most people who read what I’m about to write, aren’t going to get it. This may not resonate with some of you, or any of you.

Lucky for all of us, I’ve reached a phase in my life where I don’t give a fork what anyone thinks or says about my thoughts or words. So, here it goes.

My big thesis statement: Artists, we have got to stop telling each other that pursuing our art is “hard”.

When I decided to become an actor and pursue this industry professionally the overwhelming response was, “Wow, that’s so hard!” or “What are you going to do for money?” or “Only a few people succeed” or “What’s your plan b?”. If you’re an artist of any kind, you’ve probably heard some version of this daily for most of your professional life.

These words usually come from very well meaning people. That’s their way of showing support. Support for artists seems to always come with a caveat. “That’s amazing you’ve chosen such a hard career path with very little guarantee of success! I would never do that because I live in the real world and value my sense of security, but good for you, little dreamer!”

Society continues to push the narrative that finding success in your art is “hard” and “unrealistic”. And most of the artists I know, including myself, we buy into it.

We’re told from the very beginning that we won’t make any money, so our goal becomes finding a job that doesn’t interfere with auditions and the occasional booking. That results in soul-sucking day jobs that leave very little time and desire for the art we love. We’re always “hustling”, which leads to burnout, addiction, chronic illnesses, depression, etc. We’re set up for failure. And it’s not because the industry is “too hard”. It’s because we believe people when they tell us that.

I set out on a great experiment this year. After months and months of talk therapy and a form of hypnotherapy I found through a company called “To Be Magnetic”, I decided that I was done with the “this is hard” narrative. I unpacked why that narrative no longer served me, whose narrative it actually was (spoiler alert: it wasn’t mine), and I replaced it with an abundance of self-worth and a deeply rooted belief in what I have to offer as an artist. I saved up some money and I quit all of my day jobs. I told myself the only work I would accept this year is acting, writing, or both.

And it worked. I’ve had the most successful year I’ve ever had as an artist. I’ve booked more, substantial work, I’ve had more auditions, I’ve written more things I’m proud of, I’ve taken big leaps forward personally and professionally. For the first time in my 15 year pursuit, I feel successful. And the only thing I changed was my mindset.

Now, that’s not to say, it’s all been perfect. It’s actually been quite messy. And scary. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I’ve questioned this decision at least a hundred times. I’ve seriously had to sit with myself to make sure I haven’t just completely lost my mind. I mean, this morning, I called my mom crying because I haven’t had an audition in weeks and that scares me.

So, I guess my point is that, yeah, this shit is scary, but hard? No. Not hard.

It requires an incredible amount of trust. Trust in yourself and trust in what is meant to be. It requires so much less “doing” and absolutely zero “hustling”. It requires surrender. It requires immense support from your closest people (big high fives to my mom, my sister, and my grandma for being by my side this year). And it requires an abundance of self-love, which is probably the scariest part.

You’ve got to sit with yourself. You’ve got to figure out why you love making art. You’ve got to get rid of anything that doesn’t support that love. You’ve got to know yourself so well that when the scary bumps in the road appear you’re brave enough to not just move through them, but feel them as you go. You’ve got to know who you are and you have to love that person in a way that only you can.

And that’s what makes this easy. The love you have for yourself makes everything easy. Auditions come and go, opportunities flow in and out, one minute you’re in the spotlight, the next you’re on your couch eating an alarming amount of red licorice. But, the one constant thing that’s always there is how you feel about yourself. So, make sure that feeling is love, and the rest will come, easily.

Presently: Checking In

At the end of 2020, I posted a blog where I stated that I spent most of last year purposefully “blowing up my life”. When I wrote that blog, I thought that all the heavy lifting had been done and I was walking into 2021 ready to reap the rewards for all of my efforts.

Laugh. Out. Loud.

Though, 2021 has gifted me with some pretty incredible wins, it has, for the most part, been one big, extremely uncomfortable lesson full of insane, sometimes self-inflicted growing pains.

At this point, almost 9 months into what has definitely been the craziest year of my life, I feel like a crab without a shell.

