I need a real job, and this is a fact that I am finally coming to grips with. I am unbelievably poor and a big part of this is because I haven’t had a “real” job in over a year. Fortunately I can’t say I was a total drain to society during this period of my life. I created and wrote a web-series!!! And actually, if you must know, I made two web-series. The second one will hopefully see the light of day at some point in the to be determined future.
However, while my latest career endeavors have been rich in experience and life lessons… not so much so financially. I am like, really broke. Like borrowing too much money from my family, who I don’t actually think has any money to give me themselves, kind of broke. Like I need to get off my ass and be a real, functioning, 9-5-having, working person.
An issue with this is that I’m um, “creative”. So.
Soooo… I’ve been trying to be creative too with how I’ll earn my future paychecks. I’m a big believer in dreams, and I’ve been determined to believe that while my dreams can come true – they should also pay me some more money.
So last week when I saw this posting, it sort of felt like fate:
I’m exactly 5’3″!
I was supposed to get brunch with my friend on this day at this time, but luckily he was kind enough to understand and reschedule for a to be determined date in the future. I told him an “audition opportunity” came up. Well, if he reads this, it was this one.
I committed to my audition plan, figuring if you don’t commit to at least trying to make your dreams come true, then they can’t. I watched several YouTube videos about how the auditions go, and then I watched videos of the characters in action at the parks, being sure to learn how to properly mimic their high-pitched and optimistic sounding voices. I really prepped for this one.
Unfortunately, this past Friday the 13th was especially horrific as we all know. A lot of stress that had accumulated on this day surfaced. Things that had not been dealt with became too painful. Events that occurred on this day resulted in many tears. So many tears that when I awoke the next morning I realized that all those little blood vessels on my face had broken, leaving me looking like a red splotchy mess.
I desperately tried to cover the pain written all over my face with make-up. At this point realized that I am not very well versed in make-up. What goes where and when? I didn’t know, but caked it on anyway because Saturday I had to attend my little sister’s 8th birthday party and I didn’t necessarily want to show up to a kid’s party looking like I had been through hell.
The party was nice. My sister had it at a little kid’s tea party place which was amazing and even had princess dresses in grown-up sizes. The girls working there put my hair up in a bun. I felt like at the very least there was still hope (also my sister’s name, coincidentally). Maybe my dreams could still come true despite all that had happened in the recent past.
But when I looked in the mirror, closely, I could see that the immense amount of make-up I had put on somehow only made my face look more tired. It made the creases more noticeable. I have creases, something I hadn’t actually been aware of up until this point. I’m 27. It started to dawn on me that maybe I am actually kind of old. I started to fear the audition. Fuck. Was it even worth my time driving down there to have these ladies look at my old, tired, worn out face that had been beaten down by life and all its recent challenges? Disney Princesses apparently don’t actually live lives in which the day-to-day slowly weathers them down.
My best friend who I’ve known since Middle School (pictured above with me and Hope) was still encouraging. “No, you have to do it! You’ll regret it if you don’t.” So she was kind enough to accompany me to Sephora, where we figured the professionals might be able to help me out with my “face” problem and give me some proper tools since my own make-up job hadn’t really done the trick. The girl was helpful. I bought some concealer that was called “Cover FX”, exactly what I needed, but it was about $30. I figured it was an investment in my future?
I also bought an “Alice” jacket because, hell, I really wanted to be Alice and I figured she was the one I was most likely to get cast as, so I wanted to remind the Disney people who they were dealing with.
My sister’s birthday festivities went on for a while with a dinner following the tea party. The dinner party was nice too. I got to see family members who I hadn’t seen in a long time. They asked me what I was going to do with my life and I told them I was going to audition to be a Disney Princess. They seemed happy for me and wished me luck, but as the night went on my exhaustion hit me like a wave. So much had happened this year, and so much had drained the life out of me. It felt like everything I had been holding back and refusing to feel was finally catching up with me. I couldn’t let that happen now though. I had the audition the next morning. It was a little hopeful idea I couldn’t let go of. I could still be paid to play for a living, I thought, in a somewhat low-stress job with no stakes, while I focused on my writing in my free time. That was the real dream. I wanted to keep that one alive.
Too tired though to drive all the way home to Silver Lake from the South Bay, my family insisted that I spend the night with them.
“But I need make-up” I insisted. And I felt like I really did, because from my YouTube studies I knew most of the Disney Princess audition is they just line you up in rows and look at your face and then tell you to go away if they don’t like your face. My dreams were all riding on how my stupid, old, splotchy face looked. In normal circumstances I think my skin is pretty decent, but this was a particularly bad week for my skin. I had never experienced such anxiety about my physical appearance. Kind as my family is, they gave me $30 to pick up some spare make-up supplies at target for the next morning, which I did. I then promptly fell asleep, agonizing about how I slept on my pillow so that the bun I had gotten that day wouldn’t get too fucked up for the audition the next morning.
