Hey, dear listeners, today's guest is the very lovely and very talented actress, Sierra Bravo. I saw her movie Cherry a few days ago and I still can't get it out of my head. Not only is impressive to watch, it's really inspiring to talk with her. You'll see later in the episode, I'm joined again by life coach, marriage therapist and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobbit, who is back with more much needed wisdom and advice.
As always, thank you for your kind words and telling your friends about our show. If you have a story you want to share, please go to our website, Unqualified Dotcom and find the link to get in touch. OK, here's the.
Ladies and gentlemen, you were listening to Unqualified with your host unifiers. Hi. Hi, Ciara. It's so nice to meet you. You, too. Thank you so much for doing this.
Thank you for having me. I'm really looking forward to talking. Are you in Los Angeles? I am. OK, I read on your bio that you live with your family in Kentucky, but maybe that's old.
Oh, yeah, that's old news. Old news. Do you go back there a lot? All the time.
Any time I can get back there, of course, with covid, it's been really difficult. But I know if I did make it back at least twice a year, my mom would have my head. I've never been to Kentucky. It's a beautiful place to live and it's a really beautiful place to grow up. I think I was lucky that I lived like 15 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio. So I still had a taste of like a city growing up.
So it wasn't really like trapped in the middle of nowhere, but it was very much so a suburban upbringing, which I think forced a lot of creativity in me just for like the purpose of entertainment. You know, I didn't have, like, everything moving around me, so I felt like I had to make my own fun.
So you grew up kind of using your imagination? Yeah, definitely. And like, playing in the woods at one hundred percent.
One hundred percent. Yeah. My parents didn't let me watch a lot of TV. They're amazing. And they listen to this podcast, but they wanted me to kind of be a kid for as long as possible. And I was such a late bloomer. So I was still like playing a lot of imaginary games. And I remember kids, like, kind of making fun of me for it, which I think was really important. Now, in hindsight, though, right?
So we finished watching Cheree. Oh, my God. And as we like enter these waters of a very intense, beautiful movie, I mostly do comedies. And even if I'm in something dramatic, I usually have a ding dong role. But I did this play in high school about the Holocaust. And my mom told me afterwards that I was very somber during the time and I hadn't realized really how performances change one. So and during the process of creating and embodying a character that goes through a journey that's not similar to one's own, that is intense and difficult.
Right. How that shifts you in ways that maybe you don't realize and see your role is Emily, I mean, how would you describe your emotional experience making this movie?
It was taxing, actually. Would you mind describing your character, Emily, a little bit to our listeners before we talk about it?
Of course. So Emily is a character. I think she is a three dimensional human being. She's a fully realized person. But in this movie, we are seeing her through the eyes of Tom's character.
Terry, that's interesting that you point that out. Why do you say that? I just think the whole movie, it's filtered through the lens of cherry. We're listening and watching him tell the story. So I think everyone that you're seeing, everything you're experiencing, you're experiencing it through him.
There are these beautiful shots of you in his memory. Essentially, Emily is not objectified, but something along those lines. I think their relationship is certainly the backbone, the beating heart. It's the needle that threads all of these other stories together. But we meet her as a college student and we watch her injury fall in love, which is, of course, always a terrifying, vulnerable experience as anyone who has fallen in love knows. And we follow their journey through marriage and then watching Terry come home from the Iraq war, suffering with PTSD and falling into addiction, which Emily term falls into as well.
I remember one experience that I had it feeling satisfying because it felt like I could access raw emotions more easily. Right.
But you have to walk the fine line of being able to access those raw emotions and make sure that they're there for you, but not allowing them to take over your personal life. And that's what's like impossible.
It's like lunch. Yeah, exactly. And you're like, yeah, you're still like sobbing covered in your own tears and like half naked. Someone's running in with a robe. Like you're like, oh, great. Right. Yeah. How's your day? Were the directors. It was both Russo brothers, right. Yeah. Did they take into consideration, like, timing of hard things?
They did. They were incredible about that. They're super respectful directors and they made sure that the environment was always safe for us to go to the places that we needed to go to. And they did a great job with scheduling as well, because it was really taxing on us physically, both of us losing weight for the role and just like shredding yourself to bring yourself to the places you need to go to for these characters. But they were very respectful about that and they made sure to schedule like the dope life scenes, which is what we call that section of the movie in the beginning.
So we had like a couple of months prior to like lead up and prepare ourselves mentally and physically for these roles, get the hard stuff out of the way, which also gave us a chance to really get to know each other, which made it easier going into the romance aspect of the film later in the. Shooting schedule, but, yeah, they were wonderful to work with, they were really respectful about creating a nice and healthy environment for us to reach those emotional levels, but also encouraging laughter.
I know it's such a dark movie to have to work on, but I don't think I've ever laughed so much on a set before.
I think that laughter comes naturally from a release of tension. Exactly. I don't know. I get the impression that people must think that making a comedy, we're laughing all the time. But, you know, it's obviously hard work. Comedy is a hundred times more difficult than drama.
But I don't think necessarily you don't need that emotional tension release that you have to have when you're kind of feeling so raw. I bet you're right. I bet funny shit happen. I bet you guys were, like, just cracking each other up. Yeah. Out of necessity, almost one hundred percent.
And then I think also when you're going to these emotional lengths, you become a little bit delusional at a certain point.
And so the stupidest shit becomes so funny all of a sudden because you're just you're like, I'm hungry.
Exactly. Exactly. I watch the house funny on occasion, one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way, we watched it during quarantine and it was a healing experience.
I think you it was one of the highlights of my life. I look at that movie and I'm like, I remember how hungry I was.
Sure. Yeah, I'm sure. All right.
So I'm going to ask you a series of life questions, if you don't mind. Let's go for it. My first question is, what was your living arrangement like when you first lived on your own?
So when I first lived on my own, I was 18. I guess there's two versions. So my mom would travel with me for a while when I was younger and I had to come out here for work. She would always be the one to travel with me. And then once I hit 18 years old, she was like, I'm going home to live my own life. And I was like, please do thank you for all of the years you've given me.
Was it really that?
No, it wasn't that cool, but I don't think any like sixteen, seventeen year old has at least I didn't like, you know, supertight healthy relationship with their mother. Maybe it's tight, but maybe it's not helpful supernovae.
Yeah. One hundred percent. I think it's also necessary to have that not resentment but like that tension between the two of you so that you would want to leave otherwise. It's like why would you ever leave your home?
And especially growing up in the industry, I think the kids grow up faster. I'm forty four. I can't believe I sound so old. But also you being in the industry, you were feeling so independent at such a much younger age, I'm sure. Right. Because you have to be and you're surrounded by adults. You're working. Right. OK, so sorry. Back to eighteen.
My mother's an angel. Just to preface that she's the most wonderful woman in the world. I would not be where I am without her, but at that point it was like, yeah, I mean, it sucks because you have to recognize how much she'd given up so that I was able to chase my dream. And like, she deserves to have a life as much as I do. And at that point, I felt ready to sort of like take things on my own.
But it ended up working really well because my sister graduated college at the same time. So she is also in the industry, not an actress. Thank God. I've heard horror stories about sibling competition. It's very tricky. Yeah, but like she's in the industry, so it's nice to have someone who understands the business as well and operating in circles that oftentimes intersect. But we ended up moving in together and we've been living together for like five, almost six years now.
For some reason, I always imagine 18 year olds at the Oaklands.
Oh my God. That's the first piece of advice I was given was don't move to the woods. We came out here and my manager at the time was like, don't do it. He's a get an Airbnb rental house somewhere. Don't do the Oaklands.
Yeah. For our listeners to this notoriously huge complex of apartments. That's right next to Warner Brothers and Universal. So you're ready to go audition your little heart out and a ton of actors stay there temporarily. And so you would be around the pool or whatever, and people would be talking about their auditions and stage parents anyway. It is its own microclimate of intensity.
Exactly. There's no reprieve when you're looking at the dogwoods. I don't know. It's so interesting coming from a place like Cincinnati and moving to Los Angeles, it was such a culture shock because they're completely different worlds, completely.
