Call me crazy, but I legitimately believed that I’d be Carrie Bradshaw by now.
While I realize, of course, that I’m no SJP (slumps down in chair dejectedly, kicks legs, pouts), I, like many twenty-something’s graduating from college/grad school and looking ever-optimistically at life/love/work, clung steadfastly to the idea of moving to New York and slipping seamlessly into the center of a very Carrie clad existence.
That is to say, that for about three quarters of my life, I cultivated an image of my hypothetical self prancing through the streets of Manhattan in Bradshaw’s classic cobalt blue Manolos — their crystal encrusted, square embellishments glistening against sun splattered pavement and skyscrapers that would serve as the new backdrop to my life as a successful, liberated, glamorous, twenty-first century woman. Yes, friends, I’ve harbored visions of wild grandeur, peppered with glimpses of the grown up me gliding into and out of important work meetings (because, naturally, somebody would have reasoned that a passion for writing + a love for being in front of the camera = instant news anchor position, aka, my dream job and life’s ultimate mission. Right?!)/downtown tete-a-tetes in corner cafes with friends who’d be happily engaged in similarly exotic professions/blustering windblown hair falling perpetually perfectly into place — rain and humidity be damned/and yes, somewhere in the middle of it all — my very own Mr. Big.
That I hadn’t considered such trivialities as Carrie Bradshaw’s actual age, or that she was…oh yeah, a FICTIONAL CHARACTER, a fact which my shrink frequently, fervently, urgently, reminds me of to this day, mattered little, because I’d spent my youth envisioning myself as someone who would break the mold, reaching forward to grab my dreams with a veracity tantamount to, let’s say, Queen B’s when, seeking to address critics post inaugural address/lip synching “scandal,” she belted out a flawless acapella ballad, faced the cameras and rhetorically probed “Any questions?”
One abandoned cubicle and a law degree later, I’m now twenty-five years old, fresh off the heels of a quarter life crisis, and technically speaking, a lawyer (although, inconveniently, I have no real desire to actually practice law, so there’s that), but what’s more, I’m not a news reporter, which, as previously mentioned, is what I’ve always longed to be. Something about standing outside on a two degree day until I lose all feeling in my fingertips, compiling a story within the confines of an uber luxurious news van, and then having an invasive light shone directly into my eyes, leaving me with just enough sight to get through the live cut, really does it for me. Call me crazy (again), but while I was in law school, I would shlep into the cable station where I interned on weekends and follow the reporters, writing my own material and then tracking it on a demo reel. My willingness to partake in a seven day workweek should’ve been a clear cut indication that, “Hi, dumby, your my passion is in news, not in contract writing,” but I was scared, and there’s something about an already forged, tried and true path that offers a great sense of security. So, law it was.
As we all know, time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older too – meaning, that I recently came to an awakening of sorts. No, I’m referring to like, a literal awakening, as in, zero sleep for days, perpetuated by routine panic attacks and a recognition of the fact that I was failing to live my truth (Happy, Oprah?). I see far too many talented people falling into the trap of, “I graduated from college, thought I’d run the world, ended up inputting data within the confines of a cubicle at a job that was as mind numbing as it was devoid of room for growth/creativity/breathing room, and therefore opted to go to grad school, hoping to convince my subconscious of the idea that (insert) field of study is a sustainable life plan.” Take this gem of wisdom from someone who believed she’d be Carrie Bradshaw by twenty-two, and then decided, upon being body slammed by reality (who is decidedly my arch nemesis) to, viola, enroll in law school — YOLO. You only live once; don’t give up on your dreams as quickly as I did mine, because they won’t give up on you. In fact, they might even turn into extra determined, subconscious little stalkers, acting as a conduit to the heavens, which are, of course, especially passionate about you pushing forth to realize your foremost aspirations/ultimate divine destiny. Of course, I’m getting really abstract and philosophical with it all now, but you catch my drift, right? Right.
So, it was only recently that I worked up the gusto to actually, well, apply for positions in my field of choice. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve been submitting my resume/demo reel via online forums for months now, but every time I press enter and send off another little piece of myself somewhere into cyberspace, without even possessing an actual point of contact (aka a human being), I always feel the compulsion to reach for a nearby megaphone and into bellow, “Anyone out there?” For me, as a prospective on-air talent, the question ultimately became, “What would Hoda do?” (You know, Hoda Kotb, co-host of the fourth hour of Today/superwoman). And, as it turns out, Hoda got her start in the industry by showing up, in person, at news stations — risking embarrassment/rejection/judgment/and handing her material off to whoever would take it.
And that takes BALLS – sorry Mom.
So, I spent this week doing what I should’ve done four years ago. Armed with nothing but my demo reel, headshot and resume, I approached the aggressively intimidating edifices in which many of the largest news networks in the world call “home,” and asked for someone – anyone– in human resources. Sure, I encountered a few cocked eyebrows and tilted heads, as is often the case when one creates a state of utter bewilderment in the mind of another, but surprisingly, I’ve managed to connect with the majority of the people that I’ve encountered thus far, appreciating the altruism that they’ve demonstrated in seeking to help and understand my situation. For example, an initially callous female security guard at NBC began our exchange by shooting a supercilious stare my way, but eventually had a change of heart and suggested that I “call upstairs,” ultimately facilitating the transportation of my tape to the appropriate contact in human resources. At Fox, I tracked down an employee outside of the building, (cigarette breaks, I’ve found, are an especially opportune time to ambush people and pour your heart out) who took a look at my material and vowed to put it into the hands of the right people. I recognize, of course, that this is an utterly absurd plan, but if I can walk into CBS, like a loon, asking, with an unmasked air of desperation, for employment, then you too, friend, can strut out of your cubicle and go.get.your.dreams.
I forgot to tell you, though, that my middle name is actually Carrie, and I happen to live/eat/breathe in those cobalt blue crystallized Manolos, so in any case, reality might still converge with fantastical delusion after all. One just never knows.