It’s 1:36pm here in Queens, New York and I can still taste the Gin in my mouth from last nights shenanigans. As I’m sitting here on this overly comfortable cheap couch of mine, I can’t help but to think about the past few days, along with everything else that has led me up to this point in my life.
Wednesday night I had just completed 21 years of my life. People from all over came to celebrate with me in an area called the West Village. It was a night full of true laughter with the folks that I love from this town, and I was thrilled to be celebrating with such a variety group of friends. People came and went throughout the night just like they do in life. However, whether they stayed for 5 minutes or all night, I can truly say there was nothing more magnificent than to look at each one of them and realize what role they’ve played in my life. The night continued and so did the drinks. Beer after beer, smile after smile, and cheers to another year.
I’ve been all over the past few days; from sober laughs to drunk confusions. Some memories I’ll never forget, others I’d be perfectly ok with storing somewhere in the back part of my brain that carries useless emotions. Being 21 is a funky age. To be honest, the night after I woke up I felt extremely odd, and I still do. I feel as if I should have already achieved a lot more at this point. Friends say, “You’re so young, talk to me when you’re 30.” Maybe they’re right. I’m still just at a very awkward stage in my life. Just when you feel like you know exactly who you are, you forget. At least that’s how I feel in a town like this. It’ll be alright though. This year has already been magical in many ways. Let’s hope it continues. Oh, and if you’ve read this far, I’d just like to thank you for being interested in reading what I have to say. As for now, take care!
p.s. I now know why Frank Sinatra said, “Never have more than 2 dirty martinis.”
For those of you interested in my life (which I don’t blame you if you’re not), I apologize for not having written a blog entry in quite the while. Lately I have been busy auditioning, writing, and making memories with some very cool cats. And by writing, I don’t mean blog entries. I have recently been very interested in writing screenplays. Although writing isn’t exactly the career path I’d like to take, I sure wouldn’t mind it. Writing is just another tool that I use to exercises my brain. I’d like to think of it as more of a therapeutic thing. I’m currently writing a motion picture screenplay that’ll probably range anywhere from 115-135 pages. I’d love to fill you guys in on what I’m writing about, but I find the topic very interesting and do my best to keep it to myself.
Life’s goin’ pretty well these days. I don’t really have much to complain about because at the end of the day, I’m a kid in his early twenties living in New York City. The thought of that usually keeps me goin’ when I “think” things get tough. I’m currently living in Queens, NY right now, but I don’t like it too much. I find myself in Manhattan daily no matter what. I’ve been spending most of my time these days in the East and West Village. I find that being around these areas keeps my brain on the track that I need it to be in. Everyone around here is young and ambitious. As my mom would like to say, “You are who you roll with.”
At the moment I’m sitting in a coffee shop called ‘Everyman Espresso’ located on 136 E.13th Street. It’s currently 4:51pm and as I look out the window I can see the sun has nearly gone it’s own direction away from here. It’s dark out and the ground is wet from most of the days rain. Sitting across from me is a girl named Christina. We met about a year and a half ago while doing a show at the 13th street repertory theatre. I’m almost positive we both thought the show wasn’t all that professional and lacked a ton of things. That’s one thing we have in common, along with the other million things we’ve come to realize. I’m drinking my lukewarm coffee right now and typing this while she’s writing her screenplay. I don’t think people realize the importance of coffee meetings and sharing ideas with the people that share the same ambitions. Well, that pretty much wraps it up with what I’ve been up to lately. Life is good, acting is great, and the city life is untouchable. If you’ve read this far, I strongly appreciate the time you’ve taken to read this 5 minute blog (unless you’re a slow reader and it took you 15 min, in which I still appreciate you). Good things are coming this year. 2012 will be huge for anyone that’s creative. Stay tuned!
