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Universe, I'm putting it out there for you. Send me some type of sign of what to do with this decision I'm grappling with. Like, if I'm meant to stay in L.A., show me a reason in the form of a nice modeling gig or acting audition because I'm super confused right now. I'm afraid i'm going to make a stupid decision and mess my life all up.

I’m being faced with the difficult decision of considering moving back to Ohio due to the fact that my 82-yr-old father is sick with cancer (it has spread to his lungs…still treatable, but we’re not looking at good odds considering his age and other health problems he has: copd, congestive heart failure, borderline diabetes). I’m such an emotional roller coaster lately that I’m afraid I’m going to make another irrational decision that could cost me dearly (like earlier in the year when my dad was first diagnosed & I dyed my hair back to blonde from red before having enough money for new headshots....not really a great thing to show up for auditions not looking like your headshot because your hair is a different color. there's only so long you can get away with the "dyed it for another role" lie). I’m debating whether it would be best to rent my room out in my apartment on a temporary basis (landlord already approved it) or just tell my roomie (who I’m close friends with) that I’m moving out for good (and getting a new place when I come back….I have a great rent-controlled apt in an excellent neighborhood so I’d hate to lose it). I’m also afraid that if I go back to Ohio that I will get sucked into the black hole that is where I’m from and never leave again simply because a lot of what I love is in Ohio (Buckeyes football, Indians baseball, college friends...shockingly high school friends).

If I go temporarily, then the question becomes store my stuff in L.A. or take it with me. Storing it would be like $50-70 a month and moving it would be like $1400 (one of those pod-type companies). I still have my nice television (23” flat screen) & bedroom furniture to move (only taking bedframe, ditching mattresses). I have to drive my car myself because I have to take my cat with me in it. The majority of my stuff would be clothes, books & cd/dvd/tapes. The downside is that if I decide I don't want to come back, then i don't know how I'm going to get my stuff out of storage here in L.A. (remember, I really DON'T like flying...especially after having another turbulence issue on this most recent flight)

I really hate that I’m having to consider this, but on the plus side, I have an AMAZING agent that reps me in Ohio. Heyman Talent, who is literally the largest Midwest talent agent outside of Chicago. They constantly bring in the casting director from Army Wives (who I've already read for while I was home last summer) & episodic tv shows that film in Carolinas, many national/regional commercials (skyline, nationwide, safe auto, speedway, etc), etc. so I could definitely still pursue things which actually might make things EASIER for me upon returning as I’ll be able to build things like a SAG (union) card, stronger modeling portfolio, reel, etc. (i would be a big fish, little pond). They’ve told me that I will get called in/direct book simply for having Los Angeles stuff on my resume. All I would need to do is clear about $500-600 a month to pay credit card bills, help my parents with groceries, gas for car, etc as I’d be living at home rent-free in order to help my mother with the care of my dad. (I personally would also have issues dropping my pride regarding the stigma of living at home with my parents at my age & let's not forget that my survival job would probably be server/bartender. That is ok and not looked down upon if you're older and doing that in Los Angeles, but doing it in freaking Ohio is another stigma where you're labeled some type of "epic fail at life") I know I shouldn't be too concerned about that but I am. I don't want to be talked about as "oh that's the girl who went to Hollywood to be a supermodel/fancy actress and well, look, she's back slumming in New Carlisle, OH"

Any input would be gladly appreciated. I’m struggling with this decision so bad. All this stress is making my face breakout with zits and has seen the return of the stress-induced hives that initially appeared on my body when my nephew was killed in late 1995.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
I've been there, done that, barely could afford the t-shirt
You and I obviously don't know each other from a hill of beans, but I feel compelled to share my experience with you (even though I'm a Cardinals fan, and you are an Indians/Reds fan). I went through something similar 10 years ago during my mom's battle with cancer. I ended up choosing family over career, so I sacrificed an $80k a year job in favor of being basically unemployed and living on my grandma's couch for the last 2 1/2 months of my mom's life. When you're 20-something and making that kind of money, it's not an obvious decision. I won't go into all the details of how much care I provided, because the last stages of cancer can be incredibly cruel in stripping away all vestiges of dignity. I can say that I'm endlessly glad that I was among the team of family caregivers rather than relying on total strangers to fill that role. One of the life lessons I learned during that wonderfully tragic experience is that my previous notion of what truly mattered in life changed dramatically. To this day, I remind myself that memories matter a lot more than things, even when I catch myself falling back into old habits of holding onto material items. I'm not saying that you should do one thing or another, because I don't know you well enough to say what is right for you. I can say that I haven't met too many people who have reached the end of their lives and wished for less time with their loved ones. Who knows? Maybe the experience of moving back home will give you new sources of strength to draw upon which will improve your acting and modeling. How can those other women compare to you, when you've accomplished everything they have on paper AND faced your own mortality? Best of luck to you and your family.

Dennis R Lawson (gr33nazn on Twitter)
Sep. 9th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Re: I've been there, done that, barely could afford the t-shirt
My mom died of cancer in March. A resounding "yes" to everything you said.
Sep. 7th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Los Angeles will always be here. Your father, on the other hand, will not. That's not to say you have to move back to be with him in the coming days/weeks/months, but I think not spending more time there is a decision that would very likely haunt you.