Stop me if you’ve heard this analogy, but basically, as a crab grows, it stops fitting comfortably into it’s shell and eventually, it has to shed the shell that no longer fits. It’s called molting. After it’s molted, there’s a period of time where the crab is shell-less. It’s outgrown the old shell, but doesn’t have a new shell, so it’s roaming around without it’s protective gear, completely exposed to the elements, feeling every ounce of sand, every cold breeze, every drop of water. Sounds pretty uncomfortable right?

It is. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but sometime in the last year and a half, I molted, and I’ve been wandering around without any of my old, small protective gear ever since. I’ve felt every ounce of sand, every cold breeze, and every drop of water hit my skin. It’s equal parts scary and exciting. It’s also incredibly lonely.

I’ve had a lot of alone time recently because I needed to. I’ve been trying to figure out who I am. For over 30 years, I lived my life on auto-pilot. I lived for everyone but myself. My worth was so wrapped up in what everyone else thought about me because for a really long time, that’s how I survived. When I finally broke out of that survival mindset, I realized that a lot of things in my life weren’t actually aligned with who I was discovering myself to be.

So I said goodbye, to all of it. My goodbyes weren’t always graceful. Sometimes they didn’t even happen. It’s a funny thing when you start living intentionally, it’s like the universe meets you there and a lot of the things you thought you could never give up, just seem to magically fall away.

And then all you have left is yourself. And it’s really lonely. Sometimes it’s terrifying. Other times, it’s so empowering it makes me want to cry. When I look at my life now and all of the space I’ve created, I’m happy, genuinely happy, because this life I have now, regardless of what comes and goes in it, is mine. I built it. Just for me. Before last year, I had no idea I could do that.

So yeah, the in-between, shell-less crab phase is a little weird, but it feels necessary, and it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, a bigger shell comes along and it fits just right.

My #MeToo Story

It’s 2006. I’m 19 years old. I move to Los Angeles because I want to be an actress. I’m accepted into a conservatory program in the heart of Hollywood. I don’t know anyone and I have no idea what I’m doing, but the possibilities seem endless and my dreams feel possible.

It’s 2007. I perform a scene in my audition technique class. When I’m done, my teacher asks me about my clothes. He wants to know why my white skirt is so long and my blue blouse is so baggy. He tells me I’m sexy, and for the sake of my career, I need to embrace it. He never comments on my performance. The class giggles as I sit down. This is the foundation my career is built on.

It’s 2008. I’ve graduated from that conservatory program with a little less confidence than I entered. I get my first commercial/print agent. I’m asked to audition in high heels and a bikini three or four times a week. I hate my stomach. I don’t like the way my thighs jiggle. I’m not very graceful in those heels. I cry on my way home from every audition and tell myself I’m just frustrated by the traffic on the 101.

It’s 2009. I’m told to “network” because it’s “all about who you know”. I meet a guy who claims to be a producer. He tells me he’s making a movie and wants me to be in it. I agree to go back to his apartment to meet the other producers. No one else is there. He tells me if I “do something” for him, he’ll give me the part. He tries to shove my head into his crotch, it hurts. I ask him to stop. I force a smile and tell him I have to be up early so I really should get going. I apologize to him on my way out and blame myself for believing him in the first place.

It’s 2010. I audition for a music video. Non-union. They don’t ask me to wear a bikini this time. They ask me to take off all of my clothes. I do. They take Polaroids. I wonder where those Polaroids are now.

It’s 2011. I meet an A-list actor and we begin having an intimate relationship. I tell myself “he’s busy” when I don’t hear from him for weeks between our get-together. After eight months, I finally get up the nerve to ask him if what we’re doing will ever be anything more. He kisses me goodbye the next morning and I never hear from him again.

It’s 2012. I meet another producer. This one’s legit. I know that because now I’m smart enough to do my research before I agree to meet someone. His resume is impressive. He tries to kiss me on the lips after our first meeting, standing under the fluorescent lights of the valet parking lot at Soho House. I turn my head so his lips land on my cheek. This producer will manipulate and sexually harass me for years. I will email him and meet him for dinner, again, telling myself that I’m “networking”.

It’s 2013. The legit producer sexually assaults me in his home. “Just don’t ever be alone in a room with Harvey. He’s the worst out of all of us”, he warns me as he forces his mouth onto mine. I drink a lot more these days. I tell myself that I asked for it.