How do you like Los Angeles? Like on a scale of one to 10?
See, it's really grown on me. That's the thing is, if you would have asked me four years ago, I'd say three, get me out of here today. Honestly, it's like it's seven and a half. Eight, which is great. So what's shifted? It's just finding your group here. It's finding the people that are honest and true, just like solid individuals that make the world of difference and then also understanding that the city is so much more than just this industry.
Like Los Angeles says, the city is jam packed with so much culture and good food and interesting people. And if you just step outside of Hollywood for point seven seconds, you can recognize how great it actually is to live here.
Yeah, in Los Angeles, it's a little bit harder to find its secrets and its special miss rate because you're not like walking around interacting with it in the same way.
That you would be New York? Yeah. Have you lived in a bunch of different areas in Los Angeles? I've stayed mostly in the same area, but it's because I have a place that I really love. That's good. All right. Do you have a favorite movie that you could watch over and over?
Yeah, I do. I've got a few. I've got my, like, movies that I go to when I need, like, an emotional pick me up. That for me is whippet. Do you remember that movie? Yeah. Elliot Page and Drew Barrymore. And Kristen Wiig. Yeah. About Roller Derby. I love that movie. And every time I watch it, my scrawny little ass is like, I want to join a roller derby league.
Right. Just like I know I'd get snapped in half in a second. But I don't know, it just leaves me with this, like I feel like powerful afterwards, like I can accomplish or do anything. I love that.
Do you have a lot of close female friends? Yeah, a lot of close female friends. I think those are some of my favorite relationships and favorite friendships here in Los Angeles. Yeah, that's amazing. That's why you're like an eight.
Right, exactly. Have you learned anything about yourself during quarantine? I've learned that I love being inside. I know it's nothing profound, but I was like, wow, I didn't realize I was waiting for someone to give me a reason to not leave my house. I was like, it feels great. I'm with you. I've learned that I like to knit and I like to puzzle and I don't really like to shower.
Yes, that's a big one for me, too. Big one. I did it today, so my hair is still wet. It took me that long. So last night I was talking to my partner and I was like, dude, I can't get out of bed, just shower in the morning. I was like, no, I don't think you understand. I don't know if I will also be able to get out of bed then to get myself to shower.
But I didn't offer you and I did it for you.
What's the question that has become like the thematic question as you're doing press and do you enjoy doing press? I do enjoy doing press. I mean, it's a love hate relationship for sure, like we were talking about before. I find that about an hour or so into it, all of a sudden my brain just goes blank from anxiety. I'm not always super great about talking to people. And also I put this pressure on myself like I want to sound put together and smart, but not feel like a forced version of myself, which is so difficult to do.
Yeah, I want to be able to answer questions well and put thought into them. But then when you're entering the same five or six questions over and over and over again, it's like, how do I make this interesting for you? I know it's part of it, but like I want to give you something. I know it's tricky. Yeah, I know that that part is difficult. And what also gets difficult for me is if I'm not paying attention.
Yep. If the questions are starting to sound the same, I feel like I'm going into my stock answer with zero connection to the question a majority of the time.
Again, lights on. No one home just fitting it out. OK, what talent, what talent or ability would you most like to have?
I'd like to be able to speak more languages like pick up languages quicker.
Do you have a favorite? Like if you could take a pill? Oh, I hate to say French, but it's French gorgeous. I know. It's just so beautiful. I studied it in high school. That's my resolution this year to get back into it and actually take a class.
Oh, I like it. OK, what is your relationship like with social media?
I hate it, but it's like a drug sometimes, you know, you get started and you just can't stop scrolling, which of course is on purpose. But I fantasize about the day that I can delete all my social media accounts.
I do, too. On your Instagram, you have some videos. I think there's like a sixteen second video of Sky and Ocean. And then I read that you wanted to be a documentarian. Will you tell us a little bit about this? I mean, I love what you did. I love your presence. Thank you.
Well, in terms of social media, I felt like what I always struggle to come to terms with is how important it is to our career. That's always really bothered me that numbers have started to matter so much because I don't think it's a fair judgment of a person or their talent or their ability. So I think that's a main reason why I resist it. It's also just not a fair representation of a full person. I think that can be really damaging mentally.
But for my own personal Instagram, I wanted to turn it into a sort of snapshot into what matters to me and what brings joy to my life, which, of course, ends up most of the time being my dog and traveling. But I've picked up this habit of taking videos between 16 and 30 seconds of moments that either catch my eye or make me feel something or moments that I want to remember because I found recently I'm having a hard time recalling things that I would like to just keep at the front of my brain.
They escape to the depths. Why? I have no idea. It's like a recent thing. It's not super recent. I think it's something that I've always, you know, I sit down and I have conversations with, like, again, my grandparents or my family members, and they're able to tell these in a. Stories from their time growing up with such great detail, and I'm sitting here and I'm like, oh shit, have I lived before today?
Well, they just fill it in. Oh, I'm sure they get very creative. But obviously you're like, wait a second, have I existed before today? What did I have for breakfast? And I know that's part of just being a human being, but I want to remember more. So instead of, like bullet journaling, I just take videos because I find I prefer sound. It helps me immerse myself back into a memory more. And then I find and able to remember more of the day, like I can go back into that moment and grab bits from like before that and after that and sort of relive it in a nice way.
I love that. All right. Let's get on to relationships. So you have felt love in your life? Yeah, I think so. Like, how many times have you fallen in love, do you think? Only once. Recently, yeah. So was that like within the last two years, do you think. Yeah. Are you guys still together. We are. I love it that you smile when you talk about this person. He's wonderful.
I'm so glad. And have you guys been quarantining together? So we got to spend the first three months of quarantine. We got to spend together. But he's Irish and he does not have an American visa. He doesn't have like a work visa or anything. So after 90 days, he had to get out of the country. So we've been apart for about seven months now, which has been exactly that is exactly how it feels. It's probably the most emotional pain I've ever been in.
But it's interesting how the body is able to adjust to these sorts of things.
So you guys have been apart for seven months? I think so. It's six or seven. When will you get to see each other again?
As soon as those borders open. Back up should announce. It's tricky. You know, I always think about, like, the physical sensations of heartbreak and homesickness, which are kind of linked super similar. And it can feel in the physical sense to me, it feels like you feel it in your gut. And just like the slow, constant ache, it's like a dull pain that's just constantly there, which is very interesting to feel that in a new way.
And it's something that, if you're not careful, can very easily taint the rest of how you feel. Everything else. Yeah. Yes, that's a great point. That's a great point. You're right.
Like it all kind of gets filtered through that dull ache, which isn't ideal. Certainly that which is why it becomes so important to find a way to ease that pain.
Well, that makes me think about what you brought up earlier in regards to Cherry and how we see Emily through the protagonist played by Tom Holland.
Do you think that was a fair portrayal? Because I did. I thought the movie was really profound. Thank you. But I wonder, did you feel that it was fair in that sense? I guess that it was a complete picture of a character or was it modified?
I think it's a fair portrayal of the character, and I think it's fair to the story that we're telling you. I think it would be different if it was like Emily's specific struggle with addiction. I mean, obviously, being a couple is an extremely important part of the movie and an extremely important part of the story. But like I said, it is still Cherry's story. It's still his life that we're learning about. So I would say it's fair in that way.
I don't think that we lost anything by not going deeper into her back story or getting to know her more as a person.
I love that you recognize that. All right. If acting suddenly became illegal, how would you make a living? This is the question that through my teenage years, I thought about every day. And it was terrifying because I actually don't know. This is the type of thing where I'm sitting here. I'm like, what other skills do I have?
I'm so with you and I don't know if there are any.
But for another, like, dream fantasy career that I would love to have one that I just learned about recently. OK, there's two actually first and foremost tree doctors. Yeah. I just think it's the coolest thing. I think it's amazing. Also, you make stupid money. Oh, I didn't know that part. Yeah, but it's just such a specialty. But I also love this idea of being able to understand something like a tree, which is so often just looked over and being able to look at the way a trunk is grown and understand when a tree is experienced, trauma are like things like that.
