Just Be …. the best only you can be

Be the best you can be. I used to attempt to be what everyone else was either telling me I should be, or what I thought others wanted me to be like. The end result didn’t lead me further into a successful development, but endless hours of worry and doubt leading me to be uncharacteristically insecure, confused, and running in circles of what could be and what hasn’t been and may never be.

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In life there will always be someone bigger than you and skinnier than you. I’ve found no matter how hard you try to succeed and goals you may accomplish, most of the time you will want more. It’s like a kid wanting everything they don’t have. This doesn’t mean not to reach for dreams or quit dreaming for that matter, because our dreams and our passions are what keeps our spark for life alive, but learn to love yourself for what you’ve done.

 

Maybe you haven’t done anything you can be proud of, it’s never to late to try. Appreciate the NOW and learn to live in the moment.

Be the best YOU CAN BE.

The best I can be is not doing an easy 40 minute workout that maintains my figure. I know I’ll never be blessed with pin legs like Kate Moss or Cameron Diaz, or large breasts like Salma Hayek, but if I work a bit harder and make smart culinary choices I could be closer to my best.

Here is an example of a friend who with dedication to herself transformed her body in twelve weeks for a fitness competition. She won 5th place.

Sure twelve weeks of eating right, trading in our happy hour or video games for training seems endless, but what is twelve weeks when we live for about 4,100 weeks. Sometimes I get discouraged when my career isn’t excelling in the right direction or at the right pace. It’s easy to get frusterated and give up, but those who succeed know what is is to fail and try again, they know the virtue of patience, and what it’s like to sweat through stress.

After perusing acting for seven years and life leading me in a different direction, I’ve come to the terms I will never be Julia Roberts, or even Tara Reid for that matter. In life you need to know when to call your losses and let go. I’m not saddened by it, it just wasn’t meant to be. (At least in this life time)

At this point in my life as I assess what I’ve already done and where I want to go I have to realistically look at the cards given to me and work with what I’ve got.

We’ve all been given a different set of cards of life, and it’s up to us how we play them. What makes YOU special? What do you have to offer the world and those around you?

Right now these are my cards

  • I can’t speak French, but I relocated to Montreal (Tabernac… a Quebec swear word 🙂
  • I don’t have a “degree” :{
  • I am great with people and have over 15 years of versatile work experience
  • I have no debt or bills
  • I am happily married and crazy in love
  • I have the freedom to try new things, travel, and go back to school

Right now my focus is continuing my education and learning more, just being happy with what I have, and bringing my travel and hospitality experience to the next level in a career field. I hope to find a place in the future where I can help others or animals as well.

I could sleep all day if I really wanted to. I have a small business and I work part time at night. Days where I’m in a tormental funk I could do absolutely nothing, but where would that get me? Nowhere but regret. I should have cleaned, could have ran a few miles, time would have been better spent studying or bettering myself. I love social media. It’s entertaining and it kills time, but when it kills good time and becomes a waste of time, that’s when it’s time to detox and take a step back.

Are we really bettering ourselves looking at our friends hourly posts? Will hell freeze over if we don’t respond to our friends new heels or 500th picture of their baby?

 

Maybe it’s better we turn off the phone or computer every once in a while and do something WORTHY OF POSTING …just saying. I’m guilty of this myself.

Being the best you can be also means letting yourself indulge at times and enjoy the simple things in life. Being the best you can be is living life with no regrets. I write this as I eat sweet potato fries with my white wine flight, but in twenty minutes I’ll be at the hotel gym and pool.

Life is balance. You need both.

These are simple ways you can better yourself on a regular basis.

  1. Wake up twenty minutes earlier. Yoga, read the news, clean, spend more time with your animals or kids.
  2. Compliment a stranger, who you may not like what your complimenting, but they need it. Positive energy is free!
  3. Learning a new word on a regular basis.
  4. Drink lots of water its our vital force.
  5. Make eye contact, connect.
  6. Find a happy place. It might be a game, gossip tv, sports, or crafts. Know how to unwind and relax.
  7. Connect with friends. Be a good friend. Real friends don’t have a reason to contact you, they just miss you.
  8. Volunteer, helping others less fortunate is so rewarding!
  9. Find humor, as laughter is the best medicine and it’s contagious.
  10. Learn to laugh at yourself.
  11. Make goals and check them off. Make 1-5 year plans. It can be work goals, personal goals, or just plain fun …travel inspirations or things you want to buy. But it’s a future plan that motivates you to push forward.

