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
Every year I make a video showing all of our adventures together. But this year I've already edited vlogs of every adventure we've had, so what more is there to show? I wanted something different, fresh. So, I wrote this "poem." It doesn't seem like enough, but NOTHING will seem like enough for your 50th birthday!
Every perfect poem about mothers has already been written.
Words like 'beautiful' and 'graceful' have been used to describe moms for decades.
And frankly, I can't say it any better, but I'm going to try.
You're more beautiful than the sunrise.
More brilliant than a double rainbow after a downpour.
More curious than any cat, and a lot cooler, too.
Your laugh is like therapy,
When it starts loud and robust and fades into breathless wheezes.
And then silence.
Your smile makes diamonds jealous.
It's more than that.
It makes the sun hide behind the clouds, because it knows it can't shine brighter.
Your wisdom comes in stages.
'You can do it' evolves into 'you're amazing' and then 'just do it already'
Tough love melted into shades of encouragement.
Works every time.
Your voice is like a blanket,
The fleece kind
That warms every inch of your body in an instant.
You're the only human being whose opinion matters in my life.
But you'll tell me the only human I need please,
You tell me the only way I can fail,
Is if I stop trying.
If I give up too soon.
And believe me.
Without you, I would have given up a long time ago.
I would look in the mirror and say,
'You're not good enough.
You're not enough.'
You would say,
'Enough is enough'
You taught me that belittling myself doesn't make the train move faster.
It doesn't bring success closer.
And it certainly doesn't motivate me to be better.
Every day of my 20 years you spoke life into my world.
You taught me to be brave,
And you taught me by example.
In the face of hatred and adversity,
You bent but you never broke.
You never stopped moving forward,
Even when it felt like we were on a down escalator trying to go up.
You never lied to me,
Even when the truth hurt.
You never doubted me,
Even when the world said my goals were impossible.
You pushed me,
But not too hard.
You inspired me,
And you still do.
In your 50 years of life, you've taught more people what it means to be
than you'll ever know.
You've proved that beauty, brains, and bravery can come in one package.
And that even in the face of abuse,
You can rise.
Like a phoenix.
Like an eagle.
Like a butterfly from the cocoon.
You said 'It's not over yet'
Even when the lights of your world had been shut off.
You taught me everything,
And I wish this 'poem' was more like Dr. Seuss or some other epic poet.
But to you I know it'll be better.
Because it's a Jenni B. original,
And that's all you ever want.
I love you more than anything in this world.
Thanks for never giving up on me, even when I'd given up on myself.
Thanks for letting me fly.
Thanks for being you.
You've lived HALF A CENTURY! Time to get started on that second half.
And I can't wait to join you on the grand adventure.
All my love always,
First of all, so sorry about the complete failure of '200 days of honesty'. Some things have changed. Allow me to explain...
I'm leaving Burbank. But probably not for the reason you'd think. I didn't get too homesick. I didn't fall flat on my face. I didn't burn down my apartment, although I did set the smoke alarm off several times (just for using my oven!). It's actually really exciting!
Positive Note Network is OFFICIALLY launching our show 'Life on a Positive Note' at the end of this year on INSPIRATION TV! It's a national & international channel that broadcasts people like Joel Osteen and other epic preachers. We're going to be on it!
So I'm leaving Burbank (but still working for Jamie Grace remotely!) to go on another grand adventure. Joanie B. and I are taking a mini cross-country roadtrip, stopping in various cities and filming the first six episodes of our show.
THIS IS INSANE!
So, are you ready for another grand adventure? Because I sure am!
Burbank has treated me well and I have no doubt I'll come back one day to work on a movie at Warner Brothers and a TV show at Disney and maybe even a few things at NBC Universal. But for now it's time to take PNN on the road (literally!).
Until next time...
I've been slack-a-lackin', but let's just be real and say this '200 days of honesty' is just a fancy title that means 'I'll post when I can and don't get mad at me when I can't'. Still sound okay to you? Good.
You may notice the blog name changed to 'The Girl with the Green Cup'. Partly because of my obsession with Confessions of a Shopaholic, and in that film Rebecca Bloomwood (my fashionista spirit-animal) uses the pen name 'The Girl in the Green Scarf'. And it's partly because I just got a really epic cup from Starbucks that's green and it just seemed right.
The past few days have been insanely wonderful. So let's recap...
- Moved to Burbank, CA, which is flipping beautiful btw
- Found the best Chinese restaurant in all of the world (except China, I guess)
- Went to Wal-Mart
- Went to Target (twice within two hours)
- Went to the grocery store
- Walked to Starbucks
- Drove on the 101 freeway
- Drove on the 405 freeway
- Parallel parked (kind of) so I could get coffee
- Drank several cups of coffee (maybe more than several, idk)
In case you wondered... I'm having the time of my life.
Until next time (which may or may not be tomorrow)...
Due to some unforeseen exhaustion, yesterday's post did not happen, so let's have a 2-fer, shall we? Realize this may happen every once in awhile. I'm a human, 20-something, not to mention a millenial so pssh, get over it (please & thank you).
Day 3 - New Mexico!
Before yesterday I had never been to New Mexico and while I can't give the state an accurate rating, I can give the city of Las Cruces a solid 9/10. Beautiful area, lovely people, and the morning was so crisp and wonderful. Highly recommend.
It was amazing to watch the scenery change from TX hill-country to Western desert. Despite the general opinion on the joint, I really liked the desert look. Although I do love cacti, so maybe I'm biased!
Day 4 - Arizona!
We drove from NM to Arizona and saw lots of cacti and dirt, so that's cool. It was pretty lame on day two. When we finally made it to Phoenix we took a little trip to the Arizona Mills mall (which is pretty neat-o!). We had lunch/dinner at Rainforest Cafe and I can't properly convey how horrible the whole experience was, but oh well.
