23 April, 2008

Peter Pan

I’m in a stage of life I like to refer to as 23—free and sassy. Or fun and sassy. I haven’t committed just yet. Commitment isn’t a very popular word with many people in my social/age group. I’m generally very happy with my life. I love the opportunity to put my heart and soul and LIFE into something I’m passionate about: namely performing in live musical theatre. I’m happy to have the financial freedom to be able to travel to auditions when I need to and actually make a living by doing something that brings me sheer joy. I’m happy to have a degree and not have to worry about thesis statements and 500 word articles and midterms. I’m happy about being able to invest in whoever I want. I can talk to whoever I want on the phone for however long I want to. I can even pay someone mindless attention for one night. It’s all up to me. In a number of ways I am living the dream right now as I type this. Other dreams that I have in life I don’t exactly have control over—getting married, having a family. Those are things I want in my future. They could come soon or later. I don’t have a rigid preference because I know it’s not an area I can control. But they are certainly huge aspects of my definition of “living the dream.”
And one of my best friends, Leslie is living the dream in many ways too. Right now her office is in the White House. Ya know…the one on Pennsylvania Avenue? Every day she interacts with people who are going down in the history books. Her job is “Devil Wears Prada” meets “West Wing.” And it’s stressful but I’d venture to say it’s insanely fulfilling.
Both of us are smart. Both of us are pursuing dreams. Both of us are financially independent (ok, she is more than me but still). Both of us are confident. We know what we believe in. We vote. We donate. And we’d be more than happy to have guy friends (I’m not gonna say we even have time or energy for boyfriends) who are our age in that same place too. Successful. Happy. Looking toward the future. Informed. Spiritual.

Where are they?

That is the quandary I’ve been perplexed by as of late. I look around and I don’t know any guys who are the equivalent of my best friends. Where are the guys who are in their early—even mid—20’s and “have it all together”? Why has that become too much to ask? The Peter Pan syndrome is more prevalent than any of us knew. Why has “30 become the new 20” as one such Peter Pan said to me recently? Why is this ok? Why do we have this adolescentadulthood stage that is continuing on and on? Why can’t these guys finish school for goodness sake? What is so hard about deciding a concentration of study and taking a full load each semester and going to class and doing homework and getting the heck out of college? What is to fear about growing up, falling in love, asking a girl to marry?

Why are guys of this generation so freaking scared to grow up?

You want to date me? Or Leslie? Or some other girl that you think is “amazing”? Then become the guy who she thinks is amazing. It’s as simple as that. Get your act together.

21 April, 2008

Herein Lies the Happiest Movie Scene Ever

You can't help but let it brighten your day. :-)

07 April, 2008

The Grand Gesture

Today is Monday April 7th, 2008. 23 years and one day since I came on the scene. I had a fantastic weekend getting to perform and being surrounded by some of my best friends. Birthdays serve as a wonderful reminder that you are loved.
Now, I’m sitting in a Panera in Roanoke, Virginia. I came here to escape my apartment/dorm/orphanage living situation and to use the free wifi to get some work done on my new freelance job: inthemo.com. (←shameless plug)
I actually feel really blessed by the new job. I found it when I was casually perusing the NYC craigslist. They needed an editor with a bit of international travel experience. I replied and 2 days later the job was mine. It’s a perfect supplementary income. And it virtually came out of nowhere. I was told by a friend of mine who is a working actor in New York City that being able to afford life in New York shouldn’t be a fear of mine. He said “You’re smart, educated and sharp. Why should money and a job come difficult?” And so I found a job in New York—and I don’t even live there (yet).
And my main job. I love it. The past two months I’ve been in “The Stinky Cheese Man and other fair(ly) stooped tales.” It’s been remarkably fulfilling performing for audiences made up of children. I absolutely love it. This past week we began rehearsals for our next show “Tales From the Arabian Nights.” This show is also primarily for school age audiences. After that the Festival of New Works will take the stage. I was pretty stoked when I first got cast in the show. Then I got the script and saw that my character says a few choice words that I have a strong conviction I never have any business saying—as a character or in real life. I talked to a few Christian friends who are in the business and their advice was to stand up for what I believe and it’ll be honored. After all, it’s PC to respect someone’s religious beliefs. Right? Well, what I didn’t consider was that the show is going to be performed for the first time. As a result the director and playwright have no interest in changing lines. Not a one. And if that means changing casting, so be it. So today I dropped out of the show.
If you know me well you know that I HATE conflict. I flee from it. I hate rocking the boat. I hate offending people. I hate for people to be disappointed in me, frustrated with me, or to generally be unpopular. Some people can handle it—I can’t. I like being liked.
And today I made some people unhappy. People who couldn’t fathom why I can’t separate a script from real life. “Do you not understand the concept that it’s a character and not you? Do you not get what ACTING is?”
It was the grand gesture in my life thus far.
I’ve really never been in a position where I had to stand up for what I believed in. I mean certainly there have been times where I turned down smoking something or chose to avoid something I deemed wrong. But never have I been condescended because of it. Never was I made to feel like my choice was illogical. I knew I had a choice to make when I read the script. And I knew that compromising is a slippery, slippery slope. And I knew saying something disrespectful about our Creator is not something I could ever do while maintaining self-respect.
This whole year of being thrust into the ‘real world’ and being out of the ‘christian bubble’ has been one big learning experience. It’s been an ongoing process of truly deciding who I’m going to be. I can blend in with what is going on horizontally or I can decide to live with a vertical perspective. My eyes can be looking around or looking up. That is the choice. I was given the opportunity to make the grand gesture. And though unpopular with my directors and unpopular with some people I work with who don’t get my choice, I did what I had to do. I’m not sure what’s going to happen now. The theatre may keep me around and let me be in Into the Woods or they may not. But I know I can sleep soundly tonight and know that I didn’t compromise.
After all, I’m 23 years old. I decide now who I’m going to be the rest of my life.