it started to snow,

tonight, where I live, it started to snow…


exactly two weeks after

you went missing…

two weeks after

you died

two weeks after


you killed yourself.


and I wondered,

did you like the snow?

I can’t believe I don’t know the answer to that question.


I mean, it’s not like you were ever

my “best friend” but…


we shared the stage countless times

and we shared awkward drunken kisses

in the backseat of our friend’s van

you were gay, but it didn’t matter


we were 18 and 19.

we were drunk.

it was fun.




I don’t think I ever said, “I love you”


that was when “I love you” was reserved

for family members and

pathetic versions of my “significant” other.





I love you.

There I said it.

I fuckin love you

and I hope,

just once,

you felt the love

of a snow storm slowly brewing.


Just once,

I hope you smiled when a snowflake

landed on your nose.


Because tonight…

you were in those snowflakes.

I don’t know how.

I don’t know why.


But you were.


“Imagine that you are a bird that can see through space and time, looking down at your entire life. What do you see?”

moments of laughter and moments of tears,

a freckled face drenched in salt-water from perceived slights,

from a distorted image,

from a free price tag I’d handwritten and stuck to my heart.

fear and anxiety looming like clouds

over the steps I’ve taken time and time again….


I see red rocks, green grass, ocean lapping at my feet,

the streets of barcelona and madrid,

dreams of Irish countryside,

beers with a young irish woman in the heart of boston,

backpacks overflowing with supplies,

blistered feet,

worn-down hiking boots,

the rainbow colors of a gym rock wall,


lots and lots of chalk…

all mixed together with the finesse of a baker

moonlighting as a sculptor

before waking early to do what has become muscle-memory.

A life blended with perhaps too much water,

but the colors still bleed

backwards and forwards

providing light in the darkest moments

and vibrancy in the light.

…on dance.

I, like most little girls, discovered dance at an early age in ballet classes filled with pink tulle, black leotards, and the endless shine of a room filled with too many mirrors. I loved to move, but the “pink-ness” of it all eventually pushed me away.

I’ve never felt traditionally beautiful, traditionally “girly”, so the pink nature of ballet and the other dance students I was surrounded with slowly, but surely pushed me out of the dance studios.

I moved on.

To choir. To sports. To art. To theatre.

And theatre is where I’ve built my life. It’s where I’ve poured my foundation, begun building my home, planned out my future. It’s where I’ve been for oh so long and I continue to be.

But it has recently come to my attention that the dancer inside me has never died. I have always loved movement in theatre. I’ve danced for musicals, I’ve learned choreography for sword fights and hand-to-hand combat, I’ve learned how to belly dance, how to swing myself up on to someone else shoulder (with grace), I’ve taken every opportunity to push the physical nature of my work. And then…I taught a voice and movement class. My teaching, to this day, continues to be based in movement.

Finally, after years hiding from the “pinkness” of dance studios, I have found myself back in a dance-type environment. But this time, there aren’t too many mirrors. The leotards still exist (but mine was green). There was no pink in sight (except for Pink blaring on the stereo) and the studio itself was much taller than the one’s I used to practice in.

Why taller?

Well, the taller the better for aerial dance.

Walking in to this studio I was in awe. It was stunning. This miraculous playground I had never before been subject to. Long trails of beautiful silk dangled from the ceiling beside low-flying trapeze bars and ropes. And there was something oddly comforting about the environment.

I was the only one signed up for the class that day. I would be alone with a strange teacher for almost an hour. Usually this sort of situation would send me into a nervous frenzy. Butterflies would bubble in my stomach, the sentences tumbling out of my mouth would make little to no sense, and I would leave feeling more foolish than I had when I entered. But this space…..this space and those silks felt like home. A home I never knew I had before.

And that feeling didn’t change when I touched the silks. It only magnified as I began to wrap myself in the silk, spin on my toes, arch my back, climb my way up to heights I had never been more comfortable at. The strength and the beauty of it all seemed to be at just the right balance for who I am as a person. For who I want to be.

It didn’t feel like the “pink” I remember creeping away from when I took ballet almost twenty-years ago. It felt…like me. 22519942_10212568603663349_2332313832701863133_o

“…inquiry and open-mindedness are central to expertise…”  – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design

As I stood in front of a group of students between the ages of nine and twelve, I hate to admit that I demonstrated only half of the what the above quote references as “…central to expertise…”.

