Merry Christmas (Twenty-Fifteen)

Merry Christmas y’all!!

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Can we just pause for a moment here so I can lament on how absolutely surreal and crazy it is that it’s already December—correction, the end of December? It’s unreal. I don’t know where the time goes, I really don’t. Add to that, the fact that we’re quite literally on the very cusp of a brand new year—2016—well that just makes it all the more surreal. Seriously people…where did the year go…??

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And to think that this time last year, I was in the midst of packing my things in preparation for my big move down to Nashville. I can’t believe an entire year has passed since then.

**

But it has. And it’s been one hell of a whirlwind of a year, that’s for sure. I’m not going to lie–I had my doubts about moving 900 miles away from literally everyone and everything I’d ever known and starting over in a brand new city completely on my own—I did. Honestly, I didn’t think I could do it. I’d given myself a few weeks—a month or two, tops—before I went running back to New York, tail between my legs, so to speak. I expected the glitter and excitement of being in a new place to wear off. And that I’d grow weary of city-life and having to sit in rush hour traffic for almost an hour just to get my daily caffeine fix (**because I’ve GOT to have my iced coffee and the DD on Fesslers Lane makes THE best iced coffee in town–and also happens to be the only 24 hour joint around for miles**). I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in or make any friends—the real, honest-to-goodness kind like some of the ones I’d left behind in New York. But more than anything, I was afraid of failing—that I’d be given this incredible opportunity—heck, that I’d worked like hell for and earned—to go to such a wonderful city and I’d just somehow screw it up like I’d done with most every other good thing in my life up to that point. That was my biggest fear. And if we’re being completely honest, sometimes it still is, just a little.

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Suffice to say—AND THANKFULLY, I MIGHT ADD—all that worry (or most of anyhow) was for naught. I’d already fallen in love with the city when I’d previously visited in April to tour Watkins—it’s such a beautiful place, how could I not—but I think I fell in love all over again once I hit those city limit signs. As fate would have it, just as I hit the city, the song “Home” by Daughtry came on the radio—ohhh, I kid you not—and it was the best damn sign I could have been given right then. It couldn’t have been clearer in telling me that I’d made the right choice and that Nashville was right where I was supposed to be. As crazy as it sounds, it really did feel like I was home. And now here we are–here I am–a year later, and that feeling hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger.

**

As guilty as I feel to admit it, I’ve never been happier. I’ve made friendships that I’m confident will last for years to come, and I’m beyond grateful for that. In a sense, they’ve become my sort-of stand-in family…and while they can’t replace my actual family, it helps knowing they’re there if need be. I met a sweet, kind, and probably the most understanding man to ever walk this earth–especially to put up with this distance the past few months with me here in NY and him back home in TN. I’m just beyond anxious to head back and be home–and moreover, to see everyone.

**

I’ve been given so many incredible opportunities that I never would have even imagined in New York. This whole Hollywood and movie-making business—never in a million years did I imagine being a part of that whole world. Heck, even if you’d told me last year that I’d be here…I probably would have laughed in your face. It’s just so…not ME. Or at least it wasn’t, I should say. I guess I have fate to thank for all of this—for putting myself and my friend Alan in the same 2-D class. After all, that’s how and where it all began—the two of us becoming fast friends, bonding over our shared dislike of the Professor-from-HELL and all but a few select classmates in the class. To recap from there, he’d written a screen-play and was planning to make his first film. Knowing I was a photographer, he asked me to take some BTS pics of the auditions. It was just for fun. Nothing special.

**

From that point to where it stands now…it’s all pretty much a blur. Now I have contacts and credits in the film industry that I never expected to have—and still can’t believe I have. I’ve been on an actual film set and have seen just what goes into the making of a film…and I now have the utmost respect for the actors and actresses out there that do it for a living. It’s not exactly an easy job, despite how it looks from the outside. And the days are long. I was the set photographer, so I was there for the whole of it—and there’s a lot of waiting. It takes a lot of patience. A LOT OF PATIENCE. What came most unexpected to me is how much I’ve actually liked what I’ve done. I didn’t think I would. I mean, granted, there’s some parts that I really don’t like. For instance—the diva-bitch actresses who think they’re–as my friend Alan would say, “The Meryl Streep(s) of Nashville”— and as such, are in desperate need of a hearty dose of “reality check”. There’s a lot of conniving and underhandedness, too…but I think you’ll find that with anything. For the most part, though, I’ve enjoyed the experience. Word on my freelancing is spreading and I’m getting offers for sessions and websites left and right—it’s all kind of crazy. A good crazy.

**

Of course, there’s the not so great misfortune that’s come with this year as well. The little hiccup in June with the accident and the damn concussion that has really done a number on me, in more ways than one. It’s unreal how your whole life can change in a split-second…and it did exactly that. It’s like someone pressed the pause button on my life that day and it’s only just recently begun playing again. I don’t have my life back, not completely. I’m trying to get back to it, slowly. It’s hard when you’re still trying to wade through the pain of a pounding headache day in and day out. I have all these damn meds—seriously, there are 6 different pills—that I’m supposed to be taking every day. They’re supposed to help with the headaches. They barely even touch the surface most of the time. And I hate taking them because they make me really loopy—you know, that whole out-of-body, noodles for limbs—kind of feeling. That’s no fun on its own, let alone when you’ve got a splitting headache to boot. So I’m trying to work through the pain. It’s a process. And it sucks. But really, what else can I do…

**

All in all, I’ve come so far this year…further than I thought I’d be. And a great year it’s been. Headache and stressors aside, I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings…

**

And on that note…a little Happy Holidays from the two–and my absolute favorite–(little) leading men in my life… (**You’ll have to excuse the Jake cranky-face–the little guy was in no mood for pictures or presents…but even sporting a pout, he’s still a little cutie pie!**)

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(**Oh, and did I mention, these little cuties just celebrated a birthday a couple of weeks ago…TWO already! How is that even possible? It feels like it was just yesterday when it was just the three of us all day, everyday…when my nerves were shot from weeks of sleep training and episodes of Dinosaur Train and Daniel Tiger on repeat (*I still know the theme songs to both by heart btw*)…and every smile or smallest feat was cause for an impromptu photo-shoot. Now my Twinnies are turning into little men and I just want to scoop them up and never let them go and just make them stop growing. 😦 **)

**

xoMESSIE

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Tough Love: Remedy or End-All.

So the Bestie and I are on the outs right now…at least I think we are. I’m not entirely sure. Confusing? Yeah, I know…welcome to my world. There was an exchange of texts/messages this weekend and well…yeah.


A little bit of back story here…her and the boyfriend had been on the outs/broken up/done—whatever—several months ago to the point where she was talking of moving out and getting her own place…and then—as per the usual with those two, they conveniently made up and things were going great, or so she said. Then about a month or so ago she got ahold of me to tell me how she’d gone through his phone and discovered that while they were broken up (but still living together and for all intents and purposes still together) he’d hooked up with not one, but THREE other girls. She was livid and hurt and swore up and down that she’d had it. That she was through with all the bullshit and was finally done with him, for good.


She even asked about going back down with me to Nashville when I went back. I even half-entertained the idea for a few days. By that I just mean that as much fun as it sounds like it could be when we talk about it—her going back to Nashville with me—it’s not something I ever see happening. It’s not her, so much as it is me…which probably sounds kind of selfish, but it is what it is. And if I’m being completely honest here—I really do think one of the reasons why I love Nashville so much is because it’s just me there. There’s no drama or distractions to knock me off course, now that I’m finally walking the straight and narrow. Not that I’m saying the Bestie is either of those…but like it or not, she is representative of a past that I worked like hell to overcome and to leave behind when I left New York for Nashville. And maybe I’m overthinking it too much, but I can’t help but worry that having her—or anyone else for that matter—down in Nashville with me will somehow undo all that hard work and the progress I’ve made since January. And there’s the freedom factor, too. I love this newfound independence…the ability to go and do as I please…to be whom I please. I love the fact that my life and the relationships I’ve formed in Nashville are almost entirely separate from the life I had and the relationships I had and those that I still have in New York. I’m not ready to give that up…not just yet, anyhow. I’d like to enjoy it a little bit longer, if I can…for as long as I can. If that’s selfish, well…then so be it. I’m only human after all, and let’s face it—we’re all a little bit selfish sometimes.


