Friday, January 25, 2013

Here Goes Everything/Nothing

Have you ever heard the expression "here goes nothing," before?  I assume you have - it's a pretty popular phrase, and it's often used when we are actually most anxious, nervous, or scared to do something.  It's a phrase used before "popping the question," or heading into an important interview or talking to someone who makes you nervous.  Why is it that the English language so strange?  Why do we construct phrases whose literal meaning is totally different than what we, well, mean?

And what the heck inspired this rant?  Once I've finished work (I'm typing this during my lunch break, on someone else's phone) I have a meeting for Festival (more on that some other time) and then I'm catching a train that will take me to my bus which will bring me to NYC.  There I will be auditioning for Columbia University's MFA in Theatre, with a concentration in Acting.  And I have a healthy understanding of the fact that thousands of people apply and hundreds of people audition and then less than two dozen are accepted in to this program.  I have plans to move to the city, to get work, to support myself and further my hopes, dreams, goals and plans, as though Columbia is a place I've never heard of.

And yet. . . this is still the most important audition of my life so far.  And while I try to tell myself "here goes nothing," as I pack and figure and sort and plan, I know deep down in my heart that what I really mean is "here goes everything."

Here is my passion, my talent, my art, on display for you to be judged, weighed, measured.  Let me stand before you and sing, dance, tell you a story so you can decide, quite literally, if I am good enough.  Here is my dream: it's in your hand and a single check mark can make it a reality or a faint wiggling regret to sigh in the back of my mind.  Here goes hundreds of dollars - in applications fees, voice lessons, dresses, headshots - here goes two days of my life aboard public transportation, sleeping away from my bed, standing in line wondering.

Here. You get to make a decision that could impact almost every detail of my relationships: how often and when and where I see my Boyfriend, my mother, my siblings, my friends.



Here is everything.

And there is something liberating about that: about looking at what I'm doing and instead of thinking here goes nothing, allowing myself to feel its weight, and solidness, to let the repercussions of the next few days vibrate and ripple through my being.  Somehow, it is as though by giving you everything I truly have given everything - the heaviness is gone.  And I can plunge ahead, free and unimpeded. . . carrying with me nothing but myself because, a vessel ready to receive what lies ahead.

So. . . here goes nothing.  See you on the other side.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sick & Sore & So Much More

So I've had the flu - as in "THE" flu, the one that caused the City of Boston to declare state of emergency, the one that has been nicknamed "the killer flu" - since I got back from my wonderful trip about three weeks ago. Since then I've tried, more than once, to publish a post.  About being sick and wanting to feel better, what my comforts are when I'm ill, how I never in my entire existence on planet earth have had the flu, about the things I was trying to do while I lay in bed for weeks which by the way was also a first for me.  And I hated it.

On Monday I moved back to school for my last semester - and the flu moved with me.  I was almost-but-not-quite better yet and with a schedule that includes 20+ credits, multiple shows, multiple jobs, multiple blogs, Honors status, an Independent Study, grad school auditions, and off-campus commitments I sort of knew I'd be looking at a less-than-restful, hardly ideal jolt to my system.

Which brings me to today, when I finally couldn't take laying awake in my room whimpering to myself because my throat hurt so badly instead of sleeping and then waking up voiceless with a sore, swollen eye (yeah I look cute).  So I dragged myself after my morning ballet class to Wellness where I was promptly diagnosed with laryngitis, pink eye (not the super contagious form, ThankAllThatIsHoly,  and a pretty mild case), a fever, and a completely swollen left side of my head, meaning the glands are so inflamed in my throat and ear canal that my whole left side is enlarged and clogged.  Incidentally that's the same side that has conjuntivitis so I can't hear, breathe, or see well out of that side and both my depth perception and balance are screwy.


Because of all the havoc being wreaked on my body internally, my technique classes - every single one of them the most advanced, rigorous, and demanding level my college offers - have been devastating on my body.  I am not truly sore.  Rather I've passed that in to just straight on pain: soreness, muscles that have atrophied (I had a PT once tell me for every two or so days of bed rest it takes about a week to get your body back to it's pre-bed rest condition. I've been on my ass for 2.5 weeks which suddenly seems a lot longer), difficulty breathing.

I'm doing my best to get better: tea (in a myriad of types/flavors/brews), hot water with honey and lemon, all natural cough drops, compresses for my eye, vocal rest, oranges for Vitman C, pears to help my throat, gargling warm salt water to reduce infection, not wearing headphones, hot showers, gentle stretching, meditating, well balanced and regular meals, no dairy, no spice, nothing crunchy or crispy or greasy, and I'm sure i'll be up and running soon - hopefully in time for my major grad school audition on Saturday!  

