Photos taken and words written in April 2017. Los Angeles, CA.
Is this really where it starts? Readiness is a choice. If we are our actions, I have to surrender to having lost control. If I am my actions, I am scared and looking for reasons not to recover. I am looking for every reason not to write, right now. We all want to believe that there is nothing wrong with us, and on a base, conceptual level that’s true. When faced with the things in our lives we wish were different, there’s really nowhere else to look but at ourselves. This morning, this is what I am faced with – standing on the edge of my roof looking for the sun that’s hiding behind the LA smog. I can be eco-conscious but I can’t single-handedly make the entire city’s smog go away. So I surrender. It’s amazing what will reveal itself, what will become clear, when you simply slow down, stop running, and let your eyes adjust.
In doing so, I have found the first half of my life to be covered with haze. I was made to believe that my childhood was fine. My brain only remembers the big gifts, my father and I making silly faces and my mother driving me everywhere. I had to stay busy. I had to stay on stage. I had to be going from dance classes, to singing classes to rehearsal and I remember, when a show would end I would feel this incredible ache. I would feel what I now realize to be grief. There I would be, a kid or a teenager, having to look at myself during the in-betweenness as I auditioned furiously to get myself back outside of myself. There was comfort in hopping out of my body and into anothers’. There was what felt like love when I would get on stage and I would hear that applause – and with that, they noticed me. I was accepted and special.
It’s amazing how a pattern started in childhood can continue and be transferred into our relationships in adulthood. Eyes focused, I now see how relationship after relationship has bonded around this pattern of seeking dramatic distractions outside myself to escape the question of myself. A lot has changed in the less-hazy last half of my life and at the same time, not much has. I left acting all together; I discovered myself to be a leader in booking punk shows, I co-founded a non-profit and moved behind the camera pursuing my passions of photography, writing and documentary filmmaking more aggressively. My needs now involved having friends, love, a successful career and to give meaning to my life. Leaving acting was a conscious decision to leave a behind a legacy and take control of my life and not allow my fate to be sealed by directors who were constantly thrusting me into victim roles.
Although the form of my relationships have morphed and changed, the patterns remained the same. Love became my stage – the theatrics of unhealthy attachments became my new distraction that prevented me from ever really attaining the needs in my life that had finally crystallized. An endless slew of unhealthy partners were planted on my path and I ran away from feeling emotions for anyone that was actually available to me. Who was I? I gave more of myself than I was ready to my first love who set the precedent of betrayal and abuse that after I became accustomed to in varying forms. The people changed, even the types of relationships changed. The pain inside vicious cycles of avoidance persisted. I was getting attention masked as love. I was getting false promises masked as truth. I was getting a lesson masked as what I thought could be forever. I got smarter seeing the red flags yelling at me to STOP but I kept running. I violated myself. I broke my own heart.
Sometimes it takes learning the same lesson over and over again before the sound of its teachings can’t be unheard no matter how far we run. Today I get my stuff back from the last lesson I’ll ever have to deal with, because readiness is a choice. It starts by saying goodbye, it starts by ending one thing to realize a new beginning. It starts by stopping. All I can do is surrender. All I can do is admit that I am powerless and remember that I am not alone.