Friday, April 25, 2014


I don't know how to write this and post it publicly without hurting someone's feelings.

Someone will feel undervalued because I'm saying this. Someone is going to feel that I don't appreciate them and their presence in my life. Someone is going to be convinced that this means they aren't important to me.

Someone will be angry, because they will feel that it is my own damn fault. It probably is my own fault. I'm a terrible long-distance friend. I'm often bad at returning phone calls, keeping phone/Skype dates, or even responding to text messages.

Someone will feel guilty, because they will think it's their fault. Someone will be certain that this is directed at them, and that they have failed me in some way.

Someone will attribute this to dramatics. Someone will assume that I am under a lot of stress, or that I'm just having a bad night, or that I'm merely homesick.


I recognize how fortunate I am. I recognize my privilege, and furthermore, I recognize how many wonderful and supportive people I have in my life. I understand that I am loved, and that I have a lot to be thankful for.

I also recognize my own shortcomings, including, but not limited to, my flakiness, my chronic tardiness, my awkwardness, my impatience, my PROCRASTINATION, and that I sometimes say shit that seems a little bit...unfiltered.

This is not because I feel neglected, or because it's been a rough day (it most assuredly has not), or because I've been watching some sad movie or listening to sad music or thinking about sad things. Perhaps I am being dramatic, or jumping to extremes, but I've been putting off writing this for a long, long time.


I moved to Seattle a little over 8 months ago. I got to come up here with my partner and my dog, and I had a handful of friends and family already here who were happy to help me transition and get comfortable (some of whom I STILL haven't seen -see flakiness/chronic tardiness/procrastination). I pretty quickly launched into school mode, and have scraped my way through decently thus far.

Between the move and the college experience, I have begun learning a lot about myself and how I handle certain types of challenges. The things I have learned at this point are almost all positive, and I have a whole boatload of plans for my future that I didn't anticipate making, and I'm excited about all of it. And that's neat.

I've also met a whole bunch of really great people, most of whom I have great affection for. I've gotten to spend some great time with some people who I already knew, and who I am pleased to discover are on my wavelength in a bigger way than I knew before coming here. I have some friendships that are blossoming, and it's really exciting.

However, I've never been in a place for as long as I've been here without feeling like I've found MY PEOPLE. That's not to say I don't have PEOPLE here, because I totally fucking do, but I don't have that PERSON or those PEOPLE who I'm enough in line with that we just hang out for no reason and know everything that happens in each other's lives every day.

I also feel a big, fat distance between me and many of my pre-Cornish friends. I'm sort of in flux right now. I'm caught between being Junior in college and being 27 years old. I don't really go to parties, so I don't participate in a lot of standard college group activities. However, I'm pretty out of touch with the daily happenings in my outside friends' lives, too. I've gotten to the point where I'm, embarrassingly, jealous of my friends' friendships with other people. Even more embarrassing is that this feeling began well before I moved to Washington; in fact, it began before I decided where I was going to school.

This is perpetuated by a personal hang-up, because I've become so paralyzed with the fear that I'm going to inconvenience people or overstay my welcome with them by wanting to talk to them or hang out with them. Many of my friends outside of Cornish have a LOT going on right now between work and children and traveling and life, and I'm terrified of being one more thing they have to worry about, or being an annoyance. Meanwhile, I've somehow become a person who is so afraid of the rejection of her peers that she's unable to ask people to hang out with her 90% of the time.

The point of all this is to say that I'm lonely in a more persistent and perpetual way than I've ever felt lonely before.

Logically speaking, I feel like an idiot for feeling so lonely and isolated all the time, because I know, in my brain, that I'm surrounded by wonderful humans all the time, and that a metric fuck-ton of people I care about are just a phone call or text or email away. I'm starting to sincerely worry, though, that as I've been learning all of these other very useful things about myself, I've somehow forgotten how to actually, honestly connect with anyone for more than just a moment at a time.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

As if We Never Said Goodbye

About a month ago, one of my teachers at PCPA passed away after a long and arduous battle with cancer.