Now I know the most important thing is rest, which I unfortunately cannot get a whole lot of right now. . .  but do you, dear readers have any other home advice?

What medicines should I be taking? Anything I should be eating or avoiding? Tips or tricks?  Lay'em on me!

Monday, January 14, 2013


I don't really have words for this piece, other than the standard, basic ones.  Beautiful. Inspiring. Surreal. Tragic. Tender.  Oh, I don't know I'm not a wordsmith people.  But this is wonderful so you should watch it.

"Destino," by Walt Disney and Slavador Dali

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happiness Is A Place You Can Go

"They say happiness is a thing you can't see / A thing you can't touch / I disagree . . . they say happiness is the folly of fools / pity poor me / one of the fools,"
-"Happiness," Scrooge the Musical

I love to travel.  For anybody who knows me  - or the handful of loyal souls who've been following this blog all along - this is no surprise.  If I sit still for too long, I start to go crazy: even if I'm busy as can be, like when I'm at school.  Go-go-go from 7am to 3am is a typical day. . . but even that can feel boring if it's in the same place.  On the other hand, most of my very happiest memories in life involve me getting on a plane or bus or some other form of transportation and ending up in an entirely new place.  The very best thing is when I can end up somewhere new with someone I love to explore with.  

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to travel as much as I'd like: however, my few trips have all been amazing trips to fabulous locations with wonderful people.  My first big trip was my sophomore year, to Trinidad & Tobago for Carnival with my former roommate and one of our dearest friends:

Other trips have included to NYC this fall for my senior class trip:

AAaaaannnnddd this past weekend which included the exotic and sunny Minneapolis, Minnesota as end destination:

(yeah I know. we're pretty hot.)

So how the hell did I get from Smalltown NE where I was perfectly mild mannered (cough cough) and demure (cough cough cough!) to being ridiculous in a photo booth in Minneapolis?  Well, I have the best and dearest friends in the world.  So when the stunner in the stunner shades, above, realized she couldn't fly from Chicago (!) to my tiny New England college for my Senior Showcase performance, she instead bought me a plane ticket to visit her in Chicago.  Which would've been epic adventure enough, but see she bought these tickets for a very special date, the day one of our super wonderful friends* got married.  So come last Friday I was tossing a few last-minute items into my bag (fleece lined tights? Check. Gum for the flight? Check.) and then tossing my bag into the car, which I hopped out of with a kiss for Boyfriend at the bus station, which brought me to Logan Airport where I flew to Ohare International.  Then I got to bond with the girl who is in every conceivable way, minus genetics, my big sister.  I accompanied her and her mom to a home-bible study and then did a drive-through tour of Chicago at night:

(low-quality iPhone pic of me at the gorgeous Chicago Water Tower)

Before heading back to get some sleep because we had to pick up this amazing woman:
(read more about her here)
So the three of us could drive to Minnesota to meet up with the fourth friend we were sharing our hotel with for the weekend.

(The four of us all dressed up for the wedding!  I'm the short one whose obnoxiously beveling her foot, in case you couldn't tell. Also, yes those are the fleece lined tights, yes they were warm and comfy, no I did not keep them on to dance the night away).

When the entire group of Friends-Of-The-Groom finally got together, it looked something like this:
(I promise we behaved at the wedding)

The wedding itself was wonderful.  Not a dry eye in the house as the world's sweetest couple said "I do," in a ceremony that fit them like a glove: Brass Quintet, snowy backdrop, laughter, and even a quick "Mazel Tov!" Then it was pictures for the couple and cocktail hour for the guests, which is where we discovered the photo booth. And hot chocolate. And other delightful surprises.  There was dancing - hours and hours of dancing.  There was toasting, and more laughing, and reminiscing and hugging.  I went to my "happy place," that is any place, preferably new, that I am discovering with people I love best and who love me back in the same fierce, silly, honest, loyal, ridiculous way.  

Starting the long journey "home" was, as ever, so difficult.  Hugs and kisses and then hours in the car, but Chicago was still waiting and still wonderful.  I even got to try true Deep Dish Pizza!  See!
(Please ignore how disgusting I look.  All I can say is I spent a LOT of hours in a car.)

Then it was home again home again jiggity jig. Car. Airport. Bus. Car. Bed.  And sweet dreams of happiness.

