Hollywood Throws Me a Bone

In high school, I applied to a state run (I think?) residential summer language arts immersion program. I applied to study French, a language I hadn’t studied a day in my life but for which I had always harbored a secret love.

This was pre-email notifications, so when I got a letter in the mail, I can remember thinking, “This is my Harry Potter Hogwarts letter!”

I got rejected.

That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part came a week before the program was supposed to start. I got another letter in the mail. Curious, I thought, since they had rejected me. It was with great excitement that I read it and saw directions to the campus!

I called the number provided on THAT letter to ask for more information and was promptly told that I had been mailed the map by accident, that I was still rejected, and I didn’t even receive an apology.

BITCHES.

Y’all keep that little trip down memory lane in your locker because I need to divert down a more contemporary path for a moment.

In the last few months, I experienced (I can now see from the other side) what was one of the deepest depressions I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing in the last decade. I blogged about it here and here if you need to get up to speed.

Some of the things that lifted me from the muck were:

  1. Being flown out to Texas to visit my goddaughter and her parents…errr…I mean my best friend, her loving husband, and their kid,
  2. Getting accepted into the next round of the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab,
  3. Getting asked to audition for a Network’s comedy showcase.

And all of that literally happened on August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

INSANE the way the universe works sometimes.

I had a great time with my peeps, wrote the final draft of my screenplay submission, and developed several characters to present at my audition.

At the audition, I killed it. I don’t say that lightly as I’m usually self-deprecating when it comes to original comedic material. But all of The Network people listening to my audition were laughing continuously and even stated how impressed they were at the end. Usually, if you don’t do so well, you get a kind (yet pitying) “thanks” and you leave.

This time, though, they asked if I was also a writer and mentioned they had a writing program, as well.

“Yes. Yes, I am a writer and an actor. Both. I do both,” I managed to stutter out while gathering my bag.

“Great, we’ll be in touch!”

Whoa. Never before had I ever heard an audition committee make a rock solid commitment to follow up with me.

So I settled in with fingers crossed and the expectation to NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN. In The Industry, after you audition, you ONLY hear back if you’ve made it through to the next round or booked the job. Otherwise, you can assume from the silence that you didn’t get whatever it is that you just spent a massive amount of time preparing for.

It’s sad, it’s anxiety inducing, it’s depressing.

IT’S HOLLYWOOD.

did hear back, though, and submitted the requisite sketches I needed to, along with a bio and resume, and settled in with the expectation to NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Weeks went by and not a peep.

I woke up this morning sweating from my lack of AC in a Los Angeles heatwave, in pain because mother nature sent “Aunt Flow” in for a visit at 2 a.m. (I must’ve displeased her last month because she is TEARING SH*T UP), and more than vaguely imagining my life on an isolated island somewhere far away from Tinseltown. Though nothing like the last few months, I still have waves of ennui that knock me into daydreaming about deserting my astronomical career goals and going to find some poor schlub that wants to take a go at domestic bliss.

And then I got an email from The Network with instructions for writing that I didn’t understand because I’d never heard back from them about moving forward.

Do you remember the story from earlier?

DO YOU?!

Deja vu, my friends, in the worst possible way.

But I guess I’m a bit of a masochist, because I wanted that confirmation of rejection. I needed it, needed to get some closure for another failed audition and submission, like any good LA actor and writer.

I typed a short email letting them know that they had accidentally emailed me the instructions.

Within half an hour, I got a return email.

I was expecting: “Oops, sorry about that. Thanks for applying, try again next year.”

Instead, I got: “You are most certainly in. I think we accidentally left you off of the original email! Are you still interested?”

My eyes went blurry and, I swear to you, I thought I was going temporarily blind and/or having a panic attack.

Nope, just tears. Tears of unadulterated joy, relief, satisfaction, vindication, whatever positive emotion you can think of, those tears were saturated in them.

My first move was to get in the shower because sending emails to people at The Network requires me to be presentable, even though they can’t actually see me.

The next was to go get a piece of cake from The Alcove. Their cake is amazing (though, at $7 a slice, you have to really want it).

But I was so flabbergasted by this awesome turn of events that I couldn’t focus enough to find my pants! If that isn’t comedy seeping out of my veins, I don’t know what is.

4 minutes later, I located a clean pair of shorts (well, they passed the smell test) and jumped into my car.

