Living my Dream

I am writing to you on my new magic keyboard, connected to my MacBook Pro (I destroyed my keyboard ages ago) on the floor of my bedroom in a shared Penthouse in Los Angeles, sipping tea and relaxing after working on a film set.

I am beyond happy. I have dreamed about this kind of life for so long, but I had no idea how it would come to me. I planned, and scraped, and spent countless hours talking it out and analyzing and trying to “figure it out.”

Nothing could have prepared me for (OK now I sound like Buzzfeed Clickbait) what got me here.

I simply came here with a plan to check out Los Angeles after a five year hiatus from the city. It was at the top of my to-do list after wrapping on “New Mutants.”

I came out here, visited UCB Sunset for the first time, tried Veggie Grill, hiked a mountain at Griffith Park, and caught up with some very dear friends of mine. I happened to pick out an AirBnB with an absolutely stunning view of the Hollywood Sign. And what a sign to wake up to every morning whilst contemplating your dreams! I walked down to the little cafe where I spoke with Necar Zadegan from Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. I just reveled in the beauty and fun and ease of this place.

IMG_3282.JPG
My girl Delane and me @ Griffith Park

And then I got a job interview

And asked to move in with someone

Within a five minute span!!

If I am being 100% honest, I knew right there, standing in front of the Netflix Building where I received the call, that it was already all working out. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was here to stay.

So yeah, it means I found out Friday I got the job (can’t talk about the film) and it means on Saturday I signed a lease and it means Sunday I “moved in” with a carry on suitcase and my bag. It means I spent all day with one of my best friends shopping for furniture. It means that I get to come home to my place in LA after doing what I love with people whom I love very much, and know that I deserve to be here. I show up, I listen, I learn and I adore every minute of it.

This summer I made a vision board. I left a lot of space on it. I asked my mom to snap a photo of it and send it to me this weekend. Because it’s the fastest vision board that’s ever manifested:

image1 (1).JPG

I’m here. And I plan to do something my friend texted me the other day:

“Make it and never come back except by choice.”

 

Advertisements

FUN

I woke up on January 1st of this year without a plan.

IMG_1930
Kristen Annese, myself and Mai Deplapa on set .

As I surveyed my snow-covered landscape, I suddenly knew.. “I’m moving to Los Angeles.” It was a quiet moment, alone in my house. I had no goal, no plan, no idea of what was before me except that I would need to do a lot of shoveling. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t justify my decision. I just made it.

My type A, goal-oriented, list-making, chore-scoring rattled brain had enough. I was just done with objectively making decisions in my life. This winter I was like, you know what? I’m gonna have fun. FUN.

FUN. I don’t mean a vacation. I don’t mean coloring in one of those adult coloring books. I mean I decided this year that I was going to chase the fun.

Everything has fallen into place since I embraced this simple concept: I worked on hands down the most magical (YEP) set I have ever been on, made the type of friends I know I could live forever on a deserted island with, had wonderful opportunities fall into place, and guess what? I didn’t make a list. I didn’t predict this was going to happen. I just let go and trust myself and I have had the privilege and honor of working with and being surrounded by so much talent and love that I literally had moments where I cried I was so grateful.

IMG_1921
At the wrap party!

This isn’t the kind of thing you plan for. It’s the kind of thing to which you OPEN yourself.

One of my friends said, “When one door closes, and five more open, why would you try to keep walking through the closed one?” I have had a strong feeling this year that I would be headed somewhere new and that is exactly what I am doing.

Next month I begin work on another film.

After that, I fly out to LA.

Who knows what will happen after that?

But this time next year, I will be writing a blog post from California.

And if something isn’t fun, I won’t be doing it.

IMG_1821
Near the end of filming… ūüôā

Folks, it’s so much easier than everyone else is saying. Just be yourself. Make a decision. Go have fun.

Rising Up

What kind of people spend 12 hour days in the woods, or sitting on hay bales, or at ski resorts, or in the mountains, and then end the day with pizza hot tub parties and a lil rose?

IMG_1165 (1)

My kind of people.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Yeah, well, so is glamour.

Filming and everything that comes along with it is super appealing to me. My teenage self would be like YES this fulfills all type A personality / challenge traits I seek in life as well as the ultimate creative goals of individuality and group projects. Check. Check. Check.

