Monthly Archives: April 2015

Anxiety, Underwear, and Edward Albee

This is a post all about being uncomfortable. It is all about that heavy, nasty, sickening feeling of being just downright uncomfortable in a situation. This took form in three ways in my life today; anxiety, underwear, and Edward Albee.

I have anxiety. In fact, I have so much anxiety that I’m almost positive I will be diagnosed with an ulcer any year now from the amount of acid reflux my emotions cause me. Most of the time I handle it very well. I know when I need to make a time out and stop back, and while I have medication, it is only for when I am out of control and that hasn’t happened since this time last year. But as I near the end of the semester with stress levels high, and no free time to be had (though I forced myself to sit down long enough to write this), and my coffee pot working overtime, I have found myself more and more anxious lately. In fact, I haven’t gone to bed before 3am in two weeks because as soon as I fall into bed my head keeps swirling with all the things I need to get done and I can’t fall asleep, and when I do fall asleep I have stress dreams about the things I have to do when I wake up. It’s a vicious cycle of sleep depravation and anxiousness. The week before finals is always stressful, but it has been made more so this week by the fact that, somehow, I have a performance every single night. Oh, and did I mention that I’m terribly ill? Yes, of all the weeks I could have gotten sick, of course it was this one. But enough whining, I digress. The point is I’m a little stressed this week.

Earlier in the day I got into an argument with a friend who was simply being unreasonable and rude just to push my buttons, and that in itself set my teeth on edge. Then, while I was outside, waiting for the stage manager for the show I’m in to show up to work on costumes, I was approached by a friend of a friend who, long story short, very nicely but directly requested that I keep my mouth shut about a certain piece of information I have, as well as make sure my group of friends keeps quite as well. It was a reasonable request, but stressed me out because I started to wonder what my friend had said to his friend and if he thought we were all talking bad about him or something, and then it made me wonder if maybe that’s why he wasn’t texting me back all day, and frankly I began to spiral into a dark pit or inescapable doom that made me feel like I was going to vomit.

Well my stage manager finally showed up, ten minutes later than I thought she would, and I was already late for work, and then she tells me we are going to have to wait longer because she doesn’t have the keys she needs and the person with the keys is busy. At this point I was on the edge of tears and I basically told her that I was sorry, but that I had to get to work, and I left. And then of course I felt bad because it wasn’t her fault I was having a horrible day, it was just, simply, the day I was having.

After work I called my mother and had a very long chat about how everyone in the world seemed hell bent on making me crazy when all I wanted to do was curl up with a box of tissues and sleep until I could breathe again. She very calmly explained to me that I was being too sensitive and that everything was going to be alright, and I felt a lot better. But I still felt queasy.

Every Tuesday I have a night class, and on this particular night I got to class and realized I had forgotten my backpack which had all of my notes, and my homework, and everything in it. I sat there, trying to be calm and trying to just focus on the lecture, but I realized that I felt nauseous, and that I was having trouble breathing, and that the world was starting to a little blurry. My friend next to me, who also has anxiety look over concerned. I texted her;

“I think I’m about to have an anxiety attack, but I don’t want to just leave…”

“Ok, what can I do? Do you want me to walk out with you?”

“No, I’m just going to go outside, and if it doesn’t pass, can you bring my things?”

She graciously agreed and I tried to leave as unobtrusively as possible. I stepped outside and started hyperventilating so hard I felt dizzy and had to sit down. I pulled out my phone and called my mother again, needing someone to just talk to me to distract me from the painful weight in my chest. We hung up and realizing I had no more medication, I mad my way to my car and texted my friend to come rescue me, and I just started to cry. I cried because I was overwhelmed, I cried because I was sick and tired, I cried because I was embarrassed that I had to walk out in the middle of class, but mostly I cried because in that moment I felt so broken. I felt so incredibly worthless, like a watch with no hands. I just started to think about how if I couldn’t even handle a week of responsibilities, how am I ever going to be a wife, or a mother, or an employee? How am I ever going to actually have a productive life when I couldn’t even control my emotions enough to sit through a two hour lecture?

Finally my friend arrived and she just held me as I cried and told me it was going to be alright. She told me about her day and distracted me and never once asked me why I was the way I was as most people do. Se just accepted the fact that I was having a rough day and let me be, in that moment, whatever I needed to be, which was vulnerable and weak. And trust me when I say those are two adjectives I very rarely let myself be. I finally pulled myself together enough to drive my car up to our dorm and brave a room full of woman who were gathered to have a lingerie shower for a dear dear friend. Here is where the second part of my story begins.

