Friday, October 21, 2011

Control

If you want to change your life, how do you do it?


As many of you know, this last year has been the absolute best and the absolute worst of my life.  Funny how that works out.  (Half empty or half full?)  One of my biggest problems is that I'm a bit of a control freak.  Okay, a lot of a control freak.  Basically, when my situation or my circumstances are out of my control, I get anxious and irritable and upset.  It just so happens that currently, a great deal of my circumstances are completely out of my reach.  So lately I've been in the mindset that if I can't control certain things, I should figure out what I DO have power over and maybe try and leave the other stuff to fate.  If I can't do anything about it, there's no point worrying.  There are three main life-affecting things that I can control right now.

-My health
-The people I'm around
-My perception of the world

I find that sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with goals or life changes, and it really helps me to share them with my friends or write about it on my blog.  That way I have the support of those around me and I can't "cheat".  Three of my friends and I have decided to make some pretty drastic diet changes until HAIR closes next month.  We're cutting dairy, simple carbohydrates, and sugar.


As far as the people I'm around... I can't control people who are in my classes and stuff like that, but I can control who I opt to spend time around.  It's completely exhausting to purposely put yourself in the company of people who don't have anything to offer you.  I know it sounds selfish, but it's not worth the stress it causes.  A lot of the people in my life are really empathetic and spend so much time thinking about other people's feelings and how the rest of the group is feeling that they forget to take care of themselves.  It's great to consider other people, but not when it means disregarding yourself.  This is definitely easier said than done, but to a certain extent if you don't put yourself in situations where you need to pretend to feel differently than you do, it will eliminate a ton of stress.  


And I think the perception of the world part is pretty self-explanatory.  It's sometimes hard to do, but finding the physical and emotional beauty can completely change a situation.  As most people know, I'm a reading tutor, and the other day, one of my 2nd graders was reading a story called 'Today was a Terrible Day.'  She refused to say the word 'terrible' and read the entire story saying "Today was a wonderful day...".  Such a small thing, but a well-timed reminder that life is what you make it.


Speaking of "life is what you make it", a few of my friends have been really into affirmations these days.  I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  I think it's definitely got some merit, but I find that a lot of times when people say affirmations, they say them with the knowledge that what they're saying isn't true, hoping that eventually they will become true.  I'm not exactly an expert on this kind of thing, but I'm sure that saying something you don't believe isn't going to help anything.  If you want to change your life, what's the best way to do it? 


As everyone knows, I'm in HAIR at the University of Utah right now, and we just had a fall break full of 8/10 rehearsal days.  We were able to get the entire show on its feet and had our first run thru on Wednesday.  One thing our director said to us before the run was to let the piece happen to you.  He talked about how we've spent all this time giving the piece structure and how all we need to do now is allow the show to take us for a ride.  He said that it's clear when we truly trust the work because we don't end up exhausted.  Faking inspiration or emotion or forcing unmotivated action on stage is exhausting because you don't really believe it.  It feels similarly to pretending that you like someone.  After he said that, I got to thinking about whether or not this applies to life.  Is it easier to have a basic structure of where our lives are going and just let whatever happens happen?  In the past, I've found that tips on acting and tips on life are almost interchangeable.  How about this specific piece of advice?  The whole "life is what you make it" approach is great, but that's coming from a control freak.  Where is the balance? I would seriously love opinions or input from everyone.





"We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems."
- John W. Gardner 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jam Session



So this is a video of me and a couple of my friends from BoCo singing Big White Room.  Obviously not a real performance, but I just wanted to share it.  One of my favorite songs with two of my favorite people.  This is one of the things I miss the most about Boston is having jam sessions with my friends.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Everyone must breathe until their dying breath...

I know it's been a hundred years since I last posted and I'm so mad about it.  Things have been busy to say the least.  Since my last post so much has happened!  I turned 19 and had one of the best birthdays of my life.  Got to spend time with friends and family, watched a meteor shower, and got to see Gavin Creel perform and meet him at the club.  I also got to take a road trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival with my girl Bailie and see a lot of great theater.  That's always refreshing.

And then began my first year of 'real college'.  Starting at the University of Utah has obviously been bittersweet for me.  School has been so different this year; I feel like I'm experiencing college for the first time again in a lot of ways.  Starting at a Conservatory definitely skewed my idea of what college life is like a little.  I'm so unbelievably thankful for the amazing people I've been able to get closer to since the spring.  Without them I'd be a complete wreck.

