Thursday, June 24, 2010

There's Only This.

I have begun the first line of this post over just about ten times. My mind is heavy with a lot of different things... the kind of things that you keep pretending don't exist until you sit down on your couch at four in the morning and are resolved to eat cold queso and stale chips alone because its really all that you can do...

I am in the midst of a life changing experience. I am a working actress with a place to live, a wonderful roomie to witness my life, and a show to work on that touches people's lives. I am blessed beyond reproach to be doing the very thing I know without a doubt I have been created to do every day I wake up. However, the one thing that I am learning is that your dreams come with a price as well.

People hurt. I hurt. We watch each other tear ourselves apart with no way to fix it because we know deep down that we can't repair someone else when we can't even put ourselves back together. You can't will a heart to heal. No band aid is big enough and no glue is strong enough to keep one together once it has been broken. There is no need for yelling when a whisper of doubt alone can shatter your soul. Whispers of I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough, I'm not talented enough, are more than enough to cause permanent damage... and it happens to everyone.

The more I get to know my wonderful, beautiful and caring cast, the more I hear and see that each one of us has been hurt in some fashion, and are trying desperately to cover it up or just brush it off all together. Something I have decided over the past few days is that there is no shame in admitting that you have been hurt. My roomie has also started to blog, and in her most recent post she mentioned a night where both of us were talking about how we viewed love with another girl in the cast. When we had concluded our stories which were far from the fairytale we all hoped they would turn out to be, she said "You both are so brave to have loved with such passion." That has stayed with me since that night. I think that it is brave to admit that you loved so fiercely that it cost you something you may never get back. I have a giant heart. I trust anyone until they give me a reason not to and I will love you until you tell me I shouldn't. Many people have told me I am foolish and even crazy for opening up so much to so many, and there are plenty of times that I actually agree with them, but I know in my heart that God made us to love this way. My heart has been broken, and if I am really honest with myself, sometimes I think that it still may be... but I know that's OK. I did something brave. I loved someone more than I love myself, and to me that is the most I can do with the life I have been given.

As I sit here on my couch listening to Rent (yes when I am pensive the emotional musical theatre geek comes alive in me) I can't help but smile. Even though there are so many things in the past and even in my present that I can dwell on and re work in my mind, I don't need to. Love knows no time and no bounds, so I'm not going to either. I am going to keep breathing and loving as fiercely as ever and never apologize. Jonathan Larson knew what he was doing when he wrote the words to this song... and yes I am going to be a dork and quote rent and you are going to love it.
"There is no future, there is no past. Thank God this moment's not the last. There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret- or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Check Mate

I don't get embarrassed. I don't ever feel overly concerned with appearances. Like when you first meet a large group of people at a function I.E. my college orientation and the ice breaker is share your most embarrassing moment, I either come up dry or I embellish a so so story to make myself seem more interesting. This has now changed. For the first time in years, I, Courtney Whittamore, was embarrassed. I know. I was just as shocked as you.

What is the source of this travesty you ask? What could possibly shock the girl that walks around in her p.j's like its her job and every injury story she has involves some sort of blonde moment on her part? Well... let me just tell you... My apartment.

I am living in the Grove with about 100 something artistic people. That alone is difficult. But we are also artistically minded people that have no time to live lives separate from the theatre, therefore any idea of creating a home or even unpacking your boxes from move in day just doesn't exist. Also, the stage of our theatre is sand, meaning the the floor of my apartment is also sand. It's funny how things accumulate. Its sad when you don't realize how gross your apartment is until you notice you have quarantined yourself from the kitchen willingly because you are afraid of what will jump out of the sink and say good morning to you.

Of course there was a catalyst to this realization aside from my fear of unknown sink creatures. Last night Sarah and I had friends over to just chill out and talk. The night was spent in our living room, and as way led to way I ended up sitting on the floor. As this had been the first time I had experienced the view from the floor, I took a survey of my surroundings... and I was not pleased. I was greeted by papers spilling out from under our coffee table, clothes strewn about, and dust bunnies galor. I was mortified. I quickly glanced around at my guests and saw that they were not paying any mind to what I was now fixed upon, however I decided that after tonight, no one would ever come to our apartment again and Sarah and I would be friendless if we did not take action, even though they had been to our home before.

