All the Beautiful People

I just want to say, again, how blessed I am to have so many amazing friends.

Theater has introduced me to basically most of the friends I have and they are all crazy talented. I am glad I am taking the summer off from shows so I can have some time to see some of them perform.

I just closed Sister Act The Musical and it was pretty much the hardest show I have ever done. Surprisingly, even though I do 2-3 musicals a year, I don’t consider myself an actress, or at least not a strong one. I am a singer first off and I am not even very good at that (I can’t riff and I can’t read music). So being the star in a show, memorizing a bunch of lines, keeping energy up, and still having time to hang with my cool cast was hard.

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But the people I met in this production were so wonderful. I got to meet fun personalities and hang with some talented folks. I am very happy about that.

Thanks to my show addiction I do theater everywhere, the SCERA, Lehi, the Hales, and thanks to that I meet people from all walks of life. Just because we all like doing theater does not mean we are all the same. I have learned the types of people I get along with the best and the kind I don’t. I’ve become friends with LDS people and those I can just get a drink with. People have seen the best and the worst of me, and know my weaknesses, but still like me. That means a lot.

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Theater doesn’t perfect people. In a way, it actually brings out the realness of a person. And because we get to know people on that level, the friendships I make in theater are very true. Sure, I may not hang with everyone regularly, I may only see them during auditions or the next show I am in with that person. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I love to see them post on Facebook. I love to like their pictures on Instagram. I love to know what is going on in their lives and to cheer for their successes.

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What I am saying is, thank you theater for introducing me to some of the coolest people I know. To those who do one community show a year and to those who are on Broadway, I love you all. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Burnt Sugar

The scent of burnt sugar.

Something so sweet turned bitter,

that was me. Young and innocent, now burnt beyond recognition.

You pushed me and I fell, skinned my once soft knees,

now hardened by time, by age, by wear.

Was I perfect? Or is my perfection now in my flaws;

flaws that I tried to hide from the world, but now I hold to the light?

These actions shaped me; the fire, the shove, the harmful words…

Should I be grateful?

Grateful for the pain that I have been subject to?

Grateful for the pain I caused in return?

Our trails make us who we are, and now that I love me, love what I have become, do I love you?

Love. Love for the bringers of pain. Love for the bullies. Love for my abusers.

Your harmful words are written on my body in invisible ink, only I can read them.

I cover them with words people can read so I can hide them,

but I know they are there; scars that will never vanish, but that may fade.

They will become obsolete as love runs over me, like a thick lotion.

Love that also shapes me into who I am, the person I want to become.

No, I do not love what you did to me.

But I can forgive.

No, I do not thank you for the pain you’ve inflicted,

but I can love you anyway.

These painful moments, my all time lows, have made me, me.

To a creme brulee, the burnt sugar serves a purpose.

I am sweet again.

 

 

My (hopefully) Creative Life

I live for creativity.

That is a bit of a lie. I live for praise. I act, I write, I sing, in order for people to praise me. I’m like Tinkerbell,  need applause or I’ll die.

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That is mainly why I act and sing. Which is funny because I don’t get to be a lead or sing a solo very often, which makes me forgettable. I sang in my church choir mainly so people could tell me how good I was. It’s funny because I think I am good (sort of cocky) but I also think I suck (low self-esteem). No matter how cocky I get I will never be truly cocky because there are things holding me back in the performing world. I don’t know how to read music, I’ve only taken acting classes two or three times, I’m not a good dancer, I’ve only taken voice lesson for a few months. Those combined make it easy for me to see that I suck. So, I need that praise.

I think that really is the life of an actress. You live your life hoping that someone likes you enough to cast you in something. And even when you try your best and have reason to be cocky, there is always someone better than you. They have had more training, they are prettier or skinnier, they have a larger resume. Acting definitely plays a role in some extreme mental problems. I could never act as a career, I’d probably die.

During 2015, the worst and most depressing year of my life, I dropped out of two musicals. The first was Ghost at a theater that actually pays and the second was Aida, with a great cast of new people to meet. That year I was struggling with my identity. I dropped out of Ghost because I didn’t want to be the token black girl. I didn’t want to be cast in things just for my skin color. I was sick of it because it said nothing about me having talent. It was all about looks. That prompted me to drop out of Aida as well. The only show I stayed in that year was Christmas Carol and that was because I knew they loved me for my voice; I’d been doing the show for six years.

Now, I don’t really like being the token black girl, but it does get my foot in the door to perform if I want to. It helped me get the lead in Sister Act and if I wanted a summer show, I don’t cause I’m taking a break this summer, three theaters were doing Hairspray so I could have done one of them. My skin color will also help me when I audition for Aida later this year at another paying theater, though I am gonna try and get in shape physically and vocally for that. I am more sure of who I am now, so playing a role just because I am black won’t kill me as long as I have something to balance it out; at least one recent role where skin color didn’t matter.

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I think my writing is really helping with that balance. Sure, you write in the hopes that someone will like it enough to publish it, but I am mainly writing for me. My trilogy is about what I like. It is about what I want to read. Sure, I hope I get published and become a huge success, but just finishing the books will be a huge accomplishment. And the books are just a nod to my creative side. It doesn’t matter that I’m a big, black women. It matters that I can create a world that hold someone’s attention.

It is hard to do it all. I am very busy so sometimes I cant act and write within the same week, but knowing I have that other creative outlet is what gets me through the day. I can share a new chapter of my story or share the song in my heart and feel validation through the applause, whether it is from others or from myself for doing a job well done.                                          No automatic alt text available.

 

A Balancing Act

I know that a lot of people are just like me. They want to do it all. They stretch themselves too thin and then there is no way to even complete one thing they are trying to accomplish.

I totally don’t have the answers. The magazines and books I read say that meditation and treating yourself right will make a busy individual a happy and healthy individual. I haven’t really tried that, but I have my own ways of coping.

I am a creative person. If I don’t have an outlet for that creativity then I will not be a happy person. That is why, even when I am busy, I take on too much. I still go to school, should graduate next Spring, and I work full time. My creative side is expressed in my writing and my acting, so I need to be doing one of those on a daily basis.

This makes me very busy. Example: today I work from 6-11, then I’ll do homework before class which goes from 1-3:45, then I’ll go to the theater around 5:30 until 10:30 for my show. The free time I do have today will be filled with homework and working on my book and some Netflix/Hulu if I have time to chill.

I know there are busier people out there. People who work 50 to 60 hour weeks and are trying to support a family, while I just have myself and my dog to worry about. I also can’t complain because I make myself busy. I purposefully fill my schedule. Down time usually leads to boredom which can trigger my depression.

I think that understanding myself and what I need in my life is what makes life easier to manage. This summer I’ll still be doing school and work and my book, but I won’t have a show for a few months so that means I’ll have space to fill. And I will fill it, because I need to be busy. I may cook, or work out, or actually hang with my friends. Free time should be productive to some extent because staring at a screen for hours on end will not make me happy.

What makes you happy? What do you like to do with the spare time you have? Understanding what you need and trying to accomplish goals you have will make life better and worth living.