Officially a London Student

After the chaos of my whirlwind orientation day settled down I had a chance to collect my thoughts and the realization that I’m actually back in school finally hit.

London

I’m experiencing at least 50 different shades of anxiety, nervousness and fear but overall I’m excited to have yet another opportunity to go back to school and also explore another new city.  hashtag blessed =)

London is amazing.

I try very hard not to look around in wonder like a tourist but sometimes it simply can’t be helped.  I’m still adjusting.  Haven’t figured everything out yet and I’m not quite ready to give up my trademark shorts and sheer shirts but I’m sure I’ll find a way to keep part of the old me and somehow blend it with the new me to come.

London

Classes start this week.

Already I have a sneaking suspicion that life is about to get truly hectic for the next few months.  I’m OK with that and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it.  But this won’t be like undergrad or musical theatre school.  This time around I’ll actually have to show up for class (sober) and do the work.

Also, I have to maintain a B average.  Not that I ever had bad grades in school but it’s one of the first things they stressed during orientation so I’m assuming they take that sort of thing pretty seriously around here.  It’s a good thing though because I definitely slacked off way too much at NYU.  I plan to make up for it this time around.

I do hope I won’t get too busy to keep up with my blogs and Youtube videos.  I truly hope there will be time to fully enjoy London.  Speaking of which, it looks like bowling and salsa dancing lessons may be in my immediate future.  Additionally, I may have found a free outdoor bootcamp to attend on weekends.  And I managed to find a Black hair supply store as well as a Black hair salon right near where I live.  Yay!

Let’s see what else is in store for me.

 

Outfit / #OOTD

Sweater – The Limited

Scarf – Primark

Cut Offs – Macys

Tights – Primark

Health Insurance | When It Rains It Pours

Or rather…when it rains and you’re poor because it doesn’t rain very often in Los Angeles but when it does it comes down on you like a tsunami.

I’m having a moment here folks – it’s an epic moment.  One of those ‘Aha’ and “ahhhwannadie’ moments rolled into one.

I’m losing my teeth.

Funny thing is I always prided myself on having super bright, white shiny teeth.  People were always complimenting me on my teeth.  They always said I had a nice smile.  And I loved it!  I loved getting compliments on my teeth.  Nothing wrong with admitting that.  I’m not ashamed.

When I first moved to LA and started my first day of musical theater school I approached one of the Orientation Leaders to ask a question and before I could utter a word he said, “You have some pretty teeth.”  Those were the first and last words he ever spoke to me.  He didn’t even answer my question!  But did I care?  No!  Because once again my pretty teeth had been validated.  Boom.  So yes, I’ve always taken pride in my teeth.  Besides my lips, my teeth were the only feature I ever really liked without much complaint.  I never even felt compelled to get braces because I liked my imperfect smile.

So you can imagine my devastation when after enduring a week of the most excruciating toothache followed by an emergency visit to the dentist I discovered that I needed a root canal…and an extraction.  EXTRACTION.  Meaning, there’s no saving the other tooth.  I asked the dentist twice just to be sure and he was adamant.  That tooth has got to go.  I’m about to have a gap, ya’ll.  There goes the only feature I ever truly really liked as is about myself.

And the real kicker is – my insurance does not cover it.  My insurance is laughing in my face right now.  My insurance has f*cking jokes right now – telling me they cover root canals on the front teeth but the side and back teeth (I don’t know the terminology.  Hey, I’m no dentist, use your imagination) as far as the side and back teeth are concerned my insurance says I can go f*ck myself.

Can I just say there’s simply no compassion left in the world.  I remember working in the financial aid office at NYU freshman year and sitting on the phone for long periods of time trying to help parents of prospective students find money to send their kids to school – because I cared.  And if I didn’t succeed I’d feel really bad. Like, to the point where I’d need to take a break – have a quick cry and say a Prayer for those people.  Because I knew how desperate I’d been to get out of my small town – away from home and in a (hopefully) more stable environment.  Had I not gotten away who knows what would’ve become of me.  Then there’s the psychic hotline where people would call in and tell me super personal things that would just send me over the edge.  I had compassion for people going through the fire.  When these dental assistants and dentists and insurance people talk to me – they are cold as ice.  Some of them are clearly bored.  One girl was practically laughing in my face (remind me never to go to any dentist offices on Wilshire Blvd. in the Beverly Hills area) and another girl would not make eye contact with me.  I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else because I showed compassion for people having a hard time but…yeah I’m better than you.

Again, indulge me while I have my little moment.  It’s what I do.  I write it out.  Have a quick cry.  Maybe workout for a bit then I go back and make a plan.  Because this terrible f*cking U.S. healthcare system may take my tooth but it damn sure won’t break my spirit.