It’s 2014. It feels like I’m getting nowhere in my career. I’m struggling to make ends meet. I take a decent paying job at a fancy hotel. My first week there, one of the bar owners comes into my office and asks me if I like to be spanked. “I guess this happens in every industry”, I think to myself as I laugh at my new boss’ joke.

It’s 2015. I get sober and start a blog. I spend a lot of time alone. I think about my time in the industry thus far and what could happen next. I have suicidal thoughts for the first time in my life.

It’s 2016. I book the lead in a movie. There’s a topless scene. If I don’t agree to do it, I won’t get the part, and I could really use a break right about now. So I do it. “The only good thing about ‘Krampus Unleashed’ is Amelia Brantley’s boobs”, someone tweets once the film is released. “How about that hot tub scene!”, a radio DJ exclaims during my interview. I have a panic attack when I find out that the scene and pictures of my body are on

It’s 2017. A producer in New York reads my blog and asks me to develop it into a feature. We meet for dinner in LA. It feels more like a date. We sign an option deal. A few weeks later, I post a picture of me and my boyfriend on social media and this producer stops responding to my calls and emails.

It’s 2018. I’m a fraction of the starry-eyed girl who moved to LA at 19 years old. My dreams have been crushed under the weight of men with power, who never saw my talent or hard work because they were too busy wondering what I look like without my clothes on or actively trying to take them off. I’m uncomfortable in my skin because I’ve been living in a body that hasn’t belonged to me for over 10 years. It’s belonged to those men whose words and actions have chipped and gnawed and sliced away at every ounce of my self-worth. I think about quitting. Wouldn’t it feel good to just walk away….

It’s 2019. I read this piece that I wrote a year ago. I think about sharing it, but I don’t. “It’s too much”, I tell myself.

It’s 2020. I seek help. I find the programs and the support that I need to begin healing from my traumas. I get sober again. I can finally say, with certainty, that the abuse, harassment, and assault I experienced, was not my fault.

It’s 2021. I’m finally sharing this piece I started writing three years ago because I’m no longer ashamed of my story. I am in awe of it. I’m proud of the young woman who never gave up, despite having every reason to do so. I understand now that who I am is not the sum of these experiences. I am so much more than that. I’m reclaiming my body, rediscovering my passion, and relearning who I am as my most authentic. It took a while to get back here, but once again, the possibilities seem endless and my dreams feel possible.

Presently: Poof

I blew up my life this year.

I went into 2020 feeling equal parts hopeful and desperate. I had been swirling around in a rut for a while and was craving some kind of change or monstrous upheaval, but I had no idea where to begin. I was dog-paddling because I was convinced that if I could keep my head above water long enough, someone or something would surely come to rescue me.

And then, 2020 happened.

For me, 2020 was a big mirror, and not one of those flattering, skinny mirrors in department store dressing rooms that convince you to buy the overpriced designer jeans. This mirror was cracked because it had been dropped so many times. And it was dusty because it hid under my bed like the boogeyman. And it forced me to take a long, hard look at myself. And what I found, was the monstrous upheaval I had been looking for for a really long time.

I’ve already written about some of the ways in which I’ve stopped looping on low self-worth, but to summarize, I’ll say it again… I blew up my life this year.

I left relationships that made me feel anxious. I got sober. I stopped giving my time and heart to boys who didn’t really want it. I set boundaries with friends and family who prefer the smaller version of me. I even left the comfort of my day jobs because I think it’s about damn time I do the kind of work that lights me up and not settle for the struggle. So, I’m entering the new year with a few less friends, zero potential love interests, and no job. And I’m pretty stoked about it.

For the first time in my life, I’m free-falling. I realized that I didn’t need a lifesaver to rescue me from the dog-paddling. I just needed to lean back and float down the hypothetical river, let it take me wherever it wanted.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. I have a couple months of savings, a great therapist, and an incredibly supportive family. I feel very lucky. Especially after the year we’ve had as a collective. I realize how fortunate I am to be able to find something good and empowering in such a shitshow of a year. I hope you found that too. And if you didn’t, I hope you keep looking. It’s there. I promise.

