I've been going to church for as long as I can remember and I've experienced a wide-variety of denominations and churches across the world.
In these churches I've listened to hundreds (probably thousands) of sermons and worship sessions, met tons of preachers and elders and church-goers, worked on media teams and in other areas, and thought (a few times) that I found my home in [insert church name here].
However, it wasn't until recently that I learned what a 'church home' really is.
When my family moved back to Florida after twelve years away, finding a church was a challenge. We tried several over the course of the first few months and none of them felt right. The worship felt off and like we couldn't get into that 'Holy Spirit zone'. The sermon didn't hit home or wasn't real enough. The people weren't warm and fuzzy. We just weren't clicking with a church.
One day Joanie B. found her way to a restaurant in the mall and met a lovely lady who told her about a church that, coincidently enough, was also in the mall. Weird, right? She came home and told me all about it and, despite my reservations, we attended our first service a few weeks later.
And that was one of the best decisions we ever made.
I remember walking through the doors of Emerald Coast Worship Centre and it immediately felt different. People were happy to be there. Smiling, hugging and shaking hands. We felt welcomed for the first time in a while. We were in a mall, which was super weird for a while, but you get used to it.
Worship was incredible. The Holy Spirit was freely flowing and I don't think I've ever been more connected to Him than in those moments.
The sermon was raw, real, and hit home, just like it has every week since then.
I can't remember the last time I WANTED to go to church. I'm a Christian, but somehow church had become a habit or a chore that I had to do on Sunday. I had to drag my butt out of bed and just get there. With ECWC, I truly wanted to be there. We started going on Sundays and Wednesdays. Then we went to our first Monday staff meeting. I guess you could say that's where things got interesting...
If you know me, then you know I tend to be a pretty closed-off, introverted person. However, Emerald Coast Worship Centre does something to me. God does something to me when I'm there. On that first staff meeting, mom and I had the worst day leading up to it. We were sad and angry and just completely rundown, but we went anyway. THANK JESUS THAT WE DID!
That night, which now seems like a lifetime ago, I met the most incredible people. I didn't know then, but they would soon become family. People I want to spend time with all of the time. People I involuntarily spill my guts to without a second thought. People I want to laugh with and cry with. People I hope I can introduce you to someday. For now, they'll just be A, J, and C. Some of the best people, maybe the best people, to ever walk into my life.
From that day on it was clear, Emerald Coast Worship Centre, the church at the mall, was my church home. My family's church home.
A place where I feel safe.
A place where I'm connected to God in ways I haven't been for a long time.
A place where my tribe was born. Where my life changed. Where everything changed.
So, if you're in the Fort Walton Beach area, come on down to ECWC! Service starts at 11 on Sundays and 7 on Wednesday nights!
Everyone's different, so I can't promise it'll be your home, but I can promise it'll be an experience you'll never forget. I know I won't, not for as long as I live.
Stay tuned for more posts about ECWC and maybe one about A, J, and C! It's only been a few months, but there are already a lot of stories to tell. They're probably reading this right now (HI GUYS!) so hopefully they let me really introduce them (they're super cool!).
Until next time...
Hey... remember me? It's only been three months since we last spoke, but somehow it feels like years have passed. I've been in the same place the entire time, but I'm definitely not the same person.
I've come to believe that life is like a pendulum. One minute you're down, the next you're moving forward and becoming a better version of yourself, and then the next you're right back where you started. I've basically experienced all of that in the span of four days. But I think that might be a story for another time.
This post is about something that keeps running through my head. I first heard these words while I was in the shower. The place where all great ideas begin. I heard it again while in a meeting. Again at a church service. And then at least four other times since then. That tells me it needs to be shared.
So this is what depression looks like. Or maybe it's just what being human feels like sometimes. I'll let you be the judge of that. And to whoever needed to hear this... I hope you're doing all right. I know it's hard. I live it, just like so many people. I've hidden it and exposed it and hidden it again. I've been ashamed and then unafraid to share, but the shame always creeps back in. The point is, if you need help, get it. If I can help you, reach out. I'm always here.
IF DEPRESSION/SUICIDE/SELF-HARM OR OTHERWISE IS A SENSITIVE TOPIC THAT TRIGGERS YOU IN ANY WAY, PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING. KEEP YOURSELF SAFE, SANE, AND HEALTHY. HAPPIER POSTS ARE COMING!
