Monday, July 11, 2016

Feel and Release

Here's what happened to me yesterday.

7:30am. I wake up before my alarm because it's summer and the sun streams through my window at such a ridiculously early hour. Normally, I would draw the curtains but alas, I need to keep them open so my window A/C unit can work it's magic. The struggle is real. After snoozing my alarm twice, I finally get out of bed, make a cup of coffee, get distracted with trying to pack for the day and run out of time to drink my coffee so I end up dumping it in my to-go tumbler (why I didn't just brew it into that tumbler directly, I don't know).

8:40am. I hop on the train to head downtown. There was so much fucking construction going on that I had no idea whether or not the train I got on would take me where I needed to go but nonetheless, I got on and hoped for the best. I didn't have to be at work until 10:30 but I've been trying to create the habit of working out before brunch service so as to put myself in a more positive place and thereby avoiding any civilian casualties.

9:30am. I'm in class at a studio I've never been to before when all of a sudden the instructor says, "Ok, everybody grab a trampoline!" My approximate reaction:

10:00am. Trampoline torture is over and now I can cross that off my bucket list.

10:30am. I get to work early and find out the private brunch party I'm working is a BABY SHOWER. Normally, parties are easy breezy beautiful CoverGirl but pregnant people (and their friends/families) are freaking high maintenance!! Like. Ok we get it- you are growing a human being inside of you and that's great but you brought that upon yourself so it's no excuse to be exceptionally needy. Needless to say, I was not in the mood to deal with this.

5:00pm. I am finally heading home. I'm exhausted and hungry even though I'd been snacking all throughout my shift because it turns out pregnant people and their friends over order and under eat. When I get home, I can't figure out what to make for dinner. I'm hungry, I smell bad, things just aren't looking good. I have to give myself an emotional pep talk just to get in the friggin shower. Once I'm clean, I sit on the couch, start season two of Madam Secretary and that's when the weirdness starts to set in.

8:15pm. I'm in a weird mood. I say weird because I could not figure out what the hell I was feeling. I don't know where this came from or why I can't snap out of it but before long I'm crying. TEARS. Tears are streaming down my face. I'm confused and sad and I don't know how to sort it out.

No one is around to tranquilize me and put me out of my misery so I'm left to sort this out on my own. I am going crazy trying to sort this out so I do the only thing I can think of to help- I write. I write down everything that comes to mind. Some of it is nonsense but some of it is revelatory and by the time I finish, I have a better idea of what the hell I am feeling.

Last night, I was feeling insecure. 

Everyone has insecurities. I believe this without a doubt. We all carry them but they manifest themselves differently depending on the person. For me, most of the time it's just a shadow of a thought. Every once in a while, I'll catch myself voicing these insecurities out loud. And then there are those rare times when all the things I'm not confident about rear their heads simultaneously, I get completely overwhelmed and the result is a Category 5 meltdown. I'm not going to write about those insecurities themselves because that would be way too vulnerable and daring of me and I'm not that cool. But I will say that I gave myself permission to feel whatever was coming up- sadness, anger, frustration, fear, loneliness. I cried a lot and eventually I fell asleep but not before I cried more. I gave myself permission to be an emotional mess and in hindsight, it was amazing.

I don't know what brought this on. Maybe I was sleep deprived. Maybe working brunch is an emotional trigger. Maybe I was a little jealous of that pregnant woman who was surrounded by all her loved ones and celebrating the next clear chapter of her life. I don't know what is next. Sometimes that makes things exciting, sometimes it's messy and sometimes it's really scary.

Someone once told me that I have to let myself feel things so that I can let them go. Starting today, I am trying to be more aware of feeling whatever comes up and then letting that shit go.

Feel and release.

How's that for a Monday mantra?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Losing Track of Time

Remember that last post where the general gist was how wonderful things in my life were? Before publishing, I sent it to my closest friends and advisors. I was afraid it was too self-indulgent and painted this picture of some perfect life I was living. One friend said in response to my concerns, "You'll find more to rant about that's not positive, I'm sure. Life guarantees that." 

So here's a rant.