Know your personal pro and cons and deal with them.

For Example: Anger issues/aggressive driving    Food allergies/overly sensitive (though these people never admit it)

Mine are: Dairy makes me cough. It’s not life threatening, and I love cheese, but I have to choose if that slice is worth it. I am so impatient. I need to breathe and relax more. I have OCD. It may be great for me, but maybe not my husband, one thing out of order drives me insane.

Life’s a journey, enjoy the ride.

Appreciate the moments that bring you to all your tomorrows.

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Writer’s block

It seems to have a mind of its own. It comes and goes on its own terms and doesn’t give a damn whether it was invited or not …writer’s block.

Whether you are a college student trying to wrap up your thesis, a seasoned novelist, or a witty blogger with a great following, writer’s block has haunted us all. It’s paralyzing, my pen won’t move, my mind won’t think, then the anxiety sinks in. What if I never write again? Insecurities follow, what if my pride and joy piece was a one hit wonder? What if I just had a taste of beginner’s luck? The what ifs and what could be take over and that is when it hits you, you have gotten a case of writers’s block.

Writer’s block isn’t biased and will select its victims randomly like a bad karma tax audit. Here’s the good news, it happens to the best of us and it doesn’t last forever. There are reasons for writer’s block, and no it’s not because your creativity and journalism skills are tapped out.

1) You just have too much going on in your mind.

2) You haven’t worked the engine in awhile or you aren’t writing enough on a regular basis.

3) The universe is telling you to step outside your comfort zone. Let something inspire you to write.

4) You are putting too much pressure on yourself to preform.

It’s like being put on the spot. If I tell people I’ve had some crazy adventures in my life, they reply with well what’s your craziest story? Bam my mind freezes. Sure I have almost been kidnapped, I’ve hung off chandeliers at private parties, and jumped off bridges in the country, but my mind freezes.

 

If I tell someone I wrote a self help book and they ask me a question I get caught up on stage fright and can’t seem to remember a single word that was written. Writer’s block can get the best of us all.

I’m a bit old fashioned in the sense that when I get writer’s block I literally can’t write a thing that pertains to my topic since I hand write all articles before typing. Handwriting is just how the words choose to flow out. I can tell when I had writer’s block because the words on the paper are so visibly clear and neat. They of course accompany a side of doodles and my name and birth date written over and over. Emily Turner 1-23-1981.

I can easily tell when editing when the creative juices were flowing and the good content was pouring out onto the paper because the words are barely eligible. I can’t write as fast as the thoughts pop into my head. That’s when I know I broke through writers’ block. I think back when I got my first taste of writer’s block shortly after high school. In high school I excelled at communications and journalism.

After high school I went on to become a flight attendant and was so consumed with the outside world beyond my small town I took a break from writing. Back in 99 we didn’t have the luxury of smart phones, laptops, and tablets. I sometimes wonder what moments and thoughts I would have captured with those wonderful things we now can not live without. After a few lofty years of being a flight attendant I decided to get grounded and go back to school. After studying in film school the creative inspiration swept over me like an epiphany in the night. I began carrying a notebook and pen around regularly for all the random thoughts and inspirations that came my way.

When you take a break from writing and you decide it’s time to dive back in into the pool of words, the first few pages can be brutal. Some days when I’d edit I’d be like who wrote this a first grader? But I didn’t stop writing and neither should you. Here are some of my own tips for writers’s block. They may not work for everyone, but they work for me.

1) Create your own writer’s mantra. Create it, say it, believe it and most importantly believe in yourself. Mine is, “You are a writer. Never forget it.” Yes I may work in an office, or I may be a bartender to save up for school, but writing is me, it is a part of who I am. Never let the flame die, because it only takes one spark to ignite a fire.

2) Create a writing ritual. Once your in it, your whole being knows it is writing time. Maybe it’s writing on a bench in the park at sundown, or going to a particular coffee shop. I normally designate a writing space. I have my pens, notebooks, chapstick and tea or wine all lined up. No computers, cell phones, or clocks. Then a few snacks and I’m ready to get lost in my words.

