Pondering(s) on Performing Arts

“The medium which has the power to do that is the Modern Drama, because it mirrors every phase of life and embraces every strata of society …. It is the dynamite which undermines superstition, shakes the social pillars, and prepares men and women for the reconstruction.”

-Emma Goldman from ‘The Social Significance of the Modern Drama’

A good friend of mine sent me this quote and I’ve been reflecting on it a lot lately. Although Emma Goldman was a famous anarchist of the early 20th century and this quote is referring more to anarchy than theater, it rings true in my theater-loving (well, performing arts-loving) heart. Whether it is a hilarious and touching play, a beautifully orchestrated opera, a cheeky comedian doing standup at the bar, or a humble singer-songwriter playing their heart out, performing for an audience is a courageous and magical thing. Although a fantastic world where people are born green and animals talk is whimsical, the story of friendship and courage is something all people can relate to.

It got me thinking— Why do I like theater?  Why do I enjoy performing arts?

As a chronically anxious human, I look to those on the stage with awe and admiration. It is inspiring to see people courageously tossing caution to the wind and just DOING IT. I admire their brave, brave hearts. On that stage, they are truly vulnerable. I’ve talked with both professional, and ‘non’professional performers about anxiety. No matter how much practice and experience you have, there is always a level performance anxiety. Unfortunately, it is a universal concept. Performers act through the anxiety. They sing through it. They dance through it. How? Because it truly makes them happy. The joy it brings to share their passions with others overpowers that little voice in their heads saying “you can’t.” It’s a powerful thing. They are strong. If other people can do it, maybe I can too.

When I go to the theater, my mind goes to another place. For me, enjoying performing art is like an escape from daily stressors and anxieties. It’s like running (yuck) or yoga (yum). I am transfixed by everything the performers are throwing at me—  vulnerability, talent, passion, love, excitement, and joy. For a brief moment in time, I am transported to their world. My reality is put on pause for a sec. I wonder if people do that when I sing? I know the idea of an escape kind of contradicts the first point of this post, but it is an important one make.

I apologize for the stream of consciousness blog. Or maybe, I don’t apologize at all. This is where I am right now. I want to get more into the music and performing arts scene in Portland.  I’m off to sign up for  a Jazz 101 dance class. NO, I’M NOT TOO AWKWARD AND CLUMSY FOR DANCE; I’M AWESOME.* 💃
See you on the stage?

giphy

xoxoxo

*fake it till you make it, right?
#nowplaying Everyone Is Gay (except for me) - Bess Rogers

Dear Sara,

[Disclaimer] This is a super personal post. This is me. A tiny vulnerable bird. There are things in here that I don’t really talk about. It’s because they’re hard to TALK about with most people. I battled with whether to post this or not, but I wanted to do it . For me. For you. It’s okay to not be okay. Talk to people about the feelings and emotions in your heart. I’m not perfect, but I’m definitely trying to get better at it. I’m lucky to have wonderful friends/mentors/family to talk to. Talk to people. Talk to me. Get professional help if needed. Human voice and human connection are life changing. I like you. xo


 

Dear Sara,

Thank you. For absolutely everything. I listened to and read Sounds Like Me in one sitting. It made me laugh (a lot), smile, and maybe cry a little. You wrote so much heart and life into it’s pages, and it really tugged at my heartstrings. I was the crouton cereal girl. I was a girl that didn’t know jeans were like, a thing, and sported bright red sweatpants in middle school. I was a girl that wore her curly hair pulled up so tightly in a bun that halfway through the year,  had to cut out a knot the size of Pluto (space jokes…. but seriously though. It was not a cool time) and hid in a beanie. Kids are mean. This is not a pity party though, that was a LONG time ago. I just want you to know just how grateful I am for Sounds Like Me. For you. The book is heartbreakingly relatable and  you are an inspiration to all of the beautiful girls out there. The girls that don’t know they are beautiful, yet. because…well, they most definitely are. “Sometimes my little voice can say the biggest things” Your voice is not so little anymore, and for that, I’m grateful.

