Tag Archives: career

Owning It

26 Jun

Never for a moment did I think 4 months would pass in silence here.

Or maybe I did.

This space lies dormant as my life is a wonderful whirlwind of challenges, triumphs, travel, and motherhood.

Are things perfect? Not even close. I struggle daily as my career has gone from zero to sixty, and I find myself leaving Bunny far more often than I ever thought I would.

I struggle to understand my role as a mother, both amidst my ambitious, careerist nature, and the legacy of loss that has brought me to my wonderful little girl. I originally wrote “baby girl” but she’s not really a baby anymore.

I would post 100 pictures of her here. But she’s too big now. It no longer feels right. She has found her own identity.

As have I.

I have re-embraced my drive and ambition and “leaned in” with all of my might. At the same time, trying to push away the demon that is my ingrained image of what a mother is supposed to be. One who only has her children, and nothing else. That is what I grew up with and I am working like hell to break loose of it.

I am carving out a path that is far different than the one my mother demonstrated. That of an equal partnership, equal parenting, and being a strong, ambitious mother who is building a career.

I can only hope that what I’m modeling for my daughter will be an inspiration and not a hindrance. I assume, like all parents, I’ll most likely be responsible for hours of therapy sessions and countless issues.  I have to be ok with that. Because every parent messes up their kid. They just do it differently than their parents before them.

I’m muddling through it, working on embracing motherhood. Working through the anxiety of being different and trying to balance it all. Working through what it means to raise my daughter, while being who I am naturally, but also recognizing the fight and legacy of loss that brought her into my life.

And coming into my own.

For the first time – most likely ever – I feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel absolutely grateful for what I have, and I’m trying to embrace this contentment.

My mother-in-law commented today that I keep on losing weight.

I told her I actually haven’t lost a gram.

Maybe it just re-distributed?

Nope. I’m the same size. Everything fits the same.

So what’s changed?

I hold myself up – just a little higher.

And everything I have at this exact moment? It would not have happened without everything that had come before it – for better, for worse.

Will I return here more often? If I were a betting woman, I’d say yes. But not yet. Not quite.

There will be a moment, sometime in the future, when we will decide it’s time to try to make us a family of four.

And when we decide to jump back into that freezing ocean, I hope this place will continue to be a warm retreat.

And I hope some of you will still be around.

In the meantime, we are basking in the sun, and embracing chaos, routine, and contentment.

I wish all of you the same. I’ll see you again soon.

 

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Fallback Position

18 Jul

Me: I’m a little worried about our career.

Me: Baby! Baby! Baby!

Me: Stop it! I’m trying to have a serious conversation here!

Me: Baby! Baby! Baby! Leave me alone! I’m too busy imagining an inflated belly and shopping for baby clothes.

Me: But we have stuff to figure out. Money stuff, apartment stuff, future stuff.

Me: Nah – don’t think about that. Think about babies. Babies are cute!

Me: Dude, seriously – real life is calling. We have shit to do.

Me: Screw that. Can we watch some reality shows about preggos?

Me: No. We need to find a new job.

Me: I don’t wanna!

Me: We made a decision. It was a good decision. Now let’s get our shit together.

Me: No! Baby! Baby! Baby!

Me: I think I get it.

Me: You never get anything.

Me: No, seriously hear me out. Have you thought that perhaps you’re just so used to obsessing about a baby that you can’t fathom the idea that the next couple of months will be TTC-Frenzy free?

Me: *plugs ears* Lalalalalalalalala!!!!

Me: No more escaping from real life because of the baby thing! Come on! We can do this! It’s time to get a life.

Me: LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!

Me: I give up.

Me: *evil laugh*

Three Weeks! Get Off Your Freakin’ Butt!

8 Feb

Ok – a conversation with myself is coming up, but first, two non-related things that I wanted to share with you and don’t justify a whole separate post.