I'm also thrilled to be a part of the U's production of HAIR, playing Jeanie.  Our director is one of the most amazing people I've ever worked with.  He's a guest director from Chicago and has a very organic approach to theater.  He has the most amazing insights about the work... I just want to write down every single thing he says.  It's a very inspiring work environment to be a part of.  I've always heard that being in Hair changes your life and I'm starting to see why.  We just got finished blocking the show this weekend and I've never felt so connected to a cast before.  I've had one main goal for this show: To be happy enough with the rehearsal process that I wouldn't be heartbroken if we didn't get to perform.  Obviously that would never happen, but I was talking to my friend Trevor awhile back about his rehearsal process for 'Waiting for Godot' at BoCo, and he told me about a time right before they were scheduled to open when there was a chance that they wouldn't get to perform the show because of a flooding problem in the theater.  He told me that he honestly wouldn't have even been upset if he didn't get to perform because he was so happy with the work he had done in rehearsal and how much he had learned from the process.  Further proof that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.  

Thankfully, we don't anticipate any flooding problems with our theater and I've never been so excited to share my journey with everyone who comes to see the show.  Our Tribe is an amazing group of people and I think it's going to be a really good show.  We open in less than a month! I hope everyone who is in the Salt Lake area is able to come and see this show. Check out the Facebook event page >>HERE<<

A couple weeks ago I got to take a trip to Boston! Technically the trip was for me to get all of my winter clothes and dorm stuff out of storage, but I was so glad to be able to see all of my classmates again until who knows when.  My sister, Telise, came with me and it was such a fun trip.  I got to take her to the places I'd told her about all last year, which was really fun.  It was pretty hard to see how much my classmates have been enjoying sophomore year and not being able to be there with them.  I've just been keeping the idea that everything happens for a reason prominent in my thinking these days.  Maybe I don't know exactly what the reason is yet, but I know that I will eventually.  It's not the most comforting thing in the world, but it's enough for now.  I've been spending a ton of time reading, writing, and being with people who make me happy.  The thing to keep in mind is that I'm doing the best that I can with the situation that I'm in.  Things that are out of my control are not worth stressing about.  Easier said than done, I know.  But acknowledging that is the first step.


Below are some lyrics to Regina Spektor's song 'On the Radio'.  For some reason I've been loving her lyrics these days.  They are so beautifully simple.  I think in a lot of ways I'm a very analytical and left-brained person. I tend to overanalyze things (emotions, relationships, friendships), and in doing so, overcomplicate them.  It's great for me to surround myself with simple "less is more" mindsets once in awhile.  


"This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cherish spontaneity.

So I've been thinking about my blog lately, and I sort of realized that most of my posts are very deep and philosophical and heavy; I want to change that.  Not everything about my life (or at least everything I write about) needs to be of life or death importance.  Unfortunately, I don't think that change is going to happen today, because I was drying my hair (random) and was struck with a great thought that I need to sort of hash out via this post.  Needless to say, I packed up my computer and headed to the nearest coffee shop, and here we are.  

Enough exposition, here's my thought:  I was thinking about arrogance, and how we always think we know everything.  Think about yourself four years ago.  Four years ago I was just about to start my sophomore year of high school.  I'd never had a boyfriend, I loved polos and bermuda shorts, I didn't have very many friends, had never taken a voice lesson, wanted to be a lawyer, psychologist, or writer when I grew up, and was constantly working to be a 'cool kid.'  But at that time in my life, I was smarter than I'd ever been, as fashion forward as I'd ever been, and as sure of myself as I'd ever been.  I cringe to look back on that person, because I was a fraction of as happy with myself as I am now.  But at that time I didn't know any better.  No matter where we are in our lives, we know more than we've ever known before.  I guess in a way that's really refreshing.  Right now, at this very moment, you have more knowledge than you've ever had before, even more than the person you were before you found your way to this web page. 

While this is great for us, it also means that everyone around us is going through this same thing.  So the people who are older and wiser will always be older and wiser.  In my experience, the main 'older and wiser' influences are always trying to talk me out of doing drastic things or making big changes in my life, claiming that I'm too young or not experienced enough and trying to keep things the same.  I can't tell you how many times my mom told me that it would be TOTALLY FINE if I didn't want to move away for college, even though she knew that I did.  I think that she's been affected and hurt by drastic change and is trying to protect me from what she went through.  The problem with this is she will ALWAYS have more life experience than me.  Following advice from the 'older and wiser' people is only going to make us paralyzed and afraid to make our own mistakes.  The inevitable truth is that no matter what, we will make mistakes, but the sooner we start making our own decisions, the sooner we can learn from our mistakes. 

Cherish spontaneity, it's all we have.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Center by Observing


I think I'll start by giving everyone who cares a quick update on my summer and how I'm doing with my summer goals.  If you remember my post from late June you'll know that my goals were to get out in nature, stay healthy, and expand my horizons beyond musical theater.  So far I feel pretty good about the progress I've made on all of these.  I've definitely been exploring nature a lot lately.  Countless drives up the canyon, walks around the city, and I even went camping for the first time last weekend.  Definitely one of the funnest weekends I can remember in a long time.  Seven of my closest friends from high school and I went up by Mirror Lake in Kamas.   I feel pretty good about the the progress I've made as far as getting acquainted with hobbies other than musical theater.  I've read a lot of books, most of which have been acting theory books or plays, but I recently bought a book about philosophy that I'm really excited to read.  

