Monday, November 7, 2011

Once Upon a Dream


Once upon a time, in a not so far away land, there lived a little girl playing dress up in a grown woman's wardrobe. She wasn't a long lost princess, nor was she trapped in a tower. She was a long long lost believer trapped by the what ifs of life. Instead of singing songs and believing that her handsome prince would someday soon just show up simply because she believed he would, she got lost in the motions of life and long ago for went any premonition that a handsome prince even existed, much less would show up on her door step. The idea of needing to be saved was abhorred by this modern day girl, because she believed that she could save herself. So each day she awoke in her little home and got ready for a life that maybe in fact she really wasn't quite ready for to begin with. She put on her makeup, what little she wore with the dexterity of a woman, but somehow the eyes that she lined with ease were the opening to the soul of a little girl that so desperately wanted to believe that someday, just maybe, she would see that fairy tales really do come true.

Everyone says that when the big moments of life happen that "you just know." Well I think that this is the biggest pile of lies ever. You never "just know." anything. I think people say this because they in fact, don't know and are terrified to admit it. That when they lie awake at night and are left with too much time to think, that those little minions of doubt start to creep up and whisper in their ear. They serenade you with all the little notions you have dared never to think for fear they may actually point to the biggest truth of all. That you don't know without a shadow of a doubt that you made the right choice. Something that I am learning everyday is that not only is it OK not to know, I think it's the most honest thing that a person can admit. That they aren't sure of everything. That while they know they feel overwhelming love for another, that we never really knew what happily ever after entails.

I am still a little girl in every way shape or form when it comes to relationships. I am still searching for the correct shades of love and the proper sizes and shapes of the roles that others play in this life of mine. In all the fairy tales that I hold so near and dear to my little girl heart, there is one thing that never changes. The princess is in charge of her life. She never looks to another to live her life for her, she is simply looking for the right companion to live her life with. This is something that I think we ladies often forget. That we are not to look to the white night to come and save us, that we are simply looking to him to be the audience of one for this performance we call a life. I am the only person that is right for the role of the leading lady in my life. He should be my counter part, not my director. I am not one that is looking to be taken care of. If you know me then you know that I am capable of surviving on my own. But that's just the thing. I don't want to simply survive. I want to live.

Prince charmings are interesting characters if you think about it. There is no distinct look or prototype for one. The white night doesn't exactly have any specific criteria other than that he has some sort of noble steed with which he uses to take you off into the sunset towards the ever hovering happily ever after. Most of the time, prince charming is hiding within the hearts of a little boy, who is faces just as many struggles as the little girl that is housing the potential princess that matches that prince's heart. Without warning the little boy must learn how to become a man, for there is no in between. There rarely is ever a moment in his life where he levitates in the margin between child and grown up. Instantaneously he must know exactly how to provide, to protect, and to prove that he is worthy of the title he so longs for. But it is within that margin that most of life is lived, and he tried to much avail to navigate through it to find someone whom matches his soul.

So sometime, someday in some random place that you really don't want to be in, that same little girl meets a little boy and they begin to talk. And then maybe they find things in common. They don't immediately know anything monumental, but they know that maybe, just maybe they have found someone made of the same mold that they came from. Then eventually as they spend time together they individually begin to realize that they may in point of fact do need to be saved. They need to be saved from themselves. Suddenly the little girl starts to resemble that of royalty, and the little boy is starting to house the qualities of a well seasoned knight. Then maybe they start to see in each other, what they thought only existed in the pages of the books they were read as bed time stories years ago. It may not end it what the stories say is happily ever after, but I believe this is the shape of what the modern day fairytale could be. At least I hope so. Because as the little girl who is still searching for the heart of the little boy that matches hers, I can only hope that he won't give up looking for me. That even though this world turns us into unbelievers, that maybe there is still an ember of hope left in the heart that matches mine. And that one day my heart will be able to whisper "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream." and I will actually believe it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Secrets Secrets Are No Fun


Today I have been totally lazy and I am not afraid to admit it. I am still in my pajamas from last night. I have only left my room to eat. Since my bathroom in in the master suite I have so lovely bestowed upon the name of the Courtney Cave, I didn't even have to leave for that. Even the USA network promoted my day of slothy behaviour by airing an all day "scare-a-thon" marathon of the best episodes of Law and Order SVU. So any hope of actually accomplishing anything was lost on me today. Especially when all of these factors were coupled with the fact that the cooler weather has made it much harder for me to get out from underneath my oasty toasty fresh laundry scented blankets. Hey, even the Lord deems Sunday as "the day of rest." So who am I to argue with that?

So while I was enjoying my day of absolute waste, I also was encountered by boundless time to think, which is I suppose is the trade off to being an absolute bum. I just began to think. And think. And think about every little possible thing that could possibly be thought about until I was suddenly lost in the recesses of my mind. I thought about silly things. Like why my favorite color is red. Because when I was younger every other little girl's favorite color was pink. Or purple. Or if they were like the anti little girl that hated pink then they liked black. But I was neither. I knew that I liked lady bugs. And cardinals. And roses. And Orchids that were such a dark purple they were almost red. So I decided that my favorite color was red and I stuck with it ever since. But I also thought about the important things. The things that I bury myself in work so that I don't have to think about them. About the tough times my family has been going through. About the things I am seeing now that I am older. About the things that I am now having to realize now that I'm a "grown up". About the lies that I've told. About the lies I have been told. About how selfishness runs this world, and not love like I thought it did. That no relationship is perfect, because how could it be when the people that comprise the relationship have no home of even seeing that kind of purity. That life, just like everyone always says is not easy and not fair. But it's one thing to say that, and an entirely different thing to actually accept it.

