Los Angeles Triggers My Eating Disorder, and It Sucks So Hard

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I got back to LA a little more than three weeks ago. I was so excited to be home! I have loved this city since the minute my plane landed at LAX the very first time. I love the ocean, the palm trees, the people, the nightlife, the history, the mountains, and god I love the film and television industry.

I love being an actor. I love it so much. I love making movies and TV shows. I love booking the role, being on set, promoting the film. I love meeting other creative people on the job. I love telling stories, stepping into another person’s shoes. I love making people laugh, or making them think, or giving them a break from thinking too hard. I love doing 20 takes and discovering something new on the 21st. I love knowing I’m in the same union as Meryl Streep and George Clooney. I love this business with all my heart.

I’ve been acting for 25 years. I’ve never wanted to do or be anything else. I knew when I was 7 years old I wanted to do this for a living. My career is what drives me. My dreams gave me the strength to survive a rocky childhood, to get out of my small town, to press on when I could barely see one speck of light at the end of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I owe my life to discovering a passion for performing. I really believe that.

So here I am, finally, back where all my dreams come true. Hollywood. A place my heart feels at home, where I truly belong. Where I’ve always been happiest and most alive.  Continue reading

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Great Podcast: Finding Comedy in Tragedy and Mental Illness

Marc Maron

I had to take a second to share this amazing podcast I just finished! As someone who has navigated depression (even back when it was called MMD), anxiety, and an eating disorder most of my life, I consider myself pretty well educated on the subject, if only by necessity. One topic I’m just starting to learn more about is Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as BPD.

If you’ve never listened to the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast, it’s worth checking out even if you don’t care about this stuff. He interviews a diverse group of incredibly interesting people, and I always find myself laughing and learning a lot. It’s the kind of podcast where you start to drive home more slowly just to be sure you have time to finish it, stopping at yellow lights, that kind of thing.

Continue reading

Back in the City of Angels

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I’m home. I’m HOME! I’m so happy to be back, I can’t even begin to tell you. My heart is here in LA…. and now the rest of me is, too.

I watched La La Land (finally!) on the plane ride here. My husband and I watched it together, and we were equally teary by the end. I’m not a particularly critical person- I like to like things for what they are, not tear them apart for what I want them to be, generally- but I above and beyond loved that film. Obsessed. Amazed.

 

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That lighting is the reason we all moved here. Magic.

 

 

A love letter to the city I love? An offering of hope and joy to the “ones who dream”? A story of artistic soul mates without a cheesy romanticized ending, where they learn some crap like “love matters more than everything you ever wanted”?  Continue reading

Apps That Make Me Money While I Go About My Day

Money

Let’s face it- we could ALL use a little extra dough (especially “we” who are actors!) Whether you want extra money to save a little more or splurge a little more, it never hurts.

If you’re like me, you’re busy, too. We don’t necessarily have the time to work out elaborate “side hustles” or take on extra part time jobs. That’s why passive income is so important to me, as well as money that I can earn with minimal thought or effort.

This is the definitive list of apps I use that make me money while I go about my day. I’ve experimented with tons of different apps in the years since I’ve gotten a smartphone, and I finally have a system that can determine which ones are actually worth my time, and which ones aren’t remotely worth the money they pay out.

To make my list, these apps must check at least three of the following four requirements:

  • Quick, very easy, or automatic – An app that takes barely any effort from me at all. Maybe a quick setup or check-in here and there. A few minutes of my time weekly, max.
  • Pays well – The payouts add up and make any effort I put in worth my time.
  • Fun! –  Some of these apps are more “time killers”, meaning they are enjoyable for me. Rather than play a regular game on my phone, I can play something that pays me money to kill time!
  • Reliable and intuitive system and payouts – I’m not spending valuable time emailing customer service, trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing, or jumping through hoops.

Continue reading

A Blogger in Ecuador: Technology Wars

Ok, I have SO many blog drafts started, but I’m having some major technical issues, so I wanted to give you a quick update from Mindo! Many more posts to come, with details and photos and stories and joy, I promise. Hang with me, friends! 

