I'm Supposed to Get Married Next Year (& Other Lies)

Photo by TJ Carreon (@tjcarreon)

Photo by TJ Carreon (@tjcarreon)

Just straight off the bat — Hi. It’s MARCH.

My intention was to have another “hello new year” type of post at the beginning of January. I entered 2019 with lots of goals and intentions and an actual game plan to achieve them, and I wanted to share them with you! But you may be thinking 1) “Wait, what? Who are you??” Or you may be thinking 2) “Yaaay! You’re finally getting back to your old self and getting your life together.” If you’re part of Group 2, y’all the real MVP’s.

If you’re part of Group 1, I hope you’re still here so I can tell you that I’m just as shocked as you are. Also, sorry Group 2. I still have $30,000 of student loans, I’m still on my parent’s car insurance, and I’m still making the minimum-est of wages as a barista. With every swipe of my credit card, I am missing the salary I used to make, BUT I’m the most content I’ve been since moving back to Seattle. While I’m aware of all the “markers” in my life I’m inadequately measuring up against, I feel grounded in my capabilities and the support of family and friends to achieve my goals. Also, screw arbitrary expectations set in childhood based on nothing more than cultural pressures and social anxieties.

Photo by Kevin Terrado (@alpha_analog)

Photo by Kevin Terrado (@alpha_analog)

Par example, as a pre-teen and into my teenage years, I remember confidently saying that I wanted to be married by 27. Why 27? Well (as ridiculous as it is now to admit) at the time, it just sounded like a good age. By 27, I’d be an “adult.” I wouldn’t be too young: I’d have graduated college, be solid in my job and career (whatever that may be), and have lived life as a single woman. It also didn’t sound “too old” so I could be active participant in my children’s lives (the thought of being a mother is not on my radar at all, like, ever).

I know it’s natural to craft some kind of vision for our future, and it’s healthy to set goals live intentionally. Maybe I felt more pressure to set these life milestones than some of my friends due to parents. But the point I’m trying to get across is how damaging it’s been for me to internalize these deadlines for major life events, most of which lie out of my control.

“Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?!”  I look like I’m in a Woody Allen film, and it makes me ridiculously happy. (Photo by TJ Carreon)

“Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?!”

I look like I’m in a Woody Allen film, and it makes me ridiculously happy. (Photo by TJ Carreon)

 
Photo by Kevin Terrado

Photo by Kevin Terrado

 

2019 has whizzed by not because my days have been aimless but because it’s been non-stop with meaningful projects and work. I’m creating digital content and managing the social media for Cherry Street Coffee House. I’m still working part-time as a barista, but I should be done with that no later than April when I begin rehearsals for an intense play that 1) pays enough for the bills and 2) will require me to really focus. Also, I want to be thriving i.e. making a living from my freelance work as a marketing and branding consultant/digital content creator. That is the intention I’m putting into the universe, and I’m trying to tell as many people as possible. I’m actively looking for new clients/accounts before the month’s end, and the act of verbalizing a goal and having loved ones keep me accountable is immensely powerful. It also just feels great to see their eyes light up when I tell them that I’m continuing to hone this interest and skill to financially sustain myself and my other creative endeavours. It all seems… right, for lack of better words.

Photo by Kevin Terrado

Photo by Kevin Terrado

My overall direction in career and life (because the two are invariably intertwined for me) is undoubtedly in a creative field and capacity. I’ve now completely accepted and am running with the current. Acting, performing, and creating is who I am. I can’t change that no matter how many times I say otherwise. A simple but immensely difficult question to answer is, “What makes you happy?” I used to draw a mental blank when posed this question, my mind flooded by images of my ilfe in London or simply overwhelmed by the many, many things that have brought me joy in the past. I used to think it was tied to a place, but these creatively packed two months plus the transition of moving to Seattle have opened my eyes to an obvious truth:

my happiness lies in remaining inspired to create and feeling the freedom and power in producing my artistic visions.

 
Photo by Kevin Terrado

Photo by Kevin Terrado

 

Yes, that inspiration pours out from me when I’m in London, but since moving out of my parent’s house and properly living in the city of Seattle, I’ve slowly begun to appreciate the nuances and characteristics of life here. I’m living in my dream neighborhood in Seattle with two truly exceptional housemates. Since moving back to the city, opportunities have presented themselves without me necessarily searching for them. I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with people who continue to inspire me, and this photo session is a perfect example.

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Photos by TJ Carreon

Photos by TJ Carreon

My oldest friend to date, Ricky Basconcillo, asked if I could model for a “photo walk” with him and two of his film photographer friends, Kevin and TJ. We walked around the Ballard Locks and neighboring park, eventually making our way to Old Ballard, all the while they took turns taking photos. I couldn’t help but feel so blessed! I’m always honored when photographers want to take my photo but film in particular. Each shot is so costly and every frame is a calculation. I love watching film photographers set-up and meter everything before that undeniable click.

Film photography is like listening to a record; there’s something tangibly intangible there that in English we’ve simply reduced to as “soul.”

 
Photo by Kevin Terrado

Photo by Kevin Terrado

 

I’ve now ventured on a bit of a tangent, but this spontaneous collaboration is one drop in the ocean. The photo walk was only a few weeks ago, and since then, I’ve been busy with so much more theatre, photography, marketing, and a personal project that’s been in the works for quite some time. I announced on Instagram that I started rehearsals for Mamma Mia! with Seattle Musical Theatre, and you don’t want to miss this super fun show filled with fantastic Seattle talent and the music of ABBA! I will also be announcing another casting, this time for a play with immense personal significance at a professional theatre I didn’t think I’d work at (well, at least not in 2019!).

Thank you TJ for these great snaps of me and Ricky!

Thank you TJ for these great snaps of me and Ricky!

Clearly, a lot has already happened this year, and I’m juggling several projects in various stages of pre-production and I absolutely love it. I wouldn’t say I’m on fire like in the past, a sparkler burning hot, uncontrollable, and short-lived. Rather, it feels like I blinked and awoke to my life, but I’m not at the beginning. No, I’m somewhere in between the start and the midst of rich transformation — a gentle wave rising to the sky, not exactly knowing where I’m heading but secure in the rhythm of the rise and fall.

Watch this space. Watch this duo. We’re going to do great things.

Not everything will succeed how we expect or when, but it’s all a part of our stories. “Failure” relies on a skewed perspective and a fear of self-reflection; everything else is an opportunity to learn and grow. So I’m letting go of comparisons and expectations disguised as #goals. All we can be is the best versions of ourselves, and no one knows what that looks like — not even ourselves. I’m trusting myself to gauge my own sense of “success” and fulfilment. Yes, that includes practical life matters like money and material wealth (because that’s who I am) but also, more importantly, matters of the soul and mental health. I don’t know what success looks like for me, there’s no salary, house size, or award I’m striving for, but I’m pretty sure it includes me being plain old happy.

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All my love,

 
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P.S. There will be a separate blog post featuring Ricky’s beautiful digital photos in color!