Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Take Risks. Crash Hard. Repeat.

I am not big on taking risks.  Every couple of years, I get a wave of confidence and I go for something I’ve been wanting to do… but typically, I play it safe and keep all my dreams and feelings and thoughts as close to the vest as possible.

This is a quality that I really, truly despise about myself.  Mostly because when I do get those waves of confidence and try new things, it usually ends up working out!  And even if it fails, it still has a positive effect on my life in some way.  At the very least, I walk away feeling as though I accomplished the task of trying something different

Even just last year when I took risks, I got to write on a pretty huge advertising campaign and co-host an awards ceremony in an evening gown.  I acted in a pilot that was shown to executives at the E! network.  I’ve even moved across the country and survived!  I’ve submitted things I’ve written to be published.  For a while, I was a full-time improv and sketch performer.  All things that would never have happened if I didn’t take a risk.  Not everything worked out, but most did.  And I feel good about all of it. 

But lately, I don't know man... there are a lot of changes happening in my life and yet I feel so stuck. Maybe it's because I'm getting older (as a reminder, I'm turning 30 TOMORROW) and I'm less prone to take risks because now I have things to worry about paying for... like an expensive apartment and a car. I also have this pressure to pick one path and follow it because if I keep flip-flopping between careers/jobs, then I'll fuck myself over when and if I ever want to "settle down."

Even just typing that made me roll my eyes. Isn't it such bullshit to feel forced to do the right thing, follow an easy path and set yourself up for success later in life when your today sucks? 

It’s more exhausting to not take risks than it is to take risks.  I spend more time thinking about doing, or saying, something than I would spend actually doing or saying it.  If I just did it, it’d be over with… and things would go well or horrible.  But then they’d be over!  I’m just tired of miserably sitting still and watching life pass by. 

A few people around me lately have done the unthinkable and quit their jobs to pursue their dreams.  I'm not in any position to do that right now, but I'm not going to lie... it sounds amazing. And it's put a lot of things into perspective. I've spent too much time the past few years not doing   a single damn thing for myself. 

Except drink a lot of wine. A lot of wine. I once ordered four glasses of chardonnay when I found out there were only 5 minutes left to order for happy hour prices. I am doing great and everything is fine. 

So, as I enter my THIRD FUCKING DECADE, I'm vowing to do more shit for myself. Take a lot of risks. Fall on my face. Repeat. And eventually, die. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ugh, I'm 30.

In just two weeks, I am going to be a 30 year old. 

According to every 40-year-old and Oprah, 30 is the best year in a woman’s life.  It’s the age when you magically forget all of your insecurities and stop giving a shit what other people think of you.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling that is not going to be the case for me, considering I have gone to urgent care twice in the last year due to panic attacks that were so intense I stopped breathing and had stroke-like side effects. (Yes, that was on two separate occasions.)


I always thought 30 would be the age where I had it all figured out.  Not to say that I don’t have it all figured out right now, I mean I’m really fucking crushing it with my zero children, lack of marriage prospects and illustrious career in Talent Management. Things are great!


I’ve spent the past decade chasing my dreams and doing whatever I wanted to do… because I could.  Because I had drive and passion.  Because I found something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I had these visions of myself as a successful writer with a great apartment full of West Elm furniture.  I saw happy relationships and everything working out and nightly happy hours and weekly brunches with all of my nearest and dearest friends that are basically my family.


Then I actually lived in reality and realized everything is bullshit and the show Friends lied to me.  The reality is life is hard, things don't always work out and achieving goals takes sacrifice and a lot of work. Also, I have depression, severe anxiety and a head of hair that will never do what I want when I really need it to. There’s always something missing in my life and that is what I will always focus on. So that sucks. The more I age, the more I realize that I literally have no control over anything at all.


What a fun world we live in!


Yet, whether I like or not, I’m forging forward into 30 with my hands up and my guard down.  And honestly, I’m feeling pretty hopeful.  The past decade has been great, awful, wonderful, terrible, all the adjectives - and somehow it’s shaped a pretty level-headed, albeit constantly emotional, ball of crazy.  I’m going to take it easier on myself.  I’m going to lower my expectations and put less pressure on myself to check every life goal off my list.  I’m going to go with the flow and see where life takes me instead of forcing it to be wonderful and perfect all the time.  

