Entry #3: Sometimes…
In my headphones: Anuhea "Hands Up”
Well, what a whirlwind it’s been this last couple of months! For anyone who follows Lady Gaga and the Joanne World Tour, you know that the Rock in Rio performance in mid-September was cancelled and the entire European leg of the tour was postponed until the beginning of next year. For me, that meant an unexpected 6-ish weeks off and a last minute birthday party in NYC, which took many late night twists and turns (derailments brought to you by edible mints and bourbon). Needless to say it has been real rock and roll over here, and I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I like it! When the tour was postponed, we were all preparing to fly to Rio, but when we got the news that we were going home instead, rather than fly back to LA or fly home to Louisville, I made the last minute decision to test out living in New York. I have been flirting with the idea for the last 6-7 years and I had already been making preliminary plans to move there once the tour finished. So, since the opportunity presented itself, I took it. Why not? Thankfully, my best friend and birthday twin (no really, we were born on the same day, same year, within 4 hours of each other), Chevonne, and her rockin' Jew-talian family live in New Jersey and let me crash with them while I figured out my life and searched for a sublet in the city. The transition wouldn’t be easy (when is it ever?) but it would definitely be worth it in the end.
Let me start by saying this: for any of my friends who have moved to New York and successfully found a place to live, I SALUTE YOU! I never knew how cutthroat just finding a damn room could be! In all of my years living in LA, especially downtown, I have become accustomed to walking around the neighborhood I wanted to live in, going up to a building that looked nice, dialing the number on the front of the building, and looking at their available units that same day or, at the latest, the next day. What a dream compared to New York <effing> City! Oh my God, there are brokers, there’s additional fees, there’s the Gypsy Housing Facebook group that requires an invitation from someone already in the group, and there’s a million and one other people looking for the same thing you’re looking for! So far, I’ve picked up on this survival technique: rent a room in a 4 or 5 bedroom apartment and shack up with strangers who are all doing the same thing you’re doing. Sounds easy enough, but when 15 people respond to a post within the first five minutes of it going up, the competition gets real. I even had a broker respond to one of my inquiries with something like, “I know the original post said this room is going for $800/month but how much higher than that are you willing to go? The current bid is at $1,175…” <INSERT 17 WOW FACE EMOJIS> It’s survival of the residential fittest out here in these streets! A legitimate financial gauntlet for “the windowless room with lots of charm.”
As it played out, the likelihood of finding a sublet was looking pretty bleak and nearly 2 weeks had already gone by. After several days of asking for rides to the New Jersey Transit, the actual hour and a half journey into Penn Station, and then the subway trip to whatever fill-in-the-blank destination, I was getting pretty restless. Then, the phone rang one night and all of the resistance made sense: my friend and wizard choreographer, Richy, offered me a job that required me to go back to LA pronto. Thank you, universe, for not letting me pour money into a sublet that I wouldn’t even see for some time. I booked a flight for the very next morning, and since the job would only be 4 or 5 days long, I would be able to turn right back around and get back to the Hunger Games: New York Sublet Edition. At least that’s what I thought…
Do you ever take the time to look up to the sky
And reflect upon your life?
My friend make no mistake, there's a chance with every breath we take
That it could be gone by tonight
For those of you who have stuck with me through the first 2 entries of this blog, you know that for the last 3 months I have been working through some heartache and all of the other grander issues and questions that come along with it. It has been an eye-opening experience, full of self discovery and deep emotional processing, but I have recently discovered that great times with great friends, plus a little dose of old school lovin’, are the perfect remedy to start feeling like you again. You see, once I landed in LA I went straight into rehearsal and, after the second day, the entire project got pushed back a week. So now rather than the 4-day trip I had initially anticipated, I would now be in LA for 2 weeks. Welcome to my life where the original plan is hardly ever how reality plays out.
