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When I originally started this blog, I had a few goals in mind for it. Over the past year of having this blog, I’ve dabbled a bit here and there with post topics, hoping to whittle out exactly what I want from it. I’m still figuring it out.

But one thing I haven’t much touched on – at least not explicitly – is the challenge and compatibility of family life and Hollywood.

Yesterday afternoon, KP and I hired a babysitter for a couple hours and went to a goodbye party for one of KP’s friends and coworkers, “Chris”. Though I personally am not as close with Chris as KP is, Chris will always hold a very important place in my life and KP’s life. Chris is the one who brought in KP for his current job when we were otherwise in a very difficult place, financially and life-wise (which I will share the depth of someday when I have more courage to write it). Just a small thing on his behalf totally changed our lives. I am forever thankful to him.

Anyway, sentimentality aside, Chris recently got an awesome new job and is moving to NYC and his afternoon goodbye party was worth it for us to hire a sitter and both attend.

Even before I became a mother and had an “excuse” to stay away from these socializations, I always felt myself a little out of place at any industry get-together. As just a ‘+1’, I didn’t read the trades, i didn’t know what script was currently being talked about, I hadn’t heard the latest debacle going on somewhere, and I didn’t know 90% of the names being passed around in conversation. I mostly just stayed quiet or recited my only two lines of conversation most people cared to have before realizing I wasn’t worth their time.

KP:
[on seeing OTHER PERSON, that he’s met from somewhere]
Hey, good to see you! This is my wife, Ronni.

ME:
[smile, shake hands]
Hi. I’m Ronni. [listening, as OTHER PERSON says their name] Nice to meet you.

OTHER PERSON:
[to Ronni]
How do you know [the HOST’s name]?

RONNI:
I know him through KP – I’m not sure how KP knows him though.

OTHER PERSON:
Oh cool. [pause] What do you do?

RONNI:
I teach Algebra at an online school.

OTHER PERSON:
Good thing I’m not your student! I hated math in school!

RONNI:
Yeah, I know. A lot of people tell me that.

[a new person walks up to OTHER PERSON. OTHER PERSON turns, hugs them or shakes their hand and engages them in conversation, forgetting about RONNI. RONNI turns to KP who is engaged in another conversation. RONNI stands there quietly, taking sips from her drink.]

**screenplay format shown may not be correct. I’m sorry for my ignorance, KP 🙂 **

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May 2008: Hollywood married life before kids.

And that was my life at these entertainment industry events or parties. For years. I’m not complaining and it’s fine. Really, I totally understand that I had nothing to offer and was not really worth wasting precious conversation on. I’m a realist and I’ve lived in this city long enough to understand that that’s just the way it is here.

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May 2014: Hollywood married life after kids.

Now that I’ve become a mother and stay home more often and don’t go out as much, when I do, on one hand it’s freeing and reminds me of my own individuality – on the other hand, in one big gush it brings up so many memories of that time in my life before kids. And I find myself in an odd place, attempting to reconcile two vastly different parts of my life.

Yesterday at the goodbye party, I also talked to a friend that KP and I have known for a long time, “Dan”. Dan had recently been hired (and paid!) to write a feature script for a production company and I asked him about the next steps in the process for him. I was excited for him, as I’ve gone though all that and been excited for KP before too. The potential for what may come next. The next often doesn’t come, but there’s always a hope that it will. Hope. I’ve written about hope. Hope is powerful; hope is our fuel. Hope may border on delusion, but it is what keeps us all going in this place.

I talked to Dan’s wife of three years for a bit. We briefly chatted about having kids; she mentioned they would be thinking about entering into that stage of life at some point, though she was anxious how much her life as she knew it would be altered once kids were brought in. I tried – poorly, I’m sure – to convey the truth, that kids absolutely change your life completely and you do loose a lot of freedoms…but that at the same time, becoming a parent is like opening a door to another dimension of life. A dimension previously unable to be seen, but a dimension of so much depth and almost, enlightenment, to the very meaning of our existence and mortality.

On the surface, I fit in with everyone there. I know how to fit in, that’s not a problem. But inside, I felt so out of place. KP and I talked some about it when we got home and the kids were in bed. I don’t know if all industries are like this, or only a few, one of which is the entertainment industry, but there is such a norm for the pursuit of your dream to rule over every aspect of your life. Sure, you can have a family, and many people do, but hopefully only if you can afford a nanny. Or you have a spouse who doesn’t mind being a homebody and taking the main responsibility for raising the kids (in which case, it’s still the norm to have a part-time nanny). But it’s as though family life is considered just an accessory to your professional life; the thing you have on the side.

I often forget about this whole mindset here in this city, until I’m out and about with KP without kids, at gatherings like yesterday. I sometimes try to imagine what every one else there, those who are single, or without kids, are going to do when they go home afterward. Watch a movie, have a couple drinks, maybe go out to a bar, maybe get some work done, maybe go to a party. The quiet they’ll have when they go home. I thought about what we’d do when KP and I’d get home. Toys in the living room. An energetic 3yr old immediately wanting our attention, a baby making a huge mess in the high chair. Lots of noise.

I envy their freedom; the same freedom we used to have. But, I also feel a bit of sadness for them too. They go home to empty houses or apartments. The pursuit of their dreams/professional goals are the main thing they have. We go home to a very full and very small house, and to a completely other fulfilling side of our lives.

So the question remains: how does one find balance between perusing a dream in this entertainment industry and being devoted to a marriage and family? When do you go to as many parties and drinks and events you can in order to meet people and network and further your career? When do you instead turn down those things so that you can come home after work and see the kids for a few minutes as you put them to bed?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but KP and I are working on figuring it out for ourselves and our family.

I think there might be a Part 2 to this post at some point.

 

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