Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Betting On Myself.

Since moving to California, life has been a bit of a bumpy road.  I didn't have an apartment and walked around aimlessly looking for one, and when I finally found one that I liked, I was denied due to my credit score.  On top of that, I had no income.  I needed a job to get an apartment and an apartment to get a job.  (I tried applying from Boston, but it wasn't working out because I didn't live there yet.)  

I spent every day applying for jobs in a coffee shop around the corner from my apartment.  And I literally mean that I would show up at 8am and sometimes wouldn't leave until 4 or 5pm. I was applying to jobs non-stop and not hearing a single word back.  

One day, I went home and collapsed on my bed and cried.  Not even cried - I was hysterical. I thought that I was a good employee!  I had a great resume and great recommendations, and yet no one was biting.  I was either "over experienced" or "not experienced enough in the field" or "not worth even responding to, so I'm making up that they just didn't like my face." 

It was so disheartening and really hard.  It was so easy to blame Los Angeles for my problems, and so I did.  I'd tell myself that it wouldn't be so hard back in Boston!  People liked me in Boston.  I had street cred in Boston.  People were nicer there, easier to impress and just all around better.  I never once thought it was me.  

Ultimately, I came to my senses and realized that maybe I was applying for the wrong jobs.  Maybe my resume could be better.  Maybe I should spend more time on cover letters and less time just hitting copy, paste and send.  Honestly, I have NO idea what jobs I even applied to when I first got here because I was just applying, applying, applying like a robot.

One afternoon, I decided to look for companies that would be a good fit for me and that I may also be a good fit for.  I searched for creative agencies, marketing agencies, companies that had character and maybe even a little bit of personality.  I would read through the websites, narrow down the things I liked about it and why I might want to work there.  Some of them weren't even hiring, or at least had no positions posted, but I just emailed anyway.  I spent one afternoon emailing three companies that I actually wanted to work for because I liked the company and not just because I desperately needed a job. 

Within a week, I got two emails back.  Within two weeks, I was hired at the one I really wanted to work for.  

Finally, I had a job!  And I got to wear whatever I wanted to work.  I got to be me and talk about my comedy past and future goals, I didn't have to say, "Oh, I'm here to be an Executive Assistant forever" because this place valued other interests/goals in their employees.  It felt great. 

But then things got tough again.  The job was going well, but things were still off.  Certain things made me unhappy - for one, the lack of creative work I was doing.  I was making a decent amount of money but yet that never seemed to be enough.  I needed a car and had to borrow my boyfriend's brother's Chevy Tahoe to get to work forty minutes from my apartment.  Gas was ridiculously expensive, especially in a giant truck/SUV.  I needed my own car, but I had no means of getting one - and there was also that tricky credit score coming back to haunt me again.  

Adulthood and responsibilities and bills and everything that I avoided for the past, I don't know, six years - was really coming to bite me in the ass.  And again, I blamed Los Angeles for it.  I was so far away from home, everything would be easier in Boston, how dare California do this to me!  

And then, I leased a car.  And it wasn't so bad.  It's expensive, for sure, but it's not so bad.  

And then, I started some creative projects - Under Butt being one of them - and it forced me to write all the time and spend every second that I wasn't working to do something that I really loved.  It also forced me to try new things and get out of the house every weekend and do something more than the same old thing.  And with other creative projects, I'm writing outside of my comfort zone and covering wildly different topics and types of writing every week and it's a great muscle to stretch.  

And once those things were starting to shape up, I decided that I was in control of everything in my life.  I thought about all the things that I was unhappy with and figured out a way to change them. 

I'm being moved into a new position at work because I spoke up and expressed interest in a different position and department.  I helped out the department whenever I could, because I was interested in it and they asked me and I enjoyed helping.  Then I took on more responsibilities and different roles with different groups because I asked or expressed interest - and at the end of every day, I'm feeling refreshed and dare I say, happy?  

A co-worker asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I was honest.  I told him I wanted to be a writer - I want to write essays, books, television shows, screenplays.  And I waited for him to laugh but all he said was, "Yeah, obviously. You're in the right place to get your feet wet. You can write here." And as I started making excuses - telling him that I wasn't experienced enough and I was already committed to another department and I've only been here eight months and it'd be weird, etc. - and he said, "So what? Bet on yourself. You have plenty of experience and time to get where you want to get." 

So that's the attitude I'm going into these next couple of months - and the next year - with.  I'm going to bet on myself.  I'm going to make decisions that benefit me and make me better at whatever it is that I want to do in my life.  If it means writing some copy every now and then for brands, writing on my own blogs and not getting paid, submitting to magazines that may or may not publish me or pay me,  writing fluff pieces for websites where I'm definitely not getting paid (but definitely getting exposure) or writing for a YouTube web series that is admittedly fun and stupid - then so be it.  

