An Open Letter To My Family About My Current Boyfriend, Netflix

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’ve met someone.

Yes, I know, he’s a rather – unconventional – boyfriend, but he’s nice and he’s always there for me. In fact, I like him so much I spend almost every evening with him! In a totally family-friendly way that I’m not embarrassed to tell you about. Don’t raise your eyebrows at me, mom. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Continue reading “An Open Letter To My Family About My Current Boyfriend, Netflix”

A Blog Post: Thanksgiving Edition!

November has been a whirlwind month. Crazy things have happened. It’s as if I had my summer vacation in the fall (September and October) and November is my August wake-up call back into the heavy school-year grind that was my life for 20 years or so. With everything that has happened, I’ve got a lot to reflect on, and a lot to be thankful for, so in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you.

  1. Finding my way in LA
    • I’m not going to say that I have LA figured out, nor am I going to say that I’ve successfully infiltrated the entertainment industry, because if there is only one thing I’ve learned in my year and a half of being out here, it’s that this town and this industry is one crazy roller coaster full of ups and downs and failures and small successes. I will say though that so far I have never felt like my time being out here has been a waste. I’ve learned so much about the human condition, relating to people, subcultures and pop culture and the fight for social equality and the American mindset vs. international POVs and these are all things that a little Dorothy like myself couldn’t have learned if I’d stayed back in Kansas.
  2. Being Employed
    • I normally don’t talk about my own personal views on politics or religion here because I want this place to feel as inclusive as possible, and I often find that once a person knows your stance on something, they peg you with 1,001 misconceptions and stereotypes that they hold against whatever that view point is, whether it is actually true to your own person or not. I’m sure I’m even guilty of doing it–it’s almost second nature for people to do this; we love placing people and things into categories. However, on this one thing I must say that I do believe in God, and–though I won’t say that I somehow magically am awarded jobs because of this (because that’s ridiculous)–I do wholeheartedly believe that my trust in something greater than myself has kept me sane and financially afloat. Whether you are religious or not, I do believe that life has a tendency to work itself out, if you are patient, discerning, and don’t panic. I am very thankful for that.
  3. Midwest Roots
    • There are a lot of things I find wrong about the conservative mindset that you find all across the Midwest and into the South. But if there is something I’m very grateful for, it’s being raised surrounded by Midwesterners. Though the world is small in the heart of America, the heart of America is as big as the world. These people are the kindest, most generous, and most open that I have ever come across. Being raised with what I like to call, ‘Midwest Manners,’ is one of the greatest assets I have, and I’m very, very thankful for it.
  4. Friends
    • Okay, so everyone gives this almost expected answer at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Sometimes I roll my eyes because it’s so generic. But this year, after moving out to a huge city where I knew practically no one, I truly do have to say that I am so grateful for the friends that I have met and clung to. They have made living in LA durable and worth it. They have taught me the valuable lesson that it is always, always about the relationships you have in your life, not the material items or status or career. You could literally be living in the absolute most beautiful and perfect city ever, and if you had no friends there you would still be miserable. Life fact.
  5. Family
    • The other generic eye-roll answer, but I love them so much and am so grateful for my parents, siblings, and nephews. Everyone needs unconditional love in their life, and I have a lot of it. So very very thankful for that.
  6. You, Dear Reader
    • Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for YOU! Though most of you probably also fall into one of the two bullets above, it means a lot to me that you take the time to read these posts every week. Though it may not always seem like it, I put a lot of thought and time into what I write and share with you, and I hope that you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy making it.

Happy and most delightful belated Thanksgiving, y’all.

-tlc

Oops, I Did It Again

Can you guess where this is going? No, it has nothing to do with relationships, and no, I didn’t meet Britney Spears over the weekend.

I missed a post, AGAIN.

I’m sorry guys, but when it rains, it pours. (Unless you live in LA, and then when it rains, it’s just a few sprinkles.)

