Person to Love Hard: Yourself
Love Yourself First.
I thought it was important to interview myself first…to show the importance of self-love.
So, naturally, I didn’t.
Because loving yourself is hard.
I put off this post for months.
I interviewed my friend Lauren first, and then she forced me to be interviewed.
But I’m gonna post mine first.
Because, love yourself first dammit!
Or fake it until you do…
…or have awesome friends.
disclaimer #1—This interview took place 3 days before I had my son…so the “what do you love hard” question has a new, tiny frontrunner.
disclaimer #2—There’s nothing like transcribing 7 PAGES of yourself blabbering on to make you realize you talk way too damn much. So this is a very abridged version. It will still be too long.
disclaimer #3— I’ve now learned that I do not answer interview questions well. It’s very stream of conscious and I hardly ever answer the original questions even though I WROTE the questions. I’m not eloquent. Sometimes I barely make sense.
So, here’s me.
I love my dogs and my husband.
I love natural light and the way the air smells after it rains.
I love growing a tiny human even when it’s really uncomfortable.
I love my mom, my family, my friends…especially my lady friends who are the bestest ever.
See – Things to Love Hard for other things…there are a lot.
Not ALL of them involve Harry Potter…but they should.
I think, the point I’m at in my life right now is… ready to be settled.
At least for awhile.
Even though I’ve been with my husband for 15 years, our lives have always been chaotic and spur of the moment. We’ve lived in so many different states and countries , in everything from a 400 square foot studio to a castle (literally). I traveled a lot for work and never knew what I was doing the next day let alone the next month or year. I think that I thrived on that for a really long time. It drove my family crazy because I could never tell them when I was coming home to visit because I never knew.
But I got really addicted to it. To getting a fresh start everywhere. It felt like I got to start a new movie of my life every few months.
In the last couple of years everything has slowed down and it’s been a really challenging transition.
I have all this free time.
Time to sit and actually figure out what I want in life.
When I really started to listen… it’s to have a family.
To be home and be in one place and have a routine.
I want to be a mom.
I never anticipated wanting that so much.
Career wise, I never had a plan I just knew that I loved acting.
The only thing I’d ever done was theater so I figured I’d move to New York and probably starve somewhere. I thought I would end up teaching or working at a camp or doing something with kids. I never thought I was good enough to make a living at all, let alone in TV and film.
I just thought I would try.
14 years in, I’m still trying…and am so grateful to be able to support my family doing this silly thing I love so much.
I traveled for a couple years modeling in my early 20s, and had been living in Australia for a few months when I worked with a director who had “discovered” all these huge Australian actors (Nicole Kidman, etc). After shooting a couple of commercials with him he sat me down at lunch one day and said
“What are you doing here? You’re an actress. You need to go back to LA. You’re not going to be able to pursue what you love here. You have to go back.”
To have someone say that who had actually worked with me, and knew what he was looking for, was really surprising and inspiring.
I’ve been really lucky to find really motivating teachers in LA, and have worked with encouraging, positive directors.
That makes such a big difference.
To have people whose talent and opinion you respect believe in you.
Personally, one of the biggest changes happened when my good friend Lisa, died in an accident.
Three and a half years ago now.
That was really catastrophic for my brain.
Until then I had lived this really lucky, naive life in which no one I loved had ever died.
Death was never real.
It was never something that could just happen out of the blue, and happen to someone you love.
It was really scary, and triggered anxiety and constant panic attacks throughout the next year, and is still something I struggle with.
In the end, it’s made my friendships, my relationship, and my self-care so much stronger, but it’s been a long, bumpy journey…
like crater-filled dirt road bumpy.
I live in Los Angeles, CA.
I think my soul lives in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere on an island in Scotland or Ireland or Iceland… no, Iceland is too cold.
On a tiny island with my dogs and my family and it’s moody and slightly drizzly all the time and there are giant waves crashing and IT’S JUST SO MOODY.
