Tag Archive | love

No Ordinary Kind of Love

I did an interview recently for the local SCBWI blog, Kite Tales, and one of the questions was, “When did you first feel like you were a writer?” My first reaction was, I don’t feel like a writer. I don’t, for practical reasons. I’m not published or even represented. Also for emotional reasons. Who the heck am I? I can’t write. I’m playing make believe. This is all a grand exercise in delusion.

I let that weed of a knee-jerk reaction subside and really considered the question. Supposing I did have flashes of feeling like a writer, and I do, when did those begin, and sparked by what? The answer? I felt like a writer over the course of writing this blog.

What a horrible answer, but there it is. A blog. Woof, such a cliche. Amiright? I don’t write this blog for readership; I never have. If that were my intent, I promise you I know enough about marketing to know that I’d go about it differently. I don’t write this blog for attention, or to get discovered, or picked up, or anything really. I don’t write it for anything. Except, just, to write. To work out who I am as a writer. To experiment with putting words together. To wrestle with words. It’s a blog, it’s social media, but it’s intimate. Because I don’t care if you like it, or comment on it, or share it, or ever read it at all. It’s public enough that I’m accountable to how I put the words together, but private enough that I don’t feel prey to anyone’s scrutiny or validation. I love this blog, and it has made me feel like a writer.

This year I need more of that. And I need it to be next level. An agent, a sold manuscript, an award in a writing contest. Something. Something else from somewhere outside my own fingers, something from the cosmos that hears my call and responds, “Yes, okay, you are a writer.”

The older I get, the more I realize that quiet was what I was always meant to be. My ego has longed for fame, fortune, acclaim, praise—all on the highest level, and yet my actions have led me to a small, quiet life with a wonderful partner, a pair of cats, a tiny apartment by the sea, an office job, and all the accouterments of standard, out-of-the-box happiness. Nothing too extraordinary, or revolutionary, but as singular as a snowflake to me. As quiet as one too. My ego wanted one thing, but my heart took me to another. Peculiar. Does the heart just win?

Am I equivocating? Trying to console myself for being in my mid-thirties, still in debt, still unknown and working in an office? Maybe. I honestly don’t know the answer to that because if my life were a bit more exclusive, maybe I’d be happy with that too. I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I wouldn’t take away a single thing today that makes me happy in order to obtain the extravagance about which my ego is so curious. I wouldn’t trade the great love I have, my sweet cats, my family, or the little baby growing inside me.

Oh yeah, I’m expecting. Probably nothing exemplifies the paradox of wonder as it relates to my ordinary life, better than my pregnancy. I am growing a human being. She’s the only one of her kind. I am doing something that millions of women around the world are doing, and billions of women since time immemorial. It is, arguably, the most mundane thing anyone could possibly do, from a statistical standpoint. And yet, why does it feel like I’ve won a Pulitzer? How does it feel like I’m the first woman on the moon? It’s like I’m spinning a new universe from scratch when all I’m really doing is something that most women will do at some point in their lifetimes. It is, at once, the most ordinary and extraordinary thing in the world.

That’s my life. An extraordinary, ordinary life. Even that’s a cliche. There’s nothing special. There’s nothing singular. And yet, it feels as though these cliches have something in common with walking on the moon. Growing humans. Loving someone. Writing. Making a life.

Acts of creation?

My ego wants to be the only one. The only one who gets told I’m great, I’m special, I’m beautiful, I’m known. But something else, something that’s not my ego, knows that just as much magic can exist in a small version of greatness. The outcome may look different. The compensation almost certainly will. The core is the same. All acts of creation are singular, no matter how small, or prolific among humanity.

Don’t mistake my introspection for complacency. I am ambitious. I want to be on the New York Times Bestseller list. I want to win a Newbery. I want one of my books to be made into a movie and have a chair on set that’s always saved for me. These are not quiet ambitions. I know that. I also know that achieving them will not make me any happier than I feel on a Friday night, coming home to my husband, eating spaghetti, watching Netflix and feeling my baby kick me from the inside. I know it. One day I’ll accept my Newbery Medal and I’ll say to my daughter, this award means the world to me, but you were my world first. I’ll say to my husband, this award brings me joy, but I only know joy because of you. I’ll say to my cats, you are little stinkers and neener-neener, I got a medal. I won’t talk to my cats about it. They don’t care. But they make me happy.

