Saturday, April 25, 2015

Not all those who wander are lost

There are a handful of things I have written in the last ten years that have brought me to tears during the process. Most of those things have been about loss, or about rock bottom moments. They've been my anger rants to exes or self awareness posts about depression.

For once in my life, the tears on the keyboard are for happiness. A bitter sweet goodbye to a place that not only changed my life, but saved it.

The decision to leave was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life. Stay and find a new career path that was conducive to the life I had grown to love, potentially calling it quits on the last five years of work and arguably the next 10 years of probable (and relative) success. Or leave and embrace the ultimate sense of achievement - working for a show in LA while potentially selling my own.

When my agents told me back in November that the script I had written was good enough to get me staffed on a show, I was thrilled. I bought shots for every bartender and a couple random strangers at Rarebit. I had moved to Charleston with the awareness I would probably have to put writing on the back burner in order to find the happiness I was looking for and lacking in New York. I knew there would be compromise. I never expected to write the script that would potentially put the rest of my life in motion while sitting on my porch drinking a beer.

When he asked if I was prepared to move to LA, without hesitation I said "of course!" And when I sat down for my general meetings in February, I knew I had the ability to do what I loved and have that ability recognized.

When the second script I wrote down here got even better accolades from my agent and certain execs than the first in March, I knew I had to make the decision. Staffing would begin in April, and meetings would come rolling in May and June. Yet here I was, scared to death about having to pull the trigger.

I never thought I would find something that made me feel the way writing does. Let alone did I ever think it would be a place. But Charleston has given me more in the last eight months than I think I could have ever imagined getting in a lifetime.  In 2012, a three day trip here saved me from suicide and depression. And in the last eight months, this life has made it difficult to remember what it was like when happiness felt like a far off dream.

I once wrote that Charleston gives a warmth to my bones that I couldn't explain. And I still can't. I just know when I walk out every day onto Smith St., everything feels right. There's an anchor in my heart and it's planted firmly here. Safe in a harbor where I have found nothing but love and friendship.

But I am a firm believer of taking risks. Of taking chances. Of never giving up until you've tried it all. And while I know how easy it would be to settle down here, open a shop with my sister and write on the side, I know in twenty years I would look back and wonder. All the stories and scripts in my head, and the characters that never got their voices. Of the Emmy speech that I'd no longer be able to practice in my head before bed. Of the joy of finishing a script and the agonizing wait to get the approval from my agents. I would miss those things. Tremendously.

In eight months I have discovered a love for life I didn't think was ever possible after my depression. I always thought the best I could hope for was alright. Just okay. Fine. Instead I have found that there is no end to the possibilities of how happy one can be. Every day I've been here I've woken up and been just a little bit better than the day before. I have learned how to deal with a life I was once terrified of waking up to. I have embraced challenges and thoughts that I never would have at 25. Made friends and had relationships that are beautiful and complicated and messy. I woke up every day not just wanting to get by, but wanting to be better.

And the only way I can rationalize leaving is by telling myself that it would be a damn shame to not take every ounce of happiness, every lesson, every heart break and mend, every overwhelming ounce of love I have found here and put it toward the one thing I love to do. I kept telling myself the stories I could tell aren't meant to be kept here and here alone. Those lessons need to be put into action. I need to write, I need to be in LA, and I need to have the experience I've longed for and worked for over the last eight years. I need to succeed my happiness, not just live in it.

And so I chose. Found an apartment in Santa Monica, made the decision and will need to find some way to say goodbye not with sadness in my heart, but with hope. And if living in Charleston has given me anything, it's the astounding ability to hope.

When my roommate Jamie suggested a fourteen mile hike last week, I almost dropped dead. I don't think I walk fourteen miles in a week. The idea of doing it in a few hours terrified me. But I agreed. And I motored through it, stopping only to ever admire the marsh and the color of the sky, and even the gross smell of the puff mud. When we stopped at Seewee restaurant and destroyed fourteen pounds of fried seafood, I couldn't stop thinking, "holy shit, I did it". And that's how I feel about my entire experience here. I have done things I never thought imaginable, felt things I never thought possible, and had the extreme privilege to live a life a lot of people only dream of.  It's time for a new adventure, a new journey, a new chapter. And LA is it.

And as I begin the last month of living in Charleston (for now), I look forward to 31 days of nothing but happiness and adventure. Of making the most of the time i Have left here rather than trying to hold onto each moment, afraid of its inevitable end. I look forward to trips to Folly and Sullivans, hikes with Jamie, lacrosse and beers with Colin, laughs at Muse and walks home up Vanderhorst. Wine nights with Emily and Eli, heart felts with Drew, laughs with John & Jamie, shows with Miles, beach days with Mike and Don, being Jewish with Donnie. And of course, beers on the porch while Cooper tries to eat bumble bees.

I will also relish every ounce of pain I feel as I get my tattoo - not all those who wander are lost. It seems appropriate to take the mantra that made the most sense to me down here with me wherever I go. And have the ability to remind myself this place is always with me.

And in between all those moments, I will look forward to the new ones waiting to be made in Santa Monica, with new roomies and a new town. A new beach and a new job. And know that even if everything falls apart, I will always have a place to come back to where even on the worst of my days, I am happy. And if that's not the highest goal in life, I can't imagine what is.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Britt McHenry is on TV, ya'll.

A few years ago, I would have been jealous of Britt McHenry. A nice job at ESPN, talking to athletes, looking pretty. In 2004, when I dreamed of graduating from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, ESPN was my dream job. 

Dreams die, obviously, and you find new ones. I found a new one that did not include being the brunette Erin Andrews. 

Now, from the outside looking in, I would never want to be Britt McHenry. Why? Because I value self awareness more than I value the ability to say “I’m on TV”.

The problem with Britt McHenry’s epic performance of “rant of a privileged asshole” is not that it was so over the top offensive, or something so deviant it can never be forgiven. It’s that it is so incredibly tired to anyone who has ever had a job that lack the luxury and glamor of say, an ESPN sidelines reporter. It's the Gwenyth Paltrow school of thought that pervades the minds of women like McHenry into thinking things like a steak cooked medium instead of medium rare and a $25 parking ticket equal a national crisis. You know this chick has without a doubt gone off on some poor waitress somewhere for not bringing her a lemon with her water. 

After I graduated from the University of Maryland in 2008 with my degree in English, not journalism, I worked at a bar. For nearly seven years. I cocktail waitressed, hostessed, bartended. I loved my job. But don’t think in those seven years I didn’t know what many people, mostly women, were thinking every time I came up to their high top in  a pair of heels and black work shorts. 

Working in a steakhouse in New York, I was privy to the countless hoards of privileged yuppies who seemed to think getting their boss lunch at UBS was on par to curing cancer and resurrecting Jesus. I’m familiar with the looks, I’m familiar with the whispers, and I’m familiar with the all out “get a real job, sweetie” and the “why don’t you actually get a degree” comments. 

But in all my years, I never felt the need to come back at these assholes who judge everyone in life by the just barely visible surface. I didn’t need to tell them I do in fact have a degree from a good college. That I was an editor at the school paper, that I published a book, ran a blog, have dated numerous athletes, hung with World Series and Stanley cup winners, have had numerous articles in different magazines go viral and that I am represented by a top TV literary agent in a top 3 agency in LA. That I’ve sat down for meetings with HBO, Showtime, AMC. Pitched shows. That I made more money than most working four days a week, traveled five times a year, lived on the Upper East side in a beautiful brownstone apartment and wanted for nothing, all while pursuing my dream of writing and enjoying my life. I didn't need to. Because unlike those men and women, I didn't feel the need to throw my shit out there to contend with them. I would never in all my life want their jobs and I certainly wouldn't want their personalities, whatever faux bragging rights they attached to both. 

