Early 20’s vs. Late 20’s – What I’ve learned about Friendships.

28 Apr

I was reading an article on Buzzfeed today. One with GIF’s and pictures (of course). And it was about life in your early 20’s vs. your late 20’s. I love articles like this because I find most of them to be 100% accurate. I also like reading “Life in your 20’s vs. 30’s” because I feel as if it’s preparing me for the future. Stupid Buzzfeed and your stupid accuracy (Except on that ‘Which Disney movie are You” – Cinderella? F*ck that shit. I did not spend years swimming in pools pretending it was an ocean for nothing.)

One constant topic in these quizzes or articles is friendships. What you think about your friends then vs. now. One of the things I am most proud of are the friendships I’ve made and kept through out my 30 years on this planet. I would like to talk about the friends I have now vs. then. Now and Then. Great movie….. (I got “SAM” – obviously.)

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LONG ISLAND FRIENDS – I grew up on Long Island. (clears throat) I grew up in The Hamptons. I WAS LOWER MIDDLE CLASS! I went to school on the set of Capeside. wealthy vacationers taking up your small town life in the summer, knowing your neighbors too well and docks for miles… Yes, I moved to California when I was 14 years old,  ripped out of the only environment I had known since preschool (cause I don’t remember shit before that) and thrown into a place where I learned the word “Armenian”. But growing up in The Hamptons I had a ton of close friends and about  7-8 best friends. I worked hard to keep in touch with these people. The mountainous terrain of California mixed with the continuous knife fights in the cafeteria was a huge culture shock and it needed my undivided attention, so a few of those friends and I lost touch over the years. Naturally. But the idea of that happening on the day I moved was “impossible”. Years later, following ups and many downs, a couple of those best friends still remain my best friends and I am so lucky and unbelievably grateful to still have a handful of those childhood chums as extremely close friends in my adult life. And thanks to the power of Facebook, I’ve managed to stay in touch with a lot of them other bitches. Friendships take work. And friendships that have lasted over 27 years prove that anything’s possible. We survived teen angst, jealousy and long distance. I think about a lot of my chums from the Island. Quite often. I’m so thankful to social media for being able to keep in touch with a lot of them. While there are few I wouldn’t mind NOT hearing updates on, most of them pop in and out on my wall and status updates and it makes me smile. Nostalgia mixed with curiosity are delicious ingredients in the… adult cake that… was once my youth. What?

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BHS; HOME OF THE BULLDOG FRIENDS – I started my sophomore year of high school at Burbank High. Home of the Bulldogs. One of the first things I remember doing there was checking out the choir and theatre department. There was a lot of performance dancing and jazz hands involved in this school’s choir (One of the schools GLEE was based on)…. so I joined the drama department. ( I did, however, take with me one of the choir members and made her my best friend. We sing songs together. WE always choose the same harmony.) Without a dance belt, but with a tube of chap stick and not much else to call my own, I met some of the most incredibly talented, funny and special people who I still get to collaborate with today. There was something so special about that department. I can’t explain it. None of us can but we all ‘get it’. We weren’t a school for the arts, but it sure felt like it sometimes.  In this drama class I learned how to write comedy. In this drama class I learned what I had to offer as an artist. This drama class made me. It also made 99% of The Thirsty Beavers (www.ruckusrockwell.com). I’ve never been more grateful to a team in my life then the 505 Team.

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YAC; THE YOUNG ACTORS COMPANY – During my Junior year of high school I decided to partake in a theatrical experience outside of BHS. They didn’t have a strong musical theatre section and my vocal chords were craving it. I auditioned for Little Shop of Horrors and won my first lead in a musical. A handful of this cast I still remain extremely close with and a couple of them I’ve collaborated with on projects that are my heart. Projects that have pieces of my soul in them. I know I will continue working with them for many years. I love that about forming such an artistic and creative bond with people. Never let that go. The romantic aspect to having such history with your creative team is something that helps get you through the difficult parts of the project. It’s not only the piece that you are saving, building up and producing… it’s your friendship. There’s so much heart in what I’ve done with these people and so much talent.