And I got a slice of a really gorgeous Princess cake.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I also walked home with a slice of Chocolate Godiva cake:

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Because I can’t think of a better day to spend $15 on celebratory cake.

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A Conversation in the Key of #Depression

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

“Get up.”

“No.”

“You’re being depressing.”

“Probably because I’m depressed.”

(Beat)

“Do you plan on leaving your bed today?”

“No. No plans. Except when the exterminator gets here. Because he’s apparently forcing me to leave on account of spraying toxic chemicals.”

“Freaking tiny, endlessly annoying, quickly multiplying, nameless beetles.”

(Beat)

“How about a shower?”

“No.”

“You’re kinda smelly.”

“So?”

::huffs in exasperation::

“You know, you won’t get anywhere career-wise if you’re set on remaining facedown in your pillow.”

“I’m not getting anywhere career-wise when I put in the effort, anyway, and this position is much more comfortable.”

(Beat)

“Aren’t you hungry?”

“No.”

“You haven’t eaten all day.”

“Probably because I’ve expended no energy lying here; therefor, I have no appetite.”

“Sound reasoning, albeit flawed logic.”

(Beat)

“Don’t you think it’s been enough time? It’s been months…”

“It still hurts.”

“What hurts?”

“Everything. Everything hurts. My whole life hurts.”

(Beat)

“Still holding back those tears?”

“Yup. Too proud to let them go.”

“Patricia told you that you’d feel better if you just had a good cry.”

“Can’t. I’ve made it this far. I’m already committed to being obstinate. Plus, you’ll probably beat me up about it if I do.”

“No, I won’t. I promise.”

“Right.”

(Beat)

“Hows about some Netflix?”

Good idea, but that isn’t going to get me out of bed, I’ll just watch it on my phone.”

“I know.”

“You know?”

“I know.”

(Beat)

“This is an unforeseen turn of events…are you going to stop pestering me about getting up?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah?”

“DID I STUTTER?!”

(Beat)

“Why are you relenting now?”

“Because…”

“Yeeeessss?”

“Because I’m very understanding, and gentle, and kind to other people experiencing depression. Why wouldn’t I be just as understanding, gentle, and kind to myself?”

(Beat)

“Maybe we’ll get up tomorrow.”

“Maybe.”

“Let’s think about ordering pizza.”

“Good idea…I love you, you know…even when you annoy me–errr…us.”

“I know…let’s get some Murder, She Wrote up in this piece.”

 

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A Random Smattering of Online Dating Messages

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I’ve been pretty open about being at the bottom of an ice cold well of feelings these last couple of days. I’m adding PMS to the mix and now I’m a flood of human emotion mixed with full-body aches.

If I tell one more person, as a response to the question “How are you?”, that “My whole life hurts”, I’m sure someone will call a qualified healthcare professional and have them cart me off to a residential location with padded walls and no sharp objects.

All these feels got me like:

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The Tudors | Showtime

Going through a breakup, even the most amicable (which I guess this one sort of was?), hurts like a bitch–especially for extra feisty people like me that consider emotions to be for the weak:

Mean Me: Hey, me! Cry us a river, build a sustainably-built-eco-friendly bridge, and get over it!

Sad Me: Since when did we care so much about the environment? Also: sadness, sadness, rejection, loneliness, sadness.

Mean Me: Just kidding about the crying. You better not cry over this!

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs | SONY

But that inner-monologue tennis match gets old: there’s only so much time I’m willing to dedicate to staring at the undulating shadow of the ceiling fan, lying sprawled on my bed, pondering what I could have done differently to not have ended up here, in this pitiful state.

And because I had already dedicated the weekend immediately post-breakup to alcohol therapy, I decided that this past weekend, I would dedicate to online dating.

Somehow, in my mood fogged, discombobulated brain, I thought that physically seeing the other fish in the sea would cheer me up and make me feel less like the dejected quarter-life hag that I keep seeing in the mirror every morning.

WRONG.

And this is where I propose that grown adults should have “internet babysitters” to keep them from making crappy decisions when they’re emotionally unstable. Because in my hurry to check out dating options, I forgot what a mixed bag of people online dating sites contain. And by “mixed bag” I mean a few examples of Prince Charming ranging all the way to Creepy McCreeperson, with the majority of men falling toward the latter end of the spectrum.

