It might be a midlife crisis.
That’s what I thought to myself as I stared at my blank computer screen for what was probably the 20th day straight.
It might be a midlife crisis.
The only thing more depressing than being depressed is realzing you’re old enough to have that depression be age related.
Fuck, now I’m depressed and old, I thought.
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I decided I needed to do two things. The first, I had to get out of my funk. Because for me a funk doesn’t look like I eat too much or that I’m crying in my coffee (I don’t drink coffee, but the c’s sounded good together. Work with me.) My funk looks like writer’s block. I couldn’t write a fucking word. This, a problem for someone whose job is to write.
The second thing I decided to do, was make sure nobody knew I was in a funk. Because the only thing worse to me than feeling blue, is having other people know about it.
But no matter how many times I sat down to write, or willed myself out of the blues, I couldn’t shake that nagging feeling. I just couldn’t figure out exactly what was causing it.
Sure, I had been suffering for a while from a bit of motherhood malaise. I mean honestly, how many times can one woman wash the same dish without losing her mind? Sometimes I would look at that needs to be unloaded dishwasher or that pile of dirty laundry, the same one I had washed just days before, and think, “Can’t we just throw it all out and start a new?” I longed for change. Newness. Something.
I told Justin that I was so bored I was either going to cut off my hair or become a lesbian. Change. Newness. Something.
“Oh,” he said smiling, “Definitely go lesbian.”
Instead, I just emptied the dishwasher as if it were hard labor and kept trying to get to the source of my blues.
My funk started to get bad. Not head in the oven I need medication bad, but I’m listening to Tori Amos and I’m one day away from blasting Radiohead bad.
In the back of my head, I knew what was making me depressed I just didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to write about. It’s trite, I thought to myself. Why would anyone care?
I kept plodding along, wasting time on Instagram and staring at my blank screen.
Then the other day my good friend Jackie noticed I wasn’t my normal self. I hadn’t told anyone I was struggling. I hadn’t even told Justin, though I’m sure he could tell. She asked what was going on and I let the cat out of the bag.
“I’m in a funk,” I said. She kindly responded, “Well, let’s dig you out of that funk.”
I turned up the Tori and tried to do just that.
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I told many of you that earlier this year I sold a TV show. I’ve had a love/hate/mostly hate relationship with Hollywood ever since college. I have a degree from UCLA in theatre and worked for nearly ten years as Hollywood’s least employed actress. I woke up one day, realized I was wasting my life, and broke up with Hollywood.
A Hollywood break-up when you’re not working isn’t exactly dramatic. It’s like slamming a door in an empty house. Sure it made a loud noise, but no one was there to notice. That’s what quitting Hollywood is like. You’re slamming the door in an empty house.
Like after all much needed breakups, I felt an immediate sense of relief. I started writing shortly afterward and I got work immediately and relatively easily. The blogging world has always been kind to me. That had never happened in my acting days.
Looking back I realized all that time I was dreaming of being on stage, I had had the wrong dream. I wanted to write my own words instead of say someone else’s. Plus, Hollywood is filled with sociopaths. I’m not kidding. It’s a town without rules that best suits people who are allergic to HR departments.
Don’t worry we’re getting to my funk.
This year the opportunity came up to pitch some TV shows. Ultimately, creating TV has always been my deep down inside dream. So I had this idea that I thought would make a great show. My darling husband (not a sociopath) who works in TV said, “Great, go sell it.” He helped me get some meetings and off I went, ambition, terror, and moxie in hand.
I sold it from the first pitch, which was exciting and amazing. And then, stupidly, I did a really good job writing it. As soon as the suits and skirts realized they had “something” in my show, they pushed me aside without so much as a thank you or an explanation.
Why do they do that? Because they can. People marginalize others because they can. And there’s nothing you can do to stop them, but pack up and leave.
You’re probably thinking, “Well, hey what do you care? You got paid. Move on.” I guess. Sure. In theory. But nobody creates anything to have someone else ruin it more expensively.
The experience of being marginalized, gaslit for the sake of being gaslit, is the ultimate mind fuck. It makes you second guess yourself, your talent, your work. It also makes it hard to move on.
This is certainly not the first time I’ve been sidelined, marginalized, made invisible. There isn’t a woman I know who can’t relate to it, probably a lot of men. It’s the feeling of being underestimated before you’ve even been estimated. It’s the feeling of being pushed aside, or diminished simply because one can diminish.
This experience had me so rattled that I planned my second Hollywood break-up. “I don’t want to work in a business that does this to people,” I told Justin through snot tears and dripping mascara. “I want to go back to my little corner of the Internet.”
Justin nodded, said he understood, but that I shouldn’t give up on my dreams. I wondered if it was time to change dreams again. “Slam the door,” I thought to myself, “Even if no one’s listening.”
Justin suggested I get back on the horse. Hair of the dog, so to speak, in the success is the best revenge school of thought.
“Go sell another one,” my devoted husband said. “Slam the door another time. Now, just move forward.”
Let me tell you, having a very supportive spouse is highly overrated. It’s like living with Deepak. Fucking. Chopra. Sometimes I just want him to say, “What’s her address? Let’s go key her car.” Instead he’s productive and supportive, which I can assure you is entirely less fun.
But, he’s right. Get back on the horse. Turn a bad experience into a good story and move forward.
So off I went, down but not out, to pitch another show to a different company. The interest is there. The offer has come. I can’t guarantee I won’t be sidelined again, but I can hope for the best. Hope is a terrible strategy, but sometimes it’s all you’ve got.
My blues have started to lift, replaced by what they were masking. Rage. Anger. Sadness. Hope. Rage. It makes me wonder just how many people are walking around depressed because they didn’t want to admit just how angry they were about being marginalized themselves.
So that’s me trying to dig myself out of that funk.
Oh, what’s the show about? It’s a show about selling this show. 30 Rock meets Game Of Thrones. Real names will be used.
Written Wed May 5th, morning, and re-written 14 more times, while listening to Alt-J and The 1975 on repeat. Los Angeles, California.
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