I mean this in the non-Britney Spears way.
You have to say: Here’s what I want in my life. Here’s where I think I’m going. Here’s what I’m willing to do. Here’s what I know I won’t sacrifice, and here’s what I’m not sure about.
Then, you do what you can do, when you can do it, where you can do it.
Then, the rest is up to opportunities, choices, and, well…surprises.
So, I’m open.
I’m working hard, trying to appreciate life now, and trying to incorporate what I love here and now, while keeping in mind what I believe my goal is.
But I know the tricky, wry thing that is life well enough by now to know this: unexpected twists and turns are to be expected.
I have goals. I have gray area. I have obstacles. I have ambition, hope, gratitude, and passion. My ultimate goal, no matter what form, is wholeness and fulfillment.
And the rest, I will discover as it goes.
I’m not on my “A-Game” this week and this isn’t an “A-Game” video, but that’s why I have to share it.
I’ve been doing this personal art project over the last year centered around authenticity and stripping myself of judgments. I film/photograph myself in the moment-singing, talking, playing, in costume-and then leave it. I don’t edit, perfect, or do anything other than just BE in the shot. I consider it art because it’s exploring the human experience and psyche, even if it’s just my own. But we are all so alike at our core, that I don’t feel like it’s just for me. It’s an exploration that I share not just because I’m a performer, but also because I think sometimes I express what others feel and think, too.
The main point I wanted to get across in this video, but I’m not sure if I did was:
I showed up for these things that I set out to do this week, even when I was having emotional/mental blockages that made me feel like it would be easier/less intense to just avoid them.
Sometimes, fear and doubt return for little bouts, but you get so used to just moving through those feelings that it doesn’t have to keep you from showing up for your life and doing what you want to do. It becomes second nature to recognize fear and say: “I will feel you, and you aren’t going to keep me from my life.” Doing it anyway is the best way to gain confidence and trust in yourself. Courage is the key. Not denial or believing the fear. But courage.
But sometimes, you show up anyway, and it doesn’t work out for one reason or another-but you showed up. Which is the important part in a personal-growth sense.
I was thwarted by misplacing something, not by letting my fear get in the way.
Which is a victory, no matter how you look at it.
Next time, I’ll make sure I put a little more forethought into having everything I need before I leave the house. Baby steps, guys.
News: I now have a studio apartment in the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta. I’ll put pictures up when I’m all moved in and it’s decorated. It will be bohemian chic. I’m sure it will inspire the pants off of you. I will have no less than immediate pants off at the sight of my blog.
I also like my job at Whole Foods. Phew! (That’s me relieved)
Now, I’m going to continue to sit outside, listen to music, and sip on this red wine. Bliss, my lovely readers, is in simplicity. Then, I’ll ride my bike as it gets dark, and maybe do some meditation. After a very nice yesterday, these days are working themselves into something I can live with, and maybe even thrive on. Life goes on, and it’s unpredictable.
And I’ll always have writing.
The expression has to go somewhere. I like that it’s something that I can do, no matter the circumstances…it’s sort of the only constant creative output I have, I suppose. Perhaps that means something? Ponder, ponder.
Let the rest of the evening commence.
A year can mean so many things. It can hold so much.
A year ago, I came back to Atlanta. I didn’t really fully understand why, other than I had this instinct to return, and I had a few really good reasons.
I stayed. And I learned a lot. I grew a lot. Got a chance to explore, and to work out some issues. I got to be messy and imperfect. I got to practice being a person.
So, this year, I was faced with the choice: return to LA or not? Was I ready to go back?
Ultimately, I decided no. I’ve built a lot over the last few years, but I know that I am not ready quite yet to return to acting. I need to solidify my recovery, my coping tools, my time management skills, and my ability to have fun. I’ll need all of those things in acting.
So, I’m living here for another year. In a new place, a more artsy, city-like area. I’m already making a lot of positive changes. But I want a year of living exactly how I want to before I move back. I need practice, I need proof that I can do it. And I will.
