Last year (2014) was a nightmare… I spent well-over half of it living out of a car, struggling to bounce back from poverty after my father had stolen what little I had, leaving me in dire straits. Oh, I had some fun traveling the country, to be sure, but the uncertainty factor was a constant dark cloud. After utilizing any and all options I managed to claw my way back just enough to secure a lease in Los Angeles and started working full-time by late November. 2015 was the year in which I struggled to transition to normalcy after 5 years of hell that I won’t bother to rehash. Needless to say there were a few stumbling blocks.
Jan-March were thankfully uneventful. After several traumatic years of bullshit there was little more that I wanted than to get back into a “dull” routine. I went to work, paid my bills, had enough left over to build-up some savings… nothing special until April 2015, when a trifecta of significant life events struck in quick succession. I experienced love for the first time in at least half a decade, a degree of emotion I thought I’d become incapable of finding again. Conversely, I also attempted suicide due to one family issue too many. And I lost my job as a result at a time when my finances and mental state were in no position to take the hit. All of these things happened in the span of only two weeks, if you can imagine. So much for routine…
But after that I managed to put together a financial gamble that paid off, securing my finances enough to secure any further deviation from the path toward stability. I got rid of a troubling asshole roommate (a major source of frustration at the time) and found relief in finding a reliable replacement. My former boss that had callously fired me mere days after my suicide attempt hired me to complete some freelance work (mostly to protect himself from a potential lawsuit) to keep me afloat and presumably to assuage any guilt. An additional freelance gig, cough cough, also presented itself at the perfect time. Heh.
I took advantage of the resulting “free time” to complete two voiceover workshops and finally got behind a mic, affirming my strong potential and love for the VO industry.
I attended a wonderful speaking event by none other than the Dalai Lama, whose words helped deepen my sense of peace and well-being. I also faced my long-time fear of public speaking by enrolling in an improv workshop at The Groundlings where I learned to channel any visible anxiety into comedy. And I even auditioned for a reality TV program that included brief nudity! If I’d had stage-fright before, being fully naked for a panel of casting directors assured that I’d all but shattered my greatest fear.
I was hired by a wonderful tutoring agency that is on the same philosophical page as myself when it comes to education. The job starts up in January with limited hours but is expected to quickly expand to a full-time job that pays nearly double what I’d been making at my previous place of employment. I also, after taking a hiatus from drawing for over a year, finally got back to doodling and drew the best character concept piece I’d ever drawn. I’d been worried I’d lost part of my longest-running skill set but it came roaring back as if it had only been hibernating, stronger than it had ever been. It was thrilling.
So… yeah. Looking back I’d say 2015 was a productive year of recovery.
The only other major snag I hit was a shitty car accident (not my fault) in October that totaled my car and by all rights should have killed the other driver, whose car flipped and rolled. I was on the verge of facing prison
time for freaking the fuck out and leaving the scene, a prospect that nearly derailed everything I’d accomplished and brought back a flood of hellacious memories of living inside a cage, but the other driver walked away without even a scratch. I maintain my atheism, but “miracle” is the only word I can think of to adequately describe the outcome.
No charges were ultimately filed after my blood work proved that my BAC level had been zero percent. Considering I used to drink 8-10 shots PER DAY from 2004-2011 this was a major step forward and cemented that I had successfully gotten my past drinking habits well under control. The new vehicle I secured is also my practical dream car, a newer Prius with all the bells and whistles I’d ever longed for. What could have been a major setback ultimately resulted in additional and unlikely progress. Go figure.
I’d hoped to finish writing the first draft of my novel and to try my hand at stand-up before year’s end, but I’ve been moving along on the former and been preparing enough material for the latter to still feel accomplished enough on those fronts. In 2016 I will fulfill both.
I had a few bouts of anxiety and depression throughout the year, one of which was nearly fatal, but after teetering that edge and facing what I call “the void” I was granted a wider spectrum of perspective and opted to head in the opposite direction. This decision was far from just my own and would not have been remotely possible without the support of Lena along the way. I don’t possess enough gratitude for the selflessness she’s shown me.
And then there was, y’know… the return of STAR WARS to polish off the year. WOOF. Talk about a finale!
I’m not a strong believer in making New Year’s Resolutions, but I do have a few goals to focus on as best I can. I’m going to finally finish designing my website… including voiceover demos, a fresh illustration portfolio, short story work, photography, and graphic design… to really push hard for a career in the Hollywood industry in every field of interest to see what sticks.
I’m also going to complete the first draft of my tell-all novel, ideally by March with a final draft ready to submit to publishers by the end of summer. I will also strive to get on stage and give stand-up comedy a chance. Succeed or fail, it’s something I’ve wanted to try for years and it’s about time it finally happened. The first short term goal will be getting into ridiculous shape for my television debut (I signed a non-disclosure so I can’t discuss it), as the holidays have taken their usual toll.
Finally, but not least, I’m going to pursue further enlightenment by allowing a broader appreciation for the journey. I’ve grown to understand that life is mostly a series of curveballs and that happiness can’t come from cursing the pitcher or from cursing yourself for wrongly predicting the pitch, but by swinging the bat as best you can when it comes over the plate. It might not always yield a run but even getting on base is still worthy of celebration because it’s a step toward that goal, closer toward victory.
Big or small, those steps are worthy of a smile.