The amount of concern coming from people today is unbelievable. If I had this many “friends” in real life, I might not be feeling the way I do about my city.
I need to clarify this to everyone who has chosen to flip out at me via Facebook, Twitter, blog comment, phone, or text:
I’M NOT GIVING UP.
Just because I’m considering moving out of New York, does NOT mean I have any less plans about pursuing my dreams.
All it means is that New York might not be the right place for me.
Also, never did I ONCE say that this is something that is for SURE going to happen.
Everyone should calm down.
Let me explain, before I bite someone’s head off.
LET ME CLARIFY EACH OF THESE STATEMENTS BEFORE EVERYONE JUMPS DOWN MY THROAT. Also, I’m entitled to the way I feel. Just because YOU may not think these things true, does not mean that they are any less real or important to ME. Let me try telling you how to feel about something you are incredibly insecure about and let’s see how that conversation ends.
1. I might leave New York because I feel like my talent is wasted.
Now let me explain to you what this feels like.
Imagine you spend your time going to audition after audition, and having casting directors tell you that you are a wonderful singer, have a mature voice, and can clearly hear my range of vocal style. And then not getting a callback.
YES, I realize that there are MANY people who don’t get callbacks at auditions, and spend YEARS and YEARS going back to face only more rejection.
But my question is, why am I feeding into this bullshit where a “tastemaker” (ie casting director) sits there and tells me how wonderful and talented I am, but then chooses another direction? Aren’t there places where I can go and be appreciated for my talent?
Yes, I believe there are several different places I can go and be a singer. Perhaps New York is not picking up what Shan Babe is laying down.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a rock singer and not a theater singer. Perhaps it also has something to do with my body type. I’m not sure.
I also was lucky enough to get my SAG card this past year, but what those of you who don’t work in the industry may not realize, is that a SAG card does not guarantee that you’re going to be a rich and famous actress. Basically all it means is that I owe them a SHIT TON of money up front, pay dues twice a year, get to vote at the awards, and make more money per day than non union, but also sometimes receive less work since there are often limited union spaces on shoots. Also, being a background actor, although very cool at times, is not really a big deal. It just means that I am used to color the background of a scene, so it doesn’t look awkward when a lead is in a scene.
Again, New York is not the only place in the entire world where I can be creative. There are so many places that I’m sure would be happy to accept my talent.
I’m also not afraid of being the little fish in the big pond. I’ve done it for two years now. I have absolutely been validated that I HAVE the talent, but I would just like to use it, rather than beating a dead horse and continuing to audition for parts that are not right for me. There WILL come a day when someone gives me the big, “YES,” and it might not be here.
2. I might leave New York because I’m the “fat girl.”
If ONE more person in New York City has to make some fucking comment about what I eat, how much I weigh, or the shape of my body, I’m going to respectfully tell them to fuck off. ESPECIALLY the gay community. I listen to all my Queens complain about their bodies 27/7 and I have NEVER once made a negative comment to them about anything of the sort. But for some reason, gay men find it incredibly fulfilling to tell me just exactly how they feel about my body. And it isn’t always so in-your-face either.
I’m talking about the backhanded compliments. The, “Oh you look SO much better than you did 6 months ago,” comments. Or the, “I love grabbing your love handles,” comments. Or the, “You’re such a REAL/THICK girl,” comments.
You don’t want to sleep with me, so get the FUCK out of my head about my body.
Since I’ve moved to New York, I’ve accrued a severe case of body dysmorphia. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror half the time in the morning, because all I do is pick myself apart or immediately start telling myself how ugly and fat I am. I then turned to the gym, where I blew out my knee from obsessively exercising 7 days a week without breaks and cutting my calorie intake, so that I barely had enough food to sustain myself the day.
I’ve NEVER had a problem with this before I moved here. In fact, when I was at my skinniest in Boston, I had a boyfriend who I would constantly drink mass amounts of craft beer with and eat things like fried chicken and nachos and hot dogs. Sure, I was active and went to the gym, and I didn’t indulge ALL the time, but I think I was skinnier back then because I was just plain HAPPIER.
3. I might leave New York because I’ve become a prop rather than a friend.
I’m tired of being invited out by friends, and then ditched when it’s time for them to hook up with their significant other. When I signed up to be your friend and go out with you on a Friday night, I did NOT sign up to become your prop until you find a hot girl/guy to sleep with that night.
I did not sign up for a half-of-a-night friend date.
4. I might leave New York because no one wants to make art, everyone just wants to get paid.
I haven’t had a band in two years since I left Boston. Every single player I’ve encountered who wants to play because they believe in me, is too busy with their lives, which I can’t fault them.
However, then there are the players who clearly have no idea how the music industry ACTUALLY works, especially when it comes to unknown bands and original music. I was told that in order to keep my band happy, I need to pay each player $50 per rehearsal, and $50 to $100.