Crazy Commuters

I have a tiny scar on my left middle finger.

You have to look real close to see it and to most people it looks normal, like a slightly lighter part of my skin.

But I know it’s a scar.

I’d just gotten my hair done my senior year of college and was taking the subway from Harlem down to my dorm in Greenwich Village.  I was feeling good – for once I’d gone to the right hair salon and was happy with the results so yeah, for me it was a good day.  Even though the subway car was packed I didn’t really mind much even though I hate crowded spaces.

What I did mind was the girl hogging the pole in one of the cars.  Normally, when I see that kind of thing I just cut my eyes at the passenger and sort of piss and moan about it in my head.  But on this day I was feeling bold.  I went up to the pole, gingerly touched it with a finger and said to the clueless passenger, “Excuse me.”  I wasn’t rude.  I wasn’t loud.  I used my polite voice even though I was careful not to smile.  She looked startled and annoyed but moved her hand and went back to listening to her Ipod.  I did the same and closed my eyes for the ride home.

At the next stop, the doors opened and I felt this searing pain in my left middle finger.  I opened my eyes and was shocked to see the girl was stabbing me with a ring on her finger.  There was a pointy part on her ring and she’d positioned her hand in such a way so that she could prick my hand with it.  I was being secretly attacked in plain sight!  I was so shocked that I just stared at her.  Was this really happening?  Was this crazy person really that upset at being asked to share space that she felt the need to inflict bodily harm on a total stranger?  I couldn’t believe it.

I hadn’t realized she was crazy.  She’d looked like a normal girl – inconsiderate yes but still normal.  I looked from my injured finger to the girl who was staring right at me and something about the look in her eyes chilled me to the bone.  She was definitely touched in the head.  I finally had the good sense to move my hand and just as the doors to the subway car were about to close she ducked out.  I looked at my finger again and saw a tiny line of blood trickling from the place where I’d been cut.

I never said anything to anyone.

When I got to my dorm I just put a bandaid on the stupid cut and I tried my best to put the memory out of my mind.  But every once in awhile the memory resurfaces when I notice the scar on my finger.  I know the attack could’ve been so much worse- and actually there are moments I could talk about where the attack was so much worse.  But they hadn’t happened publicly as far as I can remember – and they hadn’t been triggered by two little innocuous words, “Excuse me.”

And why is there always some inconsiderate person with their body wrapped around the pole in a subway car?  It’s there for passengers to hold onto so we don’t fall and knock into each other. It’s not there for people to practice their pole dancing.  Hold the pole with one hand and leave room for other people to do the same.  How hard is that?

That’s always been one of my biggest pet peeves.  It’s one of the reasons why I hate taking the subway.  When I moved to LA and got a car I was relieved not to have to take public transportation because then I didn’t have to run into those inconsiderate pole dancers hogging up space in a subway car (instead I have to deal with the crazies driving on the 405, ah well, you can’t win ’em all).  At least when I went to London I didn’t see that at all.  And those subway cars are super compact and get crowded quickly.  I think if someone actually tried to hog a pole they’d get head butted – and rightly so.

(Or maybe not – look, there’s seriously never a reason to put your hands on another person – I don’t care how annoying they’re being.  If they’re not hurting you then keep your hands to yourself.)

When I think about that girl I wonder what she’s like now.  I wonder if she ever regretted her actions or if she’s in jail because “keeping it real” finally went wrong for her.

Part of me hopes Karma got back at her in a big way.  Another part of me hopes she’s OK.  I don’t know why but for some reason I mostly felt sorry for her.  Sure she literally drew blood from me and probably walked away feeling like a big shot and yes, if I could go back in time I would’ve at least said something…but overall I just feel sad for her…you never know what people are going through.

Perhaps if I had smiled things would’ve been different.

DAILY PROMPT: BREAK THE SILENCE

Daily Prompt: Break Ups

I had the same bank for about ten years…

I was happy with them for a long time.  Never had any real issues or complaints.  But then I moved across country and all of a sudden all hell broke loose.  There was just one mishap after another and I began to grow frustrated.  I tried to keep my patience – I did not want to start over at another bank.  I did not want to leave this bank.  But the issues kept rolling in.

I don’t really remember what the issues were but whenever I would call customer service about it I would end up with seriously rude persons who didn’t know what the trouble was or how to resolve it.  (Customer service, especially in Los Angeles is absolutely horrific.  Just….there are no words.)  One time I asked for a supervisor at this bank and when she got on the line she was even more rude than the customer service representative.  It was just terrible.  That was pretty much the staw that broke the camel’s back.  (I’m talking about Citibank by the way – it’s not secret.  They suck.)

