Tag Archives: jimmymarv

67. James Hurts Like a M#th@f*ck3r!

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Welp, I did it; I finally experienced something that I feel uncomfortable broadcasting on the internet. Yep. You heard right. I’ve written about how to clean out your asshole before getting railed, I’ve written about being sexually molested, and I’ve written about the guy who tried fingering me after I ate Indian food. But this, I can’t write about. But I will give you context without explicitly telling you what’s wrong with me, because frankly it’s none of your god damn business:

I am currently in the most pain of my life. Here are things that I have experienced that are less painful than what I’m currently going through:
1) Peeing out these weird crystals when I was younger.
2) Falling on a dick.
3) Strep throat so bad I wanted to drool into a bucket.
4) Broken collarbone from flying off my bicycle.

My pain has been so intense that I’ve called out of work three days in a row. I’ve never called out of work before. Ever. Even when I had strep throat earlier this year, I tried to work. I didn’t know what was wrong with me yet, but I would go to work and then get so dizzy I would lose my balance and then they would send me home. This happened a couple times before I went to the doctor. But on the second day of this current pain I was still going to work. I started my shift on Friday sitting down on the stairs sweating, because I was in so much pain. My coworkers kept checking on me: “Daddy, are you alright?” They brought me cold water and one of them made me this mixture of water, salt and lime. But by the end of my shift I was incapacitated. My abs contracted so hard that I doubled over, and I didn’t end up making it to the bathroom. My coworker drove me home, and I was thankfully able to make coherent silly conversation. When I got home, I told my roommates that I was okay and that I was gonna go to the doctor in the morning instead of work. They went to bed, but then I think Kaylee heard me crying in the bathroom. I told her I was nervous I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night so she came into my room and helped me lay down a towel underneath me. I was still in an insane amount of pain so she gave me a melatonin and sat and talked with me until I fell asleep. She left my room at 4 am and then slept for two hours before she had to start her day.

The next day I texted Kelley and asked if she would come to the doctor with me. We took an Uber, because I couldn’t walk without being relatively hunched over. In my opinion my hunched-over hobble make me look like the monster from Stranger Things. But Kelley insisted on singing, “So I creep, yeaaaah,”  (that song “Creep” by TLC) every time I walked around which I also thought was accurate and hilarious. She came back into the exam room, and she was there when they told me my diagnosis. Honestly, it ended up being worse than what I had originally thought. And when I became speechless from shock, Kelley filled the void with the questions I needed to be asking the doctor. The doctor tried to make small-talk about my vegan diet, but I was already gone.

I waddled out of my Uber when it reached my front door, and I stumbled up to my apartment. Slowly, my friends started to trickle in to keep me company. I told them what the doctor said. Basically I’m not gonna die, but my life changed forever on Saturday. The medication they gave me started to make my stomach turn. Stacy ran out to grab me Pepto Bismal and ginger ale. Caity yelled at me for not asking for help every time I got up to do something for myself. But I got up anyway to do something in the kitchen and then I got stuck there; my pain got so bad I couldn’t move. I laid face-first on the counter, and then Kaylee, Stacy and Caity all just came out and hung out in the kitchen until I could move again. And then when my stomach cramped up so bad I had to lie on the floor in the fetal position, they all came and laid on the floor with me. But the whole time, they weren’t being gross and cuddly. The conversation moved seamlessly from the living room couches to the kitchen and then to the living room floor. No one commented on it; everyone acted normal about it.

But the pain isn’t what I want to write about; those are just plot points. And I don’t read books because of the plot; I read because of the relationships. And Jesus Christ I am so grateful for my relationships. Jian Li came up here from Chinatown and brought me juice, because I didn’t have the appetite for anything else. My friends have been checking in with me via text, offering to help me in ways that I wouldn’t be able to accept. Stacy offered to do my laundry. Caity went grocery shopping for me. And when I couldn’t do anything but throw pillows and scream my body to pieces, Caity sat there and let me be furious. My friends sat and talked to me when I couldn’t stop asking, “Why is this happening to me? How am I supposed to be this beacon of light when I keep getting shitted on? I want so badly to be this optimistic James who looks on the bright side and cares about people, but it’s so hard when people keep stealing pieces of me. Because I’ll never  be the same. And I feel like there are two James’. There’s Light James who loves drag queens, loves being outside on beautiful days and has a fashion sense that can only be described as Harajuku Throw-Up. And there’s Dark James who listens to angry rap music, ignores his fellow riders during Uber Pool and who has this insanely dark sense of humor. And every time something like this happens to me, I feel like I lose a little bit more control of my body; like it belongs to me less and less. And I veer closer to the Darker James. And what if he’s not as lovable as Light James? What if people don’t want to be around Dark James?”