And I also promise to keep you posted on what happens with all this new-found space in my life. At the very least, I’m sure it will be entertaining.

Sending you all a lot of love. Here’s to 2021.


Presently: Panicked

Full disclosure: I took one and a half Tylenol PMs a little over an hour ago and am currently fighting off my over-the-counter drug induced coma to write this. You know when you get an idea right before you pass out and you don’t write it down because you’re almost asleep and you promise yourself you’ll remember the surely brilliant thought in the morning, but you never do? That’s the place where this blog post is coming from, only I knew I wouldn’t remember to write this in the morning and/or would chicken out if I didn’t just do it right now.

I’m freaking out guys. I spent most of today eating raw cookie dough and an embarrassingly large bowl of pasta while simultaneously panic-scrolling the internet for inspiration and comfort because I just realized I’m thirty-three years old and don’t have any of the things I thought I would have by my mid-30s like a stable career, a potential husband, and the ability to pay all of my bills exclusively through the auto-pay option.

This obviously isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this, it’s just the loudest. As I crept closer to my 30s, I started to panic, but was always able to quiet those thoughts because if Jessica Chastain could “make it” in her 30s, I was convinced I could too. I’m not able to convince myself of that anymore and it’s all starting to feel a little silly if I’m being honest. I feel silly. Why did I think I could do this? Why did I let myself have all these big, beautiful dreams? Why have I spent the last fourteen years of my life sacrificing a normal trajectory only to feel like I’ve settled for even less than what I was always afraid of settling for? What the actual fuck am I doing with my life?

Maybe I’m finally starting to feel the effects of the pandemic in the way everyone’s been tweeting about for the better part of 2020. That feeling of lost time. I guess I’m just a little late to the pity party. This year has boggled my mind in the most unexpected ways. I didn’t know it was possible for us all to feel so collectively stuck with no clue how to make everything less sticky. Sure, there are glimmers of hope, more-so in recent weeks. But, if/when we get un-stuck, then what? We’re all a year older and a year madder and what do we have to show for it?

I have no idea. I’m fresh out of answers and just scooped a handful of cookie crumbs out of my wireless bra, so clearly, my reasoning and logic can’t be trusted at the moment. Maybe I’ll have some answers once the diphenhydramine wears off. If you need me, I’ll be under my weighted blanket for the next eight to ten hours.

Presently: Too Much

This may come as a surprise to all of you, but… I have a flair for the dramatics.

Growing up, I had a lot of feelings and a consistent desire to share those feelings with just about anyone who came within a one mile radius of me. I think I took to performing so easily because it was the first socially acceptable outlet I found for sharing all of my highs and lows. For whatever reason, the need to share my feelings has always been there and the only times in my life when I’ve felt really out of alignment was when I was hiding my feelings or manipulating them because I never wanted to be “too much”.

That’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot in my life. “You’re too much.” It’s funny, when you get that kind of feedback over and over again, being too much actually turns into the feeling that you’re not enough, or at least, that’s been my experience.

The OG readers may remember that back in 2015 during my first sober year, I had a massive breakthrough regarding my “enough-ness”. It was in October of 2015, I was hiking Runyon (the hard side, not the tourist side) and listening to Adele (I listen to mellow music when I work out, it’s a quirk). As I struggled for air, due to a rise in elevation, both physically and emotionally, I had a thought that didn’t feel like my own, yet felt like it was coming from the inner most part of my being, and all it said was, “You are enough.” I’ve thought about that moment a lot over the last five years.

Here’s the thing, having an Adele-infused breakthrough halfway up a Hollywood hot-spot was awesome and special and life-altering, but it didn’t fix everything. It’s not like I climbed down the mountain with a new pep in my step and lived happily ever after. In fact, I think it’s actually been the exact opposite of that. That moment was just the beginning. It was the first layer of my onion and I peeled it back, only to find thousands of layers underneath it. I’ve been picking at and peeling back those layers ever since, only to find thousands more.

I’m too much, guys. We all are. That’s life. I may be an emotional over-sharer, but I’m not an anomaly, I’m not special. I think if we all looked at our lives, we’d find that we all have stories and experiences and anecdotes that are packed full of pain, sadness, joy, love… and it’s a lot. Life is full of a lot.

