Full disclosure. I am drunk-blogging at my local watering-hole, as I am pushed to the brink with Eternal Summer, always on the quest of finding air-conditioned establishments to seek refuge in (this is SURVIVAL, here, people, REAL SURVIVAL). At this current … Continue reading
Hello friends back Stateside and elsewhere, As promised, here is an extended account of my amazing Land of Oz Roadtrip in photographic form!
When I left the the US on June 2nd, I originally had a return ticket booked (for soon-ish). But this week I thought, fuck it, I want to stay longer! Instead of the original plan, I am now going to embark on an … Continue reading
Friends, as you may have noticed, I have gone a bit off the grid and am currently living in a strange and glorious land. A land where bars are often referred to as hotels, where coffee is taken white, and I am … Continue reading
After living out of a suitcase since the beginning of 2015, Vagabond Britt (or “VagaBritt”, as I am now known) is on the move yet again.
and, about 24 hours after my return to LA, will hop on a plane to spend the NEXT 5 WEEKS IN SYDNEY AUSTRAILIA to do some pretty cool shit.
….and spirit quest. And eat Australian bacon. And work a lot. And probably be drunk constantly. And play Aussie Bingo (pet a koala, ride a kangaroo, steal a dingo, get high off of eucalyptus, etc.) (okay I just made that game up) (okay shut up) (okay I will try not to get arrested).* I cannot tell you how intensely I went back and forth on the decision to go DOWN UNDAH (well, at least for the first couple hours). But then, I quickly realized, there are basically NO cons to going on this adventure.
So… I stopped thinking so hard about it.
I’ll see you guys out there.
And, lastly, let me just leave you with this:
You’re welcome and g’day.
*P.S. You have no idea how many “Kangroo Jacking Off” ** GIFS I had to go through to find a more “family friendly” Kangroo GIF.
Because 2EA is FAMILY FRIENDLY.
**Also don’t google that.
THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
WITH HER MASTERS OF FINE ARTS DEGREE
As if that wasn’t enough to impress you, Dani was also chosen to be the class speaker,
in which she delivered a soul-igniting speech to a packed Bing Theatre,
And even though the wizard hood took a couple of tries, and required a of couple gentleman (of the finest quality), Dani remained regal, majestic, and wizardly. And although the choice of celebratory alcohol thrust D into making a gut-wrenchinly difficult decision under a lot of pressure, she made an informed life choice and STUCK WITH IT (like a ADULT).
And even when some random street urchin crashed Dani’s nice graduation family brunch,
She did not turn the urchin away, NAY, she took said street urchin out of the harsh, harsh LA cold and to a very fancy commencement celebration in which Street Urchin forgot to wear nice clothes. And Dani and her sweet Gentleman loved Vagabond Street Youth anyway.
Ah, yes, The Big Three:
1.) Staying regal, majestic and wizardly in times of struggle.
2.) Making an informed adult decision and following through with that decision.
3.) Taking in street urchins out of the cold and not shaming them for their choice of beany and Grand Prix checkered outfit (The “You made it to the finish line!” grad theme did not quite work in hindsight…).
THIS is what a beautiful, talented, well – equipped, successful artist, human, and scholar looks like. And I am so, so proud. I remember the day Dani told me she was going to start applying to MFA programs and I remember the night in our Logus Apartment in Portland, OR when Dani made the decision to say yes to USC. This decision changed the course of both of our lives forever.
Dani, you are the reason I am physically in LA. You gave me the courage to to do this: to move here and to call this crazy place home. I learn from you everyday, am inspired by you everyday, and am constantly anchored by your strength and friendship. I am so, so proud of you. My dear North Star, you have helped me make incredible life discoveries by trusting your gut and believing in mine. I am so honored to call you my best friend. I cannot wait to (continue to) see what badass shit you create in this world.
And now, I will leave with a final little nugget of crazy, a “slice of life”, if you will:
“An MFA Prepares (at 3am the night / morning of her party hardy grad party):
That’s muh girl.
Congratulations, my Dani. I love you sweet sister. All my love,
People are all,
“Heeeey Britt, it’s so cool that you’re a Big Time LA actor these days. Your life must be soooo exciting and glamorous. Show us a little bit of that Red Carpet Slice O’ Life!” **
To which I say:
(I’ve seen the edge of my Soul and it is Dark.)
**actually, I’m pretty sure no one has ever said this, ever.
**But, I am wrong, and you have in fact said this, or want to say this, please approach me. You are good for my ego and I love you.
