Before the Dawn

It’s officially the holiday season. With a sizeable gap in posts, it’s worth noting that this blog is about to take a turn. Not for the better or for worse, but a turn in focus.

This year’s journey began with graduation looming on the horizon. It was exciting and terrifying, naturally. When all began, I had no plan for post-graduate life. But I wasn’t stressing it. I was going to enjoy. I had an idea of where I wanted to end up, but no concrete destination. I embraced the flow instead of fighting it. And then through a few bumps and bruises along the way, I graduated. I’d had my heart broken, my goals shattered, and my sense of self-worth tested in some pretty big ways. But upon receiving my acceptance letter to ASDS, I had light at the end of the tunnel. New York was to be my home for the long run. And I was ready to turn the page.

After a summer full of work, I began my apartment hunt. Anyone who’s ever searched for an apartment in New York will tell you it’s its own circle of hell. It’s full of scams, broker’s fees, crack dens, and promises. I searched endlessly for three weeks for an apartment on my own to no avail. So I caved and met with a broker. As luck would have it, the second apartment I saw would soon become my own. Then there was an issue of a job. I had applied for a job after a friend had given me a lead. I went for the interview on the day I signed for the apartment. Within hours, I had been approved for housing of my own and employment. Everything was falling into place.

September 3rd came. The day to begin my next artistic and educational endeavor. The Actors Studio Drama school open its doors to me and 45 other First-Year students. It was instantly clear this was a special place. I immediately formed bonds with classmates and professors. I was right there, in the place I’d wanted to be my whole life. And then things began to change. I noticed myself feeling lost in my surroundings. I was anxious and I was an insomniac. I was losing my motivation and found it hard to even get out of bed some days. But I was pressing on as best I could. It’s worth noting here that I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life. As long as I can remember, I’ve had to monitor myself and really focus on not getting ahead of myself. I’ve been put on medication to help deal, but that was only after something else happened.

My mental health began to decline rapidly. I felt nauseous beyond words and found myself thinking pretty dark thoughts that are not normal for the normal me. More so, I was panicking on a regular basis. I would spend full days asleep just ignoring my problems and the people around me. Knowing that this was completely abnormal and knowing I couldn’t live like this, I sought help. I ran to Lenox Hill emergency room one Monday after not being able to even answer my phone. I knew something was wrong. After waiting for an hour and having 5 vials of blood taken, I heard a word that put things into perspective: depression. The symptoms that I thought were just me freaking out were attributed to something I’d ignored. I have been depressed in assorted forms for years. The thoughts I was having were along the lines of purposefully standing in the crosswalk for too long. That was the kicker. I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. So, I had to think. How could I ignore this any longer? With everything else that’s good in my life, I couldn’t just let it go anymore.

I tried to recover as best as I could for the rest of the semester and I wasn’t planning on budging from my position in school. But, the new meds had other plans. I was physically ill as my body was adjusting. I wasn’t getting better as quickly as I thought I needed to. A few weeks out and I knew I had to change something. I knew I needed a break. After going back and forth I decided to do something that wasn’t easy. I filed for a leave of absence from school. It wasn’t a death sentence for my career and I knew it. But as I was walking the halls and getting the last few signatures on the paperwork, it hit me. I was leaving a place that I had called home for 4 years. It’s not permanent, but I’m still sad. The people I’ve met at ASDS are some of the most amazing people on this planet. The talent and drive reads on every face. As I took my final steps out of One Pace Plaza, I cried. I felt a mix of sadness at leaving, but also joy knowing I had some place to go back to. I knew that my new family would still be there and just as supportive as I grow into who I’m supposed to be.

So, here we go. For the next six months I will be focusing on getting better. Not only for my career, but also for myself. I plan on throwing myself into work. I will volunteer. I will be taking voice lessons and piano lessons. I’m going to focus on what makes me happy, because goddammit, that’s all I need right now. I’ll surround myself solely with people who are supportive and make me laugh. I’ll have an actual life here in New York, aside from running around from place to place. I will set roots and get my name out there. I will also be documenting more of my experience just to get my thoughts out of my head and into something productive.

I’m moving forward.

I’m growing.

And I’m here.


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