Recently, I got some bad news.
(Nothing life-threatening, don’t worry Mom.)
I wrote a script, a director liked it and there was talk that it might get produced. I was thrilled and felt like my hard work was paying off.
Then last week the director dropped out.
When I first got his email I waited for the flood of misery. The sorry-for-myself-tears. But they never came.
All I really felt was…Eh.
A year ago this kind of news would have flattened me – sent me to bed for the weekend with a bottle of wine and a “Call The Midwife” binge session.
So why was I not awash in tears and self-pity? Had I not cared about this project as much as I thought?
That night I went home and tried to spur myself into a feeling something.
I paged through my college photo albums and re-read my wedding vows. Nothing. It was time to bring out the big guns: video compilations of soldiers returning home to their kids.
I’ve been in LA for eight years now. I guess I’m finally used to running in this marathon.
(Not literally of course. I don’t know how you people do that.)
I’m so close. And when you’re 24.5 miles from the finish line and your body is shutting down, there’s no time to complain, no time for tears.
After all, why did you eat that gross protein goo and almost poop your pants if you’re not going to have a medal to show for it?
I’ve run so many miles, what are a few more?
That’s not to say I don’t still feel rejection. Believe me, I do. But this was the first time I finally felt strong too.
Growing up in the Midwest with exceedingly supportive parents did not give me a cast iron soul. Those first few years of LA-style rejection were pretty painful.
But now, eight years later, it was a relief to realize that my dreams can’t hurt me so much anymore.
I won’t let them.
For a long time my career was my only priority – above relationships or free time or eating. I had labeled it as the only thing that could make me happy.
But over the last few years this has started to shift. Turns out, I enjoy eating three meals a day and have interests other than the hard pursuit of my dream.
I am enjoying life again.
So when the news about the director came it wasn’t devastating because I had worked on building a world that contained other things – a world with multiple colors and levels and shapes.
My career was no longer the only thing I had to hang on to.
That night, I cuddled with my husband on the couch and sent my friend a text about hanging out soon, packed my bag to climb the next morning and wondered for the millionth time when I was going to get pregnant.
My life rolled on and the next day, I opened my laptop and started to write.
I had a few more miles to go.