Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Cost of Sacrifice

Some changes take place over time. They’re slow, and almost unnoticeable except to the most observant of those surrounding you. Others tear through your life like a rushing rapid, taking with it everything in its path. This can include, but is not limited to your happiness, sanity, anger, fear, love, etc...

Three weeks ago I had a job, a great girlfriend, and a predetermined life plan that made me shudder.  Everything was sensible. It was adequate.

My job was scheduled to end at the end of May. One of the many perks of working freelance in reality tv is that your schedule often resembles that of a construction worker; an analogy that was pointed out to me by my father. On average, the gigs are rarely longer than just a few months. Afterwards, you trek out into the unknown to find your next new gig and hope that it’s better/as good as the last one you had.

The trouble with this was that I want to be a writer in scripted television. I appreciated the opportunity to work regardless of the position or side of the industry. It paid the bills while I networked, stabilized my life. However, staying in the reality game actually does nothing to direct me closer to where I want to be in my career.

My girlfriend was great. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring person. She was beautiful inside and out, and someone that I can still see as a best friend.  I respected her athleticism and her commitment to her family very much, but after 7 months it had become clear that we had some clashing interests, beliefs, and things that we would and would not accept. It became more difficult to “make it work.” It got to a point where I’m not even sure we enjoyed each other’s company anymore. One argument after another…

I felt like I had settled into a life that wasn’t mine. That I was just trying it out the way you would a mattress at an outlet store. You sit down. Press firmly. Might even lie down for a moment… but there are 130 different mattresses in that store. It’s possible that you haven’t even passed the mattress that was meant for you. The one that offers the best support for your back, and makes you wake up feeling like a small child who slept in Mama’s bed.

When I stepped out of my own way and envisioned my future, it wasn’t lining up with my present. I knew that it was a turning point for me. I had to make changes in order to honestly and fully pursue my dreams.  

After we talked about the relationship, we realized that the feeling of discontent was mutual and that we were probably better off as friends. It was tough. I won’t pretend like it wasn’t. When you spend that much time with someone, and grow to have those feelings for them… It almost seems easier to just stay. You’re not happy but care about them, therefore that is enough, right?


She deserves head over heels. A love of all times. She is the most real person I’ve met here, and she deserves that from a partner. I deserve it too. It’s not that we’re not both capable… just maybe not quite capable together.

Someone will be incredibly lucky to fall in love with her someday. I say this honestly.

Too many times I have seen it. You love someone, but they need you to move, or stay, or give up, or change, or come out, or <insert other sacrifice here> in order for it to work. But no one should ever have to make sacrifices to their own happiness in order to make a relationship work. Sacrifice breeds resentment, and resentment turns to hate. It’s toxic.

Because we love that person we try. Sometimes the sacrifice is relatively small. Maybe you swore you’d never date a smoker, then fall in love with a chimney. Or maybe it’s bigger than that. Maybe you’re in your hometown, and no one knows that you fell in love with a woman. You both have to choose between being out and being happy, or leaving your families.

At what price can your happiness be bought?

My happiness is the one thing in life that I’ve found I can control. If I’m not happy. I fix it. I find my happy place again… More often than not I have found it not in a person, but in my craft.

For months now I haven’t written for the blog. I would sit down and stare at a blank white page, and nothing came. In my defense, I assistant directed a play for LA’s first year of SciFest, wrapped my position on Season 3 of Flipping Vegas, and have worked on my screenwriting weekly since March. I’ve been busy… and not feeling like myself. My voice was gone.

My passion had disappeared. I wasn’t sure why… I think honestly I wasn’t pushing myself enough creatively. I had given up almost everything that I loved about writing and tried to find that in a warm embrace. I was exhausted and weary by the end of our relationship. It wasn’t her fault, nor her burden. I had lost myself. We had lost each other.

I’m re-stabilizing.

I’m pushing myself further. Harder. Expecting more, and with less distraction. I’m holding the friends that I have close, but not over-extending myself. I’m not trying to offer parts of myself that aren’t quite ready to be given away. I am falling in love with myself and this city all over again.

It’s insane to me to look back and realize I will have been in LA for two years come September.  It’s hard to believe that I’m here… doing this. Chasing a dream. Discovering life’s mysteries here in the City of Angels.

This is why I won’t settle. This is why I won’t accept mediocre. This is why I’m here. 

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