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it started out like any other day...

well, to be honest...
"any other day" recently has been somewhat abnormal to say the least. i've been going through some things in the past few weeks that have made it difficult to feel any sense of normalcy. i've bounced in and out of occupations and schedules in the past year, but this is the longest i have ever gone without having any sense of order. although a job doesn't define me in any way, it certainly does add some kind of structure to my daily life. without a need to be anywhere, it's easy to feel like you're traveling through your days without purpose. combined with other things whirling through my head--this absent sense of direction has put me in a strange place. instead of divulging intense amounts of detail, i will simply say this in regards to what i like to refer to as "the bad days":

when i'm inside my apartment for hours at a time--it feels like days go by un-numbered.
when i enter the real world, the city around me is one big blur.

these inner struggles are the kind that make you feel a little lost, even though part of you is convinced you're just wandering. the kind that make you question your very purpose and inner-being. the kind that grant you full permission to drive all the way to burbank for your favorite comfort food.

the good news is that yesterday i was blessed with a phone call offering me some part time secretary work at my friend loryn's office (the place i've been doing the catering). after weeks of sending out endless applications, it almost felt like this job fell into my lap. what's more likely is that loryn's boss saw how hard i had previously worked for him--and wanted to give me the opportunity for more hours. the job is only part-time which is why i haven't thrown myself a celebratory starbucks visit, but at least it's finally something to fill a few of my days. 

back to my story...

this story is not to spill my guts and expose my deepest thoughts. 
this is a story about the unexpected taking place on a cloudy tuesday afternoon.

"i have to get out of here,"
i said to myself.
not like it was a big surprise. after repeating the same predictable routine almost every single day for the last few weeks--wake up at 9, make olive's breakfast, contemplate my own breakfast for an hour, brew coffee, throw an english muffin in the toaster, check facebook, check gmail, spend five hours applying for jobs...--there was always a point in my day when i just needed to get out. i decided that since i didn't have any real errands to run, i would just make a list of "important" things to do. 
fake important thing number one was to wash my car at the self-serve lot on santa monica boulevard. when i looked up at the sky and remembered that tomorrow called for an entire day of rain, i realized that mother nature had just 86'ed part of my day. fake important thing number two involved hitting the guitar center on sunset to play the most expensive one i could find. i don't practice music as often as i would like, and seeing as i don't ever get to play a $5,000 guitar--this killed two birds with one stone. the final fake important thing on my list involved going to one of the most touristy places in los angeles:
the grove

although the grove has a bad rap for being so busy, i love browsing the farmer's market and the little shops. i decided that since my grocery list for the week was already in my fridge, i would make my way to the actual shopping area--somewhere i rarely go. as i side-stepped the annoying greeter at victoria's secret--who only wanted to inform me that i should spend $50 to get a free $15 tote--my phone suddenly rang. using my cell as a "i'm busy, can't talk sales right now!" decoy, i walked back out into the streets of the grove only to see a large crowd forming in front of me. i laughed as i looked up and saw mario lopez. they normally film extra there in the morning, so catching it at the end of the day felt like a nice little treat. the constant cheering and michael jackson hits blaring over the speakers were making it hard to hear anything my mom was saying.

"this is the most excitement i've had in about two weeks. let me call you back."

i began snapping pictures from about twenty feet back, excited to share with my friends that i had stumbled upon yet another taping of extra. a familiar tune suddenly seeped out through the crowd. as i wondered to myself why i recognized this catchy theme song...
i heard a voice that i would know anywhere.

not only had i unintentionally come to grove, meandered into the shopping area, AND walked onto the set of extra--but i happened to be there the day that ellen degeneres was doing an interview. after weeks of colorless afternoons, this was certainly a welcome surprise. today was the release of ellen's new book "seriously...i'm kidding." and her first comment was asking mario lopez to take off his shirt. 
i love ellen.
the crowds were so insane that this picture doesn't even do it justice.
the amount of people in front of me, behind me, and across from me were enough to start a small country.

as i leaned against a gate and realized i was standing right next to what seemed to be a VIP tent--three more surprises came my way.
one: surprise! jack black.
two: surprise! i'm standing directly behind ellen's mom.
three: surprise! when ellen talks about her mom on TV, they point the cameras directly at her--catching me in my shades and jeggings.