While I was lost in the vortex of these thoughts a commercial came on for a run of the mill cable drama that is trying to procure viewers for the upcoming season. A line that was used to draw in ratings in this commercials caught my attention, because it asked a question of all of the questions that seemed to be berating me. The sexy spy character of the thrilling CSI drama said to her superior, " I would just like to know how dirty I am going to get." Well life, I ask the same question of you. How dirty am I going to get?

If I have learned anything over the last few months it is that I am much too much of an eternal optimist. I see the potential in people, not what they are actually scheming of at the moment. I see the happy in relationships, because that's what I want to see. I see the best of every situation, because if I don't then there is the potential that I will fall apart, and if I fall apart, who will help me put myself back together again? I mean if all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't fix Humpty Dumpty, then what hope do I have for myself? So I just saw what I chose to see. Until what I was choosing to see wasn't even there anymore. Selfish nature and hurtful intentions are all that was left, and while I may be a cock-eyed optimist I am no fool. If you splay disgust in front of me then that's exactly the same kind of filth that I am going to see. And you bet your bottom dollar that I will walk away from that.

Everyone has secrets. Everyone. I don't care who you are. Even the saints of this world have something hiding in the shadows. I have my secrets. So do you. The question is, will they change you? Will they turn you into this negative, horrible, selfish person in the end?. I have my secrets. And I plan to keep them, purely by the standard that I need to keep some portion of this life for myself and for the ones that are truly involved, not for the well meaning morons. Everyone also lies. All the time. About little things and about the most important things in the world. We lie about whether or not someone looks pretty in a dress or about whether or not we mean what we say when it comes to the moments when we aren't just talking face to face, but heart to heart. I will not throw the first stone because I know that I am not blameless. I have lied. But I hope that I have never lied so fiercely and without remorse that it has forever damaged the life of another. I want to know how dirty I am, and how much more dirty this life is going to get. I want to know if my rose colored glasses will ever have the same vibrant hughe they once had. Blatant viciousness is not uncommon. Silent viciousness is commonplace. Secrets are no fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Sing Because I'm Free


I need to set some things straight. I have no idea what I am doing. Like really. No idea. Not even a clue. Or a hint of a clue for that matter. I have been trying to flaunt some sense of self assuredness that bread a stylized and youthful train of knowledge to the world and hoping that no one calls me out on the fact that I am talking out of both sides of my mouth. Well since no one will call me out, I'm going to do it. I don't have any answers, much less all of the answers that I wish I had. Instead I am a growing inventory of questions, most of which start with why, what if, and how come. This world is swiftly growing more and more confusing and I certainly am not able to keep up. I still haven't decided whether it's actually becoming more confusing or if it's just that when you grow up your pretty little rose colored glasses loose their hugh bit by bit, but like I said, I don't have any answers. However, just because I don't have them does not mean that I am going to ever stop searching for them.

My favorite story bar none, Christian or otherwise is the story of queen Esther. Not only is she beautiful, she is so terribly self assured in every life changing action she takes it makes me want to strive to be someone like her. Even if I turn out to only have a glimmer of that kind of power of preciseness, I will count my life as something worth talking about. In one of the many movie portrayals of this story, one of my favorite quotes and possibly one of my life's mantras is born. "Maybe we are not meant to ask questions of our trials. Instead, maybe our trials are to answer questions of us." I don't have any answers, but maybe that is because I am not the one that is supposed to be asking the questions. Instead, perhaps I should be living my life the way I know I am destined to live it, and allow my circumstances to ask the questions in this life of me. At that moment I should be able to allow this life I have been given to answer these questions for me. If I am truly on the right path, my life should be able to speak for me. The light in my heart that I so hope that I shine should be able to pinpoint that I have been spoken for, and that the questions of this world are so petty and time wasted. That I am a soul that is engineered for a higher purpose, and unfortunately I have completely lost sight of that.

In honor of setting things straight, I feel that I need to be extremely transparent right now. Honestly as much as I want to say that it's for your benefit, I know deep down in the hidden shadows of my heart that I'm really the one that needs to see these things in black and white. That I am the one that has disconnected my mind from my heart in search of self-preservation but in actuality have only cause further demise to myself. But my mind needs to remind my heart of a few things. So here goes. I know that I am not the best example of the faith that I so strongly proclaim on these pages. I know that I am not the best witness for the Christ that I love so much. I know that I need to get back into church and really ignite that fire for the Lord that hasn't quite gone dim, but honestly maybe isn't in the right spot in the list of priorities. And if this weren't bad enough, I know that this is the very reason that my heart is breaking. My mind knows all of this. But since I severed the umbilical cord connecting mind and heart a long time ago, I have been unwilling and too headstrong to admit this. My mind knows that the bible says to "above all things, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." but my heart as jumped out of my chest and into the hands of anyone who even looks like they would want to just say hi to me. And of course when they turn out to not be the person God has made for me and is a poor caretaker of the most precious thing I own, of the very essence of who I am, I am the one that is left in shambles, not them. And the worst part is that I cannot blame them for the tears that soak my pillow. Because I know that I know better. My head also know that "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future." Yet my heart lusts after what I see right now. Being the impatient little girl I so often allow myself to resort back to, I eat all the cookies in the cookie jar even though mom told me not to because it would spoil the wonderful and healthy meal she has prepared for me. And while the cookies tasted amazing at the time, and they were all I could think about until there were consumed, in time they began to turn on me. They made me sick, and in the end it takes me more time to recover from that than it would have to have just waited on the healthy meal that was planned for me. I have refused to wait for the feast that God has for me. Instead I find myself doubled over in the corner reeling from the pain of eating the cookies of life that were there right that instant. I need to learn how to wait for the substance that God has for me, not the ever-fleeting sugar that the world tells me I should have.