…Well, I suppose that TECHNICALLY this is my 29th trip around the sun, but Earth Culture assures me that I am 28 years of age. My Saturn is returning. And all that stuff. Planetary. Thank you, Neil.
And now, today, on this, the 4th Day of the Month of May (it rhymes!), about 7 weeks after my actual, special Friday-the-13th birthday (whoops), and about 970 weeks since my last post (sorry), here are a few things to catch you up on in the incredibly not-boring goings-on of my life:
1.) I’ve got Homes in Different Zip Codes.
Read as: “Vagabond”.
I currently reside in Park La Brea, Altadena and Echo Park (I promise you I am not joking), with pit-stops in places like Culver City, Silverlake, and Hancock Park in between. What can I say? My sterling house-sitting reputation precedes me. As a wandering artist subletting her room, I am not complaining.
2.) Continuing on with the vagabond theme: I’ve been on more airplanes this year than ever. (And I hate flying.)
… I think I’m getting better at the whole flying thing, though. I’ve got a supplement-popping, face-covering, booze-in-flight drinking system that works for me, so don’t worry about it.
‘Cuase let’s be real. I’m not flirting with that bitch mono again.
I just got back from Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, where Birds of Neptune won the award for Best Dramatic Feature!! Holy CRAP! And if that wasn’t an honor enough, the film was also selected to screen again on the final night of the festival for the “Best of Fest” celebration. …An encore screening? Yes, please!! Thank you, Tucson! 😀
Up next on the festival trail? Mammoth Lakes Film Fest at the end of the May. Hopefully you’ll be seeing me all over the globe promoting this film. This is just the beginning! 😀
WOOOOAAAA! I am on cloud 9 from this, truly. Tucson was such a special, surreal, magical place, and this recognition is such an incredible honor.
5.) I still self-employed and loving it.
6.) Dani and I went aboard The Queen Mary to witness the marriage of our dear college friend Hillary:
…Which made me think that perhaps I should live on a boat at some point in my life. Because, COME ON.
So, basically — Two Evil Actors, the Content Creators, are stampeding your way SOON, betch!! Mark my words! FEAR US!
8.) I am writing a lot of music these days. I hope to record my stuff later this year, so I will keep you posted on that. All of this material is all super personal to me so it is SCAAAAARY. Which obviously means that I have to do it. 9.) Speaking of recording music, I had the opportunity to record music with my very talented brother for the first time in March.I was lucky enough to be in Seattle for an audition when my brother Nate and my cousin Cameron were recording the first EP for Nate’s music duo, NW Passage. (Think of Nate Harris as the Ryan Lewis to NW Passage’s Macklemore. He is a genius.) They asked me to record vocals on some of the tracks. It was SO fun.
Look! Cute photos of me and bro in the studio!
10.) STILL speaking of recording music– I have finished recording basic vocals for the first No Vanquished album! It won’t be long now ’til we release and UNLEASH this music into the world!
And I am in a constant state of reconciling this emotional and geographical dissonance.
12.) I took a few covert Portland visits this year to feed my heart.
Short and sweet and sad, it hurts me a bit to come back to Portland now. It confuses me and makes me wonder where I am supposed to be. I don’t think it will always be that way, but…. what is it they say in that one song?
Yeah, something like that.
Anyway. My heart is in Portland. Y’all knew that.
13.) Surprise, Mom! I got a new tattoo. I was born ass-first on Friday the 13th (it ALL makes sense now, right?!) and my birthday happened to fall on Friday the 13th this year. So, naturally, I needed to get a Friday the 13th tattoo.
I must note that Dani and our good friend and housemate Raisa got Friday the 13th tatts that day as well. Because we are part of a gang.
14.) I am officially the USC MFA program’s biggest stage-mom. I could not be more proud of my Dani, who recently completed her THREE SHOW REP (AND NY & LA Showcase!), each of which, I saw two times. Trust me, I would have seen these shows every night they were running if I could clone myself. This girl inspires me everyday. True to her nature and talent, Dani killed it in each show with every character she lived in, but her portrayal of Nina in The Seagull especially took my breath away.
Nina is SUCH a difficult role to nail, you guys, and it takes a REALLY gifted, insightful, brave, and effective actor to be able to play the arc of this role. It was one of the most incredible performances onstage I have ever seen and I wish I could show each and every one of you her incredible work. I feel stupid even talking about it because I can’t quite find the words to quite articulate how much I look up to my best friend and how proud of her I am.
So, I’ll just dumb-it down by saying: “YOU ARE AMAZING, DANI!!”
15.) As if the film fests I am already going to haven’t been enough, I decided to party-crash a good chunk of the Newport Beach Film Festival with my new Aussie friends that I met at the Arizona International Film Fest.
I drank a lot and ate a lot and consumed 7 s’mores at one event and had a very nice time, thank you.
Also, I felt fancy.
16.) I am really itching to travel. I hope that the stars align to grant me an international trip (or five) this year. I think the odds may be in my favor.
(Come on, come oonnnnn Birds of Neptune International Premiere..!!)
17.) I’ve decided that I really want a pet but am truly TOO VAGABONDY and poor to be a good dog or cat mom (see #1 & #2 above).
18.) SO I’ve made many new dog friends around town. (Also my ulterior motive for all of the house-sitting I do.)
21.) Okay… uhh.. god… thinking of 28 things is actually pretty hard… let’s see, um.. ….I’ve been eating a LOT of pizza lately? Like, a lot?
25.) Okay, let’s get real here for a second. Because 2EA believes in that shit.
After all, we are real humans with real feelings.
So… sigh. Okay.
Though the external evidence of this post may suggest otherwise, I have a pretty sad heart right now. For the first time in, well, ever, I am unclear of what is next. My internal compass, which is usually pretty strong, is not so strong right now. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean or what I am supposed to do. I feel sad and scared and slightly stupid. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain and weird to talk about. Depression has been a thing. Top Tier / Grade A / Boss-Level Heartbreak has been a thing. Crippling anxiety spiral has been a thing.
And yet, here I am. Still bravely loving, still going hard at my dream, still refusing the conventional day job…
I am doing my best. I know that one day I’ll crack the happy code. One day I won’t feel so misplaced and scattered and alone-on-an-island-y.
Luckily, I have learned more about myself and what I truly want out of life during these weird heart times. I’ve had to make some really hard decisions, decisions that more often than not have left me with the exact opposite outcome of what I thought I wanted, and through this, I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust my instincts and the order of the Universe. I am learning to breathe into my decisions and into my follow-through. To tell those I love that I love them. To not expect anything back. To be vulnerable. To be a voice of reason. To be a hard-ass. To be a softy. To be what I need for myself in this moment. To acknowledge that no one and nothing is forever, yet allow myself to take comfort in the feeling that some people and some things never truly leave.
Perhaps knowing what I want has somehow made the path I travel seem more indirect or treacherous. Maybe I’ve finally realized the true challenge of committing myself 100% to living the life I want. This is not a life of allowing cop-outs and stifling my feelings and feeling obligated and beating myself up. I realize now that there is nothing more challenging (and more important) than taking care of myself and taking care of my sweet dear heart in the same way that I wish to take care of those I love. It’s no easy thing.
And let’s be real, being a human is just fucking hard.
26.) I’ve also had the feeling that this year may be the kick-off to some very important self-discovery:
I’ve discovered that I feel the most myself when I am on the move. In transit. Exploring. Adventuring. Wandering (I’m sure you’ve picked up that vibe in this post so far). This is also when I feel the most lonely.
There is still so much to discover within myself and sometimes (most of the time) that internal terrain is so rocky. I cry every time I am in an airport. Every. TIME. It’s an odd feeling: always leaving the ones I love, always coming back, this weird ping-pong sensation — but there is truly no feeling that compares to the huge hug feeling from a loved one upon arrival or departure — that pure happycryjoy or happycrylonging –that is the shit that makes me feel alive.
Sweet sweet incredible Dani threw me a surprise party the night of my birthday in March and I seriously had no idea. I felt so loved.
28.) Let me say it again: I have the very best friends in the world. We build slip-n-slides in our backyard out of trash bags, tarp, and baby oil.
In closing, so far, 28 is looking like this: A little bit scary. A lotta bit fun. I may accidentally sprain an ankle trying to get a running start down that Big Slippery Blue Tarp of Life, or belly flop in a way that fucking HURTS and knocks the wind out of me, and I may cry about it for a while, or curl up in the fetal position for a sec, but I will always get up.
And, let’s just call it like we see it, folks: Really. I don’t even take that shit off for slip-n-slides.
Thank you for reading, friends. And for your love and support in my life. You keep me going. ❤
I would like to a moment to tell you about this incredible woman:
This is my Grandma Helen Estelle Stone Smith Baespflug. She passed away on October 27th, 2014 at the incredible age of 98. My Grandma was my hero and I love her very much.
In an effort to get the whole family together (Grandma Helen had 7 children, if that gives you any idea of the amount of people we’re talking about here), the memorial was scheduled months after her passing on what would have been her 99th birthday.
I am now on Day 18 of mono (and think I can safely say I am almost in the clear! Finally!) and luckily made my goal of getting on an airplane last Friday to attend the memorial over the weekend in Tacoma, WA, with the added bonus of having my dear parents nurse me back to health. As much as I wouldn’t let the worry enter my head (I can really only take things one moment at a time since this virus has been plaguing me for what seems like years), I knew that I ran the risk of the stress of air-travel pushing me back a few spaces.
I guess it did.
To my utter heartbreak, I was unable to attend Grandma’s funeral the day after I arrived in Tacoma. I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain in my throat and ears. I couldn’t swallow without gagging and experiencing searing pain in my tonsils. It was clear that I needed to seek medical attention ASAP and spent the rest of the day doing so with my dad. It turns out that I had a bacterial infection on top of my mono (gotta collect ’em all!), which obviously sucks, but the good news is that antibiotics WORK. So I’m on the mend. But I didn’t get to celebrate Grandma’s life with my family members that traveled from near and far to be together. I wasn’t able to be there for my mom in the way I wanted and needed to be. This was really hard for me and I am very sad about that.
So. I’ve been spending the day journaling, remembering, talking with my mom, going through pictures… trying to make the most of this time. It feels nice.
Here are some beautiful photos I (re)discovered at my parents’ house:
I wanted to take this time, during my own time of reflection, to share with you, my friends, my thoughts and memories of Helen. Cause she was so, SO awesome. And you would all love her.
Here are things you need to know about my Grandma:
1.) She LOVED to dance.
My mom told me that she and my Grandpa would go out dancing every week until Grandpa passed. They were incredible.
I also remember Grandma dipping my cousin Michael on the dance floor on his own wedding day (she must have been 93 or 94 at the time) because she wanted to see the young whipper-snappers “dance correctly”. So she strutted up to the dance floor, literally took the lead, forcefully spun Michael around and dipped him. She bowed, turned around on a dime and strutted back to the seated area as the next lady came up to dance with Michael. Classic Helen. You minx!
2.) She LOVED my Grandpa Martin.
My Grandpa was one of the sweetest, gentlest men in existence. I love hearing my mom talk about him. He raised 6 girls (and 1 boy), so I’m pretty sure that automatically makes you a saint. He fought in World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart. He passed away my freshman year of high school.
3.) And of course, Helen LOVED her kids. All 7 of them.
4.) She was sarcastic and witty as hell.
This is one of my favorite Helen stories.
After I broke off an engagement post-college (that’s another long story we’ll get into at a later date, okay kids?), my Grandma had some pretty snarky (read as: “spot-on”) things to say to me:
Helen: “Brittney. What is your favorite thing to drink these days?”
Britt: “I don’t know… Coffee. Purple Gatorade? Tea, I guess.”
Helen: “Are you sure it’s not booze?”
Helen: *Hysterical laughter*
Britt: “…okay, yeah.”
Not much longer after that, mid-conversation on (hopefully) a different matter, Grandma stops mid-sentence with a gasp to admire the many rings I was wearing. She quickly scanned my left ring-finger, noted that it was bare and unadorned, then slyly looked up at me.
Helen: “…So. That’s the scary one, huh?” (She says, totally dead-pan. This kind of delivery was her specialty.)
Helen: “You wanna stay away from that one, don’t you.”
Britt: (awkardly) “Oohhh yeah.”
Then, I’m pretty sure, we got up to get wine after that.
Helen: 2, Britt: 0
Well played, Grandma, well played.
5.) She loved putting you in your place. In the most hilarious, loving way possible.
I remember I came over to Grandma’s house with a friend in middle-school, early high-school, maybe, and she had strong opinions about us not entering the house until she was done tidying up. I insisted that “it’s FINE, Gramma, we really don’t care”, and barged my way through the front door. The 90-pound, 80-something-year-old woman forcefully, physically, pushed us back out the front door until she was ready for us to come back in. Which was literally like… 60 seconds later (during which time she opened the door as if for the first time seeing us that day, greeting us with a sweet Granny smile).
6.) Grandma Helen was an exceptional artist.
I think these images speak for themselves. Here are some of my faves:
7.) Grandma Helen should have been a famous costume designer in the Hollywood. (Refer back to #6 — you see what I’m talking about?!)
My mom, aunts, and uncle were all in different incarnations of bands in their youth. Grandma made ALL of their costumes, and there were always new costumes for different sets within a given show. According to my mother, Grandma Helen would make up to 20 costumes per show. I mean, WOW.
