Reality F***

13 05 2013

whitney-butler-funny-blog-newport-beach-film-festival-tupacI’m what you would call a realist. Walt Whitman once said, “I accept reality and dare not question it.” But I’m also an extreme escapist like my boy Tupac, who said, “Reality is wrong, dreams are for real.” I did drugs for years to elevate my state of mind, and while I’m continuously working on sobriety, from time-to-time I take cosmic leaps. What’s more, I believe reality is fundamentally linked to our perception—the way we choose to observe the world we live in. “Whatever you believe with feeling becomes reality” said Brian Tracy.

At times, reality seems as subjective as deciding on an evening cocktail—most of the time I prefer Mexican beer, but sometimes I drink my weight in champagne and things get pretty weird, pretty fast. Lately I’ve been totally consumed with reality: the reality that my friends are getting married and having children. That today, I’m closer to 30 than I was yesterday—that being a writer is dangerously unstable both financially and mentally. One the one hand, I am finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do—write…and wear whatever the hell I want to work. But on the other, less articulate left, there’s a part of me that looks for a road sign on the horizon to signal the right direction.

My perception is often experienced in waves of weird, unexplainable happenings that routinely make people laugh over casual dinner conversations. They shake their heads and say, “Wow, that’s crazy, Whitney.” And I unapologetically nod my head and agree, because I’m a realist. But then I’m off again—confusing the crazy with what’s real—if only for a moment, to escape.

SignLast weekend I escaped to Newport Beach for the Newport Beach Film festival. That seems relatively sane, right? But when I got to my five-star resort hotel, ordered my complimentary room service and sat on the balcony and looked out over Balboa Island, I couldn’t help but think how surreal the moment was.

In about 18 months, I went from unemployment to this—complimentary dinners with executive chefs, free travel, luxury accommodations, red carpets and cutting lines at social events because “I’m a writer.”

In the theater, patiently waiting for the film “Broadway Idiot” to start, a documentary about Green Day’s Junior album adapting to Broadway, I was star-struck when I saw The Real Housewives of Orange County coming down my isle—a row of seats that had the names of writers from all over the country: Esquire, Variety, the L.A. Times and then, of course, my name. I said hi to gorgeous housewife Gretchen Rossi like we were old acquaintances. She was very sweet. Gretchen asked if she and boyfriend Slade could sit in the clearly marked theater seats. I told her she could do whatever the hell she wanted. Meanwhile, Billy Joe and the Green Day crew took their seats three rows in front of me.

The PR company coordinating this press tour saw the housewives and ran over to kick them out of our seats. The perfectly dressed housewives were shocked and so was I. Smiling, I wondered which part of this weekend I would write about first.

Ethan-Embry-ethan-embry

Later that weekend, at another theater screening, I bumped into a guy on the red carpet wearing a man-purse. I poked fun at him as he bashfully tried to explain the “necessary things” inside, like his wallet and car keys. So, I opened my purse to expose its guts and asked, “Do you have tampons too?” As the lights went down inside, I saw the guys face up on the big screen. Turns out he was the lead in the film we were about to watch. I had asked Ethan Embry if he had any tampons in his purse. The crazy had struck again.

The reality was unavoidably obvious, but my brain hadn’t caught up with what was happening around me. It is, after all, easy to get swept up in the glamour of things when someone else is paying for your dinner. On Monday I went back to work.

SpanosThis week, surrounded by a camera crew and watchful publicist eyes I interviewed AG and John Spanos, owners and managing team of the San Diego Chargers. The brothers were smiling and joking with me about sibling revelries and it hit me: Holy s***! I’m a writer!

For the first time ever in my life, I felt like I wasn’t pretending.

As the photos clicked from the photographer’s aperture, I was higher than I had ever been before—it was psychedelic. Not only was I enjoying an exclusive interview, I had just seen a road sign. With every fiber of my crazy being I knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Maybe being a writer means the lines of what’s real and what’s in my head are blurred occasionally. To quote Tim Burton, “One persons craziness is another persons reality.”

So what happens when one person’s crazy is the same persons’s reality?  I guess I should to come up with a quote for that.

 

Thug Life.

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