Sunday, November 14, 2010

You Do It Afraid, And Something Happens

"With writing, you start where you are, and you usually do it poorly. You just do it - you do it afraid. And something happens." -Anne Lamott

Hello fair readers. If there are indeed any of you left, I'd like to take this opportunity to reacquaint ourselves. It's been exactly 18 months since my last post. So I'd venture to say we're both more than a bit different than we were before. Allow me to catch you up in 3 paragraphs - roughly one per 6 months.

Phase 1 - Move to Hollywood (June - Sept 2009)

I love LA. But this city is not easy. For the first 3 months here things were new and fun, and then I was depressed for the next 3. At first, I did a wonderful internship through the UNC Hollywood Internship program with some incredible classmates, instructors and site placement at Gail Katz Productions. I learned more about being an assistant and this crazy film industry in 3 months than I did in 3 years at school. Then the honeymoon ended and real life began. I started the long haul of job searching with little experience in an industry that prizes it, few connections, and the worst job market for college grads in decades. Suddenly my best friends weren't here, I didn't have a faith community, and I was no longer defined by my position. I had to entrust my finances to God in a way I never had before. But of course, things always had a way of working out.

Phase 2 - Settle In, Listen Up (Oct 2009 - May 2010)

How did they work out, you may ask? Well, pull up a chair, old friend. So, I temped at various companies for 5 months while I hunted down a full-time job. Those critters are elusive for recent grads! In months where I couldn't see things coming together, I learned to let go a little of my Type A personality while still working hard, and then things miraculously would gel, proving Kris and I are supposed to be here for a reason. He and I found an amazing faith community, Kairos. I moved in with some incredible folks from the church here in E. Hollywood, and formed some important friendships with lightening speed. "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You" became my anthem for missed UNC compatriots. I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which made me think about living a good story instead of just creating them. In January, I was blessed with a full-time job at The Institute. I learned a lot there, and made some valuable connections. But something was happening in my heart at the same time. I realized the film industry is not for me.

Phase 3 - Onward (June - Nov 2010)

With that shocker of a tiny revelation around May 2010, I kept at my film job, trying to figure out my next move. My life for about 4 years now has been all about film and storytelling. Who am I outside of that identity? Well, I don't exactly know the answer to that in terms of my career, but I do know I am someone who cares about people and about causes and about wildflowers breaking through the ugly cement of this world. God is even still prying my fingers off of this identity I clutch so strongly, and showing me other more sustainable paths - teaching, psychotherapy, non-profit management. Places where I can work directly with people and actively create a good story with my life instead of bringing those stories to the big screen. I still have tremendous respect for those who do that, and I will support good, moving films until the day I die. But I need to create my own story now where I try in some small way to put a band-aid on a hemorrhaging world, and see what miracles happen. So at the end of October, my job ended at The Institute, and now I'm onto a new and exciting phase - figuring out my next step in life. Welcome back to my crazy ride!

Before I wrap up, and move on to another topic later this week, I wanted to briefly address why I'm back to the blogosphere, and why it's so important.

I've felt guilty about not blogging, but then Kris showed me a NY Times article a couple months ago mentioning how the trend these days is to be on Facebook and Twitter more than older forms of online communication like writing blogs. I've certainly remained active in the "newer" social media spheres, so I guess I'm about average. However, there's something that bothers me about the "broad swaths of the blogosphere [that] lie fallow" as Mr. Lohr puts it. We as a generation are forgetting our voice.

Wednesday night at our house, Jessica said something profound. As a group we are starting to study the 12 Steps as a way to be alongside our friends that have gone through recovery, and also as a way to find the addictions in our own lives and go through the process of being freed from them to love others more fully. Before we started to study the first step Jessica said, "Is the first step, 'Hi my name is ___, and I'm an alcoholic.'?"

The first step is actually, "Admit you are powerless against alcohol and your life has become unmanageable." Personally, I think that well-known first statement from AA meetings Jessica quoted is a great way to embody this. You are admitting and verbalizing who you are and your position in life. Saying it gives it credence and power.

In that way, I think blogging for me is a way to verbally process life and share it with my community - both near and scattered post-UNC. Blogging is my way of putting coherent thoughts together in more than 140 characters that say things of substance. These creative postings help me admit where I am in life, which then allows me to move on from there. And I hope these ramblings bring up issues that intrigue and validate my readers' experiences as well.

So thanks for being on this journey with me. I look forward to trading stories, poems, pictures, links and laughter.