Because I’m fucking 30… and I’m too old for this fucking shit.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Depression.


I consider myself a sometimes overly optimistic human being.  I always hope for the best and I believe good things will happen and everything will work out in the end.  I often feel like I can take on any task and conquer the world. Sometimes, I even feel confident in my abilities and think my personality is a particularly good one and I’m someone worthy of love and respect. 

Sometimes I think these things.  And when I do, it’s really great.  Feeling good about yourself is honestly the best feeling in the world!  When I really, truly love myself - it feels better than it has ever felt to be loved by someone else. 

If only it weren’t so fleeting and infrequent. 

Depression is a monster that I’ve lived with since I was a teenager.  Most times, I try and I try and I blow its house down… but there are times it defeats me.  Lately, it’s been defeating me a whole lot.  I wake up every morning with it sitting comfortably on my chest and only goes away after a few cups of coffee, a shower and writing down a to-do list so I can feel as though I have a little bit of control over my life.  But it never actually goes away, it just stands by my side.  All day long. 

When I’m driving to work, it’s sitting in the passenger seat judging me for listening to the Hamilton soundtrack again.  It shares a desk with me.  It attends every meeting with me.  It spends the entire day trying to push me down.  And whenever there’s nobody around, it wins.  It forces me into the bathroom to cry, it takes me on walks to cry and sometimes when it’s really bad, it sends me out to my car to hide… and cry. 

The past few months, I’ve been working out every single day to combat it.  It works a little bit, and at the very least I’ve lost 30 pounds, but the high doesn’t last very long.  It feels like I can’t go a full hour without being overshadowed by my own mind.  

There are reasons I feel this way and some of them are even legitimate due to life changes and such.  But for the most part, it’s just being down on myself and refusing to give myself a break.  It’s feeling guilty for things I can’t fix, change or control.  It’s wishing I could turn back time.  It’s fear for the future and a heavy focus on things that happened and mistakes I may have made in the past.  It’s assuming people’s (negative) opinions of me.  It’s wishing for contact with someone I desperately want contact with.  And the cherry on top is how horrible I feel for feeling depressed over seemingly nothing when other people have it much, much worse.

It’s really fucking overwhelming.  And lately, I have really wanted to give up.  I go to bed every night super early because I can’t stand being awake and dealing with this.  I wake up miserable and it takes far too long to break out of it.  I’m afraid to take even a SIP of alcohol because of the even darker thoughts it brings out. I just want to throw in the towel and let the waves crash over me and be found washed up on a beach like that sea monster in Montauk

I won’t, but I want to. 

As hard as life feels, I’ll still get out of bed every morning.  I’ll go to work and say inappropriate things in an attempt to make everyone laugh.  I’ll sing parody songs that don’t make sense. (Such as “Quit Cigarettes and Vape Time” instead of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”).  I’ll listen to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel it out for the 160th time.  I’ll scroll through Instagram and only like pictures of dogs.  I’ll do the same old Pilates routine while watching Vanderpump Rules.  It’ll get better. It always does. 

There will come a day when I will suddenly feel hopeful again and I’ll happily swim with the waves instead of casually doggie paddling and hoping they swallow me whole.  But I think it’s important to talk about depression and realize it’s happening and that it’s going to be hard and I’m not just feeling sad for the sake of feeling sad. I have to stop feeling so guilty.  It’s a legitimate disease and as long as I’m doing all that I can to keep it at bay, then it’s going to be okay. 

Depression will always be the basilisk in my secret chamber that I need to stab with the sword of Gryffindor.  That’s a Harry Potter reference that also sounds vaguely sexual.  It’ll always be lurking in the background, ready to pounce whenever I’m feeling a little vulnerable.  I refuse to let it own my life, but I’ve come to terms that it’ll always be there and it’s my responsibility to take care of myself and let it know who it’s boss.

Angela. Angela is the boss.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Complicated Relationship With Social Platforms

Social media is going to kill us all.

