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Jen is someone I truly admire. She is witty and smart and stylish.  Our friendship grew from our connection with Gaby and it’s something I cherish. It’s fun when the three of us get together. We spend hours catching up, laughing, going off on tangents, and then we do a little bit of work.

I can share some of my favorite flashbacks about Jen, one includes a christmas party, a few cocktails and some high kicks. Instead, I will share a post where she wrote about a vulnerable side of herself.

Jennifer’s Word for 2017
Originally published January 2017

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fearless
free from fear; brave

When I was choosing a word to be my guiding force for 2017, FEARLESS felt perfect. I was so inspired by Carrie Fisher’s quote as I’d always admired her as one of the most fearless females out there – not only as a hilarious and talented writer, but as a beautifully open and honest human being who was never afraid to share her authentic voice. With her passing, I’m more inspired than ever to take on the challenge of living fearlessly.

Generally, I’m pretty brave when it comes to things people might deem “scary” – roller coasters, horror movies, jumping off or out of things you shouldn’t, chatting with strangers, weirdos on the subway, grocery store sushi – no problem. I am afraid of clowns however – I mean hello, they’re clearly here to murder us all. But I digress… There’s actually a very important area of my life where I’ve been holding back out of fear, even becoming a little paralyzed by it. And finally admitting that to myself is not easy.

I left the safety of the advertising world to pursue my dream of becoming a screenwriter. Since taking my very first comedy improv and sketch classes back in the day, it felt like my calling. These comedy nerds were my peeps. I had finally found my home and a place to share my voice. And I had a fantastic trajectory going – I was lucky to have lots of projects recognized at festivals, contests and writing fellowships. I worked my ass off in the UCLA Writer’s Program. I took every comedy writing class I could find, I networked, I attended endless screenings and panels – all to soak up every bit of knowledge I possibly could. Then, I had a baby. And my priorities shifted. Suddenly, I didn’t exactly dig the idea of working in a writer’s room until midnight only to miss tucking Jack into bed, or having to skip a swim show or party at Jack’s preschool because I was needed on set. So I temporarily put my comedy dreams on the back burner to focus on writing for online outlets so I’d have much more flexibility schedule-wise. And even though I thoroughly enjoy the more journalistic writing I’ve been doing, there’s just one problem. It’s not my passion. So I find myself at a major crossroads this year. Do I continue to build up and expand my online writing career to keep the flexibility I have now or do I finally return to the “riskier” screenwriting career I’d worked so hard for and embrace all the sacrifices it will likely entail? I know the answer. I do. And honestly, it’s never been more clear to me.

But fear’s a funny thing. It holds an unbelievable amount of power over you if you let it. My logical self knows it’s the only irrational thing standing in my way. My emotional self tells my logical self to shut up – these fears are for reals, dammit! Fear that I may have lost my comedy mojo and the momentum I built up. Fear that I’m too old to compete with the plucky 22-year-old Harvard prodigies Hollywood loves so much for screenwriting gigs. Fear of failing to sell my scripts. Fear of letting Jack down if I have to miss important moments in his life to shoot a film or be on set with a show. Fear of missing Jack’s day-to-day and figuring out who would look after him, pick him up from school or even make his favorite fish sticks in my absence – Casey works too, we’ve never had a nanny and all our family lives out of state. But my biggest fear of all? Letting myself down by not going after what truly makes my creative soul soar. It’s okay, you can totally roll your eyes at that last part. I think I threw up in my mouth a little too.

All that said, I’m making a choice. And this year, I choose to FEAR LESS. Not just in my career, but in all aspects of life – getting back in shape, finding a new house, finding a new school for my son, seeking adventures out of my comfort zone, making new friends and even standing up for what’s good and right in our country. I’m slowly making peace with the fact that I don’t have to have it all perfectly figured out, I just have to try. I just have to make the first move. And the one after that. And the one after that. And do it, bravely.

Who’s with me?

 

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