Grateful Grappling

I have been wandering lately. 

I apologize for this.

You know the phrase “not all who wander are lost”?  Well that is not me.  I am lost.  Lost in memories of the South, of family, of friends, of fireflies and warm, dewy summer nights.  Of stars in the sky, and barbeques on the lake, and drives to the gulf which may no longer exist.  Did I ever think those words would come out of my mouth?  Maybe.  Probably.  Did I ever think I would admit them in a public arena such as this?  Not a chance.  But I am feeling vulnerable, and for me, that is an entirely freeing experience.  It always has been.  I am open and honest, sometimes to my detriment, but always unapologetically so.  So right now, I want to be honest with you. 

I am torn.  I miss home.  I love what I do and I will do it till I die, but lately I’ve been feeling like I need a change of plans.  A new battle plan so to speak.  There is work all over this country, and less and less in LA for someone at my experience level.  I am struggling with the decline of my grandparents’ health, and facing the possibility of deep regret, later in my life, for missing crucial years of theirs.  (And mine for that matter)  Everyday I meet amazing, interesting people and new possibilities arise here in LA, and I convince myself that this is the right place.  But when I get home at night, and go to sleep alone in my bed with my dog, in a house that I share with 4 people who I barely know, the loneliness sets in, and I dream.  I dream of living somewhere else.  Spending time with my best friends and family, cooking with my grandma, fishing with my dad, travelling with my sister, and simply talking to my mom.  Rooted somewhere in there is some amazing theatre, somewhere (don’t ask me where) maybe even some writing.  Meeting the man of my dreams, and maybe getting married.  I am sure that others, even in this lonely city, have these same dreams (maybe even experience them as a reality), but are afraid to admit it.  I have big dreams.  I don’t want to give them up.  Not for anything or anyone.  But I believe I can have all of these things, and that admitting that I want them doesn’t mean I have to give up my dreams.  This is what I have been grappling with over the last two months.  I know I havent been around.  I have been around.  I have experienced some fun things, but my thoughts return home, or to an idea of it.  I am in limbo.  On this constant rollercoaster.  I don’t really have a home.  My parents live in a house in a town I didn’t grow up in, and in which I have spent about 3 days of my life.  I live in a house with somewhat complete strangers, and a dog who I love so much, but reminds me daily of a person I’d rather forget.  I don’t have a home.  In LA, to have your own place, you need about $1300 a month, give or take a couple hundred.  To have that much money a month I would have to work about 12 hours a day, 5 days a week.  So then, I’d have no time to live in this amazing city.  And it IS amazing, don’t get me wrong.  I’d have my own place but not much time to spend in it, and a bank account full of money that I’d have no time to spend.  (Which could actually be a good thing considering my saving account balance is $0) Not to mention time for workshops, class, auditions, or anything else it takes to build your resume and stock your “tool belt” in this town.  But I am grateful.  Grateful for these feelings.  Grateful for this struggle.  Grateful for my grappling.  To me, it means I am an artist.  I feel things.  I care about my life and what goes into it.  I care about the mark that I make on this world.

So what am I saying?  Do I want to move?  I don’t know. Do I want to stay?  I don’t know.  Do I want a new career?  I don’t know.  Do I love acting?  Yes.  Do I want to quit?  No.  Do I need a new plan of action?  Yes. 

Any suggestions???  Words of advice?  I know some of you may be having these same feelings.  You don’t have to be an actor.  But I’d love some insight or words of wisdom from you, whether you are a friend or a stranger.  Keep it positive people, I have no tolerance for negativity at this time.   Thank you.

Also, this made me happy the other day…



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3 responses to “Grateful Grappling

  1. You and I have already talked about this in depth but I wanted to say something anyway. As you know, I can completely relate to this. I moved 9 hours away from home at 20 years old and after 2 years I was feeling the same exact things that you’re feeling. The rush and exhilaration of this new life had worn off. I felt I was missing out on things in Birmingham. I worried about not being there for my grandparent’s last years. I was lonely. I had great friends, but no family. I dated, but had no real boyfriend to share my time with. After 2 years, I felt my time there was done. I blamed it on wanting to go back to college and not being able to afford it in Florida, but in reality I just…wanted to go home.

    Moving to Florida was the best thing I ever did. Moving back was probably an even better decision. That’s not to say I think you should go back because our situations were so very, very different. I had no real purpose for being in Florida other than just needing to escape. I had absolutely no goals while in Florida. I worked a job I hated and spent most of my time in my apartment – at least the 2nd year. So, part of my leaving was realizing that my life had no real purpose there. I think your life has purpose here. I think you’re falling into what everyone else does when they move to LA, especially actors…you get worn down…you get frustrated with things not happening…you get lonely because the people here suck and it’s hard to meet genuine people…and you think “I don’t want to do this anymore” and you leave. It’s so easy to get discouraged.

    My word of warning is this: The grass is not always greener. You’re lonely and frustrated now, so the idea of home seems so much better than where you are at this point. But, remember that when you were home last Christmas…by the end of those few weeks you were ready to leave and said you didn’t want to come back because you were just so unhappy there. I know a lot had to do with the circumstances, which is why I think you need to do a trial run and go back for a while to see if it’s really what you want before you pack up your life and move back permanently. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

  2. anonymous

    “Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
    Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” ~Ella Fitzgerald

  3. Fox

    I went through a rough time a few years ago (dumped, asked to move out, waiting tables, burgeoning gambling addiction) during which I really contemplated moving back to AL. I’ve never hated AL – my family’s always been great and supportive + I was acting more there than I did out here until this last year finally rolled around. Honestly, there was nothing profound that kept me here – just the vague idea that things would get better and a few close friends that I didn’t want to abandon. Also, I think AL might bore me a little after 6 or so months of catching up/settling down…it just seems that I’d regret moving back, eventually. I’m sure you’re going through the same whirlwind of doubt vs. discontent. If you want a little inspiration, know that your figures above are off – you can easily make more than $1300 per month and work less than 50 hr weeks. Just beware that the more you make, the more you’ll spend, and the more you’ll rely on that job. 🙂

    H79 1MM? I’m horrible at deciphering these!

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