And here’s what they said:

“This is not your fault. You are not being punished. This is science and it happens to people sometimes. We love both James’. And no matter what happens to you, Light James will always be there, because it’s a part of you. And no one can take that away from you; that’s part of your framework. And no one wants to talk to the other riders during Uber Pool; that’s natural.”

And then Stacy reminded me of a story that showed me Dark James is lovable, too:

At my grandmother’s wake the atmosphere was so dark. A bunch of us grandkids were doing our best to cope so we started whipping out inappropriate jokes. My cousin Lani asked, “Where’s the champagne?” And I said, “I don’t think there is any.” And she said, “Well, when I die there will be champagne at my wake.” And I said, “God, I can’t WAIT for you to die.”

(Totally kidding please don’t die but I do like champagne because I am a glamorous lady with exquisite taste.)

After Kelley accompanied me to the doctor even though she had plans with her super hot boyfriend, I texted her to tell her how grateful I was that I didn’t have to be alone when I was in such excruciating pain. She responded with something like, “You don’t have to thank me. It’s what friends do.”

But I know that’s not true; not all friends are even half as amazing as this. I am fully aware that I am so blessed with the friendships I’ve been given. Before all this pain started, I would end every night by listing all the things I’m grateful for. And now, I’m usually hurting so much that I can’t think about a whole list of things. But even as I lie there crying and whimpering, I still take the time to say thanks for my friends: “Thank you so much for sending me these amazing people to take care of me. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such amazing people, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing to keep these people in my life but please give me the foresight to keep doing whatever the fuck that is. And I know that even in these most unlucky circumstances, I am one of the luckiest people in the entire world.”

This is the James I want to be. And you can’t take that away from me.

“This is not your fault.”

“You are not being punished.”

“Champagne IS delicious.”

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES THE  INDOMITABLE

“OLIVE: Can’t you see that I’m a mess?
ROSEMARY: No, you’re not, Olive. You’re wonderful. And you’ll handle this the same way I did. With an incontrovertible sense of humor.”
~Easy A (Bert V. Royal)

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66. Dr. James’ Diagnosis: The Trouble With Love Is

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Dating is hard blah blah blah. I talk about it a LOT. But then again, so does EVERYBODY. Everyone talks about how hard dating is. Everyone. Everyone talks about how fed up they are. And everyone is like, “Why can’t I find someone?” Ok. So then if everyone here and everyone there and everyone everywhere is frustrated, you’d think that we’d all be ready to cut the bullshit and get serious about dating. Right? WRONG, BISH. Because it takes work and we don’t fecking WANNA.

In NYC, the dating pool is HUGE with a population of almost 8.5 million people. That is a FUCKLOAD of daddies #daddiesgalore. Knowing that there are so many single, eligible hotties, we feel like the world is our oyster. We go on a date with someone who seemingly fits the profile of what we’re looking for except for that ONE thing. “Oh man, he would be PERFECT if he didn’t drink.” And then we meet someone who doesn’t drink so we drop Guy #1 for Guy #2 who happens to be PERFECT if only he didn’t live in Brooklyn! But then we meet someone who lives in our actual neighborhood so we can just skip home after a night of blowjobbing so we drop Guy #2 for Guy #3 who seems to be PERFECT except he happens to paint his fingernails. But then we meet a masc bro who crushes beer on his forehead so we move on to them and so on and so on and SO ON. We’re told “NEVER SETTLE” so we don’t! We live in a city where we can have Thai food WHENEVER the fuck we want it. “It’s 2 AM and I fegging NEED panang curry with imitation duck. I’MA GIT IT.” You can literally have whatever you want whenever you want it. They even fucking deliver alcohol. You can pay someone else to do your laundry and fold it and then DELIVER it to your front door. You can order your groceries online. OR you can go to the grocery store, buy all your groceries and then LEAVE THEM THERE and they’ll deliver them to your house later after you recover from a day of adulting. You can go out to a restaurant here and tell the server exactly how to cook your food and what sauce to put on the side and you can sub your kale salad for a quinoa parfait while the chef in the kitchen slams his head in the fridge door repeatedly out of utter frustration for your lack of class. We’re conditioned to believe we can have exactly what we want. We believe perfection exists. So we search for it in the people we date. Everyone does it. Tinder is no longer to blame, Assholes. It’s us. It’s our fault. Let’s own up to it. We write people off for a variety of reasons. “Oh, he’s too femme. BYE.” “Oh he’s a bad speller. What a fucking idiot. BYE.”Oh, he’s too eager. He wants this too bad. Desperate? BYE.”