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PQE  – THE COLLEGE YEARS – I went to a 13th grade type of college. Most of my BHS buds went here so I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else while I was also balancing work on the Warner Brothers lot and writing, what I was sure would be, a Tony Award winning musical about… love, tolerance, mistakes and moments. During these college years, I made a film adapted from the brilliant book WIGFIELD written by Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. The people I met whilst creating this VHS masterpiece I had so much fun with. Overnight writing/coffee sessions at Bob’s Big Boy, Reckless drinking, 80’s themed club nights, driving around Hollywood at 1am – not getting pulled over for shouting out of the car windows while filming people on the street and smoking Parliaments for a good 3 weeks before learning how much I hate cigarettes. A couple of these “sorority brothers and sisters” I’m still friends with today, but most of them I reach out to through social media. It was a short time that I attended this Ivy League University, but during that time I made a project that I consider a huge staple in my creative development.

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NEW YORK CITY; THE EARLY YEARS – Where do I begin? Shit kinda got crazy during my early twenties in NYC. This small town girl, who once trusted everyone, started to get pretty fucked over by a few people that she may have decided to trust too much too soon. This became a tricky diving board into ‘accepting new people into my life’.  It was a tough time for me. My heart started to close to newbies and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to make a friend that would latch onto my heart as tightly as those I had made during my high school years. I began to panic and became needy and clingy to those childhood friendships I had spent so much time cultivating over the years as this fear grabbed hold. My wall thickened. Luckily a few forced their way in during this time and I fell in love with them and value their friendships to this day. There were some dark times before I started working at Alice’s Tea Cup. I was makin’… a lot of choices. I was drinkin’ and waking up at… a lot of bars. I was seeing the Sweeney Todd revival… way too many times. I also had stopped writing. This was extremely scary since, at this time, I was usually pumping out a script a month. I think I saw Sweeney Todd so much because it was a musical that was prominently tied to my youth. A part of me wanted to remember WHY I came to New York again. When Alice’s came around, it gave me a schedule and it put me in a position of authority which helped me climb out of the darkness a bit. The few people I shared this “dark time” with started to move on from it as well. We were all pulling each other down and it was time to climb out. I’m proud they got out cause I know what it took to do so. At Alice’s I made a few friendships that would launch me into …

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NEW YORK CITY; THE MIDDLE YEARS – The sun started to come out from behind the clouds in 2007. I was the manager of a successful tea house in NYC, I was living in a beautiful apartment in Bumfuck Egypt (A.K.A. Midwood Brooklyn), and… I was writing again. It’s About Time was born (from some other titles I don’t feel comfortable discussing). My friends and I were producing a musical that was going to go the BROADway. Well… off Broadway. The Bleecker St. Theatre to be exact. My blood was pumping, ink was flowing, friendships were forming, theatre companies were being built, my heart was getting broken into a thousand pieces and I was learning a lot about who I was and how much I could stand… Good times were ahead!

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NEW YORK CITY; THE LATE YEARS – The Unknown Artists, a theatre company I formed with one of my closest friends and roommate, gave me the opportunity to meet a ton of new people. Play Club, a play ground I formed in 2011, enhanced this opportunity by 80%. Some of the dearest friends I have today came out of The Unknown Artists, Play Club and the west coast Play club (That’s right, we’re bi-coastal – we’ve got a New Orleans branch too. BAM!). I actually just moved into a new apartment with a lady who auditioned for Play Club a couple years ago. We moved in together. In a platonic way. I’m writing a new musical with a brilliant NYC composer. It’s about cloning. That’s right. Cloning. And I created a Production Company that houses a ton of thriving projects and their artists. Projects that involve friends from all areas of my life: High School, College, YAC, The Tea Cup…. and I NOW know that, for me, this is what the last 10 years have been leading to. The last 15 – to be more accurate.

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NYC; TURNING 30 – When I create things with my friends, I feel as if these are the projects with the most potential. Going into something with people you trust and people who’s talent you respect and have learned how to use appropriately make for the most exciting adventures. I still have a whole lot to learn about life, theatre, love and myself. No doubt. I know this,  because in my early twenties, I didn’t think I’d be shocked in the next 10 years… but I have been. I continue to be. By circumstance and by people. You make new friends you lose old friends. You keep old friends, you lose new ones. Sometimes you make new friends from old friends. Those have been so fun. People from my past who were always a bit distant but now take a supporting role in the sitcom of my life 🙂 … That’s how it works. Some losses are painful, some distance is difficult, but it all teaches you something. The people who I join forces with as I hit 30 (and hit it hard) get me SO excited about the future. Overall, friendships take work. If you put the work in, at the end of the day, you’ll come out with the best people on earth surrounding you and inspiring you daily. You know who you are. 😉

 

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