And there's a quietness, a serenity. One hundred percent, just a connectedness to nature is something I realized I really yearn for. And the second one, I guess there's a certain position. I don't know if it's like in the world of park rangers or not, where they put you away in these far away locations, in these cabins on the top of these beautiful hills where you can see over the valley and you just watch for fires and you report like the oncoming weather and you look out for smoke and fires and you live in solitude and these beautiful places.
I was going to ask you about that. Like the idea of solitude. I grew up in Washington State and there are a bunch of still these old fire lookout towers that people did live in. And you can hike to some of them. And they're amazing.
And I. Do think of myself as a person who is very good at being alone or with my partner, I love just that kind of quietness, but I always have.
I don't think it's a direct correlation between acting and having the intensity of sort of the public performance idea like healthy solitude. Exactly.
Which I think it's so interesting because typically when people think about actors, they think about someone who desires being the center of attention at all times, always who needs that in their life as much as, of course, they thrive on a certain level of that. I very much so need solitude to feel like myself.
I know. All right. What occasion do you lie? I usually lie when I feel like it's going to save somebody else's feelings. But then I caught myself doing it at a time when I should not have been doing it, not necessarily lying, but withholding the truth. Obviously, the outcome was uncomfortable.
The outcome was extremely uncomfortable. But in the end I was like, OK, I should have done this sooner, but it wouldn't have been a thing, you know what I mean? It's like you're trying to save yourself and the person you're lying to from this level of pain. But in turn, you make the pain and ten times worse by not just being honest about it.
So it was a hard lesson to learn, I think, in our industry, too. It's not good business to shit on a project.
Oh, God, no. Oh, God, no. No. What? Yeah, exactly. We're forced to be like flowery and enthusiastic about everything.
Yes, real. But that's also what I love when I see actors or people in our industry who are being so honest about projects like watching Robert Pattinson go back and talk about Twilight and being able to laugh about it and tease about the experience of what that film was and making it, I was like, oh, God, what a relief that at a certain point you can go back and just be like, fuck it. Oh yeah, this movie was bonkers.
It was, you know what I mean? I enjoy that. And I find that so refreshing. But yeah, I'd like to keep working and not burn any bridges.
Yeah, I'm with you on that. What is the most important advice you've ever been given? The most important piece of advice I'd ever been given was from my friend Lindsey, who has a wealth of knowledge, the wisest woman I've ever met. But she told me once recently, if you recognize that something's a fountain for you, stay connected to it and a lot will flow from that. So if you recognize that something's bringing joy into your life or bringing you peace, stay connected to that thing, keep doing it, keep pursuing it, get a hobby, basically.
But she's like in staying connected to that, a lot will flow from it for you. Have you found what that is? Yeah, well, for me for a while, it certainly has been acting because of course in any career, like the lows are really low. And when you're sitting there and you think you're never going to work again and you're giving it your all, you're like, oh, shit. I guess when I figure out what my plan B is best go to a tree doctor school.
You know, in staying connected to it, I found there's always a reward. But also I think I found like in relationships that's been really important as well, like feeding and nurturing them and staying connected to the people who I leave their presence. And I feel like a better version of myself. And I just feel comforted and taken care of and grateful that they're in my life. Like staying connected to those types of people in those moments and relationships has brought a lot of joy into my life.
How do you negotiate the long distance waters? I don't know.
Like, you know, obviously every relationship is unique and you have to find out what works best for you. I'm so lucky in that my partner is like the king of monogamy and like the most trustworthy, respectful, kind, understanding, caring person in the world at like twenty four, which make that make sense. So it's never felt difficult in the ways that I think people would typically imagine. I think when you think about long term relationships, a lot of people worry about infidelity, which is not something that's ever crossed my mind.
And I feel very lucky about that. It's tricky to feel connected to a person that you're so far away from. And that's what we've really been focusing on, is finding ways to stay connected, whether it be like making sure or blocking out time where we can face time and have a show that we watch together, that we can talk about things that feel normal. You know, when you're together in a room, you can sit down on the couch at the end of the day and watch a show or like talk about a book you've been reading and have that shared activity.
So that's what we try to do, is find the shared activity. Have you been to Ireland many, many, many times? Yeah, I'm ready to move.
I've just been to Dublin briefly for a press, but I feel like it would be Cinderella's shoe. Ireland for some reason, I have it stuck in my head that I would really fit in there.
You should go. You should go. What's also amazing, especially as an American, is it's so easy to get from one side of the country to the other. Like, I feel like you could drive the whole thing in a couple of days and it wouldn't even be a stress. I find that to be one of the big cultural differences as I'll be talking to my partner or his family. Yeah, it's like a three hour drive. It's not that bad.
Like three hours. Packing snacks and making sure everyone has blankets like three hours is a journey. Yeah, for me, it's going to work him back. So I find that really funny. But, you know, completely you have to go there. It's a beautiful country and it's just such a breath of fresh air. The first time I was there, this is when my partner and I first started. We weren't even really dating yet at this point.
And I was over there to celebrate my 21st birthday, of course, celebrate twenty one in a country where you're legal at 18.
So you went there, but you guys weren't really together yet. So I had already had plans to go there. And then we had filmed a show together a couple of months prior. And I was like, be over there, let's hang out. Happy accident and amazing. So there must have been like flirtation and attraction when you guys were working together. Of course. Of course. But I'm always very hesitant about dating my coworkers. Yeah. It feels like such a cliche, but then also like, oh my God, what a nightmare if it doesn't go right.
And then it was a TV show and if we got picked up for second season, we had to work together. Like that's my biggest fear. Also, I just adored him so much as a person. I wanted him to be in my life for a long time. And I always worry about like getting into relationships and ruining the possibility of having that person in my life for an extended period of time.
I can't believe how pragmatic you are. That's amazing. Oh my God. At twenty. You're twenty three. Twenty three. I was like dating my first husband and I just always threw caution to the wind when it came to love. But it's not kind of nice isn't it. Great. Well in a way do feel like I'm sure it comes back to bite you. And isn't there something like sort of fun and romantic like. I don't know. Of course.
Listen to me. I'm the complete opposite where I'm like, no, we can't love each other because I love you, you know what I mean?
Yeah, but you were much wiser. I was just like a cute guy like her or gone. Oh, yeah. Totally, yes. See you at the altar. Oh, OK.
First time in Ireland, I thought I was texting, I was texting my sister at the same time as my partner and I thought I was texting my sister and I was like, oh my God, I just had the lightest period in my life. I have no bloat here. I was like, this is amazing. I love my body, just feels so right. But I'm in this country. I don't know what it is. And then my partner texted back and he was like, so glad here.
And I was like, oh my God, I was mortified. I was like, wow, what a shame. We can never see each other again. That wall immediately knocked down. He was like laughing about it, but not even he was like, it wasn't a big deal.
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Terms supply. Do you have a reality television indulgence? Yeah, I do. I've got a few The Real Housewives are always good, especially the new Salt Lake City just got into that. It's a wild ride also when it's on Love Island. Are you familiar? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. The British people, it's a garbage fire of a show. Yeah. And I love every moment of it. It's troubling. It's a troubling show to watch.
We're doing a bachelor binge right now. How do you feel about that? Do you like The Bachelor? I do have a hard time getting into it. I like it for just the show. I'm fascinated by the structure of 30 women sort of under the spell by construct of the show to be predisposed to adoring this person and how the bachelor construct walks this line of promoting sort of a fairy fantasy and like the glossiness, yet it sort of winks at itself.
It's just sort of fascinating in that realm. It's also a little bit depressing, though.
Yeah. Do you think if you were asked to be a producer on one of these shows, do you think you could do it? No, because I almost feel like there's this maniacal sense you have to have where it's like, how do you make good television? I think I could coach a winner pretty well, like if they gave me, like, a couple of strong contestants, I really think I would be good at being like, here's the game plan, ladies.
