Things are tough in my life. There is no disputing that. However, the majority of my problems are financially related, & the fact that my career hasn't taken flight yet.
But I realized today how easy I have had it in life, compared to others.
I was talking to a friend today, & listened in shock to how horrible her childhood was. Yeah, yeah, yeah, school kids were mean to me in junior high. But elementary school was grand & in high school, I was actually popular/well-liked. And my family loved me. Every child should have parents who adore them, dote on them, raise them well & loved. My mother & I were very close. She was my best friend, & when I was a kid, people called us "two peas in a pod." My great-aunt was disgusted with how much of a "momma's baby" I was. When kids were mean to me in junior high, my mother would march into the principal's office ready to open up a very large can of whoop-ass. All my coolest clothes....she bought for me. She encouraged my dream of performing (the only one in the family to really do so....sincerely, anyway). When I moved away, she would send me "happies".....little gifts sent to me for absolutely no reason other than to make me happy & put a smile on my face. She called me her "little star," & never had any doubt that I would be famous some day. She only asked to live in a little house behind my "mansion"....so she could be close to me but not close enough to "bother" me. She always defended me, against anyone. Took me to ballet class, came to every recital, every softball game. I can't say enough about my mom & how great she was.....except to say that I miss her EVERY day & it's almost a fantasy what a good mom she was, & I couldn't have been more blessed to have "received" her. Even though my dad was strict & travelled a lot....he was a good father. He provided a very comfortable living for us. He threw the softball around with me in the backyard, & later coached my little league softball teams to spend time with me. He built me a swing set in the backyard. We woke up early on the weekends to go to garage sales together, & he'd always buy me some not-needed piece of crap. My grandparent's, while sometimes driving me nuts, loved & adored me. My mom's dad was emotionally unavailable....he'd peel off a $20 for a good report card, instead of encouraging us or telling us how proud he was of us. But he was still a good man, & a good grandfather in many ways. My grandmother took us on trips to Callaway Gardens every year (well, he paid for the trips!). I always felt my maternal grandparents favored my sister, because she was the "smart one" (even though I tested just as smart....I just didn't enjoy school, while she was/is an education sponge). But my paternal grandparents....I always felt they favored me. I spent many weeks during the summers with them (2 hours away from home). My grandfather took me fishing. I was just a little girl, but he let me drive the fishing boat. They bought me a bicycle to use while I was there (I joined a bicycle "gang" & was the leader's girl!). There wasn't a single family member---close or extended---that didn't adore me. Okay....there was one. My great-aunt, Rosemary. She was the one who thought I was a momma's baby (I was, but is that so awful), & she frequently yelled at me about something. But I remember spending time at her condo, catching frogs (or were they toads....and what's the difference, anyway?) & reading Dr. Suess books (my fave, I have never been able to find again). And even while she may not have been my biggest fan, she DID take me (ok, me & about 14 other family members) on 4 week-long cruises.....4 spring breaks in a row...to the Caribbean & the Bahamas. So I have no unkind words for her.
Now.....my family may not understand me. I may be the blacksheep of the family...the first one to do something "different." But they LOVE me. They dearly love me. And aside from some "minor" emotional annoyances (like my maternal grandparents----my deceased grandfather being quite overweight & my grandmother weighing 85 pounds---asking me, "Have you put on some weight?" or "When are you coming home & going to college & getting a REAL job?" or "Are you eating right?"), I adore them, too.
This friend I spoke of....she had NONE of that. She had nasty birth parents & almost nastier adoptive parents. I have no right to talk about the awful things that happened to her in her childhood at the hands of parents that were supposed to do nothing but provide for her & LOVE her (even though I am not using her name).....but suffice it to say that her childhood was pretty much the opposite of mine.
Which pains me. Deeply. She despises pity. That's good, because I have none for her. I look at her & see what she's done with her life. How she's overcome the obstacles she was given, the crappy hand she was dealt. We agree on almost nothing in life....yet I respect her. She is an amazing person, pretty inside & out. Smart, spiritual, a GREAT mom.....she broke the cycle. A lot of people with abusive parents grow up to abuse their kids....using the "I was abused myself" excuse. She rose above the adversity. She rose above the crap she was dealt. She saw the hand she was dealt & forced the dealer to give her new cards (cheesy, I know). She is an amazing person.
I look at myself & think I am a pretty great person. I don't mean it in a bragging sense, but I am a pretty good person, raised well, good morals, yadda, yadda. But somehow, my friend seems better than me just because of what she has overcome to be a good person....and I didn't have much to overcome. Yes, those mean kids in junior high did a number to my self-esteem...they said I was ugly within earshot. They made up nasty rumors about me. They called me names. They gave me rubber band welts up & down my arms....shot paper wads off my "big" forehead. They made me cry.
