The Way of Being Lost by Victoria Price
“Show up in Love to everyone you meet every single day.”
Dover is excited to announce the publication of a new title from the Ixia Press imprint. The Way of Being Lost, available for pre-order today (or here at another online retailer) and set to release on February 14, is by Victoria Price, author, artist, educator, and daughter of the actor Vincent Price, designer Mary Price, and step-daughter of actress Coral Browne.
In The Way of Being Lost, Victoria bravely engages with her own life and her struggles to find meaning and, more importantly, an unlimited joy despite apparent setbacks. “Sometimes,” says Victoria as she descries her journey from living in a California mansion to being homeless, “I feel like I have lived the American Dream in reverse.”
Victoria shares with her readers how she overcame old hurts and a past that seemed — to her — to be a story of failure rather than a journey of learning. “Intentionally homeless” since 2016, Victoria’s ongoing engagement with the world is full of inspiration for all who want to take the time to get to know this strong and generous woman. The book is full of amazing and touching stories about Victoria’s childhood and insights into the lives of her three famous parents that will resonate strongly with those who love her father’s movies as well as readers who know nothing about this Hollywood family.
Dover Books: Apparently being part of a famous family doesn’t equal being fabulously wealthy! I think “civilians” assume that they go together.
Victoria Price. From the outside, our houses and cars and clothes looked like the best of the best. But outside appearance didn’t always match inner reality. My father, Vincent Price, made his living scaring people — but what scared him most was money. Not having enough, not being a good provider, not being able to work, running out of it. His fear of money was a leitmotif of his life. It has become a leitmotif of mine.
My mother was raised in semi-poverty by parents who aspired to grandeur. She, too, was constantly worried about money — and one of her greatest fears was that I, her daughter, would grow up to be a spoiled child. She constantly told me that I should never expect any financial inheritance, that she would not pay for anything I did not deserve, and that I should never expect to be taken care of by anyone else. She had an arsenal of cautionary tales about Beverly Hills brats and trust fund babies that she used to make her point. She was determined that I be none of those. I have gone through my whole life trying to prove to the mother in my head that I will work hard and not be a spoiled brat.
On the one hand, I am incredibly grateful to my mother for her tough love. On the other hand, however, her message made me feel that supply is something that some people deserve, and others don’t — and that I was one of those who didn’t deserve it unless I worked harder than anyone else. It has taken me a long time to realize that this message became the limiting narrative of my life.
When we feel that we don’t deserve something — be it love or money or fulfillment — we live out those beliefs. At some point, however, no matter how old we are, we must decide whether to keep living with our old stories, or have the courage to change them. We all deserve to have what we need, and we must all encourage and support one another. There are enough resources on our planet for everyone.
DB: Do you think this caution, fear, and use of criticism to toughen up kids was unique to your mother’s generation?
VP: When I was a teacher in the 1980s — 2000s, a kid had to do something horrific for me to call in a parent for a conference. But when I did call in a parent, it was because I needed the support from home to change a behavior. What shocked me was that none of these parents I called in for conferences believed what I said about their children. They were nothing like my mother. When I did something “bad enough” to warrant my mother coming into school, whatever a teacher or administrator said was beyond true — it was an edict from on high. But two decades later, everything had shifted. By the next generation, the child was always right and the teacher always wrong. That made me realize that I and my whole generation were raised by Depression-era parents who saw tough-mindedness as the ultimate survival skill.
DB: This is a great insight from the book: “We pass on what we have not healed.”
VP: It’s from Richard Rohr and is his exhortation to change. It is a proven fact that children raised in abusive homes tend to become abusers. But even those of us raised in mostly loving homes must have the courage to look at the old stories we are carrying around and decide whether it is finally time to lose them.
I am an interfaith/interspiritual minister, and in my talks and work with individuals, I see myself as an inspirational motivator. I encourage others to keep showing up to their lives with hope and passion and healing. But if there is an area that I am avoiding, how can I encourage others?
DB: Could you talk more about why you never gave up on working to be creative?
