Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Oscar Goes To Me! (Well Maybe One Day)

Going to sleep on Oscar night is like going to sleep on Christmas: you're happy because the event was wonderful, but you're sad because it means all the fun is over for another year. Oh, the Oscars. The illustrious Academy Awards. I have dreamt of walking down that gorgeous red carpet since before I even understood what the Oscars truly meant. All I knew was that the pretty people from TV got together for one big party on one night a year, and they'd wear the most beautiful dresses known to man. And when you're a five-year-old girl, parties and beautiful dresses are kind of a BIG DEAL.
Being at college these past couple of years during the Oscars has been great, but it just isn't the same as being at home and watching them with my mom. Yes, the mom I bicker with constantly, that one. Yet while we argue on so many things, the importance of the Academy Awards has never been one of them. I know it's because she loves the allure of it all just as much as I do. As a kid growing up, I truly and wholeheartedly believed for about thirteen years of my life that I was going to grow up and become a famous actress, that one day my mom would be sitting in our same living room, eating dinner and watching me win an award on the big screen (because apparently I wasn't nice enough to invite her to the Oscars with me in this fantasy).
I think, even now, a part of me wants that dream more than anything. I've always been in love with the bright lights and the rolling cameras and the fancy dresses and cocktail parties. I've wanted that beautiful, surreal Hollywood lifestyle longer than I've wanted any other thing out of life; it sounds so shallow to admit, the fact that fame and beauty have long been my #1 goals, but I think it's the most honest desire someone can have. Who doesn't want their five seconds in the limelight? I'll gladly take ten.
Anyway, watching the Awards at college is different than being at home. At home, I've never been distracted by a Twitter feed; I've never had to "unfollow" Perez Hilton because he takes up too much room with his million-and-one opinions. At home, watching the Awards with my mom was a ceremony. We would comment on dresses; we would make predictions for everything. We would gossip like little old women for that one night a year, a night when the idea of bickering with each other seemed completely foreign. I miss sitting in my dad's big blue chair, picturing myself on the carpet years into the future, imagining who I'd be wearing that night and what my speech would say if I won.
More specifically, I miss being young and immature. I miss being a dreamy little girl who could drift off to Hollywood in her mind, a place where it didn't cost anything to live and becoming famous was as simple as a wink and a smile. Oh, how I wish that were really true. In two years when I plan to fly to L.A. and stay for good, I'd love to think that a simple wink and a smile could pay my rent. But the city of angels isn't begging me to hurry up and head west, no writers or directors are dying to pay me millions of dollars to be in their movies, and those beautiful bright lights certainly aren't shining for me.
Yet at the same time, I'm not ready to give up the dream just yet. True, I'll probably never get my five seconds of fame, but I know I'll be just as satisfied standing behind the velvet rope. It's like the American dream on steroids, wanting to be famous; while few will obtain it, it's a dream millions of us have, and one that we admire too much to let go. Nights like this remind us girls (me, my mom, and all you women out there) that even though we're not the princess at the ball tonight, there are princesses out there, and they are having their moment in the spotlight. And that means we've still got a shot at it, too.

Monday, February 18, 2013

What I Miss

Found this untitled word document on my computer which I must have typed a while ago. I vaguely remember writing it, but can't remember when or where I did, or what drove me to get all mushy. Anyway, reading it brings back a flood of beautiful, colorful, and personal memories, which was clearly the intention at the time. And as the "naked girl scout" that I claim to be, I will hide none of it from you. Behold, a peep into my past, unedited and a little sappy...

"I miss the eighth grade. I miss Christmastime. I miss looking too young, feeling too young.

not knowing what kisses taste like on the  lips.

eating way too much pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.

lying next to my best guy friend on the grass on Halloween, knowing neither one of us were cool enough to be anywhere else besides with our families, and not caring.

stealing people's crayons.

John's curly Q's.

themed birthday parties; gluing fluffy stuff to flip flops from Michael's.

I miss being young and blissfully unaware of how I looked. If my hair looked like it had been washed sometime in the past week and there were no food particles stuck in my braces after lunch, that was a good day. I miss not having MySpace, Facebook, or a cell phone. I miss making movies with my neighbor, Anna. If I've ever truly had a "best friend", it was her. Anna has been there for me since I was about five years old. I've grown up with her. I know her family as well as I know my own, and although she's two and a half years younger than me, she always got me. She was always the friend I needed. I hate that we've grown up and forgotten the kids who sang along to S Club 7, who made peanut butter & gummy bear sandwiches for their little brothers, who played in the snow until they were so frozen and numb that they could do nothing but blink and breathe.

I miss seeing The Polar Express for the first time. That will always be the best Christmas movie I have ever seen. It makes me so warm. It makes my heart want to cry. I know you've felt that feeling--that hurtful clutch on your heart that makes it hard to breathe. You get it when you watch someone you love board an airplane, or when you see the first snowflakes of winter beginning to fall.

