Pausing the Dream

LA

So, apparently the brain doesn’t have just TWO acute stress responses, but THREE:

  1. Fight
  2. Flight
  3. Freeze

Did you know this? Ya, me neither.

The first couple years in LA were a fluctuation between fight and flight responses with a heavy concentration on flight. I was terrified of executive producers, successful writers and big name talent. Not to mention the dead-pan, shark-like agents. Hell, I was even terrified of using the walkie-talkie as a PA on an unpaid short film. (!!!! What the…!!!!)

I was terrified to fight for a job after my internships. ( ***Note: InternshipS. Plural. There were at least 5 in the first year + a half.***)

I thought this whole coming-home-to-Dallas-for-a-while thing was more of a freeze response. I’ve called it a “break” from my life in Hollywood, a so called detox, a pause on my dreams. However, the longer I’m here the more I’m realizing when I chose to come home, that was the last fight I had in me. I caved in to the suggestions of the people around me who loved me most. I needed to be removed.

Removed from the toxic atmosphere which surrounded me in order to gain perspective, insight, and direction instead of just floundering in uncertainty and fear. I was living in the heart of a city that specializes in distracting its residents from the most important things in life – real relationships, responsibility, being present, giving to others…etc.

There’s been a hovering element of shame about having to come home. It mainly swoops in when I imagine what friends in LA think of me:

“She couldn’t hack it.”

“What a weakling.”

“She couldn’t stay on the buss.”

“She put up a good fight, but this town chewed her up and spit her out.”

Even typing that out, it sounds so ridiculous it makes me laugh. However, those were (and still are at times) the lies that pulse through my head.

I’ve had enough distance at this point to recognize that the people closest to me would never think those things about me. If they did I probably shouldn’t hold onto those friendships anyway.

I have the space and distance to really consider why I want to pursue TV writing. “If you can do anything else, DO THAT” Shonda Rhimes suggests. Everyone in TV COULD do something else…it’s just a matter of choice.

It’s not necessarily whether I’m cut out for it, but whether I have the self respect to keep my boundaries and sanity in tact in such a crazy town. It’s not necessarily whether I’m strong enough to do it, but whether it’s what I truly want to pursue.

I’m able to ask myself WHY I want this and to grant myself the grace to explore other options. I’m able to silence the inner critic which shouts, “you’re just running away from your biggest fears!” That voice may carry some truth, but I’m tired of it yelling at me. It’s just a big bully and bullies rarely ever tell the truth.

Though pauses in life feel somewhat like failure at the time or at least a loss of momentum, I’m finding it’s where true peace and happiness may be discovered… for now anyway.

To my Hollywood friends fighting the fight, don’t let the fears overwhelm you. Be strong, especially if that means taking a break from one of the hardest cities in the world.

Love and miss you guys,

-Aly

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One thought on “Pausing the Dream

  1. Bravo! You’ve captured exactly the sentiment I feel in having moved home a year ago — but from a different vantage point in terms of career timeline. I’ve never been happier than I am today, focusing on those things you note truly matter. Here I am loved for me; there I was liked for what I could do (with the exceptions you know about and, in fact, represent).

    Proud of you, kid. 🙂

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