Hollywood Confessions Part 8: The Dent of Hope

Let's be real, there was no way for me to possibly pay $1200 a month in rent (NOT including any of the utilities) AND my student loans with what I was taking home. My position at E! was an entry level position and I was being paid beans. If I had no loans then at least I would've been breaking even despite living paycheck to paycheck.

When my roommate left, I moved my stuff into the room and had initially planned to put an ad out in craigslist for someone to take the nook. However, after a couple of days of living by myself I began to change my mind. I loved it. It was so peaceful to come home and have a place to call my own.

Around the same time, coincidentally, a girl I knew through some friends at UW had contacted me via facebook to tell me that she was moving into LA in a couple of months because she had been accepted into a law school nearby. In a round about way she kinda joked and asked me if I needed a roommate to where I replied, "You know, actually, I do." That's when I decided that I'd just stick it out at my apartment and just pay the full rent for the two months until I moved out. I called my landlord in an attempt to negotiate and bring down the price but was only able to bring it down to $1100. Better than nothing I guess. Good thing was I was on a month to month lease and all I needed to do was give my landlord one month's notice and I was fine.

So those following two months I penny pinched like a mofo and looked everywhere in my neighborhood for a two bedroom apartment to move into. Since I would still have to ride my bike to work, I made sure that I limited my search to within a one mile radius from my office building. I also set the budget to around $1800 since splitting that with a roommate is manageable and worlds of a difference from paying $1200 by myself. On a side note, it was odd to find so many apartments in the Hollywood area where having a refrigerator was NOT included and more of a luxury.

After about a month of searching, I found a winner. It was a 2 bedroom/ 2.5 bathroom condo about a mile away from work that was going for $1600. It almost sounded too good to be true so I had to go check it out. It was just as advertised. It was nice, spacious, had all the major kitchen appliances, up stairs was carpeted and downstairs had all new hardwood floors. But what sold me right away and made me take it on the spot was that the unit included a washer dryer! TI knew that that amenity, in this part of LA no less, was so hard to find so there was no question on whether or not to take the apartment. To top it all off, since we'd be renting it directly from the owners, it was part of the Home Owners Association so cable, water, trash and sewage was all included and the only utility we had to pay for was gas and electric.

To our joy, we got the apartment and was moved in by the last week of June.

My first night sleeping there was crazy. I laid on my mattress on the floor of my unfurnished room and stared at a dent in the ceiling. I thought about the many things that used to stare at during my year and a half in LA right before I'd doze off. From the ceiling in both my Aunt's places, the wall in the Shady House, to the stars when I slept in my car, or the black dot on the curtain from where I laid in my nook. There are a lot of visuals that had become a representation of anxiety . But this dent was something different. This dent represented hope and for the first time in a long time, I can remember myself smiling before falling asleep.

It took me about a week to unpack the seven boxes I had been lugging around all this time and for the most part I had completely forgotten what I had even packed in those things. This would officially be the first time that I'd be cutting open the tape which had been sealing those boxes shut these past two years.

As I sorted through the boxes, it didn't cease to amaze me at how surreal it was. It's one thing to reminisce about or even to have someone tell you how much you've changed over a year or two, but the contents of those boxes were a tangible representation of who I was and what I cared about two years ago when I first moved down and to see what I had cared enough to save all this time was crazy to me. These boxes were time capsules and what made it surreal was that I almost didn't recognize the person who had packed all of this stuff. He was a stranger now and by the time I had consolidated everything I realized that I had gone from seven to two boxes. Call it what you want, maturity, I don't know, but there were a lot of things in those boxes that I didn't need or didn't find important anymore and looking through it just strengthened my yearning for the future and what it holds. This box represented my past and that dent represented my future, a future that I couldn't wait to get started. I don't think I completely changed. If you talk to me, you'll see that to my core, I'm still the same jokester that I've always been (maybe even moreso) but my priorities definitely have changed.

And that's where things are now. Two years after moving to LA, I finally have a stable living situation and a stable work situation. Even though I've been here a while, I feel that it's only now that I could concentrate on what I moved down here for. It's the first time I don't have to worry about where I'm gonna sleep and what I'm going to eat. It's just me and my dream. What is that you ask? Filmmaking. For the few that I've spoken to this about, and to those in wonderment, I hope to be the John Singleton (director of Boyz 'N the Hood, Higher Learning, Poetic Justice) for Pacific Islanders. I want to pave the way for Islanders and make it commonplace to see noncommercial, non-stereotypical stories being told in mainstream Hollywood films. As far as the acting thing, I enjoy that just as much as making films and I'm pushing that 100% as well. It's just a matter of time to which one takes off first because there's no way I'm giving up after what I've been through. It's definitely a hustle but I enjoy every second of it. Work at night, write/audition/go to meetings during the day but I know it will all be worth it, especially for my family. I look forward to the day that I could call my mom and tell her that she doesn't have to work anymore. I feel I've been through the worst and I've gotten through what would make most aspiring actors/filmmakers quit and go home and I'm fine. It's all just a matter of time.

So LET'S GO, 2010!! It's not about if, it's about WHEN!!

PS - Thanks to everyone who've supported me and helped me keep my sanity through these hard times. I love you all and I hope to make you proud someday.

Part 1: Where's the Love?

Part 2: Moving Day

Part 3: The Shady House

Part 4: False Salvation

Part 5: Four Star Hotel

Part 6: Do Unto Others

Part 7: So Close, Yet So Far

Part 8: Dent of Hope