Most of the horribly egregious messages, I’ve just been straight deleting, but tonight, I was inspired to keep the rest and share them with the world.

Originally, I thought I would sign on and just browse, not answering any messages (because it would be unfair to start a relationship when one is not emotionally available AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT KIND PEOPLE DO, RIGHT?). And I haven’t made much of an effort but since I am a generous blogger, I’m going to share a few selections of messages I’ve received with you now–

I signed on last week, and I’ve already received upwards of 80 messages.

THAT’S NOT A BRAG–it just goes to show how many dudes are trolling this site, participating in a numbers game by messaging everyone labeled “woman”. Most of the time, they haven’t actually read your profile, and they’re copy-pasting like you won’t figure that method out.

A small handful of dudes make real efforts at making conversation, based on the information that I have written in my profile, which is AMAZING and I won’t be profiling them here–I’ll never sneer at someone making a true effort.

But most messages look like this:

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He’s got that comma, but forgot to write the rest of his message.

Bonus points if he calls you “gorgeous” because that’s the most overused greeting on these sites. The first time you see it, you may feel great because maybe you’ve been starved for romantic attention, but then it just gets old:

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See what I mean? You could say, “Oh, they’re giving you a compliment!” but maybe you could compliment me on one of the many things I took the time to write in my damn profile and not just look at my photo and pass judgement on my appearance! Also, without identifying factors in the message, it’s most likely a copy-paste and that’s just lazy. 

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Oh, sorry, I was being presumptuous, thinking you may be interested in my intellect and not just my photos. Next time I WILL LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE BLANK.

Also, the state of Iowa finds me beautiful, y’all, don’t get jealous.

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Just “pretty” cute? No, let me fix that for you: I’m “gorgeous”.

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A “dusk sunrise”…hmmm…dusk and sunrise are opposite astronomical occurrences. Is he saying I’m an enigma wrapped in a paradox? That’s deep. Also the answers to your questions are written in my profile.

At least this next guy read my profile, supposedly more in-depth than any other dude so far:IMG_2042.JPG

Sad that I’ll never know what.

And speaking of interesting conversation openers:

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And this one:

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No, no, I don’t think that I am.

And then there are those that have openers that leave you scratching your head just a little:

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If my future ex-husband had spent more time reading my profile instead of telling me about his medical prowess while neglecting his patients, he would have realized that EVERY SINGLE QUESTION he asked me was answered in my profile. His copy-paste game is strong.

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How do you know I like to travel and why are you making plans for my future-self without consulting my present-self, first?! And it’s a trend, apparently:

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Then there’s this guy, who isn’t short on confidence, but neglects to ask a leading question to get me to respond:

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Maybe he’s expecting, “This all sounds super. Sign me up!”

One of my personal faves, this guy who thinks it’s sexy to accuse me of being a phony “To Catch a Predator” profile:

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And this guy who does not have 4 hours’ worth of patience (although, he probably shouldn’t hold his breath):

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And the pièce de résistance:

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Now y’all know I was rip, roaring, and ready to answer this guy and take him up on his blessing me with his sexual abilities. Note that he does not guarantee my climax–it only happens if there’s a connection between us–so take the free sex on the off-chance that it could be enjoyable.

I posted this final missive of undying love for some of my internet pals to swoon over when one of the more attentive friends pointed out that this is, verbatim, actually a huge scam by some casanova that assures men that this pick-up-paragraph will guarantee they see action from total strangers on the internet.

Talk about insulted! I couldn’t even inspire this future-ex-husband to write a more original love sonnet to me!

Oh well–guess I better stay logged in and wait for the next offer of anonymous sex.

 

 

 

Been in LA for 4 Years and All I Got Was this Lousy T-shirt

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On July 20th, 2012, I arrived in Los Angeles to start my professional acting and writing journey. I was 24, slightly heartbroken/very single, without an acting agent, without a job, and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.

4 years later and life has proven that it can be cyclical in the shittiest possible ways.

I’m newly heartbroken/single, without an acting agent (though, I did briefly have one), and still wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.  But I have a job so I guess I can be thankful for small mercies. And I’ve learned to avoid Adele this time around, which is hard because her latest album is perfection.

