I seem to find my thoughts in jagged motions. They are always there, however, sometimes they are out of my reach. At times, they are very much in my reach. I feel as though I am pretty in tune with who I am, but like every rose has a thorn, every thought has a point. Lately, in the midst of life, I have been having trouble translating these thoughts, or I end up blown away at the meanings I do understand.
Onward bound started off as a place for me to share my experiences in life and if I was lucky enough, someone, one of you, would take something positive from it. I am the sort of person that has to keep things on a schedule, or on even time. I am taking this blog back to where it started. January first. January first of last year, I didn't know who I was. I was on a journey to figure all of that out. One year later (or almost one year later) I am going to appreciate that bliss, and again begin a new journey. I am going to take on LA, with new perspective. Using my new knowledge and understandings, I am going to take day 365 and call it day one. I am going to be new to the city, new to it all...and with a new style of writing and new perspective, I am going to, once again, write about my findings, my life, my journey, my pursuit.
Dear Soldier, You dedicated your life in order to make my life simple. You spend your time in fear all so I can feel safe when I sleep at night. You raise your gun so that I can experience peace in my days. You stand united so this country can strive.
You made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that this nation can prosper as a land of opportunity and happiness. You did that. You did that for all of us; your family, friends and millions of complete strangers. I speak for many others when I say, I appreciate your service and will never forgot, or look beyond what you do. Whether you have served, are serving or will serve, you are the reason America stands.
In the time to come, I send my prayers and best of intentions. I will work extremely hard to be the best person I can be, because you make the mold of humanity. You serve with compassion, passion and dedication and for that I respect you entirely.
Compassion. There isn't much I can write that would truly satisfy my interest in this word and its meaning. If you have compassion in everything you do, you will find no trouble in helping others. My father tells me on many occasions..."Nick, its all about the little things we can do that help." The little things add up, and though they may pale in comparison towards what others can accomplish...realize that noone is comparing. Whether you throw a pebble, or a rock...your efforts will be realized.
I am very interested in starting a non-profit, do any of OB's readers know anything about how to begin this journey?
We wait for it. We wait for it to knock us off of our feet; love is a many splendid thing. We sing about it, write about it, dream about it and live for it. We tell each other, "I love you" when things are happy, scary, sad, etc. Love is the ultimate healing agent when bliss becomes skewed, it is the boundary breaker when happiness is already reached.
I've closed my mind to love for the past year. I laughed in anyone's face if they even tried bringing a "gushy" story up to me. I planted my feet so deep into cement that I knew that I wouldn't fall back into, the self titled, "trap."
As the year grew older, I would notice moments of weakness, more often. I'd have nights where I would want nothing more than to be in that safe feeling place, with the ideal person. I assume it is because I grow more sentimental in the fall and winter months, but lately I am so ready for it. I want to be that split second of an unrealized smile for someone as they see me walk in the room. I want to be the one they call with an amazing story. I would happily be the shoulder they cry on. Love is a many splendid thing.
I had a dream.
I was laying in my bed, it was late. My open book was face down on the bed beside me as I stared at the ceiling. I could feel that something was wrong. Not necessarily, horribly wrong...I just wasn't content in this particular moment. I was seemingly calm, perhaps lulled by the sound of cars zipping past the street outside my home. My focus was clearly anywhere but on the book beside me, and not too committed to the sound of vehicles either. I just talked to the ceiling. My focus broke, however, when I heard the front door open, and footsteps approach. I closed my eyes to pretend to sleep and my heart started pounding. I instantly got those butterflies; the ones that begin in your palms and run through your entire body. I heard footsteps and realized that you were walking around the house, our home, taking care of something. I kept my eyes closed, for some reason...I just remember they would not open; not until I heard your voice. You walked in, in your flannel pajamas and glasses. You immediately smiled, I smiled back at you. My heart kept pounding, but I realized it wasn't fear or uncertainty. It was the pure fact that I was at my house, but I wasn't home until you were with me. It was real, it was simple, it was love.
I want to wake up, look outside my window and see snow erasing all of the familiar surroundings of my neighborhood. I know it is cold out there, but I’m warm and comfortable inside my home; not necessarily because the heater is blowing, but more so because I’m surrounded by the love of home. After gazing in amazement, with a gut filled with excitement I want to take the familiar walk downstairs. When I reach that thirteenth step, I will close my eyes and breathe in the wonderful smells of the holidays. At this particular point in the morning, I am brought to ease as the smell of pine and coffee accumulate in the air. Although it is light out, even brighter because of the snow, the Christmas lights will be blinking on the tree, as if they were dancing to the Christmas music dad has playing in the background. I look over at the couch that Nana used to sleep on when she spent Christmas with us; I am sad, but feel at ease when I feel the love she is sending from Heaven. I take a step to move towards the festivities, but a cold chill takes over my body as I step in a puddle of water, from snow melting off of the shoes in the hallway. I move forward through the living room and right towards the French doors leading into my kitchen. Mom is sipping at her coffee, still in her night gown as she mentally brainstorms the menu for later that evening. Dad is half asleep on the couch listening to the pleasant hum of Christmas music echoing through the house. I instantly grow more cheerful and sing along to the timeless music and fill up my cup of coffee. I notice, though, that for the first time I walked right passed the presents scattered under the tree. While they used to be the pivotal part of my holiday happiness, they now take the back burner. The excitement I feel is the energy in the air, as I know my siblings will be driving over soon and we will all be together like we used to be. Most likely late, everyone begins showing up and we are finally together, safe from the weather, spending Christmas in the best of fashion: Together. We all laugh as Dad mimics the voices of Alvin and the Chipmunks, as he has been doing ever since I could remember. Mom eagerly tries to get us to open our presents, just to see if we like everything she picks out. The presents are the last things on our minds. I can speak for myself when I say that I feel complete just being there as one unit again; the six of us, our personalities, our admiration for one another completes the emptiness that I may have been feeling. Flashbacks of being little continue playing in my mind as Alvin sings about loop-ti-loops. I stand up, in the middle of this comfort, and walk towards the Christmas tree. Dad’s impressive ornament collection still amuses me like it has since I was five. I will turn around, see my family and feel sad at how much change has happened over the years. It isn’t that we love each other less; it is just that we love each other differently, from a distance. My brother cracks a joke and I immediately return to the joy I will feel on this Christmas morning. I sit in between my sisters and we all laugh.
Dear Santa, That is all I want for Christmas this year.
If you look closely into the eyes of an individual that sparks any of your creative spirit, you will certainly find a unique connection. I stand tall on the fact that I create and share positive energy and a creative spirit; therefore I search for same qualified people.
As you go about your day to day life, take time to find those who inspire you. When you come across these individuals don't just pass them by. Share with them, and they will share with you.
For those of you have been reading Onward Bound, you are sure to know my theory on expectations. I am constantly bringing you through the literary version of my experiences and I always seem to begin them with “NO EXPECTATIONS.” This motto seems simple on the surface, but it has become a less than shallow mentality that I have harvested into a way of life. A way of life I call ‘The Line of Neutrality.’
In order to begin understanding this way of life, you must take time to truly reflect on the way you begin your endeavors. Do you jump in head first? Do you paint the picture of the outcome in your mind? Do you assume you will fail? Any of the above pre-determined ideas go against neutrality. To be neutral you have to understand that every trial has an outcome. The outcome, no matter how you slice or dice it, plays out as the good or the bad. However, part of the process is understanding that good can be GREAT and bad isn’t that bad. To help you understand I will describe a scenario in my life and I will specifically apply ‘The Line of Neutrality.”
Onward Bound is a blog that was birthed upon my departure from Ohio to pursue my dreams in California. The simple idea is that I would move to Los Angeles, go on auditions and get discovered…or I wouldn’t. One is good, the other is bad. To avoid this “one or the other” outcome, I drew a line of neutrality right across reality. On the line was open mindedness; in other words NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I WILL LEARN SO MUCH, SEE SO MUCH AND GROW SO MUCH. Above the line is GET DISCOVERED AND LIVE YOUR DREAMS. Below the line is COMPLETELY FAIL. From bottom to top, here are my ideals. I don’t believe in anything that happens below the line. Failure isn’t real if you stand neutral. Above the line isn’t good, it is great…it is what you aimed for. On the line is the neutral standpoint, which if you apply correctly, is good. Find the silver lining if you can’t find the gold.
Once the line of neutrality is drawn, you essentially have your line of expectations. If you leave your expectations on the line the following will always hold true. YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED OR YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A NEGATIVE OUTCOME.
This is a mindset, understand. You have the truly put the effort into EVERY situations when trying to apply “The Line.” It has been two years and I am just starting to get the hang of it. I am happy 95% of the time, a quality I credit to ‘The Line of Neutrality.’ If any readers plan on adopting this mindset, I would be elated to hear about your trials. Keep me in the loop!
As the summer heat lingers away and is replaced by the autumn breeze, I know, for certain, that a season in my life is changing too. Although it is much more subtle, I can absolutely feel a change in my personality; a change peppered with motivation and calmness. I've learned that patience is one of my best friends and that with it I will reach my destination with most of my sanity. Perhaps the entire world takes a big, deep breath upon Fall's arrival, because I just feel calm.
