Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Business, friends, & building insanity.

I feel like I'm going crazy.

Really, there is only a small handful of people who understand the insanity and sacrifice within my own soul I'm putting up for constant belittling and chaos for my dream, and the dreams of others.

One day, this will all make sense. Everything I've ever said and done. When what I'm working on, who I'm working with, meets the bright lights of Hollywood... Everything will be pulled apart and analyzed. Only then, will it all make sense. 

I have a vision, a dream, a business plan... And a company. The company owner, well... It's complicated. Let's just say he is a very confused man. One day he wants to be an award winning actor. The next, a man completely silent - privacy in mind, far far away from anything Hollywood related. The next, a sports tycoon. The next, a happily married man with children nowhere near any business of any kind. The next, a maker of dreams. The next, just working to make my dreams come true. The next, completely washing his hands of any and all business. The next, a douchebag macho man, banging as many chicks as possible with his flashy millions. The next, belittling art and wondering why he's doing any kinds of films at all. The next, an award winning actor. The next, a man completely silent... So on and so forth. 

One day I run the company. The next, he runs it. The next, it's ours. The next, he wants everything... I don't know where I stand from one day to the next. 

One day, all my visions are wonderful. I'm leading my departments and the part of the company I lead... Which has been everything film. The next, it's the complete opposite. Two hours later, he's the big flashy owner doing everything... Two hours after that, well, second verse. Same as the first.. And second.. And third... 

I've spoken all this to him. I've said it all time and time again. I've explained that if he wants his privacy, there are certain things he must do and not do. I've also explained that I will not be held responsible for whatever privacy is compromised if he chooses to go against my advice. Because, I'm also always somehow held at fault for his personal and private decisions. 

In the same breath, it changes... It's no longer a concern of privacy, but how I can configure the biggest action film around him as the star. 

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I feel insane, I feel abused... I step away from others in business like this. 

I know why he's like this. Psychologically. I get it. He was the only child. He never had to share, or learn to respect other people's feelings or opinions. He's co-dependent, hence the fact that he's 'in love' with absolutely every single woman he dates, and plans marriage with all of them. Never actually been in love, despite his arguments against that statement.

He's never had to work. Just slipped thru a series of auto show jobs and into the life of a wealthy 'business man' who dabbled in acting a time or two. 

He doesn't understand a 9-5, he doesn't understand hustle or passion. He's said time and time again, "I'll never understand any actors dreams. Ever. I just don't care, or have the same passion." In the next breath, a sentance contradicting everything that was just said.

Is he a genius with technology? Yes. Anything else? Not so much. He thinks he is, tho. And it's his 30+ years of religiously watching wrestling and RAW and all that crap that has warped his mind into him really thinking that walking and talking so egotistically and 'me me me' will get him anywhere. 

It'll be me fault somehow when he makes a snap decision to put himself front and center of a media covered event, and he's being poked and prodded at. I'll get the, "This is why I didn't want to do this shit. I fucking hate film, and the media, this is the shit I wanted to avoid. I hate this company, this whole thing ruined my life." It'll be my fault. Somehow. As always. 

Then, when he makes the decision to say away and go private, I'll get the, "This is MY company. I need to be recognized! I did all the hard work!" Blah blah. My fault again. 

Basically, it's a no win situation. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. 

Plus side? Beyond all of that... He is still the only person who's ever believed in me enough to fund my ideas and my grand business plan. Only person. 

Beyond all of the schizophrenia, what feels to me like harassment and constantly putting his displeasure for what effects his choices have made to his personal life on me and what was supposed to be OUR business... He's let me go this far.

No one else has ever done that before. 

Can I take constant harassment and resentment and inability to make any choice? Sure. I guess so. Hey, I'd rather be dealing with this than sleeping my way to the top!

My fear? His vision and determination to be the 'top dog' will completely overrule and leave him blind to the way he not only treats others, (me particularly), but makes them feel. It's already started.

Another fear? His indecisiveness. This has already been a 3 year long struggle, and he can't see the connection between absolutely any kind of business - and keeping your word. Because he's never worked with or for anyone other than himself, he is blind to what we all know to be the simple fact that being a man/woman of your word is very, very important. And that delivering on days/times you've promised are mandatory. Expected. 

He doesn't understand anything I say, or hear anything I say, unless it comes from the mouth of a man. Another douchebag he determines to be a true business man.

Do I know he's lied to me about things? Absolutely. I know each and every lie that comes out of his mouth that he tried to color with numbers and technical figures, names and clearance deadlines, hoping I will get confused and not understand. Hoping that he'll lose me in his lie.

The only thing I know for sure, that I continuously pray for, is that this battle is coming to an end.

I see what he can't see, which is very important. 

I see the people. I hear their dreams. I feel their struggles. Regardless if I have the same ones myself, I recognize and sympathize with another human being in distress. It doesn't matter their specific dream, I speak the language of the lost. More importantly, I know how to get them found. 

It never has anything to do with money, or who you know. It always has everything to do with your ability to really and truly hear the other person. Feel what they're feeling, even if you don't understand it. Not be egotistical, and reach down to help them up. Not because you have to, because that's what people do. That's what we're all supposed to do, for everyone else.

My hopes for this? Create dreams. Help people find themselves, because who they are is hidden in their seeming inability to connect the dream in their soul to the life they're living. 

