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i sat outside of the starbucks in beverly hills today and did some serious thinking...

a recent lesson learned about


most women here are 5'9, with perfect bright blonde hair, legs that start at their face, and arms skinny enough to stack cheerios on.
they have a closet full of cocktail dresses and get invited to the best parties with the "best" people.
they're never caught without heels on and they eat botox for breakfast.


i just recently reached 5'3.
i generally have about twenty nine fly-aways and a few split ends from attempting to cut my own bangs.
i own twelve pairs of leggings and zero pairs of high heels.
i have seventeen movies taped on my DVR.
i had a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast.

it's good to be different.

have you ever had one of those overwhelming feelings that something really strange was about to happen?

as i've mentioned before--my favorite walk in all of hollywood is the one that happens to be in my neighborhood. as i walk out of my apartment's gate door and turn left--the street zig zags up into the hills of beachwood canyon. it's my favorite walk for a handful of reasons, but mainly because it was the first place i ever explored after moving here on my own. i had never lived by myself before, so i guess i never realized how many thoughts were constantly running through my head. all day long my mind would race with anything and everything. with no one around to really talk to--i needed a way to get all that energy out of my body. i can't even begin the count the dozens of times i've tossed on a pair of sketchers, and jetted out the door and up the hill. the other great part of this walk is that the hollywood sign inches closer and closer and hardly ever goes out of sight.

the first time i saw this,
i stopped...
and thought about turning around.

these odd cave-like structures appear on both side of the road towards the top of the neighborhood. as i stopped and stared at these rocky doorways, two thoughts popped into my head:

i thought about dodging these entirely by doing the obvious and walking around them--but for some reason that felt like bad luck. instead i shoved my hands in the pockets of my sweatpants and darted through the narrow pathway.

these walks have become a staple in my weekly routine, but it wasn't until last night that i realized something very interesting. as i traced my usual route up beachwood drive--hopping over uneven curbs and dodging dog walkers--i stepped outside of my body for a moment as i approached the stone walls. i watched myself pass through this rocky opening and suddenly became very aware of my auto-pilot response for gliding through this creepy overpass. as i upped the speed in my step and reached the entrance--i drew in a deep breath, and squeezed my eyes shut. when i realized what i had just done, i stopped in my tracks and cocked my head to the side. 
what had possibly caused me to hold my breath? what realistic explanation could there be for closing my eyes so tight that one of my contacts almost popped out? 

it then occurred to me that outsiders would clearly assume i was farting--
and that's no way to present yourself in hollywood.

as i continued my walk, i couldn't help but dwell on what might have stimulated these involuntary movements. why was it that every time i passed through these walls, my body unconsciously repeated these strange motions? i followed the twisted road past the market and distracted myself with the fluorescent flowers that blanket the beautifully manicured lawns. as i turned the corner to trek up the infamous beachwood stairs, i came to an abrupt halt. 

that's it,
i thought to myself. that's what makes me cringe, and shudder, and hold my breath every time i dart through those walls. 
for some inexplicable reason...
i believe...
that walking through that cave will transport me through time.

i said it.

to be continued.....

not really.
but if i go missing, at least you'll all know what happened.


"makes me want to get lost
and get right with my soul."
~rodney atkins

it was just one those days.

one of those days where i couldn't stand to be in my apartment one second longer and i just had to get out. it's good to make a check-list for yourself and spend time job searching, but hours and hours and hours inside a tiny one-bedroom apartment can start to feel extremely hopeless. a friend once told me that los angeles was like a trick. it's one of the biggest cities in the world with millions of people--but for that very reason, it can be very isolating.

it wasn't just an "i need some fresh air" kind of day. 
it was just one of those lonely days where i started to feel like it was hard to breathe. sitting at home by yourself for hours on end also gives you no choice but to marinate in not just one--but ALL of your problems.

i guess no one ever said
this would be easy.

before i jumped ship and headed out into the unknown today--i caught something on TV that really hit home for me. since i'm "in between" jobs right now, it always ends up being an uncomfortable question when people ask me what i do. luckily, every person i've talked to who has moved out here to be in the acting world claims to have had a laundry list of jobs. reminding myself of that makes me feel less guilty about my catalog of professions from this past year...
chiropractic assistant...thrift shop employee...waitress...personal assistant for a day...

and then i saw this.
and it reminded me that this isn't easy for anyone.

then i got up, threw on an outfit as fast as i possibly could, and started driving.
i drove until i hit surfrider's beach in malibu and i pulled over onto the side of the pacific coast highway.
and then i just sat there for hours.

it was just one of those days.


there's no place like...