I may not seem like the most organized person (see previous post) but I like to think I live in a state of organized chaos. Last week, I was thwarted.

I misplaced my watch. I could not find it. I had no idea where I set it down one morning and it was not reappearing. My left wrist felt weird and I was constantly conscious of the fact that my watch was missing. I had it one second and the next I had completely forgotten where I set it down. Like a complete moron. Or this cat.

When I was little and I lost something, I would search "everywhere" for it and when I still couldn't find it, my mom would step in to save the day. Seeing as how my mother is approximately 510.6 miles away from me, my usual methods were not going to be affective so I needed to find different solution. 

Here are some of the things I did in an effort to find my damn watch. 

1. I retraced my steps from the time when I put on my watch in the morning to the moment I realized it was missing. The only problem with this is that I was aimlessly moseying about my apartment for the most part so everything was kind of a blur of laziness. 

2. I attempted to go about the rest of my day and forget about it for a while. When I lose something important, I become obsessed with finding it; it's all I'll think about. So in an effort to get my mind off my temporary loss, I tortured myself with exercise and treated myself to brunch and proceeded to wander downtown Manhattan for the next hour. The idea was after a full day I would return home and suddenly remember where I placed the watch. FAILED.

3. I recruited backup and dragged my roommate into the search for my time piece. After searching every inch of the living room/bathroom/kitchen to no avail, I alerted the boyfriend and my mother about my missing watch because things were looking bleak and I needed emotional support. I was hoping that with their encouragement, my search would be reinvigorated... FAILED.

4. I told myself I couldn't go out on a Saturday night until I found this stupid watch. Funny thing is that I still hadn't found the watch but I went out anyway. So...FAILED.

I'm sure you can guess how this post ends...after almost a full 48 hours of searching, I found my watch ON THE TOP SHELF OF MY CLOSET. WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING PUTTING IT THERE!?

I have no clue. And I honestly don't even remember what I was looking for up there when I discovered the hiding place of my precious watch.

But right after I was done acknowledging my own idiocy, I rejoiced. I was so so happy that I could finally get on with my life.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Finding Balance (and Excuses)

Hi, my name is Kelsey. It's been almost two months since my last blog post...yikes. A lot has happened in that time but the biggest thing is that I finally feel like I'm finding my balance here in the city. In short, I just tried using my soul searching as an excuse for not writing...

Yikes. Ok. Here are my real excuses.

The first excuse is that I was searching for a new job. After lots of emails, a little pavement pounding, a handful of interviews, and an excruciating amount of training, I have landed at a restaurant that rhymes with Skittle Shark. In the handbook I was given in training, there is a whole clause about how employees are strictly FORBIDDEN from remarking on said establishment in any way on any social media platform so...hopefully this is vague enough to not get me written up and if not...

The second excuse is that I went on vacation with my significant other. At the end of April, boyfriend and I got on a plane and flew across the country for a long weekend in Portland, OR. Thank you once again to my lottery luck for winning me roundtrip tickets on my favorite airline, Southwest.

A couple nights before we left I was feeling a little more nervous about the trip then I had anticipated. Traveling together can be stressful but once we got there, we also had to share a single living space.

Christina Yang is messy so it's fine. 
For the record- I am not a dirty person. I prefer the terms "messy" or "scattered". Allow me to explain- basically, it's just really hard for me to keep all my clothes put away because I try on about 7 outfits before settling on what to wear for any given occasion. And I hate folding/hanging so I usually just toss the rejected articles of clothing onto my bed to be dealt with at a later time. I also leave out every hair appliance imaginable because I use them on a fairly regular basis. My laptop is always on my bed/home office and so is any topical (MT133 vocab #goblue) paperwork/sheet music/receipts/etc. Before anyone sees my room, I have some warning so I can make any necessary adjustments, which usually just involve throwing everything on the floor or in the closet or sometimes just in the trash. HOWEVER, I was going to have no such luxury while we were living in the same hotel room for 4 days so...*cue panic*

In case you were wondering how this issue resolved itself, we spent a good 5 minutes putting things away before we left the room every morning. Yes, we CLEANED UP before housekeeping came to clean up some more... It's not like we didn't have time because my dear, sweet boyfriend doesn't believe in sleep or acclimating to Pacific Standard Time so I found myself awake around 4am every single morning. 4 o'clock. In the morning. ON VACATION. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? We're still an item so he knew better than to actually make me get out of bed until I'd had a couple more hours of shut eye. I always thought I was a morning person but this just took it to a whole new level that I never want to be on. I learned on this trip that even if we ever moved in together (IF. Do not panic mom/dad/other boyfriends/relatives), we would need separate bedrooms.

