24 August, 2009

Reflections since no one is awake but me...

August 24th, 2009.

I'm typing in my parents kitchen/living room/spare bedroom/dining room/breakfast room at their 3 bedroom apartment that overlooks the Blueridge Mountains and is actually over an Edible Arrangements on Enterprise Drive.

Strangely (awkwardly?) I don't know what to do with myself because I am the first one awake. This ne ne neeeever happens. Especially when the early to rise (do they even sleep? are they in fact robots?) sister and brother-in-law are in town. But that's neither here nor there. I grew up with a dad that would wake up before the chickens and hens reading his Bible, working out and going to Cracker Barrel all before I did the one-eyed peep at the alarm clock. And here we are in Virginia and not only does my dad work at the university I went to but I'm also the first one awake. Strange dear, but true dear...(name that song!)

Anyway it's double weird because today is the first day of classes for the new academic year at Liberty. And this marks the fall that the kids who were freshmen my senior year are now seniors. Does anyone else get the sense that life does not go on when you leave a place? And then you return to find things have indeed changed and the world goes on without you? I mean, obviously this is something we all know in our heads but can't always grasp when we're delved deep into the next experience. College was not invented for the 4 years I went to it. It's still going, Liberty is ever changing (thank goodness) and the freshmen are the seniors.

That doesn't mean I can't point out that this is all weird to me.

Additionally being back in town on this first day of school--the 3rd that has existed since I finished--it of course provides a great opportunity to reflect on these past 2 years and 1 summer that I've lived post-college. I've lived in 4 cities. Seen the end of my dad's 23 year pastorate. Seen my sister move to Europe. Seen my grandfather slowly losing his battle with dementia. Seen the real end of a merry-go-round relationship. Seen a best friend get engaged. Seen another best friend's office in the White House. Seen the tail of a rodent disappear into my oven in Queens...

It has been an eventful 2.25 years.

I was asked recently by a wistful friend if I ever "miss college so much I could cry." The brief answer to that is "no." Life after college is undoubtedly amazingly more difficult. And I would trade nothing for the 4 years I had in Lynchburg. But there is something satisfying about venturing out on one's own. Growing up. We must always live as if the best days of our life are ahead-not behind. Because they are. L'Chaim!

22 August, 2009

Hey yall!

So lately I’ve been traveling a bit. It’s possible—no, quite likely—that you don’t know what state I’m in right now. Well, I can’t be sure either really. I’m actually on a bus somewhere between New York and Washington D.C. I haven’t been paying close attention to the extent that I would know what state I’m in. So if you do know what state I'm in that's AMAZING. How did you do that?

August has felt a bit like a world tour. I flew to Nashville from New York on August 5th. Stayed for a week. Flew to Orlando for 5 days. Flew back to Nashville. Worked a day at Anthropologie. 36 hours later drove to Lynchburg. Stayed in Lynchburg for approximately 27 hours then drove to DC. Caught a bus to Manhattan. Stayed in Manhattan another 36 hours or so and now I’m headed back to DC. Originally I had planned on staying in Manhattan all weekend but I’m ready for a break from traveling and to see my family and friends. So that all made me wanna hurry back down to VA. So now it’s Saturday morning and well, afternoon now I suppose and I’m back on the bus headed to DC. I’ll spend the next 24ish hours hanging out with Leslie and then I’ll be back to Lynchburg until Tuesday AM. Then I’m in Nashville for 2 weeks. Then back to the Burg to actually get some quality time with the family (since things have been so rushed and random) and then I’ll go to Charlotte for SETC where hopefully I will wow a few directors who want to give me money in return for me singing/acting/dancing.

So ya know…that’s pretty much what’s going on with me.

The next few weeks have me applying for some office-y type jobs in Nashville. I still intend on working at Anthro and princessing at parties but those aren’t the most reliable forms of income so I want a 9 to 5. Also so I can sing this song and do these awesome dance moves every morning:

Meanwhile I’ve been thinking about an MFA in Acting or Musical Theatre for fall 2010…think I may look into admissions requirements. I wish more schools offered this program but there’s really not that many! The few that peek (why do I always spell that wrong? Oh English...) my interest are The Catholic University of America (in DC), UNC Chapel Hill, UVA, University of Central Florida, and of course the more amazing than amazing programs in NYC. Without a BFA it may be all but impossible to get in but it is absolutely worth investigating.

So my world tour is wrapping up on Tuesday and I have to tell you how full it makes my heart to have seen so many scattered friends over the past 3 weeks. I love you guys a lot. Mush mush mush. BYE!

12 August, 2009

You Love It. You Hate It. You Should Read This.

I have had a Facebook account since spring of 2005. I was a sophomore in college. At that time Facebook was only limited to some colleges--pretty much only big state schools and some private schools. When I got Facebook you could upload a profile picture, write a profile description and write on friends’ walls. I think you could send private messages but only to one person at a time.