4 years seems like a lifetime ago–24 year old me had just left her collegiate bubble not long before her journey and was so optimistic about all of the golden opportunities that surely abounded in Tinseltown.

And then I got here, inhaled my first lung-full of the months of dust that had collected on the streets due to the extreme drought conditions and learned what racial type-casting parts are available to women that look like me (maid, thug’s girlfriend, slave, repeat).

It would have been easy to high tail it back to the East Coast. It would have been easy to quit pursuing this astronomical goal and resign myself to a life behind a desk or wiping baby butts that don’t belong to my progeny.

But for some reason, which is frankly beyond all sane thought and comprehension, I am still here. epdlt

 

I am still here and still as in love with lists as when I arrived back then, so I’m going to give you a bunch to sum up what I have accomplished and what I’ve learned.

Things I HAVE accomplished:

  • I’ve lived in the same apartment consistently for the longest period of time EVER. As a Navy kid and due to a turbulent teen experience, I’ve never lived in one house/apartment/dorm for longer than 4 years.
  • I’ve somehow chipped out a reputation as a highly sought after childcarer. As a nanny, I’ve reached the top of the pay bracket in the last 4 years and established myself in many celebrity and high-networth circles as the girl to hire (now, only if my acting and writing took off like that).
  • I’ve managed to support myself financially since I graduated from college 6 years ago, and paid off my student loans (which were supporting me the previous 4 years) in less than 5.
  • I have significantly reduced the amount of panic attacks I experience and that’s probably my GREATEST accomplishment.

On Work:

  • There has to be a balance with the rest of your life. You’ll go crazy/lose friends if you don’t.
  • Having lived a life constantly trying to make ends meet, it’s hard to say no to paying job opportunities, even if you’re financially in a good place. Practice saying “NO” or you won’t have time to pursue other goals.
  • Sometimes we have to do jobs we don’t actually want to do in order to fund our dreams. You are not in the position to be a freeloading millennial. You are not a trust fund kid. Suck it up. Go to your survival job.

On Hollywood and The Grind:

  • It’s all about who you know–and even sometimes making big industry connections won’t do shit unless they are ready to go to bat for you. WHICH WON’T BE OFTEN because so many people here are “risk averse” unless there is something specifically in it for their benefit.
  • Connections can be formed in the weirdest places–like when you go to help someone potty train their kid and they mention they’re an agent and would love to read your work (happening right now, in real life).
  • You have to put in the hours, the thousands of hours, to even make the tiniest bit of headway. But if you don’t, you’re not getting anywhere fast.
  • If you’re a POC, Hollywood is currently interested in “diversity”–and “diversity” includes anyone other than cis-gendered straight males. So white women and white LGBTQetc men are clumped in there with you. Don’t let this be a fad–let it be the new reality by refusing to play a stereotype or a trope (as much as possible). It is entirely possible to write POCs without being offensive, predictable, and boring.
  • Be supportive of other artists–you can’t play ALL OF THE ROLES so try to be excited when your friends/colleagues book.
  • Many people outside of Hollywood won’t know what a coup it is to even GET the audition in the first place. Celebrate every small victory.
  • Even when it feels like you’re banging your head against the wall with new headshots, new (expensive classes), and invested money leaking out of your ears, just keep going. Half the battle is sticking around and outlasting the competition.
  • And the best advice I’ve received (this tidbit of wisdom coming from a successful comedy producer): BE PATIENT.

On Love and Relationships**:

  • Dating is hard. Dating sucks. It’s a necessary evil unless you live in a culture with arranged marriages (and by all accounts, those aren’t fun).
  • Getting hurt is the worst. But if you don’t open yourself up, if you refuse to be cautiously vulnerable, you run the risk of never making that meaningful connection again and pushing away something that could have been great.
  • Don’t settle–you will find someone that loves you just as much, wants to be with you just as much, and isn’t afraid to both show and tell you often.
  • If you’re with someone that is changing how you perceive your value or self-worth in a negative way, END IT. RIGHT NOW. GO. DO IT.
  • Don’t stay with someone because you’re afraid of being alone. Worse than that, don’t stay with someone because you’re afraid of being “the bad guy” by initiating the breakup. Inaction in stringing someone along is more hurtful than taking action.
  • And if it doesn’t ever work out that you meet “the one“, Jane Austen was a spinster and a #BadBitch so you’ll be just fine.

