Mattie Jo Cowsert
So it’s my senior year of college. WOAH. How did we get here? And it’s only blog #8? Time flies when you’re self discovering, Amirite? Senior year was one of the best slash most stressful years of my life. I had spent the last three years working diligently at multiple jobs, spending all my gold and innocence on trips to New York City, and breaking things off with my conservative potential husband for the pinnacle of my young adult life: Moving to New York City. But a few things had to be in order before I could move. So I prayed. A lot. Professional Pray-er
Although I was having the time of my life soaking up the last bit of college by binge drinking and having an awesome metabolism, I was stressed AF. I spent a ton of time alone, actually. I never wanted anyone around (except Camille obvs). I stayed home and ate so many instant mashed potatoes. Something was very wrong.
I talked to my roommate (Enter: Hannah Philpot. The weirdest person you will ever meet outside of the theatre community. She could make me belly laugh til I spit cheerios out of my mouth and convince me the Catachism was chill. She was also a SICK crafter. I still have all the painted canvases she made me. Anyway, I loved spending time with this girl. I miss her a lot. She’s a Catholic missionary and the star of my new movie: Mattie Jo’s college roommate marries her ex’s little brother. SPOILER) about this funk and she said it had a name! It’s called desolation. It’s a time when, no matter what you do, you just feel empty. So she gave me a book written by a nun and I read the shit out of that book. In my last semester of college, I bet a spent close to 3-4 hours a day in prayer, reading, reflection, journaling (but never meditation. That’s for the Buddhists). I was so desperate for God to rejuvenate me. Why was I depressed? Why was I so down after God had given me so much to be thankful for? “Get outta here, you ungrateful Mattie Jo! And put your thankful pants on!” My thankful pants were on! But there were so many things that had to be in line before I would let myself move to NYC and they were stressing me the BLEEP out.
Half my head was blonde once. I know it's tacky as shit but I miss it. Oh also here's the senior class 2013.
Money Money Money
I told myself I had to have AT LEAST $5,000 saved. I am not one of those people who would move to New York with a suitcase and dream and 13 dollars and say “Let’s make it happen, y’all!” No No. Navigating the subways, auditions, and Upper West Side strollers was going to be stressful enough. I needed to know my primitive needs were covered: must have food and shelter. Also I really did not want to move home to save for adulthood. I’m not shitting on this approach. I know it works for lots of people in their early twenties (including all my siblings). But remember my summers at the Marriott? These were also the summers I learned Mark, Val, and Mattie Jo make the worst roommates. Despite the fact that I would be living for free, I still let things like opening a fridge to 16 variations of “pumpkin spice crème brulee thin mints” coffee creamer annoy the poo outta me (Til this day I think my parents are convinced flavors of coffee creamer can substitute as actual food. Like if my coffee tastes like a Cinnabon, I’m totally eating a Cinnabon). Also my mother gets all her interior design inspiration from Silver Dollar City. Yeah. I realize these are not legitimate reasons to not live with your parents. But I was 22 and ready to take on the world with my impressive independence skillz. I think we can all relate to being ungrateful sort of shitheads in our early twenties, right? So. This meant I had to save some serious cash during my senior year. Somehow I had to manage to juggle a full time job, school, and rehearsal. But guess what? I got FOUR DIFFERENT JOBS. All of which didn’t conflict and allowed me to still go to class, rehearsal, and train for my half marathon. Also I got Sundays off cuz #GodsChild. Wow. This praying thing is working. FULL SPEED AHEAD >>> Blood, Sweat, and EMC Points
Also, I had to get my EMC card before taking off to the Big Apple. For those of you who aren’t in theatre, EMC points are a little thing that are actually really difficult to obtain and carry a decent amount of clout in the non-union theatre world. It basically means you’ve worked for a theatre that paid you a little over a burrito and some Diet Mountain Dew, but the directors, choreographers, and a few of the actors didn’t suck. #NonUnionHeaven. Ideally, I would have no problem getting these points because, fortunately for me, Missouri State has a summer theatre on campus that provides these lucky charms. But there was one hindrance: A wedding (Further explanation of non-union theatre bliss. In the big leagues, there are things called understudies who will cover your role if things like illness or a wedding or oversleeping occur. But in the non-union world you must be immune to all sickness and also not have a life outside of theatre for them to hire you because they ain’t got no moneys for an understudy. So. In all of my summer stock* auditions that spring, I was immediately put on the shit list because I was in the wedding of a couple I had introduced. Fun fact: Catholic was also in the wedding because we actually introduced them. HOW COOL. Shoot me). So I did what any respectable (desperate) human would do. I went to the director of MSU’s theatre, told him my situation, and begged he cast me. I got cast. Because of the praying not because I begged. * Summer stock is a reference to theatre that takes place all over the country, during the summer. Most popular time to get work as a musical theatre actor. A Big Big House
The last thing I prayed for was a place to live in NYC. I was all “God please give me a safe place to live, with no rapists or roaches in the building, and a dishwasher, thanks!” Just kidding. I mostly prayed that it would be under $850/month and convenient for traveling to and from my jobs and auditions. Praying is the key to getting everything you want, dontchaknow. Anyway, while I was in NYC for showcase, I ended up finding the most unbelievable place to live thanks to brother’s ex-gf. She introduced me to one of her rich Jewish friends and I got to live in the penthouse of an Upper West Side apartment for two years.
