What does faith look like to you? How often do you try to control your life and everything/everyone in it? If spiritual, do you claim to, "Let go and let God"?
I say that I am faith and universe driven, but man have I done a terrible job of it lately. The title of my blog should really be, "I'm Doing It Wrong". But I'm sure there are others who can relate on some level. My desire to be in control will always be an Achilles Heel. And that realization hit me like a punch to the jaw over the weekend.
I've seen my prayers be answered in the most incredible ways. But it's usually never how I envision it of course, haha.
I've prayed for...I couldn't tell you how long...to have a break. Having worked since age 15, having been through a lot of rough situations, the single mom gig to a nonstop hyper gifted child for a few years...I'm worn. I carry on without expecting to ever get one because it's who I am and what I do, but this Mama has needed a break for a while now.
Our lives have been turned upside down taking on Dev's acting career. While I started my own business, I haven't had any consistent amount of time to invest in it. The few photography projects I've secured I've had to cancel or reschedule because we got an audition or booking. I said that I would be taking a few weeks to spend some quality time with D since I never got a maternity leave, but coming right out of working full time and being programmed to survive and in panic mode, that didn’t happen. I spent more time working on trying to get money instead.
When I realized the business wasn’t going to work out right now I figured, that's alright, I'll just get another job. However, there aren't many places out there that want someone who's hardly ever going to be there. I've looked into and have applied for many remote jobs, but they are extremely competitive because everyone in the nation wants to work from home.
Because I'm not a quitter and I've never not worked, I sought after Lyft and Instacart. We spent $1,600 to fix my air conditioning in my car...and my A/C died again on the first day I did Lyft, carrying a woman to work in 100-degree weather. On the way, I also got a call to pick my daughter up from camp. So yeah...the universe said that clearly wasn't meant to be.
“Okay Lord, message heard loud and clear on that one! What should I be doing, then?!”
In the meantime, bills are catching up, and I'm feeling more stressed and obligated. Matt is carrying the main obligations, family is helping with audition travels (thank God) but I still have my car and other debt to pay down. Unfortunately, I've learned that everyone else wants to do Instacart too and the waiting list to get hours is 100+ people deep each day.
Summer camp for my daughter turned into a nightmare (she had learned some terrible things from the older kids), so we decided to pull her out and keep her at home with me until school started. A week of that was spent in Belgium for her acting, the other week I spent most of it looking for jobs online.
Now that she’s in school, my window to work has narrowed from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm as I drop her off and pick her up from school. Not too many shifts run at those times, while also allowing me to take off work frequently for acting and travel. Still nothing from the remote opportunities. I’ve been doing some website testing and transcription work but it’s $10 here, $5 there and they take up a LOT of time.
And don’t get me wrong...I’m working. The Momager and SAHM roles consume all day, but for me, I’m used to my work translating into pay...and my bank account is saying that I’m not working at all, haha. We can’t back out or down from the acting at this point. Besides being under two contracts, she’s going places right now at an age where many kids don’t...or have worked many years to get there. Unless she’s hating it, we aren’t giving up and right now she loves it. The challenges it brings has helped her development beyond belief.
“Okay Lord, but still...WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING HERE?!”
This weekend, the metaphorical sucker punch to the jaw came. I’d like to think that God gave out a really loud, heavy sigh and said, “Geez, you stubborn, ignorant child of mine...let me lay it out for you.”
First, was a post I saw with a quote from C.S Lewis that said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work.” (Meanwhile, I’m like, “Man, that’s a great quote...that really hits home...but let me get this resume sent over before it’s too late.”) There were some other little things that came across my screens as well.
The next big sign was an article regarding child actors and how imperative it was for the parents to be indulged in their careers and to ensure they have some normalcy, remain humble and help them navigate through the rough waters of the industry. Many child actors either fail or go crazy because they don’t remain grounded through the chaos.
I’m definitely doing that as I feel it’s my primary job description for the Momager role. I’m probably more entrenched than most, as many on set have said that I’m a great director, A.D and/or child wrangler and very hands-on and helping when she’s working.
A highly successful international vocal coach chose to have me work with Dev on some material over the vocal professionals in our area because I didn’t realize or appreciate that I’m actually a decent singer and quite capable of training her. I’ve also had conversations with her Talent Manager about being involved and possibly jumping on board should she decide to expand operations to the East Coast. While I’m not getting paid for any of it, I’m making some pretty big strides and finding passions that I didn’t know existed. I can see the universe putting some things in motion here.
We also had a conversation this weekend with a great friend of mine that could relate. Not from the acting part of it, but the struggle with finding work with the children and school/activity schedules. They realized how much of a waste of time it’s been for her to seek out these little jobs for little pay, and to just focus on the bigger picture and enjoy that bit of time to herself.
----- STOP THE BUS. -----
I have been so freaking caught up in what I thought things needed to be and look like (me being able to do all of this without guilt after my debt has been paid down) that for the last four months I have completely wasted a ridiculous amount of time trying to control the situation and circumstances and not trusting God to lead the way.
All of the time I could have spent playing and having fun with my baby girl. All of the time I could have spent going to exercise and things I kept saying I needed to do but never had any time for. She’s at school, Matt is at work and I have hours to myself, to basically do as I please.
Y’all...I AM GETTING THE BREAK I HAVE PRAYED ABOUT FOR YEARS, and I have been too ignorant to see it the entire time. (Insert the forehead smack emoji here) It may not all work out the way I envision it to, but I’ll surely get a lot farther once I take the death grip off, keeping the faith and letting things play out as they are meant to.
Matt made a phenomenal point when we discussed it last night, in that these acting trips really put me to work in ways I don’t imagine and they do take a toll on me. With everyone forecasting her career to take off, it will only get crazier from here. This time that I have is CRITICAL for me to invest in my self-health and ready myself for the next adventure.
I don't know what this all means for my business right now. I'm keeping it going, but knowing that it may turn out to be something different than I originally planned. I'm letting go of the control and seeing what the universe has in store.
If you feel like you've been constantly swimming against the current, it may be for a good reason.
So that being said, I’m going to go enjoy myself now. Stay aware, my friends. ;)
Renee McDowell, C.F
Certified Control Freak