Real Life

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So….I’ve been gone for a while.

You see, life around here has changed. A lot. Two years ago my then husband and I separated. Almost a year ago to the day, our divorce was final. During those two years I was teaching part time and working my business like a crazy person. And truthfully, it was working. The Film Still was growing beyond what I had expected. Bills were being paid and money was going into savings. From the outside, it looked like everything was going perfectly.

But honestly, I was tired. Teaching part time is basically teaching full time. Having your own business is like working two full time jobs. Taking on clients that weren’t exactly my ideal clients just to make more money was draining. Watching social media algorithms and changing strategies to keep up became exhausting. And even though people like to say having your own business means being your own boss, it’s a lie. Clients are my bosses and I had lots of them. The creativity I used to feel when making films was slowly falling away.

And let’s not talk about the stress of providing for two kids and not having a steady income. What if I had a bad month? Where was my next client coming from? And holy crap I needed some decent insurance. Yeah, everything was working out fine so far. But what if one day it didn’t?

Living a risky life would have been fine for me if it was just me. I’d have loved it, actually. But I have kids. And my kids need a steady, stable, predictable life. They had already lost enough with the divorce. I didn’t want them losing a way of life they had known.

And since I know everyone is thinking it - yes, I had child support coming in to help out. But in my mind, that money isn’t meant for me to live on. It’s for the kids now and in the future. It was always my intention from the very first day to put part of that money into a savings each month. Because eventually those kids are going to need cars and college and all kinds of stuff. And let’s also be honest and say that sometimes things happen and child support isn’t guaranteed. It wasn’t something I was willing to rely on.

So on a whim I applied for a full time teaching job. I interviewed 2 days later and got offered the job an hour after I left. I started one week before school began. I interviewed sitters and found a wonderful lady to stay with my kids and put them on the bus in the mornings. I filled out my paperwork and had to put down someone new as my emergency contact for the first time in 17 years.

I stopped taking on filming clients and focused on working with people who had already booked with me and took on those clients who came looking for only editing. I chose to work with only those I wanted to.

I thought about closing my business for good. I spent weeks debating how I would continue a business while working full time. Wondering if it’d be worth it. Whether I could keep up with my competition when I didn’t have the time they have to devote to the business. Wondering if maybe it was just time to call it quits. Feeling like a failure. Crying and grieving a business that I had grown from nothing into something with a ton of potential. I felt like I was on the verge of exploding my business and yet I felt I was being forced to close it down in order to have some stability.

What I couldn’t see was that even if I did close up shop, it wasn’t a failure. And it didn’t have to be for good. I could stop all together. I could slow down. I could work on weekends. I could make it work however I wanted it to work. This is my business to run the way I want to.

I had been looking at things the angry way. I was mad that I was in this situation. Mad at myself for not making things work well enough. Not being able to do everything perfectly.

Through all of this, I had a man patiently telling me that I wasn’t giving up anything. That I was pivoting and changing directions because of the circumstances of right now. That I wasn’t quitting and I certainly wasn’t failing. He sat and listened to me have pity parties too many times to count. He had enough love for me (and some serious guts because I can get mean when I turn defensive) to sit at our sushi bar and tell me that I was turning into something I wasn’t. I was becoming a victim and he missed the strong, take no shit woman he fell in love with.

You see, in the midst of everything else, and because I like to make things way more complicated than necessary, I fell in love a man who started out as an acquaintance, turned into a friend, and then became the love of my life. He has been my rock through every single crap day, every emotional rant and rave. He’s stuck by when I told him we were too complicated to make it work and that I needed time away. He’s believed in me more than anyone ever has. The real me. The one who is insecure and ashamed, scared and emotional. The one who worries that the divorce has damaged my kids beyond repair, who is exhausted from hiding things that have been kept secret for so long, who is tired of pretending to be anything other than what I am. He knows more about me than anyone. I once told a friend that I knew I loved him because he was the first person to make me feel ok to sometimes not be ok.

And yes, we are complicated. Not us, but the circumstances around us. That’s a long story all in itself. And maybe some day it gets easier. Or maybe it doesn’t. Just like maybe someday I’ll go back into The Film Still full time and maybe I won’t. But because I have him standing beside me holding my hand, being the one to believe in all of this for me when I can’t, I can’t worry.

I’m not worrying about what to post on this blog or on social media. No worries about finding the perfect picture or the perfect words. I’m doing this my way now. Taking the clients I want. Posting the words that I feel.

He told me today that I needed to blog again. I needed to get back on social media. Not because the business needed it. But because I did. It’s my creative outlet and I need that get away. I typed up this blog and told him I had written a short story and needed to edit it down. He told me not to. Told me to stop filtering things for other people. To stop worrying what anyone else says or thinks. That this blog post is for me.

And he’s right.

So who knows what this blog will become. Who knows what the business will grow into. I don’t have the slightest idea where I will be six months from now. But I do know, that from here on out, I’m not posting because I should. I’m posting because I want to. When I want to. What I want to. Maybe one day it’ll be editing tips and the next a video of my kid doing his booty shake in the kitchen. And maybe no one will read this or maybe 1000 people with. It doesn’t matter. Because he was right.

This blog, this business, our relationship, my life…. this is for me.