two years strong

Today is my two year anniversary with New York City. I can easily say, with utter certainty, that these past two years have been the most challenging I have ever been through. There were so many obstacles to face: broker's fees, dumb-ass managers, train delays, unpredictable weather, unpredictable boys, bed bugs, losing money, ceiling leaks, losing more money, being swindled, illegal subletting, not eating because of having lost so much money. But in contrast to those obstacles were the successes: graduating from AMDA, standing up for myself, free theater in Central Park, free concerts at Rockefeller Center, meeting a handful of incredible, inspiring, and genuine people, losing weight, growing up, getting my dream job once, getting my dream job twice, finding ways to keep living the dream.

Despite all the adversity I have faced in the last two years, I have experienced such great joy. I have done the things I once thought were impossible for me to do, and I have emerged from it all standing tall, ready to face the next challenge. It is a great accomplishment in itself that I am still living here and trudging on. And I've learned so many important lessons, the greatest being that I am a person of value. Every time New York picked a fight, I've fought back hard. While I may be a little worn for the wear, I'm still winning, and that's what counts.

I don't know how much longer this love affair will last. Maybe a few more years, or maybe just a few more months. Who knows where my life will take me? But no matter what happens, I know that every second I have spent in this tough metropolitan will have been worth a lifetime of experience.

New York, I love you. For better and for worse.


here we go again

It's been about two weeks since my return from Miami, and I have run through the gamut of emotion. There was the sadness of parting with the amazing people I met during the run of Miss Saigon. There was the happiness of being reunited with my friends in New York. There was the anger that resulted from a fall out with my subletters as a result of a breach of contract. There was the frustration that accompanies the return to the grueling grind of auditions. There was the excitement of being in a new environment. But the combination of all that does not even come close to the elation I'm feeling right at this very moment.

This past Friday, I was offered my second professional acting job. I am a principal cast member of two musical revues being produced this summer at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater in Sanibel, Florida. Same deal as before: salary, housing, transportation, and one hell of a fantastic time in the Sunshine State. I know that I'm a dedicated and professional worker who can expect a certain amount of success because of my work ethic, but still, I am in awe of my great fortune. I had hoped I might get another job by the end of the year, so to have received this offer less than two weeks after the end of my first job fills me with infinite gratitude.

My dad sent me an email that same day, suggesting I begin considering more secure and lucrative job opportunities. He assured that my time at AMDA and in New York would have not been in vain if I left the acting world and returned to Corporate America where I started. When I told him about my new acting job, he was congratulatory, but still suggested I get my head on straight and remember that I spent too much time on my bachelor's degree to let it go to waste.

His display of hypocrisy was upsetting at first. But then I took a deep breath and thought about things from his point of view. My parents had a plan for me, and they changed their lives to make sure it would happen. And I went along with it for as long as I could until I realized that I couldn't sacrifice my happiness for theirs. Because while I love my parents, I'm the one who has to live with my life choices, good and bad. I came to realize that money had little to do with my personal definition of success. For them, it was everything. But as far as I'm concerned, I have everything I need to survive: a little bit of cash to get my what I need, the love and support of my family and friends, and the guidance of a loving God. So all I have do to is find the thing that makes me happy, the thing that I can look back on at the end of my life and say, "Yeah, I had an incredible run."

So I'm learning to be patient with my parents' worries and fears. It is all out of love, after all. I believe this is what I'm meant to be doing, at least at this point in time, and soon, they'll come to understand this. Or at least accept it. I think part of it is because they only see this as fun and games and not necessarily as a job or career. What they don't see is the amount of work and research and preparation that goes into every acting job and the incredibly difficult skills that those jobs require. And what's difficult for them to comprehend is the direct connection between my college education and my choice of career. I would have never made it here if I didn't make it through all that. I see that, I know that, and I appreciate that.

For now, I'm enjoying the ride and soaking in the experience. I'm also simultaneously exploring new hobbies to cultivate my creative side in the hopes of finding an alternative career in case I should need one. I'm reading more than I have since college, I'm taking pictures everyday to contribute to Project 365, and I'm continuing to improve my video editing and web design skills. From my experience with Miss Saigon, I learned that I'm not so great at keeping the blog updated while I'm on a contract because I get busy with rehearsing, performing, and exploring the local area. But I managed to take a lot of pictures and get a lot of video footage. So this time around, I think I'm going to take a cue from my friend Annie and try a video log, or VLog, for this upcoming contract. Should be a fun change of pace from my seven-year text run.

So the journey continues! Looking forward to what's ahead!


late night limbo

As my days in Miami come to an end, I start to worry that I don't have much else to look forward to. I'm big on planning, and thus far, I've been fortunate enough to have things come and go in a timely manner. But this time, I'm looking forward into a great big void. I'm returning to New York City in less than a week, moving into a new apartment with relative strangers, just a little bit of money, and completely unemployed. Worrisome, yes, though this is how it all started two years ago. It's hard to keep my faith, but I have to believe that everything happens for a reason and that I will end up where I'm supposed to be. Otherwise, I'll fall to pieces. This is a very hard thing for a Virgo to do.

I've had an incredible time working on the show and seeing what life would be like as an actor. But is this something I can really sustain myself on? The instability is frightening, though the rewards are great. Beyond great even. There are roadblocks, namely my own insecurities, so it's hard to feel like I can devote myself to this 100% all the time. I mean, I like it and all, but couldn't there possibly be something more stable, and more lucrative, which would make me just as happy as I am now? Geez, wouldn't that be easy.

I wish I had the answers. More than that, I wish I knew exactly what it is I want out of life. For so long, I've felt like I had everything under control because of my maturity and experience. I'm starting to feel like I'm not as put together as I hoped I would be or as everyone else perceives me. Because the truth is I'm just a 25-year-old girl trying to figure out who she is and what she can offer to the world.

I also have this sneaking suspicion that I'm running away from something. I really can't say what or who it is, but I often get this feeling like I need to leave before things settle or before my heart breaks one more time. I guess I've had a lot of disappointment in my life and would prefer not to deal with it yet again. Though overall, I think I'm stronger than I was before. So the question is, what am I afraid of?

That being said, I've got some ideas in my head for where I'd like to be one, three, or five years from now. Some of those scenarios include New York City, many of them do not. I don't know what I expect to find in all these places. Maybe love. Maybe happiness. Maybe wealth. Maybe freedom. Is it possible that all of these things can exist in one place, in a neatly combined package I could purchase at a convenience store with a Bachelor's Degree, a Professional Certificate, or maybe a hearty resume? That would be nice. I'm getting tired of searching, though I sense that there is a lot more of it to come.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: I feel so behind. So many people I know have begun to establish their careers, have fallen in love, have started families. All of which I WANT. Maybe even NEED. Yes, I'm jealous. Even though I'm following my dreams, I wonder whether they're really my dreams to be had. Am I supposed to do the things everyone else is doing? And if so, why am I taking the long way to get there? Am I making the right choices for myself? Will I ever not feel alone in this world?

Dear God, I could use a sign right about now.