Actually, I have a very good excuse for last week’s oversight. I was on the road to South Dakota, for a last-minute, unplanned visit to see my grandmother, who has been sick and in the hospital. I even extended my trip home (I was supposed to be back in LA two days ago, but then life happened) because I wasn’t sure what the outcome of this week was going to be. But for now, it looks as though nothing is going to change, including the number of living grandparents I have.

That week sitting in the hospital got me thinking, though. How many of us actually think about death, or near-death illness at our age? It’s not an easy topic to think about. It’s heavy. Sure, we see it on TV and in the news all the time. We’re desensitized to fictional death and death on screen. I’ll admit, I’m still not sure I’ve fully aged out of the phase of feeling invincible.

But dwelling on our own, eventual, (hopefully) far-off deaths doesn’t really do us any good. Sure, there’s that well-used concept of living like you’re dying, but no one in their right mind would fully dive into that idea, when the hope is that you have several decades of future life to plan for.

**I would like to take a moment here to side-note that at this point in typing this post I had a sneezing fit, which has never happened to me before, convincing me that I am indeed allergic to death**

Instead, I spent most of the week thinking about my mother and how she dropped everything and ran to my grandmother’s bedside when my grandmother needed her most, without a second thought or care to her job, prior commitments, or responsibilities (she’s got a classroom full of animals and she instructed my dad on how to feed/take care of them after she was already on the road). This isn’t to condemn anyone who, for whatever reason, can’t do that. Even my mother acknowledged how lucky she is to have a job that will not only give her the paid time off, but also guarantee her job for up to two years, if something would keep her from going back for that long (not that they would pay her for those two years, but that’s besides the point).

But while my mom sat in there, with a real job and responsibilities on the side burner, I was the one feeling strangely anxious. I say strangely because while I’ve been between production jobs, I’ve been freelancing remotely to pay the bills. This means that as long as I have wifi, it really doesn’t matter where I am–I could do my job in Siberia if I needed/wanted to. Yet, instead of giving my full, undivided concern and attention to my loved ones sitting with me, I was anxious about the strange pull I felt towards LA, as though I needed to hurry back. Which is ridiculous. Why was I worrying about rushing back to nothing, when my grandmother was sick and needed my love right in front of me?

I think the real question we should be asking ourselves about death lies in that scenario right there. Where are our priorities, and why? If your loved one was on their deathbed tomorrow, would you drop everything–your job, your apartment, your pets–to go be with them? If it was going to take days, weeks, months, maybe years, would you stand by their side and help them through illness and/or death? Or is there something holding you back? Do you care more about your job and career than you do your loved ones? Concerned more for the health of your dog than your mom, dad, sibling, etc?

Why is that? Why do we care more about materialistic things than our families, relationships, and friendships? In Hollywood, it’s very easy to see the successful people at the top who have pushed away everyone they’ve ever loved, or who has ever loved them. And it’s even easier to see how miserable they are. And the saddest part? I see the super wealthy people in their later years and think, why? What’s the point of having all of that money when you certainly only have maybe a decade–two at most–left to live?

So, no matter where you go or what you do in life, I hope you find success. But I hope you also realize, as I did this week, that’s it’s more important to find people. So I also hope that no matter how much success you find, that you’re able to drop everything to be with your loved ones, should they ever need you.

Because money can’t buy you happiness when you’re dead.

-tlc

A Visit Home

There is nothing better than taking a break from a LA-centered life and visiting home. It’s always amazing to me to experience the juxtaposition between busy, overfilled LA and quiet, casual KC. It’s kind of terrifying at the same time, though, because all of the beauty and peace that comes with quaint KC also comes with this jarring sense of isolation. I mean, don’t get me wrong, internet works just as well here in KC (better, actually, thanks to Google Fiber) but for some reason, even the opportunities to be accessed via internet feel very far away when I am in KC, which is a strange change compared to LA’s smog-covered dumpiness and endless opportunity.