I probably should write about the actual trip itself. Portland is beautiful. There are so many trees! I think that was one of the first thing I commented on as we were taking the train into downtown. Also, maybe it's because I was just intoxicated from breathing clean air.

I should have been eating only air since we've been back because while we were there, we ate like there was no tomorrow. So much good food. And every one believes in happy hour so you can get delicious bites for so cheap! It's truly an amazing place. 

I could go on and on about every little thing we did but here are the highlights.

Private tasting at Antica Terra with the amazing Carrie
Thompson, who happens to love Savart as much as I do.
- Wine tasting in Willamette. Boyfriend had planned a whole day for us in wine country and I was almost as excited for myself as I was for him. There is a joy that comes in seeing someone you love light up because they're so excited and passionate about what they're talking about. It was like this all day. On a much less romantic note, there were my first tasting where I had to spit. All the tastings we go to in New York (regardless of the hour they occur), I never spit because it's disgusting and I like wine. However, that wasn't an option here because I was driving all day (boyfriend doesn't even have a license). Just know that by the end of tour in Willamette, I had spit more than I ever had in my entire life up until that point. Anyway, most of the wine talk was over my head but it was a big step in my continuing education. And it's always inspiring to spend time with people who are so passionate about what they do.

Nomad PDX. This was the best meal I've ever been out to in my life. The restaurant was still just a pop up in the loft above a cocktail bar. You walk in and there are three or four long stone tables with chairs set up for the reservations that evening. There are never more than maybe 10 people sitting for dinner here at once.  It's intimate and exciting because no matter how much you read about this place, you're still not fully prepared for what's about to happen.  Cheesy anecdote. Boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful bottle of Savart "L'Année" (note: Savart is my favorite champagne producer and champagne is my favorite so this bottle is my favorite of my favorite). Each course was edible art and on the menu under each food item was an awesome quote that related to the dish in some capacity. I'd been pretty good of snapping pictures of the food but this meal was so overwhelming I only got a few shots along the way. We were still reeling in amazement when we woke up and studied the menu the next morning trying to recount every bite. Note: Premier League soccer playing (on mute) in the background, which brings me perfectly to my next highlight.

- Soccer, bubbles, and a baby. Way before we had anything planned on this trip, boyfriend had bought tickets to a soccer game. He had texted me about it, I feigned excitement and we went about our daily lives. All my life I thought those dramatizations of the girl dating a sports fanatic were...dramatic. And while they still may be dramatic, they are in fact based in truth. The day of the soccer game came. It was the morning after Nomad PDX so we were both a little slow moving. Boyfriend was up and running at an insanely early hour as per usual. By the time I fully opened my eyes there was another bottle of Savart on my nightstand. Perfect. So, we headed out for a very early brunch and by 11:30am, we were in line outside of Providence Park, home of the Portland Timbers. Little did I know, we were there 2 HOURS before the game started just to get seats! Sensing my dismay, boyfriend responds with, "You got champagne. No whining about soccer." We now have a standing policy- whenever there is a bottle of an unexpected bottle of champagne brought into the equation, there is some kind of sporting event in our future. Anyhow, it was pretty exciting to be in a stadium full of Timbers fanatics acting like we fit in. We learned all the cheers on the spot and as luck would have it, there was the most adorable little Timbers fan directly in front of us to keep me amused. But honestly, the game was a lot of fun. Boyfriend still shakes his head when I talk about the cutest little Timber there ever was.

So, that was Portland in a very extended nutshell...

On to the next excuse. Oh yea, I wasn't finished yet.