Once again, another sleepless night wondering where my life is headed. As I lay here in my bed at 4:06am, I am constantly thinking about how fast time truly goes by. It feels like just yesterday was June 1, 2010 (the day I moved to NYC). Where in the world has 19 months gone? If you ask me, that really doesn’t sound like a long time; however, I feel as if I was born and raised here. I really do believe my problem in life is that I am always looking back and never really forward anymore. I am always thinking of the good times instead of what is really going on right in front of me. This whole journey of mine has been the greatest, most exhilarating time of my life, but exhausting at the same time. I’ll never forget the first week I was in New York and I saw some “hipster” wearing a black & white t-shirt, that read “New York City Eats Its Young”. I never really understood what it meant. Maybe I still don’t. This city changes you. It’s a tough place to figure out what you really want in the world, but then again, so fun. NYC plays mind tricks on you. You have to stand for what you truly believe in and not get swallowed up by such an island willing to do so. There is no real meaning behind this writing of mine. To be honest, it’s just the same exact things I tell my brain, or my brain tells me. I just write it down. Therapeutic, one might say. To be honest, I just can’t sleep. Meanwhile, I type…
Where do I begin? I haven’t been writing lately, so excuse my lack of “blog ability” if this all sounds a bit rusty. Let’s start off by saying I am safely home in New York City (The greatest place on earth) and it feels great to be back. I was in Northern California for about 3 weeks due to the passing of some very close people in my life…and for the holidays. It’s been a pretty wild December; one that I will probably never forget. So much has happened and it feels like it all went down in the blink of an eye. I have many highlights to bring up and many struggles, but for the sake of both of us, I’ll do my best to only bring up the good times of my short visit to CA. (I will not bring up any names because I am not sure how people may feel about certain encounters we may have had).
Week 1. So, me and my friend Travis…(Just kidding). Alright, well I landed in SF international airport about 3 weeks ago. A good friend of mine picked me up and we went straight to my parents house. Usually I party with friends the night I arrive, but because I haven’t done it in a long time, I decided to stay home and sit at the family dinner table with my parents and have a nice dinner. Now before I go on, the reason I was here in the first place was because my grandfather had just passed away, and a girl who I’ve known for many years just had her mother pass. Tough week. A few days passed and I went to my grandfather memorial, which went well. (I feel weird saying that, how “well” can one go?) I got to see a ton of people who I have not seen since I was but a boy. It was a sad day, but it was a relief to know he was in a better place. I was asked to speak at the memorial and I had no clue what to say, so instead I figured I could write a poem. I read the poem in front of a ton of people and started stuttering from the beginning. Luckily, I was able to finish. The next day a good friend of mine has a cool bachelor pad and some friends and I went over to his place after a big dinner to hang out. Don’t ask why but I thought I was going to die. My throat was burning so bad and they all laughed at me like crazy. The quote of the night was, “Dude, I think I am going to die, I need to go to the doctors!!” A few days later, I showed up to another memorial unexpected and uninvited. I felt like I had to be there for many reasons, so I showed up. That went well too. It was good to see some friends from the past and a ton of familiar faces. The next day, the girl I mentioned earlier invited me over to her house to spend some time with her and family. We did everything but not talk about the loss that had just recently happened. We laughed, drank, danced and had a blast. Week one in CA was slow. But I knew things were picking up.