1) I made an appointment today with a tattoo artist for March 1st. I’m really excited about it, actually. It really feels right to do this. Though the poor guy answering the phone was a bit freaked out by how adamant I was to get this precise date. Ahh well, I guess they don’t get many recurrent miscarriers wanting to memorialize their lost babies on their intended due date.

Aaaand moving on to a lighter note:

2) warning – this is a cute story but a: it’s most likely NSFW, so read fast b: if you are a guy who is reading this, well, skip over this next part because it is TMI (I’m talking to you, big brother o’mine! Me0me, rolig, you can probably handle it).

So inspired by a post Elphaba put up a while ago I am using sanitary pads now in lieu of tampons. Just so you understand this in context – I even used to sleep with tampons. This is how much I hated pads. But when Aunt Flo showed up this week I decided to give the napkins a whirl. It’s been a bit awkward to say the least.

So I get out of the shower and realize I didn’t bring underwear with me. I ask shmerson to bring me a pair so that I can put on a pad and not “drip all over the floor”.

He answers: Gross.

I answer: Listen – that stuff coming out of my hooch is the same stuff your child will be made in, so you better learn to love it.

After nearly choking on his apple juice, he mentions that it was rather remarkable that I can say that to him without feeling embarrassed (as in – hey we’re a pretty cool couple to be that open with each other). I said – ha! I’ll go even better! I’ll post it on my blog! I believe he was skeptical that I was actually going to do it. (thank goodness this thing is anonymous).

Not sure how much he’s going to like reading about this in the morning. (Shmerson I love you, you love me – now learn to love my many discharges).

Ok big bro – you can start reading from here.

Now on to the main event…..

Me: You do realize that you have three weeks to go before that big development grant deadline?

Me: mmmhmmm.

Me: hey! Listen up!

Me: mmmm what? Oh, sorry I had a long day and I was watching scrubs. What were you saying?

Me: urgh. I was saying that there are three weeks to go before we have to turn in a five page synopsis, and you promised me that we would spend the weekend watching “Go”, “Rashomon” and “The Usual Suspects” for some inspiration on story structure.

Me; yeah, so? we’ve seen them already. Me tired. Me want to watch Zach Braff making silly faces.

Me: We watched them ages ago, and we need to watch them in context. And we need to get this thing written! Come on – we actually have a good shot at this grant if we get this done. It’s for a movie AIMED AT TEENAGERS. This is what we do, remember? It’s our thing. Now get off your scrubs kick and go watch some Kirosawa!

Me: But it’s Japanese and black and white. Bo-ring!

Me: It’s a masterpiece. you know that. What’s your deal?

Me: *whiny* I don’t wanna write!

Me: You’re writing right now.

Me: yeah, but this doesn’t count. This isn’t my career.

Me: ahh – I get it.

Me: What – the joke Zach Braff just said? of course you do – it’s kind of easy. he’s imagining chocolate land, and turk is there, so he breaks off turk’s hand and eats it….

Me: Yo! stop changing the subject! You are terrified aren’t you?

Me: Of Zach Braff? Nahh he’s pretty cute.

Me: No – you are terrified of getting back to writing real stuff. Movies. You know – those things they screen  in public, and they have your name on them right where it says “written and directed by..”

Me: Oh, yeah. That.

Me: come on, admit it. You’re scared.

Me: ok. fine. I’m close to peeing my pants here.

Me: Well get over it!

Me: Easier said than done, homeskillet.

Me: We can’t pull that nickname off.

Me: Ok fine. Stil….

Me: let’s just admit we’re terrified and take it one step at a time. Will you agree to watch Rashomon tomorrow?

Me: no. Black and white. Subtitles. Blech.

Me: Ok fine. Let’s start small. “Go” has drugs and partying. Light an fluffy. No subtitles. Can we start with that? No writing. Just research. And I’ll even let you eat some oreos.

Me: with milk?

Me: yes.

Me: Ok. Deal.

