the lame reason why i quit my full-time job

This is from a shoot I did a few years ago and it seemed an appropriate graphic.

One day, while working in my elaborate home office (aka my fancy shmancy standing desk smooshed against my bed) I heard a loud thump followed by my four year old child screaming in pain. I ran, opened my bedroom door and there he was with our child care provider: crying hysterically, sporting a fresh bloody gash and a large plum sized knot swelling and taking up a large amount of real estate on his tiny forehead.

As I gathered the blubbering boy into my arms, I one-handed slacked my (super star and very understanding) boss that I had to rush my son to the pediatrician to see if he needed stitches. And after that, I rolled him, in the stroller he had outgrown months ago, a few blocks to a plastic surgeon with not so great bedside manner with my kid (“Sit still! I have to look at that nasty laceration! Ya gotta sit still, BUDDY!” Which meant that, once again, I had to take time off from my job as the shittiest program manager in the history of program managers.

Just before Covid hit New York City, my husband and I purchased an apartment in New York City. I said “Adios!” to my life as a working actress and was ready for a steady income to help support my family. I was ready for the change and didn’t mind that I quit acting, the thing I’d been doing my whole adult life.

In February 2020, I was balls to the walls working my tail off at a tech company. I really enjoyed it, I learned new things every day, loved my office mates. But most of all: I had dignity, (I had a heavy dose of attaching my value to the amount of money I brought in). The years of being an actress were very good, but now that we were GROWN UPS and HAD AN APARTMENT, I decided to be a real woman and bring home the bacon.

A month into my new job, our friend COVID-19 made her grand entrance to New York City and immediately killed over 15,000 people. 28,000 is where we currently stand in NYC. Luckily I kept my job but after a year, the pandemic took a toll on me, bla bla I couldn’t function, completely exhausted and in a fog whilst my little son went completely off the rails.

I looked down at my little guy and thought: “Wow, we are two steps away from Child Protective Services whisking him away to a better mother.”

The gash on my little guy’s head was a wakeup call. An inner voice (with a Southern, Alabamian accent) said kindly but firmly said: “Honey child, you need to change things up, PRONTO!”

I gave notice. The knot in my heart vanished. I no longer felt like I was being split in two.

After one week of me being a newly “fully-present mom” my son went from being a hyper, horrid gargoyle wreaking havoc on our entire family and transformed into a sweet, funny, talkative little boy who wanted hugs and kisses. Additionally, my older daughter, hated me a lot less and was 10% less embarrassed by me.

So that is the boring story about why I quit my job.

What are my next steps? Spending less. Brown bag lunches. Eating, exercising and sleeping soundly. I have so much more energy and my attitude sucks much less than when I was working.

I’m gingerly reacquainting myself with being a loving wife and mother (“Babe! Holy *$%#$^&&!! You let the kids stay up HOW LATE? Get your ass in bed!”) and taking it one day at a time.

A few months before I quit, my old talent agent emailed to see if I was open to working with him again. I was like: “I’m working HAM AT MY JOB. How DARE you email with such a preposterous query. I DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME TO WRITE THIS EMAIL TO YOU!! GOOD DAY, SIR!!”

UPDATE: After a month of quitting my job I reached back out to my talent agent. And so, just like that I’m yelling: “Game On!” in the middle of a suburban street, dragging the hockey net back into the middle of the street after a car passes our play area.

I signed with my old agent and a new manager…so I guess I’m back to being an actress again.

AND SCENE!

Respite For the World Weary

Today I thought of the lyrics “But Not Tonight” by Martin Gore:

Oh God, it’s raining
But I’m not complaining
It’s filling me up
With new life

The stars in the sky
Bring tears to my eyes
They’re lighting my way
Tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive
In years

Just for a day
On a day like today
I’ll get away from this
Constant debauchery

The wind in my hair
Makes me so aware
How good it is to live
Tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive
In years

The moon
Is shining in the sky
Reminding me
Of so many other nights
But they’re not like tonight

Oh God, it’s raining
And I’m not containing
My pleasure at being
So wet

Here on my own
All on my own
How good it feels to be alone
Tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive
In years

The moon
Is shining in the sky
Reminding me
Of so many other nights
When my eyes have been so red
I’ve been mistaken for dead
But not tonight

Setting Up A Cleaning Station

After watching this video with Sanjay Gupta cleaning his groceries I created a cleaning station to wipe down packages and groceries before they enter our home.

It occurred to me that we need a cleaning station for our mind as well.

My therapist recommended that I had control of the “inputs”. I can choose to watch the news, to refresh Twitter over and looking at all of the bad news one scroll at a time.

Or I can choose to focus on what the positive:

  1. How I’m connecting more to my children.
  2. How I am taking pleasure in the simple actions of every day life: cleaning, cooking, tidying.
  3. How I reconnected with my favorite cousin Tonya in West Virginia.
  4. How many great friends have reached out and supported me and my family.
  5. How we sang all sang You’ll Be Back at the top of our lungs and laughed hysterically.

There are things that we can and cannot control. The one thing we can control is our mind and that is our entire reality.

xo,
Natalie ❤

A Drawing Process For Self Care

To stay sane I began artist Ohn Mar Win’s 14 Day Drawing Challenge on Skillshare on April 1st. I came across Ohn Mar’s work in 2018 where I took one of her classes and found her so lovely: gentle, kind and a generous artist who shares all of her best secrets.

We’re taking everyday household items and drawing them, creating a plan and committing to drawing every day for 14 days.

Sometimes it takes all of my effort to sit down at the table and draw but I find when I do it, there is a joyful release, no matter what the outcome. I have the satisfaction of having created something and that somehow carries me through the day.

For a brief moment I can sit and focus on something that I love to do and those moments bring me a lot of joy.

I finally get what it means to enjoy the process and not worry about the outcome.

Drawing of a spray bottle.
Drawing of a brown and orange dinosaur toy.
Drawing of our tomato plant.
Drawing of a Matchbox car.
Various drawings of a teacup.
Drawing of of some cosmetics.
A drawing of a controller for a video game system.
A drawing of a huge earring from Patricia Fields.
A drawing of my daughter’s seal doll.

The class is actually a lot more in depth than I expected and it focuses not just on the drawing but the mindset. I highly recommend Ohn Mar’s classes. She is the perfect tone for these interesting times.

❤ Natalie