If you had asked me the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” back when I was eleven, I wouldn’t have thought twice about my answer.
Back then, I had a very solid visual in my mind of what my life was going to look like. In fact, I was so good at visualizing my dream life as a child, that I even knew what my first dress to the Oscars would be. By the age of thirteen, I had collected a whole catalog of some of the best looks as seen on the red carpet and worn by the acting goddesses I so admired.
I woke up every day with joy in my heart - and I was absolutely unstoppable! I was the kind of kid who never took no for an answer - the kind who went into her first Juilliard audition at the age of sixteen, not giving a crap whether or not I’d get in, because all that mattered was that for ten minutes, in front of a panel of complete strangers, I got to be myself… an artist, a free-spirit, but most importantly… someone with a dream.
But one day, at the age of seventeen I woke up and my whole world was grey.
I’ll never forget the first time I was diagnosed with depression and sent home with a supply of pills to “make me feel better.”
Truth is, I didn’t even know I was sick.
If you ask me the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” now, I wouldn’t think twice about my answer either.
Yes, being on a stage brings me joy, but it is fleeting. Once the show is over everyone goes home and you are once again left by yourself, waiting for your next gig…your next fix of happiness.
Over the past 8 months, someone magical came into my life and I have started discovering and feeling real happiness once again. It still takes work though… and a lot of it! Trust me. Happiness, like everything good in life, takes work.
I’ve realized that happiness doesn’t lie in doing one thing in your life really well. Yes, it might contribute to your overall feelings of happiness, but it's not the sole thing upon which your happiness lies.
Happiness is about being that little girl again - the one who doesn't care what the world thinks of her, the one who isn’t afraid of failure, the one who doesn’t buy into all the lies that depression has told her about herself for most of her life -
- that she isn't good enough.
- or pretty enough.
- or worthy of being loved.
My happiness was never rooted in being an actor or going to the Oscars or wearing that red dress.
It was always just about being myself.