The thing about my engaged friend is that she is kind of a prude. Not in a bad way, just in the sense that she gets uncomfortable very easily when people make jokes about sex. She had requested that her shower be kept high brow and that the jokes and references be kept to a minimum. We did just that and had a lovely evening. It did, however make me start thinking about what makes other people uncomfortable. For me, I would love to have a night of my friends celebrating me and the fact that, after twenty something years I was finally going to sleep with my husband. (It’s quite an event when you live in celibacy). I would think it was hilarious if my friends made jokes and we played slightly raunchy games, that’s just how I am. I also would be more than willing to show the gifts I got to everyone in the room, where as my friend was not. I am not saying anything about this friend because I think it is totally acceptable for her to feel that way, that just isn’t how I feel. Sexuality is one of those things that I find so fascinating, and that I think, as a culture, we take to the extreme far too much. We either view sex and sexuality as a sinful, dirty thing, or we make light of it to the point where we openly talk about things that really should probably be kept private. I think embracing and being comfortable in one’s sexuality, and being able to be mature about it is a beautiful wonderful thing. I also, however, have a lot of respect for woman who can be comfortable in themselves, but also have some class and keep to themselves what should be kept to ones self.

My third, and final story was inspired by the play Zoo Story, by Edward Albee. If you have never seen this show (and you probably haven’t) it is a beautiful one act that can make an audience cringe, cry, and laugh all in one sitting. The first thing I should say before I continue is that I go to a Christian College. If you’re not sure why that’s relevant, you’re about to find out. I have a friend who directed Zoo Story for our annual One Act Festival. Now Zoo Story is not family friendly, in fact, I’m not sure I would even take a teenager younger than 16 to it just as a matter of principle, but I also think it is a masterpiece. The way the show is written there is some harsh and vulgar imagery, and some topics that are far from kosher, but it is intended to make everyone uncomfortable, including one of the two character onstage. Because it makes the audience uncomfortable, it is able to have more of an impact later on in the show. Because I had class tonight I had to see the show earlier this week and so I was very excited to see what everyone else had to say after tonights performance, since I had loved it so much. When I returned to my room this evening my roommate, who in many ways is much more conservative than myself, asked me what I thought of the show. I told her I loved it and her only response was, “Really?” She proceeded to tell me about how offensive she found it and unnecessary and vulgar. I just listened, and tried to explain where I thought it reasonable to, but I soon realized that she had been so offended by the show, that she had missed the point. She had done what so many people do when they disagree with something, and stopped listening, and stopped looking for the value and redemption in the show. She didn’t see that everything Edward Albee wrote was intentional, She missed the heartbreaking beauty because she was too focused on whether or not it was appropriate for a Christian College. She said it wasn’t because it talked about pornography and sex and homosexuality. I say that it is the perfect place to talk about all of those things. I think the fact that a room full of Christians watched that show was a triumph. I hope that everyone who saw it walked away thinking about how they could look at the show from a Christian perspective. I also hope that not everyone stopped listening when they heard the word erection. After she left I simply texted the cast of the show and congratulated them on a beautiful piece of art that offended people. Because if their offended, it means they had a reaction. And f they had a reaction, it means they were forced, for 50 minutes to think about something that made them uncomfortable, and that deserves a little praise.

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Broadway Comes to Greeneville and Living on an Island of Singleness

One of the best things about having a friend whose father works at a large theater, is that every so often you get free tickets to things you probably would not have been able to afford to attend as a poor, art loving, college student. Tonight I got the opportunity to attend Broadway comes to Greeneville, which is not only a beautiful night of music, it also helps raise funds for the Niswonger Children’s hospital. So basically what I’m saying is I got to go to a concert staring Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard, for free. And if you don’t know who those two wonderful humans are, look them up. They are a dynamic Broadway duo with enough talent between them to make you sick. Broadway songs were sung, and children were benefited,a good time was had by all. Oh and there were dogs so, there’s that. There were children, dogs, and old people, all the things one misses when living on a college campus. I miss the real world.

After our night of musical filled wonder. and a quick stop by Dominoes because, frankly, we’re bad at remembering to eat, we returned to campus to watch Jurassic Park with our…friends? Is that the right word? What do you call a room full of a couple of close friends and their friends? Anyway, as we sat and watched our brave heroes overtake John Hammond’s island, I too began to realize that I was on an island of my own. As I looked around the room, I begin to notice that out of the ten people in the room, I was one of three that were single, and those two were looking like maybe they wouldn’t be single long. I was adrift on an island of singleness with no life raft in sight. I mean, you can’t very well call the game on account of singleness. Inevitably, if I tried to leave the room someone would say, “Why are you leaving so soon?” and I would say, “Oh, I’m just tired.” and someone else would say, “Stay! You can sleep when you’re dead!” and then I would be forced to say, “Thanks, but I would rather wallow in my singleness alone in my bed with Netflix than sit here with all of you hand holding losers.” And then I would lose my…friends? Again I struggle for the right word. Honesty is not always the best policy. So instead of leaving I’m sitting here…writing this blog post…while everyone reveals in their love and happiness, I’ll just eat another piece of pizza and think about taking a shot every time Jeff Goldblum says “um”.

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Living Without Fear of Practicality

I was talking to a close friend the other day about our ideas about the future, and while I talked about Graduate schools in the New York or Boston, or traveling the country in a renovated bus, or backpacking through Asia, he just stared at me. Finally I had to stop and say,

“What? What are you staring at?”

“You.” He responded. “You’re crazy. Your plans are crazy.”

“How so?”

“They just are. They aren’t reasonable.”