Anyhow—so she went from supposedly being done and 100% ready to pick up her life and move 900 miles away a month ago, to having made up yet again and things being “better than ever” between them. All in the span of like two weeks, give or take. I wish—just this once—I could say that I was surprised…but I wasn’t. Not in the least. The only thing that did surprise me was my diminishing patience with the whole situation. I’m usually quite good at reigning in my patience when it comes to the ridiculousness of the situation between her and him, and keeping a lid on my opinion. I usually have no problem keeping my mouth shut, or if need be—telling her what I know she wants to hear. But I’m finding that I’m growing weary of it all, of playing along. This time it’s been a real struggle, but I’ve tried to be a good friend. To sit there and listen to her go on and gush about how great things have been…and talk her out of the temptation to message one of those girls he’d hooked up months back on Facebook. She wanted to call the girl out, trash her over the Internet, and basically rub it in the girl’s face that she and he were together and happy and that the girl had meant nothing to him. I talked her out of it, but it took a lot of persuading—far more than it should have. I pointed out how pointless it would be, how childish it would be… how she was unnecessarily asking for trouble by opening up that kind of can of worms. She actually tried countering back with the whole “easy for you to say because you don’t know what it’s like” response. Boy, did I shut that little misconception down fast. I pointed out that I did too know by reminding her of the infamous Disaster of 2009 of mine. She said I didn’t know what it was like or how it felt…but she was wrong. I do know what it’s like to want like hell to call out and lash out against that “other woman” who resides at the top of your Most Despised list simply because she had/has him, the one you want. Granted, my particular situation was a little reversed and a hell of a lot more complicated, but the root logic remains the same. But unlike her, I didn’t have a caring friend looking out for me who was there to talk me out of making what turned out to be one of the most life-altering mistakes of my life. Rather, I had just the opposite—a jealous, conniving, two-faced, so-called “friend” at my side that had her own little agenda when she went and pressed send that day before I could stop her. Once I got past the panic of the deed having been done and accepting that there was nothing I could do about it, part of me thought that I might actually feel some satisfaction from it. That exposing the truth would make me feel better and set me free. But that was the foolish assumption of a girl that didn’t know any better. Neither of those things happened. If anything, I felt worse…guiltier…more ashamed. And as for freedom—that one mistake set into motion a chain of events that left me trapped in a world of nothing but pain and misery and hopelessness for a long time…TOO DAMN LONG. But considering she was pretty much oblivious to any of that—or even there for it really—I guess I can see why she’d think I wouldn’t know what it’s like.


It’s exactly that which irks the hell out of me…the fact that I’ve been there, I’ve ALWAYS listened…while she hasn’t done either—not really. I get so mad when she acts and talks like I don’t know what she’s going through or like I haven’t walked through certain situations or worse…when she acts as though her problem and/or situation is “way worse” or somehow more important than mine—despite their very close similarity or in some cases, identical composition. That bugs me. Always has. And it still does. Sometimes I wonder why I keep my mouth shut and my opinion to myself when she never once bothered to silence hers when it came to me and what’s-his-name. She had no problem telling me what she thought of him and I and the situation. She’d tell me all the time how dumb and naïve I was being, that I didn’t love him and that I just thought I did, and how—mark her words—doomed the relationship was from the start. When she’d tell me how I was nothing but a hook-up for him and that he was just using me—though she knew I hated and how much it hurt hearing it—she was never the least bit remorseful about it. Rather, she’d just tell me that she was being honest and that I’d see—it was for my own good, whether I realized it or not.


The fact that she turned out to be right about him is irrelevant. It still hurt. Just like it hurts that she’s never really a shown an interest in the relationships I’ve had since him. I can’t help but wonder if she realizes just how one-sided this friendship feels to me some times. In all honestly, I think that’s part of the reason why I’ve been so distant in recent years and why we’ve gone so long in between hang-outs. I mean, there’s only so much sitting there and listening and being there for someone else that a person can take when they themselves have so much going on in their own lives–things that they, too need and would like to vent and talk about but feel like they can’t or that the other person doesn’t really want to hear about or will even care if they were to be told. Maybe I’m unfairly judging what she may or may not be interested in hearing…I don’t know. I just feel like we’ve grown so much from the people we used to be some times, you know? And it’s hard. So I have to take a break some times. To recharge. To deal with the mess in my own head to make room for her problems. Then–because I still consider her a friend and it’s just not in me to turn my back on a friend in need–I’ll be there for her…like always.


But in the years since then, I’ve never responded in kind or given her a taste of her own medicine, so to speak. I’ve never treated her that way. Have I been tempted? You bet I have. And it’s been damn hell hard, by the way. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been tempted to speak my peace and tell her just what I thought of that loser boyfriend of hers and their whole situation. I don’t know why, but I never liked the guy…even from the beginning. Partly because he screwed up her and I moving to NYC, sure…but also because there was just something about him that didn’t sit well with me. For starters, they moved way too quickly…I think it was like a couple of weeks or at most, a month or two, when they started living together. Everything she told me about their relationship seemed rushed and intense and had that whole “too good to be true” vibe about it. Then came the incident they had early-on in the relationship where they got into a fight, he hit or shoved her, and she dislocated her shoulder—or ended up with some kind of injury to it. I knew then and there that he was an asshole. After all, I’d known all too well one of his kind myself when I dated my college BF, the lovely jock that liked to toss me around and knock me out whenever he got the urge. I told her that she should walk away then—but she didn’t listen to me. She made excuses for him. She stayed. Of course she did. After all…they were “in love”.


In the going on 3-ish years they’ve been together, they’ve broken-up and made-up more times than I can count. She’s shared with me the details of countless fights they’ve had and asked for my opinion and advice on the subject. And I’ve always given her the doctored truth—the half-true opinion and answer that I know she wants to hear because I know she doesn’t want to hear what I really have to say…and because I know that no matter how many times I tell her that he’s an asshole was is never going to change—she’s not going to take my word for it.


This weekend was different though in that I didn’t hold back as I normally would. She messaged me and didn’t go into too much detail, but from what I got out of it apparently they had a fight or whatever and it must have been pretty heated because she ended up at a hotel…that was gist of it. I didn’t even bother to ask what happened or press for details this time. I basically flat-out asked when enough was going to be enough and what it was going to take for her to see that the so-called amazing guy she fell in love with is anything but—or at the very least, is gone and not coming back. I was pretty blunt with my response…and I don’t think she was too happy with it because she responded back by basically saying that she knew she had some things to figure out, but that she was a little overwhelmed seeing that she had no real support system to lean on in the mean-time. I don’t know if it’s that I’ve been sick the past week with a nasty bout of bronchitis that I found out after spending a day in the ER earlier in the week has turned into full-blown pneumonia and I’m just moody and exhausted from that or what…but I took offense to her claim of having no support system. Granted, her family really has nothing to do with her and she doesn’t have much to do with anyone outside of the people she works with as far as friends go, but by her discounting having any support system at all when I’ve been here for her the whole time…well, that’s kind of rude, I think. I mean, granted—she and I haven’t actually hung out in person in ages and all—but every time she’s had a problem or needed to vent, I’ve been a phone call or instant message away. Every time. I don’t know if it was her intention, but her saying that made me feel like I should feel guilty or something for being a bad friend because I haven’t been there and because I moved 900 miles away and have a life/job that she’s not really a participant in and friends besides her. And that’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for leaving. I mean, people leave. It’s a fact of life. We’re not kids anymore and this isn’t high school. Things were bound to change and we were bound to grow apart and have lives that didn’t entirely or necessarily revolve around or include one another. It’s called adulthood. I mean, do I feel bad for her? Of course. I think it sucks that she has to go through this and that he’s a jerk. I love the girl to death and I want her to be happy, but at the same time, I feel like I’m not doing her any favors by shutting my mouth and not pointing out that the only one who’s going to be able to initiate any kind of change in her life is going to have to be her. Maybe it’s not my place to say anything…but she wanted my opinion and that’s my opinion. She needs to stop making excuses and stop falling into the same damn vicious circle of breaking up and making up with him and then crying about how messed up things are or how badly things need to change every time that it happens. And I don’t say that to be cruel. I say it out of love. She’s my best friend. I want her to be happy and to be successful and to realize what I know—which is that it doesn’t have to be this way. She doesn’t have to be miserable all the time or go through this roller-coaster of emotions with him. She deserves better. I just wish she could see that for herself. Maybe a little tough-love is the push she needs to get there, I don’t know. But as her friend, there’s only so much that I can do. The rest is up to her. I can’t save her. She’s got to save herself now…