I don’t know what it is about Kansas and KC. Perhaps the physical distance between places here translates into a more psychological sense of boundaries or barriers imposed by distance? Maybe it’s simply the take-it-easy attitude with which the people in this city tend to take their lives. The heartache, the struggle, and subsequently the achievement are quieter here, somehow subdued. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

It makes me wonder every time I am in this city whether or not I would prefer it over LA. The people here certainly seem to be less self-absorbed, but then again, everyone tends to have their fickle moments. The traffic is way better, but the distance you have to drive to get from place to place means you’re on the road just as long. The people in LA are, on average, better looking (as many of them are aspiring actors/actresses) but the people in KC have a better idea of who they are and where they’re headed at a much younger age. Not to mention people out here are nicer (Midwest Manners are a real thing).

But really, the only thing I truly miss (besides my nephews) is fall. I miss the change in weather, the change of leaves, and your basic pumpkin-flavored everything as the Christmas season slowly edges closer and closer to those of us patiently waiting for Christmas music. And suddenly, when the whole choice whittles down to weather, I know that, for some unknown reason, I made the right decision in moving out to LA. I’m not sure how long that choice will be right, but it’s right for right now and I’m glad.

I sure do miss fall, though. And free parking that’s easy to find everywhere you go is nuts. This is great.

-tlc

The Journey Ahead

I’ve been sitting at my desk all day trying to figure out what it was that I needed to do. I had this horrible feeling that I’ve been forgetting something all week, and it finally dawned on me that in the midst of trying to stay on top of everything else, I’d totally spaced on writing this. Thank God I remembered at the last possible second.

It’s been a totally crazy two weeks. Along with wrapping up our last episode of season 3 production, we had our wrap party, I wrote three articles in one week for one of my other jobs, and I’m prepping for a labor day weekend road trip up to San Francisco with the roommates. Not to mention maintaining my other jobs (I have four total–one I do in person and three I work on remotely)  and trying to plan a short trip home for a mini vacation to see my wonderful nephews. Needless to say I’ve been busy.

But despite all of that, I had to stop and take a moment to really take in all that’s happened in the last year. Well, really, all that’s happened in the last 7 months. I’ve learned so much, transformed so much, and met so many great people that I am truly astounded. I look around at all that I’ve gotten to experience, and it’s hard now to think back to a year ago when I wasn’t sure if any of this was possible. It’s even harder to think back to a year ago and really believe that I had the courage to move in with complete strangers, in a city that I didn’t know, with no job prospects, working full time as an unpaid intern, half a nation away from my family. To this day, I’m not sure if it was pure insanity. But you know, through all of the struggles (believe me, this year has been tough) I’d do it all over again, because where it’s taken me, and what it’s shown me I’m capable of is beyond invaluable.

I don’t talk about this often, but when I was in middle school, I suffered from severe anxiety. At one point, it was so bad, I couldn’t make it through a day without bursting into tears and calling my dad, just to make sure he was still there. That was one of the toughest times of my life, and it took a long, long time for me to fully recover from that. It was so bad, I even worried that I wouldn’t be able to move away for college. In fact, a lot of people teasingly joked that I would never move that far away from home. (Granted, they had no idea what I’d been through, and how real of a fear that was for me). They simply saw how close I was to my parents, and how much family means to me, and assumed that I would never want to be more  than a few minutes’ drive from seeing my loved ones. And I’ll admit, being away from my family is absolutely the hardest part about living alone in this giant city.

But I am so grateful for my time out here. I’ve grown stronger, and I feel that my bond with my family is deeper because of my time away. I never want to take anything for granted, least of all them. I was blessed with an amazing job experience working with amazing coworkers on a great show–literally a dream come true. I could never have imagined everything I’ve been blessed with in the last year. I don’t know what I did to deserve everything that’s happened, but I am so happy that it has happened.

I don’t know what’s next. Now that the show that I’ve currently been working on is wrapping, I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps this was the only show I was destined to work on. Perhaps I’ll have a job next week. I don’t know. But one thing I’m sure of, I can handle whatever comes next. And I’m excited to see what’s in store for my life, because I know, no matter what, I’ll make the most of it. And it’ll be fantastic.

-tlc

My Origin Story

I had to put the soundtrack from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on in order to write this post.

So on the day that I am writing this, I just found out–thanks to the interwebs and this new-fangled thing called Facebook news–that Taylor Swift’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer. And because all of the decisions in my life are based on celebrities, I decided I needed to write this blog post.