There are many reasons that I love my roomie, but one of the biggest is that when it comes to the important things, and by important I mean insane, we are always on the same wave length. I think there may have been an exchange of three sentences before we decided to declare an all our war on the filth that was claiming our home.

Within moments we were in the car on our way to walmart. After about a 30 minute drive we saw that it was closed. CLOSED! In a desperate effort we searched high and low for some where that was open. Thank God for 24 hour food lions. They saved our lives. We purchased insane amounts of cleaning products, bleach, and air freshners and grimaced as we watch our paychecks drain into our fit of insanity. Non the less we journey onward. Although the 24 hour food lion supplied us with most of our needs, we were not satisfied, so being the strong willed women we are we popped a squat at Mcdonalds and awaited the opening of Walmart. Soon enough we were in the store, making our last purchases and heading back to our tangle with disgust.

Our trip started out as light hearted and hopefull, but as we neared the Grove, our game face was firmly set in place. There was a job to be done, and it was going to get done if it was the last thing we did... besides the show of course :)
The actual cleaning itself was epic. I have never seen that much filth and dirt capulized in one home. I will not go into great detail on here as I still want to have friends by the time I finish this blog post.

So... needless to say I am exahusted. I sacrified sleep, one of my most favorite pastimes, to clean... However, I can sucessfully say that sarah and I live in a home now, not a trash can... and to that mess I experienced in the ungodly hours of the morning, I have only one thing to say. Check. Mate.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's the Little Things

I don't plan things. I don't make lists, nor am I organized. However, my mom is. She has a list of things that must be done and the exact time that they are to be done in. This used to drive me CRAZY as a kid... ok well, maybe it still drives me crazy but that isn't the point. Even through my hatred, there were times that I saw the validity in being so put together with to do lists and strict deadlines, and even tried that hat on myself. Especially when I was going through college applications and decisions like that I felt the need to be a grown up. However as I have gotten older I have discovered that its not just tasks that I fail to plan out, but even where I am going to be next or what I want to do with my days are left in the wind.

I remember when I was in high school I had this huge project due that I really didn't want to get started on, and because I am stubborn and won't do anything i don't want to do until the very last minute, I tried thinking of ways to stall. All through my high school years a dear friend of mine and I carpooled to and from school together, even when we both had our drivers licenses. Now Linds was a task master as well, so i knew that if she knew i had a task to complete then there would be no goofing around, which is why i mostly keep my business under my hat. That afternoon we were sitting around on my patio, and had the novel idea to make our own canoe. We had talked for weeks about having our own canoe for this reason or that, but once we saw their price tags became slightly deterred. So that afternoon we gathered whatever we could around my house, which amounted to pool noodles, card board boxes, electrical tape, bubble wrap, and a prayer. We spent all afternoon constructing our masterpiece, with plans to use it that night in my pool. After we finished putting it together we prepared for our maiden voyage... and immediately sank... fully clothed and all. It may have been silly, and in the end I had to pull an all nighter to finish that project, but it was spontaneous and brought the kind of laughter you only hear when someone is purely happy. I still think back on that afternoon as one of the best I ever had.

Now I promise there is a reason I have been thinking about all of this. The last few days I have been down on myself, because I have been under the weather and out from the show due to doctor's orders. It hurts my heart when I want to do something and my body just won't let me. I got the medicine I needed and I should be fine from this point out, however I don't like the doubt that these last few days have placed in the mind of my colleagues. I can do this, I just have to do it in a different way than you would expect. I realized that I don't plan, because it hurts too much when I see those plans fly out the window, even the smallest of plans, because my body says no. Many a dream and plan has done that in my lifetime, and in the end I know they are just changing, not leaving, but none the less its not easy for me.