xoMESSIE

#FreakinDeaconFriday Adventures

Well, it’s been a roller-coaster, whirlwind of a week. For real. Starting with the apartment. As great as things went and were on Sunday, they were just as crappy on Monday when I went to pick up the keys. For starters, I got there and waited a good 2 1/2 hours just sitting there and no one telling me anything. The one girl from Sunday finally came over, gave me a key card, and told I could head over to the apartment, grab the keys that the guy I was supposed to be subletting for had left in a drawer in the kitchen, and to check out the apartment. So, I did. Yeah. Now, I’m not usually all that girly or picky when it comes to cleanliness. Personally, I prefer to keep things clean, but I’m not a neat-freak, OCD-type that expects everyone to keep their corners spotless, so to speak. And I expected a little dirt and whatnot, considering it was a guy’s apartment and that there was still another guy living there in one of the other bedroom units. But let me tell you–it was a total sh**hole. It was unreal. The carpet that I’m guessing was once either white or beige in the bedroom looked as though someone had literally poured patches of tar everywhere. It was bad. I’m talking layer upon layer of absolute filth. The wall, which I assume was supposed to be white, looked as though someone had painted patches of blue here and there and then tried to scrape it off with godknowswhat. The door to the walk-in closet was broken clear off. The mattresses were two different sizes. There were holes and scrapes all over the walls. Half empty cans of Budlight scattered around the room. And the entire apartment reeked of pot. I didn’t even bother to check the bathroom. I got the hell out of there and went back to the leasing office. When I informed the girl about the apartment, she basically shrugged and told me it wasn’t their problem. That even though I wasn’t allowed to get the keys to view the apartment beforehand because the other guy technically hadn’t moved out yet, I was still stuck with the lease and the apartment. Yeah. I was floored. And rightly so. I demanded to see the property manager who said the same thing. That I’d signed the lease–the lease that wasn’t even approved until 5 minutes before the girl had given me the okay to go and get the keys from the apartment mind you–and had the nerve to ask me what I expected from an apartment where someone had lived for 4 years and something about a “life change” and oh–I lost it. Really, really lost it. I walked out and called my family and of course, stood there bawling my eyes out on the phone while my mother bitched me out for signing a lease before I’d even seen the place–which according to the girl in the leasing office is standard practice…they don’t let you view the apartment until after you’ve signed the lease and they give you the keys. Granted, in hindsight, it was pretty dumb of me to not find that suspicious, but I was literally in la la land, thinking I’d scored this great location and deal…and pressed for time. I had to be at the promo shoot on Sunday, so I wanted to get everything done as soon as I could so I wasn’t stuck paying for a hotel for god knows how many nights until I figured out something permanent. So yeah, I jumped the gun a bit. And got screwed.

After I bawled my eyes out, I got mad. Like livid. I mean, here I was thinking that I was doing a good thing and the responsible thing–hell, I’d never even signed a lease before. I’m 27 and its the first time I’ve ever had to even worry about leases and sublets and whatnot. I sat in my car for like an hour just calling around to lawyers, trying to get some kind of idea of where I stood as far as breaking the lease went…and pretty much got nowhere. So I winged it. I went back inside, demanded copies of the papers I’d signed that the girl from Sunday never gave me and couldn’t even find when I initially went back after seeing the apartment and asked to see. I fibbed a bit and told them I wanted the paperwork right then so I could meet with a lawyer friend my brother-in-law knew from college that worked out of Antioch. There wasn’t any lawyer–and my brother-in-low went to engineering school, not law school–but they didn’t need to know that. Anyhow–that got them going. The one girl finally came over with the papers and told me that she and the property manager had talked and were willing to void the sublet lease in exchange for me signing a full lease with them, which meant I’d be able to get a different apartment, on that wasn’t a sh**hole. Seeing that a full lease with them meant a 12-month lease, I said hell no on the spot. I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t make plans. Hell, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing or where I’ll be one day from the next. That’s just me. Not to mention, if I was going to sign a year lease somewhere, it’d be in Nashville, not Murfreesboro, what with the 40 minute almost daily commute I’d be/am making. That’s what was great about the sublet. The lease would be up at the end of July, which I figured would give me time to figure things out with work and Ryan possibly moving down and most important, it would give me a chance to look for a place closer to Nashville. To make and sign a year-long commitment and contract when I know Murfreesboro is a temporary thing for me–is just illogical. And stupid. After I said no, the woman started negotiating. Ultimately, she offered me a 6-month lease with the same rent amount as I was going to pay for the sublet, which was roughly about 75-100 bucks cheaper than what the current rent rate is for the type of apartment unit I’m in. Ideally, the 6 month lease would have to go…but unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice. It was either take the deal and stick it out until January or get screwed and have to keep the sublet–or be in breach of the lease and lose out on the 2 months rent I’d already paid in advance. Needless to say, I took the deal. It’s not ideal by any means, but at least the apartment she gave me shows more resemblance to what I was expecting and what’s advertised on their webpage and I get to share the apartment with 3 other girls, and not the guy slob/stoner I would have had to live with if I stuck with the sublet unit. It’s not the perfect solution/arrangement, but it could have been worse. A hell of a lot worse.

That whole apartment debacle was just the beginning of the whirlwind. Sunday was the promo shoot–which went great, by the way–for the film. After, I drove back to the hotel…only to have Alan call me up around 1am to say they’d gotten a flat tire and asked if I had AAA. Which, I do. Well…technically it’s my grandmother’s card, but we have the same name and she never uses it so she gave it to me in case I needed to. So I met up with them (Alan and a few of the cast/crew) at some fire station in Clarksville. The wait for the tow truck was epic. I swear, this cast and crew is the best…and the hilariously craziest. The conversations we had…it was unreal. Unfortunately when the two truck guy did show up, he couldn’t fix the flat because he claimed Alan’s spare was leaking air and wouldn’t make it back to Nashville. So he ended up having to tow it back. The hotel was in Clarksville, so I didn’t go with them. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Alan called me the next morning for a ride to his truck and to get the tire changed. Only the tire place wouldn’t do anything unless he brought the truck to him. So Alan decided to drive on the flat…and made it all the way to about a block–not even–from the tire place. I was following him, of course, and watched the tire spit out pieces of rubber and wear down practically to the rim. It was literally mere feet from sparking when he stopped. He’s crazy. Sooo yeah, after I went at it with the leasing office, I had to go back to Nashville (for the 2nd time that day) and call AAA again for Alan since he’d bought a tire. We were given a ridiculously long 3-hour wait window…which sucked. Then the guy that showed up–and was high on something, I might add–didn’t have the right tools to change the tire and no flat bed to tow the truck around the block to the place where Alan bought the tire. So we called AAA yet again, endured hours of waiting…til finally we got it towed. It was late though and I still had to drive back to Murfreesboro, which sucked–especially since I had to be back in Nashville right the next day for the dress rehearsal. It was exhausting.

Anyhow, we started shooting the film on Tuesday. We had a 6:30 am call time, so I barely got any sleep. I left the apartment around 5 or so…only to completely wipe out on the last few steps…and made the idiot move of putting my hand out to break my fall. Yeah. Hurt my wrist. Had to go to the ER. The ER doc couldn’t be absolutely sure if it was broken or not because the x-rays weren’t that great, I don’t think. He said he thought it looked like a fracture, but couldn’t tell because of all the old fractures the x-rays showed on my wrist. So they called for an Ortho consult. After a good 2 hours of waiting for the guy to show up, I left to get to the set and told them to just have the Ortho guy call me with his diagnosis. Ultimately, he wants me to come in next week for more x-rays because he couldn’t be “definitively” sure if it was fractured and wanted to see me first.

