By now I’m sure you all have seen the new update about my position over at the Courant. I am pleased by this outcome, as it means I will still be contributing but without the ethical loops I would’ve had to undergo had I been paid for my services. If my parents have done nothing else to me over the last 24 years of my life, I’d like to think the one thing that stuck was my willingness to do the right thing and to be a good person. Expect postings to start around mid-October, after I move home.
I turn 24 next week and I thought about what my life was like last year when I turned 23. Last year I drove to Boston to see my friend Gina and we went to the New Kids on the Block concert at the Garden (don’t judge me, I love them). We had pizza and cupcakes and went out after the show, and when I went to bed Gina put a tall glass of water and a vitamin on the counter and ordered me to drink it to prevent being ill in the morning. The next day we went to IHop and I ate my body weight in pancakes. The difference between this year and last is simple: I’m having it in my own apartment with friends I’ve made here, and they want it to be outlandish and crazy while I prefer to keep it very simple.
Also speaking of moving home…it still doesn’t feel real yet. When I go home I’ll probably end up moping for a few days, wondering if I did the right thing. And then I’ll think of those dark days in July when I spent a week straight crying and couldn’t tell my father that I wanted to come home again. In the long run I will look back on my time in New York and know that it was the most transformative and greatest summer of my life, and my career had nothing to do with it. I learned so much about myself and I’ve become more accustomed to this city and the people in it. Before this summer, I was very certain of what I wanted to do but very naive about the process and demands required to do it. I wanted to be involved in some way in the arts but when I moved here I realized that in no way was I prepared or ready to undergo what the people in this city have to go through on a daily basis to do it. Overall, what I realized was this: in NYC, very little ‘acting’ is involved. It’s all about what you look like and who you know. I just wanted to sing and act and be onstage and goof around and still have a normal life. Which is obviously NOT what NYC acting entails.
I will leave this city twenty pounds lighter (despite eating more cake and ice cream than I have ever eaten in my life, thanks Angelina and your Tuesday night dinner parties!) and a great deal wiser.
When I think about what I’ll miss about NYC, acting has nothing to do with it. I’ll miss waking up at 8 AM and making my own breakfast, wondering what the day will entail. I’ll miss grocery shopping at West Side Market and Greenmarket in Union Square, even though I never bought anything. I’ll miss eating lunch at my little nook table with food I bought myself. I’ll miss the gay guy at New York Sports Club who works out next to me all the time, pounding the elliptical in a polo shirt and khakis (you wish I was making this up, right?). I’ll miss having an Urban Outfitters right across the street from my apartment building even though it devastated my paycheck. I’ll miss the crazy guy who called himself Captain Saxophone and blessed me for giving him two dollars to buy Johnson’s Baby Oil. I’ll never know why he needed it, and frankly I never want to find out.
I’ll miss walking to The Bean for coffee and reading on their squashy chairs. I’ll miss the hot, overcrowded subway with the greasy poles and the random woman who walked up to me on the F train and demanded “DO YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN?” I’ll even miss walking to Washington Square Park and seeing a heroin addict walk repeatedly into a wall at 10AM. I’ll miss cupcakes with the girls. I’ll miss Tuesday Night Dinners on the Upper East Side, Greek food on the Upper West, and Friday Night Films in Queens. The countless nights of staying in and cooking dinner for myself, watching TV and writing. And dreaming.
But I’ll be going to my family. And to the countryside, or as countryside as you can get when you’re ten minutes outside of Hartford. Cold New England nights. Fireplaces. Leaves turning gold in my backyard. A backyard. My best friend who’s promised to take me apple picking; I promised in return to bake a pie with the apples we get. Meals that don’t begin with the words Clif Bar. Mom. Dad. Jenna. Mike. Todd.
I thought if I didn’t move away, I’d stop growing. Now I realize I could grow in CT. I just needed assistance, like those vines you wrap around sticks to keep them vertical.
Here’s to those who keep dreaming. I know I will…
PS. Another gem of wisdom from my parents: never be afraid to ask for help. life sometimes can be too hard to tackle alone, no matter how strong you think you are.