So now I had all of this unforeseen time back in The Golden State, and it seemed to me like there was only one proper thing to do: round up some of my friends (aka the Troops) and allow the moonlight to work its magic. And my-oh-my did she ever work her magic. I’ll sum it all up like this: when your heart hurts, sometimes, in order to heal, you have to rally your squad, sometimes you have to slip on that “freakum dress” (thank you, Beyoncé), sometimes you need to drink too much, sometimes in a late night state of whiskey bliss you re-connect with an old love, sometimes that old connection makes you remember just how good it was before you ever met the present offender, sometimes you continue the late night crawls, sometimes, for the first time ever, your friend convinces you to slide a dollar bill down the shirtless go-go dancer and your hands end up where the sun don’t shine, sometimes you walk through Knott’s Scary Farm, arm in arm with one of your best friends, and scream your face off for nearly 4 hours, sometimes you meet someone on the dance floor, sometimes you dance together like you were back in the early 2000’s, sometimes it feels like, if only for a few seconds, that you’re the only two in the world, sometimes your lips connect, sometimes you end up fogging up the windows from the backseat of your car, sometimes your best friend pushes you into the club crush you were too intimidated to talk to and the two of you surprisingly connect beneath the thumps of the music, and sometimes, after all of this, you finally remember who you were before the heartbreak, before you questioned your worth, before you second-guessed your attractiveness, before your self-esteem nearly depleted, and sometimes you remember that, before it all, you were a God damn bad ass that never had an issue meeting new people!
Everybody's feelin' high on love
Cuz we lookin' for a higher love
We can find it one by one
And yet, sometimes you think about him and your stomach still sinks. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to and it certainly doesn’t keep you up at night anymore, but it does still happen. The thoughts come and go, the memories make you smile, the silly quirks you once loved are now appreciated with objectivity, and sometimes clarity starts to creep in and you can see why he was great for a reason and a season, but not for a lifetime. Sometimes you wonder if and when he’s going to pop back up, and sometimes you ask yourself, “how would you react today?” Every day the answer changes, the motivation behind each hypothetical reaction shifts, and then you move on with your life. The pain has nearly run its course, and you start to identify what qualities in him you want to find in “the one” and you absolutely list the qualities in him that will make you run for the hills. He becomes more and more of a distant memory, fading into the rest of your “horror stories,” and you feel yourself start to open up again.
Unfortunately, throughout this healing process, there have been some casualties, good men who deserved me at my best, but I just wasn’t in that heart space yet. There was the Underwear Expert who flew all the way to Philadelphia in hopes of evolving our daily FaceTime conversations into something more substantial, but his willingness to go the extra mile for me somehow triggered intense emotional reactions towards MPD (see: Entries 1 & 2) and, everything combined, I felt imprisoned in my own skin. Then, there's my Libra Love who I've known for over 2 years and, to this day, remains to be a man that I love unconditionally. On one random Tuesday night in West Hollywood, Libra Love, under the euphoric influence of one-too-many Molly's, rested his back against the bar, pulled me close, laid his pillow-like lips on mine, grabbed my hands, and proposed to me. Now, I can't say I ever imagined that someone would propose to me in a gay club while XXX porn was simultaneously playing all around, but hey, he wins for shock value and charm! Even though I told him we'd have A LOT to work on before marriage was ever a possibility, he went on to tell me that he could spend the rest of his life with me and be happy. Was it just the Molly talking or did he really mean it? It honestly doesn't matter. His words, his lips, his butter skin, and even his drug-induced proposal sent warm chills up my spine. I appreciated the moment and I appreciated him for making me feel special during a time that I needed it most. The unfortunate part is that he simply isn't in a place in his life that's compatible with my long term needs. Finally, there was the Disco Don who swept me off my feet on the dance floor but soon after put too much unnecessary stress and anxiety on my mind and body. If it was a different time, perhaps I could have explained more of why I wasn't interested in pursuing a deeper connection, but instead I only told him I wasn't interested and that he shouldn't expect any responses from me in the future. Sounds harsh, I know, but the silver lining of it all? I made my very best effort to give each of them what the others never gave me: honesty and respect.