Awhile back, when I stopped updating my blog, I began keeping a list; a bucket list. This list was composed of short term goals and hopes. On the list was to make an appearance on a television show or movie; even if I just walked through a scene. I got myself involved with an agency that books that exact type of work. I am so excited to begin my life adventure in film. On my list, I also included singing at a major sports game. I excitedly will be auditioning to sing "God Bless America" at a Los Angeles King's game! High hopes, but no expectations, of course!
For those of you who are my blogging community, I only find it fair to update you on my journey; since you all were part of it in the beginning.
I am in my new apartment, about a mile away from Downtown Los Angeles. It is a nice vintage home with a deck overlooking Hollywood.
I am still working for Club Nokia at LA Live, except now I work in the VIP section. I still stand in an elevator, but I am grateful. The newest update in my employment record is one that I am so excited about. I finally found a job that allows me to work as an entertainer. I am a proud member of the Los Angeles King's Ice Crew. My team and I are responsible for making sure that the fans have the most stellar time possible at all of the games. I've gotten so many great experiences so far!
I am working with a producer on a demo right now. Pursuing music is my passion and I love every minute of the journey. I know, deep down in my soul, that music is my destiny. I am working towards getting something for you all to listen to. I truly hope you enjoy it.
Although I am in a different place, a different mind set and a new season...I am still Nick James, the writer you all grew to know. I feel sorry that I fell so far out of the loop, but affording my life has taken up so much time. I am going to work my hardest to get back in the community. PLEASE let me know how you all are doing.
Can anyone truly find words to describe when something takes your breath away? Is there a way to form literature around one of the most unique feelings in the world? If there is, it is beyond me. I feel it so often, but too often I cannot create a proper description to do it justice. I guess that is why I appreciate these breathtaking moments the most. They are only yours, to keep forever; because there is no true way to depict the emotion, feeling and imprint to any other individual. I am quoting myself right now, because I truly enjoy what I said today. Fear not the peradventure, for it will take you somewhere new.
Dance in uncertainty, rest on a chance…there are no true promises in life, so don’t allow yourself to wait around for them. Leap a wider gap, swim against a stronger current, peer deeper into the mirror to challenge your ghosts. At the end of the day, if you take a risk, you will grow proud of whom you are. If you stand with pride, you won’t fall for vanities and weaknesses. You are you, and the only thing you should worry about is being the best version possible.
As the cool breeze sneaks through my window, I cannot help but feel it represents the clean slate I am now drawing on. For the past seven months, I moved so far forward, but with weights on my ankles. I lived in an apartment that was not mine. I relied on other people’s schedules. I couldn’t get anywhere without someone else to get me there. Everything, now, has changed. I moved into an apartment that never seizes to blow my mind when I think that I accomplished making it mine. I have a car that isn’t too shabby either. I have a new job, that doesn’t seem much like work to me. I continue to meet people who, to my surprise, are becoming decent friends. With all of this surrounding me, I cannot help but feel that my spirits have been inevitably lifted.
I did it. I put my money where my mouth was and made a life for myself in the land of dreams. I have all the resources that I need to remain mentally strong and constantly moving. I am working on getting myself way more involved in the pursuit and will hopefully accomplish more of my goals now.
As the wind dances through my home, I know that these are the moments in life that matter the most in the end. The moments when you look back and sigh with relief are the ones that mean you’ve done something great. I look back and congratulate myself for getting through all of the challenges that I was faced with. As I sit at my new desk (yes I will be blogging more now that I have my own space) and sip my coffee, I can see more change to come; more exciting and refreshing change that will continue molding who I am.
I just wanted to offer this update to you! Please let me know how you are doing…I am all “ears” (eyes).
Staring out at the California moon, I feel more human than ever. The silhouettes of the mountains dance upon the stillness of the night, just as my soul dances along the lining of my dreams. The chaos of the city night echoes dominantly, but tonight I only hear the air enter and exit my body. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. My chest fills up as my mind flows with memories and thoughts. While it may look like I am staring blankly, the truth is I am deeply in contact with the road I travel. I stare back at the simplicity of being a child. I remember the smell of the first day of school. The nerves I felt on my first date. The pain I felt during my first real fight with a friend. The anxiety I felt as i entered my first college classroom. The joy I felt when I was with the ones I love. I remember the hope I felt when I first moved away. From then to now, I see a complexity that has harvested a life that confuses me, and that I love.
It is overwhelming for me to think about what my mind was going through about seven months ago. I believe my biggest concern was that I called my parents to check in with them and to tell them where I was. Maybe I was stressed as I worked on finishing another semester of school. Or was I distracted with the joy I felt as I traveled Ohio performing for a radio station? It was all so simple then. I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back from this point in time, it was so easy.
It didn't take long for simple nights out to turn into surviving in an extremely busy city. Or for term papers to turn into bills on the counter. It didn't take long at all. I feel more grown up than ever as I soon will be moving into my first apartment. August 1st, I will go from a squatter to a resident at a beautiful apartment. And I'll have a car to go with it. This is all exciting, but it all means that i will be spending more money. More money means more work, which means less time to audition and practice. I will manage though, as usual.
In the intensity of my new responsibilities, I'm learning, very much, to appreciate my ability to land on my feet. There was a time when I doubted my ability to achieve big things, but not anymore. The past six months have been such a test of my will power and desire. I've managed to work many hours at two different jobs. One which requires a 2:00AM, 2 mile walk home through the city. Another which teaches me to wake up and function at 5:00AM. I've had my abilities judged my numerous casting directors. I've been picked and pulled on by top industry photographers and hairdressers. I've been promised things that were never even close to coming true. I've sang my guts out in a recording studio. I've stood tall and fallen hard, but I'd rather die trying to stand than to rest for a day on my knees. Although everything doesn't pan out, the winds of my future will certainly blow in the direction that I believe they will. This isn't a far shot. My ambitions are coming true, and it is more apparent everyday.
Life doesn't always happen the way it should. The "way it should" is actually only the way you think it should. Once we clear our minds of of we think things should happen and just open our minds to see how things pan out naturally, we will end up feeling more triumph than failure. I set goals, and many at that, but i never lay a trail of how I think they will be achieved. I simply make attempts, give effort and hope for the best. I think that practice and hope are the key ingredients in changing the winds of fate, but the simple fact is that the winds blow the way the winds blow. Follow the wind and see where you land. Keep your eye on your goals, make good decisions and one day you will get to where would like to be.
I got the chance to meet a person who had a dream and achieved his dream. Over a cup of coffee, the following statement was offered to me.
"If you can see it, it is done. Now all you have to do is get there."
As the moon keeps rising, my thoughts keep racing. Twenty years have flown by. I live an enchanted life. Although the sky is dark, and the future is hard to see, I know that the sun will rise and it is rising for me.
Here is my music suggestion of the moment. My buddy Brin plays in this band, but with an unbiased opinion, I urge you to get connected with McClory.
Technology, without a doubt, is the reason the world is as advanced as it is. However, with all of the leaps technology has allowed us to take, I fear that the fall is equally significant.
The other day at work, while on my break, I saw something that truly broke my heart. A mother and her daughter were out to lunch together. You can see the spark in the daughters eye as to how excited she was to be sharing the afternoon with her mother. I kept observing their interaction, and I couldn't help but feel confused as the mother's mouth would move out of sync with the daughters mouth. Also, the mother never made eye contact, which really confused me. Upon looking closer I noticed that the mother was on the phone, on her blue tooth, just chatting away as her daughter sat there and stared over her mother's shoulder. I watched and watched, for about 20 minutes and noticed that the mother never got off of the phone. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the daughter and feel that the mother was, sorry to say, stupid. You can tell right away that the mother was one of those mothers who would rather feel young and fit into society, than accept that her daughter, who will grow up much to fast, could really be a good conversation. This ignorant, neglectful mother annoyed me so much that I had to shift my view just to enjoy the rest of my lunch.
My eyes instantly locked onto another table. There were four people, about my age, sitting there with big plates of food in front of them. I instantly drifted back to memories of my friends and I and my head was filled with great conversations and many laughs. Upon gaining focus again, I saw everyone, and I mean each and every person, sitting at the table glued to their smart phones. It was as though they weren't even aware that they were together.
As though what I have witnessed was not enough already, I counted numerous people hiding behind their laptop screens, cell phones and who knows what else.
I couldn't help but feel that we are slowly getting into a place where socialization is losing any importance. I think that we rely on technology so much that the glory we get from it supersedes that of true human interaction.
I read a quote from an American business woman, Mary Kate Ash.
"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, 'Make me feel important.'"
This quote warmed my heart, because before even reading it, I've lived my life by that motto. If that mother realized how important her daughter was and the times they shared, she would have hung her phone right up. If that group of friends knew how rare those times they share now can become, they would have switched focus immediately. If the entire world payed attention to how important each and every one of us are, than we would live in a more loving society.
Each person I meet, I genuinely try to get to know. If it is one or two facts that I remember, the person will atleast know that I cared enough to pay attention to what they said.
