If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that from a young age I wanted to be a super model. Well, first I wanted to be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, then when my breasts refused to cooperate and grow past training bra size, I changed this to a super model. No biggie.
I honestly don’t know where my dream of super modeling came from. No one ever, EVER, looked over at my frizzy redheaded, ten-year-old self and said, “You should really model.” My parents are both very down-to-earth folks who are not at all interested in fame and/or super models. Regardless, the first time I opened Seventeen magazine I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. By the age of thirteen I was obsessed with the fashion industry, and everything that went along with it: glamour, fame, money, and most importantly posing in pictures like this:
My parents held their breath and hoped this fixation would pass but by the age of sixteen I was still totally determined to become a super model, despite the fact that I was barely 5’7”, not stick thin, or the least bit super modely.
I also understood nothing about the modeling industry. From my vantage point in Rohnert Park, California, posing on the cover of Seventeen or Vogue looked like the perfect job. You showed up to work, people dressed you, put makeup on you, and told you you were pretty. At night you went to parties and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Kirk Cameron and Ricky Schroeder. You basically got paid to do nothing but be adored. What could possibly be better than that?
After high school, I met with some modeling agents in San Francisco. Surprisingly, none of them wanted to sign me. Finally one of them told me why: “You don’t have what it takes to be a super model,” she said bluntly. I was crushed. I saw all my dreams of Kirk Cameron and Ricky Shroeder elbow rubbing slipping away. “You could, however,” she added finally, “do okay as a commercial model.”
“What’s a commercial model?”
“It’s a model who looks like a real person.”
“So, the only qualification to be a commercial model is that you have to be a person?”
“That is correct.”
With fame just around the corner, I realized San Francisco was getting too small for me, so I moved down to Los Angeles, got an agent, enrolled in acting school, started auditioning, and got a waitressing job to pay for it all. Life was not easy.
It’s not like I didn’t work. I did. A Taco Bell commercial here, a few lines on a sub-par sitcom there. The Japanese seemed to like me. That was nice. There were times when I was even able to quit my waitressing job and live on royalties. Regardless though, every time I would book a job I was left feeling incredibly unfulfilled. What the hell? I thought. I’m on a TV show/ commercial/ catalog shoot. Why am I not happy?
Finally everything came to a head when I went to network for one of the leads on The Power Rangers. It was between me and two other girls and I just knew I was going to get it. They’d never had a redheaded power ranger. The two other girls I was up against were blondes. One of them was wearing glasses! The job was MINE!
The blonde with the glasses ended up booking the job, of course. I was destroyed, more destroyed than anyone should ever be by not getting to be a power ranger. I went into a downward spiral, and not just because of the Power Rangers thing, but because of my whole life. I was exhausted, sick, tired, and depressed. The truth was, I hated all of it. Did Tiffany Amber Thiessen feel this bad before she made it? I seriously doubted it.
The difference between me and Tiffany Amber Thiessen was one thing: she was supposed to be a famous actress and I was not. (Actually, there’s a lot of differences between me and Tiffany Amber Thiessen, but that post is for another day my friends, another day.) The problem was there were two voices in my head. The loud one told me I’d never, ever be happy unless I was a working actress. To give up my dream was to be a big, fat failure. But then another, quieter voice said, “You’re sick, you’re unhappy. This way of life is not for you. There is something so much better out there for you. Trust me!”
The truth is I’d been hearing both of these voices battling it out in my head for some time. Finally, the softer voice won out, simply because I didn’t have the energy to go on acting. If I would have listened to this voice when it first started whispering to me, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.
After that, I quit acting and got a job as a receptionist at a cancer foundation where I had very little responsibilities and in my free time (which basically was like all the time) I wrote stories. Short stories. Long stories. Any story I could write. I didn’t write because I thought I’d get famous or put on a television show. I wrote because I loved writing. I’d always written for this reason, I just never thought of pursuing writing as a career, because writers rarely get on the cover of Vogue.
Ironically, my writing segued into a job on a television show, and many fun writing jobs after that, ultimately leading me to this moment in time where I just finished my first novel, which is going to be out Fall 2015. Hooray!
So what happened? Aren’t we taught that we should all follow our dreams and never give up no matter what? Yes, we are taught that, but I’ve since learned I should never do anything “no matter what,” especially if the “no matter what” makes me miserable. But why was pursuing my dream making me miserable in the first place? The answer is because was I was listening to my ego desire, not my soul desire.
What’s the difference between ego desire and soul desire, you ask? I will tell you.
The ego always desires something that is flashy, and will prove your worth to others. It is always asking “what’s in it for me?” It tells you that you aren’t whole and never will be until you accomplish your dreams. The ego desire voice always comes from a place of fear and says things like, “You must prove you are good enough,” “You must strive hard to show you are the best,” and “If others don’t think you are special then you aren’t.”
These are lies, I tell you. Lies!
On the other hand your soul desire originates from a place of love and acceptance of where you’re at now—a place of wholeness. Its only job is to help you remember who you are and what you came here to do. Your soul desire voice speaks much more softly than the ego voice so you often have to get quiet to hear it. For that reason meditating is a great way to listen to your soul’s desire. It’s not interested in fame or adoration. It thrives on love, not on fear, however, what it asks you to do might take some courage and isn’t always easy. It says things like, “Share your gifts with the world,” “Do more of what you love,” or “Enjoy the process. Look for the fun here.” Many times, it doesn’t say anything at all. It’s just a feeling guiding you to the next right step on your journey.
Most importantly the soul desire voice encourages you to be happy while you pursue a dream—that the gift is in the journey. Because once you achieve a dream, guess what happens? You are just given another dream. Dreams and desires are fantastic tools for spiritual growth, that’s why we have them. Either way you’re going to be learning your life lessons. You can choose the hard way, as I did (the ego way) or the easier, softer way (the soul’s way). The choice is up to you!