My life hasn't ever been easy, but then again whose has? We have all seen things before we should have; we have all grown up too fast. We are all defined by the scares life has left with us. We are even farther defined by whether we see these scares as ugly flaws, or as the flaws that make us the beautiful creatures that we so long to be. I have fought so hard for life. And life hasn't really ever fought hard back for me. I have loved life, but life has never really loved me back. It's like the women that look at themselves in the mirror to try and find some satisfaction there, but they are met by a reflection that will never love them back, no matter how many hours they stand in front of it. I have loved the wrong things. I have put my hope on that something less that the hymns I grew up with so fervently warn against. I have trusted the sweetest frame and have not leaned on Jesus' name. I have put everything thing on the sinking sand that never yields anything prosperous. Yet I know that the solid rock is where I so desperately need to be.

Speaking of hymns, my life has been guided by the lyrics that fill any generic hymnal that can be found in any church worldwide. Songs are the language of my heart, and lyrics are the translation of my thoughts. For years I have identified with the concise way that lyrics decode the feelings of my spirit, and often use them to convey what I can't seem to fashion together on my own. One of these hymns has shaped my life in more ways than I ever thought one could. It has been my strength in times of need, and my encouragement to keep going in lighter times. It's the song that my mom sings to me when I need to know I am never alone, and the same song I sing when I have just received the happiest news possible. When I was going through a very very rough time with my health in high school and beyond I remember writing this down in one of the hospitals I was being cycled through. " I may not always "sing because I'm happy" because I know this life won't always bring me the happiness that I think I require. But this I know. I know that I will always "sing because I am free." Because no matter what tries to hold me captive, I have been offered freedom, and by this freedom I will live."

I found this scribbled in one of my old notebooks yesterday and just started to cry. It immediately took me back to that time in my life where I had no idea if things would ever improve. A light at the end of the tunnel wasn't even a hope of mine, yet I had the strength to write these words. It's as if a sixteen-year-old version of myself knew that one day and older but not wiser version of myself would need this. Well I did. I do. I am tearing myself away from the idea that I know anything about this life that I live, much less have any control over it. Instead I am going to place my life and more importantly my heart into the most capable hands there is, and live my life through him. No matter what tries to hold me captive, I have been offered freedom, and by this freedom I will live. I sing, now and forever more, because I am FREE

Sunday, October 9, 2011

If It Seems Too Good To Be True...


I hate pessimists. I hate the glass half empty. I hate what ifs. I hate I wonder why's. I hate why me's. I hate black and white. And it seems to be that this is what the world has been reduced to. To cynicism. To negativity. To entitlement. Things are never good enough. The grass is always greener on the other side. We always have to keep up with the Jones'. We always want what's bigger, better, faster and stronger. And when we achieve what we thought was going to bring us that contentment that only these goals can bring, we already have our eyes fixed on something better.

I like to call this shinny ball syndrome. You are living your life with your head hung low wishing your life away, and then you see the pretty silver ball. So you go for that. And you run and run until your little feet can't run anymore. You keep your head down to the grind and finally one day you get your silver ball. But when you see it up close you start to notice that it's just the outside that's so pretty. The silver is cheap and flakey, and starting to peel away. Suddenly it has lost its luster. And just as fate would have it, at the precise moment you are seeing your silver ball, something that was once the object of your total affection, the reason for existence, as something cheap and pitiful, you spot a golden egg. And the cycle continues and continues and so on and so forth. Sure it's important to chase after things, but these things shouldn't be actual metaphysical things. We should be chasing after intentions. Not the end result. We shouldn't chase after that really hot guy, we should chase after finding the one that your soul was made to match, and then the Mr. Right will be given to you, as opposed to Mr. Right Now. We shouldn't be chasing after money; we should be chasing after the career that fills you with joy each day because you know that you are making a small difference in the world. You are being the change you want to see in this life. When you chase after that the money will follow.

Sadly however, we have been conditioned to believe that these intensions that breed our fairytale results in point of fact do not exist. We are told that Mr. Right only exists in Jane Austin novels; he only inhabits the fairytales we are told and implored to believe by our mothers as children, then are told to un-believe when we grow up. Our Mister has joined the leagues of Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. One day your mom has to pull you aside and tell you that in fact these were just stories, something happy to believe in for a time, but they don't exist in the "real world." As is the idea of happiness. When we are kids we dream that we can be the President of the United States, or an astronaut, or a movie star. But when we get older we realize that we hate politics, are terrible at psychics, and just aren't pretty or skinny enough to grace the silver screen. So we begin to settle for the 9 to 5 routine, and some of us live our lives there. From their rut they seethe with resentment and marindae in feelings of entitlement and pessimism. Because when we were told that "happily ever after" was to stay confined in the pages of our books, we lost faith in the entirety of the tale.

