#WTF: Ye who likes to “ghost” gets ghost-ed
I am having a super hard time adjusting back to LA. Am not planning on being here full time, but the reality of where I want my career to go means that I had to go go back back to Cali Cali. (Trite, I know.)
I left LA because I fell in love. I was unsure of what to do with Talk Nerdy because I was dating someone who pays people to hide, and out of respect I wanted to honor his wishes. He also brought to my attention the reality of what I was doing, and who I was in the process.
“The person you are, is not the person on your website,” he said one night over wine.
I knew he was right, but what do you do with a “business” and this “following” that you built with your bare hands?
He tried to give me advice on where it should go, and all of it resulted in extreme frustration. The only thing that I knew to be true of my entire Talk Nerdy journey was that I had to follow my heart. I couldn’t over think - I just had to do. So I did. And in that moment, I did nothing. I moved to an island, barely posted on the site, barely posted in social … much like I did with Los Angeles (and even high school), I ghosted.
I really did start to love my life. Truly. Even after the relationship went south, we remained close friends and I got to experience life for the first time with a true support system. I started volunteering in the community, learned how to paddle board, fish, jump off of light houses, roofs, and all of the things that made me happy in my heart - not my head. People asked what I did for a living, and I would say I was a writer. I had a site, but was looking for a new gig.
It wasn’t until the Friday before July 4th of 2014, that I got a call that Jerry Bruckheimer was interested in my life rights, trademarks, and intellectual property. (Talk about becoming liberated.) I remember standing by my buffet looking out the window when I got the email. I was shocked because it wasn't even on the market. My knees hit the ground, as my legs completely gave out.
I committed an “internet sin” by going quiet. I used to say that if I was away from the internet for a single afternoon I was irrelevant. Watching social expand and grow so quickly was intoxicating. The world as we knew it was changing how it received its information and being in the right place at the right time with a resume in tech put me in a very shallow pool.
I used to say there was no amount of money that could bring me back to LA, but as I type this from 34,000 feet - there is in fact a price. Talk Nerdy selling to CBS is a big deal. I took an idea that I started on a bed after a break up, and through every back and side door figured out how to get it in the hands of the “right” people who are now going to take it and run.
If I can do this once, I can do this again (hopefully) … and again (hopefully). All of this is the absolute just beginning. Luck is opportunity meeting preparation. I’ve never been more prepared or mentally (a very important key factor) ready.
I had been asked (before the official sale) to come back to LA, but I wasn’t sure if I was 100% sold (literally and figuratively). I LOVE more than anything having weekly dinners with my family. I have the absolute best friends I have ever had in my entire life, and I am honorary auntie to some very special chickadees (they call me “Fun Jen”).
Knowing that all of my belongings were still in storage, it didn’t take me long to realize this was the opportunity I had been waiting for. (I wrote about this back in July.) I never know where I am going to end up, but I do know to follow certain “clues” along the way.
This was a big ass motherfucking clue.
I got back to LA and found my absolute dream apartment building. It’s historical, and is oozing with creativity. (Shocking btw that I could even afford a place like this on my own given that I trashed my credit score going off the grid bartering to launch Talk Nerdy. Things really are moving up in the world, I thought.) I love that all of the handles and woodwork are original. I love that when I walk up the stairs they creak. I love that it’s a safe building with security, and I don’t just mean the guard.
One has to assume when you rent an apartment this old it comes with a certain “cast of characters” both living and uh, not so living? Whatever your religious preference, or understanding of the afterlife - I believe in two things:
1. What I have seen with my own eyes.
Energy can never be created or destroyed. By definition we are all energy beings. On that fundamental principal alone - we don’t ever “die” our bodies just give out.
<tangent> When I was 11 or 12? my uncle Manuel died. I had only met him a handful of times, but in Ireland at his kitchen table we bonded big time. I can’t describe it, our connection was deep. I loved him so much that when we came back from Ireland I even painted my room the color lavender (his deceased wife’s favorite color).
After he passed, I cried for days, but it wasn’t until a handful of months after when things were calm that I experienced something my eyes literally could not believe.
I was about to fall asleep, and I turned over to my right side, (wow, I am getting chills writing this. Still so vivid.) I looked into the doorway, and saw a figure in a khaki colored cardigan sweater. There was no doubt in my mind that it was my Uncle Manuel. I’ve still to this day never seen anything like it because he was quite literally transparent. I saw him, he saw me, and I did what any logical person would do in that moment … I SCREAMED MY FUCKING FACE OFF.
I didn’t sleep in my room for months. I made my brother switch rooms with me as I was so freaked out. Obviously. </tangent>
The first night I was in my apartment, I was sitting on an air mattress in the living room (as my things had not arrived since I left so quickly) listening to music, and I heard a very loud sound in the kitchen. Loud enough to bleed through the headphones.
I took the ear buds out, and not two seconds later I heard the same sound. It sounded like ice falling loudly from an ice machine. I didn’t know I had an ice machine, I thought walking into the kitchen.
I open the stainless steel freezer door and discover what I thought to be true …
I don’t have an ice machine.
I went back to the air mattress and sat for a moment wondering if I was delirious. The questioning barely registered before I heard the sound again. I had head to toe chills and knew I wasn’t alone in the room.
I slept that first night with the light on.