But I went home to loving & supportive parents that turned all that negativity right around.
Life now might be a little tough for me....but I have truly been blessed.
Everyone accuses me of being Pollyanna. Living in a Disney World. And I guess sometimes I do. It's so hard to for my positive little brain to rationalize that parents like my friend's actually exist. Why would you ever have kids if you can't parent? I understand that parenting is a learning experience....but I mean, if you are going to abuse your kids---physically, emotionally, sexually, whatever----why have them? My friend Maranda....she was adopted. They really only wanted her older brother, but I guess they had to take her, too. Her "father" actually told her they he hadn't wanted her...and it wasn't followed by "But once we got you, I fell in love with you, & am so glad we got you." He just told her he hadn't wanted her...and basically still didn't. I just don't understand people like this. Anyone who abuses a child in ANY way deserves to be killed in the most painful way possible. Kids are like pets....they love you unconditionally. How many times do you hear an adult child say, "My father beat me...but he's still my father & I love him." Gimme a break. Honor thy mother & father....how can you honor people, how can GOD expect you to honor people who HAVE no honor themselves? Children (most of them) are innocent little beings who just want to be loved, unconditionally. They want to have someone to look up to....to love, to idolize, to learn from. And sometimes, they just get crap. Some rise above, some never do. And it's just not fair. There really ought to be a parenting license.....you have to have a license to fish & drive a damn car....but any schmuck can have a kid.
Enough of that.....
My depression continues about money. For one thing....I really want to be able to help others. A friend revealed the other day that she cannot afford to take her kids trick-or-treating this year....and one reason was because there hadn't been a paycheck in their family for a while, so they wanted to "enjoy the electricity" while it was still on. I would LOVE to send this friend a check. I would love to send her enough to buy her small children some really cool Halloween costumes, & to pay off their electricity bill, if not other bills, as well. I wish SO badly that I could do that. I WANT to do that so badly. But alas....I am so pathetic that I cannot even pay my OWN electricity bill....ok, so I DID pay it, it's just 10 OTHER bills I can't pay, you know, unimportant ones....like RENT!
I am in SO much trouble with money, it's disgusting. Tomorrow, a God-send of a friend is giving me $500. Giving, not lending. I don't have to pay him back. Bless him. But I still need at LEAST $500 more, to even get REMOTELY caught up. A different friend is sending me $500 (lending....I have to pay it back), from overseas, no less, but that money is gone instantly. What I mean is, it won't be in my hands long. I have a couple of storage units. I am so far behind on payments for one that they are going to auction off the contents in November. Inside that storage unit are my mother's wedding dress & my baby books (books my mother kept after I was born). These things mean a lot to me. No one will buy them at auction. But they mean something to me. I need $268 by Nov. 1st. Yep, as in one day away. He is wiring the money, but I haven't received it yet. I have to get that stuff out. I am going to try to be unsentimental & get rid of everything I can, but those items in particular, I have to get out. So $268 of the $500 he is sending is going straight to that. The rest was going to go to getting my new headshots made (I truly NEED them for my career), but I think the remaining money will have to go to bills. For one thing, I am behind on my OTHER storage unit (I am going to combine them & get rid of one of them), & need about $190 for that one. The $500 my friend is giving me tomorrow leaves me about $500 short for the other bills I MUST pay on the 1st (rent & health insurance)...and another $150 for a medical payment that must be paid by the 6th. There is no one left to borrow from. My friends are as broke as I am, & I HATE borrowing, anyway. For one thing....I have no idea when my situation is going to change, so I have no idea when I can pay them back....and I owe so much already.
