My future is a big unknown, but I’ve come this far and I’m not willing to turn back now.
I’m on the brink.
I’ve been inching closer to it for a year now, feet shuffling forward and sending tiny pebbles hurling into the abyss, wind dancing in my hair and threatening to playfully shove me forward, tempting me with the thought that maybe I’m weightless. It’s been a year of knowing the edge is in front of me, and now my toes are over the chasm, wiggling in the open air, sending my balance into a dizzying, giddy vertigo.
I imagine my feet leaving the ground, close my eyes and feel myself flying and falling. And hitting the ground.
I live in Los Angeles, a city throbbing with the energy of a million dreams being born and carried and dying on the sidewalks, discarded at the bus stop. I came here from South Carolina as an actor and in love; I saw my future on the big screen and in a cozy married home. It wasn’t long before the fantasy disintegrated and I found myself single in this sprawling monster of a city, stunned and unprepared.
I knew I’d made all the right decisions but they sure as hell weren’t easy.
For the next few years, I threw myself into my acting, putting everything – heart and soul – into my career. I grieved and let go of The Ex and dated – a lot. I was a single girl in a big city and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw. I had amazing friends, a great social life, and was following my dream; what more could a girl ask for?
Only, my acting career wasn’t much of a career. I felt like I was running on a treadmill; I was constantly working, constantly investing my time, money, and energy, and getting nowhere. I did a lot of little things, a few big things, and had a couple terrifyingly major auditions; I even co-created & co-produced some things but still felt like my success was out of my control.
From the outside, I was doing well, slllooooowly building a career.
But on the inside I was miserable. Wasn’t I pursuing my dream? Wasn’t this supposed to make me happy? I felt stuck; I knew I wanted to create but hated the un-artistic, self-conscious, unconfident struggler this city had made me. I was afraid that if I stopped, I’d be giving up, I’d be a failure and everyone would think, “oh she just couldn’t cut it in Hollywood.”
I believed, really believed, that everyone else my age had their shit together and I was this f-ed up weirdo mess of a failure who was miles, continents, universes behind. I felt down all the time. The complete breakdown hit on a typically sunny LA day, in a typically busy LA parking lot. I sat there for three hours, crying, not caring about the blurry faces drifting past my window. No one noticed the dying girl in the beat-up Buick.
I was invisible & alone. I felt like my heart was breaking or my skin was shedding; if I was creating the chrysalis for my future self, I have infinite sympathy for caterpillars. And I didn’t know anyone who could relate. I needed out.
Fast forward a year and a half, through tsunamis of tears, a four-month solo backpacking trip in Australia, and the complete and honest acceptance of doing something besides acting with my life, and I had a new plan. I sold all my furniture and sub-leased my apartment in preparation to cross the country and live with my mom for a year.
It turns out the Universe just doesn’t like the plans I make because the day that I sold the final piece, my bed, I got a phone call that hit me like a bolt of lighting. I was cast in a major film. Like, in the words of the producer, a real Hollywood movie. Suddenly all the possible lives that I had honestly come to happy terms with not having came flooding back – what if this is the opportunity I’ve been working and waiting for?
Is this worth changing my life… again?
So here I stand, still on the edge of this Quarterlife cliff. My future is a big unknown, but I’ve come this far and I’m not willing to turn back now. I’ve accepted the drop, the emptiness in front of me, and I’ve chosen to trust that I can fly. Breathe in. Step off. Catch the wind…