I have the “courage to sit with awkward moments and raw feelings”, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a couple of years. Now, things aren’t so bad. But I need to learn how to thrive. And that’s what this year is for.
The experiment is: Live with passion. Be honest. Find joy in every moment that you can. Feel your feelings.
A year from now, I imagine that I will be ready to move back to LA. My heart is still there-sometimes I mourn it. But I want to greet my old city, friends, places and career, as a more fully realized me.
So, the project continues. I’m becoming whole. I suppose it’s okay to have patience about this. Do I have fears? Certainly. There are so many what ifs.
But I can go all the way with this process, because a year, in the scheme of life, is a small thing. But it can also change your life.
Here’s to a year. I’m a little sad about it, because it’s not what I imagined for myself a long time ago, but I’m also ready to learn what I can learn here. I’m ready for this.
I have to trust that it will work out in a way that keeps me proud of my life and excited about it.
Sometimes, you have to be lost for awhile. Who knows how long it will be.
I am lost.
I don’t know who I am. Or what I want. I’ve collected pieces over the years, and some core essence remains. I have some ideas. Of course, I am me. But that’s always in flux. I mean-that general stable sense of “self”-I don’t really know what to latch on to. I’m directionless, for the moment.
At least, the specifics are fuzzy.
So, I latch onto nothing, because I don’t know what would be right, and just…keep living.
I take this very seriously. It’s not something I occasionally think about. It’s something that effects me deeply, causes me to cry on a fairly regularly basis, and it’s something that I have to actively deal with DAILY.
But I will continue. I just wanted to remind you that you can, too. Continue, that is. I don’t know if my approach is right. I just know it’s honest.
Because, I think it’s normal. For a long time, I felt like me feeling this sense of loss and lack of purpose was a result of doing something wrong.
What if it’s not?
What if this is actually part of the process?
What if experiencing this sensation fully is what leads me to the discovery I want/need?
My life isn’t meaningless-there are plenty of meaningful moments. Do I want a sense of purpose and passion? Yes! But what specifically does that mean? I dunno.
So. I’ll keep living and doing and exploring until I do know. And try to stop telling myself that I’m doing everything wrong simply because I feel lost in my life. Because maybe I’m equipping myself for the right thing.
they feel entitled to comment on my body:
“you are really curvy, you know?” “you have such a feminine body” “your breasts are amazing” “what an ass” “you’re really attractive”
“i miss your long hair” “i like your look now, because you seem happier” “i like it better blonde” “chicks with short hair are hot”
“what’s up with the piercing?” “oh, so you have tattoos now”
GUESS WHAT, GUYS?
I was me then. When I had long blonde hair and no tattoos, I was me. I liked that look. It was an aspect of me and it’s no more real than I am now.
I am me now, too. I like my look now.
But it has nothing to do with you or your opinions. Please stop rating me in some before or after way. Nothing has been gained or lost. SO PLEASE STOP THE BEFORE AND AFTER.
People change. Our bodies changes. Our shape changes. Our hair changes. Our style changes. Our ideas change. THINGS CHANGE.
Love every incarnation of you and other people. It’s all you.
And that moment after when you realize that you haven’t moved on.
And you realize this, because you spent time with said ex, and then floods of all emotions hit you. And you realize that you would move mountains for this person, and move all the way across the country for them. But it just. won’t. work.
Sometimes, two people who love each other so much can’t actually make it happen.
And it hits you. The “maybe in the future” lie that you are telling yourself is actually hurting you. It’s keeping you in limbo.
And then, if you are like me, you cry.
And begin to let go…for real this time.
I feel like I’m being ripped from my forehead to my uterus.
My insides. Exposed.
So much can’t.
But I will.
