I hit this subject a lot. The idea that life is short. It’s unpredictable, delicate, challenging and even unfair. But it is also a gift. And how we choose to live it, spend it, view it, embrace it is up to us.
We can change our thoughts at any time. Right this second. Now.
So many of you were with me as I struggled to keep food on the table when my writing career, the only career I have ever known or dreamed of, came to a terrifying halt. You saw me sell my jewelry for cash, used clothing for cash, even contemplate blowing the gas attendant for a full tank of gas to get my girl to camp. Okay, not really (my mom reads this column — I swear, I would NEVER do that, mom!). But I could see how one might…
I applied for a job at Macy’s and got rejected. I looked into washing hair but didn’t have the diploma for it… I got pneumonia and was almost hospitalized…
But more than the financial fear, which was enormous, was the deep pain of not doing what I loved, what I had spent my life doing, what I had dreamed of doing from the moment I could hold a pen.
But it dawned on me that even during that time… I never stopped writing. Not once. Mainly due to this weekly Studio City Mom column.
I wasn’t getting paid to write, I wasn’t getting an office or a fancy parking space or hanging out on sets or hearing my words come out of the mouth’s of actors but I was doing what I’ve always known, what I only know… scribbling my thoughts on the page. Even if I was the only one reading them.
But I wasn’t. You were. And your support and laughter and tears and kindness kept me going. Every day. Knowing I wasn’t alone. Knowing there was no shame in struggle. Knowing someone — anyone — was listening and saying, “I get it, keep going” was everything to me. And today I have four years worth of columns… stories… pictures of my life, my daughter’s life, a lived life.
And then things turned around. I got a job. Doing what I love AND getting paid. I was ready, I was grateful and I wasn’t alone. You were with me.
Not pulling the covers over my head, not drinking away my sorrow, not expecting someone to save me during that time was the greatest challenge. But walking through it honestly, willingly, sober and responsible made me a better person, a better mother, a better daughter, friend, lover… and writer. A much better writer, indeed.
And so every day I try to give back. Share my story. Give money to someone for a tank of gas, food or even rent. Listen to an artist’s work. Let them know they are heard, seen, believed in. Help a single mom. Understand a child. Donate.
I do this because I was there. On the other side. And I know I could be there again.
So, to any of you reading this who might need hope, I simply say,
Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
(this column was originally published March 2014)