If they want to be the worlds best baker, I hear that. The worlds best, I don't know, balloon artist... I get that. I know what it's like. Apparently, the biggest problem is those who've never had a dream... Who've had everything handed to them. The spectrums of reasons between.

I'll take always feeling exhausted from having to endlessly repeat myself, always being worried he'll change his mind - again, always being the end of every problem - having it all screamed and yelled at me in tones of 'I'm a fucking bro, I'm the shit, listen to me because it's mine and I said so', wondering what else is being hidden from me - or conveniently not told to me, being on a continuous brink of tears because he just doesn't understand that other people don't treat other people that way - and because he doesn't understand that he doesn't understand business and everything it entails - truthfully... And everything else... I'll take it.

I'll take it. If that means seeing 200 people's lives make sense. If that means seeing an entire state rise up, become something. If that means creating a new wave of positivity in 'Hollywood' with what I can do... I'll take it.

A part of me believes that in all of this, he may just find himself. He doesn't know that regardless how he treats me, he doesn't even understand any of how it resonates within me. Regardless of hours of explanation. He always says, "It's just women." Or, "I'm just not a good people person, you're better with that." Or, "I'll just never get it."

He won't. Not now. He doesn't even understand that all of the above has basically pulled my friendship card. How do you maintain a friendship with someone like that? Who would want to?

But maybe, just maybe, one day.. He will get it. Maybe, one day, it'll all make sense to him... For his own good.

Regardless, given that everything remains positive and hopeful... It's going to be a movement. 

I understand all my work and contribution and exactly all that I've done and continue to do may fall away, be hidden by him standing on a stage proclaiming his ownership. I understand that. I understand that what I know needs to happen to be successful, for his benefit and everyone else's, may be halted one random moment by a decision he finds to be better somewhere in his mind. I understand that. 

I've never even been someone who is about, 'put my name here, here and make sure they know I did this'. I'm not. But you have to remember, in this industry? It matters where your name is. It matters what credits you have, because if you don't? You never did it. You can't continue to rise up. You can't ever get anywhere else, other than the place you're currently in.

What will never be hidden, overlooked, or made to feel inferior are the lives about to be changed. The amazing reward in their souls, the new uplifting outlook on life because someone believed in them won't ever go away. Nothing I ever try to do with the intention of bettering everyone will ever be taken away from me. 

Call my ideas yours, fine. Claim the entire business, fine. Stamp yourself everywhere your penis says you must because you're 'the man'. 

I've already had what had been promised to me as co-ownership taken away, he's proclaimed over and over that now - the company is 'MINE'. I've gone from a co-owner, to the Film Division Management.

I've already accepted that I accept the scripts, I write the scripts, I hire the crew. I work absolutely everything out in pre-production to set up the film(s) to be shot and do 200 things while he pushes buttons on a computer... I figure out the marketing plans, tailor them to each specific films story and actors and message... I was promised co-ownership for all of the work on basically running every piece of what will make him the most money. I was promised co-ownership for creating what he will sell.

I've already had my authority and knowledges belittled and abused time and time again. I've been told, "Yeah, you can handle that. You know more anyways." To only have that turned around, spat back in my face, and told I know nothing. That this man who has said his only concern is making millions and has no passion or knowledge in film at all, now knows - suddenly - overnight - how to run a film set. I'm doing it wrong. 

I've been promised things that he has taken back violently, with yelling - shouting of 'MY COMPANY' - and confrontation. 

I've broken down numbers and marketing plans to be told I'm wrong. Then, he turns around and asks another person who 'knows more', and suddenly it was his idea and he's agreeing with me. 

"My money." - "My company." - "My work." ...Such selfish statements. He's said time and time again, "I don't know people. I'm not a people person. I don't relate to actors or film people at all, I don't care to." Yet, because he's a victim of violent masculinity, misogyny and male entitlement... He needs to continuously stomp on me, kick me while I'm down and verbally assault me to make damn SURE that I know 'who the fuck I'm dealing with'. 'Who the fuck is in charge, here.'

He doesn't even understand that he has no passion, and no compassion for me or anyone else. If you ever met him, he sure looks like it. He's been explained to be in terms of the "abusive husband" type. It's been told to me that he is exactly that way - nice, kind, polite to people's faces... But when you get to know the real him? Well, let's just say if you were around and someone was about to shoot him, he'd use you as a shield & not think twice. ESPECIALLY if it came to money. He'd offer your life for cash.

If he only knew that speaking to others with compassion, considering their feelings, treating them how they want to be treated... It goes a long, long way. Regardless his demands, if he spoke kindly and respected anyone but himself - it would be beautiful.

He's said he's read this blog - and the only thing he has processed in his warped mind to take away from it is, "I need more power. I need people to make sure this is MINE." 

My soul is tired of fighting. My head is numb from rewording everything 1,000 times. My nerves are shot from the constant ups and downs of 'will it/won't it'. My heart is bruised because, well, no one understands. No one. 

I spent a half hour today in tears due to a recent demand he threw at me, I - of course - having 'no place to argue' - being stuck. I know the rules of a film set, film ettiquite. He doesn't, he said he didn't care. "I don't care, it's MINE." How does someone deal with that? How? 

I had a nice long talk with a very compassionate male friend who advised me, "April, this isn't a good person. No one treats others this way, especially YOU. All that you have done! You and only you are why he can make his millions, and he's treating you like 2 day old trash. You don't deserve someone treating you that way. Ever."

