As I am in the thick of my Hollywood mom mid-life crisis and reflecting on my youth, I have been amazed (and surprised) how it has changed my perspective in my relationships. Let me be more specific. My female relationships. Oh, sure you always hear women say that men don’t bond as natural as women do. We have pillow fights, tickle each other, and talk all night about sex. At least that’s how my husband views it. I’m here to tell you it ain’t so. However, my friendships with women have changed over the years. In the creative and non-creative world, I have maintained and nurtured friendships, some have lasted, some have sunk to the bottom of the ocean like the Titanic. In my twenties, I had an abundance of female friends, however in the acting world there was always this underlying level of competition and believe me it wasn’t healthy. If my friend booked a commercial I would be happy for her, but I would get down on myself and it fueled this underlying self-inflected thought of what a loser I was and felt myself looking at others to measure my worth. If my friend booked a part in a play I auditioned for, I was not happy for her….at all. I seemed to gravitate towards my guy friends, they were less threatening and more supportive, until they wanted to eventually have sex with me, which ultimately always ended badly. This was not a good time for me.
Auditions were brutal. The set-up is this: you are in a room with the 40 other girls vying for the same role. Need I say more? You better be prepared. I was naive and always chatted with the actresses in the casting office. I remember their comments would psych me out before I went into the room, “you should try wearing make-up” or “you have a space between your teeth, you should get that fixed”, I heard it all. I learned to toughen up and not talk to anyone in the room and look straight ahead. Even though it worked better for me, putting my game face on, it somehow made me feel unauthentic. I valued my female relationships but I was distant and competitive.
The catalyst that made me start re-thinking my attitude was when I was cast in a play in the mid-nineties. I was cast in a role, probably was the juiciest of parts. I met this woman who I knew may have wanted that part, but was cast in another role. The director and I were not connecting and I was frustrated and scared that I was going to be horrible. While we were in rehearsals, she could see that I was struggling. This woman reached out to me and said if I wanted, she would help me. Uncharacteristically, I said yes and she and I rehearsed for hours, she gave me her time, encouragement, and expertise. We became friends, not just casual friends, but someone I would later on down the years count on for help in various areas in my life.
When I began writing my web series in my forties, my paradigm changed. I craved my creative female friends, I wanted to work with them, spend time, and create art together. I found that even though there were times I hadn’t spoken to my friends in years, those relationship came right back. Gone was the fear, the competition, the FOMO. I LOVED that my friends were putting themselves out there creatively and admired how each woman had their own story to tell, balanced their lives, and kept it going. It inspired me to move forward with my project and move through all the challenges, I had them in my corner and I was in theirs.
Also, I found a new word in my vocabulary. Collaboration. I reach out to women writers, directors, anyone that I can work with and talk, learn from; it is the most rewarding time in my life. I want to help my friends and if I can contribute in any way to get them where they want to be, I’m in. In the past, I would have turned my back collaborating with women. The truth is Hollywood women are not cutthroat, waiting for the time to strike while swilling a glass of chardonnay, but a community of support and one club I am happy to be a member.
Watch me and my collaboration with MomCave . I had a blast going to New York and chatting with these creative ladies!
I hear ya. It’s a blessing of age, really (and thank God there are some blessings with that – ha!). As you know, I’m a traditionally pubbed author transitioning to indie–and thank God for the women who’ve stepped in to help me when I’ve needed it. Hopefully, I’ve helped others too.