∆ ∆ ∆
Every step is a marathon,
Adding one more pound to the weight of the world on your shoulders.
But still... you trudge along.
Your brain feels like it's going to explode inside your skull.
Your lungs are collapsing inside your chest.
You're drowning. Not breathing.
But still... you smile.
Every person, best friend or not, is the enemy.
Their judging you.
They never cared about you.
Why would they?
But still... you laugh.
Every moment is a wasted one,
Because nothing you do is good enough.
It'll never be good enough.
But still... you play along.
If they ask you how you're doing, don't you dare tell the truth.
They'll think you're crazy.
They'll never speak to you again.
You're always fine.
Perfect little princess with everything together.
Straighten your tiara.
Everything is fine.
The world is spinning faster than the speed of light,
But in slow-motion all at the same time.
It feels like you're dreaming,
Yet nothing could be more real.
The road is too long.
The voices are too loud.
The weight is too heavy.
You can't keep going on like this.
You can't make eye contact.
You can't breathe.
You're drowning and no one knows.
Because you're fine.
Until you're not.
Because now death is knocking on your door,
And all you want to do is answer it.
If only you didn't wake up,
It'll all be over.
You would finally be fine.
But the world wouldn't be.
You are valued beyond belief. The world would not be the same without you. The ideas presented above are lies from the enemy. Lies that are told in the pit of despair and destruction. And often times we can't discern it for ourselves.
Talk to someone. It's hard, believe me, I know. I've had to take my own advice. I still do.
But please know that God created you for a purpose. This world needs you. I need you.
Yes, you read that right... I'm writing a play! It's something I started during my last year of college and it has been pushed to the side and pushed to the side for months (and now over a year!). So, I finally decided to pick it up and get to work.
It's based on a monologue I wrote about my mom's battle with breast cancer and it's turned into this Our Town-esque cancer story. All kinds of cancer. Breast, childhood, cervical, mouth, and more. It's kind of dark, but not so dark you'll leave the theatre depressed. It's real, so I'm gathering as many stories as I can. If you have experience with a certain type of cancer or know someone who as, please feel free to shoot me an email with your story. I'd love to hear it and incorporate bits of you and your loved one into this project. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line CANCER SUCKS INQUIRY.
I have a few bits and pieces written so far, and I'm challenging myself to write one scene a day. It doesn't sound like much, but it sure feels like a lot at 11pm. Here's a little taste of the tone:
No kidding. Why don't you tell that to the tumor eating my brain?
It's a rare fella. My odds of survival are better than winning the lottery but not by much and I'd sure rather be playing the Powerball than the 'will cancer kill me' scratch off.
I don't wanna die but when you spend almost every waking moment with a headache or a needle in your port or puking your freaking guts out, death becomes prettier every single day. Oh, and that load of crap they feed you about how it's okay to lose your hair because you can wear wigs...
So, there you have it. That's a small portion of my childhood cancer section, and I'm really excited about it. I think this could be really powerful and impactful in a way I've never experienced before.
If you want to support this endeavor, first of all, just pray for me. I need lots of prayers. This is a meaty task and one that means a lot to me and to other people. I need these stories to be true to life. I need cancer patients and survivors to identify. I need it to make people pay attention. So please pray. HOWEVER, if you want to support the endeavor financially, then you can become a patron for Positive Note Network. That's basically where you donate a monthly dollar amount via Patreon to support our videos and other creative endeavors.
Here's the deal... When I reach $500 per month, I'll be able to take more time to write on my new play, CANCER SUCKS, and make sure it gets the time and attention it needs to become successful.
If you are one of the patrons who contributes to that $500 each month, you'll get some samples of the play over the process. Drafts no one else will have.
If you are the sole contributor of the $500 each month then you'll receive credit in the dedication and all promotion of the play. You'll also have your own story included in the play.
If you're into it and want to give, here's the link: www.patreon.com/positivenotenetwork
Here's what we're working with:
I've got to be honest... at first glance this looks like a complete trainwreck. Let's see where we get with this. ALSO I'm thinking of making this a video series where I give myself 5 minutes (3 minutes?) to plan a story and write it out here on the blog. Thoughts? Let's do it...
