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starsandroses's avatar

How can I feel like not a complete loser for Thanksgiving?

Asked by starsandroses (56points) November 20th, 2015

Hi everyone…

First I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this and any advice or opinions…

I will be going to a Thanksgiving dinner with my family coming up. I am not very close to them (or anyone) in particular. It’s been about 6 or 7 years since I last saw my sisters. I see my dad every couple of months now that I have moved back to Los Angeles. Before a few months ago I did not see or talk to my father in about 2 years. Since moving back to LA, I have been reaching out and spending more time with my mother and father.

I will also be meeting a half-sister of mine (from my dad’s side) that I’ve never met before… She is bringing her husband and 2 kids.

There will be about 14 or so people at this Thanksgiving dinner- maybe more, who knows….

I feel happy and excited to be going…. I really am…. I feel blessed to have a family… However I am somewhat nervous seeing everyone after years and years…..

I feel like I want to be a “success story” when they see me, but I am not there yet…. I feel like a loser sometimes.

I just turned 26 and I’m not close to being married or having a successful career.

I am just getting into acting. This year has been my first year of acting. I am doing a pilot right now and have a lead in a thriller movie. I also take acting classes, have an acting coach. I do background extra work sometimes for money. But as anyone knows- being an actor is extremely difficult. So far I have done well for myself in the first year of acting- however I am not really “successful”.

My older sister Susan is happily married to a LAPD officer. She has a nice big home. 4 beautiful children. Goes to church. Seems like she has it all. They have a very tight loving Christian family… With a white picket fence. I am sure they have their ups and downs…. but seemingly all is well. She is stable.

My other younger sister is 20 and goes to college. She just did a pageant this year. Even though she didn’t win, I feel like she is way more successful than I am. She is actually in school getting a degree.

I don’t have any college degrees besides my acting training…. and I feel like this would make me look like a loser…..

I am sorry If I am venting… I am somewhat scared/nervous to see my family after a hiatus…...... I just want to make a good impression.

I don’t want my family to see or think that I’m a loser. I’m working really hard and struggling to make something of myself. Being an actor is like being your own walking business. It is hard but so far I’ve had a good journey in this. I don’t see myself quitting acting anytime soon.

A month ago I showed my dad my headshots. He looked really proud and happy. I also showed him my different scripts. I showed him the pilot script and the movie script. He seemed happy and proud that I am going for this dream….. but obviously he has concerns as a parent because acting isn’t very stable.

Sorry I am venting. Has anyone else gone through this?

I know I’m not really a loser, but sometimes I feel like I’m one….

I feel like by this age I should have way more :(

I am self-sufficient, have my own apartment, car, pay my own phone bill, etc….. I take care of myself completely and drive my own passions….. but for some reason I can’t help thinking in the back of my mind that I’m a loser :( I just don’t want my family to think this way…......

Thank you for any insight and advice

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25 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Your life is really just beginning. You sound like a sufficient, self reliant adult. That’s more than a lot of 26 year olds can say.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I was happy to read it. I understand so much.

I, too, am an actor, but I’m an amateur. I’ve been on stage since I was 6.

How do you prepare for auditions? Do the same thing for this dinner with your family.

After you get home from the feast, start learning the meditate. Sit and breathe. Now is the time to start.

I have been meditating for 30 years, and it completely changed my life.

I am self-sufficient on the outside, but I am now completely self-sufficient on the inside. I am always myself. It’s bliss.

JLeslie's avatar

You’re 26! It sounds like you are working and persistent and in my mind doing very well for a young adult. If talking about your career makes you uncomfortable, which it shouldn’t in my opinion, because if I met you I would be very interested in the experiences you have had auditioning and your new pilot, but if you’re uncomfortable, have some subjects at the ready to switch to.

Travel, weather, hobbies, favorite TV shows, movies you recently saw, museums…

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you have a part coming up in a movie at the box office, that trumps a no-win at the pageant. A lot of people would look at getting the foot in the door in Hollywood as a success, there are dozens of other actors wishing they were in your shoes. Put a dot in the middle of a white shirt and people will focus on the alleged disaster of the small dot and not the thankful of all of the rest of the shirt that escaped the ink.

Seek's avatar

I love thrillers! Is it an independent B-film? because those are the best.

Please let us know where we can purchase it on DVD, when it comes out.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Venting? I’m not seeing it. Unsuccessful? You’re young, starting out in a highly competitive industry and studying the craft – and employed in it, which, I think, is more than most actors can say most of the time. Enjoy your success, however limited you feel it to be, and don’t compare yourself to others who aren’t in your shoes and on your path.

It’s pretty natural, I think, to want to make a good impression and to imagine that just because your sister has a nice family photo, with big smiles and a white picket fence, that everything is “just so”. Hopefully it is. But don’t imagine that her success, assuming that she even feels it to be success, detracts from any of your accomplishments or struggles.