Anyway, after that last encounter I finally said “enough is enough” and I closed my account.  I hadn’t wanted to do it – I hate starting over.   I was so used to being with Citibank but it had to be done.  Now I’m with a new financial institution and even sorting out minor issues all the way over in London has been easy breezy.

Same thing went for my relationships with T-mobile and Sprint.  Once customer service turned to crap I left without a backwards glance.  I still hate starting over….I’m still mad at Verizon for lying to me about not doing credit checks but at least I’m (mostly) happy with the service.  (Seriously guys, Verizon lies about not doing a credit check.  They put it in writing, the no contract phones means no credit check.  But they still do it.  They lie.)  But I guess every relationship can’t be perfect.

Anyway, my point is, I have a tough time letting go and moving on.  That’s with people, places, banks, telephone services.  And especially cities.  I guess I just hate being ‘the New Girl.’  I hate having to learn something new all over again – I had the same Blackberry phone for the longest time because I was too stubborn to learn how to use an Android.  But I finally got over that.  Because I finally reached my limit.  Once it’s time to say goodbye, once I’m totally fed up with terrible customer service or toxic friendships or an environment in general, once I reach that point – I am able to finally cut the chord.

One of the pros of leaving and starting over is there’s a new adventure to be had.  It can be scary (which is a major con) and you don’t know what the outcome will be (another major con) but I think if you’re looking for something better- if you believe you deserve better – than the pros outweigh the cons every time.

I guess I have to remember that in order to go after a new life (a better life) I have to let go of the old one…if that makes any sense.

Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: Surreal Musical Theater School

I made a rash decision when I enrolled in musical theater school.

It all happened so fast.  One minute I was living in New York.  The next I was in Los Angeles – back on a school campus – taking voice lessons and dance lessons and eating in a cafeteria.  Was it a dream?  Did I really make such a major life changing decision that easily?  Without thinking things through?

Yes.  I did.

Musical theater school wasn’t anything like I expected.  It was definitely worse.  I want to say it was because I was going back to school, living in a new city (Los Angeles is definitely a city like no other – and not in a good way) and was living with teenagers.

I want to say it was because I was stepping out from behind the camera and putting myself on display that made musical theater school feel like a never ending nightmare.

Those were contributing factors, I’m certain, but what really made musical theater school so surreal for me was that everyday for two years I went to class knowing that I’d made a terrible, horrible mistake.  I wasn’t supposed to be there – at that school or in Los Angeles.  And I felt it everyday.  I also felt trapped.  Like there was no getting out of this.  My pride also made it hard for me to quit.  So I stayed thinking things would get better.

They never did.

I keep writing about these experiences – the teachers, the awful dance classes.  That one time in improv class.  That other time in improv class.  Improv class really was the worst if you can believe it.  Every memory, good and bad (mostly bad) feels like it’s part of some awful dream I can’t shake.  I still question whether some of the things that happened were actually real or part of my imagination.

I don’t want to make it seem like I was totally innocent while at musical theater school.  I wasn’t.  But looking back I think it’s safe to say that when you’re in a surreal situation – where there don’t seem to be any rules – you can lose yourself.  You can do things you never thought you would do.  And become a version of yourself you never knew existed.

That kind of thing sticks with you.

Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone

 

Get A Hobby

When I was younger I used to get these excruciating migraines that would just wipe me out for days at a time. 

Sometimes they’d get so bad that I would vomit or in rare cases I would actually pass out.  It started right after college.  I’d just been hired at my first real, grown up job and not long after I started getting these migraines and missing a lot of work.

Fortunately, my co-workers were sympathetic.  They recommended all kinds of doctors and specialists (I had health insurance at the time) and some days I was even allowed to lie down in my bosses office if a migraine hit during the workday.  I was scared though.  I thought I had cancer or something and the idea of dying at 22 before I had written anything worth reading depressed me to no end.

Eventually my migraines became fewer and farther between.  I saw doctors, took special meds but mostly I just stopped stressing out.  The main source of the migraines stemmed from my being fixated on my future and my career.  I’d just graduated from film school and somehow I’d ended up working in advertising and I was confused.  I didn’t know if I was on the right path and I stressed about it constantly.  I didn’t sleep.  I ate poorly.  I even had panic attacks.  It was a really turbulent and confusing couple of years after college.  I used to think I was all alone but I later realized a lot of recent graduates went through the same thing.  It turns out, at the time, I had been on the right path.  In fact, I was closer to the right path back then in New York than I am now in Los Angeles but what did I know at 22?

