Once a month LA-area Ms. In The Biz writers are invited to a brunch / roundtable where we can catch up with each other and talk goals, dreams, and areas we may need help with. It’s become one of my favorite days of the month, and I find myself looking forward to the next #MsThirdThursday as soon as the last one ends.
MITB founder, Helenna Santos, recently wrote a piece for Backstage about the importance of belonging to a mastermind group, not only are masterminds and accountability groups crucial, but additionally I think it’s extremely important to *belong* to communities where you can feel supported and heard.
One of the topics that came up at this most recent brunch was that some of the younger ladies at the table, mostly those who have been in town less than five years, were feeling really lonely and isolated. My heart aches for them, as I can remember those exact feelings not too terribly long ago. Los Angeles is a big city. Thousands upon thousands of actors come to this city every day from all across the globe, hoping to make a career out of show business, against all odds. And the truth of the matter is, it is easy to feel isolated, to do nothing but work, network, train, and rehearse, day in and day out for your chosen career, and after a while that can really wear you down.
Many times as one is climbing the entertainment ladder, so to speak, we are burning the candle at both ends, working multiple thrival gigs, long hours on sets, and have barely enough time to do laundry, feed the pets, and get some grocery shopping done. This sort of formula, is ripe for experiencing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression. Been there!
It’s not easy but I encourage you to schedule time to have lunch with your peers in the industry. It could be a movie date, or even a get together for some errand-runs. It may take time to find the right group of peers/friends, and you may find over time, as folks move away from LA, or interests and goals change, that the group of peers/friends you used to hang out with has completely changed, but that’s just par for the course in a transient city like Los Angeles. You’ll find your tribe. And then you’ll find a new tribe, and then another.. But thru it all there will be tried and true soul-sisters who will become a staple in your life. There’s nothing like great conversation with like-minded friends, who will listen without judgement to what’s going on in your life, and in return ask the same of you. Believe me, that to-do list on your desk, will still be there when you return. Only now, you’ll tackle it with an exuberance and light-heartedness after having spent some quality time with peers.
This business is tough enough as it is, don’t make it more difficult by trying to be a one-woman island. Allow others in. Allow others to see behind the mask. Allow your community to find you and support you.
I was recently perusing thru my YouTube channel at interviews I have done over the years, and I stumbled upon this really wonderful series shot by Film Courage. In this particular clip, Karen Worden asks me, what it is that has kept me going in Hollywood, far away from family and childhood friends, and as you’ll see, I had to pause and think about it.
My answer to Karen referred to “moments”, those special moments in Hollywood that could only happen IN Hollywood. I still believe that to be true today, and in addition to that, I’d like to add… community. It is those special Hollywood moments, and it is also your peer-group, the community you surround yourself with. So if you don’t have one, or don’t feel supported by those around you… I urge you to do some spring cleaning, and make room for some new amazing people to enter your life. However, you’re going to have to leave your house and make it happen. And remember, we are all in this together.
What have you found to work when you’re feeling isolated or lonely? Please share in the comments below, you never know who may read it and benefit from your advice!