“I became a moaner”

The Vagina Monologues 2015 at UWM has truly changed my life. I could never have anticipated how much the monologue I was given would do for me, I could never have anticipated all the amazing women I would meet. Every aspect of this show has filled my heart to the brim with joy and filled my body to the brim with confidence.

I have never felt more confident than I have while moaning on stage in front of audiences of people willing to laugh, willing to support, willing to love. There is not another show like this in the world. It’s so rare to find a room of such open-minded and kind people.

Having a supportive, loving, truly amazing, diverse cast is even rarer in this world.

I will never forget these women, they have left their imprint on my heart, and I will forever be apart of this movement.

I found my confidence on that stage. I found my strength in this monologue. I found myself in this play. I, for the first time ever, feel truly like myself. Feel like I finally let myself go to a place of such vulnerability where I could truly see who I am without the facades, fears, uncertainties that I have let run my life.

I have found my “power moan”, as a friend has joked. I have found the very beginning of who I truly am and I feel confident when I walk into rooms, I feel confident in the way I move, I feel more like a woman than ever before.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I shout “Thank You” to this magical, marvelous universe. I have come to exactly where I needed to be and I am overjoyed I’ve come to this place.

My heart is full

overflowing with pride

I stand here

I walk here

I take it in stride

I am forever changed from who I once was

I am embracing the new, wiping away the dust

your faces, your smiles, your hearts

I carry with

each one of you

you’ve helped me find something I thought unattainable:

bliss

Bliss for the woman who stands in my shoes

who smiles, who laughs, whose not afraid to lose

because I know who I am now

and I’ll continue to learn

my journey is always moving

I’ll continue to yearn.

Today I’m stuck between two different quotes, from Sylvia Plath, upon which to think about, upon which to base this post.

“Kiss me and you will see how important I am”

This is how I feel as my mind is encompassed with thoughts of a looming second date with someone who didn’t matter until only a few days ago. He didn’t mean a thing until he gave me attention, wished me good morning for a few days in a row, and then stopped doing so today. He didn’t matter until suddenly he was taking away what I was getting used to.  How strange that is to think about.

“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed”

This is one hundred percent how I should be dealing with my current situation. I have become well-aware of how easily I put my happiness in someone else’s hands an for some reason – even knowing that I find it hard to not do so. I cling to the first attractive man that gives me attention, who shows some sort of initial desire. And I know this clinginess is what eventually strangles any opportunity I could possibly have with any man.

I want to be kissed. I want him to know how important I am because truly I think I communicate more in a kiss than I can possibly do so in words.

Yet I need to expect nothing. To expect nothing at all from anyone around me. No one owes me a thing and more than likely they will give me nothing upon which to stand – thus I need to start truly relying on myself. A date is just a date – it is not something important – it is meant to be carefree and I need to learn to merely enjoy the experience, the momentary experience.

We had one good date. We will have another fun date. Perhaps he’ll kiss me and notice something I think is carried in my lips, perhaps not. Regardless, I’ll wake up the next morning the same as I was before the date, the same as I was (at my core) weeks ago.

I will always wake up to myself – no matter what happens – no matter who comes and goes – I will be the only one left standing.

“I never thought of time as a coat you could take off and put on again. Too cold to live without it – so we all keep it on. We hug it to ourselves, because if we can’t….Time is change. That’s all it is. When there’s no change….”

– Michael

Two Rooms by Lee Blessing

Lately the world around me has, for the most part, remained stagnant – remained a far too familiar environment. I’m content. I’ll tell you – I had the concept of ‘content’. I feel myself becoming restless, but also completely paranoid that I will never be free of this rut I’ve fallen in to.

There are slight moments where I feel alive, slight changes here and there, but I’m looking for something major and drastic. A lot of my life lies in other’s hands at the moment. Applications have been sent out, someone else is staring at the representation of me in words, filled in boxes, check marks and deciding my future.

It’s one of the most terrifying feelings to sit and wait – at least for someone like me. I’ve always said I’ve hated change, I’m afraid to jump and try something new, but I always pushed myself to do so.

Now I’ve become accustomed to constantly having to change, to alter, to adjust, and I feel as if I’m completely motionless when I’m not doing so. I’m waiting for good news.

I worry I haven’t done enough, haven’t worked hard enough on the applications and writing I’ve sent around this country.

I worry. I feel nothing but worry from head to toe.

But I sit, still waiting, waiting for time to feel like time again. Waiting for a change that signifies the clocks on the hand are still ticking.

