I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately while working on a script (ugh, that sounds so obnoxious) for something I’m working on. And I realized that one of the bravest things you can probably ever do in your life is to love and let someone else love you. Not just like, “I love my friends” type shit. But that really deep, prickly-neck, untethered brain-type love that usually involves a person of your sexual preference.
I’m not that brave. I talk a big game about being one tough-ass broad, but ultimately, I see a bug and I scream. I get uneasy being alone after watching an episode of American Horror Story. I’m brave in a lot of ways (moving across country, taking a risk on my career), but when it comes to the stuff of synapses, I’m not that brave. And I’m certainly nowhere near brave enough—or have been, at least—to love anyone in that way. I want to, would love to, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
I wonder how people get there. If it’s practice or just an ability to blind oneself to the atrocities that people commit against each other either in the name of, or in defiance of, love. I’m a safe person. I worry about safety: of my friends, loved ones, of others. Sometimes, of myself. I take risks in a lot of ways, just maybe not emotionally. Because emotions are a lot less practical when they need mending. I know how to fix a scrape on the knee, but I have no idea how to fix a scrape on the metaphorical heart.
Basically, I just maybe wish I was braver. I maybe wish I knew how to be braver. I wish it was easier to be braver, and that it sucked less to build up a tolerance to emotional pain on the love front. With all this thought wrapped up in a nice little basket of neurosis, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking a chance on what probably looks like a timebomb.
I guess the first step is admitting—for the first time in my life, out loud and also probably internally—that maybe I wouldn’t mind someone taking the chance on all this. Someone that was worth more than a late-night makeout or silly sequence of text messages and a first date that leads absolutely nowhere.
And that, if I could, I’d maybe like to take that chance, too, on someone really worth it. I get embarrassed and ashamed about my own feelings—as if being human and having emotions is a bad thing. (I have an inkling as to why, but that’s a whole ‘nother story that I’ll save for the therapist I’ll undoubtedly hire once my new insurance kicks in.) But I’m going to try to not be ashamed of the fact that I’m not a robot, but rather a human person who feels things and emotes from time to time. Baby steps, right?
In the meantime I should mention that my room is clean like how an adult keeps a clean room as long as we don’t count my closet, because that shit is straight up hoarder status and I need an intervention.
I keep playing Russian Roulette with my face in that I push the limits of how long I should keep facial masks and peels on my skin even though it’s sensitive as fuck. Current record: 1 hour.
It says a lot about me that I think a black nail polish with various sizes of purple glitter in it is subtle and understated. I realized this today.
Whatever. I’m going to go listen to the Drive soundtrack and continue to make poor life decisions.
I had an interesting discussion today with a good friend on a bus uptown today (subways with their lack of weekend local uptown service be damned!) about living life in this big ole city and how our twenties seem to be fraught with uncertainty. Some people take this uncertainty and hunker down, clutching onto what comfortable normality surrounds them.
Then there’s me (and many others like me, no doubt. I’m unique like a snowflake, just like everybody else, you guys). Who is constantly unsatisfied, even when she thinks she’s “finally” going to be getting to that place where she should be satisfied with the path she’s on in life. Someone who puts way too much stock in things like “once I get this new job” or “once I dye my hair this color” or “once I buy this dress” or “once I start eating this way” to gain my happiness. All of these things, I somehow believe, will be the one thing to change it all and suddenly my life will be all movie-montages to “Walkin’ On Sunshine” and sweet, goofy dance moves.
Now, while I’ve totally got those sweet, goofy dance moves down and saved up for the big day (or for any typical Sunday afternoon in my room while I clean and listen to LCD Soundsystem), this whole “soon I’ll be happy” thing is fuckin’ exhausting. Waiting with baited breath for the next good idea that I’ll have that will totally change my life in a completely unrealistic way, is totally counterproductive to my life. Sure, maybe my [pipe] dream of becoming best friends/co-writer of 30 Rock with Tina Fey is less likely to happen than I might hope, but that doesn’t mean I should be all gloom and doom about everything.