Week 2. Now this week was all about seeing friends. I got to hang with so many different faces and was able to shoot the shit with some old buddies. San Francisco seemed to be where I was at this entire week. I called some fellas up almost daily and asked them if they wanted to roll with me to the city. I felt like being in San Jose (my hometown) for too long wasn’t healthy for me. I was in need of walking a ton and fast pace living. An old buddy of mine was getting ready to get his first piece of art (tattoo), so a couple of the guys came through to check it out. Right after that my friend complained to me that he didn’t feel like working, so I called his manager (my old manager before I was fired) and told her that we were in an emergency situation. (Which was clearly bullshit and she knew that). After I got him the day off he said let’s go to SF. We went to his house, packed up for the day and got ready to leave. This quick trip was a trip. Lets just say, we were relating to the song “Mr. Tambourine man” a little too much. We arrived to SF and started walking everywhere. SF always holds great times for me. We took crazy pictures and went all around on the cable car. About 2 days later me and 3 other guys decided to go up to SF again. We made it there fast because of the music and conversations that were held in the car. The 4 of us wandered that city all night long smoking cigarettes and talking about what life has to offer. A few days later, another friend called and asked if I wanted to go to Los Angeles, CA for about 2-3 days. Without any hesitation I said, “Let’s do it!”. We left my house at 9pm and I swear to everything we got there in 4 hours. How is that possible? Probably because I was driving extremely fast and didn’t have a care in the world. I got to hang with some friends in the hotel and also got to see some family down south. Seeing my cousins and uncle is one of the greatest things I can feel. They truly make me happy. The best part of this week was going to this place called “Roscoes Chicken N Waffles”. I know, I know. It sounds awful, but believe me when I tell you, you haven’t experienced greatness until you have been there. My body was getting goosebumps. Yeah, that good. The drive back was nice and relaxing; until I decided to put some dip under my lip. Not something I have done too often. The last 2 hours my head was spinning. Once again, I made it back to my house safely.
Week 3. What a blast. I had already been in CA for about 14 days and things were looking bright. I’m going to hurry up and mention things real quick so I can talk about my last night in CA. Highlights: I hung out with the girl I mentioned earlier most of the week. It felt great to talk about old times and the future with her. What she’s been up to and what I’ve been doing. Dinners and fun times. I got to see my Dad’s side of the family (The craziest family I know) and to my surprise, it went well. I baked cookies for the first time with a girl I used to hang with a lot. (Her cookies were awful because she read the instructions wrong). Who knew I’d be so talented at making cookies! We celebrated Christmas at my house this year. It was such a fun time with friends and family and the food was perfect. After dinner we all played Apples to Apples. (A game I thought I was phenomenal at but turned out being the shittiest player at the table). Ok! Now, the night before I was leaving back to New York. I wanted to go to San Francisco (Again) with a ton of people and use my NYC I.D. and drink a lot. Let’s just say, I had no idea what the night was going to bring. Me and 3 guy friends decided to drive up, another car full of friends followed behind us. Cool girls came with us. On the drive up there, I called the same girl who I had spent most of my time with that week and asked her to come. From the sound of it, her coming didn’t seem too promising. We show up to a bar and I give the bartender my ID. She looks at it with a “WTF IS THIS SH**” kinda face. I’m still not too sure why she served me. Maybe it was the little boy about to cry look I gave her. My phone buzzed and it was the girl I had called earlier sending me a text saying, “Won’t be able to make it out tonight, Have fun!”. After reading that I looked at the bartender and said, I’ll have another please. So, were at this slow low key bar and it felt like a church it was so quiet. Everyone had one beer, but I chugged 2. Right before heading to the next bar, my phone rang and it was the same girl who said she couldn’t make it. “Hello?”…Hey, where are you guys?…”You’re coming?”…Yeah!. “Sweet!” I was glad she came because it was my last night and it’s always good having her around. This time it was extremely good having her around for many reasons. Continue to read and you’ll see why. At the next bar we are all getting smashed. Pitchers and shots nonstop. I made good friends with the owner, and he liked me a lot so he gave all 9 of us 3 rounds of Patron. Little did he know, 3 of us aren’t even 21. (Once again, no name dropping for many reasons.) Everybody I was with was so cool. It was great meeting new friends and having some people that I care about more than anything there. The guy friends I was with will be lifelong buds of mine. I go out to smoke way too many cigarettes and I make friends with a ton of african female crack heads. (Of course I do). We exchanged names and everything. I gave them money and cigs. After going back in the bar, everyone was ready to leave. All I heard was someone yell, ‘STRIP CLUB’. So, that was where we went. Now, we’re all walking to this place and out of nowhere a black lady all cracked out says, “WHAT UP A.J.!!!!” Everyone was a bit worried and I was perfectly content. “YO, AJ, CAN I GET A DOLLAR”…No but here’s my iPhone baby. Keep it! I started to walk away and the girl I was with was asking the crackhead for the phone back…”HELL NO, THIS IS MINE, AJ GAVE THIS TO ME!”…Nothing 5 bucks couldn’t handle. (Another reason I am glad this girl showed up). We hit the strip club and it wasn’t anything special. Just some lost overweight girls thinking they’re rockstars. After that we all left. Everyone split ways. I hugged everyone and I was so happy to be with the people I was with. I hopped in the girls car and went home with her. Fun drive even though it took us an hour to get out of the city. If there’s a way to have a last night in CA, that was the way to do it!!!
