Go Ahead, Blacklist Me.

For a while I was really afraid to post stories about working in TV because I was concerned that I’d “blacklist” myself if I pissed off the wrong person. While that might be true, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care anymore and some stories are meant to be told. This one isn’t even that bad, considering this woman made my life a living hell for about a year.

My first year working in Los Angeles as an “Executive Coordinator” entailed a lot more personal work than I expected. And very little Executive Coordinating. I was a glorified Personal Assistant at best- I didn’t make enough money to live on because my rate was laughably low (I believe it’s the current minimum wage, which is under scrutiny) and I was restricted to “40 hours per week” even though this still required me to promptly answer text messages, calls, and emails 24/7. And if you’re asking why I didn’t claim those hours, it’s because my boss extensively reviewed my work hours every week and occasionally argued me down if she thought the number was too high. Did the same thing for my gas mileage tracker, which I never lied on but was still accused of tracking my commute miles.

I genuinely believed this job would fast-track me on to becoming a television writer’s assistant. I was one of the many aspirational 21 year olds who believed the false promises made to them by unhappy people at the top who resent them for “being the future of the industry.” I trusted this person who claimed to see potential in me, I invested myself fully in this job even though it made me miserable and wasn’t remotely close to what I wanted to be doing with my life.

This silly story sticks out in my mind, just to give you an idea of how out of touch I was with reality. And maybe it will make you realize how out of touch with reality you are too. Because if you don’t see anything wrong with it, something is off.

My boss asked me to watch her two dogs on a Sunday in Beverly Hills while she went out and had fun with her friends. My ex-boyfriend and I decided we’d make a morning of it and go out for breakfast at Hugo’s in West Hollywood. Granted- I probably spent all of the money I earned in that day on my meal at Hugo’s… Not because Hugo’s is expensive but because that’s truly how little money I made. (Can I also note that I had no health insurance, PTO, government holidays, literally zero benefits other than the occasional free lunch that I had to pick up for myself and all others in the office in the heart of Beverly Hills where parking is basically a hazing ritual for the new folk?)

Anyway, at Hugo’s I ordered this intriguing frittata called the “Go Green Frittata” it was a massive GREEN egg bake with quinoa, kale, and other various green ruffagey shit. This was back when I was desperately trying to be skinny by eating nothing and prancing on ellipticals a few times per week. The thing was gargantuan and tasted mostly revolting but I ate it all. Would highly recommend that no one ever allow themselves to eat anything bright green for breakfast. You’re asking for a weird day. 

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(this is an actual image of the frittata at Hugo’s)

I was nursing a bit of a hangover because what else do you do when you’re 21, new to Los Angeles and your boyfriend is pretty much the only friend you have? You get hammered and lament your life choices. You also starve yourself slightly so that it takes less alcohol to get drunk and you can save money. On this particular morning I had the kind of hangover that came in waves of brief, sweaty, panicked, nausea. The kind I now can cure with my bff edible marijuana and an alarmingly long nap. 

We went back to take care of the dogs and watch a little NFL. Boyfriend had to be at work later that afternoon so I would drive him and then come back to the house. I felt my stomach get that cute little nauseousness so I spent the majority of the morning napping while he gave me emphatic highlights from the games we cared about.

When it came time to drive him to work, I was fully ill. At this time I was dealing with severe digestive problems and had no way of predicting how my body would react to unfamiliar foods. Almost every meal gave me trouble- but not this kind of trouble. Not Go Green Frittata trouble. I was sweating and could barely speak as we drove the 5 minutes to his office. He was concerned, because anyone who knows me knows that it’s an issue if I go 5 minutes without speaking. I pretended to be fine even though I could feel that unmistakable lump forming in the back of my throat, the one that firms up the esophagus in preparation for a boot and rally. 

Once I dropped him off, I genuinely worried I wouldn’t make it back to her house without barfing all over the interior of his new Ford Fusion. 

As I was rounding the corner onto my boss’s street, desperately gasping for air and blasting cold air conditioning breeze on my sweaty face, my cell phone rang and it was the boss.