Things I Want to Share Quickly: 

1. At orientation, we were told it is best not to bring laptops. I am a rule follower, so I listened. I sincerely regret that decision! (If you are googling and searching the internet, as I did, for tips on traveling with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, here is one: if you want your laptop, bring it!)

2. I brought my iPad with a keyboard case thing as a compromise. Day 1, I plugged the keyboard in to charge, and it never, ever came back to life. Considering it only cost $20 on Groupon, I consider it a win that it lasted a year or so. Still, its untimely death was truly unfortunate, because….

3. It’s impossible to find most things at most stores in Ecuador. I certainly haven’t stumbled across an electronics store yet. It was an epic journey just to find a bag of nuts and some curl creme. (Mine exploded in the bag on the way over.) 

4. This trip has without a doubt been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. More detailed blogs to follow, but let’s just start by saying I’m being stretched and pushed and challenged in terrifying ways ALL the time. They say a DAT day = three regular days, as far as how much happens. I have to agree. 

5. Ecuador is so beautiful all the time. I can’t take it. 

6. The kids we have been working with in the different communities, from mountains to island, are more amazing than words can express. I will definitely try to find the words for future blog posts, I promise.

7. I’m really, really proud of the work we’ve done so far. 

8. I miss home like crazy, even though I love it here. 

9. There was no phone connection and only the tiniest, weakest wifi the entire 11 days I was in the Galapagos. The wifi on the mainland is super hit or miss- mostly miss. My phone connection comes in and out, but it isn’t cheap to keep that turned on! 

10. I really, really want to post some photos in this post, but I’ve learned the hard way they when writing a blog post on my phone, the pics take SO long to load over this connection, it freezes the post and I’m lost in no man’s land. 

11. I have a couple of friends with laptops here I am certain are kind enough to share, because all the other actors I’m traveling with are absolutely amazing, wonderful human beings. Talented, brilliant, loving, open….I’m so happy to be a part of this group.

12. Worst case scenario: If I can’t organize a laptop, blogs start rolling in when I reach NYC in a week. 

13. I’m exhausted. 

14. I am grateful. 

15. We have SO, SO, SO much in our country. So much opportunity, so much convenience, so much stuff, so much food, so MUCH. 

I haven’t forgotten about you. But the internet gods DID forget about ME. Stay tuned…. 

(We can still accept donations, and they are, in fact, badly needed! Please click below for more info and, if you are able, share the link! Thank you!)

https://www.gofundme.com/SabrinaInEcuador

Places I Love- Detroit: The Heidelberg Project 

Today I’m starting a new series on this blog called “Places I Love.” I’m obsessed with exploring my city and finding awesome little gems, great restaurants, cool museums or shops, all types of sweet, must-share, well known or not-so-known experiences. Since I’m based out of Los Angeles, I will definitely start highlighting my favorite spots there. However, we also split our time with Detroit, and I’m really growing to love that city as well. To that end, I’ll be sharing some of the places that really excite me there, too!

You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t keep her from falling for a guy who still lives there and is so great she has a long distance relationship with him and even marries him and then has to go back there all the time.

That’s the saying, right?

To kick it off, I want to tell you guys about the Heidelberg Project, a crazy and amazing art installation/ community/ program in downtown Detroit. Not the super gentrified, condos popping up, high-end restaurants, shiny and new part of downtown Detroit, but near and yet somehow very far from there.

“The HP” was founded in 1986 by the Detroit artist Tyree Guyton. He returned to Heidelberg, the street where he grew up, and found it in shambles and decay. Guyton had already lost three brothers to the streets, so, encouraged by his grandfather, he picked up a paintbrush and decided to use art as his weapon.  Continue reading

When You Feel You’re “Missing Out” on the Bigger Things

Being the age

I dropped out of college after about two and a half years. I say “about” because I sort of just stopped showing up somewhere during my fifth semester. I wasn’t being lazy or giving up- quite the contrary. I was working several jobs to make ends meet, so when I started booking paid acting and modeling work, I didn’t have time to fit in everything. I figured I didn’t need a theatre degree for my career as an actor if I was working as an actor, so I let the need to finish school go.

