Sunday, October 12, 2014

False Alarm

A few months ago I made a grand announcement that Kurt and Monty and I were pulling up stakes and moving back to NYC.  Kurt had been let go from his job of 15 years (he signed a confidentiality document so I can't bad mouth them, much as I'd like to) and we had been thinking about it anyway.  The plan was that Kurt would go there for a couple weeks, pound the pavement, secure a job, and we would pack up and move.

Turns out the whole economy sucking and people not being able to find work thing is completely real!  Especially for someone who was employed in a low-tech position for 15 years.  Loyalty doesn't count for much these days. 

Plan B was for me to go to NYC for a month and lay the ground work in my industry for a move back.  I was supposed to go for the month of September, but I was up for a part on a TV show that shot there in Mid-August and my agent told me the sooner I got there the better.  So Monty and I went in Mid-August.  New York City in August.

My parents' house is a death trap.  It's a miracle I survived there at all growing up.  There are three winding wooden staircases, one with a wrought iron banister thingy.  Monty's favorite thing to do, it turns out, is climb stairs.  He especially likes the part where the staircase curves and the stairs get SUPER narrow.

It was an awful trip.  Not because of the stairs.  Navigating the city with a stroller is rough especially since most of the shitty hipsters that have infested it don't seem to understand the concept of helping women with strollers up and down subway steps.  It's like they moved there with the cliched idea that New Yorkers are rude and they want to be authentic, so they just pass you by in their skinny jeans and scarves and stupid mustaches while you struggle up the steps with a stroller, a toddler, and accoutrement. Also, my skin was FLIPPING the fuck out.  I had taken the awesome advice of oil cleansing.  Oil cleansing.  Oil cleansing is where you literally rub OIL into your skin as a way to clean it.  You CLEAN your FACE with OIL.  Is that clear?  Good, because my face certainly wasn't.  The two women I know who oil cleanse have beautiful skin.  The thing is, they have beautiful skin.  So, they're starting out at a major advantage.  They haven't been dealing with acne since they were 12.  At one point in this adventure I was rubbing oil into my skin at night and rubbing apple cider vinegar into my face in the morning.  So, to be clear, I was cleaning my face with salad dressing.  I kept telling myself my skin was purging and I had to stick with it.  All the websites I was looking at were telling me to keep treating my face like an arugula salad for at least eight weeks until my skin had purged all the gross stuff out and then I would look like Charlize Theron.  By week six I looked like Hoggle.

Also, it's not like you use canola oil from the 99 cent store.  Everything has to be organic and cold-pressed and you have to use a combination of different oils depending on your skin type (and good luck figuring out the right combination and ratio for your skin).  By the end I was using a combination of castor, jojoba, argon, tamanu, and tea tree oils.  Next time you're at Whole Foods take a look at how much a tiny container of organic, cold-pressed tamanu oil is...
I suppose walking around looking like a troll would have been okay if I had felt like I was home.  New York doesn't feel like home anymore.  Honestly, it feels like a luxury mall filled with Starbucks, cupcake shops, and T-Mobile stores.  And Park Slope is lovely, don't get me wrong, I grew up there, but $2500 for a studio??  Come on, guys.  It's not THAT lovely.  You have to really love New York in order to make a life there and I just don't.  The deep irony is I know that if I moved back to NYC it wouldn't take too terribly long to start working fairly steadily and cobble together some kind of a living.  I could probably be comfortable financially, so at least that part of the puzzle would be in place.  But it's the getting to that point that I can't hack.  I can't deal with the snow and sleet and wet pants on the subway and the heat and pee smell everywhere and the jam-packed subways and the subway stairs and the prospect of having to live all the way out in Bed-Stuy.  I don't have it in me.  Plus, to be honest, I resent the fact that I've been priced out of my own neighborhood. 

On top of all that, I had two life-changing fights with my parents, which, as regrettable as they were (and they were), helped me to understand some things about myself that need changing.

In the meantime, back at home, Kurt was going through his own shit and coming to terms with some life stuff he hadn't wanted to look at for a really long time.  His language was changing.  His priorities were shifting.  He realized that getting a job similar to the one he had just left, one that largely meant catering to people with a lot of money, no real concept of self-reliance, and a real concept of self-entitlement was going to crush his soul.  Further than he'd felt his soul crushed already.  In the five years that I've known him I've watched him lose more and more interest in his "work".  I've seen him go in day after day, NEVER taking a sick day and hardly ever taking vacation days, working with people who were rude and unappreciative.  His skills vastly outweighed his duties.  By the end he just seemed beat down and defeated.  He felt like he was letting us down.  More importantly, he was letting himself down.  He devalued himself.  At the end of the day, getting shit-canned from that place was a huge blessing (but don't tell them that).

We found ourselves kind of laid out bare by it all.  Home is no longer home for me.  Los Angeles, as much as we love it, has just become a place with great weather where we happen to live.  I haven't had an audition since the one (ONE) I went on in NYC (for a one page co-star).  We're both on unemployment and we have a child.  And, for some dumb reason, we insist on feeding him organic, healthy foods.  A recent trip to Whole Foods cost us $250.  Two weeks later we were out of almost everything.  My parents have very generously sent us a Whole Foods gift card to keep Monty in kale and bananas, but that's not a viable life-plan.  We can't just keep going this way, hoping something will change and that our parents' generosity will continue eternally.  My agent tells me to get a survival job, but we're not talking about waiting tables while I cross my fingers and hope to get an audition.  If it were just me, that would be fine.  But I have a child.  That shit won't fly anymore.  Plus, I've never waited tables, but I can guarantee you I wouldn't last a day.  Could you imagine me waiting on you?

I do love acting.  And I know I'm good at it.  But the sad truth is making a career out of acting doesn't have too much to do with talent.  There are a lot of factors that go into having a successful career, and I, for various reasons both in and out of my own control, have not been able to attract enough of the factors to me at once in order to make a solid go of it.  Success does not guarantee future success.  

I don't feel sorry for myself.  My story isn't tragic.  It's pretty mundane, actually.  Most actors who have been doing it for more than five years will have a similar story.  It's okay.  It's the life I chose.  It's just not working anymore.

As it stands now we're contemplating a major move.  We've realized that if things need to change we have to change them.  We can't wait around anymore for something to magically be different.  We have to think about Monty and what kind of life we want for him.  We have to show him how to make a healthy life for himself by making one for ourselves.  It's looking like that life doesn't exist for us in Los Angeles or New York.  Which means we have options.  We can go anywhere.  This is both exhilarating and utterly terrifying.  But nothing is permanent.  Right?  RIGHT???

I realize this reads like a diary entry.  I'm just trying to fulfill my promise to be honest and share this journey.  This is where my journey is today.  

Join me tomorrow when I discuss coffee enemas, kale shampoo, and sun-staring.