Next week is the fifth anniversary of the day Zach asked me out. I’ll admit, I bullied him into it a little bit. But I don’t regret that or any of the years after.
Right after we started dating my illness became debilitating. I ended up having to do a medical withdrawal from school the next semester. And I just kept waiting for it to be too much. We didn’t get the super fun, can’t keep our hands to ourselves and want to go see the world together experience. Instead, we spent the next four years trying to figure out why I was so sick. I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching TV. Zach didn’t push. He just was there for me.
Years of living with a single mom who did everything for me and my brothers had conditioned me to feel weak and needy when I couldn’t do things for myself. When Zach made me food, I would often be so guilty about not being able to do it myself that I would get too sick to eat. I hated that the apartment was dirty and hated even more that Zach was the one that would need to clean it. When I finally had to quit working, things with me hit a low point in accepting that Zach loved me. I was certain I was an obligation or a duty for the nicest guy in the world. I kept waiting for his breaking point.
The truth was, Zach never once thought about leaving me. Never once saw my illness as something wrong with me, but always did everything he could to help me get better. He’s been by my side every step of the way. And now that I’m feeling better and getting to pursue my dreams I feel incredibly thankful for him. There are so many people out there who are alone in this world. Between my family and Zach, I’ve never been alone – even when it felt like that was the truth.
Settling into the knowledge that I am lucky beyond belief sometimes leaves me with a hole in my gut. I see other actresses and actors who have to work full time and fit in auditions and filming on top of that if they want to be able to pay their bills. My sole focus these days is on getting better every day and giving everything I have to my career. I am in a really cool place in my life, and that makes me feel like I don’t deserve the happiness and success that’s been coming my way.
I think we as a contemporary culture have an issue with happy people succeeding though. We all root for the underdog, and we kind of hate when things seem to come too easily to anyone. I’ve been there. I’ve thought those thoughts. And I think the root of it all is jealousy. And that jealousy comes from the idea that someone else has something that is unfair or unattainable for anyone. But that jealousy doesn’t solve any of our own problems. It keeps us from pursuing what we want because we tell ourselves that other people are luckier than us or just more likely to get what they want. I think that’s unfair and untrue.
So I have a husband who loves me. I don’t do this life alone. Hell, there was a gas leak in my building today and if he hadn’t have been looking out for me I would have just been hanging out at home in the middle of the commotion. He works a full-time grown up job so that I can pursue acting and writing and filling myself up with good things. And I love him for all of that. And I don’t think I owe anyone an apology for having a support team behind me.
I think there’s a big lie out there that any true success can be achieved by an army of one. You’ll probably run yourself into the ground if you try. So if you’re loved well, and life is getting easier and more exciting for you all of the time, I’m really happy for you. I think you’ve probably done a lot of hard work to deserve that happiness. And I think that we need to stop apologizing for not being struggling artists, or tortured souls or whatever other stereotype you see as the person who emerges into greatness. Be happy. And don’t say sorry about it.