I’ve been ridden with social anxiety most of my life. Growing up it was tough and I never really talked about it. “I’m just shy. It’s whatever.” When I was a kid, I didn’t even know Social Anxiety Disorder existed. I finally started to understand and talk about it as an adult. Emotionally, college is a rough,scary,and wonderful time. I figured it out. I talked with a counselor. I opened up with people I trusted, and it truly changed my life. Talking to people about the feelings and emotions in your heart is truly, very important.  Music has always been a constant. When I didn’t know how to feel, or what I was feeling, I’d put tunes my earbuds and just listen. Gravity. Let the Rain. Uncharted. Just a few little tracks that got me through the unknown. 

Most importantly, you have touched the lives and inspired so many other people. Just by being the amazing lady that you are.  I joined the sarabfans community on a whim five years ago, after falling into an internet black hole and discovering it on Google. I didn’t know it then, but that community (and those lovely humans) would become some of my greatest friends ( I’m looking at YOU Jill, Beckett, Clem, Jen, Cristina, Yaryn, Haley, Courtney, etc. <3333333) Sarabfans introduced a newfound confidence in me — something that was buried deep down. I actually made cover videos with #sarabfriends (I’m going to start that hashtag. Just watch) and posted them to the internet. I love them. They’re wonderful. You’re wonderful.

It is comforting to know that yes, it’s sometimes okay to be a little bit of a lost twenty-something. Two years ago, with ‘Chasing The Sun’ in my earholes, I packed up and moved across the country. I knew ONE person in the city I was moving to. It was a fresh new start. By far, it’s the bravest thing I’ve ever done — that, and toying with the idea of doing community theater in the near future (OMGZ)! My little voice is getting out there. Yes, sometimes I’m embarrassed to say namaste at yoga, or get nervous butterflies before meeting with people for dinner, but I know that that is okay. Anxiety means that I’m human. Not a robot. I accept it. And let it fly away when it’s ready.

Thank You.

xo

Lizzy

CTS

I’m here. I’m happy. I’m alive. I’m grateful.

Hi Internet. It’s been a while! I’ve happened upon some unexpected free time this week, so I thought I’d write. It’s a long story, but the team at Keep has dissipated. It is sad, but I met so many wonderful humans and learned so much while I was there. Honestly, I think I’ve learned more in the year at Keep, than I have at any job I’ve had in my adult life. Was that my first adult job? Oh, that’s a scary word. Adult. Am I adulting?

Anyway, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity. It was a stellar year (:

That being said, it has definitely been a weird week. I’ve felt ALL the emotions. Fear. Sadness. Anger. Joy. Disgust. (sidenote: Inside Out was an amazing film. Go see it.) After calming down from the initial panic, I realized that there are so many things I can be grateful for in my life right now. Yes, my situation is a little sucky, but like, it’s really not the end of the world. Rather than dwelling on the bad things, here is a list of things that have brightened my week (and my life, in general). Here’s to week one of funemployment!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: A List of Gratitude

  1. Friends

    They’re more than people. They are reincarnated cupcake-fed unicorns in human form. The absolute sweetest and I love them all to the moon and back.  They’ve helped me through this week with silly texts, IRL job-searching sessions, reading over cover letters,  and just being there. Physically AND virtually. Thanks for the Skype call, Ash.

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  2. Roommates
    They helped talk me out of my “OMG PANIC WAHT AM I GOING TO DO!?!” stage. Salma sent encouraging messages from EGYPT! These lovely ladies are my favorite, ALL of the time. They are my immediate family unit in PDX. I always see those roommate horror stories on the interwebz. Thankfully I don’t have any.

