The waiting game

You know what’s hard not to do? Get your hopes up about a job interview. I did a phone interview for a TV gig in Chicago. I got an e-mail about it yesterday so hopefully if they reject me they’ll do it quick and I’ll only have spent a few days worrying about it.

That’s the spirit.

I really want that job.

Coming out on the other side of grief

I think I just graduated from grief counseling.

Or at least, I will not be going anymore, after going nearly every two weeks for the last six months. My counselor, Karen, and I agreed that I have come a long way in that time and that I don’t need come back. Which I guess means that I’m all better now? Not necessarily. It just means I’ve come out on the other side of grief, in one piece. Some things can never be fully restored, just like things will never go back to how they were before my mom got sick in February of 2007. But I’ve learned I can survive it.

You don’t get over a loss, you get through it. And you can either embrace the grief and let it take you over, or you can avoid it for two and a half years and shut down when it threatens to be brought up again and interrupt your life. I don’t recommend the latter strategy, personally. Six months ago I would scarcely allow myself to think of my mom. The rare blog posts I wrote about her were exhausting and draining and painful and ugly and torturous to write. Tears usually streaming down my face, I wrote instead of spoke; And I’d always feel a little better after I wrote them. I could talk about what happened to her but I couldn’t let myself get emotional, because once that door opened it was out of my control.

I can talk about her now. I can tell you I miss her but I can also tell you a funny story about her and laugh about it. I can admit she was a lousy cook without feeling like I’m besmirching her memory.

I decided to go to counseling after Brandon and I broke up. I was already a hot mess, and Brandon’s parting words were his suggestion I go. Instead of being offended, I promised I would. He and I had talked about couples counseling but by then I already knew we were beyond that and simply not right for one another. He was worried about my unwillingness to talk about my mom, preferring instead to break down and self destruct alone, in the middle of the night, while he slept. But on the other hand, he just kind of stopped asking about her after a while. We were both at fault when it came to our Great Communication Breakdown.

My dad went to a counselor in the months after my mom’s passing. I hated his counselor. I didn’t agree with anything she told him; she put him on a grieving time line and once it had been a year since my mom died she told him it was time to get rid of her stuff. I fought this tooth and nail and I couldn’t understand how my dad could do something like that. To my mom, to me. For a long time, my dad and I were on the same page. We would call each other and talk about her. We cried. We screamed at each other. We had more fights in the weeks after she died than we did in my four years of high school. We were not in a happy nor healthy place but by God, we were there together.

Then he got better. He moved forward and I stayed in the same place. There I stayed, for months.

I told him over breakfast back in March that I was going to go. He was incredulous as to why I needed to see a therapist and asked what was wrong. I told him I didn’t want to talk to him about it and that was why I was going to talk to someone else.

“Is it Mom?” he asked.

At the very mention of her I broke down, crying into my pancakes in one of Caldwell’s three restaurants.

“Then you should go,” he conceded.

My dad has been seeing a woman named Lee Ann for almost a year now. She is a wonderful, smart, kind person and she really seems to get my dad. He obviously still misses my mom but he hasn’t let her death keep him frozen in time, in grief. I did. I felt like I was betraying her by letting go, by accepting this loss and God forbid, moving on with my life. I felt like I had to go on missing her forever, or she’d be forgotten. She wouldn’t want that for any of us, and I really believe that now. Today I can take comfort in the belief that she would be proud of me and my choices. I try to think about honoring her every day with the words I say and the decisions I make and go on with life, knowing she’d be at peace with what’s transgressed since her passing.

She would be a wonderful, loving grandmother to my little niece and while it of course pains me to know Hannah will never meet her, I am am sure she’ll grow up hearing all about her. We can’t be afraid to talk about her just because it hurts; and I’m learning the more I talk, the less it does hurt.

“Unwritten,” Natasha Bedingfield

I’m probably going to be posting a lot of “free and on my own” themed songs in the coming weeks, just a heads up. A playlist for my iPhone may or may not be in the works. This song used to be fitting as the theme song of “The Hills,” back when that show was innocent and merely told the story of a girl moving to LA to start her dream job. Then it became a show about Speidi, and Heidi Montag getting plastic surgery beyond all recognition. And then it was just sad and ugly. Anyway. Let’s move away from that association with this youthful, optimistic song.