Let's sit down. Let's talk about it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. See, I love that. That's great. You would be like a coach, wouldn't you? I love it. Yeah.
I'm deep in the bachelor world. See, that's my NFL. That's my sports. You know what I mean is it's so messed up, it's so twisted to think it out. But if they were to make a show about producers and they each have a group of women and it is almost like that's the game. That's the reality show. Yeah, I could eat that up. I join that fantasy league.
I love it. I love it. All right, Ciara, what haven't you taken the time to learn about actually, like finances, accounting? So with you, I want to learn.
I need to I don't know very well. I clearly don't want to. No, no, no, of course not. We would have done it already. I know. I don't think I'm ever actually going to feel like an adult until I stop calling my mom to ask about tax stuff, you know what I mean?
Yeah. And it's jarring when you apply it to, like, auditioning like you.
No. Oh, my God, no. It's like the quickest way to send me into a panic attack, like an actual panic attack is when I started thinking about finances. And it's like, OK, well, and as an actor, you never know where your next paycheck is coming from. And you spend all of this money to work. You know, you're paying rent in different cities so that you can do this job or what have you. And it's like the second I look into it's like, oh, my God.
It really defines, though, so much of our life in this industry. You know, we have the job for three months with the exception of television shows. But still, there's always zero permanence even these days. And so there is that feeling of like, fuck, I got to get the next job. I have to have some degree of security in an industry where there isn't any none. And that's stressful. Yeah. Yeah. You feel it.
You feel it. Yeah. Every second of every day. Especially because my family's not in the industry at all. Like I'm the first person who's ever gone down this career path and they're all very business minded. We've got a family business back home. And so money is a big thing to think about and I'll be talking to them. They're like, well, you have to pay these bills, like you need to take that job. Right? And I was like, yes, I get it.
But also, like, I'm over here, like the creative. The moment I know, right. It's like you have to have a strategy. I can pay your mortgage. Exactly.
Exactly. I also feel like there is this pressure to not be not a sell out, but like there is this pressure to like, oh, yeah. You know, not take a certain type of work because it's not considered interesting or like high end or like you're not a real actor, which I think is just complete bullshit. But there is that pressure to be like an interesting actor. The only takes a certain type of role.
When I was going through my first divorce, but I was like, I'm not sure if I should do Yogi Bear. My agent was like, you know, I think you need to do Yogi Bear because you do have a mortgage. And I was like, yeah. So then I'm in New Zealand like Yogi when you're right.
You're right. Yeah, yeah. That's life as an actor. Yeah.
What is the trait you dislike in others? I don't like pretentious people. It really rubs me the wrong way to the point where I almost get some sort of like sick sense of joy from arguing with people that I find pretentious. It's almost like sport for me just because it makes me feel good, which is so messed up. And I would love to talk to my therapist about that. You know, people who are just unnecessarily looking down on other people because they don't watch the same movies or they eat a different way or they don't.
Something that somebody else knows, I think it's just an unnecessarily cruel way to live. I feel like the 20s are ripe with that. Oh God, yeah. Oh, yeah. And I think it's an important part of living life is to find your voice in a way to articulate your passions. But I definitely play devil's advocate like I don't do that anymore because I feel too tired. But OK. Oh, I wanted to ask you specifically what intimidates you.
I get intimidated by, like, truly intelligent people who just, you know, when you speak to them, it's like, well, you know it you know it all. But also I feel myself encouraged by that level of knowledge as well, because I want to have that same grasp on the world. I'm intimidated by people who went to college, basically, is what I'm saying.
We talk to a lot of actors that I think feel that way. I think you articulated it right, which is the first step.
But I went to college because my dad is a professor. My brother's a professor. We have a lot of family that's in academia. I know that it served me well in terms of critical thinking and life experience. I had a miserable time for the most part, and no one has asked me about it since.
OK, do you believe in ghosts or aliens? I love talking about ghosts and aliens. Great. This is actually my favorite question to ask people when I first meet them is have you had any ghost experiences? Have you had ghost experiences? No. OK, I very much so. Have I also went to Catholic school my whole life. So it's a very troubling relationship I have.
But I have just this curiosity for spirituality and not necessarily in a religious aspect, like in terms of Catholicism or Christianity or anything like that. It's just like what else is there in life? Like, what else is going on that we can connect to to drive energy fun. But let me tell you a ghost story. So my friend Nina, she it was an old friend of mine from school growing up. She lived in this house that used to be where it was a priest house.
So I didn't know this until later. But I guess her whole family had just accepted the fact that it was haunted and they had all had experiences and that was just part of living in that home. I didn't know that when I agreed to sleep over there and we were watching Saturday Night Live. So we were in her den and she had fallen asleep. And through the doorway of her den was the hallway that you could see into the dining room and then in the kitchen and I heard the sound of dishes being done and dishes being put away.
And I kept looking over and all the lights were off. I was like, maybe her mom's just like her friend was so comfortable in their house that they don't need the lights on to clean the dishes and put it away. I was just trying to make it make sense. And then I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. They were like heavy boot steps. And I was like, oh, thank God. Like her dad's still up. He's going to come, like, check in on us because I was starting to get spooked at this point.
And I look over and I see clear as day these boots, these like black boots. And I was like, oh, that's not her dad. I was terrified. So I pretended to be asleep. And then it was the figure of a man in the doorway. And he stood there for a few seconds and he just turned and kept walking down the hallway and I didn't know what to do. So I pretended to be asleep. That's like my fear tactic.
I was playing dead until Nina woke up and she was like, oh, should we go to bed?
And I was like, Yeah, I think maybe we should definitely go to bed and get out of here immediately.
I was shaking and I woke up the next day and I told her that story and she was like, Oh yeah, she's like, that happens all the time.
Yeah. She's like, you wouldn't believe.
The other night I was laying in bed and I was asleep and I heard someone whispering my name in there like, uh, Nina and I rolled over and I was like, what, mom? And no one was there. I was like, you need to move.
Oh, my God. It's like Father Peter or something, right?
He he. Who was that? I was like, looking at us, sir. And drooling Saturday Night Live. Yeah, that was scary. That shook me to my core.
OK, all right. All right. Because I've never had that experience. I always look at it with a degree of cynicism, not your story, but what you can. That's not going to hurt my feelings.
Well, it did occur to me like maybe somebody broke into the house late at night. Right. Which also would make sense. But it wasn't like I could see through the being. There is a weird like it wasn't physically there. Does that make sense? Yeah, it's so hard to explain because I couldn't see the man. I couldn't see any details. I just it was almost like he was wearing a cloak, but not over his head. I honestly don't know how to describe it other than I could see the boots clear as day, but also the hallway that you walk down into.
It's actually like right when you turn right out of the den. It was an elevator and the elevator didn't move. And how old were you?
I was thirteen. Fourteen. Obviously, our listeners can't see you, but like, you have a specific intensity with this story.
Right. But the. Thing is like it's easy for me to believe because I've always believed in an afterlife, not necessarily heaven or hell or angels or demons, I just believe that there's some else out there. So what's your relationship with Catholicism? Now, I'm not really a religious person. I don't really have any strong feelings for or against. I do believe that there is like life after death. I just don't know in what sense. I don't think that there's some big man in the sky dictating all of our lives.
Right. One of the biggest rules is thou shall not judge. That's technically God's job. But then we create all of these rules to judge the people around us.
And you didn't go on Sunday. Exactly. And we decide who's good and who's bad based on whether or not they congregate or believe in the big man, not on their actual actions as human beings. And that always bothered me. I'm not saying that every single person who subscribes to religion is that way. I think that there's a lot of hope and joy that can exist within religion. But it's also just like a great way to feel guilty all the time.
Yeah, yeah. I grew up without religion, but a lot of guilt, so I don't know if there is any escaping it.
It's just life just existing, huh.
OK, I want to ask you, do you have a favorite book or author?
It's so cliche, but I do really like Joan Didion. Yeah. I just think she's like the ultimate cool girl. And I really appreciate her curiosity in the way that she approached life and asked all of these questions. I find her writing very easy to read. She's so honest and frank. It's refreshing. Yes, it is really difficult. OK, what is your relationship with fame?