3) Write on! Write through your writer’s block. Even if it is three words an hour. Do not get up. Don’t push too hard, Rome wasn’t built overnight, but keep writing through it. Picture yourself as a tiny snow blower plowing your way through an avalanche. There will be a break through and believe me when it happens you won’t look back and regret sitting in a chair writing six words in two hours. You will pride yourself on not giving up. You can always edit and cut out the irrelevant struggling words that accompanied the writer’s block.

Writer’s block go away!

It is determination, motivation, and perseverance.

Getting out of jury duty

Jury duty is the one thing I despise the most right alongside of getting my yearly Ob/gyn physical. After being a flight attendant, and moving around so much I had ten registered addresses in three different states, allowing me to dodge the jury duty bullet for years. Then fate snuck up on me. There it was, the official letter in certified mail saying, ‘You’ve been selected for jury duty. Please appear in court July 16th.’

I went straight to Barnes and Nobles in search of the book that had 101 ways to get out of jury duty and to my disliking it wasn’t written and published yet. Rats I thought, I had to brainstorm of ways to be dismissed.  I thought of playing hooky, but taking it to the next level. I got out my medical encyclopedia I had at home, it made my hypochondriac habit very convenient. I looked up exotic diseases such as, Leishmaniasis, Lupus, Malaria, African trypanosomiasis, Onchocerciasis, and Leprosy. They sounded really good, I even memorized their symptoms, but I needed proof. I thought about borrowing a crutch and pretending I had a broken leg. I figured they would just roll their eyes and say I’m using my ears not my legs. Cancer was a pretty serious matter, but shaving my eyebrows and hair was not an option. Death in the family, proof of death, every idea I came up with needed proof. Then it hit me, all I had to do was be myself, but take it a step too far. This was going to be a chance to practice my acting skills in front of a large group and let my light shine. If people knew what I was up to and thought I was crazy and fun, who cares? No one in their right mind wants to be stuck for three months in jury duty. If they truly believed I was a wack job that meant I was a damn good actress, and that was even better. My acting coach would be impressed.

I went to bed early the night before my first day of jury duty at 10 pm. I had to get up at 6 am for the preparations for the big day. As I packed my bag with props for my plan I thought to myself this might not be so bad after all, just maybe jury duty can be fun. It didn’t take me too long to get ready. I slapped on some deodorant, pulled my hair up into a messy half pony tail, and brushed my teeth. I still had on the remnants of my make up from the night before. It was perfect, I had two perfectly smudged raccoon eyes and half a face of blush, the other side rubbed off when I was sleeping. Needless to say I looked like a creature of the night. The rush hour crowd was pretty, fresh, and perky, they looked at me as if I was shamelessly doing the walk of shame. The only difference between this morning and the walk of shame was with the walk of shame was both of my cheeks would have been blushing. I was tired, and could barely open my heavy eyes as I daydreamt about how I was going to escape jury duty.

I pictured the court supervisor taking role call. I would wave my hand ferociously in the air and scream, “Pick me, I’m here! Emily Ann Turner, master of the universe!” I’d stand up with my hands squared on my hips imitating the best He-man impression I could do at 9 AM in the morning. When they would proceed to explain the case, and ask if there were any sensitive matters that would prohibit the jurors from making a decision, I’d slam my hand on the desk and scream,“Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty as sin!” I’d stand up and begin talking in an accent as if I was pulled straight out of a Alfred Hitchcock movie. I’d point to the judge and say, “I tell ya what pretty lady. I can look into someone’s eyes. I can see into their soul, and I can tell ya if they are guilty or not. Guilty,” I’d scream as I’d pound my fists one last time down to set my point clear. Security would have to escort me out of the room as I slurred, “Don’t do this. I know you need me here,” as I’d wave my head side to side as if I had mad cow’s disease. Yep I think that would do the trick. If they asked me if I had any mental issues I’d tell them I was bad at math, and sometimes had the urge to pinch little girls in their Sunday dresses, but the Prozac, and anti anxiety cocktail the doctor gave me seemed to working well with the pint of bourbon I drank before bed.

