Thursday, 11 December 2008

Monday: The National Arts Club

On Monday I did not want to wake up. I was filled with dread. Only the worst could come out of this day, I just knew it.

I buried my head in my pillow, and wondered why I thought shutting my eyes to the world was going to solve any of my problems.

Eventually, when it was almost to late to do anything, I got up, showered and braved the icy cold of the early day.

I walked South to Economy Candy and stood in wonder for a moment as I gazed at their wall-to-wall shop fall of delightful cavity inducing wonders.

I wanted to try everything and nothing all at the same time. Candy is good, but sometimes it just leaves you feeling like a cheap date; empty and a little bit worthless.

I called my colleague and asked her how many Candied Stars we wanted for tonight's dreaded event. She told me 5 pounds for each. I told the lady. And moments later I was hailing a cab with a large shopping bag filled with blue and white candied stars...and a ready-made Smore (do you add the 'S' for singular use?) for me. I needed some kind nutrition for breakfast.

On the way to the office I was told I would not have to go to meeting at 11am and my mood lightened a great deal. I dropped the Candied Stars off to the Marketing Lady, tasted one: bad, and then proceeded to watch 'My Super Sweet 16' in the reception office with the awesome receptionist and my extremely messy Smore. 30 seconds really is too much.

Once I had wiped all the chocolate off my face, I then thought that I might need new shoes for the event and went to the horribly organized shoe store on the corner of 14th Street and Broadway. I walked away with nothing but a request for my phone number from a man from the Caribbean who liked Cricket.

I told him I was taken. I had enough Cricket in my life to last me forever.

I had to run to the Salon to get my hair done for the event at 6:30pm. I was nervous because I felt like I was running out of time. That my life was, again, just an hourglass (" are the days of our lives"). I felt like I was completely out of control, that time was just steering me to my impending doom.

I then encountered one of those, "New York Hates Me" moments when there is not a cab available anywhere. I was going to be late. So late. Half an hour late. I walked all the way up to 19th Street before I saw one glowing its golden light just for me.

The Salon experience, was long but pleasant. I always find it interesting to be asked, "What would you like to drink" and then to never receive it. It had happened twice at the Salon already (my hair was a mess) and I had decided to just decline whenever it was asked.

Then tea came, and I bit my lip and drank.

I am now very happy with my hair. It's finally similar to my natural shade, but with a little bit more of a dark edge, and it was painless and quick and the man blow drying my hair, did so with such love that I kept patting my hair, as if to make sure it was truly connected to my messy head.

Because I had arrived at 1:30pm and it was now close to 5, it was suggested that I just get my makeup done at the Salon. I agreed because, 1: if I was going to be slaughtered, I might as well look good doing it and 2: It was not exactly my money, so...wait, hold on...uh, it was for the good of the company. Yeah. That's it.

The lady did an amazing job, and when I looked in the mirror I flashed back to when I was 14 and getting my Head Shots done for my new interest in pursuing an acting career (resulting mainly from winning 'The Adjudicators Award' (and getting the Head Shot course for free as a result) from the Australian Acting Academy. I had just been airbrushed and I turned around to the mirror and I couldn't find myself. All I could see was this strangely shaped blonde girl moving exactly the way I did. I quickly looked into the mirror and for the first time realized the wonders of makeup. I became something...well, beautiful (in magazine standards). And as a 14 year old, already full of hormones and that irritating air of desperately wanting to be an Adult, I was quite excited.

The photos were never used. The prints were a waste of money. Though pretty to look at, yes, casting directors don't want to look at airbrushed people because airbrushed people can never be ever-airbrushed (unless your Christina Aguilera). So that was silly.

I wasn't airbrushed, but she had done something to my eyelids that made my eyes pop...and then, suddenly I was rushing from the second floor of the shiny Plaza Hotel, past the portrait of Eloise, through the gorgeously decorated lobby that always makes me feel like someone special, and into a taxi.

My mother called me as the taxi whisked it's way to the East Side, and I panicked to her about how it was 5:30. By the time, I get home it will be 10 to 6, and the car is meant to be picking me up at 6. And I still was not exactly sure on what I was to wear. I told her how I was nervous because I still hadn't made any notes for the speech I was meant to give. I knew what I wanted to say, but I knew notes were good to keep the mind on one track and that I was facing the risk of having a 'blank' and forgetting what I wanted to say. She calmed me down and wished me luck.

I didn't have my keys, so Sarah came down and let me in and I ran upstairs and started to get ready. I threw on the dress I wore to the Oscars Viewing Party that I bought especially for the event, and the sparkly shoes I bought next door, also especially for the event, and added tights and a scarf. Tights because it was cold and the scarf because I don't have the right bra for the dress and would be, hanging loose. As loose as a small B cup can get.