PS – I just noticed that this is my hundredth post! Woohoo! yay me!! 🙂

I came out of the pill closet today

29 Jan

So – I did it. At dinner tonight I told my father that I’m on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.

Not only that – I told him that I hate that I have a boss and not a father. And I hate working for him, and that I wish he would be easier on me, because I know that I do a better job than he would be doing instead of me (I have no idea where I found the guts for any of this).

Then the man surprised me beyond my wildest dreams. Keep in mind – my father is a control-freak, sometimes bully, and chronic anxiety and depression sufferer who doesn’t believe in medication or psychology.

First – he actually was curious about the meds. He asked me about the side effects, about how they were working for me, etc. I saw a flash of curiosity and even jealousy in his eyes – no judgement. I almost feel like if he sees me doing so well, then maybe he’ll consider taking care of himself a bit too. That makes me happy and hopeful. I also think that hearing about them disarmed him and opened him up to listening to the rest of it.

Second – he took every bit of criticism I threw at him. And he agreed with it. And he apologized. He asked me to stay on until the end of march to see where one of our new projects goes, and if at the end of march I decide to leave, he will accept it completely. I can totally live with that.

PLUS – I told him that this would happen on my terms. Which means that I will from now on be completely honest with him (it turns out he mistook my emotional breakdown for laziness, and he actually was in shock that I hid it from him so well, and kind of saddened by it as well), and he will make an extra effort to keep the yelling at bay.

Wow. I guess it was just something in the air tonight. I’ve never been able to speak to my dad so openly and honestly. And he took it, accepted it. And most importantly he told me that he loves me, he’s sorry, and he wants his daughter back.

Well – I think he’s got her.

Wow.

Career Day Freak Out

23 Jan

Ok – so some of you know that I’ve been slowly and quietly taking steps to cut the metaphorical chord with my dad and leave the family business.
I haven’t posted much about it in a while because it’s been sort of a slow simmer, but tomorrow (actually, like, 5 hours from now at this point) is kind of a huge day, and I have been quietly freaking out about it for the last 48 hours.
At first I thought it was yet another side effect of upping the zoloft dose. But no – I really think I’m just hella-scared.
Freak-out symptom number one: I realize that I have absolutely no appropriate clothes to wear, and obsess about it in my head for several hours. finally settle on a compromised ensemble that says both “quirky” and “professional” and am hoping for the best.
Freak out symptom two: I get detached, stare at mindless programming for several hours. This happens immediately after printing out two copies of my resume.
Freak out symptom three: I start googling “zoloft side effects” again.
Symptom four: despite the lovely little xanax I took a few hours ago, I have an anxiety attack while in the shower.
then I proceed to slipping on the last stair on the way down to bed, hurt my hip joint, and am now convinced that I’m going to limp into my meetings tomorrow looking like a freaking mess.
this was the point where I decided to “blog it out”

so what am I so jittery about, you ask?
Well – that’s the extremely stupid part. I’m nervous about 2 meetings, both of which would have been a piece of cake for the old me, but are now terrifying for the “What the heck am I going to do with my life” brand spanking new me.

