Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'm not bragging - but I am thankful! - oh it's a long one. Vunerabilty personified.

Jessica, JV and Me
Jessica from Wooden Wand - Taking Pictures of John Vanderslice and I


So for the record - I may have my own life issues, and icky times - but I am a really lucky person. This is a long post - so you can break it up over a few days if you want - here it goes (Marisa - I'll understand if this is too much!)

There have been many things in my life I've wanted to do or people I've wanted to meet and I have been blessed to not only have that opportunity but to have really great experiences. (well aside from Vince Vaughn - but honestly - to be mocked by him is almost better than being chummy)

I remember being in high school and sitting in my living room at my parents. I was watching Bill Clinton inauguration and inaugural ball. I quietly told myself, or prayed that someday I could go to a ball like that. Here I was a young teenager, on welfare, flunking out of school- I had few friends (thanks for being one of the few, Bonnie)but someday I knew I would be able to attend that event.

Fast forward to 2000. I was laid off from work for the summer, barely any money - living off unemployment, and volunteering at church - I offered to fly with my friend Sarah to help her move to D.C for school - some how raised the money for the trip and knew that since it was the same time as the inauguration that somehow I would go to the ball. I brought a ball gown, shoes, jewelry - the whole bit. My friend made fun of me a little I think. But while at lunch in Alexandria, VA sitting in the same restaurant where George Washington ate, (well, according to the tourist board) my friend Sarah got the call that we were not only going to the inauguration - but all the events surrounding it - ball included. Regardless of politics - or future problems with that president - it was a honor to be there for such a historical moment - and I was tearful as I walked the red carpet wearing a sparkling gown.

I stood at the doorway to the magnificently decorated ballroom - and soaked in the moment - so that I would never forget that no matter where I came from anything was possible.

There have been many moments since - moments in Europe and in Costa Rica with monkeys, Party's in NYC and LA, When I met my favorite Screenwriter/Director in NY at the New Yorker festival - Wes Anderson - It was only a 5-10 minute conversation - but it impacted me - not because he was a idol or something - but because he was real and although super cool(with amazing blue eyes) it hit me that he was just a person that pursued his dream - and so could I.

I am thankful - Maybe it's just the writer blood in me - I want to experience everything and every place - so I search it out - perhaps it's not luck or being blessed but just throwing myself out there with no regard to money so I can experience as much of life as possible. Perhaps I could lead a little more boring life but have a nicer car, and own a home. Perhaps I'm selling myself short in valuing experiences more than stability. Perhaps the reason I'm compelled to do these things is misguided...

All that to say - I'm thankful have had these experiences as well as the experience of traveling with MY FAVORITE MUSICIAN right now.

I mentioned a few posts ago how I went to a show in September where John Vanderslice played. You can read about it below. Summary: great show, listened to the music a lot since, etc.

I had the great pleasure of selling merchandise for him in Portland at the Doug Fir. He gives his fans the opportunity to sell for him - which is great. I had a great time and it reminded me of being a flight attendant a little - just meeting new people, answering questions but without the turbulence and listening to great music instead.

Great music:)

I'm Sorry I Used a Flash
I love how pissed they all look in this picture! :)

I was impressed with how unpretentious and fun all the guys in his band and crew are. Wow. What a great night - Dave Douglas on the drums made up a super fly dance - It exceeded my expectations of fun.

John V-slice has a reputation of being the "nicest guy in Indie rock" and he really is. I can say with all sincerity that not only is he kind, generous, professional and a great musician but the people that he surrounds himself with in his band, his Tour Mananger/Audio Tech (is that what their called?!?) - they are all super guys along the same vein.

I was given the opportunity to do more merch dates for him and the next week traveled to Columbus, OH via Buffalo, NY (thank you Jet Blue for a great flight - and special thanks to Michelle for making it possible)

At this point I don't know what to say, or what to share. I didn't have the wild crazy - rock - star - drunken - after - party's but I did have a fantastic time. I racked up 1650 miles on my rental car. I met some fantastic people, saw Niagara falls, got lost a few times :)

I don't think I've told anyone about the 2 hours it took me to find Niagara falls - when I was IN Niagara Falls, NY...oops - story of my life.

I had a great time hanging out with Jessica, James and Keith of Wooden Wand.

Wooden Wand part 2

They shared a suite with me a few nights - What a wonderful talk I had with Jessica while eating the worst breakfast of my life in Toronto.

I found the perfect red dress at H&M - the store of the gods.

kickin' it backstage with Jessica from Wooden Wand

You see, even though I don't have anything published I do consider myself a writer and someday I hope to have a screenplay produced and a book written - minimum. As a writer these are the moments I dream about - because while being lost for 2 hours looking for Niagara falls - those are the times I write in my head, while listening to music. Stories come alive.

A small part of the reason I was so keen to go on this trip for my vacation is I needed out - I need to get out of my stuff for a little - I figured that if I could just have a moment to breathe - to leave behind family "issues", My mom's sickness, my own sickness, the stresses life, etc - to take a week off. Then I could breathe deeply for once, ETC.

But the most important moment of the trip was when things all clicked for me. Sitting in a Cracker Barrel, eating potato casserole - I read a book that I threw in my shopping basket the day before I left. It was a memoir that seemed to tell my story. At first I was pissed - because she wrote it before me (Please Stop Laughing At Me By Jodee Blanco) but then I knew I was meant to read it. And I was meant to read it then.

After lunch, in my car, it hit me. The reason why I was obsessed with the things I mention at the beginning of this post, travel, new experiences, meeting cool people and why I was there in my car traveling from Columbus to Cleveland - There was one explanation. I went across the county to sell merch for my favorite musician - now don't get me wrong, I did it because I love it, and I love the music but I admit I am still trying to prove something. If I am accepted as an o.k. person by these people. I'm ok, right? I'm trying to prove something still.

