It was a sunny fall afternoon. I had just finished brunch with my best friend and was sitting in my car crying. This was a breaking point, a reckoning of sorts. I had been trying to balance being a new mother with being an actress, and it wasn’t working.
I had known from a young age that I wanted a creative life. And if that meant sacrificing having kids to do it, then so be it. Then my husband came along. He told me that we were a team and together we could make it work. He was and still is, a true partner, doing everything he could to support me as I tried to claw my way back up the indie acting ladder.
But on this day it was clear to me that it just wasn’t enough. That realization broke my heart and terrified me.
I knew I would shrivel without a creative outlet, but I also knew that I couldn’t be an actress anymore.
What followed was a year or two of trying to fill that creative void with things mothers are supposed to do. I baked, I tended a garden, I made all kinds of things from food to playdough from scratch. But every time I’d end up feeling more depleted than filled up and I’d throw in the towel.
Then on another fall afternoon, something clicked.
When my husband and I were working our way through three years of infertility, I had written a novel as a way to distract myself. It wasn’t a good novel. But I had finished and edited it with all the love I had wanted to give to a child. When we had that child (an exuberant and joyful little girl), the novel got shelved. Before I fell in love with acting, I had wanted to be a novelist. I wondered, on that fall day, if going back to that first creative love might be possible.
By this time, I’d had another child, and things had gone off the charts busy. When I approached my husband about doing NaNoWriMo in 2015, he said ‘Yes’ with very little hesitation. He pitched in with meal prep, watching the kids after work and on weekends so I could have enough writing time. He read my second draft, gave story advice, supported me through every moment of self-doubt and fear, and cheered every victory no matter how small. He was patient as I interrupted conversations and had later than usual dinners because an idea had hit and I had to write it down.
When I decided to Indie Publish, he once again threw his support behind me wholeheartedly. Going so far as to give me seed money from some of the proceeds of the sale of our townhouse. It’s safe to say that without my husband I would not, today, be launching my very first full-length novel.
Our path is never straightforward
I loved acting, and I was quite good at it too. I met my husband and some of my best friends through acting school and the indie film industry. But when I look back on that day, crying in my car, I see the painful end of one thing creating the seeds of something new. Realizing this has brought something into sharp focus for me.
Our path in life is full of forks, twists and turns that both exhilarate and terrify us. Sometimes we refuse to take a particular turn, sitting down in terror at the unknown before us. Then, one day, the weight of doing nothing becomes more unbearable than the fear and we get up and start walking. For a lot of us, that one moment is the start of some of the most fulfilling endeavors of our lives.
That’s how I feel about being an Author. I am so grateful that in the midst of my fear I chose to trust my instincts and take those first trembling steps down a new path.
Today those steps have turned into leaps and increasingly I find myself doing what the song says: Defying Gravity. This is the life I dreamed of all those years ago as a child. I didn’t get here the way I thought I would. That’s ok. It’s no less fulfilling. And when I feel those stomach dropping moments of fear and exhilaration, it really does feel like flying.
Is there something in your life that you’re struggling to let go of or begin? Are you having a hard time seeing the possibilities that could come from letting go of something you’ve held dear? I know how that feels. If you want some support, please leave me a comment below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.
And, if you’d like to read the book that started it all, you can now purchase Serpent’s Sacrifice in Kindle ebook format from Amazon.