VP: When you grow up with three parents who are regarded as role models in their creative fields — my father and stepmother as actors and my mother as a designer — you constantly judge yourself by those globally high standards. I have loved both photography and writing my whole life. But if I wasn’t going to be both Diane Arbus and Flannery O’Connor at the same time, then why even try?
I have done many things well enough to enjoy them and even make a living at them — from playing and teaching guitar, running a very successful art gallery and design studio, teaching writing and starting a school, working as an account supervisor for movie advertising, and writing for television, magazines, and even writing a critically-acclaimed biography of my dad. But none of these were my passions. They were ways I could be both creative and “safe”. Unconsciously, I figured that if I didn’t lay it on the line for what I really loved, then no one could judge me a failure. There was only one flaw to my logic. I judged myself a failure.
At the end of the day, however, that feeling of having never shown up to my own life has been a gift. That feeling sent me on my spiritual journey of healing all the old stories of “not good enough.”
In 2016, I started writing my blog and became an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister. In 2017, I had my first photography show at an art gallery. In 2018, this book about my spiritual road trip back to my truest self will be published. For the first time, I feel as though I have shown up to my own creative and spiritual life. And through this process of showing up to the creative and spiritual calling within, I ended up discovering what is perhaps my greatest creative passion of all — inspirational public speaking.
When I wrote this book, it wasn’t because I thought someone would wave a magic wand and make it a bestseller and everything would magically be perfect in my creative life. I wrote this book because I needed to stand up to the lie that I would never write the kind of book I had always dreamed of writing.
At the end of the day, what is inside each of us begging to be expressed keeps clamoring until we finally give in and hear it. We all have something inside of us that we are called to do or say or be. We just have to keep listening and then have the courage to trust that inner voice and bring what is within each of us out from the darkness and into the light. When we do, we inspire others to do the shine their own lights. In this way, we all become lanterns lighting one another home to our truest selves.
DB: What do you want your readers to take from this book?
VP: It’s never too late to show up to your own life. You are who you have always known yourself to be — underneath all the messages and “shoulds” and social mores. You are not all your old stories. You are not all other people’s old stories about you. If you are willing to get lost to those things that no longer serve you, you will find your true self waiting for you in forgiveness and love — ready to live the life you always knew you could. And when you show up to your truest self, you are not being selfish. Only by showing up to our own lives can we show up to the lives of others.
Sometimes I feel like I have lived the American Dream in reverse. I grew up as the daughter of a movie star in a 9,000-square foot Spanish mansion and now I am a 55-year-old intentionally homeless woman trying to recreate her life and career. If you had told me when I was a kid that I would end living on the road with very few personal possessions, I wonder what I would have thought. Probably about what I do now — that I must be nuts AND that this is the coolest adventure imaginable. I never know where I am going to be or how I am going to pay my bills, but I do know every single day that I am consciously choosing to show up in hope and healing and humility to this journey of life.
Every day I am terrified and elated, just as we all are. But on the road, I must choose how to show up to those feelings because I have no buffers or excuses. And then I have to find ways to help others do the same. I have no idea what is around the next corner, but whatever it is, I know that I will meet amazing people, get to face my fears, have incredible conversations all along the way, and maybe be able make a difference in someone’s life. All while feeling fully awake for the first time ever!
To me, this book will be a “success” if it helps one person look at their old baggage and be willing to get lost in order to be found — to release the life-limiting narratives and believe that they, too, can show up to their lives in ways that make a difference to themselves, their community, and the future of our planet.
Now I’m not advocating that other people do what I have done, but I will say that being willing to lose everything that the world holds dear has allowed me to find what really matters. Love. Love is what really matters — and everyday living on the road with my little white dog Allie, whether we are couch surfing with friends, appearing at a horror convention, giving an inspirational speech, or driving the back roads, the two of us get to show up to one another and everyone we meet in Love. That might not have been the American Dream I was raised to believe in, but it’s the American Dream I believe in now: Show up in Love to everyone you meet every single day.