To myself.

To the kids in 5th grade that threw my stuff on the floor, that teased me mercilessly thru all my years in grade school. I was trying to prove something to my friends in the 7th grade that told me they couldn't be friends anymore because I was keeping them from being popular, to the boys that never spoke to me - to my friends that would only be friends as long as no one else knew.

I thought I was over this. I mean, I did have some friends - I'm 29 I could care less what these people ever thought about me, right? Haven't I gotten over this yet?

But why did I cry when I couldn't make it to my reunion - when I couldn't prove to them that hey, I'm a cool flight attendant now, I've traveled the world - accept me now? I think it's interesting that I had to stop flying after that weekend stuck in Chicago while I wanted to be in Portland at my reunion in my cool expensive jeans. Instead I ended up sitting in a hospital alone while my friend forgot about me - mourning the loss of health that i'd taken for granted.

I listened to Life on Mars over and over in my car in that Cracker Barrel parking lot while I cried and I realized I hadn't gotten away from myself here. But I'd run right into the person I'd been trying to run from all these years.

I spent that week coming to terms with the fact I've lived my life the last 10 years for other people - to prove myself to people which probably don't remember me at all. I wrote a lot. I don't know what the next step in my life is - I'm turning 30 in a month, but I don't want it to be a part of a resume of "look at me now".

John Vanderslice, amongst a few other musicians, has been the music - since September- that I've used as the soundtrack to the screenplay I am trying to write. I've been listening to Pixel Revolt - his newest CD - everytime I write. Listening to him live every night - it was a muse to a new type of writing I started on this trip - writing for me not to come up with something perfect to show others - but for me.

I know this is a insane post - crazy long rollercoaster.

There is one thing that must be said - Thank you - Without sounding too cheesy...This is going to sound like a oscar speech - but I do think everyonce in a while you should thank those that matter...because you never know when that opportunity might pass.

Thank you to John V, David B, Dave D, Ian B and Dan B and Grant - for giving me the opporunity to get away from myself for a little bit - travel again and stay in hotels - I've missed that a lot. To get away from myself - but also to run into myself - thank you for letting me drive alone - to listen to music and to re-focus. This trip may have just been a blurp in the tour for you - but it meant the world to me - and it opened a whole new world for me, I want to do this again - sell merch for a band on tour.

Thank you to my friends - to Marisa, Peter, Bonnie, Beth, Michelle, Laura, Jamin, Jake, Marcia - all of you and others that have been around me on this journey over the last 1/2 a year since I stopped flying - and as I've been trying to find myself without the identity of "Flight Attendant". I know it has been a rough time for me, and around me and I appreciate your patience and your insight. (and putting up with me!!)

I have the best roommates ever - I don't think I could have made it thru the last year - or my time as a flight attendant without all of you - you have been my family, my support - you've teased me and made me laugh really hard - you've put up with the negative sides of my life with kindness and grace and patience - Jamin if you ever read this I mean you too. When I was spinning around the world - only landing for a moment - it was the three of you that encouraged me to stand still - if for a moment.

What a great trip
John Vanderslice & I - Picture by Jessica - Montreal
A great trip.


MJAPA said...

Wow! It sounds like you had a great trip. I love traveling with bands on tour and getting a little glimpse into what they do. It is like looking behind the curtain if it is someone you have a lot of repect for. I have met JV and he really is a sweet guy from what I remember of him. You should write out all of teh details of your "getting lost in Niagra" I would love to read it. :-)

BethInPortland said...

First, you are an amazing writer and your vulnerability makes you an even better writer. So go for it!!!!
Second, it is so hard to let go of those bad experiences. I have some similiar stories (being teased to death, being told I was "fat stupid and no one liked me" which led to an eating disorder etc.) Uggg!
It's interesting though, I went to my 10-year high school reunion (sorry you didn't get to go to yours) and I thought either no one would remember me or would just snub me. I was shocked when so many approached me and were happy to see me. I realized that many people actually did like me and appreciate me cause I was NICE to them.
Jonny tells me over and over again (and I try to remember this one) that the most important thing is to be nice and loving. Most people appreciate that much more than if I'm "cool".
You are genuinely nice to everyone Teresa. That makes you a wonderful person to be around. You deserve the fun times and glamour and respect.
Oh, and, I love you too:)

Anonymous said...

You added me on Flickr, and I have to say that I'm incredibly glad you did, because by following your link I came across this post and got to read it. And it's wonderful. John is one of my absolute favorite people as well as one of my favorite musicians and to read your story of the time spent on the road with him and his band and everything that came with it...it was really great. It was heartwarming and inspiring and I enjoyed it. Please keep writing and I hope all your dreams come true.

Dianna from NC

BonikaStJames said...

I love you girl and I think this is incredible. I love the you then and I love you know. I'm happy you are getting perspective on your life and who you are. I know you'll only be more and more awesome as time goes on and it will have little to do with your job or who you know but a lot to do with who you are and how you feel about that.

Oh, and the High School reunion was total crap.

Anonymous said...

I actually came upon your work my mistake looking for ideas to write about for my creative writing paper due in a few days. Regardless i did read it and i am happy i did. You are a wonderful writer and t is nice to hear how you were inspired and i hope that someday someone can inspire me like that too. i have always wanted to be a writer and have been writing since i was in 4th grade ( currently in 10th) and reading you incredible work has in fact inspired me to (possibly) send in some of my work to b published. I must agree that you should do the same because i feel it would be the biggest waste ever to squander your talent. =]

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