You’re probably a little confused right now. How does my origin story tie into Taylor Swift’s mother having cancer? And, more importantly, why do people “need” to know my origin story? How is my “origin” story any different from anyone else’s? We were all conceived and born pretty much the same way, right? Nothing too impactful there.

Well, maybe (though the story of my birth is pretty interesting), but when I say “origin story” I’m not talking about my birth. Yes, technically, my birth would be the story of where I began. But where I really began life? No, that came almost a whole decade later.

When I think back to it, I feel pretty lucky to have started life so earlier into my *ahem* life. As I observe the world I realize that most people don’t really start living their lives until well into their 20’s and 30’s. Some people never start living their lives. Me, though? Living my life started the day my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

I was nine years old, and it was September 11, 2001.

I was absolutely terrified. My parents and I had just moved to a new town, my only brother and sibling had just started college, and I thought the world was ending. No one was safe, outside–and even inside–of our bodies and homes. The year that followed was the most difficult year I’ve ever lived through emotionally.  I honestly don’t remember a lot of it.

Flash-forward almost fourteen years in the future, and my mother is alive and kickin’. I’m one of the lucky ones, thank God. However, that year down the rabbit hole, with death on our door step, taught me a lot of things. It taught me humility and the futility of our efforts to run away and hide from life. It taught me how brief life is. It taught me how precious our time spent together on this earth truly is.

I felt I needed to write this post because the year my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and survived, is the year that I learned to really live my life. It was the year I realized that every moment, every person, and every memory is precious and important. It’s the year that I learned that our actions and our decisions ripple through out our lives, and though they might feel insignificant now, our choices will forever affect who we are and how we live. It’s the year that I learned that loving others with your entire being, and letting them know that you love them that much, is the only reason to live, and will be the most important thing you do in your life time.

So, if you or a loved one is waging a battle for health and life, I just want you to know that you are not alone. We are in this together. And you are loved. You are loved so very much. Cherish every ‘now’ that you get to share with those around you. As the saying goes, there’s a reason the present is called the present.

And start living your life, now.

-tlc

 

On Missing Home

When your family makes up about 90% of your best friends, it’s hard to move away from them. Even now, eight months later, it’s still hard not to have the option of seeing my family regularly. The only time I am ever envious of my friends who don’t have close relationships with their parents and siblings is when I’m feeling homesick–so, about once a month.

Missing home can make for a confusing time emotionally. Consider this: while I love the wide-open spaces and quiet calm of the prairie, and the sweet peace that comes from the small, mannerly Kansas population, I hate everything about the way the Kansas government is being run right now, and I hate the often overly-conservative, small-minded opinions that the majority of the voter population holds. While I would love more than anything to be able to plan a day trip home on the occasional weekend to see my parents, or to be a short car ride away from babysitting my nephew, my work life and social life would be stunted. Sure, I could find a copywriting job somewhere. I could find a copywriting job anywhere, truthfully. But would it be driving me towards a fulfilling career in an industry that interests me? No. Would I be making new friends and growing my social circles? Probably not. Kansas City isn’t a very sociable city for singles and people who don’t already have friends and relatives living there. Why? Because you have to drive so far to get anywhere, so you only go out in groups.

I’ve thought a lot about my choice to move to a new, big city where I don’t know anyone, and the truth of the matter comes down to this: there is only one question you ever need to ask yourself; “Am I happy?”

This is so simple, and yet I think you will find–as I do–that it is the hardest question you will ever have to answer in your life. Am I happy? Well, about what? Your life? Your relationships? Your career?

So here is what’s at the heart of the matter when it comes to me missing home: I’m not sure how to answer this question. Am I happy? Well sure, somedays I’m really happy, and I love LA, and it’s exciting, and I’m excited, and there’s so much to explore, and life is good and life is beautiful. Am I happy? Well I’m not exactly where I want to be in life yet, and I don’t have a place I can call my own yet, and I have to live on a pretty tight budget which makes it feel  like I’m always working or number crunching, and my family lives pretty far away in a different time zone and my work commitments mean I don’t have a lot of options for visiting them or them visiting me, but am I happy? I guess in a sense I’m mildly comatose.