And you know what, I am fucking eager. And that’s what makes me undateable by NYC standards.

There’s all these fucking weird rules to dating, and I don’t get it. Basically, it sums up to being “COOL” ALL the time, which I fail MISERABLY at. I go down in a blazing ball of glitter when I attempt to Keep It Cool.

Here are the rules to being cool:

HOW TO BE COOL:
1) First of all, your Tinder should only be flattering pictures of yourself looking SO Cool.
2) On Instagram, you need to delete any picture that doesn’t get a sufficient amount of likes. (Sufficient amount of likes= Enough likes that it stops listing the individual people who liked the picture and instead lists the number of likes.)
3) Never make the first move. If they’re interested in you THEY will talk to YOU. Because being Cool gives you the right to also be entitled.
4) NEVER send more than one text in a row to a boy you like. NEVER. It must be a volley of texts back and forth, and sometimes it’s fair to respond with just a stupid emoji. And remember if the conversation dies, LET IT. If they want you, they’ll keep talking to you, even if you respond with monosyllabic, noncommital texts like “K,” or “Cool,” or “Yeah.” Be entitled. It’s like, you could actually die in real life and they should keep being like, “You okay?” for like DAYS, even as your body rots. They should stick around. Because your’e Cool. And Cool people deserve that kind of deranged commitment without any reciprocation. #Coolpeoplerights
5) Keep conversation light. Cool people don’t experience difficult emotions, and they DEFINITELY don’t talk about them. You may discuss breezy topics like: the weather, celebrities, TV shows that aren’t too femme, your favorite places to throw up, etc.
6) You may creep through their Instagram/Facebook but don’t you DARE like any of their pictures/posts. Being Cool means remaining disinterested and aloof.
7) Do not dole out specific compliments. You may say things like, “You’re attractive.” But you’re NOT allowed to say something like, “God, your smile is dreamy.” That is not something Cool people do. Don’t show them your whole hand. Stay in control. Keep a sense of mystery. They should always be wondering, ‘God, does this person actually like me or are they just killing time by sending me inconsequential emojis and making meteorological observations?’ Mystery is the MOST Cool.
7) Most importantly, at the exact moment that the hottie starts to show clear, obvious interest in you, you MUST drop him. Because being eager makes him UNCOOL. And Cool people can only date other Cool people.

I fail at being Cool. I send five texts in a row. I tell men exactly why I think they’re hot. I resurrect dying conversations by asking questions like, “If you could slap anyone in the world right now, who would it be?” Or “What Britney lyric most describes your life right now?” I post pictures of me looking absoLUTEly foul. (See below.) I tell them that I crept through their Instagram. I am honest about what I’m looking for in a relationship when people ask. I check in with them throughout the week to see how they’re doing. I show interest. I make an effort. I put myself out there. I BREAK the quintessential rule of being cool: I’m eager.

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My sexiest Instagram post, by far.

Yes, I’m eager. I know that I have my shit together. I feel very comfortable with where I am artistically/personally/financially, and I’m ready to bring in a significant other. I want a relationship. But is that a bad thing? Is it wrong to be honest and openly state that I’m looking for something serious? Am I supposed to pretend I don’t want it? Am I supposed to stop looking for it and then it’ll come? IS THAT AN ACTUAL THING IT’S NOT STOP SAYING IT. No one ever got something they really wanted by not pursuing it. That’s stupid logic. No one tells you, “Oh, you want a job? Just stop looking for a job! Then you’ll get one. Someone will recognize that you’re unemployed by your sharty clothing and they’ll offer you a job. But when they offer you a job, PRETEND YOU DON’T NEED IT THAT BAD. Because wanting something is WRONG.” No. No bitch. No. It’s not like that. It’s like this:

I’m ready, and I’m realistic. I recognize that perfection doesn’t exist. I recognize that no one will have ALL of the qualities that I want. When someone asks what my Perfect Guy looks like I just laugh. Because to me, that doesn’t matter. Yes, ideally I would date someone my height. But if the guy is shorter than me, I’m still gonna give him a chance because PERSONALITY, Y’ALL. I don’t care if you’re tall; I care that you call me back. I don’t care if you’re skinny; I care that you are real with me if you lose interest. I don’t care if you’re younger than me; I care that you are emotionally available. Because I hope that someone would do the same for me. I know that I will never the most anything; there will always be someone out there who has a better body than me, someone who is smarter than me, someone with better skin, someone who is funnier than me, someone who is cooler than me. That’s fine with me. But no one is my combination of things.