By the time I’d gotten off the subway I was giddy with excitement. After security screening I raced through the cluster of people lagging along straight to the woman’s restroom. I pulled some random stray hairs out of the pony tail holder. I applied a bit more liner and smudged it with my index finger. My Goonies T-shirt and ripped jeans were the icing on the cake. When I entered the jury duty holding room it was just as I expected, bright, cold, and quiet. Some people were busy reading the Daily News as if the next three months of their life held captive in the courtroom meant nothing to them, others were frantically texting, emailing, and trying to get caught up with work, and some scoundrels looked worse than me. I wanted to exchange numbers with them and get tips on New York nightlife. The group that scared me the most was the ones who seemed as if they actually enjoyed the whole process. Jury duty gave their mundane lives a whole new meaning and purpose. They were the ones who would go get coffee of lunch together, pick apart each others brains for solutions and their own personal verdicts of the case. On the weekends they would have get togethers and perform mock trials. I wanted no part in it. I was ready to put up a fight. They could have my seat at trial because I had work, dates to go on, auditions to fail, not to mention sleep. The person in charge went down a list of lame rules such as no cell phones, what were we in detention? I thought we were supposed to be the good guys. As the supervisor did role call, things didn’t go accordingly to my dramatic plan on subway 6.

“Emily Turner?” The supervisor called out.

I froze, nothing would come out. I had gotten court room stage fright. After all those years in acting school, something that day got the best of me. Maybe it was everyone looking around the room to see who Emily Turner was.

I slowly raised my hand and said, “Turner … here.”

The court supervisor continued on, “Thank you. Ok Janis Wetzlar.”

I stood up to interrupt him.

“I’m Emily Turner,” I said nervously.

“Yes Miss Turner I got you down here,” he said dismissing me.

I didn’t know what else to do or say. All eyes were on me as I rubbed the sleep out of my animal eyes and said, “I’m an alcoholic.” It just kinda flew out of my mouth last minute. I felt like I was at confession or an AA meeting. “You see,” I said standing there as people around me began to snicker, “I work every night at a bar where I drink. I lied, we weren’t even allowed to chew gum at work never mind drink on the job, but I was in too far at this point so I kept going. I would say whatever was needed to escape jury duty once and for all. “I have a whole supply of endless bottles of alcohol at my disposal. I work till 4 am which is happy hour for me. Chances are I’ll be getting here drunk, not to mention tired. I really can’t afford to miss work, and I’m not giving up drinking any time soon.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said stone cold. “There are programs that can assist you with your problem, but it’s not getting you out of jury duty.”

I sat down defeated. I would have to try harder. I took a nap for a few hours on the uncomfortable steel fold out chair I was sitting on trying to regroup plan b. I woke up to a giant head jerking twitch. The ones you have when you’re sleeping and it feels like your falling, so you end up snapping your neck to snap out of it. I almost tumbled onto my neighbor, a plump all American lady in her forties with her polyester pants up to her tits, and her turtle neck sweater up to her double chin. I assumed she was a librarian or some sort of elementary teacher. It was now 11:15, and the room’s energy had sunken to an all time low. Businessmen were doodling cartoons, the night time scoundrels were flicking spit balls.

Jury duty should have a welcome to hell sign with a knife and book on creative ways how to kill yourself. I decided it was up to me to pipe up the energy in the room, with the hopes that the rest of the room would follow. Maybe we would all be dismissed. They’d follow me out the court room cheering as I led them to a pub on Wall Street where we’d all toast beers together in surviving jury duty. I took out my cell phone and began to call friends and old acquaintances I hadn’t talked to in over five years.

‘Shelly? Hey it’s Emily we met over three years ago down in Cancun. How are you? Do you still have the great tan? Sarah, oh my gosh, I’m so totally bored. I’m in this jury duty thing and it’s so lame. Like how is it I lose the lotto, but I get picked for jury duty? How’s the baby?’