every time i come home my mom asks me if it feels weird to be back. the strange truth is that the second i step foot into my room--it feels like nothing has changed. an entire year has gone by and home still feels every bit like home. sometimes when i wake up, i can't remember if moving to hollywood was all a dream. i know i'm meant to be here and despite the being so far away part--i really do love it, but that doesn't make north carolina any less of a part of me. 
i had originally planned on a quick weekend trip back to the east coast for the sole purpose of being there for my best friend's birthday. the second i lost the restraints of having a job and a mandatory place to be--i knew that i wanted to extend my visit. almost two weeks might seem like one hell of a "visit", but that doesn't mean it didn't fly by. 
luckily i still had time to pack in all of my favorites.

favorite lifelong friends.

favorite public form of embarrassment/hilarity.

favorite cornbread.

favorite condiments.

favorite favorite.

favorite bagel.

favorite hushpuppies.

favorite extra seasoned french fries.

favorite homecooking.

favorite side dish.

after a few days at home--i headed even further down south for some quality time and a 24th birthday weekend with the best friend.
you'd think that two people who lived together and saw each other morning, afternoon, and night would probably stop appreciating the little things after a while. sara and i, on the other hand, never took our friendship for granted. two years into living together, i can still remember my breath catching in my throat with excitement when i would hear her car pull into the driveway after a long weekend home. i remember how blissfully happy it made me to hear her footsteps creak towards my room at dinnertime after she had just woken up from a nap. i remember holding in my laughter as she tossed ten yoplait yogurt cups into our grocery cart--simply because she can't walk away from a ten-for-ten deal.
i reminded myself every day to appreciate her because i knew we wouldn't always be living ten steps down the hall from each other. now--more than ever--these tiny moments with her count. it wasn't the moment i saw her feet at the bottom of escalator when she picked me up from the airport. it wasn't the moment we hugged goodbye and i wanted to hold on for ten minutes longer. it was the moment we were sitting there on the couch--passing back and forth a box of wheat thins and watching the notebook--that i realized how incredibly special the world felt in that one simple second.

as i pulled out of sara's driveway and wiped my eyes--i decided to take a different way back home. normally the drive from raleigh to little river is a straight shot on two highways. recently, sara told me about a quicker route that involves a handful of different back roads, by-passes, and mini-highways. although this involved following some very strange twists and turns from my GPS--there's something about this drive that makes me feel like i'm in another era.

 at one point while watching the notebook, sara turned to me and repeated allie's last line,
"sensational! i wish people used that word more often." 

these are the kinds of places where i imagine people use that word everyday, know the milkman by his first name, and smile at strangers.

back in raleigh...

you know when you see someone at a funeral and they say,
"great to see you...even under these unfortunate circumstances..."
when i bought this ticket to bring me home--the sole purpose was to be with my best friend for her birthday. 
little did i know that there would be a miracle involved.

a few weeks ago, we found out that one of our sixteen and a half year old persian cats had a tumor in his lung. 
i say cat.
but what i mean is--little brother.
i felt so blessed to coincidentally be coming home, but i had no idea how important my presence would actually be. not only did i get to spend time with mango, but i was able to help my parents and be there for them at the same time.
it may have been unfortunate circumstances--but we were still together.
pets are not pets in my family. they never have been.
they eat at the dinner table with us and are lavished in hourly compliments such as,
"if you were any cuter, i'd have to arrest you!" 

needless to say--they're family. 
seeing my mom pour every ounce of love she had into taking care of mango reminded me how lucky i am to be a part of this family. sometimes i think that my parents are so full of love that if i squeeze them too hard--some will come out of their ears. how lucky we are--my sister and i, and every furry four legged animal that has ever graced us with their presence--to have always been so taken care of and protected. our cats may not be able to speak english, but i know that they have the exact same sense of appreciation for my parents that my sister and i do. 

mango was one of a kind.
although it was extremely painful to know that he would be leaving this world--i felt such a sense of peace knowing that he would be out of pain. if a human is laying in a hospital bed, they can hold your hand and reassure you. they can tell you that they're ready to go, to leave this world and venture on into the next place.
other than roast chicken--mango loved nothing more than curling up in the fruit bowl on our kitchen table.
 in his last few years, he had gotten so big for the bowl that he found plenty of other places to nap and spend the day. that porcelain dish may have filled up with avocados and heirloom tomatoes--but we all knew that it belonged to mango. 
on his last full day, mango used every bit of strength he had to hop onto the table and squeeze himself into that fruit bowl one last time.

after having just peed on my carpet--his other favorite past time--we realized that he was re-living all of his cherished moments one last time. 
that was his way of saying,
i'm ready to go.

to mango (who i know is still all around me):
thank you for being my family.