SALT LAKE CITY, DECEMBER 25 2019
…And so this is (the last) Xmas! (of the decade). And (WTF) have you done (with your life)?
WARNING: You may want to skip this entire rambling and go straight to listing your own accomplishments for each year of this decade, which is mainly what I was going for here.
I lived most of my 30s in the 2010’s. Everything we live is a first time and irreplaceable and the bottom line is there are no do overs– not really, if you think about it. I have been a believer in the art of getting things right the first time around and not looking back if I got them wrong-not even to fix things that are in the past; not for lack of interest in improving but because I am a product of the superstitious belief that a gift or talent should come easy to those who are true (your choice of calling here: artists, teachers, healers, salespeople?). And then I realize that my way of thinking for the last 30 odd years is shaped by what I perceive to be my calling as an artist: a creator or physical or somewhat tangible things that are intended to not be touched by pre-made systems of any kid: society, religion and status quo establishments of any kind.
I spent most of this decade searching and sometimes discovering how to feel OK with my desire to be a creator of art- an endeavor I place upon myself without the much needed lineage or elite status an artist most likely will need to be able to either support himself or not have to think about how they will pay rent and eat.
I am not only an economically challenged artistic soul, I am also a first generation American. I am an immigrant and as in many other aspects of my desires and personality, I have buried that in my subconscious tight enough to avoid others victimizing me, or me victimizing myself. But the reality is I am an immigrant. I will say that one more time for effect and to let it sink in. I am an immigrant. I have had to overcome a shit ton of hurdles most “kids” my age never had to think about if they were born into an American home. As I write that, I don’t know what being or not being an American means. (Pulls American passport and feels like Jason Borne)
For what it’s worth I wanted to make a list of achievements and obstacles I overcame this past decade. I think it will help the voice in my head become a little softer and less accusatory. And God knows I need a nicer voice in my head reminding me of the good things more than the bad. I also think that this could be an effective way to reward myself while keeping myself accountable for what can be improved.
2010 Got married to a guy I was excited to marry, which is not to say I wasn’t excited the first time around. I’m justifying that marrying this one was the right decision at the time.
2011 I got my green card. See notes above. I also received a full scholarship for my third year in Film School at the University of Utah and that was a momentous moment. It was the first time that I thought I may just finally have a degree after all.
2012 I was cast in two shows at the same time in Utah and I felt like the last cookie in the jar. I clearly remember how confident and happy I was that year and when I spent Xmas with my family and that was the life I thought I should and would always have.
2013 I left the US for the first time since 2005. I had been a self exile until then but this year I made a trip to England and spent a couple weeks with my sister when she had her son.
2014 I graduated with a Bachelors in Film and Media Arts and a certificate that I like to tell people was a Minor in International Relations because I had thought I could work for the UN and save the world. My parents flew in from Florida for my graduation which was a big deal for a number of reasons.
2015 My marriage was pretty much done when it was about time for me to apply for citizenship. We wanted to get divorced because we started noticing that we sort of hated each other’s perspectives in life. I think I was right, but so did he. I got a job with NatGeo that took me to England and South America for almost this entire year. So I was going back and forth for citizenship interviews and tests strict dates and even though it was sort of insane, everything fell into place and I had a very anti-climatic citizenship ceremony in Salt Lake City- my sister and my nephew and niece were with me and I have a few photos holding the certificate and looking uncomfortable. I loved acting like none of it was a big deal and that I was too busy to care. I was really just numb from the depression medication I was on – I had asked for something to get me through the job and not break down because of the divorce. My plan was working great.
2016 I moved in with the English director I had been working with. He was 20 years older than me and I was closer in age to his 4 adult children. I stopped taking the antidepressant and resumed the break down that should have occurred the previous year. England was both healing and haunting. Moved to LA in November.
2017 I spent a few good months in LA looking for work as an actor until I ran out of money and realized I needed a job. A Job job. 2017 was not empty of people and progress now that I think about it. Maybe because it was my incubator year in LA until I gained the acceptance that this was my new city and I needed to stick around even if things didn’t happen right away. That was a hard lesson to learn.
2018 Got two jobs as producer… made some good friends. Made some bad … friends. Got my heart broken once or twice because I didn’t understand LA mode of operating.
2019 Started the year with a good job and a boyfriend- or two. The LA way of thinking was justified when I was the one breaking hearts. Then everything was gone: BF and job. The perpetual cycle of losing and chasing something new. I got a new job. A better job. Temporary like everything in LA. I was responsible for major fuck ups and successes I was impressed with myself at said job. And I’m ending the decade working on a show that may be a hit next year and make me a real producer- or not. I am seeing a guy and he’s sweet. But does he know he is “seeing me”? Hard to tell. I should send him this essay. See what he thinks.
I don’t think that the new decade will be shaped until I have lived through it and it is typical and, to a point, healthy to look back and decide what genre of a life I had and what roles I played. I will continue to draw lessons from the last 10 years on my one-take chances in the great 2020’s. I don’t believe in do-overs but I believe in learning lessons and making new, better mistakes.
Welcome to the 20’s! (try not to fuck this up too hard and be nice to yourself and others and it will be ok)
LOS ANGELES FEBRUARY 9, 2018
I wrote this article in February 2015 while living in Salt Lake City, Utah and asking myself “how am I going to make my move to LA happen?” This story is a reflection of my feelings then, my intense desire to tame the beast I was mesmerized by and intensely fearful of.
When it was finished, I asked the editor not to include my name. She also changed some of my thoughts – she tamed my words for the Utah audience I suppose. I gave her a pen name I was hesitant to embrace: Aislin Ash. I had my reasons. The editor misunderstood and published it with no name at all.
This magazine was an annual publication that survived two years and I made my mark on both: my face on the first, and my words on the second. I was so afraid of the consequences of my words, I never showed it to anyone. Then #metoo happened and I thought, “good for you” –good for us for speaking out.
I have other chapters to report since moving to Los Angeles. But those stories are still being written.