It's so hard to stay. I feel like I'm in the worst abusive relationship ever. I feel like every single day, my heart and soul are ripped out of my body by this company owner, and beaten until there's nothing left. Truly, I even believe he enjoys it. He enjoys my heartache, and tears, and misery. 

I believe, hell - I can truly even say that I KNOW - he's sitting there with a smile on his face. He's thinking, "This bitch wouldn't throw away everyone's dreams. Or hers. I can treat her however I want and do whatever I want and she won't go anywhere."

He needs to figure out how to be a good person who treats people kind and with the respect they deserve before he ever considers being an active one. But, I'm just some idiot who knows nothing, so... Ignore me. I report to my master, like a fucking slave.

Regardless how many times he throws, "I want MY life, I want MY retirement, I want me first, before anyone else..." At me... Regardless how it makes me want to throw up due to the horrifying egotism and lack of consideration for others coloring everything he says with selfishness... It will never take away the reason I stay and fight, and believe, and continue.

I don't just want to take over the world. I want to give people a reason to keep dreaming, keep hoping. Keep waking up with smiles on their faces. 

There are a million ways to do that. I'm just choosing to do it with film industry pros/hopefuls.

There are hundreds, hell, even thousands of women aside from me in the world - not even just the film industry - that have had to work/deal with/be ran by men like him. I'm not alone. I guess that's something I should always remember.  It's so sad that it's being continuously proven to me that men in business treat the women who should be their equals like dog shit. He's texted me in relation to this blog, and aside what I have spoken above - he's just taken a stance on why he is the way he is. How I just need to accept it. "Wrestling is who I am, I want money, I want dominance." 

What any decent human being who read this, being about them and how they make someone feel, may have said? What I would have said, and most of you would have said?

"I'm sorry I made you feel that way. I apologize. What can I do to change that?"

Nope. Not - even - close. 

But, why should I expect him to? If he hasn't cared at all the first time I spoke all this to him on the phone, 2nd time, 3rd time, 4th time, 5th time... He's even had an ex-girlfriend suggest to him to, "Treat April like a human being, stop being so disrespectful." What did he tell her? "Mind your own business." 

That's why they broke up, actually. He spent a good 6 months yelling at me, telling me that I and I alone was the reason for their breakup. I was the only person who coul have caused that.

Couldn't possibly have been the fact that another human bring requested kindness toward another, and he spat in her face? 

Nope, my fault.

*sigh* 

I just... I don't know anymore... 

He's succeeded in beating me down until there is nothing left. When he calls, and I have no energy inside me to even sound happy or joyful or pleasent... And I say, "I'm just tired, I can't do this anymore." What does he say? "Well this is my money, and my company, so deal with it."

Everyone sacrifices something for the greater good I guess, right? I'm just hoping the stress and upset doesn't create a tumor or ulcer or anything. 

*another big sigh*

Say a prayer for me? I need all the prayers I can get. So does he, really, I guess. Send me prayers of strength, send him prayers of compassion and understanding.

(Thank you)

Please also understand, contrary to popular belief - being viewed as 'overly emotional' or 'upset', or crying and venting isn't something I 'just do because I'm a woman'. Men should be able to release their feelings, also. This is a very lonley road. Speaking it to him has done nothing, and I'm only human - I need to sort out my feelings and release them. The best way for me to do it is here. I, well... I have really nowhere else to put it. No one else to fully describe it all too. It's my outlet. 

So, thank you for allowing me to be human. Whoever you are. (Let's grab lunch? *wink*)

To be honest, I typed all this out and sent this post to him in a last ditch effort as a 3rd person message to hopefully, maybe, this time get thru to him. To maybe, finally, have him understand. To maybe, finally, have the change or the talk that will change things.

No changes.

*...sigh*

In conclusion...

Beyond my life, i want to see the lives of others improved because I have lived. Because I have done what I'm doing. Because I sat and wept with them, held their hands and looked deep into their eyes, telling them with my whole being, "I believe in you, and I will do everything I possibly can to help you."

In the end, that's all that will ever matter. 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ever After

So, Ever After came on. I haven't seen it in ages. 

I loved this movie. I was always insanely obsessed/intrigued for some reason. It came out when I was 9. I'm 25 now, released in 1998... That's the right math, right? (I can't do math. I failed, literally, 5 times.)

So anyways... I was insanely intrigued. For the time period, Danielle's story... Now, as I'm watching it I realized... I was basically Danielle in one of my past lives.

I always knew I was in that time period. I think I was in it twice? 

I know that I was in love with a man who was ready to be king. Some kind of situation like that. He was in love with me, I was a peasant - a servant. We kept seeing each other behind everyone's back. 

We didn't have a happily ever after, tho. When they found out about me, they murdered me. He killed himself not long after.

No, not a Romeo & Juliet. Soulmates. That shit hurts. I also believe I was made an example by his parents/family/royal court. They either murdered me in front of him, or left my body for him to find.

It's really ironic to know all this stuff... Hence, why I love the movie 'Winter's Tale' so much. Only a couple more days until it's out on DVD! Eek!

Really, I remember wearing those clothes. Talking that way. Riding horses, not cars. I remember having that type of room, bed, wearing those pajamas... All of it.

