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How I Got Here

When you look at your life, you can pinpoint certain moments that led you to where you are today.

And, if you look close enough, you notice patterns in your life’s story and people and relationships that had a direct impact on you becoming you. Be it a teacher or colleague, friend or lover, there are certain people and certain things that happen in your life that steer you in a direction. Without that “thing,” you wouldn’t be where you are. Your life would not be your life but instead an alternate reality where you are someone else.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The funny thing about getting older is that you stop and go “How did I get here?” and you rewind back and back and back until you find the source, realizing, “Ahh: that is how I got here.”

As an exercise in self-examination, on the occasion of my birthday, I decided to sketch my life in a point-to-point way, to map how I got here by assessing specific instances that altered my path. These are moments like in a video game where a character offers you one path or another. Some you chose, some are chosen for you, but each of them have an impact. This is an exercise in acknowledging said people and places and things, to log my life’s story in the simplest way, to explain in so many words how I got here, to May 10, 2018.

• I am born into a Catholic, military family on May 10, 1986 to a white guy from Queens and a white appearing woman from Puerto Rico. We travel all over the country and world.
• My mother volunteers for theaters and makes a career out of stage managing.
• We move to Georgia when I am in middle school.
• My dad retires from the military in the state and transitions to civilian work in the government.
• My aunt is a musician. At this point, she successfully becomes a pop star. She has a few minor hits and one major smash. You could call her a one hit wonder. She moves to Los Angeles and buys a house.
• I go to high school in Georgia. One of my English teachers becomes my best friend. She teaches me the value of reading and writing and how I have a talent for it. I choose to be interested in visual arts instead.
• My parents buy my sister a dog, an English Setter named Dottie.
• In my senior year, I fall ill and am diagnosed with an extreme blood disorder. I have to stay in-state for college and, as a result, my visual arts dreams are dashed. I turn to film and theater.
• I go to a college in Atlanta. I study film. Bored, I take up rowing.
• A guy named Rod is on my crew. He, too, is bored. He eventually transfers to Georgetown University.

• I, too, get bored. I want to study theatre but my university cut the program. I need to transfer.
• On Rod’s prodding, I consider transferring to Georgetown. Somehow, I get in. I take out loans and I go to school there.
• Knowing I need a career in entertainment while I pursue acting, I apply for an internship at MTV. I get it.
• I have minor successes in Georgetown’s theatre program. I am cast in a play my senior year where I am to tango with a man named Van. We end up dating. I finally realize that I am gay.
• Upon graduating with a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies as well as English from Georgetown, I move to Los Angeles. I live with my aunt and uncle.
• I get a job as an assistant with a producer in development for a reality television production company via my boss at MTV’s peer.
• I grow lonely and decide to online date and proactively find friends from school who are local. I have a few relationships. I talk to one guy who is a graphic designer. I eventually land a steady boyfriend who is not the graphic designer.
• My father develops an allergy to Dottie. I agree to adopt her because it doesn’t seem fair to give the dog away, especially since she was a gift.
• I move out of my aunt’s house, finding an apartment in Thai Town that takes dogs. Dottie moves in.
• I dump the boyfriend I am dating. I get a new boyfriend as a result of him seeing a one man show I did at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. We date for a few months, he tells me he isn’t out and is uncomfortable taking our relationship to the next level, and I end the relationship.
• I go back on the dating website. The graphic designer is on there. His name is Bobby and he lives in Thai Town, two blocks from my apartment. We go on one date, bond over shared favorite Thai spots in Thai Town, have a night off, and then see each other every night since then. In addition to graphic designing, he is a blogger. His website is quite successful.
• Months later, Bobby and I get a drink at a bar. Someone breaks into my car and steals my computer and Blackberry. I take a day off from my assistant job – which I loathe at this point – to figure out what to do.
• Bobby and I get an apartment. I decide to quit my job to pursue acting.
• Bobby loses his job. I get a job via a friend of his Dana who does social media for an NBC show. I continue working on various MTV shows and eventually Style Network shows doing social media.
• I rekindle a friendship with a college friend named Brett. She’s dating a guy named Alec. We all become good friends despite their relationship eventually ending.
• Bobby pushes me to pursue writing. I write for his website. We eventually start a Los Angeles art website called Los Angeles, I’m Yours after being so bored by Los Angeles publications and with other cities, namely New York, badmouthing the city we love. We hire a few writers, including a woman named Cori who was a fan of Bobby’s website.

• I start writing a memoir about being gay but realize I have no following. I shelve the book upon completion.
• Los Angles, I’m Yours becomes successful. I am the lead writer and editor. I meet a lot of people, as a result. I stop acting.
• From the website writing, a friend of Bobby’s named Andi asks if I’d be interested in news writing and producing on a show a friend works on. I take the interview. I get the job.
• I start writing a novel. I’m excited about it but the task is quite difficult.
• The news job ends. I get a job, briefly, on a game show. It sucks. I quit to work for my old executive producer.
• I start a book club with Cori in the hopes of fostering an LA literary community of our own. Alec is one of the original members of the group.
• In the interim, I cancel the Los Angeles website to focus on writing for myself in an unlimited fashion, without the constraints of Los Angeles or being a single serving gratis news source. I launch my own website and contribute to other websites, writing about art, design, LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and – if I’m lucky – dogs.
• The show I work on with my old executive producer turns sour. I quit and get a job working on a talk show. It’s terrible and I want to get out of television, to work digitally, preferably in writing.
• I take classes at UCLA in writing. They’re decent but none are challenging enough despite professors praising my work. I consider applying to MFA programs.
• Alec invites his friend Lindsay to my book club. She is an editor at a website.
• I get a job writing and producing for a digital media outlet after connecting with a woman named Sarah. I continue writing my book, unsuccessfully, while writing for my own website, successfully. On a whim, I apply to MFA programs to make the book more successful.
• My job starts to dissolve and I opt to go freelance, contributing to the website while. I begin freelancing for Lindsay and Sarah too.
• I get into an MFA program. I decline the offer, concerned about money, but, after some discussions, I figure out how to make the program work. I accept and continue freelance writing.

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