Meeting number one:
There’s a community center in my town that does after school film programs for high school students. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pursuing teaching for a bit to get my creative juices flowing, so since it’s the middle of the school year, I sent these guys my resume. I actually studied there for a while in high school. It’s a very cool place.
So last week they give me a call, hella-impressed with me (not bragging, it’s just what happened). The woman actually asked me “you do know you’re applying to teach high school kids, right?”
I said “yes! it’s exactly what I want to do right now!”
(which I guess is sort of a lie since i have no idea what i want to do but oh well).
So she was psyched, and I’m meeting up with them at 9:30 am (that would be about 7 hours from now, and I’m not even close to asleep. Very very bad me).
This would be a piece of cake meeting for me usually. Same with…
Meeting number 2:
There’s a headhunter that specializes in placing film and media people. She’s very exclusive and selective. My old boss recommended I get in touch and so I did. Once again, I received a gushing call that was hella-impressed with my credentials.
I’m meeting up with her tomorrow to discuss my goals and see what kind of gigs she can hook me up with.
Again – this should all be a piece of cake for me. I eat these kinds of meetings for breakfast.
WHY THE HELL AM I FREAKING OUT?
Me: it’s because you’re convinced that these meetings will forever seal your future. It’s a symptom of anxiety.
Me: But what if they will? Or what if they don’t like me? Or even worse – what if they do and I get a job and I end up being stuck there forever and never pursuing my dream?
Me: Um – do you even know what your dream is? You know, except the whole baby thing?
Me: well, no. And that’s freaking me out too!
Me: Calm the heck down. it’s ok. remember what our therapist said. You build a house brick by brick.
Me: But that means that there’s no roof yet! What if it rains? What if my necklace clashes with the tunic I picked out? What if they’re offended by the purple tights?
Me: what if you calm the heck down and go to sleep already so you don’t show up with bags under your eyes?
Me: Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Oy.

A Wine Bottle Metaphor (non-“Lost” related)

11 Jan

For those of you who don’t know – I’m (supposed to be) a filmmaker. When I was twelve I decided I wanted to be a film director and from that point on I was a woman on a mission. I left home at age 19 – flew halfway across the world, and spent 7+ years pursuing this dream in the US.

The last two years of that pursuit – well, they kind of broke me.

Allow me to rewind:

It’s the beginning of my senior year at undergrad. I’m a “superstar”. 3.95 GPA, dean’s list, honors program, winner of every scholarship and award, general over-achiever.

Toward the end of the first semester I decide to apply to one of the most prestigious MFA programs in the country for film. I get the rec letters, I write my essay, I put together my reel, I send it in….

And then I freak out.

I run to the office of one of my favorite professors, I knock on her door, and I collapse on her couch crying.

Prof: What’s wrong?

Me: I sent in my application today.

Prof: And what? they already rejected you? That seems a little far-fetched

Me: No. I just know I’m not going to get in. And it’s the only place I applied to.

Prof: um – and how do you know you’re not going to get in? Have you developed telepathic powers? Or can you see the future? Because that would be awesome.

(her dry wit does nothing to reduce the sobbing)

Prof: come on, what’s wrong?

Me (as if I’m confessing to murder): I have no original ideas. I suck.

She cracks up laughing.

Prof: Honey – there are no original ideas. There haven’t been more or less since the greeks. You should know this – I remember distinctly that you got an “A” in your intellectual heritage class.

Me: But… But…

Prof: But nothing. No idea is original. it’s the style and personality behind its execution that makes it unique.

4 months later I get called in for an interview at prestigious grad school x.

3 weeks later I get accepted into their directing program.

2 years later that little breakdown in my mentor’s office is peanuts compared to the insecure mess  that I’ve become.

and now – 3+ years after that – well, I’m still an insecure mess, but at least I’m writing again (that is – if this blog counts for anything).

I could sit here and bore you with the internal politics of “prestigious grad school x” and how the place’s cliques and nepotism (and the fact that I was one of the few students there who didn’t have a rich daddy to pay his/her way) basically sabotaged my chances of success there from day one.

To be honest – I have so much venom toward the place that it could fill an entire book. And I’m avoiding mentioning the name mostly because of that venom – I doubt they take too kindly to alumni who trash them.

The place is evil incarnate. With the exception of a few gems in the faculty, it is a machine that will work tirelessly to stuff you  – the square peg- into their round-hole-idea of what filmmaking is. That is, of course, unless your parents are rich or famous – then feel free to express yourself and terrorize your fellow students and they will happily look the other way and make sure to ask you for a generous donation later.

I came into grad school x a talented, award-winning (and yes somewhat too cocky) filmmaker. I left there a jiggly mess of insecurity.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not only the school’s fault. I am responsible as well. I was so concerned with getting the approval of my peers and the faculty that I completely lost my sense of individuality.