Heartbreak is a very funny thing – it is a state of being, an experience, a mindset, an action. It comes in a million different forms, never quite the same each and every time, and yet we try to find a way to explain it.

Today I think about heartbreak not as a result of lost love, but a result of love denied by the universe.

I don’t sit heartbroken on my bed over some guy who left me alone, or took his piece of me and ran away. I sit heartbroken over a man I care deeply about, who I haven’t seen in three years, who regardless I still call on of my best friends in the world, and who I’m basically not allowed to have contact with.

It’s been months since we’ve spoken, since things got too complicated on his end with the woman he’s seeing. I never thought I’d hear from him again. But he’s resurfacing and it is so wonderful to hear from him again. It feels like we’ve spent no time apart and yet have so much to share with one another – we’ve known each other for almost 8 years now. He knows me better than anyone else in the world because he was a part of my high school years. He knows the awkward backstory of who I used to be and he’s watched me grow into something else entirely.

I think he was the first man I ever loved. He was the first serious relationship I ever had (if you can consider any high school relationship serious) and he taught me a ridiculous amount about intimacy, tenderness, excitement, adventure.

We went through some tumultuous experiences. I’ve cried hysterically over him. I’ve been so angry with him I’ve never wanted to speak with him again. We’ve made stupid mistakes together. But in the end, we always kept coming back to each other.

Once we both found ourselves in somewhat serious relationships we always came back as friends. We would have coffee every Christmas and trade stories. We would laugh and smile and remember.

We are what you would call “old friends”

My heartbreak lies in the fact that there is someone out there who is not ok with that, who is trying to take that away from the both of us. I somewhat understand her reasonings, but she’s never met me. We’ve never spoken. She doesn’t know my side of the story. I’m beginning to wonder if its time to tell her my side.

I miss my best friend.

On Wednesdays, I teach middle school students.

Middle school is a weird time for most of us and watching my students today in all sorts of different situations I was reminded of how hard everything seemed. This age group has a knack for finding the difficulty in every obstacle presented. Every question you ask, every activity you attempt to lead is the worst thing they’ve ever heard or ever had to do.

Now of course this is a generalization – this isn’t true for every single student in middle school – however it is true of a lot of the students I work with. They find the challenges in everything and refuse to think creatively to find their way around it.

This approach to life – this refusal to think outside the box or do anything out of the ordinary – is the exact reason why I teach. I can’t imagine what would happen if the mindset of middle school students became the mindset of our society. The refusal to try something new, something unknown. The complete lack of cooperation in a group setting. The complete denial of another’s ideas. It’s hysterical for me to watch as I sit in the classroom reminding my students they have five minutes to make a frozen tableau with their group, but it’s also one of the most terrifying things to think about.

I find it really fascinating that the concept of compromise is something which must be learned and often times isn’t learned until far too late in life. The importance of cooperation, the idea of bringing positive energy to a room, the sense of taking a deep breath and letting go of earlier struggles in order to tackle the problem at hand – all these things that I find so commonplace in my life are things that must be taught and often aren’t.

I have come to realize I firmly believe theatre games and practices should be incorporated into all education settings. I think it is important to warm up one’s body in order to use one’s mind for any task, as well it is important to reflect upon the lesson that is being taught. I think variety is important in the classroom setting and is so often not addressed. Our education system is beginning to seem out of date to the society we are now living in, and not capable of teaching the things which are needed in our future generations.

My theatre education has taught me more about how to live my life than anything I was taught sitting down at a desk and I’m starting to believe that those skills, the life skills I attained, are much more important than the things I read in text books. Life is about living, about action, and while there are basic skills you can learn in a text book that are necessary for some aspects of life, I feel we are slowly destroying the means by which students learn how to be good people.

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
― Carlos Castaneda

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can create the life I want, I personally, without needing another person by my side. I suppose this is what being single does to someone. But I’m coming to realize I should’ve thought about creating my life on my own years ago. This is a conclusion that has been waiting to make itself clear while I was running around hiding from the facts.

When you bury yourself so fully into someone else, you change who you are and forget some of your original goals before you met that person. Suddenly your thoughts are about this other person, about what they’re doing, about who they’re with, and none of your thoughts actually settle on yourself.

I know years ago the idea was that women were meant to marry, to be there as support and comfort for a husband, and to have children so the family line could continue. This is such an outdated ideal, but yet at times I feel the pressure from people to do just that. To focus on a man’s life, to be there for his life, and to forget my own.

