my year of change

2008 has been, by far, the most dynamic and important year of my life. Looking back, I still cannot fathom how I got to be so lucky as to experience such wonderful and life-changing things, meet such kind-hearted and inspiring people, and learn so much about myself. The following probably cannot do this amazing year any justice, but I need to record a set of reminders to celebrate all the great things I managed to accomplish and to keep myself focused in the year to come. For while I've gotten so far, there is still much further to go.
  • New York City. Enough said.
  • Making new friends from scratch.
  • Surviving broker's fees, restaurant jobs, humidity, cockroaches, bed bugs, and snow.
  • Fulfilling my lifelong dream of attending a conservatory and seeing everything else fall into place.
  • Fighting for myself in a competitive environment, leading to belief in my abilities and self-worth.
  • Finding out who my real friends and family are.
  • Keeping in touch with them and, consequently, myself.
  • Saving money. Losing money. Realizing that money doesn't really matter to me.
  • Expressing my creativity in all sorts of ways.
  • Music. Music. Music.
  • Voting for the first black president of the United States.
  • Being blessed with the insight that everything is a blessing.
  • Falling for a boy. Getting hurt by that boy. Finally understanding that I was never to blame, for his mistakes or all the others made by boys that came before him.
  • And most importantly, being completely, utterly, and unapologetically happy.
As the hours draw closer to 2009 here in the Big Apple, I have a few goals in mind. The ultimate resolution: live it up! And that I shall.
  • Lose weight. I suppose this should always just be a given.
  • Secure a professional acting job.
  • Recruit members to Team AlphaBar, New York Chapter, and complete the illustrious alphabetic bar crawl.
  • Reinstate Something New Sundays.
  • Continue to "put myself out there."
  • Find Ted Mosby. Well, one can dream.
  • Travel to a place I have never been, preferably outside the United States, but I think that will be determined by the job I hope to have by the end of the year.
That's a good start to the new year.


new impressions

I'm flying back to New York today. Having spent over a week at home in California, I have barely had time to breathe or think or blog. But miraculously, I've had plenty of time to eat. Dear Lord, I will have to kick my butt into high gear to lose my holiday pounds. Yeah, I've probably only gained like two of them, but being out of my routine of yoga at 8:00, tap at 9:30, dance review at 5:30, and all the other things that come with being a full-time conservatory student have left me feeling, as my good friend Lenny once so eloquently put it, "like a whale!" Well, being a fat kid again was good while it lasted.

It's interesting returning to a place I had previously never left. To see my home from an outsider's point of view gave me a lot of perspective on my new life. Looking out the window as my plane descended toward San Francisco, I realized that I had forgotten how green California is, with its endless fields, variety of evergreen trees, set against a background of curving hills and mountain ranges. On the other hand, things that once seemed so grandiose to me shrank and transformed into quaint representations of nostalgia. Everything was cute, old world, trying to hold on to something that might not longer be there. That's how I was once. Doing my best to prove that I had value, not ever knowing that there are much bigger things in this world.

I had made plans to see a lot of people, and for the most part, I did. However, some of the people I expected to call me never did. And some of the people I didn't expect to hear from made huge efforts to see me, even if it was just for an hour or so. I thought I would be more upset about this, finding out that the people you think care for you might actually not. But in reality, this sad truth didn't hurt me much at all. Life happens, things change, people move on. And while it's difficult to say goodbye to someone who was once a big part of who you were, it's important not to dwell on the things that have ended. So many good things happen to us each and every day, and we have to search for them, grab hold of them, appreciate them before they disappear. I'm thankful for those who have kept in touch, who did take the time out of their busy busy holiday schedules to share a cup of coffee, an ice cream sundae, a beer, a story, and a good laugh with me. You mean the world to me.

Being home for the first time in eight months means having to retell the story of my life over and over again. It sort of becomes robotic and mundane, and the more I talked about New York City, the less meaningful it became. It's hard, though, to transform eight months of magic into about three minutes of brief conversation. But I managed to surprise myself once. One of my friends asked me why I thought New York City was so right for me. And I responded: "New York is so competitive, and in order to survive, I've had to become competitive too. And because of the pace of the city, I don't have time to sit and feel sorry myself. It has built my self-confidence more than being at home ever could, and for the first time in my life, I feel 100% good about myself. I wouldn't trade that for the world."

So for now, at this moment in my life, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. Being home confirmed all of that. I'm going to miss the simplicity and the comfort of this place as soon as I return to the city. But that's not what I need right now or what I'll need for the years to come. Much bigger things are waiting for me.


better days

It just occurred to me that it has been far too long since my last post, and life has changed a lot since then. I'm no longer angry, just sad that I wasted so much time feeling that way. School has been incredible, friends have been amazing, strangers have given me comfort, music has given me joy, and the prospect of being home in a few days gives me more than my fair share of happiness. Just as a brief record for myself, here is a laundry list of the things that have given me a reason to smile over the last few weeks.
  • I wrote my first song. Ever. It's titled, "What Am I Doing Here." It's a theatrical piece, and it will be the opening number of my Composition Elective Cabaret in January. It's not anything too thrilling, but I am really proud of myself for taking a leap of faith and creating something out of thin air. I plan on doing more of it in the future.
  • I've lost so much weight, it's ridiculous. A dress I wore a week ago that fit me was sliding off my shoulders today. The more pounds I lose, the better I feel about myself. So I guess it's a good thing.
  • My bangs are growing in. I cut them way too short at the end of October. I'm starting to not feel so hideous.
  • The head of our Musical Theatre department said my midterm performance, "is exactly what this school is striving for." That is the ultimate compliment I can receive at this point of my training.
  • I performed for Rachel Sheinkin, librettist of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
  • Michael John LaChiusa, Broadway composer/lyricist/librettist (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party, See What I Wanna See), heard a recording of my voice and liked it.
  • I have been on multiple dates with multiple men. A number of them are very good looking.
  • Snow. East Coasters take this natural phenomenon for granted. It is beautiful.
  • Cold weather means I get to crochet scarves for my nearest and dearest. Crocheting is calming and helps to relieve my stress.
  • California is just a four days and one plane ride away.