Before I begin, I should clarify: I have lost a number of people in my life. Death is a part of this life, and I was never shielded from that, even when I was young. I have an established process for dealing with these difficult situations, which usually follows an approximate pattern:

Surprise Breakdown #1
Funeral/Memorial Service Breakdown
Surprise breakdown #2

I acknowledge this process, and it usually serves me well. At no time, excepting a blurb on Twitter or Facebook, do I feel that my words serve me, so they are not part of the process. The initial Talking stage is only in place to get my thoughts out of my brain in order to push me out of Emotionland and launch me into Proactivity and Logic.

I do not write about people who have died. It becomes impossible for words to do justice to my feelings and memories, so I don't even try. I reflect internally, and I'm comfortable with that.

This time is different. I'm not sure why, but I'm going with it.

Patricia Troxel was my faculty advisor, and I was thoroughly intimidated by her. As a first year student, I had little exposure to her; she did not teach any of our classes, and I was not cast in the show she directed that school year. I did myself a massive disservice by using this lack of acquaintance as an excuse to generally steer clear of the fiercely knowledgeable Troxicon (or P-Trox, as our class affectionately called her). It wasn't until I was an understudy for her production of Distracted the following fall that I gave myself the opportunity to get to know her, and began to take advantage of her presence in my academic and professional life.

At the end of the first year, Patricia and Peter Hadres, another valued teacher, sat down with our entire class to start a year-long discussion about life after PCPA. They encouraged us to consider all options, including furthering our education, and to please connect with either of them if we wanted any assistance or advice in determining What Comes Next. When I was on the hunt for monologues to use in audition class during second year, I, at long last, turned to Patricia for help. Over the course of our first half-hour tutorial, Patricia gave me a three-page list of plays and playwrights, both classical and contemporary, that I should look at - for starters. With some of the Shakespearean plays she recommended, she specified individual monologues for my consideration, and coached me on them when I had made my selections.

The floodgates were opened.

To indicate that I sufficiently utilized the grand resource that was Patricia would be a bold-faced lie. However, I met with her on several occasions upon deciding that I wanted to seek further education, something which I had never anticipated and for which I was therefore ill-prepared at best. She advised me on BA and BFA programs to research, and when I got the crazy idea in my head that I might be able to get an MFA without completing my undergrad, she advised me on which programs were likely to consider such nonsense. She was honest about the challenges I would face on either path, but she never harped on them; she never said anything remotely discouraging. Any discovery I needed to make was mine for the making, she simply got me moving. The direction itself was mine to find.

Patricia directed me in my final production as a PCPA student - the Conservatory Showcase production of The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood. This project, the culmination of two years of blood, sweat, tears, sore muscles, broken bones, self discovery, ensemble-building, and presentness, is impossible to compare to any other experience in my artistic life, and I will cherish it always.

After graduating from the program, Patricia and I would see each other occasionally, usually in the lobby after a show, but would scarcely find a chance to say hello - she was in high demand in those moments at the theatre, and I didn't want to get in the way.

The last time I spoke to Patricia was, I'm sorry to say, nearly two years ago, on the opening night of Caroline, or Change. I was able to congratulate her on the beautiful production she had helmed, and she suggested that I email her so that we could find time to get together. I agreed, and surrendered her to the adoring masses.

I never sent that email.

After someone is gone, these are the moments that plague me, the moments that sneak up on me and push me to Surprise Breakdown #2, or #3, or #4. I often struggle with mourning, feeling that my grief is somehow unjustified. I did not know Patricia well, nor did I expend any significant energy in an attempt to get to know her separate from being my teacher, advisor, and director. So many people have so much more right to feel her loss so acutely. Who am I to take ownership of someone so separate from myself? Who am I?

