Fight, Flight or Freeze
Fight, Flight or Freeze.
People always talk about the fight or flight response, they rarely talk about the freeze. That feeling of being a deer stuck in the headlights as life runs you down and you can't see which way to go.
Dad taught theatre at Flathead Valley Community College when I was born. I spent my formative years at the side of the stage. He used to love to tell of how they would be rehearsing a musical, and I'd be in my diapers on the side of the stage learning all the songs and dances. He'd tell the cast "If she can do it, you can do it!" It was one of his favorite stories. I've never wanted to be anything else, acting has always been the goal.
My Stepdad always had a saying "Do what you love, as long as you love it, when you don't love it anymore, go do something else." So here I am at this precipice. I moved to LA to do all these things I love. I haven't loved it. There have been moments, here and there… but mostly it's struggling. That struggle seems to be increasing rather than decreasing.
So I ask myself do I keep fighting for this thing I've always thought I wanted? Do I run away? Give up, even if it's just temporarily? While I'm stuck in this quandary I'm frozen. Being frozen is the worst. If you are fighting or flying at least you are moving in some direction, but to be frozen is to be stagnant. Nothing grows in a stagnant pool, it becomes bitter and unpleasant and smelly. When you struggle in the mire, it seems to sink you deeper. It's easy to sink into desperateness as you wait for someone to help you find a way to get out. Sometimes suggestions from friends and family eager to help you overwhelm you more. You could do x (that requires time and money)! You could do y (that requires knowledge you don't have and time)! You could do z (that requires time and salesmanship I just don't have). It gets harder to breathe, harder to think, your chest hurts. Next, you enter full meltdown and panic attack. Hiding under the covers in a blanket burrito escaping into a marathon of Netflix or reading seems about all you can muster. You know you should probably seek professional help, but you haven't paid your health insurance. And even if you had, there is still that co-pay and you can't afford it. You feel like you are constantly fighting a migraine and crying and it's just too damn much. You should be working but you feel too shook up to do it safely. It's a vicious cycle.
Flight is ok. I have to tell myself this because I tend to be like the black knight in Monty Pythons Holy Grail wanting to keep fighting even though I've really nothing left but yelling bravely/or stupidly out to the world. Or to go down with the ship…. Cause damn it I built it for myself I have to stay on it sink or swim. I once had my palm read and she told me I was stubborn probably 10 times. I don't think she was a very good palm reader, but I will admit that I can be stubborn. I can build another boat. I mean… I have to recover from the drowning a bit first… but then I can rebuild.
I'm leaning towards flight right now. Montana ultimately is not where I want to be but it has always been the place where I can go to sort myself out. I'm not sure what happens after that. I go through periods in my life where I think "I must pursue my dreams! I must do my art!" I do that in the stereotypical starving struggling artist mode for a while… then I tire of the struggle and think "I need stability!" I find myself a regular "9-5" type job, with the benefits and pay. I struggle along like a cog in the wheel until it makes me crazy and I go back to chasing the artistic life. Wouldn't it be lovely just to be paid well to live your dreams? Other people are doing it! Why not me? Moving again means literally selling pretty much everything I own besides what fits in my car and going. That's overwhelming to me too.
My vision as late has changed… my "retirement" vision, has become more of a that would be nice now vision. Either a little B&B on the Oregon coast, where its quiet. Or a little sip and savor shop with wine and or tea and nibbles. Making enough to live comfortably and allow me to travel once a year or so. Still hard work… but somehow seems more simple. Right now I really want simple. I'd get involved in a community theatre, where people are acting for fun, and every person has value vs. being like a piece of furniture on something huge.
It's good I've learned these lessons. I feel like I've learned a lot from my Year and ¾ in LA. I've made some awesome friends. I've accomplished a lot, even if it's not as much as I wanted. I like the rain. I like cool weather. I like clean clear air. I like clouds. I like having a work/life balance. I like feeling valued. I like creating. I like freedom.
I'm trying to decide what I like to do and what I can make money at. Why isn't cuddling cats all day an option? I love acting and will always do it in some form, but It's time to think outside the narrow box that has no room for me. I like writing, though who knows if what I say is of any interest or helps anyone… I hope so. I like traveling and cooking and all the things that everyone else likes to do. I like variety.
It will all work out, it always does. Somehow. I just have to get myself out of the freeze.
3/18/2017 11:05:30 pm
Your words, sentences & story speak of struggles, strife and fulfillment. It's easy to identify with in a parallel story of my own. I felt it helpful. The quiet 'in between space'of no motion has been teaching me long pause reflection then a fresh peace and trust from a higher power. I wish the best for you Erica. And peace and reflection to envelop you right now.
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I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.