So check THIS out:
My mom brought some gorgeous pieces back for me from the memorial that my Grandma made. I wanted you to see what they looked like on a person — not on a hanger — so you could see these pieces in their full glory. But unfortunately for you, this means that you get Super Mono Girl as your model. Ohhhh BABY. Enjoy.
Not to mention, Grandma made all of the girls’ prom dresses in high school! She also made my mom’s wedding dress (and I believe all, or at least most, of my aunts’ wedding dresses). Dayum.
8.) Grandma Helen was the best Grandma ever.
I have so many fond memories of playing the day away at her house and in the large backyard with my cousins. My memories come in little snippets here in there; something strange or simple will jog my memory randomly. For example, I remember I was really obsessed with this bird book that Grandma had. I was just thinking about this the other day for some reason. I was super fixated on the large Snowy Owl that graced two pages of the book in full color. I would sit on the floor of her house or on the swing outside and look that thing for what seemed like hours.
There are far too many memories to write about here. But I just wanted to say that her presence, her home, her humor, all of it, painted my childhood with so many beautiful and vibrant colors.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and love one of my biggest heroes with me. This is the best way I can think of to honor her influence on my life and celebrate hers since I was not able to do so as planned this past weekend. Thank you for supporting me in sharing the things I needed to share.
Below are the last photos I had taken with my Grandma. I love them the most, I think. There is something so fun and free about them. They make me smile.
I love you Grandma and I miss you so much already. Teach me to be like you. Happy 99th birthday. You won Life.
KA-BLAM! 2015! Things are going great. Your career is taking off. You’re sort of, almost, over your death-fear of airplanes. You’re in love a little bit. The RAC album is on loop in your head. You walk with swagger. You look fly as hell. Things are GOOD.
2015 is gonna be GOOD.
FUCK YOU, BETCH!! YOU GET MONO!! BWAAHHAAAA!!!
Mono. Mono?!?! I somehow have mono. Who even GETS mono anymore?! Is this not a middle school thing?! I’m a grown-ass woman! And, yes, thank you to Every-Person-Whom-I’ve-Ever-Told-That-I-Have-Mono, no, I’m not kissin a bunch of rando-s up in here. I know exactly where my mouth has been, thankyouforyourconcern. It’s just– AGHHHHH– how did this happen?! And could this have come at more terrible time?!
I remember saying to Dani sometime last year when I was going a million miles an hour and my life was hanging in a delicate balance of Crazy / Awesome (any given day): “Ha! You know who could never, EVER afford to get something like mono?!”
Fun fact. It took me 36 (or so) attempts to write this fucking post. Because I keep getting too tired. TOO TIRED TO LOOK AT A COMPUTER SCREEN and TYPE FOR A MINUTE. I will get through part of a sentence or a half a thought and then completely lose my will to live.
But that’s okay. I keep at it. I will finish this post purely because I’m a stubborn asshole. Persistence. I’ve got that in spades.
….What is the point of this post exactly? How will I know when it is over? Will I ever get through the tunnel of this sick-vortex? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but all I know is that if I don’t finish this post today, THE MONO HAS WON.
But really. I feel like I’m a prisoner in my own body. I could get into the nasty, woeful details, but I feel snarky today so I’m going to take that as a good turning-point-in-my-health sign and go with it. All you need to know that this is Day 11 and this is hands-down the sickest I’ve been in my adult life. One night (Night 4, I believe), I was home alone and sincerely thought I was going to die. True story. (I didn’t.) (True story.) You also probably need to know that I’ve watched all of the episodes of Parenthood and cried into my pillow (and it SUPER hurts to cry but not as much as it hurts to eat and drink. And be idle. GodDAMN it hurts to be idle…) and called my mom practically every hour on the hour. Maybe you didn’t need to know that last bit, but there you have it anyway. Slice of patheticBrittsicklife.
I’ve been super lucky though. I have the best friends in the world. I’m fairly certain I would be dead right now if nursemaid Dani wasn’t here making me eat and taking me to the doctor and the pharmacy and writing with me and loving on me and saying encouraging things like, “you’re gonna make it, kid!”.
I just need to get stable before I take off on another jetplane on Friday. That is my goal.
But you know what guys, you know what?! I am still making genius art whilst on my death-bed! Dani and I shot this beautiful piece starring my hand and her dino set. It confronts the complexities of universal longing and interspecies love, as well as bravely tackles the issues of diversity, ignorance, and the thread that binds us all together (love). I hope you enjoy.
I hope that constitutes a “button” on the end of a barely-passable stream-of-consciousness sick post. You get what you paid for, betches. I woke up like dis. Pucker up, lemme kiss yaaa.
Super Mono Girl, OUT.