Because the reality is, these people don’t care. Women like Britt McHenry, don’t care. Mean Girl syndrome isn’t quelled by that kind of knowledge. And what Britt McHenry displayed on that video is an overwhelming situation of mean girl insecurity. 

Her ability to rattle off the countless insults and self compliments reeks not only of insecurity, but of a mean girl desire to be better than someone, to say out loud SHE beat someone out in life. For all she knew, that woman is working a second job because a family member has cancer. Because her husband is sick, her mother is sick, because she wants to make sure her kid goes to college. Or yes, maybe she couldn’t go to college herself and simply took a job so she could be responsible and pay her bills. This comes from a meanness derived from a privilege women like McHenry have. The privilege of never needing to make ends meet. Of never having to take a job she wasn’t particularly proud of to make sure she paid her bills on time, to make sure she could afford a meal. This comes from a complete lack of understanding the reality of the world, that work and work ethic is not measured by the jobs that provide makeup and hair. I would love nothing more than to see McHenry in a dish pit, pulling glass wracks, cleaning out dog cages, wiping up spilled ranch dressing, rocking a bright red CVS vest, and then see if she still believes that a person’s worth can be measured by what they do to survive and pay the bills. 

The hilarious part is that McHenry seems to think ESPN hired her for her “brains” and “degree”. The harsh and sexist reality of course being that they hired her because men love nothing more than sex kittens and sports. No one is hiring this woman to be an investigative journalist in Ferguson, no one is sending her to do war reporting in Afghanistan, and no one is asking her opinion on foreign policy with Iran and Cuba. And the reason is because that personality she showed on that video is the exact representation of what this woman really brings to the table, what she is capable of, the level of “journalism” she provides. A selfish, vain, insecure, privileged, spoiled brat who more than likely could not do a job that did not rely, at least partially, on looks. And even if she could, she wouldn’t because it is so much easier relying on the “knock off Kendra Wilkinson” look she has going on to get where she needs to be. 

I have no sympathy for this girl, and if she gets fired, I have no doubt she’ll have a warm welcome at Fox News where her talents of being blonde, hot, and completely lacking awareness about her level of privilege and downright luck will be heralded as an essential skill set. 

Oh, and that apology? Absolute bullshit. Stressful situation? Cancer is a stressful situation. Getting in a car accident is a stressful situation. Not being able to pay rent on time is a stressful situation. Parking illegally and dealing with the consequences is stressful only to people who have never had the privilege of dealing with real stress in their life. 

“I’m on TV”. Yeah? So is Honey Boo Boo.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The truth about assholes and exes.

I don’t watch The Real Housewives series at all. I’ve never been much of a reality fan, particularly after my dubious debut on a po-dunk one several years ago after my quarter life crisis. However, because I do read Celebitchy (and if you don’t, I suggest you do), I do follow Brandi Glanville. If you don’t know who she is (and honestly you really shouldn’t, I’m slightly embarrassed), she was married to this N list actor, Eddie Cibrian who then had an affair with Leann Rhymes while Leann Rimes was still married to that dude of question straightness when they filmed some Lifetime movie together. There was a real messy divorce and Leann Rimes kind of went psychotic and very single white female on Brandi, and most of the arguments were on Twitter. It was stupid and childish, but entirely entertaining. She is now on RHOBH

Brandi later wrote a book called Drinking and Tweeting and it was all about the breakup with Eddie and how Leann was a crazy pants. I admit, i bought it, read it and kind of loved it. Brandi is not my type of woman - typical California, botox, spends a lot of time at Dry bar and is fighting her 40s big time with plastic surgery Beverly Hills but not rich types. But she is pretty fucking funny. And I liked her book mainly because it did something so many women have wanted to do in the past but never did for fear of being labeled “crazy” or “obsessed”; called out a guy for being a dick.

We’re all told when a guy treats us like shit or breaks up with us or cheats on us or is just overall an asshole, to let it go. To not harp on it. And while in many instances I agree with that, there are others I do not. If you read my blog, you know I am not shy when it comes to calling out dudes for shitty behavior. Washing dirty laundry in public might not always be the best decision, but in some cases I think it should be celebrated. I am a firm believer in taking responsibility for the type of person you are. If someone wants to call me out publicly for being a dick, go for it. I’ll fight back. If I deserve it, I deserve it. I never understood why holding men accountable and letting the world know how big of a dick they were was considered “not lady like”. Standing up for yourself is entirely lady like. 

A few months ago, I dabbled. I wrote a piece, more so for myself and my own sanity, about a guy I was buds with for a while, a guy I cared about a lot, who in so many ways was a huge asshole to me. Since then, haven’t really thought about him. Tried to repair the friendship a few months down the line, there were definitely some drunk texts on my end I’ll own, but overall, it was over. I was sad, but shit happens, life goes on. I had made mistakes too, and I assumed between those and the new girl, there would just be no getting passed it this time. 

It wasn’t until his new ex - the girl he unceremoniously chose over me - and I spoke, that I decided to write this. Because those two infamous words came up. “He said you were psycho, like legit obsessed with him.”

And that’s when I decided to stand up for myself. And for her. And for all women who get that title handed to them for simply being upset when someone is a dick to us. And so, I begin my open letter to him.

I’m sure no where in your description of me, or the situation you and I had, did you tell your now ex about who was there for you every time you got optioned. About how you text me and got mad at me when I didn’t hang out with you in Chicago, about how you told me you’d never speak to me again if I hooked up with one of your friends. About how you asked me to go on vacation with you last year, about how you told me we had to “solve” the situation that was me seeing someone when you decided you wanted to cuddle with me. About your jealousy, about our conversations, about our friendship. I bet you didn’t tell her how much I cared about you, or about all the times you told me you cared about me. I bet our friendship was widdled down to nothing more than me being an overzealous fan. Because god forbid you take responsibility for the shitty things you did. 

In fact, I don’t have to bet on all those things. I know. She told me. She told me about how you were more concerned about your career being hurt by what I wrote the last time around than the fact that I was basically telling you you were a shit friend who really hurt a girl who cared about you. That you were more concerned with your public image, than your private one.

We talked a lot in fact. About how needy you were. About your inability to ever commit to anyone using baseball as an excuse. About how when I told you I had a lump in my breast and asked if we could talk because I was scared, you never even sent me a text to wish me luck or see if I was okay. About your lame ass tattoo, and hilariously, about how bad you are at sex. No surprise there, as someone who has never had a legit girlfriend in their adult life, cared about someone equal to or more than yourself, how could you know what women like? You’re selfish in most other areas of your life, the idea of you trying to do one thing to make the girl feel good in bed is laughable at best. Here’s a hint moving forward, throwing a chicks ankles over your shoulders and drilling isn’t going to impress anyone. you might wanna try a new tactic. 

We talked about how you didn’t even break up with the new girl, how you just blocked her and stopped talking to her because, you know, that’s how adults roll. 