The next morning I made up my face, and I could still see the creases and spots. Perhaps part of this was my lack of knowledge in knowing how to even apply the damn stuff, but I knew deep-down that my face was merely a reflection of all the stress I had been under in the past months. I hadn’t been dealing with it, and now I was trying to cover it up.
On my way down to Disneyland in the morning I enthusiastically spoke out loud in the car to myself in my “high-pitched, optimistic British, Alice” voice. I repeated the phrase “it’s a lovely day, isn’t it?” numerous times and I also repeatedly told myself to remember to smile.
“They’re going to turn me away the second they see my face” I thought.
“Have a positive attitude!” I reminded myself in my new-found persona’s voice. “It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”
This continued the whole way there like a fucking psychotic person, until I got to the Disneyland Drive exit. It was crowded as fuck. I believe there was a marathon of sorts also happening there that day, but whatever it was it was the most crowded I had seen it in a long time. It took me literally 25 minutes to just get off the freeway exit. I had arrived at the exit off-ramp at 10 (a full hour before the 11am audition) but didn’t get off until 10:25.
“That’s okay,” I told myself. “Good thing I gave myself time to get here early.”
The thing I didn’t account for was that the building the audition was in was somewhat misleading. It said it was on “Ball Road” but really it was “off of Cast Place”. I unknowingly drove right past my destination and found myself on some kind of an overhead bridge before my GPS announced that I had arrived. But I knew I had not. I figured I would just turn around.
But due to all the traffic around the park this morning, I found it took me another 20 minutes before I could even find myself on a street to turn around. By now it was 10:45 and at the rate it took me to drive 100 feet I knew I wouldn’t be able to circle back in time for 11am.
My mom called me and at this point I was aggravated and near tears. I explained the situation about the traffic and she tried to help, but the reality of the situation was dawning on me. What was I even doing? I had invested so much of my time and energy and money I don’t even have this week into what, at best would be a minimum-wage job with a really long commute that would have ultimately nothing to do with my career goals of being a writer.
I mean I went to a fancy college and I’ve had a web-series produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky. I’ve worked for really great people I admire who have accomplished great things. Somehow I still felt like none of my accomplishments were really adding up to something I could see and feel. And certainly nothing that was paying me. I felt like I still hadn’t really written enough. I felt poor. I don’t have enough money to pay my rent and bills on my own. I felt like I had been a drain on my family, pursuing pipe dreams that, despite my surface level success, still didn’t feel like enough. I felt confused and directionless. And I felt heartbroken by all the curveballs life had thrown at me lately… by all the time and energy I had invested into projects that didn’t seem to be working out as I had anticipated. I was worn down by all my perceived failures and I was blindly throwing myself head first into a Disney Princess audition. I’m technically educated and accomplished. Shouldn’t I be able to do something now? But it just hasn’t felt that way.
I didn’t feel very Princess-like, and was aware that my inherent personality is one filled with complications and strife, which doesn’t necessarily make me a great match for the job description.
Not to mention, while I don’t want to publicly get into details, as I said, Friday was particularly horrible and I had done nothing of the sort to give myself downtime to process the thing that had caused my face to be so splotchy in the first place.
My mom was so kind and supportive, and she helped me to find the building on the phone. When I described my existential crisis she said, “Well that’s a good thing. Now you can figure out what you really want.” She told me to go to the audition anyway, because at the very least I would know where the building was for “next time”.
I showed up at the casting place 15 minutes late. The gentleman who greeted me was so kind and told me I wasn’t too late because they knew the traffic around the park had been a total clusterfuck.
I arrived just in time, to be shuffled off into the “cast members” building.
“There’s still hope!!” I thought.
(As a huge Disneyland fan I figured, at least this is cool. I got to see this behind the scenes shit.)
Sure enough, when we arrived in the big audition room they sorted us like cattle and we were examined by rows. If they called your number after they looked at your face, you got to go to the next round. If not, sayonara.
My turn came and there was a picture of “Alice” next to my “number 9”. A sign??
I smiled awkwardly at the ladies who were scoping me up and down.