Filming is going well, though. We’ve been going all week and I can’t even tell you how truly grateful I am to be working with these people on this project. They are incredible and this film is going to be absolutely amazing. I’m proud and thrilled to be a part of it, in spite of the 15+ hour days we’ve all been putting in. It’s worth it though. Or will be, in due time.

We had the day off today, so I headed on down to the Riverfront to see Charles Esten (from ABC’S Nashville) perform on the Chevy Stage for CMA Fest. I have to say, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in Nashville to day. Without a doubt. He was amazing. Absolutely incredible. The man is so talented, and hot as hell for a guy in his late 40’s. I swear, if he wasn’t a married man…um, yeah. It was so great and it literally made my day. Not only was this was my first CMA Fest, but I got to see DEACON perform LIVEEE! It really makes me feel so blessed and glad that I’m living here in Nashville and have these opportunities. It’s just so unbelievable, so great.

Time to get some shuteye, editing all day tomorrow…Night!

xoMESSIE

**And of course, some pics from the show 🙂 **

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The Gypsy Tale.

—Well, I’ll be heading back to Nashville on Saturday. I’d planned on starting back tomorrow, thinking the promo shoot for the film was on Saturday…yeah, it’s Sunday. My brain’s all muddled, I swear. It’s all good though. Gives me an extra day with the fam and the kiddos and a chance to fit in some quality time with the Bestie. We did manage to get together one night over the weekend for a couple of hours, which was good. Although I still can’t shake that feeling that our friendship has changed in recent years…it’s still nice to get together and catch up a bit. I keep telling her that she needs to just pack up and move on down to Nashville…in jest mostly. Part of me thinks that it could be really great if she actually did it. I do miss her and the close friendship we once had…I do. But at the same time, I can’t help but think that maybe this whole distance thing is sort of good thing. And by that I just mean that it’s been a good thing for me. It really has. My moving to Nashville was a huge step for me. And it’s given me new insight and a fresh outlook on my future and what I want to achieve. And the confidence boost it’s given me has been huge and incredible. To explain…I never thought I’d actually do it. That I’d move so far away from everything and everyone. I honestly never thought I’d have the nerve to do it. And by some chance that I did muster up the nerve, I never would have imagined that I’d actually see it through. I’d have thought I’d have cashed in my chips by now and gone running back. But I didn’t. And I don’t have the slightest inclination of ever doing that.  I’m not sure if I should feel bad or guilty for saying it, but Nashville is home to me now. Which is a little crazy in and of itself, considering I’ve literally only been there a mere six months. But I know how I feel. And that’s it.

—As unreal as it seems, I feel like I’ve done a lot of growing up. That I’ve changed. And I have. It’s kind of hard not to when you relocate to a new city in a whole other state by yourself. I mean, before I always had my family there to back me up when things went to hell. It’s not like that now. Sure, my family is still there for me–I know that and I love them for it–but in reality, it’s just me for the big things. The important things. Like having a career and paying the bills…it’s all on me now. Though the stack of responsibilities I now have sometimes seems overwhelming…it’s also a sign of how far I’ve come…how much I’ve grown up. Granted, the majority of the time being an adult just SUCKS…there is this sense of freedom that’s kinda great. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. I don’t have to defend my actions or the things I do. I can tell my family as much or as little about my life as I choose…and they will never be the wiser. It’s kind of perfect actually. Terrifying to some degree, but mostly just awesome.

—I think my family has finally come to terms this trip with the fact that I have no intentions of moving back. I think they’re finally starting to get that…and while they still aren’t too happy about it, I think they’re beginning to accept it. They seem more supportive…for the most part…which feels pretty great, to be honest. I think all I’ve ever wanted from them was their support…their encouragement. For them to believe in me…even if they don’t necessarily understand why I do what I do or want what I want. My mother called me a gypsy the other day and said that I’ve got this free spirit-personality that she’s both in awe and admiration of. She also said that it scares the hell out of her sometimes…the fact that I’ll throw caution to the wind and take all these risks, never knowing in advance where I’ll land up or if I’ll land up right. I know my moving hasn’t been easy for her. Granted, we haven’t had the greatest or closest mother/daughter relationship over the years. According to my father, she and I used to be so close when I was little…and I wish I could remember more of that, but I don’t. All I remember is the relationship getting progressively worse while I was growing up. I remember her leaving…her putting the men in her life before my siblings and I…her not being there for those milestones that a mother should be there for with her daughter. I’m not sure when, but I think at some point all the hurt I felt towards her just meshed into anger–which eventually just became so drowned out by resentment that there was no room for those hurt feelings or even the anger. I think I stopped calling her Mom before I was even a teenager–that’s how long it’s been. And a lot of people will stay say to me when they hear me call her by her name–rather than Mom–how wrong and disrespectful it is…but it’s not that simple. They weren’t there. She didn’t leave them behind. They don’t know what it’s like to be 5 years old and watch the taillights backing out of the driveway from your bedroom window each and every night. They don’t know what it’s like to look into the audience at an awards ceremony or in the stands at a home game and realize that yet again, she didn’t show up. Or to spend the majority of your childhood and adolescence feeling like a burden, feeling like you weren’t wanted. I love my mother, I do. And I’m grateful for the fact that we’ve begun to mend some fences in recent years…but that doesn’t excuse or erase all the hard stuff. I feel the same way about my Dad. I’m glad we have a relationship now, but nothing can make up for the fact that he wasn’t around while I was growing up and that that relationship didn’t start until I was practically already 16-years-old.

—As for the gypsy part–I’ve got to admit she’s probably right. I’ve had these crazy, big dreams since I was little of wanting to see all these different places, of wanting to travel the world. Granted, I now realize it’s not as easy to do those things as I once thought it would be–financially especially–but those dreams haven’t changed. And it’s not about being ungrateful or hating where I come from. It’s just this restlessness that I’ve had in me for as long as I can remember…that I sometimes think I must have been born with. I don’t know why I have it…or why I’m the only one in my family that seems to have [apparently] inherited this gypsy DNA…but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. They might not understand it or relate, but it’s not for them to understand. It’s my life. They don’t have to understand it, or agree with the risks I take…they just have to respect it. And ideally–accept that I’m not like that. For some reason or another, I’m never going to be like them. It’s just not in me to stay in one place for too long. Not that I have any intentions of taking off from Nashville and running off somewhere or anything. Trust me, I don’t. For now, I’m content and happy right where I am in Nashville. I don’t think I’m going anywhere anytime soon. That said, I still think it’s pretty damn awesome that I can–that I have that right and that freedom–if I so choose.

—In getting back to the Bestie though–even if I wasn’t kidding about wanting her to move down to Tennessee–it’d never happen. She’d never do it. She and the boyfriend are practically married already. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they make it official. And I highly doubt she would ever convince him to leave the area, what with him being as close to his family here as he is. Not to offend his wanting to be where his family is–it’s perfectly understandable–or anything to do with the guy just in general…but I sometimes can’t help but to think that, in a way, he’s holding her back. The Bestie and I–believe me, she’d be the first to tell you that I probably know her better than most anyone else…and I would probably have to agree. Which isn’t all that surprising considering we’ve been best friends for well over a decade. We’ve been a crazy duo, dating all the way back to our high school days. We were practically cut from the same cloth, so to speak. We bonded over our extreme hatred for our ridiculous Chemistry teacher and our ultimate mission of doing absolutely every darn thing we could think of to annoy the hell out of him and make those every-other-day, 80 minute class periods as difficult for him as we possibly could. (It sounds horrible, but trust me, that teacher was a jerk and he totally deserved it!) Aside from harassing teachers, we saw each other through everything–good and bad. An unplanned pregnancy and the abortion that followed, the heart aches from bad break-ups, the degrees of dysfunction within our respective families, the death of a grandparent…we saw and experienced it all. As Christina Yang (**From Greys’) would say…she was — and in some ways still is– my person. We know each other’s secrets. We know how to put each other’s buttons just enough to send the other off the wall. We’ve had some pretty insane fights over the years…it’s a wonder that we’re still even friends. But we are. At least, I’d like to think that we are. It’s hard though, building a life that you can’t really share with that person because they live 900 something miles away from you. Growing apart…I guess it was just inevitable. After all, it’s a helluva lot easier to be joined at the hip when you’re young and free and have no real awareness of what “responsibility” looks like or even means. We were kids then. Now–well, now we’re stuck in the big, bad real world. We can’t afford to be oblivious and reckless in our ways when our futures are dependent upon the actions we take and the choices we make…

—Any who, time to call it a night. I have a feeling the next couple of days I’m going to need all the rest/energy I can get. Excited to leave and get back to my life in TN…but that damn drive though…ugh…

‘Til next time,

xoMESSIE

How Is This Still A Conversation.