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    *Seriously, how cute is Sedona <333

  3. Family
    Dear family, Thank you. For EVERYTHING. The goodnight texts, the phone calls, the packages — I don’t think I say it enough; I am so grateful. I love you. Even from the thousands of miles away, I can feel the love. I really do. And I miss you so so much. See you soon (;

  4. Yoga
    I recently started a regular yoga practice thanks to Yoga With Adriene AND my lovely voice/yoga instructor.  I’ve been wanting to do it forever, but my pesky ankles were preventing me (or, the thought that I couldn’t do yoga with my ankles… WRONGO!) Yoga has kept me sane, and is keeping my anxieties in check. Not to mention my ankles are getting stronger (YAY!) Seriously, I’ve seen so many positive changes and it has only been a few months. #thanksyoga

  5. Music
    Music is my bliss. I’ve been singing (and awkward dancing) around the apartment more lately. I’m just not sure the neighbors are enjoying  “Batti Batti O Bel Masetto” an hour a day… but that’s their fault for being home at one in the afternoon (;

     
  6. Nature
    Portland is a beautiful beautiful city. It’s like Boston, but also like NH. It’s a Boston/NH “Fluffahnuttah” Sandwich. I can go to a park with a duck pond AND hike in the woods without leaving the city. How wonderful. Cool job, Portland. Morning sunshine meditation is a thing I do. #soportland #ilovethesunshine #hippielife

  7. Life
    I’m a fan of living, in general.  I am so happy I get to live on this earth. Who could NOT enjoy this rad world filled with amazing things (like friends, and hiking trails, and strawberries, and Netflix!) Good job life. High five.

#nowplaying Third Eye -- Florence and the Machine 

It’s All About Balance…

It really is. What is ‘it’? Everything. Life. Relationships. Spirituality. Work. Social Life. Literal balance on your two feet (an awareness of my body’s aversion to grounding to the earth has been a speedbump in my newfound yoga appreciation and practice)

Sometimes most times, I struggle with balance in my life. Working many hours. Staying up late. Sleeping restlessly (or not enough). Spending too much time on the internet, and not enough time out in the great big world. I definitely see the irony of posting this to an internet blog, but let’s just put that aside. Finding life balance is a challenge. It’s not something that will magically appear. We (the rest of my imbalanced friends) need to make an active effort to change the imbalance in our lives. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to balance myself — to ground myself to the here and now.

An awareness of it is the first step. Then comes the hard part — figuring out how to change it. What is the driving force behind the nighttime, or daytime, anxieties? We need to become aware of the stressors and learn to let them go. Follow the advice of my favorite Arendellian “Let it go! Let it goooo!” (: What activities are most important to you (ie. hiking, reading, spending time with friends and family, running, SLEEPING, cooking, etc.) Setting a daily routine has really been a help for me. It sounds mentally and physically exhausting, but I promise you, it is worth it.

Yes, this post is for whoever is reading it… but more than that, it is for me. It’s a therapeutic outlet. It’s a positive affirmation that “I am here. I am present. I am grateful and content with my life.” Lastly it’s a motivation to stay grounded as the world whizzes by me — to be more in the moment. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to be perfectly balanced, but that should not deter anyone from trying (;

xo

L

#nowplaying  Trout Heart Replica — Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra 

Theater Thoughts for the Socially Awkward Balls of Human… Things

So this occurred to me recently. Please believe EVERYTHING I’m writing because I am obviously a professional advice giver and I know exactly what I’m talking about! Sarcasm is hard via blog platform; that was sarcasm. Please continue for your reading pleasure — or just to be enlightened with the thoughts floating around in my mind over breakfast.

Hey there fellow socially awkwards. Anxious little bunnies. I’ve found a great hobby/ past time / career /etc. for you. Acting! I know terrifying *hides in hoddie* but bear with me.

I’m kind of a musical theater nerd. And televison. And YouTube. Seriously… I eat that sh** up. You probably do too, you cute little introvert, you . My biggest regret is not doing theater in school. I know people say  “No regrets! Live for now! #yolo”. To those I say, Sorry (a la Gilly / Kristen Wigg)

Talking to People |

It makes you nervous, anxious, and can even turn you into a dinosaur. You know, that weird noise you make when you are unsure of what to say and overwhelmed by a situation? Oh, just me? Okay…. meeeeeerg *runs away* What’s cool about acting is, there is a script! It TELLS you what to say. There is no need to worry about what to say and when to say it. You will ALWAYS know what to say (unless you forget the lines… But you won’t because you’re a STAHHH!) Learn the lines for the show. But also, learn FROM them. Scenes are the very situations that make you want to die / melt into a human puddle, but in pre-scripted form. This is how Cathy reacted when Jamie said this. OHHH. Use these to form your own unique and beautifully weird way to interact with other people without running away like a dinosaur (unless you want to. That’s cool too.) This goes for music too, guys. Don’t know what to say musically? That’s okay! Play those lovely ukulele covers of pop songs, or hip hop songs, or whatever you are listening to these days. Learn to create and express your thoughts by discovering how others do. Isn’t that how learning to do EVERYTHING works (walking, talking, singing, POOPING!)

