Presently: (almost) 30

In two days, I turn 30. I’ve been counting down the days for a while now and usually, when I state the countdown out loud, I follow it with a barf noise (you know, “blllaaahhh”). 30 is kind of scary. When I was a kid, I thought 30 was pretty old. I figured by the time I was 30 I’d have a house, a husband, a kid or two, and definitely a career.

Today, two days before 30, I live in a tiny, cheap apartment in North Hollywood, I don’t have a husband or kids (does a six year-old best friend count? no? what about a dog?), and my career is still a big work in progress. I can hear my fifteen-year-old self saying, “loser”, as she reads this. Jokes on her though, because I don’t feel like a loser.

I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about my 20’s lately. They were a disaster. They were a big, beautiful, trouble-filled, tear-jerking, comedic disaster. And they were perfect. A lot of people tell you, your 20’s is a time to grow and figure stuff out, and I think it’s safe to say I did all of that. I spent most of the last decade learning every life lesson the hard way, and even have a mugshot to prove it. I fell on my face. I cried over guys that didn’t deserve it. I lost friends. I lost jobs. I lost auditions. The list goes on and on and on and… you get the point.

But all of that loss, produced a pretty big win.

I’m turning 30 in a tiny, cheap apartment, with a dog I sometimes refer to as my son, and no idea where my next acting job is coming from. And I couldn’t be prouder.

The fact that I survived my 20’s is enough to make me and anyone who knows me proud, but I didn’t just survive it, I thrived. (I sound like one of those manifest-your-destiny life coaches right now, I realize that).

I didn’t know it at 21, and definitely not at 25, 28 may have hinted at it, but I know now that I’ve spent the last ten years becoming a woman who is going to walk into the next decade of her life feeling nothing but love, accomplishment, and gratitude. If your 20’s is when you figure your stuff out, your 30’s is when you get to let all that stuff go and just be the wonderful human that you’ve created. And I’m excited to be that person because right now, two days before 30, I’m completely in love with her.

So, 30’s, I’m not going to follow you with a barf noise any more. I’m ready for you. Let’s make a lot of love, tons of art, fewer mistakes, and maybe even a baby, who knows. Who knows what the next ten years will bring, I sure don’t. But, I can’t wait to find out.

Presently: Lit

“Be confident”. “Own the room”. “Know that you are worth it”. “Take no prisoners”! These are the kinds of phrases actors hear every day. Whether it be from a casting director, an agent, a friend, my mom. We are constantly being told that what we need, and what we’re probably missing is, “confidence”.

I’ve spent years looking for that stuff. I’ve tried therapy, Instagram likes, the black market, and let me tell ya, it’s a tough thing to get your hands on. It can’t be bought (though some might disagree with me on that), it definitely can’t be borrowed, and if you try to steal it, well, then you’re kind of an asshole. No, confidence is something you’ve got to dig deep for, because it’s in you… somewhere.

I learned that important lesson during my year of sobriety. The moral of my 2015 story was, “I am enough”, and to be able to state that took a lot of, you guessed it, confidence.

“Well, if it was in you the whole time, why’d it take such drastic measures to find it?”, you might be wondering. I’m going to tell you, and it’s not going to be easy. Because I’ve been trying not to write about this since the day I started blogging. It came to mind a few times, and it’s even been hinted at in past posts, but I never thought I was ready to really go there. And judging by the way my hands are shaking as I type, I’m probably still not ready.

Have you ever met a “light-dimmer”? Someone who puts other people down, to make themselves feel better. I’m sure you have. Have you ever spent ten years with one? I did.

(Now would be a good time to mention that I will not be using names in this post. That may make it a little frustrating to follow, so I apologize in advance).

When I was seven, I was introduced to a person, and told that this person was going to be a part of my life, permanently. I was to respect, and obey, and listen to this person, and in return, they would take care of me and love me and help me grow up. It wasn’t my mom or my dad, but someone that would be a parental figure from that point forward. Seemed like a good deal.

And for a short time, it was; a very, very short time.

In all fairness, I was a pretty obnox- okay, okay, really obnoxious child. I scream-sang my way to puberty, and when the hormones kicked in, it was like Hurricane Mel was hitting the east coast on a daily basis. I was loud, dramatic, and talkative. I had strong opinions and didn’t back down without a fight. That was who I was, and in a lot of ways, who I still am. But, my mom and dad loved their youngest, craziest daughter, not in spite of her “flaws” but because of them. They always gave me the space and support to be exactly who I was. That’s what a parent is supposed to do, or so I thought.