When I was 26 … let’s see. (That was 36 years ago, so give me a moment to collect my thoughts here.)
– I had quit college after my junior year;
– joined and left a so-called “cult”;
– married and divorced within a year (separated within 6 months, in fact);
– contemplated suicide (but no more than ‘thought about’);
– left one dead-end job for another dead-end job – which was a seasonal job, to boot!;
– not yet started on the career that I now enjoy (had not even contemplated it, in fact).

Since then I’ve sort of turned things around, career-wise. I also married again and had two wonderful children who are now successful adults in their own right. I’m looking forward to my own Thanksgiving next week, with the family that I also don’t get to see as often as I would like. Could I have done “better”? Sure. In all ways, at all times and in all things. Am I proud of my accomplishments? Most of them, moderately – but I try to avoid judging others’ lives by my own lights, too, or comparing myself unfavorably because others have done some things that I have not. I try to avoid overweening pride and abject humility.

If you’re clean and sober, polite and at least reasonably personable and friendly, then anyone who has a problem with you probably has other, bigger problems that they’re not telling you about. Allow them their successes and failures, too, and just accept them for who they are. Steer clear of those who criticize with bad intent. (Sometimes people will give you valuable criticism, and that’s not always easy to take, either – or recognize, sometimes! – so try to figure which is which. But as an actor I don’t think you can afford to be your own worst critic.)

Enjoy the holiday!

Judi's avatar

In order to accomplish what you say you want to accomplish (not look like a loser) you might have to use those mad acting skills of yours. Just because you feel insecure, you might need to act more confidant.
You are the bohemian boy following your hearts desire and making it! That really is amazing. You do well enough to make a living in a dificult buisness. Many people would be jealous of your courage to put yourself out there like that.
So the role you are playing is that of the confidant young actor, following his heart. You don’t need to be cockey, just happy and content. See this meal as “showtime!” I’ll bet after an hour or so it won’t have to be an act.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m 40, don’t have my own apartment, never had a car or license, and no kids and loathe the idea of having them. Certain sections of my family think I am a total failure and I doooon’t give a fuuuuck.

I’m totally happy, I do random jobs, I manage to pay all my bills and not really worry about money.

This is great:

“My older sister Susan is happily married to a LAPD officer. She has a nice big home. 4 beautiful children. Goes to church. Seems like she has it all. They have a very tight loving Christian family… With a white picket fence. I am sure they have their ups and downs…. but seemingly all is well. She is stable.”

That was my sister. Well, until she found out he was cheating on her a few times a week. The happy family turned into a mess that they went through great lengths to hide. And she was always stressed about money. Her husband made a good living as a electrician but with three kids and a mortgage they worried about money way more than I did. A constant cloud over their head.

Her life looked great on Facebook and I look like a total loser. But I was happy and she was miserable.

It is time to be selfish. Focus on making you happy. If your judgmental family disagree (they are probably jealous you are doing what you want and they got tied down to a family) fuck em’. You don’t owe them bragging rights or grandchildren.

LostInParadise's avatar

You are being much too hard on yourself. Acting is a tough career choice. That you just started and have work looks very promising.

I should put you in contact with my slacker nephew. Maybe you could give him some advice. He will be turning 25 soon. He dropped out of college, is waiting on tables and only contacts my brother when he needs cash. He no doubt will again not be joining the rest of the family for Thanksgiving this year.

janbb's avatar

“Home is the place where, when you have to be there, they have to take you in.”

We all feel like a loser at times. You sound like you’re doing fine – following your passions and supporting yourself. Once you learn not to compare your life with others, life is much easier.

dxs's avatar

It really depends on what you value. Are you happy? If yes, then you’re successful. It’s about what you see, not others. Others should see that you’re happy in the life you live and be proud of you because of that. They shouldn’t see it as “you didnt take this one specific path in life and obtain a fancy house with children and a white picket fence, so you’re not successful.”

marinelife's avatar

You need to like yourself more. One, you are doing very well for the first year. I would think that shooting a pilot and just completed a thriller movie would sound wonderful to your family.

But the real problem here is a lack of self love and self acceptance. Your family is not having a contest to see who is more successful and happy. They just love you and want to be together. Instead of focusing on yourself, look as it as a chance to get to know your nieces and nephews. Perhaps you could ask to sit at the kids table with them. Take a board game like Cranium and suggest that everyone play after dinner.

Consider doing some self-esteem work (think of it as like acting lessons). If you are interested, I’ll PM you a book suggestion.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I read your narrative twice in complete disbelief. I mean you are telling us that you are 26 years old with a starring role in a motion picture, returning to your family with feelings of inadequacy because your sister is married to a cop, has 4 kids & a picket fence? What is WRONG with you?

