End to Begin

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2018…

I took roads never expected to take, leaps I had been afraid to make, and I loved every bleary-eyed, wild, weird and wonderful moment. Even the really horrible ones.

I experienced some of my biggest professional let downs to date alongside some of my most profoundly exciting accomplishments. I decided that every moment will work together for my good no matter how grim it feels as I wade through it.

I taught myself to think differently about almost everything. I let go of a method that was leading me to madness. Depression and anxiety peaked, and I had to learn how to feel and war my way through without going under.

I changed the way I went for my goals, what I believed about the story I was living, what would happen when I set my eyes like flint.

I learned to be quiet.

I learned to take responsibility, forgive, redeem and reward in a new way.

I partnered with my destiny. I partnered with a writing partner. I learned that to be truly successful at either, you must be truly transparent and willing to grow.

I gave myself validation. I believed in my talent. I discovered a new process.

I won every battle — even the ones I lost. Because I was up, doing it, and I was not going to take NO for an answer.

I lived. I took time off from writing. I went on trips and flew first class. I asked for MORE than I’ve ever asked for and I watched it come my way.

In 2018: I learned to be me again.

I can’t tell you how to be you more fully, how to live your big life and what that will look like when you do, if you are. But – never settle. Stop settling. As Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing it small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

2019 better get ready.

XO,

R

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Cusp

Everyone gains perspective at the end of a year. This time is tailor-made for reflection, soul-searching sipping chamomile, curled in a sweater, tucked under blankets. When you live in Los Angeles, it looks a little different. It’s sunny, with flip flops and frayed shorts, a chilled glass of bubbly, and a pair of sunglasses slipping down your nose.

The feeling, though, is very much the same.

Every year we are alive, we face new challenges to our way of life. If we are lucky. If we are really living. We make gut-wrenching choices. We take dangerous steps, make bold moves on the living chess board of existence. We do and feel and touch moments we never have before.

2017: I woke a beast.

In January, I broke my knee cap. It was my breaking point. Faced with confinement, I faced off the secret, quiet, creeping feelings my insides had refused to divulge to me until that moment trapped on a bed with a planet for a knee.

There was a certain writhing beast that I had never let loose. It awoke in that quiet place and did not go back to sleep. Not for most of the year. Not until I made a sudden, painful, life-altering choice in the middle of December. Not until, finally, I was brutally honest with myself, unafraid to look away from what I knew I really felt. Only then did the beast bow it’s head, subdued for another season.

2017: I fought for my future.

In November a longtime friend asked me, does Los Angeles feel like home?

No. I said. Nowhere does. Nowhere can.

This is the truth about being restless: you are always, forever, in search. It is not unhappiness, though it feels that way sometimes. It is a quest.

When you believe you are made to do more, you cannot live with anything else. It makes you unbearable. The person in the room that never sits down. The one with a million ideas. The one with a drink in their hand. The one looking out the window, or over a shoulder. It is never about where you are, it is always about where you could be.

For me, the search has to stop. For a moment, at least, I need to be right where I am, living without running. The way to the future is wriggling to life today. I don’t want to miss it.

2017: I let people in.

I wrote a book this year that felt like putting my heart on a page. It felt violent and vulnerable. It revealed me. It contained me. It was me.

I took an acting class that was a stare down with the past. It was me in a room with strangers living for a moment without a shield. It was terrifying and altering.

I fell in love with my friends. Women who saw me and loved me and listened. Women who would not let me settle. Women who are my allies and confidants and partners.

I listened to my son cry and my husband fume as my family leaped toward a new life. I let them be who they needed to be and I learned to live with myself while they did.

2017: I made choices.

Hard ones. Fast ones. Painful ones. I am living with every single one. I am still alive.

Soon we turn over the calendar. We countdown. We sing and cheers and make commitments to next year us. If you asked me what 2017 would look like last year I would have given you a very different answer.

What do we know, then, about our future?

All we know is today.

Therefore:

Live mindfully, with purpose. Let yourself believe in magic. Let others in on the journey.