I struggle with the idea of fame a lot. That's actually what intimidates me to circle back being in this career. People have or feel like they deserve a certain level of access to you as a human being. I'm OK with sharing when I want to share it, you know what I mean? Yes. And I'm glad that we're finally having the conversation of how detrimental that can be with the whole free BRITTNI movement and documentary that just came out. I think it's really important that we have the conversation of the negative side effects of fame, especially with women in this industry.
It's not something that I want I don't want to be famous because what I really love is the actual act of acting like I want to be on set and I want to be making movies. That's where I have fun. That's where I feel comfortable and challenged in a healthy way. Like that's what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, is just feel proud of and satisfied with the work that I'm doing. And I want to be able to, like, go get a cup of coffee.
It really bothers me that people feel like they deserve every aspect of a person because of their job, because they get to watch them on TV. It also really troubles me that people get to know actors as a character and then think that they know them as a real person. That's why I do my best in my own personal life, to not develop opinions about people that I don't know personally like. Of course, you hear things in the tabloids and sometimes like, yes, very much so is the truth.
But if it's just like gossip for the sake of gossip and hate, for the sake of hate, I try my best not to develop any opinions about people or stories that are, frankly, none of my business completely.
You know what I want to ask you, though, about the idea of fame. Have you felt intoxicated by it? I love it. My experience with it in my twenties was heady and at times, yeah, intoxicating, which concerned me because I understood the value is not real. Whatever inflation socially I had didn't feel legitimate. Right. Or at least I had complicated feelings around it. Has it been seductive? Yeah, of course. I think that's also human nature.
Yeah, right. Like you want to be wanted to a certain extent. Of course it feels great when people decide that, like you have this certain power that other people don't have. But I also feel weirdly yucky about that as well. I know it makes me uncomfortable if the idea that anyone would ever think that, like you couldn't come up and have a normal conversation with me or like, you know, sometimes on sets, you sort of experience this depending on the set and depending on who the higher up is.
We're like sometimes they'll tell crew members not to talk to the actors. And that always really bothers me because that's my favorite part, is developing friendships with the crew members. But also I'm a really shy person, so I always have a difficult time breaking that boundary and like jumping into those friendships in those situations. So I'm like, no, please don't say that. I want people to talk to me so that I can make friends here. You're right.
There's definitely a separation between the actors in the crew. Yeah. And you actively have to do it. Yeah. Again, it depends on who the higher ups are and like what type of atmosphere the set has. But sometimes that is the case and it gets weird. And the thought that. That could translate to my personal life outside of work is always scary to me, so I try to do whatever I can to make people realize that there isn't any difference between me and anyone else.
But it can be intoxicating for sure. I know that you're doing a lot of press for charity. How do you think that you will reflect, let's say, in two years on your shooting experience and the experience of charity? You know, how memory like sharpens itself or kind of modifies to like that was fucking awesome or that was really rough. Right. And it's always somewhere in between. I've noticed the farther I get away from the experience, the more I remember the joy I had while shooting there.
Because, of course, when you're shooting something so heavy, like when I'm fresh out of it, I remember all of the heavy, super emotional places I had to go. And so it sort of carries that weight. But the farther I step away from it that way, it floats away and all of the good, beautiful, wonderful memories float to the top. Let's say you're about to do a scene in Cherry where you and Tom are shooting up or something like the 15 to 20 minutes before.
What does that look like for you?
That's a great question. Let me think back on it. Usually in our house in the movie. And we had this little green room upstairs. So it was usually me and Tom and Tom's team, like his wonderful group of hair and makeup and his brother and everyone. And we would all be sitting in that green room just bullshitting, like joking about something that's amazing. Right. So it was always very light and very fun. It was like once we got called to set because you called to set, you sit there for like five to 10 minutes before things really get moving anyway.
And I think in those moments, that five to 10 minutes, that's when it was like, OK, pause on the laughter and we would drop down into where we needed to be. Yeah, you're like stepping up to play. Exactly. And everything sort of clears away and you know where you need to go. I know we could always go back to that. And of course, if it was an extremely difficult scene and you had to be like sobbing or screaming or crying or whatever, I would always sort of seclude myself, like go off to a corner somewhere to just be alone.
And everyone was very respectful about that.
Some of those scenes that's usually my memory is like sitting next to a heater in a tent just thinking, do you feel your strongest first take, tenth take? Is it totally across the board? If I were to gauge myself, I feel like take two or take three is usually my sweet spot because I'm hard on myself. I'll go into a scene wanting to make sure I land it. And I've worked with the actors who don't put that kind of pressure on themselves for the first few takes.
Yeah, usually they're comedians. Yeah.
So look, you know, I'm similar to you. I would say second or third take. I almost feel like there's a progression where it starts down a little bit and then it gets better and better and better. And then it peaks and then it drops off. It starts to get worse and worse and worse. Yes, I'm with you with that. And if I'm not clear with the direction, if that has not been articulated to me well, or if my head can't wrap around the direction, I will find myself searching for it so much in the moment that I'm straying from the presence.
Right. I'm not present anymore as much.
Yeah, I'm very familiar with that feeling. And then you start to get in your head and then it just sort of spirals from there. There's nothing worse than getting a note that isn't articulated well or I feel like I don't understand and that they keep giving different versions of the same note and then like, oh my God, I'm terrible.
I'm so bad at my job, I can't get this one. No, I'm going to get fired, you know. Yeah. That classic spiral. I know.
And I was talking to one of the directors of Overboard the other day, and he did something that I'd never experienced before. We were doing a scene where my character's like she's a little hurt or whatever, and I leaned in a little heavy with the hurt and he came up to me and he's like in this moment, like, don't get too emotional because many of my male lead has an emotional beat, like two minutes later. And I was taking away from that moment.
And that made so much sense to me, like, oh my God, OK. I was so grateful for the logic presented. Right. Instead of him just saying, like, no, no, no, don't get emotional right here. That, of course, makes me defensive. Like, well, I think a logical person would.
Yeah, exactly. I also think that's why it's important for actors to understand writing. I feel like to really do your job well, of course, I'm not a writer in any sense of the word, but to really do a great job, you have to understand a script in that way and be able to step outside of yourself, your ego, which is so easy to have when you're become attached to a character and try to understand the story as a whole completely.
It's also easy to forget the shape of things. Oh yeah.
When you're in it as well. It's not like you're shooting chronologically either, right? Most of the time. That's a really good no, I know. Really good approach. OK, what. You think is the meaning of life? Oh, my God. What do you think is the meaning of life? It's obviously a tough question. I also think it's a little bit of an unfair question. But because I grew up in Seattle in the 90s, I have a deeply cynical sense.
So when people in Los Angeles talk about the idea of being present, I roll my eyes a little bit at the language, not the idea. But lately I'm forcing myself to grow up and embrace this concept. I was podcasting with somebody. Our guest was talking about eating an orange. And I love that simple sentiment of appreciating moments, nurturing joy, love.
I don't have any idea if that is the reason for our existence. Is there a reason? It's a great way to exist, though. Yes. To feel so. I don't know if our imaginations are large enough as humans to wrap our brains around a larger purpose. Right. I agree with that wholeheartedly.
I sure hope that I can live long enough for, like, you know, an alien experience.
I'm like, take over. I'm ready. I feel like as long as you guys have a better grasp on this whole living thing in existing, I'm down. Yeah, but what if they're fucking awesome actors?
Exactly what advice would you give your younger self? OK, if I were to speak to my younger self, I would give the piece of advice that my friend Hannah gave me. It was just something that she mentioned. And I think about every day she was like, if you want someone to be friends with you or if you want to be friends with someone, just treat them like you're already friends. And there's something about that that's so radical to me.
It sounds so simple. It's so true, though. It's so true, especially in our industry with women as we relate to each other. I feel like in my twenties I was constantly comparing myself against all other women, but especially in our industry. And that jealousy kind of aided me in a way that felt awful, like jealousy does. So I don't know if it was as overnight as this, but I remember thinking at some point, like if I feel that jealousy nine at me, how I was going to combat it within myself was to befriend and love this person.
