One week of sobriety: A test of self control

Last week was a blur of disappointment and successes, but not for the reasons most might be thinking.

The biggest stateside video game conference had come and gone. It hadn’t been a fun filled week for me as it was for the many that gather here to our great city to celebrate the latest advances in technologies.

I work in two fields: journalism and entertainment. And while video games are a part of my 9-5, they are followed by my true passion: journalism. I have been fortunate to have resided on both sides of the fence. Each has its perks and setbacks.

I did my laundry Sunday. I washed away the remnants of people that I had thought more of before last week, of someone who I didn’t know what to think, of someone whom there exists a war in my head with what to think, and of pieces of myself that I’m learning more and more about.

I waver in between worlds within the spotlight and highlighting those who sparkle under it. But this camera sees a depth of field that…

With any conference comes the after parties. Behind these scenes is where the real magic and disasters occur. It’s the stuff of a million stories that writers won’t write about. It’s the stuff of stories that they probably should write about. It’s stuff that gets compiled into your brain and begs and begs to be released but rarely ever does.  Its the stuff that you wish you didn’t know.  It’s the stuff of stories that can drive you insane due to the lack of ability to release.

It’s the story of someone making an ass of themselves meeting someone for a secret rondevous. It’s the story of trying so hard to impress someone that the only thing that surfaces is the detestable.  It’s the story of having so much alcohol in order to make others tolerable, that a black out happens. It’s the story of [redacted] and the story of [redacted redacted].

When you work in the entertainment industry, you see this in so many instances that eventually, you have two options:
1) Let it overcome you.
or 2)Find a way to overcome it before it consumes you whole.

Life becomes more exhausting than usual. Not only does the weight of your own reality weigh on you, but so does the weight of the people vying for their chance to shine in the limelight of a coveted piece of fifteen moments of fame on the tabloid of choice.

Fearing an impending overdose on it all, I elected to take a command step forward. Paired with someone to assist in co-miserating the experience, I embarked on a journey into a world of glitz and glamour free of a method of escape. For one week I would be alcohol and smoke free.

Notes: I am not a daily drinker. I drink on a number on an occasional basis: networking parties where everyone has a glass of something in their hands, happy hour with coworkers, dates, and when something is really getting to me. The same generally applies to my smoking habits sans for one additional place it enters. Ah the “joys” of Los Angeles traffic.

Day one was to start when he left. He and I had spent the whole day together booze free. The evening had been cut short unexpectedly. Our plans to disappear into historical places taking roost in fabled haunts with as equally fabled spirits faded into the ether (for the time being).

An hour after he’d left however, I found myself assisting a friend (and veteran featured personality) with an art show she’d curated located within a seedy motel downtown. My time was spent in a bed navigating perverts (read: art enthusiasts) through the graphiti clad thrashed rock themed art room. He and I had talked earlier about me attending the show and I was originally going to stay at home and work on my book, but yet there I was. In the middle of it all, I stayed true to my mission. I remained sober and penned away at a notebook as the crowds waved in and out.

One shocking thing happened from the alt-shock event extravaganza  was not what I was expecting in the slightest. Among the sea of onlookers was one of the artists featured in the show with a very special guest. He was a “short” man.  Five ten with brown hair, scruffy and parker-esque. He had a smile that illuminated the room. His words faultered as he was nudged to “Just ask her”.

He talked to me a few minutes.  He’d wanted to take my picture with this artists work. Both of them were delightful people but there was something more about this gentleman. While talking about how we’d both ended up at the event by way of serendipitous routes, my tale of my mission to be sober for the week came up in conversation. He turned to me and said “I completely understand. I’m sober myself.” Does like energy really attract like energy?

When I arrived home however, it was nearly 2am. I was exhausted from the event. I’d had to help scrub the graphiti off the walls and clean up the aftermath. There had been four of us toiling away that evening cleaning. Being an art curator (or in my case, assisting one) is not always as glamorous as it sounds.

The bar below my apartment had my favorite beer on tap. I immediately walked up the steps and got a glass. But after I’d paid for it and it had been poured in front of me, I began to feel horrible. Day one of sobriety had been going so well. Within an instant, I’d ruined it.