What about you?IMG_4983

 

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Hashtag 2017

The woods outside my house is shrouded in fog. It’s New Year’s Day and I feel just as foggy as the woods. Not because I stayed up into the wee hours, partying, clinking glasses, making promises to myself for the next year. I didn’t. I went to bed before midnight after tucking my son in his, kissing my husband, listening to the bang-crack of fireworks from near and far, faint and loud all around.

I woke up this morning and without even seeing the mist on the trees I felt the fog settle in. Cloaking. Touching my edges and sending me into myself.

New Year’s Days are made for wondering what will be ahead. They are hopeful, melancholy, whimsical creatures. They are wishes and they are wanting.

But they cannot tell you the future. They cannot promise the dream come true. That power exists in every day after.

If you had told me last year at this time how the future year would shape up, how much change would come, how much I would see, do, accomplish and uncover, I do not know if I would have believed you. I don’t know if you could have made me believe even if you gave me a glimpse.

As I lay in the dark last night, I tried to remember last New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t for a while. I confused it with two years before. I was certain it wasn’t that one three years prior. I had to go back and look on my phone, scroll through a year of pictures so much more brilliant than I was expecting. A year far fuller than seemed possible.

When I reached the videos I took of my son that night, he was little, he was Star Wars obsessed. He, too, has changed so much this year. We made churros and talked about the Force. We had no idea who we would be just one year later.

I scrolled to the picture I posted the next morning. My one statement for what I hoped my year would hold.

Hashtag 2016:

2016

2016 had eclipsed the end of 2015. I had done the thing I purposed in my heart to do:

Be curious and have adventures.

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This year, foggy and hidden away as it has begun, I purpose to do the same. To put down on paper the hope of tomorrow. To promise myself I will live fully and bravely, be bold, but kind. I will win some battles and I will take some giant, frightening leaps.

And next New Year’s Day I will not remember what I did that final night of that other year because I will be full of hundreds of nights and many more dreams come true.

Hashtag 2017.

2017

This is the New Year Cry

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Most years I write a farewell, a tipping of my hat to the year gone by, acknowledging all the brilliant, painful and perplexing things I experienced, speaking to the dreams that thrived, or died, and then finally turning my eyes outward.

This year, I struggled.

In 2015 I saw and did things I never expected to see or do. I struggled with questions I thought I’d already firmly answered. I was thirty. I was without my grandma for the first time ever. I was sojourning in the land of creative confusion, with a long layover in emotional malaise-ville. I watched terror rip through the world with no idea how it would ever quell, but only escalate, only accelerate. I watched my son find his way through kindergarten, to first grade, and me without a clue how he got that big, that fast.

I gave in on things and I refused to budge on others. I cried. I panicked. I did YouTube. I went to Comic-Con and was the recipient of the magical power of fandom. I became an aunt, again. I was paid my first real money for writing. I decided to say no, and yes, and go to hell, and I love you when it was true and not just when it was appropriate. I fought. I conceded. I won.

2015 can’t simply be summed up, and so much of it is still too hard for me to put into words and then give to the world. It can’t be reflected because it is alive in me, and even though the year is ending, so very much of what it started continues to beat on like my own heartbeat in my chest, my own blood pounding through my veins. A new year is nothing but a chance to say goodbye to a number, a version living, and hello to another, made new by experience. We begin again all the time. We stop and start. We throw fits and offer ultimatums, and always, hopefully, are living like it’s our last chance to try.

A New Year is nothing but a chance to do something different. To be changed for the better, the worse, to get a start on that forgotten dream, or to move on to the one you’d been putting off for tomorrow. A New Year is a moment in time that will pass without impact if you let it.

We resolve to make this one better, more peaceful, less ugly, but then we forget. We get busy. We get selfish and anxious and we lose our way when it’s no longer new, but just life, again, like always. And then we get soggy-eyed, we get grumpy, and that resolution is buried beneath the dirty laundry and broken promises.

I will not lie to you and promise you a better tomorrow. No one can do that, not really, so there is not point me trying. Tomorrow might not be better. Tonight might still be hit by terror and violence, by goodness and hope, by mediocrity and pettiness. But I will encourage you to believe in the present.

