Movie Baby

I am 42 years old. I am a mother. I am making my first feature film. These three statements circulate through my head all day, every day. Sometimes they change order, but the internal message is the same:

The cycles of guilt, fear, and doubt that tear around in my head like a sugar-doped toddler are persistent, merciless, and sometimes debilitating. I mean, I even use footage of my kid in my concept trailer. I am seriously the worst. Oh, god, I’m not really going to post the footage here, too, am I??! Dear lord, woman, will you stop at nothing?

I am so ashamed.

Anyway, lately, this emotional Tilt-a-Whirl has started to feel familiar: Feeling alone (even though I’m not), convinced ALL of my decisions are detrimentally wrong (which they’re not…sometimes), losing sleep over making mistakes (ok…I’ve got nothing for this one), loads and loads of advice coming from all directions (…), and…wait…I know exactly what this is like:

HOLY SHIT. MAKING A MOVIE IS EXACTLY LIKE HAVING A BABY!

Creating, hoping, guessing, floundering, crying, laughing, wanting the best for, spending money, begging for money, looking for money, moneymoneymoneymoney.

Sometimes it’s the most joyful thing you’ve ever experienced, and sometimes it makes you want to fake your own death and buy a one way ticket to Mexico.

It’s messy, beautiful, scary, inspiring, and surprising. It’s good AND bad, at the exact same time.

You must never let on that you’re drowning. You always have to be ok. You have to know the answers, spin the story, and somehow manage to not let it take over every aspect of your health and life. You have to balance it all with a smile on your face and endless gratitude in your heart (even though you’re screaming inside).

It’s exhausting. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Couldn’t pry it from my dirty, freelancer, what is that weird smudge, un-manicured hands.

But perhaps the most important similarity I’ve realized is this:

I have to take care of myself. Be gentle. Breathe. Trust my gut. Surround myself with people who fill my heart with strength, and love them right back…ferociously, because it can’t be (and shouldn’t be) done alone.
Appreciate the good. Don’t take the bad personally. Perseviere.

I, by no means, have mastered ANY of that. Not one single bit. In fact, I just took this proverbial book off the shelf. Just cracked it open. Turning the first page.

Ahhhh that new book smell.

I wonder what’s inside.