The next day I went to visit family in Huntington Beach. I was intending on spending some time as a mermaid beachside a bit as well. Of course, the outfit I chose as I headed to the beach felt more suiting of the event I was at last minute then what I’d ended up wearing. Cest’ le vie. As I packed my bag my brain immediately went to “cans of beer and smokes”.  I shook the idea off and headed seaside.

Even after I’d arrived to family bbq, the two items I’d left behind were pushed into view. My family helped to make excuses for why it would be alright.  So did friends who’d invited me to return back to the bar below my loft bribing feats of hilarity in kiddie pools.  Everyone seemed to chime in “You can just start tomorrow.”

Remembering the night prior, I stuck true to the goal. It was a bit frustrating but it was nothing compared to the temptations that would follow the rest of the week. One such example happened later that evening when I’d arrived home. My secret guest and I had limited ability to enjoy our weekend as my roommate (who isn’t usually home and isn’t home as this is being written) was home for the entirety of it. However she’d had a guest that evening. I wanted nothing more than to go downstairs and have a beer. No can do.

I found myself as the week progressed, and as life continued to rapid fire bullets of everyday flies in the ointment, running a gammit of emotions from intensely frustrated with my lack of easy escapism, to rationalizing the act, to… undeniable clarity.

I went to my first networking event without the escapism. At one point, I’d thought that the booze was necessary. You need a glass in your hand in order to be approachable after all right? Almost right. The event had been a test of wits. It forced me to modify the way I went about my interactions. With the sobriety came more clarity and control over myself in navigating the event than I’d remembered experiencing for a long time.

My eyes were wide open.  I saw everything.  I was better able to gauge who would be the best conservators. I met more valuable, more mature and more truly talented people than I might have had I not been completely sober. I immediately was able to see how I could make their businesses better.  I was more on point with statistical and competition information.  I felt empowered by my lack of a barrier to readily access that information.

The main rationalization I’d previously turned to for the reason to do it “I deserve it” became the reason not to do it. It evolved. Perhaps I did a little in the process as well. And while I may not go completely sober or smoke free right now, I will continue to follow this path. The lessons that I have learned from this week shall not disappear into the ether. I highly encourage each of you to try this for yourself. You don’t have to have a huge problem for it to be effective.

Why?  Because “You deserve it?”  Almost.  It’s because “You deserve more.”

If you or someone you love is experiencing a debacle great or small with alcohol or any other substance, don’t be afraid to seek help with it. You are not alone. For more information on support centers and other outlets, or if you just want to attend a meeting to see what others are saying to see for yourself, feel free to look into the following link at your leisure:

Alcoholics Anonamous

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Settling, but not quite settling

There’s a difference between giving in and giving up.  Knowing when to do each is something that only life lessons can truly teach you.  This year has been full of those such experiences.

My love affair with this city… it’s the story of true unconditional love.

It’s been a long but epic week.  I’m waiting on a callback about a position I’d applied for.  I’ll know later today.  I wouldn’t be starting until Monday if I got it.

I didn’t make it down for the blogger meeting.  I was sidetracked with an opportunity.

A friend of mine twittered about needing some help with casting for his webshow- Frenchmaidtv.  Now if you haven’t seen this quirky and sexy little series, I really must insist that you go there and watch.  When I first found it, I understood immediately why it was such a hit.

I came to California originally for the same things it seems everyone here comes for.  Ah yes, I came out here for the entertainment industry- the mecca of of smoke and mirrors manufacturing.  Sidetracked from that a few years… life has a weird way of bringing you back to your roots.

Two birds, one stone.  I had the chance to help someone deserving and learn some lessons in the process.

Life is a series of windows.  Not doors, windows.  Because I believe sometimes it takes more effort than just walking in a door.  Sometimes you stumble across an open window, take a glance, and have to find some way to climb though.  Holy crap I sound like I break and enter now.  ***I am not responsible for any breaking and entering cases caused by this blog***

I’m a rebel but not a jerk.

