Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My #nycloveaffair Is Going Long Distance.

(Written in the context of my thoughts upon leaving New York.  Knowing they are now in the past tense.  Go with me.)

A parting gift from my church ladies.  I cried.

I've been here for three years.  I never thought I would be leaving the city so soon.  But it looks like I am.  Weird, right?  I know.

The last three years have been amazing, fun, challenging, exhilarating, hard, overwhelming, and incredible.  I have been confident since the day I moved here that I was exactly where I wanted and needed to be.  Even when the life was hard, I knew I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else, doing anything else other than pursuing a career in theater.

Becky, Ned, Amy
Brook and I, the standard selfie.  It's a thing.

I have worked hard.  So hard. And learned so much in my industry about creating relationships, networking, the value of the hustle, and working smarter instead of harder.  I've learned that performance skills and audition skills are a totally different skill set.

Matthew, Deb and Brendan

I've learned that there is so much about this business and actually getting a job that is completely out of my control, and really has nothing to do with my talent.  Sometimes that made me feel better about not getting something I was hoping for, sometimes not.  I have had successes and failures.

Jeremiah, the Woods, Mel, Deb, Allison, Taylor

A lot of hard, long days of auditions where I had to pretend I had energy I didn't actually have.  I have learned how important it is to know my own value as an artist, and not take my worth from a casting director.  (I'm not saying I'm great at that, but I work at it all the time).

Suzanne Dressler

Jessica Raum Foster, friend from first grade.

I have had nights where in my prayers, I thank the Lord for the great day I had, the great audition, the great class or networking opportunity that went in my favor.  I have also had A LOT of prayers where I ask the Lord to just throw me a bone already!

Amber Henrie
I can say, unequivocally, that I have been happy, even with all of the hard.  It had been a long time since I could say that about my life and my state of being.  But I have been really happy here.  Life is really good.  I have great friends; I found a really good tribe of people.  I have felt very utilized in my church service.

Caroline, Tamara, Amy, Amber, Mala

And most of all, I have felt so alive in really working for something, really living, instead of sitting on the sidelines and letting life happen to me.  What a great place to be in!

Last run in the city.

However, due to some pretty clear promptings from my Father in Heaven back in the spring, I'm leaving to move to the DC area.  I had not been looking to leave the city, at all.  I was not frustrated with my journey in my industry enough that I was even thinking about permanently changing course. But I had been toying with the idea of moving to DC temporarily to check out the local market, just to see what was happening.  In my prayers about that, which I didn't think would be a big deal, I got way more of an answer than I was looking for.  It was very clear to me that DC would be a better fit for me and my life as a whole, long term.  There is a lot more detail to those experiences, but I prefer not to go into it online.

My girls Mel and Deb.  Standard girls night.

I was a little freaked out about it, and not entirely happy, but knew it was right.  Without any kind of doubt, which is unusual for me.  That's a testament to how strong those impressions on my mind and heart were.  So I have been preparing all summer to leave.

It's been really interesting to process my leaving NYC, both professionally and personally.  I've had so many thoughts, too many to record here.  But I have to wonder, what if I was never in NYC to work in theater at all?  What if I was here for totally different reasons, in the grand scheme of things? I saw a lot of growth in myself, and maybe that was the key for my time here.  I don't know.  I don't feel that I am quitting theater, by any means.  I will be pursuing it in DC, which is a great market.  I'm excited for that.

Kathleen Clancy

Kimberly Vaughn

Sometimes I do think, "all the work I've done to build my network here!"  But you know what?  It's fine.  I'm going where I need to go, and for more reasons than just my career.  It's like Heavenly Father has told me, it's time to start creating the life you really want.  The life I really want means being in a place where I can be a working actor, stay in the same place, and have a life outside theater too.  (Nothing wrong with wanting it all, right?) I have found that to be really difficult to do in New York.

Kristin, Brook, Ros

Plus Kristin, Dallin, Alexis, Braden, Sara

I wasn't working like I hoped I would, but I made a great life that I loved.  If I had been working like I thought and hoped I would, my life would have looked very different.  Not bad, but different, and maybe not as balanced as it needed to be.

So I'm hoping that in the DC area I can create a balance of the two major things I want in the long run for myself: A career and a well-balanced life. Maybe a smaller, regional market will prove to be a better fit.  I have NO IDEA.  I just know I need to go.  So I'm going, heart in my hands, as I leave the best city in the world, maybe to come back and live someday, but maybe not.

Back to the present, meaning November (cough)....

I spent my last week in New York City working, packing and playing.  It was amazing.  I organized a gathering in Central Park on Monday night for whomever wanted to come by so I could give them a squeeze.  On Tuesday I met up with my friend Annalise for a bit then went on a bike ride down the West Side Highway.  That evening I finally saw a play I have been wanting to see, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.  It was brilliant, and so great to spend time with my friend Amber.

Wednesday evening brought dinner with some friends at a new restaurant in Harlem where we stuffed our faces with some awesome soulfood. Thursday night I babysat little James for the last time (so sad!) then went to my final girls' night with Deb and Mel.  A year ago we were five.  No they are two.  It's crazy how much life can change in that amount of time.  Friday was a day totally dedicated to goodbyes.  I had tea with my friend Kathleen, lunch with my lovely, generous coach Kimberly Vaughn, and smoothies with Christy and Becky.  Then Friday night I just wanted to relax and do only what I wanted to do.  That meant meeting up with some friends, getting Artichoke Pizza, and hanging out on the High Line as the sun set and the stars came in.  It was a perfect night.  A perfect last night in my city.

Saturday morning I picked up my rental car, loaded it up (with some help), took a final picture of my now empty room and was on my way.  But not before making two trips to Levain. :-)  I needed enough cookies to give to those who helped me move, and to bring to Marcus, Colin and Danny to thank them for all their help on the DC end.  And some for me, of course!

As I got closer to the George Washington Bridge, things felt very final and very surreal.  I was leaving.  I was gone. But saying goodbye and starting a new chapter is a funny thing.  I was sad to leave NYC, but so confident that I was doing what I needed to do, that I was so happy!  I was happy to finally be on the road after months of planning, yes.  But I also just felt so good to be starting this transition into a new chapter.

Life is so interesting.  The last three years have not been what I expected them to be, or in some ways even wanted them to be.  But I guess they've been what I needed, and I have loved them.  Really, I have.  And now, apparently, it's time to be somewhere else.  I have my ideas as to the reasons I need to be here.  But I had the same ideas three years ago.  So I really don't know what is in store.  I just know it will be great.  And I'm ready for great.

So, off I go into the wild blue yonder of life in DC.  I've been here two months and it is very clear to me I am on the right track.  It still feels really good to have that confidence.  But there are lots of posts to come between my move and today.  Just stay tuned.

That night, as I went grocery shopping for the first time, I KNEW I wasn't in New York City anymore, just by the sheer size of the store....

I'm now in a long distance relationship with my #nycloveaffair.  But #lifeontheoutside and #mysocalleddclife are going well, thanks.