I failed miserably to remain open-minded as students shouted in their high-pitched voices about what their old teacher did, about how they old teacher liked to build sets, about everything I had specifically said I did not want them to focus on in that moment.

I stopped listening. I shut down. I raised my voice (in a still professional manner, but my frustration was real). And I shut them down. Returned them to their task and felt horrible in silence as they worked.

It is hard being the new teacher, the new theatre teacher, amongst a program that’s filled with students who loved the ways of their former teacher. Students who have a hard time accepting the fact that in some areas I know less, in some areas I function differently, in some areas I learned differently….

Every time I bring something new to the table.  I am questioned. I am reminded that “Ms. so and so did it like this….” “We Ms. so and so didn’t do that…” and so on an so forth.

Every time….I crack a little. I crumble a little. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should stand tall. I should demonstrate what it is to listen, to adapt, to learn, to be open-minded.

But…honestly….this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever been asked to do. And I’m still learning what it means to be an “expert”. a “teacher”. their “new drama teacher”.

Understanding “understanding”

10:08 p.m. – leaning up against the remnants of a recently torn-up old mattress, my grad school homework at my side.

This semester we’re focusing on building curriculum in a better, more innovative, and learner-centered manner. This involves understanding what it means “to understand” in order to determine what I want my students to understand, so that I may better understand how to create my curriculum.


And yes….I have been reading and writing the word “understand” more than I ever thought I would over the past few weeks.

And yes….I am completely confused. After reading so much about understanding, I no longer think I understand anything.

Nothing. I’ve got nothing.

And somehow – I’m a teacher. A teacher who truly understands nothing and is supposed to cultivate understanding in minds 20 years younger than mine.


Grad school is a mess ya’ll.

I’m gonna leave it at that, for now.

10:12 p.m. going back (maybe) to reading about “understanding”

Living the Theatre Teacher life – upsetting parents, one student at a time.

I love teaching theatre. I love it because theatre changed my life from an early age. Without theatre I would be a much quieter, shy, reserved, and frightened human being. That’s not to say I’m constantly loud, overbearing, and uninhibited. No, I still retreat into my shell on occasion. But theatre taught me how to speak up when I felt like I had nothing important to say, how to stand my ground when my legs are shaking, how to pretend that I know how awesome I am when I’m actually full of self-doubt, and how to laugh through it all.

With all that theatre has done for me, I’ve wanted nothing more than to pass on that inspiration. To teach other young girls and boys how to do these things when they are filled with doubt or fear or uncertainty. And sometimes, I actually get to focus on that and it is a beautiful thing.

But other times, most of the time, when I’m asked to approach theatre in the traditional manner (bringing a production of some sort to life with young people acting in front of their parents and friends) teaching theatre becomes not quite such a beautiful thing.

It becomes a battle between me and the parents of the students I work with. I constantly am walking on eggshells, trying desperately to do my job while making sure that everyone is somewhat happy.

Of course, this never works. It is literally IMPOSSIBLE to do my job (bringing a full-fledged production to life) if I make all of the parents and students happy.

Wait, scratch that. If I make all of the PARENTS happy. 99% of the time the students end up happy because theatre is fun and playful. 99% of the time, if a student is unhappy it is because their parents have put this idea in their head that they should be.

With every email I send, I receive at least one (if not more) complaints or emails filled with confusion and frantic energy.

With every cast list I share, I receive several parents complaining on their students behalf assuring me that I’m making a “huge mistake” and informing me that their student has been in “like 5 plays already” (in their eight years of life) and that naturally this means they deserve the lead role.

Every time I put my foot down saying “Auditions are happening at this time and this time only.” or “Everyone must be memorized by this date or they may lose their part” – I am blasted by parents who think my expectations are ridiculous or that I’m not taking care of their students in the best possible way.


News Flash: I am doing my job. I am caring for your students in the best possible way. I am teaching them that theatre is not always fun and games, it is also a business. If you want your student to just enjoy the fun of it, sign them up for one of my acting or improv classes. If you want your student to learn responsibility, hard work, and collaboration – then yes, please send them to the musical. But don’t ambush me when I’m asking your student to work hard, be responsible, or collaborate.