That said, when you are fortunate enough to stand on a platform and take a look into a new world (being this short, I need a stepstool to see in those high ones), you take it without hesitation.

My view of Hollywood had been tarnished.  That day, it revitalized the zest I had all those years ago.  I am forever thankful to Tim for letting me tag along.  It was something I will never forget.

One love postponed to rediscover an old one.

Hollywood, the honest view from this inside outsider:

It is exactly as it looks from the outside.  It’s shallow.  It’s gritty.  It bids emotion exist and remain non existent.  Broken dreams.  Made dreams.  Hardened hearts for a reason.  Tits or GTFO.

The 405 was a parking lot.  I left later than expected.  Not surprised, but there was no way I was going to make it home.  There’s fashionably late and then there’s just damn late.

Another friend of mine called me:

How adventurous are you feeling tonight?

Pornstars.  Kareokee.  Only in LA.  It was the perfect ending to a day chuck full of breasts, plastic, and hollywood.  It’s amazing how real something that screams fake can be.  Puns intended.

Like I said, they manufacture these moments in Hollywood though.  It’s like a drug.  One hit- and you’re hooked.

I haven’t been able to sleep much.  I’m a workaholic.  I have too many projects to work on.  Not enough time.  I’m pushing 36 hours in a 24 hour day.

There’s a difference between giving in and giving up.  Knowing when to do each is something that only life lessons can truly teach you.  This year has been full of those such experiences.

Those sentences echo in my mind.  I am making peace within myself.  Time to make the outside match the inside.

I wrote a message to try and push a restart button.  I wanted no harm, no foul.  Once upon a time, I’d like to believe we were friends.  Perhaps we never were.  Perhaps it was all just about the heat.  So why was there so much passion?

“Behave yourself”

I didn’t need to hear that.  Have I screwed up in the past?  Yes indeed. I am human and admit that part of the reason it failed was because of me.

I rolled my eyes a bit at the statement and lol’ed.

Heading down to San Diego… another swimsuit.  Gassed up in my bikini.  Iced chai with whipped cream and cinnamon on top.  Late leaving… but fashionably on time.

I changed on the drive down.  Driving with just your breasts at 90mph is probably not something I’d reccomend doing.  Scratch that.  Hell it’s worth doing once.  ***I am not responsible for the accidents occured by this blog***

The thing about being home is that even when things happen, they seem to have little to no effect on me.  I didn’t cause any ruckus despite what happened.  And as much as I’m sure he’d love for me to be “that bitch” and air all the laundry, I’m more mature than that.  And frankly, I only partially care.

If you love something and you let it go and it comes back, it was yours.  If not, then it never was.

You can tell your friends that I was a never was.  You can spout assorted gossip about me.  Get nasty.  Do whatever.  It’s your life.  I don’t tell anyone how to run theirs.

The truth lies in that vast space of stars and time.

I’m not innocent.  I’m not better.  I’m just not pandering anymore to the manipulative bullshit.

I wish you all the best of luck in all that you do.  I know that you have the power to be successful.  I have faith in you despite it all.

I love you for the lessons you taught me.  About life.  About business.  About how a relationship should and shouldn’t be.  I always will.

Goodbye my “friend,” my “lover,” my Mr.-Never-Once-was Mr-Likely-Will… blank blank dot dot dot.

To be continued…

Dear Hollywood,

I’m learning I have a love/hate relationship with you.  Some days I really understand what Marilyn meant when she said.

“They’ll pay you a million dollars for your kiss, but a penny for your soul.”

I’m still getting used to the city here.   I have seen the grungy dirty vision of Hollywood.  Wiser… I know better now.  I felt as if perhaps that spark of Hollywood was really more of a myth than a reality.

Thank you for today.  Thank you thank you thank you.

You restored my faith.

Now if you’ll excuse me, in celebration of this… I’m going to go to Burbank for some Kareokee with porn stars.

Full story to be contined…

Love (at least for today),

J

Etcetera Etcetera, take one & go

early evening Saturday:

It was just an ordinary Saturday night.  I’d gotten a phone call about 6pm to ask if I wanted to go to a show in Anaheim.  It wouldn’t have been gridlock, but I would have been fashionably late.

