A Blog Post: Thanksgiving Edition!

November has been a whirlwind month. Crazy things have happened. It’s as if I had my summer vacation in the fall (September and October) and November is my August wake-up call back into the heavy school-year grind that was my life for 20 years or so. With everything that has happened, I’ve got a lot to reflect on, and a lot to be thankful for, so in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you.

  1. Finding my way in LA
    • I’m not going to say that I have LA figured out, nor am I going to say that I’ve successfully infiltrated the entertainment industry, because if there is only one thing I’ve learned in my year and a half of being out here, it’s that this town and this industry is one crazy roller coaster full of ups and downs and failures and small successes. I will say though that so far I have never felt like my time being out here has been a waste. I’ve learned so much about the human condition, relating to people, subcultures and pop culture and the fight for social equality and the American mindset vs. international POVs and these are all things that a little Dorothy like myself couldn’t have learned if I’d stayed back in Kansas.
  2. Being Employed
    • I normally don’t talk about my own personal views on politics or religion here because I want this place to feel as inclusive as possible, and I often find that once a person knows your stance on something, they peg you with 1,001 misconceptions and stereotypes that they hold against whatever that view point is, whether it is actually true to your own person or not. I’m sure I’m even guilty of doing it–it’s almost second nature for people to do this; we love placing people and things into categories. However, on this one thing I must say that I do believe in God, and–though I won’t say that I somehow magically am awarded jobs because of this (because that’s ridiculous)–I do wholeheartedly believe that my trust in something greater than myself has kept me sane and financially afloat. Whether you are religious or not, I do believe that life has a tendency to work itself out, if you are patient,┬ádiscerning, and don’t panic. I am very thankful for that.
  3. Midwest Roots
    • There are a lot of things I find wrong about the conservative mindset that you find all across the Midwest and into the South. But if there is something I’m very grateful for, it’s being raised surrounded by Midwesterners. Though the world is small in the heart of America, the heart of America is as big as the world. These people are the kindest, most generous, and most open that I have ever come across. Being raised with what I like to call, ‘Midwest Manners,’ is one of the greatest assets I have, and I’m very, very thankful for it.
  4. Friends
    • Okay, so everyone gives this almost expected answer at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Sometimes I roll my eyes because it’s so generic. But this year, after moving out to a huge city where I knew practically no one, I truly do have to say that I am so grateful for the friends that I have met and clung to. They have made living in LA durable and worth it. They have taught me the valuable lesson that it is always, always about the relationships you have in your life, not the material items or status or career. You could literally be living in the absolute most beautiful and perfect city ever, and if you had no friends there you would still be miserable. Life fact.
  5. Family
    • The other generic eye-roll answer, but I love them so much and am so grateful for my parents, siblings, and nephews. Everyone needs unconditional love in their life, and I have a lot of it. So very very thankful for that.
  6. You, Dear Reader
    • Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for YOU! Though most of you probably also fall into one of the two bullets above, it means a lot to me that you take the time to read these posts every week. Though it may not always seem like it, I put a lot of thought and time into what I write and share with you, and I hope that you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy making it.

Happy and most delightful belated Thanksgiving, y’all.

-tlc

Loss

I’m taking a bit of personal discretion in writing this post. Today I write about the recent loss of a friend. A friend that I unfortunately did not have the chance of knowing better. I hope that, for anyone who knew that friend and might be reading this, I do justice by her and do not dredge up hard feelings.

I didn’t post last week because I really didn’t have anything to write about. You probably think, “Right, it wasn’t just because you forgot again?” And I totally get that. It would seem logical given how spotty my posts have been since my job ended in September. But actually, I thought about posting several times throughout the week, and just really couldn’t think of a topic that I haven’t beat into a dead horse. (No actual horses have been harmed in the writing of this blog.)┬áBut since last Friday, two big things have happened: I went on a retreat at my church (this might not seem big, but it really was a great refresher that breathed new perspective into several aspects of my life) and probably a little more significantly, a friend of mine from college passed away.

This blog has morphed into something weirdly more personal that I expected or had intended. In fact, I started this blog nearly four years ago simply as a way to build a presence in the age of social media, and as a place to put writing samples and encourage myself to practice routine writing. I thought I would write funny, quirky posts that were relatable to other college students, and then I thought I’d start writing about that transitional period between college and real life, and somewhere in the midst of all of that this blog has turned into a public diary of sorts, sharing my experiences uncovering the world one person at a time, one city (right now LA) at a time.

