Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Oh but then/As my life has been altered once/It can change again"

The title to this, the final entry of this blog, is a nod back to my musical theatre days. ("Oh, musical theatre--what a bitch lover performance genre you are.")

I fly back to the States tomorrow morning. I'm taking a car to the airport, because I'll be damned if I lug my life--which, after much gift giving, charity shop drop-offs, and trashing, I have neatly compacted into two large pieces of luggage and a carry-on--to the tube and wait out that journey. Yes, totally over that. The worst part of going to the airport is getting there. Once you've checked your bags and gotten to your gate, you're golden (Though I personally live for that moment when you feel the wheels of the plane lose contact from the ground at take off. It is one of my favorite physical sensations). Before that, though: CHAOS.

The decision to go home was long in coming, but necessary. It is, perhaps, the most adult decision I have ever made, which is why I believe it was so hard to make and why I put it off for so long. Professionally it makes better sense: I know more people in New York, I understand the industry there, and the work there (whatever work that exists in this climate) I think more closely aligns with what I want to be doing right now for where I am in my career. And financially speaking it makes better sense: instead of worrying about where rent will come from, or where I'll actually live, I'll be having an extended sojourn at my parents until I scrimp enough money together to move on out of the house (again) and into New York (again).

I have a terrible habit of not finishing things. It is my one of my major flaws (though perhaps that is compelling in some dramatic character structure way...perhaps...). When I thought about leaving, I thought I was giving up, not finishing something here. And that is partially true of some things--some relationships, some work, remain unfinished, put on hold. But it doesn't mean those things are over completely, that I've given them up, or that they'll drop out of my scope completely just because I'm on the other side of the ocean. At the same time, not going back to New York felt very much like giving up on that life that I had just started to build there before I put it down, possibly for good, and ran to another part of the world. After a little more than a year, I am finally ready to admit to myself that though various demons sent me away, they needn't keep me away forever, nor should they. So I'm putting on my game face again and attempting re-entry. <--Is it just me, or does that sound like a really bad joke/line from some frat boy? My apologies.

So yes: New York/New Jersey living yet again. If all goes well, I will hopefully be moved back by the spring, and my life won't turn into my worst nightmare, an image I have described to a couple friends of mine in e-mails wherein I was debating the choice to go back:

" I think it has to do with the fear that I won't actually leave again, that I'll get caught up in comfort and complacency, and I will slowly die, rotting away in a not-so-truly fulfilling marriage, Sunday luncheons, carpooling, and QVC purchases...I worry most of all that I will become a case of wasted potential, one of those women I saw growing up who had more on her mind for her life than what she ended up with, and consequently was phenomenally unhappy about it, and became a drunk."

I don't intend on being a casualty of the suburbs. Getting out will entail endurance, stamina, and a sense of patience I don't think I've learned yet. But I'm still young, so now is probably a good time to learn. And in the meantime, at least I'll be watching TCM every day. Oh my God, how I am looking forward to that, as well as many things about American living. Last night a British friend of mine met me for drinks and asked me to list ten things I'd miss about London, and ten I wouldn't miss. There was a watershed moment when I commented that I wouldn't miss the state of the fast food in this country, where there are no Wendy's (!!!), and the KFCs are seriously confused. At that point I told him that the problems with the KFCs here, as I've mentioned before, is that there are no mashed potatoes, gravy, or Southern biscuits therein. His face changed, filled with a combination of shock, awe, and (perhaps) a touch of hurt. He said simply:
"Your KFCs have mashed potatoes?"
It was as if I had brought the Word to this man, so great was this revelation. We were a couple drinks in, but still, it seemed like earth shattering news. I did not talk about the extra, artificial butter we had at movie theatres for our popcorn--I feel that would have been too much, too fast, too soon. You have to ease into it.<--Again, another frat boy line. Sorry, sorry.

Besides the fast food, I'm looking forward to seeing my friends, family, and familiar scenery. I am not looking forward to the BITTER, BITTER COLD of US Northeastern winters (or the fact that I have lost a bet, and have to figure out how to go ice fishing in Maine before the season is over {Amy Lee, I may need to do this next winter...}). I will miss nights at Gordon's Wine Bar, walking Southbank at night, and concession theatre tickets for the unemployed (cultural revelation for me). And I will miss the friends I've gained here, the sense of home I finally attained in this city while still feeling enough of a stranger to maintain a sense of wonder at it all.

It is that last thing, that sense of wonder or discovery, that was the greatest thing about this journey--there was a renewing of that in myself, something I think is quintessentially a part of me, and something that I had lost, or covered up, or forgotten about at the time I left New York. It was necessary to come here to give that back to myself, to listen to my artistic voice again, to see it was still there. And luckily enough: it was. Underneath layers of cynicism, self-loathing, self-doubt, and massive fear (for the last time: I *am* an actor), there it was, sitting in a chair, waiting to be noticed again.

Thank God that happened. Thank God this happened. Thank God I don't know if I believe in God, because otherwise those first two sentences would be sins. But I digress, and now is the time to stop digressing.

In closing, I'd like to thank those of you who bothered to read this, loyally or not so loyally, responded here, on Facebook, through e-mail, or remained silent. It's nice to know people are interested, entertained, bemused in what I have to say, or may just be keeping an eye out. I may return to blogging later, (in truth, it probably will happen, but I need some time off and some actual fodder to write about), but if/when it does, it will be at a different web address with a different topic, as this story is over. Right now, anyway. And that is alright. "Right now," does not mean "forever." I am not finished. I am just turning to the next chapter.

That's enough inspirational, metaphorical, blahblahblah. I'm rabbited out. Goodbye, Great Britain. America: I'll see you tomorrow.


Molly said...

I'm happy you are home, and proud of you for what you did! You are so brave! And, I might add, an excellent writer.

Lea Maria said...

Thanks for the compliment, Mols! I hope to see you at some point, my favorite!

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