I’d heard about a party for a friend but wasn’t sure if I was going to go to that either: +1 me anyone?  I have that strange thing called manners and didn’t just want to assume it was cool to attend.  I also waste time worrying occasionally.

I sent a tweet asking which of the beautiful people wanted to hang out.  It was only partially shallow.  Perhaps that beautiful girl I spent my Friday evening with would grace my evening again.  I’d missed her message earlier in the afternoon.  I should have given her my number.  I should have gotten her number.  I have other means of contacting her.  Ah thank you digital age.  Why do some girls turn me into a chicken?

8pm:

My roommate leaves to go hang out with some friends of ours to play video games and drink.  I’m more than welcome to attend.  However I’m on this “I’ve been playing video games all day & it’s a weekend so I don’t want to go out to do something I could essentially be doing at home” kick.  That and something was overheard that I didn’t appreciate

“Either start resisting her or make her give you sex…”

Not cool.  I don’t care if you’re kidding or not.  But what the fuck ever.  I told him I was done talking to them.  Give me a couple of days and I’d have been over it.  I’m allowed to silently overreact and do nothing at the same right?  I’ll use the “I have a vagina” excuse.

815pm:

A friend whom had been traveling messages me to call him.  He hadn’t seen me in awhile and was wondering what I’d been up to.  We did some catching up.  There’s something to be said about a person with as much passion as my friend Wmmarc.  We talked about his travels and my recent rendezvous. Or um.. the ones I don’t talk about. ::Big wink::

“I really want to go to SF again. It’s been a long time.”

“Well maybe you can take the drive up with me sometime when I go again.”

Indeed.  Saying no to a trip to SF with my personal photographer?  Photographic evidence of debauchery?  Oh so tempting.  (To be continued)

845 pm:

I’m still milling over what I’m going to do for the evening.  I’m being a shithead.  It’s not like I didn’t have options.  I nearly went to San Diego for the day.  Someone, somewhere had to have something going on.  And if not, I was going to go on an adventure of my own.  Hell I have mace and I wear heels.  I can hold my own if a clown tries to mug me.

915pm:

I got a text from a friend asking if I was going to the party I’d heard about for the past week.  A formal invitation.  Silly, the friend hosting it had no problem with me going.  I worry too much over nothing and occasionally repeat myself.  I haven’t seen the usual suspects in about a month or so.  I felt like a blip on the social radar… or at least with that circle.

“Text me when you’re on your way.”

945:

Yes, I’m that girl that goes through 10 outfits to pick the first one I tried on.  Once upon a time I wore that top and it gave the illusion I had breasts.  And then the past year happened.  Real women have curves?  Just call me boobzilla.  The ladies looked fabulous.  I got a second opinion and headed out the door- I’ll be damned if I was going to arrive earlier than late enough to be fashionably late.

10pm:

It took a few tries to start the beast.  Silly me, I had a feeling that I should gas up before hitting the freeway.  It only said 6 miles on google maps.  I’m sure I’m fine.

My music was on too loud.  The windows were down.  I hit the 10 and I’m cruising.  I may even be a bit earlier than I thought.  I forgot my smokes.  Damnit.  I can pick up some more if I see a gas station.  No big deal.  You’d think maybe someone was trying to tell me something or something.

1015 pm:

Yeah so now I’m on the Fairfax exit sitting there because of course I ran out of gas.  Damnit damnit damnit.  Where the fuck are the hazards?  Hell if I know in Rob’s truck.

I tried repeatedly to start the damn thing.  All I need is just a little kick to get to a gas station.  Not being overly religious/brainwashed I call upon the powers of the Schwartz.

Come on Schwartz. Come on Schwartz.

Epic fail.  It’s still not starting.  Oh and that button I thought would be the hazards?  It’s the wipers which of course also won’t turn off now.

I’m texting white knights.  Someone please save my dumb ass right now or at least get me to that party so I can deal with the truck later.  I’m far too sober for this.