Don't let technology and the ways of the world distract you from the moments that matter. Without moments, all we have is nothing.
Cherish the times that you may not have ever again. Keep in touch, stay connected and don't let the world become such a distant reality for all of us.
After so long, shouldn't being away from home be easy? I feel that I keep going up and down way too much. I need stability, something I can count on. I love a mystery, but when everyday feels like a maze, I can't help but feel anxiety. My chest start to hurt, the butterflies in my stomach start to bite and I feel as though my heart plummeted to the ground, shattering into a million pieces. How do I survive if I keep feeling like this?
Lately I seem to be focused on really trying to take advice and apply it to my experiences. Advice comes from those who see a spark and want to help the flames grow. My parents always offer me so much advice (My dad does so kindly: My mom does so intensely). However the advice is addressed, I eventually make an effort to take it and use it.
Advice also comes from folks who don't know you so well, or at all.
A complete stranger saw me the other day and could tell I was extremely stressed. He came up to me and said "I am only fifty one, but I feel I can speak from experience. If you are having 'one of those days' just slow down. "
Just. Slow. Down.
Now take a deep breath.
I heard his advice, politely thanked him and my mind ran off on its current race. It wasn't until several hours later that I thought about it again. I gave it a shot and forgot about any deadlines. I faced my current project, took a breath and thought about all of the options I had as to how it could be completed.
I kid you not, everything and everyone around me suddenly seemed easier to deal with. Almost like they, too, were slowing down. I eventually caught up with the project and completed it, successfully.
In moments of intensity, everything is intensified. We yell, we rush and we lose touch with patience. When patience is gone, serenity is gone.
So all: SLOW DOWN.
It really does help. At a healthy pace, you will find everything much more scenic. When the scenery is sought after, beauty is found.
There is beauty in everything and I believe that. There are lessons learned, strength gained and happiness found eventually in most reasonable situations.
I wish you the best of the positive twist.
On a more personal note, here are my updates:
-I bought a car. An old trusty rusty! -I am moving to a new apartment in August. -I have my best friends coming to visit. -I am going to give American Idol another shot (no expectations, just fun). -I am one, over worked, happy dude!
On my second shift tonight, in the elevator I am going to enjoy some peace and quiet. Mmm.
Sending ya'll calmness,
Ps. Don't multi-task- give your all to one thing at a time. Precision is a guaranteed way to reach success.
I find it interesting how human emotion works. It inevitably crosses the line of pure feeling to uncontrollable action. When we feel sad, we cry; when we feel happy we laugh...so on and etc.
I'm not focussing on the glorified emotions though. I'm talking about the dark one tonight . I am referring to hatred. Honestly (Get your violins) I have been treated like dirt by several people. Normally I wouldn't be surprised, but I am an open-minded nice guy- I don't cause problems for anyone. I absolutely do not hate. I don't hate anyone who has ever crossed me, hurt me, or mustered up any horrible feelings in my life. I just don't have the ability to hate-note, however, that I defend myself to the maximum utilizing intellect and stability . Everyday I see so much hatred. Whether it be on the news, the streets, or any place where hatred is a possibility. The fact is that we are all people. My dad, as usual, shared wisdom with me that really helped me deal with negative actions towards others.
He put a situation in my mind. There is an old lady driving, not so perfectly, down the street. Someone following behind her is in a hurry, so they start tailing her, yelling at her, and, beyond their awareness, end up breaking her heart. He then told me to zoom in on this now fearful old lady. He said close your eyes (unless you are driving, of course) and picture her as your grandmother.
A bolt of lightning hit my chest as I envisioned my grandma getting treated this way. I wanted to hurt this impatient person. Wait! ...I've been that person before. Not just in driving situations, but in many trying situations where someone hasn't met my expectations. I immediately started wondering how I've treated others while in these situations, and every time I put my grandmothers face on my victims head. Consider this perspective next time you are on the verge of reacting. Put a loved ones face on your annoyance. If a baby cries, imagine it is your baby: you won't be so angry then. If a boss expects a lot out of you, imagine it is your parent: you will react absolutely different. If a gay person supercedes your understanding, imagine he or she is your child: you won't stare so coldly then. If there is a handicapped person around, imagine they were your sibling: you won't crack any jokes then. If an old lady is driving slowly, imagine it is your grandmother: you'll treat this adult with the patience and respect she deserves. You get the picture, if not- discontinue reading OB.
By adding personal perspective to your situations, you will end up finding yourself in someone elses shoes, and walking towards a positive place. Let's just not hate. We are all simple people with goals and hopes. If you don't like someone, don't deal with them. But we all deserve the time of day, even if its for one minute. Don't treat anyone like they aren't worthy of some respect. Handle situations where you may not necessarily be fond of someone with class. Treat other people as you would approve of them treating the people you love.
Simply stated: Be around people you like If you don't like them, do so respectfully. Be cordial, but try to not be around the person. That way hatred will have missed its opportunity to destroy another persons esteem. And perhaps in your distance you may lose your disdain for another person.
I would not offer this advice had I not taken it when it was offered to me. I sleep very easy at night knowing that I am peaceful with everyone, regardless their actions. I take care of myself by not wasting my energy with the negativity of others.
After all, we all have people whose hearts would break if we were treated badly.
I defend what is right. I don't support ignorance that isn't met with the effort of undestanding. I have a voice that I proudly use for good things. I won't take a beating, but won't give one either. However, disrespect my family and I will contradict many things stated above.
These moments don't come often for me- I am generally constantly smiling- but when these moments come, their presence is as sure as the sun is hot. My mind goes into a strange state where I don't filter what I say, nor do I control it. Everything in the world around me, which I usually admire so much, turns violent. I don't like moments like these, especially because I don't like to break. I plan on building a career where I can uplift others through positivity, kindness and true passion for what I do. When I break, I feel as though I take ten steps backwards. I suppose it is okay for me to be human, every once in awhile.
However an emotional day, it actually began quite simply. I worked an event; a graduation ceremony for a fifth grade class. This sounds simple, but it pushed me into a mode of reflection. Not only did I become passionate at the idea of these young children (not necessarily from the most economically strong families) get the opportunity to become something, but I also had a moment where I realized how truly blessed I am.
In short, I was a pain when it came to my early years of school. I rested on the fact that I had ADHD, often using it as an excuse to not attend class or do homework. I goofed off at school, and ultimately hindered my ability to meet any potential that I had. As impossible as I made my educational career, my parents, especially my father, never gave up on me. He had frequent meetings with school administration, he spent his free time studying with me and he never once allowed me to feel that I was anything less than intelligent. I don't like to admit these things, but a tear actually rolled down my face. I dialed my dad and had to thank him, because for the first time, like a bag of bricks hit me in my face, I realized how lucky I am to have such an incredible person believe in me. I like to think that after I grew up a little, from high school on, that I proved my younger self to be a phase of laziness. I am actually quite proud at my mental capacity.
Along with this huge flush of gratefulness, I couldn't stop thinking about refrigerated cake. This sounds so silly, but it brings back some of my favorite memories. Whenever there was a family party, or any party, my mother (a fan of desert) would wrap cake and stick it in the fridge. For the days to follow, her and I would wake up, drink coffee and attack the cake as though it were are only options. Some of the best conversations happened during this informal breakfast. I painstakingly realized that as long as I am here in Los Angeles, or anywhere away from home, I will not have those moments to share again.
I don't know if it because I am growing up, or because I have less now, but simple things like coffee and cake touch my heart and move me entirely.
I've declared myself a musician now. I want to avidly pursue, what I consider to be, my number one passion. Regardless of anyone's opinions- which I so often let affect me- I never give up my belief in my song. I love to write music and I love to sing. I look forward to my time in the studio and put together a representation of the music I plan to make for the rest of my life.
Today was a day of nostalgia, frustration and growth. I am reading a book right now, a brilliant book, and it his really teaching me to be things into perspective. I can't recommend the book yet, because I want my sister Jamie to receive my copy before she goes and buys her own.
I miss when life was more simple. It is strange what brings me to this thought, but here goes.
I remember being a freshman in high school, and getting my first cell phone. It was an average, basic flip phone. I remember opening its box like it was Christmas day, but ten times more thrilled (it was actually mid-November). I was only to use the phone for alerting my mom that practice (football, track and wrestling) was over, and for emergencies. I can't believe those were my only responsibilities.
I think how my phone, now a Blackberry, is such a staple to my organization. I use it as my primary way to be contacted, my calendar, my e-mail and my internet browser, to name a few.
This is going nowhere near a discussion of my mobile phone history (there would be too many phones to mention), but one of how life has changed.
I wake up everyday to a mind racing with thoughts. I have to manage where I need to be, where I want to be, where I have been, what I have to get done and a million other "W" words. I have to pay bills now and make choices all for myself, and ones that truly matter. I deal with the consequences of leaving my hometown, including being away from my family. With that comes meeting new people and filtering the good from the bad. I plan my own trips and my own days now too. When I am sick, I lay in bed alone without a parent catering to my every need. I have to make impressions that last, and hopefully good ones . I have to feed myself and see to it that I am maintaining a healthy diet. I have to be alone, a lot, and eventually learn to appreciate it. I have to learn, read and be attentive to the world around me, as my opinion can make a difference. I have to manage relationships, personal and professional, for the quality of my life. I have to find and pay for an apartment that I will have to make feel like home. I have to own a car and keep up with its maintenance and payments. I have to follow through; each step, every effort has to be taken with confidence and determination, because if the ball drops now, I'm the only one responsible for picking it back up. I have to manage the fear I feel. I have to be sincere, forward and friendly, because my reputation means so much more now. I have to deal with rejection on a much larger, more important level. I have to make it happen.
I know I am not alone and that others have all that to deal with, plus more. I am highlighting it, because it is new for me. Although I've always been self-sufficient and mature, I grew up with parents who spoiled me. I had everything I needed and wanted. They still provide, but in a different way.
The amazing thing about this chaos in my mind is that I am sitting in a quiet elevator. No one around, no new scenery; motionless. I am in one of the most simple settings ever, and my mind still races.
This is how I have felt since January 8th, 2009 (actually I have always had a busy mind, it is just busier now). At the end of the day I feel like I have run a marathon. The beauty of it all is that I embrace it. I am as fearless as I can be. My mind is an open door now, and I welcome all of these new visitors (responsibility).
As much of a man that I am growing to be, I still have my weaknesses. I miss my mom and dad. I hate being away from my best friends, my siblings. I miss my traditions and old comforts. I miss being that child who only worried about getting home from school.
I appreciate simplicity so much now. One of the most exciting parts of my day include taking pictures of creative license plates for my hero Jamie. Sounds silly, but it has become an activity that I love. I am still doing really exciting things, but I am learning the joy of all things simple.
Look forward to: -Exciting meeting -72.5 hours of work in six days -Hiking every Sunday morning (google Runyon Canyon) -A visit from my best friends -Drinking tea instead of coffee -Moving in August -Opening of my bosses third store -Aerosmith in August - Writing more music -Arizona in July -NYC in September -Vegas and birthday in November -Ohio in December
I love you all, I hope that when I commit to returning on a regular basis that you will all be here for me.
We've all had those times in our lives when clarity is the furthest thing from our reality.
In times when the fog in the sky is as heavy as the world on your shoulder, you must gather all of your strength and tactic and persevere. I had a brief, but meaningful conversation recently. It was essentially about hardships that come with chasing your passions. We concluded the conversation with the comfort that we will reach the top of our goals.
At that moment, I turned red in the face with a huge sense of being grateful; I realized that I can only move forward, or onward. I was born to move forward on my path, so I scream at the top of my lungs "GIVE ME PAVEMENT."
I humbly accept every challenge, for I know that each step is a necessary means, not to an end, but to many new beginnings.
As my first six months in LA come to an end, I applaud myself for staying positive and staying in California.
It is pretty apparent that I am a goal oriented person. For my benefit, I will outline my upcoming goals.
I plan to: -Buy a car: With more to do, it has become an entity for me to have my own means of transportation. I hope to find and affordable, reliable set of wheels. -Find my own apartment and build my own home. In the potentially tough situation, I will learn what it really means to live. -Get back into school. I haven't lost faith in my goals, I just feel that I would be more at peace knowing that I can accomplish graduation. -I will network for social and professional reasons.
Advice that I offer and embrace is to take in simplicity.
Be all that you are, and do so proudly. You are not defined by the praise or hate of others. You, by yourself, are the individual that you allow yourself to be. Do whatever it is that you enjoy, all the while respecting the world around you. Share your happiness and experience with others who will share theirs. By doing so you will have mixed all of the ingredients for making memories. Stay positive and dignified. Let loose, but keep your class. Love who you want, when you want, but with all you've got. Remember that words fade, but you can keep your smile forever.
It's not in moments of chaos when I feel most lost; In moments of silence, I grow absolutely small and vulnerable. As my roots grow slowly in this new adventure, the term "starving artist" is truly taking definition. As far as its implied meaning of poor and hungry, I'm not too worried. What I am truly starving for is a social life that I can depend on; friends that are actually there; laughs I can count on; memories being built with someone to share them with . Knowing that thousands of miles away, my loved ones are continuing to experience many adventures together, despite my presence, makes being away seem impossible. Slowly watching myself turn into someone that I'm not ready to be is scary. It is a selfish way to act, but on nights like this one, I can't help it. I can't help that I was born a dreamer with unstoppable drive. The prize is still in my eyes, however everything I am passing in my speed is too. When you have to fend for yourself, you get a true dose of exactly what you are. You get to see what you can do for yourself, and what you once did for others. While I am happy with the prints I leave on my trail, I'm starting to look back and notice how shallow some of my steps have been; hence my loneliness. From here I can only grow and work to leave a better, bigger print in the world. I will work on moving forward without leaving anyone behind. It is the moments of silence that create this chaos in my mind.
Is there a huge difference in doing what should be done and doing what you dare to do? Could it be that it is as simple as following your heart. In theory, if you follow your heart with all of your ambition, the target you aim for will become closer each step. In your opinion, is it safe to rest assure on this created destiny?
I tried. I am literally having writer's block severely. I will try again later.I
Optimism without logic, or good reason is hope. The thought of that paints a brilliant scene in my mind, and I cannot help but feel hopeful for all things to come.
We all experience trying times, but as long as we are trying all of the time, we can develop something from any rough patch. Life, they say, isn't as much about the destination as it is the journey; I top that with it being more about the growth you experience on that journey.
On all of my leaps of fate, I focus on what I am learning along the way. Doing so makes me feel, that regardless the landing, I accomplished something.
It is rare for me to feel empty handed after any situation, because I believe in the glass half full so avidly; I feel lucky enough to have a glass to fill. Life is a lesson, my advice: Learn plenty.
I am back in LA and I feel pretty stellar. Visiting my hometown was such a unique eXperience, I feel that I barely have grasped the change. I will write about my entire trip tomorrow! How have you all been?
It's a big, small world. Being back home with new perspective has granted me the opportunity to put things together; sort of figure out all the links in my life's chain reactions.
I find that most of the time, my pride causes me to stray from a path of logical reasoning and leaves me with many unfinished situations. While I enjoy living in bliss, these holes inevitably grow and demand to be dealt with.
Being home and interacting with old, familiar faces has allowed me to view myself in a different position. I am now starting to enjoy putting things together and learning how people and events effect my life specifically.
What I've come to know is that I am on a path that few of my friends are on. I am moving forward with a tank full of passion and excitement, while many of my friends are trudging along on fumes of the past.
I am learning, more than ever, what kind of personalities spark my interest and force me to want more. I've learned that someone who can have a good time is the most attractive. I enjoy a person who can set their own world aside and make the most of everything. Learning what sort of people intrigue you is a huge step in learning the qualities you enjoy in yourself.
It's a big, small world and you never know what chain reactions you are causing. My advice: Be aware.
This Memorial Day weekend, I went on a camping trip with many of my family members, and friends. Riding my ATV through the open fields and rough terrain was so refreshing. It reminded me that regardless the slopes and turns, life has a beautiful destination to be reached.
I created many memories and laughs with the people I love the most. I am a lucky individual and I'm proud to say I recognize it.
I've always held the opinion that experience is the foundation and supporting beam of a fulfilled life. While the insight and scenery may differ, the enlightenment and experiences inevitably conquer life's valleys. At age 20, I am entirely blessed and grateful for the journey's I've experienced and the ground I've covered. At age 20 I may not have a plethora of material items to display how lucky I am, but the truth is I've experienced many unique blessings. As I sit in the Los Angeles airport, preparing for my first visit home, all of the miles I've covered and the memories I've made are coming to mind. I've experienced the intensity of New York City, I've relaxed on many east coast beaches, I've traveled, horseback, through a Georgia field , I've taken an ATV ride through numerous landscapes, I've wake boarded a great lake, I've swam in the atlantic ocean, I've lived in northern and southern California, I've peered down the Grand Canyon, I've held the ground of a petrified forest, I've hugged a redwood tree, I've hiked a beach to catch starfish, I've cliff dived off of a California dam, I've sang at a Tennessee historic plantation, I've parasailed over the ocean, I've watched the sun set on emerald bay, I've driven the Golden Gate Bridge, I've sailed to alcatraz island, I've biked many scenic miles and I've done so much more. I am truly and entirely blessed for the opportunities I've been offered. The miraculous part is, not only the above mentioned endeavors, but all that has happened in between. They say all of life is a stage, and we the players. My life, thus far, has been a dramatic comedy, with an inspirational twist. The set is beautiful and the scene changes, remarkable. Each monologue has been captivating and the supporting characters magnificent. Whenever the day comes for my curtain to close, I will stand proud as the applause I receive will represent the numerous positive experiences I've had. I wish you all the power to understand that, not only are you the actor in your play, but that you are also the play write. End scene.
I was talking to my sister (Jamie) today about blogging, and I told her how I felt that I lost personal connection with my recent posts. I can't really figure it out, but I will work on getting back in touch. I honestly feel that it has a lot to do with my schedule; it is extremely packed. Perhaps it could be that I am feeling more stressed and my brain is filled with too much logic, thus causing my imagination to be blocked.
I feel that I am stressed, because I am running a race against time. I have a deadline coming up that can really change my experience in LA. I will continue to run with all I've got, but sometimes the finish line holds an unexpected future on the other side. I wish you all the best when running your own race.
Today I went for an intense hike with friends in Hollywood. I feel so refreshed (and soar). Not only did I get an incredible workout, I got to see a view of Los Angeles like none other! I am going to make an honest effort to continue enjoying the outdoors. Excercise doesn't neccesarily have to come from a gym, and hiking is just one example of an alternative work out!
I watched American Idol, and unfortunetly I am not a huge fan of any of the contestants. Danny has no star quality, Kris has a dull personality, and Adam screams, and I mean SCREAMS, way too much. I'm not suggesting that I am a more talented singer, but there is no appeal left in this season. I will continue watching, because I cannot break the tradition. Any thoughts?
The rest of this week will fly by.
Tomorrow: AM: Work PM: Work party Thursday: Trevor comes to town Friday: Day off hanging with Trevor and Ian Saturday: Packing all day and hanging with Trevor Sunday: Off to Cleveland for a quick visit!
During my trip, along with relaxation, I hope to find inspiration, motivation to write better music and to continue trucking along my journey!
Note to self: AEROSMITH COMES TO ROCK IN LA!! (For those who don't know, Steven Tyler is my idol!)
At work last night, a man came up to me and asked me a basic question. During this transaction of words, he pointed out the fact that he can tell I'm a performer. I took this as a compliment and smiled in reply. He looked at me and said:
"Don't ever lose sight of who you are, and don't let anyone tell you that your dreams are impossible."
My initial thoughts where "wow this guy must have jumped right out of my blog!" My second thoughts hit me like a brick of cement. He is so correct, and in more ways than one. As a performer I have to stand my ground and keep myself as a person; in life I must do the same. I take this man's advice and I share it with all of you.
We've got one thing when we are born; ourselves. We have a blank canvas that we will paint experiences on each and every day. Although the future is untold, the picture we paint will represent the culture of our life. This picture will represent all we believe in, all we want to believe in and our aim in life.
In life, we will encounter other artists who believe that they should paint us a picture, as well. These artists represent outside forces and experiences. Enjoy time off the recommended path, but never let these artist paint over your picture. At the beginning of time (your time) until your final hour, the one thing folks will remember about you is yourself, your character. Stand strong and don't let anyone manipulate the person you can be. The truth is, you are a great person, regardless of what others may think! I wish you all the strength in finding yourself!
Demons: They haunt us from the time we are little and continue lurking through our entire lives. They are the monsters in the closet, the boogie man under the bed; the images in our minds composed of all the stories we hear from those around us. Demons are the monsters that are created out of pure insecurity and cliché. From a young age we are led to believe that parts of life are meant to scare us. These fears cause us to lose sleep, to question every move we make, and they slow us down from prevailing through challenges. When we are younger, we eventually grow out of our silly fears, because we realize that there aren’t really monsters in the closet and so forth. At this time we are in our young adult to adult years; these are the years when we are faced with the opportunities in life that will ultimately turn our caterpillars into butterflies.
My life changed when I stopped dancing with my demons and started challenging my ghosts. I faced my fears and my life started turning into what I hoped for. I, from the bottom of my heart, hope you all find the courage to face your fears. Do something daring, leap from the cliff that separates you from your destiny, and most imporantly, scare yourself everyday.
I will begin this by saying that I am not depressed, or derailed at all. This is merely me offering advice based on a situation I’ve experienced.
When it comes to the mushy gushy stuff, love, I sit on an awful part of the fence. I am either completely apathetic towards any romantic opportunities that I am faced with, or I am head over heels involved. When I am standing, I stand strong; when I fall, I fall deep. I have the ability to stand like a wall of cement, and I rarely let anyone get close enough to even begin climbing. However, when I allow someone to get close enough, I usually let them break the wall down. At this point, if you are one of these people, you have made me to believe that you are working hard to break down this wall, ultimately making me think you have a similar interest in me. When the said situation happens and you all of a sudden choose to ignore me, I get upset. I don’t’ get upset because you aren’t able to feel for me, but I get upset that you chose to be phony. If you are grown up enough to create adult feelings, please be mature enough to communicate a change of heart. If you are after sex only, please look elsewhere. I am not typical, meaning I don’t need to have a physical relationship. If I choose to have one, the first physical sign is my heart pounding through my chest. If you don’t get that far, you aren’t getting anywhere.
Like I said, I am not depressed or upset about this—I don’t rely on love, so if it goes wrong I can care less. All I am saying is that you should make sure you know what you are doing. As you hit ages closer to adulthood, folks have REAL emotion. They fall deeper, things mean more, and the recovery period takes a little longer.
My life has gone from 0 to 60 to 100. I can’t seem to stop being busy. It is a good thing. As my two jobs keep paying the bills, I am managing my pursuit wonderfully. Opportunities keep coming my way, and they are teaching me so much. I’ve never believed so much in myself and my dream. On top of that, I am managing a pretty nice social life. I don’t a million friends, but I have one in a million sort of friends. I have a support group that is everything to me. I am proud to be building a life that can mean so much.
This past weekend I traveled to Indio, California to attend a weekend long country music festival. TIME. OF. MY. LIFE. With Ian and Cousin Joey as my companions, I couldn’t help but enjoy every moment of the trip. We shared laughs, memories and fantastic music. I was lucky enough to see the following concerts: Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Kid Rock, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Pure Prairie League, Pocco, Reba Macintyre, Miranda Lampert and many others. I built a memory this weekend that I will NEVER forget.
I am excited about flying home next month. My mom was able to score an affordable flight, so she invited me for a visit home. This is an important time of year, because at the end of May my entire family goes on a HUGE camping trip together. This is exactly what I need to refuel my happiness out in LA.
I wish you all the happiness and perfections that come with life. Let me know how you all are!
Every so often we are lucky enough to come across an individual who surpasses any level of mediocrity. This person has some talent, some aura that instantly graces a level of magnetism and grace, and therefore leaves a lasting impression. When I come across such a special person, I cannot help but take a moment and share their gift with others.
Like the angels know, music is a gift that unites, soothes, and changes the world indefinitely. In my new adventure, I’ve come across a young, creative and rare musical talent. Romeo Testa is a young performer who is only at the beginning of his long path, but has already traveled so far. Immediately upon listening to his gift, his music, my soul knew that he is going to reach incredible highs.
Not only am I honored to be a fan of his music, I am blessed to know him personally. With a great head on his shoulder, Romeo has mastered many instruments including the viola and the bass guitar. His rock edge, mixed with his soulfulness creates a sound that supersedes any level of average. As a teenager, Romeo has experienced life beyond most his age. His experiences give his music a quality of truth, which I feel is an entity to art.
As big things are approaching Romeo’s life, I ask you, my readers, to help him out. All you have to do is check out his Myspace, give his songs a listen, and hold on for what is going to be an exciting ride. Click on the link below to find his site!
"It's not hard to die, when you know you have lived; and oh, how I've lived." -Desperate Housewives
Oh how I've lived.
I am proud to say that when my time on earth comes to an end, I'll experience my departure with that profound statement in mind. I am proud as to how I've lived my life thus far; I'm proud of the big life I am living now; I am proud of the future life I know I will persevere and life; I am proud, so proud, that I lived. I am happy that I am not content with monotony and an average life. In my leap, I've accomplished things that most folks will never be able to do. I am seeing things that take my breath away and meeting people that blow me away. Each day continues to excite me, for I am grateful for the complexity and simplicity of my new life.
60 years from now, I am happy that I'll have a "way back when" story to share with my grandchildren.
Are we all doing things we are proud of? We have a short time to live, so lets all make the most of it.
The other evening I went to the Britney Spears concert. I know what you are thinking, but you are so wrong. Regardless of her personal struggles, that girl can put on a show. The essence of a circus set the stage for the entire night. With wild circus stunts, 'trippy' music and the overall ambiance, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with the entertainment value of the entire night. As a dancer, I also appreciated the intense choreography and set. All eyes on the ringleader, as she commanded 20,000 screaming fans attention. I am happy for Britney Spears; although her life went off trail, she is back, and stronger than ever.
I have a bad cough. Allergies are awful. The majority of us, while enjoying the beautiful sights of spring, have to choke on our own breath, just because we are allergic to so many different things. If any of my awesome readers have any advice as to how to reduce allergies, please share!
The weather was 90 degrees today in SoCal, how was the weather in your hometown? That picture can tell you exactly where I spent my day!
After hours of reading around the pool, I decided to tie up the Puma's and hit the road! By road, of course, I mean the sidewalk. I ran a nice two miles under the blaring sun, and I feel great! After that, my good friend Cousin Joey and I went out to dinner. We shot the breeze, ate some Italian food and I'm feeling great. This turned out to be one heck of a weekend. I'm tying it all together by watching my shows. Any opinions on 'Desperate Houseweives' or 'Brothers & Sister?
I am going to make a dream board. It will be an impromptu art project that helps me organize and visualize my goals. It will be casual, simple and personal. As a new goal comes to mind, I will jot it down on my dream board, and as I accomplish my endeavors I will scratch them off. I think we should all have our own form of a dream board. To see our goals is to ignite the passion that promotes inspiration. Each of us have a motion we move in. This motion is both provided and created. Our spirit moves in a certain way, however, with the right intent and will power, we can altar these paths to lead to where we want. My movement is forward. Regardless of where I've been, I move forward.
Good things are coming. good. things. are. coming. I know it. I am so excited for each day, as I know my day is coming. Whether it is tomorrow, or three years from now, I know I will find my height and I will fly. Our existence on this earth is unexplainable. My existence, from my opinion, is to fly. I was born with a dream, one that takes a prolific stance in my life. I may fall, but bet your bottom dollar that I will rise higher each time.
Today I went back to the gym and ran 2 miles. It was a slow start, but a good one considering my vacation. I want to get back into my gym routine, as well as continuing to eat healthy.
In my last post, I talked about my karaoke debut in Arizona, so I thought I'd share a picture!
I've noticed a lag in my readers interest, so I am asking for YOUR honest opinion. What can I do to make Onward Bound a place you want to visit? I am open to any suggestions and will take all criticism with an open mind (I do that for a living)! Either leave your suggestions in a comment, or e-mail me. NickJames18@aol.com
The stars stood out like crystals as I drove home from Arizona. My trip was like some sort of out of body experience. I couldn't help but feel accomplished as I first gave myself credit for my endeavors. For so long I walked around with the idea that I owe everyone something. Upon meeting the folks who push and believe in me, I began believing in myself, not so much as a recipient of multiple favors, but as an entity that deserves to be supported. I plan to not cross the lines of being conceited, but with a new respect for myself, I will stand taller and demand more respect. My Easter holiday in Arizona was incredible. Ian and I made the six hour drive an adventure, and that momentum proceeded through the entire weekend. We arrived on Thursday night and the celebration began immediately. Friday morning Ian and I slept in, only to wake up to an entire day of celebration. Aunt Karen and I played catch up like Lebron James plays basketball. As our group at the mexican joint grew to more loved ones, I couldn't help but smile and feel that I was dealt a pretty decent hand in life. Friday night, Ian and I headed to a friends house for a little reunion. Three words: Rock and Roll. I got to hang with a pretty rad (thanks for the word Ian) crowd. Saturday we slept in again (we are LA boys--we don't get to sleep much). We woke up and headed to lunch with a friend of mine that I met at the American Idol auditions, almost a year ago. It is cool to me that we kept in touch. After lunch, we headed to Scottsdale to gawk at the pretentious town. I am happy, because I bought a new pair of expensive jeans that were marked down to $20.00! That night we kept the momentum going at a karaoke bar. Ian and I stole the show, naturally. I event got the entire bar to hold their lighters in the air as I sung my guts out. Easter was a great day. Two little ones came over and enjoyed an Easter egg hunt, compliments of the Morton's and I. Watching them hunt for eggs reminded me so much of me, circa the 90's, when my family hid eggs for me. Aunt Karen cooked an incredible 7 course dinner, while Uncle Doug gave Ian and I the tour de vino. After sampling some delicious wine we ate, a lot. Being surrounded by family was so refreshing after over three months in Los Angeles. Although leaving was difficult, I am geared up to continue my pursuit.
Folks, I hope you all had a great day- if you celebrate, Happy Easter.
At a time when I feel so high and so low, I cannot help but feel that great things are to come. I am blessed, without a doubt. I've gotten to see things that folks like me may never get to enjoy. I've met people that I am grateful to have met. I have lived in a way that makes me feel as though I am erupting and containing all at once. I am blown up with new experience, yet I stay composed with my newly learned tactics. Being twenty, or any age really is exciting. I am at a point where my dreams are meeting reality; I am honored to introduce my dreams to reality, only to learn that they already know each other.
With my mutual buddies, I am running full forced towards a destiny that I cannot wait to fulfill.
Anyone watch American Idol? Each week I am tossed between opinions, as I feel the contestants aren’t consistently choosing the proper songs. Alison has been the top runner for me all along. At her age, she performs with such an edgy, yet graceful demeanor that I cannot help but feel torn apart and put together as she belts her songs. I find her extremely impressive and cannot wait to see what her future holds.
Today I went into work for a little bit of follow up work. After a short day at the restaurant, headed home and ran some errands. I returned home and spent my free time working on my music. Recently I decided to pursue music more avidly; therefore, I am in the hunt for a vocal coach. Singing is my paradise. With every lyric, melody and song, I am taken to a place where nothing goes wrong.
Along with a vocal coach, I am in the process of finding a car. I have narrowed it down to two different cars, so soon enough I will plant my roots more deeply in California. I look at a car as a symbol of stability and longevity in this chapter of my life. Stability is a peaceful feeling that I long to feel.
Tomorrow is an exciting day for me. I am having my second meeting with LA’s Radio Disney station—not absolutely positive what it is for, but I will find out. After that, my long awaited trip to Arizona begins. My roommate, Ian, who is joining me on the trip, and I went to Trader Joe’s and loaded up on some fun road trip snacks. Locked and loaded, we are excited for a weekend away.
Happy travels to any readers who will be heading out for the holiday. Happy days to each and everyone of you, everyday, all of the time.
This world keeps spinning faster each day. Young ones want to be older, old people want to feel younger. Plants grow and die, the wind blows and flies. We can’t stop it. The older I get, the more content I am with my age. I am still 20 years young and 20 years old. I have experience to base a life off of, but I have many years to correct any mistakes.
Obviously I have been gone for quite some time. I actually regret letting myself go this long without writing. After the end of this story you will understand why I feel that I may make a life out of writing.
Where I've been.
I will tell you where I have been for the past little while. I have been out living my dream, partially. The lesson I learned is that you can have something you want very quickly, but just as quickly it can be taken away. The last time I posted I told you all how I was going to get my headshots. I went and had a great time. My photographer, who I will call Nato, really saw potential in me. He introduced me to his wife, who I will call Nah, and she saw the same spark. They both talked to about their lives in the entertainment business. Nato was a model in his days; he traveled the world and experienced great things. Now he is an actor. Nah in her younger years, too, was a model; however, she chose to go the path of being an agent. Through the years Nato and Nah built a list of very impressive contacts and they wanted me to do the same.
Immediately, strings were pulled that put me on ladder level 5 in the pursuit category. I was to meet a man named Tony Duran (www.tonyduranphotography.net). Tony, I learned, is a very successful photographer. He has shot every celebrity and many, many magazine covers. Tony saw a picture of me and decided that he would shoot me. The day of the shoot, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. All I knew is that my head was flying faster than the butterflies in my stomach. Nah, who has taken on the role of my manager, drove me up to the Hollywood Hills where Tony lives. I arrived at his beautiful home and met his entire crew. Immediately Tony sat me down in his kitchen and starts snipping away at my hair. I didn’t know what to expect, but low and behold I had an edgy haircut and I love it. Tony let me know that his stylist friend was on board helping me and there was a huge wardrobe for me to choose from. I let the stylist do all of the work and I had 6 looks that I completely loved. At this time Tony was ready to start the photo shoot, which was the most educational experience ever. Although I may never have a chance to enjoy Tony’s company again—I respect him more than I think he would even care to know and I think he is a great person. At his level, his willingness to shoot me, a nobody, was extremely respectable and appreciated. By the end of the day I felt as though I had my own fairytale story. Here is a before and after that will properly show you what being in LA does for you.
With a shoot by Tony Duran I was encouraged to reach for the very top and to my surprise; many big name agencies opened their doors to me. I met with all of them with nerves in my stomach tighter than ever before. The end result was that the agencies were not confident in taking me on. Although it was a letdown, I feel as though I got a big taste at my dreams, and that I accomplished huge things in my short time. I am currently, still a signed actor with Beacon Talent. Reality is setting back in that I have a ton of work ahead of me, but surely enough; I am starting to feel rejuvenated and ready to keep trying.
Where I am now.
With this set back, I’ve decided that it is time to get back into school. Now that I am working fulltime between my two jobs, I am realizing how far I could go with a degree. While in Ohio, I completed two years of a broadcast/journalism degree. I’ve decided that I am a writer and there is exciting things that come with that. I’ve been talking about writing a book. I have the writing talent and now I have the experience. I have so many ideas for the message my book will portray and I am very excited to see what happens with everything. Whether it is in California or Ohio- I am so excited to start school again with my new life.
California continues to become more beautiful each and every day. As I am actually building a life here I love my new friends, my new endeavors and all of my new responsibilities. I am learning a lot about life and, more importantly, learning how to apply the knowledge to life. I am learning how happiness is the truest treasure and that family is the greatest cornerstone. I stand a little bit taller, I work a little bit harder and I believe in so much more.
I continue to write music as though I was a player piano out of control. I am staying physically active. I am laughing daily. I am happy. I am embracing my youth as it slowly transitions into adulthood. I am proud to live a life with meaning and self-made happiness.
Oh how I've missed you all. I couldn't even determine where to start to write how hectic things have been. Everything is going perfect. I have been working on a few projects that have tied up all of my freetime and my demand for hard work is higher than ever. I hope you are all doing great. If it makes you feel any better, I've been doing my best to stop in and read your blogs! Sorry again for my 10 days of no blogging--I will try to find time to write more! Take care. E-mail me with how you are doing! NickJames18@aol.com
Today was a hectic day, but it is was everything I want for myself. I got to live the life of an actor, a real actor. While sipping on my homemade latte (so actor-esque) I got ready for what may be one of the most thrilling days I’ve yet to meet. With two appointments and errands to tend to, I felt a thump with each tick of the clock. My first appointment was with an agency. I’m going to be on the brief side of things here, but I will tell you this. Your friend, Nick James, is a signed actor in California! I feel on cloud nine, even though I realize there is still a lot of work ahead of me. After that, I cruised around Hollywood in an attempt to finish up some errands before my 12:30 photo shoot. I finished tightening up some loose ends and felt the need for MORE coffee (I needed energy for my shoot). After leaving Starbucks, ( I headed to my photographer’s place. Him and I hit it off from the get go, making the shoot such a great time. By the end of my afternoon, I was a signed actor and had some really GREAT headshots. I’ll share them with you as soon as possible. The future is looking bright. Truth is, I couldn’t ask for a better life. I feel so proud of myself; I took a huge step by moving out to Los Angeles and all by myself I am actually doing what I came to do. That is a rare chance in life, a chance that I am so proud to have took. I’m extremely tired, because after my exciting day I had to get to the club. Goodnight my friends, thanks for your constant support.
I will start off with the first bit of exciting news. As we all know, history took place this year when Barack Obama was elected as the President of the United States. Regardless your empathy towards or opinions on politics, the making of history is inevitably happening. Earlier this week I was standing in the elevator of my apartment only to find a sign informing residents of the complete block of the roads surrounding our apartment. No specifics were offered, not a single clue. As two and two often create a simple equation, so did the answer as to why the roads were going to be closed. Barack Obama is paying a visit to Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. One of these areas includes the high school that sits right under the balcony of my apartment. I am thrilled at the thought of seeing the President’s motorcade and all of the commotion.
My schedule has continued to grow more jam packed, as well as the demand for my full efforts. Working eight hours a day is a very fortunate requirement bestowed upon me, however, I am exhausted. Luckily, however, the more I work, the more I am able to afford what I need to pursue my dreams. Tomorrow I will be auditioning for MTV’s dating show, Parental Control. Although it is not exactly the route I want to pursue, I know that the benefits of my presence are undeniable. Not only will I learn more about auditioning, I will be face to face with the casting directors of an extremely respected, professional network.
Friday is by far one of the most exciting adventures I’ve come across in Los Angeles. I am shooting my first set of professional headshots in two years. Not only am I shooting these headshots, I am lucky enough to be working with such an experienced photographer. After having a long conversation with him on the phone today, I realized that he cares more about getting me on the right track than he does making money. I also get to rest in the comfort that he is a close friend to someone I consider a close friend. He said that he has already placed several phone calls to highly respected agencies. Ladies and gentlemen, step one is only days away. The first legitimate step towards my dreams is going to happen and I could not be more thrilled.
Although I am working more, I still find my demand for money growing higher and higher. Realistically, I need to get myself in a position to afford my own place, a car, car insurance, gas and all of my extra expenses that allow me to live somewhat decently. While I am willing to sacrifice many of the amenities I am used to, I still feel stressed and unsure of how I will come close to accomplishing this. This month alone, I can think of $1,300 worth of absolutely necessary costs. It makes me panicked to think that I am running myself into such a steep hole and such a young age. If this isn’t a testament of my determination, I’m not exactly sure what is.
With Arizona only a few weeks away, I cannot help but feel anxious and excited to get out of the fast paced environment that is Los Angeles. Arizona is an oasis to me; ironically a very HOT oasis. When I am there, my stresses seem to fade and I am able to get in touch with myself again. Not to mention, “Aunt” Karen is my biggest cheerleader and always leaves me feeling capable of it all! It will be an interesting trip, as Ian, my roommate, will be joining me. The Morton’s were nice enough to open their doors, not only to me, to my roommates. BWI rejected the offer, but Ian is more than excited to see a new place.
Back to Los Angeles and the rest of this week. I somehow need to manage, on top of working 8 hours, getting a bank account set up, a haircut, a rent check, my photo shoot money and groceries. I type all of this with a smile on my face, because I know that this experience is going to help me grow up.
I touched base on this briefly, but I feel the need to chat about my new job. I LOVE IT! I work with an absolutely great team of folks at an absolutely great restaurant. I get a taste of everything I love about food establishments. I get to start the day off talking to customers and helping them decide what to eat. I get to move to the coffee station and make delicious blends of espresso, coffee, hot, frozen, and delicious specialty drinks (takes me back to my favorite job at the Octane Café, a coffee shot I worked at when I was 16). Around 12:00, the place is pouring with people while I expedite food, and taking care of customers. I seriously enjoy everything about the job, including everything I am going to end up learning. Hi, I’m Nick Belardo—welcome to Panera Bread.
Folks, as I take one giant step for myself, I hope you find yourself progressing towards wherever you want to be. Dreams happen and reality can be great. I wish you all the very, very best.
It has been awhile since I’ve posted a detailed post. Perhaps I feel so busy, because I was so bored for so long; perhaps I am truly busy. Although I couldn’t wait for last week to end, it was a great experience. Working on my first film, with my first bit of legitimate equipment was a learning experience. I gained knowledge and friendships that I will appreciate always. I am excited, because we are planning a wrap party for the weeks to come.
With the end of one project, I am beginning a new one. I am going to begin pursuing my dreams for real. This Friday I am starting the journey with new headshots. Although I will be alone in the process, I am excited. I’ve been told that good headshots can really help your career. I got a call from MTV today; their casting department likes the way I look and has invited me to come out and audition for one of their reality shows. Although these shows are tacky, they act as great exposure. I will be meeting with them on Thursday for a screen test—wish me luck!
Money is still tight, but I am learning how to manage. I am simply learning to make more with less. I am lucky to have the jobs I have, but it will take time to build a solid foundation of income. I have many initial expenses that inhibit my ability to save.
St. Patrick’s Day is always a great day. It is a festive holiday where everyone seems to be cheerful. This morning, I went to LA’s parade with a few friends. After that, I headed back to the apartment and went straight to the pool. I was so blessed to have taken such a long nap outside today. Although I feel a little groggy, I am feeling quite rejuvenated. Not only is it St. Patty’s day, it is my late grandmother’s birthday and my parents anniversary. Today is a day to celebrate all around, and I am doing so thoroughly. How did you celebrate?
I found something out today. I found out that sometimes the greatest moments in life are the ones created. As you read earlier, the past two weeks have been so busy and tiring for me; while I’ve enjoyed every moment, my knees were starting to ache and my energy was depleting. That was then, this is now: Sunday March 15th, today, has been a day of peaceful moments.
Take it from me, “ME” days are the most important ever. We all give so much to the world around us that it is important to take a day all for you. I chose today to be that day. I woke up at 9:00AM, a perfect time to wake up. I stayed in my PJ’s as I caught some entertainment on the tube over a cup of coffee and a bagel. As my roommates departed for the day, I headed into the shower. I took a long hot shower and just did plenty of thinking. I got dressed and headed for a walk through the city, on this sunny day. I stopped at GNC, where I bought myself my favorite vitamins. I then headed to the mall where I people watched and window shopped. I cut my outing short and headed home. Here I am now making up for lost time. If you noticed, I caught up and read/commented ALL of your blogs again. It means a lot to me to do that.
I am so entirely blessed to live the life I lead. I have the courage to try things, the support group to back me up and the will to survive, regardless the matter. Sorry for another short post, but it is almost game time. Take care my friends!
I'm so sorry about not commenting on everyone's blog today. I read them, but here is my excuse. I'm only outlining this for my own interest; I want to read how busy I was.
Wednesday: Work 6:00PM-After Midnight. Thursday: Wake up 8:00AM. Begin shooting BWI's film-8:00PM Friday: Wake up 7:00AM. Day 2 of filming- 6:00PM. 6:30PM-1:30AM work. Walked home from work 3 miles. Saturday: Wake up 7:00AM. Day 3 of filming-11:00AM. Work 11:30AM-2:00. Return back to filming for BWI's film. Work 7:30-after midnight.
Wow, wow, wow. That is a hectic schedule, especially considering that 90% of it requires me to be on my feet. Thankfully I am young, but I am extremely tired.
Again, sorry for my lack of comments and writing--I'm literally so tired I could sleep on a bag of nails.
I can't wait until Sunday, when I will sleep until my heart's consent.