The next day I set up cable, and internet and not surprisingly, none of the boxes worked. Both were defective. The Nest system set up in my apartment? Didn’t work. Built in surround sound? Didn’t work. All of these things I know how to fix in my sleep weren’t working, and having “less than techie” maintenance people I had to figure it out.
I eventually did, but was perplexed as to why so many things weren’t working. I was stopped one day in the hall by a gentleman that has lived there for almost 20 years.
How are things going in your apartment?
I could see a smile in his eyes and intuitively I picked up on what he was asking.
Oh you mean the fact it’s haunted?
I assumed going into a building like this I’d have an experience eventually - nothing scares me, I admitted. Whatever it is feels very nurturing. I’d fear anyone that came into this home un-welcomed. Considering I was stalked as a teen, got hit in the head with a brick in my 20s, and generally (like any internet personality) have attracted multiple whackadoodle noodles over the years - it’s kind of refreshing. You can’t ever “guarantee” that people aren’t going to mess with you, but again, I feel very safe.
I’m so happy you’re happy, he said. You’ll fit in well here.
Over the last couple of weeks, I maxed out my work load (shocking), and signed up for a series of dating apps (not necessarily interested in dating) but just knowing that I am “putting myself out there” to some degree. It’s mentality gratifying as I sit alone every night. (My dog is coming out this month - then I’ll feel less lonely, I hope.)
It only took a handful of “matches” before I got “you look familiar?”
::cue a few hours and I’m assuming research::
Talk Nerdy!! It’s you!! Didn’t you move away or something?
Even those I didn’t talk to remembered something in my profile and would shoot me a message on Facebook (through my instagram account being connected).
I have spent so many years mass marketing myself on so many dating sites that I genuinely have imprinted something in these dude's brains. I haven’t been on a dating site in LA for over 2.5 years. They still fucking remembered.
“This isn’t going anywhere. I’m a mentalist. I have to have an element of surprise.”
Bullshit, I said. You’re going to miss the boat.
Bars, restaurants, Trader Joes … if I stare long enough I’ll see someone I met. Literally morning, noon, and night I hustled on dating sites, in coffee shops, and couches. You don’t think about it when you’re doing it but I met a fuck ton of people.
Populated this on the swarm app a couple of weeks ago. I did this with $10 and social media:
I’m so used to ghosting, and or reinventing myself that I’m literally in a position now where I can’t hide. If anyone cares to ask what’s going on, I’m happy to say, but what I’ve discovered in the process is that I really do prefer to be quiet and keep more to myself. Family, and close friends are absolutely everything to me at this stage in my life.
This past weekend I flew to DC to celebrate my brother and his going away party for boot camp. (He is going into the military. A dream he has had for 15 years.) I am so fucking proud of him it’s ridiculous, but was also excited to see his best friend from nursery school (seriously, they met in nursery school and are still best friends in their 30s), and a lot of his DC friends that I had met over the years.
We went to my brother’s favorite irish pub for the shindig, and after people greeted my brother they came up to congratulate me on the sale of Talk Nerdy.
You’re the big TV star now, right? said his friend Drew.
No, I said. I’m a writer, but I am going to do the most that I can with this opportunity.
It’s NETWORK television, Friel. This is huge.
Thanks, I said with a smile, am happy to see what they do with it.
Another gentleman approached, do you remember meeting me? he asked.
Years ago, he said. You wrote about my party on your blog.
Oh, I said wondering which direction this was going …
Was it accurate? I asked.
Yes, he said, and hilarious.
Thank you. I said with a smile and a dip to the restroom.
When I came back, I made sure my brother didn’t have an empty glass, and walked into the back room through the crowd.
You’re his sister, right? Asked one girl.
Yes, I said proudly introducing myself.
We went to school together, she said. I remember you.
You went to Hall? I asked.
Yes, she said. I remember you.
I’m not trying to be rude, I said into her ear, no one remembers me from school. I wasn’t popular - at all.
No, I knew you. I know I knew you.
We did the math and discovered when she was a freshman I was “technically” a senior.
<tangent> I had finished high school a year early to go to work to save money for my move to NYC. I wanted to still walk with my class and go to the reunions, but also wanted to get shit done and start my life. </tangent>
I didn’t go to school that year, I explained. I had finished early, and while I was enrolled as a senior, I had already completed all my credits so I didn’t have to go.
Weren’t you best friends with “Amber?”
Holy shit, I thought nearly spitting out my wine.
You guys were like best friends. I heard all about you, she said.
I explained, it couldn’t have been very nice things. That relationship didn’t end well.
She then felt super awkward for bringing up the fact that I had been stalked, I then felt super awkward for having to explain to this perfect stranger that I had a less than pleasant “senior” year and shit just got weird, bro.
I dipped out again, but laughed thinking I can’t escape anything anymore. I have to sit and deal with all of these things that are not just stories, but are my actual life.
Am not sure I have ever been in this position before, I thought.
The party was a huge success, and after a quick, unplanned pit stop in another state am flying back to LA.
I still don’t know where I am going, or what I am going to do - but what I do know is that I can’t hide anymore. Ghosting didn’t get me very far, just left me with the literal manifestation of a ghost (and or ghosts) in my apartment. I am living with the reality of what I created as a very different person than the one that created it. This is weird. This is all so so weird.
You can run, but you can’t hide. And to quote the legendary Miami Sound Machine - the rhythm is going to get you. I better learn to keep up!
PS: Also, hilarious I just got back to my place and American Horror Story is scouting here. This place is awesomely creepy man. Am in love! :)