“What I Did for Love” – A Chorus Line

9 Jan

In most cases, I don’t think I have ever had an easy time getting something that I really wanted or desired. I had to work hard for it which I don’t mind because then my appreciation level goes through the roof once I have achieved the goal or overcame the obstacle. Currently, I want nothing more than to become a mom and my journey has been more difficult than most, but I am willing to do whatever it takes and push fear aside. Another time in my life where I had to step out of my comfort zone and take on a challenge was when I decided to move to New York City. It was my first time away from home and my choice to leave was influenced by a new love in my life that I could not let slip away.

In the summer of 2000, I started dating Brett and right from the start I knew he was my soulmate. I told my mom that he was the one I would marry after only dating him for one month. I told Brett as well but that freaked him out a little so I made sure not to mention it again. He had just graduated from UCLA while I had recently finished my first year at Cal State Northridge when we started our relationship. Soon after, he decided that he wanted to move to New York City to check out the Broadway scene. Brett had just received his degree in music and was interested in learning more about Broadway since he had already been a conductor and music director for several musical theatre pit orchestras. I was also a music major with a passion for musical theatre so I was very intrigued to give New York City a shot as well. Deep down, I did not really want to leave home and did consider a long distance relationship but I knew that if I did not go with him, I could possibly lose Brett completely.

By the winter of 2000, we had both made the move and settled into our two different apartments in Astoria, Queens. I was terrified of living on my own and the only other time I was away from my parents was my one experience at sleep away camp which left me extremely home sick and fighting to leave camp early. Living in New York City was such a culture shock and it forced me to grow up very quickly. I remember shortly after moving, I celebrated my 19th birthday but was in tears for the majority of that day because I felt as though I was the epitome of a fish out of water. I could not help but wonder if I made the right decision to leave all things comfortable and safe to see if my soulmate prediction was in fact true. After several transitional months, I really started getting the hang of living on my own and before I knew it, I was well versed in street smarts and memorized the entire NYC subway map. Throughout this transition of moving and creating completely new lives for ourselves, our relationship was really being tested and it was not always smooth sailing even though we were both getting used to our new surroundings.

We came back home to L.A. briefly during the summer of 2001. After dating for only a year, we had already been through so much by living across the country and away from our families. We were definitely going back to New York City so I made arrangements to transfer to Hunter College and would be heading back in August. Brett had to arrive a few months later because there was a delay with his housing situation. Throughout the summer, we were not getting along as well as before but I was definitely not ready to give up. I could have chosen to stop living in New York City and just stayed at home but I knew if I did that, our relationship would really be over. I left L.A. not knowing what our future would be but hoped that this rough patch would fade with time. I found a new apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn and started school but soon began feeling very lonely since Brett was not there with me and I did not know anybody at my new school. Less than a month later on September 11, 2001, the entire world changed and I was right in the middle of it all…alone.

Brett immediately called me once he heard the catastrophic news of what had happened to make sure I was safe and sound. It was at this moment that we realized how deeply we loved each other and knew we could not be apart or even think about ending our relationship. With all of the death and destruction around me, the one thing that helped me through this horrific time was to focus on love. Brett soon arrived back in New York City and our relationship quickly became stronger than ever. I ended up moving far away from Ground Zero and settled into a new apartment in Washington Heights. I finished the school year and then Brett and I decided that we had enough of New York City for the time being and we were ready to move back home in May 2002. I started back up at Cal State Northridge but decided to change my major to theatre after my NYC experience. I finally graduated college in June 2005 which prompted Brett and I to start looking for our first place together where we would begin the next chapter of our relationship. By November 2006, Brett realized that my early prediction was indeed true and I finally got a sparkly ring on my finger! The rest is history…

*The song “What I Did for Love” is from the 1975 Broadway musical A Chorus Line which is one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. The song is about not having any regrets when it comes to falling in love, whether it be a love of dancing or love for another person. This song really sums up my entire New York City experience because if I didn’t fall in love with Brett, I probably would have never gone on such an adventure. Now we both face a new adventure with our unborn children and what we are doing for love is nothing that we ever imagined having to experience. I do believe that the growth we gained in New York City is really helping our outlook by staying positive and remembering to always focus on love, not fear.

Brett and I just after moving to NYC (2000)

Meeting Jason Robert Brown (2002)

Recent NYC trip…it’s still our 2nd home (2011)


2 Responses to ““What I Did for Love” – A Chorus Line”

  1. Wendy Shuken January 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Jessica I’ve followed each day’s blog and share it with Bob. You are a talented writer and we thank you for taking into your life in such an intimate way.
    We both send you and Brett lots of love,
    Wendy Shuken

  2. themanywomenoftroy March 10, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I wondered recently why I didn’t stay with Brett after 9/11. I had forgotten he wasn’t there at the time!

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