“Hi, my name is Jessica!” I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. But I felt like even my best acting couldn’t really help me now. I felt pretty dark and I figured my aura was probably a dead give away for “this girl has been through hell and just came back. Definitely not Princess material.” (Although, I might argue, maybe a reason why I’d still be a great Alice). At that moment “What is This” from the Nightmare Before Christmas started playing, and I tried smiling harder, deciding to believe that maybe the song from one of my favorite Disney movies was a sign that I still had a chance…
“1, 6, and 8, you can stay,” they announced about my row. “Everyone else can go to the other side of the room.”
I walked to the other side of the room. That was it. After all that, I didn’t make it past the first round.
“Sorry, that’s it!” They told my group. “Thank you for coming. And please don’t write or talk about this on the Internet. We really ask that you don’t. People think that the princesses are real and if you write about it on the Internet then it ruins the illusion. So whatever you do, please don’t talk about this experience on the Internet. Thanks for coming, we hope we didn’t waste your morning.”
Yeah, if I don’t write about it, what the fuck else was that experience for?
Dear Pitbull and Ne-Yo,
I’ve listened to your newest song, “Time of Our Lives” numerous times and as such feel compelled to address some of your concerns.
First, I completely relate to the troubles that you describe. I too, have worked my ass off and yet still fall short of rent each month. It is a difficult economy, and especially for those of us, like yourselves, pursuing a creative field, it is common to work very hard but to fail to receive financial gains for our efforts. It’s a shame that we live in a world that doesn’t necessarily value monetary compensation for our art. In this sense I find your strife highly relatable.
However, I am concerned by the manner in which you’ve been dealing with your (again, understandable) stress. You have just enough to get up in this club? Are you sure this is the best manner in which to spend the limited income you have? I personally, am not. While I fully endorse living a well-rounded life that includes time for extracurricular activities, I am not sure that “the club” is the best use of your time and money, especially since – again – you are falling short on your rent.
To start, while I again agree in the notion of “having the time of our lives” have you considered that there are numerous free activities that are not only highly enjoyable but also spiritually and physically rejuvenating? Examples that come to the top of my head are, the beach, hiking, volunteering at a local animal shelter, etc. This is a great way to get out in the world and even give back to the community.
I also feel, that if you do have a little extra cash which you are currently spending on “the club”, that perhaps you would be wise and better off to financially invest in your own future. You seem interested in a music career, from what I can tell. You are obviously talented, so perhaps you would be better off to use your “last $20” on producing music tracks which you could upload to SoundCloud? This way you’ll have material to show people who might be interested in developing your career further, at which point you will hopefully then have enough money to “get up in da club” AND pay your rent!
I am also a little unnerved by what I might consider to be a bit of an alcohol problem. While I am certainly no prude or square myself, I have seen how drugs and alcohol can distract, interfere, and otherwise destroy the lives of young creative artists who otherwise would have a very bright future indeed. I think you’ll find that, while difficult, it is possible to overcome these addiction demons, and that the efforts are well worth the promise of your future. It might be a simple matter of drinking less, in which case you’d both save money to pay for your rent and open up some creative space in your head to really go for your true dreams. This club business honestly seems like it is a cause of the problems you are having – in which you can’t pay your rent and are struggling to make ends meet. Life doesn’t have to be such a struggle if you just channel your energy and efforts into more productive means.
Last, I am also a little concerned about your attitudes towards women. Certainly, it is no business of mine whether you are seeking a long term relationship or not. That is a personal journey and something you are of course entitled to decide for yourself. However, I am not sure that you need “da club” to meet women, and you might find a free app like Tinder helpful in connecting you with like-minded women who are not interested in pursuing love, as you say, but instead “lust”. Additionally, if a woman has just broken up with her boyfriend, I might suggest you be a little more cautious and considerate of her feelings. She is probably in a vulnerable and emotional state and so when you describe yourself as “like Rodman, ready on deck” I can’t help but express apprehension that you might be taking advantage of a troubled and lost soul. She probably needs support and compassion in this time, and so I just want to make sure you are being delicate in the manner in which you are proceeding with the situation. Of course two consenting adults have every right to “ride out”, but please consider the emotional consequences.
Otherwise, a very catchy song and you obviously show promise. I just hope this letter reaches you in time to hopefully make a positive impact and direct you towards achieving your full potential. I truly believe that one day you might be able to pay rent AND get up in da club occasionally, but all of this again probably requires balance and a reevaluation of your priorities.
Wishing you all the best,
It has come to my attention that I am now an “adult”, and as such it seems one of my responsibilities is to feed myself. This has proven to be a considerable challenge over the past few years, and so as of late I have taken it upon myself to improve my efforts and visit the “grocery store” (if you will).
I’ve performed a number of experiments in this vein, and being an intelligent young woman I have concluded that it is no longer a conducive choice to purchase bags of kale. As it turns out, I don’t really eat the kale.
