A Series of Unfortunate Events

You know how celebrities/famous people always seem to die in threes?  And some murders inspire subsequent copycat murders?  That whole “when it rains, it pours” thing?  What I’m trying to say is misfortune often breeds misfortune.

And I should know.  The last three months have probably been the worst of my entire life.  I know that’s a bold statement to make, but in thinking about the last twenty-five years, I cannot remember another time in my life when so much shit was flung my way in such a brief space of time.  Blow after blow after blow.  Three months of near-ceaseless gut punches.  My life literally imploded in my face.  BOOM!  There it goes in a mushroom cloud and rubble like a scene out of a doomsday movie.

There goes my life

There goes my life

(Maybe I’m being a TAD dramatic, but you get the point.)

I had a great summer, one of my very best, truly.  Lots of travel and fun times with friends and family.  After a year and a half, my best guy friend finally asked me out, and we started dating.  As my second year in New York came to its close, I finally felt settled; everything was in a good place.  I felt prosperous in nearly every area of my life from my bank account to my relationships.  I bicycled through the streets in a haze of contentment, peace, joy, and love.  I reveled in it all.  I felt seriously happy for the first time in a very long time, and even though not everything was perfect, I felt like I was FINALLY on track.  My life was slowly but surely piecing itself together.

And let me tell you, after a boyfriend drought of about six years (we’re talking committed relationship here, not random dating, which I HAVE done on and off since 2007), having one again was awesome (let alone this guy who is funny and smart and respectful).  Not that I was ever miserable because I DIDN’T have a boyfriend for a long time, it’s just you forget how great it can be.  And being in a relationship and/or love in New York City is especially great.  And since I’ve grown up by leaps and bounds since my last real relationship (considering I’m 25 now and was just 18 back then…eek), this one was VASTLY different.  It felt real and adult.

Maybe if I had invested in better floaties and a baby modeling career, I wouldn't be sinking...

Maybe if I had invested in better floaties and a baby modeling career, I wouldn’t be sinking…

So things were going swimmingly until the beginning of September when my floating turned to sinking.  It felt like someone pushed my head underwater all of a sudden.  My roommates wanted to have a conversation about apartment business, and what I thought was going to be a routine discussion of what we could all do to keep improving the place turned into them accusing me of basically being the worst roommate on the planet (which, having asked my other former roommates to confirm this, all answered with a resounding, “WHAT?!  You’re probably the BEST roommate in the world!”).  I couldn’t speak because I had no idea anyone felt this way.  Now, I’m a highly intuitive person, but I’m not a mind-reader, so if you don’t expressly tell me something is bothering you, I might not be able to pick up on it.  My roommates both avoid confrontation whereas I like to deal with things head on in a civil way, so a personality conflict was bound to arise.  All this came completely out of the blue, but here I was being asked to move out.  Two against one.  They’d discussed the whole thing behind my back and already decided the best solution was to force me out without any input from me or even attempting to fix the situation.  So here I was, a relatively impoverished twenty-something in one of the most expensive cities in the world and had about a MONTH to not only find an apartment I could afford but also move into it.

Things quieted down a bit in October, though I was furiously on the hunt for an apartment.  I lucked into one almost immediately and began planning out my moving strategy.  If you’ve never lived in New York, I can tell you that moving here is a major, MAJOR pain in the ass.  Worse than anywhere else because like no one has cars.  ANYWAY, I made it through October relatively unscathed and managed to get all my possessions schlepped from one neighborhood in Queens to another adjacent one thanks to a dear friend of mine and his sturdy little car (Tim, you are an angel!).  I let myself think the worst was over and breathed a sigh of relief that the apartment scenario from hell had been vanquished.  New apartment, new roommates, fresh start.

But the worst was not over.  Five days into November (and a little under a week to go to my 25th birthday), my boyfriend and I broke up.  Even HE admitted the timing was horrible considering everything I had just been through (because in spite of everything, he’s a really good guy).  The breakup is both sharp and blurred: parts I remember so clearly and others I can only remember the feel of them.  When you love a person, that doesn’t just go away overnight.  Love never really dies; it just transforms itself over time into different kinds of love.  What makes this particular breakup hard is that it’s not because there isn’t great care, affection, and love there for each other; it’s timing.  It’s emotional preparedness.  It’s other things that are between us right now.  And these are things people have to work out for themselves.  I’m not putting it all on him either, because I have my own set of issues to work through.  My intuition tells me that he and I have more to our story, but we both have some life to live on our own first, and for whatever reason, we can’t do it together right now. 

So I was awaiting the third event (because like celebrity deaths, these things always happen in threes), and finally it came on Sunday.  My dear friend was in town for a few days and invited me to the Brooklyn Museum to look at the Jean Paul Gaultier Retrospective (which, for the record, is amazing).  On the way to the admission desk, I slipped in some water and tumbled to the floor only to be followed by my bankcard being declined.  Overdrawn.  AGAIN.  Trying not to panic and maintain some semblance of composure (despite having just fallen to the floor like an idiot), I pulled out my bankcard from home, paid, and entered the exhibit where I put the best smile I could for my friend.