I left before my mom died with two good reasons. First, working (remote) full-time while caring for my mom and David was destroying me. Second, David was not only bringing her joy but prolonging her pain. Her anger when she'd think how little time she had with her first grandchild spurred her in a way that hospice said was typical of younger hospice patients who didn't really feel they'd had the chance to do everything they meant to.

Despite that (a) I left with good reason, (b) knew I was doing the right thing to help my mom let go, and (c) my mom was no longer really with us by the time I gave her that pained last kiss goodbye and told her I loved her, I regret that my 3/5 email didn't say, "My mom breathed her last breath in her daughter's arms" instead of "in my sister's arms."

I think it's the nature of the human beast to understand something intellectually (I did what I could) but for the heart to not understand that so well. And I think that, while whatever choice you make will be the right choice for you and one you'll have ample reason to make, you might experience some of this.

I'd been thinking of just going home for my mom's memorial but struggled with the decision. My friend and coworker made it easy by saying, "Let's put it like this: will you spend the rest of your life regretting you missed this time with her?" That made the decision easy for me, though in my case, the end was clearly imminent.

Only you can make this choice. And, any which way, you're going to make the choice that's right given your heart, your head, and your finances. I'd just recommend you weigh the permanence of each option as you decide.

Edited at 2010-09-07 12:32 pm (UTC)
Sep. 7th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
I know it's a hard decision, but honestly I think you'd regret it if you didn't go home, whether it's semi-permanent or not. My suggestions are be honest with your room-mate, especially if s/he's a close friend, and tell her you might not be back if you really think that's a possibility. As for storing or moving everything, maybe get a little bitty U-haul if your car will handle it and take what is absolutely most important to you.

I'm very sorry to hear that the cancer has spread. You and your family are in my thoughts. (hug)
Sep. 7th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)
Three years ago I gave up my job and my independence to move back home and live with and care for my Dad. I cried the day I left my home to move back, because I knew it would set back my dreams by several years, but I also knew it was something I had to do.
At the time, we all expected he would live another 5-10 years, in poor health for sure, but alive. Instead he had a sudden series of health setbacks and died only 7 months later. I am grateful EVERY SINGLE DAY EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKING. DAY. that I didn't hesitate and waffle around about it. Being there to help him as he grew sicker and sicker, to see the gratitude and love in his eyes, to hold his hand and tell him I loved him as the last breath left him mean more than you can ever possibly imagine they could.
And you know what? My life was still there after, my dreams are still there, and the time I spent with my Dad made me stronger, and more determined to make my life what I want.
And the vast majority of people actually ADMIRE what I did, they don't think I failed because I moved back home. If there's anyone out there who does, I don't know about it, and frankly don't give a fuck anyhow. My time with my Dad means 1000 times more to ME than anything some petty person THINKS about me.

In the end it comes down to this, Amy. Do you love LA, or do you love your Dad more?
Sep. 9th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
And you know what? My life was still there after, my dreams are still there, and the time I spent with my Dad made me stronger, and more determined to make my life what I want.

And the vast majority of people actually ADMIRE what I did, they don't think I failed because I moved back home.
People keep saying to me, about my mom, "If it were my mom, I'd have just put her in a home. It would've been easier." But I have to wonder - if they were really there, would they? Or would they accept the pain that comes with the grace of seeing one without whom they could not have existed out of the world?

I like to think they say it because they just don't know. The alternative is way too depressing.
Sep. 7th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
i'm going to be really honest and simple- go home. you haven't been happy here for a while and if you don't go and something happens while you are here, you will never forgive yourself. and thereby- you won't let yourself be happy.

i would also say, just move back. yes, you'll lose the rent controlled apt but if you decide to come back to LA later, you can always find something nice again. and who knows, maybe you'll decide to go east- so it'd be easier to just take everything with you in one go and not have to worry about dealing with it later.

i love you. i will miss you. but one of the reasons i needed to get back to California was because my parents are getting up there and 2000 miles was too far. go home.
Sep. 7th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
First off, who cares what anyone else says? You had the guts to go and follow your dreams, and yeah, they got put on hold for a while, but how many other people out there in New Carlisle never even tried?So if they talk shit just know it's because they're jealous they never had the guts to go do it themselves.

What if you subleased your room as furnished? If Brooke is still there, I'm sure she won't let someone trash all your stuff, and then you wouldn't have to pay for storage. If you decide to stay in OH, then you can tell the person renting your place that you're staying and need to sell your things in LA. You could offer them a huge discount for just buying everything right then, or you could give Brooke a percentage for selling it on Craigslist.
Sep. 8th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
Please, Amy, go home and spend time with your father while you still can. If you don't, you will spend the rest of your life regretting that decision. L.A. will always be there, but your father will not be. Please, go home.
Sep. 8th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
caring what people think at this stage is not something you should focus on, caring for you Dad is.
I would go home for sure.
Sep. 10th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
I would go home.

Sep. 12th, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
id go back to ohio, store youre stuff and find someone to take over your room temporarily cause otherwise youll NEVER go back to LA due to cost etc. who knows, things might somehow work out in ohio and you might want to stay anyhow so you can always move your things at a later date. good luck. being away from la for a little while might be good. unfortunately it doesnt seem to do enough for you anyways and you hate the city, right? im sorry to hear about your dad, try not to stress and just go back even if its just for a little while!
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:33 am (UTC)
thanx for the support. he's doing well with chemo. enough that he vetoed my coming home for now.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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