That's why last night made me so happy. I had been trapped in my apartment and by default my mind as well for the last two days, and seeing my own improvement in my movement and tolerance I decided that it was ok to go out and see some people. Every Saturday night there is a blow out in the grove with a unique theme, and I just wanted to go be around people. As way would have it, I was WIDE awake, because the medicine I was given makes me super drowsy, so in point of fact I had slept all day long. Sooner than I expected there were only a few of us left outside, and the sun was coming up to say good morning. We in our delirious splendor decided that going to breakfast was the thing to do, and that is exactly what we did. I can honestly say i have never been in better company and laughed more at 6am than I did this morning. I had surpassed happiness and gone straight for joy. Its the little things that go unplanned and unnoticed that make me think that its all going to be ok. It's all going to be ok.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hello Again

Well hey!! I am so so SO happy to finally be able to write to you again! I hope you haven't lost interest in my little life, but I am back now :) Me and my roomie who I ADORE have found a way to catch some Internet, so I should be able to write as much as I want!! YAY!

So to catch up, I obviously made it here safely.. praise the Lord! Dad drove most of the way but the last few hours I was left to my own devices which included lots of caffeine, my GPS, and yes even a minor fender bender... I mean I have to keep things lively!

The first week I was here was wonderful. The company hadn't arrived yet so The Grove (slang for Morrison Grove where ALL of the company lives.. yeah crazy...) was completely empty, accept for a dear friend of mine that actually told me about the job. We had stayed in contact from the last gig we did together, but had actually not seen each other in over 2 years. It was nice to get to know each other again, and at the same time was very eye opening. Me and my rose colored glasses tend to like to keep people in time capsule, but that just isn't the case in the real world. People change, including myself, however that does not mean that I always recognize it.

Soon enough the first week of settling in and getting acclimated to my new life here was over, and my roomie arrived. Oddly enough, Sarah and I had met at the local auditions in the ladies room, where I am now convinced all good friendships start. After a few pleasantries we decided that we were going to be audition buddies, meaning that we wouldn't leave each other throughout the day. For those of you not in the business, auditions breed strange situations, because auditions themselves are anything but normal. You are selling your package to important people in a glimpse of time, and hoping that you are what they are looking for. This is so stressful that you immediately bond with those who are standing next to you doing the same thing. Well as life would have it we went our separate ways after the process and went on with our lives. I didn't even know she had gotten the job until we received our housing assignments and I was stalking my room mates. We got in touch and decided to share a room, seeing as there are two other ladies that share our place with us. It was the best decision I have ever made. She is not only a wonderful room mate, but a beautiful person and a priceless friend. I wouldn't be able to do this without her, and I am so glad she is here. I LOVE YOU!!

The first three weeks after the contract started, I'm not gonna lie, were obnoxious. 9am work calls which were over at 5pm, the bled into rehearsal that finished at 11pm. It was an efficient way to get such a massive show up in three weeks, however it nearly kills you. I didn't know coming into this how big of a show this was, but it truly is a massive undertaking. With costumes by William Ivy long and a script by Pulitzer prize winning Paul Green I should have known better, but during the run down of the show I was blown away. We have live gunshots, fireworks, fire, huge set changes, costumes that cost more than cars, a house that seats 1,500 that is filled at least half most nights, but still that isn't the most important thing. Each person Character in this show existed, and went through something like what we are portraying.

I am so blessed to be doing a show that means so much to so many people! It is only the beginning of the run, yet I still know that this will change my life, because I can already see that the change has begun. Not only has the show itself started this process, but its also the new family of actors and dreamers and lovers that have given me this gift. When our executive producer Carl Curnutte first addressed this year's cast, he told us that this summer would change our lives. He is so right. I have found a new home that my broken little heart can mend itself in. There was one night here, where all the alumni gathered together to initiate those of us who are new, and it changed my life forever. Ken Clifton, the musical director of the show and now one of my dear friends said a few words that summed up what this time means. He was explaining how in portraying the Colony of people that came before us, we ourselves have become our own colony of people, who are striving and working towards a momentous goal. "We have gotten ourselves into more than we expected, but became more than we ever expected to be."