A friend once said to me, "Everyone has their breaking point." We were talking about his relationship. I was just listening - but those words resonated with me, and I've found myself thinking about them often.
"Everyone has their breaking point."
What does that really mean? Do I have a breaking point? And if I do, what gets me to it?
Other people can’t break me. Failure never has. Loss, betrayal, relationships, finances, and even death - none of those BIG ones have broken me. Maybe, they knocked the wind out of me for a beat or two, but I've always been able to get back up with very little real damage, and soldier on, usually the wiser for it.
I hit my breaking point when I face the little things. Like walking to the gym, or looking at a spreadsheet, losing my keys, getting tangled up in the dog leashes, being cold, grocery shopping; the most mundane, stupid shit. But, that stupid shit makes me feel desperate, and desperation is something that can get me to my breaking point. Desperation can get me into some bad places.
I remember one of my first jobs. It was a good opportunity, I guess. She was a big producer. I had a lot of access and probably could've risen through the ranks if I hadn't reached my breaking point.
I was hired to make copies and do her kid's homework. Mostly, I just hung around the office and ate a lot of potato chips. She got a movie going at some point and left me behind, alone. It was boring. One day, I noticed a giant stack of scripts, so I started reading them. After a few weeks I'd read every script in the place. One day, someone (an agent) called inquiring about a submission. I'd actually read his client's script. He couldn't believe it. He asked me what I thought, and I said I thought it was pretty good. He asked if I would pass it on to Nancy, and I said sure. And, that was how I became her script reader. Moving on up.
I told her which scripts to read - and the ones I didn't like, she never saw. It didn't take long for me to realize I had some power. One night, I was out at a Hollywood party, bragging about my position to some guy. He was a writer - of course. "Yeah yeah send me your script." He did, and I never read it. In fact, I lost it. Then, the calls started coming in, all the time. This guy was relentless. That's when I started to feel desperate. So, instead of just saying "Hey, I lost your script, send me another one," I just quit. I actually quit my job. That was my breaking point. Not my car blowing up on the 405, or nearly dying from the flu that year. It was a lost script and it broke me.
That was a long time ago, but those instincts are still there. I've learned a trick though. When I feel like I want to "end it all" because the lid on my coffee won't stay on, I just pour some of the coffee out. I don't throw away the whole cup.
What's your breaking point?
PLACES WE GO WHEN WE HAVE HIT OUR BREAKING POINT (THE HOLLYWOOD VERSION):