So I got just a tad bit annoyed with the Bestie earlier. We were chatting on Facebook while I was making the drive back to New York and when she found out about my last-minute travel plans, she sent me a message saying she was going to the first Saranac Thursday show of the season tonight and suggested that I meet up with her there if I got in early enough. As in Saranac Thursday…a summertime concert series held in the courtyard of the brewery where Mr. Wonderful (sarcasm) works. Yeahhhhh. I don’t know if she was kidding and thought she was being funny or what…but I didn’t think it was cute. And maybe I’m being just a bit too over-analytical about it…but if I am, it’s because I’ve just about run out of patience for that kind of thing these days–those smart-@$$ little quips about HIM and that ENTIRE situation. It’s gotten old. Like really, really old.

 

As for the Bestie, she knows better. Or she should know by now, rather. It’s not funny. Not to me. Which is the point I hopefully made perfectly clear in my replied text to her afterwards. I wasn’t mean. I simply told her how I felt. Which was that it would be in a cold day in HELL before I ever stepped foot in that courtyard for one of those events–or anywhere in the vicinity on one of those nights–ever again. It really is that simple. I have zero interest in being anywhere that place or seeing any of those people–especially HIM. And chances are, with it being the first event of the season, he most likely will be in attendance. That considered, I don’t want to see him. I just don’t. And not because I’m still naive and ridiculously hung up on the guy. Believe me, I am soooo not. At all. I got over him a long time ago. Years ago, in fact.

 

Still, that doesn’t mean I want to see or run into him. Just because I’ve moved on doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten all that happened or the hell he put me through. I haven’t forgotten any of it. And maybe it shouldn’t, but it still hurts a little, even now. And for that, I’m still angry. I still hate him. I haven’t forgiven him. And I might sound like a bitch for it–but I don’t want to forgive him. I don’t. That’d be too easy…and he doesn’t deserve my forgiveness…not when I know damn well he doesn’t feel the least bit sorry for any of the things he did and what he put me through.

 

It really bothers me that people think it’s okay to bring him up in conversation…for the Bestie to even think it’s okay to joke about something like that and actually suggest I go somewhere where there’s even the slightest chance he might be. I don’t care that it’s been well over 5 years now. And I can’t stand how people assume I’m just supposed to smile and go where he might be and not feel physically sickened at the possibility of catching even a glimpse of him.

 

I love the Bestie to death, but it’s something like this that is exactly one of the reasons why I stopped talking to her for that year. Her complete disregard for the fact that I want nothing to do with him. That I don’t want to hear his name or talk about him in any way, shape, or form. I didn’t then. And I don’t now. I feel bad for saying it, but it’s almost like she doesn’t understand or know who I am anymore.  If she did, she’d understand just how messed up it is for her to even suggest such a thing, whether it being in jest or not. Nothing about what happened between him and I is funny. Nothing. That period of my life was–hands-down–one of the worst of my life. I was a broken, ridiculous mess. And I nearly let it all destroy my life.

 

But I didn’t. I didn’t let that happen. I held it together. I picked up the pieces of my heart and my life and glued them back as well as I could. And it was hard. It was hell. It took everything I had to turn my life around, but I did it. Metaphorically speaking, my moving to Nashville was in a sense, the final act. The final step. I picked up my life and moved it 900 miles away from everyone and everything I’ve ever known. In part–yes–because of that whole situation. The way I see it, moving to Tennessee was my way of closing the book–one and for all–on that horrible chapter in my life. Those events, that place, those people, HIM–I put it all behind me the moment I pulled out of the driveway that day back in January. And not once did I look back. And I’m certainly not going to do it now. I’m not going to open that can of worms. People don’t get it, but even something as simple as going to one of those events would be a huge step backwards. And I’m done going backwards. These days, I’m moving forward. Just forward. And I’m making no exceptions.

 

But it’s not just him. It’s that whole scene. The drinking–all of that–it’s just not me anymore. I have no interest in any of that behavior I used to engage in. After all, where did it ever get me? Nowhere but in trouble and heartbreak, that’s where. I’ve moved on. Physically, emotionally…in every way. As far as I’m concerned, he no longer exists. He disappeared, probably to the same place as the girl I used to be disappeared to. And I have no desire to go searching for either of them. I don’t particularly like talking up Nashville to the Bestie or bragging about how well things are going in my life down there, but it’s the truth. I’m happy there. Content. I went looking for a clean slate and I found it. And I’ll be damned if I’ll give it up for a mere couple of hours of wasted socializing.

 

Above all that though, I’m only going to be here for a couple of weeks. I came here for some down-time and to spend time with my family and friends because only god knows when I’ll get the chance to visit again after this. I want to enjoy this time. Not spend it miserable because I had the misfortune to run into the last people I want to see at this point and time in my life. It’s just not worth it. They’re not worth it. They never were.

 

If the Bestie wants to hang out in a different setting, one that doesn’t involve alcohol and individuals I despise with every fiber of my being, then I have no problem with it. If not…well, then that’s her choice. Like it or not, I’ve changed. And though it saddens me to admit it, so has our friendship. Honestly, it was inevitable. A fact of life. We grew up. We’re not teenagers anymore. We’re adults with completely separate lives. That’s just the reality of it all. And while it’s bittersweet, part of me thinks it’s kind of a good thing. By that, I don’t mean that I don’t want us to stop being friends–I want nothing of the sort. All I’m saying is that my decision to move to Nashville was a good thing in that it forced me to grow up…to stop leaning on others for support. Moving 900 miles away was pure insanity and outrageous. And there was a point in time when I never would have been able to do it…when I was too scared to be without my family. To scared to not have the Bestie joined at the hip like we’d been for years. Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like if she’d followed my suggestion and moved down to Nashville with me on one of the numerous times that I suggested to her that she should–and I think that while it would have been nice to be able to share these experiences and this incredible success I’ve found there with her–I also think that doing it on my own made me stronger, more confident, more assured. I did something I never thought I’d have the nerve to do. I left. And all this happiness and success–I worked hard for it. Just me. I earned it. No one gave it to me or did it for me. I did it all. And I’m pretty impressed and proud of myself, I have to admit.

 

Everyone always says that the best revenge is letting those people in your past that hurt you see you happy. If that’s so, well, here I am. He can look all he wants. I’m happy, in spite of all he did and all that happened. I did this. I figured out how to be happy. And the great part about it is it that it had absolutely nothing to do with him. Nada. Zip. Nothing. I’m happy because I want to be. And because I know that even with all the mistakes I may have made, I’ve earned the right to be. Most importantly, I deserve it.

 

And knowing that he can’t touch it, ruin it, or take it [my happiness] away this time…well, I’ve got to honestly…it’s pretty much the best feeling in the world. Truly. The. Best. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

xoMESSIE

There. Then Back Again.

So it’s been a busy past couple of days, what with having to pack all of my things up again and load the truck in preparation for that horrible 14-hour drive to New York. I was planning on leaving Saturday, but completely forgot about Memorial Day weekend, so to play it safe and skip the rush, I’m just going to head out early tomorrow. I’m excited to see my family and my little loveys…but that drive–ugh. And then I’m going to be making it again in a couple of weeks from now…yeah, it’s going to really suck.