The driver, that was organized to take me to the event, called a few times. First letting me know he was here, and secondly asking me if I was coming. I'm used to drivers simply waiting. And he was early anyway. Jake said he was told to be there at 6.15.

I shouldn't have been so surprised when I called him (after it had taken me 3 tries to actually leave the apartment without forgetting anything) that he had left because, "I couldn't wait that long." I was 3 minutes early. "Call the car company, get another car."

I called out an expletive as I hung up the phone and walked to the corner. As I was walking the car company called me, "Only 21 dollar". I hung up the phone. I didn't have the time to wait for a driver to arrive to take me to an event that a Yellow Cab could get me to in less than 10 mins and for about 6 dollars.

Unfortunately, something as silly as a driver not being there waiting for me (who really needs a personal driver, anyway?) got to me, as the melodramatic, princess version of Caitlin started to take over. The side of Caitlin wanted the car. She didn't want to be standing in the East Village made up far too preciously for the neighbourhood, and in the freezing night.

The normal Caitlin, the one typing this, just wanted to text Fox Lampert. I missed him terribly and wanted him to be with me as I faced the scary event. I read his supportive, proud texts in the taxi as reggae music blasted around me, and could barely see his lovely words through my bleary eyes. I leaned my head back and blinked furiously, I didn't want to look like I had been crying, but two long slow tears escaped from both eyes and trickled down. That was all that was needed to come out. After that, I sucked it up and prepared for business.

I got out of the cab and walked around Gramercy Park to where the event would be taking place that night, the National Arts Club, which resides in a beautiful old house that has hosted many a true artists and real celebrities party and also had a great history of being the first club to allow women as members.

As I stepped through the doors into the warmer marble entry hall, the man asked me, "Are you here for Caitlin Hill?" I smiled and nodded and he showed me the coat room.

Yes, I was here for Caitlin Hill. That's right. That's me. I still felt like a fool, but my confidence was coming back. This was an honor, treat it like so, imagine how you'll feel when it's over, be grateful, stand up straight.

When I came back to the hall, the man asked me, "Are you tonight's Honoree? Caitlin Hill?" I nodded gratefully and he said, "I thought so," and pointed me up the stairs.

I shook hands with the man organizing the event and thanked him for his hard work.

David and Jake were already there, and I felt an enormous wave of relief wash over me as I walked to stand next to them. They felt like my rocks. If I stood next to them, and just talked about whatever, everything would be fine. They both looked great in their suits, and they were nice about my "costume" too. We stood close to the doorway, that leads towards the sitting rooms and the bar, for a while, greeting people as they entered and talking about nothing in particular.

After I had greeted a few people, I realized that the anxiety had made my mouth very dry, so I ordered a coke. "You're here for Caitlin Hill, right?" I smiled and nodded again. I liked the anonymity, and watched him as he signed off some sort of check list that would measure the budget of the party.

It was great talking with Cousin Brucie, who would be speaking later. I had realized I knew a legend a few months ago after I heard his voice on Across The Universe.

There were a great deal of wonderful people there, Walter, Catherine, the investors, Billy, Grace, Reese Schonfeld (another hero in media; the creator (with Ted Turner) of CNN and founder the Food Network) a whole bunch of other people that deserved more of my whole attention and fascination, and the wonderful man that is Aldon James, president of the club. He is possibly one of the most delightful people I have ever met. He is all at once, wise, honest and extremely funny and I have a great deal of respect for him. I told him I would help him learn how to use a computer.

Sarah came too, and it was so lovely of her to take the time out of her hectic schedule to support me. She is a lovely girl, and she looked gorgeous too.

I was quite excited to talk to Grace though, because she is training people, and I have reached a stage where if I don't start doing excercize, my thighs and hips are only going to continue to get bigger. I have lost most of the weight I gained from my first 6 months in America. I am feeling much better about myself now, but I believe Grace has what it takes to bring me back into an enthusiastic routine of excercizing.

Ricky Butler was also there. I was surprised to see him because I did not expect for him to come. But he is a new member now, so I guess it was fairly easy. Still, I was happy to see him as he's a good guy and we hadn't spoken in ages.

Suddenly a bell began to clang and after quickly exchanging introductions with an Australian reporter for a New York publication, we all rushed inside where a salad was already waiting for us.

I couldn't decide whether I was happy the food came out first or not. On one hand it pleased me because now I had more time to settle in and relax, and on the other time, it would have been nice to get 'The Scary' over with and enjoy the Lamb Chops I had requested be served as the main course for everyone.

I didn't eat very much, because I was on my best behaviour and mostly talked to Aldon about all kinds of things. He is a very busy man, balancing his evening between two receptions and searching for special things in the great big house while coming back to each course.

Eventually the lamb and dessert had been cleared away, and the Misters began to make their speeches all about little ol' me and what I have done.