I was targeted from day one because I was good, and because I knew I was good. And instead of telling everyone to piss off and go Fuck themselves I bought into their bullshit and left there believing that I was worthless.

Yes – my initial air of cockiness was most likely incredibly annoying to the people who felt threatened by me (it’s a really competitive environment), but that gave them no right to tear me down, and I was a complete and total idiot for letting them.

And the result is, that it’s been 3+ years since I left that godforsaken place, and this blog is the first bit of writing I’ve done for fun since then.

I love this blog – but I do think it’s time to get my career on.

I’ve spent the last four years making a heck of a lot of excuses as to why I don’t have a feature script ready to go, why I haven’t directed another short, bla bla bla.

There was even a point where I convinced myself that I can’t write. Even though in my heart of hearts I know I can, and I’m even pretty good at it sometimes.

At one point I also decided – heck, I don’t want to be a writer/director at all. it’s not practical and I don’t love it anymore. Also BS.

I made some feeble attempts at getting some development money and such – but my heart was never in it and every word that I wrote was forced and disingenuous.

*****

It was about a week after my second miscarriage. I had just hit the wall (metaphorically speaking). I was having a complete identity crisis.

From a place of panic I decide that the next logical step is to get a Phd. Of course! I mean hey, every woman who miscarries needs to get a phd, right? Especially if it’s in film! Let’s just ignore the fact that your body and soul are both decimated, shall we?

I decide to call up yet another one of my mentors, also an old college professor (I’ll call her LL), and a woman who I really idolize.

She had just come to Israel to visit a few months before, and I actually met up with her two days after my D&C, so she knew more or less what I was going through.

She hops on skype.

LL: So – what’s up?

Me: Well, I um, had another miscarriage.

LL: Oh honey, I’m so incredibly sorry to hear that.

Me: Yeah, well, um, it’s ok. That’s actually not why I called. I need some advice.

LL: Ok – shoot.

Me: Well, I think it’s time for a change – and – well, I thought of maybe going for my Phd may do me some good, and I wanted your advice on who to talk to over here.

LL: Sweetie, um, are you sure you want to do that?

Me: I think so. I mean, it’s not like “trying to be a director” is getting me anywhere.

I start sobbing.

LL: Oh honey – listen. I know you. You are not cut out for academia. You are a filmmaker.

Me: No I’m not.

LL: Don’t say that. You are. I just think that – well – that “Grad school X” kind of took away your voice, and you don’t know quite how to handle it.

Me: *sobbing uncontrollably*

LL: Listen – do something for me – let this idea  sit for a bit ok? How about grabbing a video camera and shooting something – anything – just for yourself. I don’t know, maybe a love letter to the babies you lost…?

Me: *sob* ok *sob*

LL: Just find your voice again. I promise you that once you do that, things will be a lot clearer.

I haven’t picked up the camera – yet.

****

I don’t dream much – or at least I don’t remember most of my dreams. However, for the last three years or so I’ve had this recurring nightmare, and it’s the only one I remember. I’m in a room surrounded by people, and I’m very angry and upset. I’m crying. I’m trying to yell at the people around me, and I choke. No voice comes out.

****

It’s amazing to me that it took that conversation with LL to make me understand the meaning of that dream.

****

Two weeks ago I meet up with a producer friend of mine, who basically stepped in and saved my thesis film at grad school x when the faculty screwed me over on it.

We hung out, and we were talking. He says “You’re a wine bottle. “Grad school X” is the cork. If you don’t get rid of that cork pretty soon, the wine will turn into vinegar.”

The guy has never seen “Lost” so I will forgive him for changing around the wine bottle metaphor. But he’s right. Goshdarn it. He is.

****

I used to be fearless when it came to my films. I would spill my guts into every script. Every frame was me. Not all of it was perfect, but it was all me.

****

The problem is that I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to remove that metaphorical cork. Though I do think that this blog is as good a start as any.

