As a writer, I think it’s important to be vulnerable. However, that’s scary. What will people think if they know the truth? Well, hopefully they’ll respect me for sharing. And if not, I’m working very hard on not giving a fuck. If you talked to me earlier this year, everything seemed on track; my life was running smoothly. I was in a two-year relationship so surely, marriage was on the horizon. After years of struggling to get a job in a writers’ room, I finally got hired in one! Life was good, right? Thanks to Instagram, Facebook, and the little lies I could tell myself and others, my life “on paper” seemed great. The truth? I’m happier now, in this current moment, than I was at the start of the year. Yet if you looked at my life “on paper” right now, you can certainly classify it as a mess! (I’m assuming this “on paper” expression can be used beyond describing an eligible partner and if not, I’m using it anyway.) My boyfriend and I broke up, my show got canceled, and I’ve been unemployed for four months now. And if we really want to pile on, for my birthday, I got my wisdom teeth out and I’m a contender for world’s longest recovery, and a few weeks ago, I got in a minor car accident. Oh, and of all the balconies in my apartment building, mine has been graced with this giant black tube hanging in front of it, which is used to transport crap from the roof into a garbage truck. The constant noise and hammering could be used as a form of torture for sure. So why am feeling pretty zen?
I wasn’t truly happy a year ago. I didn’t feel like I was my best self. I knew there were relationship issues that were most likely unfixable. The “dream” job I strived for ended up not being what I expected and was a brutal beating to my ego and self-worth. It put me in therapy, something that may be hard for some to admit, but I live in LA where therapist are as common as gluten-free bread. I put years of work into achieving a career goal I still hadn’t met, years of work searching for “the one”, and it was like “Come on, give a girl a break!”
So here I am, staring at the blank page of the metaphorical book of my life. Time to write the next chapter. And just like when I sit down to write an article or a blog post, often, I stare at that blank page for a long, long time (and then grab a snack to procrastinate, naturally). However, it’s unexpectedly exciting. I’m back on the dating scene and while there are just as many wackos out there as last time, I’m hopeful that I’ll find my partner. I’m yet again exploring my career options. I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself asking “Is this really what you want?” You learn so much from experience and I of course know so much more about the entertainment industry now than I did when I first moved to LA. And you can say I’m giving up, but I’m not. I’m looking to pivot. As Erika Jayne of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills did when she joined the show, she “pivoted,” and found another direction to take on her music career by way of joining the reality show. (Yes, I recently read her biography Pretty Mess, I’ve been unemployed for four months!) Maybe it’s time to remove the narrow view of “sitcom writer” and see how I can take this “writer” thing and pivot in another direction.
Over the past four months, I’ve had a ton of informational interviews with people, spanning the gamut from network executives to nutritionist to entrepreneurs. I love chatting with others, hearing about their journeys, and creatively thinking about how I could take their knowledge to plan my next steps.
Obviously these past few months haven’t been all diamonds and rosé (If you get the reference, yes, I recently binged five seasons of Vanderpump Rules, I’ve been unemployed for four months!) but I’ve allowed myself some slack. In the past, I’ve beaten myself up for not being productive 24/7 while I’m in between jobs, and I’d feel guilty if I allowed myself any fun when my future was uncertain. Whoever came up with the expression “funemployment” is a god-damn fool. It’s not fun tracking your diminishing bank account or looking for employment. However, I also now know, that self-compassion is okay. Feeling miserable sucks and feeling guilty for being happy is just ridiculous. Of course, I have my moments (Yes, I get down, I’ve been unemployed for four months!), but I also am making a concerted effort to create moments of joy.
I’ve started taking tennis lessons. I take advantage of all the free workout classes I can find, which if you’re available at all hours of the day, are actually pretty plentiful. I’m going to be volunteering at Vanderpump Dogs tomorrow. I’ve started personal training a friend. I’m writing my own pieces as well as creative, parody content for this insane website run by Macaulay Culkin called Bunny Ears. I went to my first Paint & Sip and created a piece of art to put where my ex-boyfriend’s art used to hang in our apartment. And I’ve really allowed myself to explore all potential next steps (both in my career and relationships) with hope and the belief that something good is coming. And for the constant banging on the roof? I discovered how great headphones are. Not everything has to be so difficult!