The sad part of all of this is that we don't even realize that this is what happened to us. We as a generation have for the most part lost the courage to dream big. We have become lazy. We would rather turn down work so that we can still get our unemployment checks and qualify for food stamps. And the majority of us are not only ok with living this way; they don't see anything wrong with it. Because after all, happily ever after doesn’t exist. This is reality. Well I simply refuse to accept that. I deserve everything. Yes. I do feel entitled, but rightly so. Because I'm not just wishing on the North Star every night and then yelling and cursing at it when I don't hold up my end of the bargain. And what is my end of the bargain you ask? Action. I am taking every single action that I can to make my happy ending not just my happy ending, but also my happy existence.

What sparked all of this you ask? Well tonight I broke my mother AND my father's heart and hopped on the back of a motorcycle for a ride. A friend of mine has been incredibly gracious during a rough spot for my family and me and has been driving me to and from the hospital. My superman Poppy is there and I have been going up to see him as much as I can. This was the first time he brought his bike, and I was terrified. Why? Because my mom conditioned me from birth to believe that as soon as I got on one I would be killed before I ever left the driveway. Of course just like anything your parents tell you you can't do, as soon as you do it you love it. Even when the the skies opened and poured down on us leaving us soaked and freezing, I simply had one of the best times I had had in a very long time.

The ride home however was the absolute best. I could see the stars. Like actually look up into the midnight black sky and see the little dots of glitter wink at me as we rode back to my apartment. I had so much on my mind that I am shocked I was even able to take a minute to appreciate something so simple as the stars at night. I think I was probably looking up to the heavens in defeat and instead was met with awe. I am facing the loss of someone who has not only loved me with every fiber of his being, but has understood me without question. He is too good to be true. My Poppy has never once failed me. Never. Not once. He has helped mold me into the person I am, and I can only hope that he is proud of me. So as I sat there riding home I could only thing of what his parting words were to me. "Baby you will survive as long as you keep being Courtney." As I choked back the tears I couldn't help thinking that I hope I am good enough to keep up the bar he has so lovingly set up for me. And then I also thought of the other people who have also set that same bar for me. The important people will want to pound into my heart that I am worth it, that I am beautiful. That what they have to offer me isn't too good to be true. That not only do I deserve happy ever after, but to also know that it exists. And that is something I hope I never forget.

So as I am sitting on the back of this bike, letting the breeze tickle my back and watch the stars wink at me in that knowing way, I knew that I am going to be ok. More than ok. I am going to have my fairy tale. Even Nicholas sparks himself couldn't write it better. I already have my silver ball. My golden egg. It's not the things of this life that make the journey. And it's also not simply the intentions that you have towards the path that you are on. You must couple that with the intensions others have concerning you. The intension of sharing their life with you, and bettering you in the process. Whether it is my family, my dear sweet beautiful friends, or someday a modern day white knight, I know without a doubt that it won't be too good to be true.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Without You


Perspective is a funny thing. It's like magical fairy dust. Or the touch of King Midas. With one slight adjustment it changes everything. Kind of like a 3D movie. Without the magical 3D glasses, it looks like a big technologically advance hodge podge of pixels. But when you put on the flimsy glasses everything is crystal clear. Beautiful. Out of this world. Magical. You would never know that what you are seeing is the same mess that you were looking at only seconds before. The glasses change everything. They may not be the most expensive things ever, but in the context of you're viewing pleasure, they are the most important. Such is perspective. It's the absolute difference between a mess, and feeling like you can reach out and touch the stars you are so longing to land upon.

I'm at a point in my life where I could either choose to wear my 3D glasses or not. For the first time I think ever, I find myself in situations where it is very clearly marked black or white. Yes or no. Do or Don't. And of course, as always is the pattern of my life, this is occurring in every compartment of my little world. No matter how hard I try to put everything in it's own little cubby, it seems that all my books keep wanting to fall out and land all together on the floor at the same time... so that when someone walks by and spills water, it lands on all of them. Not just one. Well water is to my perspective as each subject of my life are to these text books. My world has been sprinkled with the liquid of decision making, and I need to make some choices fast.

As hard as I am trying to keep everything logical, perspective is usually an emotional thing, and that seems to be where I tend to fall short. I would much rather push everything down. To "tough it out" rather than let the tears run down and the pensive rebuilding begin. But sometimes even I need to recognize when it is OK to let down my wall of cynicism. Of defensiveness. Of fear. And make the choice to either allow myself to be happy and a better person because of the outcome of my difficult situation, or continue on with the grind of life and settle for what that may produce. In life what is often most rewarding is usually bred from the hardships we face and eventually overcome. And right now I am facing some hardships.

I am faced with the possibility I may loose some people that I love very very much. Some physically. Some emotionally. And I can't stand that. I can't stand that the candle has burned down to the very bottom of the wick, and it very well may be that the sand in the hourglass has run out. I don't like putting that kind gravity on things. I like to keep everything about the same weight. But just because I make everything equal does not mean everything is in balance. And try as I might I can't seem to make all of that happen for myself. Even I who wears her rose colored glasses every day by choice can see that things have the potential to change, and very fast and very devastatingly so. Which has made me come to realize a few things.

When one is faced with such a circumstance, you are demanded of to put on your 3D glasses and see the world in striking clarity. I used to be afraid of 3D movies because of how in my face they got. Well life is right up in my face and if I take off my glasses I will only be doing myself a disservice. So now that I am seeing life this way, I am seeing that not only are things going to change, that I have no control over how they change or not. The outcomes of these relationships are totally out of my hands. And the only thing that I can do is watch and pray that things go the way my little heart wants them to. The decision does not lie in the outcome of these events, it lies in how I handle them in the aftermath. If I accept and move on. I am also seeing who I can live with, and who I would die without, and the results are shocking. My family has always subscribed to the belief that when it comes to relationships it's quality, not quantity, and while I agreed, I still tried to maintain my volume of relationships. It made me feel more important when lots of people could call me friend and wanted me in their lives. But now that I see how they react when the going gets tough, I am now a firm believer in this idea. And the inventory downsize was much more than I thought it would be. Because in this process of looking at life through such a crisp perspective, I remembered what my eighth grade self had written in a dear friend's year book. "Don't settle for the one you can live with, wait for the one you can't live without."

So as I sit here scared stiff of my life that is reaching out to grab me into some potentially devastating losses, that is what I remember. That while facing these times of hurt, I must walk through it with the one's I can't live without, and just as importantly with the ones who can't live without me. I am here for a reason, and I intend to live out that reason to it's fullest. So as I risk the loss of some physically and some emotionally, I am going to remember that I can't live without them. That I won't live without them. Even if they only exist in my heart, I will still carry them with me forever, because they have left me with their hand print forever. And forever is a very long time to go without you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dreaming Wide Awake


I can't sleep. I have no idea why because I am exhausted. I was even up "early" for a Saturday. And I say "early" because everyone who knows me knows that my version of early doesn't match the world's definition by any stretch of the imagination. But I am trying, and that should count for something. I have to be awake in roughly four hours to go sing at a church in Naples tomorrow. I mean today... I never do seem to get that right. In my world the day ends when I go to sleep and starts when I wake up... but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn't gage their time schedule around me. Anyhow. I find myself wide awake exactly when I shouldn't be, and as always these are the times in life where I realize something I would have missed had I been asleep.

Things lately have been moving really fast for me. Really really fast. And not just in one part of my life. Everywhere I look it's like everything is on fast-forward but for some reason someone forgot to wind me up so I can match the pace. It's certainly not a bad thing though. In a desperate attempt to hold on to this life I'm watching come together that I so splendidly get to call my own, I have seen so many wonderful things I would have missed had I not been trying to soak every little ounce in that I could. I got another promotion at work. And not just an increase in hours and no more work. I got all of the work. I was expecting another cookie from the cookie jar but what I got was all the cookies and the jar to boot. The other woman that worked with me has abruptly moved on, and the schedule I was working towards in two years I was being handed to me today. I am essentially running the place with the owner of the company. I don't think I have ever learned so much so fast and actually retained it all in my whole life. And I love it. I wake up every morning... yes. in the ACTUAL morning time, not just make believe Courtney morning time... and am so excited to go to work. I am being helpful. I have a distinct purpose. I am helping people. I am opening the floodgates to my servants heart. Never have I been on a more rigid schedule, yet somehow I know that I have never felt so free. I am encouraged, and strongly so, to exercise my talents. Even the silly ones. Like talking on the phone. Or writing an eloquent thank you note. It has never been so positive a thing to be myself. Truly myself. Good, bad, OCD, and all. And I didn't even see it coming.

I also didn't see a successful personal life coming my way either. For the first time in a very long time, I can say that I am not partaking of any one way street relationships. Everything is a give and take. Not just a take and take... and take and take and take. With my new work schedule being so demanding and prioritizing my rest as a necessity to keep it that way, I have been able to see the friendships that are worth my time and those that can maybe wait a while to pick back up. God has placed some beautiful snow flake like souls in my life to create this beautiful winter wonderland that my life seems to be right now. Each one different, but all working towards the same cause. To be helpmates for me, and allowing me to be the same for them. Some are more seasoned than others as they have been around longer, but the new ones have their purpose too. Probably to show me the things that I should have believed of myself all along, but never had the courage to look myself in the eyes in the mirror long enough to confirm it. I am so beyond grateful for this. And I so hope that I can keep holding on tight enough to this life that is being lived in fast forward long enough to keep it going.

My fits of insomnia usually always seem to breed some kind of reflection or realization. Mostly because I'm actually allowing myself to process the things I save for later; the things that I "Can't deal with right now". So as I lie awake flipping though mindless infomercials I turned to facebook, hoping it would provide the entertainment I was seeking out. And of course there it was. The thing I needed to see and would have missed had I not been awake to find it. And I so needed to see this. It was the status of someone I went to college with in Cincinnati. We weren't super close friends. Shoot I don't even know if we were real friends. We had a class together. My worst subject actually. And she had always been there to help me out. So in the confines of that classroom we were friends. Anyhow I hadn't heard anything from her in over a year... probably two now that I think about it. And out of no where the facebook gods decided that I should see this one status. Not any others that she had posted in the last two years. Just this one. It read:

‎"We all think we’re going to be great and we feel a little bit robbed when our expectations aren’t met. But sometimes expectations sell us short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. You got to wonder why we cling to our expectations, because the expected is just what keeps us steady. Standing. Still, the expected just the beginning, the unexpected is what changes our lives." -Grey's Anatomy

I read it over and over again. I don't watch Grey's Anatomy. I feel that I'm too far behind to catch up now. So I don't really care what the real context is. This is my life. I get so caught up in the to do lists and the perfection that is so unattainable and the expectations that I forget that maybe if I let go, something beautiful could happen. That maybe if I work really hard and only worry about my productivity and no one Else's that someday I will be rewarded for that. That maybe if I go out with a friend when I really don't want to I may meet someone that is going to change everything. That when I have to face the thought of loosing a loved one that maybe it will remind me of just how rich I am. I may not be rich in money. But I am overwhelmingly wealthy in life. In love. That's what we keep missing. It's what I keep missing. No matter what my bank statement looks like, I am rich in life, and that is the most beautiful thing in this world that is so full of darkness and sadness and greed.

These are the things that fill my mind as I am watching my ceiling fan go round and round again and again while my body is being rebellious and keeping me from my hot date with slumber. I often wonder why these things come to me at night. I always wonder why I can't decide when I sleep and that my body does it for me. And then I remember things like this. These little blossoms of hope that I see in the very darkest parts of night. While everyone else is dreaming all snugged in their beds, I sometimes get the rare privilege to dream wide awake. And sometimes, I get to watch it come true.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes


It's tough being a girl. It's even tougher being a woman. When you are just a girl, you can get away with being a little naive here and there, and you can still claim that your innocents isn't your fault. When you are a woman, that naivety is now somehow a flaw, and your innocents purely irresponsible. Somewhere in the middle of growing up we are some how supposed to know all there is to know, never make a mistake, and do it all while wearing high heels. To look beautiful is the duty of a woman. To speak eloquently is the demand on a woman. To be educated is expected of a woman. And to never be wrong is the curse of a woman.

I can proudly say of myself that I am a successful professional young woman. I am completely financially independent (save my health insurance) I have a wonderful job that I am good at and am advancing and thriving in. I have friends that I am proud to know, and family that I am privileged to love. However there are those that are shocked when they grow to see how truly independant I am. Of course I rely on the ones I love emotionally, because I think it is healthy to not exclude your heart from the world. But when it comes to doing, more often than not I am going to do exactly whatever it is that I have decided to do. And I will always do it without asking for help, even if I may need it.

Last night I got to go spend some very much needed quality time at the Creek House with my Geema Pops aunt Sissy and uncle Guy. I was bribed to drive all the way out to my first childhood home way out in the country with home made lemon cake, but I stayed put for the conversation and the love I always find there. Somehow I always find my peace when I go home. It reminds me where I started from; not only does that show me how far I've come, it shows me how close I still am to the little girl that ran through those orange groves bare foot counting the stars as if I could actually know how many there were.

During my visit the subject of my violent need for independence came up. I find myself in a situation where I feel severely limited, and am trying to find a way to either stick with it and suppress my need for freedom, or make a clean cut and keep doing as I always have. I've been in this spot before, and it actually scares me how strong my need to do things the way I see them really is, as opposed to keeping my head down and agreeing blindly so I don't rock the boat. So as I bring this up all the members of my family begin to smirk a little here and there, Sissy even begins to laugh a little. Wanting to know what was so funny about my problem I simply just posed a "What??" hoping they would explain the humor in my "serious situation" My pops just grinned at me and said "honey, from the time you were just a little girl you never wanted any one's help. You fed yourself, dressed yourself, heck you even taught yourself how to sing. And it wasn't because no one cared enough to teach you or help you. We wanted more than anything to do it all for you. But you taught us something by doing it on your own. That no matter what happened, you were gonna be able to stand on your own two feet." Then my sissy looked at my pops and said "Do you remember the day that she just decided that she was gonna walk? I had no idea what they were talking about. Apparently when I was nine months old I kept watching everyone walk in and out of the room I was in, and I wasn't very happy about it. I wanted to go where all my family was going. So I pulled myself up on the couch and pushed myself off of it as hard as I could. I somehow managed to walk all the way to the doorway in between the room I was in and the room people were walking to. From that day on I walked everywhere. I never crawled. Just walked.

Hearing this coming from the people that know the real heart of who I am just brought me some peace. I was made to be the way that I am. Of course I have flaws. But hitting the ground running with everything I have isn't one of them. I was created to be this woman and cary the duties that come along with it. With every stride I take I know that I am that much closer to being the person that I am meant to be. Am I busy? Absolutely. Probably "too busy" by the worlds standards. But as God would have it I also know what it's like to actually be incapable of producing anything close to busy. I feel like this strength I have right now should not go to waste, because every day I have it is a gift. Am I a woman? Yes. Am I still a little girl? Yes. Do I still have big dreams and hopes? Probably more so now than ever. Do I leave them just for when I'm fast asleep?...

Never.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hold My Heart


My phone won't ring. It's dead now, but even before then, my silly little smart phone wouldn't ring. I feel that if it were actually smart like it thinks it is, it would fake a little ring here and there to maybe give me some hope. But no matter how long I stared at it, questioned it, scolded it, and maybe even yelled at it, that bothersome little green light refused to wink at me, alerting me that someone had reached out.