And that's been a pretty awesome strategy, actually.
Tell you what, nothing feels better than being excited for your friends. It's the best feeling in the whole entire world and in an industry that already takes so much from you. Yeah. To be able to take that back for yourself completely. Right. It's the best feeling. It's so empowering. It requires discipline. It does. But you're right. It is so rewarding on a fundamental level, just like you don't have that physical bad feeling inside of yourself that's making you a less attractive person.
Right. And then you get to be happy for people that you love and respect and enjoy it. Kimmy, it's win win. Yeah, of course. That other voice is allowed to exist. It's probably going to exist. But to choose to be happy and celebrate the other people in this industry, especially ones that you consider friends, got the best feeling in the world.
Well, I think you are so impressive, and I just love talking with you.
Thank you very much. It's past, what, eleven, almost twelve months have been taxing emotionally. So it means the world that you're sitting here with me and giving me the time in the presence. It was a joy to talk to you. I've always been such a big fan. So this was my mom is going to be so psyched. And my sister.
Thanks so much. Yeah, thank you. Bye bye. This episode of Unqualified is brought to you in part by imperfect foods, when I was 11, I had a sticker that read Nobody's Perfect. It was a way to let myself off the hook because my friend Kate was so pretty. Groceries have even stricter standards than 11 year olds, and every year billions of pounds of food go to waste, often for just not meeting the strict cosmetic standards of grocery stores.
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Hey, everyone, I am so happy to have Dr. Lisa Marie Bobbie back, and I know you are, too. Here she is. Hi, Dr. Bobby, it's great to see you. Thank you for doing this. Hello, Ana. I'm excited to be here with you today. All right. Let's Comolli. Hello. Hi, Molly, thanks for writing in and talking with us. Thank you. I'm so excited.
I am here with Dr. Bobbie. She's the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching in Denver, Colorado. And she is fantastic.
Hi, Molly. Hi, Dr. Bobbie. How are you? Hi, I'm great. I'm excited to talk to you. So, Molly, tell us what is happening.
Kind of just it's been a crazy year all around, but basically I moved to San Francisco from Boston about a year and a half ago and I didn't know anybody. Like, I just moved here kind of on a whim for work. And within a few months, I started bartending just to try to meet people and make friends. And I ended up meeting my boyfriend. And a couple of months later, the quarantine happened like everything's shut down. So him and I kind of were forced to, like, become really serious really fast.
Like, we just hung out all the time. We live, like, really close to each other. So we could just, like, walk to each other's apartments and just kind of, like, fell hard real fast to each other. And it was like wonderful. But about a month ago, the bar reopened. He went back to work. I didn't go back to working at the bar. And he does bartending, like, as a way to just kind of supplement his life.
But really, he's an artist. He's a writer, like he really wants to pursue that. So I think right now he feels like a little stuck in life. And he basically told me that he feels really stuck because he just can't figure out how to pursue, like, his passion and kind of just decided that the thing to go was our relationship so he could focus on writing and painting and really make something for himself. So I took it really hard.
And that was about a month ago. And then we've had a few conversations since then. And the most recent one, he said that he feels like he kind of did that on a whim and would love to like try to figure out how he can pursue all of this and work on our relationship at the same time. So I kind of am hesitant now because I'm just kind of like, well, I don't want you to just feel stuck and then break my heart every time that happens.
Yeah, he's rendered you powerless. Exactly. That's so true. So it's like so like Messi now. And it just wasn't like our relationship was really beautiful and really easy. We really didn't fight. Like, it really blindsided me. And now I'm just all confused.
So, Molly, do you mind if I read from your letter for a second? Cause. Yeah, you write recently he told me he needs to grow and find himself and feels like he needs the kind of growth that comes from being uncomfortable, which that is tough to hear because it's like, are you supposed to just sit back and wait till he finds himself?
No, no. I mean, he basically said in so many words, he was like, I would never ask you to wait for me. Like, I know that's not fair to you. But again, like recently it's been more he wants to make both work. So it's a weird situation. So I don't think you are really asking me to put my life on hold. But I think you kind of realized in the months that we were separated that we were really happy.
And I don't think there was really a reason for it.
How frequently do you guys speak now? Probably it was about once a week. And then in the last five or so days, it's been pretty much every day.
It does he call you? It's pretty equal. I mean, at first it was him calling me a lot. I feel like trying to kind of like win me back in a way. But now I feel like we're trying to kind of figure stuff out, like I should put in a little bit of effort as well. So it's equal.
Now, Molly, if I could also ask, what is your understanding of what this guy is trying to accomplish through his separation from you?
What in his mind would be different for him?
Yeah, that's a really good question. I think that something he said in one of our more recent conversations was, like I said, we saw each other every single day, like before work, after work, like grabbing coffee, grabbing a drink. So he felt like if he asked for some more space in our relationship and for some more time apart during the week, that I wouldn't have received that well, that I would have not given that to him.
Which in turn I said, of course, I would have like I would have done anything for you to follow your dreams and support you in any way I could. So I think that's why he was like, oh, OK, cool. Like, let's get back together then. So I'm like, well, wait a minute. No, no. That makes a lot of sense to me, though.
So I'm a marriage and family therapist and so a lot of what I do is helping. Couples negotiate exactly these kinds of things, and can I also ask how old are you, Molly, and how old is this fellow you're dating? We are both approaching twenty seven. OK.
OK, so stuff like young people. And, you know, I think it's so important because I'm sure you've met people like this in your life.
There is often, particularly for artistic people, it requires creativity.
And the generation of art requires this like internal experience that takes a lot of time and energy. My husband is a photographer and he also struggles with this because I think a lot of artists almost feel like they need to be selfish in a way and have this time and space apart. And I'm almost hearing that this guy is trying to figure out if that's OK and how to communicate that and kind of wrestling with these internal fears that that isn't OK, that he's being selfish in some ways where you're saying, no, I can hear that.
But he didn't know that.
Yeah, I totally agree with you. And I think it's nice to talk to you and honor it because I feel like friends and family. Of course, they love me so dearly that they hear that like he broke up with me and it's immediately like, oh, forget him, move on. He's a jerk. And I'm like, oh, no, that's not like I. I totally want to understand where he's coming from and see it from that perspective as well.
So it's nice to hear that, of course, him being an artist and being in that world, he does feel like he needs that heaviness and like darkness to produce certain things. And I get that. But, you know, because I really sort of happy all the time, I guess, that he wasn't really feeling motivated to it. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. But I do wonder because I have heard versions of this, the idea of like artistry through pain and loneliness and that kind of mentality sometimes strikes me as a little bit immature and selfish and perhaps necessary for some artists or at least who am I to judge anybody. I've felt these feelings before too. But if that mentality is solidified or cemented at all in his head, of course that's not conducive to a healthy, really healthy, happy relationship. If he's like, I need to be tortured and you're not fucking torturing me enough, that's something that you can't that no person could fill.
After talking with you. It seems like what you guys had was genuinely wonderful. I always have talked about, like, you know, the idea of protecting your heart.
And like you were saying, Doctor, you can assess the behavior that you've witnessed.
Another layer that's been really hard is typically in past relationships. They've been like around my family and I've really introduced them in that way. But due to like quarantine, like we did go home and he met my family once. But other than that, they really haven't seen us like together. They really don't know him. Not that I'm trying to be that teenager. Like, you don't even know him, but that's kind of how I feel if they don't and they don't know.
So that's kind of a layer to this. That's difficult as well, because although they are loyal to me and know me so well, I don't feel like they knew my relationship as well as we did. Yeah.
Molly, how dramatic of a relationship was it when you guys were full force having a great time? Like, how frequently were arguments and stuff like that?
Very infrequent. I mean, when I think about him and our relationship, he's like the classic like eighties boyfriends that all girls kind of want. Like, he's just does a lot of sweet things. Like one time we did have a bit of an argument. It was very small and it was just like a miscommunication thing. And he showed up outside my apartment building with a speaker, like playing our song like alleyway. And, you know, he does stuff like that, like he's such a romantic that I love the big gestures.