But, then, who am I to question my feelings, my instincts, my process? I know better than that.

As I embark on my next educational endeavor, I refuse to feel regretful for the time we did not spend together, and instead, be grateful for the time we did spend, the life lessons I have learned, and the artistic journeys I have taken because of Patricia. I hope to someday be even half the educator and artist that she has been, and will forever ask myself, just before looking it all up in a book -

"What Would Patricia Do?"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Burn the Bridge, Bet the Store

I'm so pleased with the new look of my blog that I keep wanting to come back here and write things.

Maybe this will become a habit?

Since making my school decision, I have put some things in motion - and begun creatively avoiding others. The same day that I posted my Seattle plans on Facebook, I was contacted by one of my PCPA classmates, Allie. Being a recent graduate of Cornish herself, she had decided to stay in Seattle for awhile, and was looking for a new roommate. I am THRILLED that I definitely won't be apartment hunting all by my lonesome, and I feel very comfortable in the assertion that living with Allie will not suck at all.

However -

Guys, finding a reasonably priced, pet friendly two bedroom apartment in a desirable area of Seattle (even using the term reasonably priced loosely) is a little harder than I thought it was going to be. We've still got some time before we have to nail anything down, and we've both been scouting places daily, but damn.

On the other hand, I have been carefully procrastinating when it comes to:

A) Arranging my financial aid

which entails both calling the Financial Aid Department at Cornish and starting to do heavy research on student loans, and

B) Calling Cornish about my Transfer Credits, and options for fulfilling the boatload of GE that I need to complete.

Now, to be fair, I have a real, full-time, Monday-Friday, 8:30am - 5pm job, which includes a measly half-hour lunch, and that makes it easy to justify the procrastination difficult to squeeze in a lot of personal phone calls, but there are a lot of questions that need answering in order to plan the next two years of my life, and at some point, I have to stop being lazy about getting the ball rolling.

It is still yet to be seen whether Z and the puppy will be joining me on this adventure, a factor will be almost singularly influenced by Z's ability to find good work in Seattle. As such, Allie and I will be doing our best to find an apartment that can easily and comfortably (if a little cozily - the budget will only stretch so far) fit three, and if magic happens and he finds a job soon enough that we can plan with a three person budget, all the better.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Simple Choice, Nothing More

I began a draft months ago.

I was going to talk about the schools I had decided to apply for, and why. I was about three paragraphs in when I decided that I was boring even myself and stopped and walked away and haven't returned to this blog since Christmastime.

All the things that were applicable then have changed. They've PASSED. Facebook and, even moreso, Twitter, have made it so easy to document my existence without too much thought or detail. This is an important exercise for me, because the reigning queen of  Too Much Detail mustneeds learn to be straightforward and concise. Seriously. It's good for me. You've all met me; you know.

But that's not what a bloooooooog is for!

Per usual, I will be as long-winded as I damn well please, and if you have a problem with it...well, I assume no one is holding a gun to your head, forcing you to read this (though, what exquisite punishment! Enemies, beware.).

Over the past few months, I have had to begin the harrowing process of organizing my thoughts, my feelings, and my life in general. Z and I adopted a sweet little pooch, I completed my school applications, and we (read: I) have been talking and talking, and talking, and talking about everything that my school choice might affect in our lives. We (I) have talked about the "where", and the "why", and the "for how long"...about priorities, and options, and challenges that we both may be facing over the next couple years. I have lost sleep, and have wasted so many hours just WORRYING about what may or may not happen, in order to ultimately come to a decision.

