bring on the cheese

I have just been cast as Mrs. Darbus, the zany drama teacher, in Blue Moon Production's High School Musical. Rehearsals begin tomorrow with a cast meeting, and the show runs during the first week of April.

How did this happen? As mentioned about a thousand times before, I am in performance withdrawal. I was searching Craigslist for an opportunity to sing, and I came across an advertisement requesting college-aged and adult actors for this production of High School Musical. It had a less stringent rehearsal and performance requirement, so I thought I'd give it a shot, if only to practice my audition technique. Two days after the audition, I was cast.

For the next six weeks, my free time will be devoted to rehearsals. And once the show closes, it'll be time for summer musical auditions. By that point, my free time will be non-existent. Or rather, thrown to the wayside until December.

I'm so happy!



It occurred to me that this is the third Valentine’s Day that I have spent as a single. Only this time, I wasn’t really all that bothered by it. The first one, two years ago, I had broken up with my now ex-boyfriend of nearly two years the week before and spent the day in denial and frustration. I irritably spent the second one at the gym, where I was one of about three patrons that evening. But this year, things felt different.

I went to the gym again, assuming that, just like last year when I was living in Antioch, it would be empty. I was shocked to find how wrong I was. 24-Hour Fitness was as crowded as ever, and maybe even more so; I couldn’t find a free treadmill for the hour that I was there, and I usually am able to snag one with minimal effort and waiting. I realized that life out here is different from life back home. Here, people don’t stop for anything. And I’m one of those people.

After my workout, I freshened up and wiled away the hours with the boy friends, Joe, Pete, and Miguel. With three of the four of us being single and not caring much for the frivolous holiday, we opted for a night in, complete with pizza, beer, and non-romantic comedies. It was simple but included a handful of things I loved: great company, over-indulgence, and laughter. Who really could have asked for more?

Having been single for a long time now – admittedly disregarding those almost-relationships I’ve had over the past three years – I have come to learn a lot about myself and my history. First and foremost is that I’m the relationship girl. I don’t do casual, as evidenced by my strongest friendships, all of which are years in the making. Thus, dating, for me, is pointless. Why “have fun” with a random stranger when I’d probably have a better time hanging out with friends? They get my quirks and humor, there’s no need to explain or impress. So much less work, really.

Then there’s the issue of meeting new people. Clearly, being interested in singing and performing arts means that I will only ever attract gay men. This has proven to be true over the years. I thought that by branching out and meeting people through other parts of my life – primarily work (and thankfully I work in a very large organization that allows for a sizable margin of anonymity) – I could meet straight men who had other things in common with me, aside from my narcissistic need to be on stage. I mean, we must have come to this company for similar reasons, right? Unfortunately, the guys I end up meeting either don’t understand my interests or manage to offend me in one way or another. This has happened more times than I would have liked.

So where do I go from here?

Last night, I found myself yearning to perform once again. And once again, I felt frustrated and constrained by all the responsibilities in my life that prevented me from doing so. Then, a crazy thought occurred to me: if I ever find a spectacular performing opportunity, I’ll quit my job and take it. In that moment, I truly understood that this is something I have to pursue, if only for the sake of knowing whether or not I was meant for it. Until yesterday, I had always told myself to be rational: stay where you are, just a year or two more; you need to stay and be a grown up. The irrationality of my thoughts shocked me. Am I really willing to give up my security for something that might not even be a possibility?

And then: maybe this is what it’s like to be in love. Only with singing have I ever really felt that sort of reckless abandon. Where nothing else in the world matters as long as I have that. I simultaneously feel as though I am an expert and a novice. There’s the constant need to learn more and to continue to grow. Singing provides me with both comfort and empowerment. I can be myself, plain and simple, without the fear of self-consciousness or judgment.

I want to believe that it is possible for me to find this kind of happiness with another person. But am I supposed to find it or is it supposed to find me? Singing is an innate sensibility of mine. I never had to go looking for it. I can only hope that that’s how love will be.

For the time being, I’m going to give up the search. I didn’t seek out the most fulfilling things in my life; with time and patience, they managed to somehow stumble upon my path. And until I find myself at a crossroads with Cupid, I may as well just enjoy the journey there, accompanied or not.


personal best

For the past 10 weeks, I have been participating with the Personal Best program at Kaiser, which encourages employees to achieve their "Personal Best" by engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days or more each week. It culminated with a 5K/Half Marathon this past weekend in Golden Gate Park. My sister and I walked the 5K; we would have ran, but my sister got sick the night before and could only manage to walk the 3.1 miles, and doing so took us almost an hour and a half. Though it wasn't what we were hoping for, I'm very happy to say we stuck with it and finished it, regardless of how long it took. Because that's the truth of the matter, isn't it? Our outcomes are important, so we shouldn't feel the need to rush the journey there.

I'm also happy to say that I committed to this program in its entirety. I even surprised myself with how much more I was willing to do to achieve my own "Personal Best." Very rarely did I settle for the minimum 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. More often than not, I exceeded that standard, and by doing so, I achieved multiple goals in this short amount of time. I lost about 10 pounds, reduced my stress, built muscle, increased my flexibility, gained confidence... The list goes on. To mark the end of the program, Kaiser hosted a rally this past Tuesday that featured our regional president as a speaker and walk leader around Lake Merritt. At the rally, the founders of the program read some select comments participants anonymously submitted via an online survey that was emailed to us the week prior. Mine was one of the comments; I talked about how easily I learned to integrate physical activity into my lifestyle and the numerous benefits I experienced after choosing to do so. At the mention of my weight loss, all the rally-goers cheered for my accomplishment. It was really inspiring to know that my employer and fellow employees were so supportive of my personal goals and accomplishments. As I soaked in the applause, I felt this huge challenge that I've been facing for almost two years now shrink into something truly manageable. And that, friends, is an incredible feeling.


Work continues to be great. I reached 6 months today, and the day was spent quite appropriately to commemorate the occasion. I worked overtime, traveling out to Stockton to do a teacher orientation in preparation for the arrival of PEACE Signs at an elementary school. My orientations have been steadily improving as I've become more comfortable with the PEACE Signs program and my own public speaking skills. It's one of those things I've been slowly taking over as more and more responsibility gets handed my way, such as the facilitation of Family Night events and the production of the quarterly newsletter. Due to staff changes in the past few weeks, I have recently become the second most senior employee in my position, among the currently employed four Booking Coordinators. So instead of me asking the questions, I now have to provide the answers. A little scary, but if my co-workers believe I can do it, then I guess I really can.

Looking back to just a year ago, I never would have thought I'd end up here. I couldn't imagine finding a job that incorporated everything I love and am good at. It's really amazing to think of all the places life can take you when you open your eyes and look at all the roads that lie ahead.


With summer musical auditions quickly approaching, I've taken the time I have off from performing and devoted it to auditions preparation. In addition to the two dance classes I am currently taking (musical theatre and tap), I will be taking a master class on auditioning starting next week. The class will cover topics such as song selection, procedure, and staging. It should be really enlightening, considering that I've never even spoken to an auditor outside of an audition. I hope to pick up some valuable tips and get cast in at least a supporting role this summer. If I don't get the chance to do some serious singing soon, I think I might just drop dead from withdrawal.


Something New Sundays have officially been reinstated. If you want to do something new on a Sunday, you know who to call.