(Side note- I am not advocating the idea that one should take dropping out of school lightly. However, I also don’t think anyone should finish college and get up their eyeballs in debt if it doesn’t make sense for their lives. Another blog post for another day.)

Since I left school before most people I knew at the time who were pursuing the acting life, I suddenly had this feeling that I was a little bit “ahead.” Not as a person, or an actor, definitely not in experience or financially, but just as far as time was concerned. It was like I had two “free years”, where all acting credits and experience were “bonus”, where I could slack off or not, and it didn’t matter. Continue reading

Volunteer Trip to Ecuador!

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I have amazing news- an upcoming project I’m incredibly excited about!!

I’ve been cast with a group of actors and artists going to Ecuador this summer. We will be living there for 30 days, participating in a series of workshops, lectures, and incredible experiences.

The BEST part is that we get a chance to give back and make a real difference. Our group will work within disenfranchised communities and with indigenous people, empowering the local youth with theatrical education. We will help them find their voices through the magic of acting and playwriting, giving them the tools to tell their stories.

This will all culminate with the creation and performance of our own original pieces inspired by our experiences in Ecuador. Our casts will preview these works in Quito before performing them in a festival in NYC the following week. Continue reading

Open Letter To My Husband, Who Lives With Both Me and My Depression

 

Dear S,

I should start by making two things clear. One- you are a wonderful, kind, supportive, loving man, and I hope to be married to you forever. I pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to have found a husband like you. You set the bar very high in our relationship.

Two- I know you can’t possibly understand what it is to live with depression. I know that. You can learn about it, listen to me talk about it, read about it, study all you can. But you’ll never really know. You just can’t. You’ve come a long way when it comes to being sensitive and knowledgeable on the topic. (Remember when you used to say things like, “I understand, I felt depressed when I went through this or that”?) You simply can’t know because unless you experience it, you just won’t.

I could not be more thrilled about this, actually, because I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone, let alone the man I love most on this planet. My heart nearly bounces with joy knowing that you’ll never go through an episode like this. Yes, you will have times of pain, of grief, of heartache, of deep sadness. I can’t stop that. I wish I could, but that’s life.

However, I’m happy to know you won’t have to wake up some days and just want to die, even though you were perfectly happy the day before. You won’t sit down on the couch under the weight of a soul crushing sadness that leaks out through your tear ducts and literally not be able to rise up under the weight of it. You won’t lash out for no reason, after spending days feeling terrified of nothing at all, snapping because you can’t take that pain a minute longer.

You won’t lose days of your life without realizing the time has passed. You won’t know what it is to fall to the bottom of an emotional well and not even want to climb out because the light at the top doesn’t seem remotely worth it somehow. You won’t spend hours and days and weeks feeling worthless for no reason and wondering what the point of all of this is, anyway.

You won’t do that. You are as you should be, as I love seeing you. Full of life. Full of joy. You wake up each day ready to take it on. You’re a nonstop ball of energy, a source of light, an Accomplisher of All Things Necessary.  You’re an extrovert, a dad who plays on the floor with the kids, a husband who works sixty hours a week and still finds time to travel and do half the housework.

I’m in awe of you. Continue reading

A Good Cause & A Sad Fact

https://www.gofundme.com/bretts-treatment-fund

So, I don’t know the above people. I clicked on the link because a good Facebook friend shared it, and I usually find myself caring about causes dear to my friends’ hearts.

Normally I simply donate what I can, click to share on Twitter, and move on with my day.

Today, a line from this page hit me so hard, and I had to write about it for a minute.

This campaign is to help a woman struggling with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, who recently had a situation requiring serious hospitalization and needs help. Of course, she has to fight and beg and plead with her insurance to help cover the cost of this treatment, because health insurance has a long way to go in the treatment of mental illnesses. Which is a whole separate blog post in itself. (Sigh.)

But this is the line that stabbed me in the heart:

“Brett’s very nervous for a lot of reasons–not the least of all because depression can make you believe you don’t deserve help.” Continue reading