Welcome to All The Mistakes I’ve Made, SheDoesTheCity’s new, unfiltered advice column with award-winning actress, writer, director, and author Katie Boland! Learn more about Katie’s vision for the column here, and send in your questions about life, love and career HERE for Katie to answer in a future edition of All the Mistakes I’ve Made.

Dear Katie,

I am completely in love with my co-star. This year has been really tough for me as an artist, lots of ups and downs and very few successes. I have GRATEFULLY just been cast in my first feature and we just had our first table read, and guess what? The guy who plays my ex in the film is this guy I used to go to theatre school with. I used to have a HUGE crush on him, and when I saw him again all the feelings came flooding back. He is with someone and it’s going to kill me inside to see him every day. How do I turn off the part of my brain that is in love with him and wants to fuck so I can focus on my craft??!!!! UGH.

– Starving Artist

Dear Starving Artist,

“I could give you a donut and all you’d see is the hole.” This is the most constructive feedback my father has ever given me. It’s also the truest thing anyone has ever said about me. 

I chose this question for a reason. The greatest mistake I’ve ever made in my life is to look left, distracted and downhearted, when I should’ve focused straight ahead. 

I wasted a lot of time looking for holes; I should’ve just been eating donuts.  

Here is the plainest advice I can give you: celebrate with every inch of your being that you have just been cast in your first feature film. That is enormous. Your tough year has ended. You have a lot more power here than you think you do. Decide how you want to look at all of this. Become the beholder; you get to have every beauty you decide. Maybe you got this job to learn that you can write the narrative of your experience.

I’m stealing this from the great book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Do the next right thing. What do I think that looks like? Get enough sleep. Learn your lines. Find a safe person to talk to about all your complicated feelings. Use whatever raw emotional material this love has exposed in you and funnel it back into the film – that’s the best part of being an artist. You care, you do, and it will be all over the place. Throw that care at everything — including yourself. 

Sit on set. Feel the hot lights on your face. Hear the crew chattering. Smile as much as you can. 

Now, the boy. There’s another reason I chose to answer your question: I know what it’s like to be madly in love with someone that you’re not with. I don’t want to minimize the pain of that, because it’s the greatest pain I’ve ever felt. The pain was physical, the pain was emotional, the pain was existential. For years, I had to make peace with that love and that pain. 

Here’s the twist: the love never went away and now we’re together. 

I wish I could have told my younger self to wait. To realize that I didn’t control the great hands of time. To accept that sometimes life is poetry, and sometimes life is rot. Right now, I am living out the poetry because I sat through the rot.

My advice to you when it comes to this man you are in love with, the advice I wish I had absorbed earlier, is find gratitude for him. Sit with the pain. Realize you are lucky that you get to feel this pain at all; it’s the cost of being alive.

Maybe this man you’re in love with is who you’ll marry, maybe he’s just another spec of dust in your universe. We don’t know yet.  Right now, what you and this man are meant to be to each other is not the point. 

The point is to brush the dust off of your heart and be brave.

Try to stay away from the big existential questions of fate and destiny, because you just aren’t capable of answering them. As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts; lasts. 

Good luck on your shoot. Write me, let me know how it goes. When it gets really hard, hear my voice. You can do this, and you get to decide how.

All my love,


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