And here is my next step.

I am coming out of the filmmaking closet.

Embedded below is a short film I made in 2004. It’s called “Make-Up”. It’s not perfect by a long shot – it was the first time I ever directed dialogue. But it’s me. It’s my guts on that screen. It’s the last time I really allowed that to happen. I’ve made “technically better” films since then – but who the hell really cares about that?

Yes – and by watching it, I will no longer be called “mommyodyssey” – you will see my name on those credits. (as long as it doesn’t show up on this blog for future employers to google, I don’t care).

I hope you enjoy it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Make Up on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

Two Degrees! Seriously!

5 Jan

Squish and I have this running joke – whenever I do something or say something ridiculously stupid she exasperatedly yells “Two degrees! You have two degrees!”.

Whenever I do something awesome well, she says the same. 🙂

Today in therapy I had a lightbulb moment – one that should have been so incredibly obvious that while having it I saw squish materialize in front of me yelling “Two degrees!!!”.

Then of course when I called to tell her about it she said the same.

Please be patient with me while I try to make sense of this – it seems the simplest things are sometimes the hardest to explain. Ah I know! I’ll write it out as a dialogue! yay! my favorite thing to do ever! (keep in mind this isn’t even close to word for word – just the basic spirit of the conversation)

Therapist: So why exactly are you insisting on telling your dad now?

Me: Well – I have to do it because I feel like I won’t be able to move forward without that.

Therapist: And do you know already how you’re going to make a living?

Me: um no – but…

Therapist: So you go and tell him, then he shuts you down because you don’t have a back up plan, and then you’re back to square one – having your dad control your decisions.

Me: oh, yeah. right. There’s that.

Therapist: so why don’t you figure out how to make a living first? BEFORE YOU TELL HIM.

Me: well, because I don’t know what I want to do

Therapist: you seem to have plenty of ideas

Me: yes – but I’m afraid of making the wrong decision.  And I don’t know where to start.

Therapist: Why are you so afraid?

Me: Because I feel like every decision I make is the end-all, be-all, final decision about my career and path in life.

Therapist: But you know it doesn’t have to be

Me: I guess…

Therapist: Here’s an idea: Why don’t you and Shmerson sit down together and have a conversation, where you figure out how much money you need per month to live comfortably and support a baby.

Me: ok…

Therapist: Then, you divide that amount between the two of you, and then you know how much money you are responsible to bring in every month.

Me: uh huh.

Therapist: And then you go out, and figure out how to bring in that money, while leaving time for your creative pursuits, or finding a way to make that part of how you make a living.

Me: Wait – wait – so I don’t have to make a huge life decision?

Therapist: nope. You don’t. You can take the time to make it, and just, you know, make a living doing whatever in the meantime.

****the skies open up – angels sing, the sun shines, and squish comes down and yells “Two degrees!! Seriously!” ****

Me: OMG!!! I Get it! If you want to jump to huge heights, you need to build up some steady ground first!!

Therapist: Yep. That would be the healthy thing to do.

Me: Hmm. healthy. that’s a novel concept.

Therapist: So yes – you build a house brick by brick. You don’t try to put the roof on before pouring the foundation.

Imaginary Squish: TWO DEGREES! THIS WOMAN HAS TWO DEGREES!

Me: well – that simplifies things – doesn’t it?

Life is scary

2 Jan

First thing’s first: runnyyoke, who I’ve already given a shout-out to on this blog, has put down as one of her new year’s resolutions to answer the wordpress challenge and blog once a day. I think it’s an awesome idea (yes, marie – even if it is tedious sometimes!) so I’m joining her. I’ve been blogging at least once a day anyway so I figure – why the heck not? It’s a challenge I set for myself when I started this blog anyway – so why not tag it? 🙂

Now down to business:

Now that the fog of anxiety has somewhat lifted, I’m left with dealing with reality. that means that I need to start resolving some real issues.

