Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Five Year Letter

Dear self,

We just came home from a night in Burbank and by we I'm not talking royalty. My husband pulled the best impression of your young self that I've ever seen, head lolling to one side, deep breaths in and out as the street lights lit his mohawk between on-ramps and off-ramps so narrow they may actually have been blue prints for the Death Star. Tonight was magical and mystical and still a road block.

My tongue is sore from cheap Mai Tais. My elbows hurt from rubbing with professional amateurs. His teachers told him to meet and greet with the lower levels, the little ones who are looking for the right talent to bring them to the top.  Well, we did that, and were staunchly told in no uncertain terms that no one ever truly makes it. Glass ceilings and nepotism and type-casting run rampant in that old town, so who are we to change the game?

She talked to us from under the weight of years of hard work, drudging and slogging to get where she wanted, with opinions louder than the quiet voice in our hearts. She drowned out the optimism and talked right over the determination we both had. He and I sat quietly awash in her words and her wisdom of experience. Once we got back in the car we looked at each other and shared a moment and I knew she hadn't permanently silenced us.

We needed to hear what she had to say, just like we need to hear what everyone has to say: give us your wounded and your heartbroken, your sordid tales, your mistakes and your success stories. We want to hear them because we want to know, deep down, that every tale is different. Each story gives us hope that we, too, can be successful because we're not unique but we still have miles and leagues and fathoms separating us from them.

Listening to stories of the people that made it is inspiring and down-heartening all at once: the story goes that Harrison Ford was a handyman who happened to read lines one day. That Spielberg never got into USC despite his repeated applications. But they're household names now, so what gives? How can we tell that story too, but different?

Brie, the reality is, we may never make it, but in the end we'll make something for ourselves all the same. Big money and a million dollar home and agent-led movie offers was never the goal. Our conversations of the future always ended in doing what we wanted to do and being happy for that opportunity- and in that respect we're already halfway there. We may never make millions, have faces and babies splashed on tabloids or name our own sidewalk stars, but we'll enjoy what we're doing because we worked too hard to settle.

We'll make it because we're starting with the support system and the rest can fall into place afterwards. We'll make it because I knew from the moment he told me he wanted to be a movie director, the moment he confessed (by accident) he loved me, the moment we said "I do" and presented ourselves as Mr and Mrs E, that I would support him. His goals, his dreams, his wacky baggage were all packed and stowed with my own and ready for the ride we now steer together.

We'll wade through the muck with the rest of them, start from the bottom and work our way to the top, taking our turn at all the major milestones, but we have each other and that's years ahead of everyone else here. That's what sets us apart. He doesn't do this alone; I can't let him.

So here it is, your five-, ten-, fifteen-year plan: Just remember. Remember how bad you want this. Remember how hard you worked for this. Remember all of the side-gigs and pity projects and the hours and hours we've logged to get that one step farther. Remember the innocence and the naivete because you'll lose it in the City of Lights, piece by piece, and what's left over can leave you bitter and wary. We don't mind wary but we can do without being bitter. We have opportunities and blessings farther than the eye can see and there will come a time (or two) when we'll have to rely on just the memory of good things to keep us going.

The young and restless you

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Mrs. E