Last spring, I gave Snapchat a try.  It was what all the cool kids were doing, so I downloaded it out of fear of being out of touch.  I’m still young and hip just like everyone else, I swear!  I immediately started receiving (what felt like) millions of snaps a day.  At first I thought it was cute.  Then it got annoying because I couldn’t keep up with it.  Then, it started making me mad.  

There was something not-so-fun about watching seconds upon seconds of people’s lives.  I feel like I didn’t need to be there.  I sort of missed being in the dark and having something to catch up with friends over instead of knowing what they were doing every second of their lives.  And, not going to lie, sometimes I felt left out.  I didn’t like taking it personally for no reason, so I just deleted it.  Easy!

Facebook is next on my list of things to rid myself of.  It has become a place for people to dump their political thoughts and fight and all it does is bring negative energy to my life.  So many times I have had opinions of people I really liked change because of the things they post on Facebook.  The judgmental bullshit is what enrages me the most.  Support Trump all you want, you’re certainly not going to sway my vote, but stop shitting on people for changing their Facebook profile pictures to rainbows or Peanuts characters!  Why do you even care?

Still, every now and then, people post interesting articles or exciting news about their lives, so I’m still hanging on (and logging in once a day) to catch those parts.  I really like hearing about your weight loss journeys, engagements and new jobs!  So keep sharing!  

Although, I did recently miss an announcement that my friend was going to be on a TV show and just happened to catch him on it while I was watching it and got very excited for him!  When I logged into Facebook and saw that everyone was talking about it, I was kind of happy to have just witnessed it in the moment and experience an unexpected moment of joy for my friend.  

Instagram, on the other hand, is my last remaining source of social love.  I love the filtered, curated moments of people’s lives.  I love every selfie, every cat, every dog, every meme, every quote that you feel resonates with your life in that moment.  In my opinion, people tend to think before posting on Instagram.  It’s the one platform where I feel as though people actually care about the amount they’re posting and make sure the picture they upload is a good representation.  This is not always the case… not even for me.  But hey, whatever, my Instagram page accurately represents my funny, messy life full of cats, dogs and my very own face.

However, some days Instagram drains me of happiness just like every other social platform.  Some days I’m homesick and I see people having fun in Boston, or even just a building in Boston, and I get really sad.  Some days I don’t want to see pictures of warm weather when it’s so cold.  Whatever the reason, pictures on Instagram can make me angry or sad.  So I avoid it like the plague and wait until my happiness levels even out.

There are times when I want to quit everything and just live my life quietly.  I want to enjoy the moment as it happens and catch up with people and not know everything about everyone’s lives.  I miss there being a little bit of mystery.  But, other times I want to post pictures of myself holding my friend’s dog and go through old profile pictures of high school acquaintances.

So, I’m going back to my original statement, throwing my hands up in the air and calling this confusing time in my life quits.  Social media is going to kill us all.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Me?

I was dead asleep in my bed when it turned 2016.  In California, at least. 

In previous years, you would find me just getting ready for a full night of partying with all my friends and castmates. I used to perform on New Year’s Eve and my night typically wouldn’t even start until midnight.  Naturally, that had me stumbling up my apartment stairwell late in the morning after a night of drinking large portions of champagne-based drinks in a small apartment stuffed to the brim with sweaty humans.

But this year was different.

I originally had plans to go to a bar and spend a bunch of money on drinks and get really drunk with my friends.  And then I went back to Boston and did enough damage in one night that I don’t think drinking in 2016 is remotely necessary - or even possible.  

But aside from that, I just made the decision not to.  I didn’t feel like it.  I went out to dinner, ate some overly-peppered pasta, drank a little bit of wine and called it an early night.

I returned from Boston a few days earlier and was feeling pretty down.  A lot of my L.A. friends were still out of town.  Others didn’t want to go out or spend money.  Others just wanted to hook up with a bunch of random strangers.  I was not in the mood for any of that.

Then, a day later, I got food poisoning.  It was by far the sickest I have ever been and there were points in the night where I thought I was going to die on the bathroom floor from dehydration.  My cat circled my weak, grey body as I lied on the floor trying to seek comfort from the cool tile.  It was the most pathetic I’ve ever felt.  And I’ve put myself in a lot of pathetic situations.

