I’d Rather Get To Know You In Person

I drove 5 hours back to LA from visiting my sister in Mariposa and went straight to a commercial audition. As soon as I got off the 101, the anxiety I had left behind immediately returned and I could feel my face getting warm and my eyes getting wet. The traffic and unnecessary honking from impatient jerks sounded especially terrible. “I should’ve stayed,” I said out loud as I was searching for my concealer and mascara to cover up blemishes and the sunburn on my nose from spending 4 hours on a secret tiny beach on the Merced River. I put on the minimal amount of makeup it took to look presentable, found a parking spot 2 blocks away from the casting studio, and walked into the least appealing audition possible: 40 brunette girls wearing white t-shirts and jeans.

I thought I looked cute enough to book a commercial, but I always, ALWAYS, feel immediate insecurity when I walk into a waiting room to see prettier, younger girls. I sign in and see that I’m number 152. They’re currently on 121. I call my agent to tell them I’ll probably be late to the other audition I had in Santa Monica. “Okay, well, do what you can.” That means I drive home after this audition so I don’t lose my mind sitting in traffic for another 3 hours because Santa Monica might as well be San Diego.

Post-traveling depression is no joke. Although it wasn’t really a vacation as much as I just moved my home office (laptop) 5 hours north. I’ve been leaving LA more and more lately because the minute I leave this city, I feel relief. I’m definitely still upset over what happened with my previous job, and I’m slowly starting to get back on track with working and writing. No one wants to have the rug pulled out from underneath them, especially when you live in an expensive city like LA and have to pay rent because you’re not dating a rich 65 year old who pays your rent in exchange for “dates.” I’m convinced that all young girls in LA who drive Mercedes are fucking old rich dudes. Your part-time bartending job and 3 guest star roles on “Big Bang Theory” did NOT pay for that Chanel bag.

I think growing up in Michigan gave me a predisposition to love small-town bullshit. I will never get used to sitting in traffic, even with taking 4 beta-blockers, my blood pressure will not allow me to relax. That’s why I love NYC so much– my stress level decreases substantially from not owning a vehicle. I even moved to a more central location in LA just so I wouldn’t have to sit in traffic for auditions and meetings. I would’ve loved to have a cute bungalow in Silverlake but I also don’t want to voluntarily drive myself into a wall while going to a Tidy Cats audition in Santa Monica during rush hour. I actually love driving in any place other than LA. I used to auto-cross my car in Michigan. I have trophies. You probably don’t believe me.

Luckily, I have people who care about my well-being and tell me to not give up. I went to Massachusetts for the 4th of July weekend and was more excited to hear thunder than anyone else in that entire state. I really, really, really like humidity. California tends to get really cold at night, but the Midwest and east coast stay warm at midnight, which is perfect viewing time for fireflies. The beaches in New England are everything I’d ever want in a beach. I also love traveling to places I’ve never been to. If I could fly to a new city every weekend I would do it.

I’ve been really depressed lately, so I’ll grab onto any inkling of happiness and fun that is thrown my way. It’s hard to not sound obnoxious when saying this, but I love being around people who don’t know (or care) what Twitter is or have no idea which celebrity on TMZ said the N word last week. I don’t like answering questions about LA or talking about “industry” bullshit. I’m even horrified of people Googling me. The search results make me look like an insane person. I met someone who said, “I didn’t want to read any more about you or text you because I’d rather get to know you in person.” It made me realize how much I judge people based on things I read or hear from others. It’s a shitty way to go about life when you dismiss someone before getting to know them, but we all do it. All I could think when I heard that was, “Thank fucking God.” I didn’t have to converse with someone worrying about if they read snippets from articles I wrote or saw The Daily Mail article where they call me a liar or the statement on xoJane saying I have a “racially insensitive attitude,” because neither of those things are even remotely close to the truth. In person, I’m quiet and respectful, and I have a natural curiosity for people, but according to the Internet I’m a racist monster. It’s embarrassing and makes me really uncomfortable.

This past Sunday was my favorite day of 2014. Bold statement, I know, but everything about it was perfect. I watched the World Cup finals at a small brewery in Mariposa with my sister, her boyfriend, and some mountain pals. I had a delicious beer, then we went to a swimming hole on the Merced River.

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We stayed there for 4 hours, then stopped for pizza on the way back to my sister’s house. The pizza was unexpectedly delicious, maybe because all I ate that day was carrots, a banana, and a beer. We listened to records on my 1960 Magnavox record player that’s currently in my sister’s basement, and talked about our favorite music for a few hours. That’s all. It was so simple but so perfect.

My life has been really chaotic and stressful lately, so having a day like Sunday slaps me in the face and reminds me that everything isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s okay to take some time off from your to-do list to enjoy things and listen to your Fleetwood Mac records.




7 thoughts on “I’d Rather Get To Know You In Person”

  1. And comments like that are no use to anyone. Especially where depression is concerned.

    At least you have good company, regarding the Mail, as George Clooney has just shown them up for the rubbish they print.

    Keep your chin up and work out what’s most important in life.

  2. Melissa, I’m glad to hear your life is better. I just listened to your Iliza podcast and then read a bunch of your blog articles. I like your writing and will watch for your next posts. I got turned onto you through listening to Cumia, as most people did, I suspect. I had no preconceived notions of you and am very delighted to find that you are as much a small town girl trying to get by as I am a small town guy trying to get by. Our professional lives are very much different – I am an aerospace engineer and program manager – but our personal lives seem similar in many ways. That’s why I am glad to hear you are getting along well – because I could be in a tough spot myself one day and I want to see someone else crawl out of it before i have to do it. Again, keep up the writing, you’re good at it. And, good luck with the basketball (something else I used to do, too).

      1. If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY area, I’d love to buy you a drink (or build you a dining room table, or fix your car, or hold a door for you, or whatever).

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