And I think I deserve a chance, God damnit.

#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

“And my hopes, they are high, I must keep them small. Though I try to resist I still want it all.”
~”Fools” by Troye Sivan

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My attempt at a 420 look at the ripe old age of WHAT AM I WEARING, MOTHER?!

 

 

65. James Stays the Same if You Do the Same

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How many times can I write a blog about dating?

I tried it all again; I put myself out there. First I told all my friends that I was looking and to set me up if they knew any eligible, drug-free bachelors. Then I consulted my mother…

Mom: I just feel like you need to date a doctor. Or a lawyer…
Me: Got it, Ma. Loud and clear. Totally agree. Though, quick side note, it’s not like I’m turning down offers left and right from lawyer-doctors. I promise if they come along, I’ll give them a chance.

Then I downloaded a dating app to find a man for my mother…ahem, excuse, to find a man my mother would approve of. I chose to go with OkCupid, because my Facebook survey showed that it had the LEAST amount of fuckboys. So I created a brilliantly eccentric profile that was described by my friends as an “accurate depiction of who James is” and “intimidating”. I decided to go with the screen name “Asskitty”. It felt equal parts fun and daring. I created a profile with excessive use of CAPS  lock and Fetty Wap references, all brought to you by COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE. But I had some pretty good luck! I went on dates with some really awesome people, and I was pretty honest whenever I wasn’t interested except for one specific person, and I apologized. Not perfect, but I tried. All in all, it ended up working out NOT A BIT for me. To oversimplify my dating woes, I met someone and the interest to pursue a romantic relationship wasn’t mutual. Yes, it was all more complex than that, and it ended in a mature, amicable manner. But I couldn’t help but ask him, “Honestly, is it something about me? Was it something I did? You can tell me.” He kindly assured me that it had nothing to do with me, and I know he meant it. But that didn’t stop that insidious thought from continually detonating in my mind: “What did I do wrong? What did I do wrong? WhatdidIdowrongWhatdidIdowrongWhatdididowrongwhatdididowrongwhtdddwrng?”

The following week, a friend of mine experienced the same thing: they were interested in something serious with someone who was NOT looking for the same thing.We were texting about it, and they texted me: “This always happens to me. What am I doing wrong?”

Nothing. You’re doing nothing wrong. It’s not you.

Then I had ANOTHER friend go through the same thing. And they said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Why is this happening to me??

I said…

“Nothing! There’s nothing wrong with you! How can you put this all on yourself? Dating takes more than one person’s effort. If the success of a relationship depended on just one person’s solo effort, you would be fucking married by now! But you can’t take full responsibility for the dissolution of the relationship. They have to meet you halfway, and you can’t convince someone to want to try; they have to come into the relationship with the desire to make something work. And it’s not your fault that they weren’t inspired to give a shit. You can’t say to yourself, “Oh, if I had been more interesting, they would’ve wanted to date me. Or if I had been prettier or funnier or more self-assured or more laid-back or this or this or this. It’s not your fault. This isn’t on you. Sometimes it’s just not a good match, and that’s real-life, sucky-ass adulthood. Sometimes you don’t mesh; you’re looking for different things. That’s okay. It’s not personal even though nothing could FEEL more personal. It’s just life. So stop beating yourself up. You did your best. You showed who you were and you were honest about your feelings. As far as I’m concerned, you succeeded on your half. And if they weren’t prepared for something serious, it’s not your job to wait around for them to be ready for you. Their fear of commitment isn’t your fault; they were that way before you came along. You can’t MAKE someone emotionally available. That’s not on you. And it’s not your job to fix the parts of them that need healing. You’re not Bob the Builder; this isn’t a Coldplay song; fix yo damn self! We all need to recognize our baggage, address how it’s holding us back, and then move forward. We’re not going to get anywhere sitting around feeling bad for ourselves, and there isn’t a Prince Charming who is going to come along and fix you UNLESS your therapist just happens to be called Prince Charming which is equal parts fucked up and amazingly cool. Not everyone needs to be ready for the heavy, serious, committed relationship. But those same people also don’t need to be Hurricane Hot Mess, sucking in other people in and hoping to feel something. You won’t absorb wholeness from someone else. Don’t take my others down with you. Because if you’re the Titanic, I will NOT go down with this ship #Dido ! I will be Miss Rose and I will cling to that floating door with my dear life and I won’t save NOBODY, not even no god damn purple Leonardo DiCaprio. BYE GIRL. GETCHO FLOATIES AND DOGGY PADDLE, BISH!