Let's stop complaining, sitting around and waiting
What you give is what you get
Cuz with a better attitude, amazing things will come to you
Just live your life with no regrets
After all of these impossible-to-predict moments, we shot the music video I flew back for, and a day later I flew back to New York. Coincidentally, I landed a sublet in Brooklyn while I was in LA working and, perhaps, feeling good about making bad decisions. When I got back to the concrete jungle, though, I briefly felt what life would be like as a New Yorker and, even more exciting, I was able to launch a creative project with my friend and fashion photographer, Tarik (more about this in my next post!). The main highlight though, was celebrating Tarik's 30th birthday Real World style (remember the old school MTV show?!). A bunch of us rented a house in Park Slope for the weekend and did nothing but turn up, eat great food, dance till ridiculous hours of the night, and encourage ratchet behavior from every single person that walked through the front door. We made unforgettable memories that weekend and, coupled with the LA experiences, I began to focus less on what I thought I was missing (romance, love, etc.) and began to appreciate all the priceless things in my life that were right in front of my face: I'm surrounded by friends and family who love and support me unconditionally, I have an amazing job that millions would die for, and I have the persistence to go out and get whatever else I want but might not have just yet. When things don't go our way, it's easy to focus on that one thing we don't have, but take a look around you, what are you overlooking that's right in front of you? I bet the things or people you couldn't live without are the same things or people you may be, unintentionally, taking for granted. I know I sure was. It doesn't always have to feel so heavy when we don't get the guy or the girl; every single one of us has something to be grateful for, so ask yourself: who or what can I appreciate right now that's positive and contributing to my growth rather than that one negative thing or person that's taking up all my headspace and taking me down? Alert: Thanksgiving is next week people! It's never too soon to start the gratitude!
Everybody put your hands up, hands up
On your feet, let's stand up, stand up
Come on people, gotta come together
Celebrate, cuz these are the moments that we live for
No matter how much I keep making the effort to move forward, though, sometimes everything seems to come back to MPD. I don’t follow him on social media, he doesn’t follow me, but somehow the two of us share random mutual friends. One day, I was about to leave a comment on a friend of mine's picture, and right before I did I see that he’s left one just two minutes before me. It happened more than once with people I had no clue he even knew! The confirmation of his existence alone pinched my spirit, but enough time has passed that I reminded myself that his inaction towards me is a conscious choice and that he chose to walk away for a reason I don’t even care to know anymore, so why waste precious energy on a man who let my love expire? At first twist, that pinch hurts like a bitch but, 30 seconds later, it’s like it never happened. But then the universe really served me up one: that new club crush? Turns out he used to be MPD'S old neighbor, lived 3 doors down from him, who I knew about but never liked, not because of the threesome I know they had before I came into the picture, but because he tried to shove steroids down MPD's throat in the name of “getting swole.” Then, I realized I had actually met this meathead once before while I was helping move boxes out of MPD's apartment, the night before he moved across the country. My jaw dropped when that revelation hit. I knew I had to sever ties with my (now former) club crush. The connection was simply too much for me and, thinking about how any of this could be possible, I found myself sitting stupid, stuck in the “I don’t know” emoji stance trying to figure out what in God’s name it’s all supposed to mean. I know it means something, maybe it’s simply a course correction, a dodged bullet maybe, but I don’t have the answer right now and I think that’s okay. The finale, though, because there's always one last kicker, happens as all of my thoughts are wrapping up and I'm feeling like I’ve reached the end of this writing process. As I'm typing out these final few words, I pick up my phone for a quick mental break, and in all his Gemini glory, after three months of no contact, MPD has just liked 2 of my most recent Instagram pictures. PAUSE. TAKE IT IN. REWIND! FAST FORWARD. What can I say? The universe is hilarious…sometimes.
We'll rise above
Get over little things
You're gonna have to learn to fly and mend those broken wings
It could all be gone tomorrow so live like it's your very last day...