Yesterday was a day. Well, I mean, every day is a day. But yesterday... was A Day. It’s what most people would likely refer to as “A Monday,” even though it was actually Tuesday. You see, the thing about making your own schedule and working 24/7, is that A Monday can happen any day of the week. The following photo, sent to me by a Philadelphia photographer with whom I did not get to work (more on that later) quite accurately describes my yesterday...
‘Why am I here [in Philadelphia]??’ the stressed out and panicky side of me kept asking.
‘You are exactly where you need to be.’ the oh-so-not-at-all-yet-enlightened-but-i’m-trying-god-dammit side of my mind would respond.
But seriously? Here? I purposely flew away from my lovely, brown, stanky, loud LA to Baltimore (gross! why!) and then traveled to DC, to Virginia, and back to DC, then back to Maryland, before failing stupendously at getting myself to Philly aka the Sad Avocado.* Throughout this last week of misadventure, I can't help but to occasionally look around and wonder; Just what the fuck am I doing here??
‘This is what you’ve always wanted,’ went the looped recording in my head, ‘You’ve worked hard to be completely independent, to travel the world, and to pay your bills with your talent, gawdammit.’
But now that I finally have it.. Is this really what I want....?
The answer, I know in my heart of hearts, is Yes. A Resounding Yes, even. But it’s buried under a million layers of What the Fuck. Not to mention the constant self-doubt and scrutiny that that Yes endures from, what Amanda Palmer lovingly refers to as, The Fraud Police. For those not familiar with A.F. Palmer's Ted Talk and subsequent book, “The Art of Asking,” (you should be – go pirate it and then paypal her some monies) The Fraud Police are those voices in your head that tell you, that You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. Everyone can tell that you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. You’re a fucking fraud, and you should just head home and get a job waiting tables like a normal sensible person ‘cause that’s all you’re good at and that’s good enough for other people so it should be good enough for you. Whatever your dream may be, it is dumb and unrealistic and you are full of shit. Get a fucking job.
Yeah, that's them.
But even though I know that The Universe has me exactly where I’m meant to be, you don’t grow up in a frequently broken, abusive, damaging, home, become a criminal, and then make your way through trial and error into life as a world-traveling, freelance, model-gypsy based out of Los Angeles, CA, just to find yourself hot, confused, sleep deprived, with a dead phone and 60+ pounds of luggage in fucking Baltimore, Maryland of all fucking places, without having A Fucking Day every now and again.
So, here was my yesterday...
They say that Bad Things come in threes. Well, I say that at least, and someone must have said it to me at some point because I’m not the type to come up with superstition/dogma/rules/whatever like that. But since perception is reality, someone said it and I heard it and now it’s true. So while attempting to leave Maryland yesterday, all three of my Bad Things happened, and all three were travel related..
To back up just a wee, tiny, bit: my first trip to the NE was to New York City for New Year’s Eve, 2013 (it’s a fun blog post, pull it up in another tab to enjoy later! Lots of photos and boobies!). From a host in New Jersey (ewwww) to NYC (yay!) my travels were limited, but exciting! New York City is amazing! Everywhere you look you find inspiration. To make it in NYC you gotta work and you gotta work hard, and the streets are covered in beautiful, important looking people, carts of all kinds of food, feats of architecture and design, and poor, poor, appropriately-apartment-sized dogs that don’t know what grass is so they just shit in the middle of the sidewalk.
It. Is. Magical.
Ever since that first trip I have been trying to make my way back to this side of the country. After many serious signs from the universe however *ie many canceled workshops/shoots/hosts/etc* my NE tour plans have been repeatedly postponed which, in the end, has created more than two years of build up to this current ‘Model Tour’.
That Build Up unfortunately left me more than a little paralyzed when it came to actually pulling the trigger on all the work that needed to be done to make this trip Successful. But trigger pull I did, or, at the very least, I cocked the damn thing and put the barrel against my temple, because here I am! And, despite an INSANE amount of drama sprinkled over with some real professional let downs with my whole “situation” in Baltimore (again – why? WHY Baltimore? What awful decisions in my life led me to this city?? But more on that later..), I am here! In the NE! And that means something. Or at least, I’m going to say that it does, because when the fuck have you ever gone to Baltimore.
(Seriously though, let’s share horror stories)
So here I am, writing this blog post as I’m traveling on a greyhound bus that I very nearly missed, thanks firstly to my ability to sleep through anything, and then also to an uber driver’s insistence that ‘No No, the freeway will be much faster. Much faster.’ which could not have been less true. (I hope by the way that you read that with an Indian accent, because he was Indian. That’s not racist, it’s just part of the story. But you can read that in a German accent if that makes you more comfortable.. You racist.)