So it's been like that the whole time. And even if we do have an argument, it's like quickly resolved. This is like the first time. And that's what I feel a bit confused about. I was like through everything like that, we've been able to openly talk about, like, you really didn't think you could talk about this with me and we could come up with a solution. I think that's why in my gut, I'm like, OK, did he just want the relationship to end?
And this is kind of like a scapegoat, like, I don't really know. So now we're back. Was it too uncomfortable to be apart now? He's like, nope, nope, I'm going back. Going back. So I don't know. It's weird. I'm I'm not quite sure how to feel about it.
The reason why I asked that question about you calling him or him calling you is that because he shook the balance of your relationship by breaking up? I worry that at this juncture you're being maybe a little more generous, which may. Lead you to some vulnerability which may lead to cloudier decision making, you can't convince them to love you. No one can convince anybody to love anybody else, you know, no matter how hard we try.
Dr. Bobby Molly, in talking with you.
My sense of you and I'm just going to ask is that you are just a fundamentally like, pretty secure, emotionally healthy person. Is that generally true?
OK, and so with that in mind, like you're having a very appropriate response. It felt good. It felt like a stable relationship.
You're enjoying each other.
And then he just sort of like withdrew in this way. That hurt your feelings and confused you.
And now appropriately, you're like, can I can I trust you? What's going on?
But OK, so there are certainly situations where we get to know people over time and learn that maybe they're not going to be great partners for us and we should certainly trust that.
But the other piece of this and what I'm kind of hearing in your story, Molly, is that it's also true that people grow in relationships because of the relationships.
So, for example, this guy, young man, perhaps due to his own life experiences, learned that he couldn't talk about his needs openly or if he wanted something, he would get in trouble or people would get mad at him.
And so he sort of has this basic expectation in relationships that if he is going to take care of himself or have his emotional needs met, he needs to withdraw.
So that's his, like, basic map of the world. But through his relationship with you, Molly, and because it sounds like you were able to be in emotionally safe person for him, you were able to say, what's going on with that? Why did you withdraw from me? And he's like, I feel like, you know, I have to choose. I can't do my art or you. I feel like I can't ask for the time that I need.
And you were like, yeah, you can.
He's like, Really? And that changed something for him.
No, really. Because like, yeah, he's always growing. Right.
And it's like you were saying before, Ana, you were like, I don't know if this guy can only make art when he's angsty.
It's like, you know, if somebody can only be creative when they're high, like that is problematic.
And that can be sort of the growth journey for creative people is how do I connect with my creative self, make my art amidst the banality of life. I think of some of the most powerful artists have figured out a way to do that.
And he is perhaps still on that journey. But he's talking about that with you, which is a sign of a lot of strength.
Yeah, I mean, that makes so much sense, Molly. Let's say if we were to hang up right now and Dr. Bobby and I were like, you know what?
We give our stamp of approval for this dude, go run into his arms. How would that make you feel? Would you feel relieved or would you feel confused?
I think maybe in the moment relieved. But I know myself and like, as time goes on, my mind might wander a bit and then I might fall back into, like all the questions, all of the uncertainty. I think I'm kind of battling it a little bit because Dr. Bobby, I think you hit the nail on the head like I want to trust that he's expressing himself now and he's kind of like, oh, like I can talk to you about stuff.
But I guess what I need from him at this point is to be like, OK, I'm not going to run again. If I feel this way, I'm going to communicate it with you.
But there's there's also what's happening here inside of you right now, Molly, is that you're trying to close this loop and make a decision about what you should do before you have all the information.
And I know that this has been an important relationship and you guys have been together for a while, but it takes a long time to get to know people.
And that character is revealed when people are stressed out, when people are, you know, like trying to figure out how to communicate.
And so it's not the fact that people, you know, have issues or say the wrong thing or do weird stuff.
Sometimes it's are they emotionally intelligent enough to be able to talk about it, to be able to own it, to be able to, you know, try to do things a little bit differently. And now you're having the opportunity to work through it with him and see what happens. Does it lead to growth and change in him and in your relationship?
It might and it might not, but it takes time to see you don't have that information yet, but I hear you trying to make decisions about whether or not to stay in a relationship before, you know, and that's a hard place to be in, honestly.
Like when I heard what was going on with Molly, that first red flag is like, oh, this guy is saying like he's not ready to be in a relationship or something, which is often a red flag that can lead to bad outcomes for women.
But like in talking to Molly about what is actually happening, you know, I think I'm putting my marriage counselor hat back on and going back to this idea that nobody knows how to do relationships.
Nobody teaches us like how to have a healthy relationship.
We have to have these life experiences and grow with a partner often when we figure it out. It sounds like that could be what is happening here potentially.
Molly, when you guys talk on the phone of late, does he still reiterate that he needs time and you guys are talking for a long time, but is he still maintaining that distance that he wants?
Yeah, I think so. Like I said, we used to see each other every day and we had dinner. But we have plans tomorrow night to have dinner. So I think it's kind of almost reverting back to like normal dating, like let's grab dinner Friday night. Like, that would be lovely, you know, instead of the like, OK, coffee this morning, a drink after work at your place tonight. You'll stay at my place throughout like it's not that anymore.
So I think that's a good thing. And then he also told me that this weekend my mom is actually coming into town and we both live in the city, so we don't have cars. So he said that he rented a car for Saturday and he's just going to, like, drive and like, go somewhere. And I was like, that's great. So I'm I'm feeling like positive things this week happening totally. So I am feeling like that.
Yes, we're keeping our distance, maybe physically, but we're still at least checking in on each other every day.
So yes or no, but this is also really healthy because I don't know if you guys have encountered this. I'm sure you probably have.
But one of the phenomena of our our pandemic age is that particularly in new relationships during quarantine, people have gone very deeply into relationships almost too quickly.
So it's exactly like what you're describing, Molly, like this night and day, like we are all of a sudden pretending like we've been married for five years.
In fact, we've been dating for a couple of months and it's like too much togetherness in a way that feels sort of stifling and almost like chokes that the healthy individuation of both partners.
And so what you see and what we have seen during the pandemic is that people who kind of like glom on to each other super quickly, it will either explode quite dramatically or they sort of revert back to a more healthy, interdependent kind of relationship, which it sounds like you guys are doing.
I like that idea probably of looking at a pandemic relationship through different lens.
Like it's like we can't necessarily judge know a relationship because it's unusual circumstances, right?
It is. And when people are scared or threatened, our instinct is to attach.
And Molly was, I think an important detail of your story is that you moved far away from home to a new place where you didn't know anybody, and then all this crazy stuff started happening in the world.
And so normally, I mean, in a very healthy way, it's like, where's my family, where's my person, where's my attachments, you know, and like, seeking to create that, which would explain why this relationship happened so powerfully and so quickly. But yeah, relationships that start very quickly and intensely are typically less healthy than relationships that kind of grow over time, because what happens is that we develop this huge attachment to somebody that we don't know very well yet.
Everybody is a weirdo in their own way and it takes time to figure out what that is. And so, like, we need a little bit of psychological distance and almost like not depend on somebody so much, you know, so we can be standing on our own two feet as we're getting to know each other over time. And Molly, you guys are shifting back into that. He's saying this felt like too much, too fast. I need to have time and space for my art.
And you are saying, yes, I need to spend this weekend with my mom and maybe not see you every single day, morning, noon and night. That's good. And it's not blowing up your relationship. You guys are talking about it.
This is a very good sign to me. Your mom's coming to visit. Is your ex planning on being around? It doesn't even feel quite correct to call him your ex.
Actually, we just keep kind of telling people we're working on it. So I wanted a little more clarity on that. I was like, I just want to know, like, you're really committed to me. Like a faithful way, the label is not super important, but I don't think X would be like exactly correct, but I don't know if I'd like totally on board to be like my boyfriend either, so.