Sometimes, though, you meet a group of people who seriously change your life.

*Cue the music*

IMG_1171

I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think about how this would make a great series. Me, talking about these people I met on set, and how our lives all intersected and how we got to where we are, and then we flash five years in the future and it’s awesome and you know, I play myself because. Obviously. OK back to what I was saying.

What became overwhelmingly obvious after spending only two days with this group of people was that we all had been experiencing huge life changes. Each of us in our own way, had made some kind of decision and then bam – this project popped up.

For me that included a complete decimation of my former life, including my home, relationship,¬†and career focus.¬†Never has the phoenix rising from the ashes held so much meaning for me! Fitting I’m posting this on Easter. My career, my mood, my health and overall well being have improved immensely. And I really believe that my new friends have had a big part to do with it.

IMG_1179.JPG

We all come from different backgrounds, are different ages, and have different life experiences. But as I have had time on the long days to talk with these people one on one and share many non-stop laughs as a group, I realize that we have way more in common than not.

The weird thing about working in film is that you meet people and you spend a ridiculous amount of time with them. You become closer than say you would with a normal acquaintance who maybe you have a beer with once a week or see at a party. The film goes on for several weeks and then it’s over. Every project, whether it’s been film or theater always feels like a break up at the end. You get together, you have this weird routine that will never be replicated again and then suddenly….gone.

I guess my point is that we all spend a lot of time trying to find the right people to have in our lives, when I have realized that all the best people have just come into my life by me just letting them. I really believe good people attract each other and we all have something to learn. Sometimes you gotta just let people in.

IMG_1187I love my life and I am so happy to be around people who really care about what they do and don’t take themselves too seriously.

This next week is going to be a wild ride. From filming, to Tribeca, to major changes, my life is full. So thank you to those people who have been helping me transition into the most beautiful place I have had yet to be so far. I couldn’t do it without you.

*Cue music*

Medium Shot: Casey chortles to herself, pets her dog.  End Credits.

IMG_1192

accidental

Today I spoke with a friend of mine who I literally hadn’t spoken to in almost two years. But like with any good friend, solid friend, or as my friend Liz and I say, “Life Friends,” time is of no consequence. We talked about many things, but one thing we did talk about was accidents.

Accidents are usually defined as something that happens that wasn’t expected, that didn’t turn out so great. Other times it is used in place of a coincidence. In my personal experience with accidents, they usually happen at a time when so much is going on, it sort of acts of a punctuation or bridge to clarity. Not always fun, but almost always a wake up call.

My friend and I had both been involved in accidents this winter that could have turned out deadly, to be blunt. Both of our cars were totaled. The situations were very different, but what stuck out to me in both cases was that we were both extremely present, reacted with grace, and somehow managed to end up safe and unharmed.

For me, the accident made me think a lot about taking care of myself. I was very lucky to have been in a safe car and even though it was ¬†snowing and so cold I couldn’t feel my toes and the cop was a jerk and it was the icing on my already stressful, dealing-with-a-big-life-change kind of day, I felt a sense of “Okay. Got it. Time to let go of worrying, appreciate what I have, and look out for myself first.”

I met up with a friend for lunch who told me that any time she has ever experienced a motor vehicle accident, she was going through some major work emotionally and psychologically. When big life events happen, I can’t help but look at the big picture of my life and sort of find a thread of how it all ties together.

Most of the time, it’s hard to see it when you’re in it. Other times, a piece of clarity comes out right away. Usually when your life is on the line, you drop a lot of BS.

That’s been something I have had to remind myself a lot in the last month. So much worry and agonizing and pain is¬†only JUST that. It only serves as a distraction from the fact of your beautiful life.

One could say that the people I have been reconnecting with, the people who have left my life, these are all coincidences or accidents. But they aren’t. The fact that I spoke to my friend who is on the other side of the country, living his dream, happy with his career and girlfriend, is not an accident. For me, over on the east coast on this sunny, wintry day, which happens to be a new moon, it underlines a lot of what has been going in in my life.

I had put some dreams on ice for awhile, and now, I’m coming out of a deep hibernation and surrounding myself with people who are pure and full of love and who believe in me and what I do. I feel things thawing out and I feel like myself again.