Ahh – here’s where things become really tricky.

This is the point where the battle begins. On one hand – I’m used to making snap decisions and going to things in a split second. Do everything and do it now. This is a huge symptom of my control-freakery and impatience. Apparently (now that I finally have some clarity) it was also a direct result of my anxiety, and is basically what brought me to this point in the first place, of waking up one morning and not understanding how the heck my own life ran away from me.

On the other hand – the “new me” is trying to take things slowly, and not jump to decisions too quickly. Which makes sense. It’s the right way to do things. The healthy, non-anxiety-ridden way.

I mean – deciding to give my dad notice was the right decision, and it’s been building up for quite some time. It’s a good decision.

But once that huge decision is made, there is another huge decision to make – what do I do next? How do I make a living that’s enough to keep both me and schmerson afloat AND hopefully support a baby?

And here is where the anxiety kicks back in.

The truth is that I don’t know. I just plain don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Which is funny, because I spent 18 years convinced that I knew. Now – I’m completely clueless.

Everybody around me isn’t worried. According to them I’m a strong woman who is qualified to do quite a bit, that I’m talented, bla bla bla, that I always manage so this time shouldn’t be any different.

They know the Me that jumps into things head first – that at age 19 packed up her things and moved across to ocean to pursue her dream. That supported herself financially and kept up a 3.95 GPA through college, that made two award winning short films with absolutely no financial help, bla bla bla.

Yeah – well that person did everything she did from a place of emotional detachment. This is the new, emotionally connected me. And I’m terrified.

I’m terrified of failure. I’m terrified of making the wrong decision and regretting it later. I’m terrified of not being  good enough. I’m terrified of the unknown.

Always have been. That’s why I spent most of my life with horse blinders on trying to control everything.

In short – right now – life is scaring the crap out of me, and no amount of xanax will make this go away. This is something I’m going to have to deal with all on my own.

I need to somehow find a way to make peace with the fact that sometimes – you just don’t know. In fact – most of the time – you just don’t know.

Terrifying. Seriously terrifying.

You are what you watch

24 Dec

I feel like I’ve been rather whiny lately. I mean, supposedly it’s understandable but I’m not usually a whiny person so this whole “daily post about crappy stuff and revelations” thing is getting a bit tiring. So I’m going with a ranty analysis today.

I’ve been sharing this blog with friends. Not everyone, but people who are important to me, and some that I haven’t been in touch with for a while.

And the responses I’ve been getting are amazing.

Here’s the thing: I am very lucky. I have a lot of friends. Most of them I’ve known for years. Sometimes we lose touch for long periods of time, but they are those sorts of friendships that you know are always going to be there.

So the reactions I’ve been getting have been incredibly loving and supportive, but more surprisingly, a lot of them have been telling me that even though they aren’t going exactly through what I’ve been going through, they can relate to my struggle.

It’s funny – they almost feel guilty about saying that. As in – “I know what I’ve been through isn’t as hard as what you’re going through…”

But they really shouldn’t. Just the fact that they relate actually makes me feel a bit more, well, I guess normal is the word.

Most of the people who are saying this are people my age – as in – 30. I read somewhere about people these days having a “quarter life crisis”. perhaps this is it.

The one thing that keeps coming up – especially with my female friends is this careerist vs family struggle.

I’m actually only the second of my close girl friends to be married. I have more single friends than I do married friends, and none of my close friends have children.

20 years ago this would be unthinkable. Today, I really and truly think this is becoming a cause for turmoil and confusion for a lot of women.

I spent most of my 20’s living by a fairly feminist doctrine. Marriage was barely on my radar – let alone kids. It always seemed like a possibility in the distant future, but nothing even close to a realistic option until I met and fell in love with Schmerson.

Women in their late 20’s and early thirties – or at least my friends – who I admit come usually from well-to-do, highly educated families – are – in my opinion – getting smacked upside their heads by their biological clocks.