 

Anyhow, I’ve been busy with editing audition pics for my friend’s film that I think I mentioned in one of my recent posts. Today I met up with Kelle at Centennial Park over by West End–she’s the producer–for a head-shot shoot to use for hers and my friend Allan’s production company’s website, as well as the film’s. It went pretty well, actually–in spite of the fact that Kelle wasn’t sure how she wanted them to done or what poses to do…AND that I’d never done head-shots before. It went great, though. And it was good practice for me. I mean, I worked at a photography studio so I’m used to taking portraits and close-ups and what not, but I’d never technically done any actual head-shots involving the film industry. As it turns out, I was all worried and nervous for nothing. There weren’t any problems and Kelle’s just plain awesome, so it was good. It was a fun. I admit, when I first met her at the Auditions Day 1, I was a wee bit intimidated. She does this serious look that’s kinda scary. But she’s actually really nice, not scary at all. She’d be fun to hang out with, especially considering how during the auditions she told me and this other guy in the room that she will not drink or go out clubbing with white people. She didn’t mean it in a racist context or anything. She just thinks us “white folks” do crazy @$$ crap when we’re drinking. To her credit, she’s not too far off-base. We do some pretty crazy crap…or I have, I should say. When I get back in June, I’m gonna make it a mission to get her and the rest of the crew to all go out…just for the hell of it. CMA fest will be starting around that time and seeing how this is my first CMA fest in Nashville…I want to make it memorable. With the exception of the time a bunch of us from class went out a few months ago, it’d been well over 3 years since I’d had even a drop of alcohol. Or gone out bar-hopping. Nothing like that. I’ve been really good on those fronts. I don’t even miss it, to tell you the truth…the going out, the getting drunk, the passing out in random places (like the time I passed out wasted in a snowbank–um, yeah…), the drama, the hangovers…yeah, I don’t miss any of that. But this is the CMA Fest! And everyone down here says it’s absolutely insane during the festival–and I can’t wait. So, so excited. Can you tell? 🙂

 

Any who…I have some good news. Alan told me today that his boss wants to hire me to do photography and some of the promotion for the International Black Film Festival that Nashville hosts downtown every year. This year’s will be held in October. I know it’s months away, but I’m excited and anxious already. In terms of my photography and work, this is a HUGE deal. It’s kind of funny actually–the direction my life has gone and how it’s going right now–seeing that I never in a million years would have expected that I’d get involved in the film industry…let alone end up liking it. Unlike Alan and a good majority of the student population here at Watkins, I have no desire for fame or recognition…or anything else. I just want to take my pictures and have as much fun as I possibly can. That’s all I want. I now have so much respect for my actor/actress friends–and actors just in general. I mean, it take a hell of a lot of confidence and talent to do what they do–to get up in front of everybody and pretend to be someone else. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it. I’ve never been fond of public speaking–in fact I loathe it–and I definitely wouldn’t want the world knowing and watching my every move. That celebrity lifestyle–yeah, no thanks. I think I’ll just keep my insignificant, mundane little life if that’s all right.

 

Surprisingly–and I think its safe to say–I’m really starting to like this whole film thing. The auditions, the casting, the production–it’s all so fascinating. I’ve literally learned something new each day. And the best part is that my role in it all is actually my own craft. I get to learn, observe, and discover new nuances of the industry while doing something that I love. Photography. Even better, I get to work and do it with a pretty great group of individuals that I’m also so incredibly fortunate and grateful to be able to call them my friends.

 

There’s no longer any doubt in my mind that I made the right decision in moving here to Nashville. None whatsoever. It was one of the best decisions I could have made. I’m happy here. I have friends here. Connections that I’ve already made. I’ve built a life here in these past 6 months. This is home. At least for now…

 

xoMESSIE

** And so I thought I’d share some pics I took in Centennial Park after the shoot with Kelle today…SPOILER ALERT–there are trees…lots and lots of trees! 🙂 🙂 **

 

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IMG_5659           IMG_5676

IMG_5704                    IMG_5714

 

IMG_5731                       IMG_5739

 

 

Ride ‘Til We Die.

Okay, so rarely does a film give me those actual chills…the kind where you literally just stop and go, “whoa.” But…I just finished watching Furious 7 and well…yeah. Whoa.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those mechanically inclined, car junkie type chicks or anything. I mean, I can change a tire…or probably could, I should say. I mean, I’ve watched how to do it and I’m sure if I really had to (and I had the right tools with me) I could probably follow along to some YouTube video instructions or something and get the job done. Probably. Once, many, many years ago, I had this crazy notion that I was going to learn how to do an oil-change myself…yeah. I think I got so far as buying all the stuff I needed to get it done…and that’s about it. Cars and me…well, I don’t have the best of luck with them. My very first car–totally blew up the engine/head gasket thingie. Yeah. Apparently cars really do need oil to keep running. Who knew. 🙂 Yeah. Then there’s my run-in’s with a couple of ditches that didn’t end too well…for the car, anyhow. And of course, let’s not forgot my little hydroplaning incident a few months back. Yeah, cars and me…no real love connection there. My brother and my uncle are the mechanics in the family. They pretty much know everything there is to know…which was always pretty convenient for us girls. Never really had to worry about that part. Even now, with AAA and road-side assistance and hell, even drive-thru oil-change stations–there’s really no need for me to really learn the mechanics at this point. As far as recognizing makes and models of cars…yeah, I suck at that, too. So basically when people ask me what kind of car this or that was, I’m usually like…um, an SUV/Truck? In other words, I’m totally clueless.

But just because I know essentially zip about cars, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good racing/car action film. Having said that, I love the Fast & Furious movies. It’s not often that you find a film saga that ups  the ante and–amazingly–gets better with each new film they make. The Furious saga is exactly like that. I mean right on down from the storyline and all the crazy-intense stunts to the incredibly talented actors…it’s all just soooo good.

The latest film, Furious 7, definitely did NOT disappoint. I loved it. It has a perfect balance of suspense and action and drama and even comedy. Maybe it’s just me, but the characters of Roman–played by actor Tyrese Gibson, and Tej–played by rapper-turned actor, Ludacris–are totally hilarious. Their characters crack me up each time. And Vin Diesel–the actor that plays one of the lead characters, Dom Toretto–gosh, he’s just total eye candy. Not gonna lie–for a 47-year-old, he’s pretty hot. Just sayin’.

Then, of course, there’s Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor–an ex-FBI-agent turned street racing-junkie turned criminal and fugitive turned world-saving hero turned father and family man. Paul Walker played the character so well, which makes it more tragic and even more of a shame what happened to him. I just think it’s horrible that he died the way he did. I think the irony of it all is just plain cruel. An actor who basically rose to fame by playing a character that was front and center within the world of street-racing, dies in a high-speed car crash?? It just seems so wrong–like a slap in the face, you know? If nothing else, it just goes to show just how cruel and unforgiving fate and the universe can be sometimes, I guess. And the fact that it was a freak accident sort of thing that happened, makes it even more horrible. It all could have happened so differently, you know. So many if-onlys. If only that car hadn’t been having problems that day…if only he hadn’t gotten in that car or gone on that drive…he might still be alive. While I know it was just an unfortunate, tragic accident, I can’t help but wonder (as many others have, I’m sure) what they were thinking driving that fast on that stretch of road. I think I read somewhere that the car was going like 90 mph or about that when it crashed. Seriously…what were they thinking? How it even happened is what I don’t get. I mean, not only was the driver the owner of a racing team, but was an avid racer himself. So he knew what he was doing. Or should have known. As a racer–he had to have been used to driving at speeds nearly double what he was doing the day of the crash. In light of that, it just seems odd to me that he lost control like he did. But he did. I just feel really bad for that Rodas’ guy’s family and for Paul Walker’s family, especially his teenage daughter. It’s one thing to have to suffer the loss of a loved one…but to know that their deaths were the result of deliberate recklessness that could have easily been avoided…that’s got to make it even worse. I caught a bit of an interview Paul Walker’s dad did after the crash where he mentioned that the Furious 7 movie was going to be the last film his son was going to make for awhile–that he was planning on taking a break from acting so he could spend more time with his daughter. It’s sad that he never got that chance. Which goes to show, I think, just how short and fragile life really is. You never know what’s going to happen. You think you have all the time in the world, so you put off doing the things you want to do and add it all to the “someday” pile…then tragedy strikes and those “some days” are gone forever. There are no guarantees. You just never know. It’s almost like a curse and a blessing, at the same time.