If I never actually get that medal, or that spot on the NY Times list, at least I know what it feels like to win. To be the luckiest woman in the world. Happiness. Its potency doesn’t increase with scale. It’s in the sun, and a grain of sand. The same amount.

And love. Singular, unique, exclusive, magical, love. A fertile soil where all creation begins, and blossoms an extraordinary garden. What’s more ordinary than a flower? They grow all over the world. But they always make you pause, don’t they? Pause, and wonder.




Marriage… House… Kids

As a mildly angst-riddled teenager I loved movies like American Beauty and Ordinary People that deconstructed the so-called American Dream and exposed it for what it really is, which I believed to be a false security blanket we hide under to escape our failures in achieving our true bohemian passions and desires. I can’t be the only teenage artiste who felt destined to transcend society’s expectations. Following the blueprint of marriage > house > kids seemed like a cop-out. Sentiments spoken like a true angst-riddled teenager.

This weird thing happens as you get older, which my mother of course told me would happen as I’d get older but I didn’t believe her. Your perspective changes. I would crow to her that I’m too different, too unique, to do something as prosaic as have children by the time I’m 33. No no no. I’m an artiste. I have dreams first. Then suddenly you turn 30 and you really do care less about being the world’s most fabulous actress, not because you doubt yourself any more or less. It just doesn’t seem to matter as much any more. Other things start to matter. Things like marriage > house > kids.

Whoa whoa whoa. What’s happening to me? I denounced that path at 16! Am I really going to deviate from my iconoclastic destiny by being… predictable? Suddenly I’m looking at listings on Zillow and taking school districts into consideration. Am I allowing myself to be sucked into the smokescreen of the “American Dream?” Or is this just, y’know, growing up? And how do I tell the difference?

I do what’s worked for me before. I stop. I breathe. I think. I deconstruct my preconceptions and try to see my situation from the outside. Maybe I should distance myself from conclusions I made about life as a teenager and allow room to grow? Just a thought.

*CUE angry teenager voice*

No! You weren’t wrong! You’re getting sucked in just like they want you to. “They.” “The man.” The daily grind. You’re better than that. You’re SPECIAL! Being responsible is code for being AVERAGE! It’s a trap! IT’S A TRAP!

Pause. Thank you self-aggrandizing teenage Becky. Noted. Now let’s get back to our present situation.

Teenage years, for better or worse, can be defined by one word: ego. It’s an important time in life. No longer children, our egos are finally sprouting legs to walk around as the person we’ll continue to become the rest of our lives. Puberty takes a grip, our hormones rage, and our egos blast off at full speed with an impenetrability and entitlement needed for things like surviving high school and leaving the nest. These broad strokes of “becoming” during our teenage years shape our goals and set our sails on a path to achieve them. Looking back I’m realizing that my teenage self was very important to me, it doesn’t mean my teenage self was right. Shifting my perspective now at age 30 doesn’t mean I’ve failed.

I’m stubborn. It’s hard for me to admit I may have been wrong, even if I’m referring to lofty ideas of self that I had at 16. A stubborn patch of coarse soil will never leave room for new flowers to grow, so let me take a look at this situation again.

Marriage > House > Kids.

I’m going to solve this problem very quickly because the light bulbs went off in my head very quickly once I stopped, breathed, and meditated a bit on the subject.

What is a marriage. Marriage is many things but the heart of it is love.


What is a house? We can easily get tangled up in the trappings and materialism of home-ownership but at its core a house is safe shelter.


What are kids? Well, I really have no idea what it’s like to actually have kids but I remember being a kid and I like kids. What are kids? Kids are family.


So what is this Marriage > House > Kids pathway? Let me translate.

Love > Shelter > Family

Is there anything more important to our survival than that? Anything more fundamental? More pure?

Love. Shelter. Family.

Teenage Becky was too embroiled in the development of her ego to do that nifty bit of translation of the American Dream. Adult Becky may be a bit wiser.

Love. Shelter. Family.

Yep. Those are definitely things that I want. Got the first one. Best decision I ever made. Got the second one except I’m spending every month paying off someone else’s mortgage so I’m understanding the allure of ownership.

Family. Well that’s a topic for another day.


This is pretty darn close to what my family currently looks like. And I love it with all of my heart. Click on the image for more illustrations of the little things that make love grand.