Most of all, we talked about all the shitty things you said about me. And I had to laugh. I had to laugh because you are such a God damn pussy, that that’s how you dealt with it all. By putting me down, painting me as something I really wasn’t, and completely blowing off the year and a half I stuck by you and was a damn good friend to you. Yeah, I was a little pissed and confused by the fact that you didn’t end up wanting to date. Yeah, I did tell you I loved you because I did. And yeah, I was terribly hurt that you chose someone else over me and threw away our friendship over the next best thing. That friendship that you once accused ME of “tearing down”. That you once described as great. But looking back, how could I have been surprised? That’s who you always have been. Selfish, self centered, egotistical and above all, obsessed with fame. Obsessed with your public image. Maybe it’s because you don’t have that ability in baseball, you aren’t like the other, more well known, more talented players you hang with and take hundreds of selfies with to prove you’re one of the boys, maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s just a desire to be famous and get validation from strangers on Twitter and Instagram. Whatever it is, the only thing I can say is you’re a fucking liar and your public image is the furtherest thing from who you ever really will be. You treat people in a manner that suggests they are only good enough to care about if they can do something for you and your image. You treat women like disposable objects and when they get pissed about it, you label them as crazy or psycho. You run through N list IG models like a fat kid in a Twinkie eating contest. Take a look around you, kid. All your teammates? Married. Girlfriends. Fianc├ęs. Babies. You? You’ve never even been in love. You’ve never actually kept a girl around long enough to realize that women aren’t there simply to make you happy. You’re dating girls seven, eight, nine years younger than you because that’s your maturity level. And it’s really quite sad.

I used to think you were a good one. I’d sit and talk with you over beers and I adored you, kid. But sometimes I’d watch you when we were out, holding court while I was off chatting with your married teammates so as not to cock block you from the 10 random girls you were chatting with, and wonder what it was about you that made you such a dick. And then you’d come over, take my hand and tell me we were leaving. But the reality is, all I saw in you was the potential for the guy you could have been. The glimmers of goodness that were far too often shut out by your fucking ridiculous ego. The brains that were smothered by your fame seeking and slutty snapchat checking dick. You were worried what I wrote would ruin your reputation, your career? It’s not about what I write. It’s about who you are. Enough women (and men, for that matter) have gotten to know you well enough to know who you really are. The shitty person who makes fun of his “friends”, talks bad about his teammates and acts like the greatest guy in the world so some poor DJ will interview him when one of the bigger names won’t do the show. At the end of the day, your own personality, your own ego, your own inability to ever give a shit about someone else, is what will ruin your rep and maybe your career. Not one of the (I’m sure numerous) chicks who you’ve fucked over’s opinion. There’s that old saying, “character is who you are when no one’s looking”. I hate to break it to you, but who you are when your fans and followers aren’t looking, is pretty shitty. You have it in you to be a better guy, I know because I saw it and that’s who I adored. But you’re just too hung up on the bullshit to get it. 

Go ahead, read this and tell everyone I’m crazy. A psycho. Obsessed. Tell the new snap chat chick of the day that I am a psycho. The reality is, they all know I’m telling the truth. That none of this is fabricated or bitter lies. It’s the sad truth corroborated now by another girl you managed to treat like shit. Instead of being pissed about me calling you out for the things you told another girl about me in order to cover your own ass, why not look inside yourself for seven seconds and realize hey, maybe I am a dick. Maybe I have treated people shitty. And maybe I am an egotistical fuck who could afford to take myself off the pedestal I put myself on because at the end of the day, I’m not that awesome. You won’t, because narcissists can’t see their own flaws. So please, go ahead, call me a crazy bitch and go on fucking every new blonde girl who follows you on Twitter. Eventually the person you are will not be able to hide behind cutsie tweets and I’ll simply sit back and watch. I’ve been very cool without you in my life for all this time, but just felt a need to address the shit you said about me some months back, and make amends to the misplaced blame I put on a girl for the way you treated me. 

I say this all not because I’m bitter, not because I’m hung up on you, and certainly not because I’m crazy. But I say this for every woman who has ever gotten treated like shit by a guy who then walked away and blamed the girl. For every guy who only told half the story in order to make how he treated the girl seem acceptable. Because shitty people deserve to be called out for their shittiness. Because I found out all the lovely things you said about me and decided, nuh uh, that ain’t gonna fly, no matter how much time has passed, no matter how far along I’ve moved on. And now the world, and every other poor chick who falls for your Twitter charm, can have both sides of the story. Mine, and yours. And I don’t worry, because all it will take is a few months for them to realize which side is the truth. Just like your ex. Keep telling the women who care about you they can’t take pictures with you because of “privacy”. Keep lying to them about how you need to focus on baseball, and keep repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over that we laugh at after the fact. There’s a reason your ex is in a new relationship already, it’s because she saw the writing on the wall months before you went all 13 year old emo on her. It’s because she set herself up nicely and played your game better than you, darling. It’s weird when it appears your 23 year old ex has more experience in relationships and maturity than you do being almost 30. 

But I digress. Be a better person, kid. Treat women like women, not porn stars in your favorite college themed porn video. You’re not as great as you think, and you certainly have no right in ever treating anyone the way you have. You hurt me not because I was crazy or obsessed, but because I considered you my bud. Someone who’d look out for me the way I did you. Someone I could trust. You shot it to hell. If you ever knew what it was to value a friendship or love someone, you’d know the difference between that and obsession. It’s not because you wouldn’t date me, bud, it’s because you couldn’t put your own feelings aside for a minute to be there for me for once. Obsessed? No. Try disgusted. “Good talk”. 

PS - general consensus. Stop singing in the car. You're awful. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Life in the Small City

Some people told me I would regret it. That leaving New York for a city not only much smaller but much further south was a mistake. That my writing career would take a hit and I might never get it back. Some people accused me of being incapable of "hacking it" in New York, which was comical because I could have stayed there for another 10, 15 years and done just fine. New York didn't kick me out, I broke up with her.

On the nine hour drive to Raleigh (I split the drive up from New York) a lot of this went through my head. The further away from the city I got, the more disconnected I felt. Maybe I WAS making a mistake. Maybe I WAS going to regret this.

"New York will always be there" I told myself. "I can always go back".

When I pulled up to my new home on Smith St. downtown, I had to smile. My entire room - complete with 25 foot ceilings, a master bathroom and a walk in closet - was bigger than 2/3 of my apartment in NYC. Hell, my private porch was bigger than my room in NYC. I had a weird, immediate sense of feeling at home the second I stepped foot in the house (even though I went from an apartment smelling like floral shampoos, hair spray and perfume to a house smelling like typical Bro).

I had a few breakdowns. Bad ones. Fuck dude, how could I leave my cushy life in New York, my sick apartment, my job where I had free reign, my friends and family? I was scared about a new job. I had been at BV's for, hell more than half a decade. That place was home to me. Starting somewhere new scared me. I was nervous about my writing. I was scared being down here would be a bump in the road, if not a complete white flag. Who would want to read anything about a girl living in a small town? Who would want to take a pitch from some girl from South Carolina? I began to think I might never write a script again, but just stick to my BroBible and Huffington Post articles. And for a little bit, I was okay with that. I knew I had moved here for a different life, and I knew a different life might mean giving up certain things in order to allow different ones into my life. It didn't mean I wasn't scared and that I didn't have regret. It didn't mean I didn't feel like a quitter in a lot of ways.