The third and possibly last excuse is Maize and Blue on Broadway.  As everyone who's ever crossed paths with me knows, I love the University of Michigan more than most things in this world. So given that, I was beyond ecstatic when I checked my voicemail after a particularly horrendous brunch shift and had a message from Gavin Creel asking me to give him a call about being involved as a performer in this special performance, which would honor the retiring founder and chair of our department, Brent Wagner. Take a peek at the sizzle reel for a better idea of the magic we all got to be a part of in the August Wilson that evening.

But beyond what happened on stage, as spectacular and incredible as it was, the moments that brought us to that point were the ones that I loved even more- the hours of rehearsals, the lunch breaks, the run through, the after party... I got to see people who I haven't seen in months or years even in some cases. I also met people who I had never met before but could immediately call friends. It was a little weird meeting the young adults who were current students that I had never known...It's the only time in my life so far I'll actually admit to feeling old. Those few days were filled with moments where I was reminded that theatre is what I love and what I want to do. It's fun, it's heartfelt, it's collaborative, it's spontaneous, it's inspiring- it's all the qualities I want in my life wrapped into one amazing art form. It will make you laugh and cry and it will bring together the most amazing people. And those are just a few of the reasons. 

It's so cliche but I came here to follow a dream. These past few months have been wonderful in helping me get grounded and now I'm ready to work for what actually matters to me. Everything happens for a reason- every choice, every setback. I've been telling myself that for so long and now I'm starting to see how it all is falling into place. I am exactly where I was meant to be. 

Things are finally in balance. 

But I'm seeing the Beyoncé world tour in 8 days so I'm ready to have my world rocked.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Good Morning, New York

It's Friday morning and I just got back to the city late last night. As we were making our descent into LaGuardia, the woman next to me was asking about the best ways to get into the city. I was able to answer her with decent proficiency and she asked if I lived in New York. For the first time since moving, I answered, "Yes" with complete confidence and acceptance. I live in New York now- this is my home. Last night, I couldn't wait to get back into the city, which is a very different sentiment than what I was sporting a few months ago.

Things I'm learning to accept in order to survive:
1. Do not settle. This goes for all facets of life- boyfriends, apartments, jobs, etc.
2. If you're not happy, change something. I hate my restaurant job and I'm sick of complaining about it. So, I'm interviewing at five different places in the next 48 hours. Problem solved. Hopefully.
3. Take a break. *cue Philippa Soo* Buy the ticket. Get on the plane. And if something is holding you back, let that shit go.
4. Be selfish. I think everything I just listed can be summed up in that single point. Everyone else is putting themselves first so why shouldn't I? Not to say that I suddenly become the most egocentric person in all the world but my own happiness needs to take precedence over just about everything else.

Springtime is a season of change and maybe that's what has me all excited about New York again. I've also seen lots of sunshine in the past week so I may be just a little drunk off all the vitamin D but I'm feeling inspired and excited about what lies ahead.

Now, if only my suitcase would unpack itself...

Monday, February 8, 2016

God Only Knows

"I may not always love you
But as long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I'd be without you"

Disclaimer: In all honesty, before I just Googled those lyrics, I thought this song was originally recorded by The Beatles.

Jon Hamm, please forgive me I love you k bye.


Moving on.

Despite the fact that I couldn't have named the original artist, I heard this song this morning and was inspired.

The funny thing about life is that things don't ever go as planned. Oh wait, is this just me? For those of you with perfect lives, skip this paragraph. Actually, this probably isn't the right blog for you so I don't know what you're doing. I think we should end this relationship it's me not you. Sometimes things just suck for a little but then time passes and you come to your senses and realize there is always something to be grateful for.

I am surrounded by some of the best people in the world. I could leave it there but I obviously need to elaborate with a slew of witty, heartfelt commentary and corresponding gifs to illustrate my point. And Valentine's Day aka doomsday is rapidly approaching so it might even get a little mushy.

I'm honestly overwhelmed as to where to start so let me begin with a few golden screenshots of true life text conversations I have on a daily basis with the inner circle that deserve attention.

