It’s very strange to feel like two places are home.
On one hand, Texas is familiar. It is where I grew up. I have a very safe, predictable existence where I know what to expect and more importantly I know that I can survive here if worse comes to worst. The prospects of true success are limited, but a lower cost of living means I can survive with my head above water.
This was especially comforting while the kids were small.
California comes at more of a risk. It’s more expensive to live there, the competition for jobs is much stiffer. Even finding a place to live can be a bit of a gamble, especially if you have less than stellar credit (that in reality kinda just plain sucks). But in that risk there is also great possibility, especially if you want to be a screenwriter.
I was told while I actually lived in Los Angeles my strength was better suited to the screen, but I never could find the courage to actually sit down and write a screenplay. I had written four books by this point and had next to no idea what I needed to do to actually write something for the screen.
Most importantly I didn’t know if I had any ideas that would warrant the price of a movie ticket.
Books are, again, a safer gamble. The diversity of the audience and the cost of printing and marketing a book made being an author seem like a lot more of a realistic and viable option.
Movies are a bit trickier. The market is much narrower and therefore the competition is much steeper. You have to be the best of the best to rise to the top of that pile.
Truthfully I never knew if I could be best of the best. All my life I sorta felt like I was on the “Good But Not Good Enough” team.
I wrote my first screenplay in 2002. It was actually prompted by my own recovery after the trauma of 9-11. Steven and I got married in August of 2001, and when September came it wrecked my psyche for a long while. What was the point? I would wonder. It could all be gone in an instant.
Ironically, Dr. Phil got me out of the funk. It was either his show or excerpts from the book but I kind of realized I had to get over myself and make life happen while I had it. I wrote my first screenplay in 2002 and fell in love with the process.
I also learned I was pretty good at it. My first attempt, though riddled with amateurish mistakes, actually got some good feedback.
Imagine my complete surprise when I realized that the common logic was you had to be in Los Angeles to truly “make it” as a screenwriter.
You had to be available to “take meetings” and “network”, because Hollywood is a town built on relationships.
I left Los Angeles in early 2001 and had no real urge to move back.
We had gone from a little 700 square foot box of a house in crime riddled Gardena to the much safer, nicer area in Amarillo. Our home had three bedrooms, a living room, a den and a backyard.
I was making enough money that we weren’t strangled month to month trying to figure out how to juggle it all. We could actually have a “life”.
With Tim and Jeremiah being so small, that meant more to me than my screenwriting career. My job was being a mom, and my kids were my priority.
Fast forward ten years and my kids are now adults. They have their own lives and their own dreams.
And once again my eyes turn back to California.
I’ve actually been toying with the idea of moving back for a while. Two years, easily. The more Steven and I talked about it the more we realized it wasn’t an “if”, it was more of a “when”. He’s got his family out there and I have an ever growing network of friends, some who are even in the industry I wish to someday enter myself.
Fear has been a big part of holding me back. Fear of making “the wrong decision”.
If you could see my list of pros and cons on moving back to L.A., you’d see they are equally matched. There are as many reasons for me to stay as for me to go. That means that I have to decide now if I really *want* to go, or if I’m not going because I’m too scared to.
Like I said earlier, Los Angeles comes with risks. Very scary risks.
It also comes with sacrifices I didn’t know if I was ready yet to make, leaving the kids behind chief among them. While Tim has toyed with the idea of going back out to Los Angeles himself, especially after the months we spent there taking care of my aunt and uncle, he has his friends here and he has things he wants to do before he leaves.
Jeremiah has his girlfriend here, there’s no way he’s going *anywhere*.
And letting go of being their full-time, ever-present mom makes me overwhelmingly sad. Mostly because that has been my job for the last two decades.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway has been hitting on all these questions, insecurities and fears like a hammer. It tells me there are no wrong decisions, there are only learning experiences. It tells me not to base my decisions out of fear, saying no to the universe and closing myself up because in the end I have to decide ultimately that I AM worth it and I CAN handle it.
The more I repeat those two things to myself, the less fearful I feel. In fact, an excitement has replaced it. An excitement to see “what if” – to dive into the possibilities.
It’s also made me see that in a lot of ways, my life has been orchestrating this step for me in a lot of critical ways, not the least of which is finding a job with unlimited income potential I can do anywhere. (Thank you Demand Studios! ❤ ❤ <3)
Out of that awareness and excitement, I started perusing the Internet to find out how "doable" a move back to Los Angeles would be. Turns out, it's pretty darn doable.
In fact, if I put my nose to the grindstone and really bust my unstoppable ass for the next nine months, I'll be able to pay for an apartment in Anaheim – close to Steven's family – for six months in advance.
It's a small, one bedroom apartment and it would mean just Steven and I would have to learn how to live as a couple instead of as parents again – but even that holds loads of possibilities how we can make our marriage even stronger.
The only variable is Steven's job, which has him slated to be on the list of the management program where he works, a Texas based company. But he's been on that list for more than a year and there are still three other people ahead of him. I know for a fact that Steven can find a job anywhere and will excel. I also know that his time in Texas has given him skills and a resume that would widen his options in California exponentially.
So there really is no "wrong" decision.
And therefore the decision has been made.
As of July/August of next year, Steven and I will be moving to Anaheim to begin a six month adventure on how much I can change my life being right in the thick of where I want my life to be.
The second part of that is that I plan to attack my weight with the same zeal I attack my income. My wonderful, wise son Tim said it best yesterday when he said, "The level of your discipline must equal the level of your ambition."
With that in mind, the goal is to be under 200lbs when I move to California, and to have enough money so that we can be living in "advance", rather than way behind.
I know that I can handle both of those goals… but more importantly I am worth it.
And I am unstoppable.