Friday, February 22, 2008

On Front Street

Stop Right There; If you are under 18, you may want to get permission to read this!!!

Hey Aunt B,
I really want to move to Beverly Hills CA but my parents don't i hate living in england so much. I had to move school a few months ago because i was getting bullied the main reason why i want to move is because Beverly Hills is so glamorous, sunny and the schools there seem so much better then in England. Sometimes i feel like because my mum and dad don't want to move there i should just run away and go there on my own, but its not as easy as that. My dream is to become an actress i love doing performing arts in school and i can imagine myself behind a camera. what should i do i know that if i move to Beverly Hills then i can pursue my dreams but my mum and dad don't want to. please help me what should i do? x
Dear X,

Far be it from me to try to burst your bubble as I do enjoy your vim and vigor and your clear cut case of drive. I respect your dream, as well. Mark my words though; You must think things through entirely, all the days of your life, in every situation, especially this one. Imagine you are watching a video tape of your life and your decisions and try to see the end of that movie.

Here in America, many girls have the same dream of fame and fortune. Very few make it. I don't know how old you are but before you do something you'll regret, I'm going to put it all out there for you. We call it putting it all on Front Street. That means I am going to be blunt and tell you like it is.

We'll start at the beginning of this hypothetical tape, this movie of your life;

  1. I don't know any parent who would/could simply pick up and move across the Sea, to sunny California, simply because their child asks them to. So, put away that resentment towards your parents for not accommodating you. It costs a lot of money to move across town much less across the Atlantic Ocean or wherever. There's a lot of paperwork involved as well, Visa's etc.,They'd have to have a lot of "disposable" income, just for starters. They'd have to have jobs set up, a home purchased and Real Estate in California is extremely expensive.
  2. So, you decide to run away? How will you get to America? Plane? That costs at least $800 to $1000. Where will you get that kind of money?
  3. Assuming you somehow make it to Cali, where will you live? With what money will you buy your daily food, even if it's one meal a day?
  4. Oh, so you say you'll get a job? Well, I don't know how old you are but in the States, you usually have to have your parents signature on the Work Permit.
    Read what it says, on the California Labor Laws site. about your required education, too;
    Almost all minors under the age of 18 are subject to California's child labor protections. Under the California Labor Code, "minor" is defined as any person under the age of 18 years required to attend school under the provisions of the Education Code, and any person under age six. "Dropouts" are subject to California's compulsory education laws, and thus are subject to all state child labor law requirements. Emancipated minors, while subject to all California's child labor laws, may apply for a work permit without their parents' permission.
X, I could go on and on. The problem here is I would do you a great disservice, if I encouraged you to follow through with this idea. Furthermore, I would hate for you to end up a statistic, here in the States or even in England, on girls who runaway and end up abused, addicted to drugs and this happens here as well as England and the rest of the world. They didn't think it through. They were not as smart as you and didn't seek counsel, opinion or understanding.

When I write for this Advice Column, I not only write to you personally but I hope others will read these posts. It is my wish for young people, especially, to possibly learn from my own mistakes, from my out and out stupidity. Yes, I was a... "Know-it-All" and you could not tell me a thing. Nope, I had to learn all things the hard way. Then, when I was backed into a corner, a corner that I most likely placed myself in, I felt, often times that I had no choice. But if I learned nothing else in my 49 years is that we have a choice in every single flippin situation. The problem is that we are too impulsive, we jump and we don't think things through. We don't play that tape, that glimpse of our life and what the outcome of our actions will be.

Don't be a
Know-it-All, like I was. Every day, here in America and abroad, girls and guys alike, run away from home, in search of a better life. They never looked at the bigger picture. They were not mature enough to be able to see things as they really are. What I mean by this is that quite often we think we have it real bad at home. Sometimes, this is true. For those that are oppressed by bad parents and are in abusive, neglected, alcoholic, drug addicted homes, it is almost understandable to not want to live in those conditions. God help them.

We get sick of our parents hounding us, sick of being under their rule and hearing such things as, "As long as you live under this roof, you will follow the rules of this house." We think they're just being mean and treating us like we are mindless kids. They tell us when to go to bed, what to eat, who we can hang around with and who we can't. They tell us we have to go to school, when we hate school and feel like those stupid teachers aren't teaching us anything, really anyway. I can remember thinking that I did not need to learn those stupid fractions, where Uganda is, all about Chemistry, I mean really, when was I going to mix chemicals?

They yell at us cause we're on the phone too much and because we don't do our homework and on and on and on. I didn't think I needed that Sex Education class cause I sure knew how to have sex. I even remember thinking I could teach them a thing or two.

I think having to go to school was the biggest thing I felt I didn't need. But I did need it and so do you. You'll need those fractions just to follow a simple recipe. You'll need to know the effects of chemicals mixed. Yes even those household chemicals like bleach and ammonia have the ability to kill you, if mixed. Unless you want to seem like a back woods idiot, there are certain things in life, things they teach in school, just to be able to hold an intelligent conversation and to understand what is being said.

And remember me saying I could teach those Sex Educators a thing or two? Well, it is a bit painful to admit but even at the age of 15, when I thought I knew it all, I didn't. My Step-Mom was on Birth Control. When you take those pills everyday, they give you 30-31 pills to take. There are 7 that are either sugar pills or a low dose of estrogen. They give you those, quite often to keep you in the habit of taking them or to to keep that dose in your system. Normally, you go on your period for those 7- days. Anyway, like an idiot, I saw they were in the linen closet and decided to take one, for a Friday night outing. I was going to a party and figured this would cover me from getting pregnant. How stupid. I did this more than a few times and am only fortunate I did not get pregnant.

