Thursday, March 23, 2006

Introducing Hurricane: A real New Yorker?

New Yorkers know I'm not from here. I don't know how, but they do. Then again, everywhere I go, people assume I'm from somewhere else - even in my own hometown! (The beautiful-but-depressing, passive-aggressive, p.c.-to-the-max Seattle, Washington.) Of course this only compounds and confirms the feeling that I don't belong anywhere. It is the main theme of my first solo show - this feeling of being an alien, always an outsider looking in.

Even in LA, where I lived for a total of six years, and where EVERYONE is from somewhere else, it seemed like everyday someone would ask me, "You're not from here, are you?" In LA they thought I was from Kansas (because I look like fresh off the farm??), in Seattle they thought I was a New Yorker, 'cause I talk, walk (and do everything) fast. In New York, people think I'm from California, cause... I'm blonde and I smile, I guess.

In any case, I am here now, at last. I've dreamed of living here all my life, and I can still hardly believe I really do. I am A Real New Yorker, with an address and area code to prove it. Meanwhile, the rest of my vision about my fabulous New York life hasn't quite materialized. I envisioned fabulous dinner parties with the literati, George Plimpton-style, and late-night dinners at Elaine's (which closed, right?) alternating with all-night parties at Danceteria (okay, I'm an old-school Madonna fan, what can I say?)

(sigh)

Despite all the dreams and visions, I came here quite by accident -- or perhaps it was fate, I don't know. Although from where I sit at this moment, it's looking more like a three-car mulitple-injury pile-up in a fog than anything designed by the hand of god. But, as they say, perhaps more will be revealed. I hope so! Not that my life is so awful at the moment, but this past couple years has been like one long, slo-mo train wreck (no more trite accident similes, I promise!)

I came to New York by way of the Hamptons, which is not a bad way to go, frankly. Here's how it happened:

The short version: I worked at a job in upstate New York for seven weeks one summer, and came to the city when it was over. My first day in New York I met these really nice people who invited me to come live with them in the Hamptons. For the next two years I lived in a big, beautiful house near the water and worked first as a host of the morning show for the local tv station, and then got a great gig as co-host of the morning show on the radio station.

The long version: In the summer of 2002, after a really draining breakup with J, I moved out of our apartment in LA and went back to Seattle, permanently I thought. The day before my birthday, on August 24, I left for a 7-week production gig at the Omega Institute, which is a retreat center located about two hours up the Hudson River Valley. This seemingly innocuous little jaunt turned out to be the single most transformative experience of my life.

In that time, just less than two months, I lived in a tent, became a vegetarian, found tremendous deep healing for my broken heart, got very tuned in to the Earth's cycles and the moon, and found my spiritual teachers - Ram Dass and Krishna Das. (Ram Dass is the former Richard Alpert, pioneer and explorer in the early days of LSD - he was fired from Harvard with Timothy Leary, then later went to India, met a guru and became Ram Dass. He wrote the book BE HERE NOW, which was sort of like the hippie bible. Krishna Das is a guy who went to India to be with Ram Dass and his guru, and now travels around the country doing kirtans; a kind of yogic chanting. I'm sure this all must sound goofy as hell, but they are both unpretentious, regular guys, no weird voodoo mumbo jumbo or anything.)

I was so moved by this experience I wanted to continue learning and living in this way; a more conscious, spiritual path. I decided to follow these two teachers wherever they went. I was going to be a Das-Head (never got into the Grateful Dead, but I figured I'd coin my own term for blindly following someone who you really don't know).

The day after my gig at Omega ended, I went to New York City. I knew that Krishna Das would be there doing a kirtan at a children's yoga studio on the upper west side. So there I was, totally hippie'd out, fresh off the ashram, basically hugging trees and looking for organic food at the diners. It was my first day in New York, and I went to this yoga studio, met this 3-year old girl who wouldn't speak, but looked (I'm not kidding!) deep into my eyes, like, into my soul, and then crawled into my lap. I held her the entire time, almost two hours, and she ended up falling asleep in my arms. I had no idea who her parents were, or even what her name was. But she had connected with me in this really intense, deep way. At the end of the concert, her parents came up to me and introduced themselves. Her mom talked to me for a few minutes and then started writing her phone number on a piece of paper, saying, "Have you ever thought about coming out to the Hamptons?"

Hamptons-NYC: Two years ago, I fell madly in love (and when I say "madly" I mean "mad" as in, not sane!) with a guy and left my beautiful life in the Hamptons for a totally insane life in the city, which quickly spiralled into the darkest winter of my life. I completely bottomed out. The good news is, I am here now -- without the relationship, with a beautiful apartment and a great roommate. Not quite happily ever after in the traditional sense, but then again, hopefully the story isn't over yet!

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posted by SaraKarl @ 3/23/2006 08:32:00 PM |

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