Dutchess_III's avatar

…AND her sister is a Christian.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Realize that everyone in life takes their own path. One path isn’t any better than another, they’re just different ways that people try to manifest their happiness. Some people want nothing more than to grow up and start a family of their own, while others want nothing more than to travel the world for as long as possible. There’s no specific Right or Wrong.

Honestly? At 26, you seem to actually have quite a bit under control and you’re pursuing what will make you happy. Believe me, it’s better to try for your dream now (even if it never manifests quite how you want it to) as opposed to never trying, getting stuck in a job you hate and looking back with regret. What other people think of you in the meantime? It doesn’t matter. Even the opinions of your family don’t matter, because you’re taking your own path.

There might be a chance that your worries are unfounded. Your family might not be thinking badly of you in any way at all. Most likely, they’re all probably pretty excited to see you after so long. Is there a specific reason you think they might be judgemental, or do you think it’s possible that it’s just your own fears manifesting?

starsandroses's avatar

I don’t know what is “wrong” with me – maybe inadequacy issues. Which is why I posted this question to get opinions and advice from others. I feel happy & excited to have a lead starring role- but yes sometimes I still get depressed that I’m not married, don’t have children, have a house, or a stable successful career. Maybe I feel like my biological clock is ticking? I don’t know. I feel lonely a lot of times and wish I had more friends. I shouldn’t compare myself to other people you’re right. @stanleybmanly

starsandroses's avatar

I think most of it is definitely my own fears manifesting. I visited my dad and showed him the scripts, my headshots, etc. I told him about the movie and the pilot. I told him about acting school and everything I was doing. He looked happy and proud. My dad is on IMDB as well and produced a movie back in the 70’s. When he sees my modeling pictures he says I look beautiful. He also says things like “don’t forget about your poor old dad when you’re famous!”. And things of that nature. So I think he is happy that I found a path and passion….. I don’t know why I beat myself so much over this….

Even when I first started getting into acting I was initially scared to tell my father because it’s not a stable job. So I was afraid my dad would say something negative about my career choice- but so far he hasn’t.

I don’t know- maybe it’s not feeling “successful” in my career that’s bothering me. I guess at this age I feel like I should have more.

Most of all my friends from highschool are either married or with children. Are finishing up their degrees. And here I am – just turning 26 – and following this “dream” of mine that might never come true :-( @DrasticDreamer

starsandroses's avatar

I’m not sure if I’m happy. I love acting and I like my career choice- but there’s so much more to life.

Sometimes I think… What the hell am I even doing here with my life? Sometimes I just want to live on an island or with a tribe of people and live naturally… Live without technology… Live off the land….... Live with mother nature and her glorious beauty. Some tribes people seem so HAPPY to just be alive….. They have a community. They live off the land. They all take care of one another and are so close to nature…........ Maybe I am just burnt out from living in the city ?

Maybe it’s the same thing Marlon Brando felt ? I can really empathize with him. Marlon Brando felt burnt out so he escaped to live in Tahiti…. He said it was paradise and gave him more clarity and inner peace.


starsandroses's avatar

I definitely want to have children someday and a stable loving marriage. To feel like I’m part of a community that is filled with so much love and positivity. To live closer to nature and respect the earth and animals. and create works of art and be able to express myself artistically. @dxs

starsandroses's avatar

Thank you for your advice, much appreciate @johnpowell

janbb's avatar

Life is all about trying different hats and seeing which fit. There’s no one straight path. i was dealt a blow at 60 and had to reinvent myself. I had the life with the stable marriage, the two kids and suburbs and it was great to a large extent. Now I’m active in the local music scene, best friends with a band, found a new religion and am on the Board, paint and work part time. You will have many lives in your life – just try things and reject what doesn’t work. (And you still have time for marriage and children if you want them.)

Judi's avatar

I have to say this. Most aspiring artists never make it because they get bogged down by the responsibilities of family and children. You have the freedom to focus on your passion. You appear to be on the cusp of success. Your worries about marriage and children will likely sabatoge your career. You’re young. Stay focused on what you’re doing.

starsandroses's avatar

Thank you so much. Amazing answer. That really helped to see from your perspective, and you’re right. I don’t know why I was thinking or feeling as a 26 year old woman being unmarried made me a loser :( and thinking I should be married & have a child before age 30. Even in China I read that women who are over 25 and unmarried are called “leftover” women.@janbb

starsandroses's avatar

@Judi Thank you you’re right. And I can always have children when I’m older…. I forget with technology and healthcare these days women are having families later…. Maybe I’ll decide to have kids when I’m 32 or 34 o_O That gives me about 6–8 years to work on my career. But I get so paranoid I get scared if I’ll be able to get pregnant. Or if at 34 I’ll still be considered attractive

janbb's avatar

Believe me at 34 you’ll still be attractive!

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