How I Learned to Thrive & Other Tales of “Whoa!”



In the past year I’ve had some absolutely amazing experiences that have helped me find my way back to the path of shameless creativity.  I say shameless because for a time (4 years), I felt as though what I was doing, what I wanted to do, was something to hide.  I stopped saying I was an actor.  Or a singer.  Or anything creative that would make me look like a flight risk to what I refer to at times as “the outside world”.  I moved from a city that embraced my diversity and all my quirks as an artist, to a place where I felt I didn’t fit the mold.  I made that move because I was scared.  Scared that as a newly engaged woman, people now had expectations of me and those expectations could only be fulfilled if I settled down.  I felt pressure from myself and others.  I wanted people to like me.  I wanted them to know that I wasn’t a gamble.  I left what I knew, what had made me successful up to that point, and what was familiar for the imagined promise of “stability”.


After the move, it became blindingly obvious that I had made a mistake.  A job that had been accepted prior to the move fell through due to the Nevada State Board of Licensing.  I won’t go in to that…  Thus began my spiral into “please hire me” madness.  For the first time in my life, I was genuinely terrified of what was next.  I stopped performing all together as the opportunities were no where to be found and I was unable to get my foot in the door.  My husband would get sad and then upset with me because I had taken a break.  A really, really, long break from doing what I love.  He was more upset about it at times than I was.  Most likely because he could see what it was doing to me more than I could see it myself.  I had stopped using my voice.  For anything.


Finding myself in a non-Union town without the look or vibe that seemed to be required to make it work as an artist, I would bounce around to whatever non-performing job would have me, always looking for the next best thing (NBT).  I would find it, someone would offer me something better and off I would go.  Eventually the NBT would lead to a performing opportunity.  I took a leap of faith and left a potential career with a well known retail makeup company,  to follow my heart and hit the stage.  What started off full of promise, rapidly deteriorated into a nightmare of mismanagement that led to everyone losing their jobs through no fault of own own.  That was it.  I was done.  I thought that following your heart and your passion was now too risky to ever do again.  I stopped singing all together.


Fast forward to the Spring of 2015 when on a whim, I auditioned for a well-known program here in town as a vocalist.  I was hired and as it paid more than my current position, I accepted the job.  I spent hours and hours singing my heart out.  I started flexing muscles that hadn’t been used in years.  My voice had matured.  It felt great.  Little by little, I reintroduced myself to the world of auditioning.  Logging miles and miles on my car driving back and forth to Los Angeles in a single day.  I exhausted myself with 4am wake up calls, was on the road by 5 and in LA by 10.  I would sing for approximately 2 minutes in an audition room and then be back on the road to make it home for work the next day.  Callbacks were happening.  I was even asked to fly to NYC for a callback for a fantastic show.  I was doing it.  Not on the scale that I did in NYC.  There were no 12 auditions in a  week.  Barely one per month, but I was back where I belonged.  I could feel it.  When the alarm went off at some ungodly hour, I smiled.  It rang to wake me up for an adventure.  The roadtrips in the dark of night through the desert felt like home.  I was inspired.  I felt alive and like I had a purpose again.  The sweaty armpits while waiting to audition (don’t judge), the rush I felt walking in to the room and saying “Hello!”.  The glee of receiving a callback, pouring over music they would never ask me to sing anyway, the exhalation of joy after it was all over, even when I wasn’t booking it, all told me, “You’re on the right path, keep going!”.  I began to feel creative again.  I was using my voice again.  For everything.


I continued to honor these feeling while still singing at my job.  I started making long-term goals again.  I was proud of myself and was starting to rediscover my faith.


I allowed my faith to be shattered in early December of 2015 when I was the victim of extreme racism and prejudice.  Something that while I’m sure I have experienced in life before, whether consciously or unconsciously, I have never really paid much attention to.  I wasn’t raised that way.  I am who I am and that’s all that I can be.  This was new.  This was different.  This was deliberate.  This fucking gutted me and destroyed me for the better part of two days.  I cried in a way that I haven’t cried since my father died.


I let the pain, the fear, and even the feelings of shame wash over me and then I made a choice.  I would not allow this moment to define me.  The decision was mine.  I had the power.  I am the only unique me that will ever be and that’s pretty damn important to remember.  I took charge of the situation, said what needed to be said to the people who needed to hear it and I moved on.


I chose to end 2015 by embracing the unknown, and by choosing to be proud of who I am. I entered in to 2016 feeling lighter and more open than I have been in a long time.  I chose to open myself up to new experiences and to reside in a place of positivity.  It’s a daily choice that I remind myself of every day.  It’s been working so far.  After stepping out of such negativity, the universe has reminded me that it has my back.  New opportunities have been popping up right and left.  I’m happy and thriving.  I am continuing to learn about myself as a creative individual and am going to use that as fuel for my journey.  This blog is a huge part of that. I hope you will read it when the mood strikes, engage in the conversation when you feel comfortable, and that we can be a part of each other’s story.


“Ride the energy of your own unique spirit.”

-Gabrielle Roth

Published by oliveandlenora

Actor. Writer. Crafter. Creator.

3 thoughts on “How I Learned to Thrive & Other Tales of “Whoa!”

  1. Thanks for sharing this incredible journey you’ve been on. Nothing like coming back to the person you know you truly are. You are offering yourself (and the world) a wonderful gift when you do. Enjoy!


  2. I love that you have started this blog! It gives me a chance to be a part of your life, get to know you better, and understand you. I think you are an amazing, brave, loving soul and how fortunate am I, that I get to call you family. Keep being positive, even on the darkest days and make that choice not to let it define you. You have a light that is too bright to be dimmed.


    1. Hi Angie! I’m happy to have started it as well. Feels great to have an outlet to express all the random thoughts I have that eventually turn in to small novels. 😉 Thank you so much for the beautiful words. I’m so fortunate to have all of you. Even though it seems that time and distance pull us all apart, it’s wonderful to know that all it really takes is reaching out. Giant hugs!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: