So your first question is: “what’s up with the weird blog title, Becca?”
Well, that’s great question, Anonymus Reader Created For My Convenience. Let me tell you a quirky roundabout story that will take up an entire blog post in order to provide you with an answer. The story, it goeth thusly:
There once was a poem I read my freshman year of high school. I’d give you the title and the author, but those details have been lost to me in the wilderness of memory. The only thing I do remember is that in the poem, the poet was gifted a pair of socks–and these socks were so soft and so treasured by the poet that he kept them forever in a golden birdcage instead of wearing them.
I was so in love with that image that for the longest time my greatest ambition was to find a golden birdcage in which to keep all my socks.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a little something we call “irony.”
You see, I’m in the midst of a big change in my life. Two years ago, I moved out to the left coast, because That’s What You Do when you want to be in film and television. I gave myself five years to build a career out there, and I was determined not to leave Hollywood until that deadline was up.
And for two years, I stayed there. I got a few roles, but it was hard not to feel like I’d set myself up for a long slog to nowhere. Mainly because, back in New York, I was inexplicably making longer strides. I managed to get a manager on the east coast; I was without representation in California. I made fans of casting directors who kept calling me in; the casting directors who liked me in LA seemed to have trouble finding where to put me. I even had an easier time writing. Wherever I was stuck in Los Angeles, I was made free in New York, and I had no idea why.
I still have no idea why, but I did eventually realize I had to make a choice: stay in LA, where my career was in need of some serious Miracle-Gro, or move to New York, where it seemed the fruits of opportunity were ripe for the picking.
For a few months, it wasn’t even a question. I was going to stay in LA if I had to cling to it by the skin of my teeth, damn it. Even if nothing was happening for me, I made a commitment and I was sticking to it.
And then one day, someone asked me what it was I was clinging so hard to. What was so great about my life in LA? To humor them, I took a look: and I found, clenched in a vice grip under my arms, a pair of socks in a birdcage.
I’d been so focused on what I had planned for my life that I wasn’t paying to attention to what it was actually becoming–or even what it had the potential to be. It felt like failing, to leave California.
Listen, I was one of those kids who would rattle off a long list of careers whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
And I pursued each of them wholeheartedly. And now that I’m officially a grown up, not many of those goals have changed. (Except the animator thing. That one’s just ridiculous: I have the patience of a three-year-old passing a cupcake store.)
Anyway, the point is: I don’t like backtracking. And leaving after two years was backtracking on my self-prescribed 5 Year Plan. It felt like if New York was where I was supposed to be, then that meant I had wasted two years in Los Angeles. So it was difficult for me to decide to do it. And it was painful and embarrassing to me to have to leave.
But I think that’s the universal experience when you restructure your worldview.
Because New York really is a better place for me: both for all the reasons listed above, and for the many more I’m discovering each day I begin to carve out a life here. There’s something about this city that seems to bring out my best… and I would have had to wait at least three more years to discover that, had I stuck to my original plan.
But at the same time, those two years I spent in LA weren’t wasted. They taught me to be more comfortable with and confident in myself than I’ve ever been. They got me driving again after four years of No Way In Hell Am I Getting Behind The Wheel Of Another Car. They gave me new, wonderful friends.
So I’m not following my 5 Year Plan. Okay. That doesn’t mean I won’t still be an actress/writer/faerie queen.
So the moral of the story is this: Course-correcting your life doesn’t mean you’ve been traveling down the wrong highway all this time. It doesn’t mean you have to backtrack to get to where you want to go. It just means you’re paying attention to the four-way interchange.
So take those socks out of the birdcage and wear them once and a while. Make sure they’re actually something you want.
And that’s the story, morning glory.