I wrote up a priority list in my previous post that helped me narrow the hundreds of schools I researched down to only 19:

Good Location 
Style of training (Liberal Arts-based versus Convservatory-style) 
Affiliations with Professional Companies
American Sign Language/Deaf Studies/Hearing and Deafness minor 
Study abroad opportunities

This list helped lead me to the 6 schools that I ultimately applied to:

Boston University (Boston, MA)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (St. Paul, MN)
University of Hartford (Hartford, CT)
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL)
Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle, WA)

I was admitted to four of the six schools, and my approximate Federal Financial Aid package is $2,600 in Pell Grants, and $9,500 in Stafford Loans. Based on the information I was sent by each regarding tuition, cost of living, fees, and scholarships/grants/work study available to me, I was able to compare them more carefully :

University of Hartford
BFA in Acting
4 year commitment
$10,000/year approximate scholarship and grant allotment
 Total Debt: $152,000

BFA in Musical Theatre
3.5 year commitment (approximate)
$36,000/year out-of-state (first year), $24,000/year in-state (second year on)
$2,900/year approximate grant allotment (their Financial Aid department would not give me an estimated package to assist in my decision making)
Total Potential Debt: $96,400

Columbia College Chicago
BFA in Musical Theatre
3+ year commitment
$10,000/year approximate scholarship and grant allotment
Total Debt: $96,000

Cornish College of the Arts
BFA in Musical Theatre or Acting
2 year commitment
$16,500/year approximate scholarship, grant, and work study allotment
Total Debt: $47,000

I found that, when I had to sit down and think about how much debt I was comfortable incurring, my priorities rebalanced, and I found that the following list was more realistically pertinent than the original:

Overall cost
Financial Aid package
Number of credits transferred (as it relates to overall cost)
Responsiveness of faculty and staff to my numerous inquiries
Information available at crunch time

In accordance with my original list, Hartford fulfilled the most requirements of the remaining four options, but I simply couldn't fathom putting myself $150k in the hole BEFORE Grad school, so I checked Connecticut off of the list. I was, however, torn between the other three. I knew that UWM had the potential to be the least expensive option, and they have an ASL program. However, I had to make my tuition deposits to each of  the schools by May 1st, and without any idea of what my Financial Aid package was going to look like, I was unable to commit to spending nearly four years at their program. I was absolutely tied to the idea of going to school in Chicago, but upon realizing that the program at Columbia College would take at least a year longer than Cornish, not to mention costing more than twice as much, I simply couldn't justify any other choice.

And so, after nearly three years of researching, organizing, planning, stressing, budgeting, and essaying my ass off, I have committed to spending the next two years of my life in beautiful, cloudy, culturally rich Seattle. I could not be more pleased with my decision (mostly for having finally made one), and I know I have a solid group of friends and family (and those who fall somewhere in the middle) who are ready to welcome me to their city with open arms.

It's on, bitches.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lida Rose, I'm Home Again, Rose

After leaving this blog dark for more than a year, I'm making my penitent return.

Yes, I'm flaky.
Yes, I'm lazy.
Yes, I have been busy this past year!

At the end of July 2011, I moved back down to Santa Maria. As I think I mentioned before, being almost halfway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area felt like an extremely convenient option for the sake of auditioning in both locales, and I was on-point with that. I haven't made it to nearly as many auditions as I'd have liked to, but I think I've been finding a decent balance between my muggle life and my actor life so far! I have a really fun job at a beautiful (and yummy!) winery, where they are VERY flexible with my schedule, and I also spend a couple days a week babysitting one of my former Acting teachers' daughter, Gabby. On a related note, in November, I went ahead and invested in a subscription with Backstage. For those who don't know, Backstage is a huge, weekly publication with tons of articles and advice from various perspectives in the entertainment industry (mostly pertaining to performers), which also includes hundreds of audition notices from all over the country. Backstage also has a full website, which is updated daily with these same audition notices. has made it infinitely simpler for me to seek out auditions, submit for auditions, and even send in video auditions for out-of-state companies.