So this means, in a band that is bare bones (ie singer, drummer, bass, guitar), I’m paying $150 for rehearsal (in addition to the cost of a rehearsal space which is usually $50 for 2 hours), then shelling out another $300 at a gig that will most likely only pay me a percentage of tickets after the break-even point, which then is most likely split between a few bands. (There are many kinds of deals, but I don’t have time to give you a lesson in the music industry at the moment.
So let me ask you this, where the FUCK am I getting $500 every time I want to gig? Also, PLEASE remember, that I’m not getting paid for these gigs either. I don’t get paid to write the songs, the charts, the arrangements, book the show, rehearse, or sing. So the fact that someone wants to come to me, TELL me they want to play with me and believe in me… but for a price, is just about the most insulting thing you could ever do to me.
I’ve ALWAYS been up front about the fact that I will split my earnings with my band evenly. I’m not trying to play the diva.
If you want to make that kind of money for a gig, you better join a touring act, a cover band with a residency, or a wedding band.
Don’t fucking insult me and my talent. That is INFURIATING.
5. I might leave New York because I’M BROKE.
Rent sucks. Food prices suck. Utility bills suck. Transportation – ehhhh, it’s okay considering we don’t have to pay for gas or car insurance. Beer/wine/liquor prices suck.
The job market is still very lean. No one is hiring. Even the shit jobs can’t pay more than $10 an hour, which is insulting considering what the average New Yorker pays in rent every month. Most of my friends have multiple jobs, and STILL have trouble paying the rent.
6. I might leave New York because I simply CANNOT go on another first date in this city.
I actually shouldn’t even call them dates. They are more like, “wanna meet up for casual drinks where I’m going to tell you that I don’t want anything serious and if you try to contact me after this ‘date’ or whatever it is I’m going to label you as a ‘crazy’ girl because I told you I didn’t want anything serious and you read too far into it,” thing.
Misogyny is alive and well in this city (as it is everywhere) but throw in the egomaniac nature of the finance, layer, even the actor/musician guys and it’s amplified times A THOUSAND.
I don’t even know the last time I was even treated like a proper lady.
7. I might leave New York because there is a great big world out there, and I’m only 26.
New York is not going anywhere, and I’m not getting any younger. Shouldn’t my happiness trump living in a city that is currently making me unhappy?
So there you have it. There’s my short list of BIG reasons influencing my POSSIBLE decision to move.
Now, you may be asking, “Where will you go, if not New York?”
Well, my short answer is this, “Anywhere I fucking want to go.”
But honestly, my first move would probably be home. I might need some time to regroup and get my life together before I make another big move. Since I’ve been 18 I’ve moved to Cincinnati, Boston and now, New York, so making yet another gigantic move is a big deal.
Somewhere I’ve been considering very seriously is Austin, Texas.
Some of you might be wondering why my answer wasn’t LA.
Well, to be quite honest with you, I feel like I might have similar, if not the EXACT same issues in LA.
But something about Austin, Texas appeals to me.
1. First of all, it’s cheaper. I could make my dollars stretch significantly further in Austin than in New York.
2. I would have to drive, but Austin is also a very bike-friendly city and I would most likely live someplace where I would be close my job and my industry.
3. I would be close to my family. My brother and his wife are in Houston, which is only a few hours away. It would be nice to be around the corner from them.
4. The weather.
5. I could bring Blue (my dog)
6. Just based off the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist, I would be better off moving to Austin and finding a band, than sitting around here for another six months to have more musicians flake out on me.
7. There is live music (ESPECIALLY rock music) EVERYWHERE. EVERY. NIGHT. I’m not hating on the theater, because LORD knows I love the theater, but I wouldn’t have to worry about being talented, but not the right “fit” in Austin. Austin is a rock and roll city. The place THRIVES on it.
9. There is a large Berklee community in Austin. Even though I’m not currently close with any Berklee alumni in Austin, I know that connection is there. It’s like when I go somewhere and find out they were in my sorority; I don’t know then personally, but there is always a connection.
10. New York will ALWAYS be there. Period.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop sending me text messages asking me why I’m leaving. I’ve already made is CRYSTAL CLEAR that this is only something I’m thinking about and not allowing myself to make decisions about until I’ve weighed all my options. Who knows, in two days I could write another post saying that I was just being dramatic and that I’m back in love with the city and want to live here for ten more years.
I don’t, so STOP badgering me and just please respect that this is something I’m trying to work out.
I’m NOT giving up
I’m NOT doing this for attention.
I’m NOT moving right this second at this very hour.
I also would appreciate if everyone would stop telling me that my feelings are wrong or incorrect. How a person feels is never incorrect. You may see something one way and I may see it another. Unless we’re talking about laws of science (which we’re not) I’m pretty sure that I’m allowed to feel the way I want to about subjects pertaining to my life.
Glad I got this off my chest.
Shan Babe who is NOT giving up, just considering her own happiness as a priority.