I met my husband, Robert, after turning 50 years old. I did not expect to EVER be head-over-heels in love with anyone again. I expected a "normal" life... you know, one where you work until retirement, spend time with family, just hang out doing normal people things. But two things changed all that for me.
The first was meeting Robert. Suddenly, at 50 years old, I was crazy in love with someone who was also crazy in love with me. Now, really, nobody would've ever thought we'd be a great pair. He was a quiet, homebody type, a hardworking, blue-collar family guy who attended church regularly. His vacations had always been spent going "home" to Louisiana and visiting with family. I, on the other hand, was an outspoken, mostly silly woman with an outrageous and bawdy sense of humor and a spirit of adventure. I mean, I, too, was hard working and dependable, staying on jobs for 15 years or more, so I was responsible and stable. Yet I was "crazy" in some unconventional ways. For example, I had taken stand-up comedy classes, I always wanted to be an actor; I was prone to travel on a whim, often alone. I met people easily and had a zest for life, which led me to do things like fly to West Palm Beach for a solo-get-away weekend, or book a room at a bed and breakfast in upstate Washington for a weekend of snowmobiling (yes, alone). So nobody expect "us" to work because we were so utterly different. Except our pastor, Pastor Steve, who told me that he KNEW God had placed me in Robert's life because he had seen Robert "blossom" after we met. And so... meeting Robert was one of the things that changed my life drastically.
The other thing was being cast in a crime re-enactment on America's Most Wanted. You see, I had ALWAYS wanted to be an actor, since I was literally a TODDLER. But I grew up in Pegram, Tennessee, and they didn't talk with girls about going to college or doing such silly things as being actors. When I got out of high school, I did what we all did: got married and started a family. But the acting bug would flare up ever so often. I admitted that's what I wanted to do when I was 31, but being a single mom with a small child who had a ton of medical issues just wasn't very conducive to an actor's life. I was cast in a couple of roles that I didn't get to do, like in At Close Range with Sean Penn and Christopher Walken (and Keifer Sutherland and more!) and Honky Tonk Man with Clint Eastwood. When my daughter's health dictated that I be at the hospital rather than on a movie set, I quit even dreaming of acting. I put it so far out of my head that it was many years before I realized it was something I could do. Being cast on America's Most Wanted brought that dream back to life, and Robert and I made plans to move to Los Angeles so I could FINALLY pursue the dreams of my childhood. And so...
We moved to LA in 2014. Nothing about the move was easy. We sold the home I'd owned for 30 years (which was scary as hell), we sold our tiny little lake cabin which we loved (which was difficult), we eliminated household belongings right down to a 6'x8' cube and drove across the country for new lives. Yes, we left behind family and friends, security and all we knew to pursue a dream. I was 59 years old at the time, and it was tough. Every moment was tough. Even as I packed our things, I kept saying, "I can't do this, it's too hard." But I kept going. Every step of the way, I thought, "I can't do this, it's too hard." Yet I kept doing it. The move itself was traumatic on my body. My chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia flared up viciously, and I was too tired to do anything at all FOR MONTHS. I cried a lot. I felt abandoned and stupid, and I hurt relentlessly. But Robert was my rock through it all, and his encouragement and love and support kept me going. And eventually, it became easier. I began being cast; I met people, made friends. And then I began research on essential oils and developed the Bear Balm that REALLY helps my pain.
So I deal with my chronic fatigue by listening to my body. When it says I need to rest, I rest. I try to eat better, live better. I'm happy and as healthy as a 64 year old 300-plus-pound woman can be. I am living my dreams, working with creative people, meeting all kinds of folks I never thought I would meet. I've worked with Amy Adams and Laura Dern and Tom Ford and Ray Liotta. I've walked the red carpet. I've been on album covers and in videos viewed by MILLIONS. I vote in the SAG awards because I am a PROFESSIONAL ACTOR in the same union as Harrison Ford and Robert DiNero. And at the end of the day, when I go to bed and my body aches, the Bear Balm and Bear Beans get me through the night. We're 57 and 64 years old, in a new life, new careers, and we're happy. Life is very, very good. Thanks for being here!