I am seriously burnt, dude.
Trying to adjust to this new life of writing every day, which is awesome, but a weird balance to get in the rhythm and the flow of justifying your existence on the daily with a new neatly packaged story and life lesson and reaction to the world.
It’s cool though. It’s just my dream job is all. NBD.
It’s like when you fall in love and you remember what that feeling of being in love feels like. You feel high. It’s a soaring freeing anything is possible kind of high. I feel very Back to School get a new Trapper Keeper excited about life right now. Maybe I feel reminded of when I went off to Northwestern for college, that first time. Or when I headed to New York with that initial terror-excitement of working for The Post in 2005.
I am dance-around-in-my-pants excited right now.
I am fully embracing being a calm eye in the storm of moving cross-country. Even when other parts of my life are a fucking mess. Or my organizational and plan-making and financial life is, anyway. Like, I don’t have a whole lot of money right now. And because of the limited funds, I was in for an unhappy surprise when I called U-Haul and then Budget and then Penske to reserve a truck to drive cross-country from San Diego to New York.
Because guess what: It’s crazy fucking mondo expensive. It was like $200 for LA to San Diego, and I had very wrong-headedly assumed that I’d be paying around a grand for the haul. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Quotes came in at $2,100. That’s without the gas and the motel stays.So I got kind of freaked out and Googled long-distance moving, put my phone number on the Internet on some rando site to get quotes, and a half hour later had booked my move with Remington Movers (and they kindly knocked a few hundred dollars off the price to $1,500 when I told the guy on the phone that I would tell my 170,000 followers on Twitter what a massive, deeply satisfying, any-girl-would-be-lucky-to-have-it dick he has –- hey, what's up, Bo!).
Uh-oh this was supposed to be a really cute post about my family. I kind of botched that up.
So, my family. We’ve grown very close, we’ve always been close, but this trip has brought us even closer. Since July, I’ve been living in my parent’s spare downstairs bedroom normally called Shady’s Room (for my mom’s incorrigible hyper-barky little poodle Shady). I moved in after quitting The Post and after deciding to leave the uncertain proposition of working with an investor on an entrepreneurial exercise in LA.
I moved home to live with mommy and daddy as a 36-year-old divorcee with no job. Bankrupt. Self-identified (recovering! two years sober!) alcoholic. I took a gamble on myself. And I lost the very last remnants and vestiges of Caring What Other People Think along the way. There was a freedom in just dumping the entire purse contents of my life out, shaking out every last piece of sand and gum wrapper shard and business card fragment with the inspirational quote on the back.
This is what you have left, Mandy. You have you.
Because I do realize -- for keeping-up-appearances appearances -- moving in with parents in San Diego after working at The New York Post since 2005 is not such a good look. All my friends are married with houses and babies. I’ve been on the cover of one of the most notorious tabloids in the country with a prostitute. That I hired. On purpose. Is this my life? Yes. This is my life.
One of my dearest friends in comedy is Taylor Negron. He’s been in 900 million movies, including as the pizza dude in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He is a man who when I saw him in “The Aristocrats” right when I was getting divorced I willed myself to somehow magically bring him into my life because I am a witch like that and these kinds of freaky manifestational thought-realized-into-actuality things happen to me all the time. I had the most intense emotional connection with that film and with his appearance in it specifically, with this man up on the screen saying how he would go to an orgy and someone would sidle up to him and whisper, “You were great on ‘Friends.’” My point being that I want to tell you a few things that Taylor said to me when I was having a breakdown a few months ago over some big tragedy and the corresponding ups and downs and dramas and adrenaline rushes and oh. My. God. It was all just so fucking dramatic.
Taylor said two things that changed me permanently. I tell this story a lot. This was supposed to be my adorable pets and mom post! I swear I will get to that in another post eventually.
Taylor’s wisdom. He said, as I whined and flagellated everywhere about indignant righteousness and outrage and justified resentment and read aloud, very victimized and besotted, the emails between me and a certain gentleman caller, he said: “Mandy, the words you are saying are all violence.” As what I was reading aloud became increasingly nasty, he said to stop. Taylor imitated me: “ ‘Fuck you, fuck that.’ It all sounds like violence. It's violence. You need to think about what you really, really want, Mandy. And you need to learn how to get excited about things that are small and subtle and everyday things.”
It takes a lot to get through to me. But oh man did he get through to me.
What do I really want?
And are my actions taking me there?
(Drama-filled shit-fest email battles and wars of words? No, that is not what I want. So, suck it up baby, and disengage.) And the related question to ask myself: Am I only excited when I am surrounded by a whole mess of noise and chaos that is oh so very exciting because perhaps in some ways it reminds me of my earliest familiarities of childhood? Yeah. I was. He had nailed me.
I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie snob my stories are better than yours asshole, drawn like a moth to a flame to anything that is big and loud and bursting and about to blow the fuck up. That shit is exciting. I don’t have time for your flower, thank you. I have shitshows to attend to. I have men to scream at and thrash with. Oh my God look at how small and minor and inconsequential your life is. You don’t date a narcissist. You actually enjoy a flower. Well if that’s what you want to make your life about then I suppose that’s your trip, man. But I’m going to have Big Great Stories to tell!
I fully realized, in that talk with Taylor, that I didn’t have to be addicted to that drama just because it felt safe and certain and reliable and would always be there: the very cozy snuggling woe-is-me everyone’s-out-to-get-me life-is-so-unfair feelings of victimization, worry, martyrdom and ingratitude. I could wish those feelings well on their way.
The flower IS the big great story to tell. That little flower peeking up out of the dirt when I walk outside in San Diego, the uncoolest squarest most non-New York city alive, is everything. And I firmly believe that it was only through, for the first time in my life really and actually and truly learning how to appreciate the flower that I realized that that was the point of everything. Not the chaos. Not the drama. That’s what leads you to everything.
That’s what leads you to your dream job.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.