Having people treat me similarly... In the end, having my life so uselessly discarded. I was killed and tossed to the side like garbage, with no concern from his family or mine (especially his, they would have fixed it) how much we meant to each other. 

I may or may not be confusing that time period with the Salem Witch Trials... I was there, too. I don't know the specific dates in the life I'm talking about, all I know is the clothing/language/setting/homes/furnishings of 'Ever After' match it.

Maybe there was another lifetime I was a servant, and they just didn't like my family for whatever reason and had me killed off? I do know, also, that there was a 'great gatsby' era where my family was a mob type family, the roles were reversed, and he was shot in front of a pool in front of me.

We keep looking for each other in every life. I imagine this one is no different. Not like he could ever possibly know that or anything. Well, he could... Everyone could know all that stuff. In this lifetime, I bet it's some retarded 'wall' between us - seeing as how the most information I've ever extracted from any of my medium friends is that he's already in the biz, & something about writing. 

Is that why I'm in this fucked up industry? Ye gods. Three cheers for saving souls!

I feel like there were so many lifetimes in whatever era that is... I know I was also a prostitute on a riverboat in one lifetime, also. More saloon/Wild West era for that, tho.

I sound completely insane. Makes me feel a ton better that there are dozens and dozens of other people out there who know about their past lives, too.

Just YouTube it. Or google. 

My favorite part of this movie is when they're sitting around the fire, playing rock/paper/scissors and talking. How fucking cute are they?! 

Fangirl moment. I do love this movie, and Drew Barrymore was the very first person I ever worked with. She is as sweet and kind as you could ever imagine. I was only an extra who she didn't have to be kind to, but was. Let me hang around her and listen to her be a director, even made sure I was eating and pulled me into a scene for a close-up shot that later got cut. 

She was very good to me. 

I'll save detailed details for another blog. She's on Twitter & Instagram now, I'll tag her - hopefully she'll read it. I believe those who show real kindness and compassion to others, especially women - especially in Hollywood... Should know how much their kindness mattered. 

That's really rare.

Anyways... I love this movie. 

...The above sentance I had to leave off on and pick up business calls. Fast forward a couple days, lost my train of thought.

You can find it, I'm sure. *wink*

Hugs, XO

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WARNING: Graphic photo of self injury.

I was at my parents house tonight, and I decided to go through all my boxes and storage I haven't taken anywhere with me. (Too much to cart around, really.)

Tucked under old awards and diaries, I found this. 

This was a photo I took of my arm after I self injured when I was 16. This was the day before the night I decided I was going to kill myself. 

WARNING: It's graphic. I even hid it beneath another photo because of it, seeing as how blogspot takes your first photo in a post and makes that the image for the thumbnails. 

For some self injurers, not too graphic. 

Anyone else? Very graphic. 

So, here's safety photo 1:


I've taken a photo of the photo, and placed it next to a photo of my arm as it is today.

Again, WARNING. Stop scrolling now if you're in recovery, or prone to triggers. 

Especially if you're dealing with depression.

There's a reason I'm posting it... Because it needs to be seen. I'm not ashamed of my struggles, or what I've been thru.

Most people are comfortable seeing and talking positively (in support of) those dealing with drug addictions or alcoholism, what have you... But not self injury. 

Well, enough stalling for those who are still contemplating.

Here it is... 




*Cleaner, bigger image can be found on my Instagram*

That was cleaned up, also - it was my first pass. I cut over 100 times of varying depths that night before I tried to kill myself. 

Clearly, you can also tell my parents have redone my room since I've left. Thank god, LOL. 

That arm is where most of my scarring is. Being Italian, covered in freckles (they never show well in photographs, or are photoshopped out for some reason), my scars are often hard to see. 

Unless you look at the right angle. 

I have a lot. 

I thought about covering them up. Getting rid of them. They have fancy creams and stuff for scars. 

Then... I thought... No.

I can't get rid of them. I can't. 

Not only is it evidence of my 10+ year struggle with self injury, it's evidence of my survival. 

I fucking survived. 

I made it! 

I kicked it's ass all by myself. I'm really proud of that. 

So, yeah, I'll keep them. I can always look at my arm and be reminded that above my addiction to pills or alochol... That, that right there, was the hardest to kick.

I still think about it all the time. I still desire it. I still want to do it. It's the one addiction that really doesn't want to go away. 

It's the one I've fought the hardest, that I have to continuously remind myself I'm bigger than. 

I did it. 

So many others have done it, too. Kicked it's ass, and survived. 


Don't ever give up on yourself. Ever. 

You're worth every dream you have, every wish you'll ever make. You're worth friendships and fantasies, vacations and long nights of phone calls and sleep overs. 

You're worth absolutely everything you've ever wanted. 

Don't give up on yourself.

Hey, I still struggle with it! I'm human, ya know. If I can do it, so can you. 


If you ever need anything, I'll be here for you as much as I can. There's countless others out there, too, that can help you.

Just ask. Help is always out there. Help I wish I knew existed when I was rescuing myself. 

Self injury is real, and needs to be recognized. Not stigmatized, or stereotyped. 

If I can make it out happy, and alive... I know you can, too. 

Hugs & love. XO

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Anonymous People

"I'm Courtney Love. I just was never caught." - Kristen Johnston, on being an addict in recovery.