Social / Performance Anxiety |

This can be crippling. I have struggled with it FOREVER. But so does almost everyone. You’re not alone. I know it’s cliché and frustrating to hear, but one of the many ways to combat performance anxiety is to do it. Go out and perform. Disassociate yourself from your anxiety. You are not *insert name here*. You are this character, a confident person that knows what to say. Don’t think you can do it? Pshhhh…. these people did. You’ve probably heard of them:

Desperate To Speak: How Emily Blunt Found Her Voice

WHY GRACE HELBIG COULD BE THE NEXT BIG STAR TO COME FROM YOUTUBE

Friends |

I was SORT OF a part of musical theater in college. Not exactly, (was to afraid to audition for anything… UGH) but I was in chorus and took a class called Performance Techniques for the Singing Actor. My closest friends in school were a part of chorus/PTECH. We practiced together. We shared our performance anxieties. We sang together. I felt a bond with them because they saw me for me. In my anxieties and my accomplishments. Not just the surface me. This is what I miss most about school. Those kids were the coolest kids around. You can have that too. Promise.

As I said before, I am no expert. I’m still working on this, and probably will be forever, so sue me (sue me,  shoot bullets through me.) If you are one of those humans that can easily start and keep entertaining conversations , f*** you! Just kidding. We love you. We admire you. You are some of our best friends. We need you in our life. I leave you with another gif because, why not!?

xo

L

Unoriginal Strawberry Banana Bread, Ant Songs, and Drunken Canadians

Oh, hi there! Again, it has been a while. QUITE a while. I’m sorry about that. I’ve been busy with so many things (yes, reading books and binging shows on Netflix is super important, okay!) I have the morning off and I wanted to write up a little update for you all – let you know I’m still alive. I’m going to make a list. I love lists. Post it notes. Old receipts from Olé. Mentally in my brain. they’re the best. So here are the haps

– I made some stellar Pokéball cupcakes for the boys I nanny after school.

– I started working for a market research company. I’m a back-up dialer in their call center. It’s kind of hilarious that I, of all people, am working at a call center.

– I surprised Nicole for her bridal shower and she had NO IDEA. It was the sweetest and best kept secret.

– I went home for the last show of Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out tour. To say I almost cried on the T back to the house is an understatement. Live shows always get to me. Hashtag, MUSIC.

– Mama Mary (Anna’s mum) visited. She is the sweetest, coolest, quirkiest, and the best.

– I made strawberry banana bread and thought it was a super original idea. Turns out it was not. Thanks for ruining everything internet.

– A drunk Canadian soccer fan 2x my size tried to trust fall on me. Twice. (I love my job. I love my job.)

– I finally binged watched and finished The Office. I don’t know why I never had before. It was so hard to put down. (That’s what she said – a la Michael Scott)

– I’ve started running (O_o). It only seemed fitting because this is the first summer in many moons that I have not had a sprained ankle (If I just jinxed myself, I swear to god…)

– I was inspired by one of my old college professors via a dream to write (that sounds crazy, but it’s not.) Dream Katie and ants.

– I’ve been babysitting so my kids that I could tell you all you need to know about Minecraft. Really, ask me anything.

– I’ve cuddled with cats. SO MANY YOU GUYS.

– I mastered the art of biking whilst wearing a dress. It works.

– I chopped my hair(s). It’s SUPER short. Like, 1 inch around the sides short. I left the curls on top though. Don’t worry Mom.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m signing off. See you soon, hopefully.

L

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