The people I'm closest with in this world are always there to support my life decisions. For example, going vegan is brought to the table and the following responses ensue.

Honesty is the best policy.
Friends unite against you.

And in the vein of unconditional support...

Of course, friends deserve the same love and support in return. It's important that these messages really convey the true weight of your feelings so they need to be heartfelt and personalized.

You know how every friend group has a secret language/code that only they can understand or decipher. Well, sometimes things get lost in translation even between the best of friends.

In any relationships there are ups and downs. It's not about being perfect, it's about working through the imperfections. Sometimes it just comes down to a sensible compromise.

And then of course there are those moments where words fail so we turn to the gif. The following are gifs I have received or sent to further illustrate a point.
In regards to something work-related.
Below is a gif that was sent by me in response to a friend saying, 
"They have till tomorrow. Then I attack." 
For those of you who follow the blog, this was in regards to the sriracha conundrum.

And then, there are all the Asian babies who I found adorable and hilarious. Also, any and all of these can be used to describe my mood at any moment in time.

Of course, there are countless stories that won't make it into the blog. Like the time that I reluctantly went to see the Minions movie with a friend IN THEATRES only to watch her sleep through it. Or the time where I was having the worst day of 2016 and a dear friend hauled ass all the way to Soho to spend the afternoon with me. Or the times where I wake up in the middle of the night because I have 52 unread notifications from a group thread. What about the countless pints of ice cream and bottles of wine that we lost along the way? What about all the morning after conversations hashed out via text when the other person is in the room right next to you? What about all the Grey's Anatomy/Gossip Girl/Sex and the City marathons sponsored by Netflix/Hulu/that random friend's HBOGo account? I could go on forever but your life is way more exciting than mine so I'll wrap this up and let you get back to it. 

I hope there was a genuine laugh somewhere along the way because here comes the mushy part.

We all have bad days. But I have the best friends. And that makes all the difference in the world.

I wouldn't trade any of them for the world and I will take all the bad days life can throw at me as long as they are by my side.

So, to all my dear friends and family, I love you more than words or gifs can say. 

I should make a point of saying it more often rather than waiting for the world's worst holiday to come around and inspire me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hot Sauce and Firefighters

Today I was possessed by the notion that it would be an excellent idea to go get a facial. I have a big performance coming up on Monday and figured it can't hurt to give my skin a little tune up, if you will. My expectation was that I would have a splendidly relaxing/cleansing experience and emerge from the shadows as a spectacular new human. 

I will now walk you through the reality of what actually happened.

Firstly, I decided to walk to the spa because the sun was shining and since leaving the Sunshine State, I am severely deprived of vitamin D. I repeat. I decided to walk. I clearly hadn't thought this through because when one goes to get a facial, you come in a blank canvas- no product, no makeup, nothing. And I wasn't carrying my yoga mat so there really was no excuse. #vulnerable

So I finally get to the spa and my phone explodes. I receive a series of iMessages (blue bubbles, not green #elitist) in regards to our grocery delivery and what appeared to be a $44 bottle of Sriracha that was delivered to us. Um. 

It took everything in me to remain composed in the waiting area. I immediately pulled up our receipt from the order to further investigate this gross error. Here's what went down- some moron thought that they could replace my single bottle of Lee Kum Kee Sriracha with eleven bottles of Thai Taste Sriracha. IS THIS A FUCKING JOKE!? YOU ARE SERIOUSLY GOING TO CHARGE ME $44 FOR HOT SAUCE YOU MUST BE OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN MIND!?! Cue Hamilton's verse of "Cabinet Battle #2". I turned the matter over to my partner in crime/roommate/bad cop who then proceeded to write an email that probably has some poor customer service agent in fear for their well being. 

At this point, any chance of this facial being a relaxing experience is completely shot. But like so many situations in my life, it only gets better.

Not much of an exaggeration
of my exact physical strategy  
My aesthetician was a lovely Siberian woman named, Marina. Marina stepped out of the room while I got ready. I changed and made my way to the massage table only to realize I was going to have to scale Mt. Everest before this facial could get started. The table was so high off the ground, I could've pole vaulted up there. Since the necessary equipment wasn't available to me, I improvised.  