Camping crew, minus Derick
As far as staying healthy... I've been pretty good.  A few weeks ago I got my membership back at 24-Hour Fitness (It's the year of the acting beat, the belt, and the battement - Thanks, Gavin) and I've been taking a lot of their fitness classes, especially yoga.  From my Movement for the Actor class last year, I feel like I have a really strong yoga foundation now and feel more comfortable taking a class with 20 other people.  On Thursdays they always do what they call 'Rejuvenation Yoga' which has more of an emphasis on the spiritual side of yoga as opposed to the physical side.  Our teacher was this cute little granola lady who had us close our eyes during a particularly difficult pose to challenge our balance.  She said that if we feel off balance just to open our eyes.  In yoga and even in life, I think, that is a great philosophy.  "If you feel like your foundation is being shaken," she said, "open your eyes and center by observing."


As most of you already know, I won't be able to return to The Boston Conservatory for my sophomore year because of financial reasons.  I found this out about two weeks ago and was seriously heartbroken.  I still am.  I've met some of the most amazing friends in this last year and it's awful to have to be away from them.  The situation seriously sucks, but one thing I've been doing lately is opening my eyes.  This summer I've been introduced to some great people who I'm lucky enough to be in a class with next year.  I've been offered a spot as a sophomore in the University of Utah's MTP and I can't explain how grateful I am.  The program is doing some awesome shows this year that I'm hoping to be a part of, I'll have some great opportunities here, and I'll be staying close to my friends, which means so much to me.



I don't exactly consider myself to be a religious person, in fact I disagree with a lot of principles of organized religion.  But time and time again I've been shown that everything happens for a reason.  Faith is an extremely important part of a person's life, whether it's in organized religion or not.  A couple weeks ago, right when I found out that I wasn't going back to Boston, I was out shopping with two of my girlfriends.  We were in this cute little boutique store called The Children's Hour.  It's one of those stores that is absolutely FILLED from top to bottom with little trinkets and clothes and decorations.  While my friends were over looking at shoes, for some odd reason I was drawn into this little corner of the store and saw a plaque that said "Sometimes 'right back where you started from' is right where you belong."  I immediately bought it.  If that's not some kind of sign, I don't know what is.  Having faith that, in some way or another, I'm right where I belong is one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Foxx For Life.

So this blog post is mostly going to be for my BoCo 2014 family.  I thought this would be the best way to tell everybody.  Because of some financial difficulties and broken promises, I won't be able to come back to school in the fall for sophomore year.  Technically I'm putting in a leave of absence just in case some miracles happen and I can figure things out for next year.  Bottom line is, I want a B.F.A.  No matter what, I need a degree and I just don't want to have put two years and a whole lotta cash into a program that I won't be able to finish.  I have the opportunity to start at the University of Utah as a sophomore in their musical theater program, so I'll still be working hard.  

I just want to thank every single one of you guys for the most amazing year.  All of you helped to make my freshman year at the BoCo the best year of my life, no question.  I learned so much this last year about our beautiful art, about friendship, and about myself.  You all are some of the most incredible people I've ever met in my whole life and I'll never forget the impact you have had on me.  You guys taught me how to be a better person than I've ever been and made me fall in love with musical theater every single day and I can't thank you enough for that. 

THIS IS NOT GOODBYE!  I'll be visiting Boston this year no matter what.  Best case scenario, I'll come back and join c/o 2015.  If not, I'll see you all on Broadway, right?  I hope you guys have an amazing sophomore year.  Y'all are some of the most talented people in the whole world and I can't wait to see you again.



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Upward Over The Mountain


One of my favorite songs by a great band called Iron & Wine is Upward Over The Mountain.  On a rainy Wednesday like today, I found myself in the mood to listen to them and just drive around.  This song really describes a lot of what I've been going through with the move back home from college for the summer.  It's really hard in a lot of ways to adjust to having someone to answer to again, especially when you have a very protective mother like I do.  I've learned in the last year that it's so important to deal with frustrations or sadness as it happens instead of pushing everything aside until it overflows.  It's something I'm having a hard time with because I was raised a different way, but I'm working on it.


So at the risk of this post getting too 'bloggy' or whatever, I'm going to talk about something else that reminded me of this song in the last week.  My babe, Jaron, and I went UPWARD OVER THE MOUNTAIN to go boating at Pineview Reservoir in Huntsville with his family yesterday.  It was such a great time... THAT'S what summer is all about.  Nothing feels better than belting out Jessie J with a good friend in the middle of a frickin' lake... (Video to follow?)  That being said, I'm obviously making excellent progress on my summer goal to get out in nature.

I also want to take a second to give a huge shout out to Jaron Barney.  It was his birthday this last Saturday and it was probably one of my favorite days of the summer so far.  We just started getting to know each other last summer and now I couldn't imagine my life without him.  Love you babe!