I answered the line knowing I’d be in trouble (and she’d just keep calling) if I didn’t, and she immediately started barking demands at me. My stomach gave a violent churn as I hung up on her and made a drastic swerve to the side of the road in this bougie Beverly Hills neighborhood. I ran to the sidewalk, fell to my knees, and proceeded to vomit a massive green mound of quinoa, veggies, eggs and shreds of pancake. I’ve never thrown up so much in one sitting in my entire life. I can almost guarantee you a curious dog or a lucky raccoon made lunch out of it later that day.

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(Another gentle reminder of what the frittata looked like to begin with)

I stared into the vomit for a minute and realized that this was probably going to be very representative of my time in Los Angeles. Laugh at me if you want- but this was a profound moment. Here I was… Amidst million dollar homes in one of the world’s most famous neighborhoods, finally “pursuing my lifelong dream”, but actually just staring into a pile of my own bright green vomit. Hollywood, where (if you REALLY want it bad enough) your dreams come true… Right???

I got back in the car fully knowing my stomach was not emptied and the storm hadn’t cleared. But that didn’t matter- I had hung up on her.

“I’m so sorry- I had to pull over the car and throw up. What did you need?” I asked

“You actually threw up? Wow, good thing you weren’t driving my car.” She said, then quickly moved on as if I’d told her that I just sneezed on the steering wheel while driving. As if it wasn’t Sunday and I wasn’t spending my “free time” trapped in the apartment that had come to feel more like a prison than an “office.”

It was this moment where I realized that as much as MY life revolved around HER, I ceased to exist in her mind when I wasn’t doing something for her. I wasn’t a human to her. I was means to an end, something she could take advantage of with no remorse. There was no part of her that considered coming home early to relieve me of dog sitting so that I could go home and rest. There was no part of her that felt guilty that I spent the remainder of the day vomiting violently (and surprisingly painfully) into her various toilets while my boyfriend helplessly texted me from his office.

Tell me that this is what it takes to be successful in Los Angeles. Tell me that you have to “work in the trenches” before you can ever EARN the opportunity to do what you love. Tell me that I deserved to be emotionally abused and manipulated for a year, which amounted to approximately nothing other than teaching me never to trust what someone promises you. Tell me that I deserved to feel like I was never good enough and that I’d made the biggest mistake of my life by moving out here.

You can tell me any of that, I don’t agree with you. I don’t think I ever should have been treated that way and I don’t think ANYONE deserves to be treated that way. Yet this is just one tiny story in a catalogue of experiences I’ve had over the last four-plus years out here. And I’m just one person. There are hundreds of you out there still accepting this treatment because you believe some day you’ll get the chance to do what you love.

Consider if it’s really worth it. Consider the long term implications of this mentality. I wish I had stood up for myself sooner. I wish I had realized that no matter how shitty someone treated me that didn’t affect my personal worth. I’m still a writer, I’ll always be a writer, and no one can tell me otherwise. Please, if you’re going through anything similar, remind yourself that you’re worth more.

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(And for the love of all that is good in this world, please do yourself a favor and NEVER order this food item)

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Not a relevant image but it makes me giggle.

Being a Single Lady in Los Angeles

Sorry I had to take a break from this for a bit because I started a new job. Fun fact, I got this job even though my (at the time, future) boss pulled up this blog in the middle of my interview and started reading a few of my posts, including my fake cover letter. The world works in mysterious ways. 

I don’t feel like I need to reiterate the fact that I am single, but for anyone who just started reading, that’s the waaaaaaay the news goes. I’m off the apps, so I’m as close to “off the grid” as you can get in 2016. Dating culture is an unsightly beast in Los Angeles, one that would have to wear a bag over its head because it would make children cry due to the sheer magnitude of its physical deformities. Why? Let’s explore:

Single women are not a hot commodity

There are plenty of us. In fact, we come in droves. I’ve met so many women I would want to date if I were a straight guy that I’ve relegated myself to a third party category of women called “Trolls named Wanda.” If you are an eligible bachelor in Los Angeles your options are limitless. You can be picky because there are a lot of amazing, badass, beautiful women out here. I would like to say I am one of them, but if you see my feet you will agree with my aforementioned categorization.