This new parental figure was not as quick to embrace me the way my actual parents did. When they came around, I started hearing “stop”, “no”, and “shut up”, a lot more. I was being told to make myself smaller, make my light a little dimmer, because this person didn’t want to see me the way I needed to be seen.

So, for the next ten years I went back and forth between bottling up everything I felt and unleashing epic meltdowns when I couldn’t take it any more. And then, one night, when I was seventeen years old, it all came to a head. It was during one of those epic meltdowns. I can’t remember how the fight started, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that, in the middle of this fight, I had what might have been my first logical, mature thought, ever. I thought, “Ask”. And so I did. I asked this person, “Do you love me?”, and they said “no”, as simple as that.

I realized that I had spent ten years fighting for this person’s love and that I was never, ever going to get it. This person did not hold up their end of the bargain, and I let that define me for most of my adult life.

It wasn’t until the end of my sober year that I finally realized how wrong this person was. They were wrong to treat a seven year old they way they did. They were wrong to stay in a home where they couldn’t emotionally support every child in it. They were wrong not to love me.

So, what does this have to do with the theme of my post? Well, this is where I found my confidence. I found my confidence in being able to forgive this person. Not just forgive them, but thank them.

I’m thankful for this person because I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today if it hadn’t been for them. Like I said, I never go down without a fight, and they really gave me something to fight for. Asking me to dim my light, only made it brighter. Telling me to be small, made me dream bigger. Saying “no”, made me scream-sing “yes”.

I hope no other kid has to go through something like this to get to a place full of confidence and happiness and gratitude, but if they do, I hope they know that it is so worth it, you are so worth it.

Presently: Dating

I figured since I blogged about this during my sober journey, it’s probably time I unleash my inner Carrie Bradshaw and talk about dating from an un-sober perspective. Brace yourselves.

As my horoscope recently predicted, I’ve been dating a lot lately. I’m not sure why that is, although according to the AstroTwins, it’s because Venus and Mars united in my star sign making my love life “hot AF” (their words, not mine). That may be the case, but in simpler terms, I’m trying to keep myself open to new possibilities. I’ve spent the last two-ish years in a vicious ex cycle, trying things out with the same person(s) over and over again, hoping for different results every time. Einstein calls that the definition of “insanity” and boy, did he hit the nail on the head there.

So, I’m seeing what’s out there and to put it mildly, Los Angeles doesn’t disappoint. I’ve met some really great guys. Actors, writers, musicians, even a dude with a law degree. The date locations have been solid, the conversations, endless. But, at the end of each night, I got in my car and thought “nah”. Why is that?

I’ve come up with a couple of reasons:

1) Good wine has the ability to make me like just about any one in the moment.
2) I didn’t feel a spark. (Though I think the idea of a “spark” is actually a load of B.S.)
3) He didn’t seem all the interested in me.
4) I just wanted to get home to my dog.

All solid reasons, right? Ok, probably not, but I did come up with one reason that seems pretty decent. I think I’m in a selfish phase.

Now, for those of you reading this who know me, you may be thinking “duh”. I’ve always been a bit selfish, it’s definitely one of my biggest character flaws. But, I think for the first time in my life, I’m in a positive selfish phase.

I watched LALA Land last night, for the hundredth time, and came to the conclusion that this film justifies everything I’ve been thinking for the last ten years. I’m just not meant to be with someone right now. I’ve spent ten years building a career. I’ve made so many sacrifices and been through so much heartache that the last thing I need to do is jeopardize all of that for another struggling actor/writer/musician/lawyer, regardless of how great he looks without his shirt on.

I want to stay focused and immersed in my goals, and wanting that makes me kinda selfish.

Apparently, Marilyn Monroe once said, “A career is great, but it doesn’t keep you warm at night”. (She may not have said that. I saw that quote in pretty-meme form, on Instagram, posted by a teenager in Ohio). Regardless, I think it’s crap. Sure, my career may not have the ability to spoon me at 2am, but it gets me out of bed every morning with a big smile on my face. The possibilities of the career I’ve chosen, are endless. My life could change at the drop of a hat. All it takes is one great audition or the right person reading my stuff. That could happen on any day, at any time, and I think that’s really freaking exciting. So, I stay hopeful, and selfish, because when that call comes, I want to be free from any emotional responsibility to another person.

Does this mean I stop dating? Not at all. In fact, I have one tonight. But, it does mean I’m more honest, with myself and with him. I’m not looking for a relationship. I prefer to keep myself warm at night (with a little help from the above-mentioned dog). But, if you want to grab a drink and talk about anything but “the business”, let’s do it. Who knows, maybe I’ll turn out to be a giant hypocrite and fall head over heels. I’m just not going to make that the point of dating any more. I’m keeping myself open, but I’m also keeping myself first.