The car sputtered to a stop and Shawn banged on the steering wheel.
"You stupid piece of, crap!" He yelled as he creaked open the door.
He kicked the door shut and flailed his arms as he kicked aimlessly at the dirt. He stopped, looked around at the seemingly abandoned desert and finally threw his hands up in defeat. His hands patted along his pockets searching for his phone. He pulled it out and pressed the home button.
"Well isn't that just fantastic?" He stared down at the phone, gritting his teeth. "So glad you're useful," he huffed as he chucked the phone into the brush. "So glad you're useful!"
Just when he was ready to feed himself to the desert wildlife, he sees blue and red lights coming down the road. The car pulls alongside him.
"Need a ride?" The officer asks.
"You're not gonna kill me, right?"
"You never can tell." The officer smiled.
Shawn walked around the front of the car and hopped into the passenger seat.
"Where you headed?"
"Anywhere but here."
The radio cracked and a partially muffled voice came through the other end. "We've got a 211 at Charlie's. Who can respond?"
The officer looked toward Shawn who nodded. "Yankee 17 responding." He clicked the radio back into place and started driving faster down the road.
"What's a 211?" Shawn asked hoping for something dangerous.
"Someone called in a robbery at Charlie's, a convenience store in town."
* * *
Shawn stared out the window for what seemed like five minutes, but when they parked the car the clock on the dash said it'd been almost fifteen.
"You stay in the car. Got it?"
Shawn nodded and the officer left the car.
"Yeah right." He hopped out of the car and snuck across the street to get a better view. It didn't seem like a big deal. Just a few cops, the store owner, and some broken glass.
Shawn leaned against the building and heard a crash down the alley. He glanced over his shoulder into the darkness. His inner voice told him to stay put, but it didn't win. He followed the sound.
Inching farther and farther down the alley he thought about what could be waiting for him.
The robber with some stolen cash. Maybe he'd share.
The robber with a gun. Maybe he wouldn't shoot. But maybe he would.
The robber with some stolen cash and a gun. Maybe he'd still share or maybe he'd shoot. Either was okay with Shawn.
"Hello?" Shawn whispered as loud as he could.
"Hello." A young woman emerged from behind the dumpster.
"The robber?" She held up a pillow case. "Yeah. Yeah I am."
Shawn looked her up and down. She was thin, almost frail and her eyes said delicate flower not armed robber.
"Are you going to arrest me?"
"Me? Heck no, I'm not a cop. Are you gonna shoot me?"
She held up a gun. "I've never shot a gun."
"Why'd you do it, then?"
"My mom, she's really sick. I've been working two, three jobs, anything to help. It hasn't been enough. I thought... I don't know what I thought."
"Yeah, I get it. Life isn't fair."
"Can you help me? I don't know how I'm going to get out of this one."
He felt around in his pockets and pulled out a box of matches. "Let's distract them, just for a while, with a small fire."
"You really think that'll work?" She smiled.
"Only one way to find out." He lit the match and tossed it into the dumpster. "Run."
They ran down the alley, over a few streets, and he lit another match. They repeated the process three times until they were almost a mile away. They tucked themselves into a park and Shawn laughed, breathing heavy from the run.
"You did it. Thank you."
"That's the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me." He peeked around the hedge to make sure none of the cops had followed them to the park. The coast seemed to be clear except for a black car parked along the curb. He couldn't see anyone, but the windows were tinted pitch black. Seemed okay to him.
When he turned back to the girl, she was holding the gun between his eyes. He chuckled.
His eyes glazed over and he fell into the grass.
The girl stood from the ground and walked toward the street to the midnight car.
"You got lucky," the man said.
"You're the one that got lucky. You found him." She tossed the pillowcase and gun into the backseat and stepped in the car.
The couple drove away, leaving Shawn dead in the bushes and a police uniform burning in a dumpster a few blocks away.
Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving in 12 years I've spent with my entire family (literally... the entire thing). We gathered up our dishes and made the very short drive to my Aunt's house where we spent the next few hours eating, laughing, holding babies, and catching up on all of the things we've missed.
I was expecting to feel awkward or out of place. I was expecting to be asked uncomfortable questions I wouldn't have answers to. I was expecting to be ready to leave after thirty minutes.