So Much Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. When you get right down to it, the vast majority of us in the world have a WHOLE lot to be thankful for, and with the world as whacked out as it is, I think it’s important to vocalize our thanks. Focus on the good. Be… excellent… to each other. ‘Tis the season.

This year I want to participate in the 30 days of thanks challenge. Is it a challenge? I’m not sure. I may have made that up. 30 days of thanks… extravaganza? Or maybe it’s just 30 Days of Thanks. That sounds more like it. Either way, I want to do that thing where you vocalize, literally or electronically, something you are thankful for each day.

Most people do this through a Facebook post or a tweet, but being the long-winded writer that I am I’m anticipating wanting to elaborate a bit more so I’ll use the ol’ blog to get the word out. This will also give me a true challenge, to write every day for 30 days.

Join me on a 30 day journey of reflection and deep-hearted thanks. I encourage you to join in the extravaganza!

(I’m a few days behind, so I’m going to spitfire Days 1-4 and get on track with one post per day starting tomorrow).

Day 1

This face/person/soul:


petal 1


Brad Light. I don’t know what I did to find him. Whatever celestial magic that brought him my way, to “you” I say thank you. I am thankful for his spirit, his silliness, his sense of humor, his tenderness, his gentleness, his handsomeness, his goodness, his curly brown hair, his horned-rim glasses, his love of the sea, his quest for adventure, his love of his family, his love of cats, his delicious stir-frys, his understanding, and more than anything I’m thankful that he loves me. Again, celestial magic. It’s a thing. I love you to the moon and back Brad.

Day 2

These squishy fluffy faces:



It is an excellent idea to live with cuddly animals. They teach you about unconditional love. They challenge you to take care of something precious other than yourself. They encourage you to embrace empathy for non-human creatures, which then translates to empathy for human creatures too. These are truths for me. I am so grateful for my two kitties, Sharky and Mr. Wizard. Now if only they loved each other as much as we love them. Maybe next year.

Day 3

My running route:

Last night Brad and I finished a glorious 10 mile run along the beach. Around mile 4 the sun was setting over the Pacific and Brad says to me “if anyone told me when I was a kid that one day I’d get to run along the beach next to my fiance as the sun sets over the ocean, I’d have been able to suffer through a lot more pain with a smile on my face knowing where I’d eventually end up.” Isn’t that the lesson we all need. First of all, when life sucks, as it often does, you are never without the tiny kernel of knowledge that somehow it will get better. It just will. And that maybe all of the hard times are necessary, as they are leading to something more wonderful than you could imagine. So today I am grateful for where those hard times and wrong turns have landed us. In a little apartment on the Pacific with the most glorious running path two runners could ask for.


Day 4

I am grateful for the fall.


Today I woke up and I knew it would feel like fall (as much as it CAN feel like fall in Los Angeles). Brisk autumn days are something I miss so terribly living in L.A. Some people get bummed out by a lack of sunshine. I get bummed out by too much. I like the seasons to obey the seasons and Southern California is the land of eternal summer. Bummer. Today I have a scarf around my neck, and I wore a jacket to work. I noticed some leaves falling off trees, and the shadows are extra long. Today, it feels like California fall and it may only last until about 3:00 pm, but I’ll take it. I’ll savor it.


Sometimes I worry that acknowledging all that I’m grateful for will jinx me, and it will all fall apart. This comes from the part of my brain that is convinced I don’t deserve to be happy. Hogwash. We all deserve to be happy. But we gotta thank the universe once in a while. She won’t bite.


See ya tomorrow.



Happy Places

I recently had a revelation while pondering what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve spent countless hours pondering that question when in fact I believe the answer has been staring me in the face.

Do you have places in the world that you would describe as your happy places? I do. And I don’t mean a metaphorical happy place wherein you imagine yourself surrounded by bluebirds as a warm light washes over you. No. I mean a real, tangible, physical, happy place. Places you go where, no matter what, you feel instant glee. Not just cool places. Not just places you enjoy or find fun or pleasant. Places that have something special. Places with a magical power to transplant you from the dullest of dolddrums to the utmost place of hope and contentment. I have some.

Libraries/Book stores

Sports supplies stores (especially running stores)

Craft and art supplies stores (Michael’s, Utrecht, even Home Depot fits into this category. Places where you can get stuff to build other stuff)



The woods

Office supplies stores

The ocean

On my couch with my fiance and my cats


I would say that pretty much covers my happy places. I could get more specific (The Griffith Observatory, The American Museum of Natural History, Northern California redwoods, etc.), but these are the main categories. Kind of a weird hodge-podge wouldn’t you say? I’m kind of weird.

