2020 – The Year of Gratitude and Growth

Champagne celebration

Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

This year has been one of the craziest gifts of my life. I started at a new job a few months prior to the opportunity made me realize how much I do not want to be in the finance industry. I realized I no longer wanted to live a double life, burning myself out at both ends. I’ve learned I would love to work in tech, health, or the nonprofit space. I learned that my acting coach was only in this for the money, which is fine, but I want to be around coaches who have a positive attitude, enjoy their actors and their craft. Not put people down, show up late to coaching sessions then try to charge the full amount. Not people who tell their actors that their feelings and depression do not matter and have no empathy. Mental health is more important than any job. Your sense of self-worth is more important than any job because we all deserve respect. Because at the end of the day your sense of self-worth is what leads to you being a productive member of society. It’s the airplane rule, you can’t help someone else until you help yourself. 

After my coach was completely unprofessional and unempathetic during our conversation in her office and again ten minutes later decided to rage on me in front of 13 other actors. Screaming to not be like me, that I was leaving the studio on bad terms and that it would be hard to welcome me back, all because I told her I was beyond depressed, bawling my eyes out every day, struggling to focus, and burned out in every sense of the word. That could not keep coming to classes or pay for them since I was quitting the very job, I took to afford private coaching with her. That I needed to take a month off and just figure out how to be okay again. I knew this was God telling me it is time to close this door and trust myself. I went home to Florida, caught up with loved ones, cried, hung out in my favorite places, and knew what I had to do. I had to 180 my life. I came back to Atlanta and put in my two weeks’ notice two days later. I unfollowed everything related to my old studio. My fellow actors reached out all week apologizing for the incident and admitted to staying out of fear of retaliation. I refuse to live in fear. I am a child of God; he has slain bigger dragons in my life so I know he will handle that one in due time. I researched other interests of mine and started to listen to my gut again. Every time I have felt a hint of uncertainty about a certain person, job, opportunity my gut was right on point and I ended up in a toxic situation. For once I have allowed myself to go where I feel light and confident instead of uneasy. I went to castings and had every one of my facial features, actions, and character choices applauded by the casting agents. They gave me valid things to tweak and background information I would not have known otherwise. I also found out the way I had been told to shoot myself tapes from my previous coach was not correct and potentially hindered my booking something I know was done on purpose. I learned to trust myself and a new coach when I need some extra help. I started loving my self-tapes again and getting more auditions. I practiced gratitude daily, read devotionals, journaled, and began to do a ton of inner healing. As thoughts popped into my mind or negative comments I would ask whose opinion is that? Is it yours? Is that a belief you’ve been taught by a family member, friend, or teacher? Do you really believe that? If no throw it away and if so what can we do to have a more positive outlook?

I have gone from spending the beginning of this year crying every day 3 times a day feeling completely hopeless to waking up light and happy, making connections with casting from Los Angeles to New York. Falling in love with my life for the first time in 7 years. Instead of letting the panic of quitting my job just weeks before covid 19 shut down everything I walked by faith for the first time in 5 years. I had savings and had already begun working on other streams of income. I read devotionals, journaled, and reminded myself to seek my true purpose instead of fulfilling everyone’s idea of success. Feeling joyful and fulfilled. I’ve reconnected with friends as we plan various projects for the future when we can all work together safely again. I began working with a badass group of women to write our own scripts and critique one another once a month, starting a YouTube channel as a passion project, learning and learned voiceover all during what could have been considered the worst year of life. 

This year has shown me that I do have an amazing tribe both near and far. I had friends I’ve met once reach out from London and Norway when the #georgefloyd violence began. Friends here in the states apologized for not listening when I did not feel comfortable visiting a certain area known for hanging people that looked like me and not sticking up for me during the various microaggressions they witnessed.  They reminded me that they are here, they will continue to listen, and fight injustice.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I feel completely blessed and content with where I am in life. Each day I am striving to work towards my goals and for that, I am so thankful and blessed. I am so grateful for my family’s health and the laughs we’ve shared. If I could find love for myself in such a hopeless time, I can honestly say it’s only going up from here. 2020 thank you for resetting all of our priorities reminding us of what is most important. Family, quality of life, equal rights, affordable health care, and happiness. I hope you all celebrate safely tonight. I hope you know you are loved, you are valued, you are a beautiful work in progress, and we are all going to get through this.

2 thoughts on “2020 – The Year of Gratitude and Growth

  1. Your old coach sounds absolutely toxic – I’m glad you’re free of that and onto better things! Hopefully 2021 will be the year of growth and better things for you, Keri! xx

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