I knew why I moved. So many people had so many different assumptions. That it was about a boy, that it was about a job, that it was about being scared. The truth of the matter was I was just tired. Tired of NYC, tired of the same old shit day in and day out. I had written a couple of scripts that had gone no where with my agency. I felt trapped within my own life. Going out was too expensive, my friends were all kind of married and moving on with their shit, and I felt like if I stayed I would never leave the complacency of my own life. I just wanted something different, if even for a short time. At 28, with no debt, no kids, no mortgage, no job that absolutely required me to be in NYC, I thought this was the time to make a move. When it came down to a choice between regretting leaving NYC, and regretting never leaving NYC, I wanted it to be the former.

Three weeks of unemployment bliss was a good start. A lot of fun dinners with friends, a lot of good drinks and laughs. I was living with two boys I had never met before that suddenly helped make me feel right at home, like one of the boys (one of the boys who was totally comfortable walking around in a tshirt without a bra). I was going out every single day, whether for a run or to the battery, job interviews, dinner, plays, happy hour. I was doing shit I never did in New York. And then I'd come home and sit on the porch in the evening and I'd get the itch. The itch that sometimes went missing when I lived in New York for weeks and months at a time. I started feeling it all the time down here. So I started writing. I'd crack a beer, throw my headphones on and I just got into it.

And so each night I wrote a little bit of this script. One my agents said at first wasn't viable. But I said "hold up a sec, let me give it a shot". I played around with some story lines, ideas, dug through some news stories and within a week, a 55 page script was sitting on my laptop, waiting to be read.

I was hesitant at first. I had had a few letdowns in the last six months, and I thought even if I loved this script - which I did - I shouldn't get my hopes up. I reminded myself I wrote this for me, because I thought it was a good idea, because I wanted to prove to myself even down in Charleston I could bust out a script if I needed to. I sent it off to my agents with an explanation of why I formatted it the way I did, said a prayer and had a beer.

There are some words and phrases you don't expect to hear very often from an agent. The phrases "amazing", "loved it from beginning to end", "a true whipping", "will get you hired", and "a truly great read" are some of them. Hearing all of those things from my agent's mouth on the phone on Monday was like getting a hug and an "I love you" from the parent you always thought hated you. It was validation, it was pride and it was slightly overwhelming.

What came next was mildly terrifying. "Would you be willing to relocate to LA?" He asked me. Without hesitation I said "absolutely". But in my heart, I looked around my 94% finished room and thought, "but I just got here."

There is a strong likelihood I will be moving out to LA come February or March. Whether this script sells or not, it will be used to potentially get me staffed on another show and with that comes the burden of uprooting once again. And ironically enough, I'm worried I'll be more homesick for Charleston than I ever would have been for New York.

But at the end of the day, writing is what I love, it's what has legitimately kept me alive the last few years and it gives me a sense of purpose. And I know an opportunity like this comes around very rarely, if ever.

In the month since I've moved, I've felt like an entirely new person. My friend Donnie even said to me the other night, "there's something different about you. I think it's Charleston. I think it's in you now." And he's right. I was afraid when I moved that I wouldn't feel the way I did each time I came down here on vacation. But the truth has been that moving here has changed my entire outlook on life. It's given me a whole new perspective, a whole new sense of accomplishment, and a whole new desire to constantly seek happiness, real happiness, instead of settling for mediocrity and complacency, because I now know what that search can yield. And I can honestly say I don't know if I would have written that script - arguably my best one to date - had I not moved here. Had I not had all this emotion and confusion and anxiety. In an article I once wrote about Charleston, I said there was a warmth here that went really deep into my bones. I still feel that way. And after this move, I think it is a warmth I will take with me wherever I end up.

There are so many new prospects ahead of me. The idea of pitching again is so thrilling, I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. I have e-mailed my agents every day asking about when the meetings will be set up. I feel alive and hopeful and above all, grateful again. And I genuinely believe Charleston gave those things back to me. This city, the people in it, fuck dude even just the good weather and beach, gave me a sense of calm and peace where I felt capable of getting my shit together and taking my own time for things. When I left New York, I wondered if I'd ever write another script again. And now I'm on the verge of pitching my second show concept in a year.

If I have to move to LA come the winter, I will do it. But I know from this day to the day I potentially pack up and leave again, I will enjoy every single moment of what I've got going on here because it's a blessing. I loved New York, loved my home, my family and friends. But there is a life I found down here that makes me excited to get up every day and go do new shit and see new people and try new beers (no joke). To attempt to crack open a steamed oyster, hang out with people I'd never normally hang out with, stand up for myself and not get walked on. And above all, an inspiration to write. A new perspective from the second story of this house on Smith that gave me perhaps the greatest opportunity I've gotten as a writer to date. And when the time comes to leave again, if it comes at all, I am confident that I will take this new sense of self, this warmth in my bones, and let it translate into my writing and all I do moving forward. This is a place that will stay with me for the rest of my life, whether I live her for the next eighty years, or find myself wandering the West Coast looking for a Westbrook White Thai.

This move was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. And I am so glad I get to take Charleston with me now wherever I go.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Southern Comfort

A good friend of mine often tells people he loves New York the way most men love a woman. 

He does so with a southern accent standing behind the bar at one of my favorite places in Charleston.

I know how he feels. My entire life is wrapped up - with the exception of college - in a 30 mile radius from Manhattan to Long Island. I grew up and lived in the same house for 26 years in Garden City on Long Island. I drive like a maniac, know exactly what a good bagel tastes like, know every Billy Joel song by heart, I curse a lot and bleed pinstripes. 

The idea of leaving my comfortable nest in New York - which relocated from Long Island to NYC several years ago - has only crossed my mind a handful of times. When I was 21 and moving to Vancouver to be with my ex boyfriend. When I was 24 and got a job offer with the Chicago Blackhawks and turned it down. And in the last two years, several times I have come so close to pulling the trigger and moving down south to what I consider the greatest place I know: Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s just a place. No different, I’m sure, than your favorite vacation spot or the place on the lake you spent every summer. It’s warm, wet and slow. It reminds me of the first time you fell in love at 17. Everything felt new and innocent. For me, there are no bad memories connected to Charleston. No break ups, no fights, no sense of loss or memories wrapped up in what could have been. For me, Charleston is the place that saved my life. It’s the place I found when I was suffering from depression. It was the first trip I took after my suicide attempt. It was the first place I laughed after months of wondering if I ever would again. It’s Charleston where I learned to live again. 

In those two years, my affection for that place has only grown exponentially. I made it a point to go down there at least one a summer for the last three summers. Once usually turns into two or three times, or three weeks. I found myself feeling more at home down there than I think I ever have in New York. I found myself opening up to new potentials, new ideas, a new outlook on life. One I don’t know if I’d ever have learned living up in the rat race in New York. Who got engaged first, who gets married first, who has the first kid, the first mortgage, the first promotion. Fuck it dude, I still have my wisdom teeth. I have always been behind the curve of what people measure success and life by up here. But in Charleston, life doesn’t feel measured by those ticks on the lifeline chart. It just seems to be measured by experiences and….living. In your own time. In your own way. 

The friends I’ve made down there have changed my life. Made me feel comfortable in my own skin. Took me in for who I was, not what I might be able to do for them. Given me new perspective and new appreciations for smaller things. Like those really hard belly laughs in the bar. Or walks home on King St in the middle of the summer. Dinner with the friends who no matter how much time passes, that fuckin' town brings you together like you've never left. Walking up the beach and finding shark teeth. Talking about art and theatre and history over dinner. Going for a drive in the middle of the night with your hand out the window listening to Luke Bryant. Falling off a jet ski and getting right back on. Watching the sunsets over the marsh on Folly Road. Shit I'd never do in New York. None of that will get me anywhere far in life. 