As I’ve been mulling over what I should do with the rest of my life, I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that my happy places might be providing me with an answer.

How did I come to this realization? I thought about the things I’m currently doing that I don’t make a living off of, but that I love doing, and I realized there is potential to make a living off of them if I put my mind to it. I own and operate Whimsy Do. I write this blog. I run. I go to Disneyland (ok so maybe there’s not potential to make a living off of going to Disneyland but I have a point, which I’ll get to shortly). A light bulb went off as I realized that these things directly correlated to my top happy places.

  1. I own and operate Whimsy Do. I’m instantly happy in art and/or craft supplies stores a la Utrecht or Michael’s.
  2. I write. I write this blog and I write stories. I’m instantly happy in a book store or library.
  3. I run. I’m instantly happy in a running store and on the running trail. My blog is also a running blog so 2 and 3 tie in together.

I’m creating, writing, running; but I’m not currently making a living off of any of these things. I could though. I could invest more time and energy into Whimsy Do. I could actually get my stories published. I could turn this blog into a source of income with the right strategy and determination. And here is how Disneyland ties in. Disneyland Half Marathon weekend is one of my ultimate happy places (and training starts this week!). I could work for runDisney. Running and Disneyland, two happy places combined. If runDisney ever starts up a California office, I’m there. I could, and I should, and I would. Somehow.

I know what you’re thinking. If you make what you love your job, you run the risk of not loving it as much. You might ruin it. What a sad thought. Think about what that means for a moment. That means we are not only willing to, but deliberately choose to do things we dislike for the majority of our waking lives (8+ hrs of every day!) because we’ve somehow bought into the notion that work = something to be tolerated. I say we change that presumption. I say it’s time for a paradigm shift. It’s time we spend the majority of our lives doing things that feel right in our bones. That feel meaningful and make us, yes, happy. And will we feel happy all of the time? Of course not. Will it sometimes feel like work, even though we supposedly love it? Of course. Anything worth doing is hard. Marriage, parenthood, career aspirations. All challenging. All worth it. Because there is meaning in the challenge. You think it’s easy to climb Mt. Everest? I guarantee you the people who do it aren’t doing it for the paycheck. Passion is hard, but there is a payoff that directly feeds into our core, our selfness, our most precious part of ourselves that generates love and spirit and hope and life. It’s the right kind of hard work. Most of us spend our lives doing the wrong kind of work. The kind that makes us stare at the clock until 5:00. The kind that makes us steal as many Facebook minutes as possible throughout the day. Anything to distract us from that paperwork, right? The kind that makes us live for the weekend. As if two days make up for the other lost 5.

So idealistic right? I know. It’s easy to talk about. It’s hard to do. There are bills. There are mortgages. There are children to send to college. There are debts to pay off. I hear ya. I’m in a version of that boat myself. But it doesn’t stop me from believing that it’s possible. It must be possible to honor our fiscal responsibilities while the work we do gives our life meaning. We just spend too much of our lives at work for that not to be possible. 33.33% of my life is spent sleeping, 33.33% of my life is spent working, and 33.33% of my life is mine to do with as I please. That tiny third also has to include laundry, cooking, cleaning, bill pay, errands, etc. It’s not enough. Life is too precious. I want more than a third of it with which to make a difference. I want more than a third of it with which to accomplish something magical and more importantly something meaningful. I want to love and not to regret more than a third of my life. I know it’s possible. Because I feel it happening. 4 years ago I left an office job I didn’t like and I turned my back on the restaurant business because they were sucking my soul. I took a leap of faith, and a week later I got a call to work for a non-profit that is changing lives. I have a great job. I don’t love it every day, and I don’t believe it’s where I’m meant to end up, but my days aren’t wasted. I’m grateful for that. And because I took that leap, the next stepping stones are becoming clearer and clearer.

If you’re lost, floating, drifting, unsure of what move to make next, first of all you’re not alone. Maybe think about a happy place. They really are quite neat. As if the universe gave them to us, as to whisper in our ear “This. Do more of this. You were born to do this.”

I’m genuinely curious. What are your happy places? Universities? Science labs? Boardrooms? Churches? Kitchens? Let Tahiti readers know by leaving your happy place in the comments below. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else!