Also not an accident is the fact that his past week, I have had someone every day tell me I look great and I seem well and that I am even happier than normal. That is a result of events, reflection, and action. No holding back. Just being in the moment. Just waking up to each day and realizing how special it is.

I stopped by the grocery store and was having a really hard time getting a bunch of cilantro in a bag. I looked up and saw a man doing the same thing with one arm, but he did it quickly and easily. The irony of my frustration was not lost on me and I took a moment to take a deep breath and be grateful. Not an accident.

At the store I saw a military acquaintance. He was in line and  I thought about how hard it would have been to see him even a month ago. But instead, I walked on by, grateful that I am in a new place and soon will have a completely different environment and way of life.

Each moment of our day is not an accident. Oftentimes, the pieces that are unplanned are the opportunities to be reminded of what we have and who we are becoming. Today reminded me that I am stronger and bigger than anything I have been through. I had my moments of stress like everyone else, but all I had to do was take a step away, breathe, and be grateful. Now is all we really have.

2017 – Time to Align

This morning I went to a New Year’s Meditation at the Healing in Harmony Center. The idea is, you go and sit with a group of people and the Spiritual Messenger / Owner of the center acts as a channel to give a message about the new year.

Last year, the key word that struck a nerve with me was REVOLUTION. Leave behind what you don’t want and stand up for what you DO want. (My last post definitely covers this).

In 2016, especially for the most part, I decided to not think so much about what I SHOULD be doing with my life, and started following my heart. I did and found a great community of people, namely in the Improv world, who brought me a lot of joy and laughter and helped me to ease up out of stress.

I definitely didn’t have all the answers to everything last year and I got tired of trying to figure everything out by myself. So I gave into joy. Then, weird things / cool things started happening. I would get free things. Random strangers would go out of their way for me. I saw friends I hadn’t seen at years at the perfect time. Everyone I met had a smile. I knew it was because I was overflowing with joy. I knew that thing would work themselves out and all I had to do was show up every day, giving it my best shot.

But by the end of 2016, some big challenges came up that I wasn’t expecting. My first reaction was not to freak out, but instead to take everything in. I knew that no matter what was happening in that moment, it was all going to be okay…

As time went on though, I found myself going back to my habits of blaming myself for everything and trying desperately to fix others and my situation.

Every day I woke up with a choice. I was in a lot of pain and trying to wade through suffering. I didn’t close off. I never gave up. I showed up and opened my heart, made amends, and offered myself as I am, which is a person with flaws but who has perfect love to share with the world.

The hardest lesson of 2016?

Sometimes a revolution shows you WAY more about how strong and capable you are and how much of a good person you HAVE BECOME already. The hard part is that sometimes people, situations, and circumstances have to change because YOU ALREADY HAVE. Sometimes you have to LET GO, in fact most times you have to LET GO and just be your best self. Because that is all you can do.

I didn’t realize it until the proverbial shit hit the fan, as they say, that I had been making myself small and convincing myself I didn’t want to be as loud and big and wild as I actually am – in order to comfort others.

I already felt an immense amount of love and clarity. I was absolutely sure of what I wanted. I fought with the strength of a peaceful warrior. But sometimes, the best things for us are not in the packaging we expect.

So today I woke up and I decided that I need to honor the woman I have become. I shed more baggage in 2016 and I handled a splintery, jagged challenge with a lot of grace. It was painful. It could have been easy if I just ignored the problem and threw it away. But I will never do that. I am stronger for being honest and true to myself.

At the meditation group I was met with a lot of fun, tired, but mostly energized people, who are clearly seeking a community of folks who want to be their best selves.

Before the meditation, we received some messages, which can be found in more detail at the website (Priscilla Bengston). But I wanted to share some notes I took:

We have everything we need. 2016 had a lot of comparison model energy, but that only serves to keep us stuck. The revolution from last year continues – it is time to stand up for what you want and draw away from what you don’t want.

People (ahem me included) tend to follow cycles, planets, and astrology. There is some power in cycles, but we all have a choice, which is more powerful than anything else.

2017 is all about opportunities presented. Take what is most aligned with you at that moment. NO decision is ever right or wrong (right or wrong is a human creation) – it’s just the best choice we can make at the time and moves us either closer or farther from where we want to be.