Almost any guy you meet who you might be remotely attracted to will possess one of the below major flaws:

  • Has a girlfriend: This is the most common one, tbh. You meet a guy who seems cool and fun and down to clown then you stalk him on Facebook for two seconds only to discover he’s been FBO with some beautiful model, who doesn’t even know how beautiful she truly is, for like 5 years and is on the brink of getting married to her. Yeah, nothing turns me off more than someone who is unavailable. Unless you’re unavailable AND love Dave Matthews Band. Then you’re scum.
  • Socially inept: This applies frequently to men you meet on the dating apps. They hide behind their dating profile because in reality they have no idea how to treat a woman or function in daily adult life. I dated a guy who didn’t even know how to ride a bike. And when I told him I would teach him, he was a little bitch about it. He was kind of a little bitch about everything though, so no surprise there. LA is a city full of man children with strange relationships with their mother.
  • Actor/Model/Comedian: THIS is actually the most common one. I’ll meet a guy who I’m attracted to (a tall beautiful douchebag) and then find him on Facebook where his entire page is littered with links to his personal website, inaccurate headshots, and mediocre YouTube clips from all the student films he has credits in. (AKA his ‘reel.’) I think I would be ok dating an actor if he wasn’t terrible, but I have yet to meet an “actor” who isn’t terrible. Also my ears already hurt at the idea of me dating a comedian. No one would be able to stand being around us and I probably wouldn’t think he was funny.
  • Works in some financial field: Guys who work with money are kind of the worst (sorry Will.) Especially in LA because they have a huge complex about not being in the Entertainment Industry. They make 4 times your yearly salary in a matter of months and they still make you pay for drinks on the first date. Because they are doing YOU a favor by taking you out. One of my favorites said to me “Yeah I make good money but I also work really hard for it!” Bro what do you think I do to make the SHIT money I (used to) make? Sit on my own thumb for 10 hours per day? Just because you work hard and get paid to do it doesn’t mean other people don’t also work hard and get paid in ‘experience’ and executive’s spare turds… You hairy sack of shit.

You start to wonder if you should change something drastically about yourself.

Yesterday I spent a good 4 minutes contemplating whether or not I should dye my hair blond. Of course, the answer is unequivocally HELL NO…(My skin tone is totally wrong for it.) But I feel like if I were a true “tall blond” then I could trick some guy into listening to what I have to say.

Nah, that’s not how it works. The only way a guy will listen to what you have to say is if you pretend you don’t care if he hears.

You decide you’re not going to care about it anymore, then accidentally care about it for a few minutes each day.

As much as I enjoy falling asleep to my stupid cat sleeping under my covers digging his claws into my legs, I really resent the fact that I’ve become the cat lady stereotype that everyone expected I’d be. I decide to stop giving a fuck, but then I realize something trivial, like the fact that the only person who I can look forward to cooking protein pancakes for on Saturday morning is Mary. And my cousin Nick. Both of them are better cooks than me anyway so it’ll just be like back in the day when I’d whip out the Easy Bake Oven for my family over Christmas break and they’d pity-eat my shitty Devil’s Food Cake.

Pretty sure my mom JUST threw out my Easy Bake Oven last year. We kept it around for an uncomfortably long time as a joke, then a few Christmas’s back from college I would still cook with it. I think we finally realized the entire situation was a little sad so we trashed it. I might be wrong, we might still have it.

The fortunate result of it all: you decide to work on yourself.

After fighting the good fight for the last 6 months, I have finally thrown in the towel. I am legitimately going to work on bettering myself. So many times I have told myself I would do it, but this time I really mean it: I am going to read a lot of books. I am going to become that montage in the movie where some Girl Power anthem like “Fight Song” plays and the lead reads tons of books about being a woman, works out so hard that she barfs, throws her full Kirkland wine bottles in the trash can (what a waste, at least gift them), braids her best girlfriend’s hair, and somehow becomes infinitely sexier.

A good example of this:

Please excuse the subtitles, not sure what language they are in.

Before the 3 people who read this jump down my throat for all the sweeping generalizations and stereotypes I just threw at you- I’m mostly kidding. Obviously in this city of a million something people I can’t possibly speak for the entire population. I am speaking from a set of exaggerated anecdotes and personal testimony. Because if I wrote any differently it wouldn’t be entertaining, would it?

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(my mom’s favorite movie ever.)