Fast forward 4 years. Now Facebook is open to anyone with a valid email address. It has far surpassed 100 million users around the world. Not only can you upload thousands of photos but you can tag identifications of your friends. So people who look at your photos can put a face to a name of people they don’t even know! Not only that but you can write private messages to 20 people at a time and you could write back and forth for as long as you like. I haven’t tested that out. There may be a limit to how long a thread of messages can go but I know I’ve had threads go for hundreds of messages at a time. In addition to all these snapshots of life and group conversations you can now post video messages to friends. So now people you don’t know not only know what you look like from photos, they can also identify the sound of your voice and expressions. As if you’re a personal friend or a celebrity they’ve watched on TV.

And society as a whole acts like this is all normal. The word “stalking” no longer elicits fear and nervousness. Now it’s a tongue-in-cheek way to say you’re intrigued by someone you either know (or don’t) and you like to read what they write, see who they talk to, find out what their interests are and peek into their lives to either judge or be impressed. I have found myself clicking through photos of friends’ (I use that term loosely) home renovations, Christmas mornings, positive pregnancy tests, and intimate marriage proposals. And of course some of these people I’m close to and have a vested interest in. But of course, those are the people who in a Facebook-less world would take the time to email me photos of the events. The photos I view on Facebook are rarely of close friends. More often they are of “friends” who I haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with in 3 years or more or they are friends who I’ve met recently and have had little more than a passing conversation with.

We have become a society obsessed with being our own celebrity.

Facebook gives us each an opportunity to be the star of our own reality show. Our profile photo gives out a message: I AM FUN! I AM SEXY! I AM ARTSY! I AM DEEP! I HAVE BIG MUSCLES NOW!

Our “Write Something About Yourself” box gives us an opportunity to show the world how introspective we are. Or spiritual. Or hilaaaarious.

And our photo albums give us the opportunity to show people how exciting our lives are! Or how well off we are. Or how gorgeous the people are who we've chosen to surround us. Or just how gorgeous we are. (Take that jerky guys of high schools past!)

And seriously, I’m only touching on the surface of the ignored weirdness of Facebook. A second level is how strange it is to have a “profile page.” One page of information and images that represents you to the world that knows you. I have roughly 1200 “friends” on Facebook. Let’s be honest, there’s no way I personally know many more people than that in the real world. And of those 1200 probably 20% are people who I have even run into in person within the last year. All the rest only know the adult me (post childhood, post college) through what they see on Facebook. They see I’m single. They see I’ve lived in various places. They see photos of me on stage. Photos at the White House. Photos at Disney World. Photos at bars in New York.

Insert judgmental presumption here.

How utterly strange is it to have 1 representation of who you are to your extended family, long lost childhood friends, first loves, middle school bullies, college sorority sisters, and people you’ve just met through friends within the last 2 weeks!

I submit that we should all do a little self-analysis on our Facebook use. Maybe we should scale back our mindless curious clicking and our diarrhea-like output of personal information. Perhaps we’d be better served to close the laptop and pick up the phone. Have a real conversation with someone who has legitimately invested in your life. Not people who just click on pictures of it.

11 August, 2009

British Lit nerd post--consider yourself forewarned.

I am so. excited. about. this.

John Keats is my favorite poet. His life was so tragic and romantic. Here's one of my favorite poems:

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unweari├Ęd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

09 August, 2009

What I (personally) have learned about NYC vol. 1--courtesy of MTA primarily.

I've been back in Nashville for 4 semi-frantic days. A lot of my time here thus far has been devoted to finding THE wedding dress for my best friend Bonnie. The task has been completed. I also attended a handful of social events and 2 auditions. And had dinner with my Grandma. So now it's time to blog...

I wanted this to be a top 10 list. or top 15. something divisible by 5 but alas it's a top 7. talk about lame. whatever. atleast it's God's number. here's some random things I picked up on and wrote down when I noticed them while living in New York. :)

1. (Regarding subway stations) Rats on the tracks may be kind of entertaining to watch but truly you don't want them there because the next step is them on the platform and the next step is them on the 6 train.

2. In NYC being called "Miss" is more flattering than "Maam." It is not curt and it implies that you are young and vibrant.

3. Existing in New York is forfeiting the right to personal space in public places. No table for 1 at Starbucks and no empty seat between you and Jose on the red line.

4. People outside of my age group/economic level/origins exist. I'm reminded daily. We brush arms.

5. New Yorkers know the hand signals on the roads are mere suggestions for pedestrians. If there is not a car coming, you walk. And if you dont--well, you'll never get anywhere nearly as fast. And you'll never get those 15 seconds back.

6. Avoiding the grates on sidewalks is what New Yorkers do. Why? 1) Hot air--yuck. 2) Smelly--gross. 3) What are you thinking?! You could fall down there! And then you'd REALLY be late.

7. There's a reminder of humanity every time I see someone dash for a train that is about to leave or stumble as a train comes to a stop. Truly we're all just people and we're really not that in control of anything.