home stretch

Wow. Time always manages to surprise me with how quickly it flies by. Seriously, it's been over three weeks since my last blog post, but I could have sworn that I wrote something just yesterday.

In the three weeks that have passed, I've pushed my nose further into the grindstone. Finals - Demos, as we call them at AMDA - begin in less than a week, so I've spent the majority of my time in rehearsals, polishing and fine tuning my work. And it is seriously starting to pay off. The quality of my performing has definitely improved, and I'm managing to stay consistently at or above my new level of personal expectation. What a great feeling. Also, when I make mistakes and fall back a little, I'm becoming less and less hard on myself because I've seen how far I have come with persistence and dedication. Mistakes happen, and I'm learning not to let them overtake me and my positive mentality.

At the end of every semester, there's this thing called Final Demo, which features the best performances of every department within the entire school. Prior to Final Demo, there's a sort of semi-final called Select. Thus far, my Musical Theatre duet, "Single Man Drought" from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and the original ballad I wrote for my Composition Elective class, "Picture It," have been chosen for Select. This is a huge honor, and I'm so proud of the work I've done and really excited to share it with the rest of the student body and the faculty. Of course, I would love to be chosen for Final Demo, but I've still got some work to do.

For Musical Theatre, the head of the department, who was my teacher during the first term, comes into our class to listen to a few of the solos we've performed during the term and selects which one we will perform for our Demo. I was expecting to perform "An English Teacher" from Bye, Bye, Birdie, my strongest work I've done during the semester, but surprisingly, she asked to hear my pop song. We were assigned pop songs this semester because for many contemporary shows, companies and casting directors will ask to hear pop music to determine (a) whether you can sing in that particular style, and (b) whether you can act with music that is not necessarily meant to be acted. Acting through a pop song is much more challenging than acting through songs that have stories and situations built into them, but I was up to the challenge because pop singing is my thing, my comfort zone. So I sang my pop song, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," made famous by Aretha Franklin, and to my surprise, it was selected as my Demo song. I think I may be the only person in my semester performing a pop song for Demos, which is so exciting. I'm working hard on making my acting clear, and sometime soon I'll have a stellar and solid performance.

After demos are over, I'll be heading out west. First stop is in Las Vegas for my friend Michelle's bachelorette party, then it's home to the San Francisco Bay Area for a week of rest and relaxation. I'm so looking forward to sunshine, friends, and Mexican food! After my short break, it's back to New York for my fourth and final semester of school. The exciting part - I get to start auditioning for professional jobs! My classes will now take place during the evenings, so my days will be free to run around the city and sing and dance my face off in the hopes of landing a professional gig. That's why I came to New York, and it's amazing that my time has finally come.

So I'm here in the home stretch, and I couldn't be happier. I get the feeling that from here on out, things will be a lot different.



Tonight, I was doing a little bit of personal history research for an assignment I had in Musical Theatre, which required me to dig out influential moments from my past. To help with the process, I consulted the archives of my blog to try and find the exact dates and locations of some memories that are less than pristine, having been stored for a while now, and retouch some of the color that has faded over the years. As I was browsing my six-year blog history - and I really can't believe that I've been blogging for that long - I began to get a little sidetracked and sucked into reading some of my very oldest posts.

It's kind of staggering, the amount of growth that has happened in six years. So much of what I wrote about in my early years reflects a life I nearly forgot I had lead. One in which I forced myself into the mold of a person so many others wanted me to be rather than accepting who I was and celebrating the dreams and aspirations I had for myself. But the reality of it is that that's exactly what my life was at 18: making other people happy because I had absolutely no idea what made me happy. Fast forward a few years and stumble over a few of the milestones that shaped me into the adult I am today... The end of my first serious relationship; my participation with my college a cappella group, Artists in Resonance; getting rejected from the Haas School of Business; graduating a semester early from UC Berkeley; being dissatisfied with my first job out of college; moving out of my parents' house; the heartbreaking summer of 2006, filled with the loss of loved ones and the pain of grief; finding a stable and meaningful job at Kaiser Permanente; discovering musical theatre; visiting and falling in love with Italy; and finally, moving to New York. Seriously, if the girl I was six years ago met the girl I am today, she would have never believed we were the same person.

Coincidentally, I began blogging on April 30, 2003. Exactly five years later, I moved to New York. Self-reflection leads to self-discovery, I swear.

I found this on my Xanga, dated April 20, 2004. I thought it was an accurate representation of who I was all those years ago.

I WANT: to find myself
I HAVE: friends who embody the true meaning of charity
I WISH: they could love me just the way I am
I HATE: losing control
I MISS: the days when reality didn't apply to me
I FEAR: being alone
I HEAR: random syllables in the background of every single song I listen to
I SEARCH: for a purpose
I WONDER: what will happen to us over the summer
I REGRET: not saying how I feel when I feel it
I LOVE: wholly, devotedly, and in complete honesty
I ACHE: when I am lied to
I ALWAYS: wonder how it could have been
I AM NOT: as naive as I may seem
I DANCE: when I listen to "Toxic," for more reasons than one
I SING: because it makes me happy
I CRY: when I'm heartbroken
I AM NOT ALWAYS: strong enough to stand up for myself
I WRITE: when I have no one to talk to
I WIN: occasionally
I LOSE: more often than I'd like to
I CONFUSE: myself, mostly

And this is me, a little over five years later.

I WANT: to find happiness
I HAVE: friends who embody the true meaning of charity
I WISH: our world wasn't deteriorating
I HATE: when I don't allow myself to lose control
I MISS: the smell of the Pacific Ocean
I FEAR: not fulfilling my life's purpose
I HEAR: the bustling sounds of the New York City
I SEARCH: for the potential within people
I WONDER: what will happen to us over the summer
I REGRET: not saying how I feel when I feel it
I LOVE: wholly, devotedly, and in complete honesty
I ACHE: when my trust is betrayed
I ALWAYS: give people the benefit of the doubt
I AM NOT: as young as I may look
I DANCE: when the music moves me
I SING: because it makes me happy
I CRY: as a release, out of happiness and sadness and all the emotions in between
I AM NOT ALWAYS: strong, even though I pretend to be
I WRITE: music, lyrics, and prose
I WIN: when I put my mind to it
I LOSE: my inhibitions more and more each day
I CONFUSE: my parents, I'm sure

The important things never change.