(Wow, James/Asskitty really uses CAPS lock a lot, he sure is intimidating but oddly…dare I say, sexy?)

…Then I realized I should probably take my own advice.

Someone once told me that in the initial stages of dating, you should just see if you could even be friends with this person. Because essentially a boyfriend would be my best friend that penetrates me. Currently, my best friends penetrate my soul with their kindness but unfortunately they don’t penetrate my anally with their wangs. So in the meantime, I’m looking for a male best friend to love me and STICK IT IN.

Therefore, if I start treating a prospective boyfriend like a new friend, I start looking at everything differently. Usually when I’m dating someone new and learning things about them that don’t mesh well with my personal values I ask myself, “Hm, is this something I can deal with? Should I just sacrifice little pieces of me to make us fit together better?” But my friends would never DREAM of making me do that. NEVER. My friends wouldn’t ask me to change. Kelley hates my fashion sense and she REALLY hates when I say the word “pussy”, but she still loves me. (PUSSY!) Caity rolls her eyes every time I yell, “IT’S BUTT O’CLOCK,” but she wouldn’t have me any other way. Friends see you as the cuckoo daddy-mess that you are and LOVE you that way. My mother gave me the best advice when I was in middle school. She said, “Wipe front to back James; you’re getting shit all over your balls!” I’m just kidding. She never told me that; I STILL get shit all over my balls. But she DID say, “James, your friends are who they are. Don’t try to change them. You need to decide if their personality traits are something you can deal with or if they’re deal-breakers.” Dating should be the same way. When I meet someone new I need to say to myself, “Wow, this quality of theirs irks me. Is it a deal-breaker or is it something I can accept?” For example, I can deal with someone who doesn’t love flossing or someone who asks too many questions during movies or someone who loves Halloween or someone who wasn’t valedictorian. But I CAN’T date someone who likes punting babies or someone who’s racist or someone who’s an alcoholic or someone who hates men in heels because of deep-seeded latent homophobia which also leads to crippling sexism or someone who uses #gayboy on Instagram for the gratification of likes from an absolute stranger. You shouldn’t change to accommodate someone else, and you shouldn’t ask that of them either. You HAVE to take someone at face value. No person is a fixer-upper. You can’t go into a relationship thinking, “Well I would really like them IF they changed this thing about themselves. But we’ll work on that. They’ll change.” No. That’s not how it works. You take who you get when you get them. It is extremely damaging to tell someone you love them ONLY under specific conditions. That’s selfish, and love isn’t just about your needs. Conditionally love ain’t real love, booboo.

And when it isn’t a good fit you have to walk away. You acknowledge your irreconcilable differences, you shake hands and you cartwheel away. For me, every time a relationship ends it feels like someone just took a sledgehammer to a ten-foot tall Jenga tower. It takes me a while to regroup. I know there’s nothing wrong with me, but the sting of rejection never loses its punch. So I need to lick my wounds for a bit before I jump back into the Dick Party. So I go home and tell my friends I want to be left alone for the night. And then they all come over anyway, because they’re a bunch of soggy assholes who don’t listen. I cry while they listen intently, blow raspberries on my belly, poke me in the penis and repeatedly flash their waxed vagina at me. And I hate them for making me laugh when I’m so determined to be devastated, but I lay in bed that night thanking Whoever-The-Fuck-Is-Listening for sending me this whorey handful of people who genuinely care about me. And I know that they, my Chosen Family, have set the standard of what to expect from a boyfriend. They tell me not to change. They encourage me to be my true self, even when my true self wakes up at 7 AM hyper AS FUCK, starts speaking flirtatiously to the closet door and then humps said closet door because the chemistry was just ELECTRIFYING. They pay attention when I tell them my shame stories, and they tell me, “I’m sorry that happened to you, but one bad action doesn’t define you. This does not make you a bad person.” They lie on my bed before I go on a date and tell me how gorgeous I am, and then I flounce down the street with the MOST inflated self-esteem, the MOST offensive coffee breath and a STRONG panty line. But most importantly, when our relationship isn’t working, we talk about it. I can say, “Hey, you’re hurting my feelings,” and we work through it. I can ask for the things I need and receive them, because they know I would do the same for them. My Chosen Family is the ULTIMATE boyfriend. I have found these incredibly functional relationships with HIGHLY dysfunctional people that I plan on spending my whole life with. And I know in my heart that these will be the most meaningful and fulfilling relationships I will ever have. These relationships shouldn’t be discounted or ignored while I’m sifting through clearance piles of fuckboys in search of a boyfriend who will one day call me HIS TRAP QUEEN. #ZOOGANG. Because these people will always be there, no matter how many times I fuck up. And if my best friends have displayed such beautifully imperfect examples of what a relationship can be, WHY would I settle for anything less from a boy just because he’s hot and he got MAD fingerbangin’ skills? Why, James? Why?