Every time my phone lights up unexpectedly with a text or a call, I whisper to myself "oh somebody loves me!" I had never thought that I actually measured caring this way, but today, when no one called, I realized that I do in fact judge caring on communication. That if someone can take the time to just check in and see how I am and actually wait around for a response, they must care. And if they don't, then they are void of emotion for me... and I don't think that's a fair currency.

People pay for life in different ways. Some people pay for their life with money. By showing you that they can financially provide for themselves, you, and even be a little ostentatious with their funds, they are somehow proving that they deserve you. Some people pay for life with their time. That by sharing their time with you and making the conscious effort to live life in tandem with yours, even for just a few hours, proves that they have dedicated some portion of their heart to you. Others pay for life by intimacy. That if they can share that deeply with you and you can do the same for them then they have accomplished telling you just how much you mean to them without having to use their words. While all of these currencies are important, just like the quarter and the nickle and the dime, I feel like the dollar bills of life are words. There is nothing like paying for your life and being taken seriously simply by your words. Too often in life we feel that we can just do do do and never say because hey "actions speak louder than words." and while that may be true, actions are nothing if you are mute.

Words have the potential to be full of power, yet in this day and age we have emptied them of all meaning. However we simultaneously know that if we actually utter what we feel in our hearts, that actually makes what's in there real. And what happens if what you thought was a two way street as far as feelings go, turns out to be just a dirt road in the woods once you actually admit to your intentions? As for me, at this point in my life, I would much rather find out that what I thought was a super highway of a relationship is in fact a bike path, because at least then I am demonstrating that I know the value of not only my words, but my heart. That is something that is invaluable in this world. To know the value of my heart.

So as I look at the phone, or wait for facebook alerts, or check my email, I know that the ones that matter most will reach out. And that maybe someday someone will figure out just how to hold my heart.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mama I'm a Big Girl Now


Well it has been quite some time since my last post, and honestly a lot of life has happened to me since I last wrote. It's one of those times that I wish I could have taken the time to write down what I was feeling during this transition, but it was such a big one that I didn't even have the time to sit down and comment on it. You know what I take that back. I did have the time. But I think I know deep down that if I let myself sit down and dwell on my life that was shifting in totality and even changing axles, I may not be able to handle it. And we all know what happens when I reach my ropes end... for those of you that don't; keep it that way.

So to summarize my ever changing life. I am now in a new show (Annie at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre) which is always such a blessing. I have been blessed yet again to not only do what I love doing, but I have met some beautiful souls along the way that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise, and are really aiding in getting me through this time in life. I have also moved. Yes kids I broke my mother's heart and I moved out. I have a FANTASTIC roomie that I love spending time with, and over all it has been a fairly peaceful adjustment. I miss the kids with my whole heart, and I hate not having my nightly chats with mom, but we all knew it was time to go. Things may be different, but different is not synonymous with bad. I think my relationship with my parents has grown for the better, because now they know the times I do call and come over that I genuinely want to be there, not because I want to appease the hand that feeds me.

So needless to say I kinda feel like I'm living a totally different life than I was a month ago, and to be honest I actually am. I have a different job and a different house, but more so than that I have different priorities, and I am beginning to see that priorities are a core tell in what makes someone tick. If I have the priority to say, pay my bills, then I am going to do everything I possibly can to be smart with my money, and be the best me I can be at my job. I cant for example just party and go out all the time and put that job that allows me to pay my bills in jeopardy. So if I have been keeping company with someone who doesn't have these kinds of responsibility they may have the pre disposition to do whatever they want when they want and not worry about the consequences.

It's funny that when you are fending for yourself how very particular you become about the company you keep. When I was growing up and someone hurt my feelings or I was in a fight with a girlfriend or something, my daddy would always say to me "it's not the quantity of the friends you have, but the quality." I have never found that to be more true. I have begun to look at my recent company and wondering if I should keep it. Now if you are reading this and are a friend of mine, do not fear a sudden blow off or anything like that. No housecleaning is going to be done, it's just an observation. The great thing is I have been so proud of the ones I have chosen to spend my time with. While I am being frugal with my money, I can be generous with my time, (what little of it I have) with those that I have been blessed to cross paths with. I have never felt more uplifted and protected by not only my family, but such special friends as well, and that is truly a miracle.

In everything I do, I do it with all of my heart, and this time in my life is no different. I have thrown myself into this jolt of adulthood with everything I've got, and I can't say that I've come out clean. I've garnered a few bruises here and there by realizing that maybe everything needs to change. I am now a neat freak. No joke. I clean all the time. I make lists. I check my bank account several times a DAY. And among these small adjustments I have tried to lodge the big ones. Like taking my heart a little more seriously and walking away from something that maybe wasn't the best for me. I'm learning how to make clean breaks, not just keeping people around because it's easy. I've also learned how to look into the mirror and be proud of not only the seen (which is a big deal for me) but the unseen. Because I know that when I walk outside the door and get in my car, that if my mommy ever asks me I can tell her that I really am I big girl now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

There's A Place For Us


Last night I allowed my geeky self to shine through. Not in front of anyone of course, but never the less there I was in all my dorky splendor enjoying every second I could of the fabulous display in front of me. Of course I am speaking of the Tony Awards. My once a year day where I can openly get really excited about a production number or cry along with the Tony winner as they give their heart felt acceptance speech. As I sat there in my dad's over sized t-shirt and my favorite pajama pants, I might as well have been wearing a ball gown that I couldn't breathe in and sitting in the audience myself. That's how excited I was. But as always when it came time for the commercial break, I allowed myself to think about some things that I don't really like to think about, and by the end of the telecast, I had learned something about myself.