I can sit in the window sill with apple cider and stare at all the beautiful moody-ness.
Living in New York City was really inspiring and magical.
That’s where I did The Artist’s Way for the first time. I loved being able to take myself on dates by just walking out the door and saying “I’m gonna turn left”.
Immediately there would be something cool or interesting or creative.
New York is an explosion of the creative and weird.
And the energy in the northeast, especially in the fall, is…there’s nothing like it.
Everyone walks really fast and seems like they have a purpose. It makes me feel like I’m in a movie when I walk down those streets. Especially when I’m by myself. I feel like, “I’m definitely being filmed right now and I’m going to my power meeting.”
For visiting… I don’t know if there’s any one place.
I just love traveling.
And I love traveling in a slightly scattered, spur of the moment way.
We’ll have a place to stay (most of the time), but other than that we don’t really know where we are going each day or what we are doing.
I think the spontaneity of travel is what attracts me to it. More than any destination.
Really good writing is inspiring to me.
I’m obsessed with the West Wing or anything Sorkin. And really great ensemble comedies like Parks and Rec.
Watching people to develop characters in a really subtle way—fearless but subtle—where they’re really grounded and realistic but also totally silly and dumb.
I like intelligent dumb humor.
When I’m low, I go on walks.
I think that’s my biggest fill up in a lot of different ways.
Being outside and taking a brisk walk does more for me than almost anything when I’m feeling low.
The most literal answer.
And the closest I will get to flying since I refuse to jump out of a plane. I have a bad track record of jumping off of high things and injuring myself so I’m not allowed to do that anymore.
I also get really, really excited when…so dorky…when I make something really homey.
I love organization so when I organize a space and make it feel homey and special I feel like I can fly. When I look at it it makes me so happy.
I call it “nookification”, as in, “the creation of a nook.”
Most importantly is being outside with my family, friends, and dogs.
Hiking or walking on the beach…with wind…not crazy wind but a good breeze.
A good breezy walk with good people.
Well I think, right now, it’s nesting.
It’s nesting and creating these spaces in the house and trying to make them pretty and Pinterest-y but also homey.
I don’t like stark clean things. I want it to feel lived-in and loved.
With a hint of silly.
I’m constantly trying to find new creative outlets.
At the moment… I can’t draw for shit, but I’ve been really into hand-lettering and calligraphy.
I suck at it.
But it’s super fun. (and it’s something I can do on the couch…bed-rest and baby friendly)
I don’t think of myself as a very driven person.
I just get bored really easily and I don’t like to be bored.
I don’t like feeling stagnant.
There’s definitely a need to connect with people.
A lot of what I like is going to lunch or coffee with people and getting inspired by them, or brainstorming ideas.
I enjoy seeing plays and live music, but I don’t seek it out like other people do. I don’t think I MUST go to the theater. I’d rather go to lunch or drinks with friends…and then go for a walk… and happen to pass a theater… and decide to see a play.
I like seeing art by accident.
I like stumbling upon. I’d stumble upon a gallery or museum before I would go to it on purpose.
Advice wise—in keeping with that…I think it would be…
Always be open to new experiences and new people and new places to visit.
Put yourself in places and circumstances that can increase the likelihood of stumbling upon.
It’s 1. making the time, 2. asking for help, and 3. letting myself not feel insanely guilty about it.
I’m getting better at asking for help, I’m still horrible at the guilt part. And making the time. I think that I tend to make more time to be productive and think I’ll do these self-care things at the end of the day and then they never happen.
Pregnancy actually has made me better at self-care than anything else has.
I’ve been doing yoga for a long time but it was always exercise before.
Now it’s therapy. And it’s necessary.
I can only do about 20 minutes a day since that’s all my body is up for, almost 10 months pregnant…but, I get it now. I understand why it’s so universally adored. And I understand props and modifications and pillows and things that make you comfortable and able to fully let go.
