07 December 2015

end of term reflections

As of today, I have lived in England for 95 days.

I don't know why this is such a meaningful thing to me, but for some reason it is. 

Thursday is my last day of my first term in grad school. We finished classes this past Friday but we're spending this week mounting As You Like It for assessments. It's been really tough. Everything about this semester has been tough. I'm in school 45 hours/week, give or take. I feel like I don't have enough hours in the day/week/month to get everything done that I want to. But first term is nearly over. 

So far I've seen 3 plays at the National Theatre, 3 at the RSC, 2 at The Globe, 1 on the West End and 2 at school-- so far. I've got tickets to quite a few more by the end of 2015.

I've been lucky enough to work on The Globe stage, with members of the company. 

I've been to London 7 times since September. I'll visit twice more before the end of the year. I snapchat that wonderful silly giant clock every single time because I simply cannot get enough. I marvel that I get to see it with such frequency.

I saw Husbands and Sons the other night at the National and it completely changed me. I feel strongly that it may be the specific reason why I have contemplated acting school in the UK but didn't do it till now-- so I could be here, having experienced my life so far, this exact term, with a full and open heart that I was thrilled to have gutted and turned upside down by a simply terrific play that validates and challenges and questions and focuses everything I think I know about acting. 

I haven't had a single anxiety attack since I've been in school.



Anxiety attack.

I spend my days doing something I love, and looking forward to my future, continuing to do the thing I love, on the scale I seek to do it. 

I feel enlightened and energized and defeated and excited every. single. day.

But it's really hard in other ways.

I feel quite isolated. I am isolated. 

Fewer than 50 people in this country know me by name.

Fewer than 50 on this continent! 

It's been an incredibly giant and difficult adjustment for me. I know a lot of people at home. To know so few, to say nothing of actually feeling at all close to many of them, has been one of largest adjustments of all.

I feel very far away from myself-- from the person I knew even just five months ago, or a year ago, or especially two years ago, or more. Five months ago I was frantically making arrangements to get here. A year ago I had no idea I would be here. Two years ago I had just been here and wanted so badly to come back, but never thought it could actually happen, and I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that a Christmas tree could make up for things I didn't even know were wrong. The years before that at this time of year-- I was just so happy to have a Christmas tree in my grown-up house with my cats, or have my primary class over to decorate cookies, or take a break from rehearsing Urinetown at UVU, or do 100 seasons of A Christmas Carol while flirting with the male ensemble of the show that had just closed when I worked as a dresser while planning the most epic New Years Eve party, or whatever.

That's not even me anymore, I think.

It was me, so it's still in me, but it's not me anymore.

I think.

Which is hard to reconcile with social media. TimeHop is very healing for me, I love Instagram, but Facebook tends to be quite painful, I've found-- which is weird since I had deleted and just started over with Facebook about a year ago. I don't have the same kind of community or feed on Facebook that I once had, not even close, but I still somehow feel behind. 

Or left out?

Or less important?

When you've had a few years like the last few of mine have been, I guess that's how things go. 

When people feel caught in the middle, that's how things go.

When you're ready to move on and up, but other people want to stay the same, or don't want to but just do stay the same, that's how things go.

It's surprisingly lonely, is I guess what I'm saying.

But not in the way I expected, at least.

I don't feel badly for myself. I don't wish I were home and being included in things there. I want to be here. I want to be learning the things I'm learning, and seeing the plays I'm seeing, and living in this country. I was in London yesterday. I'm going to Scotland next week, and back to London next weekend. I sat two feet away from Anne-Marie Duff and the most brilliant, excellent actors who have been on Sherlock and Game of Thrones and all the TV shows and movies I've been watching at home. This is the circle I'm beginning to enter, so of course there will be some adjustment. It stands to reason. I'm ready for it. I'm doing it.

I'm forced to do a lot of things for myself, which is a giant change. I have to be my own cheerleader and my own biggest fan. I have to include myself in things and push myself ahead and be the most important person to myself, especially on the daily. 

And besides-- I have the most wonderful support system behind me, that is all real and true. They know who they are, the ones who have my whole heart and who give me theirs with texts and letters and packages and messages and emails and anecdotes of our best memories and encouragement in the exact moment when I need to hear kind words. 

I have the most true, true people in my life.

And the most true cats, who are such a comfort.

I think I may have fewer total people (and fewer total cats) in my life than I have had in years (or maybe ever), but they are all of them the most true. The real kind of people who just get it. They never make me feel badly about myself, or my feelings invalid, or my insecurities silly, or my experiences anything less than what I've experienced. I feel like myself with them. I so much prefer this than any social life I have had in the past. As I move on and up, I take with me and am supported by the people who will carry me forever, no matter where I land or when. 

One of them is coming to see me in 12 days, not that I'm counting. 

And for now, I've landed in England for 95 days so far, with hundreds more days to go, anxiety-free, creatively inspired, and so ready for my life to take off in the direction I've always hoped and dreamed.

Who ever, ever thought I'd be able say that???!


Jen Robinson said...

You are brave and intelligent and lovely, and you deserve all the wonderful things. I cannot imagine how much bravery this adventure requires, but it's really inspiring to see.

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