My roommate is in Marina Del Rey.  He has AAA but would have to be here for them to do anything for me.  He’s 25 mins away.  It’ll take them another 20 to get to me.   Awesome.  Gotta love LA.

1045pm:

A random hot girl knocks on my window as I’m still parked on the damn off ramp.  She apologizes for not stopping sooner.

“Let’s get the truck over to the side.  I’ll grab a guy and we’ll push you.  Just stay inside and steer.”

She asks where I had been going and said she wishes she could have done more.  No one carries a gas can in their car.  Then again most people have cars where their gage works so they don’t need to.

She asks me what happened and I explain.

“I was heading to a party and just ran out of gas.  It’s nothing major, but welcome to LA right?”

She tells me she’s also new to the city.  She’s from San Francisco.  There was a moment of just gazing back and forth.  Damnit why am I such a chickenshit with beautiful women?  I should have gotten her number.  I didn’t think it was the appropriate circumstance or hell, I’d have brought her to the party.  Maybe one night I should fake car trouble.  Oh look I dropped my pen… damsel in distress.

11pm:

I have 2 men at the party ready and willing (ha double entendre) or at very least telling me that they were) to go and find me some help.

“I’m standing at my car right now, just let me know if you need me and I’m on my way.”

Did I mention I hate asking for help?  Because I do.

I’m standing outside my car looking a bit bummed.  Gotta love my luck and horrific planning.  I’m having a “you should have known better moment…”

I’m on the phone with one of these white knights when a couple of rebels pull up.

“We’ll tow you to a gas station.  Just try and start it and put it in neutral so we can get it on the lift.”

Wouldn’t you know it the asshole truck started right up then.  Mother of ::insert explicative ninja’d by Faarbot*::

Bonus points if you get that joke and legitimately know what it’s in reference to.

Super bonus points if you’re an articulate, savy and successful artist/geek.

Super super bonus points if you live and/or have no problem traveling back and forth to/want to use airline miles to send a beautiful nerd girl from LA to another amazing city.

“I’m fixing to steal an Audi a few blocks from here.”

I always did think the whole idea of repo men was a bit hot.  They’re a different kind of calculated prowler than me, but we’re still one and the same; me- out and about wondering where the next blog fodder will pop up, them- stealing cars for a living.

“Three people asked me to tow their cars before I saw you.” he says as he laughs.

Yes, that means I got in the car with 2 random strangers.  As Michael Pilla told me later that night:

“This sounds like the plot of a horror movie or a porno.. either way, you’re fucked…”

Should I not be admitting that I have hitchhiked on purpose without a car trouble related situation quite a few times already?  Oops.  Apparently I fail then.

“I’m a country boy.. That car is hot but with you in it, its that much hotter..”

Yeah, I told you my tits looked fabulous in that top.

11:15:

I’m finally on the way to the party.  The doorman thought I was 18.  When I told him that I’d birthed 3 kids he was shocked.  No one seems to believe that when they see me.  Horray for daddy’s genetics and Wii fit.

I find my friends and the party goes on as only the usual suspects can possibly entertain.  Nicole looked amazing.  It’s hard to believe that she’s what 27?  28?  Is it wrong that I’d forgotten?  Again, did I mention she looked fabulous?  Seriously.

I’d never been to that club before.  I’m still learning the city prowl.  The regular set of friends doesn’t seem to be into the whole club/bar/socialite crawl.  It’s not a big deal but.. well I already talked about that didn’t I?

i don’t remember what time it was because I’m not interested in the time anymore:

I’m telling my friends about what happened on the way to the party.  I can’t believe its been nearly a month since I’ve seen some of them.  Someone smacks me on the ass and I giggle.

“What just happened?”

“Oh someone just smacked my ass.”

“Random ass smacking you say?”

“Sure.” I say with a wink.  (Yes I know exactly who it was by the way)

So there’s this guy I’ve been talking to off and on for the better part of at least a year now.   His doppleganger walks by and I mentioned it to the immediate circle that this guy caught my eye.  I know most everyone in attendance here, but where the hell did he come from?  I had just mentioned on the phone earlier that there needed to be more hot single men in our group.

