Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the city gives back

"Don't worry, the city will eventually give back. I learned that after my first two years here, and my relationship with LA is much, much better." This was the advice of a childhood friend after I told him I had been here for two weeks. I was very happy to be able to look him in the eye and say, " I know!" My first week of submitting had me auditioning, booking a job, and going on a shoot for Spike TV. Thank you, city! I have begun to figure out what streets around me connect, and I have stopped being intimidated in traffic. Thank you self for deciding to be fearless!

Ah, but here's the rub- remember those cycles? This place might be the perfect candidate for the main character of the prodigal son story....except it keeps happening over   and    over   and   over again! On one hand: my meter has run out and no ticket, someone let me actually merge gracefully on the freeway, another human being made eye contact with me while being very busy and important in Target- but they looked! Oh, welcome back LA to my loving arms!

and then. You catch a cold. While my nose is running down my face with as little direction as I have without my GPS, I stumble around just wanting to get into the freakin' post office. Why is there NO PARKING! Will I get to my OBGYN appointment and will I survive it? (you know, the truly lovely curse of being a woman in a new city is finding just the right person to try and make you feel the least amount of terrified while you are probed by foreign objects and hands). After visiting the office, I return to my car to find that the weather has completely changed. The sky no longer sunny but foggy, and I am in a sleeveless shirt freezing in the newfound gales of wind. I have no jacket. I am supposed to be on my way to an audition where I have to make out with another character and at this point I am thinking it's not going to happen unless he wants to be subject to the extra bacteria breeding in my body. Cold, swollen, and a bit defeated I remember there are two other audition dates, so I can reschedule. A nice plus. I am determined and I think- ok- I will reverse my karma! The prodigal son will return! I will give the homeless man who is opening doors for people (going ignored, I might add) one of my dollars. Whew. I feel better. I feel better until I step right into four inches of mud and water in my sandaled feet. WHAT?! Ok, fine. Just another flip side of the coin, right? Although my patience is starting to wear thin, as is my energy and my health.

Laundry. Meters. QUARTERS! The magical coin in the city of angels. I stop at a bank hoping to exchange my last bit of cash for the opportunity to get in and out of overcrowded stores and clean clothes. The lot is guarded, of course, and I smile and say hello to the guard as I walk in and he welcomes me to the bank. The quarters are as easy as pie! I was afraid I would have to be a Bank of America loyal, but it wasn't so. With  my quarters pocketed, I exit and and tell the guard goodbye and to have a nice night.

I climb into my car, try to give my nose some direction, and struggle to find chapstick to put on my lips. In the mirror, I notice the guard coming over to my car. I immediately think I have done something wrong (must be the years of teenage delinquency...) and mildly panic as I roll down my window. 

"Can I have your autograph next time you come in, miss?" 

Oh, that's it. He mistook me for a celebrity for some crazy reason. I smiled and told him I didn't think he would want it, I wasn't anybody he knew and it was probably a mistake if he thought he recognized me. But he smiled back at me and said, "I know. My name is Edwardo. People come in and out of here all day and never even look at me standing by the door. You said hello, but you had wow! energy- you lit up my day. I decided that I didn't know what you were going to try to do- but that you were going to be good at it. That's why I think I need your autograph!"
I told him I was an actress that had just moved here and he told me, "Oh! It will be a piece of cake! You will walk into the room and knock them back with your presence. They would be crazy not to hire you!"
Um, can Edwardo always be the casting director in every audition I go on?! But alas, Edwardo knows absolutely nothing about acting. Yet he did know something about lifting my spirits.
I promised him if I ever came back to the Bank of America on Vermont, I would bring him an autograph. As I drove away, I remembered what my friend said. The city does give back. 

Right after I pulled out, I passed by an old U-HAUL truck that had been left on the side of the street. It was terribly ugly, beat up and graffitied. On the back side it said in huge letters, "EGO". What an interesting thing to see after my negotiations today, trying to find the good and encouraging from within a cloud of uncertainty. It was a reminder for me in several ways: to not get caught up or discouraged in the city's vibe of swollen ego, to remember that we all need to be on the giving/receiving end of a boost of encouragement, and to continue to look for the balance that will keep us happy, confident, healthy, and kind.

I came home, climbed into my pj's, and began the long night shift hour of online submitting for non union roles...and just when I started to get really tired and was on my tenth kleenex, I remembered Edwardo, and all of my Edwardo's along the way. It's really not such a bad day to be in the city after all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day One

Day one of my blogging- day 17 of life in Los Angeles. day 9,146 of life on planet Earth. 

I should start at the beginning, or at one of them...hence the term,  "embrace the phoenix". It takes courage and surrender to allow life's events to hit you, pass through you, synthesize in your body, and keep walking on. Little life cycles on macro and microscopic scales. It can happen five times a day, two times a week, one time in a year, etc....but all on different levels. The ability to accept it- no, not just accept, but THRIVE with it. This is what I strive for. 

I am so grateful to be where I am. I sit here, typing in a new apartment in a city that greets you at the airport with the claim of, "Los Angeles: City of Arts and Entertainment". Well, hot damn! Arts and entertainment make my blood boil in the best of ways. When I walked off the plane and saw that sign, I had a little Ruby Keeler moment! 

But what leads me here? It is another rebirth. On the other side of a divorce and seemingly endless heartache, on the other side of structured school and plans, on the other side of a southern world and all its standards and ideas....slowly but surely, rebirth in oh so many ways. 

I have been lucky to have endless support from my family, and lots of truly amazing teachers along the way that have come in the form of friends, lovers, and educators. I wake up and greet the city each day with the list of things I am thankful for (for those who know me and how hard I sleep- it's the only thing that will actually get me out of bed! ;) and I set out to do the work that I am lucky to be able to do. 

I am at the very beginning and that used to embarrass me. Not anymore. 
I have no agent. I just moved. I have a theatre background. I have only begun to pound the pavement in this crazy town.
But I have heart. I have prayer. and most of all, I have faith. It is my middle name, after all.