Monday, September 03, 2007

This Is The New Year (No, Really.)

I was filling out an application for Act Two, a higher intensive screenwriting class and the next step after Act One, which I completed last year. Filling out Christian applications are always funny to me, because I can’t answer questions like “DESCRIBE YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY since completing Act One. What are specific spiritual challenges that you’ve faced, and how have you dealt with them? What challenges do you anticipate dealing with as your career unfolds? What is your strategy for dealing with these challenges?” with a straight face. Since most of the faculty at Act One knows me or has heard of me and my big fat mouth by now, I figured I could answer honestly, so I included the line, “…one of the things I’ve learned about how to deal with spiritual challenges (other than alcohol helps. Kidding!) is that you don’t walk away from them.”

But in addition to that Danger Will Robinson Line, I wrote this, “August 2006 to August of 2007 has been such a battle for me on all fronts: spiritually, professionally, personally.” And though there wasn’t much thought behind it as I was writing it, the truthfulness of that statement hits me like a ton of bricks now.

August 2006 – August 2007 blew. It just blew. There were little blips of happiness here and there, but the rug kept getting yanked out from under me, so much so, that even when I did have a happy moment, I was never sure I could trust it. People let me down. Past experiences didn’t lead to logical present conclusions. Writing goals were set, were met, and went no further even though they were supposed to. You follow the instructions on the bag of chocolate chips, and a stinky soufflĂ© came out of the oven instead of cookies. In other words, nothing made sense.

But now we’re out of August 2007, and I’m trying to convince myself that Amy’s Fiscal Year O’ Happiness starts now. Never mind what I said here, NOW we’re really gonna start living. NOW things are gonna knit themselves together into a lovely Afghan O Stability.

At that Act One closing reception where I tended bar and did my best to get everyone rip roaring drunk, the party shifted to a rooftop Jacuzzi of an apartment complex where one of the graduating students lived. I found myself in conversation with him as we sat on the edge of the Jacuzzi, dunking our feet (which seems so quaint in these days of 103 degree temperatures, even though it was maybe two weeks ago.) I recognized that Deer In The Headlights look of what the hell am I gonna do next that many Act One students sport towards the end of the session on his face, so I asked a few questions, got him talking, and he finally heaved a big sigh and said, “I just want things to be stable, so that I know what’s coming next.” And without thinking, I blurted out, “If it’s at all possible to make peace with the fact that instability will always be part of your experience here in Los Angeles, it will go better for you.”

Why is it I can say these things to other people, and they believe me (since he gave me a big hug at the end of the night), but I can’t convince my own damn self of it? Am I one of those bozos that can’t take my own advice? Should I split myself in two so I can sit myself down and have a good talking to? Now Amy, listen to me. I know better, I really do. No you don’t. You’re just me. Yes, but everyone else that you offer advice to, seems to think you know what you’re talking about, so just listen to me. Listen to the collective we, why don’t you.

The thing is, Amy, that timetables and deadlines are kinda meaningless in the grand scheme of things. If it makes you feel better to contain it with months of Augusts as your bookends, then okay, but I’m worried you’re gonna pull your hair out if September turns out to be just as sucky. Now it probably won’t be, because it’s hard to imagine a worse few months then what you just came out of, but you never know, and you’re paranoid enough to still believe in jinxes, even as you admit in the next breath that you believe God is sovereign.

Can you make peace with the fact that instability will always be a part of the process?

Can you accept that it will always be a struggle?

Can you believe that God is still watching you, over you, is sitting beside you as you type right now (and even He thinks your mattress needs to be replaced as soon as you can afford it.)

Can you understand that He cares, that He hears every word you tell Him, that He’s there watching every tear fall (and He’s also there with every half smile you sport when you see an impossibly cute dog.)

Can you agree that He has your absolute best interest at heart and He knows the road ahead even if you don’t?

Well theoretically, sure. I mean, what other answer can I give to loaded questions like that? “Um, nope. Nope, nope, I don’t believe a word of it.” I know me too well to believe in it fully. Other people don’t know how craptastic I can be, so sure they would believe if I told them all of that.

But personally, it’s an automatic knee jerk yes, even if I don’t fully BELIEVE believe it. Just say yes now, and understand it later.

My application was accepted, by the way. I get to embarrass myself to a new group of teachers and students. I can’t wait.

Enforced Secret Joy #49 – My Iron Man Marathon of seeing three Shakespeare plays in as many days, thanks to the Independent Shakespeare Company. While I didn’t get a picture of the pug puppy watching Richard II, I did get these shots of these guys watching Midsummer Night’s Dream (no dogs on Macbeth night. Wonder what that meant. Hmmmm.)


Allison said...

Happy New Year!

And 103? Pish. That's not even CLOSE to being hot! Hot is when the heat advisory is not just for old folks and kids, but for everyone. 115 minimum. :)

Carlen said...

This post resonates with me on so many levels. Thanks for writing it. My life is already measured August to August because of my birthday, but ending Act One in August last year made for a new particular signpost for me, too. Toughest year on record. Yep. I get that.
CONGRATS on Act Two! Show 'em how it's done.