I'm going to stop making excuses and start betting on myself.  

At the very least, look at what can happen in less than a year when you do that.  You can move to a new city, start a new career, lease a car, take some fun adventures, eat Korean barbecue in Korea(town), take on some fun creative projects, make new friends and generally just be a better version of your previous self. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apparently, Fall Exists Everywhere

I'm from New England.  I spent my entire life - all of twenty seven years - in New England, and you know how many times I actively took the time to look at foliage?  Never!  Sure, I caught glimpses of it on the way to a mall while driving on Route 1 or to visit my aunt in New Hampshire, but honestly, I never gave a shit.  It was just there.  It was just a part of the scenery of my LIFE.  

I never went apple picking, at least not past the age of ten.  I never carved a pumpkin.  I never roasted pumpkin seeds.  I never got a pumpkin spice latte.  I never celebrated fall for all its fall-ness, I merely treated it like the more mellow yet dramatic cousin of spring.

But now I live in Southern California, where fall quietly stumbles into the party late and nobody notices.  One day I woke up and it was a bit darker and a bit chillier.  One day I didn't need to blast the AC on my way to work and I could sleep with only the windows open.  One day, I didn't sweat through my leather jacket.  One day, the fireplace scented candle I've been lighting since March suddenly fit in.  

Back home, it's impossible to "miss" fall's entrance.  It smacks you in the face in the morning, calmly caresses your check with the warmth of its sun in the afternoon and then throws you against the wall as soon as the sun goes down.  You could start the day in a sweatshirt, change into a bathing suit and then desperately need to climb inside of a fire by the day's end.  That's right.  Inside of a fire.

It's just that different.

But still, I kick myself for not paying more attention to fall back home.  People say, "Oh man, you must miss New England during this time of year!"  Sure, I do.  But it has nothing to do with nature and more to do with the fact that my parents used to live fifteen minutes away from me and my mom is constantly baking and putting pumpkin in something.  That's why I miss New England!  

But what makes a fall? There's the obvious things: pumpkin patches, apple picking, warm cider, chilly weather, sweaters, awkward starts to a school year etc.  But I've been to a pumpkin patch in California and it was a little hot, but it was still something I was able to experience out here.  I've spiked some apple cider with spiced rum.  I've worn a sweater a few times.  I've driven down a street that was covered in colorful leaves.  I even wore a buffalo plaid shirt to work today!  Buffalo plaid!  It doesn't get more fall than buffalo plaid!  

So, to all those worried about my lack of New England scenery this fall - please fret not.  You can all calm down NOW!  The truth is, fall still exists.  I'm feeling the coziness.  I'm feeling the Halloween vibe.  I'm digging the tiny traces of holidays approaching.  I'm wearing layers (that of course prevent me from going anywhere in the afternoon where the sun is still blazing hot.)  I'm itching to dye my hair dark brown.  I'm nesting.  (I spent an entire weekend day covering a wall in gold washi tape.) 

Honestly, I kinda love the way California does fall.  It creeps up on ya, but it's pretty damn special.  Even if it means I have to bake my own pumpkin baked goods (my mother called me about a great recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles that are apparently all the rage in Oregon).  But otherwise, I don't feel like I'm missing out so much.  

Now, excuse me while I whip up a pumpkin bisque after taking an evening swim in my pool. Because it's California.  And I can. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Site Launch: Under Butt

Over the past few months, I have been working on a fun new blog / website with my friend Kelsey.  We finally launched it last week.  Quietly.  But now we're into week two of posting some content and I'm pretty stoked about it! 

It's called Under Butt.  Inspired by a term that my boyfriend, Beau, came up with while me, him, Kelsey and our friend, Rob, were perusing an IKEA.  We have noticed girls all throughout L.A. (and honestly, some guys too) who like to give their shorts a run for their money.  The hems are high.  The butts are apparent.  At first, we talked of these people in jest - but then we learned to admire them.  Who are we to judge people just because they have the confidence to rock some seriously short shorts?  You go, girls and guys! 

Also, we couldn't come up with a better, catchier name than Under Butt.  Because seriously... how fun is Under Butt?  Funder Butt.  