The man who took role call asked me to leave the room. I gave him a thumbs up and a wink happy to have grabbed his attention. When I came back forty five minutes later were told we were given a case. It would start after lunch. He went down a list of names for the case, my name being smack in the middle, number eight. I had to think of something quick. I reached into my tote for some food. I pulled out a plate of cheese and crackers that I had prepared earlier that morning. I can’t cook so cheese and crackers are my favorite meal. I needed to let the guy in charge realize how serious my drinking problem was. I had a plastic 10 oz martini glass and olives packed deep into my bag along with a bottle of water. I discreetly bent over and filled the martini glass with olives and water. I tucked my water bottle away back in my bag, and began drinking as I crossed my legs and drank in sophistication. A few people whispered and pointed at me. That’s when my luck ran out, we were dismissed for an hour lunch break. When we came back we found out the case had been settled and we were all told to be back the next day at 9 am. I couldn’t bear to wake up and do it all over. It was a painful thought. I crept up to the podium where the guy in charge packed his duffle bag.

“Excuse me,” I said through baby tears. “I just can’t do this. I have too much going on in my life. If I have to come here another day I might just loose it and jump off a bridge!” That was my answer to all. I used that line at least once times a year through crocodile tears. I can’t say I have never seriously thought about it, but the East River is the last place I’d want to take my last breath. The man sympathetically directed me to an office down the street. They had the power to dismiss me. If felt like I was off to see the Wizard of Oz. I skipped down the street holding my bag of tricks and treats.

I cried, begged, and pleaded with the wicked witch of Court Street for a half an hour. I gave her details of my personal life only a shrink should know, even though eighty percent of them were fabricated. She didn’t care that my grandfather had died of colon cancer, or my mother caught Malaria on a bible study trip by a mosquito she thought was a butterfly. It wasn’t her problem I worked too much, and my love life sucked. She informed me I had already missed one summons for duty and if I didn’t show up the next day I’d be the one in the hot seat. Rats, I still had to go to work that night, get a few hours of sleep and be back with plan C.

The next morning I walked into the court room chipper from plan C. I was ready for some action. My hair and makeup were perfectly done. I chose a pretty wild and random outfit to get me quickly noticed and sent home. I waltzed in with a plastic sippy cup of real bloody Mary, I was ready to go the distance. I had on four inch white spiked heels, painted on fuchsia capri leggings, a white ribbed tank top, push up bra, and a shark tooth necklace. I liked the shark tooth necklace, it brought the bad ass out of me. After role call I made my way to the corner of the adjoining room where people without a seat sat cross legged and tired. I happily hummed to myself as I set up my survival camp for jury duty. I organized stacks of books to my left, piles of gossip magazines to the right. I set up my nail polish, files, and manicure set. I pulled out a long purple beach towel with a pillow attached to it. People were looking at me like I was the smartest thing since post it notes. I pulled out three creamy vanilla candles and lit them around me. I then laid down a happy camper, if this was where I was going to get my beauty sleep, I’d make my new home as comfortable as I could. To my surprise I didn’t get in trouble, only a few requests to borrow my magazines. One lady asked me where I got my fabulous candles. I dozed off for a long awaited blissful nap. I thought I was dreaming when I heard clapping.

I awoke from a dream of me in my own bed. The room was cheering and packing up. We were finally dismissed. I learned while jury duty has a bad reputation, you can have fun with it, because no matter what you do, chances are you are not getting out of it.

Cali for my kidney

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How many times have you heard people say, I would give my arm to meet Oprah, I would give my first born for that sports car, or I would give up my fake tits to win the lottery? Well fake tits you can buy again, but it seems when people want something so bad that it consumes their life, they say they’d give up body parts in exchange for their wish. I never quite understood it until one summer I was in desperate need to get money to move to California the land of hopes and dreams.

I tried to get a summer job at an outdoor lounge but no one would hire me. I looked at my resume and head shot for the twentieth time.  I was dumb founded. I comforted myself concluding either I was overqualified to pass cocktails or just too damn good looking. My obsession with California began seven years prior when I was a flight attendant living in Charleston, South Carolina. My roommate and I went to see the town psychic. It was our first time and we were a bit nervous to see what our futures held. I went in first to feel it out, I was always the dare devil of the group. The psychic was a nice Southern lady with blond curls wearing a purple linen dress. She spread out the tarot cards before me on a glass table. She told me many interesting things that hit home. She told me I was running in circles trying to take it to the next level of my life. I was satisfied with my job, yet felt stuck. I was meant for bigger things.