Meditation as well. I really like the app Headspace, because I can’t meditate without guidance but I hate when it’s too hippy-aura-essence-y.
It’s normally hard for me to not multitask. A unexpected perk of being pregnant and house bound is having moments to sit and do nothing and day dream.
I think that creating special spaces in the house has been so key to staying sane. I’m so used to getting out of the house to feel calm and going on a hike or a walk. And since I can’t do that right now I have to look at something that makes me happy.
My mom said something to me earlier this year when I was talking about how excited I was to move and was frantically pinning things in the excitement of setting up the house. She said that there’s a quote that’s something like,
“The reason that people put so much love and time into decorating their homes is that, however much love you put into a space, that love shines back out to you.”
So what you’ve created, loves you back.
I’m getting better at this… bed rest definitely forced it.
Usually, I do not ask for help…except for my poor husband who gets asked for help constantly…and my mom. (ok, so I guess I do…just only from those people)
I started going to therapy in 2012 after Lisa died. That was a big deal, asking a stranger for help. But it was so necessary, and it helped me start to feel less guilty about asking friends for help. I slowly let them in one by one. Having really amazing girlfriends in my life helped a ton… a TON. Because there’s only so much you can talk to your mom and your husband about…sometimes you just really need girl time.
I think that for all of us (our group of friends in LA), Lisa dying solidified our love and obsession for each other in a way that I’m not sure would have ever would have happened otherwise. It’s so sad that sometimes you don’t fully appreciate the people in your life until you realize that they can be ripped from you in a second.
I really like being alone in a crowd.
Especially with traveling.
I love walking through really crowded cities by myself and feeling like I’m in a movie.
Specifically in places that don’t speak English.
Then I don’t hate anyone because I can’t overhear what they’re saying. So I can imagine that everyone is having really interesting conversations.
In English speaking countries I usually want to punch everyone.
Alone, at home, is a very recent phenomenon.
I’ve always hated being alone. I like having someone in the other room. We don’t need to talk, but I like having the presence of someone nearby.
Being pregnant, I’ve sort of gotten on board with actual alone time …. and I’m just now realizing I’m not alone anyways because I have a human being inside of me.
No, I don’t like being alone.
A couple years ago, I started feeling like there was something really missing, and I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do to fill it.
Then I started volunteering.
It was exactly what I needed.
I have such an egotistical job, and it felt so freeing to go and be somewhere that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with other people.
I work with an organization called LA Earth Angels.
They connect people (mostly in the entertainment industry) with different volunteer opportunities. We tend to have a lot of free time, but never know when that free time is going to be, so it’s really hard to commit to normal volunteering schedules. Earth Angels sends a list of opportunities each week so you can sign up at the last minute. They work with a variety of organizations, from animal shelters to helping the homeless or elderly to trash pickups to environmental organizations to working with kids.
One of my favorite’s is Milk and Bookies.
They do book drives in schools that have more than enough, and donate them to schools that don’t.
The kids get to read together and do crafts. It’s fabulous.
I’m such an everyday life, spur of the moment, little gestures kind of person.
Both in how I feel love and how I show it.
It’s texting someone to check in when you know something is going on with them or sending little gifts or a little care package.
It’s taking someone to lunch when you know they’re low on funds.
It’s sending a funny link or picture to make someone smile.
It’s listening and commiserating and laughing.
At home… it’s a very sitcom answer….the “I want you to WANT to do the dishes!” answer.
If my husband comes home and does a bunch of house stuff before I ask him to it’s the bee’s knees.
Showing that he’s thinking about what would be helpful and make me happy when I’m not there.
Yesterday he downloaded all these shows onto his Ipad for me during my recovery. He made sure they are dramas, because he heard that laughing is quite painful after a c-section.
And he found Disney’s Sleeping Beauty which was my childhood favorite movie. (It began my lifelong love of naps.)
To me, that’s love.
Are there any questions you want me to add to this list? Which questions are the most/least interesting to you?