Of course this pressure is few and far between, and mostly comes from the older generation, but its still there.

I have no intention of marrying any time soon. I’m starting to reconsider marriage in general because of what it has become in our world and how unlikely it is to truly stay strong and faithful in the institution of marriage.

I have no intention of having children. I love kids, I love working with kids, but the concept of birth terrifies me and I have no means upon which to support a child, let alone the desire to care for one.

I am making the choice to build a life that makes me personally happy. I am finding the less time I focus on the lives of others, the less time I try to find someone to bury myself in, the happier I am. The more time I spend surrounding myself with friends full of positive energy and laughter, with theatre and art, with writing – the more content and calm I am. Perhaps I will be seen as “selfish”, perhaps people will not understand some of my actions, but I don’t feel it is my job to explain to everyone in the world what I am doing or why I am doing it. I’m learning that life is not about the quantity of people who love and adore you, but about the quality of those people. Maybe I am building more walls around myself then I used to have, I don’t feel as vulnerable as I once was, but I feel these are necessary steps in my life. These years are all about change and uncertainty, I’m keeping my feet as planted as I can and building a foundation of marvelous friends to help me through it all.

Please forgive me if you don’t like my choices, but this is my life and I am choosing to lead it – I am choosing to be strong and confident and create my own happiness.

“How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you’ll never meet them. All right, so we do the best we can. Granted. But we must still realize that love is just the result of a chance encounter”

– Charles Bukowski

The moment you realize this – its a major moment. At least for me it is. I’ve spent the majority of my life thoroughly convinced I was destined to fall in love, with one man, and be with him until the world ends.

To this day I have fallen in love with at least 3 different men, for very different reasons, and they are all distant memories. I am grateful that I fell in love with each and every one of them. I’ve learned so much. But finally as I sit alone in my apartment, 23, drunk off whiskey, living fully alone I am coming to realize that love relies mostly on chance. It is not destiny.

I do believe you are destined to come across certain people at certain times. I think everyone you cross paths with is there to teach you a little something, if you’re looking. But love is more about coincidence, about where you are the current moment and acceptance of what the world is offering you.

I will admit, I don’t feel like accepting what the world has to offer – but who knows what will come in the next few months. As an actor I feel I am more prone to fall in love, I have the skills to find reasons to love anyone.

It makes for an interesting life – that one day I hope to write down and share with the world. Love is an interesting thing, you learn the innermost workings of someone else and mold your life to fit them into it. I am extremely fascinated by how love changes a person, how it forms to your life and creates new opportunities while also destroying others. Love is this magnificent thing were you get the most intense version of tunnel vision and yet feel ecstasy over the fact.

I believe you can learn so much from another person. Any person. I suppose that’s the actor in me speaking, because its fascinating for me to understand any type of person. But really – we are all so unique, with such varying perspectives on life, and when you fall in love that other person welcomes you in to their perspective and suddenly the world is technicolor.

I’m afraid of love at the moment. I’ll admit it. I’m hyper-focused on my career, on where the hell I’m going next, and on climbing (an extreme new passion of mine) but I know love is lurking around the corner. And whenever it comes, I undoubtedly will take it. I’ve never been one to say no to love.

Don’t attach yourself to anyone who shows you the least bit of attention because you’re lonely. Loneliness is the human condition. No one is ever going to fill that space. The best you an do is know yourself…know what you want.

– Janet Fitch, White Oleander

This is the quote that floated in the back of my mind throughout my entire day. I spent my morning looking out the cafe window for a man I know I have no feelings for, spent my late afternoon staring at my phone to hear from a man who I have yet to physically kiss, and spent my evening around strong-willed women who inspired me to really think about what’s been going on today.

This quote sums up exactly how I have been acting lately. I have been extremely lonely and downtrodden since my breakup – I feel I will call this “the breakup of my twenties” or something profound when I’m older because I really think that choice has put me on a path towards major changes. In all this loneliness I have been seeking and happily accepting the attention of any man who has happened to give just a little bit. And I mean the tiniest moment of attention.

And with that tiny moment I would build castles, mountains of false hope and high expectations that this man could fill the huge void I was feeling for the first time in my life. Literally the first time in my life. I have never noticed my loneliness so blatantly, so profoundly.

I have been attaching myself to these castles only to find that they’ve been built from sand and quickly the tides of time have come in and crumbled every last one. Castle after castle of false hope destroyed, leaving me stranded, wet, hopeless, depressed.