“What do you do?” She asked.
“I’m a flight attendant,” I said proudly as I looked her in her blue eyes.
“Well that won’t be your career forever.”

She told me I had great energy around me. I was meant to be seen in the public eye and become a household name. Did that mean I was to be married to a star or become one? She said my passion would be my success. What was my passion? I wondered as I looked around her small room filled with angels, crystals, and astrology books. I had so many passions. Was it dancing? No it was too late to become a professional ballet dancer and stripping wasn’t going to make me famous, Demi Moore already snagged up that role in Strip Tease. I loved to write, but when I thought of the public eye I thought of actresses or models. That was it … acting. Acting was something I always wanted to do since I was age three. My mom had to bribe me with a bean bag to sit down in front of our 19 inch television. I loved to imitate and repeat every word of every character in the movies I watched. The psychic ended with saying I would live in California with two kids and a husband. That night I cried myself to sleep. My sweet southern roommate  tried to comfort me.

I turned over on my side as a million thoughts raced through my head. It was hard not to think I was meant to become a star. I was only twenty years old, I still had plenty of time to start, but I knew it had to be soon.
The psychic also told my roommate she would marry a foreign man in uniform. A week later we forgot about the psychic. A year later my roommate married a pilot friend from Europe who needed his papers. A year later I quit the airline after I was accepted into a New York City acting conservatory with a scholarship. While I absolutely adored New York and it’s ways, Cali always sat in the back of my mind. I felt like I was having some sort of affair. I kept saying I was leaving, but the more I said it the longer I stayed.

Time in New York is a difficult concept to grasp. I swear there is some preternatural force that causes time to impel faster than other places on earth. Years creep up on you without realizing how much time has passed until it is long gone. A day turns into the next week, that transcends into the following month, and before you know it, you are planning for the next year. That’s what happened to me. I planned on pursing Cali after I graduated acting school and had built up my resume a bit. I knew I needed a little bit of thicker skin and confidence in my craft. By struggling to keep up with New York prices and nightlife, my craft turned into serving drinks and consuming them. I was twenty three and single in the city.  The longer I lived in Manhattan, the more there was to do. I would go to a meeting, hit the gym, one friend for lunch, gay boys for happy hour, not to mention work. Moving was a job in itself, work at night, audition in the day, go see a play, play with my friends.

I tried hobbies I never had any interest with until I moved to New York. I fought off adult drama, IRS audits, lawsuits, yearly checkups, break ups, identity theft, the list is never-ending. My roommate and best friend Carly planned the move with me for five years. Every year we daydreamed the same thing, our Thelma and Louise road trip. We’d video tape the whole trip, playing pranks on small town locals. It would be a girl’s version of Borat. Maybe we’d even rob a gas station in the middle of America for shits and giggles, just to say we did it. I wanted to live in Malibu, Carly chose Hollywood Hills, the one thing we did agree upon was not the valley. It was one thing to talk like a valley girl, or date a valley guy, but to be one? No way!

I wanted to be a surfer and I loved California men. The New York guys never really did it for me. I always heard east coasters talking down about Californians. “They are so superficial and too happy,” one lady said. She was a pale overweight lady in her thirties, but appeared to be in her late forties. I didn’t want to become bitter and pale like her. I thought about the Californians. They were a healthy bunch. Most were fit and tan. Is that superficial to be happy you’re healthy and good looking? If so sign me up, I wanted to join the club.

For the next four years I continued to tell my boss Vinny, this is it … I’m out of here for good. I’m moving to California this fall. He was immune to my threats. He’d roll his eyes and say, “Turner you are not going anywhere. Get back to work.” He told me I would be there till I was in my forties, until some sucker married me. He predicted years later I’d get a divorce and come back to the bar because I missed it. It was a scary thought that easily could come true. I had to prove him wrong.It was finally seven years after my first psychic prediction. I was now 27 and while I knew I looked 24 time was closing in on my move to Cali. I had built up some what of an acting resume and had written five feature scripts. I felt like it was Cali or bust. Carly was now living in Florida with her current boyfriend, but hated it there and was planning for Cali soon. I was fed up with New York. I was sick of thinking so fast, forgetting how to breath, not having time to date or even go out. After a week of hard work I had no energy left, and was over the whole scene. I wanted blond friendly guys with surf boards instead of ties. BBQ’s instead of obnoxious clubs. Surfing the Pacific ocean instead of surfing the net. Sunshine instead of rain, my car instead of the train. I had never felt so ready to move my whole life. There was just one little obstacle … money.