Almost missing the bus today though brings me back to yesterday’s Three Bad Things, and my whole point for the last twenty-five paragraphs: Truly what has been one of the most daunting aspects of this entire trip is. . . For the first time in my life, I’m relying on public transit.
You remember that I currently live in LA, right? Yeah. We’re only slightly kinda world-wide famous for SUCKING at public transit. I have been on a bus in LA exactly once for not even one mile. In nerd terms, that’s about 2 bus experience points. I think. I dunno. Go find a nerd and ask them, but either way it’s basically nothing.
So here I am, traveling from state to state and host to host without any transportation of my own for the FIRST time in my life. I never said it out loud, but that right there is kind of scary. Not to mention just a little bit stressful.
But here’s the thing, I thrive off of “Scary;” I enjoy the challenge! I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if I didn’t repeatedly dive, cannonball-style, into the deep end (Real life fact: I can’t swim, so that expression means more to me than all y'all swimming folks). What I don’t enjoy about this particular challenge however is that when I seemingly Fail (over and over and over; not once, but three times in one day) these delays in travel equate to lost opportunities to meet and work with new (or familiar) people.
Notice that I don’t mention lost money, although that is exactly what that equates to. It’s a Lost Opportunity, and what matters most to me is that I flew thousands of miles to Do Things Dammit, and I hate fucking that up. Despite my attempts to Go With The Flow in life, I have always been a bit autistic in so much as, once a plan is set, deviating from it throws me the fuck off.
To cannonball a little deeper into my feelings, it’s a Control Thing.
My other big mantra, set on constant repeat:
“My Timing in life is perfect."
And it’s true. Even when my beautiful, talented host Model Mary Celeste dropped me off at the metro station north of DC at 9 in the Fucking Morning, and the red line metro I wanted zoomed off while I was making my way down the slow ass elevator, I knew it was meant to be. I watched as my needs-to-be-productive day sped away from me, and thought to myself..
Then there was my Perfect Timing at the Union Station in DC. Despite missing that first train, I still made it with plenty of time to purchase an incredibly tasty, vegan-enough wrap and an iced pomegranate green tea from Pret A Manger... before discovering that I had written down 10.40am as my bus departure time when, in Real Life, it left at 10.20am and that I had missed it by five minutes.
That's right. 'Cause I'm an adult and can properly copy numbers from the screen in front of me onto a piece of paper.
I’m sure that if I had made that first bus it would have driven off the bridge crossing over into Pennsylvania while I was in the bathroom, and I would have drowned not only in the river but in the many bodily leftovers of strangers.
And then, and this is my favorite, my perfectly timed day decided that the plan B bus I was on, was also perfectly timed enough to T-bone an (at-fault) car, literally within sight of the bus station in Philly. The driver of the other car by the way was fine, and drove off before I ever saw them. Everyone on the bus was fine too, despite the seven people who were all announcing loudly that they would be calling their lawyer, which, I know this is incredibly insensitive of me, but I was in no mood to suffer through those seeking opportunities to up their 'victim' status, not to mention exploit a situation for their gain. Kinda sleazy.
Since I had switched buslines though, I was no longer arriving within walking distance of my first shoot, which resulted in a rather confusing phone call to a whatever-race-your-racist-ass-wants Uber driver.
"No, I’m not at the Megabus terminal of the bus station, I’m at the megabus that’s pulled over on the side of the road kitty corner from the bus station."
That’s right. I made him drive to me instead of crossing a street twice. My timing might be perfect, but at that point I wasn’t walking my suitcase any no more nowhere no how.
So what was the result of these Three Bad Things? Well, since my arrival was thrice delayed, I got a much later start time shooting with my host; Which meant ending our shoot later; Which meant I was in downtown Philly when the massive lightning storm hit; Which left me in no sort of attire to be traveling through a storm; Which meant waiting; Which meant a very flustered and pace-y Jin; Which also meant that I was, like, SO HUNGRY; Which meant an adventure into Chinatown; Which meant a poor choice in a “Kosher/Vegan” restaurant (Rabbi Approved, I’d love to go back there and have the most depressing Xmas ever); Which meant that by the time that I was fed and almost a person again, it was 10 o clock at night, and I had missed my chance at a second photo shoot with Philly photographer DCS Images, with whom I've been in touch with for over two years now. His work, by the way, is beautiful._
Of course all of this is fine though! It was one shoot on a two week tour full of shoots, and shit happens! Especially when traveling! And My Timing in Life is Perfect, remember?