I have tried several avenues for jobs. One job was horrendous, but I could have tolerated it if the boss was not a total dickhead who treated women like lesser beings. I would have been a "hostess".....and I sat in this room with a bunch of girls (who were scantily clad, & I was not) waiting for the male patrons to look over us & choose one, like a choice piece of beef. Disgusting. I am much more than a piece of meat, but that's what I felt like. And the boss was a total dick. Yuck. So I left that job. A friend said he could get me a job as a cocktail waitress in a club where his friend is a manager.....but the guy said they had just had to lay people off, so they weren't hiring. Another friend is a manager at a hotel & said I could probably get a job as at the front desk....only to come back & report that they, too, were laying off. Everyone is laying off. The economy sucks. Retail stores are hiring, but not only can I NOT pay my bills on minimum wage, but for my mental health, I cannot work retail. Actually, that's not totally true.....if it was a perfume store, I could probably handle it. But the problem is....at Xmas time, my job at the theme park goes full-time, & I get about $12.50/hr., to do what I love. It wouldn't make sense to take a retail job for the holiday season, when I could be making a lot more money at the park. Ideally, I'd like to get by on temp & background work.....but there really isn't anything there, either. Background work is EXTREMELY slow. I call in available almost every day, & there is no work. Even the temp agency, I call in there, too, & they don't have anything, either. Except, of course, that crappy job that almost broke my back. This is going to be a particularly scary month, cause my trust check will be very small this month. Sometimes it's actually really helpful....but May & November are the really small months (barely over $100, if I am lucky). While I am sitting here trying to figure out how to pay October'/November's bills, I am already worrying how I am going to pay December's. I am trying a few other work avenues....one is as a "telephone actress." I don't know whether it involves phone sex or phone psychic (which I would NOT do), but how gross would that be? I don't even like having phone sex with men I LIKE. But the pay is pretty good. Also, I am looking into a couple more of those "hostessing" jobs. I MIGHT be able to tolerate such a job (temporarily) in order to survive, IF the boss is decent. But it certainly wouldn't be fun. I am also going to look into a mud-wrestling club (that actually might be kinda fun...but I suspect I would need to lose weight first) & some escort services (good luck finding one that doesn't expect the girls to sleep with the clientele...which I would not do). But any full-time or part-time job would interfere with extra work. I realize that doesn't pose too big a problem right now, since I am not booking any extra work. But....herein lies the problem. I don't want to get my hopes up yet, but chances are REALLY good that I will get a regular gig as an extra on "Friends." Courteney Cox-Arquette seemed to take a liking to me. She apparently requested me back on the show. And if that were to become a "regular" gig, I would get work almost every Thursday & Friday (& then have the park on the weekends, & that's 4 days of work a week....if I could pick up one or two other days doing other extra work or temp work, that'd be even better!). I say "almost" because they only shoot 3 out of 4 weeks (3 weeks on, 1 off), and because they don't use extras unless they are shooting scenes at Central Perk (which they almost always do)....AND they already have some steady extras. I doubt anyone is going to get bumped off for me. But like I said, it looks good. The only thing stalling me is that I am doing my show for 2 more weekends, so I am not available on Fridays. But Courteney's EXTREMELY nice personal assistant (who called me today) said that she would personally tell Carlos (the 2nd AD in charge of the extras) that I will be fully available to work the show again after Nov. 11th. She even said that Courteney MIGHT come see my show...but probably can't. She is busy every single performance date except one, & that one, she MIGHT end up being busy. It was awfully nice of her to call to say that (although I kinda don't understand why Courteney doesn't just call me herself, but it says a lot that she even has her assistant call). So if I can find work right now to tie me over til then, that'd be great. And then, whatever job I get, maybe I can keep it but just go down to like, 2 nights a week. I just don't know what to do. I am lost....
On a single positive note......some good things might happen for me in the Spring. My PhillySwirl guy called me yesterday. The company loves my commercial ideas. Alex (the owner) told me that if & when they decide to do some commercials (& they are definitely leaning that way), they will do them next Spring/Summer....and when they do them.....I am officially the spokesperson. I will star in all the commercials. He even said he'd email me saying that & sign it as proof that he said it. He said he didn't even care if I could act (I offered to send him tape of me acting), he wanted me in the commercials. I am obviously not shy, obviously have personality & charm, am cute, & genuinely love his product. So that's a GREAT thing. I guess the only thing keeping me from being genuinely thrilled is the "if" about it. It's not a sure thing yet. I mean, he sounded like they were definitely going to do some commercials, but he simply said he couldn't promise me when & where they were going to shoot them. And who knows how much money would be involved, but as much as I need it, it's not the money I am after....it's the exposure. I can't get an agent. If I started doing a series of national commercials (& trust me, they are funny as hell & would be popular spots), people would start recognizing me, & agents would come to ME. The cool thing, at that point, about NOT having an agent is that I would get to keep all the money. When you have an agent, you have to pay them 10% of whatever you make. So I would get to keep all the money, AND have agents pursue me. How cool would THAT be? So if this all happens....I just have to hold on til next Spring/Summer. 6 more months....I hope my spirits last that long.
Ironically....my friend Alicia read my palm. She predicted that this fall & winter (into mid-December) would be extremely difficult. I WOULD make ends meet, I would survive, but it would be REALLY tough, stressful, & touch-and-go. And then she predicted that around April/May, a really good opportunity would come along that would "get the ball rolling." And that I would start getting really successful in acting, & eventually, make TONS of money. So when Alex told me the commercial thing would likely happen around March/April/May, I almost shit bricks. So far, everything she has predicted (unfortunately, since this time is so hard) has come true. She's pretty amazing.
I just need to hold on.....and someday soon, I will be able to help more people than I ever thought possible (emotionally AND financially).