After I had a dental malpractice putting me fifteen grand in the hole I had bills higher than I could see. I was depressed I couldn’t get another summer job after searching for three months. Some nights at work I would secretly drink to numb the pain of serving drinks. If a customer was rude to me I would say, “Don’t be mean to me,” before running off into the bathroom to cry. One night in my deepest despair I walked into the bathroom to make a list. I couldn’t be in New York or wait on tables anymore, I needed a plan B.

1) Give up dreams for day job
2) Run away to Costa Rica or some far away land to forget about everything
3) Jump off bridge
4) Find a way to get money for Cali

I had to get to Cali. I cried to my laid back cute boss Trey. He had sandy blonde hair and blue eyes I could get lost in. “Don’t worry Turner you’ll be alright,” he said in his sexy southern accent. “Just don’t go jumping off any bridges.” He told me that he felt the same way sometimes and he just wanted to run away to an island too. Running off with Trey was a pleasant thought. Running off to California where there were a million Treys sounded even better. I vowed to myself that night I would prove everyone wrong. I was going to California.

For the next few days I drew up some business plans on how to make money that summer for my fall trip across country. I thought about becoming a nanny, but I couldn’t bear the thought of waking up at six in the morning to feed a brat, and they would get in the way of my acting auditions.

I thought about getting a day job, but had no voice because of my night job, and the day job would leave me no time for my writing. I didn’t want to work for someone, I needed to sell something. I had my screenplays, but couldn’t find the right people to read them. My customers begged me to read them, but they were brokers, doctors, and managers. I needed a producer. I needed California connections!

I figured sex sold, so I needed something where I could put my athletic body to use. After a few glasses of wine at a cafe I came up with the perfect plan. I would set up a lemonade stand and bake brownies. I could sell them in a bikini and heels down on Wall Street.
“You’re really going to do that?” Drew the bartender asked. He always analyzed everything, and he had an answer even if it wasn’t asked for.

“Yes,” I said proudly as I plumped up my chest in my tight work uniform. “I will even have a sign that says Cali or Bust!” I thought it was the cutest idea. Selling homemade lemonade to go to Cali. The businessmen would eat it up. I’d get tossed business cards and twenties all day long. I’d probably make the Daily News.
“If you put up that sign you won’t be making nothing,” Drew said bluntly.
“Why?” I asked. As if he knew anything about marketing.
“New York guys don’t like Californians. They wont’ help finance your trip. They’ll think you’re a stupid girl for wanting to leave New York.
It sounded true. Maybe I was putting in all my time and energy into a horrible decision. I had always learned my lessons the hard way. I took Drew’s advice and continued brainstorming strategies for my trip. I didn’t have much time to save up over ten grand, or much to sell.
“Just sell your eggs,” Natalie a funny waitress said. “You’ll get at least six thousand dollars.”
The thought of selling my unfertilized eggs unsettled in my stomach. Would it hurt? I always wanted a surrogate mother. Could they possibly sell half of my eggs and freeze the other half for when I found my prince in Cali? The thought crossed my mind, but I thought of the long term emotional effects. What if ten years later I wanted to meet my hatched egg. I wanted to see what kind of genes I carried. I imagined myself scoping out ever ten year old on the street thinking they were my own child.
“No there is no way I can do that,” I told Natalie.
“But you’ll be helping out someone who needs it. Won’t that make you feel good?”
“No I don’t think so.”
I thought back to health class. Wasn’t there a body part I had two of but didn’t need?
“Hey Trey,” I said as I ran up to him with my tray full of martinis. “What’s that body part you don’t need?”
He thought long and hard for a minute. It was adorable when he tried to think.
“Well I think you need all of them.”
“Yes, but don’t I have an extra body part? Is it the liver?”
“No unfortunately not. We only got one of those. I think it’s your kidney or something.”
That was it, the kidney. I heard they didn’t do much but we had two of them. Some people needed them and were on waiting lists. For all I knew this extra kidney was a part of the extra ten pounds I carried. I happily skipped around waiting on tables for the rest of the night. I was going to sell my kidney to go to Cali!
I figured I would get at least five to ten grand out of it. I couldn’t wait to tell Drew the good news of my new game plan.
“You’re not selling your kidney. Don’t be stupid it’s illegal,” he as he rolled his eyes at me.
“I don’t care. I’ll sell it on the black market. I’m going to LA!”
“You know my buddy Chris? He only has one kidney. Maybe he’ll buy it from you,” he joked as he shook up a mojito.