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

The campaign season is just getting started

Yesterday Aryeh, Stacey and Stacey’s boyfriend Shane shot Aryeh’s two campaign ads back to back. We aired the first one this morning:

Chalk me and Stacey’s cameo appearances to two each. That’s right. My second one comes this Friday, in John Cunningham’s ad, a response to the above one of Mowry’s. We have almost 50 fans of “The Candidate” on Facebook and Stacey made us this helpful short url for the page, facebook.com/CandidateSeries. Owen made a sweet Flash intro for the show and once Final Cut comes in (hopefully tomorrow) I will see how it looks with the show’s footage. It’s hilarious, I love it. I can’t wait to learn my way around Final Cut Express and I wish it was here already, grrr. My dad encouraged me to enter a film festival in Marietta, near my hometown. Since “The Candidate” wasn’t done I submitted a DVD of “Paper Cuts”. The festival had two categories: under 50 minutes, and over 50 minutes. It said nothing about entering a web series, but I decided to enter it in the former category. We’ll see what happens.

John Cunningham for mayor

Paid for by John Cunningham

Tonight we went to Weinland Park in Italian Village to shoot John Cunningham’s response ad, which we will air a week from tomorrow on our Facebook page and YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun and Bill did great as usual. He’s so funny and he really gets the character, even though John Cunningham is nothing like Bill. He ad-libbed a really funny bit at the end that I left in, with some text running over top of it advertising the show’s website. It’s done and edited but we aren’t airing it until Friday, after Aryeh’s first one hits Monday morning.

Aryeh purchased http://www.CandidateSeries.com just now, and Stacey’s been hard at work designing the site. I wrote some content last night and we should be pretty well on track with that before Oct. 1, our series premiere.

On Sunday, we’re filming Aryeh’s two campaign ads back to back at Owen and Jamie’s house, on their porch. I wrote the scripts last night and Aryeh made some small changes to them today. He seemed pretty happy with them. If his turn out like Bill’s did, we’ll have some pretty amazing promotional material to run before the show starts up.

Meanwhile, I’m taking the plunge and purchasing Final Cut Express tomorrow. As soon as that sucker comes in I’ll be shut up in my room editing on no sleep for days. I can’t wait!

Apartment and job hunting

Last night I dared check Craigslist for Roscoe Village apartments and was pleasantly surprised; prices seemed to be between $450-$700 for renting a room in a two or three bedroom place. Per person of course, but still awesome, considering I’ve been budgeting for at least $1,000 a month. And these places look really cute. I hope I can find something pretty easily during those first two weeks out.

Basically everyone knows now that I’m moving. And boy, people sure do look at me funny when I say I don’t have a job lined up, nor am I starting grad school. I also keep hearing “you’re so brave” a lot, paired with bewildered but polite facial expressions. Fun! On the other hand, some people seem genuinely impressed that I’m going for my dreams full-force and admit they’re somewhat envious. Envious of my strength and audacity, I hope, as opposed to my caution-to-the-wind crazed mentality.

If I really can’t find something in my field by then, I fully accept the reality of working in a hotel for a while. In fact, I welcome it. Housekeeping was a great job; I was active all day, worked hard, made tips. At some places you’re allowed to listen to music while you clean or in my case, books on tape. It was hard work and the first week left me a pile of raw cookie dough, but I liked it. Obviously I don’t want to do it forever, but it sure would be a nice change of pace from being behind a desk for eight hours a day. Being a reporter was a nice mix of sitting and writing and being out and about on my feet talking to people.

Anyway, I’m getting more and more excited about my plans although I am also starting to realize how many people I will miss and no longer be able to see on most given weekends. I need to have a big going away party or something. Britt’s throwing me one back home but I don’t have a plan for seeing my Columbus friends before I head on out. Something’s gotta get in the works soon.