I was wrong.
After twelve years it's hard to know how you'll feel when you're surrounded by family. Turns out, it feels pretty darn great. I'm ready for next year.
This post was short, but it's just an appreciation for the family I didn't know I missed this bad. You're all amazing and I'm super blessed to have you in my life.
If you didn't do this yesterday, reach out to your family. Tell them you love them. Tell them you appreciate them, you're thankful for them. In twelve years you'll realize those things if you don't realize them now.
It's been 12 years...
... and now I'm home.
Okay, okay, so I don't really hate New York City... back at it with the clickbait.
I came to the city yesterday with a lot of expectations. I was sure I'd be let down the minute I stepped foot on the crowded city streets. But I wasn't.
New York City is the most bustling and beautiful city. So much art and creativity around every corner. So many different kinds of people doing different things, all completely consumed in their lives and dreams.
On the first day I ate a burger at a New York diner where I listened to some locals talk about their online dating experience (yes I eavesdropped). I immediately fell in love with their accents and have been practicing mine ever since. After the burger we walked around and almost got hit by a speeding cab. Walking in NYC is kind of like a near death experience every time you cross the street. Will the cars stop? Who knows. Within a few minutes we were practically locals, crossing before the walk light illuminated. Quite the adrenaline rush for somebody who's idea of excitement is trying something new at Starbucks.
After almost dying in the middle of the street we checked into our hotel, walked around Central Park, and had delicious pizza (and cheesecake!). Then it was time for the main event of day one... the opera. We were in the fourth row at the Metropolitan Opera to see La Boheme and holy mackerel king fish was it amazing! Absolutely breathtaking. I've been thinking about it for a solid 24 hours and I can't wait to see it again. I won't spoil the magic of it but I will say I cried multiple times and, like Julia Robert's character in Pretty Woman, Vivian Ward, said, "it was so good I almost peed myself." Go see it. Please.
Needless to say, after two plane flights, a burger, a near death experience, walking, pizza, cheesecake, and a beautiful show, we were pretty exhausted. I slept for eleven hours in the comfortable bed of our hotel. Then I woke up and got ready to see my most anticipated NYC performance... CATS! If you didn't know, Cats is closing at the end of 2017. It's a musical I watched for the first time when I was about five years old. I watched and rewinded that VHS more times than I can count, so it was only fitting that I see it in person.
First impression: so weird. But also so wonderfully magical. The opening number is incredible and a lovely cat-man scared the living daylights out of me when he appeared, out of the dark, in front of us. Mind you, we were not in the Orchestra seats, so I wasn't exactly expecting cast interaction, but we got it! They did an incredible job of bringing us into the story and I loved it. Act II was my favorite and 'Memory' was beautifully haunting. On a different note, the audience was horrendous. People were getting up and leaving like we were in a movie theatre. Okay, I get it, you had to pee, but that's what intermission is for! And the crinkling. All through the first part of Act II there was an abominable crinkling coming from a few rows away. It was really distracting, but not quite as distracting as the teenage girl texting two seats over. Sorry if I sound like a diva, but BROADWAY is not Regal Cinemas. It is a live performance where you're actually supposed to pay attention. Besides, you're not even supposed to be on your phone at a movie theatre, why would you do it at a Broadway performance. End rant.
After Cats (and getting a signed Playbill!!) it was time for some food at a delicious restaurant called Pasta Lovers. The environment was, as Joanie B. put it, very Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. Very relaxing. And the food was delicious too. Then after a quick trip through Time Square (which I didn't like too much) we went to Junior's for cheesecake and were a little underwhelmed, but at least we can say we've been there. Oh! And how could I forget?! We both got pictures with some NYPD officers, which was on my NYC bucket list and I couldn't be happier. They were so nice and willing to take a photo with some tourists. Shoutout to the men and women in blue who make this city a safer place. I appreciate what you do and respect the hard decisions you have to make.
Back to the title... the reason I "hate" New York City is because, much like the Miley Cyrus song (7 Things) says, it makes me love it. I can't not love New York. The streets, the views, the vibe, it's everything I've dreamed it would be. So, mark my words, one day, a few years from now (maybe 2019), I will live in this fine city and I'll love every minute.