*This blog post is inspired by the documentary, 'The Anonymous People'*

I've blogged about my addictions and recovery several times. It seems like it's never enough, really. Especially after seeing the wonderful documentary 'The Anonymous People'... Just gonna hit it another time!

I started drinking when I was 12 or 13. Started at friends houses when parents weren't home or asleep... By the time I was 15, it was an every day 'I'm spending the night at so-n-so's' when I was really at the party house, drinking my weekends away.

Pills came in as friends began using bullshit excuses to get Adderall perscriptions. In the bathrooms of the middle school and high school, we would crush them and snort them - or take them in the mornings in the parking lot before school began. By the time I was 14/15, it had graduated to pain killers and varieties of other things like Stacker 3's & so on. 

Self Injury was my first addiction. Even now, still the one I battle the most. I started cutting myself with razors, knives, CD cases & more when I was 8/9. That addiction/coping mechanism lasted 10+ years.. One I have relapsed on four'ish times since I gave it up at 18/19.

I have no evidence of my self injury outside of the numerous scars littered among both my forearms, thighs, and wrists. 

I have no evidence of my addiction to pills other than the unsteady heart beating in my chest, and the anxiety that builds inside me when I hear anything that sounds like pills rattling around any kind of container. 

I have no evidence of my alcoholism other than the fact that my memories are alarming yet hazy, and no one knew it was more than just a party for me. I wasn't the life of the party... I had a problem. 

Many people that knew/know me still have no idea I am in long term recovery. 

Honestly, watching this documentary, I thought of comments and such I am met with when I mention my history with addiction that I haven't mentioned before. They now seem relevant. 

For some reason, the fact that I'm an actress makes people shrug and do one of those, "Ah, it figures." Faces. Like just because my desire is to be in films and on TV is my reason for addiction. Almost like that alone makes people think, 'Well, she's in Hollywood. No surprise. They're all addicts. Duh. You walked into it. Your fault.'

For some reason, when it's brought up that I'm 25 - they don't believe anything. Nothing, at all. For some reason, because I'm a young person, I don't have a problem, nor have I ever had a problem. I'm 25, what could I possibly know about addiction? I'm young, so how on earth have I been thru anything enough to even state that I've battled, and won that fight? Yes, I get those comments from others in recovery, too. 

For some reason, because I've never been arrested for it - I've never been to rehab for any of it - because I fixed everything for myself, by myself, that I don't really fit under the 'recovered/addict' umbrella. Because I've sobered myself up and re-wired my brain on my own... Well, some think that's impossible, and because it's viewed as impossible - it never happened.

When I realized I had a serious problem, it was after I tried to kill myself at 16. I didn't just wake up - I WOKE UP. I'd seen a jail, I'd seen the problems building around me... I didn't have a car, didn't have a license yet, and I wasn't aware of any dialogue around recovery. It had taken effort to even find information on the internet (at that time texting wasn't even around, neither were smart phones and Facebook). 

I didn't know anything other than I needed help. My parents were in denial about everything, thinking I was just a teenager going thru puberty or something. My parents turned a blind eye, not understanding and not sympathetic to anything I was battling. 

I don't blame them for that. They didn't know because they'd never seen.

...and they certainly didn't want to see it in their child.

That comes with explanations to others, as having to somehow admit they missed a sign - or fucked something up somewhere, perhaps? That's how they thought of it, anyways.

So, all I knew was that if I was going to survive myself - if I was ever going to outlive my aunt who died from drug related diseases at 38... Or live other than my uncle, who was in jail for drugs and violent activity... I had to do something on my own.

Quite honesty, I preferred doing it on my own. My school counselor and my mother had angerly and bitterly thrown, "Fixing myself" and "Getting help" at me - but if all I would be met with was angry adults who threw this in my face constantly, and viewed me only as a child who was doing this to herself... I'll do it myself, thank you. 

If I was ever going to get the opportunity to live out any of my dreams, I had to act quickly.

So I did. 

I researched psychology, I watched a lot of Oprah, and I realized I had to change my thoughts - friends - and surroundings. 

I realized I was the only person in charge of my recovery, of my happiness. Not my parents, not my friends, not the world. Just me. 

I did it.

Looking back now... I can't even believe it. 

As I got further along in my recovery, I really was anonymous. By the time I realized I had an issue and began really sobering up and making changes, I was graduating high school. The people, I stopped hanging out with. I started isolating myself to do work on myself. By the time I went to college, none of the people there knew anything about who I was, or what I'd done. 

Neither did the groups of people I left behind.

I kept quiet. Stayed away from parties and gatherings at bars, being viewed by others as a 'loner', which was fine. I didn't feel like telling them my story when I wasn't even sure of it yet myself. 

It was only when I started really living, I guess you could say, and working toward my dream of being an actress, that I began to open up. 

The first time I ever mentioned anything, I was taking my first acting class. Acting for TV & Film. I went outside with some others for a smoke break, and another student - Eddy - walked up to me. He was very forward and seemingly crass, borderline perverted and openly egotistic. That's how I viewed him, anyways, in my quiet corner of silence and secrets. 

So he walked up to me, off in my corner, right in my face. Pinning me against the wall. He looked right into my eyes, silently, for what felt like hours. Then, he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me into a warm hug. 

He whispered, "I'm sorry."

"For what?"

He pulled back, and grabbed my arm. The arm that is littered with the most visible scars from my battle with self injury. 