As I made my way to my church afterwards for that evening’s Vespers concert/service, hot tears crept into my eyes, thinking about having to make yet ANOTHER phone call to my parents asking for help.  I’m 25 years old and can’t seem to get it together despite numerous attempts.  While church was reliably soothing for an hour or two, once I left, the hot tears came again.  On the walk home from the train, I lost it.  Angry sobs.  I called my mother from my bed, curled up in the fetal position.  Ever the voice of love and understanding, she eased my fears, but couldn’t quash my anger at myself for yet another financial failure or at the universe taking another massive dump on me.  “WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?!?!” I yelled into my phone in anguish, my mother silent on the other side.  And it’s a question that is yet to be answered and may not be anytime soon.

I'd give anything to get lost in Middle Earth right now...or just maybe New Zealand

I’d give anything to get lost in Middle Earth right now…or just maybe New Zealand

To combat my heartbreak, anger, and sadness, I’ve been spending a lot of time in libraries and my church looking for answers, peace, distractions, etc.  I’ve planned out trips to places halfway across the world to try to escape my life here.  I’ve gone on two-hour bike rides.  My friends have done their best to keep me busy.  And sometimes, I can manage to forget all that has befallen me these last few months for a little bit.  I can even almost muster some real happiness if only for a minute or two, but somehow or other, it all comes back.  There is no magic salve to cure me of it all, no quick-fix.  I am, quite simply, a broken down human being desperate for a break, some goodness, some light.  A reprieve.

BUT I haven’t lost all hope.  I have to believe on the other side of this destruction and desolation there is something big and great waiting for me if I have the courage to push through all rubble.  Yes, I am angry, vehement even, but what good does it accomplish?  It’s obvious everything is out of my control right now, so being angry isn’t going to change that, but maybe channeling that energy into something else will.  Maybe forcing myself to work harder and create will produce something good.  Maybe I was too much like Icarus, arrogantly flying too close to the sun just because I could only to have my wings catch fire and plummet to the ground.  I don’t know.  At this point, I feel like I can go nowhere but up…even if it means crawling.jk rowling

Tears for Fears (and Anger, Heartbreak, etc)

I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time crying the last few months.  In fact, my daily goal – my “super objective” for all you actor/theatre types – is to get from when I wake up to when I climb back into bed without shedding a single tear.  Some days I achieve this goal, but many days I do not.

For those of you who perhaps do not know me as well, I would not label myself as a weepy person by any means; never the girl who cried at every sad movie, scraped knee, unrequited crush.  I’m not prone to tears, never have been even when I was a little girl.  Oh sure, I had my moments, but I cannot remember a time in my life when I cried buckets of tears the way I have been as of late.  Whatever dammed up those tears in the past has obviously been demolished: the Hoover Dam of my eyes is gone and the water is flowing freely.

I’m not sure if what I’m going through right now can be described as a “quarter-life crisis” or simply a series of unfortunate events (more on THAT later), but one thing is certain: whatever it’s called, it totally SUCKS.  It’s like getting gut-punched over and over again from all sides.  Just when I think I’ve blocked it, I get attacked from the side or behind or above; it’s inescapable.  I keep trying to outthink or outrun it, and I can’t.  I have resigned myself to its destruction, hoping I can climb out from beneath the rubble and emerge better or wiser, if slightly worse for wear.  I’m a molting phoenix, waiting to become ashes so I can be reborn.

The only thing on my Christmas list this year

Kleenex: the only thing on my Christmas list this year besides figuring out my life, getting my finances in order, and tracking down a cronut

People always say crying is good for you, it’s healthy.  “Get it all out,” they say.  Trust me, I’d like nothing more than to stop all the crying, to make it end, cry out every last tear so I can just be done with it all.  But shit keeps happening, and more tears come without my consent.  Nobody likes a person who cries all the time; I should know, because I get annoyed when I see certain acquaintances who cry over every damn thing.  But for once, I understand what it’s like to try to stay composed every minute of the day when the weight of everything is pushing down on you and how that can be too much to bear.  I used to think tears were a sign of weakness, not for other people but for me.  I now know tears come because you’re fighting so hard to remain strong, and you can’t bear that weight anymore.

It’s not uncommon to see people sobbing on the subways or sidewalks here in New York or perhaps a park bench.  When you live in a city of nine million people, it’s hard to find a place you can be alone to scream, YAWP, and yes, cry.  And while you’re never truly alone, this place can still make you feel that way, that no one understands the struggles you have, everyone is doing better than you.  At least in Los Angeles, you have your car for these moments (and only eating salads and no carbs is reason enough to make any person with a spray tan cry).  But here in New York, you have no option, and oddly enough, people sympathize with you and lovingly ignore your bleary-eyed sobfests.  I’ve cried many tears on crowded and not-so-crowded trains.  I’ve held them in until my walk home from the subway where my sobs grew increasingly more pronounced with every step closer to my apartment.  I’ve tried to hide them behind my giant sunglasses as I sat on a bench in Central Park.  And you’d think my bed was actually a waterbed because of all the tears shed there.  I’ve done all of these things in the last few days, weeks, and yes, months.

My heart has been beaten and broken, my spirit shaken, my strength tested.  These last few months have been the worst of my life, and I have never felt smaller and humbler; almost serf-like.  I cry because I do not understand whether I am being punished for something or being taught a lesson.  I cry because I don’t know if I’m being tested and for what purpose.  I don’t understand any of what has happened.  Am I meant to?  I don’t know.

But crying feels good.  It’s the only thing that does, so if you see me bawling my eyes out, please know I am struggling, hand me a Kleenex, throw me a sympathetic glance, and let me alone.  It’s going to be a while before I stop.