I miss snow days, those precious early Christmas gifts God leaves for mid-western children. I miss seeing how happy my family could be on Christmas mornings. I think the most magical times in all of life are the minutes before you fall asleep on Christmas Eve as children, and the very seconds before you wake up the next day. Those are the most magical hours anyone could ever get--when you're a child, when you know Santa is coming the moment those sleepy little eyes drift shut, when everything seems like peace. When you're too young to understand the heartache of others all over the world--when you would never believe that there are children out there, younger than you, who already know Santa Claus isn't real and he's never coming to brighten their Christmases--those moments, for a child who hasn't even begun to see through her dreams, are bliss. Because ignorance is bliss. There are people who have been cheated on or had some horrible disease that could have been treated if only detected sooner who would beg to differ with that statement, but I'm holding to it. Because I've experienced it, and it's true. I thought Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid was one of the happiest Christmas songs ever created. When they sing "feed the world", I thought they were just praising God. Every time I heard it, I'd bob my head and want to throw my arms in the air and party with all the African children, who it sounded like were having an awesome party over there.

I miss thinking that pre-drugged Macaluay Culkin, the one who kicked the snot out of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, was the coolest kid around, and that things like forgetting your child at home on Christmas could really happen."

And that's all there is. It stops, just like that. Like I had this little epiphany of how beautiful it is to be a child, and then I remembered I had homework or something more productive that needed finishing. But this is good, too, being able to just drift off from time to time and slip into the past when we need a little respite from our busy adult lives. It's nice to remember those innocent Christmas nights, and summers when the only decisions we had to make were what movies to watch during a sleepover. It may be tacky, but I'm glad I found this. It's always good to remember yourself, and I hope this inspires you all to do the same.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


                Sitting in a dark car riding back to B-town on a Sunday night, I freak myself out thinking about all I have to do over the next four days and decide that sleep is very negotiable for this Tuesday. Rest is not a priority; rarely is it even a word in my vocabulary. Four chapters of law to read, a magazine article to write (meaning three more phone interviews, taking into account the time difference between Berkeley and Atlanta and Bloomington), an application to fill out (eventually), and that’s not even considering my hours spent behind a deli counter and the 19 credit hours to which I must dedicate even more time. Oh, and then there’s worrying about my future. God bless, my future.
                That word gets scarier and scarier every day. Even now when I go to bed, I kick myself thinking, one more day wasted. One more day when your time wasn’t fully spent trying to get an internship or taking on some new task that will further your future. China looks good, but what about Africa? You gave that up this summer, you screwed yourself over, you’re going to fail because this business requires credentials. And you do not have credentials.
                Why is it that all the work I did in grade school has absolutely no effect on my life now? Being the top cookie seller in my Girl Scout troop for like, what, eight years in a row, doesn’t make my resume more attractive to potential employers? The fact that I participated in choir, youth group, piano lessons, and practically every sports team available for most of my childhood just doesn’t matter? On top of that, I had near perfect attendance from sixth grade until the time I graduated high school. I was a Tiger Ambassador, Link Crew leader, Teens for Life secretary, Thespian society member, PowderPuff football player, and member of the Yearbook and Newspaper staff in high school (plus continued my involvement in choir, youth group and piano).
                I look back on high school and grade school and realize how much of an overachiever I was. No, really, pre-college Jeanine was a very impressive person. And I see that now. Back then, I didn’t get perfect grades. I got A’s and B’s, of course, but I wasn’t valedictorian and I didn’t win any scholarships for my grades. There were too many other more impressive individuals in my class. And that’s how I used to judge myself: Damn, Jeanine, why can’t you be like so-and-so? Why can’t you try to get straight A’s, just this one semester? Oh, and no detentions would be awesome, too (that’s another story, though).
                But now in college, where last semester I did meet my straight-A goal, I feel like it doesn’t even matter. It’s all the extracurriculars that get you noticed; the clubs you’ve been in, the titles you’ve held, the elbows you’ve rubbed, the coffee you’ve carried and dubbed an “internship.” I hate it. I seriously loathe this process of watering down what I consider an incredibly full life and making it sound like a waste because it doesn’t involve a summer spent in New York, writing for a fashion mag and getting little bags of lip gloss every week. And don’t get me wrong; I love a good lip gloss and that summer sounds like the bomb-diggity, but I just haven’t had it yet. And it’s the scariest thing ever.
              Being a journalist, I feel my breath sometimes catch when I think about all I haven’t accomplished. And I’m not even TWENTY YEARS OLD!!! This should NOT be happening yet! It’s ridiculous and so unhealthy. And just because other jobs may have a better job market, I know I’m not the only collegiate kid who feels like the time is slipping by for me to make my move, get my internship, and be all achieve-y. For all you people freaking out like me, heed this word of advice from a guy I know and love: It will never go away, the feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything yet. You will always compare yourself to other people, even if you’re crazy impressive and have won a ton of scholarships, had an awesome internship the summer after your freshman year, and written your own screenplay by age 20. I don’t care if you spent your summer working for the President; chances are, you’re now going to feel inadequate because you’re not sitting in the Oval Office.
 The truth is, I can rant about this all day long, but tonight I will still be running around, rushing to do as much as I can before crashing. Come Tuesday night, I will most likely still attempt an all-nighter. This is college, and there’s a dog-eat-dog world waiting for us once we leave behind all the parties and free booze (free if you’re a girl). So yeah, I may fear resumes and applications and the word “internship”, but when it comes down to it, I’ll drive to Starbucks every day in a heartbeat if you’ll just let me sit in your office for eight weeks next summer.

That being said, I would love to work for you.

Hire me?