Strong, Just The Way I Am

This time last year Pantene Pro-V had THIS to say about father/daughter relationships and to them I had this to say…

Originally written in February 2016
Dear Pantene Pro-V,

I understand what you are getting at with your new NFL father daughter commercial. It’s cute, it’s heart warming and the fact that we get to see the soft and real side of “big bad” football players is great.

Your quote however, “girls who spend quality time with their dad, grow up to be stronger women,” is where my problem comes in to play. I’m not sure where you got this quote from, is it scientifically proven or is it something you just made up? Again, its cute and a heart warming quote, so when I first saw your commercial, why did it anger me?

I have never met my real father and I grew up in a single mother household. My mom is amazing and she is my best friend. I had an amazing childhood and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

My point here is that I am a VERY strong woman and I have never spent any quality time with my dad. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only woman out there who feels this way. In fact, I believe growing up without a father has contributed to me being the strong woman that I am today.

So, I’m sure girls that spend quality time with their fathers do grow up to be strong women, but STRONGER women? STRONGER then who? Then women who grew up without quality father daughter time? I don’t think so.

Thanks for listening.

Sincerely, Mandi Kreisher

An Accidental Realization

*This post was featured on Soul Journey Inspiration, read it there as well.*

I remember watching reruns of Punky Brewster when I was 4 years old and telling my mom I wanted to be on TV, just like Punky, when I got older.  She would then say to me “you gotta have white teeth if you wanna to be on TV.”  So, for the next few years I brushed my teeth four times a day— you win that one mom.  Then I did it, I worked extremely hard for years and years and I became an actress.


I was in some pretty popular TV shows, Modern Family and Criminal Minds to name a few.  I’ve met big name celebrities while filming National commercials.  I was in a bunch of music videos and was even on the cover of a hit album in the UK .  I was a model for a popular clothing brand.  I had a really fun role in a Judd Apatow/Adam Sandler film and I’ve been the lead in a bunch of Independent films.  I’ve met amazing people on set, including two of my now best friends.  I made great money, had a ton of fun and a little over a year ago— I quit and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

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A lot of people don’t understand my decision.  A lot of people give me a hard time about it and a lot of people will just never get why I “gave up” on my dream, but that’s okay.

Let me take a minute to discuss the life of an actor; it’s one big waiting game.  You wait for your next audition, you wait to book your next role, and you wait for your big break.  Then when you finally book that one role, you get to set, all full of energy and excitement— and you wait.

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On set of the Indie film, “Underwater Upside Down”

So, after 12 years of waiting and a life changing solo trip to Portland Oregon, I realized that I didn’t want to put my life on hold any longer.  I decided to finally start living my own life, where I could do whatever I want, whenever I want.  Now I can leave LA during pilot season if I choose, dye my hair blue if I want, or get a tattoo on my forehead— hey, I’d just like the option, okay?  So, I left my agencies behind, said farewell to my managers, and started a life of travel.

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos NM

It’s been a year now and I keep wondering when I’m gonna wake up and realize I ruined everything I worked so hard for.  When in reality, quite the opposite happens; I wake up every morning thankful that I spent this last year wandering around the United States, thankful that I’ve met such amazing, welcoming people, and thankful that I have grown in ways I never would have if I was still in LA; just sitting and waiting.

I’ve realized my dream isn’t my dream any longer and that’s okay.  People change, dreams change.

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“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” -Jim Carrey

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Song of the day: Closing Time by Semisonic

A Year Void Of Regrets

**This post was featured on the Travelettes website, read it HERE as well!**

 

I have been “home” for a combined total of 14 weeks this year.  I can confidently say that I have friends all over the country.  I have been to places that I never knew existed and I have met people that have changed my life for the better.  Most importantly, I have learned so much about myself and about the inspiring world around me.

I have been to 34 states this year— via plane, car, train, 15 passenger van and tour bus.  I have seen the sun rise on the West Coast and I have seen the gorgeous Fall colors of the East Coast.  I have laughed my way around this country and I have cried myself to sleep in unfamiliar beds.  I have physical and emotional scars painted all over my body.  I have memories that I can’t put into words and I have nightmares that I hope I’ll soon forget.  I have come across people that I wish to never see again and I have come across people that unfortunately, I will never see again.  And do you know what?


I don’t regret a minute of it.

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I don’t regret making that wrong turn in Colorado, visiting San Francisco for the umpteenth time or calling the cops on that homeless guy in Portland because he tried to stab the pigeons.  I don’t regret stopping at that crooked road side attraction in Northern California, not knowing anyone at that fancy hotel party in Seattle or my preconceived notions about Boise.  I don’t regret spending time in Utah with very minimal alcohol, wandering around Park City in the off season or spending hours trying to get to the top of the Colorado Monument.  I don’t regret all the time spent with that rude host in New Mexico, taking a day off and binge watching horrendous Lifetime movies in Santa Fe or spending way too much money on that helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.