If you put it up against some of the things my friends in New York have done things they do on the daily, they sound down right childish. But maybe that’s the point. In all the rush to sell my TV show, meet with Showtime, film this, write that, go to LA, meetings meetings meetings… I forgot what it was like to stop and live. To stop thinking about three weeks from now, and just think about the here and now. Stop hoping for better and appreciate what was in front of me. I stopped planning sort of and just started living and seeing what happened. And did so surrounded by people who emphasized the importance of the simple shit. For the first time in my life I saw myself potentially living somewhere else and being happy. It both scares and excites me.

My agency will alway be in LA. The flights are just as long, just as expensive. And those meetings will continue if and when I move south. My family in New York will always be there, my roots buried deep under the pavement on the Upper East side. Some people say it’s quitting. Giving up. Why, I don’t know. I’d never stop writing and I’d never give up on those things I believe in. I can write TV shows and Brobible articles just the same from King St. as I can from 50th St. 

I don’t know if I’ll move. Waiting on my writing deals puts a stop on everything right now, but I know in the back of my mind and the bottom of my heart, I feel it’s coming. I feel a homesickness for Charleston when I leave, when I’m not there, that I don’t know if I’ve ever felt for New York. And when I’m there, a warmth fills my soul so deep I can feel it in my bones. Charleston - particularly the most recent trip - reminded me how important it is not to cry over shitty people who choose to walk out of your life, but laugh hardily with the ones who want to stay. It’s hard as a writer to say that something in life - a place, no less - can leave even the wordiest of people desperate for the right way to describe how it makes you feel. But I can simply say no words, adjectives or hyperboles can do justice to the love I feel in my heart each time I land, and the ache I feel each time I leave. 

In life, I believe, you can have roots and wings (Thanks Sweet Home Alabama!). And while I used to worry that moving from New York to Charleston would be some sort of regression, going backward in life instead of forward, I think it comes down to what I want in life. That decision is looming over me and New York and Charleston are neck and neck at the moment. I don’t know who will pull ahead, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pulling for the city that makes my heart burst. 

What's holding me back is the fear of missing out. New York is where shit happens, I'm told. But after years of waiting for things to happen, and doing a lot of work to make them happen, I'm beginning to wonder what's left for me to let happen? Am I quitting the race too soon? I have no idea. But the more I think about it, the more I worry that staying here will be my biggest regret. That what I'll miss out on won't be in New York, but buried somewhere deep in the south. And at 35, I'll look back and realize I picked an apartment with exposed brick over the chance to figure out who I really am. And what I really want.

Maybe I’m wrong about it all. Maybe Charleston is one of those moments, those ticks on the wall. While my friends took a different path here in New York, maybe my tick is coming. Maybe that place will give me as much joy as promotions and weddings and nights out in the Meat Packing give my friends now. Maybe those little moments I wrote about earlier are enough for me. And perhaps in realizing that, accepting that, I can say I’m not behind the curve in life, but traveling along its edges with a brilliant insight into the things that make me happy. And giving me the courage to pursue them, as out of the box as they may seem. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I Write

Since I'm on a roll this week with actually put new shit on here, I figured I would address this too.

A lot of people ask why I put myself out there so far. With the Twitter stalker a lot of people blamed me because I am very open about my personal life. People ask why I am so forthright about what most people consider taboo topics, personal topics, private dirty laundry you shouldn't want to air. Why do I give someone like that asshole ammunition by being so open in the world?

For that, I simply say it's who I am. I have never been one to hide or lie about problems. Things like suicide and depression, I am so vocal about those issues and my own struggles because as shitty as it is to sit here and say I've been there, I like to think maybe me being open about it will help others who might be struggling with the same thing. I'm not a role model or a spokesperson, my following is limited. But I do have people who read my shit. People who follow me. the occasional new Twitter follower who isn't trying to drag me down ha but instead simply likes the fact that I am who I am. Unabashedly, openly, honestly someone who isn't afraid to admit fucking up. I don't try to pretend I'm perfect, I don't try to pretend I have all the answers, and I will never be ashamed of my life. So if a stupid blog post of rambles about what I've gone through can help other people with depression have a little hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they're not the only one's suffering, it's worth the pushback online.

Aside from all that altruist shit ha, it's therapeutic for me. Writing about things I've gone through helps me understand them. Helps me deal with them. Some find it shitty, if a story involving a relationship or friendship is involved, but never have I used anyone's name, nor would I. I don't write about such things to punish or to be vindictive, and certainly not to hurt. I do it because that's how I cope with hurt and it's the rare instance in my life where my feelings will come before someone else's whom I care(d) about. I value privacy and I respect privacy, but I don't value pretending someone is better than they are. On the reverse, I believe those who are good and loyal and loving deserve to be recognized, like my friend Karl and my homecoming king friend Conor ha. 

I live and write the way I do because I know how it feels to be alone. I also know the power words can have to convince someone they are not. I might not be a Nobel Prize winner an I might not write the next great American novel. But I like to believe sometimes I write things that help people by making them laugh, or by making them cry. By reminding them others are with them in their struggles and hope for their achievements. Even if we don't know each other. I write because it helps me, and in hopes that it helps others. I write to inform others, and I write to learn about myself. I write because I feel life is worth sharing; the good and the bad parts. I write so I can look back on my life and know I did everything I could when I could, and that if I didn't, I learned how to try harder. I write to remind myself where I've been and where I hope to go. I write because the desire to share my life outweighed the desire to take it. And I hope it does the same for others. 

Read me if you like, me, don't if you don't. But I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. I hope you stick around for the journey.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Thoughts on Memorial Day

So many options to write about on Memorial Day. And despite my better judgement, despite the idea of letting shit roll off my back (which I’ve gotten very, very good at), I decided to spin Memorial Day this way. 

I thought about where to start. Plenty of options. Death. Life. Gratuity. Perspective. Where to begin? What to write about?

I decided to make it personal. I decided to respond. I might regret. I might feel relief. Who the fuck knows. I know writing is like cutting to some people. You feel SO much. And then you do this and you release it into the world. You give a little piece to others to help you deal with it. So I decided to take that route. To discuss that idea. To be thankful in that way.

On Memorial Day - a day so many utilize to remember their loved ones who aren’t - I’m grateful to be alive. 

Sounds weird right? I’m 28 (ugh, 28). I’m healthy for the most part. I have no reason to think I’d be NOT alive otherwise today. Yet here I am and on the train ride back from Long Island today, I thought about two things. Suicide, and happiness.

There’s been this person who has been twitter stalking me. They create accounts like @StefsDeadDad and @StefsDadNoMore to try to embarrass me. This week it was something like @SWTruthSquad where they wrote some 1000 word hate essay about my family and I. And I read it when I got back from Maryland las night and i was a little shaken up. I can’t lie. This same person has been harassing me through various twitter handles, meh, I kind of know who it is, kind of don’t. Long story short, they have nothing right on me and it’s been bugging me because hey, if you’re gonna rag on me, don’t fucking lie. There’s enough truth there to work with. If you’re gonna mock me, do two things - own up and use your name, and tell the truth. You’ve been doing neither, so I felt compelled to respond.

Two years ago, I tried to hang myself from the pipe in my UES apartment bedroom. I was going through depression and it was the worst moment of my life. I didn’t do it. I was scared. Good or bad, I didn’t die. And I did a lot of shit in that two year time span. Wrote a script, got an agent, pitched a show, pitching another show, met some boys and fell in love. Shit if you asked me two years ago if I’d ever accomplish, I’d have said no. No fucking way. 

