Last night I dreamt that I was having second thoughts about my road trip. Does that mean that deep down I actually am having second thoughts? If you ask me when I’m awake, the answer is ‘hell no!’ But you know how when you have a dream it keeps sneaking up in the back of your brain all day? This one is doing that.
I don’t remember much of the dream. After work I went to Leicester Square and watched the girls walk the red carpet (well, grey concrete) at the Sex and the City 2 premiere. When I got home I was exhausted and other than Nick nudging me out of sleep a few times to ask me some questions, I conked right out. I guess when I fell asleep my mind must’ve immediately jumped back in time to when I believed I’d be starring in the movies and on the other side of the ropes at the premieres.
The first thing I ever wanted to be was an actress. I think it started with my grandfather’s touring church productions. And my cousins and I would perform our own plays on our grandparents’ farm – I was always the director and the star. (Except when we did Peter and the Lions – then Pete got to star.) We even made tickets and asked people to pay. Tara and I also did musical performances to records like Barry Manilow’s Copacabana and interspersed it with commercials (‘Take three.’ ‘Three aspirin?’ ‘No – Anacin Three!’) There were school and community productions like Maria in the Sound of Music in third grade; the Wicked Witch of the West (a role some say I still play), Grease and Tumbleweeds at Bird Middle School; and my dream role as Emily in Our Town. I’ll never forget getting mono as a freshman, and having to stop the touring production of Treasure Island that I was starring in, as well as having to pass on my first high school production because I couldn’t get out of bed for four weeks. I was even too tired to cry.
I planned to go to NYU, become a famous actress, never get married and, after I won my first Oscar at the age of 40, adopt a four-year-old Vietnamese girl. Getting pregnant at 16 changed those plans a bit … So back to my dream.
All I can remember is talking to my mom and asking her (as I often do) if I’m doing the right thing by going on this road trip. She (as she often does) answered me with a question: why? I explained that taking all that time off to just drive around the country and not working at all just feels wrong. I’m a follow-the-rules kind of girl. I always went to school unless there was a real snow day – it didn’t matter if all my friends were staying home, even if my mom said it was ok. I don’t call in sick to work unless I’m seriously ill. I always try to do the right thing. And how is puttering around the US when I don’t have a job in any way right? So I told her I was thinking of trying something new: going back to my acting dream. I’d be working, yet having a break at the same time since it would be new and different work. And she, of course, said go for it.
I plan to spend time in LA with Mike and Jen and Jay and Cesha (and new baby Jaxon) anyway. In my dream I thought what if instead of a week, I stay for two months and spent every day trying to get roles as an extra or whatever? That would be working. My friends could point me in the right direction. I know I’m not blonde or thin or tall or gorgeous, but they need all types for movies, right? I called Mike. He is always the one to act like my father (even though I have two of those) and tell me the reality of the situation: ‘It’s not that easy,’ he said. ‘We’ve been out here for more than 10 years and none of us have stars on the walk of fame. It would take a lot more than two months. Never mind all the prep: you need head shots and a CV and …’ he went on and on with all the reasons not to do it. The only thing I remember after that is Mike and I sitting at a table looking at cameras and deciding on a new lens for me. Maybe we decided I should try to be a paparazzi photographer instead, switching to my love of photography?
So I don’t know exactly what the dream meant, but I do know that I don’t have any regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life or the road I have taken. The question is: which road should I take now?