musical theatre

Have you ever loved something so much it encompassed your entire life?  You lived, dreamed, slept, ate and breathed it?

I did.

I was a musical theatre nerd.  For real.  As in, I didn’t even know any radio hits until I got to college and  met people who liked music that didn’t have Original London Cast and Broadway Cast Recording versions.  (This might be a slight exaggeration, but only slight.  My music collection was every Andrew Lloyd Weber production ever, and a myriad of other musicals including most of the Rogers & Hammerstein library, Showboat, Chess -London Cast only -, Godspell, etc etc).  

I loved singing, dancing and being on stage more than anything.  I took dance classes, had voice lessons, participated in every show in my high school.  I was ‘Glee’.  And I went to college for musical theatre.

Where I proceeded to spectacularly crash and burn.  There were a lot of factors, none of which are important enough to revisit fourteen years later, but my freshman year was a hot mess.  My sophomore year, I dropped from the musical theatre program to ‘just’ the theatre program, and proceeded to cut every part of musical theatre out of my life.

I’m serious.  I mean, I’ve never even heard the whole “Wicked” soundtrack, let alone seen the show.  My high school self would be appalled with me.

I have friends who have been on Broadway, and whose voices are gifts from God.  When they sing, you can’t help but be transported somewhere better.  I see their success and am so unbelievably happy for them.  And unbelievably disappointed in myself.

Which is why, when I discovered ‘Glee’ online last week, it wasn’t my best day.  I watched the season finale from last year, and the season premiere from this season, and I almost felt transported back to 1998 and all the good and bad of the hopes and dreams and utter disappointment that followed my own graduation from high school and matriculation at college.

I don’t have anyone to blame for my failure to pursue my dream except myself.  Somewhere along the line, I lost my confidence and my drive.  Looking back as a stronger, hardened-by-life adult, I can see where things went wrong for me.  It’s sad.  But it’s also life.  The thing that finally watching ‘Glee’ (I avoided it for a very long time for this exact reason) did for me was to remind me that at one point in my life, I had drive and passion for something.  I wanted something more, and not only did I want it, I believed I could achieve it.  I think that’s what makes the people who succeed get there ~ enough arrogance combined with self-confidence and blinders to keep on pushing when everyone is saying no.

I wish I’d had that.  But wishing doesn’t really get a person anywhere, does it? 🙂


snap shots

Back in August, before I fell off the map, the man and I took part in one of the coolest things I’ve done in awhile.

Diner En Blanc

We dressed in white, brought all our white accoutrement with us (yes, including tables and chairs and dishes and silverware and … well, you get the point) and enjoyed dinner al fresco with new friends in one of the coolest spots in Philly (to me ~ but I’m a sucker for the Ben Franklin Parkway …. and Logan Square situates you smack dab between the Philadelphia Art Museum and City Hall … gorgeous).

The restaurant generously catered for us, and we were lucky enough to have awesome dining neighbors, who shared smoked Cornish hen and lobster salad.  We shared some French sparkling rose’, so it almost equalled out (we were the big winners … the Cornish hen was ridic).

Had I had my shiznit together, I would have talked a lot about it … but I didn’t, and life has been trucking by, faster than I’ve been prepared for it.

Here’s the thing.  In July, both my mother and I (to a lesser degree) had huge health diagnosis’.  And even though I would like to be half the woman my mother is – she who soldiers on with a smile, great attitude and tons of energy to spare – I, woefully, fall far short.  It’s been tough ~ not necessarily due to my own health, but getting my brain securely around the truth about my mother’s health. Difficult, heart-breaking, scary, unknown, overwhelming, surreal … those are some of the words I can muster up in the moment.

So, a person definitely loses time when focused so singularly on something so utterly important.

On top of all that, football season started.  And football season came with baggage this year.  First, the baggage of what it means to be a Penn Stater.  Second, the baggage of living with a man whose team won the Super Bowl last year.  I totally understand that some people may read this and think … wait a second.  She is prioritizing football right up there with health issues.

No.  And yes.  No, nothing in my life is even close to being a priority like my mother. I am not going to wax lyrical, but seriously – if you have had a moment in your life like this, then you can understand the level of importance and also intensity.  Aka, unmatched. Buuuuut ….. Yes, football is a priority in my and the man’s life.  That’s who we are, that’s what we do … it’s a part of why our relationship works so well.  Mutual interests and understanding.

