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The Owls Are Not What They Seem

There are a little over two weeks until opening night for “Almost, Maine”, the John Cariani stage play I’m directing, and I just lost two cast members.

I’m not surprised, honestly. We can’t predict health problems, but then again I’ve often felt like Murphy’s Law operates frequently in my life. Ya know, things going wrong at the worst possible time in the worst ways. It’s not as if this production has been smooth sailing from the get-go. No.

This show was meant to have happened a year and a half ago. I was always meant to direct – just with a little help from my friend. He flaked on me. I floundered for a bit, half-heartedly looked at alternative methods. The non-profit I work for finally got me to push through on my own and we set things in motion. Set a date. Held auditions. Bought the rights. Found the venue.

Things came together. And then they began to fall apart. Again. The friend who let me down before did it once more. Committed to being an actor, took on a few scenes, and then stopped showing up to practices. Wouldn’t answer phone calls. Won’t respond to texts from his scene partner. I reiterate, not surprising.

I’m grateful to be surrounded by a talented and understanding group of actors, who banded together and found four guys to replace the one. And somehow they encouraged me to take on a scene, one of the more lengthy ones in the play.

Only now I’ve got one scene that I’m constantly putting a pin in and, unless I insert myself – mind you, sixteen days prior to opening, will likely lose another scene.

It’s also Twin Peaks Day! Twenty-six years ago, Special Agent Dale Cooper drove into Twin Peaks, Washington and changed my life. Really. I knew the theme song in utero twenty-five years before I ever watched the show. I even have the same tattoo of the marking the Log Lady (Rest In Peace, Catherine E. Coulson) had on the back of her leg and Audrey Horne herself, Sherilyn Fenn, responded to me on twitter this morning at the exact moment I received the bad news.


Naturally, I keep thinking about one of my favorite lines from the show. “The owls are not what they seem.” Things are not as they first appear, they don’t happen the way we expect them to. And maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe things fall apart so better things can fall into place. Who knows? I don’t, but I’m still optimistic.

Odd.

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wait for it…

i quit my job. 

okay, well. i gave my two weeks notice. i am still firmly at my first two jobs, but the third job, the only i got offered right after graduation…

everyone is talking about worth. the media, my eloquent as hell friends, my mom and i often have conversations about discovering our worth. and in knowing my own worth, i know i am not the right fit at that third job. 

i was hired because i’m good at writing grants – and i am – but i don’t write grants all day, everyday. i hold up a counter (and joke with customers saying i get paid to drink coffee and appreciate art). i do more, i did do more. inventory, customer service, and all that, which started to become monotonous…? and then yesterday i was told i “lack initiative”. ironic given that this past weekend i was frustrated because the girls at one of my other jobs do the bare minimum. they lack initiative. 

i have a strong work ethic. i pride myself in working hard so to be told the contrary? well, that stung. but when my supervisor sat me down and said “things just aren’t working” in that fix it or get fired way, something in me received confirmation. the massive anxiety i’ve been feeling for the past month hasn’t been unwarranted. 

i’m not enough.

i’m careful to not say “good enough” or “doing enough”. i am good enough. i’m intelligent, pretty damn great with customers, a quick study, and i do have initiative. plenty of it. if those qualities aren’t being recognized, then i’m obviously not the right person. i am not enough – for this job.

it took me a moment to figure out what i wanted to do. do i keep working there even though i would end up miserable (because, ya know, self-fulfilling prophecy and all that)? if i leave, where do i go? i do still have bills to pay because, ya know, in debt college grad. i couldn’t just leave and figure these things out afterwards.

i’m on the cusp of 25. i’m allowed to leave a job that isn’t utilizing my potential. i’m allowed to remove myself from an environment that isn’t going to benefit me. time is money and in this case i’m not a worthwhile investment for them and vice versa.

this isn’t me getting my feelings hurt and retaliating. however, this is personal. not against them, but for me. what i thought was an opportunity to further my career in the arts turned out out to not be. not really. but more than that.

art isn’t enough. art is my be all, end all. it’s why i get up in the morning and what keeps me awake at night. to quote scandal, art is “my hallelujah, heroin, and reason to breathe.” my job meant i got work for (another) art focused non-profit. it’s art…but it’s retail. i loved it for a while but i need more.

and already i’ve gotten the passive aggression. when i say i’m picking up hours at my first job, i get the “oh, you should be looking for another job where you can write grants all the time…” as if i’m taking two steps forward, one somersault back. but the thing about knowing your path is knowing you can’t tell everyone, despite what they assume.

to quote the song “wait for it” from lin-manuel miranda’s hamilton: 

life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints. it takes and it takes and it takes. we keep living anyway. we rise and we fall and we break and we make our mistakes. and if there’s a reason i’m still alive when so many have died, then i’m willing to wait for it…

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nice is different than good.

2002: i moved from san antonio, texas to a very small town in south carolina when i was eleven years old. going into the sixth grade is a daunting enough feat without having to cross state lines, but such is the life of an army brat. one day my music teachers took us on a class field trip to see our local children’s theatre put on their production of annie, jr. a girl named jessica in my music class was the lead as annie. looking up at that stage opened my eyes and i said to myself “i could do that. i could be up on that stage.”

2015: fast forward twelve, thirteen years and a handful of plays later to this past weekend. our children’s theatre put on a jr. version of into the woods and i still get giddy over the fact that i participated under the title “director”. as a preteen desperately wanting to move back to san antonio, i can honestly say i never thought my life would turn out like this. that i would find something so dear to my heart and that is would lead me to my purpose. but i wouldn’t have it any other way.

o captains, my captains.

this pretty blonde lady here took a chance on a little and very green selah, and through a series of strange but fortunate events i get to sit next to her on the stage i grew up on. also, it’s kind of cool how her younger brother was the first boy to break my heart but she is the woman who changed my life. 😉

this show was our children’s theatre’s 15th year anniversary and its 20th production, so i got sappy and framed our cast photos for my directors (we’re all directors but i still look up to them and follow wherever they may lead).

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a glimpse of our audience of kids from county school. the turn out was so massive this year, we unfortunately had to turn schools away. not a bad problem to have, if i’m speaking frankly.

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if you follow me on twitter and/or instagram, you’ve probably noticed my mentionings of our cast size. approximately 107 cast members ranging from ages 6 to 19-ish (shhh, 21), and about fifteen or so crew members involved with costumes, sets, stage managing, lights, sound, etc… 

working on this production was partly imputes for my guilt v shame post, yet somehow pictures still cannot capture the immensity of the people involved this year.

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the girl on the right is someone i’ve known since she was seven. now she’s seventeen and on the cusp of graduating high school. the second cast party took place at sonic since this is her last show with us. ;_;

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‘though it’s fearful. though it’s deep, though it’s dark. though you may lose the path.’ until next year…

(images 1, 2, 3, 8, & 9 courtesy of Michelle Grinberg. all others are my own.)

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here, here, and here.

i finished my final college course at the start of july. i began a third job the following week. summer’s never been my season, but july and august have been kind to me. 

   
i get paid to be around coffee and art. every. day.

 
jack in my crown porque i contain multitudes.

   una noche buena con mucha musica on a rooftop in georgia. vampires and witches were somehow involved but that’s not relevant. 

 i’m finding my voice again and she tastes like whiskey and ash.

 
seriously. art and coffee. be still my black heart.

   
edisto.

 
there’s theatre tucked into my schedule too. lots of theatre.

  
i don’t know what even is my life…but i love it.