Mountains in the snow. Happy Place.

Mountains in the snow. Happy Place.

Brad and I touring the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Happy happy.

Brad and I touring the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Happy happy.


On our beach. Happy.

The Los Angeles Public Library. Happy place.

The Los Angeles Public Library. Happy place.

Michael's (especially at Halloween). Happy place.

Michael’s (especially at Halloween). Happy place.

Running the Disneyland Half Marathon. Can't you tell by our faces? Happy places.

Running the Disneyland Half Marathon. Can’t you tell by our faces? Happy places.

A Friday night with my boys. Completely perfect happy place.

A Friday night with my guys. Completely perfect happy place. Although Sharky doesn’t look too happy 🙂

And of course, Tahiti. I have a feeling that's going to be one helluva happy place.

And of course, Tahiti. I have a feeling that’s going to be one helluva happy place.

life, and all its changes

I’ve been terrified to write this post because I know it will make what I’m feeling and saying real, which is why I need to write it. Every time I sit down to type I feel my heart start to race and my palms sweat. Here we go…

Let’s be honest, change pretty much sucks. Even when change is a good thing (which most of the time it is), it’s still scary as hell to venture into uncharted territory. But how do we grow unless we fiercely march into the unknown? It’s so comfortable to remain complacent. So cozy just to think and dream about doing things without having to actually do them. There’s no risk of failure in a daydream. With all its comforts stagnation is unsatisfying. Life periodically gives us reality checks that force us to confront the path we’re on and either trudge forward, or change the path.

My reality check came in the form of a gorgeous diamond ring. On October 11, 2012 my boyfriend of 5 years asked me to be his wife, and I said yes; but this post is not about our engagement. It’s about what our engagement has done to help me take a more honest look at my life. I’ve been dreaming about getting engaged to and marrying Brad for at least a year and probably longer. (Truth be told I felt that he was the one within the first 3 months of dating.) They have been lovely dreams. Dreams are lovely. Now those dreams are a reality and reality is, well, real! I catapulted into the transition of dreaming about a thing to actually living a thing and however magical, when dreams come true they can also be jarring. But as I said, this post is not about our engagement. My relationship with Brad is precious to me and I don’t divulge too much about it publicly. I’ll just say this. I’m madly in love with Brad and look forward to planning our future together. I’m grateful for him every day. No we haven’t set a date and no I haven’t started planning the wedding yet, so you can stop asking for now :). This post is about other changes in my life. The dream of marrying Brad becoming real invited me to take a good look at everything I’d been dreaming about, including my acting career.

Marilyn Monroe was quoted as saying “Dreaming about being an actor is much more fun than actually being one.” I know exactly why she felt that way.

Dreams are important but they must be based in reality and they must be realized through action. I wanted to marry Brad so I moved in with him, I adopted a cat with him, I shared my life with him, and I altogether entranced him with my female charms. I even joined AT&T for him! We took action to nurture our life together.

I wanted to go to Tahiti so I started this blog. I created a running and money savings plan to get us there. I ran a half marathon every year to keep my mileage on track. I opened a savings account specifically for this goal. I’m making it happen, and I LOVE every step of the way.

I wanted a creative outlet that would bring me some extra cash so I started Whimsy Do. I invented Bun Belts. I opened an Etsy shop. I created a marketing plan. I made a ton of new inventory. I made it happen and my little business has grown more and more with each passing month. I have sold whimsical hair accessories to customers in 15 different countries.

I wanted to be an actor. I have not pursued getting an agent. I do not go to casting director workshops. I haven’t gotten new headshots in 5 years. I haven’t put my reel together and I’ve had all of the material sitting on my shelf for 3 years. I don’t submit myself for projects. I don’t make myself look a certain way. I don’t market myself. I’m no longer in an acting class. Why haven’t I done any of these things that one is required to do if one wants to be a working actor? I’ve been ignoring that question since I moved to L.A. The answer is because I don’t want to.  