I’d rather be chased and do the chasing.  I knew I was going to make a way to talk to him somehow.  The guys just made it easier for me.

“You look like someone we know.. who are you?” they said as they pulled him over.

It’s great to have wingmen.  I owe you a drink boys.  I didn’t pick him up.  I just picked him out.

We sat and talked for a good portion of the party.  Video games.  Twitter. 2.0. Where do I fit in here. A little about him.  A little about me.  Etcetera, etcetera etcetera.

If you’re reading this, know that I did catch you looking down a few times.  I believe I said that I noticed but I really did enjoy the introduction so some words may have escaped me.  I could have gone for hours. Take that as you will.

He’s not from around here unfortunately.   From the bay area.  He asked me how far I am from LAX.  I told him 20 minutes.  More like 10 with no traffic, but I neglected to mention that at the time.  Damnit I cockblocked myself.

He kissed me.  On the scale of 1 to 10 with kissing, I’d say it was…

I’m all about passionate kisses in the moonlight in public places.

“I’m glad that I met you.  I didn’t expect to meet anyone tonight, let alone such a great kisser.”

I blushed.  Perhaps I’m cuter when I don’t try.  I’m glad I met him as well.  He was like an unexpected phantom.. the wildcard.

I should have brought him home with me like a souvenir or pulled him into a bathroom.  I hesitated.  I masterbated.  It wouldn’t have been the first time.   There’s something to be said about sex in public.  But there’s still time.  Thank you digital age once again.

3am (yes I’m noticing the time again as now they’re kicking us out of the club):

I’d had a little bit of time with a newly single hot gent.  Yes a different one.

I think the doppleganger was on a bit of sensory overload.  There were a lot of pretty girls there.  A blonde in a blue dress.  A stereotypical hipster cliche.  Hey whatever turns you on.  Personally I’d have gone with the black haired girl in the yellow dress with the bubble skirt hemline.  But we’ve already established my problem approaching women.

I didn’t go to the afterparty.  I elected to just go home.  Perhaps I should have.  Perhaps not.

Messages sent.

“Off the record- you are extremely cute btw. I wanted to tell you that before but didn’t feel was appropriate at the time”

“Let me know when its on the record.”

Dirty words exchanged.

Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera.

I went to bed naked as usual.  A little more motivation to finish my night off before passing out on the raptor cloud that is my bed.

9am Sunday:

I checked my messages.  Probably the best written introduction I’ve received from a gent so far.  Kudos on that one sir.

All in all… I can’t complain. Ah today sounds like a good day to go beaching.  I’m good on gas now.  Maybe I can have a chance encounter.  Will it be with you?

Image is nothing

What did I just say?  Yes and I meant it.  For this instance frankly is something I’m finding pretty disappointing.

As a little girl I had a completely different vision of what this place would be like.  Of all the glitz and glamor that is Hollywood and Los Angeles.  While I have many good things to say about my dear town of residence, I am also shaking my head.

I have not been to all these touristy places.  The Kodak Theatre.  The movie studios.  I know that when I do go, I will enjoy them.  And maybe perhaps then will I feel a little less ripped off than what I do now.

Last month was my first time on the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame.  What’s funny is that I didn’t even realize it until after my friend Vieve mentioned to look down.  The area was not what I’d pictured.  There was no buildup.  There wasn’t any rush.  It was run down and just sort of there.

I know that I will likely have late night adventures with a camera on the streets of LA.  It is beautiful in its own urban way.  With my fixation on urban shooting, LA is actually a rather good match.

But in a city where “Image is Everything”… it sure doesn’t look like it.

I really want to take some time and help out to restore the area.  I wonder how many other people have had this image killed by coming here.  Is it like this in NYC?  I feel uncultured by having to ask.  It doesn’t look like that in other metro areas I’ve been to and lived in.

I guess what I’m trying to say is…

I love LA.  I hate LA.

I think I understand why Marilyn Monroe killed herself now.  This city of Angels.. of dreams… really isn’t all that it seems from the outside of the goldfish bowl.  I’ve only been here a few weeks and already can see right through.

Dear daddy,

You were right this time.