“Nobody touch me ya not righteous.”
~”Work” by Rihanna (feat. Drake)

#CHOSENFAMILY

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#DONTGIVEUP

JAMES

48. James’ New York Survival Guide

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Alright so I’ve been in New York almost three years now, and if you’ve read any of my blogs since I’ve moved here then you know that it’s been a roller coaster ride for me; I’ve had my ups and… Bitch, I has had my downs. But I’m finally grasping what it takes to survive here in all facets: financially, emotionally, mentally. So I thought I would comprise some tips for anyone who is struggling HARD in New York. Or think of it as a comprehensive guide for anyone moving to New York. I think of these things as the basics for survival. (As a precursor: I am in no way perfect, and I still struggle. But these things help me get through.)

Also, I’m catering this specifically towards actors but it can ABSOLUTELY be applied to any frield. Whoa. That was supposed to say “field”. But it’s such an amazing typo that I’m leaving it…. “Frield”….hahahahahaha.

Ready Set Go-Hoe

1) Eliminate Money as a Stressor: I know this probably seems impossible, especially for actors, but it’s very possible. And there are many things you can do. If you want to live in NYC as an actor or any sort of freelance artist and you want to make the most money while having the most flexible schedule waiting tables is really the way to go. I’m sure there are other possibilities but I’ve discovered that waiting tables offers good pay and a flexible schedule. Yes, it is grueling emotional labor, but just shake it off! Honestly, catering is the most flexible but the work is extremely varied, and it’s not always constant. For example, catering is very busy in the summer months for weddings and at the end of the year for Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s/Office Holiday Party events. But it’s a little difficult to make a budget. You can also save money by sharing your room, like me! I share my room, and I wait tables. I rarely worry about money. I’m not rolling around in bathtubs full of cash, but I’m comfortable. Now, if you don’t want to share your room and you don’t want to wait tables, then you can just choose to live off of less money. You can choose not to go out to eat and to pack a lunch. You can choose to brew your own coffee instead of getting Starbucks. You can decide to pregame before you go out to the bars. It’s all about choosing which  luxury you want. I try to incorporate all three of these rules; yes, I make good money at my restaurant and my rent is cheap, but I still try to live off of less. The secret to wealth is to keep living like you did when you had less money even when you’re making more. I save my money for the luxuries that I value: dance class, voice lessons, eating yummy food with friends, plane tickets to go home and….clothes… 🙂

2) Be the Motherfucking Boss of Your Life: Know which sacrifices are worth making and set boundaries. Don’t let your survival job run your life. YOU run your life; nobody else. If you want to audition during the day, tell your job that you are only available to work nights and weekends. Also, don’t work yourself to death because you feel like “your job really needs you”. Your job is a business; it does not need you. Your boss does not need you. The business survived before you, and they will survive after you. To put it harshly, you are simply a cog in a machine. Yes, you are expendable to their business but DON’T FORGET that they, too, are dispensable to you. You can find a job ANYWHERE in NYC. Now I’m not saying that you should have no qualms about burning bridges left-and-right, but I am saying that keeping your job isn’t a matter of life-or-death. You can find something else. Maintaining good connections is EXTREMELY valuable, but you need to set boundaries. If you don’t need to work 40 hours-a-week to survive, then don’t. I’ve started asking off for arbitrary days at my job, because they’ve been scheduling me too much. They don’t need to know why I’m asking off, but I need to set boundaries. I am the boss of my life, and I am not working 40+ hours every week when I don’t need all that money. And if you’re laughing at me for saying “I don’t need money”, just remember there is a difference between desire and necessity.