I panicked, silently. Then, he said. "I won't say anything. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"I had a cousin do that, too. I know you don't know me very well, but if you ever need to talk, privately... I'm here for you."

I was shocked. "Thank you."

"You're beautiful. You're talented. Don't give up on yourself."

Every view I had of him changed in that moment. He, truthfully, gave me a little more inspiration to not only continue with my recovery - but to be proud of it.

Wait... His cousin dealt with it, too?

I was still so in-the-dark about any of it really being something other people dealt with, too.

As I began auditioning, I would see casting directors and actors alike make judgmental glances to my arms. After all, those scars are the only real visible evidence I've been thru anything at all. 

At first, it was deeply embarrassing. I withered back into the hole of the self-injuring, which was always wearing sleeved shirts. Always covering up, even in 90 degree summer weather. 

After awhile, I couldn't stand to cover up anymore - I couldn't stand the constant nudging and attempts to get me to come party and hang out with everyone else, only to end in, "My god you're no fun! You're so boring!" 

After awhile, I got mad.

Telling the head of the wardrobe department on a notable feature film, "Yeah, I was a cutter for 10 years." Or an actor you're working with, "I'm an alcoholic, I don't want to go." Is never met well. For me, anyways.

I've had people laugh, and say, "Yeah, sure you are." Or, "Uhm... Okay?" To the most common, "Oh wow, you're one of THEM." 

More anger.

Anger turned into white hot rage as I became more proud and sturdy, loud and outspoken about anyone who had any questions or had issues of their own when they found comfort in me and chose to discuss it privately.

White hot rage as I would walk thru feature film sets and see the crew doing any kind of drug behind the trailers. As I was moving thru the hotel after a day of filming and heard partying going on all hours of the night with many attendees my age or younger. As I was met with more and more sexual solicitations, because as an aspiring actress it's just 'something I should do'. 

I got mad, and I opened my mouth. 

About all of it.

To individuals, privately, at first. Then, to agents who always hounded me to drink with them or come to their party. I got personal, criminalizing them to their faces for encouraging under aged actors to engage in those activities. No, it shouldn't be something that we just do. It's an introduction to a deadly lifestyle, and no one wanted to admit that. 

The majority still doesn't.

Warning others to keep their children/friends/selves away from so-n-so, and take the high road. Telling casting directors, directors and agents - managers - etc. in Hollywood and surrounding film areas exactly what I thought about whatever topic they brought up, or comment that was said to me that I deemed to be degrading, dangerous, or unkind. 

I was dropped/left several agents because of it. Walked out of auditions/casting offices. I have been told I'll be 'black listed' more times than I can count because I refused a party/gathering or refused to perform any sexual acts. 

I just need to keep my mouth shut, they say. If I just shut up about my recovery and battles with addiction/other factors that has proved to be difficult for me and others like me... If I just went along with it, especially the harassment they called flirting or requests for sex, they say, I would get where I wanted to go so much faster.

I realized very quickly how deadly keeping my mouth shut could be.

My very best friend that had aspirations as a film director killed himself. The only other man that got even almost as close to me - killed himself, too. 

I realized that I had to speak up not only for myself... But for everyone else struggling in addiction, recovery, or limbo. For everyone putting a razor to their wrists. For everyone walking around aimlessly, being pushed or pulled in one direction or the other in life and/or the film industry. 

I really loved that documentary. I, personally, have a loose vocabulary when it comes to speaking of my own addiction and addiction in general. I don't always use, as the documentary touched on, correct dialogue - for the community and others. I don't care how they perceive me. I don't care about putting it perfectly. It is what it is. It was what it was.

That, and I like to add a little ha-ha here and there. If I can. *wink*

I've been left out/kicked out of a lot of life/career things because of my struggles with who I was and what I'm recovering from. Because of what I believe, and what I stand up for. Who I stand up for. 

The most important thing, however, is other people's reactions to my truth. To my positivity.

Above and beyond what any agent/casting director/article/negative person will ever say... The people who have been touched or uplifted... Those are the ones who matter.

I absolutely LOVED, was touched deepest and inspired the most by the beautiful Kristen Johnston and her story. Amazingly talented actress, Emmy award winner, and she dealt with an addiction to pills & alcohol, too. 

Maybe because I'm not a magazine fiend, or media super consumer I have missed other actresses standing up and speaking their truth as it relates to recovery... Or maybe, it's just that being 25, all I have ever seen of the media and it's 'celebrity coverage' of drugs and alcohol has always been the darkest moments for others. 

I've seen Britney lose her mind, but I've never heard any messages of recovery behind it.

Same with the others, really. 

That, and honestly I just don't watch TV or read magazines or anything like that. If it's not on TCM or in a documentary such as this... I'll probably miss it. Unless someone else tells it to me, anyways.

Especially for women. I don't know why it seems to be even more silent. Again, maybe I've just missed it.

Anyhow, her pieces in the documentary struck me. My dreams match her reality, and I haven't ever seen another women as honest and truthful in this industry. That is where I one day hope to be, & she has walked the rope of addiction, too.

It's hard to find any role models as women now a days anyways. I commend and thank her for her book, 'Guts', too. Yes, I will certainly be picking that up ASAP.

As for the message the whole documentary passes along, you must watch it. I personally don't subscribe to the huge relying on others - yes, people are important - but I am a believer that you really do have everything inside yourself to make it thru on your own.