Additionally, Miss Lucy and I listened to part of a very interesting program on NPR a few weeks ago, and it cranked up the cogs in my brain.  Essentially (and I really wish I’d written this stuff down at the time) the program was focusing on social media, and society’s new ‘obsession’ (for lack of the correct word) with appearances.

What I mean by this is that instead of people working on who they are as people, inherently, on the inside …. we, as a society, are more concerned with how we appear to be.  Just stop and think about it for a minute.

Every picture, every status update, every blog post.  We present to the viewing virtual world the person we want to be ~ the person we want people to think we are.

Listening to the program made me stop dead and really examine what I do, and why I do it.  I had an internal battle.  “Well, of course I only share the good stuff … that’s what I’m supposed to do … focus on the positive, enjoy the good parts of my life, etc etc etc …” These were some of my thoughts.  Then I really began to mull it over… who did I want to be? What kind of impression does my writing leave of me … as a person?

Could I keep blogging?  Or was it all a charade?

Seriously.  I’m a huge overthinker.  But …. something about this line of thought really struck a chord with me.  Awhile ago, I got completely bent out of shape reading a generic criticism on twitter ~ but the criticism said pretty much what NPR said, just in a much snarkier way.

Hey, look at how great my life is ~ hey, look at the awesome things I cook ~ hey, look at my adorable dog/cat/hamster/child ~ hey, look at the cool places I go to with my super cool boyfriend/fiance/husband/soul mate ~ hey, check out my awesome perfect amazing everything  … blah blah blah.  Trust me, no one wants to see a status/tweet/instagram/blog post about the fact that I stepped in dog do-do this evening when I took Lucy out for a potty break.   It’s not cool or perfect or quirky or fun that my puppy has a sensitive digestive system and the man and I deal with her stinky ‘perfume’ and soft poos on a daily basis.  It’s slightly depressing and comes across as ‘please give me some sympathy’ if I posted pictures of my three-day IV line this summer when I had to inject myself with meds every afternoon.  But those are truths ~ those of part of my life.  And I would rather be vulnerable on here, but honest … instead of insincere and a projection of what I think I should be.

I want to always be working on who I am on the inside, who I am inherently (and trust me, there is a lot that could use some polishing … or to begin, some heavy sanding, because it could be a two (or more??) step process…).  I have a wicked temper, and I know that I don’t hide my emotions very well (I actually consciously think about this at work when I know my face looks like I-can-not-believe-you-are-saying-this-to-me and my whole body tenses … I am not proud of those moments). I also don’t want to blog because I need to ‘say’ something  … because I want to ‘project’ something about who I should/want to be or … crazy thought, am.  I want to blog the truth of my existence.

When I started this, I was learning to cook.  I’ve gotten okay in the intermittant months from them to now.  I truly enjoy being in the kitchen and preparing something for a group of people.  I think some of it boils down to what made me love the stage (quick recap, I have a degree in theatre).  I love the satisfaction of making something and receiving kudos because people enjoy it.  That’s not the most flattering thing about me ~ but it’s honest.  And I decided ~ when I opened up this blog and recommitted to it ~ that if I did nothing else, I was going to be myself.  You guys have seen that lovely quote “Better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else.”  I think that includes a second-rate version of who you think you should be.

I am who I am who I am.  And I want to try my darnedest to stay true to that.

On a lighter note…

The man and I are super in love with green juice.  Jump on that band-wagon.  It’s the bomb-diggity.

We are taking our very first vacay together next week and I am so excited I can barely concentrate.  We are hopping on a plane to Jackson Hole, WY and there are so many things we want to do, I don’t know how we are going to fit it in, or what will make the cut.

What I’m sure of? A romantic dinner with the man at the Snake River Grill (the chef was a James Beard Award nominee, the menu and wine list are ridic, and I’m super duper psyched …. my wallet is not, but just this once, I am going to ignore her protestations!).  I don’t know that I am going to be very productive until then, but I will try!  Lucy and I have a half marathon we’re training for (okay, okay, I’m the only one running ~ but Lucy keeps me company!) and work is a crazy busy machine as we approach year end.

Ah.  Life.  She’s a corker.