3) Establish a Supportive CommunityI cannot even begin to stress how important this is. This is one that I struggled with a LOT when I first moved here. When you move to a new city, it’s very easy to feel lonely. And when you live in a city like New York where almost everyone is specifically driven by their career goals, it’s VERY easy to feel lonely. Also it’s important to not have only actor friends, because it’s not always easy to be supportive of each other. Sometimes they lash out their own insecurities on you. Sometimes their insecurities start to seep their way into your own mind. And sometimes they just brag a lot and you want to choke them. So it’s important to find friends who don’t do theater. OR find theater friends who can go five minutes without mentioning: an upcoming audition, a past show they have been in, various casting directors, getting an agent, their favorite Elphaba riffs, etc. I am extremely lucky because two of my best friends from high school (soon to be three!!!) live in NYC. I realize how rare that is, and I am thankful every damn day. Neither of them do theater, and it’s amazing. Now if you aren’t as fortunate, there are still many possibilities! Go to church, volunteer, join a book club, join a sports team, join a meet-up. One of the great things about NYC is that so many people here are transplants from other cities; everyone is looking for a community. Starting up a conversation with a stranger is terrifying but as long as you’re not a creepy bitch, I’m pretty positive they’ll talk back to you! (Hint: don’t stare at their titties/pee-pee.) I also have a very supportive home community here. My roommates are amazing. We are all each others’ cheerleaders. I feel very loved and comfortable in my home. Also, I’ve made an effort to see friends on a weekly basis. My friend Jian Li and I try to hang out once a week in whatever way possible: coffee, dinner, whatever. And now my friend Stephanie and I just made plans a few weeks in advance to see a couple shows together. Sometimes having fun in NYC takes a bit of planning, but it’s be worth it! (Another typo that I find too funny to delete.)

4) Make a Home: Find an apartment you like and stay there. It will not be perfect, but you can still make it your home. Hang up some cool lighting in your room. Get pictures of the people you love, and tape them to the wall. Cook yourself your favorite meal. Get comfy shit for your bed. Get roommates that you like coming home to. Live somewhere you don’t hate, or learn to love where you live. For example, the window in my room opens into a courtyard where I regularly see my neighbor stick his dick out the window and pee. I don’t get much sunlight, and I see the same crusty dick every day. BUT my room stays cool in the summer, because I don’t have the sun shining through my window. And it’s easier to sleep in.  Just make your home a place that you like to be. Make it your safe haven on the days when you want to light bitches on fire.

5) Be More than an Actor: This is very important. My roommate Caity the other day was telling me that she read this thing about how freelance artists always pressure each other to be extremely busy, and they brag that they spent their day-off doing laundry. But that’s disgusting! For some reason, we as a society admire those people who go-go-go and never take a break. They seem invincible. But that’s not sustainable. Where’s the self-care?? Like Caity said: there are many other parts of you besides being an actor, and all these parts are equally as important and deserve to be nurtured, acknowledged and valued. My mom told me that it’s ok to take a break from auditioning sometimes. It’s hard for actors to accept this, because so many of us are thinking ‘WHERE’S MY NEXT JOB?!?!?!?’ But it’s okay to take a day off from auditioning and taking class and looking for the next audition. It’s okay to take a day to sit outside and read a book. Or to take a day to write a blog. Or to have a dinner party. Or to take a ceramics class. Or go hiking. Or go dancing in a club with your eyes closed. Or go on a date with someone who prematurely asks if they can fist you and then pee inside you (true story). Be a well-rounded human. Don’t be a theater bot; because you may be the life of the party for theater kids but you will be intolerable to everyone else.

6) Know When to Leave: I was in therapy last year, and my therapist helped me identify the signs of  being burnt out (which I feel like I am slowly approaching once again). For me, I know I’m burnt out when I’m crabby all the time, when I want to decapitate slow-walking strangers on the sidewalk, when I’m crying all the time, when I’m depressed, when I feel like a zombie just moving through the actions of my life, when I have no desire to do anything, when I have regular desires to not be here. It’s healthy to take a break from NYC (permanent or temporary). And while going home would be ideal, it’s not always financially feasible. It’s much more affordable to take a Megabus to Boston for a weekend. Or to take a train to D.C. and explore! Or to rent a car and drive to Upstate New York or the Jersey Shore. It’s super cheap to take a day off and ride the subway to a beach. Or go to Fire Island! Oh my god, these are amazing ideas, and now I’m super excited to go on a mini-vacation. There are little getaways all over. Escaping the concrete jungle is not impossible! Don’t become one of those people who start rotting from the inside out; go away and recharge your batteries every now and then.

