I always wanted to go to NYC after I graduated from High school. Always. The master plan was that I would get a full theatre scholarship to Julliard and be on my way. This plan was foiled when I blew the Julliard audition by getting totally psyched out by the drama nerds doing those trilling noises in the green room. If you are a drama nerd you just nodded your head and went, “oh my goodness YES those fucking TRILLING noises!!!” If you are not a drama nerd allow me to explain: drama nerds make loud trilling noises and they freak you out.
Yes. I am blaming my not getting in on these noises and not on any lack of talent on my end. I was good.
(I almost did a huge tangent there on my university application process. SO not interesting. You are welcome. Back on track…)
I didn’t get in to Julliard (wanks) but I did get in at another theatre school in New York and I was VERY thrilled about that. I arrived to my freshman orientation early so that I could snap up a good work study program. As luck would have it I managed to score a gig as the front desk person at my dorm. This was a HUGE win for me. In my former life I was extremely social and outgoing. I mean I still kind of am but my self esteem and self worth are running at like 30% now and back when I was a freshman it was totally at 90%.
I was at the height of my attempts of creating a fashion statement when I was a new New Yorker. A typical look for me consisted of either a vintage waitress uniform or a babydoll dress with a funky print. A pinstriped blazer or vintage cardigan. Costume jewelry. Vermilion red hair, chin length. BRIGHT red lipstick. Thick black mascara. Red or purple tights with fishnets over the tights. And did you even need to ask? OF COURSE my plaid docs.
And while I am very certain that there were many crappy moments (some just flashed before me as I typed that) mostly I remember being a sort of jaunty, leapy, larger than life, enthusiastic, easy to laugh, fun to be around, life of the party type of girl. Because of my work study job at the dorm I literally knew everyone that lived in the building. Which meant that as I walked around the east village I could easily find people I knew.
I am not sure I can properly describe to you the sensation of that. Walking around a city that is your dream city. The city that is alive from top to bottom. And becoming a part of it so swiftly, or at least feeling this way, just because you are recognizable by other university students.
The soundtrack in my head during this ear of my life was mostly sung by Luscious Jackson, The Breeders, Liz Phair, The Natural Born Killers soundtrack on repeat.
The dorm where I lived was across the street from a large chain movie house and usually once during my shift I would get a call from the movie house manager screaming, “SIGNS!!!” And I would have to send someone up to the eighth floor to get the drunk & giddy film majors to take down the posters identifying who Kaiser Söze was.
When I wasn’t in class or working or somewhere in between I was usually in the patio area of the dorm. I was a smoker back then. It was a hugely social accessory and for some reason my freshman year is the only year that I can see a photograph of myself with a cigarette and not cringe. I think I see it as just one more prop, one more bit of stuff in my costume.
After that first year I left University to study acting full time. And the city changed for me. I left once I graduated from the theatre academy a few years later- just as the sparkle was beginning to fade from the city. So my love of NYC is still wistful and in tact. I can have these long looks back at a small moment of my life and smile.
This post is part of me getting into a New York state of mind.