And that brings up another thing. When did I give up on writing? When did I go from the fearless child I was—determined to become the next great writer/singer/actor/marine biologist/first lady US President/cheesemonger sextuple threat (DREAM BIG!)—to this (at times overly) practical fuddy duddy with only goofy tendencies. I COULDA BEEN A SEXTUPLE THREAT, YOU GUYS! (…And not just in the bedroom! Ba-da-ching! Jokes! Still got ‘em!)
I don’t know why or how I got sucked into the “your world should be set by the time you’re twenty-five or else your life is over” thing, but shit needs to stop now. FER REAL REAL. Starting now, I am going to stop sitting around thinking about all the things in my life I want to do and actually work towards achieving them—especially the scary ones. The things that I have turned into too much of a scaredy-cat to think I can accomplish. Because, duh, if I don’t at least try, I’ll never know and I’ll always have regret about it.
In this way, I want to fight—at least for myself—the curse of Twentysomething Dissatisfaction. I am going to be satisfied and happy with the things I have, and (and this is important) HAVE FUN trying to achieve what I always thought I never could. Hard work and laughter, folks.
Oh, and really good cheese. Life should always involve good cheese.
Sometimes it can seriously surprise you where you find inspiration or all the words you need to hear. It’s even better when you have a sneaking suspicion as to where you can find this and end up being right.
I’ve long felt as though I had The Plan for my life, at several points in my life. First, it was a marine biologist, then it was the first woman president (a career that my grandfather to this day still hopes I achieve, though I suspect this is mostly due to his desire to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom), and for a long time it was a journalist. There were years of desiring to be a pop singer, then a grunge singer, then a rocker, then a sensitive indie singer-songwriter. Then just a songwriter. Then it was A&R or publicity in the music industry.
And now here I am working in television. That was never really in the plan, but it seemed to fit, for now.
The fact of the matter is that the road always lead me to New York and regardless of how many different lamp posts I found myself seeking a lighted path from along the way, I have ended up where I think I have been destined to be.
Let me get to what I’m trying to say here.
For the past few months, I’ve been thinking more and more about what I want to get into and how I want to get there. When a few of my mentors and friends were laid off at the record label I interned at, I began to look at my own career and what I wanted. And, for me, it’s always been that I want more than a job, because I truly love to work. Growing up the kid of a single mother raising 3 children, working two jobs just to make it work, you become ingrained with a crazy work ethic and drive to succeed that I think few other childhood situations can. I think that, despite our many (many, many, many) differences and aspects of our personalities that are just polar opposites of each other, we are alike in our work ethic and desire to work. A lot. And to succeed, and be strong women that run shit and get shit done. (It was honestly one of the prouder moments I had when my mom told me—while working for a branch of her offices—that she realized that I was an adult, and one that did good work and was respected for my get-shit-done attitude. Nothing can be a bigger compliment for the daughter of a get-shit-done workaholic.)
I came to New York from that job that she gave me, I came in as the “boss’ daughter” and knew immediately that I would have to work fifty times harder than everyone else to get any sort of respect. So I worked seventy times harder, as a minimum, because I love proving people wrong and being damn good at what I do, even if I don’t love it.
When they tried to get me to stay with promises of promotions and good money, I knew I had to say no. I have always been one to follow a path and rarely make a jump that wasn’t a “sure thing” and moving to New York was my chance. It was a chance for this nerdy, by-the-book girl to finally do something everyone that I worked with there told me was crazy. (And this is coming from people who live less than two hours from the city itself! Small towns are very insular like that.)
So I get to New York, and I get the impressive-sounding job. I bust my ass, I get promoted less than a year in. I take on more work and try to be a leader. I can’t help but be a leader and sometimes this gets me in trouble and certainly causes people to have extreme opinions on me on both sides of the spectrum.
In the past six months, though, I’ve felt very antsy, and as though I’m not where I should be job-wise and that I want to take more risks. But I’m a worry-wart like no other. And I’ve realized that it holds me back. And while I have grown in more ways than I could ever have expected moving to New York, I realized I wanted more.