I write a lot about dating, and jobs, and unemployment, and friendships, and family, and moving, and pretty much everything that rolls around in the mind of a 20-something. I’ve even spoken a little bit about anxiety and depression and mental illness because I have personally dealt with those things in my life. But I’ve never talked about death. Not really. This is because I’m in my early twenties. Death is not supposed to be on my mind.

My friend Kelly had cancer. She was only two years older than me. I knew her battle had taken a turn for the worse, but I had never expected that I would wake up one morning, check Facebook and see a post from her family announcing her departure from this world. She was young. She was strong. She had a future ahead of her.

Let me interject here and say that Kelly was my friend, but we had not spoken outside of Facebook updates since she had graduated from KU. I hope that her closest friends and family will forgive me for not being able to encapsulate the absolute beauty of a human being that she was. I cannot even begin to fathom the grief that they are experiencing.

If you’ve read my other posts, you’re probably aware that my mother also battled cancer several years ago. Kelly and my mom had the same type of cancer. My mother beat her cancer. It’s not fair that Kelly did not have the same outcome. This has reminded me of a few things that I had begun to forget in the nearly fourteen years since my mother’s battle with cancer began.

Since my childhood, cancer has been to me like an estranged uncle that no one in the family really feels comfortable discussing, but who shows up without invitation during the holidays and ruins Christmas with a bottle of Cognac. Cancer’s presence in my life has been an eye-opener, teaching me the incredibly raw and terrifying realities about love and loss. I carried cancer’s memory with me throughout childhood and into high school. I wrote my college entrance essay about my experience with cancer. Cancer got me a scholarship that paid for half of my tuition.

In college cancer’s memory softened. I could joke about it (I deal with everything through humor). I found myself telling people about how I’d come to terms with the likelihood of my own eventual battle with cancer. The idea of it didn’t seem to scare me. I had finally entered that phase of invincibility which had evaded me all throughout my teenage years.

And then Kelly found her cancer. And then she blogged about it. She was so optimistic, and I knew she would beat it. She was so young, there was just no way she wouldn’t beat it. If my mom could do it on the absolutely primitive chemotherapy she had, Kelly would definitely be fine. It would just be another mountain that she could say she had conquered, along with NYU Law School, along with passing the bar exam, along with all the incredible social activism she had done at KU, along with all the lives she had touched along the way, including my own.

And then she didn’t. And then it was all over, and all that remains now is how everyone will remember her and the shock of knowing that someone so young, so beautiful inside and out, who had such a long and bright future ahead of her is no longer here to pursue that future. It is utterly and completely devastating. There are no words that can bandage the incredible loss that those who knew her share.

And all I can think is that the Kelly I knew would want us all to take this as a spark, a motivation to do right by ourselves and this world now. To stop putting off the things that are truly important, like helping others. I remember her telling me when she was applying to NYU Law that she wanted to be a lawyer so that she could help non-profits. She was the president of KU’s Amnesty International while she was in undergrad. She was always thinking about others. Nothing she did was selfish. She would want us all to realize that life is fleeting, even now as young twenty-somethings, our days are all numbered. Spend them doing right be others. Love yourself and let that love spread outward.

Rest In Peace, Kelly. You will be missed.

-tlc

Celebrity Sightings

As I was getting ready to go on a hike this morning, I remembered that I had forgotten to plan yet another post. You would think with all this extra free time on my hands that I would get these things done, but I think I am one of those people that just works better under a routine. Guess I should start making one of those for writing these posts.

Anyways, since I don’t really have time to write to you anything of substance, here is a list of all* of the celebrities that I have seen/met/spoken with, or any combination of those three things, since moving to LA (minus the cast of Instant Mom, since I worked with them and I feel that it’s kind of a cheat to include them).

*That I can remember off the top of my head.

Joanne Froggatt

Dermot Mulroney

Dennis Quaid

Sylvester Stallone

Brittany Snow

Chelsea Peretti

Jane Lynch

Lisa Kudrow

Martin Sheen

Jane Fonda

Angie Harmon

Jerry Seinfeld

Blythe Danner

Annasophia Robb

Nick Jonas

Justin Bieber

Tim Tebow

Ashley Benson

Kate Micucci

Brian Baumgartner

Lea Thompson

The cast of Mike & Molly (mainly Melissa McCarthy)

And now you know.

That’s everyone that I can think of off the top of my head, and I’m actually kind of surprised the list is that long. And I’m sure it’s actually not the full list, but apparently I’ve seen so many that at this point it’s hard to recall everyone. Crazy, right? That’s LA for you.

-tlc