Okay. So maybe this is blog clickbait... this is goodbye but not to you or to this blog (sorry for the scare!). I just wanted to do a little recap of my absolutely insane past few months. They've been some of the hardest months I've had in my entire life, but they've taught me the most beautiful lessons I've ever learned. So this post is my way of saying goodbye to my dark past and hello to my bright future.
Just a few months ago I was preparing for the college graduation I never attended. I made grades I'm proud of and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Morningisde College. Unfortunately, the week of my graduation, my grandmother passed away and instead of walking across the stage, commemorating the accomplishment I've been working toward my whole life, I spent that time preparing for a funeral. Picking flowers, a casket, music, and flipping through photo albums filled with pictures of the woman I called Momo. Then we laid her to rest. Forever. She was gone and that's when my life changed forever.
We went back to Sioux City, almost. I was supposed to be filming the feature film I'd been working on all year. I wrote an original screenplay, casted the parts, found great locations, and was more excited than I'd ever been. Some things happened including cast illnesses and my grandfather's anxiety of being alone. We ultimately turned around and headed back to Florida.
Throughout this whole process my head was spinning. I'd been gone from my hometown for twelve years and now all of a sudden I was back but under the worst possible circumstances. My life was kind of falling apart and, unfortunately, the friends I thought had my back until the end, never called, texted, or messaged asking if I was okay. I get it. We all have lives. But when your "friend" is going through crap like that, you'd think you could spare a second or two just to check on their sanity. Most didn't and, at the time, that killed me.
I've always been closed off. Locks bolted around my heart, because I never wanted to get hurt like I had been in the past. But with some of the people I called friends, best friends, in Sioux City, I let them in. I thought they were in it for the long haul. They weren't. That sucked. But it's okay. If you never let your guard down and care about someone you'll never get hurt. But you'll also never experience how amazing it is to find your best friend. And that best friend could turn into someone even more special than you thought. Yeah, I'm talking about a boyfriend/girlfriend.
During all the madness I had this guy texting me. This guy I'd called my friend for a while. He didn't leave me high and dry. He took time out of his day, every day, to see how I was and what I was up to. I now call that guy my boyfriend and I'm so grateful that God put someone like him in my life. He balances out my sometimes neurotic behavior. He doesn't get angry at me for being late or getting anxious over stupid things. He's just there and it's really nice.
After the funeral, moving back to FL, and all of those fiascos, I moved to Los Angeles for a month. It was supposed to be for six, but lots of stuff happened. None of those things, despite some people's thoughts, had to do with being too homesick or not being able to hack it on my own. They had to do with miscommunications and realizing the dreams I thought I had might not be the dreams I actually had. It's confusing, and I won't get into it in this post. The point is that I moved to LA and then back to FL and that's where I am now.
I'm creating video content for a TV show we were offered, which is crazy exciting. I'm writing my book that I started almost eight years ago. I'm writing screenplays and working with other creative people who share my passions. One of those people is (you probably guessed it) my mom and business partner. We've expanded PNN and upped the quality of our productions. We've opened a bookstore called The Bookshelf and Me (www.thebookshelfandme.com) and we have a lot of other projects going on. Life is good. Really good.
On top of it all, we're going to New York City in FOUR DAYS! My dream city. My dream trip. It's happening and I'm freaking out (in a good way!).
The point of all of this is that the last few months have really, really, really sucked. But even through those tough moments, when I thought life couldn't get any worse or that God somehow forgot about me down here, He didn't. He never has, not for a second.
If you're going through a tough time right now, I know it's hard to think that things could get better. But trust me when I say, everything turns around eventually. Every storm passes. Every downhill spiral comes back up. You just have to wait it out.
Don't hesitate to reach out if you need someone to talk to, a friend to chat with, or just a random person to listen to your problems. I'm always here.
I've Been Loving this song!
I had flown through almost the first four seasons and was becoming addicted to the medical drama. The writing captivated me. The characters were all I could think about.
As someone who wants to create characters much like Meredith Grey, the kind that are so real you can almost feel their pain, I was sucked into Grey's. I convinced myself from the moment I started watching that I wanted to write just like that. Just like Shonda Rhimes did in Grey's Anatomy.
I was wrong.
I'm a Christian.