Most people that know me know that when I love (things, people, places) I want the entire world to know and I want everyone to experience it. Twice. I’m exciteable like one of those small dogs that shakes a lot (and sometimes pees on the rug). This has been a trait in my life that I’ve seen reoccur time and time again, and become an asset. At a fashion show competition that I work on between FIT & Parsons, I was told by my boss that he was impressed with how much of a leader and get-it-done-type I was. I wouldn’t sit down, was constantly running and getting shit done, and I had just had surgery a week before to remove an internal organ. But I’ve realized that at this fashion show, this is what I love to do. These events, the promoting of it, getting it organized, making it all happen. Every little part of it is something that I care so deeply about, I feel a kinship to the designers we pick even before they meet me at the first meeting. I feel like this show is so much a part of me. And I realized that this feeling is something I need in my life on a daily basis, and that wherever I could get it, that company would benefit.
But here I am, still, the worrier. Nervous, unsure. I’m too fat to attempt to work in fashion, I can dress other people but not myself. I’m too weird, I’m already stuck (how can I think at 24 I am stuck with anything other than my shoe size is beyond me)!
Then, I watched a reality show and it sort of changed everything (I know).
Cynics, please stop reading now.
I instantly felt drawn to Kelly Cutrone on her Bravo show, “Kell on Earth” because she embodies a lot of what I think is admirable in being a leading working woman in this city. Of course, I had heard of her well before all this, and even before “The Hills” and “The City” because when big events and things happen in the city, she is usually the one getting it done. Plus, checking out the NY Fashion Week collections has been a past-time of mine for years. And, in the past few months, her company does exactly what I’ve realized might be my calling. So when I heard she wrote a book, I was intrigued. When I heard that it was for women living in this city trying to find out their path and how to survive finding yourself here, I was willing to take my $40 gift card over to Barnes & Noble and take the jump (along with the purchase of a sweet new umbrella).
I sat down with the book and couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe these words—these pages I was reading—containing all the things I so badly needed and wanted to hear, to be reassured on. Girl knows what she’s talking about (is anyone surprised?) and when they said it was a guide for young women my age trying to sort it all out, they were not kidding. I feel as though, just from reading it, that Kelly Cutrone is my personal mentor. That I had all these dots and then she sat down and said “and here are your lines, now connect your fucking dots.” To say it was refreshing and eye-opening is an understatement for me.
A chapter entitled “Worrier to Warrior” especially rang true to me, and I wanted to both cry from the relief I felt from her words, and scream them out and tell everyone I knew. So far, I’ve regaled coworkers and friends alike with how much I love this book, and I was only 100 pages in as of this morning (I finished it tonight). I tore through this book in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t stop turning the pages and hearing Kelly’s words completely connect my dots. I’ve felt myself get this sort of spiritual boost (and who knew Cutrone was so spiritual? Not I) from it all, and I find her take on religion and spirituality refreshing and new and SO far from the Roman Catholicism that surrounded my upbringing in Connecticut. (Which, you should all know, is SO not my bag.)
While chances of Kelly reading this are anywhere between me getting Rick-Rolled in my bedroom right now and “are you seriously toying with that idea in your head right now?”, I just want to put it out there into the world, onto the internet, out of my head and into your brain, that this book for any young woman struggling with the idea of Self and the City, is a godsend. It is awesome. You may not agree with her or have the bitchin-balls-out radical attitude that she has, but you know that she is 100% not wrong in any idea she has. The thoughts and ideas and re-awakening I feel from having read this isn’t anything I’ve experienced since I started out as a lowly intern and the VP of Publicity told me that if she could snatch me up, she would. Those words & her belief in me bore a burning desire into my head that is undeniably related to this one. I also don’t think it is a coincidence that both these sentiments came from strong women publicists. So thank you, Regina. And thank you, Kelly.
I’ve found my calling, I’ve found my passion, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get out there to grab it by the balls. Right now.
(**if you’ve read this whole thing/this far down, you are a fucking champion.)