What was I saying? Got distracted... My cats needed lovin'...

I get off point - point is, watch it for it's overall amazing message. It's really something others need to be aware of, and know it exists. 

The moment from 'The Anonymous People' that struck me the most and resonated with my personal experiences was when Kristen said that she ran into a friend at a party in LA that told her to stop telling everyone she was sober. She told him she was writing a book about it, and he said it makes everyone uncomfortable. 

That was when she realized that was exactly why she wrote it.

When she read from her book and said she isn't ashamed of who she is, and will tell whoever she wants... That was so powerful for me. I instantly felt like, "Oh my god... There's someone out there in this industry like me?! No way!"

Not that I have tons of time punched into my card in the film game, but I haven't ever met someone like her before... & I've been around.

Then, when the media wrote that review about her 'mortifying the audience' as she talked about her addiction for the first time on Letterman... I not only had yet another reason to hate the media and their further glorification of addiction when they should have congratulated her bravery and honesty... But I realized... That probably would have never happened if it had been a man, and the media as a whole has no intention of really taking a conscious step in helping this wide spread problem. 

Or, at least, acknowledging their role in it. 

Like the bullshit article they wrote. 

Then she went along to say the quote I had mentioned at the beginning of this article. I am, too! I can only imagine what would have happened to me with even the seemingly minuscule success I have had up to this point if I was still in addiction. Ye gods... I don't even want to think about it. 

...& why is it so fucking hard for her to get a sober high school in NYC?! I'll carry a sign and picket! Dates and times, I'm there! Michigan is close to NYC!

In a nutshell... Addiction is real. 

It's women, men, actors, actresses, young, old, doctors, laywers... Grandparents, moms, neighbors, etc. 

For me, personally, since my life is in film... That's the place I see the most of it. It's hard to be on any set, truthfully. Especially with a cast majorly comprised of people of my age.

It's really cool for me, a former/recovering addict, as a 25 year old girl, an actress... to know that there are other women out there, in this industry, like Kristen. If she's out there, and she's not afraid to speak up and be honest... Not only should I not be silenced either, but there must be more of us. 

...and there's always strength in numbers. 

Whatever it is - whatever you believe in - whatever you need to speak on to help others... Do it. Don't be silenced. Don't be afraid, don't let them push you around. 

Be loving, be smart, but stand up.

Silence kills, too.

"If the finger that points at me will help somebody else get sober, then I'm not ashamed of it." - William W. Daniel, surgeon.

Hugs. XO

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

What were you born to do?

I found a quote the other night that I absolutely love...


It's so true. 

I thought about it, and I have to admit I'm so abundantly blessed to know exactly what I was put on this earth to do.

I'm so blessed to have the greats like Mama Lucy, P. Swayz, Jack Benny (just found that out the other day), Christopher Reeves (just found that out too), Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra & more as my active spirit guides assisting me with my life's purpose.

It's refreshing to know, and have confirmed time and time again exactly what my life's purpose is. Not to be a regular actress, no. I had to start there, sure. I had to witness that set of struggles, but my mission is so far above and beyond that it's refreshing. It's inspiring and uplifting. 

I've spoken about it several times before. 

What propelled me to write this specific blog was that very quote, and the question I have been asked by so many people. 

"Well, how do I know what my purpose is?"

It's simple, I think. 

Here's some ways I feel are pretty simple to help you figure out your mission:

- What are you passionate about?
Not in just a regular way. In a soul shifting, life altering, uplifting/inspirational way. What is the one thing you dream about? What is the one thing - job, career - that you fantasize about doing? 

It has to be positive. Your answer to your mission is always in love and light.

What makes you feel peaceful? Joyous? What would be the job that made you smile every morning? 

There's a huge part of your answer. Huge. Most of it, really. 

Hint: Usually, most always, it involves helping others of every age, race, gender and financial bracket. 

- I'm passionate/in love with different things. What now?
One always overrides the other. If not, then how do you make each of those positive things meet and run together?

Example: I want to be a film maker, but I'm equally passionate about helping animals.

Okay, fantastic. So maybe think of a brilliant screenplay about an animal, or an animal rights story. Write it, and marry your film and marketing campaign with animal rights organizations. Donate half of your films profits to animal rights charities. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Before you know it, it'll all be flowing together. 

Do a documentary on animal rights. 

You see my point. 

Hint: Absolutely every time your passion/dream can involve helping other people, enriching the quality of lives, giving and assisting others... The world WILL bring it to you, & make it happen.

Example: I want to be a kindergarten teacher, but I also dream of helping the homeless. 

Perfect. So go get all the schooling you need to be a teacher, work as a kindergarten teacher for awhile maybe, then work on finding an organization or charity that teachers donate time to?

Create one. Create a place for kids to go where teachers donate time and teach them.

...Stuff like that. 

- You make this sound simple. It's not that easy.
I'm the fucking queen of 'It's not that easy' land, buddy. Believe me. An actress turned producer turned executive producer/marketing consultant turned production company co-owner at 25, I fucking get it. Believe me.

If there isn't a bridge, I build one. If it doesn't exist, I create it. If it seems to be impossible, I flip every fucking piece of it until it looks like nothing but completely possible. 

That often takes time, patience, and a strong vision with unwavering faith. 

