The Parts We Gloss Over
Moving to a new city is hard. Making new friends in your mid 20s is hard. Trying to meet someone you might actually care about (or maybe even want to build a life with) is hard.
Following your dreams… is hard.
Now I don’t mean to sit here and say “no one ever tells you that” — because, well, they do. They tell you that being an adult is difficult and more difficult than you would expect. They tell you that you’ll have more responsibilities and more consequences. They tell you that as a child — and in particular as a privileged child — you take a lot of these things for granted. “Do you have any idea what it took to get you here?” I mean… clearly not.
Maybe it’s not “them” I have a problem with really at all. Maybe it’s me.
It’s the part I don’t show, the parts I gloss over that get me. Behind my social media aura, which I like to pretend is full of glamorous photographs and unbelievably witty captions (they take way too long to come up with and they’re not even funny, let’s not lie) — behind the excitement I exude around friends and family about following my dreams and building a career in entertainment — behind those moments when something looks, just for a second, like it might work out, lies very real fear.
I don’t post on Instagram about the 4AM SOS phone call to a mom across the country because I woke up amidst another panic attack. I don’t comment on Facebook about the painstaking loneliness that comes with feeling like you don’t belong in a new city. I don’t really broadcast that I’m sitting at a computer for hours on end working on something that will likely never get made. And I certainly don’t blog about the heartbreak I feel every time another emotional investment (friend crush, real crush, piece of writing, job opportunity, romance, friendship — you name it) hits the dust.
Those things are hard to admit to. Frankly, they’re embarrassing. They make us question whether we’re worth the long haul and question whether it’s just time to give up. Go home. Do something easier, date someone easier, settle for that stable job. And it does not help that in those moments we usually browse through Instagram, comparing ourselves to the highlight reel of an ex’s new girlfriend or a college frenemy, wondering what made us think we could live up to begin with. I suppose what I’m writing to say is that we all have those days, no matter how pretty a picture we paint.
But I think it’s important to talk about. It’s important to understand that the reason hard work is hard is because there are days you just do not want to do it, and those are the days when it is most important to do it anyway. If you only had to work when you felt suddenly and beautifully inspired, it is not called work, it is called a hobby.
I do not know or know of a single successful person who has made it to greatness without moments of deep seeded doubt, of meltdown-level tears, of strong temptation to say “I surrender!”.
So, I suppose I just wanted to take a moment today to not gloss over it or hide it behind a silly Instagram about the Los Angeles rain (though, for the record, the weather is not helping). It’s okay to sit in it for a moment and say you know what, hey, this is harder than I could have imagined.
I could end this with a motivational speech about how it’s all about how you get back up — but we know that already. You’ve heard Denzel Washington’s SAG Award speech (and if you haven’t…).
That’s not really the point. The point, I guess, was to say that difficult things in life — rewarding things, artistic things, entrepreneurial things — they come with challenges. They sit you across from the fibers of your character and make you stare one another in the eye, day in and day out. They test you to your core. It’s okay to feel a little volatile. It’s okay to question whether your choices have been the right ones. It’s okay to say to yourself fuck man, this is hard. (For the record, it’s also okay to adopt a cat and snuggle it pretty much all the time. You may be forever deemed a cat lady by your friends. This is an occupational hazard. The risk, however, can be mitigated by never putting aforementioned cat on Snapchat, no matter how tempting. And it will be tempting.)
Just know in those moments that you’re not alone, that no one’s ride to success has been a smooth one, that it’s a bumpy wheel that makes a sharp blade. So for those of you feeling a little rough around the edges this week, I leave you with the words of Winston Churchill: “if you’re going through hell, keep going.”