That’s the short story. Here’s the long story if you’re interested: Everything from that week is, I can say gladly, very vivid. I did a very sub par performance at my showcase but I made people laugh. I got really drunk and passed out on the train and ended up on Coney Island. The train conductor woke me up and moved me to a different car so the new conductor could make sure I got off at my appropriate stop. Again. #GodsChild. Like seriously who else does that happen to?! (Chris, my host, was not happy with me showing up at his Park Slope home at 4am. As mentioned in previous blogs, I’m a terrible guest never host me.) I also went to Princeton and visited the McCarter Theatre which was pretty rad cuz it’s won some Tonys.
Princeton! And a wonderful City Scape umbrella. It was my favorite ever!!! Then I lost it.
On the trip back from Princeton I received an email saying I had been accepted to Open Jar Institute in New York City (Open Jar is a training intensive I auditioned for but had no expectation of ever getting accepted. That was for really talented kids. I can just fart the ABCs). What did I do to deserve this? Oh yeah. All that praying! As soon as I returned to the City I went to spend the evening with brother’s UES ex-gf. I needed to tell her the news, ask if I could stay with her during that week, and the week after to look for a place to live. EX GF: Well, when are you trying to move here? Me: September EX GF: Oh well I just ran into my friend and he’s looking for a roommate in September Me: Oh? What are the details? Ex GF: it looks like it’s 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 stories, a terrace, cleaning lady, doorman, laundry in unit, it’s right up here on 83 and Broadway… Me: Okay (I know you don’t understand money but…), that sounds amazing but there’s just really no way I can afford that. I need like. Running water in Washington Heights and I’ll be happy. Ex GF: No no it’s only $750/month Me: WHAT (wide eyed emoji). I HAVE TO SEE IT. The next day I got together with my future roommate and toured the place. It was a dream. I must be the only person in the history of ever to have their first home in NYC be the nicest place they’ll ever live. I mean, yeah I was in the maid’s quarters BUT WHO CARES. I had my own bathroom and laundry in-unit which people basically give their souls for in NYC (the room could only fit a twin size bed though. I was finally living on my own and still in a twin bed. #DivineCockBlock). It was so amazing I was actually worried it wasn’t real. So I asked if he could call my dad and chat with him. Was this legal? Was I in the mob now? Don’t care have my own bathroom.
Upper East Side GF totally loved my blonde streak which is why she also has one.
I would later dye my blonde back to brown in her mother's shower.
Okay. Are you still with me? A Whole New World
So. I had my EMC points, an unfathomably nice place to live, AND a Broadway intensive acceptance under my (chastity) belt. And it was all because, obviously, God loved how committed I was to praying, journaling, reading, reflecting, and trusting. I was a loyal follower. I had pretty much stopped drinking (accept for that Coney Island thing oops), and I didn’t even have time to think about guys. I was in the perfect position to be the receiver of His holy gifts aka BE A BROADWAY STAR. However, there was one little tiny detail I had been considering for the past year that might maybe also need to be part of my big transition to NYC. Maybe… Maybe I didn’t want to be a virgin anymore. There. I said it. Phew. Okay moving on. Maybe I wanted to experience sex in the City. Maybe I didn’t want the state of my hymen to be something on my date night resume. I say maybe because I never really made a definitive choice about this. Since my breakup with Catholic, it was something I considered but I was never like “Yep. Gunna get some candles and a Sig Ep and make this happen on Thursday.” First of all, I was terrified for what this might mean for my blessing income (would God keep answering my prayers like magic?). Secondly, I didn’t know anything about birth control or protection really. The only sex education class I took in good ole Missourah was Abstinence. Which basically teaches you to zip your legs or you’ll get cauliflower vag for life. And also every man you sleep with is stabbing a pencil through your tomato (that was a video they showed us. The tomato was the female heart. The pencil I guess was a dick? I don’t know. But our little female hearts were fucking obliterated after all those pencils we’d allowed to stab us). And lastly, who am I if not that virgin girl who loves Jesus? This wasn’t just my virginity. It was my identity. Was I ready to lose my identity? To be continued….