Wednesday, December 22, 2010

all the beautiful people

i am very lucky. my life is filled with loving, talented, creative, smart people. musicians, writers, actors, cooks, mothers, artists, athletes, poets, teachers, editors, dancers, producers, a very handsome carpenter, and very funny people. life will never be boring.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a visit with friends

"You know what the great thing about life is?"
How do I answer this question? He sits back, arms crossed in his typical plaid shirt. We still look the same with a few more crows feet lines. His laugh still makes me laugh and my wit can match his; Something he appreciates and we both treasure.
"You don't have to win at it," he says. And I smile. There are not many people my age who say something that I haven't heard before or thought of myself. I am not trying to sound condescending, but it is rare that I have a peer that says something that opens up my mind just a little further. And the beauty of his truth is that it is the same thing I have been coming to terms with this year but never expressed so eloquently. To hear this at a moment where I feel like I am losing the career game is comforting. The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself.  He is a friend I never see and have had moments in our past where I didn't care for him. But unlike most people who if they hurt my feelings once I write them off, I have always let my NYU Friends back in for some unexplainable reason. Perhaps because it is nice to struggle with people who all have the same dream.
I tell him I have had a hard year but a good year because when something big happens, something traumatic, all the bullshit melts away. What matters comes into sharp focus. I remember another piece of wisdom from a peer, one that she gave me a year ago and has stuck with me: "Tend to your own garden."
I am really good at pulling at weeds in other people's gardens only to find they keep on letting the weeds grow. They may not want those weeds pulled or maybe they see the weeds as wildflowers. I have had to give up on some relationships in order to focus on myself. Maybe giving up is the wrong word, but letting go is more accurate.
We walk through the subway.
"We graduated a long time ago," he tells me.
"I know! I had the same sobering moment this past weekend!" I tell him.
"Did he tell you we went to the NYU bookstore?" His beautiful wife tells me as she opens up a bag. She has outed him.
He laughs, "I bought myself an NYU shirt."
We laugh together at the confession.
"I want one, too," I tell him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

competition

A very close friend of mine has become a blogger celebrity and for good reason. What started as a cute blog about being a twenty something valley girl quickly turned into a pregnancy blog and has now become a mommy-money making machine. I have always known that this friend is a genius. In high school, she taught herself five instruments while being grounded for six months, she was in all the AP classes, (a route I chose not to take), she was cast in the school play as a junior which was a little unheard of since all the big parts went to seniors, she was accepted to a high school program for North Carolina School of the Arts where she started making films and when she was accepted early decision to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for film (the most competitive program in the nation), our high school announced it over the morning school news. She is also funny, Grace Kelly beautiful, and very kind. She married one of my oldest friends and together they had the cutest most loving and lovable child in the world. This friend is also behind me getting into NYU. After our freshman year in college, on Christmas break we met to see the movie "Stuart Little." Never would I choose to see a movie like this, but with this friend I saw all sorts of cheesy comedies. It just became something we did. While ordering popcorn, she handed me an application to NYU and made me promise her I would apply. I think my application had a butter stain in the corner. But, I applied and to my complete surprise I got in. She worked hard in college, didn't party too much and was in a long-distance relationship with her future husband. She was grounded. Always, she has been grounded. I partied hard, held a full time job, took easier classes, spent a semester abroad in Dublin where I partied even harder and had three classes. I was in back-to-back/overlap relationships, I never missed a homework deadline, but I often pulled all-nighters the day before a deadline.  This friend graduated NYU early, was top of her class, and quickly got a job in LA. She had a film in the Los Angeles film festival not too long out of college and quickly became a personal assistant to a well-known television director. While I worked too long as a personal assistant for a commerical director where I became more of his caretaker, I didn't land my first A-list Hollywood job until 2006 and it was a receptionist position.  My friend was leaving for a movie shoot in Canada with Ryan Reynolds. The last few years have been a blur. She wrote a script and used her connection with her boss to get an agent. She finally quit being an assistant and became a treatment writer for commercials, and is now a writer, that is her profession. People pay her to write blogs, treatments, and soon will pay her for her screenplays, one of which just made it to the Hollywood blacklist which despite its name is a huge honor. It is a list voted on by peers and they nominate the top 100 scripts of the year. She made it on the 2010 list. She also got married and had a baby and clawed herself back from post-partum over the past year to find herself as the girl I have always seen: the girl on top.
I told myself years ago that I would stop playing the comparison game. I would stop feeling sorry for myself and stop trying to figure out why my path was so different from the people I went to college with. But it wasn't until I read my friend's blog where she informed her following that her script had made the blacklist that I realized how much time had passed since college. In that time, she had remained grounded and I remained searching. I keep telling myself that I need to get serious, but the truth is, I'm not. Yesterday I had the day to myself and instead of sitting in the chair, I cleaned, I put away clothes, I wrapped Chrsitmas gofts, I wantched the Giants game, I exercised. The whole while I can physically feel myself ignoring that voice that is asking me why I am not writing. I am not sure if it comes from a fear of failure or a fear of success. A fear that I am a phony or a fear that I am no good. But now the question remains, how much longer will I continue to search outward instead of inward? What is it going to take to become the girl on top rather than the girl looking up to the girl on top. It has been sobering to play the comparison game once again and I wonder if maybe a little competition would have been good for me all along. My best stuff has come out of anger or competition. When did I become such a pussy?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