7) Make Your Own Art: You don’t need to be cast in a show to be creating art. Don’t wait for a casting director to grant you the right to create. DO IT NOW, DAMNIT. Get a guitar and learn to play it and sing songs and then go play at an open mic or in the subway terminal. Find a scene you want to do with a friend, and DO IT. You don’t need an audience! You’re making art even if you’re not getting paid for it, and if that fulfills you that’s how you know you’re an artist. But whatever you do, USE your art. Don’t let your creativity go to waste. Your creativity is an energy, and it cannot be destroyed. If you don’t use your gifts, they don’t just leave you. They sit inside you, begging to be expressed. And if you ignore these creative urges, they’ll eat away at you. You’ll start hating your friends for using their gifts. You’ll start tearing down the people around you to make yourself feel better about squandering your talents. Then you’ll start to think that you suck since you haven’t been practicing your craft. It’s an awful downward spiral. So just express your creativity. Grant yourself permission to create. It’s never too late.

8) Do Something: New York has boundless possibilities for you. And yet sometimes it’s easy to feel immobilized by the countless opportunities. For me, I feel like there are a million things I could do. I could pursue stand-up comedy, I could try drag, I could pursue musical theater, straight plays or film, I could pursue modeling, I could pursue writing, I could pursue something philanthropic. There are so many possibilities that sometimes I don’t even know where to start! And so I do nothing. But here’s what I should do instead: pick something I like and give it a shot. Pick one thing and go violently in that direction. Give it your all, and see what happens! If it doesn’t turn out, then pick the next thing on the list. There are a billion available back-up plans in NYC! So it’s okay to “fail” at shit. That’s fine! Just think of the amazing stories you’ll be able to tell when you’re an old whore! Just pick something and go. Just move in a direction. Any direction is forward.

9) Compare Yourself to No One but You: This is essential. If I spent my time comparing myself to my friends, I would never get out of bed. My friends are amazingly talented humans, and they have some really awesome things happening for their careers. But their success does not negate mine. I am not any less talented just because my friends are talented. It’s useless comparing my journey to theirs. They have totally different life experiences than I do. They have different skills and different goals. So why would I compare? It’s like comparing a fork and a spoon. They’re both awesome, but one is meant for frightening bar patrons while the other is for binge-eating Frosted Flakes. I want to only compare myself to me. Have I made progress since I first moved here? Have I honed my craft since moving here? Am I better equipped to survive in NYC than I was two-and-a-half years ago? YES, YES, YES A MILLION TIMES YES! (That was an orgasm. Thank you.)

10) Believe in Something: I know this is hard. I know this is very, very hard. But this is what keeps me going. I am imbued with these gifts for a reason. When I feel like everything is against me and I think, ‘Should I give up? Should I just try something else? Are these signs that I’m going the wrong way?’, I just remind myself: ‘No. I wasn’t given these gifts for nothing. I am navigating a difficult path, but I will have retribution. And it will  be sweet as fuck.’ Know that not everything happens for a reason, but every event has significance. I don’t think there is a reason that my grandmother died. But I do know that it was like having a bucket of ice cold water thrown in my face. I was reminded that I don’t have all the time in the world. I was shown what sacrifices I’m willing to make. I don’t think that it happened in order to teach me these lessons, but this is what I’ve learned because of it. I believe that I have a specific purpose on this earth. I believe that I am here for a reason. I don’t think that my desires and skills are an accident. I believe I’m supposed to do something with them. This fuels my fire on the days when I feel like everyone is taking a diarrhea-dump on my fucking face.

 

New York City is an adventure. I don’t know if it’s the city or if it’s the age that I’m at, but I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m learning what’s important to me. I’m learning what I’m willing to let go of. I’m learning what battles are worth bleeding for. I’m learning who I really love and the types of people I need to be around. I’m learning about the capacity of my heart. I’m learning what success means to me. I’m learning my breaking points. I’m learning where I want to go.

These are my guidelines for a basic New York City survival guide.

And remember: it’s okay to be a little bit selfish at this point in your life…

Just don’t be a fucking douchebag.

😉

Don’t give up,

James

(Look at these awesome pictures!!!!)

48.1

This is a picture of my mom with my nephew, Jackson. I had a rough night a few days ago, and I looked at this picture for a good twenty minutes.

48.2

I’m trying to get started in modeling. My friend Reeves Watson took this picture. I like to call it “Hey Good-Lookin’, You Look Like a Bucket of Chicken that I Wanna Stick My Dick In”