I was extremely grateful for the kind words they showered on me. If I truly believed I had earned those words, I would have been very excited, but I couldn't help but feel pangs of guilt as I thought of all the people that have helped me and put up with my bad manners, lateness, laziness and depression.

Nalts made a terrific speech (when he sat down he said, "and now I can get hammered!" - I love him!), he was just brilliant, as was Reese, Allan Shaw, Cousin Brucie, Walter and Aldon, the nerves started to grow as I realized that maybe winging the speech wasn't such a great idea after all.

When Aldon presented me with the Medal of Honor for a Lifetime Acheivement in The Arts, I wobbled up to the podium, thanked him and stared at amazing at the round, gold medal, that, even though it was quite heavy, lifted my spirits and inspired me to do a little everything.

I started my speech and it seemed to go over well. I felt like I might have breathed into the microphone too much, but I made the crowd laugh when I added my random lines and jokes and asides, and eventually reached the end and accepted the medal on behalf of ALL video creators online who want to acheive greater things.

People stood up and clapped, and it was the most lovely thing. I didn't know everyone in the room, but I am so glad that they were extremely supportive.

I did get very angry at myself for forgetting to mention one of my colleagues though, it plagued me for the whole night.

Once people had started parting for the night, Sarah and I watched Ricky and Nalts drink and be merry while filming on the Flip Sarah borrowed from Luke for the night, and be very funny with all their witty banter and true observations.

I thanked my boss for all that he had done and it felt good for everyone to be happy.

We were one of the last people to leave, there was this lovely woman there called Rose who was taking lots of pictures of everyone and was very sweet to me. She gave Sarah and I some good solid advice about boys and then we braved the cold that was even icier now, and accepted Nalts' invitation to drive us home.

When I got inside and sat on my bed, I shared a private, happy moment, where I simply smiled nad felt fulfilled. The night hadn't been such a disaster after all. Time was still urging me forward and I still didn't feel in control of this person that everyone was saying such lovely things about, but I accepted that it was just a moment, a wonderful moment and that I'm very lucky and that I should just be happy with this happy accident of a life that I'm leading.

After all, my Mum said I was a happy accident, so maybe that's what my whole life will be. One long series of rewarding accidents, a blonde whisp lacking in motivation, floating through the air of life.

Yeah, sounds alright. But I do want to steer my journey for a while. I'm not ready to. I will know when I will be, and all will be merry and there will be cake.

Thank you National Arts Club, this medal has inspired me to be the greater thing that you see in me.

The Standard Girl and The Michael Cera Bumper-Innerer.


Brent said...

I can't believe what you have achieved in 2-and-a-half years, Caitlin! I am so frickin' proud of you and what you have accomplished!

Caitlin Hill at the National Arts Club ceremony (12-08-08)

No airbrushing is required to look this gorgeous! <3

GeminiDragon said...

You truly and utterly deserve that medal, and I am very happy you got honored in such a way!

I knew from the moment I watched my first video of yours, that you are a young woman who is definitely going places. You are undoubtedly talented, intelligent and beautiful. I wish you the best of luck in all that you do.


Chris in the Studio said...

Just when I was about to nod away I checked my bookmarks and delightfully found a long juicy nugget of a post exemplifying the exact reasons why your most loyal followers and I absolutely love and adore you so much.
You are with out a doubt well on your way to achieving what ever it is that your heart desires, wants and needs. The only obstacle in your path is making those decisions along the way as to what exactly that is.
I thought about you Monday evening and everything you have been through
and everything you have done to bring light and laughter to people all over the world and shed a tear of joy, well I guess it was two tears perhaps, nah.... yeah.
Nuff said

Its time for you to take the wheel.
And it does not have to be a Cobra Gt or Ferrari. Start with a golf cart if that is in your comfort zone and do it. Your not ready and you will never be completely ready for the next big challenge but you have the poise, composure, grace and sheer balls to handle it.
I don't want to make this about a lesson,so for now its just about congratulations. Congratulations,congratulations.
Congratulations, congratulations.
Don't ever change!

Chris in the Studio said...

P.S. Five pounds of Candy per person?
OMG thats enough to make anyone sick!lol Candy's for kids and depressed woman. I don't see any of those around here.:)

Brent said...

@Chris in the Studio: Nice post, man. Couldn't say it better myself!

Adam said...

Caitlin that was an amazing read, and a lovely insight into your life. You deserve that award and I wish I was able to witness it!


J said...

Go Aussie!

Dizzknee said...

I know that it's been said many times before, but you write really well, Caitlin. I was hanging on every word, even though I already read your other blog on the subject. If this blog had pages, I'd be turning them with baited breath. : )

So, as I said on your other blog, congratulations! You're accomplishing such amazing things, and you're only 20.


I feel really proud of you, and you should too. It's a wonderful and well-deserved honour. It can be very common to feel guilty or like an impostor at times like this, but that doesn't mean it's undeserved. I'm quite sure that many men and women receiving these types of awards have felt the exact same way you did. That's just human nature. And besides, it's good to be humble.

