I remember dreading whether I could be do screenwriting again when I started working at a high-profile production company. In my sometimes ten-hour workday at the office in Beverly Hills, I was either reading or writing about the stuff I just read. When I ran out of materials, I asked people to send me more stuff to read.
With the 20/20 I have now, it’s pretty easy to see what drove me then. Fear.
Fear of not fitting in.
Fear of getting caught as a fraud.
Fear of losing the job.
Fear of writing.
Fear of sending people my specs.
Fear of having written something that isn’t good. That might never get better.
Fear of getting kicked out of the country and losing everything.
As a result, I didn’t write a word for eight months on end. I was preparing for my small claims lawsuit against a former landlady. I was entertaining my family. My aunt fell sick. There was always a new hedgehog popping its head out for my dirt cheap undivided attention.
I believed my writer’s block was earned. It felt real and got more so by the day, by the hour that I postponed, procrastinated from: merely start.
By August this year, almost all my worst fears came true. My visa fell through. I was let go. I didn’t have more or better samples to show when I took meetings. I had to physically uproot and wholesale what I’d built in LA and leave the country within two months.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
It was more than just a hard pill to swallow. It was a cocktail of my bruised ego, my crushed pride, mixed with a triple-shot of wrath soaked in broken promises, trust and hope.
Friends urged me to look at the brighter side of things, greater design of the scheme.
You don’t have to tell the whole truth. Control your narrative so you won’t be mocked or pitied. Have faith in your ability.
Easier said than done.
At the time, I couldn’t. I was sulking and moping. I couldn’t seem to hurlde even the first stage of grieving. I was in total denial.
I think what got me through are basically two things:
- First, take one step at a time; and live one day at a time.
- Second, rage and regret steal your energy, not your enemies’.
My psychologist friend Barbara said, “As long as we are human, we have ego.” So yes, if you’re wondering, I still have a chip on my shoulder. I learn to live with it. But I don’t plan to indulge on it further.
I’ll end on this note to whomever it may concern: My future success is the best “Fuck you very much.”