2. Hollywood

Hollywood.

I am an actor by trade. Four years ago I was living in an extremely swanky apartment in the Hollywood Hills with my girlfriend of two years, an American actress and model who had just finished filming what was set to be a successful television show. At the time I was still at drama school: The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In short, things were going very well in my life. During the day I was attending one of the top drama schools in the world, by night I was partying with some of the biggest rock stars on the planet.

About a year earlier one of my best friends from high school had moved out to Hollywood to attend the same drama school. We moved in together. We had met at one of the UKs most famous boarding schools, where we were in the same house. Now we were in Hollywood, the entertainment capital of the world, with big dreams, big egos and big wallets. Within six months of the two old pals moving in together we had become two of the most notorious members of Hollywood’s fast paced club scene. We would walk up to the red ropes of the hottest clubs, which had lines so long they would wrap around the block, to have the bouncers immediately part the crowds and usher us to our tables, where a couple of bottles of Grey Goose and a gaggle of beautiful blondes would be waiting for us. The words ‘Edwaaaaard’ and ‘Wiicccckkkkkked’ would bounce around the dance floor, to which my standard response was to pick up a bottle of grey goose, find the hottest blonde in the room and pour it down her throat. On weekends we would either go skiing up at Big Bear Mountain, or head down to Mexico to pick up pretty girls on their Spring Break. We were living the life of riley and loving every minute of it.

But it was not long before the cracks began to emerge. We were students yet had been spending hundreds of dollars every single night, getting through two big bottles of vodka and who knows how many beers and shots of Sambuca. Of course it was all going to fall apart. We just didn’t know it. We thought that we were invincible.

It started with a few minor disagreements. One of the guys in our group, an Italian, had felt hard done by after spending more money than us on a couple of nights out. This all seemed trivial, and turmoil was temporarily evaded with a handshake and a shot or two. But then, like every clichéd Hollywood Rom-Com,  disagreements over girls were involved.

To make matters more complicated, a member of our group had been drugged by our landlord, and woke up in the landlord’s bed half naked the following morning. A few hours later, after our friend, a newly broken man, had told us of the morning’s confused and deeply disturbing events, and the landlord in question was lying unconscious on his sitting room floor with a broken nose, and the boxer who had had sent round to our flat to enact revenge on his behalf had been beaten within an inch of his life.

The next month was defined by lawyers, broken hearts and broken men. A year of living it large had taken its toll. For us, Hollywood would never be the same again.

My friend moved out and we have barely spoken since.

But it was not for another six months that the effects of pursuing such a flagrantly hedonistic lifestyle slapped me round the face and then beat the proverbial shit out of me, forcing me to change my life forever and throwing me headfirst onto the course that would pump the blood back into my veins and resuscitate the Cyborg shell of a man that I had become.

May all beings, in all directions, without exception, be free from suffering and find real peace. Real happiness.

 

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