However, because I theoretically value my health, it is important to me to make decisions that cater to my long term well being*. This is indeed why I got this stupid shitty bag of Cheetos®.
These particular Cheetos® suck. This bag was full of false promises. First, I was under the impression that the “puffs” aspect would provide a lighter snacking experience to again, ensure my health*. In retrospect, and after having consumed the Cheetos® first hand, I’m not so sure that this is actually the case. I was also drawn in by the word “simply”, inferring that the Cheetos® would be a fairly organic snack. Again, in hindsight, I guess they aren’t because they’re still Cheetos®. The “white cheddar” label, to me, also implied that I would be taking care of my health* by sticking to all-natural cheese flavorings. Upon opening the bag, I think they would have been more appropriately labeled “white chalk”.
Basically, they tasted like shit. The puffs part of it made it gross, the white cheddar part was also gross, and, to top it all off, after some careful analysis, I realized the health* aspect of this snack was all in the marketing and not a reflection of the actual product.
Will I be purchasing these Cheetos® again? No. Do I recommend these Cheetos® to anyone else? No. If you’re going to eat Cheetos® should you just go for the real deal, only slightly worse for you, toxic bright orange colored ones that are still shit but at least taste pretty decent when accompanied with a poisonous beverage like Diet Coke®? Yeah, probably.
*low calorie count to stay kind of skinny
It’s day seven of my attempt to write a blog post a day. So far, I’ve done it. Was I lacking inspiration this week? Sure. Were some of my posts a bit of a stretch for material? Yeah, maybe. Were others overly sappy and emotional for no reason? Hey, we all have our bad days.
I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get here today. First I’d like to thank my parents, for hopefully not using the computer very often and presumably not reading anything I do on the Internet. Remember, ignorance is bliss! I’d also like to thank many of my friends, for probably also not reading my blog. I genuinely appreciate you looking the other way when I post embarrassing / mediocre shit in an attempt to refine my skills, so your indifference means a lot to me. I couldn’t do it without you. Third, I’d like to thank the random Internet strangers and two close friends who probably did read my posts this week. I guess I couldn’t become a better me without embarrassing myself in front of you all of the time. Your appreciation and praise of my work inspires me to keep going, but is simultaneously difficult for me to internalize and accept, so, well, thanks I guess.
Most of all I’d like to thank the love of my life. The wind beneath my wings, my baby boo, Rita Roo.
Rita, your continual presence and support in my life is something I do not take for granted. You are there by my side all the time, toughing out the rough times of trying to come up with some shitty blog posts and lightening the mood by being adorable. Words can’t express how much you mean to me. We’ve been through a lot together, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather sleep the entire day away with. You never even bark. You are just too awesome. Even though sometimes I feel lost in your shadow, because you are the best dog in the entire world and it’s hard to beat that, I am still awed by your greatness – you inspire me to try and be a better human.
#6 – A Review of the New TMNT Movie Based On Having Not Seen It But I Mean Come On This Is A Pile of Shit
This is a review of the new TMNT Movie based on my not having seen it personally but, I mean, realistically, I don’t need to see more than this to know that this movie is a big ol’ steaming pile of crapola. In fact, I’m probably insulting your intelligence right now by even bothering to explain the situation. You have eyes. We can all see this abomination for what it is.
I am pretty sure there are dementors rampant in Hollywood, as is evidenced from the fact that the public is literally having their souls SUCKED FROM THEIR BODIES with garbage like this.
“Hey,” a bunch of jackasses wearing business casual and pretentious sunglasses at an overpriced shitty bar like Pink Taco in Century City said to themselves. “We have a great idea. Remember the beloved classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? What a great franchise. How about instead of carrying on and honoring TMNT by following in its footsteps and creating a new, original, inspiring set of animal-like action heros based on a wacky and goofy premise, we’ll just rip off and ruin it by completely eliminating any charm or heart it used to have, giving the script to a fucking monkey to write, throwing lots of money at it for no reason, and slapping the worst possible CGI renditions on top of the package just to give the finished product the feeling that you’re really just subliminally watching us jerk off to how much money we’ll make off this bastardization.”
The worst part is in this one trailer, not sure if it’s the one I linked to (who cares), but anyway, Michelangelo DROPS SOMETHING and says, I shit you not, “Uh, I MEANT TO DO THAT.”
“I MEANT TO DO THAT!?!” A five year old could write better, more compelling, interesting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan fiction than whoever barfed up this mess to waste our time with. I am serious. A small child who has no life experience would be infinitely more inspiring than Michael Bay. He should have to go to jail for this, it definitely qualifies as murder.