Our posts consist of personal stories from the two of us as well as weekly adventure posts.  Since we're both new to Los Angeles, we thought it might be good for us to get out of our apartments and do some exploring.  We're trying to open our minds to new opportunities, take some risks and do things we're not 100% comfortable with.  So far, we've gone on a bus tour of Hollywood, a road trip, cooked some complicated meals and we have plans to take some classes, do some performing and just generally become more interesting people.  That's gonna be a tough one.  

I'll be posting more on here, hopefully - but I haven't been inspired lately.  When things are going good, I have nothing to write about.  So that's a good thing, right? 

I'd love it if you followed along with us!  You can like us on Facebook.  Follow us on Bloglovin.  Or just be our friend.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Go Home Fear, You're Drunk.

Over the weekend, my friend went through a break up.  Her relationship with the guy she was seeing was intense and wonderful, albeit short-lived.  He was really into her and she was really into him.  Everything was going great, but over the weekend, he just decided that he was afraid. 

He's afraid of what will happen throughout the year.  What if he wants to move to another country?  What if things go horribly and they break up?  What if he hurts her?  What if a relationship holds him back from doing all the things he wants to accomplish?  

The operative words being "WHAT IF?" 

I totally understand where he's coming from.  I've totally been in that boat.  In college, I was going to transfer to NYU and then I decided not to because what if?  I was also going to study abroad, but I decided not to because I was doing comedy all the time and what if? 

In all my years of circling the sun, the other end of "What if..." is usually some negative road block.  It's never, "WHAT IF I FALL IN LOVE?" or "WHAT IF THINGS WORK OUT WONDERFULLY AND NYU IS AWESOME AND IT GETS ME A TV WRITING JOB?"  I truly don't understand why something horrible is always at the other end of the bridge.  I've personally never crossed a bridge (both figuratively and literally) and found something horrible on the other side!  Except maybe traffic, if we're talking literally.  That's never a fun surprise.  

Basically, what I'm saying, is that fear is a useless piece of shit.

For that guy, he'd love to date my friend (he actually would, he's a pretty decent guy) but he's young and afraid.  He has all these goals and plans for himself, general things he'd like to accomplish - but since when is it so difficult to do those things with someone you enjoy spending time with by your side?  He never once considered that things might really work out with her and that she might want to follow him anywhere he went. 

Sure, sometimes that's not going to be the case and company won't follow you anywhere, and relationships don't work out but - excuse the cliche - at least you took a chance on something.  It sucks to go through difficult shit, but that shouldn't prevent us from actually doing things and taking risks.  In my opinion, it's always better to have loved and lost (or tried and failed) than to never have loved (or tried) at all.  Otherwise, nobody would ever get a dog.  Or befriend another human being.  News flash, EVERYBODY DIES.  Yet we invest in other humans anyway. 

This is just one example.  So many people I know - including this old gal  - are afraid to take risks because they're afraid of the outcome.  Or because of something way in the future that MAY OR MAY NOT happen.  Or because they're making just making assumptions instead of taking risks. 

This is coming from someone who regularly chooses staying inside over leaving the house because WHAT IF it's a terrible time/I waste money/something bad happens/something good comes on TV and I didn't DVR it. 

Fuck the fear.  Let's go out and take some risks.  Let's tell people how we feel!  Let's find a new signature scent!  Let's step outside of our homes instead of staying inside all day!  Let's GET SHIT DONE. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Process of Elimination

As I continue the process of growing up (slowly, but surely), I keep contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life.  There are so many different things I want to accomplish!  I want to continue working as a writer, but I also want to continue working with people, you know?  I think I can find some balance in there somewhere, and that's the exhausting process I'm going through right now. 

That process being the process of elimination.  

I think of it like this:

I am 28. 

I have worked at four companies. (Five, if you include Build-a-Bear Workshop when I was 17... but I don't.) 

The longest I worked at a company was 8 years. 

The least amount of time I worked at a company was 2 years. (Three months, if you include Build-a-Bear Workshop when I was 17... but I don't.) 

I have been the following roles: Sales Associate, Box Office Attendant, Box Office Manager, Day Manager, Front of House Manager, Personnel Director, Bartender, Training Center Administrator, Office Manager, HR Associate, HR Coordinator, Actor, Writer, Teacher, Director and Executive Assistant. 

That's a whole lot of jobs that I've either decided I don't want to do ever again... or that I would like to continue doing in the future.  

I read a blog post over at The Clueless Girl's Guide that said jobs we don't love are ways of learning what you don't want to do, which is just as valuable as learning what you do want to do.  And damn, have I learned what I do and don't want to do.  