The next day, my mom was upset with me because I didn’t help her move furniture after promising her I would. Asshole of the year…*Raises hand*. That night I told my mom she wasn’t taking me to the airport and she threw a fit. And argument occurred and blew up to something it should not have. I then said some awful things which led to me just being an ass. I was on a role! I then didn’t go to a dinner because I was trying to prove some point. A dinner that was sort of revolved around me so people could see me. The family left and I was pretty sad. I had my buddy drop me off to another friends and she took me to the airport. We said bye and I got on the plane. Right before I got on I called one of my best friends from NYC to just talk. She always makes things seem easier and makes me realize it’s not the end of the world sometimes. But something was wrong. I felt pretty awful about the entire day. I didn’t want to think about a thing, so I slept the entire plane ride. I shut my eyes and opened them in NYC. I hopped in a Yellow Taxi Cab and went straight to the apartment. I only had cash on me and the bill was like $52 dollars. I had like $40 something on me. So, after stiffing the dude a couple of bucks I went upstairs and thought, “Why is everything so difficult right now?”. I took a shower and went to put some clothes on. After looking around for 5 minutes, I thought “Where’s my luggage”…SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I left it in the taxi. Still haven’t found it after calling everywhere. Nothing could be worse. The next day I pulled myself together and went on a shopping spree, so now I have an entire new wardrobe. That is the latest. Right now I am at my favorite coffee shop in NYC called S’nice near Greenwich Village. I’m drinking lukewarm coffee and listening to music while typing. 2011, you were awful. But I’ll count my blessings. 2012, you’re mine!!!
-A.J. Urias December 30, 2011 6:07pm
It’s 6:54pm in New York City. I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop in lower Manhattan right now with a lot on my mind that I cannot seem to sort out. Lately I have been extremely lazy and tired. NYC isn’t the place for that. This city can easily eat you alive if you don’t play your cards right or know what you’re doing. The past couple of weeks have been extremely slow and depressing. I’ve shot 2 films this month that went very well and I have another shoot this week at Tisch School of Arts, but things still seem too calm. Acting is going well. I feel like that is truly my outlet. It’s the only thing these days that truly brings me joy. To be honest, when I first started acting I didn’t have much respect for the craft. I just wanted the money, fame, and the limelight. That’s almost my last concern now. I love the art of acting. I feel like it’s one of the only things that can express true emotion. I can’t really tell you where I’ll be in 5 years, but I can almost guarantee it’ll be something in show business. I feel like if I really put my mind to it, I can go all the way. I feel once I fully commit to it, I can outdo the rest of the crowd. I guess it’s just a matter of doing it now. This city really messes with your head. Anyone you talk to in New York will tell you the same thing. There are so many traps. It’s so easy to get caught up in the night life. It’s so easy to get caught up making quick money. It’s so easy to be here for the girls. All I am saying is everyone that arrives to NYC has a goal. Some sort of destiny they feel they need to achieve. My hat goes off to the ones that truly made it. The obstacles they must have passed to get there, I can only imagine. There’s a term people say here, “New York City eats its young” and it’s the most truthful thing I have ever heard. The thing with that saying though, (young) means everyone. This city won’t ever stop pushing you. I know exactly what people mean when they say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. I have to get where I am headed in life, otherwise I’ll just be another soul on this earth that didn’t do a thing. I’ll come and go, and won’t offer anything to this place. We’re all capable of something huge. I just hope I can accomplish what I feel called to do. Not sure how I’ll get there, but I’m after it.
