Facing “Real Life”

I’m been staving off a minor panic attack for the past few days.  Summer was bliss, filled with easy distractions, good friends, a job, vacations.  It was easy to forget that camp would end, that I wouldn’t be returning to school in the fall.  It was easier to put it off, to say “I’ll look after work”, “I’ll put out applications after camp is done”, “I’ll figure this all out after Vegas”.  And Vegas, unintentionally, was a week primarily without the internet, so, on top of returning without any more plausible excuses, I was met with an onslaught of excitement from my friends who are returning to school.

And I wasn’t a part of it.

This point in life is overwhelming.  I had applied for one job that lasted every summer between my years in college, and one on-campus position during the school year.  That totals to two interviews in my life (three if you count my college orientation, and even then, I already knew I’d been accepted).  I am the type of person who really doesn’t enjoy talking too much about myself.  Years of low self-confidence molded me to, habitually, call very little attention to myself.  Even as my confidence rose, it still feels very awkward to discuss my accomplishments.  The act of selling myself and my skills in resumes, cover letters, and interviews–even if I am honest, and not exaggerating–is a awkward, embarrassing process.

Not too mention the fact that my profession is based heavily on networking. Theater is all about who you know.  Word of mouth is your best friend and worst enemy.  I’ve fallen off the network.  In the past two years, I had received several job offers and had to turn them down, since I did not have a reliable source of transportation.  But the friends who put in a good word have moved to other states, and my resume has been taken out of the folder after too many unaccepted offers.  Now I have to work to get my name back out there, cash in favors (another activity that makes me cringe), and find where the job are posted.  I am not looking for audition notices, but its hard to find postings for management and administrative areas in theater.

Well, lets face it.  I’ve chosen a hard profession.  No one gets in easy.  Few are there because they got lucky.  Most are working hard to cling to a love, to try to feel fulfilled.  Either way I try to explain it, I sound like I am glorifying the people of my profession, or pitying them.  So, after two days of holding off panic and pity parties, I rolled out of bed (late, but I’m still jet-lagged enough to make excuses for it), showered, got dressed all the way down to my lace-up shoes (the only thing I remember from a brief exploration of FlyLady‘s website), sat down, and google searched.  And after a few hours, I had found a couple potentials.  A few more hours, and I had sent off one application and compiled the other that required paper mailing.  I have two more tomorrow, and then the search renews.  Now is the time to just keep going.

I’m slowly starting to organize my life.  I was very productive, ate healthily, managed to do a load of laundry, and even go to the gym.  This is possible.  I just have to keep telling myself that.

Vacation Stories-Las Vegas Edition

I know, I know.  I disappeared.  Work started and it was a whirlwind five weeks of camp.  It really was a fantastic experience, working with exceptional kids and many of my good friends.  After that was a quick trip up to Cape Cod to visit family and the beach (on the single morning that it was not pouring raining), back to work for the weekend showcase, then a day of packing before my first visit to–drumroll–Las Vegas.  It was a fantastic trip with my best friends filled with all the “necessary” experiences: touring the casinos and hotels, playing slots and tables (and I can safely say, I actually stayed even on gambling), cheap hotel rooms, fountain (and pirate) shows, and that legendary establishment of the West: In-N-Out.

I’ve heard some people compare In-N-Out to Five Guys, but, in my mind, there was no comparison.  I do love Five Guys, but In-N-Out is, by far, the best fast food burger I have tasted in my twenty-plus years. I’m a sucker for caramelized onions and for mustard, so Animal Style was a must, but I can appreciate that, intentional or not, I can easily order gluten-free with the Protein Style option.  My infatuation might be helped by the fact that I had my first burger in an impromptu, midnight picnic on the front lawn of Excalibur.  Yes, the first delicious bite was in front of a castle.  Beat that, Five Guys.  I will actually admit that later in the week, we took a taxi from our hotel, through the drive-through, and back in order to get these burgers.  And it was absolutely worth it.

Castle? Check.  Picnic? Check. Delicious? Absolutely.  (Please note: the Yard-long Margarita is out of frame…)

In addition to the heavenliest of fast food joints, we encountered other spectacular food at Hash House A-Go-Go, of Man V. Food fame.  And let me tell you, it is deserving of its spectacular list of awards.  I was entirely impressed, not only by the portion sizes, but by the freshness of the ingredients and quick and pleasant service.  We went for breakfast and the hashes and scrambles are all quite unique and delicious.  My friend was daring enough to order chicken and waffles, but had no hope of defeating the (literal) tower of meat and bread.  Another wonderful encounter was during our last day, when we found i ❤ burgers.  This discovery, unfortunately, occurred only a half hour after we had a desperate but disappointing lunch at our hotel’s burger restaurant, one that was barely better than Burger King.  But we did stop to scan the tempting menu and to try their spiked milkshakes.  Its a definite plan for a real meal on our next trip out.

Despite of the gems of such restaurant finds, there was plenty of not good food in Vegas, bookended by two twelve-hour days of travel that necessitated airport meals (is it just me, or have food options in the airport gotten drastically worse?), and threaded through with a lot of alcohol.  I’ll even admit, before my flight home, I walked the entire concourse looking for an option for an actual meal for dinner and the only non-sandwich place had nothing that didn’t at least involve me picking out croutons.  And, to be honest, I couldn’t stomach another salad.   I almost broke down and had a tantrum in the restaurant.  I was tired and hungry, facing a red-eye flight that had already been delayed before I even arrived at the airport.  Instead of crying, I gave up an ordered the ultimate comfort food from my childhood: chicken fingers and fries.  After searching for thirty minutes for a “real meal” I was impulsive, and gave in to ordering a gluten-filled, fried disaster.  Intestines be damned, I wanted crispy, crunchy chicken; golden, beautiful fries; the bright unnatural yellow honey mustard.  And I got soggy, eggy chicken, overcooked fries, and terrible sauce for my trouble.

And it still left me with headaches, digestion issues, and an uneasy stomach for days.  And the usual resurgence of regret and determination and willpower and such.  Doubly so, as I realize how poorly (disregarding the few exceptions) I ate for a whole week.  So a general, gentle detox is on the cards.  I’m cutting back on processed food, upping my fruits and veggies, upping my water, decreasing my dairy and caffeine (this part is pretty much failing, and getting out to exercise and streeeeeetch.  I was not prepared for the amount of walking to be done in Vegas, and my feet, legs, and joints are still complaining.  Loudly.  So its time to buck up and take care of myself, in all aspects of my life.  Here we go…