That’s right. I moved to Oklahoma.
It was early June, after a fun adventure to Spokane for the Def Leppard concert (yes, that’s a real thing that happened in 2017), that I got on my first one-way flight without a return flight to Los Angeles in the cards.
This was a decision that came after a long time spent with the idea. It certainly seemed spontaneous to a mass of people outside of my own family unit and my best friend, Amy. I’ve had quite the intense journey of self-care the past year. With that journey came an increased and foreign focus on self-discovery.
I have had a thrilling and adventurous life. It’s not been without its extreme ups or its equally impressive downs, but it has truly been an adventure. What I have spent decades missing are the pieces that truly brought me life, purpose and genuine desire. I very much “went with the flow” which can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. After my move to seek help last year with those things I didn’t yet understand about myself, biologically speaking, I was armed with a tool in my arsenal that I’d never picked up or even noticed was there for me: self-advocacy.
There were a few times, both professionally and personally, in my early adult life that gave me a fulfillment that I only truly realized upon reflection. The period of time when I was actively working in the entertainment industry, radio to be precise, gave me such purpose, direction, and brought me insurmountable joy.
The next moment that evoked that same feeling was the birth of my son in 2008. Everything shifts around when you have children. For mom, a lot of that is physical, emotional and mental. I was no different in that regard. What motivates you changes. How you approach challenges changes. Your identity certainly shifts the most.
I have been doing what I love, but not to the fullest. Falling back on what’s the best thing for everyone else would be, what would be the most pleasing scenario so others wouldn’t worry about me. That proved to be a toxic approach to living my fullest life.
In December of 2016, on a trip out to Oklahoma City for the premiere of my friend Ryan Bellgardt’s film, Gremlin, an opportunity was born. During the preparations for the screening that evening, there were a few loose ends to tie up at the theater. Immediately, and almost instinctively, I grabbed Ryan’s coat and messenger bag from him and started hunting down things like duct tape. Later that evening, we joked about how I should come out to work on his next film, The Jurassic Games, that was starting production in March. We all chuckled and thought it would be fun. Then we went our separate ways, not paying the idea any mind.
Once I was back in Los Angeles and retelling the details of my trip and the screening to Steve, he stopped me at the part where I mentioned the joke. “Well obviously you’re going to go do that in March, right?” Well…I hadn’t truly thought about it, but I think, yeah, yes, I’m going to do it. One phone call later and it was done. I’d be headed to Oklahoma at the beginning of March to film a movie for six weeks.
During those six weeks, I learned so much about my potential, my interests, what made my heart and soul sing and what was truly a level of life-giving that I had only ever experienced after becoming a mom. It wasn’t the work that gave me life. It was the people, the passion, the energy. All of it played a role in helping me to recognize a part of my being that I’d never truly tapped into. I’d spent years, maybe even a lifetime, attempting to fit my square peg into the round hole of where I was “supposed” to be. Or more deeply how I was supposed to be.
I had welcomed and coddled the constructs of my roles for a very long time. But it slowly chipped away at my ability to be and live to my fullest potential. So, with the support and love of Steve, the father of my child and dearest friend, we let each other go. We gave ourselves and each other the permission to live out the lives we know will bring each of us the greatest, healthiest joys for not only ourselves but as parents to our child. It takes a lot to make those hard decisions. But the “easy” decisions are harder than the hard ones.
Here I sit, not only surviving but thriving. In Oklahoma of all places. And in my soul most of all.