Right now I am poor and procrastinating, and as is my tendency I am actively ignoring the pressing realities of life in favor of pretending that real world concerns don’t exist. Unfortunately, they do. Some of these practicalities include: not going into debt, getting a “real” job?, etc.
I’ve also been living and breathing this one project that is very important to me for the past six months, to the extent that it’s been hard to see the forest from the trees.
I don’t think I even know how to be a normal, real, functioning, contributing member of society anymore. Plus, as I said, I’m really poor, probably because I spend a lot of money but also do not make any. So it’s really just a matter of time before I become completely homeless.
Weirdly, I’m not too worried about it. Being homeless is going to be stressful, sure. I’m going to have to make some compromises. But first of all, let’s be realistic. I’m not gonna be homeless, homeless. I’m a girl. Girls don’t get like, sleeping-on-the-sidewalk homeless usually. We’re kind of like a high class of homeless… Like living-out-of-a-car homeless.
Plus, after I have to sell all my belongings and trade in my prius I’d probably be able to get like, a nice mini van or something, so I’d still have some space to lie down, etc.
The other good news, I’ve realized, is that part of the reason I am about to go completely bankrupt is because I spent a good chunk of money on a DELUXE DISNEYLAND PASS which, let me tell you, I do not need at all and conceivably might never get a chance to use again.
The other reason I’m going to be eating literal garbage in a few weeks is because I spend, mmm, ALL OF THE REST OF MY MONEY on books. I buy a lot of books. So many books that I probably don’t actually need because I have so many books I can’t get to them all quickly enough.
But, I remember one time this homeless guy asked me for a cup of coffee. I went to go buy him one and when I got back someone else had already gotten him one. I guess the point is, I feel like people are generous if you are desperate and charming. That guy had two more cups of coffee than I do, FOR FREE.
So I guess when I started thinking about it, I felt okay about everything. Sure, I could potentially blow an amazing opportunity by never coming up with anything good enough and also never address the aforementioned “real world realities” (“money to pay for things”) and end up completely destitute…
But in that scenario I’d still be living at Disneyland and having enough time at night to read all these books I’ve been wanting to get to, drinking coffee, and that sounds even better, to be honest.
I have always been a weirdo, but when I was younger I’d try to hide this fact as much as possible, which just made things worse.
Of course, my weirdness could not be contained, so sometimes it’d reveal itself in overt ways, like the fact that anyone I was friends with in high school called me “Kaisa”.
The origins of this nickname are pretty dorky. I was obsessed with “The Golden Compass” when I was 13 and told my friend Julie that I thought it’d be cool if I could change my name to “Kaisa”, after one of the daemons in the book. Julie, being inarguably cooler than me, agreed to this idea and introduced me to pretty much everyone I knew as “Kaisa”. Pretty quickly it got to the point where “Kaisa” actually felt like my name.
I was proud of the nickname. I always thought Jessica was boring and there was something special about my friends who called me “Kaisa”. It made me feel like they knew the “real” me.
When I got to college I considered my options. I could be “reasonable” and just introduce myself to people as Jessica, because technically that’s true. But I felt remiss to let go of the comfort of that nickname – the one that made me feel more like my true self. So I started introducing myself as “Kaisa” at Vassar, and because it’s such a pro-weirdo school anyway the name took off and I think everyone on campus knew me as “Kaisa”. I’d even go by that name in classes.
It was at that point that I thought maybe I had hit on something. Like I could be “Kaisa” for the rest of my life, and then I’d be unique or something.
Things got weird for me when I started to enter the internship world. I experimented and at an MTV internship decided to go by “Kaisa”. This raised a lot of questions when I was filling out my paperwork. “Wait, your name is Jessica? Where does Kaisa come from? How do you say it?” I could tell people felt uncomfortable and awkward saying it.
It started to feel like too much to explain. Something felt inorganic about fabricating my name over and over again. It was one thing when I was organically introduced in high school as “Kaisa” amongst close friends, and it was even fine for trying to reinvent myself at college, but it became another, weirder, way more awkward thing to try to carry it on for the rest of my life.
I weirdly felt relieved when I went back to being “Jessica”. Maybe it was nice to not want to be a different person for a change and to be comfortable enough to just be myself.
I do have a few very close friends who only ever knew me as “Kaisa” and they still call me that to this day. For all the weird things I’ve done to find myself (including a brief lesbian phase in which I looked like a little boy) I think being “Kaisa” for a while was one of the best because that nickname grounds me in my past. It’s nice to have friends who have been through it all with you and to feel like they really know you because they refer to you by a name that, no matter how far you’ve come, you can still respond to as if no time has passed at all.