I don’t regret that humid nine week secluded summer in the Poconos, dancing in the small town streets of Pennsylvania at midnight or my ignorant summer affair.  I don’t regret that sweet little Russian girl shoving a pie in my face, all the crappy food I ate this year or walking up and down Route 66 eight times because it reminded me of the film “Cars.”  I don’t regret that underwhelming trip to Salem, all the coffee I consumed over the months, or conforming to the “all American ways” of a Boston Air Force base for 5 weeks.  I don’t regret New York City giving me anxiety attacks, becoming best friends with my ex boyfriends ex girlfriend, or the “great idea” I had to drive to NYC in someone else’s car.  I don’t regret that ferris wheel ride in Texas, those Nashville secrets, or partying too hard in New Orleans.  But, most of all, I don’t regret any of the lessons I’ve learned, the tears I’ve shed, the people I’ve met or the new person I’ve become this year.

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Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.39.46 PMSong of the day: Good Riddance by Green Day

8/20/2016

Traveling means that I am eventually going to leave.  I know this going into any relationship, friendly or romantic.  As I am currently wrapped up in said relationship, I genuinely feel like this is where I should emotionally and physically be.  In real time these feelings are so strong- and that’s when it’s the hardest.  That’s when the realization sets in and that’s when I can honestly say that I am truly going to miss *insert name here.*

Then the time comes to say good bye and my brain remembers that this is what we do, we say good bye and we go on our merry way.  The emotions shut off, l forget how much I am going to miss *insert name here*, we hug and then I’m off.  No tears, no regrets, just memories.

This emotionless “see ya later” side of me has happened pretty quickly, which is something I wasn’t expecting.  I’m fairly new to traveling, so you’d think I’d need time to adjust to all these good byes, but…no.  I have never been great with communication, feelings or emotions in general and to be honest, I think traveling has only hurt me in that department.

Good byes come with the territory, I get it.  This is what I signed up for after all.

Watch my good byes unfold in real time @mandiwanders.

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Song of the day: If I Leave by A Day To Remember

The End Of The End

Putting an end to something is never easy, you try so hard to find ways around it.  I’ve put this to an end, or so I thought, three times now, but it keeps finding its way back to me.  This has become a problem and after realizations have set in, I can say with full confidence that I am officially done.  It hurts in unexpected ways, it’s disappointing in ways that shouldn’t affect me, and it just plain sucks.  But after almost 3 years, I’m putting an end to it…forever.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, you can’t go back to things that you’ve outgrown.”

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Song of the day: I’m Movin’ On by Rascal Flatts

My Friend

My friend had Cancer, but she’s still pretty sick.
My friend had Cancer, and has sympathy for my “problems.”
My friend had Cancer, the same type her mom died from.
My friend had Cancer, but, most days, still can’t get out of bed.
My friend had Cancer, and now looks forward to the little things in life.
My friend had Cancer, and has to live this way for the rest of her life.

My friend had Cancer, and doesn’t let it show.
My friend had Cancer, yet puts others before herself.
My friend had Cancer, and always manages to smile.
My friend had Cancer, but you wouldn’t know it.
My friend had Cancer, but never stops laughing.
My friend had Cancer, yet worries about me.

I have a friend, she’s more than just my friend who had Cancer.

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Song of the day: Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw

I Don’t Want Kids, Get Over It!

It’s no secret to my family and friends that I don’t want children.  I worked as a nanny for almost 10 years and I think that has a lot to do with my decision.  I also had to grow up a bit fast; helping my mother take care of my brother and sister when I was just a kid myself, maybe that has a little to do with it as well.

Last week I went to visit a friend who is married and has two kids of her own.  The five of us went to meet her daughters teacher at an open house type of event.  As I stood in the middle of this second grade classroom; colorful artwork hung on the walls, mini desks all in a row and a lively playground right out back; it started to really sink in.  I began looking around at all of the “happy” families, watching the children run a muck and trying so hard not to notice the “adults” arguing over what they were gonna have for dinner that night.  I suddenly realized that this was my definition of a nightmare.

It’s pretty foreign to me when I hear people say the only thing they have ever wanted in life is to have a family.  My mom for example, she knew from a very young age that she had always wanted to be a mother.  I have come across these people several times in my travels; people that say they have always had a yearning to be a parent, to have a family.  What does that feel like exactly?  Am I missing something here?  Did that chromosome skip a generation?  I literally can not comprehend.  I love my cat to death, is that what this feeling you people speak of is kind of like?

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He loves me just as much, I promise.

A friend once asked my stance on children and I told him that I don’t want them.  He then proceeded to call me SELFISH.  I’m sorry, but did you just call ME selfish because I don’t want to bring an innocent child into this messed up world?!?!  This comment has always stuck with me because to be honest, I believe quite the opposite.  I believe having a baby is a pretty selfish act.

So the next time you ask me if I want kids and I answer with a very firm “No!”  Please don’t go on a rant about how I am still young, and how I’ll change my mind one day.  I never asked for your opinion.

