Family Ties

Untitled designNo one wants to admit how much they NEED family. But, the truth is we all do, whether we like it or not.

As the baby of the family I have the chronic need to prove that I’m able to do things on my own. As the youngest sister, I’m all too familiar with the phrase “you’re not the boss of me!” It might not look like it from my sweet “okay, sure” exterior, but I’ve got a fairly rebellious streak behind all those complacent smiles.

I’ve always been pretty stubborn and truly hate asking for help. Next to going to the dentist, it’s probably my least favorite thing in the world to do. Perhaps some of it comes from being a diabetic. When you’re told at such a young age what you can and can’t eat, you learn to rebel pretty fast. When I was told that I would age quicker than most because of this disease, I thought ” Welp… I’d better get busy living my life.”

Since then I’ve lived in Scotland, Nashville and Los Angeles. I’m pretty proud of my independence, but really I wouldn’t – no, couldn’t – have gone anywhere outside of my hometown without the support and encouragement of my family.

Texas never exactly felt like a fit for me. While growing up I always longed to live in other places, to experience the cultures and landscapes that were different and weather that wasn’t so friggin’ HOT. I fell in love with Tennessee’s greenery, its rolling hills and I still say I would be living in Edinburgh working at a coffee shop if it weren’t for the consistently dreary weather.

Los Angeles has become home but recent events have brought me away from that city that I’ve grown to love so much. Living in LA can prove difficult – to say the least. My LA friends know all too well. The rent is double what it is here in Dallas, to see a movie is basically $30 after you throw in snacks. You get it – it’s expensive. But this isn’t the only thing that wears on you.

The biggest threat to the typical Los Angelean wanting to work in entertainment is the constant pressure to brand yourself. To network. To paint on a face and convince your peers and the hollywood beast how much they need your brilliant talent, all the while not knowing if you’ve even got what it takes.

I’ve seen many friends struggle with this and it’s a vicious cycle. That beast will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. He’s all too eager to tell you lie after lie about your worth and lack of talent. And after it’s done berating my friends, they push themselves to their breaking point to prove him wrong. They keep going even when they don’t know why they’re doing so.

It’s easy to forget there is life outside of LA when you’re there. When you have all the opportunities to rub shoulders with celebrities, successful producers and brilliant screenwriters, why would you leave?

This is the cycle I was stuck in when I left Los Angeles in January.

I’d convinced myself I couldn’t leave LA. That it wasn’t an option. That I was a failure if I left – even if it were only for a couple of months. But after months of fighting tooth and nail with that beast, my family convinced me to come home to rest.

I reached a point where I had no more energy to continue on in that environment. I needed a sanctuary, a respite. That is what Dallas has been for me. I’ve been surrounded by people who love me regardless of what project I’m working on. They don’t care about what new idea I’ve got for a pilot or who was the last celebrity I saw in LA. I mean…they think it’s cool and all, but they really don’t give a flying flip.

I’ve lived away from Dallas for 9 years now, and I was extremely reluctant to come back home. I thought I had my family and this town all figured out. But as Tracy Lord says, “The time to make up your mind about people” (and cities) ” is never.”

The fact is, this city is pretty freaking cool and my family constantly surprises. I’ve realized how I’d boxed them in and how I labeled this city, but the longer I’m here the more I learn about both. The city is filled with every type of person you can imagine. My family has helped me remember how loved I am regardless of my career status – simply because I am.

I never realized how much I truly needed them, but I’m realizing it now and I’m seeing the beauty in this escape from LA. Relationships are being restored and my eyes are – if however reluctantly – being opened to the many surprising facets of my hometown and more importantly, my  incredible family.

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