Music and theatre have always been a large portion of my life. I don't remember a time when it was not a part of who I am. In many ways it has molded me into the person I am today. My mother, aunt, and uncle are superb singers, violinists, and piano players. Due to this, I was immersed in the musicality of this world before I could walk or talk. I was thrown into the music culture through voice lessons, guitar lessons, piano lessons, violin lessons, dance, and theatre programs and I loved every single moment of it. I relished in the glory of the stage. Malone and I would spend many a Sunday afternoons "performing" for our family and friends (sorry guys) until our mother thought we were good enough to go on stage and perform for others. Malone and I craved it; we basked in the attention and the spotlight and we found it as a source of competition with one another. There is not much we do that we do not make into a competition. The competition is what drives us to success. Not only did we participate in musicals, we also loved being in the audience watching a performance come to life.
I'll never forget our trip to New York City. The girls of the family got to see the sights, but most importantly we got to see two Broadway plays. Though Malone and I had been to several shows at the Durham Performing Arts Center through the years, there is nothing like NYC Broadway. I sat enthralled by the movements, the lights, the voices, the actors, and the show itself. Malone and I were able to witness Legally Blonde and Wicked at the ages of 8 and 10; I seriously don't think I've ever been happier in my life.
Broadway has taught me so many life lessons, ones that I remind myself of in song daily.
“There’s a chip on my shoulder and it’s big as a boulder
With the chance I’ve been given, I’m gonna be driven as hell
I’m so close I can taste it, so I’m not gonna waste it
Yeah, there’s a chip on my shoulder” -- Legally Blonde
Broadway has taught me to persevere no matter how hard life may get. There is always a reason to fight and the rainbow will soon appear. As Elle Woods boldly states, “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, let’s see them knock it aside.” A chip on your shoulder involves you being strong no matter the number of times you are knocked down. That chip on your shoulder means you are on a mission to succeed and are not willing to stop until you reach your goal, no matter what it takes or how much you fail. The failure thing never gets easier, but determination will see you through. I remind myself daily that if Elle Woods can get into law school and graduate top of her class after studying fashion merchandising in undergrad, I can also do anything that I set my mind to achieve.
“Good God, why?
Law School is for boring, ugly, serious people!
And you, Button, are none of those things.” -- Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde and Elle Woods’ not only taught me how to keep a chip on my shoulder, but also how it was okay to stand out in a crowd. The blonde Valley Girl broke through the barriers and became one of those boring, ugly, serious people. Though she traveled to Harvard for Warner, Elle broke every stereotype in the book to become the successful, powerful lawyer she was. She never let the prejudice and stereotypes keep her from her dreams. If anything, it fueled the fire and pushed her harder. She even landed the man after reaching her goals, yet turned him down after realizing she didn’t want to be held to a standard she had surpassed.
“Ev'ry so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn't soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in” -- Wicked
Things don’t always go your way. This is something that I have always struggled with, especially in recent times. However, I am learning (or trying to) not to dwell on the things I cannot change. We can dream or think of the “what ifs,” but what purpose does that truly serve? Reality will set in and thinking of the negatives does nothing…except make you feel miserable. Take your failures; take your faults and act. Stand up, brush it off, and force yourself to move on. Force yourself to act and to hurdle over the things you cannot change. Life gives numerous chances—don’t waste them.
So to Broadway, I thank you for the memories, the good times, and the future times we will share.
"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good" -- Wicked