My family is not perfect. My dad was a shitty father. But no, he didn’t fuck anyone out of housing in Seaford (HE WAS A MARITIME LAWYER!) nor is my sister stupid (owns a million dollar business) and my mom isn’t blonde and bumbling (self employed and amazing). I am not a coat check girl (I bartend, hostess and cocktail waitress. Coatcheck on the occasion whens someone feels inclined to check their coat and no one’s there to do it?) and yes, BVs for life until I find a better one. But until then? Yes, I work in a bar in midtown and I enjoy it and I feel like it’s family and I make amazing money that allows me to write, travel and pursue my dreams. I will never be embarrassed or scared of admitting that. I found a job that allows me to afford an amazing life and do what I love. It’s honest work with honest pay. God, let me feel embarrassed that I have a job that pays me well, lets me live on my own and travel. SHIT I SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED. Seriously? I have a job. I pay pills. I'm pretty fucking pumped come to think of it....

I grew up in Garden City, New York. A wealthy, upper middle class town on Long Island in a home with an estimated worth of 2.7 million in a good market. Not that that matters. Where I grew up, where anyone grows up, doesn’t determine their success in life. But give my parents their due, I did not grow up white trash. I grew up with every opportunity afforded to me and came out of college without debt because my mother was amazing. I lived at Abercrombie (and still do ha), had a car at 17 and never wanted for anything. There are trashy towns on long island, but where I grew up was not one of them. And trust me, I HATE long island. But I loved my hometown and would feel it a disservice to my parents who worked so hard to move from brooklyn to GC to ever allow anyone to make it seem like I grew up in a white trash town. I am a Garden City girl and always will be. No, I didn’t grow up in NYC or the UES and I’m happy about it! I grew up with a backyard and a hose and a public pool and everything. And I live in NYC now, but the Long Island and the north shore drives I take, Garden City staples like GC deli and DC3 deli, they’ll never die or get old in my heart. I am a Long Island girl through and through, with or without the accent. 

Next? I had one boyfriend throughout high school whom d stayed with til college. So clearly you didn’t know me then and don’t know me now - I was pretty non-sexual in high school. Sexually active in high school with other high school athletes? HA! Friends Academy was my only go to and it was one boy til I was in College Park my friend. My breakout years were in college and yeah, the the lax team who til this day are my big brothers - men you STALKED (yep C, I know it’s you) and harassed and are trying to act as though didn’t care about me. This weekend proved you wrong and if you think anything you write will outweigh my personal experiences well, hey, good luck losing weight you chubby fuck.

All of what you wrote is a lie. You aren’t my friend, you’re a twitter stalker with no life who has created seven twitter accounts to stalk and harrass me because you’re sad. You hate your own life, hate my life, and hate yourself. And making fun of me - even if it’s through bullshit lies- makes you feel better about yourself. I don’t know how shitty if must be to look at yourself in the mirror and admit you created twitter accounts about someone’s dead father. Or worse, lies about someone’s dead father. I don’t know how you live with yourself. But good for you. I live with myself because I know I almost wasn’t here. I suffer with depression. I’ve been through the ringer. I am scared that I might get there again. Sometimes I feel like I might be there. Sometimes I feel so far away from depression I can’t remember what it’s like. But I know that i can sit here and say without a doubt that nothing you can say or tweet will change the fact that I struggle every day and win every day. I pitched shows to some of the biggest networks in TV, repped by one of the best agencies in the country and I have great moments that I hold on to vehemently. Your bullshit won’t ever take it away. Keep trying though, since you clearly are doing nothing with your own life. 

As for the guy you mentioned. I loved him for who he was, not what he played, what he won. If you knew me - which you don’t, despite the fact hat you like to pretend you do - you’d know that. And for all the other shit you said? Yah, I was on a bad reality show lol, I was the first kicked off and it’s hilarious now. I’ve done shit in life I’m not thrilled about. I don’t try to make my name off of one reality show. I don’t tell people I’m a “CMT television personality”. I have talents I like to use and try to work on those. But keep knocking me for anything you can find. It makes me laugh. 

You clearly have never suffered from depression. Never been an inch away from death like I was. Never had those feelings of worthlessness that you try desperately to inflict on others. If you think anything you write could ever make me hurt, you need to live in my world for a day and know what I’ve been through to realize the stupidity you wrote means nothing in the grand scheme of knowing where I’ve been and where I’m going. I am happy to be alive. And anyone who can say that? The don’t care if some random, anonymous, chicken shit person says they look ugly or aren’t smart or has a shitty job. It took to much more to make me tie a noose. And so much more for me to untie it. And you will never comprehend that. But keep trying you pathetic, chicken shit internet bully. You will never. Fucking. Win. 

So keep creating accounts. Keep spending all your free time writing thousand word essays about who you think I am, who you think my family is, everything you don’t know because you are mad, jealous and envious of what Ive done with my life which, hilariously, is pretty minimal. I still have a ways to go. And I’m happy getting there. But for the love of fucking God, stop lying to me and yourself and everyone aging like you know me. You don’t. And if you did, you’d put your name to the shit you’re writing you fucking pussy. You won’t because you know what you’re writing is a.) untrue and libelous and b.) your obsessions with me makes yo look batshit. I’d be embarrassed too. You should be. You should be embarrassed and I hope every fucking day you wake up knowing you’re harassing a chick who lost her dad at 16 and almost committed suicide for no reason other than you’re bored and sad about your own fucking life. Id take a bad CMT show over your reality any day of the week. 

I'm flawed. Imperfect. I've fucked up, failed, lost, hurt, cried, suffered made countless mistakes and gotten rejected more times than I ever want to think about. Do you think I lack self awareness? Do you think I'm not informed about my own life's issues? I know far better than you who I am, what I'm capable of, where I come from and I certainly know better than you what the fuck my family does. You want to keep talking shit? Go for it you fucking psychopath. But don't think for one second I am afraid of anything you have to say. You will meet no more honest person in regards to what she lacks and what she's capable of than me. And I will never cow down to the idea that some random anonymous twitter shit stirrer thinks they have the ability to make me afraid. Afraid is knowing if you take one more step off your fucking window ledge you'll chooke to death. Not someone I don't know calling me ugly or making fun of the job I have. Grow the fuck up and figure out real issues go far beyond the petty, childish, bullshit things you've stoked in the fire the last year or so. 

Congrats dude. I thought hitting that point where you want to hang yourself was like, that LOWEST of low points. But you take the cake. I don't have to wake up every day knowing i created a twitter account called "StefsDeadDad". How fucking proud you must be. 

Happy Memorial Day. I’m alive. And nothing you say will change it. 

PS - below, one of the countless "long tweets" i get on a monthly basis from this fucking nut job. Just so you all know what I'm bitching about. Think I'm embarrassed/ Please. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Depression, The Trigger and the Lost Friendship

It’s been a while since I dabbled on the blog. So much has gone on in the last year or so where I have taken the blog to a place I never even imagined possible two years ago. I also began writing for Huffington Post and my outlet there just seemed better suited for reaching readers. 

But every now and then, in the hustle and bustle of what’s been going on, I have thoughts and feelings that aren’t HuffPo material. I don’t keep journals, and sometimes talking about things just compounds them. 

I thought about this. About about putting this on here. And with what this blog is and has become to me, I thought it fit. 

