My phoneith got runnith over.

I knew I packed too much: lasagna, pumpkin spice creamer, and a Greek yogurt parfait. Along with my usual change of clothes and bulky highlighter jacket that I wear on the ride home for safety. It’s a small backpack, but I crammed it all in there.

The pocket where I usually store my phone was too tightly compressed from the other items, so I slipped it into a different pocket this time.

When I got to the guard gate, I swiped in as usual and I noticed a coworker nearby. She was headed in the same direction. I tried to get her attention to say hello. And hello! We walked together to the building elevators in silence. It was much too loud on the lot to speak. Trucks, cranes and lots of grip equipment. A very busy morning on the lot. The noise is how I didn’t hear my phone hit the ground.

When I got to my desk to unload my food rations, I couldn’t feel my phone anywhere in my backpack. I immediately checked FIND MY IPHONE to see if it was still on the dining room table. Nope. Here on the lot. How so? Where?

I emptied out the backpack and instead of going to the bathroom to change my clothes– I follow my gut to retrace my steps. By the time I got to the guard gate, I still see nothing on the ground. I almost didn’t want to bring it up with security. I didn’t want to bother them. I felt shame in loosing it in the first place. I finally spoke up awkwardly:

Me: I dropped something, but I don’t see it. Meh– must not be here.

Them: Is it a phone?

Me: Yes…

They show me a phone with a badly shattered screen. It’s mine. Definitely mine. Definitely in very bad shape. Pieces of glass missing. Definitely ran the FUCK over.

I couldn’t help myself. Tears. Tears of not-today. Of not-now. Of auughh-gawd.

Sharp stories fill my head: This is why I can’t have nice things. This is what I deserve. This is a reflection of your ability to be a responsible adult. A reflection of your worth. A reflection of your maturity. All not true. All hitting me at 100 mph.

Just that morning, I was feeling especially annoyed with my Iphone for being glitchy and slow recently: a sticky home button, notifications upgrading and glitchy text messages interfering with my communication with loved ones. I then told myself: be patient until next Fall. Then you’ll be able to get a new phone. Yours works, kinda-fine. It’s alright.

Well, the universe said– you need a new phone NOW. But did it?

Or is my phone a metaphor for me? I was working kinda-fine. Getting by. But I took a major fall to see the truth, the damage and the true need for repair.

And repair I did. I took my phone to a guy that only needed 15 minutes and $65 in cash to make my phone look brand new. It got ran over. How does it still work? How was it just the screen? I was ready to throw it out completely. Baby with the bathwater.

My final thoughts:

Repair is done in practice. I’ll try not to be over zealous with packing my packpack.

I’m learning to be at peace when it’s time for change– being at peace with accepting the new. And being grateful for the entire experience.

 

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That WGA Holiday Party 2017

  • It was a first for me to step into an Uber I didn’t arrange. Is this what fancy people do? Am I fancy?
  • Taking Kurt up to MY SPOT was my opportunity to show HIM around town for once. It also reminded me of my uneasiness with heights.
  • Arm in arm we step up to the plate and give his name. I’m a happy plus one at this party.
  • What do you want to drink? I don’t know. What do you want to drink? No, what do you want to drink? Huh? What do you want to drink? Vodka-Cranberry? NO. Um, whiskey? Are sure? Yeah? What kind? Huh? What kind of whiskey?– we should have figured out a plan before stepping into the club.
  • Hey look it’s JJ! HA! I got you.
  • Let’s count how many people here aren’t white. Now, are they writers? Or a plus one?
  • Cochran? Who? Johnny?
  • The food was cheeses and roasted veggies. Is this what Hollywood eats? Do writers subscribe to being a size 2, too? Gluten free? And here I thought they were the normal ones.
  • Clusters of people who aren’t white. Clusters of safety.
  • How to introduce yourself to a stranger at the WGA Holiday Party:
    • Hey, you look familiar to me. Have we met?
    • Tap on shoulder– You’re a writer! Right? Hi! What do you get to work on?
  • How NOT to introduce yourself to a stranger at the WGA Holiday Party:
    • Are you a plus one?
      • Especially if they are two women– don’t do it. James!
  • Welp. We inadvertently blocked you from the food and now it’s all gone. All is fair in the world?
  • What I said: You work on the Young and the Restless? I loved that one! Every summer in high school and college. That was my jam!
  • What I didn’t say: my heart belonged to Passions. It hooked me in with the creepiness and mystery. It captured me with the sillyness. Teresaaaaaa, you always fuck shit up! Listen to Pilar!
  • And the lights come on. And we’re allllll ugly. Goodnight!

Courage to be Imperfect

Kyle and Kendall. No, that’s not a misspelling. They are boots from Steve Madden. Very similar in style. I just couldn’t decide on which ones from seeing them online.