Anyhow, back to the movie. I’m glad they retired Paul Walker’s character, rather than kill him off. And they did it in such an incredible, respectful, genuine way that just gives you the feels, so to speak. One of the best things about this particular saga is how, even though the movies are action films, they still manage to tie in this sort of genuine family element. The love and respect that cast of actors have for one another–on-and-off screen–really comes across in the films, especially so in this last one. I think it’s easy for people to get attached to these characters and their stories and forget sometimes that those actors are actually real people. Real people with feelings and emotions and families. I’ m completely in awe and impressed by that cast of amazing actors and all the heart they put into finishing the film. It couldn’t have been easy for them. And the way that they really about honoring their friend was truly and genuinely perfect. There are scenes in this last film, especially that very last scene, where you have to wonder how much of that is acting and how much is genuine. They were saying goodbye to the character obviously, but I think it was also that they were saying goodbye to their friend, someone they loved. It was a little heartbreaking to watch…and I’ll admit, there were some tears…but I’m human. And if you’ve seen all the movies–and I have–it’s true, you get a little invested in the characters and their stories. I mean, you know it’s not actually real…but it could be. And I’m sure that it is real for someone or some people out there, somewhere. Someone’s brother or friend or family. There are all kinds.

So yeah…great movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend getting off your behind and going to see it…if for no other reason than to see those incredible stunts. I mean…whoa. Big BIG props to those stunt people. Let’s just say that if it weren’t for the whole crash and die thing, I’d be adding “skydiving in a car” to my bucket list. That’s one of those thrills-of-a-lifetime things that you just know isn’t likely to end well…but you want to and still do it anyway because you know that life is just too damn short for regrets. And for wishing you’d done something when you had the chance.  As those hipster teenagers these days like to say, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. It’s true. So take the plunge, take the risk, break the rules. That’s right, don’t think or over-analyze it all…just do it. GO. Live a little. Today, right now. It’s worth it. It’s all worth it.

xoMESSIE

Bruises Fade & The Tears Will Dry.

My world revolved around you

Every word was a promise, I was hanging on

Swept up inside a whirlwind

I just couldn’t see the end ’til you were gone

Oh, I thought I would fall apart

With shattered dreams and a broken heart

Scrambling’ in the dark

How was I to know, that I’d be okay?

Thought I’d lose it all when you walked away

How was I to know, I would be this strong?

I had what it takes all along

How was I to know?

What I was so afraid of

Turned out to be my freedom in disguise

Now, I know what I’m made of

Guess it just took some time to realize

Oh I was blind, I couldn’t tell

Put too much faith in someone else

I gave up on myself

How was I to know, that I’d be okay?

Thought I’d lose it all when you walked away

How was I to know, I would be this strong?

I had what it takes all along

How was I to know?

How was I to know?

(Lyrics, “How Was I To Know”, Reba McEntire)

There’s this quote that I swear I’ve heard half a million times that goes, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go, while others stay and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never the same.” It’s so true. It’s actually kind of incredible if you think about it…the influence and effect that a person can have on some one else’s life. It really is. So many people have come in and out of my life over the years. Loved ones, friends, lovers…absolute strangers. When you’re young, you tend to think in terms of quantity, rather than quality as far as relationships and friendships go. You basically weigh your self-worth on the basis of how many friends you have and how popular you are. And then you grow up and you realize how little those things matter, especially in the long run. You start to see people for who they really are beneath that naive cloak of adolescence. On top of all the struggles you face when becoming an adult, you’re saddled with the not-always-so-easy task of weeding out the people that you want and don’t want in your life. You’re left to figure out who you can trust and depend on, as well as the ones that neither deserve or need to be in your life…those people you can do and live without.

I’m so blessed and thankful for the people I have in my life right now, sincerely and truly thankful. Over the years, I’ve lost touch with so many friends that I’ve lost count. Some were ones that I chose to remove from my life…you know, those two-faced “so-called” friends that will smile and act all nice to your face, and then stab you in the back the moment you turn away or the first chance they get…yeah, those friends. I’ve had my fair share of friends like that over the years, some I’d even known since grade school, that I no longer talk to or see. It wasn’t until about six years ago when everything blew up with what’s-his-name and life as I knew went all to hell for me, that I decided to free myself from a lot of those “friends”. As difficult and as trying as that period of my life was then, it was also a really pivotal time. It’s like I finally took off those rose-colored glasses I’d been wearing for years and saw things for what they were…and people for whom they were. So much happened and changed during that time…I changed. I realized that I didn’t need, nor did I want, those “I-told-you-so” friends that were practically celebrating the fact that it was finally done and over with him and I…and were more concerned with having been proven right about him than they were with the fact that my entire life had just been turned upside-down and I was a total, absolute wreck. Friends don’t do that…they just don’t. I learned real quick after that all happened who I could trust and who I couldn’t–and though it wasn’t necessarily fair–instead of picking and choosing, I chose to group them all together and push everyone away. It was just easier.

I did a lot of–“soul-searching” I guess you could call it–in that year that I didn’t talk to anyone. And though it hurt so many people, my pushing them away and shutting them out like I did without even so much as an explanation or goodbye, I needed that time…in so many ways, for so many reasons. I hated the person that I’d become, that I’d allowed him to turn me into…you really have no idea. When I looked in a mirror, it was like looking at someone I didn’t know…and that scared the hell out of me. I’m not going to lie–I had some pretty close calls that year…moments where I literally just wanted to say to hell with it and would have given absolutely anything just to make the pain go away. I had this ridiculous notion starting out that I’d somehow be able to forget and put it all behind me…and when I realized just how naive and ridiculous that was–and that it was never going to happen–I think in that moment I finally just gave up. I was so sick of fighting the memories and living with the hurt and the shame and I just…wanted it to end. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor one night, a razor-blade in one hand and a bottle of sleeping pills and Oxycodone in the other and I swear, I must have sat there for hours, just staring at the bottles and the blade and thinking how easy it would be…and then I thought about the satisfaction he would have no doubt gotten if I just ended it all…and I got angry. So, so angry. He’d taken so much from me and the thought of him taking anything more, well, I just couldn’t let him win. So I didn’t. I pulled it together–somehow–and I fought back. I thought about telling everyone the truth–of publishing each and every sordid detail, every secret, every truth–of publicly humiliating him and destroying his life as he’d done mine…and then I realized something. I realized that that was what separated us…that line that he’d had no problem crossing for his own selfish reasons…I realized that I couldn’t cross it. I wanted to–godknows I wanted to–but when it came down to it, I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to deliberately ruin someone’s life, no matter how much he deserved it, because the truth of it all is that it wasn’t just his life I’d be ruining. There were so many other people–innocent people–that would have felt the back-lash and I couldn’t do that. I realized I was better than that. Better than him. I had a conscience. And I knew that the small relief and satisfaction I’d feel wouldn’t last nearly as long as the guilt I knew would come with it. And I was sick of feeling guilty, tired of feeling like I was the bad guy in what happened…just tired of all of it, really.

And hating him–if anything–was just exhausting. Then one day I think I just woke up and decided I was done with it, with hating him, with blaming him, with anything all at having to do with him. Just done. Once I let go of all that hate, I felt so much better. I know it sounds so cliche, but it really was a relief to be free from all that, from him. It’s funny because when people ask me now whether I’d go back and change anything if I could–particularly what happened with him–they can’t believe it when I tell them I wouldn’t change a thing. Honestly–and I know it sounds crazy–but I’m actually grateful for what happened. In a way, I think I needed that experience, that heartbreak…that living hell…to become the person I am today. When I look back on that time, it’s like I’m an outsider looking in on someone else’s life. And in a way, that’s exactly what it is. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m not young and naive and easily swayed by some guy with green eyes and a few well-versed, overused lines. I know now that love isn’t the solution to everything. That you can love and believe in a person with all your heart and it still doesn’t change the fact his heart is cold and black and incapable of feeling anything. I’m not cynical really, just realistic. Fairy-tales are for kids and Disney movies…this is reality. Love can be a good and bad thing, all at the same time. And people can and will hurt you, no matter how high you build up those walls around your heart.