The pretty awesome thing is that most of those jobs I really loved.  Or at least I loved enough about them to stay there as long as I did / learned something pretty valuable from them.  I learned skills that I otherwise wouldn't have learned had I not held that job.  Being an assistant, for example, has helped me hone in on a lot of organization, communication and proactive skills that I didn't have, or tucked away so long ago that I forgot about them.  Do I want to do it forever?  No.  But I'm grateful that I did it so I could cross it off my list, in a way.  Now I know that while I have done it and done it well,  it's not the career path for me.  

I loved writing, performing and teaching.  Obviously, it's the greatest job I've ever had and one that I would like to keep doing. But it wasn't always AWESOME.  There were students I didn't "reach" or some that were just downright terrible people.  There were audiences that made me cringe, cast mates that were difficult to work with (even me), nights where I couldn't think of a single thing to write, etc.  All jobs come with pros and cons.  All jobs come with valuable lessons that teach us what to pursue and what to definitely not pursue.   

This year may not have been full of as much creativity as the past couple of years for me. But it's all a part of the process!  I have definitely used this year to eliminate a few job positions from my future and to help me narrow down what I would LOVE to keep doing.  


Friday, September 12, 2014

One Shade of Grey

I have been going grey for a while now.  

I don't actually know how long exactly, but what I do know is that I stopped dying my hair over a year ago, so I have been rocking the au natural top of hair with the very dry and extremely unnatural bottom of hair.  Since then, I noticed little friends at the top of my head.  Little, spiky grey friends.  

At first, I liked it.  I thought that I would pull it off like Stacy London from What Not To Wear and I'd be that cool, hip girl who didn't even have to DYE her hair grey (which is all the rage)... it would just happen naturally.   I'd walk down the street and people would say, "Hey, look at that natural hipster."  

But now, my friends, I'm frustrated.  I don't want to dye my hair.  I can't afford to dye my hair.  BUT. the texture of the grey hair is course and rough and it STICKS UP AND OUT LIKE WEEDS IN A BEAUTIFUL FIELD OF GRASS.  (Yes, I referred to the rest of my hair as A BEAUTIFUL FIELD OF GRASS.)  They're noticeable, distracting and extremely unattractive.  Every time I see groups of people whispering, I know that they're whispering about my grey hair.  Every time I get called into a meeting by my boss, I know that they're going to fire me because of my grey hair.  

These grey hairs are really causing a lot of stress in my life, obviously.  

So, what does one do?  Start dying their hair again?  Let them grow and just own it?  Should I revert back to my days as a 20-year-old and go full clown red again?  Shave my head - Britney style? 

From here on out, you can refer to me as Mr. Sheffield. 

Life at 28 is pretty damn rough.  Pretty.  Damn.  Rough.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life Lately: Good in the Hood

that is Bo. my friend is dog sitting him.
he sat next to me at work. 

Excited about: A LOT.  A bunch of my friends are coming to visit at the end of September and then a few of us are going to Vegas during the first weekend of October to see Britney Spears and celebrate Marty's birthday (I guess.)  I'm so excited to take a ROAD TRIP (albeit a small one) and spend a few nights in Vegas now that I live on the same coast as it.  I'm excited to not go to an airport and take a long flight.  I took too many of those this summer.  

Oh, also, Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix Instant on October 1st.  So, I don't plan on leaving my apartment for all of October, obviously.  

Working on:  A super awesome project with my friend Kelsey that we will be launching in October.  I'm SO excited about it.  It has literally put a skip in my step.  

Thinking about:  What to do with the rest of my life, outside of my creative goals.  I've had a few different options come up this week and I'm constantly debating/contemplating/figuring shit out.  This whole "thinking about what direction to take my life in" thing is kind of the worst, but it's also pretty okay, kinda.  

Also, I'm constantly thinking about the amount of miles I am putting on my car.  Leasing might just be the most stressful thing in the world.  

Reading: "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach.  A friend at work gave it to me to read almost a month ago and I'm just getting around to it... it's interesting.  It's funny and dark and something I would have NEVER picked up on a book shelf if I were browsing the local shelves of Amazon Marketplace.  

Watching: The Simpsons.  Any time it's on.  I watched it a little bit when I was younger, but was never FULLY into it.  Ever since FXX had a marathon and now that they play it all the time, it's all I want to watch.  That and Bob's Burgers every night.  Every single night.  No, seriously, Bob's Burgers is what I fall asleep to every single night.  

Loving: My cat.  She's perfect.  And Bo, the dog.  I want a Goldendoodle.

So, yeah.  I guess you could say that life is good in the hood.  The "hood" being West Hollywood.  Which isn't very hood at all.  But hey, isn't all of Los Angeles kind of "the hood"?  No?  OK.  See ya! 


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