i left my heart in new york city

It's the start of my second week back home in Suburbia, and I can hardly believe the change of heart that's taken place in the last few days. To get to the point: I'm going back to New York City. Of course, not without this break back home and that upcoming job in Florida. But after all that is said and done, I'm returning to the place that my heart has decided to call home.

There were some revelations during my last week in the Big Apple. First of all, it is the mecca of theater, the place I must struggle to survive in if I am to ever reach my life's goals. Second of all, the pulse of the place matches my own heartbeat, my desire to live life to its fullest and embrace all the wonders that exist in my world. And third, and most importantly, it is where my comrades are. These are the people I started the journey with, and I cannot imagine continuing without them by my side. This handful of gracious souls has seen me through the best and the worst, and they are the ones who continuously encourage me to forge on when I know the easier and safer thing to do would be to give this up all together. Their presence in my life has been an incredible blessing.

So now, it just feels like a waiting game, passing time until I'm back in the greatest city on Earth. There are things that must be done, some of which have already been accomplished. While all of that is happening, I'm already planning for my return. And believe me, this time will be so much better than before. I'm a lot stronger, wiser, and happier. I'll do things more efficiently, like find the perfect apartment in a safe and affordable neighborhood without a broker, score a survival job that supplements my career goals, prepare myself more adequately for seasonal weather changes, and present myself with more poise and grace in auditions. There are so many things I can't wait for.

I really hope time begins to fly so that New York and I can be together once again. This time, baby, I'll be bulletproof.


farewell, for now...

A bit of the parting message I left to my friends in New York City.


I'm a couple thousand feet above the ground at the moment, though by the time this message reaches you, I'll be safe and sound in California. I'm experiencing a slight sense of deja vu, as I recall being in a similar situation just about two and a half years ago, writing a blog post on an airplane about impending change. Back then, I was flying in the opposite direction, away from home, toward all my hopes and dreams. I had no idea what to expect; I thought that I might leave immediately after finishing AMDA, that it would probably be a year or more before I got my first acting job, and I assumed New York City would never feel like home. I now know that a lot can happen in a year or two, or even in just a few short weeks; that opportunities fall into your lap when the stars align, which happens more often than you think; and that home is truly where your heart is.

Moving to New York was a challenge for me in many ways that I know each of you can relate to. There was, of course, the fear of leaving behind a life that provided financial and emotional security. Then there was learning to adapt in a multi-cultural, multi-sensory, and multi-personalitied metropolis, the likes of which my imagination could only begin conceive. Living here is quite a trip, isn't it? There were other things I had to deal with too, like true independence for the first time in my life, with all its glory and unexpected letdowns.

There came a point during my time in Florida that I wanted to give up the fight, put aside my own happiness, and compromise for the sake of my own sanity. This is the primary reason I planned on leaving New York. What I would have done after that, I'm not really sure. I looked into masters programs for music education and simultaneously researched regional theaters in Southern California. Though nothing seemed very promising or enticing or as exciting as anything else leading up to this point in my life. And it made me seriously reconsider my decision to move back west.

Contributing to that was my "final" week in NYC. Parts of it were hell: downsizing from an entire storage unit to three suitcases and a duffel bag, getting yelled at by crazy people on the street, and spending way more money than my meager actor's budget can currently withstand. But all of that was countered by the time I spent with each of you. I had been so wrapped up in worrying about my parents and moving and trying to make ends meet that I forgot what it meant to feel so devoted to something that nothing in the world can stop you from achieving it. All of you reminded me of that, from planning and promoting your own show, to working multiple jobs at odd hours to support yourself in this expensive city, to doing unpaid gigs just for the sake of practicing your art, and to stepping away from this place for as long as it takes to come back to it. Despite all the difficulties that were evident and the challenges that were present in your lives, I truly cannot recall a time when we smiled or laughed more than we have these last few days. It was so refreshing to see such a vivid reminder of why I came here in the first place, with the belief that the only life worth living is one you're truly passionate about.

So, the point of all this is to say that my time in NYC is definitely not over. It is the place that challenges and encourages me to be myself, regardless of the expectations people have for me. I plan on taking this time at home in California not only to recharge, but to take charge of my own life. Then it's off to Florida for a temporary relocation. Following that, who knows where I'll end up? If I'm really honest with myself though, New York is the only place to be in this country, especially if I want to continue growing in this profession. Besides, despite the saying, "Once a Californian, always a Californian," I know that I've found home in all of you. You are all such an incredible inspiration to me, and I am blessed and filled with gratitude to have you in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being your wonderful, beautiful, and generous selves. New York City is a much better place because you all have been a part of it.

I have nothing but respect and love for you all, and I cannot wait to see where the journey will lead us.

Till we meet again.


sleepless nights

I've had trouble sleeping the last few nights, and I attribute it mostly to the fact that I get too much sleep on the whole. But tonight, my inability to slumber comes from an entirely different culprit. Damn that iced tea I had for dinner. And also, my mind is far too restless for its own good.

I don't know if I've made the right decision about my short-term future. I'm weighing the pros and cons of moving to Ft. Lauderdale, and I feel like my insecurities are steering me in a different direction. I know that my recent job offer is a great opportunity for me, but there are so many things that are making me feel hesitant about taking that next step. Mostly what it comes down to is money and the fact that I don't have very much of it. I've done a preliminary financial assessment, and even if I cut back on all scales and take a second job, I'll still be just barely getting by. And on top of it all, I'll be entirely alone in a new environment. I don't know if that's a challenge I want to take on at this point in time.

I went to church today for the first time in a long time, and the gospel reading focused on material wealth versus spiritual wealth. I strive to be a generous person, sharing my gifts and resources with others in the way that I believe I have been called to do so. And I know that ultimately, the material things are fleeting and all we really have is our relationships with each other and with God. But the trouble is, getting by day to day relies on materialism. I need money for shelter, food, clothing. Not to mention those things I consider to be luxuries, like health care. How am I supposed to find comfort in my spirituality and faith when I don't always know how I'm going to feed myself tomorrow or next week? Is this what it means to serve God?

Of course, the alternative would be to take some time off from acting to get a "real" job, save up money, and start the whole entire process over again. I feel so conflicted with that, though. It's not what I want to do, it's not what I find meaningful, and worst of all, it's leading a company to believe that I want to be loyal to them when the truth is I'm just using them for their money to help kick start my own dreams. And during that time, how would I be using my skills and talents to help others? I love acting because I have the opportunity to bring culture to life, to preserve art, to teach others about history, and to build self-esteem in youth. How can I do all that working in behind a desk?

I know I'm being literal (and a bit dramatic) in my state of confusion and supposed despair. I'm just, once again, seeking answers I'm having trouble finding myself.

I really just need to get some sleep.