It’s about a boy. Isn’t is always… but I didn’t want it to be ABOUT a boy. I wanted it to be about lessons. Experience. Love. Friendship. I wanted to take the negative that’s happened recently and remind myself the same thing I’ve reminded myself every time things got difficult; this too shall pass, and you’ll look back and be glad. I wanted this to be about what I’ve learned about depression, love, and self worth in the last two years. And hopefully, I’ve succeeded.

Where to start is a hard. A friendship turned into something slightly more but always less than anything resembling a relationship. We cared. We laughed. We challenged. We hung out, we fought, we made plans, and when I was with him I’d look at him like he was the only guy in the world because in so many ways, I kind of wanted him to be. And yes, he played a sport. I once told someone in a network meeting that the was the best worst habit I couldn't break. 

Certain moments changed the dynamics of our friendship over the last year. Too any to list. He gave me one of the greatest gifts a guy has ever given me, even though I don’t think he ever fully understood it or what it meant to me. And after months of keeping him at an arms length, swearing no man - let alone another sports player after 2012 - would ever get in the way of the happiness I had found for myself in writing recently again, I caved. I told him I loved him. And I opened myself up to it. I opened myself up to the idea that our friendship could be the foundation to some kind of hilarious, fucked up, love hate relationship where we just got each other. 

For numerous reasons - some my own fault, some his - I waited for him when he told me he wasn't ready. Couldn't do distance. Wanted to keep being single for now. The "yets" kept me hanging on, hoping that the "we're not dating yet" would just melt away. I waited for him to be ready. I supported him, watched him, worried for him, wanted him to succeed throughout his season. Even when I had my own health issues, I’d check in to make sure he was doing his best. I thought about him often and realized I had officially fallen for my friend. And in my mind, I thought the support that had been put forward would be enough. I thought the value of the things I did that in the sports would, truly mean so much, would be the catalyst. That the wait would be worth it. That he would be worth it. That 30, he'd figure it out. That the 21 year olds aren't the ones who earn that place in your heart. 

It only took one short visit, one quick Google search and one jealous moment of typical girl behavior to realize the guy I thought would always be single, the one I thought would wait for a Kate Upton look alike with a bioengineering degree, had caved into being with a girl who is the antithesis of me. That typical cleat chaser. The girl I swore I would never be. The girl I never thought he’d want. The girl I knew I could never be because the psychology behind my affection for him (and any other guy I loved) was so different. The girl who posted pictures of her athlete in bed sleeping just so the world knew she could brag about sleeping with him. The type of girl who used guys to up her own status. The girl I never wanted to be. The girl I never could be. 

Fights ensued. Tears were shed. And four hours in the worst car ride of my life later, I realized my friend was no longer my friend. He never checked in to see if I was ok. If I got home. He never gave me a moment of his own time to help me deal with the loss of someone I really cared about. The only time I've ever needed him, he left me hanging. Bailed. And never cared. He watched me leave and all that came after was indifference. You know, that complete opposite of love, care or concern? Yeah. I was left with my heart in my hand bleeding over someone I had cared about for nearly two years. And there I was in Manhattan Beach, two of the biggest meetings of my life still looming in the days ahead, wondering where my friend had gone. And if he ever really was who I thought he was at all.

I recently told my mother about two months ago that I didn’t remember what depression felt like. I read the posts I wrote back then about that feeling of loneliness, hopelessness, sadness. About the sicide attempts and the feeling of loss that overwhelmed me for so many months after I lost my last love. Things I hadn’t felt in months, if not close to a year. My life was good. I was happy. Healthy. I had success in my writing, was living my dream in LA meeting with networks who a year ago I couldn’t even afford subscriptions to. My life had meaning without guys, a lesson I learned after my last baseball player all but destroyed me. I had beat depression. I was proud of that knowledge. 

When i sat in the little bungalow in Manhattan Beach having returned to LA from that terrible trip - my buddy was kind enough to let me crash because I was supposed to stay there for two nights and drove home instead not even able to look at the guy for another minute after how he treated me - I felt the trigger for the first time in months. It came back like it had never gone. That feeling of loss. That feeling of loneliness. That feeling that my friend I cared so much about - the one I took time out of of the most important week of my life to support in his own struggle - had all but put me out with the trash. That the months I waited for him to come around were lies. Wasted time? Maybe. But all of that didn’t matter. My biggest fear was that there’d be a trigger. That HE was the trigger. The kid I promised myself  I’d never fall in love with the very first night we met and I held his hand while he threw up hungover had snuck his way in and ruined it all. That the coldness, the callousness, the lack of support i got from my friend - things I just didn’t think he had in him until I saw then first hand - would drag me back back down. That all my hard work to get better, was fucked eight ways from Sunday because the love I made the decision to allow myself to feel and give wasn’t wanted and worse, wasn't even respected. I sat on the beach that night, a million miles away from home, homesick and tired, confused and sad, in the middle of the biggest week of my life, and all I could think of was how he looked when he asked me what I had expected by seeing him. All i thought of was “where did the guy I cared about go.” And “why did I trust him”. All I could see was a guy who looked right through me. And all I did was look at my phone wondering why he didn't care enough to even say he was sorry. 

We all make mistakes. Love the wrong people. God knows I’ve been there countless times. And in fairness, you can’t make someone appreciate the things you do, even if every other normal person claims they would. You can’t make someone love you, even if you deserve it. I couldn't change him. I couldn't make him care. I just wish I never felt like I had to. 

I thought I’d fall again. I thought I’d lost. All the effort, the waiting, the care and concern, taken, used and discarded, all the while the reciprocation given to a girl who was the complete opposite of me. This was my second coming of depression. I felt it. I was letting it fill me the same way I let my love for him fill me even when I didn’t want to. 

And then I got home to New York. Home is truly where the heart is and in an instant my homesick was relieved and all I wanted to do was fight a little for my own sanity, and find a way to stop loving a man who never deserved it. And then I realized I had some of the best friends a girl could ask for.

It wasn’t just my mother or roommate who reminded me that men like that don’t deserve it. Or my buddy Brett Jackson who told me never to trust a baseball guy like that again. That he was the typical one Brett never wanted to be (and couldn't be if he tried). The typical comments about men who treat women poorly, friends who let other friends down. I got those pep talks. They helped. It wasn’t everyone one of my guy friends who pumped up my own ego - truth or not - by telling me photoshop only goes so far and reputations go even farther. But it was my unlikely buddy B - a guy you’d all look at and never in a million years assume he’d be on my list of “who to call when I’m crying about dudes” - who reminded me about how to look at this situation. About who I was, who I am, and who I deserve. 

He and I talked about our past bad relationships. This kid, you'd never know his ex would be such a bitch because any girls ould die to have this guy love her. He’s a guy any girl would kill to be with, date, love, trust. He’s just one of those guys who from the minute you meet him, you know he’s different. He is one of those guys who under the toughness is one of the most genuine kids you’ll know. Those guys who pretend not to care, not to feel, not to sympathize, he’s not at all like that.  He doesn’t walk around crying and quoting the Notebook by any means, but he’s got a heart that most athletes don’t. And sometimes it comes out of no where. But it always comes when you need it the most. It came this week. 