Regardless my age, it hasn't been simple. People seem to have this misconception that because I'm 25, I must have been handed things or did something for it.

The only thing I've ever done was speak my mind, be fearless to say 'No', and work my ass off. Every second of every day. 

I've lived in California, I've traveled everywhere, I've taken chances and opportunities and not settled for bullshit. 

It's tough to stand up for myself in a room full of big-wigs that think I'm some stupid actress, and have the potential to quite literally make or break me. 

But I have, and I do. 

If I'd have settled for less than what I'm worth, or accepted things I wasn't comfortable with, I can promise you that I'd already be 'famous'. 

I've turned down several big name films in the middle of auditions, even after when I got the 'you're cast!' call - because I wasn't ok with several things they suddenly wanted from me, or asked me to do. 

Believe that. 

Just because standing up for yourself and refusing to settle is difficult, and at the time makes everything seem more stressful and more impossible, doesn't mean you should give up! 

True Story: I had an audition with two female casting directors in Michigan several years ago. Most people in Michigan already know EXACTLY who I'm talking about. 

I go in, I say the agent I'm with, and one woman says to me, "Oh honey, you need to get rid of that agent. He never sends in the tapes auditions like he says he does."

I'm panicked. I'm freaking out. I'm still relatively new, and unaware of politics or facts. 

I figure these people must be telling the truth, right? Why would they just say that?

"Really?"

"Yeah."

I leave the audition, and immediately call me agent. I want to know what's going on, right? Wouldn't anybody?

"Hey, so I went today and they told me you don't send in audition tapes..."

He lost his mind. 

"THOSE BITCHES ARE SO MUCH TROUBLE! I CANT BELIEVE THEY WOULD TELL TALENT THAT! HOW UNPROFESSIONAL! NOW THEY PUT YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PRIVATE ISSUE! April, they've told other people this too. I don't know what they have against us but this needs to be fixed."

So, he calls them. He then tells me he took care of it.

Haha... Wrong...

So I had MySpace back then. I swear to GOD - I got a random message. 

Hmm. Who is this? 

I open it.

It's some man, yelling at me. A man who does not work with or for the team of the two women casting directors, yet he's telling me, "You opened a can of worms you can't close. Their careers are on the line now. You have no idea what you're talking about. You need to shut up."

What. The. FUCK?!

I call my agent.

"This guy is harassing me now." I email my agent a copy of what they said. He calls them back, yells at them for what they're doing. 

He calls me back, and says it's done. 

These two women spread my name around not only their office, to their private group of 'favorites' that somehow seem to always get cast in everything, an more. I'm up for more auditions, and they refuse to call me in.

It got so rediculous, so stupid and insane. 

I got a call from a studio in California. Personally. 

"April Washko? Hi, this is <name> from <huge name> studios. I heard about your issue with <group of mean women> casting. Do you have a few minutes to talk about it? We hire them for most of our Michigan casting, and I'd like to hear from you exactly what happened."

It was the same studio that was making the film I auditioned with them for, too.

I told the woman quite boldly, "Listen, I am so sick of talking about it. All I continually do is get harassed by them, and made to feel inferior. I'm pissed off and sick of their shit." 

I was tired, upset, and frankly - done with the calls and questions. 

This woman apologized, said the studio isn't endorsing or supporting their behavior. She said if that ever happened again, to please call the studio and let them know. 

That was the last I heard from them. 

The studio, or the two women and their office. 

Dropped my agent not terribly long after that, and regardless of submissions beyond that point - was never called in by them again. 

I don't share that story to be vindictive or spiteful. I share it so others know that yes, the struggle is real. So others have a real idea what happens, and maybe how you can navigate a problem you may be experiencing that is similar.

I share so others can learn, and grow. 

I have since found out they have treated several people much like they had treated me. I really wish someone had the gusto to tell me their stories when I was going through my issues with them. 

Hell, any story. It would have made me feel better.

So infrequently are people who deal with those types of things in this industry every honest. I wish that wasn't the case. 

If more people were honest and told those stories, maybe stuff like that would eventually stop happening. Maybe we'd stop being treated that way.

Just one small example of yes, I get it. It's hard. 

Just because your met by obstacles - regardless if they're people, or money, or companies, or your job, your family... Keep going. 

Don't give up, and don't take any shit. 

You can't give up, and you MUST work as hard as humanly possible to attain it. Or, figure out how to attain it. 

Hint: Like attracts Like. 

If you think it won't, it won't. If you think it will, it will. 

If all you do is think about how horrible something is, or how bad off you are... You'll just keep getting bad and worse. Also, bad and worse people will filter into your life. 

Don't wonder how they got there. You brought it there. 

The good news is, if you focus on your blessings - on how good you have it, on how beautiful the lessons may have been and a bunch of positive stuff... You'll attract blessings. You'll attract exactly what you want. It will only get better, and great people will show up in your life, too. 

People that potentially hold the key to helping you with your mission.

People that help you find your mission.

The bottom line is, really, that only good comes from good. 

Summary?

Follow your passions. Give to others. Pay it forward. Stay in positivity & love with yourself & everybody else. Never give up. Stand for what is right, & always - always know that there are thousands of people, millions even.. Visible and invisible.. That are cheering you on, wanting to see you live the best life. The life of your dreams.

Any questions, comment below or on my Facebook page! I try to be around as often as possible to talk if you need some inspiration. ;)