Personality Surgery

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I have recently realized how beneficial leaving the nest has been for me. My parents were always very supportive and for that I am most grateful. I also wish they would have told me how much of a fuck up I was, pardon for being brash, but I guess that doesn’t really describe the term supportive. They put up with my constant Sagittarius spontaneity of “I want to be an actress”, “I want to be on Broadway”, “I want to do film”, “I want to play piano”. I’m still that way. Hell, I’m looking in to getting my pilot’s license next summer, and they just accept it I suppose. Lord knows, it’s not a family trait I picked up. I just picked it up.

I went to college for Theatre, got a bachelors in Fine Arts, and I loved that degree don’t get me wrong. But did I pick it because it was easy and I knew how to do it? Or did I genuinely want to do it? Did I pursue on the wave of being significantly lazy? Knowing full well that I’m just good at memorizing and I can study plays well. I honestly don’t know. I do enjoy stage acting, and I feel a tingling in my toes whenever I get that first lights out before walking onstage as Carol from Black Comedy, the completely neurotic and OCD British girlfriend of a hopelessly “doesn’t have his shit together” artist. Or Grete from Sight Unseen, the German reporter only flirting to lure an unsuspecting victim to admit his sham career and fickle friends. I enjoy being those people. I enjoy speaking as they speak. Playing up the Chameleon Complex. But did I need a degree in it? Did I know full well that the only career choice if not the tiniest percentage of actually becoming an acclaimed star would be teaching other hopeful doe-eyed youngsters with dreams of “bright lights, big city”?

That’s why I need to go back to school to do something else…because I don’t want to be a teacher. I loved my teachers. Passionate, creative, loving as they were did I love my teachers. But please don’t make me be a teacher.

Then there’s my minor. Music with an emphasis on Vocal Performance. Yes. Another degree that may or may not have been totally worthless had I taught vocal lessons, or somehow made it on Broadway. I love Broadway. I see shows at beautifully decorated Theaters and I admit I have enough confidence in my singing that I think I could be up there belting the ending ballad sung by Colleen Sexton, Linda Eder or Sutton Foster and woo a crowd too, even though all three of those ladies are the most talented Broadways singers I have had the privilege of listening to. I think I’m good. Still, with that being said, The Voice has yet to think I’m good enough after 2 attempts at a poorly written pop song belted by yours truly.

College was fun, but my parents were still only an hour away. I could drive home for the weekends and have a free home cooked meal that wasn’t Ramen or Hamburger Helper. So I moved to LA. I tested the waters in Film. I liked the set life, what little I saw of it in a year anyway. And again, leaving the nest was hard but my parents were supportive and I learned a lot about myself in the process of living on my own. I met horrible people. Seriously dreadful souls. And I met some of the kindest and gentlest people that have ever made my life more content. Photographers, Singers, Meditators, Band Mates, Garden Keepers. The Andersons. The Andersons.

The Andersons were my home away from home. They were my other mother/other father. They fed me home cooked meals and showed me that good people can be found in the corners of a dirty, sticky-fingered city. Some seriously wonderful people. In reminiscing with memories of this family I think of their daughter, Jenny, who loved nothing more than traveling around California. I wish I had been more equipped with funding to join her in road tripping to Ojai, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Oakland. Her father and her also took a cross-country trip to Oregon, New Orleans, South Carolina, and quaint places in between. They opened my eyes to how much I longed to travel. Trips to Joshua Tree and random mountainous hikes, and after-work sunset surfing excursions. There is honestly nothing more calming than sitting on a surfboard, bobbing in the ocean, watching the sun go down (despite my incessant fear of a shark attack). There may or may not have been a relaxing substance, ground and wrapped, lit and smoked included in any sunset on the beach…after all, it was California. No better place for free spirits than the sandy beaches of Venice.

Of all the bad experiences I had in Los Angeles living in South Central and Mid City: hearing gun shots every night, getting bitten by a dog, coming home to my bed soaking wet from a hole in the ceiling after a full day of rain, having my newly purchased scooter break down in the middle of the road, race wars with helicopter lights, working two jobs every single day and the god awful traffic…there were some good things too. There were things I never would have learned about myself had I not moved there. I got to try new things, I got to see City & Colour and Ray LaMontagne in concert, and hear new and interesting music. I got to be in a band and play live shows. I got to meet countless Celebrities, shake their hands and tell them how thankful we all are for their entertainment, even embarrass myself in front of a few (Chris Hemsworth, Tim Meadows, Ron Howard, Jonah Hill – I am so sorry, you guys…). I got to learn how to budget my money beyond measure, and I learned what truly being alone feels like. Having holidays come and go with no one to celebrate them with. I am honestly so thankful that I was able to move there with the support from my parents and now I can truly look anyone in the eye and tell you exactly who I am, exactly what I want, and exactly how I feel.

I want to travel more. I want to be outdoorsy. I want to own a beehive. I want to be a pilot. I want to be a photographer. I want to be a videographer. I want to be a wildlife biologist. I want to be a blogger. And all of these things I plan on doing and know I will do them, because after living in LA I know that I am strong enough and smart enough to figure anything out on my own, as well as with a handful of support from the amazing people I know and will meet along the way. There’s no one in the world better than my parents who have put up with my ridiculous “backs and forths” but I’m happy they’ve helped me discover who I’ve grown to be. I think the whole family knew I would wind up being a whole lot like my mother, which I’m very happy to say…I see the resemblances. But, I’m not sure where I got this newfound explorer mentality. Perhaps it was all those times as a child I was lucky enough to see the world a bit. Anywhere from learning to drive a stick shift in Moab, asking a stranger what all those beads were for on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, wasting my time texting a boy in Hawaii all the way to seeing King Lear by the RSC in England, learning to play a Didgeridoo in Australia, and thinking I had a rain jacket but turns out it wasn’t in the pouring rain in Italy. I’m a lucky girl to have parents that want to get out and GO somewhere. I just know from now on I’m really going to take it all in with new eyes and a bright heart. Because now I have people to tell my stories to thanks to you readers, and I have pictures to take thanks to this documentarian itch I’ve been scratching.

So I’m embracing this new “Grown-Up” Personality Surgery, if there is such a thing, that I’m experiencing these days. I hope I prove the expectations of myself well. To more exploring, and a special thanks to The Andersons and of course Mom & Pop Brickwood-Figgins.

-C

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