I love Amy Poehler’s comparison of a career to a bad boyfriend. It’s so true; my career is never going to make me happy; it’s never going to completely satisfy me. I’m always going to feel like I’m somewhat running in place, reaching for the next thing and never getting there. But do I feel accomplished? Oh heck yes. Am I proud of where I’ve gotten so far? Beyond belief. I’m working on a freaking studio lot as a Writer’s PA. When I think about where I am in terms of what I’ve dreamed my whole life, I am immensely proud to say that so far, when I’ve set my mind to do something, I’ve accomplished it.

But in the end, what my eight months in LA has shown me so far is that family and your relationships will always be more important than any job, no matter what. In the end, it’s made me realize that if it’s the difference between getting to see and spend time with the people I love, and having a lucrative career in television, my family is more important. Right now I feel as though I am straddling somewhere between these two things–family and career, and I’m not sure which life is going to pull me towards more. But I do know that if it takes me away from my family too much, and prevents me from building new relationships with more people, than it’s not worth it. You should never pick your career over your family. I think my greatest personal challenge right now is finding the balance between the two, hence the homesickness.

-tlc

Everything I Know About Relationships I Learned From Harry Potter

Last fall, Emma Watson, being her amazing usual self (she makes the rest of us 20-somethings look like terrible slackers) interviewed my personal hero, J.K. Rowling for Wonderland Magazine. You can read the text of the interview here.  And while you’ll find–if you read the article–that what Rowling and Watson actually discuss is not quite what the media made it out to be, journalists–and subsequently fans–were in an uproar because a quote leaked from the interview seemed to suggest that Rowling thought she had made a mistake in pairing Ron and Hermione together. Instead, it seemed as though Rowling thought Harry and Hermione should have wound up together.

I’ll admit, I was one of those fans that immediately felt the need to state to the entire world of social media that I was very upset by this suggestion. It wasn’t that I didn’t think Harry and Hermione, as characters, could have worked well as a couple. It was more the whole principle of the thing. Now, having read the entire interview, I am much less offended (I get very emotionally attached to the works of literature that I love, if you can’t tell) by Rowling’s comments. The whole ordeal has led me to consider why I felt so strongly about this bit of news, however, and this is what I realized:

Everything I know about relationships I learned from the Harry Potter series.

I think part of the reason Harry Potter became such a big hit was the thought that Rowling put into her characters and the Wizarding World. Every character had a background, story, and flaws. Rowling put a lot of thought into who would wind up with who according to compatibility and personality, not just because of she’d seen it in literature structure before, or because she thought certain characters needed or deserved love.

Though, apparently, this was less the case with Ron and Hermione.

I like Ron and Hermione together, though. Not just because that relationship was a long-time coming throughout the books. I like Ron and Hermione together because they aren’t perfect, and their relationship certainly isn’t perfect. So often stories get written as though romance is really a giant bandage that heals all wounds and covers all flaws. But it doesn’t. If anything, it fleshes out these flaws and brings them to the surface. Successful relationships are the ones that can acknowledge, work-through, and move-on from these flaws, accepting that these things are just a part of life. They aren’t going away.

People want to pair Hermione and Harry together because they are both strong, talented, independent and confident in their abilities, and that makes sense. But to me, that’s like when I was four and I would pair my ken dolls to my barbies according to hair color. It doesn’t matter. You could say that Ron and Hermione should be together because they balance each other out: Hermione is a confident, logical thinker, and Ron is a supportive, emotional thinker.

What Rowling’s novels taught me is that there is no right or wrong answer. There is simply knowing yourself well enough to know what’s right and wrong for you. Relationships are about accepting what you can’t change and working through it, like Lupin and Tonks; Honoring one another in decisions, like Ginny and Harry; and Supporting each other in everything else, like Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

Oh, it also taught me that finding a date to the Yule Ball is a stressful affair and often winds up not living up to the hype.