Enter Marina. We start with nice, easy small talk. Marina loves the snow, I love the sunshine, this is going great. The first few parts of this facial are painless. She's putting all kinds of creams, cleansers, scrubs, whatever on my face. I'm just laying there with my eyes blissfully unaware of my surroundings. For all I know, Ellen DeGeneres was slathering cold cuts on my face circa 2008. But wait, it gets better.

We arrive at the part of a facial I love/hate the most. Extraction. This is the part where I literally get the shit squeezed out of my pores. I'd say I have an average pain tolerance and normally this process doesn't bother me. However, this afternoon's experience was truly next level. For starters, Marina was going in so hard on the pores on my nose that she completely plugged my nose making me unable to breathe for a solid 7 minutes. There were times where she was pressing so hard with whatever scary instruments she was wielding that I thought my nose was going to break. Oh and did I mention that while this was happening, that soothing, pan flute-heavy background music started skipping. It sounded like when I would try to play a scratched CD in my walkman. AWFUL. ALL WHILE THIS SIBERIAN STRANGER IS SQUEEZING/POKING MY FACE. It was in that moment that I knew this was going to make it to the blog. 

Skip ahead, skip ahead. Extraction is over, music has resolved itself, and now Marina is putting some lotion on my face to seal the deal. Before I can fully process the ingredients she's rambling off, my face is ON FIRE. FUEGO.  
So now I'm thinking...

...or send me those sexy French fireman because this is not a drill.

I patiently waited for my deliverance. 

And then it was over. 

My face looks a little bit like a war zone so I will be maintaining an extremely minimalist (aka elitist) social agenda for the next 48 hours. Bye, everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Table for One

There I was, sitting, having dinner with myself at the Carrabba's in Terminal C of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Intetrnational Airport. I'd been meaning to do this for a very long time. In my mind, there is something so grown up about walking into a restaurant and saying with complete confidence, "Table for one."

I also think that phrase will make a great title for my book. Great, glad we figured that out.

I did a quick scan of the restaurant and I seemed to be the only person sitting at a table alone. Sure, I could've gone and sat at the bar but somehow that seemed like cheating. I felt like I needed to sit across from no one and have a meal with myself in order for it to be a solo legitimate experience. So, there I was. Alone. It also just happened to be Christmas Day.

Now, before you start to feel bad for me, just don't. I hate that.

Or do. Whatever. I can't stop you. 

Luckily, I was dressed somewhat like a business woman- meaning, I was wearing a blazer. And, I was also typing viciously at a computer (working on this very blog post)so maybe I just fooled everyone in the restaurant into thinking I was a lonely workaholic (because this blog is serious business, people). I also drowned myself in food/wine so maybe people thought someone was coming to join me at some point.

But if we're being honest, I probably did not fool anyone. I started to tear up when I was on the phone with a friend and said out loud, "I'm in this airport alone on Christmas." And while we're laying it all out there I also said at one point, "I don't want to come back to New York." Here's why:

1. New York is cold.
2. New York is grey.
3. New York is rude.
4. New York is selfish.
5. New York is lonely.

I am in the most screwed up relationship with this place. It really does very little to help me out in this journey called life. I go home for the holidays where it's warm and sunny and the people are nice and it feels safe and I truly question my sanity. Why have I chosen to live in a place that does this to me? The only explanation I have come up with is that I've fallen under the spell of the city and in doing so have become a masochist.

Because in the end, I got on that plane and dragged my butt back to this city I'm slowly learning to call home. Here's why:

1. New York challenges me.
 2. New York lets me do anything I want.
3. New York brings the most fascinating people into my life.
4. New York teaches me in ways no one else can.
5. New York keeps me coming back for more.

New York, I hate you but I love you. I don't know if that will ever change but that's where we are at right now and I'm ok with that. I'm ready for whatever obstacles and adventures you want to throw my way. I have enough defense mechanisms to deploy; the most prominent being that if you try to fuck with me, I'll turn around and write a hilarious blog post about it. So bring it on.