I am far too hard-headed to take advice from family and friends but how about a stranger and a cookie? The words of a fortune cookie must be heeded and tonight, my favorite Chinese restaurant has struck again. Even before that, the words of a stranger made me stop in my tracks.
As recently divulged in my last blog, I had decided to follow my dreams of entering the entertainment industry. Shortly after writing that blog, I was called upon for an interview. How anti-climactic of me. One moment I say that I’m going to be brave and chase my dreams and the next, I am turning my back on happiness for a chance at a low-paying salary. (The idea of being a struggling artist is scary! Don’t hate.) Shamefully, I ventured to this next interview, doubting myself along the way but then something amazing happened.
The woman who was about to interview me first told me that she was going to ask a few random questions, unrelated to the position at hand. A little confused, I said “Sure, of course.”
-“When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
-“Oh…well…that changed daily.”
-“Great, that’s just what I wanted to hear. So, tell me what you wanted to be.”
-“Well, I used to want to be a doctor, and then a lawyer because that’s what my father wanted me to be. Then I wanted to be a cook and I would play pretend at home. I would dress up as a nurse and a bunch of different things until I realized I just liked putting on costumes and being a bunch of different things. Acting became my focus, which around my senior year of college transitioned to writing.”
-“So do you still write?”
-“I do, I’m working on a few projects.”
-“That’s good. What I want to tell you is this. You are young. Don’t waste your youth on anything that doesn’t fulfill you. If you want to be a writer, there is no shame in taking the waitressing job or the coffee house job so that you have time to pursue your passion. When people ask you where you’d like to be in five years, it seems so far away but time flies. It will go by fast. I don’t want you to look back years from now and have any regrets. This is the time for you to focus on your career; while you’re young. I’m not telling you this because you’re not right for the position, I won’t be taking any of this into account during the hiring process. As a mother, I feel that this is something you need to hear and that your own parents may not be able to tell you. Many people will try to push you in one direction or another, but you need to do what’s right for you.”
Her words rang true. It was all I could do to keep myself from crying. Here was my sign. Well, my second sign. (Sobbing while reading the words of other screenwriters being my first.) I had been praying, asking God to send me a clear-cut sign; an irrefutable sign. I just want to know that I’m doing the right thing. I left that interview feeling better than ever before and I didn’t give a damn if I got the job or not. I heard what I needed to hear.
A few anxiety attacks later (it’s hard to watch your bank account diminish with no definite prospects), and I was faced with an opportunity for another salaried position, this time in Arkansas. I have been thinking about it over the past few days, but I decided that I am being sent these signs for a reason. Moving to Arkansas won’t help me achieve my final goal of being a successful writer, as a matter of fact it will only delay it further. Fear of the unknown has kept me at bay for too long, but as of now I am daring to be bold. The life of a struggling artist, it is. Thanks to tonight’s fortune cookies, (yes I splurged and had two), I can now confidently say that I believe I am doing the right thing.
Cookie #1- There is always a way–if you’re committed.
Cookie #2- The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.
Chinese fortune cookies for the win. They came at a time when I really needed advice; advice unburdened by those “looking out for me.” Those extra calories were well worth it.
My advice to all of you? You don’t need a therapist, just order some Chinese take-out and all of your problems will be solved.