Oh, but I did not come out of my teen years unscathed. Just in case you don't read the link I provided, I'll tell you that I became pregnant shortly after my 16th Birthday, after running away from home. But I never thought it would happen to me. Sex Education taught us the rudimentary facts of life but we knew it all, ha!

I have to warn you about what happens to girls who run away, go to the Big Apple/ New York City or to Hollywood with an unplanned, not thought out desire to make it big in show biz...a life of Drugs, Stripping and Prostitution. More often than not, they are led to take care of themselves the only way their unskilled, unschooled, unplanned selves can. You'd be surprised what you might consider doing when you are on the street and hungry!

A job at McDonald's is not going to pay your rent, utilities or food. You have nothing to offer the corporate world and that's the only kind of job you may be lucky enough to get. In case you didn't know it, there is stiff competition out there these days. People with High School Diplomas are even having a hard time getting a good paying job. You'll see people with a college degree finding it difficult to find placement because somebody who had better scores on their SAT's will be considered first.

Yep, to make ends meet so they don't have to sleep on the street, these girls either hook up with some pimp who preys on their vulnerable situation, namely being on the street and he puts them to work. Oh sure, he'll give you a nice warm place to lay your weary self down at night but you can bet you'll be bringing in the money and handing it to him. If you are lucky, he'll buy you a nice outfit, so you'll be a better package on the street. It's cold outside but you are walking those mean streets. You'll be wondering why you ever left the comfort of your home, where there were people who actually really loved you. You'll wish you could be where people love you for you and not just want you for your body.

Many Firsts

Then one day you look in the mirror at someone who's aged beyond their years because they lived a rough life. You won't have any more tears left to cry. You'll be able to understand better than most, just how and why an addict is born; It shuts up the pain. That pain, you brought upon yourself. That addiction, yes, you developed it, first to possibly give you the courage to go out and have sex with a perfect stranger. Yes, you instantly got that courage from a bottle of liquor, that first swig you needed that very first time, you had to take your clothes off in front of howling men hoping they will stick a $1 in your G-String. You do it all just so you had an accumulated bunch of $1 bills to pay the rent for a grimy apartment on the bad side of town.

Or you can stay put, nice and warm with your clothes on, get your education, get a part-time job, save the money, put it aside and work towards your dream. Plan it, be safe and don't become a statistic.

Meet Mrs. Know It All; How to Screw Up Your Life

Keeping It Real,

Aunt Babz

PS, Please make sure you read what Xmichra has personally written to you. It's excellent advice. Chow!

Dear X,

First, I would like to tell you this: DO NOT RUN. Running will never solve your problems, and most certainly will make them 100% worse.

Second: I can understand that you have a dream to pursue, but your parents are trying to be the best parents they can be. They moved you from one school for your own protection and mental health. That should be evidence to you that they love you and would be so tremendously hurt if you were to defy them and choose to move whole countries away from them without looking at solutions in your own home.

Thirdly: what I mean by the above, is that there are plenty of great acting studios, colleges, universities in your area that are world renown AND within your cost of living. Both of which you are NOT guaranteed if you were to move to Hollywood.

Hollywood does seem glamorous, but for the most part it is all a farce. There are thousands of actors and actress wannabe’s there just dying for their “lucky break”, and plenty of those people do unspeakable things (like staring in pornography, taking elicit pictures of themselves, or dealing drugs) just to try and make connections and get known. And not saying that you would do this… but what the heck would you do?? Work at a diner somewhere for minimum wage? Try to live in economized housing or shared living where you are not in the best of environment and need that dinner job just to pay the rent? Then not being able to go to auditions because you have to work? Or worse getting turned down for auditions because you haven’t been schooled?

This has the potential to be the biggest mistake in your entire life. So why risk that? Especially when England has SOOOO much to offer!! Look at this:

Those are just eleven of the schools that I found, and they vary in location (London, Bromley by Bow, Birmingham, Lavander Hill, London, Surrey, Exeter, Bristol, Liverpool). And there are hundreds of English actors who have worked their way into the “Hollywood scene” just by being good a their craft. Examples??

Hugh Grant : Won a scholarship to New College, Oxford. He studied English Literature and graduated with upper second-class honors degree. He made his acting debut from and Oxford financed play – “Privileged” and his first big movie was BRITISH not American. He stared in Four Weddings and a Funeral which gave him instant star status.

Orlando Bloom – wasn’t all that great in school (he had dyslexia) so his mother encouraged him to move to London and pursue his strength: acting. He followed a two year A level course in Drama, photography and sculpture at Fine Arts College, Hampstead. Then he joined the National Youth theatre and earned a scholarship to train at the British American Drama Academy. He acted on tv shows in England and then went to Guildhall School of Music and Drama (England) to study acting. After TWO DAYS of graduating from there, he was cast as Legolas in Lord of the Rings, which made Orlando a huge success and a household name (never mind all the awards and fan clubs and what have you).

Want more examples??? There are THOUSANDS:

So, I guess if I were to advise you I would say do your research to follow your dreams. You can have the best of intentions, but if you are not smart about your choices your dreams can fade quickly and you will be left with an emptiness you have never felt. There are plenty of great resources that you can harness, and one of those would be through your own school. Join a drama class. Make your dream happen. But do not think for one second that a fairy with a magic wand just puts these people where they are… it is all earned. And you will have to earn it too.

Good luck to you, and I hope to see you on the big screen one day :)


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