January 3, 2009

On the other side of survival

The start of the new year is as good a time as any to bring you all up to speed on where the heck I've been for the past month or so.

I've done lots of stuff. In a short amount of time. And now that I'm looking on the other side of it all I think it's an appropriate time to take stock of what I survived.

1. Graduate School. I survived graduate school. I'm amazed that I made it through that first horrible semester in the city, alone, taking frequent trips to the Bronx for beat reporting classes. But now, looking back on this amazing year and a half, I am so thankful and so motivated to find work and stay here. I'm so attached to the life of this city, even when it gives me headaches and makes me cold while waiting for the bus. Graduate school was my reason for coming to New York, but I think New York was my reason for coming to New York. I have a habit of writing down pros and cons of big decisions on a piece of paper side-by-side. I got into Syracuse University and New York University; and when I put them side-by-side, I remember two things: they were both cold and one was in the middle of nowhere and the other was freaking New York City. I think to say that I survived graduate school means that I survived New York City. And I think I'm prouder of that.

2. My Documentary. I hesitate to write this now because the final screening isn't until January 31. But I have to say something. My documentary, "Stained-Glass Ceiling", is what months and months of serendipity can produce. I love the story. I love the people who helped me make it. I love my hard-drives and the software program that helped me make it. I love my classmates who watched and offered their opinions on the thing, from its rough, rough, beginnings to its semi-happy finished ending.

STILL FOR PROMO POST-2.jpgStained-Glass Ceiling
By Amanda Cochran
Screening January 31, 2009, New York University

Gay leadership and marriage threaten to break apart one of the world's largest Christian bodies: The Anglican Communion. Watch this story unfold in the unlikely backdrop of New York City -- as ardent traditionalists break away from the church, and gay members fight for their rights within it.

3. The Holidays. I survived the holidays. I didn't buy many gifts. I didn't deck the halls with much holly. I was barely alive when I took the train home on Christmas Eve. When I arrived home on Christmas Even, dinner was on the table and I ate a lot. After subsisting on lamb and rice from the local cart and the pre-holiday refrigerator gobble down, nothing could have tasted better than my sister's chicken parmesan, salad and faux sparkling wine. The holidays are always trying, especially when you're not near everyone you want to be, but this year was more chaotic than most. I'm usually just one person in New York, and when I go home, I'm thrust into a huge family again and all of its beautiful dramas. Lovely being with them all, but I was just exhausted. So I slept and ate lots of delectable things and didn't leave the house most days. Such a delicious thing, to stay inside on a snowy Pennsylvania day...

4. Moving. I survived moving. AGAIN. I have moved a total of four times in the past year and a half. Three times within the same building, and once across town.

The final move was this semester. I was gradually moving on weekends through the subways with my suitcases. The entire experience is something I hate to remember, but I do have a particularly interesting story about moving a set of plastic drawers on wheels that I'll share another time.

However, the moving hasn't ended. I'm moving one more time this month. That makes five moves. I don't mind packing up my stuff and putting it into another place. I'm used to it now, but it's not belonging somewhere that's really starting to get to me. I like having a home base to drop my stuff at when the trains and planes and buses have spewed me forth from their bowels. Living the dorm life sucked and the uncertainty of an apartment and job in the city is very worrisome. But it's all going to work out I'm sure. I haven't come this far to move under a bridge.

5. Myself. I survived myself. I learned a lot about myself in this past year and a half, but mostly in the last few months. I actually hated school those last few weeks. I wanted to quit. I really did. I still have to survive myself now, and especially my fretful noggin that is worrying about a job and life and all the loans and such. But I'm learning to turn that crap off. It's like I have cable channels in my head that are nothing but garbage and I watch them for too long. But I'm learning to shut it off and just live and think of all of this as an adventure again. What character would I rather be? One that has everything handed to her so easily, or one that has to fight for everything and make it work? I think I've always wanted to be the fighter. I whine when I spar, but I like the lean concentration of survival in a real battle.

And it's going to be a battle--really, really soon. I hope my list of "I surviveds" are much too long to talk about, and less quantifiable.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 3, 2009 7:29 PM | TrackBack

Best wishes to you in the new year. That's quite a lot of moving! I suppose it's taught you to pack light each time. Each time I've moved lately, I've had a bigger family and more stuff. But I fantasize about squeezing the necessities into a van and hitting the road.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 5, 2009 10:30 PM
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