I love to act. I will always love to act. I think I’m pretty good at it. I will never completely turn my back on acting. I am honored to be an active member of Theatre of NOTE. Theatre is where it’s at for me. I love it. I feel alive when I do it. However it’s hard as hell to make a living doing theatre. I fear saying that may come across the wrong way. I don’t mean to sound like one of those people who discourages the pursuit of an artistic career because it’s “not practical” or “unrealistic.” I don’t believe that. It IS possible to make a living doing theatre and it is honorable. However, there are certain things it entails. It entails being willing to travel around taking jobs in regional theatre. It entails perhaps taking a job teaching or doing some such other thing to supplement your income as a theatre actor. It entails relocating to a place like Ashland or Stratford to become a permanent resident of a theatre festival. These are all wonderful and viable ways to pursue a living in the theatre. They just aren’t for me. I have a life in L.A. I don’t want to travel around from job to job not knowing where the next job will take me or if it will come at all. I don’t feel called to teach theatre, though I greatly admire those who do. I don’t want to move to a little town like Ashland for as much as I love the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I don’t see that as a long-term life for me. I love doing theatre when I can here in L.A. I am so in love with my theatre company, Theatre of NOTE, and my fellow ensemble members. I was revitalized doing The Crucible. I got paid tuppence, essentially gas money, for these things and I’m ok with that. I’m ok with acting for love and not for money. 

I began to ask myself, why didn’t I want to do film & television? That’s where you could make money, and that’s what I thought I wanted to do for so long. The answer felt simple in my heart but took more complexity to put into words.

I believe there are two sides of us that dream. The dreams of our true self and the dreams of our ego self. The true self is the voice in our heart that drives us down the right path. Brad describes this as a “God voice.” Joseph Campbell calls it “following your bliss.” In The Alchemist it’s described as finding your “personal legend.” Then there are the ego dreams. The dreams that are about gratification, about attention, about working through and satisfying neuroses, about complying with societal expectations. My ego wanted to be a movie star, my heart did not. I wanted the attention. I wanted to be the winner. I’ve never much felt like “the winner” in my life. I always wanted to be popular but wasn’t particularly. I always wanted to be the pretty girl but wasn’t particularly. I always wanted to be things that I didn’t think I was. Successful actors are winners, they are glamorous, they are the definition of popular. My ego longed for this because it would have been the final triumph over my insecurities and my neuroses. I have only now realized that there never was a battle to be won, only an ego to quiet. 

It’s painful to admit all of this. I have to emphasize that this is MY personal experience with the entertainment industry. I in no way think that the reasons I’ve stated above are the reasons that people want to become successful actors. I know that’s not the case. They are just the reasons that I wanted to become one and they weren’t healthy for me. I’m ready to say goodbye to them. I’m ready to listen to my God voice, which has little to do with Hollywood. If financial success as an actor ever does come my way it will not be because my ego drove me there. It will be because I did what I passionately loved and happened to be lucky enough to, as Jason Alexander once said to my acting class, “step in the right puddle of mud.” In the meantime, I now asked myself…

So what do I want to do with my life? This is the new question that has spiraled me into several anxiety attacks over the past month. Interestingly enough, the answer to that question popped into my head almost immediately once I admitted that I didn’t want to pursue a professional acting career anymore. It just took me awhile to accept the screaming answer in my head.

Four years ago I started a blog called Peacock Stories. The very first entry in that blog sums up, well, what I want to be when I grow up. Here it is:

When I was a small thing, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, and it wasn’t an actor. Not to make a dig at my current ambition, but I think there are things left uncovered in childhood dreams. I bet you’re dying to know what it is I wanted to be aren’t you? Well, actually, I think I’ll keep you hanging for awhile and say more about the nature of the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s an interesting question isn’t it? As soon as kids are old enough to speak, someone promptly asks them the tell-tale question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m a babysitter, and I’ve done it myself plenty of times. I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with asking that question but when you analyze it a bit further (which I always do), why do we ask it? Why are we so obsessed with rushing through the carefree unpredictability of childhood? The world where you wake up one day wanting to finger paint the bathroom and you wake up the next wanting to dig worms out of the garden. It’s almost as if, in asking that question, we are starting to focus our children’s minds on the world of “being something.” I’m a ‘doctor.’ I’m a ‘teacher.’ I’m an ‘archaeologist.’ We’re starting to tell our children, “you have to be ‘something’ you know? you have to BE something.” Kind of a shame.