It was true, I knew Chris and he was born with only one kidney. He was just about fifteen years older than me. Maybe he could buy it temporarily. I’d write him out a contract selling him my kidney and when he died I could get my kidney back. That might work, but I needed to investigate more about this body part, and how I was to sell it if Chris passed on my offer.
I stayed up until 6 am the next morning surfing the next. I found out all types of useful facts on the kidney. The kidney worked with my liver. It was located in my back so that’s where I would have the scar. While it was illegal in the United States I found there was a trend to sell them in Israel. They paid more than I even expected. There was a secret facility that they put you up in for recovery. I saved the article under my favorites file on my computer and dozed off contentedly to sleep. I told Drew the next day about my findings on the internet.

“If I go out there in August, I’ll be healed up and ready for LA in October,” I said as I watched Drew make a fancy martini.
“Great now I can introduce you as my other friend with one kidney,” he said without looking up.
“Drew I’m really doing this. You only live once, and I need to be in LA. If it takes selling a kidney to do it, I’ll do it,” I said as I pounded tray down on the counter.
Drew started laughing. “What if they ask you to toss in a few fingers for a couple thousand bucks? Will you do that too?” He tucked a few fingers back and taunted me saying, “Hi, I’m Emily. I’m missing some fingers and a kidney but I’m a really good actress.”
“Well it will show how serious I am about making it!”
“You think you are just going to go to Israel and they are going to take out your kidney, give you a check and a big hug? No way. You’re nuts, I’m not letting you do it.”
Drew convinced me if I went there alone there was no telling what they’d do to me. Once I was under anesthesia they could take all my good body parts and toss away the rest. That wasn’t exactly the plan, but it was possible. The next few weeks I asked my doctor friends about the kidney and the scars. They all told me not to do it. I was listening to my Ipod on my way through midtown traffic crying when I saw my boss Vinny.

He pulled my arm to stop me and asked, “What’s wrong?”
I began to ramble on as tears poured down my face. “I couldn’t get a summer job. I have to sell my kidney.”
“For LA?”
“Yes, it’s the only way.”
“Don’t worry you are not going to sell your kidney. Sell your ass, you have a lot more of it,” he said as he patted my head and walked off.

He didn’t know I planned to go the following month and I had a note written in case I never returned. I cried even harder walking down Park Avenue all the way to work.

“Don’t worry it will all come together,” Drew said as he poured me a bloody Mary. “Something will come up. Just give it time.” He told me if I sold my kidney I wouldn’t be able to drink.  A week later I got a job at one of the best steakhouses in the city. The hours were easy and the money was great.
“Aren’t you happy you didn’t sell your kidney?” Drew asked with a smile.

Yes I was, because while I was willing to give up a body part for California, I wasn’t willing to give up drinking anytime soon. I ended up choosing Costa Rica over California to write and to heal my voice in solitude. Drew joked if I went to Costa Rica alone I’ll probably get my kidney’s stolen. While California is still on my to do list, selling my body parts is not. Someday I hope to make it to Cali in one piece.

Just Be

Sometimes in life you just have to realize everything happens for a reason, or shall I say reasons, because eventually one thing leads to another. A certain step one has to take in life is to accept the motion of the future, yet still be in the present. I used to always teeter totter between reminiscing about the past, and daydreaming about the future. I now try to live in the moment and know the universe has a special plan for my future, and while it may not always be peaches and cream, it’s difficult to enjoy the sweet without the sour.