Today...is not perfect by any means (honestly, perfect doesn't interest me much anymore).
Today, however, is special, because me and my partner-in-crime are in a better place than ever before. Today, we've reached more mental, physical, and financial goals than the days that came before it. We are digging into our individual pursuits and working, consistently, together.
We started out, like a lot of artists, with love as our only consistent resource. For our first year together, it was almost exclusively the long distance kind. I made a minimum weekly wage on a non union tour (my day rate wouldn't cover the price of a ticket to the show I was in), spending my few extra coins on visits with Shane and his family. Meanwhile Shane hustled to pay rent in New York between gigs. He did background spots and low budget acting roles, and worked until 6am at a Vaudeville-burlesque dinner theatre in the Village. He bounced between sublets in Harlem and Bed Stuy, while I lived entirely out of a suitcase from August to June.
When we were contracted to work together again, we were grateful just to be in the same city, eating the same groceries, riding the same subways. We worked hard and the shows took a toll on our bodies, but we had enough pooled resources to live decently, and eventually move to the West Coast. In LA, we started at (sigh) square one: biking and bussing around to get basic things for our apartment and search for jobs. I was lucky to find work right away in a restaurant that would help us pay the bills for three years, but the commute was over two hours without a car, and the shifts left me pretty drained--I struggled to make it to dance class and consistently work on my career ("Aren't you a bit old to be a dancer?" was the semi-joking response of my manager when I asked for promotions or time off).
But we had the beach. We had blue skies. We had an amazing roommate and a good kitchen for all our cozy dinners. We had cheap avocados, free hikes, and a group of artist friends we couldn't imagine life without. I took out a loan to get our first car after 6 months in LA, and time in it became a luxury I would never take for granted. In my car, over miles and miles of stagnant traffic I belted songs, practiced lines for auditions, listened to Abraham Hicks talks, and audio-journaled into voice memos, filling up on good vibes before/after heinous work shifts. In the summer I kept beach things in my hatch back and washed the sweat of a busy shift off in the waves of Venice or Santa Monica Beach.
Shane worked as a barista, a website designer, a mitzvah dancer, a video editor, a Postmates deliverer, and a sushi chef. He once sold his guitar to pay rent. He went on multiple tours in the middle US, Japan, and Germany: dancing, producing, choreographing, and filmmaking, and late last year he started his own business.
...It's not that we aren't still hustling. We are. Maybe more than ever.
We're just braver. More educated on the business side of things. More ready to collaborate and get in front of people. More non-stop. Shane is furiously shooting and editing 6 days/week, and choreographing for a studio in Beverly Hills on the side. I have organically become a bi coastal theatre gal just in the past month, and it suits me. Shane leans on me for networking, social media, and occasional creative notes. I'm leaning on Shane financially, for the first time...which, as the bossypants in the relationship, is a bit of a mind job. He's been encouraging me to relax into the concept, but as a serial worrier about money and responsibility, I mostly just bounce from gratitude to frustration and back again. Luckily I have a lot of singing and dancing and acting to focus on, and Shane has the patience and emotional stability of a Tibetan monk. F**k, I feel fortunate.
So here we are...still grinding, still spending time apart (today is our last day together before I go back to NY and Shane spends the month in Vegas), still prepping cozy meals, still hanging with our LA tribe, but all of us are shifting into new milestones, setting new precedents for our artistic careers and financial well being.
Today I sang my face off in ways I couldn't sing just a few months ago.
Today I rode in the front of our newly co-leased SUV (still a bit in shock at that one).
Today I actually had brunch, instead of working it.
Today I felt less clueless about my upcoming auditions than ever.
Today we realized our next steps are major things (office/warehouse/workspace, a mid range mortgage, maybe a wedding :))
Today is more satisfying than the last, and we have shed a lot of fear and tapped a lot of bravery to get to this middle rung on a very steep ladder, and that is f**king satisfying.
A few moments from the past 24 hours ---^^^