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That’s who I was before. It’s the person who I left behind. I am no more Galena Jones. I’m not anymore the girl who lived in Virginia in a small Victorian house whose parents divorced; very middle classed, the shy timid child, the girl who actually had privacy, friends, and happiness. To sum everything up, the girl who had a life. Yes, I thought I had lost it.
I am now Gale James, a glamorous Hollywood figure. Which was the biggest regret of my life, or so I had thought. I guess I shall start from the very beginning…
The early days seemed like heaven to me now. My childhood varies from dramatic to plain. There were neither miracles nor horribleness. I came from a stiff middle class family in a cozy Victorian house, yet it humors me to say that because they seemed like two very different things. My parents, well they were busy sorting things out of their own. They later had a divorce, which to this very day I am afraid of. The divorce part of course scares me. I still remember Pa striking Mummy in face. Me, well I was always the soft spoken, girl who was 5’10 and made witty jokes that everyone adored. As for romance, I preferred romance novels. I was waiting for the perfect one. I mean the real guy of course.
My life pivoted when I moved to Los Angeles for my photography internship when I was 18. Thrilled as I was to go do something that was my passion, I was also filled with melancholy because I was leaving everyone I loved. But I felt like this is what I was meant to do. Not to sound too dramatic, but it was as if fate had decided. I had started a new chapter in my life.
Los Angeles was interesting. Not at all like Virginia. Virginia was more peaceful while L.A had more options. I liked it. I felt like I could accomplish so much more! I started applying for more and more things. I even went to Hollywood! And that’s when I met him.
Russell James. He was apparently a tremendously famous actor, but of course I never knew. How surprising. I’m pretty sure I made a fool of myself when he introduced whom he was. I caught myself dumfounded when I asked, “Who are you?” He just laughed in my face. How rude.
“You’re joking right?” he said cockily.
“No I am not joking! And if you will excuse me I have to get going. Tata!”
He chuckled some more and said, “I have never met someone your age who doesn’t scream like a little girl! By the way, I’m Russell. Russell James, as in the actor. But I guess you wouldn’t know that would you now?”
I didn’t like him. Nor did I like him making fun of me!
Yet I guess I found myself liking it deep inside, because two years later when we were dating, he proposed. Yes, I was going to be his wife. I remember being so happy back then. I was thinking of the future and everything! The whole caboodle! That was when troubles started arising.
After the marriage I noticed peculiar things. People started following me. At first it was understandable; after all I was going to be Russell James’s wife! The actor! However, it started getting extreme. Photographers piled up and interviewers would not let me go. Anywhere I went they were right behind me, next to me, or in front of me. Day after day I was on the front page of every magazine or newspaper! I could never relax. The media was hounding me. I remember once when I came home, I logged on to my email and read about five or so creepy threats saying that if I married Russell, I would regret it because they wanted to be with him. I felt so scared and unprotected that I cried my self to sleep. Sometimes I even checked the tabloids and saw what the press wrote about me. Most of them were silly and irrelevant like, “Gale James at H.E.B!” or “Love or hate the shoes Gale James is wearing?” Those ones just blew my mind. I mean with wars going on, people dying, laws being made, they chose to write and photograph me!
Other ones were just plain cruel and nasty. They said stuff like “Gale needs to go on a diet!” They were calling me fat. When I looked in the mirror that day, I didn’t see how flawless my skin looked or how great my smile was, I noticed how flabby my stomach was and how my legs looked chunky. Something triggered in my thoughts that night. After that, I thought I was too fat, so Bulimia hit me. I wouldn’t eat something for hours, then suddenly I would gobble up anything I could find, and later I would vomit it. No one knew, just my husband. And he didn’t take it very seriously. Partly because I didn’t complain much about it to him, so he thought it would go away soon. I kept it all inside Sometimes when we were eating he would say, “Are you going to waste that later?” because I would you know, throw it up. I was so depressed. I never felt good enough for my husband or the paparazzi. Other than that though, I didn’t get why I was so famous; it wasn’t like I had climbed Everest or something like that. When Russell and I went out, I thought everybody would want to get his photograph or his autograph, but that wasn’t the case! The media was obsessed with me. One time when I was greeting my fans, a man lunged out at me and my bodyguards thought he was going to hurt me, so they arrested him. It turns out when they interviewed him he just wanted to hug me. I hated that people got into heavy trouble just because of me.
It wasn’t going to change. I chose this life! I knew all along in the back of my head that I was going to have to sacrifice all my privacy. But it would be worth it…. or would it? No, scratch that. What in the world are you thinking Galena James? You love your husband! But should you have to sacrifice everything else for it? Yes. Yes you should Gale. That is real love. Okay take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale, inhale, and exhale I remember thinking.
