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Archive for April, 2016|Monthly archive page

My Beautiful Breakup with NYC

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2016 at 5:04 pm

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I’m leaving New York in exactly 3 days. It sounds so casual when you say it that way, doesn’t it? I’m leaving New York. As if I’m popping by DC for a latte over the weekend on a Bolt bus that I found a great deal on, and I’ll be back on Monday. I’m moving away from New York. We’re parting ways. We’re breaking up. Whatever you want to call it. For me, this is a good decision. This is a great decision. I’m happy with my decision. All the same, it doesn’t take away from the fact that yes, I was very much in love with New York, and leaving him will not be easy.

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The first time I went to New York, it was a day trip while I was staying in Philly. I was still in college, and competing on the speech team. This trip was one of my favorite college experiences. My days consisted of wearing bright colored business suits and delivering speeches, and evenings spent discovering Philly. On one particular day, our team visited New York City. I was blown away by the energy. I had never experienced anything like it. I knew I would be back.

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A couple years later, my dear friends and I ventured to New York for a week of madness. Dance clubs into the wee hours of the morning, romps through Central Park and getting lost in the wonderful night life of underground music venues. This was also the trip that I got to see my first Broadway show. Now, at this time, I was no stranger to theater. I had season tickets to the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium from the time I was 3 years old. I was performing on a professional stage while I was in high school, and I devoured every possible production at the Pantages theater. But Broadway? There’s nothing like it. My first Broadway show was Mary Poppins.

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It played at the New Amsterdam theater. The sheer beauty of that theater brought me in before the curtain went up. I cried during the overture. I cried during Feed the Birds. My heart sank, then grew 10 sizes bigger after hearing Rebecca Luker’s 11 o’clock number. I felt like I was in a world that made sense to me. In a city that made sense to me. I walked out of the theater and immediately called my mom as I walked down 8th avenue.

I have to live in New York someday!!

I’m sure everyone thought that I was on a vacation high, but it was so much more than that to me. New York made sense. I was growing tired of the slow pace of California, and I had lived in California my entire life. I didn’t know about the world outside. I didn’t know what Christmas felt like wearing anything other than flip flops and tank tops. I wanted to see a different world and feed off of it and let it feed me. It was in that moment after I walked out of the New Amsterdam, that I decided to move to New York.

When you decide to move to New York, you have to (in my opinion) become a New Yorker before you move to New York. You have to rip off the bandaid multiple times as you start sacrificing things to make it work. I gave up my fun theme park jobs for a full-time call center job to save money for the first month’s rent while I was living in Idaho.

Rip.

I sold my bass clarinet that was given to me by my Gramma. It sold for less than advertised.

Rip!

I got rid of all my furniture. The only things I took to New York were two roller suitcases. My cats had to stay with family until I had long-term housing in the city.

Rippppp!

I made it to New York. I had $750 to my name when I arrived. My first sublet was in Bed Stuy. I lived with two other girls. One of which I never saw until a few days before I moved out. I can’t remember the name of the other girl I lived with. None of it mattered. Within a week of living in New York, the play I wrote was in a festival at a tiny theater near Times Square. The theater was a unit in an apartment building. There was a doorman and everything. It was so New York!

I moved 5 times in my first year. I’ve lived in Harlem, Sunnyside, Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. For a short stint, I lived near Grammercy park, and I even got to dog sit for a month in Soho. I paid my bills by dog walking, distributing headsets at broadway theaters, selling tours at NBC, soliciting donations for the 9/11 Memorial, and most recently, working full-time at a Broadway theater. I do everything from unlock doors to clean dressing rooms. I’ve been Barry Manilow’s dogsitter and I’ve cleaned Hugh Jackman’s dressing room. I did whatever it took to make it work.

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Theater-wise, I started off producing my own work. I negotiated a contract for my show to perform at a cabaret space. My contract got cut short by a month after a performance in which there was no one in the audience. That took me months to get over. But once I did, I was back. I wrote a new play that got into a festival. The rehearsals were held in the basement of a porn shop down the street from my first New York theater venue. I wrote the book for my first musical. Something I always dreamed of doing. I had never felt so many extreme high’s and low’s while working on a project. I loved it.

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So, here I am now. Three days from leaving. I think back to that girl who rushed out of the New Amsterdam feeling all the feels. I think of that girl who was able to see through the fog and make everything work. I see the girl who was ready to fight. And in this moment, I wonder, What the heck happened to her? This is the first blog I’ve written in almost 4 years. I haven’t written a new theatrical piece in almost a year. What happened to the dreamer in me? And that is the very reason I’m leaving New York. Some people might say that you should stick things out when they get hard. And I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not giving up theater or a creative life. Leaving New York when all you want is theater seems crazy. For me, it happens to be the right path. I will miss New York, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t the right decision.

Someday, I hope my work is worthy of New York. I hope I can see my name up in lights. I want people to see my work. I sprinted to New York and made it work as I went. I don’t want to just make it work anymore. I want to learn. I want to grow. I want to create better work and have the focus to do so. Someday, I will be back. Maybe I won’t be living in New York. Maybe I’ll pop in to work on a project. But I will be back. I know it the way I knew after seeing one show that I would move cross-country. For the first time in my life, I’m not making a rash decision to move and find a new dream. I’m moving because I have to fight for what I want. I am the girl who makes life-changing decisions when she’s inspired. And I never want to lose that side of myself. In order to keep it, I have to break up with New York for now, and find the happy. For now, New York will be in my heart. It will feed me as it always has. Afterall, the dream of New York captured my heart long before my first Broadway show. New York had my heart from the first show I saw. Period.

 

 

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