Throughout the process of meandering around, my mom pointed out this pet store. She said "Oh look!" I looked over and saw two furry things and, thinking they were guinea pigs, I followed her into the store. SPOILER ALERT! They weren't guinea pigs. They were puppies. And I nearly cried when I found the most perfect and darling little English Bulldog and then I really almost cried when I saw the precious thing was $6000. I'm about to move to one of the most expensive US cities... I can't afford a $6000 puppy. So, I sadly left the little cutie behind. It would've been easier if they had been guinea pigs.
In other news, the Single Origin Mocha Ice Blended from Coffee Bean is to die for. So go out and try that bad boy if you're near a Coffee Bean and in the mood for an expensive coffee/chocolate milkshake. You probably won't regret it.
Tomorrow when I write to you I'll be in my very first apartment, so get ready. It's gonna be wild... eh not really.
I almost forgot about this post...
Today I spent the entire day in San Antonio, TX with my mom. We ventured around the Riverwalk and through the city and had such an amazing time. Our vlog for today was a travel diary, so it's posted below.
We left from the Holiday Inn around 11AM and drove the 2.5 hours to San Antonio. We have a beautiful 7th story room in the Drury hotel with a view of the city and a sliver of the Riverwalk (which is connected to the hotel!).
The vlog does a better job showing what today was like, but here's a few of the highlights:
• Spending time with my Momma in her old stomping grounds
• Seeing the Riverwalk
• Visiting the Alamo
• Eating at Dick's restaurant and nearly having a panic attack but also having the best time ever!
• Taking a river tour and learning all about San Antonio history
• Eating epic Tex-Mex
• Thinking I saw someone die (he was just drunk)
• Having a mariachi band sing at my dinner table (and it was only $15 + our tip)
It was really just a day of enjoying each other's company and meandering around wherever we wanted to. I don't think today can be beat, but we still have a few more days of travel, so we'll see.
Today is day one of my 200 days of honesty and holy smokes was it a day...
7AM - Left Fort Walton Beach, Florida with the plan of driving 8 hours.
9AM - Stopped in a quaint Louisiana town for some breakfast and ate the most DELICIOUS eggs benedict. It was Cracker Barrel so it wasn't some kind of classy, stuck-up eggs benedict. It was fried chicken eggs benedict topped with PIMENTO CHEESE HOLLANDAISE! Don't knock it until you try it, because it was brilliant!
10AM-3PM - Two girls goofing off and being completely ridiculous in the car (as we almost always are on roadtrips). This is something I HOPE you'll watch our vlog for. I'll put it at the bottom of this blog post so you can see it. That'll explain this chunk of our day so much better.
3:30PM-6PM - Stuck in the AWFUL city of Houston (no offense to Houston peeps but every experience I've had in your fair city has been horrible). We were legitimately stuck in traffic this whole time and it was horrible. It ate up the rest of our eight hours of driving (so much for that...). We tried to make the most of the traffic, but when you haven't eaten since 9AM, haven't been the bathroom since noon, and have been driving since 7, being positive become a challenge.
6PM-7PM - The search for food and a hotel becomes intense. We find one town with a hotel but our food options are very limited. We drive twenty more minutes and finally stop, get a room, and take a drive to Whataburger, which is supposed to cure all, right? WRONG. So wrong. We were in the drive-thru at least 30 minutes waiting for food that turned out to be cold, over-salted, and not exactly what we ordered. Fun.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE... Tomorrow we're going to Momma's old stomping grounds, San Antonio. It's less than three hours away. So we'll sleep in, meander over to S.A., get a nice room, eat a nice lunch and dinner, and just spend a great day together.
This was pretty much a rant post, but that's what day one of honesty gets ya... check out the vlog below for a more visual interpretation of our day. You won't regret it.
Pressing my face against the glass, I see them.
Diamonds sparkling, glittering, smiling at me.
They flash their perfectly cut and cleaned corners in my direction.
And I decide...
I'll be a diamond.
Watching TV I see her.
Perfectly poised on the runway, walking in six-inch stilettos without missing a beat.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, rosy cheeks, red lips.
Designed to be desired in every way.
A model with feathery white wings.
And I decide...
I'll be an angel.
Flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine I see her.
A perfectly Photoshopped smile.
Volumized hair pictured mid-graceful hair flip.
Legs that go for miles and curves perfectly designed for a little black dress.
And I decide...
I'll be her. The nameless girl with the perfect everything.
Staring in the mirror I see...
The no one with the tired blue eyes.
The no one with freshly waxed eyebrows.
The no one with a nose too big for her face, a crooked smile, and baby ears.
The no one who wants to be
... a diamond.
... an angel.
The no one who wants to be
If you ever feel this way please remember that God created you in HIS image. You are someone unbelievably special. Someone who is loved by the only One who matters. You're someone who is forgiven and set free. You're someone more valuable than all of the diamonds in the world.
Never forget it.
Welcome to 200 Days of Honesty. I'll be blogging every day for 200 days to chronicle what it's like transitioning from living with my family to living independently for six months.
I'm moving from Florida to California on Monday (which will be Day 1). My mom and I are driving across the country.
1 grand adventure.
I WON'T be sharing these posts on social media. So, if you want to see what's happening in my life for the next 200 days, then save this page to your bookmarks and know that at 9pm PST there will be a new post every day starting Monday, August 14th.
This truly is a grand adventure, and I hope you stick around.
This blog is a glimpse into my crazy life as a twenty-something female entrepreneur navigating life as the co-owner of a mother-daughter business. Things get pretty insane, but we make it all work.