Monday, August 15, 2011

I want to have my cake, eat it too, then eat another cake.

Photo / Creative Commons / bookgrl.
I write, I act, I produce, and I work 40 hours a week at a day job.

People always ask me, all impressed, “How do you balance it all?” Here’s the truth – I don’t!

I have a hell of a time doing the things I need to do and accomplishing the things I want to do, all while lamenting all the things I should do but can’t.

And everything suffers from all this juggling. I’m trying to slow down and focus on one thing at a time, prioritize better, and so on. But there’s not enough time in a day for everything I’m doing, and meanwhile the other side of life is constantly tugging at me – sleep, enjoyment, feeding myself.

Someone once told me her plan was to try to break into TV writing for five years and if it didn’t happen by then, she was going to quit and have children. I remember feeling shocked that she would give herself such a small window, but then felt jealous that she could make such a simple declaration and stand by it.

Because my problem is I don’t know how to give anything up. The Taurus in me holds on tight. I want it all and then some. I’ve never been good with letting things go in any area of my life – my natural state has always been to do everything.

I’m like that crazy guy on Clean House who didn’t want to get rid of the 600 frisbees that were filling his wife’s walk-in closet. I love all my creative Frisbees!

But something’s gotta give soon, I fear. I’m getting older and all the things I’ve set aside to have this artistic life are nagging at me, wanting a piece of the pie. Love, marriage, parenthood – how much longer am I going to put them off? Wealth, comfort, and peace of mind would be nice too. Nice clothes, a gym body, vacations to beautiful places, furniture that’s not from IKEA, shared meals with friends, visiting the museums of Los Angeles, seeing my family more than twice a year – these are all things I want but don’t have.

Music philosophy posters by Mico.
But you can’t always get what you want. So I’m getting what I need – a steady paycheck, a little sleep, writing my TV pilots, working on my short story collection, auditioning when auditions come, and Facebook once a day for exchanging messages with friends that say, “We should get together soon!”

Someone tell me what to do. Giving up is not an option – at least I don’t know how to make it an option. So instead I stay in a constant state of wanting and keep on trucking toward that big break that will allow me to at least get rid of the day job.

A friend suggested I stop writing this blog because it’s irrelevant and no one reads it. But I don’t want to! It gives me an outlet for expression and I enjoy it too much. Besides, you guys are reading it, right? Guys? Guys?


  1. Loooonnnggg time no speak. First, I do love reading your blog. :)

    As you know, I was an artist alongside you for a very long time. Although I wasn't nearly as successful as you are, I understand what you are going through. The main question is this: "What is your goal?" Everyone says they want to "make it in show business." However, what does that really mean? If your goal is to positively influence people, have a creative outlet, and make a difference in the world, Teresa, I would say you are already a TREMENDOUS success. However, if your goal is to make $20 million per film or even raise a family on your art alone, that is going to be extremely difficult.

    Next, to achieve your goal, what are you willing to sacrifice? You may find that answer to be too much for you. The answer to that question is the number one reason why people move on from the industry.

    I did not mean to be negative at all. I was just sharing my opinion.

    I hope that I was able to give you some insight.

  2. I don't think what you have to say is irrelevant; I do think that, fear I say, you have to expand your scope by blogging for more blogs with site specific pieces, to gain notoriety to have people migrate to your personal blog. Joz Joz Joz is a good example of success for that.

    I know you have a biz mind and one that was fostered at MIT; I'd like to see that utilized more in your creative endeavors.

    You mentioned The Secret last night; I think just alleviating/releasing the pressure would do wonders in the laws of attraction: I wasn't necessarily wanting a 5K trip to NY to see HP Exhibition or to find $20 on the floor at Target, but it came to me. And I totally could use the cash.

    And we both know that doesn't mean just sitting back and waiting for things to fall in our laps.

    And I reiterate that you need to stop listening to yourself and people who put pressure on you; productivity pressure I approve of; on things you have no control over like creating the literary work of the millennium that will affect humanity's evolution--so unnecessary.

    And you're not old!

  3. Thanks for the comments all! I do need to give myself a break. I am tremendously grateful for all the abundance in my life and the ability to pursue my creative endeavors.

    Anonymous, who are you? :)

  4. I purposely wrote Anonymous because I didn't want the person to be influencing you, but what I had to say. Hope you're doing well!

  5. Joseph! :) Awesome - thanks so much for reading!

  6. Teresa, I feel your pain. Just know that you are an artist on a journey and if you are called to it, you must do it. That voice inside that makes you keep going is a gift. That doesn't mean it will be easy. I often think of that scene in "Cool Hand Luke" where he's getting beaten and everyone else starts telling him to stay down, but he keeps getting up. Most people would stay down, but that is not the life of an artist. If we are going to make people feel happiness, pain, love, joy, empathy, grief or any other emotion through our writing or acting, then we have to be willing to lay bare and take the hits. Hang in there!

  7. Brigitte is the best person ever! That scene from "Cool Hand Luke" is such a great touchstone - I'll have to remember that the next time I feel beaten down. I shall rise up like Paul Newman!!! :)