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Thursday, July 07, 2011

You Pick Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps...

...and you get back on your horse.

It seems that Caris and I are sharing another transitional phase in life. But then, who isn't. I'm pretty sure that's what life is. One transitional phase after another.

Here I am, back on the job hunt, yet again. And Caris? Well, though her search is different than mine, she still hopes to come up with an unexpected surprise. She has recently decided, after much soul-searching, that she needs a bit of balance in her life. School, work, school, work, school, work, makes apparantly, an unbalanced Caris.

She approached me recently and asked the pointed question; "Are you and Daddy disappointed that I didn't stay with my agency and keep up my acting?" Wow. That came out of nowhere.

"Honey, Daddy and I have always told the three of you the very same thing; 'Find your passion, and follow your dream.' Right? So, if you felt back then that you didn't have that passion anymore and your dreams were leading you in another direction, what could we do but support you? I wouldn't be completely honest if I said I wasn't a bit sad. Mostly because we felt you had talent, still do, and we believed in your ability to make your talent work for you. We've always been your biggest fans. But ultimately, it's YOUR life. Not ours. You're the one that has to live it. So, we adjusted our goal to your goal. It's what you do when you're a parent. Right?"

We talked for hours. She shared her heart and her new goals and asked me if I thought she was crazy for wanting to go back and try again. I told her I thought she was crazy if she didn't. But that I hoped she was going to stay in school while she pursued these dreams. She assured me that she was ADDING to her life, not SUBTRACTING from it. For now. She smiled and thanked me. That was last week. In one short week, after relisting her headshot and resume, she's gotten more audition calls than she did the entire 2 years she was listed as a minor artist doing background work during high school. Who would have thought? Well, her Daddy for one. The one that she was most worried to tell.

Charlie had been noticing that her phone was ringing more and that she was home less between school and work. I told her that she should at least tell him what she was doing and that perhaps, she should assure him that she wasn't quitting school. She said, "Give me a few days, and let's just see if I get any calls at all. We'll go from there. I mean, it's been YEARS since I did any industry work. I might not get anything. Maybe I let too much time pass and now I'm not marketable." Okay, I thought, that's fair. But I also knew she was selling herself short. Sure enough, she's gotten one call after another. Within a couple of days, she had already shot a commercial spec. It was hard for Charlie not to notice.

One night last week, he said to me, "What's going on with Caris?" I didn't want to steal her thunder, but I was also kind of excited for her. So I told him that she'd decided to relist with casting and see what might come of it. First question he asked was if she was quitting school. I smiled. "That's the first thing I asked her too. And I will tell you what she told me. She's ADDING to her life, not SUBTRACTING from it. She just wanted to see if anything would come of it before she mentioned anything because she wasn't sure she was still 'marketable'."

He laughed. "Marketable? Duh. We've ALWAYS told her she could do it."

"I know Honey. But she had to come to this place on her own. Back then, I took her to her auditions, her jobs, to set, to wardrobe, to studio school. Now, she's on her own. And it seems, she's doing just fine."

Charlie smiled a knowing smile. "I knew she'd get back on the horse."

Cut to yesterday. Caris called from work and said she had another audition for a part in a short, indy film. They were basically done with auditions, but they would see her if she could come later in the evening, after work. She didn't want to drive to LA alone and asked if I would go with her. I jokingly told her that my social calendar was so full that I had to check it and let her know. She laughed. "Thanks Mommy, I really appreciate it."

Last night, as she prepared, gathering her folder of headshots, getting herself together, I watched in wonder. Things were different now. She was handling everything on her own. I didn't need to ask her if she had everything she needed. She had it all together. I was merely her companion for the evening. When we arrived at our destination, she took a deep breath, smiled and said; "Here we go!" I wished her well and watched as she walked away from me. As I waited outside while she went in to read for the producer, I reflected and couldn't help but smile. It's been 7 years since I went to an audition with her. Back then, she was a nervous little girl with a big dream and her mom in tow. Now, she was a young woman with a new confidence who brought her friend. At least, that's what it felt like to me.