“Oh ya? Then please, oh knowledgeable one, tell me what your great plans are for the future.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I would love to travel and go on adventures, but it just isn’t practical. I plan to graduate, go to graduate school, get a good job and start a family. Your plans sound nice and all, but they aren’t practical.”

“So?”

“So? So? So how are you going to support yourself while you’re galavanting around the world?”

“I’ll work here and there, I’ll save and do it on the cheap…”

“You live without the fear of practicality, you know that right?”

You live without the fear of practicality. I’ve thought about that a lot since he said it and I have to admit he is probably right. Unlike so many of my college friends, I don’t live in constant fear of what the future holds. I don’t worry about having to find a high paying job, buying a house, having a family. I don’t even really worry about getting married. I mean, I want to, someday, but I’m certainly not in any hurry. I suppose I just don’t see the point. I don’t see the point at 20 years old in worrying about how I’m going to afford something ten years down the road, or twenty. I have no illusions that I will be rich someday. I simply live knowing that a life full of adventure and experience is worth more to me than a 401K. I’m not saying it’s wrong to plan for the future, in fact it’s incredibly smart and forward thinking. I’m just saying that I live without the fear of practicality. I live without the fear of having to settle down. When it happens, if it happens, I’ll cross that bridge. Until then I plan to take life as it comes and follow adventure where it leads me. Even if that means being poor. As long as I’m happy.

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The Great European Adventure

When I graduated from High School all I wanted to do was pack up, and head…anywhere. I wanted to go to Europe and Asia and South America and Canada. Anywhere that wasn’t a tiny town in Colorado. But with no way to support myself, and two parents who insisted that I give it, “The old College try”, I was left with no choice but to pack my bags and move to Tennessee. And while I have come to love the school I go to and the people I do life with, I had, by no means, given up on those dreams of seeing the world. I just didn’t know how, or when that was going to happen. On Thanksgiving of 2013 I got a phone call from my God Father telling me that he was packing up his family and moving to Barcelona for a new opportunity. He would be working, living, and traveling in Europe, and he wanted me to come too. Obviously he knew I couldn’t just pack up and leave everything behind, that was impractical, but he encouraged me to find a way to come live with them, even for just a few months. Fast forward to June of 2014, I suddenly have a genius idea. Shortly before leaving for the summer one of my professors and asked me if I had ever considered studying abroad. As a film major there was an opportunity to go to L.A. which would fulfill my internship requirement and be a chance to study off campus for a semester. I started to think about ti and the idea began to sound more and more appealing, but in the back of my head I couldn’t get the idea of Europe to go away. Then it hit me. If i could go to L.A. on a film internship, why couldn’t I go to Barcelona on one? I immediately called my God father and pitched him the idea. I would take a semester abroad, stay enrolled at school, and intern for his production company. He loved the idea and plans began to be put into place. As I returned to school my focus was on convincing my professors and administration that this was a valuable trip that would benefit me in so many ways, and prepare me for a future in film production. It really wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, and so a year and half, and a few student loans later, I am preparing set out on the journey of a lifetime. I’ll be in Europe from July to December, traveling from Barcelona to Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Athens, London, and who knows where else? I intend to mark a few things off my bucket list, learn a little about making documentaries, and a lot about myself.

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Terrific Twenties

Today my friend turns 20. I texted her this afternoon, in all caps to express my excitement over her womb emancipation, and I informed her that her twenties are when she is supposed to have crazy wild adventures and that today was the start of that. After I sent that I started to think about my first three months of being in my twenties and what I have done, I have:

-Gone on a date that ended with a transgender singing Jolene

-Driven naked through a toll booth

-Gone to several parties

-Fallen asleep on the beach in West Palm like I had enough money to be there

-Made out with a guy in front of hundreds of people

-Left a cute waiter my number

-Gotten hit on by an old redneck at a stop light

-Gotten a real person job

-Mended a friendship

-Met a guy I had only talked to online in person (Which is not as sketchy as it sounds)

-Went to Harry Potter World

-Made a marriage back up plan

-Made plans to go to Europe

-And drank way more coffee than is probably healthy

For only being three months into my twenties I think I have done a pretty decent job of having fun. Then I realized that by this time next year I will have lived in Europe for six months, couch surfed my way through the Southeast, gone to two weddings, partied at Mardi Gras, and who knows what else. I guess I have never really stopped to think about the fact that I am finally getting to do all of the things I always talked about in my teens. I never want to be that person who has grand ideas and hopes and dreams, but never accomplishes anything. I have made a promise to myself that as long as the Lord allows me to live, I will work through my bucket list item by item until I am no longer able to. I’m already several down, including last week when I left my number for our waiter, which was actually a bad idea because it’s the coffee shop we frequent, and he works there a lot, and now I’m going to have to stop going there…so there’s that. Or just wear a wig and sunglasses and hope no one notices.

So here is the plan; I am going to post my bucket list here, and blog my way through it. I will also put up my Europe story and blog my way through that. So if you love travel, adventure, awkward stories, and general hilarity, I would suggest you hit the subscribe button and get ready for some really great stories…or lies. It depends on how interesting my life actually ends up being. But like one of my professors likes to say, “Never let the truth ruin a good story.”

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