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Song of the day: Stay Together For The Kids by Blink-182

Dear Ex Boyfriend, Thank you!

*The following blog post was published on the Travelettes website!!*

Dear Ex Boyfriend, Thank You!

I live in Los Angeles and my boyfriend had just relocated to New York.  I bought a plane ticket to visit him for his birthday in July; we broke up in June.  Shit!!  I’m certainly not gonna go to New York now and I can’t get a refund, so what am I gonna do with this plane ticket?  I guess I could go somewhere else, but where and with who?

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None of my friends could travel within my time constraints and I knew my family wouldn’t be up for leaving the comfort of their daily lives.  I guess I could go by myself, but people don’t travel by themselves, do they?  Plus, where am I gonna stay?  I spent all of my money on this damn ticket for his stupid birthday, not bitter by the way!

Cut to to a month later…

As I nervously walk off the plane, I comment to a fellow passenger about how cute her dog is and she asks me what I’m doing here.  I say, ”Well, I’m couch surfing, here in Portland…by myself.”  She tells me how she admires my bravery and how envious she is, and then she does something that would change my outlook on people forever.  She gives me her phone number and says, with a huge smile, “We should meet up and I’ll introduce you to all my friends.”  This simple little gesture helped me realize that I was going to be JUST FINE!

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Traveling alone from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon might not sound like such a big deal to many of you but in my 29 years of living, I had only left California a couple of times for work and I certainly didn’t do it alone.  My childhood vacations consisted of family car rides to the beach for the day because that was all we could afford.  Traveling was very foreign to me and definitely not something I ever thought was in my future.

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Needless to say, I had an AMAZING time in Portland and I met AMAZING people, most of whom are still close friends to this day.  I came back to LA with a completely different outlook on life.

I am done sitting around just waiting for things to happen!  I want to see what else is out there!  I want to see who else is out there!  I finally get it!  I get those annoying people that force YOLO down your throat.  I understand those wanderluster-ers (that’s a word, right?).  I totally get why someone would sell everything they own and ditch their high paying corporate job to backpack across Europe.

I am proud to say that I’m now officially a wanderer!  I decided to leave my life as an actor behind, pack up all of my crap, store it in my moms garage and embark on a solo road trip around the US (couch surfing, of course).  In other news, I just received my TEFL certificate (teaching English abroad), so who knows where that will take me.  For the first time in my life, I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know that I will fall in love with places, experiences and people along the way.  Am I scared?  HELL YES!  But even more than that, I am so unbelievably excited to start my new life!

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So you see ex boyfriend, if you didn’t break my heart, then I would have used that plane ticket to visit you in New York.  Instead I took a trip, one state over, that defined my future and because of that I have only one thing to say to you: THANK YOU!

Follow me @mandiwanders

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Song of the day: Portland Bound by Fruition

The End Of The Beginning

Seven years ago things were on the up and up!  My boyfriend and I had just moved in together, he was writing a soon to be successful screenplay and I was a thriving up and coming actor.  Okay, so that’s how we saw it at the time, little did we know that was very, very far from reality.

He was an unemployed screenwriter and I was working at a hospital part time AND as a nanny part time, all while trying to become an actor full time.  This was our life for five years, until we broke up.

He moved to NY and I on to better things, or so I thought.  I moved out on my own, which felt great but I was still working as a nanny and, at that point, had been a “struggling actor” for twelve years.  No, that is not a typo, twelve years is correct.

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Modern Family on ABC “Go Bullfrogs!”

I had some success in Hollyweird, met some friends for life and made good money here and there.  I had done a few guest starring roles in some pretty big TV series, a couple small parts in some films, commercials, music videos, blah, blah, blah.  Even though I had a decent resume, knew 95% of the casting directors out there and had some footage under my belt, I still wasn’t anywhere close to being able to provide for myself with my acting salary.  I was making about 75% of my living as a nanny, and to top it all off, I don’t  even like kids that much.  I will touch on the “life of a nanny to the rich and famous,” a little later because boy do I have some terribly awesome stories.

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Criminal Minds on CBS “The Edge of Winter”

Anyway, back to my first world problems.  One day after taking a solo trip to Portland Oregon, I had a realization.  I was done playing the waiting game.  I finally realized that is exactly what my life had become, just one long waiting room and if the Doctor was gonna take over twelve years to show up, then I was gonna go find another damn Doctor.

My lease was up, I hated LA, and I decided I wanted to get the hell out.  I came across a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) website, signed up for the course, moved into my moms house to save up some money and soon I will be moving to China folks.  Yep, I said CHINA!

I’m still heart broken over my ex, I’m still not positive I want to completely give up on my acting career and I have no idea what I am going to do with the rest of my life.  I am very type A, so the fact that I don’t know where ill be in 10 years or let alone next year, really freaks me out, but I am trying to live in the present cause that’s what my therapist told me to do.

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Song of the day: Two Of Us by Mike Edel