This moment where you have hope, hold onto it.

The kiss from your son, the cuddle from your daughter.

The gleam in your husband’s eyes when he thinks your hair looks pretty the way it falls like that over your shoulder, your neck, into your eyes which crinkle more right now than yesterday.

The laughter of friends talking stories and making plans, plans they can’t guarantee, but need to make all the same.

The dog on your lap. The book in your hand, in your fingertips, in your spirit.

This is all we are given, this brief moment in time. This is all that we need, to be here for each other, for the world. For today.

And a Happy New Year!

This will likely end my holiday inspired, soul searching round of posting. The end of the year, the holiday season, family gatherings yield a lot of food for thought in that department. My holidays have been a bit of a mixed bag. The glow of Christmas lights and the ringing of caroling voices was eclipsed by the grumble of old wounds being opened and losses being counted.

We have returned to NYC, a little worn and weary, also thankful and glad. As I said, it’s a mixed bag. So, in the spirit of beginning the year with a positive attitude, I am going to tell you why you should not make a New Years Resolution this year, but go a step further.

Resolve has a plethora of definitions in the dictionary. It’s got three main headers, with sub-definitions branching off. Here is the gist, though:

Resolve: settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter); (a symptom or condition) to disperse, subside, or heal; decide firmly on a course of action.

It’s a pretty serious word. It stands to reason then, when resolving to do anything (which of course is where we get the term New Years Resolution), you best not be playing around with it. Statistic Brain says about 45% of Americans make New Years Resolutions each December 31st. Of those 45%, only 8% stick with the resolution for any amount of time. That’s fairly lame. There are also statistics for those who infrequently make resolutions, meaning not every year. I fall into that category.

It’s not a matter of being unable to think of something to improve. I will be the first to say that I can improve in almost every area of my life. If you can’t use a little tweak all around, you’re probably seriously deluding yourself. Most of us are lacking. Even supermodels are wanting somewhere. Even billionaires suck somehow. This is how balance is maintained in the universe. It’s also the only way we haven’t digressed into the talent crippling society featured in the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short Harrison Bergeron.

To get back to what I was saying…I just don’t like to set myself up for failure. This actually is an area I could improve on. I won’t even play a board game if I think I’m going to lose. (I know, I am still considering therapy.) But making New Years Resolutions is just a bad idea. Even if you like to fail, even if your inadequacy gives you the warm-fuzzies. NYR’s aren’t touching the reason you’ve gained weight this year, or you can’t stop buying Hobbit merchandice from Gandolf1965 on Ebay.

And this is why you shouldn’t do it. Look at your cottage cheese thighs and your compulsion to drink in the afternoon, and say, “No, this year I will not be duped by you.” I just ate an entire package of roasted seaweed and drank a glass of wine. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Do not give in to the first brainless (and likely true) thing you stumble on. Do not be distracted by the easiest or most obvious issue. If you are overweight, yes, you should probably lose those extra pounds this year. If heart disease runs in your family, probably centering your diet around heart healthy foods would be a good plan. If you have mounds of credit card debt, maybe cutting back on the online shopping is a step in the right direction. (And no one needs that many Bilbo figurines. Not even Peter Jackson.)

Those are all things you should be doing anyway, new year or not. What I’m talking about is resolving. Finding a solution for a problem. Healing a suffering. Deciding on a course to take and taking it. To resolve is to buckle down and do some dirty work, and when the work is done, you come out on the other side different.

Instead of resolving to lose weight (and then not), or to exercise everyday (which will last until the weekend), or to “enjoy life to the fullest” (which is bullshit and subjective), resolve instead.  Before you make resolutions for improvement, resolve to find why you must improve. Examine the truth of who you are, where you are in life, and and how satisfied you are with that assessment. Then resolve to do something about it. I suggest doing the soul searching without any help from booze, and without stepping on the scale first. Self-loathing and a migraine will not help. Otherwise, this may become you:

I am only trying to help. I say this all with love. Enjoy the rest of 2012! Endure 2013 with resolve.