Hello! My name is Becca. I’m the digital editor for Carrie Ann Conversations; I work to edit all the articles that appear here and write some of them myself. If you’ve spent a lot of time on here, you’ve probably read some of my words and read even more that I’ve edited. It’s wonderful to meet you!
This morning I looked at the calendar and, like many of us have probably been doing lately, I thought about what I was doing a year ago just before everything changed forever. What I was doing a year ago was receiving word that I had gotten this job.
Let me give you a little background. All I’ve ever wanted to was write and I figured if I could get someone to pay me to do it, then I’d be set for life. I went to a liberal arts college that emphasized independence and ambition and creativity and introduced us to all these incredible alumni who held jobs in publishing houses and writers’ rooms and all sorts of places and maybe gave me the impression that following your dreams can’t be really all that hard otherwise my college wouldn’t keep telling me to do it all the time. This meant that my post-grad move out to Los Angeles set me on a direct collision course with a pretty serious learning curve. Did you know, for instance, that actually a lot of people would like to make their living writing TV shows and therefore it’s kind of a hard thing to get a job in?
I started working freelance jobs in TV production, working in offices and onset and still feeling invigorated to be near all of the famous stuff even if I wasn’t getting to “world build” so much as I was getting to “answer phones” and “wash dishes” and, one time, “buy out three Ralph’s produce aisles’ worth of lettuce and transport it all to the Staples Center downtown in rush hour traffic.” All the time, I would be writing my own scripts and essays and newsletters on the side and applying for jobs and grants and creative fellowships. Over the years it got harder and harder to believe that I was actually good enough at writing to do it professionally. Creative fields are really challenging this way because it gets very hard to know whether the reason nobody is interested in your work is because it’s a competitive industry or because, maybe, you are actually very bad and nobody thought to tell you. Eventually I got to start writing for a lifestyle magazine on the side but every year, around February or March, I would have to go back into production (with all of its phones and boxes and heads of lettuce) to actually pay my bills.
I have a very vivid memory of a conversation I had with my therapist my first year in LA. I was feeling exhausted and talentless and worn down and isolated and was having a hard time remembering why I had even moved so far from home in the first place. After maybe her fiftieth attempt to tell me that things that are worth it often take time, she said it in a way that clicked. “What if I told you that you were going to have a career in writing, but it was going to take five years?” she asked. “Would you be able to see it through?” At the time I probably said something petulant like “how do you know that in five years I won’t still be terrible but also older?” but it did stick with me. Something I’ve learned from therapy in general is that you are very rarely able to see the big changes while they’re happening. Growth, development and sometimes even just waiting for the things that are on the horizon require time, and as much as I still resent this at times, there’s no way to cheat that process. I think humans have a hard time thinking about the future because we are only used to speaking the language of the present and past. We can see the things that have already happened and try to use them to make sense of what’s going to happen later. The problem with that, of course, is that if you’re just looking at the things that have already happened it gets very hard to picture the future containing something entirely new.
For a while, nothing very new happened for me. I kept writing a little for money, a lot not for money, picking up crew dinner from Panda Express and getting rejected from every digital publication I read/love/respect/enjoy. And then about a year ago, a friend that I had made working on a TV show that never aired told me she was looking for someone to take over her job helping manage a website for Carrie Ann Inaba. I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity, I wore my favorite blazer to the interview, I thought it went well and then I went home and quietly waited for the email telling me it wasn’t going to work out.
Except, and you’ll have probably guessed this part already, it did work out! This last year, while everything got so difficult and volatile for everyone, myself included, I was also getting to talk about directions for this website, hear Carrie Ann’s visions and humor and thoughts about what Carrie Ann Conversations should be and get to do my part to help them come to life. I got the chance to write for a living (full time!), and not just write but write honestly about the challenges we’re all facing in the pandemic and try to help readers feel that they’re never alone. I get the chance to work alongside Carrie Ann, who really is as kind and thoughtful and special in real life as she is on TV. Sometimes I still can’t believe that this amazing job that I didn’t even know existed was just waiting to find its way to me. And while it’s not all fun and games and candle roundups all the time, I really can’t help but be thankful, every day, that I’ve made it here.
I’m still a long way from accomplishing some of my dreams and goals, and sometimes this can really stress me out, especially in a year where you can almost viscerally feel time passing you by. But whenever I start to worry about what I haven’t accomplished yet, I think about going back in time to visit the version of myself that was restocking chip bins and trying to jam a full-sized clothing rack into my little hatchback under threat of being yelled at. I think about what she would say if I told her that our therapist was right about the five years thing and how relieved she would feel knowing it was going to work out. I’d like to think there’s a version of me in the future who feels the same way about me now.
I want to thank our CAC community for an amazing year; the only reason Carrie Ann and I work so hard on every story we publish is because of you. Your support, stories and feedback mean the world to us and I couldn’t have asked for a better community in a year where we could all use more reminders that we’re in this together. Thank you for your honesty, vulnerability and kindness and the trust, warmth and love that you extend to us every day. I’m so looking forward to seeing where the next year takes us.