I don't want to write in the Christian genre, because I believe, as Christians, we need to be in the trenches with non-believers. However, Jesus should be reflected in EVERYTHING I write, create, and do. I don't have to say 'Jesus' every third word. I don't even have to say it at all, because I should be so close to Jesus that He becomes a part of me. Melted into who I am and melting into all I do.
That includes what I watch.
Watching Grey's Anatomy did not reflect Jesus.
Surgeons talking about being God and meeting God in fellow surgeons... that does not reflect Jesus.
Watching men kiss men and women kiss women... that does not reflect Jesus.
Watching people have premarital sex with anyone and everyone... that does not reflect Jesus.
There is ONE God.
Marriage is for a man and a woman. I recognize that the world is messed up. I recognize that there are many LGBTQ people who have been wronged by Christians. That also does not reflect Jesus. My job is to love everyone. To show Jesus to everyone. To be His hands and feet to everyone. Even when I disagree with you. Even when you're sinning. Because, let's be real, I'm sinning too. Every day. But that does not mean I can make allowances for your sins, just as no one can make allowances for mine.
Sex is meant for a married couple. It's the intimate act of giving yourself to your husband or your wife. It's not something you should just do whenever you get a whim.
All of those reasons are reason enough to stop watching Grey's Anatomy, but none of them are THE reason.
For the past several, several, several months I've been "away" from God. I've been out of the Word. I haven't been praying. I've been floundering and struggling and just scooting my way through life.
I have been prioritizing everything above God. The One who deserves all of my attention.
How can I expect to accomplish anything if I push Him to the backburner?
So, I stopped watching Grey's because it had become such a part of my life that it was a god. It was an idol that I placed above the One who holds my heart. That's not okay. That's not okay on SO MANY LEVELS!
So, after struggling for hours and hours over this decision (which should not have been that difficult), I shut off Grey's Anatomy and turned my attention back to my King. My Father. Asking Him what I need to do next. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'll find it.
I'll find it, because for the first time in months, my priorities are actually straight.
Maybe it's time to take a look at your life. It'll be hard, but what things are you prioritizing over God? What things are you "allowing" for the sake of fitting in or being comfortable. Maybe it's time to make a change.
Living solo in LA has been the best and worst experience.
It's lonely. Like really lonely. I'm living in a place where it seems like everyone wants to be someone else. They're chasing dreams and trying to be somebody, just like me. The lonely part is that they can't see the somebody in the mirror.
They see a work in progress, which we all are.
They're waiting in line and trying to get somewhere. Into the offices of agents and producers. They walk in with work in hand and try to pitch ideas and themselves. Then they apologize for wasting their time, because somehow they can't see the value in who they are and what they do.
They may not be Meryl Streep or Christopher Nolan, but they're worth just as much.
We live in a world where we're always trying to get somewhere. We can never be happy with exactly where we are, especially if it's sitting in our bed watching Netflix and writing a blog post. And, yeah, that may be where I'm at right now.
I went to a college, much like everyone else, where good enough just wasn't good enough. I pushed myself to so many breaking points and told myself that crying over an A- or B was okay. I told myself it would make me better.
I had myself convinced that if I was so anxious I felt like jumping off a cliff, I must be in a good spot. I had to be on the verge of greatness, right?
I was self-deprecating, just like so many. Saying my work was horrible and I wasn't good enough and it wasn't good enough, and claiming that was normal because I was an artist and I could never be satisfied with what I do.
That's a lie.
It's all a lie.
I don't care who you are or what you do. You are valuable. Your time is just as valuable as anyone else's, so don't apologize for wanting to meet with producers or agents or CEOs or anyone. They should feel just as honored to meet you as you are to meet them.
Your value and your worth is not based on your degree, GPA, years of experience, social media following, or the amount of money in your bank account.
Your value is based on the fact that you're human. A human being created in the image of God Himself, just like every other human on this planet.
I'm a writer. I write some really crappy stuff, but I also write some really good stuff. I'm sick of looking at every piece of my work and thinking it's sub-par. Thinking it's stupid or unworthy of praise.
Why can't we be satisfied?
Sure, we should always strive for better, but that doesn't mean we have to hate ourselves and our work. It doesn't mean we can't give ourselves a pat on the back.