After that war between me and myself, I remember bumping into a huge cardboard box outside of a shopping center. I heard a moan, and when I peeked inside of it I saw a scrawny little boy as skinny as a rail.
“Oh, I’m sorry! Where are your parents, darling?” I said full of concern.
“I don’t have none ma’m,” the boy replied.
“What? Um, alright here you go then.” I was so shocked that I stuffed money in his hands and ran. I had no idea what to do! I never faced something like that. Who knew there were homeless in L.A! That really changed me though. I wanted to start charities or do something like that so they wouldn’t have to suffer. The question was, how?
Answer- Easy, I’m rich.
So now I’m in Paris, back stage getting ready for an interview, with one goal in my head. To tell my story. I glance in the king sized mirror to see a 24 year old woman with striking features. Glossy golden brown hair was perfectly sculptured to my shoulders bringing out the hazel flecks in my big brown eyes. My fair skin had a touch of rosiness on the cheeks and I finished the look off with an elegant silk chiffon. Confident as I looked, I still felt shaky. I had never told my point of view of the situation. It was my time now!
“Gale! You look quite stunning, as usual. Remember if there are any questions you don’t want to answer, let me know!” Jared Pennings, the interviewer, reassured me.
“Of course Jared. I’m ready when you are,” I informed him. Any day now. I’ve been waiting for hours just sitting.
“Yes. Okay lights, we are starting in 3..2…Hello everyone you’re on Celebrity Gist and today we have a very special star. She is the wife of a famous actor but she is rising to the top! Give it up for Galena James or as we prefer it, the one and only Gale!”
I walked down the aisle smiling my million dollar smile as my heart beat rapidly. Well, here it goes.
“Good evening Gale, how are you?” Jared asked.
“Very well Jared, how are you?”I ask.
“Ah. I’m great actually. Just like the weather. So let’s start with the basics. Are you really a vegetarian?”
Here it goes again. Who really cares? “Why yes, I am.” I finally say.
“Really? Interesting, I’m thinking about going vegan next month!”
“Oh that’s so tremendous. It really is. It’s great not eating something that deserves to be here just like we do, right?” I smile a big toothy grin.
“Yes, but I’m afraid it’s going to be hard. How are you liking Paris?”
“I love it! It’s amazing.” I am about to explode.
“It is. Now how are you handling the pressure from the media? I mean you are the most wanted and most famous person alive!” he says.
“Actually that’s what I wanted to talk about. Well you see it’s been quite difficult to adapt because, well I’m always followed you know. Um, I’m sure everyone deserves relaxation but I really don’t have much of it. I guess it just hits me hard.” I say
“So you don’t like it?” he questioned.
“No it’s not that I don’t like my fans. I adore them, but well..how would you feel if everywhere you go people follow you? No one leaves you alone? You always have to be protected by a body guard. People want to do actual harm to you! I know this is all just part of being famous and all but I really don’t get why people like me so much,” I smiled shyly. “It’s my husband Russell who has done it all! I’m just his side kick. I shouldn’t be the main star here, but I am. To tell you the truth, why is it so important if I go to Wal-Mart? How my shoes look? How much I weigh? Why does that matter so much may I ask you?” I burst.
“Uh..Well your right. People love you, you do so much,” He defends.
“Like what? Have I helped the world? No, I haven’t. And that really bothers me. People trying to blackmail me to do stuff or making me sound like I’m God. So right now I’m reaching out to you. To the audience, whoever is watching. I am not the center of earth. I am just a normal person! It’s funny, before I wanted to become a photographer, but now I’m so sick of them. They follow me around everywhere. I’m not saying that I am a horrible person; I’m just not great as you think I am. I don’t want everyone following me around everywhere I go and threatening me. I’m sorry if I’m hurting a lot of people,” I snap.
“Wow. Just wow. You’ve said a lot Gale. I think you are really showing a point no one has really noticed! Does everyone hear this? Well now that we have gotten that out of our minds, what are you going to do now?” he asks.
“Well, now I’m going to cut a very different path and help people around the world. Build charities, people with disabilities and the homeless. I figure I might do something that makes me worthwhile now that I mention it! It’s been a tough year but I’m going to turn it around. I’m going to try really hard to love myself,” I declare.
“That’s really great. I’ll definitely donate. Thanks Gale it’s been a pleasure! Here she is everyone! Galena James! And really think about what she said!” he claimed.
“Thanks Jared, it’s been great.” I add.
I walk out with a feeling of confidence. For The first time in a while my chin is up held high with a fresh sense of purpose. So to everyone out there, you are who you are. Look out because here comes the real Gale James!