Jun 6, 2011

My New York Diaries - Part 3

If you've just tuned in, I'm blogging about the time in my life when I lived in NYC. I went to pursue my dream of studying acting. I suggest you start at part I to be properly caught up & for it to all make sense. These entries are combinations of my own personal diaries I kept at that time, and me simply writing my story when I need to fill in the blanks when I wasn't journaling consistently.

*All names are changed.

* * * * * * * * * *

No actual diary entry today. Gotta do a little catch up before I can get back to that.
It's about to get juicy!

The living situation. So my 3 weeks in NJ were up and I was moving into a new apartment. Here is a perfect example the sense of invincibility we have when we're young. Moving across the country with no place to live, just the faith that it would all work out. I don't even know if you could call it faith. I didn't need faith, I just knew. It is far easier to make these kinds of impulsive and terrifying decisions when you're young because you don't second guess, you just do. As we grow older we become more cautious. We are sensitive to what could go wrong because now we've experienced more life. And that means we've felt hurt. Heartache. Sadness. So we are are more careful. We debate and weight the risks hoping to avoid these things. But I hope to never let fear get in my way and to always remember the part of me that is truly brave and believes, no, knows things will work out.

School had stared and it was a lot. Now when I say I'm going to acting class, I don't mean a class. I mean classes. Like a full time job. This was a time when my parents were still supporting me. They paid my tuition. They paid my rent and they gave me money to live on. By no means were we a wealthy family. This was very hard for them. But they were so incredibly supportive. As an adult, I am far more appreciative of what they did and still can't even imagine what that took and how they felt and how hard that was. And what kind of love a parent must have for a child to want to give them their all so that they can succeed. And little did I know, unforeseen circumstances were about to happen that had I waited to go to NYC even a couple of years later, would have meant absolutely no help from my parents...and most likely...no NYC at all. It was the right place and the right time. That's all I can think.

There were students who did have jobs while going to school and that blew my mind. I didn't know how it was humanly possible to take on the load of school, rehearse and memorize when not in school, get sleep, have any kind of social life, and work.

I'm still impressed by anyone who can make it work. Living and working and affording to live in that city.

Of course some students already lived in NYC. But there were many, like me, who'd just moved. And we came from all over the world, spanning quite a variety of personalities and ages.

But back to the apartment search. You might be wondering why I wasn't living in a dorm. There were two ways to train with the Atlantic Theater Co. Acting School (founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy). It's an NYU studio and you could go through NYU to get your BFA or you could do two years in the conservatory training and get your certificate of completion. That is, if you were invited back for the second year. And if you weren't kicked out for tardies or absences (more on that later). I was doing the conservatory training. At this point all I wanted was to eat, sleep and breath acting class. Not math, not english, not science. For conservatory folk, dorms were not an option.

We'd started school and I was told there would be another girl coming a day or two late, moving from California and would be in the same situation as me. Meaning, in need of a place to live. It was a possibility we'd join forces and become roommates. I had my hopes pinned on her.

When she got there, we became instant friends. She was 6 or 7 years older and had bright red hair. Her name was *Martha.

We did move in together and it happened very quickly. We were in Chelsea one day, where the Atlantic studio was, and popping into various coffee shops and restaurants to check out any bulletin boards for "roommates wanted". That's how we found our place. Long story short, we ended up moving to The Bronx. 225th and Broadway, approximately. The first place I ever really lived in NYC.

Somehow we'd found a place where we could each have our own affordable room and in the same place! In our railroad apartment, there was another woman, who we really never saw, and our landlord *Juan.

I was no longer homeless and I was living with a friend! A friend who was in school with me, on the same schedule and could ride the subway with me in the morning. It was ideal. How lucky!

Too bad it didn't stay ideal for long.

Before we go any further, now is also a good time to tell you about the first day of school. I feel like it was yesterday, I can see it all so clearly. I remember what I was wearing. Pinstripe wide leg dress pants. Black doc martens. A black fitted v-neck t-shirt. A magenta sweater that my mom bought me right before I left. I loved it. It was brand new, the first time I'd worn it. I loved having something with me on my first day that my mom had given me. I remember arriving early and where I was sitting, waiting in the break room of sorts everyone referred to as The Lounge. Four things happened that day that still play somewhat regularly in my minds eye.

Again, all because of the right place and the right time along with being at the age when everything is life altering. The time of greatest impact.

1.) In The Lounge, before school had even started I remember a red door (most if not all were red) to my right open and students pouring in from a class that had just ended. I only saw one person. There was a boy with dark hair and Peter Parker glasses in a plain white t-shirt. I don't remember if he saw me watching him or not. But that was it. It was all over. That was The Guy. I don't know why or how or what it was about him, but I knew right then he was going to play a significant part of my NYC life.
And he did. Big time.
Stay tuned!

2.) In one of my first classes one of my teachers (who would go on to have a great impact on me, still to this day) *Tucker asked us all our ages. There were various ages from early 20's into mid 30's. When I said my (teenage) age every head in the room turned to look at me. He said, "serious?" I wasn't sure how to take that, but answered "yes". This would be my first experience with people lying about their ages. It would never have occurred to me to lie. Why would I do that? Later I found out many were insulted that day by being asked their age and lied by 3 or so years. That blew my mind. It took me years to get over that once I knew. It taught me, for better or for worse, to also be offended when asked my age. And to give various answers depending on the person and the situation.

3.) This same teacher, Tucker also told us to, "look around. You never know who you're sitting by". He went on to basically say you never know who each of us is going to become. I think of this often. I am in awe that some people who went on to do incredible things and others didn't even pursue acting afterward. I'm also amazed at who I grew up to be. In the way that I never would have guessed that the woman writing this blog at this very moment married who she married to, lives where she lives, works regularly in professional theater in killer roles, and has a whole crazy online life thanks to YouTube and the internet :)

4.) I lost my sweater. I had a hard time finding my way back to where I was staying in NJ that day. I got a little lost and ended up having to walk a long way. My feet were killing me, my docs rubbing them raw. I was sweating and took my sweater off to tie it around my waist. It wasn't until days later when I wanted to wear it again I realized it was gone. All I can figure is that it fell off while I was walking but I was so stressed about finding my way I didn't notice.

Losing that sweater bothers me to this day.

Part 1: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind.html
Part 2: http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-york-state-of-mind-part-ii.html

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