After a 2:00AM return from work at the club, last night, I found my brain pounding away, excited for the first day of filming for BWI’s film. This morning, March 12th, 2009, I woke up extremely early. With an apartment in need of cleaning, setup and preparation, BWI’s crew was up and ready. After fueling up on quite a few cups of morning brew, productivity was at the maximum. Our lead was the only actor required for today’s schedule and he did great. I will refer to him as A. Max. A. Max is a light hearted, guy’s guy who came to LA with a dream just like mine. His sense of humor made the 9 hour day more enjoyable. He and I discussed, and we are confident that a friendship will be present in the future. After picking up two car loads of expensive filming equipment, the apartment went from home to studio in one day. Camera’s attached to C-Stands hung about the ceilings of our bedrooms and living room, and extremely bright film lights made the place unbearably bright. We all joked about the feeling of being on a reality show—I, of course, was in my own form of heaven. Although I would pick performance every day, I am so happy to have seen this side of production. With two more days of filming, twelve hours each, I am sure I will have much more to learn. Unfortunately, I was invited to three auditions this Saturday. As of now, I may not be attending, for I have prior commitments. If BWI feels he can go on without me for a few hours, I will excitedly pursue these opportunities.
This Sunday, I will be going to live Karaoke with two of our actors. I am extremely excited; I have not sung my heart out in too long! I will take plenty of pictures and introduce you to my new friends.
As I told you earlier, I am extremely excited to be visiting Phoenix, next month, for Easter! Another trip may be on the itinerary for late March. Very good friends of mine, from the station I hosted for, are planning a trip to NYC. We have a co-worker there who has invited all of us to stay at her place, right in the heart of the city. My plan is to fly to NYC, meet up with my pals and drive back to Ohio to visit the family. Nothing has been booked, but I am excited at the thought of that entire trip.
Obviously lately, my ex somehow managed to snag my attention again, although she wasn’t even trying. She and I don’t speak, but I get to keep tabs on her through social networking sights. I don’t look to keep tabs on her, but this particular site broadcast pictures of her all over my page. I don’t’ want to delete her friendship, but I hate seeing her with her new found love.
Slowly moving on from her, again, I am starting to notice the heart of another girl in my life. My first year of high school was a time to remember, especially when Booger (her nickname) came into my life. We never dated, officially, but we both shared a great connection. Over the years, I’d like to say her and I have experienced many of life’s journeys; as friends and romantics. Although our road has been rocky, she is always the one standing there at the end of the day. I couldn’t even imagine my life, partially, without her in it. Should I just marry her? I’m only kidding, but, who knows, maybe one day. I got a letter from her today and she stole my heart with the following closing lines:
Will you plan a visit home? PLEASE! Until then, keep knocking ‘em dead in Cali baby.
As soon as I read her letter, I wanted to jump on a plane and fly home to her. She has a huge heart and I am so lucky to have held a spot in there for so long. I’m starting to realize that I’ve been looking too far for something great; she has been under my nose all along. Whether we are friends forever, or potential spouses, Booger is a great woman.
I am extremely tired. Last night started late, this morning started early and hasn’t stopped yet—I read all of your blogs today, thanks! I hope you enjoyed my comments, I know I enjoy all of yours.
Liquid stitches, such an interesting product. As my finger types, quite stiffly, due to liquid stitches, I cannot help but wonder what holds our lives together. We know, from reading each other’s blogs and from observing our daily lives that we all hold it together until it falls apart. When our lives fall apart, where do the liquid stitches come from that hold it all together until we have the strength to do it again ourselves? I am learning to appreciate the times where I have the strength to hold it all together, because inevitably we lose strength and things break.
While BWI went to school today, I was lucky enough to spend time with DP, the guy filming for us. DP is one of those guys that walk into a room and instantly brightens the atmosphere. He has a personality of gold and a sense of humor of a champion. I was not bored once today. Being that the next few days will be absolutely crazy, DP and I went to the grocery store to buy dinner. The decision process was pretty simple, and here is the delicious dinner we got to enjoy; BWI and Ian, included.
We enjoyed marinated steaks, cheesy/steamed broccoli (organic broccoli and fresh grated cheese), homemade mashed potatoes and a delicious fresh salad to wrap it all together. Take a look!
Desert didn’t fall short either. I took a puff pastry and brushed it in a cream, egg base. I cut the pastry sheets into squares. At the center of each pastry, I put a dove chocolate. I baked to perfection, and served it with a dollop of whipped cream. Mmm, this meal was delicious to just look at, let alone eat. Enjoy!
Friday night I will be working at the club, so I’m excited to get back into “club mode.” I am really starting to enjoy the atmosphere and the folks I am getting to know. I position opened up for the company, and with the help of some friends, I hope to get another new job. I am excited to keep working hard at Panera, where I learned my new title is the catering coordinator. I am so excited for how things are going.
This Saturday, I will be attending two auditions. I will be auditioning for a theatre company’s musical production, as well as an agency dance program. I will be lucky enough to land either of these auditions. I am extremely excited, but will take the outcome with a positive attitude. Right after auditioning, I will be rushing home to help out with filming.
Speaking of which, the next couple of days will be extremely busy. We are wrapping up rehearsals for BWI’s film, and that means one thing; filming starts the day after. With a long rehearsal tomorrow, and 3 days of shooting (8 hours a day) following, it is important to get it all together, thus making the process as smooth as possible.
Although I am not a television junky, I have been addicted to three shows for the past two years. I ritually watch Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers & Sisters and, my guilty pleasure, Desperate Housewives. Each episode that I watch blows my mind. Not only am I thoroughly impressed with the caliber of acting on the shows, but the writing is incredibly stellar, too. If any readers watch any of these shows, I invite you to discuss with me regularly!
I am sacrificing a night at the gym to enjoy time with DP—we are going to watch some sort of comedy flick, it will be…comical. Folks, I wish you the best. If any time your situation becomes broken, I hope you find your liquid stitches. Remember, they aren’t too visible, but they hold things together nonetheless. I look forward to reading what you write and will head to your blog now! Take care.
Has anyone noticed, when reading other folk’s blogs, how cool it is to read about the weather all around the world? Just today, I read four bits on weather, and they were all different. I find that so interesting. We all share the same sky, sun and moon—but the weather is so different for all of us. While many are trudging through snow still, others are welcoming the new spring weather—or, in California, the sun has been shining brightly all along.
Along with the simple task of living, we are also responsible for our social abilities. This includes meeting people, making friends, and most importantly keeping healthy friendships. Sometimes these friendships are easy, but unfortunately, often times, they are hard. Friendships are a give and take human correspondence. It is crucial to offer to your friends, kindness and care. By doing so you create vitality in your friendship, but if you lack the ability to provide to your friends, you will eventually have a hollow friendship that will not be able to withstand the pressures of life. Learning from this, very personally, as many of us have, I do my best to be a friend.
Being away from home, I am learning something extremely important in terms of my friendships. As adulthood continues to approach my life, friendships and the way they work change. I don’t have to talk to my friend’s everyday to maintain a friendship. A mature friendship can pick up where it left off. I don’t need to know everything about my friends to have a great friendship—I only want to know what is important. No matter how strong the foundation of a friendship, folks change and so do friendships. Just because friends change does not mean they have to go away. Friendships are important, but as you grow older and start building your life, interests change. For all of my friends, regardless how I’ve changed, I am here for you. No matter what we’ve gone through, I am here for you. This includes you my blog pals!
BWI's rehearsal was great yesterday! Our actors are beyond talented and are extremely great people. I am confident in saying that I've made friends in this process. Our actress, who I will call String bean, is great. If I can't say I have a crush on her, I will say I wouldn't mind it! This Sunday she is taking me to band-a-oke. This is just like karaoke, but a band plays the music live. If you couldn't tell, I AM SO EXCITED. Her and I are also going to be hosting a mixer at her place, which I'm excited about. This entire process has been so fun and educational.
This Easter, I will be flying to Phoenix to spend some time with my second family, the Mortons. I wrote about them on my second or third day of blogging. I am so excited for many reasons. A) I get to leave LA and experience a change of scenery. B) I get to spend a holiday with the Mortons, whom are seriously family. C) Phoenix is absolutely one of my favorite places in the world. Although it will kill me to be away from my family on a holiday, I know I will have an enjoyable time.
On March 26th, I have a meeting with a management company. For those who don't know what exactly that is, I will explain. A manager is a person who helps kick start your career. They help you find an agent, auditions, and keep you on the right track in the business. There is no guarantee that I will get signed, but I plan on bringing my "A" game. As the date quickly approaches, I will keep you up-to-date with my preparation.
I wish that life could be like a TV show. What you are looking for miraculously shows up by the end of the episode. There is an audience to laugh at you…no matter how lame your joke is. Love is never a lost cause and there is always another character to love. You have fans that are rooting for you and script writers to make sure you never fail. The bad guy always loses and you, the good guy, always wins.
Okay friends, I am getting tired. Have a great night and, as usual, take care!
I'm a music man who happens to love dancing, writing and acting. I'm not afraid to try and most likely will never know the fear. You will get to know a lot about me if you choose to read Onward Bound. I like you.