It’s funny, really, when I think about how far I’ve come in the last 5 years. I mean, I literally picked myself up from rock bottom and went through hell and back, ten times over, and yet, here I am. I survived what was surely one of the hardest periods of my life so far, and I’m truly a better person for it. And while I don’t like the idea of giving him any satisfaction, if we’re being honest, I do owe him some credit for that. If it weren’t for him and his twisted, overly-vindictive need for revenge and my just as determined refusal to NOT give him the satisfaction of knowing he’d wrecked me, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I really wouldn’t. For so long whenever I thought about about him or heard his name, I’d automatically think of all the hurt and the pain. I don’t know when that changed or stopped exactly, but that doesn’t happen anymore…and hasn’t in a long, long time. There’s this saying I’ve heard that says that only you can let your fears destroy you…or something along those lines…and I think it’s pretty accurate. I mean, I gave him the power to destroy me the moment I said yes and went with him that first night. It’s kind of a harsh metaphor, but in a lot of ways, I made a pact with the devil that night. And while it’d be so easy just to blame him for everything and hate him as I once did, I realize now that it simply just isn’t worth it. It’s just not.

People come in and out of our lives all the time. And the footprints left by some are a little deeper than the shallow ones left by others. That’s life. And I happen to believe that everything happens for a reason. I’m not necessarily convinced that it’s some kind of “divine intervention”–these paths we take in life–but I do believe that it all–every person we meet, every decision we make, every path we take–has a purpose. Though I think I would have preferred that it hurt less than it did, I think his purpose and the role that he played in my life was to lead me to the realization that I’m enough…just me…and to make me realize that I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I thought I was. I mean, I could have given up that night, sitting on the floor of my bathroom. I could have said to hell with all of it. But I didn’t. I think Bob Marley said it best when he said that, “You don’t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” That was certainly true in my case. And believe it or not, there’s actually an upside to losing everything and hitting rock bottom…which is that there’s nowhere to go but up. You can let the people and memories from your past and all that pain destroy you and keep you down; let it break you. Or you can pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and fight back.

That’s what I did. I fought back in the only way I really knew how–by being happy. I stopped letting the lies and accusations and rumors that were going around about me have any kind of hold over me. I stopped blaming myself and feeling guilty for things that were out of my control. But most important, I refused to allow that relationship, that one mistake, define me. I made a mistake–I did–and I’m not proud of some of the choices I made then…but we all have a past. We all have regrets, some bigger or worse than others. I think that the footprints he made are always going to be there…though they’ve faded for the most part, at this point. For a really long time, I thought that moving on meant forgetting completely…but I was wrong. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever forget, or if I will ever be able to run into again without remembering all that pain that he caused me or the terrifying depths that he drove me to…of if I’ll ever make peace with it or forgive him even…but I think that’s okay. I don’t know what the future has in store for me or what’s going to happen one day from the next. And I don’t know how to explain how I know it, but I know that I’ll be okay…that much, I’m sure of…

xoMESSIE

Spoon Full of Sunshine.

So today was a good day. I got to soak in a little sunshine…I mean literally, I actually have a sunburn across the bridge of my nose. The weather was absolutely beautiful–it being in the mid 60’s–and you could tell how glad people were to finally venture out after these insane past few weeks of brutal winter here in Nashville because it seemed like everyone and anyone was out and about. I decided to take advantage of all the sunshine and go out shooting for my photo assignment, considering how it’s been weather-wise and all. Who knows, we’ll probably get another freak snowstorm and have yet another snow day (we’ve already had four) in a day or two…you never know, right? And just so I’ll be prepared for the next Nashville go-round with Mother Nature, I’m having my mother send me down a snow brush…dummy that I am, I didn’t bother to bring one down with me when I left New York. Mostly because I didn’t think I’d need one. And certainly not at the frequency that I’ve been needing one. It’s a little ironic in that I’d only been in Nashville for a few weeks when we had a forecast calling for snow, and everyone I mentioned it to basically acted as if I’d just landed from another planet. Because according to them, it never snows in Nashville, and when it does it’s just a light dusting that’ll typically be gone by morning. It was actually kind of satisfying and funny even at first because oh boy, did Mother Nature prove them wrong. Now I know that it does snow in Nashville, on occasion. Everyone I know that’s from Nashville have said that is one of the most brutal, coldest winters Nashville has seen in decades. And wouldn’t you know it, it just had to be the winter I moved down here from NY  It figures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the snow. After all, I’m from upstate New York, so I’m used to it. While it’s pretty to look at and play in up in NY, down here it’s nothing to joke about. I, of course, had to learn that the hard way with my near-death hydroplaning incident a couple of weeks ago. Driving on the interstate has been absolute hell for me ever since then. I freak myself out every time I feel like I’m starting to slide or find myself having to drive next to an 18-wheeler. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’m actually sliding, or if it’s just me getting all worked up over nothing. Either way, it’s scary as hell. So while the snow was nice at first–and 4 snow days is pretty awesome–now I’m just over it. Over the freezing temps, the snow, the ice rain–all of it. I’m just ready for winter to be over with. I think Nashville’s seen enough snow to last the city for a while. I know I have. New York and the northern states can keep their snow…but down here in Nashville, we’re more than ready for Spring to get here and the sunshine I was promised and expected when I moved here. Here’s to hoping we’ve seen the last of that white stuff…hopefully.

Any who, so the weather and sunlight were perfect for going out and taking some pictures. I picked up my friend Hannah from our photography class and we spent like 6 hours–or just about–driving around Nashville and taking pics of old buildings and bridges and other random places and things that hold some kind of historic ties to Nashville. Six hours is a long time to be out taking pictures, but we had the best time. Hannah is hilarious. We spent a good portion of the time driving around, talking about some of the odd and irritating “characters” that are in our class and joking around. I drove Hannah crazy with my driving, which was funny as hell, and we chatted about the strangest and most random of things. It was fun.

Seeing and going all these places today only made me love the city of Nashville more than I already had. I keep expecting to find something about it that I don’t like, some kind of flaw or fault, but so far, I haven’t found neither. Nashville is amazing. Now that I’ve been here and I’ve gotten to experience and explore the city, I can’t even imagine wanting to leave and move back to NY. I don’t think I’ll ever want to. I miss my family–that’s a given–and my friends back in New York, but my life is here now…at least for the time being. There’s so much more to do and see and experience here than there is back home. And more opportunities–career and other wise. But most importantly, it’s the people that make me want to stay. I was a little worried when I first got here that I’d feel too out of place and too nervous to meet people, but that turned out NOT to be the case. I’ve actually been more open and more confident with people down here than I expected I would be. I’ve made some really good friends already in the short time that I’ve been here and I meet new people nearly every day. My friend Alan, who I met in my design class, has pretty much become like my surrogate-bestie down here in Nashville. He’s hilarious and so much fun to talk to and hang out with. It’s great…and I think it’s because–for the first time in a really long time–I’m able to actually be my real self with the people here. There’s no rumors and stories going around, no having to look over my shoulder or wait for the bottom to fall out. I don’t have to worry about any of that here. Here, I can be the real me, without worrying what people might think or caring what they might say. They don’t know about my past or about all the dumb things I did. They just know the me that I am right now. And it’s so liberating. And such a relief to not have to pretend to be someone that you’re not, or carry around baggage that you’d rather just get rid of once and for all…it’s like I’ve been given a second chance and the opportunity to finally get to do and have what I want and be who I want to be. Moving here was the best decision I could have ever made for myself and I’m glad I did because finally–FINALLY–I feel like everything is right with my life. I have friends here, I’m happy here…I have a life. And it’s a pretty damn good one, if you ask me…and a long time coming.

xoMESSIE

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