“He’ll always be this person Stef, no matter how much you give him reasons to be better," he said. "And guys who don’t appreciate the good people who are there when shit hits the fan are doomed to chase after girls who stick around only for the good times. She might stick around, she might not, but all she’s getting is the potential to be treated the way you were. And I can guarantee if you listed all the things you love about him, they wouldn't outweigh the shitty things he says and does. He is happy being this shitty. And if he’s happy being this kind of guy, he has no reason to change. no matter how good you are.”

I thought about this. And he was right. For so long I had held on to these small moments that made me believe the big moments of disappointment were worth it. Those moments of vulnerability and love he showed that make me think he had it in him to get past all this ego. They weren’t. And never would be. You can’t change what’s important to some people. You can’t make someone see value in the good things when all they value is the superficial. And at the end of the day, you can’t wait for someone to change when they’re clearly happy with who they are - even if who they are is questionable at best to those who value things like loyalty, love, dedication, support and kindness. 

B was right. He told me about his ex girlfriend. About how he spent so much time trying to make her happy only to realize nothing he did was ever enough and nothing was ever reciprocated. And that’s when he let her go. You spend all your time trying to make someone happy, make someone believe you’re worthy of whatever small incriminates of love they might throw your way, only to realize you’re not happy. So why do you care if they are? And it didn’t take long for people to realize she was a shitty person after they broke up. That her decisions were questionable, her choices self destructive and her wants selfish. That she lost a good man who might not love often, but certainly loves with all he’s got when he does. I don’t know if anyone else will ever see that about my own guy. Maybe the world will kiss his ass and think he’s sweeter than pie because maybe I’m the only one who got to see the harder parts of him, the cold, careless, indifferent parts that don't fit on twitter or MLB fan cave. But it was enough for me to see it. And to feel lucky that I didn’t have to be the girl who settled for selfishness, narcissism and shallow attitude toward what was important anymore just to help up my popularity and chances of getting noticed for some kind of gig again.

B ended with the most important comment though. “Stef, you’re smarter than this. And you deserve better. Just like I did. Make a list of all the things he’s ever said or done to make you happy. Were they worth it in the end?”

The list was short. And suddenly I realized maybe I just loved my friend. because I loved. Maybe i just missed him. Maybe I loved those moments we drank beers together and laughed. And maybe I just loved the idea of who I thought he was capable of being every time I’d stop laughing and look at him and feel lucky he was in my life. That he was there. That we were laughing together. Maybe I didn't love him. Maybe I loved and missed all the potential I saw in his laugh the first night we went out. Maybe I just simply missed who he could have been.

The trigger had passed. The tears had been cried. The last thing I asked the guy for - in fact, the only favor I’d ever asked him for - was to say the words to me. “I don’t want you, I want this other girl.” To give me the closure I needed to stop waiting, to stop wondering, to stop hurting and hoping that our friendship would be that wonderful thing I used to think it was that would make for a great “how’d you meet” story some day. I needed him to end it, to say it, to let me go. It sounded stupid, but I needed him to cut me loose so I could move forward without ever wondering if he'd still be there if I looked back. It was the only act of kindness I ever asked him for. 

Would he say it? No. Maybe its because he didn’t care enough to give me closure. Maybe it's because you don’t give a girl who stuck by you through thick and thin a reason to never look back in case you ever happen to change your mind. Maybe he wasn't ready to let me go totally. But B said it best. ‘You don’t need his permission to leave him behind. Make your own decision for yourself because it will be the best decision you ever make. This is it Stef. Stop talking to him, or stop talking to me.”

The ultimatum wasn’t a real one. I knew that. B was my bud and he would always be there - maybe not to tell me jokes or tell me about a tv show when he was busy or annoyed ha, but when I needed him, I knew he’d be there. But I knew what he meant. I knew he was over hearing about all the ways this kid fucked me over. He was done hearing about how many times I let him hurt me. And so was I. So I picked my buddy. I picked the guy who told me I deserved better. I picked the guy who despite being busy and social, picked up the phone to call me to talk me through a pain another guy caused. Who saw the best in me and made sure I knew it, even just as his friend. I made the choice between letting a guy trigger my depression by being a dick, and letting a guy remind me I didn’t deserve it. And I know now i made the right choice. My friendship with B was more important than holding on to the hurt of my lost friendship with the other. And the opinion B holds of me matters ten fold more than what the opinion of someone who is a shitty friend ever could mean.

It was a scary realization. It was a hard pit in my stomach where you see the best things in your life, the things that made me happiest - my writing, my agency, my opportunities and life in LA - come into question because someone you trusted stood in front of you and looked through you like you weren’t even there. You question the best of yourself in these moments because if someone you love and trust can so easily look through them all, you wonder if they even exist. You think the loss of this friendship, the loss of this potentially you thought you had to be part of something special means you lose something special yourself. But it didn’t. And B helped me realize that. What hurt was losing the ability to believe my friend was the better person I always hoped he was. But losing the guy he really ended up being? There was no loss. In the end, love and friendship is give and take. It’s appreciated and selfless. it’s valuable. You want to be with someone who makes you better. And I can’t miss any of that because I never got it in return. What I got was the ability to look at myself in the mirror and say I’m walking away from a guy who will always only take from those who love and give to those who use. And remind myself I have enough friends who know what I’m worth. Know what I deserve. And know he wasn’t it. I got to look at myself in the mirror and say I could have let depression hit me again, and I didn't. I made it. I beat it. Again. 

I don’t regret those feelings. I don’t regret letting him in, I don’t regret caring, I don’t regret telling him and in some way, I don’t regret waiting for him. Even if he never realized the good girl in front of him. Loving someone unconditionally, without expectations hopes or requirements is sometimes the best life lesson there is. It teaches you to want the best for someone even if it doesn’t end up being you. It teaches you to be selfless. It teaches you what it means to truly care and worry about someone for genuine reasons. It teaches you to look at someone and see the best in them even when no one else does. And those are things I’ll take with me and give to a guy who will deserve them, value the, appreciate them and give them in return. I only hope he ever gets the chance to learn what that kind of love is. It might hurt in the end. You might get so little in return from it. But it reminds you that we’re all humans and sometimes you love someone just because you see things in them no one else does. And love should come from that place in your heart where expectations, wants and hopes are left behind. Where love is just this genuine feeling where you look at someone and feel endless belief in the best they can be. He never ended up being the best he could be. But I don’t regret for one moment the genuine love I had that taught me how to love without reason. I will love that kid for a long long time. I just realized that even if I love him, it doesn't mean I have to like the person he became, or the choices he made. He isn't the kid I used to trust, or laugh with or be able to understand anymore. That MLB swag and ego replaced any vestiges of who I used to care about. In the words of the book One Day, "I love you Dex. So so much, and i probably always will. I just don't like you anymore". And that's why I don't regret. 

My trigger has passed. My depression is still in check. My dreams to create this amazing TV show are still moving forward full speed and my writing still saves my life each week. And the further I get away from the rockbottom of depression I faced two years ago - that suicide attempt and everything that came after - the easier it is to pull myself back from the precipice of despair in situations like this to remind myself that just because one thing doesn’t work out, just because one person didn’t love me back, just because one company didn’t want me or just because one guy picked one girl’s bare minimum over my best efforts, doesn’t mean I have no where to go. Anti depressants, Xanax, sure I’ve been there. But sometimes the best remedy, the best deterrent to falling back into that space, that depression, that hurt, is one good friend, one good cry, one good reminder that all good things don’t stop being good when just one person stops being good. All it takes is that one reminder that someone you admire sees the good in you and doesn’t hesitate to make sure you see it in yourself. B helped me do that. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful to his young ass.