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I am an actress.

My January 1 didn’t go any bit the way I planned and it kind of set the tone for the whole month, no matter how annoyingly positive I tried to spin things. But one thing January allowed me to do was to search for meanings in things. And to remember why I do the things I do.

And I think when it comes to acting we (or at least I) ask ourselves why we do it on a regular basis. We open ourselves up to rejection. We manipulate our own emotions and put our fate into the hands of others who many times ultimately aren’t as important or regal as the pedestals we place them on. For what?

Well…that’s a question I may have finally answered for myself. This post is going to be long and rambly and personal and it may well make some of my friends uncomfortable, but…it’s my story. And it’s one I’ve never told before…it’s one I’ve tried to forget, honestly.

It’s about the day, a long time ago, that I gave up on acting. I don’t remember the particular date…but I remember the year, where it was, & the time of year. I won’t reveal the exact location or year bc…well it doesn’t really matter anymore. But it was spring. I’d been poking around at acting & modeling for the past 5 years.

At this point I’d also nearly completed my 2nd BS degree and had been teaching talent & etiquette to kids on weekends (up to 3 weekends a month in my heyday!) for almost two years. I’d been a major cast member in plays at a drama festival two years in a row. My then-boyfriend had even introduced me to his friends as an actress (I realize now it was to stroke his own ego but…it was exciting in the moment). And the previous summer I’d recorded a demo cd but I’d gotten busy with MT school & hadn’t given it the attention and promotion I should’ve. But…overall I was still in the game.

It was a different game back then. Technology was different. Photos were more expensive bc you were paying for film & prints. Background work was largely obtained by standing in line with your headshot at the library and mooing thru a cattle call. And models were still basically heroin chic skinny, which I was not. But I’ve always had spirit and faith so…I was nothing if not persistent.

Until one morning. I was getting ready to go teach my Sunday morning modeling/acting/etiquette class and something upset my not-so-mr.-wonderful. Maybe it was me. I honestly remember thinking, “I have no idea why he’s doing this,” but…I set him off on a tirade. And I can remember leaving the house without my shoes on in order to avoid his bitching and hollering…I got into my car, ready to leave for work and he followed me. And even now I don’t really back down from anybody, so…things got heated.

He was basically, for whatever reason, saying that my job was stupid (it was a college weekend job, but to this day was one of the most rewarding, worthwhile experiences of my life & it covered the bills my scholarships & little student loan didn’t…but I digress). If I remember correctly he thought I needed to be home on weekends and blahdy blah, whatever. And for some reason we got on the subject of why I was wasting my time doing this job and the only thing I could muster was, “…because…I am an actress!”

And his response is something I think I legitimately repressed until a few days ago. Bc for whatever reason, those words set him off. The same person who’d previously introduced me as an actress was now enraged and belligerently amused by my use of the verbiage. And he laughed this dark, awful effing laugh and looked at me, as I was sitting in my driver’s seat with my car door open and proceeded to kick my door hinge in while screaming, “oh yeah?! Well where’s your fucking SAG card??” And…I can remember feeling pure panic and not being able to really even speak but still trying to explain my path while being stunned and confused and thinking, “this crazy bastard is gonna ruin my car!” (he was literally trying to kick my door off…which I later found out he’d done to a previous girlfriend’s Ford Escort. Seriously. Wtf. ) until I finally somehow grabbed the door handle and slammed it shut and sped off.

And I drove to work in a daze & I just did the only thing I could do to calm myself down. I blocked it out. It may well have never happened. The problem was I blocked out the wrong parts. I overlooked the abusive rage and I forgot the words, “I am an actress,” but I remembered the panic and I continued to live with that feeling for far too long.

After that day I lost contact with my then agent & my manager & my producer. I stopped mooing at the library. But I did everything that I was “supposed” to do. I built a career in healthcare and a family and all of the things normal people do. But…I think I kind of forgot about who I was. I lost who I wanted to be. I stopped entertaining people. I did what i was supposed to do. And you know what it got me? A decade & a half older (boo.) and two beautiful kids (yay!).

You see, some of us are born with this thing…it’s super difficult to describe. It’s this need to perform, the desire to entertain, this weird presence that makes our skin kinda crawl when we suppress it for too long….& it never really goes away. I was able to channel mine into entertaining my coworkers on off shifts and still teaching on weekends here & there, but it never went away. I just stopped daring to really pursue it outloud…until a year & a half ago, when despite having a tiny panic attack that morning before leaving for set, I did background on Hopeless. (No mooing necessary, so that was cool.)

And little by little, I’ve started thinking, this is what I was supposed to do all along, until just recently I started telling people on my livesteam broadcasts, “I am an actress.” And one day recently, I remembered when and why I’d stopped before. And I mean, I still don’t have a SAG card, but we all know that is not what defines an actress.