Become a fan of “The Candidate”

We’re beginning to roll out our social media strategy for the web series! Click here to become a fan of the Facebook page for The Candidate. Personal pages for Mike Mowry and John Cunningham to come soon. This week we’re filming our campaign ads for John Cunningham and Mike Mowry, aka, John and Aryeh, respectively. Aryeh’s going first tomorrow night, which will be fun because I have yet to write a word of any of these ads and I have no idea where we’re filming. It was kind of a crazy weekend and I didn’t get as much done as I had planned. I did, however, edit three more minutes of the show, chalking up our total to twelve, that’s right, twelve minutes of content edited. Too bad I have to start over. But it’s of my own volition! I’ve decided to invest in Final Cut Express, a better editing software and something like a step down from what the industry standard is. We have some lower dialogue audio that I want to be able to edit more extensively than I can in iMovie and Owen agrees I can probably make the most of the investment. I’m going to make a Quicktime file of what I’ve edited already for a visual reference and move all my video files over to Express. I just have to buy it first. That’s the hard part, since it’s $200. I can’t exactly ask Aryeh to get it because his investment would be moving to Chicago right along with me in six weeks, so this one’s on me. But it’s not like I’ll never use it again after this project and I am really excited to learn how to use it. I also think now’s the time to get a cheap mouse for my laptop because editing using a touch pad thinger is rough. Did I mention I love editing video?

I am moving to Chicago in six weeks

Now that I have told my employer, I can talk about a plan that has been slowly in the works since March. I’m moving to Chicago next month, after my last day of work, Oct. 15. I’ve been thinking about doing this, because I have always wanted to live in a big(ger) city like New York, LA or Chicago, for at least a year. Brandon didn’t want to leave Columbus so this dream was put on the shelf. But once we broke up in February, I knew the time had come to finally make it happen. I’ve been at my job two years almost to the day now (I started Sept. 2, 2008) and while it has been a great learning experience, I am ready to move on. My only regret is that my work friends didn’t start at our company sooner, because they have made the last 6-8 months of my time here much, much more fun than the first year and a half. Our recent web series work has been proof of that.

I’ve been gradually telling people about this: family first, then friends and finally my work, so now everyone can know. The first question I am asked is, do I have a job? The answer is no. Or rather, not yet. I remain optimistic. The plan is to live with my aunt’s mother for two weeks and use that time to find someone who needs a roommate in one of the two neighborhoods I’ve had my eye on, Roscoe Village and Wrigleyville. I’ve been saving for a long time now, preparing to pay rent and necessities for at least two months without a job, but I am really hoping I can find something before my savings run out. Also, this is the reason I moved in with Owen and Jamie, who have been helping me save on rent. They also didn’t make me sign a one-year lease, bonus!

I’ve had some interesting reactions from people when I’ve told them my news over recent months. My brother seems excited and wants to try out Skype with me and my niece before I leave. My aunt and uncle are quietly thrilled that I’m moving to the city where they met and fell in love. My friends back home, and some of the people I was sure would be least likely to understand, all agree that I am crazy but they totally get it. When I told my dad back in March that I wanted to do this, he told me all the reasons why I shouldn’t. The next day he called back and said, “Do it. It’ll be fun.” He also let me know that if it ends up that I fail miserably, can’t find work and run out of money, all I need is a couple tanks of gas to get home to Caldwell to stay a while. I am very blessed to have such a supportive network of people in my life and what you might call a safety net, I call pure, unconditional love. Thank God for it too, because being homeless in Chicago in the winter sounds like a bad time.

I love Columbus and I will say now the plan is to come back after a year or two. I can’t promise that though, because, like you, I don’t know what 2011 has in store for me. Just know I intend to come home and that I want this experience so bad I can almost taste it. And you better believe it tastes like deep dish pizza.

You know I’ll be happy to take in any visitors and I’ll love you forever for making the trip. And one way or another, I’ll be home for Christmas.

And on the seventh day she rested

Happy September! I finished filming a web series today.

I also have almost nine minutes of footage edited. Nine! That may not sound like a lot… but… it is. I love my cast; I love my crew. There’s not one person involved in this project that I didn’t truly enjoy working with.

Basically, I’m glad this crazy thing formulated a month and a half ago and I am still incredulous that we managed to pull it off in less than two weeks.

I’m going to go pass out now.

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