Still, I think these are pretty good take-aways for a 20-something potterhead like myself trying to navigate this whole dating thing. Then again, if I’m taking dating lessons from a children’s book series, perhaps I need to re-evaluate a few priorities in my life right now.

-tlc

 

Reasons Why I Will Never Grow Up

I’m currently 23 years old. At this point in my life, I’ve permanently (well, fingers crossed) moved out of my parents’ home, graduated from college, and am living off of the sporadic income that I’m making for myself by attempting to find grown-up work. Life is both miserable and exciting on rotation. But, try as I might to pretend that I am a full-grown adult with the maturity of someone who is independent and living on her own away from her family, everyday I am reminded why I am still, and will always be, that five year-old little girl:

1) I am still an obsessive fan of Disney. To this day, I can sing more Disney songs by heart than recognize music on the radio.

2) Even though I live a thousand miles away from them, I still talk to my parents everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. I know a lot of people talk to their parents regularly, but somedays I call my mother and think, wow, I’m 23 years old and I talk to my mom more than I’ve ever talked to a single guy I’ve dated. This may be a problem, I’m not sure. Therapists please feel free to weigh-in in the comments.*

*I welcome all professional advice, but just know that I will not pay you.

3) Applesauce is still the greatest invention of mankind.

4) I really like sparkly things.

5) Bawling your eyes out when life is even just a little bit hard is the adult version of throwing a tantrum.

6) I still like to be the center of attention.

7) I am ALWAYS right. No, I don’t care what you say, I just am. Because it’s the rules.

8) I ALWAYS win. ALWAYS. No, you don’t get to win because I said so, and it’s the rules.

9) I need a bedtime. If I’m too tired, the world starts to fall apart. It’s not pretty. You might be thinking, “I’ve seen you groggy, it’s not so bad.” But you haven’t seen me sleep deprived. Oh-oh-oh, sir, you have not seen me sleep deprived.

10) I still think that everything I do is more work than anything else anyone anywhere could be doing. My life is hard, what can I say? Feel bad for me.

This list could go on and on, but I think you get my point. I used to think that eventually I would grow out of these things, and start being a mature, independent adult. I used to assume this would come when I finally settled into a long-term, consistent big-kid job with health and benefits. Slowly, however, I am realizing that job or not, this is who I am, and I am never growing up. I’m not sure about this, but I think Peter Pan would think I was pretty cool.

My Mom is the Animal Whisperer

First let me explain the photo above: I think my mother looks a lot like Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep’s face is on a sheep’s body. Animals + Meryl Streep. There you go.

Forget what you know about those silly shows where they have the psychics and the vets and whoever else is sort of washed-up in their careers and resorts to “reading” animal minds: my mom is the true animal whisperer. No, I’m serious. Stop laughing.

Okay, okay. So she can’t communicate with animals directly, and she certainly has no idea what her animals are thinking. Why, then, you ask, do I call her the true animal whisperer? Because animals flock to this woman like she’s Snow White. Actually, I have heard her sing to her animals before. Perhaps she actually is Snow White.

Get this: my mom takes care of over 20 animals, and she doesn’t even live on a farm. She grew up on one, though, which is probably why she’s got skillz when it comes to tending to a herd of classroom pets and a handful  of household ones as well. She’s got this huge albino rabbit that thinks he’s a person and just hops around the room, following her. She also has this HUGE tom cat that has been with our family since he was born, as his mother adopted our family (no surprise there–cats seem to hone in on mother radar and find us) shortly before she become pregnant. I’m pretty sure this cat is gay because he took in another male cat–his half-brother from another litter–and the two lived like happy life partners for about a year and a half before the younger one pushed one too many buttons and the older one broke it off with him.

My mom has tended pigs, cows, sheep, horses–you name it. Currently she houses a fish tank full of fancy cockroaches (I’m not sure how cockroaches can be fancy, but my mother treats them as such) that are probably our household’s best line of defense at repelling break-ins.

Obviously my mother’s animal skills have very little to do with me personally, or this blog, but I just thought you all should know. Talents should be recognized and celebrated.

-tlc