I’ll go on.
i get to have all these experiences.
one evening, i’m mourning the loss of a love, and an idea, and all the changes and shifts and losses over the last few years.
one day, i’m cleansing and crying.
the next, i’m laughing and exploring.
i’m accepting my humanity.
the next day, i work a job that I like with friends.
the breeze brings me joy and the radio stimulates my mind.
i play with my family for father’s day like air hockey is the only thing in the world that matters.
i fall asleep in the arms of someone who truly lets me be whatever i am in that moment.
my life is poem.
i have an unusual and lovely shape.
cutting it into pieces-angles-parts-i may not seem like other people in the photos you are accustomed to. your eyes will trace my features and my flaws.
you will nip a bit of this and tuck a little of that in your mind. did you do it because you were prompted?
i have a beauty within and without that makes you want to place me into a type. if only i were a little bit more this, or perhaps a little bit less that, then I would fit perfectly into what i should always have been. you secretly hope i’ll “shape up” and step into my role that will most certainly, in your opinion, bring me fulfillment.
but should i? can you know my thoughts and experience through a photo?
like you did with audrey? marilyn? james? heath?
i think not.
i will continue to straddle the line.
between fit and curvy.
between rebellious and refined.
between tacky and tasteful.
between feminine and masculine.
perhaps i could have been a starlet.
petite and fair featured.
talk just enough.
please the right people.
be the right amount of miserable to be deemed “tragic” “iconic” “beautiful”
i would inspire with sheer class and elegance,
and fashion, of course.
but would i be more than a photo on your wall? a quote on your dash?
later to be admired as a figurehead rather than a person?
i think i’d rather risk never being lauded
i think i’d forsake that dream of sitting in that room
with the dresses
and the accolades
and the awards speeches
and those tiny golden men
and undertake the rewards of living as me
before i live as a thousand different other people.
i will learn to speak my words and find solace in my own body
before i allow my natural chameleon to be used and abused.
i will explore these characters in my way-without the noises and the demands of the world for me to be a goddamned type.
my shoulders are not hard. nor are they slight.
the are round, soft and strong.
they don’t always photograph well,
and sometimes they do.
but they are mine.
i will not starve them.
i will not force myself to fit so that i may claim what is rightfully mine.
or to fit what you think is best for me
i have a chance at certain circles that others may not
because of the raw potential here
i could become one of those people…i thought, at one point
that i wanted to.
but i can’t
dishonor these shoulders
to become an icon to everyone
I have 8 months on my lease. Which means at least 8 months remaining in Atlanta. What shall I make sure I do to maximize my enjoyment and my experience here? I need to remind myself that there’s excitement still here for me. And of course, I may stay after 8 months. Of course, I may return to LA after I’m finished. I may adventure elsewhere. The desire to return to LA and acting is always within me. I imagine the journey of these last few years as preparation and growth into a fully embodied, healthy, connected person. I always imagined that this progress would lead me back to acting. That the life experiences, heartbreak, challenges, and changes will have shaped me into the woman I almost was back when I had auditioned. Perhaps it won’t end up that way. Perhaps these next 8 months will shed light upon something else. At times I fear I’ve changed too much to ever return. That my tattoos and my voice won’t fit easily into that world. Other times, I think I am exactly the right fit for that world. Perhaps the dream is simply an escape or a fantasy, rather than a vocation. Maybe I connect to it when I am overwhelmed or tired, or in need of a change. I don’t know. But I do know that I will continue to be present, aware, and connected. And I will hope that this state will lead me to a path that is fulfilling and authentic. Every so often, I have to check in, and remind myself: the unknown is okay, and I’m doing what I can do to make the most of this now. I am stepping into my own skin. I am beginning to find solace in my own body, my own shape, my own words, my own way. The continuation of this can only lead to good things. I will find my place. Perhaps I’ll get to use these things that I have. Of course, I know the results that I’d like, but I’ll have to be okay with the results that come out of this process. I hope you understand why I share these things with you. My experience is unique, sure, but it universally human.