I’m not too sure why I am writing this right now but it seemed like something to do. As I look to my right, I see the clock and it says 2:14am. I was almost sound asleep about 5 minutes ago, but the thoughts of my childhood kept me up. I was randomly thinking of the days I had a single mother and was sharing a room with my 2 sisters. I was just laying down a few minutes ago thinking about old memories and how far I feel I’ve come in life at the age of 20. Then I thought about how far we’ve come (my family).
You see, I can’t recall a ton of moments of my childhood anymore. The older I’m getting, the new memories seem to make their way in and push old ones out. But no way can I forget about the times my mother and her 3 children all lived under a 2 bedroom apartment. I mean, I was probably no older then 5 and sharing a bunk bed with my sister at the time who was 8. My oldest sister must have been 13 and her bed was across the room. There we were, 3 kids all in one bedroom. One bathroom in the hall between my moms room. It’s incredible to think how far she has come (my mom). She did the greatest job a mother could do at raising children on her own. I mean, even though I was sharing a room with 2 other siblings, I could have sworn we were a rich family. Always had meals throughout the day, always got what I wanted for Christmas, and always felt loved.
While laying here in my bed in NYC, I was thinking to myself, “Man, life can be a struggle sometimes, how do people continually grow and succeed?” Then I thought of my mom. 15 years ago, we were in that little apartment, and she probably wasn’t sure what was to come. Since then I mean, we rented a 4 bedroom house, then a few years later moved again and bought a 4 bedroom house. All her kids graduated High School, which probably seemed like a miracle considering there was no real father figure. Now one of my sisters is 29, a college graduate and works at the SD police dept. The other is 23, finished school and is still figuring it all out which is awesome. Here I am, the same 5 year old on that bottom bunk at the age 20 now living in New York City on my own. It’s crazy how fast time goes by. It’s crazy how one succeeds in this world. It’s crazy how life works. My mom came through when us kids needed it. Now I feel like it’s time for me to come through for her and do big things with my life. I’m on my way…hopefully.
Let me just say this. I never plan on what I want to write about. It usually just comes. If I am unsure of what I want to write, then I usually just don’t write at all. However, at the moment I randomly just feel like writing about one of my favorite New York memories before I had even moved here. I want to say it was the first week of December 2009.
I was 18 years old and I was here on a vacation with a buddy of mine who was about 7 years my senior. I probably had the best time of my entire life. I ate the greatest food, went to the coolest bars, met the greatest girls, and stayed out every night until sunrise. I was king of the world at that time (even though my paranoid mother called me 5 times a day) and didn’t have a care in the world. NYC offered freedom. A different kind of freedom. It’s almost as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. Just you and NYC. I still feel that way today sometimes. But out of all those wild times I had, none of those are what I remember the most. It’s crazy because I remember this like it just happened last night. It was late one night and my friend Justin and I were on the N train going back to Brooklyn where we were staying for the week, and the N train goes across the Manhattan Bridge and you can see NYC like never before. I mean, the bridge lights, the water, the sky, the… the everything. So while sitting next to Justin, I said “Man, it’s unreal”. At this point in my life, I had already been planning to move to Los Angeles to start an acting career and it was almost set and stone; but while crossing the bridge that night, Justin said, “You can live here someday man, you can start your career here and then eventually go out to LA.” Something about that moment just hit me. The plan started to change. 6 months later at age 19 I found myself living in New York City. It’s been almost a year and a half now and tonight I was thinking about that moment and realized how much of a trip like can really be. NYC will always be home to me now. Wherever I go…