I wonder what would happen if we re-framed this “too much” label. How would we love and care for each other if instead of classifying someone or something as “extra”, we realized that we’re all just a bunch of onions with an excessive amount of layers? What would it look like if we all felt safe enough to peel back those layers or even help each other with the peeling?

Okay, that analogy is starting to get a little gross, but you know what I mean. Or at least, I hope you do.

As I was trying to figure out how to wrap this up, I had another one of those thoughts that came from, well, wherever they come from. I get these thoughts a lot more nowadays. This one felt familiar, but also new. It’s a thought that’s come before, but it just one-upped itself.

It said “You are more than enough”.

Be more than. Be extra. Be excessive. Embrace how much you are because it means you have that much more to offer. Be too much.

Presently: Real

“From here on out, I am only interested in what is real. Real people, real feelings. That’s it. That’s all I’m interested in.”

My roommate is going to yell at me when she reads this because she knows I just quoted a movie I’ve never seen.

The first time I read that quote was on a dorm-mate’s AIM away message at UMASS, Amherst in 2006. I had no idea where the quote came from and I didn’t really care. I just sort of absorbed it and it’s been looping in my brain ever since… that loop has gotten louder recently.

Real people. Real feelings. That’s all I’m interested in. Yeah…

While deep-diving into some self-help/self-love/self-stuff this year, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I haven’t been very “real” lately, or at all. I’ve lived a pretty big chunk of my life dishonestly.

A momma-friend of mine told me the other day that according to some recent studies, most children learn to lie around the age of five. I definitely picked up that habit early on and ran with it. Of course, I’m talking about those little white lies to get out of trouble, and the bigger ones to garner some kind of attention, but what I’ve discovered to be the most damning lies I ever told, are the ones I told myself.

Something really interesting happens when you stop lying to yourself. When you dig around and get brutally honest… You kinda start to blow up your life a little, or at least, that’s what I’ve done.

I found that the more honest I got, the more I realized I had been doing things that weren’t very “me” and were actually bold-faced lies.

For example, earlier this year, I got a side job writing for a click-bait-y website. I used a pen name because I was so embarrassed to have my real name published under articles like “Which Frozen Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?”. Seems harmless enough, right? Wrong. I was lying. I was lying about who wrote these articles for the sake of a paycheck, and for a girl who clearly needs an audience and loves taking credit for her work, this lie was a big one. So, I quit. Sure, I miss the additional income, but I definitely don’t miss the feeling of settling for work I’m not proud of and hiding in plain sight with a stupid pen name.

Once I blew up my financial stability, I moved on to my love life. Normally, in relationships, I like to play it cool, or at least, that’s the lie I’ve been telling myself and the people I’m with. “I don’t need a label”, “I can have casual sex”, “I’m not sure what I want”. All lies I’ve been perpetuating for most of my adult life. Turns out, I like labels and I want an all-in relationship and when I sleep with someone, I usually get pretty attached (as do most women because when we have sex, our brains release Oxytocin the “love chemical” no matter what, while in men’s brains, that chemical is only released when the dude is in love).

Last month, I found myself six months into a relationship with someone who didn’t want the same things I wanted, and instead of being mad about it or convincing myself to hold on long enough until he did want those things… we broke up. It was actually one of the healthiest break-ups I’ve ever had because we were totally honest with one another and I walked away feeling like he and I could be friends in the future. No hard feelings. I’ve never been able to say that about an ex before.

Shortly after that break-up, I uncovered even more heart-stuff I had been lying about and finally told one of my guy friends that I’ve been harboring feelings for him, off and on, for the better part of a decade. Did that kind of honesty make me want to barf? Yup. Especially when he didn’t reciprocate those feelings (which I kinda always knew he didn’t). But, I’m so glad I told him because I can move on knowing I was honest. I’ve lied so much in the past because it seemed like the safer bet. It’s safer to pretend to feel nothing than to be vulnerable and feel everything. That’s not true. I found out vulnerability actually feels really good in most situations, especially in matters of the heart, because it’s honest.