Right, right. Right. What did you say to you when you said that you wanted clarification?
He responded very well. I mean, he has always reassured me that there's like no one else. That's something I think I just need to accept internally. That's something I can constantly look for, like reassurance from him, for he's at least like express. There's no one else. Like, it's just you like I'm committed to you. It's truly about everything we talked about, know there's no hidden agenda here. So to answer your question about my mom, she's been planning on coming out for quite some time.
And we wanted our moms to meet because they're very similar and we thought it would be fun. So we are going out like him, me and his mom and my mom one night. So a mom, I dated a mom playdate. Yeah.
This all sounds pretty encouraging, Molly. Yes. And I think it's worth talking about. And Molly, maybe this is a question for you.
I mean, what is the difference qualitatively between a healthy promising and young developing relationship versus some of the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship and not even just talking to you like there is this sort of very healthy, in my opinion, kind of wait and see, take it slow, see how it goes.
We're still getting to know each other.
That, to me, is one of the hallmarks of a very healthy developing relationship. And the fact that you guys are able to have authentic conversations about the things that you're experiencing.
And also, like Molly, this is very, very common for men, especially young men who, let's face it, are not socialized to talk about their feelings the way that women do.
A lot of times men will kind of shut down and withdraw because they don't know how to, you know, do the thing that sometimes feels easier for women, which is to say this is what's going on for me. And so this is not an uncommon pattern.
But the fact that he's able to stay in the ring with you and help you understand him and that you provided emotional safety for him to do that and didn't get mad at him or punish him or like freak out because I mean, these are good promising signs that would indicate to me at least the potential for a healthy relationship, yellow to green light.
I love that assessment, but it will be interesting and revealing.
I think if your mom thinks that this is a good fit, that he takes care of your heart, it sounds like he does to me. It sounds like he's a considerate person. The red flag from my own past is the tortured artist thing.
Yeah. Sometimes people, if they are suddenly pretty happy and content in a way that they haven't been for a long time, that can maybe rattle somebody, don't you think, Dr. Bobby?
If they haven't figured out how to tap into their creativity without that, it can be problematic because what it can happen is it's like a series of very dramatic and devastated kind of relationships where people are trying to make themselves feel a certain way in order for them to connect with their art.
But I think that there are also a lot of role models and examples of people who haven't done that, like William Eggleston is a photographer who took like these amazing photographs of like the parking lot of a supermarket in the afternoon. It was like very kind of normal stuff, but it is like sublime. And I think it's a real journey for artists to figure out how to stay connected with that creative part of themselves while existing in the world, especially as they get older.
You know, they may have a job or a family or kids. How do I stay passionate and also deal with making breakfast and doing laundry and doing all the things that, yeah, are not inspiring unless you can figure out a way to make them be. And that's a real existential crisis, I think, for many working artists.
In my experience, Molly, I don't know if I would vocalize this to him. It feels like the ice is solid enough to walk on. But I think, Molly, you should kind of keep this to yourself without telling him. It sounds like as he finds himself, he may cling on to things like, I can't handle a deadline or, you know what I mean?
You kind of have this window where you can kind of take into account what is really working for you and what you really love. He kind of gave you that gift in a weird way of being able to assess what you like.
A wonderful point. Then on that note, Molly, like for you. You knowing yourself the way you do what to you to Ana's point, would be like green light. This is this is OK, keep going.
What would be a yellow light and what is a red light like? How would you know if this was working or not for you?
Yeah, that's tough, because something I was going to mention is I come from a long line of divorced people, parents, aunts, uncles, like like I have never truly seen many successful.
Really, my. You have a family of romantics. Oh, God, I've never seen a lot of success. So I grab like with them where I can take it. But I think that's hard. I because I haven't seen a lot of relationships go the distance and even in my own life, my longest one was two years. And I think in my later twenties it would need to be like some sort of agreement that like at some point it used to be like we're in this like for the long haul, we're going to work through whatever we face.
You know, I'm a big commitment person and I think the red light would be I can't give you that.
Right. Well, and it's such a paradox because when you're still getting to know someone, it is inappropriate to, like, pledge your undying love. Right. But at the same time, you're saying that this is what you really want in order to feel safe and like it is a good relationship. So I think and I hope this isn't overstepping, but it sounds like where his growth moment could be.
How do I talk about how I'm feeling that perhaps your growth moment is how do I stay in the ring with someone emotionally when I'm not totally sure what's going to happen? How do I tell the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship to spill the beans?
To Dr. Robi, how do we do that?
The healthiest, best relationships are not the absence of conflict or the absence of issues or stuff. All couples have this.
It is the ability to work through them successfully together.
You know, we knock the corners off each other over time and we grow because of these interactions. So it's to have a conflict and then be like, OK, what happened?
Here's what was going on for me, what was going on for you and me, like, OK, that makes sense.
What are we going to do next time?
That's the engine of growth. So it's not the absence of conflict.
But Molly, that might potentially feel scary for you, because sometimes what happens is children, who's all their families divorce conflict feels incredibly threatening because conflict equals abandonment in their sort of emotional mind.
And so they tend to come back conflict avoidance.
And if there is a conflict, I have to try to make it go away because otherwise something bad will happen, which is actually the opposite of what we need to do in healthy relationships, which is to have courageous conversations and very openly address.
I mean, all conflict is is the opportunity to get to know your partner better.
There's really nothing to fight about. It's an opportunity for connection.
And so to kind of transform it into that and figure out how to lean in as opposed to get scared.
Is it possible that's a growth area for you, Molly?
Totally. I think that's exactly right. I'm constantly, like, overly forgiving instead of truly expressing things, because I truly feel like when I've reached this level of like love and happiness with someone that for me, I would want to kind of be like, OK, we can work through anything. I mean, if I truly felt like it was toxic or unhealthy, I wouldn't kind of fight for it this hard.
But I don't feel that that's my sense of you. Yeah, so but you're right. I do tend to with conflict. I am avoided at all costs. So I think that's definitely something to work on.
Well, and it sounds like you might have a wonderful opportunity in this relationship to kind of like feel that fear and then be able to lean in and be like, OK, what was going on?
Bobby, when I read Molly's letter, I was just worried about her. I was getting you hurt.
Yes. But I loved that you saw potential in this relationship and want to be more encouraging of it and help it succeed.
Then it feels like, Molly, you would be really kind of comfortable maybe with that, right?
Absolutely. I'm thrilled that that's the take. I think being a very frequent listener to the park, just like I know like it can be brutally honest sometimes. So.
Oh, God, thank you for listening, but I'm thrilled with the movie The Path.
It was great to get a different perspective. And just the typical like friends and family, like there's plenty of fish in the sea, like don't hang on to those too hard, but no, I think it's great to hear the support and the guidance to try to continue in and find the balance and make it work. So I think it was great.
Molly, thank you so much for talking with us. And please let us know how things go, because I can marry people.
I yeah, I became a minister and nobody asked me to marry them, but later on they did. But it was a middle of the night decision. And so I registered, what is it, the Universal Life Church. I did not know.
But it requires your birth date and nine ninety nine.
Are you going to become a minister? I love Molly. I'm excited for you.
I hope that you guys have great adventures together as we come out of this. I hope that he protects you and can work through the normal angst that is in his gut and hopefully he can work through that and not push you away, not scare you into withdrawing.
Yeah, but Molly, if he does, you know, be wary of that because that can yank you around a bit, agree to cautiously optimistic if growth is possible.
But Ana is exactly right.
If this becomes a pattern and you're having to chase him around to tell you how he feels and he's, you know, not able to communicate his needs and you find yourself, like, kind of frantically pacifying him in order to avoid conflict. Those are signs that it is maybe not a good match.
Hey, Molly, thank you so much. I know we're going to get a lot of people responding, and I so appreciate you being open.
Thank you both so much, Ana and Dr. Bobby. I really appreciate it. It was wonderful. Good luck to you, Molly. Thank you. Thanks again, Molly.
Take care of people. OK, bye. Doctor Bobbi, thank you again. It has been my pleasure. Thank you.