Finally I found this quote that has caused me to majorly reevaluate what I’ve been doing (as clearly this post indicates). I can clearly see now the foolishness of my actions, the ridiculous nature of how quickly I climbed to the highest hope without realizing I wasn’t climbing on any sort of firm foundation. I’ve been flying through air thinking there was somewhere there below holding me up – the minute I needed to take a breathe I would realize my shortcomings and topple down.

So here I am, sitting on the floor, with bruises, cuts, scrapes, rug burn, aching limbs all from climbing too fast, building too soon, forgetting the importance of foundation merely because I’ve been so terrified of being alone. Being alone with myself.

I think tonight, today, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I can’t run from loneliness. It’s always going to be there, it is the nature of being a human being (as the quote above states). I can’t expect anyone to fill the void of loneliness because its not actually possible.

I’ve experienced plenty of rejection in my life. As an actor, it is my job to be rejected, to get a “thick skin” and pull myself up when I fall down. I’ve gotten pretty good at this aspect of my career, but regardless any rejection outside of my career feels like a crushing blow to my self-confidence.

It’s taken me years and years to get me where I am today. And those years were spent with men who slowly, but surely taught me to appreciate myself. I learned to love myself through them. Perhaps that’s screwed up, but I wouldn’t be half of who I am without them. However, this does mean that I still have the challenge of accepting myself when no one else will. Of loving myself even after a man rejects me, turns me down.

I have come to realize I will do almost anything to feel wanted. I will do anything to feel wanted. This is a major player in my life right now – this sense of only wanting to be wanted and not caring about the path I take to get there. This is self-destructive. I have been self-destructive for years even while convincing myself being wanted by a certain guy was all that mattered, that he would be the thing that completed my life.

I am beginning to realize how fucked up that is. You may think me weak, you may find me desperate, but here I am boldly putting it out there into the world. I admit these faults and I will work on them. I have been extremely unhealthy and unkind to my own body. I have not treated myself with the right respect and thus men have seen no reason to respect me. Those who did were the greatest things that ever happened to me. I could’ve fallen into a much darker existence without the men who did see my worth before I was even capable of looking into a mirror and smiling.

I need to say it somewhere: I am a mess right now. I truly believe I have hit the lowest point of my life. Everything I thought I knew has come crumbling down around me – I have been living on false hopes and false ideals. Ideals I learned from the plethora of romantic movies I watched thinking “true love” was the only point to living and that a woman could only be defined by the love she had.

I have never loved myself. I am learning to, but I have never fully loved who I am. I have never fully believed in my own capabilities, I have never seen my life unfolding with just me as the main character. I have always relied upon someone else.

And now I know it is time to change that. I also know this is going to be one hell of a year. A rollercoaster. Because I’ve already been all over the place. It’s going to take a lot of time and energy to learn to start treating myself better. To start viewing myself as more valuable.

I think I’ve made progress without fully realizing what I was doing lately. But with two shots of whiskey tonight I’ve taken some serious steps back. With one rejection I’m curled up in the bath tub bawling. I’m still mourning over everything I’ve lost in the past year. Over everything I thought I knew and everything that has turned out completely different.

I know more than anything I need a change of pace. I need to keep writing. And I need to stop focusing on the things I cannot fix and the people who cannot help me feel better. I am in a very precarious state. I am in a life-changing position. I could fly or I could fail. And I refuse to fail.

I apologize to all those people who are going to come across me at this stage in life and see a mess, see a desperate woman, see someone pathetic. I don’t want to be remembered that way, but then again who is to say they’ll remember me at all? And if they do, somewhere down the line isn’t it possible they’ll see the real me? 

I suppose the first thing I should try to change is to stop apologizing. This life is a constant adventure and we are all at different stages in our life, we all come across strangers during the worst times of our lives and if they matter they’ll get past the walls, the fear, the facade, the insanity. Half of the people in my life today won’t matter a year from now.

And the majority of people I’m surrounded with are the kindest souls in the world. They are wonderful, beautiful, talented, open-minded people who have never once breathed a terrible comment about me – who do nothing but reassure the person I am. I can never thank them enough for being my support when I can’t seem to hold myself up. I can never show the gratitude I will have for every single one of them as they deal with perhaps the worst version of myself.

I will never forget this feeling. I hope one day I look back and write a chapter about these years discussing how truly formative they were for me and how truly helpful all this silly reflection was. There is something good coming, its right around the corner, if I only have the courage to keep walking and take a peek.

I am not defined by who I am with, but rather I am defined by how I love and treat myself – for that treatment will reflect through my entire life.

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