So, I did a normal thing. I walked into a store. I asked to try on both in my size. When she asked if I liked them, my anxiety shot up. Yes, I did like both. And no, I wasn’t interested in getting either.

My goals were to figure out my size and figure out which I liked best to buy online another time. I felt especially terrible when she said it was Buy One Get The Second Pair Half Off. I responded with: Oh, good thing I’m considering two!

My next thoughts:
Fuck. I got her hopes up. I’m not going to buy these. Like, not even close. $150+ on two shoes, no. Not today. I’m such a jerk.

When she walked into the back of the store to grab another pair for another customer, I knew it was my chance to bolt. And bolt, I did. Out. So quickly, I didn’t realize that I had left my Nalgene water bottle on the bench until I was too far gone.

Fuck. A mistake. Imperfection. Yet, mistakes are okay. Accepting my anxiety in those moments, that’s okay too. It’s all okay. Time to get another Nalgene.

Treatment #5

The receptionist was professional and welcoming. How are you this morning? Good. And yourself? Busy, but pretty good.

More small talk–

Receptionist: this is your fifth treatment. How is it going?
Me: Meh, okay.
Receptionist: You should be seeing about a 10 percent difference after every treatment.
Me: Nah, no.
Receptionist: I’ll make note of that and we’ll see how we can adjust your treatments.

That was comforting to hear. Not sure that message made it to the technician.

The technician looked at my legs after I sat down. I had to tell her I wasn’t doing any treatment on legs. Up here, I said.

So, the treatment was quick, as usual. The technician was kind, as usual. And this treatment was spicy, as usual.

3 more treatments to go. It’s been painful. It’s confronting. And it’s exactly what I wanted.

My entire childhood, I cursed every hair on my body that wasn’t on my head. I was ashamed of all of it. I felt shame when others saw it. I felt shame when they spoke of its existence. I now have empathy for my younger self.

She didn’t deserve the feelings of shame. She didn’t deserve to feel powerless and not valued in her world of Western beauty ideology. This experience has allowed me to confront the past and allowed me to change my perspective of myself.

If this silly decision of laser hair removal has created a space for me to have empathy for myself, perhaps this is the same door I can access for more empathy for myself in other areas of my life.

Empathy kills shame. Thanks to Brene Brown, I understand that secrecy, silence and judgement gives life to shame.

Inhale. Inhale. Surrender

I paid $23 to lay down in a meditation room and breathe with other people. I’m very glad I did. And I can promise you I won’t do it again.

A very good and generous friend of mine suggested the class. And of course, I said yes. Yes is the response these days. Yes to inner-work. Yes to healing from the past. Yes to owning the present. Yes to taking ownership of my future personally and professionally.

I considered having to pay for valet parking, but I was very lucky to snag a spot on the street. A free spot.

After checking me, they confiscate my cellphone. No problem. I’ll just sit in this gorgeous lobby with ‘shhhh…’ signs around me until the class begins.

I sat and discovered there was competition.
She said: oh, have they opened up the doors yet? I want to get my spot.
She added: Breathwork is really in right now. I haven’t a lot of these people here before.

They meant me. It’s a Saturday night in LA. And we were all waiting to lay down on cushions to breathe. For $23 or less. The 23 was the drop in rate. One and done.

The class was a combination of therapy and a call to altar. It was comforting to hear words of encouragement that I’ve heard before. And the tone was very familiar too– especially in the spoken volume to be heard over the crescendos.

I didn’t expect to hear so much crying. I knew it was going to be a safe space, but I wasn’t expecting a chorus of weeping. And as a group, I felt the strength of the community to surrender.

Inhale. Inhale. Surrender. There were so many phrases that resonated with me. I’m sure everyone else felt the same. There was so much said by our worship leader– I mean, meditation coach? Breath-work Instructor? Fearless Leader?

I am Whitina on the Westside. I am a daughter of immigrants. I will not pay to breathe again. I will take what I’ve learned for 23 dollars and try my best to use the practice in my daily life.

Treatment #4

Arrived. Right. On. Time.
05:45PM.
Hello Marsha!
Hello New Person who will be ALL UP in there. Nice to meet you.

I’m always impressed with good bed side manner. My theory is that it takes the same amount of energy to be kind or mean. And they choose to be kind. They choose to take the extra steps to express empathy and encouragement.

New gal was very friendly. Greeted me with a big smile. Asked the normal questions: new medications, antibiotics, pregnancy? All nope!

So we begin. You’re halfway there. How is it going?

Meh. Okay, I guess. We small talk about it. She reveals they increase the intensity of the laser every other treatment.

New gal says it can get spicy with coarser hairs. She means 80 of me. Ah, geez.