I am now an actor. Well, sort of. I’m not paying the rent with it yet, but I am indeed an actor. When people ask “What do you do?” that’s what I say, “I’m an actor.” That’s the ‘something’ that I’m working to become. But it’s funny because some days I wake up and I think to myself, SHIT, what am I doing? I’m not making money as an actor yet, I’m working for a restaurant, I’m living paycheck to paycheck, SHIT. I don’t feel like I’m ‘something,’ and I know that I’m supposed to be ‘something.’ It’s better to be ‘something.’ But is it really? Is that what life is about? Big philosophical question which I will save for a future entry. But the point is, maybe I wouldn’t feel such angst if I hadn’t had adults grilling me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think I shall add that to the list of “ways grown-ups screwed me up as a child.”

Nonetheless, I’m happy on the path I have chosen. Being an actor is a crazy, tumultuous, rocky road; but I love it. I love the craziness. I love not knowing when something really exciting is going to come my way but knowing that it will indeed come. It’s somewhat manic, but extremely rewarding. Aside from the passion I have for theatre and acting, I have another desire that I have never been able to shake.

I have been haunted by my answer to that childhood question for much of my adult life.  The answer is, are you ready, it is… a writer. Tah dah! Really exciting, no? I know, it’s not the most unique answer to that question but I have to tell you, it felt unique to me. It felt unique because I wanted it with such fervor. I was so determined. So ambitious. So passionate. I used to write storiesconstantly. Ideas just flowed out of me. Sometimes they were pretty obscure, but that’s because I had no censor, no inhibitions, my imagination was completely unleashed. I loved it. And I was certain that I could become published by the time I was 10. I figured, it couldn’t be that hard. I remember thinking, when I was about 8 years old, that I could easily write a story, color the pictures myself, send it to an editor and be done with it. Voila! Caldecott medal here I come! I strive for such confidence these days.

I wrote a story in first grade. I honestly don’t remember what I titled it back then but I’ve come to call it “The Magic Mushroom.” Psychadelic, I know, but it really is an appropriate title. It was a wonderful story which I think spoke about certain themes on a level that I hadn’t actually matured to yet but perhaps I knew about intuitively. When I told my boyfriend the gist of the story, he said to me, “You know, that’s actually really good. You should definitely write that down.” He’s right. So that’s what I’m going to do. With this blog.

I miss writing. And I wrote children’s stories, perhaps because I was a child, or perhaps because I could be as inventive as I wanted. I’m starting this blog to get back to my roots. To put pen to paper again. Because, I am an actor. That’s the ‘something’ I strive to become. That’s also my passion. I’m lucky that passion and profession go hand in hand with me. But once upon a time, the child within answered that gosh-darn question without any sense of society or responsibility or expectation, and she said “writer.” So that’s in there somewhere and I’d like to share those stories again. Enjoy!

Going back and reading that entry is telling. I remember writing it. I remember writing about being an actor and feeling false but writing it anyway. I remember thinking “it’s NOT really what I want to do,” but I was so in denial that I wrote it anyway. Writing. Writing is what I want to do. It’s what I want to be when I grown up.

I have a loud mind. I over-analyze and over-complicate absolutely everything. Ideas are important to me so I don’t want to numb out the activity in my brain. I need a way to express it all and the best way for me to do that is to write stories. I’m passionate about it. I now have a million story ideas bouncing around in my head. I want to start with picture books for children and who knows, maybe one day write a novel. I’m not sure where the path will lead, but I believe that I have found my personal legend. Expect my first book to be published within 5 years 🙂

In truth, the road ahead is unknown to me. My life has basically been flipped upside down. I am in the process of figuring out how to become something new. How to get to know a new industry. How to get involved. I know that it won’t be easy and it won’t always feel like I’m on some sort of divine path, but I have faith that no matter what it is the right path.

I have no way of knowing whether this passion will stick. In 5 years I may wake up and hate writing and decide that what I really want to do is become a park ranger. That could happen. But today, today I want to write, and I have already been more pro-active about becoming a writer in just one month than I have in the past 5 years of trying to be a professional actor. That tells me something.

I won’t stop acting, I promise. You can see me in A Mulholland Christmas Carol coming up at Theatre of NOTE! I’m excited about the prospect of pursuing acting projects that I’m passionate about just because I want to create them, not because they’re going to make me money. I’m not throwing my headshots aways . I’ll probably leave my Actors Access account active. I think I may still pursue getting a commercial agent just because it sure would be nice for one national commercial to pay off my college debt. In other words,  I certainly won’t turn down work, but I’ve released myself from the pressure of succeeding in an industry that plays a game to which I don’t like the rules.