It’s important to pay attention to our bodies. Let them get back to their natural state. Breathe, Nourish. Our body is an antenna.

It’s time to change and reconnect to people in the eyes of love. Release judgment. BE what you desire. Live, learn, grow, evolve. Find like minded people to grow together. You are love and you are loved.

Regardless of predictions, you always have a choice. The energy this year is more ripe for choices. It’s time to get more aligned with what you want.

I don’t know what is making me think of this, but there’s this great little scene in one of Lady Gaga’s videos, in the very beginning. She is lying in a hospital bed and has hit rock bottom. She says to the nurse:

img_3113

“I’m gonna make it. I’m gonna be a star. You know why?”

“Why?”

“Because I have nothing left to lose.”

————

I wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Passionate 2017.

The 2016 Revolution.

 

Hamilton. Because: Revolution.

This year I wanted a revolution.

Well, be careful what you wish for, AM I RIGHT?

When you want a really big life, you have to make room for the really big things. And I guess what 2016 has taught me is that sometimes you have to sweep out all of the tiny little things that just take up space in order to allow for better things to come.

I always tell my friends and colleagues when they are feeling down about something..”Hey, think back to what you were doing exactly five years ago and think about how far you’ve come.” Right now I’m going to take my own advice. Hold on.

Ew. I just got an image of myself in short red hair. We all make mistakes.

Earlier this year I read that book about tidying up. Like you and your mom and neighbor probably did. And I really started treating items in my house differently. I got rid of five bags’ worth of clothes and..crap. I kept getting this feeling like I needed to downsize, get lighter. None of it really made sense to me until now.

This year I stopped chasing things that I thought were important to me for a really long time. Because I am a hard worker, I assumed that I should automatically take part in certain projects, do the SAME thing as every other actor, and overall just shut up and stand in line. But I’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, where ¬†I create my own work and do my own thing… Do the thing no one else is¬†doing and watching as people frown and say, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I gotta tell ya. It’s awesome.

I decided to just do what I wanted. I got back to my very first love, something I have always relished in..making other people laugh.

I LAUGHED A LOT THIS YEAR. I LAUGHED TIL I CRIED.

I also cried til I laughed.

It’s been a year, okay?!

This past year has prepared me for this moment. To let go of all of the stupid things people worry about (and usually don’t let go of until something catastrophic happens to bring clarity to ¬†their lives) – being good enough, money, what your friend thinks, having the ideal life, wanting someone to do what YOU want them to do, yadda yadda yadda.

dontworrywellfigureitout
from explodingdog.com

All that’s left for me is knowing how I want to feel every day when I wake up – that sure makes your dreams crystalize faster and with more intention.

When you get really clear on what you want? The people who are NOT clear about what they want start to fall away. I had heard of that before and I think I thought I believed it, but it wasn’t until this year that I really saw people get cleared from the decks, while some others show up more than ever.

Like I said, I started this year asking for a revolution. And I kicked my own ass. And when shit got hard – and did it ever – I held on to my faith and I held onto my ideals and I’m still here intact. And I can laugh about it now. Even though it’s not far from this moment.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next and I don’t know if I’ll be anywhere near where I am a year from now.

But what I do know is that five years from now I’ll be like
“Yeah, I’m better off now, but damn did I make that revolution look good.”

 

Laugh for a Good Cause

I am a firm believer that laughter breaks up stagnant energy in a person. Or a room. I am usually the one who awkwardly laughs when no one else does if a room gets too serious. It brings you back in the moment and it cheers people up.

Children have the best laughter. Especially babies. And if you don’t think so, you are a miserable person who needs to laugh way more often. So, in honor of kids, and especially those who need a bit extra love, care, and help with illness, I have created this video.

Indi.com is doing something really special with the National Child Awareness Month. People all over the place are creating these videos in order to raise awareness for certain charities that support children.

Obviously, everyone benefits from this, but I do hope my chosen charity, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, gets to walk away from this challenge with some serious funding!

Enjoy and please share, cause the more “buzz” this gets, the better the chances of winning!

Have a fabulous weekend and don’t take yourself too seriously. ūüėČ

Oh and you can check out the video HERE.