I have been very fortunate this summer to once again be acting professionally with PCPA Theaterfest, my current theatrical homebase. I was originally hired to play the role of Enid Hoopes and to understudy the role of Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde: The Musical, and I also wound up being contracted as the Female Swing for their remount production of Little Women, which was an unexpected and very educational opportunity for me. Legally Blonde closes on August 19th, and I'm trying hard not to lose my momentum as the show nears it's end. For the past few months, the one other thing I have been focusing very closely on is school research. I'm pretty sure I previously talked about trying to forego an undergraduate degree in favor of moving straight into a Master's program, but in my research, it became evident pretty quickly that my options were going to be so limited by that goal that I wasn't certain I would wind up with the kind of quality education I really need in order to grow into the type of experienced actor and educator I'm hoping to become. I therefore refocused my school search primarily on BFA programs, and after researching literally HUNDREDS of schools, I have, at this point, narrowed my list to 19 schools. To get to this point in my hunt for the "right program", I have a set list of priorities, and the 19 schools still standing meet at least a few of the my preferences, based on the following:

Good Location
Style of training (Liberal Arts-based versus Convservatory-style) 
Affiliations with Professional Companies
American Sign Language/Deaf Studies/Hearing and Deafness minor 
Study abroad options 

Once I have narrowed down my top 4-6 choices, I will be able to start taking financial matters into consideration, but until I have been accepted, I won't know what types of financial aid (namely scholarships and grants) may be available to me for each program. The programs I'm still considering are: 

The Boston Conservatory (Boston, MA) 
Cornish (Seattle, WA) 
Penn State (University Park, PA) 
Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL) 
University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (Cincinnati, OH) 
University of Hartford (Hartford, CT) 
Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL) 
Roosevelt University/Chicago College of the Performing Arts (Chicago, IL) 
Boston University (Boston, MA) 
Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) 
Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato, MN) 
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (St. Paul, MN) 
Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) 
Purchase College (Purchase, NY) 
University of North Carolina, Greensboro (Greensboro, NC) 
Ohio University (Athens, OH) 
Texas State University, San Marcos (San Marcos, TX) 
Southern Utah University (Cedar City, UT) 
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI) 

 and, since I'm getting down to the really challenging decisionmaking, I would love any information or opinions people have about any of these schools, so please, by all means, share! I'm going to try to post on here more frequently, so as not to have to cram 14 months into a single entry again. Trying.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I've figured something out.

I don't like just writing about my day. Anywhere. At any time. I will write about extraordinary things that have happened in my day, but never just about the day itself. In this same vein, I don't like just writing about things I've been doing. When I find myself writing in that capacity, it's because I simply don't have any more interesting things to say or talk about, and that makes me feel boring. When I feel boring, I'm far less inclined to write things, because who the hell wants to read a laundry list of what has and has not been happening in my life? Really, what it comes down to is that, if it's bland enough that I'm never going to feel compelled to re-read it, I know I'm doing something wrong.

So, yes, I am back after six months of blog-silence...because I've been figuring a LOT of somethings out. I feel like I've lived five years in these last six months, with all the planning I've done, all the plans that have fallen through, and all the futures I've toyed with pursuing.

Two weeks ago, I was offered an opportunity to move to New York in five weeks' time. Having just been bitching about my desire to do so, I could see no reason not to, nor could any of the people around me (including my very logical, infinitely supportive, and understandably saddened boyfriend). I could just have quit my job, picked up, worked at Starbucks, and given it a go. The lease was up at the end of October, so I would have had an out after a mere three months if I decided I wasn't up for it. I got excited, and terrified, and went into ultra-planning mode. Everyone kept saying "You're only young once! You won't always be able to just get up and go! You can always come back home again! You never want to be in a position where you find yourself saying "What if I had..."! DO IT! If you don't go, you're not the girl I thought you were!"

I spent some time with the decision, and realized that I'm not the girl that a lot of people thought I was. I'm also not the girl that I used to want to be.