Spicy. Burning. Yep. I like her word choice. And it does.
Let’s just say my colonial ancestors have strong-hairy genes.

I looked down at the end. I was red. She was sweet enough to give me a bit of hydro-cordi-what before I left.

It’s true what they say. Once a lunar cycle– you’re more sensitive to the laser treatment.

Lesson Learned: reschedule. They give you that 6-8 weeks. Use it.

Career Day

I spoke at Career Day last week. This is what I told the kiddos:

Life is a Soap Opera. I recently heard someone describe your 20s as a series of crossroads. It’s very true. Crossroads. Being broke. That’s your 20s. And today I’ll describe mine. I want to share with you my failures. My lessons. My decisions. My rejections and redirection.

I’ve learned it’s good to confess. I never thought I’d be saying: THESE ARE MY CONFESSIONS. And I can only hear myself say it in Usher’s singing voice. My confessions are truths about me that my family and friends don’t know about.

I wasn’t the kid who always knew what they wanted to be when they grow up. I know I’m still growing up. I’m sure I’m not going to be one thing. I know I am working toward being more. And I know I am able to NOW identify what I want to be:

Fundraiser. Librarian. Writer.

In what order? Should there be an order? Should I just allow the order to come to light? Would a career in each be satisfying? Which one would pay the bills? What about my mental health? What about my quality of life?

I never wanted to leave academia. I loved being in college. I didn’t love the price of a higher education. But I loved learning. I still do. Critical Film Studies shaped me into a stronger person. Exploring representation made me a smarter person. But I knew I wasn’t ready for Hollywood.

I applied to grad school before graduating from undergrad. I wanted to be the first in my family to get a PhD. I wanted that broke-ass life. It wasn’t about making a high salary. It was about making a difference. I didn’t want to stop learning. It was about continuing to find peace in understanding systemic injustices and learning my role in dismantling them. That sort of satisfaction in feeling pulling back the curtain and meeting the wizard.

CONFESSION: I didn’t get in. So, I joined my own version of the Peace Corps. It was constant spiritual warfare. Outdoor education, yes! Giving back to the community that raised me, yes! Living and working with conservative Republicans, nope. But, I swore I wasn’t done. I would find a way to continue working with the community and marginalized people.

Then I choose, love. Miami was all for love. I moved to Miami, FL. I jumped around from being a Bank Teller, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant.

CONFESSION: I turned down a part time job as a Librarian Assistant at Miami Dade college. It was exactly what I wanted. But it meant working on Saturday mornings and night shifts. It meant juggling two part time jobs. Negotiating shifts with coworkers. It meant driving more in Miami. And I was already terrified of the little driving I was doing. Just the thought about the anxiety. I took a different path. I choose a better quality of life.

Spain was a priceless experience. I saw more of the world, than I ever thought I would see. I vlogged. I travelled. I ate. And drank. And lisped my words. Too many words. I also felt like I choose someone other than me, again.

CONFESSION: During my time in Spain, I applied to Masters program of Library and Information Science. I was wait-listed. Rejection is redirection.

Once back in the States, I continued to learn many lessons in the workplace. The first couple of years were most difficult doing administrative work in a field I had no interest in.

CONFESSION: I got an interview at Fox Studios for a coordinator position in Standards & Practices. This is it, I thought. My chance to get into Hollywood. And I didn’t. I didn’t get the job. I was so discouraged, I continued to work that miserable job for about another year. Back into my shell.

I finally had enough and I quit. I reached out to a temp agency. I met with them. They were very clear. You don’t have studio experience. You’ll never be asked to work at a studio.

Well, someone was desperate. I got a call on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm to work at 9pm on Thursday. I said YES.

The next couple of years at Fox Studios was learning experience. Was I in the industry, yes. Was I working in an environment I didn’t see myself in long term, yes. The darkest days brought me to taking a calculated risk: another leap of faith. It felt like my first leap of faith. I had forgotten. It felt like the biggest risk of my entire life. I left Fox Studios.

A true crossroads: to begin at the bottom as a struggling writer with that unpredictable freelance life? a new career in Fundraising while I write my heart out? Or would I be leaving my love of film and television behind for good? I had given it a shot. Hollywood chewed me up and spit me out.

I took an interview at back at Fox, but with a department I had never heard of. It was for a job I had forgotten, I had applied for. Always take the interview. It’s an opportunity to meet someone new. It’s an opportunity to practice the interview process and questions. It’s an opportunity to interview your future employer.

And I quickly fell in love. They charmed me. Their vulnerability to share they are in desperate need of help. Their humor. Their honesty. Their willingness to take a chance on me? But was it right? Was it too good to be true?

That, I’m figuring out.