So now, I’m convinced that I’ve set myself up for a good year.  I crawled into 2016 with low energy, a depressing outlook and a crippling stomach illness.  That has got to mean good things on the horizon!  Or it means that my youth is over as I age into my 30th year on the planet.  That’s the new me.  I’m the new Jan Brady.  Boring, brunette, blank.

Just kidding.  I have a trip to Disneyland planned.  DISNEYLAND.  

Here’s to a new year.  And a new you.  And a new do. And a new whatever the fuck you want.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Glorious November

Ah, November… you’re here.  In all your November glory.

It’s finally acceptable for me to listen to Christmas records, watch the Hallmark channel for hours on end to fill my brain with cheesy, horrible Christmas movies and drink out of a Santa mug. 

I can decorate my apartment with cheery decorations and put my Christmas tree up way earlier than I probably should!

November is all about giving thanks and being grateful and prepping for the holidays and it’s also my half birthday and OMG I’M TURNING 30 IN SIX MONTHS.  

Holy shit.  What?!  When did that happen?

30.  Well, ok. 

It’s not that I’m afraid of turning 30. In fact, I’m kind of excited.  But it’s a milestone birthday for sure and I feel like I need to do something about it.  Like travel internationally… since I’ve never done that.  Or adopt a dog.  Or figure out what the hell I want to do with my life. 

I feel like life is a constant struggle and I never have enough money and I’m really bad at making decisions, or taking risks, and well – I don’t know if I will have that all figured out by May 18, 2016 but damn, I sure do hope I’m on the right track. 

Ah, November.  You’re here!  Christmas is soon!  And oh my god, I'm getting old. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Being Creative With No Purpose

Creativity has always been the only thing I really liked about myself.  Or at least it was the fact that I never really brushed aside like everything else.  When someone says I'm pretty, I come up with a hundred reasons why that person is a dumb liar, but when I'm complimented on something that has to do with my creative brain, I actually feel comfortable thanking them. 

And yet, I grew up dancing from the age of three and piled on every single style of dance that I could take, from tap and jazz to gymnastics and pointe and eventually when I realized that I didn’t need to do it and it wasn’t going to be what I did forever, I just quit. There was a whole lot of teenage angst and awkward issues that had a lot to do with that, but I also just realized that I wasn’t going to be a dancer… so what was the point? 

While looking for colleges, I really wanted to study musical theater.  I wanted to go to Emerson. but I never thought it’d be an actual career path I would be able to go down.  Instead, I went the safe route and went to Suffolk (literally across the park from Emerson) and studied something safe and boring that I haven’t touched since.

While at Suffolk, I briefly considered switching to NYU and studying magazine writing and becoming a magazine writer but all I heard was that it was a really difficult field to break into – and it was also slowly dying at the same time.  So I decided to stay where I was and keep taking improv classes.

While improv classes worked out for me and blossomed into something much bigger, for which I'm extremely happy and grateful, there was always a part of me that felt like it wasn't real and that there was no way I could do improv comedy forever.  I mean, technically that's sort of true - at least not as a career

Eventually, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue comedy in a grander sense, which is funny considering I never gave any other creative career option a chance but thought, “Yeah! Comedy is going to be easy peasy!”

That being said, now that I’m in L.A., I feel myself falling back into the old mentality that I used to.  What’s the point of doing something creative AT ALL if it’s not a viable career option?  I’ve become a bit more practical since moving here and that probably has a lot to do with being smacked in the face with becoming an adult.  All of a sudden, I had to deal with my credit score and it’s ability to fuck up everything from renting an apartment to leasing a car.  Suddenly I realized that living my dream wasn’t going to help me get out of debt just yet.  

Luckily I found a place to work that allows me to be creative, but my role isn't the most creative in the world.  I’m literally left scrounging for creative outlets. I try to make people laugh at work, I write funny emails or put some personality into a presentation for work and that’s all fun and great.  

But when I go home and watch television or do yoga and think, “Ugh, what am I doing?”  Doing nothing is just as useless as doing something for “no reason.”  So, I'm going to try to write more with no intention of publishing or posting any of it (although it'd be nice if that actually happens.)  I'm going to try to take dance classes just for the hell of it.  Maybe I'll even take up painting. 

Just kidding.  I'm really bad at painting. 


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