I Don’t Recognize Myself At All

by Andie Bottrell

I went to the gym tonight, as I have every other day this week. This morning, like every morning the last few weeks, I woke up an hour before my alarm and luxuriously rose back up to life with cereal and juice and music and dog snuggles. I’ve been going to be bed early and I make my bed every single morning. I clean up after myself when I leave each room. I’ve been cooking meals and eating them (instead of just binging family-sized chips from a bag in bed).  I shower…regularly.

I don’t recognize myself at all!

The last month or so has been spent preparing my old and new residences for a move. Painting walls back, painting walls…forward?  Packing, U-hauls, buying new things to fill the new space, painting and more painting, unpacking, rearranging, dreaming and planning and doing. Towards the end of August I officially moved in with my best friend into the house he has been renting with another person/people for years.

We have learned and are still learning together how to grow through the challenges of taking a relationship to the next level (even platonically–moving in together is an adjustment!), of learning how to communicate needs and wants and feelings, how to prioritize creative differences and compromise, how to support and love and push each other. While there have been tears and fights, on the whole…now, a few weeks into our new “normal”…I can honestly say I have never felt more balanced, happy, or been more productive.

And there is more than one reason for that. A few weeks ago I casually posted on social media that I was considering starting my own design business. What had happened was a few weeks before that I had been offered a job that would have propelled me into a life I never imagined I’d live, with money I’d never imagined I’d have, doing a job I’ve never wanted to have. It was an incredible opportunity and I was totally flattered and, frankly, salivating a little at the idea of the huge leap in income, but ultimately, I turned it down. I turned it down because 40 hours a week of my life is far too large a sacrifice and because I am Andie Bottrell and I am a goddamn talented, hard working creative entity and I’ll be damned if I can’t make something of myself in the creative realm.

So, I mentioned toying with the idea of starting my own design company–call it Designing Indie or something. Suddenly friends started reaching out to me to create things for them. As soon as I finished one project, another project would arrive. It’s been wild and wildly unexpected. I’ve been so busy working on client projects I haven’t had time to design my logo and my website to officially launch the business!

This constant creative work (on top of the two day jobs I still hold down) has been a lot, but it has been rewarding and validating as hell. I love the challenge of learning new aspects of creating. I’ve made custom stationary, business logos, business cards, magazine ads, a poster, and a website in the last few weeks.

Recently I was back in Los Angeles for week to work on a TV pilot I co-created/co-wrote that we were filming…which was it’s own kind of “growth opportunity,” but I didn’t know if when I arrived back in Los Angeles for the first time since I moved (against my will) back to Missouri 5 years ago…if I would regret last years decisions to stay in Springfield and not move back. But I didn’t. I didn’t at all. What’s more…as I walked through various LA hotspots, I noticed a significant change…I no longer felt weighed down by that heavy need for everyone I met and everyone who could see me to like me, find me attractive, and want to hire me.

I love my life. I love myself. I don’t need to impress anyone to achieve either of those things anymore. This little life I have now…I built that myself and with the help of friends and family near and dear to me. I don’t feel anxious to find love or romance–in fact, I don’t want to bring anyone into my life who can’t match or improve what’s already been built, because it is so good and it’s been so long coming.

My home now is filled with love and creativity, laughs and ideas, music and hearty meals. My life is filled with creating every single day, advocating for kids, spending time with people I love sharing time with, performing, sleeping with dogs in my bed, and living with a feeling that anything I want to make happen…I can make happen. And if I ever start to doubt that…I have several someones who remind me.

I know and respect myself and am learning every day how to speak up for myself and my beliefs.

I don’t recognize myself! The young woman who started blogging for LAFPI five years ago would have never stayed in Springfield, MO and declared it “home,” she would never have been able to walk through Hollywood or any street in this body with arms exposed and not had to fight back an avalanche of self-hatred and the impulse to bang her wrist against hard surfaces, she wouldn’t be able to not apologize for having needs, she wouldn’t be happy to just create…she wanted to create in one specific way, she wanted success in one specific way, she thought she needed to look one specific way, she thought she needed to live in one specific city and have one specific life to be happy and fulfill her destiny… but all of the beautiful details of life, all the joy and beauty and growth… it all comes from letting go of those specificities that you can’t control and embracing, instead, the universe’s divine concoction of whatever happens, plus what you make of it.

You are *exactly* where you are. What are you gonna do with it?


PS. If you have Showtime, be sure to catch me in Above Ground starting in October. It’s a movie I did a few years ago that’s now making it’s TV premiere! Who knew moving back to Missouri would land me a big role in a movie on Showtime? Not me!

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