We were raised in a post-feminist generation. Ally McBeal, Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, Elle Woods, and Rory Gilmore were our role models. Yes, sometimes those chicks got the guy. But you never saw Buffy thinking about a wedding. She was too busy kicking vampire ass. Veronica Mars in a wedding dress? I think not. Heck, going even further back, even Kelly Taylor told Dylan and Brandon “I choose me” back in the day.

I could spend hours making pop-culture reference upon pop-culture reference. Lord knows I love that. But I’ll spare you all and try (somehow!) to get to a point here.

I honestly do believe we are – on a lot of levels- a product of the pop culture that we consume.

Our fantasies are based on the ideals fed to us by the flickering images we watched on screens.

Just like every woman fantasized about being Donna Reed in the 50’s, I’m sure that the over achieving Rory Gilmores, Joey Potters, and yes, even Cher Horowitzes I saw flickering on screens for so many years made an impression on me.

To make matters “worse” – I minored in women’s studies in college.

And just in case not enough fuel was added to the fire, like a lot of my friends, my mother was – most of the time – a housewife.

So I rebelled – all of my 20’s were spent chasing a career. I in particular chose film – which is basically one of the hardest “careers” to actually achieve statistically. But I was invincible! I was unstoppable! I was going to conquer the world!

For two years during my first degree I researched female film directors – or lack thereof.

You would find me saying – at least twice a week – “do you realize that only two female directors have ever been nominated for an oscar?” “Do you know that only 4% of all working directors in Hollywood are women?”

Yes, Kathryn Bigelow finally broke the so-called “glass ceiling” this year with her win for hurt locker. But let’s be honest – this does not mean that things have changed much.

But I’m getting away from myself. I’ve spent the last two years having an interior battle with myself. I believe that this battle has been in large part responsible for the general feeling of “being stuck”. I’m torn. Is there really a way to have it all?

I’d always had this fantasy that the man I would marry would be a “house-husband.” I would bring home the bacon, he would take care of the kids. All would be well.

But it turns out the “who brings home the bacon” issue isn’t really the problem.

From the moment I realized that I wanted to be a mommy – I knew I wanted to be a “present” mommy.

I remember as a kid – my dad was never ever home. He barely had a hand in raising me until about the age of 14. The result is – inevitably – that I am far closer and more attached to the parent that was “present” – my mother. I love her more than anything – I would do anything for her.

I honestly can’t say the same about my father. I would never confide in him the way I do in her. I don’t feel as safe with him as I do with her.

I don’t want to be my dad (hell to the no! but that’s a different post altogether). I want to be a present parent. an active parent. I may want to work – but how in the heck can I “be a mega-superstar-film-director” and be a mommy?

Directors don’t sleep. They’re sometimes gone on shoots for months at a time. They’re shut away in editing bays and sound stages.

This was the ton of bricks that dropped on me about two years ago. Just as i was realizing that I wanted to marry Schmerson. And just as a feature I was working on was starting to come together.

Immediately the film project fell apart. And i haven’t been able to get it together since (get it together in the broad sense – not just that particular project).

It’s only now that I’m starting to realize the connection between these two events.

I kept on telling myself “I’m going to be a director” but I kept on feeling “I’m going to be a mommy”. For the last two years – those two thoughts have been basically canceling each other out.

Yes, there have been other factors – a sudden loss of confidence in my abilities amongst them – but at the end of the day I can’t ignore the coincidence here. The timing is just a bit too perfect.

You know, I have a tendency to end these posts lately with some sort of conclusion or revelation.

I don’t have one here. I honestly don’t. I think this is going to be part of my struggle. I don’t want to be my mother. I don’t want to be my father.  (oh! any psychology majors currently reading this are probably having a field day!)

I want a fulfilling career, and I want to be a mother that is always around and can be counted on. I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate that one.

Any suggestions will be happily accepted, then I’m sure – eventually forgotten somewhere between a sound mix and diaper change.

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