I said in my little "Thank You" video I made last December that you were "destined for bigger things". I really did believe that, and (no word of a lie), after watching 10 seconds of you on YouTube way back in 2006, I knew for certain that you could do great and wonderful things. I can even pinpoint the few frames that told me this, if you're curious. : )

So I'll continue to cheer you on from snowy Toronto in the best way I know how.

And do you know what the coolest part about all of this is, Caitlin? It's just the beginning.

Nalts said...

It's so neat to read about what was going on in your head. Your speech was ADORABLE. I would have snuck out my camera, but there were about 9 rolling. I should have slipped one of the cameramen a $20 for a copy. BTW- I made it home alive. :)

Olli said...

Congratulations Caitlin. You are awesome! I wish I'd been there.

Sidsel said...

Your writing is so colorful.

sdddlt said...

Wow, "Medal of Honor for a Lifetime Achievement in The Arts". Caitlin, you're a pioneer and you truly deserve it. It also makes one of your already remarkable quotes even more meaningful:

I will commit myself to document through words and pictures and video of how mundane but interesting life can be...from the smallest bug to the largest cloud.

This is my promise.

(from Buzznet, posted on July 27 2006 - three weeks before joining YouTube)

james said...

I offer you many congratulations, Miss Hill. Your achievements are nothing short of astounding.

I’m very glad you had the opportunity and ability to enjoy such an amazing moment. None of us is ever completely in control of the moments in which we find ourselves, and while we can’t control them, it is within our ability to give the moments of our lives meaning and to make the absolute most of them. Your success thus far demonstrates that you have done very well at making the most of the opportunities that have come before you, and I see no reason why this would change.

Keep up the good work.


Simon said...

I admire not only your ambition but the way you draw the things you admire towards yourself.

Obviously you have lot more than luck on your side but you make all your hard work seem like fun for those of us watching your adventures.

Keep dreaming and working equally hard! - Simon

thatgirlonline said...

@Brent: Ooh, where did you find that picture? And thank you xo

@GeminiDragon: thank you so much :)

@chris in the studio: you're awesome man, thank you. your advice is always golden. i'm sorry I missed you at the meeting.

@adam: feels special for you reading my blog - thanks xo

@J: oi, oi, oi!

@dizzknee: everything really is just beginning. I do hope that I truly am able to earn my keep and do good things and great things. Thank you so much for continuing to support me through this crazy journey. I owe you and a lot of other people so much gratitude.

@Nalts: glad you got home safe, thanks for the ride, missed you and your brilliance in LA - see you soon boyyy, we got business to do! :D

@Olli - thanks. Yeah, it would have been nice to have more internet folk there.

@Sidsel - thanks, every now these blogs actually go somewhere :P

@sdddlt - I do not even remember writing that, but I'm so glad I have you for reminding me of what commitments I did indeed made. I've been lacking a bit lately, but I've never felt more motivated. Thank you for supporting me.

@James - thank you, and you're right, it's all about taking what you have and making the best out of it. I suppose I sometimes would like the simple life of a Sim...but then they'd probably try to drown me in a pool.

@Simon - thank you, maybe one day I'll actually be as talented as you and Seb are at editing :D

JohnnyBeGood said...

Oh my goodness! Congratulations, Caitlin! Sounds like you had quite a day, glad everything worked out!!!!
You write so well I felt like I was you when reading it!!

lol at Nalts, yeah it's a good thing you are alive. Being dead would suck.

Wonder how hammered he was, haha.

Take care

Brent said...

I wouldn't want to deny you from reading the article written by Andy Seccombe for the New York Press (courtesy of sdddlt's Tumblr! :P)

Caitlin Hill: Web star Wins Medal of Honor

I acquired the picture from the article and you're very welcome! :)

BradWhitherspoon said...

Are you coming to me here in Sweden and celebrate Christmas?! We have SNOW!<3

MntlWard said...

What the hell was up with that driver? If he was hired to drive you at 6:15, and you were ready by 6:15, what else would he need to be doing? :-/

Anyway, you deserve as much as anybody to be the first recipient of that award. :-)

Gena said...

Caitlin, I am truly and completely jealous of you. But in a good way :D. You're a successful blogger and v-logger and you still have time for regular life. I really do look up to you. You're the one who inspired me to do a lot of things in my life, so Thanks! :D

Gena said...

P.S. I know that really had NOTHING to do with the blog but eh, I thought you should know XD.

Gena said...

P.S.S. Well i guess it kind of did. Sheesh i need to pay attention more. Anyway; You really did deserve that medal. I can not believe you've done so much in such little time.

im'mature said...

A belated congratulations, Ms Hill. Who says vlogs can't take you places? :o)