I watched a lightning storm dance it’s electric, crackling symphony across the entire sky of Philadelphia from 10 stories up while hanging with two very unique and wonderful artists at a downtown art school/studio.
And while that was probably the worst Vegan/Chinese food I’ve ever fucking paid for, it makes for a rather fantastically awful story.
And while my second shoot didn't end up happening, I was able to reconnect and make something fantastically artsy and weird with a filmmaker that I first worked with on the other side of the country about five years ago.
The point is ... That I love you? That I love you all SO much and I miss my facebook and being able to connect with you all more?
And also, my point is that while each little hiccup really wasn’t a big deal, the part about yesterday that was the real “Day,” was the emotional rollercoaster my mind was on throughout all of it. And while I think I did a good job at mentally talking myself into a state of functionality; I met some new people, made some new art, visited a new city, yada yada yada; It’s just really, really, really hard to go about your Life and your WORK when your mind is kicking and screaming the whole damn way.
It's not an easy thing to do, to go about your day, to interact with people, to be patience and flexible and kind, when your mind and your thoughts are at odds.
And for whatever reason, that's also quite hard to say.
During the video shoot, as I sensed the storm growing around us, I asked if it might be ok for me to cry on camera. I was told that it didn't fit the direction of this particular project, which is perfectly understandable; It’s his film after all. But the fact is that I really, really wanted to. I wanted to cry and shiver and shake my little heart out. And why not in front of a camera? It’s where I spend most of my life anyway.
Let me be pretty, ugly, and Raw for once.
After we had wrapped, I went into the bathroom to re-normal-ish my hair and make up, and I thought about crying anyway. I decided to leave that floodgate closed, for the moment at least, and instead got to watch a hundred and one lightning bolts dart and skip across the sky from floor to ceiling windows, surrounded by art and stories and laughter.
I tried my best to let it all in.
Once the storm had moved on, as we made our way through China town, I found myself wanting to say hello to every single person we passed – which if you’ve ever been to Philly or any real city at all you’ll now that that is a really, really odd thing to do - and I found that I was basically skipping, my teeth chattering from the cold chill left in wake of the storm., and the fact that for the first time in my entire life: I forgot to bring a jacket.
In my head I even verbalized it, ‘Why am I suddenly so manic?’
Maybe I just let the storm in a wee bit too much.
It's one thing to have A Day when you're at home, but it's a whole 'nother monster when it happens while you're traveling. To add to that, and I know that this is quite silly, but I still feel the heartbreak of having my Fascist Book Account Closed. That’s honestly where a lot of my communication occurred; With my sisters, my roommates, my friends, and most of all my fans.
The biggest loss though, was being cut out from modeling groups. There’s a whole network of models who look out for each other and who warn each other and help pick each other up and encourage each other and advise and host and help each other just because they WANT to and because THEY FUCKING UNDERSTAND. Not only are they incredible talents, but they are incredible people as well.
Go find any girl who makes their living traveling with a suitcase full of panties she takes off for strangers and try to tell me that they don’t know a little somethan somethan about fucking LIFE. And, sitting there, not imagining what it’d feel like to get hit by a metro train north of DC, I didn’t have any of that. Even when I did have facebook, I travel alone. And I love it. Traveling alone is an incredibly freeing, exhilarating, exciting, and occasionally frustrating and mostly exhausting experience.
I really wanted to be able to open up to someone about that. And opening up is NOT something I do. Still, I was searching for that opportunity, and have been overwhelmed with the burden of not letting it out.
‘Why won’t someone just ask me how I’m doing?’ I think, smiles and nods on the outside, but a cauldron of shrieks and tears within. ‘Why won’t someone just ask me anything?’
One thing I've noticed about traveling, and about life really, is that I’ll meet dozens of people, often on a single day, and I spend almost all our time together listening to them talk about themselves. If there's more than one person, I spend that time listening to them talk OVER each other to talk to me more about themselves. Which is fine, but I have things to say too.
I feel bad though, feeling angry that no one wants to talk about ME. It seems just a little bit self-centered to be pissed off that no one is interested in what The Jin N Tonic has to say. Diva Jin feels straight up insulted. What's worse though is when people do ask questions, but they don't LISTEN to my answers. Maybe that’s just a diva’s perception. Or maybe that’s just true of most people in this world.