There’s one more relationship I got honest with this month, and that’s my relationship with alcohol. For anyone who has read this blog over the years, there’s been a lot of ups and downs and back and forth with the drinking “thing”. One month I was sober, the next I was declaring I’d found a healthy way to drink, and then a few months later I was sober again. What I’ve realized recently is that… I am not someone who has ever had healthy drinking habits and a lot of my old posts on here were real-time struggles with alcoholism. I lied to you guys and I lied to myself. I have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. I am 50% more likely than the average human to develop an addiction, and I did. That’s not to say I haven’t had what society considers to be a “normal” night out drinking with friends, of course I have, but those nights never came naturally to me. The overwhelming urge to binge drink has been something I’ve always struggled with and I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m done struggling. That’s the funny thing I’m learning about all these lies… it’s a struggle to keep up with them. Telling the truth is just so much easier. Scarier? Sure, sometimes. But it’s always easier.

From here on out, I’m only interested in what’s real, and what’s easy, and what’s honest. That’s it. That’s all I’m interested in.

Presently: Divided

One of those click-bait-y internet memes popped up on my Facebook feed a few days ago. I usually scroll past them, but I stopped and read this one and I don’t remember exactly what it said. I can’t even tell you which of my social media friends posted it, but to summarize, it was talking about how in the last four years we’ve probably all learned a lot about politics, but we’ve learned even more about our family and friends. 

Boy, oh, boy, did that sentiment hit me in the face like a pillowcase full of bricks. 

I’ve learned a lot about you people, especially recently.

I’ve learned that I was raised by three women who are innately empathetic and adaptable, women who can hold space for new ideas and healthy conversations. I’ve learned that I’m really proud when people tell me I’m exactly like them. 

I’ve also learned that there are a lot of people in my family who don’t agree with my view points, both political and societal. I’ve learned that the people who don’t agree with me are a lot harder to talk to because the topics of conversation are so divisive and ultimately, engaging with those who don’t agree, makes me feel small, and it makes me feel wrong, and I find myself questioning just about everything and hesitating to speak up when I feel like I should. Part of the reason I took a social media break was because I was so tired of being brushed off every time I tried to engage with a member of my family who supports our current president or responds to my BLM post with “All/Blue/White Lives Matter” or spreads misinformation about the current Pandemic without fact-checking it or bitches about having to wear a mask. 

If you read this last paragraph and it resonated, this blog post is for you.

I’m so tired of your shit, guys. Seriously. It’s exhausting. Just in the last three months, I’ve had to sit through conversations where you say things like, “I don’t fact check before I post”, and “I don’t have time for politics”, and “Trump loves this country, why else would he be President”, and “If Jacob Blake had just complied…”, and “What about the looting”, and “If I get COVID I won’t die” and, “The left are a bunch of socialists” (that one is my favorite because every single person who has said that to me is benefiting from either social security, medicaid, or free college… so, like, socialism.)

I’ve tried to have these conversations with you, I’ve tried to voice a different opinion in hopes of having a healthy debate, but you’ve made me feel so stupid for trying. You’re so quick to dismiss me with an emoji or a “let’s not go there” or a “calm down”. I’ve come to the conclusion that you really don’t care. You aren’t saying these things because you want to have a conversation, you’re saying them because they feel good to say. Think about that. Responding to social injustice with “What about my life?”, feels good. Posting conspiracy theories about the CDC and the pandemic when over 180,000 Americans have died as a direct result of this virus, feels good. Listening to a racist, divisive, narcissistic president, who, from day one, has raged a war against the press as a way to keep his supporters from listening to facts and forming their own opinions, feels good. 

It certainly feels better than listening to me, right? I get it. Talking to me or people like me, who don’t share your views doesn’t feel good because it makes you feel wrong. And no one likes being wrong. I hate being wrong. I’m just as stubborn as most of you, in fact, I probably got my stubbornness from you. (See? We do still have a thing or two in common.)

So, we find ourselves in a really weird place. We’re family. We’re supposed to love each other unconditionally, but we’re suddenly seeing conditions in each another that are difficult to love. How do we fix that? How do we come back from this? 

I have no idea. I don’t know how I’m supposed to have Thanksgiving with you and act like I haven’t lost sleep over some of the things I’ve heard you say and seen you post. And I don’t think you want to sit across a table from me either because you know it’s going to come up eventually and I suck at biting my tongue.