**Full Disclosure–Newly heartbroken/single me thinks the above advice is complete horse shit. But some day (hopefully soon), I’ll let it sink in again.

On Life:

  • Hiring a housekeeper to come once a month is WORTH IT–especially if you’re horrible at cleaning. Paying the money for this luxury will truly raise your spirits beyond measure.
  • Getting married, having babies, owning a house, the “normal life milestones”, etc. may come at a slower pace than your friends back home. But you’ve got a goal, here, and dwelling on what you “don’t have” won’t get you any further to it. Those things aren’t out of reach for you, so be happy for those who are taking the fast track to them.
  • Keeping in touch with non-LA friends and family is key to longevity out here. Having your own cheering section to comfort you, even if over the phone or internet, is sometimes more meaningful than in-person relationships.
  • Your metabolism will slow down. Exercise isn’t an option–it’s a necessity to keep you from turning into a blob.
  • Wash everything in cold water with cold water detergent. And bras last longer if you air dry them.
  • You may miss the simplicity of the life you left behind–but that life wasn’t meant for you, so think about it in the past as a learning experience and not something you abandoned.

And finally, “nothing worth having comes easy”. Life is hard,  but wanting something bigger and better for yourself–wanting your dreams to actually become your reality–takes an incredible amount of moxie–remind yourself that you’ve got it.

“There’s been trials and tribulations
You know I’ve had my share
But I’ve climbed the mountain, I’ve crossed the river
And I’m almost there, I’m almost there
I’m almost there!”
–Princess Tiana, The Princess and The Frog

GO HOME, APP, YOU’RE DRUNK.

The last few days have been absolute shit. I won’t elaborate, because I’m working on making it better, and this is a pity party of one–you dodged a bullet by not being invited.

If you want to hear a sob story, go watch Titanic because Jack TOTALLY COULD HAVE FIT ON THAT RAFT if Rose had been more committed to their relationship.

But for now, just know that on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, I did a little therapeutic drinking. Safely, mind you. Addison Shepherd from Grey’s Anatomy knows how I feel:

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And the full quote for your reading pleasure, because it fits this whole weekend like a glove:

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ANYWHO, my friend Caroline recommended an app that makes it easier to be lazy and have access to alcoholic beverages and SNACKS. The most important part of that equation is easily SNACKS.

SAUCEY is an app that’s tag line is: Alcohol delivered in under an hour–so you know I got right on board that train. Because I’m lazy as hell and that’s really freaking convenient.

I was a little skeptical considering that the Puritanical alcohol laws in the US make it a little difficult for people OF AGE to buy alcohol in many states (though, Los Angeles isn’t that strenuous–they sell hard liquor in the grocery store!). But I downloaded the free app and started scrolling through my options:

SPOILER ALERT–there are MANY.

I almost had a panic attack deciding just how I was going to sink into a drunken oblivion because there was an alcoholic avalanche of dang options!  Decisions are what got me into this depressive mess, I failed to see how MORE decisions would get me out of it.

Wine was out because that’s how I spent Friday night dinner and Saturday brunch. I needed a break from the grapes.

I’m trying to stop drinking alcohol that tastes like it was distilled in a vat of sugar and/or honey, so I decided it was a whiskey kind of weekend and I know the Irish know the business of drinking professionally so Jameson it was.

Onto snacks–Brie. DONE. Crackers. DONE. GUMMY BEARS?! Actually, Gummy “Cola”. But DONE AND DONE.

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Click, click, click into my cart with a referral promo for $10 off and free delivery since it was over $35 and I was set and ready to wait an hour for my purchases.

BUT it’s not delivery IN an hour, it’s delivery UNDER an hour and 20 minutes later, my sweet reward was on my doorstep.

I KID YOU NOT.

My delivery guy took my driver’s license and scanned the bar-code on the back and that was it.

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My 20lb bag of ice didn’t make it into the photo and I realized, while typing this, that my limes were never delivered. But I obviously didn’t miss them and customer service responded quickly and let me know I wasn’t charged.

I had a great afternoon drinking with a friend and watching my first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th episode because MY is that show addicting).

A day well spent.

But today is for picking up the pieces of the life I’ve watched get away from me and for making the most out of the cards I’ve been dealt–and maybe even taking the time to cheat the dealer. Maybe I’ll booze him up first.