I’m going to try to not make this post a rephrasing of Seasons of Love but forgive me if I fail. This school year has been unreal. Every wrap-up event I’ve been to has mentioned how emotional of a year it’s been for everyone. Personally, the volume of events and moments and emotions and changes has been unparalleled in my life thus far. And I’ve had a really crazy life.
Tomorrow I go home for a short respite and to see my Baylor family off into their lives. Then I’ll go into my internship until the first week of school in the fall. This summer could either fly by or drag its heels. I don’t know which I’m hoping for.
Anyway, my (second) freshman year was incredibly dramatic, incredibly formative, and yet walking away from it what I’m going to remember most was how wonderful everything from Spring Break on was. But we’ll get there.
In the fall, I had a very cut and dried vision of who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to be known for. I had certain friendship molds I was looking for people to fill and I wasn’t going to let myself be anything less than the person I thought I could & should be. I fought for this vision for a few months and quite literally wanted to kill myself. I wanted to have clones of my friends from Baylor and I wanted to be some sort of combination of Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Jane Austen, Tina Fey, and Margaret Thatcher. (I never said I was cool.) That’s not really how life works.
I was just scraping along for the majority of the fall. I was trying to fit in at church and trying to keep my head down at Krannert. Both were WAY harder than I thought. Then Wild Party happened. We won’t get into that, but I will say that I suddenly had the confidence to talk to my fellow theatre majors. There were certainly, ahem, other factors involved but the point is, people were starting to find out who I was and I was finally out of my own head enough to find out who they were too. Mid-November to early December was the most extreme, technicolor, visceral time of my life. Actors were getting cut from the program, I was failing two classes, people were getting engaged, people were breaking up, there were love pentagons, seasons were announced, and somehow in the midst of this all of us had to find the face we needed to put on for everyone. It was a lot like being Nick Carraway.
By the time intermission came, the curtain fell on the height of the action, like in any good musical. It was the longest Christmas Break of my life because of how unresolved all of it was. I was relentlessly on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in between endless text conversations. I didn’t know what to do with myself. One of my closest friends at Baylor told me that I wasn’t nearly as important to her as I thought I was and I think in a way that helped. I suppose I was in denial about a few things.
Second semester FINALLY came, and everything was different. All the relationships I had built and counted on, including an incredibly important one from high school, had been burned to the ground. I didn’t even want to kill myself. I was just dead on the inside. A flesh-and-blood ghost.
Eventually I learned to be alone. I channeled all my energy into my internet presence. I talked out in class because I didn’t feel it had any repercussions. For the first time since elementary school, I was perfectly content by myself.
And that, of course, was when I started making real friends. I had no idea that people I’d spent hours and hours and hours with in class and in rehearsal were some of the best people I’d ever meet.
Spring Break came and I got to see shows with some of the people dearest to my heart. I met Sierra Boggess. The day I came back was the first real snow day of my life. It was incredibly beautiful and bizarre and something I’ll never forget.
Normal Heart opened with the most passive-aggressive tension I’ve ever experienced. So passive-aggressive that I didn’t even know anything was more than just uncomfortable for a long time. Out of that, I gained an incredible treasure because life doesn’t make sense 85% of the time.
By the time Normal Heart closed, I was more than just content-happy. I was over the moon. I had friends. I had people. I had love that didn’t bite me back.
Mina Donk got emancipated, the Antichrist fell, punks learned to DIY, lights flashed in angsty teenage Germany, Cyrano got to spend the rest of his life with Roxanne, and I took up residence in Allen Hall. I got to have a really hot prom date and hold hands with people you’d never believe existed. There are people I wish I had spent more time with, and people I wish I had left alone. There are letters I’m glad I wrote, and letters I wish I’d written.
Everyone keeps telling me to calm down about leaving for summer and that we’ll all see each other in just a few months. If life has taught me anything, it’s that you never know when the last time you’ll see someone is. Once I said goodbye to someone for two months and never saw them again. People are going home, to New York, to France, to LA, to grad school, to Dallas, to wherever the wind takes them…I hope we’ll all be together again soon. If we aren’t, then I’d like to know that I said everything that was on my heart.
If I choose to measure my life in love, I know that these last few months have been the absolute best of my life. I can’t predict if it’ll all come crashing down in the next few hours or if we’ll all pick up where we left off in the fall. All I know is that I have at least one more day. So, Illinois, let’s do this. I’ll bring the kazoos.