It always feels really confusing when I hear assumptions of what my life in LA must be like. I know what it feels like to feel the support of so many, and I know what it feels like to be the joke at the dinner table. What I’ve learned from both of those feelings, good or bad, is to never place my value in other people’s opinions of me, and instead to keep walking forward towards the desires and passions God has placed on my heart.
In this chaotic world I’ve chosen to pursue, it’s pretty easy to never feel completely satisfied. I moved to Los Angeles feeling like I had to prove to everyone (and myself) that I could “make it.” That pressure is something I still struggle with, although some days it’s more present than others.
When I originally planned to move to LA without a definitive “plan,” so many people tried to change my mind. People thought I was crazy (I admit, I am just a bit!) and it was so easy to take everyone’s fear and carry it as my own. The fear of not being successful always follows me like a dark shadow, and although I try to stay positive and hopeful, the piling up of rejection has proved to break me down every once in a while.
LA has given me a taste of my dreams and has broken my heart at the same time over the course of this past year. Starting 2017 having only lived there for a few months, I continued in the job that made me swallow my pride and felt soul sucking, but it was a big studio name and in my interview …they sold me a dream. No matter how hard I tried to network within the company, and get my foot-in the door in the broadcast department, the door never opened. I even applied to a PA position at the top entertainment news department within the company (which was a step UP from what I was originally doing) that would last until midnight/ 1AM every night (for minimum wage). It consisted of transcribing interviews on a computer for 8-10 hours, but I was really willing to do even the most unglamorous jobs for the hope that it may lead to something.
Even that job, I didn’t get. The woman interviewing me looked at my resume and saw that I wanted to be on-camera talent, made a snappy disheartening statement and told me it would be “impossible” to transition into an on-camera role. There was no rejection letter, phone call or email.. just the silence of receiving a “no response” to the several follow-ups, which tends to be the running theme that I’ve been forced to get used to.
When I reached my ninth month of living in LA, I felt frustrated and insecure in whether or not anything I wanted would ever see the light of day. I barely even let myself pursue hosting because I started to feed into the lie that maybe I wasn’t good or talented enough. I loved Los Angeles but I felt like an outsider to both my new city and my hometown, not really fitting in either one. My confidence was at an all time low, and I started to second guess my worth. I would watch countless youtube videos and reporters and think: “how can I put myself out there like that when I feel so insignificant and insecure.” The battle of comparison was so present, and I fought it daily.
It was when I finally told my fear to basically step aside in late May/early June, was when I started to see a switch. I slowly sent a few emails, quit my “foot in the door” job (that was taking me in circles) and signed up for several casting sites, to when it finally clicked that maybe this dream isn’t so far off.
Soon after, the only relationship of my adult life ended and though that too felt like a failure, I knew it was time to rediscover my purpose in LA with fresh eyes. Despite the hurt, I started to refocus on what I truly wanted.
With everything, there is always a price you pay. I knew what I signed up for when I decided to enter the entertainment space, but I could never fully prepare myself for what was in store. I’ve dealt with the Harvey Weinsteins- once even having a phone call with a powerful executive who I thought would be a mentor/advisor. When meeting him randomly at a Starbucks, he was so genuine and encouraging towards my career. My mom was so excited, and repeatedly asked me if I received a phone call to visit the studio yet. Two weeks later, the phone call came…yet it was infuriating when 5 minutes in, he changed the point of conversation from my career to sex. I silently cried through the conversation, restated my truth several times, and blamed myself later for not having the courage to call him all the names in the book. I still felt the need to be polite, because I was afraid of the consequences, and I stayed silent to protect the career that had not even had the chance to begin.
Most of my days look like sending 50-60 submissions on casting sites, and if you get a response/audition from 1, it’s something to celebrate. I send multiple cold emails and phone calls, balance working multiple side jobs to support the audition/hosting life, and try to maintain this little corner of the internet that has been my refuge in a lot of these moments.
I have felt the need to be my own cheerleader even on the days where defending my path is the last thing I want to do. I’ve felt the loneliness of this city. I’ve questioned the authenticity of people and relationships. I’ve battled (and still battle) the comparison game. It’s a lot to juggle but I’ve accepted and welcome the difficult times with open arms. It’s when you feel true isolation and heartbreak that you appreciate the sweeter moments of life.
2017, you have been one hell of a ride. But if you’ve taught me one thing, it’s to go after what I want in this life. I will never, ever, settle again. Not for a person. Not for a job. Not for anything.
Sometimes, people and situations leave our life because it simply wasn’t God’s best. And occasionally, God allows situations to break your heart in the worst of ways, because He knows you wouldn’t walk away until it was done that way.
I’m so grateful I’ve experienced heartbreak over the course of this past year. Had I not, I would have still lived in Indiana and possibly never made the move to LA. I probably would have still been in a relationship that made me feel so small and misunderstood. Without the hurt, I wouldn’t be as appreciative of every dream and opportunity that has come to light this year. It is because of my heartbreak that I see the beauty of this world. And when I look to this next year, I can confidently say I’ve found closure with each and every moment of hurt, betrayal, and confusion. It’s because of those moments that I feel strong and powerful enough to take on anything that comes my way.
So to you, my friend, I say this: create your own closure. Heal your heart by recognizing that what has ended was supposed to end, and how it ended was how it was intended to be. Because sometimes, it takes the worst situations to get us to walk away. To realize we deserve much more, and close the chapter.
Now, here’s the best part. Throw yourself into the things that you love and run..literally RUN, towards every good thing that brings you joy. One day, you will look back and realize that your heart has healed and the bitterness has dissolved. Your closure doesn’t have to come from anywhere else than right within you, it’s yours to choose. So, lets close the door on what has broken us so we can flourish into the better things life has in store. We’re so lucky to be able to look forward to something better.
I am not yet where I want to be, and there are still many moments where I feel like I’m way in over my head. But, I will feel the fear and do it anyway. I will get through those moments and speak truth into my life and into the life of others. I will trust that the One who created me, will never leave me and that I am never alone no matter what that day feels like. And with that mindset, I will create the life I’ve envisioned for myself time and time again. A life that is built on passion, love, and freedom. A life that holds meaning and truth. A life worth being proud of.
Thank you for listening.
Here’s to a new chapter, for all of us.