Presence in the Pursuit (Or the Art of Letting Go): One Pre-Enlightened Actress’s Guide to Living The Dream


# 75: Decide If You’d Rather Give the World a Life or a Life’s Work, Because Only the Lucky Can Give Greatly of Both

All of my friends are becoming parents.  Some of them as I write this.  Literally.  Even the ones that swore they never would, are popping them out.

Clocks ticked, bellies swelled, and breasts filled to overflowing with mother’s milk.

It has happened.  I am becoming the minority: a big childless, still child-like adult.

I find this new event in so many of my friend’s lives incredibly beautiful.  And I know that for most of them, it’s likely the most meaningful and important thing they will do or give to the world.  And that’s not to say that they haven’t contributed amazing things outside of their progeny as well.  But, well, it’s human life we’re talking, folks, and that, is important stuff.

But this also means that, for at least the next few years, these esteemed individuals have gone down the baby hole of no return.  They have hung up the hat of selfishness, and embarked on an altruistic journey of Bugaboos and poop and Elmo.  My friend Rose calls what happens to a parent on this journey, “perma-tired:”  the unending state of achy body and sleeplessness that a parent takes on upon delivery and which probably lasts until their kid gets hired by their first employer post college.  And in this economy, who knows; hopefully perma-tired doesn’t last forever.

As a still struggling to ‘make it’ artist, I’m very much still selfishly nurturing my own inner child, and not at all yet ready to dive down that rabbit hole of grown-up land parenting.  Not that I don’t admire it, and sometimes even envy it, immensely.  I just don’t know, in my given state, how I would possibly emerge victorious on both fronts.  Likely, realistically, I’d just fail miserably as both a mom and an actress if I got knocked up now.

A few years back, I went through an existential crisis that looked something like a very long crying jag in which I wondered what I would do if I didn’t get my wish on either parenthood or successful actress-hood.  In my twenties, I was able to push off the idea entirely with sheer denial.  I told Joseph ‘ten years’ till kids when I met him, and then for the next ten years, I just kept it at that number.  If I keep it at ten for another ten, then I’ll be looking at our kids coming out ‘special,’ if at all, when that ten is up.

After the denial, and the crying jag, came an acceptance of sorts:  I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want, in life.

I recognize that life has its limitations.  We rarely get to have it all.  And I’d rather course fully forward on my chosen path and risk losing it all, then give up or delay what drives me most now, for the promise of a little one now.

Of course I’m not completely satisfied knowing that I might not ever have the opportunity to bring life into this world with the man I love.  Or to never feel a life surging inside my body for nine months.  Or to never look at my little someone and see both myself and my partner and also someone entirely their own, in one magical being. Or to never watch that being grow and learn and grow and learn from them.  They say that becoming a parent is the most important thing anyone ever does.  And I don’t doubt it.

But we all have our journey.  And my dream has never been to be a mom, though certainly, if I could have everything, it would be part of it.

I am comforted knowing that adoption is always an option.  If I can feel such surging love for my two doggies, then I can certainly channel that same fierce love into a being that never emerged from me.  And I can do this at any time.  It doesn’t have to happen in the next five plus years.

I’m also comforted by my artistic babies.  The scripts I’ve written and the many characters I’ve developed and created and played.  There’s some moms in there too, which is kind of cool.

And then, there’s always the glimmer, the chase, right around the bend, that I’ll book something so magnificent, so career satisfying, that I can immediately lay down and get pregnant, Natalie Portman at the Oscars style, in between projects.

That would be lucky.

As a SAG-AFTRA and Equity member, Michal has appeared in dozens of plays and over fifty principal / starring roles for radio, television, and film. She is the voice, likeness, & performance capture artist for Tracey De Santa, one of 7 main characters out of a cast of a 1000, in the billion dollar phenomena Grand Theft Auto V. Her starring role in the LA Premiere of ‘White Hot’ at Hollywood Fringe earned her a Best Actress Award & her Ovation nominated theatre company, The Vagrancy, a Best Ensemble Award with knock-out reviews in ‘LA Weekly’ & ‘The Examiner.’ Film highlights: roles in Spike Lee’s Inside Man & Quid Pro Quo with Vera Farmiga. Born That Way, which she co-wrote with Mary M. Parr and Rob Travalino, was a Sundance Screenwriting Lab second rounder and one of 5 Finalists for Big Vision Empty Wallet’s Screenwriting Career Lab. She is the official Host of The Women’s Independent Film Festival and heads The Field Trips Department of Film Fatales where she’s a member in NYC and Los Angeles.