I saved a plant yesterday.
I went to Pathmark near our new apartment during a particular grumpy morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been thrilled about our new town so far, especially the fulfilling job that doesn’t involve body-checking people on the Path train, fantastic friends nearby, and best of all- a porch to sit on. And yet, I hit a slump yesterday morning.
The Pathmark near us is not the place to go if you need to feel better about the state of the world. It’s A.) Disturbingly empty whenever I go, and B.) I wouldn’t surprised be if their produce section was made up of what the Whole Foods down the street decides to chuck. It’s also tucked inside a plaza surrounded by recently closed businesses. When I left, there was a man standing with two bird cages yelling, “I’ve got these finches!” ….??!
So if you’re feeling odd about your day, don’t go to Pathmark. Nonetheless it’s cheaper and closer, so we’re not complaining too much. In the back of the store sat a table of very sad plants. Drooping daffodils, rotting Easter flowers, and a few struggling roses. A sign stood in front reading, “$2.00! LAST CHANCE!” I desperately looked for something I could salvage. Lo and behold, there was a a pot of yellow mums calling my name. The leaves were completely slumped over and when you picked it up, half the petals fell onto the table. It was the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of Mums. Determined to turn my morning around, I put it in my basket and accepted that I looked like the weirdo who was buying a dead plant to my three fellow shoppers.
The cashier’s words are what truly did it. It’s funny when strangers say things that stick with you all day. Maybe it’s because they’re strangers, and kind words are coming from a place of complete selflessness. He didn’t need to say anything about my dead plant. But he did. As I was walking away, he yelled, “You bring that plant back to life, BRING IT BACK TO LIFE!!” Yes!! Yes, cashier man! I debated buying some finches from a screaming man, and headed home.
So as you can imagine, Ben was very confused when he found me on our back patio passionately watering a nearly-dead plant surrounded by grocery bags. Two hours later, with the help of a lot of water, a very sunny spot, and a lot of pruning, the leaves stood back up. It now looks like a real plant on its way to growing new flowers, not just a two dollar last chance mum.
I stayed outside on the porch for a good chunk of the morning and remembered that I came to this town feeling drained. Drained of energy, of creativity, and of belief in my art. I’ve had this blog for four years, and since then have moved farther and farther away from the city I tried so hard to work in. Throughout my time working in NYC, I worked as: a secretary, a teaching artist, a barista, an auction assistant, a development administrator, a background actor, a post-it note display decorator, a props designer, a gas station promotor, a casting assistant, a scientist welcomer (long story), an exchange student conference organizer, a gift basket stuffer, a babysitter, an accidental Mac help-desk specialist, an audiobook recorder, a conference planner, and a database specialist (I punched holes in documents for four weeks). As thankful as I am to have all these jobs and experiences, I am TIRED. Only two of these jobs on the list are related to acting. So after almost five and a half years working in the city and trying to find time time to audition, I have to change my approach before I hate theatre altogether.
So I am working at an incredibly positive school while taking classes in the city until I am ready to return to the audition scene as a useful human being. Because I wasn’t one. I was a jaded, angry New Yorker that wanted to punch every musical theatre 20-something that still looked full of hope. I felt everyone around me had more money, time, talent, and confidence than I did, which I know is bull, but I needed to get out to remember that.
I am very grateful for all these odd jobs. If I hadn’t worked them, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now, surrounded by adorable students and genuinely friendly coworkers. Every office around me has a candy and girl scout cookie secret stash, including mine. If I hadn’t marked this path out for myself, I wouldn’t have anywhere to go when I get burned out.
Coincidentally, I am reading a book called Brain Rules that describes the physical reaction your brain has to exercise and other stress-reducing activities. You are actually feeding your brain. Since I couldn’t go for a run without someone calling me “baby” in my old neighborhood, I am looking forward to my new running path and the less stressful town all around. I am looking forward to perking back up and waltzing into Ripley Grier someday soon without looking like a droopy plant.
So I am going to sit on my porch for a while with my glass of wine next to my revived flowers. And when I no longer look like a two dollar last chance mum, I will head back to the races. Until then, I hope to finish my book…or my play…or maybe just my bottle of wine to start. In the meantime, I have a porch with extra chairs, extra wine, and extra plants that need watering for you city-dwellers that also need some porch time. Don’t hesitate to come sit with us.
Happy Monday all, enjoy the sunshine:)