If you want a full-fledged, understandable, fully blocked and choreographed musical then your students need to be on time, they need to attend rehearsal, they need to work at home, and they need to learn from you that I am not asking for ridiculous things. They need to learn that this is the reality of theatre – and frankly the reality of reality. Things are not all about you – there is a much bigger picture at play here.

A graduate student confession

Some days (like today), I have no idea why I’m in graduate school.

Well, ok, I shouldn’t say “no” idea. I have some idea, but its vague and perhaps foolish to some and perhaps confusing to others.

But anyways, I honestly spend a decent amount of time wondering if I made the right choice pursuing my Master’s.

Sure, I had good intentions when I applied for Master’s programs. I have a nice, neat little answer to the question, “What made you decide to go to grad school?”

“Well, I was teaching a lot in Milwaukee after undergrad, but all of that work was temporary. It was inconsistent and my career path wasn’t really growing. I wanted to pursue my Master’s to expand my knowledge and my opportunities. One day, I think I would enjoy being the Education Director for a Theatre Company.”

And most people smile and nod along with every word spilling out of my mouth. They give you that look where their eyes squint with the force of their grin that’s screaming “Good for you” while simultaneously their brain begins cycling through all the reasons they think I’m foolish for pursuing a Master’s in the arts.

But….this tidy little answer doesn’t always suffice. For me. There are days where I wonder,

Did I make this decision because this is what I was taught was the natural next step in one’s educational career?

Did I make this decision because I equate success with an ridiculously expensive piece of paper?

Did I make this decision because I don’t know how to function outside of an educational environment? If this is the case, why in the hell do I want to perpetuate the educational environment that causes students to struggle in the outside world?

and then my heart bursts in, “But isn’t that why you want to be a teacher? To BETTER teach students how to survive in the outside world?”

Silence. My brain halts (for only a millisecond or two, but still that’s a freaking miracle).

Yes, yes that is why I want to be a teacher.



But, you’re right brain, this program is not giving me my teaching license. It’s just a damn Master’s degree, but it’ll be my Master’s degree.

I don’t have a concise reason as to why I chose to go to grad school. I don’t have a crystal clear plan (because, NEWS FLASH, plans never go according to plan – knock it off with that bullshit). I don’t always know why I’m doing what I’m doing, but I’m doing it. I’m learning every day. I’m connecting with teachers all across the country and I’m getting out of this program what I’m putting in (and I am putting in the work, I’ll tell you that much).

Grad school is a complicated experience. It is a major decision and you never really stop deciding. You can quit at anytime. I’ve seen people do so for various reasons. It’s completely acceptable to walk away.

But it’s also completely acceptable to stay. To stay floating amongst your own confusion as to why the hell you made this choice, as to why the hell you want to do anything at all. It’s acceptable to struggle and cry and ponder quitting multiple times throughout the course of your program.

Do what you have to do. For me, that’s this Master’s program that may (or may not) totally change my life. Either way, it’s a place where I can grow like I haven’t before.

“Wonder Woman”

its the ordinary things
that make her extraordinary

the way her hair settles unevenly –
tousling in all directions
after letting her thoughts run wild
against the canvas
of midnight

the way make-up quickly smudges
with every smile and laugh
gently falling away
to open the world
to that natural and under-appreciated

the way her smile
takes over her entire face,
distorting any attempt she may make
at appearing
‘symmetrical’ –
reminding you that
truly beautiful things
are always off-kilter

the way her attempts at
dressing formal
are always at war
with her comfortable and causal
ways of being –
a single dress never stopped her
from feeling free

the way she writes and talks
about those she loves
with such vigorous admiration

while constantly forgetting

she’s worthy

of the


I want to be my own Wonder Woman

his 4-year old world

“I’m the draw-bridger”

the proclamation settles in
to a leather couch cushion
quickly recruited to play the part

tender tiny hands
hoist the bridge on its side
until it leans delicately
against particularly placed
kitchen stools
(assigned the job “castle walls”)



the living room transforms
under the touch of grimy fingertips
compelled by
the vivid workings
of a mind I can
no longer

A wedding at the tides

the ocean’s rough spray
is gloomy and grey
on a wedding day
at the tides

charming groomsmen smile
as if they’re on trial,
waiting to defile
their young brides

before the affair
begins, on the air
floats the stench of their

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