And I don’t know what I’m supposed to say when I call you now. The silence from both ends of the line is screaming for us to have a hard conversation that we hesitate to start because we don’t know how it will end.

And I don’t know how many more months we’re going to continue to ignore each other and pretend that’s not what we’re doing. I’ll like a post of your kid, you like my new headshot. We’ll continue playing nice on the surface because if we ever attempt to unpack all of this stuff, it’s going to be so messy and uncomfortable. 

Seems like it’s easier to just agree to disagree, right? Play nice. Butt out. Don’t engage.

That’s certainly the easier way out, but I don’t want to do that.

I’ve re-written the end of this post about a hundred times. I’m realizing I don’t have a solution, and that scares me. I want things to go back to the way they were, but that’s impossible if we can’t talk to one another and listen to one another.

It’s funny… I remember the day after the 2016 election, I talked to most of you about my fears with this president. You assured me it wouldn’t be that bad. You said one president can’t cause that much damage.

Look at what one president did to our family. 

From where I’m sitting… I see a lot of damage. 

Presently: Back

I’ve written a lot on this blog about being an “all or nothing” person. I’ve always been the type to live in extremes, if I did something it was 100% or not at all. And that was nothing I’ve ever felt ashamed of or something I thought I should examine a little closer. I just figured that was how I operated in the world, and there wasn’t much I, or anyone else, could do to fix it because it didn’t need fixing.

And then 2020 happened.

What a weird freaking year, right guys?

I’ve thought about blogging a hundred times since my last post back in February and have an alarming number of drafts saved in my WordPress folder, that will never see the light of day. By late March, I started to get the feeling that maybe I picked the wrong year to re-start this blog because in the middle of a pandemic, while people are dying and everyone is sheltering at home and some are losing their jobs and there is so much uncertainty, who the eff cares what I have to say?

Truth be told, I didn’t have anything to say. I didn’t know where to begin. So, every time my mom, (who I still think is the only one who actually reads these things anyway), asked, I told her it didn’t feel appropriate. When really, I was just at a loss for words for the first time in my entire life.

Which caused me to retreat inward. I think a lot of us did that. I mean, we got blindsided by an effing pandemic, what were we supposed to do?

And while I was in there, in my head and digging deeper into my subconscious (with a little help from an incredible woman named Lacy Phillips, who I highly recommend you get to know), I figured a few things out, and well, I guess I found those words I thought I lost.

Life is really gray. I don’t mean that in a depressing way, although, life this year, as we all know, has been very gray and gloomy. What I mean is the world and how we operate in it, isn’t as black and white as I once thought it was. Trying to operate as an “all or nothing” person is actually very hard because it’s so limiting and what this world has to offer on a daily basis, even in the middle of pandemic, is not limited, it’s gray.

Maybe gray is the wrong word choice here. It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture, does it? It’s not gray, it’s nuanced and detailed and shaded and colorful. Colorful. I like that. Life is colorful.

I’ve been looking for the nuances, the “colorful” if you will, more lately. When the pandemic started, “colorful” was having days where I’d get up early and write for hours and other days where I’d be lucky to get out of my pajamas by dinner time, judgement-free. When it comes to my dry year, “colorful” is sipping on an alcoholic komubucha last night while simultaneously crying into a bag of French fries watching Obama give his speech at the DNC and not feeling “bad” about it. (I’ll blog more about the dry year thing later, promise.) When it comes to politics, it’s really hard to find colors, but they’re there. There is a bright, colorful middle ground somewhere and I think the only way to find it is to ensure the guy currently sitting in the White House, who loves to pit things and people against one another, labeling them “good” and “bad” and “right” and “wrong” and “black” and “white”, gets his eviction notice on November 3rd. And when it comes to each other and how we move forward from all of this, we’ll start seeing more colors when we start listening to one another.

The world seems so divided right now. It looks so black and white, everything feels so all or nothing. Take it from a girl who lived in those extremes for most of her life, it’s not the way things are meant to be.

I have a lot to say about this year, so don’t worry, I’ll be back soon. But in the meantime, keep your eyes open for a little more color, and let’s try to paint a prettier picture than what we’ve seen in 2020 thus far.