After all, in kindergarten you get a gold star for finishing a coloring page or a sheet of addition problems. Shoot, you get gold star for making it through the day without hurting someone or throwing something.
So, I'm here to give you some gold stars.
Did you get out of bed today? Congrats, here's a gold star. I didn't make it out until 11:30am. But, hey, I did make it out.
Did you get some work done today? Maybe you wrote a story or drew a picture or filed some kind of paperwork. Maybe you wrote a sentence on your novel. Congratulations, you deserve a gold star.
Did you drink some coffee today? Yeah, me too. Not sure if I can give you a gold star for that, but I'll certainly give you a high five.
Life is hard.
Adulting is hard.
Teenage-ing is hard.
Who am I kidding? Human-ing is hard.
Give yourself a break. Remember your worth and your value even when others try to take it away.
Oh, and don't forget that gold star. We all need one now and again.
Seven years ago (SHEESH!) I started writing this story called The Case Files of Rebecca Dalton. It was born in a really dark time of my life, but it stuck with me through many years of growth, neglect, and stupidity. It's been on the shelf for about a year or two and today, after watching a few episodes of Shonda Rhimes Masterclass, it came back to life.
It's the story of detectives and lawyers and other members of the criminal justice system of Charlotte, NC. All of the main characters have some sort of trauma in their past. Murdered children, domestic violence, cults, you name it and someone's probably dealt with it. The lead, Rebecca Dalton, used to have everything, until her eight-year-old daughter was murdered.
The pilot episode of the TV series (yeah, that's where we're at now!) picks up nearly a year after her daughter's death. She's trying to get cleared for regular duty as a homicide detective, all while her police family is trying to get on without her. There's a murder and some crime solving. There's also a lot of hurt and heartache.
So why is this different than any run-of-the-mill crime drama and police procedural?
Glad you asked.
This isn't a story of some cops and lawyers who exist only to hunt killers. These are cops and lawyers who see the dirtiest and darkest and most horrific parts of the world. They're just trying to survive. Meanwhile, the whole city is kind of depending on them.
It's raw and real. You won't find a single line about how great it is to save the world, because as far as they're concerned, they just need to keep it from falling apart.
SOOOOOOOOO I want to share a bit with you (the opening scene). If you steal this and pitch it to a network, I'll find you. This is my baby and we all know what happens when a mama bear thinks her baby is in danger. Don't try me... just enjoy.
INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - MORNING
REBECCA DALTON, nearly forty but doesn't look a day over thirty-five. Her hair falls effortlessly over her shoulders as she avoids eye-contact and picks at the corduroy couch beneath her.
DR. WILLIAM HILLMAN looks like every cliché for a psychologist. Thin, silver-rimmed glasses on the tip of his nose. White button-up shirt perfectly ironed and covered with a lint-free grey sweater. Quite the opposite of Rebecca, he looks thirty years his senior.
How're the meds going?
I wouldn't know.
I prescribed them for a reason.
Her eyes dart from the window to her doctor with a blink. Cold and unnerving, she glares at him, straightens her shoulders, and folds her hands together on her crossed legs.
I'm not like your other patients.
You're much more difficult.
Difficult, probably. Smarter, definitely.
Why aren't you taking them?
They freeze my senses. I can't do my job like that.
You can't do your job without them.
She nearly jumps off the couch and walks toward the window, because sharing her deepest feelings is easier looking at the city she protects than it is looking at the doctor tasked with protecting her. She crosses her arms, all of a sudden chilled.
I can't decide what I want, Will. I don't wanna feel it, but when I took those pills and it was all gone, I thought for sure I was dead. Because that dark and cold empty feeling.
That's gotta be what death feels like.
If you're not sleeping or eating or living a normal life, I can't clear you for regular duty.
She turns on her heels to look at him, arms still crossed over her chest.
I'll never live a normal life. Not after all of this. Your pills made me realize that. No matter how bad it hurts, I don't want to stop feeling it.
You'll be chasing after people who did to other people what someone did to your daughter. How will you handle that?
The same way I did before I buried Emily. The crime was no less awful before it happened to my kid.
But it's different now.
Everything's different now.
CUT TO: TITLES
Lover of Jesus and all things creative. Emerald Coast resident with a heart ready to travel the world, but I'll aways be Jenni from the coast.