there it is

the holidays wouldn't be complete without that gnawing pit in my stomach.  the pit that is trying to prepare me for some sort of disaster or disappointment. it used to be a leftover residual from christmases past.  was my mom going to call on christmas or not? if she did i hated talking to her, hated hearing her voice full of anxiety and sadness. if she didn't call i hated her even more and used it as an excuse to write her out of my life. it also filled the holiday with dread- no call was a sign that something was wrong. then there was the christmas she called but hung up after speaking with my brother. that christmas ended up in a screaming match between my brother, my dad, and me and then followed up with a lame attempt from my mom to reconnect in which she admitted that she was scared of me. i don't blame her. looking back, i would have been scared of me, too.
this christmas will be the first time since i was eleven years old that i will spend some of it with my mom. she is sober now and i am saner, however, the anxiety over spending this time with her is not gone. it feels kind of like peeling a band-aid off too soon. the cold air stings when it hits the scrape that is not yet healed. but it might be one of those scrapes that never really heals, like the ones on the knuckle. maybe the skin is forever too thin there.
it doesn't help that there is a misunderstanding hanging in the air, a misunderstanding that i will be staying with her the entire time. i am caught in this delicate tight rope walk. how do i say i do not want to spend all my time with you without being hurtful or in some way intimidating? how do i turn off that alarm system that makes me feel guilty when i am trying to consider my own feelings?  how do i grow in a loving way? how do i make the pit go away for good? a weekly appointment has been good help, as well as slowing down and taking some time to just be without focusing on everything before me. but there are some things that become engrained. after so many years, histories, memories, feelings become part of your make-up, what makes you the person you present to the world. the feelings are in your blood coarsing through; a pulsating river that swells just after it rains. going home is now its own event. one that has its own narrative, its own unpredictability, unattached to a past. each time, a separate journey and no longer can i count on the past to ready myself for the next time.
the worst is when the memories don't come, just the feelings, just the impact of all the things we forget overtime. you are left with nausea when passing the white oak exit on the 101 north freeway,  or a rapid heart beat when waiting for the red light at the shoup and ventura intersection, or sweaty palms when you knock on a door. do I greet them with a hug or a kiss? how do i say goodbye?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a new year

Since the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, our apartment has been in full Christmas swing.
We have a small evergreen, old-fashioned tree lights, Bing Crosby playing in the background and we have been making it a point to have mulled cider brewing on the stove or fresh popcorn popping. Normally, Christmas makes me anxious, but living with someone who truly loves and embraces this holiday is changing the way I feel about it. Perhaps because we are making our own Christmases now; making new memories. As much as I hate the cold weather, it has been nice to come home from work, put on my cozy sweatpants and one of Mike's big sweatshirts and curl up on the couch with the tree lit and a cup of cider or hot chocolate. And it has been even nicer to see Mike walk in the door at a decent hour and to be able to cook dinner with him. I have made a conscious effort to stop loading my plate with so many activities and while it drove me crazy to sit still, I am finally seeing just how great "boring" can be. Last night, Mike reminded me that a new year was coming soon and I was filled with gratitude and hope. He also told me a couple days ago that the Christian Monks were the ones who created time. As a teenager, I would have said that time is irrelevant, something I am sure I thought up in an altered state. But now, I don't mind the concept of time so much. I think it's going to be a good year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

blog central

my morning routine consists of checking about a million blogs and thinking about writing an entry for my own and usually not being able to think about something to write. so it hought i would write about this. but this is all i have to say about it. i have a couple friends who have turned their blogs into businesses, they have branded themselves, they deliver a promise and in return they have a set market of readers that do excatly what i do every morning, only they look to my friends' blogs for fashion advice or to share in parenting humor or anxiety. I don't know how one becomes that, or maybe I do and I just don't have the desire, and especially not the energy. I have lots of great ideas, but I suck at follow through. Some people have said this is because of some subconscious fear of success. I think I might just be lazy although with the amount of work I agree to, that is a contradiction. It must be a fear of failure or maybe I'm just comfortable. I think part of me is scared to pursue something else because I think I will give up on writing and then kick myself later in life for not trying with writing. But what does it all matter anyway? Isn't the point to be happy? To do good with the one shot you have? I have to say I am excited to leave these self-indulgent twenties. Bring on 30!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010

The weather says it will be 64 degrees today. Someone please explain to me the theory that global warming is a myth.