*guys, when I say "super wonderful," I mean at this man's wedding every toast ended with the same description "he's the consummate good guy." He's the smartest dude I've ever met (seriously, went to an elite private college, double major trip minored, plays an instrument. . .you get the picture), and probably the least assuming and most sincere. He believes that the world is a good place, that you hold doors for other people, endangered species should be saved, football is good, and his new wife is the best thing ever placed on earth.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And Just Like That.

A pause in the rapid clicking sounds coming from my own fingers, flying across my laptop's keys.  

Only the hum of computers and the sound of our breathing.

Words.  Gentle words, softly spoken.  Words whose very softness belie the devastation each syllable contains.

A calm.  A warm hand pressed against the small of my back, squeezing my thigh.

Brown eyes searching for my own, now darker glance.

A phone passed, it's weight solid and real, and the discarded.

A shaking breath.  A shaking hand.  A shake of the head.

The screen blurs.  The fingers slow but can't quite pause.  Finally the "Submit," button is clicked, a quick press of the fingers and it's done.  With barely two hours to spare, I have submitted my application to the grad school of my dreams, with an application fee paid by my boss because I couldn't afford it, and letters of support from faculty and friends.  There is no sense of relief, though.  No sense of pride and joy.  I know that I had to finish, to type the last words which seemed so all-consumingly important moments ago and now ring hollow and . . . and. . .

. . .there is a long, slow swallow and another shaking breath and then the tears come and will not stop.  They fall so fast and so hard that there is no discerning an individual tear from the fast running streams.  I reach my hands out and Boyfriend knows what I need, instantly enveloping me in arms that are far larger and stronger than my own, but not enough to hold me together as my heart falls to pieces.

It's been a long, slow process to this point.  There has been the deterioration of a brilliant mind, the clutches of a sad and frightening disease.  Mind and body failing, slowly at first and then so rapidly it makes me think of the very first hill on a rollercoaster.  Up and up and up and up, chugging away steadily, relentlessly, and seemingly endlessly despite the feeling of fear in the bottom of your stomach and then woooooossshhh you're over the other side, careening.  No breaks.  No pause.  No chance to reverse courses.

I think of the Beatles, of toolbelts, of a bearded smile and Elvish poems.  I think of blue jeans and ducklings and being called a smartass.  I realize how stupid I was, trying so hard in the last days, the last hours, of his life to do "the right thing."  You cannot orchestrate grief, stupid girl.  It is neither simple nor elegant nor tidy, no matter how much you wish it to be, or how many sweeping songs are written, or how many aching poems are penned.  Yet it is something that will not be left alone.  I worried about how and when to touch the hand, to look in the eyes: to whisper goodbye through lips that quivered, to a man who probably had no idea who I was any longer.  I held my brother and I told jokes.  I read pages from a warn, thin book penned by a mutual favorite author - J.R.R. Tolkein.  And then the day before Tolkein's birthday, my uncle slipped away to see him.

There aren't really words for grief or a way to express properly my thoughts.  As Boyfriend held me and tears receded, I ran through the Sacred Canon in my head.  The list of names and faces and cherished memories of those I've laid to rest: and my heart ached and ached that the list was so long, that some of the names were so young, families left behind extensive, and marveled that grief long since passed out still stung so fresh.

You would think, by now, my heart would be used to these goodbyes, and yet it breaks anew, as though each fresh wound must be carved from the unique spot the loved one held.

"Quel esta, quel kaima, tenna'ento lye omenta"

Rest well, sleep well, until we meet again my Uncle.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seven Days.

It has been seven days.  In the past 168 hours I have clocked in well over 3,000 miles by land and air.  I have wept - Heaven knows I have wept.  Fat round tears of grief that crash together until they cascade in one steady rush down my cheeks, running themselves dry before the sobs have quite stopped shaking my body.  Light quick tears that get caught in your lashes as you try to hold them back, because it seems strange to feel so joyous and yet have tears in your eyes.

It has been seven days wrapped in the arms of brothers and sisters and old friends and a sweetheart who is loyal and patient.  Of wandering off when everyone is sleeping to look at the stars myself and just breathe, letting my thoughts and feelings be what they are letting them go.

Of butterflies the size of dachshunds and knots the size of a cobras nest competing for time in the pit of my stomach.  Of quick typing fingers and slow moving buses, of raspberry lace dresses and hastily pulled on hoodies, of hello bear hugs and whispered goodbyes.  Of hoping no one is seeing you crying and basking in the glow of everyone laughing.

One of my friends described this week, these 168 hours of mine as a rollercoaster.  And oh my friends, what a truth that was. And I promise you most sincerely that proper posts explaining the bedlam, the happiness, and the tears are on their way posthaste!

PS. . . who says "posthaste" anymore? Is this real life?