I started hearing a lot of "Well, I guess you did what was right for YOU...", which, in most cases, seems to translate loosely to "You're going to regret this, but it would be rude to just SAY that.". And I understand that perspective on it. I do. Seriously. I understand that a lot of the people closest to me are worried that I'm going to, for the rest of my life, find reasons not to follow through on this part of my dream, because it's EASIER and more COMFORTABLE to just let it fall by the wayside. Frankly, part of me is worried about that, too...and that's why I felt so much pressure from myself to take advantage of this chance, even though I didn't feel 100% right about it. But then, while sitting at my dad's house hashing out the details of the New York option for the thousandth time in 24 hours, my dad's wife, Erin, said the first thing that made me feel calm about it since the idea had first presented itself to me:

"I want this for you. I think you SHOULD experience New York, I think you would love it. But, I think that you underestimate your ability to make things happen for yourself. If you don't go to New York now, that doesn't mean that you won't go to New York. You can do anything. Really. ANYTHING that you want to do. You can absolutely make this happen, but you can do it on YOUR OWN TERMS. New York will still be there in a year, or two years, or whenever you decide to go. It will still be there when you've had time to plan for it, and when you feel ready for it."

If, five years ago, someone had told me that my Stepmother would say the thing that would finally help me feel comfortable making this type of life-altering decision, I probably would have kicked them in the shin and run away with a loud and specific suggestion about exactly where they could shove that radical notion. That said, I'm really glad she was there to say that...because no one else did, and that was rough.

I felt like I was weak for not being SURE that I wanted to take this huge leap, and make this huge move, and completely change my whole plan for the next year. However, with this "You can do it the way you want to do it" revelation, I felt like a functional human being again.

The thing I've realized through all this is that I really needed an abrupt reminder of ALL the things that I want to be part of my future. It's so easy to get caught up in what makes the most sense, what will be the most logical course to take, and that's kind of where my mind has been living recently; How much more education do I need? How am I going to find steady work and still act professionally? How much money am I going to need to be saving in order to be able to buy a house after I finish school and get a job?

This might sound silly, but I have a lot of work to do, and I need time to figure out how many details actually need to BE figured out in the first place, and which ones can just work themselves out, dammit.

I'm sticking to my original plan..just with a couple of added details and concessions:

The last weekend of July, I will be moving back down to Santa Maria, for probably the next year. I didn't get the acting internship at PCPA, but they are planning to bring in 8 guest artists for one of the shows this season, most of whom will track into at least one of the summer shows, and I'll be auditioning for that in July/August. I'll be working a day job, as I am here. I may start at Starbucks, but I'm hoping that once I'm down there, I'll be able to find something comparable to what I'm doing now, with comparable pay.

I will also be in contact with my friends, former teachers, and mentors, and will be doing a lot of training, and seeking a lot of advice and assistance while I'm working hard on my dancing, getting into better physical shape, sending out headshots and resumes, and applying to schools. Based on what fruits come of these endeavors, I will figure out the next step in my career, my training, and my life, and as regards the primary topic of this extremely long post, I will, at this time next year, have a plan set for New York. I can't yet speak to what that plan will be, or when it will be put into action, but that's what this year of figuring things out is really for.

And the figuring things out, and the seeking of support, and the occasional verbal vomit? That's what this blog should be for. I'm comfortable having figured that out.

And that's one something, anyway.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here I am!

...a month later.

Forgive me.

I could list the things I have and haven't done for my career. I could tell about how I got super sick for two weeks and missed all those dance classes and voice lessons. I could be real about the big plans I've made and broken with myself.

What it comes down to is this:

The fire is lit under my ass again, and my eyes are back on the prize (and it's no simple task to keep your eyes focused on any one thing when your tuckus is burning, damn.). I just have to remember where I'm going, and what I have to do to get there. It's just hard to find time OUTSIDE of my work day to do these things.

Daily, I will check in. DAILY. That's the only way I'm going to hold myself accountable. Even if it's only five minutes to say "I'm so busy! My head is exploding! *EXPLOSION*".

Gotta do more to be more. Getting back on the wagon again.