I guess it should be kind of embarrassing. That a fit of rage had that kind of impact…and maybe you could argue that I allowed it to, and you’d be correct. At that point in my life I just so desperately wanted somebody to love me that I stopped being the thing I wanted to be most. Humans are weird animals, dude. We don’t make sense & it’s a wonder we don’t all freakin’ self destruct.

But anyway…where am I going with this? I guess it’s that I screwed up a little. But I never completely lost hope or passion or something…so when I look at my life now and how busy it is and how absolutely insane I feel for still trying on the hardest days, I remember that terrified girl who gave up a little and I keep moving…because I don’t ever want to be afraid anymore and because…I am an actress. ❤️ #iamanactress #bebrave #moreglitter

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Merplings on the red carpet!!

It’s been a busy year. This past Saturday the kids got to see me on the “big screen” for a screening of the short film I was a part of for the 48 Hour Film Festival. It was pretty cool.

And scary. And a little stressful. We aren’t used to being downtown after dark. Ben has ADHD. Ava gets whiny after bedtime. But…we made it there on time, found parking, watched the screening, and even stayed for the awards (we tied for Best Use of Genre!!!).

grace, Inspiration, Life is beautiful, mommy blog

Deep Thoughts

Before you doubt yourself, here’s some stuff to think about, remember, & do:

1) At the end of the day, you’re the one who’s gotta live with yourself. You’re the one who’s ultimately going to pull it all together…even if you’re not alone, it comes down to you. Make yourself proud first. Take care of you. Heal you.

2) Sometimes you’ll screw up. Sometimes you’ll act out. Sometimes you’ll be wrong. Sometimes nobody will understand. We’re conditioned to mold what we hear to best suit the story we’ve already formed, breaking out of that takes more talent and zen than I’ve ever had. Don’t let that stop you. Anything you feel is valid. Feelings are perception. No one can tell you what you feel or do not feel. And making a feeling go away without processing it is really, really hard and often dangerous.

3) Love people. Even when they’re unlovable. Especially when they’re unlovable. But don’t expect anything in return. Just do it. Spread well wishes. Smile. Validate. It actually takes very little effort but it’s good for your soul.

4) Listen. Listen to yourself. Listen to others. The only way to have a clear perspective of this world is to see things beyond your own self..while still respecting yourself..it ain’t easy. But try it anyway.

5) Know what you want. And don’t stop till it’s yours.

Happy Friday! Go kick some butt.

fever, grace, Inspiration, Kids, Life is beautiful, mommy blog, strep

Mommy is the most effective fever reducer ever

Ben and I both woke up and 2:30 this morning. He was achy and burning up. Fever of 104.7!!! His throat hurts. It’s gotta be strep again.

Soooo…we’re headed to the doc in a bit to get antibiotics. Meanwhile I loaded him down with ibuprofen and packed him in ice for a bit…but his fever didn’t break at all till he was able to curl up ON me.

This kid is just about 5’1″ & over 80 lbs, so…I guess thankfully I’m strong. 🙂 He’s my first born so he’ll be my baby forever…& if when he’s 6’3″ he wants to snuggle in my lap, that’ll be fine too.

Right now we’re holding at 100.9, which is a huge improvement. I’m supposed to work today. I’ve got a blood drive scheduled. I’m gonna try to run It remotely. I have fleeting moments where I wish there was someone to call to help me, but there’s not, so I won’t wallow, I’ll just take life as it come as take care of my babies. As long as I’ve got them I i know I’m never alone in this world.

grace, Inspiration, Kids, Life is beautiful, mommy blog

Some Days I Mom So Hard…

Today was Ava’s school Mardi Gras parade. It was also a day of Ben’s pre-LEAP testing. And I had to work. But I got off to watch the parade, intent on going back.

As I arrived at school, my cell phone rang and it was the school. Ben had a headache. I checked him out and we watched the parade. Then we needed to pick up his prescription for his adhd meds from the doctor. Then he came to work with me for a bit.

We dropped off his prescription at the pharmacy and picked up Ava, only to learn that there’s an outbreak of head lice in her grade. 😳

So I spent my evening screening & preemptively treating my kids (& myself) for head lice. So far so good, we’re clear, but we’re laying on the tea tree oil and stuff. I convinced Ava that it was spa day and we deep cleansed & then deep conditioned. To be fair, we pretty much smell like we walked out of Aveda. I wonder what the difference between lice preventer and fancy shampoo really is…🤔

Then, after throwing dinner together, I finally plopped on the couch for a minute, next to Ben and before I knew it, he was sleeping soundly.

As I picked him up to take him to bed, he patted me and said, “you’re the best mommy. I love you.” ❤️

There were so many times today when I was overwhelmed but I didn’t quit. And the reason I didn’t quit is because of Ben & Ava. I’m benandavasmom. And they will need me forever. Almost as much as I need them.