Anyway, after talking about my feelings with my first (of three) therapists I figured out what my problem was and I started to do things to help take my mind off of my career.  I shot a couple of TV pilots and started writing more…soon my migraines stopped all together.  I was happy and actually being productive and I felt healthy.

Well…I’m working in retail now.  It’s been a long time since I’d shot anything besides my weekly youtube vlog and my migraines are coming back.  Except this time no one’s sympathetic.  It’s funny, I went to work with a migraine – gave my boss the heads up that I might have to leave early if it got worse and got the cold shoulder.  I don’t respond well to cold shoulders.  I’m still dealing with my need to be liked by everyone (Middle Child Syndrome) so when someone expresses disapproval or dislike toward me I take it hard.  So I stayed at work despite the overwhelming dizzying pain.  It’s good that I stayed though because retail is very different from advertising.  Obviously I work on an hourly basis not salaried so missing work means missing rent and I’m a grown up now…I can’t miss work.  So I stayed…but I can’t deal migraines again.

All this to say that in 2014 I’m getting a hobby.  Something to take the edge off and help me not to stress over my career.  I’m also getting back to writing two new web series.  I’d been working on them off and on all throughout 2013 but I never really gave them my full attention.  Now it’s my goal to finish writing at least the first season of both.  (As well as finish that screenplay I’ve been “re-writing” for a year now)  I don’t know if I’ll be able to produce the web series but the best thing about writing is that it takes no money to do it.

Well…it takes a little money.  I seriously need to buy a new computer.   This one is definitely on its last leg.

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!!!

So Now What?

I’m blasting Beyonce’s, “XO” as I’m writing this.  It’s helping.  A little.

Today was not a good day.  Despite my morning Prayer I was not resilient today.  I was not in high spirits.  And I don’t feel like it’s Christmas Eve.  It feels more like a random day in March than the Holiday Season.  Cue the Debbie Downer music.

I’m struggling tonight.  My inner critic is on a mission to break me tonight.  She whispers, “You’re working in retail…you’re not a writer…you’re a failure,” and her voice is getting louder and louder and no matter how loud I blast Beyonce’s “XO” I can still hear her.

I know I’m just feeling tired.  I worked a super long shift tonight (Yay for overtime thanks to last minute Christmas shoppers) and I’m feeling like even though I spent 11 hours of my day doing something…I have nothing to show for it.  I pushed buttons, counted money and said Merry Christmas to people who were too distracted by the numbers on my cash register to even hear me.  That’s how I spent my day.  That’s why my inner critic is laughing at me tonight.

Ah but that’s not even why I’m feeling sorry for myself.  Because feeling like a failure as a writer is nothing new to me at this point.  It’s whatever.  I thought I would’ve made it by now.  I haven’t.  Oh well.

It just sucks watching people I used to collaborate with move on without a backward glance.  Start new writing teams.  Develope ideas we originally started.  My first reaction is be snarky about it – be a hater.  But I suppress that.  Because the whole reason I severed ties with so many people in 2013 was so that I could become a better person.  So that I could look at myself in the mirror and not hate what I saw.  Being angry about what they do now that they are no longer in my life would be counterproductive.  And a waste of energy.  So I suppress the snarky thoughts.  I woo-sah through my jealousy.

I let go of the past and people who weren’t right for me but…the hurt still lingers.

And that’s the honest truth.

So how do I get into 2014 without bringing this hurt with me?  I’m supposed to be looking forward to the New Year.  I’m supposed to be getting my Resolutions ready.  I’m supposed to be swearing off alcohol and junk food and finally finally finally losing that weight.  I’m supposed to be getting ready for yet another reinvention.  Instead I’m sitting here watching Youtube personalities put their seemingly awesome lives on the internet and I’m feeling a little green.  I probably should not have gone on Youtube tonight even if it was to watch some of my favorite vloggers.  Tonight they did not make me feel inspired.  Tonight they made me feel…a bit useless.

Tomorrow will be better…but tonight I’m struggling and so I needed to vent about it.  Because I really do want 2014 to be significantly better than 2013.  I’ve done a lot in 2013.  I won’t let my inner critic try to tell me I sat on my ass for 12 months.  I did accomplish some things.  One of them was being more consistent with my Blog and Youtube Channel.

But now what?

How can I improve on this in 2014?  I can’t spend another year in Los Angeles doing the same thing and pretending like I’m actually getting somewhere in life. In fact, I can’t spend another year in Los Angeles – period.

It has to get better from here.  It just has to.  This is rock bottom.  With no friends and no career and only my rinky dink vlog as my creative outlet- it really has to get better from here.

But how?

I guess I’m going to have to figure that out.  Somehow.