To my crazy, kind, talented, extremely hilarious theatre family,
At the start of this school year, I was feeling absolutely lost.
I did not want to return to school and leave home again. I wasn't enjoying my college experience anymore, and I was ready to just give up and call it quits. Some of the people I was surrounding myself with were just toxic to my mental health and I couldn't recall the last time I had a genuine fit of laughter. Something just needed to change. I realized that I needed to make that change myself, as life wasn't just going to do it for me.
I saw an event for mini musical auditions early on in the year.
I had signed up the past two years for the musical theatre society, but had chickened out of auditioning. I couldn't see myself being possibly good enough to audition, or charismatic enough to make new friends when everyone probably had their own groups already. I decided this year would be different though.
I wanted to dedicate myself to being happy, no matter the nerves it would cause. I sang my audition song every five minutes for the days leading up to the audition (apologies to anyone around me at that time). It was terrifying when I got there, but I knew a familiar face or two, so I clung to those and gave it my all. My jaw dropped when I found out I got the lead in one of the mini productions. I was ecstatic and so nervous, but more than anything I was proud of myself for trying.
I was so scared walking into the first rehearsal without knowing anyone, but the instant I walked into the room, my director and fellow cast members were the most welcoming and kind people. It was stunning how comfortable I felt within the first few days of rehearsals. I will never forget standing on stage and belting as best I could during the tech run, and hearing my friends clap and cheer for me. There is no better feeling than having an impenetrable support system behind you that wants you to succeed. That emotion I felt was so new for me. I felt unbreakable.
It's amazing how much your life can change in weeks. I think that every time I work on a show, I have a completely new experience, but some things remain the same. There is a unique bond that forms between members of a cast. Everyone is working towards the same goal, dedicating hours and hours every day to get things just right. That tends to push people together. These past few shows have changed my life, though, and I truly mean that. It isn't just me trying to shout out some cheesy sentiments to earn some "awwws." My life has been irrevocably altered and improved by the people who swept in and gave me back my joy and zest for life.
Fast forward from that first audition -- the moment that has changed my college experience completely -- to now. I have newfound confidence and comfort in my own skin. I have dozens of new friends that are optimistic and compassionate -- people who I've shared some incredible times with. I have a smaller, tight-knit group of those friends that take up the majority of my time now and fill it with endless laughter and happiness. That was all I was looking for and I found it thanks to you guys, my theatre family.
Thank you for making me want to jump out of bed everyday so that I can run to see what wacky things will occur at rehearsals. Thank you for accepting me for all my flaws and quirks, which I know can be extremely annoying. Thank you for filling my life with vivacious, sensational, supremely real and imperfect characters. You guys are my people, my place, and my second home.
Here's to many more moments shared both on and off stage.
All my love,