I’ll end by sharing a quote that Brad introduced me to, and that is hanging framed on the wall in our apartment. I could definitely learn some things about writing from Goethe. It’s ok, he’s got a few years experience on me. 

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. -Goethe-

I share all of this because it makes it real for me. Putting this out into the universe via the blogosphere is powerful. I also share it hoping that maybe I can inspire at least one other person to listen for the passions whispering in their heart. I believe the world would be a better place if we all did this. So get out there, and follow your bliss!

my running valentine

Trolling through Pinterest today, I came across this hilarious pin:

It, of course, reminded me of Brad, because it’s 100% true. The times we’ve shared running have been adventurous, hilarious, challenging, and meaningful. Kinda like our relationship. Two years ago I published a post called “running is for lovers” in The Happiest Runner on Earth. Here we are 2 years later, still running strong. In honor of Valentine’s Day, and the best running partner around, I’d like to share that post again. So here it is. This should illustrate once again just one of the many reasons I love you Brad Light. Happy V-Day:

running is for lovers

originally published September, 2010

As I reach the end of this formal training regimen, I reflect back on the memories made, miles accrued, asphalt traversed, hills climbed, and calories burned. I have to say one of my favorite things about this adventure (start heating the fondue pot because this is going to be cheesy) has been the time I’ve spent with my beau, Brad.

Prior to this training process I was very much a solitary runner. I enjoyed running by myself and cringed at the idea of “running clubs.” Yuck! Who would want to talk to run with people?! I considered running my own personal time of the day, a time to get in the zone and focus on myself, a time when I wouldn’t have to worry about making small talk or chit-chat, just run out whatever bothered me from the remains of the day. I still enjoy running alone sometimes for these reasons, reasons that are completely valid; but now mostly I look forward to sharing the experience with Brad, it’s true. I see a parallel between the runner I was then/the runner I am now to the person I was then/the person I am now. Before love, “I am a rock, I am iiii-iii-i-sland. And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.” In love, I am more of an atoll, and Brad is my coral reef. Alright, I don’t know what that metaphor is all about but you see what I mean, maybe.

When we first started running together, he would talk, I would listen. I wasn’t in good enough shape to talk and jog. I was trying to focus on breathing and maintaining consciousness. Brad however has always had pretty amazing lung capacity so he can talk and talk and talk no matter how fast we run. So we start our jogs and right away I say “Ok, tell me a story.” He giggles, knowing that I can’t converse but I don’t want to shut him out by listening to my headphones. I will be honest, at first I wanted so badly to fall back on my crutch, my old friend the “shut-out-the-world” iPod. I abstain, and decide I’ll give this whole “couples running” thing a try.  So again, I ask Brad for a good story. Who can remember a good story when put on the spot like that? Brad can. Somehow he always comes up with a good one. Like Owl in Winnie-the-Pooh, always some random story right up his sleeve.  I love listening to Brad’s stories while we run. It’s like my own living iPod. Ahh, to interact with people. What a concept.

As the weeks pass I find myself able to carry on basic conversation during our runs. Not chit-chat, mind you, I can’t be bothered. Isn’t that the best thing about love? Not having to chit-chat anymore? Meeting someone to whom you can actually say what you mean and mean what you say? Meeting someone who doesn’t care if you let out a little gas, emotionally or literally, in the middle of your workout. Brad still does most of the talking but at this point I’m able to provide insightful albeit succinct commentary.

Nowadays I’m at full-on conversation lung capacity as long as we’re running 5 miles or less. During a 3-miler just this morning Brad and I got into a somewhat heated debate over our definitions of ignorance. Who knows if we would have even started talking about it had we not been running. The dialogue isn’t always intelligent. Sometimes we just laugh, at who knows what, but we laugh. Or we go on adventures. I would have never run through cow pastures and made faces at bulls, or ran up a trail in Catalina to find the most beautiful sunset view I’ve ever seen, I would not have done these things had I run alone. Not to mention that I likely would not have pushed myself faster and faster and actually reached conversational lung capacity without Brad’s flash speed to challenge me.  It’s just pretty amazing the new things one discovers when one has another set of eyes to see the world through. Things I’ve learned: it’s fun to accomplish something, but boy is it tons more fun with someone you love. Run with someone you love. It will push you in directions you otherwise may not have wandered.

And here are some B&B Disney pics to get us all in the mood for Sunday!

wheel of death