So. Getting back on point-ish. I was lonely. Well actually, if we ran through my whole Day yesterday . . . First I was determined, then stressed, then determined to be relaxed, then stressed again, then anxious, then pissed, then annoyed, then hot, then grossed out, then overwhelmed, then cold, then depressed, then manic, then cold again, then disappointed, then ‘meh,’ then grossed out once more, and then desperately trying to get drunk while also so so so so tired but still up and responding to a dozen emails, doing my damnedest to make sure that the next few days, and my next trips, are a success. The loneliness is a bit sprinkled throughout there. I missed my kitty, I missed my bed, I missed my sisters and my nephew whom I barely ever get to see, I missed my roommates, and I missed being in just one fucking building in which somebody WASN’T smoking fucking cigarettes. INDOORS.
Jesus fucking Christ east coast, what the fuck??? My clothes and hair and luggage and lungs wreak of cigarette smoke. It is not cute.
But, overall, and this will probably only sound slightly less confusing than it actually is: I am happy. Overwhelmingly so.
Jin is happy, because despite all the trials and stresses and the people that suck away my time and my energy and my faith in humanity and the people that just SUCK in general, I’m living the life I chose to in the way that I choose and in the end I’m living the life I always, always, always (secretly) dreamed of. And while this trip is, superficially speaking, a whole bunch of BULLSHIT, I’m setting the foundation to build my empire even further. And that’s something to be very happy about.
And now here I am, sitting in New York City, the bus I almost missed having gotten here right on time without incident. I walked out of Port Authority into the heart of Times Square, full of lights, sound, people, music, the buildings towering over me so tall that I immediately made myself known as a ‘tourist’ by the spinning, back bend I was doing, and at the end of the street watching it all was the Empire State Building, like an old friend saying, ‘Yeah. Welcome back, bitch.’ In that moment, my heart felt full and alive, and the tears I held back yesterday nearly spilt today, but this time at the pure beauty and joy of it all.
I’m a mess, I know.
After walking ten blocks down Broadway (like, Thee Broadway) with all of my possessions in tow (proud to say that I’m pretty sure I only crushed one set of footsies), I’ve got ten more blocks left to meet with Here4Aart Photography, my first photo shoot of many in the next five days here in NYC. I’ve stopped to seek a brief sanctuary, and some food, as my hurricane-style departure from Philly did not allow for such luxuries. While sitting here eating another vegan-enough (yogurt sauce) wrap at Pret, a tiny, older, Asian woman came up to me, and forced a small, golden “Amu let” on me. “Donation,” she said. The Hindu woman on the front sits cross-legged in a shining lotus, and on the back it reads, “Work Smoothly. Lifetime Peace.”
I happily handed her two one dollar bills. She then smacked my arm and said “Five.”
So there it is! Now you know all my secrets. I’m capable of oversleeping to an insanely unprofessional manner; I find it rude and gross to smoke indoors and don't at all find that to be incorrect, especially in a business, without at least warning a bitch first; I miss the shit out of my facebook; I find 99% of conversations to be boring and useless, and the same amount of people draining of my precious, finite life force; and most of all, even on a seemingly fantastic day, I am an emotional fucking rollercoaster in a beautiful, busty, blonde package. Feel free to keep those things to yourself. .. .. I’m fucking kidding!! I want you to share the shit out of me! But this is definitely a lot more personal blog post than most.
The real point that I want to make though is that I’m happy. And that mothers/fathers shouldn't let their daughters/sons grow up to me models, unless they want to, in which case you should encourage the shit out of them, tell them to read some long ass blog posts by beautiful blond badasses so that they can discover just how UNglamourous this insanely glamorous life is, and instill in them the confidence to always, always, always trust their instincts, and purchase them a spare phone battery and health insurance immediately.
I still have a week (a fucking week! A WEEK! Wtf!) left of travel, and about that same amount of time until my legs give out, and I am left with no desire to delve into any of the topics that I “more on that later”ed. I know, you were so looking forward to those.
So enjoy my friends, my loves, my fans, my supporters, my patrons, my everything! You officially know more about me than any single person I’ve met on this tour thus far. Just so you now that I'm not a cynical bitch though, I have made at least 5 connections that I hope will be lifetime ones. If we just met, and you’re reading this, you’re one of those connections and it was incredibly lovely to meet you. Sorry you’ve gotten to know so much about me so soon, and thank you times a bajillion for visiting my blog! <3
Now if you'll excuse me, I’ve got ten more blocks to go and some true badass-ness to create, not to mention a whole World to take over. Today, New York City. Tomorrow....?
Edit: One Week Later: That first shoot, and every moment from then on, more than 110% made up for The Day.
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