when the show wrapped up, i stayed around to do the obvious.
try and get a picture of mario lopez's butt.

as ellen was escorted off of the stage, she took one look exactly in my direction...and then headed out of sight. 
i assumed this would be the last time (at least today) that i saw ellen degeneres in person.

i was wrong.

after multiple missed shots of AC slater's backside--i couldn't wait to recount the details of my day to my sister. today was her 30th birthday, and she deserved a good story. i opted for the first quiet place i could find and headed into barnes and noble. as i stepped onto the escalator and headed for the cookbook section, my sister's name appeared on my phone. at the top of the escalator a woman tried to shove me in the opposite direction i was going while simultaneously yelling, "keep together people!" 
i assumed she was just a pushy employee. 
as i lingered on the isles of the second floor and swapped stories with my sister, i turned around and realized that there was a line of people wrapped around the store. i hadn't seen posters for a book signing, but then again i wasn't really looking. as my gaze traveled back to the escalator, a small head topped with silvery white hair came into view. 
ellen's mom.
i then heard "hey mom!" shouted from somewhere in the store.

i had walked directly into ellen's book signing.

after much contemplation, my sister decided that i should probably ask ellen degeneres her opinion on what was going on in my life. i then hopped on the caboose of a line that went on for two more stories. once i realized that i was the only one without a book, i ran downstairs to the front counter to buy myself a copy. when i casually asked about the process of getting my new book signed, i was informed that the line upstairs was for people with wristbands. the line outside was for "stand-by" fans who may or may not make it to the upstairs line. i thought about my options. my obstacles: it's cold outside. i may end up with a $15 parking tab. i haven't eaten dinner. i wanted to do laundry. i haven't washed my hair since yesterday morning.
after purchasing my book, i decided it was a good idea to at least get a look at the stand-by line. it was about a hundred people long...and i was the the 100th.
once again i debated my options. 
i even walked back over to the farmer's market for some free samples while i thought things through and considered simply calling it a night.

what do you think i ended up doing?

absolutely thrilled that i was part of the last group allowed in to get our books signed, but absolutely terrified that i was about to come face-to-face with someone i had been watching on TV for years--i stood in line and nervously adjusted my jeggings. i remembered being ten years old and watching ellen's sitcom. i remembered how much respect, even as a child, i had for someone who had their very own TV show. i've always loved her humor, admired her light-hearted sense of self, and the positive influence she has on so many millions of people.

and then it was my turn.
my breath caught in my throat and i could only think of one thing to say.

fanny: "'s it going?!" 

ellen: (looks around) "it's okay! how are you?"

fanny: "awesome. it's so awesome to meet you."
*mental note: stop saying awesome*
*brief awkward handshake*

"can i ask you a quick question?"
*pause and almost black out as i feel every camera on my face*

"do you have any advice for someone who moved to hollywood and doesn't have any idea what the hell they're doing?"

ellen: "well. you know, i was once someone who moved to hollywood and didn't know what the hell i was doing."
*awkward pause.*
*mental note: say something clever*

fanny: "and...look at you now!"
*mental note: don't say stupid things to celebrities*
*retrieve my book and begin to step away*

ellen: "you're going to be okay.
you are. 
just stay safe."

*almost burst into tears and walk away*

so that's it.
that's my story.

it's not about finding the answers to the questions i've been searching for. it's not about having any kind of epiphany or moment of self-realization. it's not about the fact that i will very likely be on the ellen degeneres show tomorrow mouthing the words "hi mom" as i ride up the escalator at barnes & noble (true story, set your DVR). 
it's not that ellen gave me actual clarity into the specific hurdles that i'm facing. she doesn't know me. that's not what this story is about.  
it's about finding unexpected things in unexpected places. i still have a lot of soul searching to do at this strange time in my life. i still have fears to conquer, people to meet, and ways to make my mark. this story is just about being in the right place at the right time. about being given a kind, much needed piece of advice by a very powerful stranger in regards to your life. about the reminder that everything is going to be okay. 
no matter what i choose for myself.
it's scary not to know what's coming next, and sometimes you just need a sign--a completely unexpected, unsolicited sign that things do turn out okay in the end.

mine just happened to come from ellen degeneres.

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