I am going to be totally honest here. I have no idea what I'm doing. There I've said it. I have absolutely no idea what I think I am doing. But even more surprising than that. I am OK with it. Me and the unknown have somehow come to some sort of peace, and have decided to walk in tandem through this journey of life, and not nit pick at each other the whole way. Everyone knows that I am a performer. It is not just what I do, but it is who I am. But recently I have been tossing around the idea of where it should fit in my life. Should it be my career or my hobby? Should I continue to work locally as a professional or should I submit to other regional theatres and risk uprooting myself again? Do I want to move to the city in a year or is that still way out of reach? Is this even what I want anymore? I mean I have another great opportunity right in front of me as a Marketing Director and all that other really big corporate title talk.. and I love it. But can I really have both?

As I watched performance after performance my heart began to scream at my "you fool this is what you were made for. This is your purpose." But my head kept saying "You have more than one purpose, and do you really think that you can continue to keep up?" As my heart and head battled in the front seat of the car I sat in the back and just listened to all the beautiful sights and sounds that were being offered to me on this award shows. What I saw in every frame and every camera shot was joy. The joy of performing. The joy of theatre. The joy of remembering. The joy of achievement. But most of all the joy of sharing emotion with everyone else in the room, and having the guts to stand there and say "look at me, I am human. I want you to watch me live." That's when I figured it out. I am not what I do as a profession. I am a person who chooses to live life every day and say "Look at me, I am human. Watch me live." I mess up a lot. And by a lot I mean ALL THE TIME. I know that I don't have it right. But I certainly don't have it wrong. I have life. And I hope that I never forget that.

What I am trying to say is that I know that there is a place for me. I may not know where it is, but I am confident that I have one, and when I find it, I'll know. It's a beautiful place I'm sure. However, what I do know is that the journey to this beautiful place is just as spectacular. And you want to know what the best part is? I don't have to do it alone anymore. For so long... so very long I thought I had to be the strong one and do this for myself, by myself. But one of the beautiful lessons I have learned while growing up these past six months is that I am certainly not alone. I have some of the most beautiful people in the world that God has given me to hold my hand while we find where we fit. So hold my hand and we're halfway there. Hold my hand and I'll take you there. There's a place for us.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Live Until I Die


I want to be a hero. Instead I wait for someone to come save me. I want to change the world. Instead I wait to be told what to do. I want to believe in more than just you and me. But I can't even look at the reflection in the mirror. I want to have my fairytale. But I let reality convince me they don't exist. I want to be extraordinary. But I settle for just OK. I want to rule the world. But I can't even rule my own life. I want to take control. But when I look around all I see is chaos. I want to be loved. But how can I allow someone to love me when I can't even say that I love myself. I want to be "enough" in the eyes of the ones I love. But how will I truly ever know what enough is. I want to be a dreamer. But I always let reality wake me back up. I want to just be. But I never just want to exist.

Have you ever thought any of these things before? I know that I have... I mean obviously since I am the hand that wrote them. This paragraph makes me sick, because it's what's wrong. With what you ask? With everything. It's what's wrong with the way we prioritize what's important. It's what's wrong with how we give advice. It's what's wrong with how we raise our children. It's what's wrong with how we run our government. It's what's wrong with how we love this beautiful world full of immaculate people that were created out of pure love just for us. My hands are shaking with emotion as I write all of this out.. and that hasn't' happened for me in a long time. This is what I truly feel deep down. That we put on a face, a veneer, a show even for the world and we never get down to what we really feel and think and need. And trust me. I know all about putting on a show. It's my life. And unfortunately I know how to do it all too well.

This weekend I have been doing a lot of thinking and a lot of procrastinating. I have been thinking about basically everything that has been going on for me recently and have been procrastinating with everything I need to be doing to keep up. I began to think about these relationships I have been building with people. And how happy I am now that I've done it. But deep down I know that I am still holding back. I am showing them the Courtney I already know that everyone will love. The performance Courtney, the surface Courtney. So then I began to wonder what would happen if I changed the plot of the show, and came out as the less sparkly version of myself. Instead of having all of these beautiful production numbers backing me up, what if all I had was a simple stool, the ghost light, and my words. And what about my list? What if I came at it with simple determination to get it done to the best of my ability, not with the absurd idea that it has to be perfect. That I have to be perfect. It doesn't work that way. And if it has worked for you, please, write a book about it so that I can tell you that you're wrong.

So as I have been sitting here on my bed. I began to wonder. I HATE wondering. I want to know. Knowledge has always been my friend. My power. My back up plan. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we sabotage everything wonderful we have going for us with a simple smile and a complacent attitude? What happened to the fight for what we really want instead of this settling for what we are told? Why do we wait for someone to save us when we know that we can save ourselves? Or, why can't we realize that we don't really need to be saved, that we just need to live. Keith Haring, one of the greatest artists and humans I have had the pleasure of studying put it perfectly when he wrote in his journal, "I only wish that I could have more confidence and try and forget all my silly preconceptions, misdirections, and just live. Just live. Just. Live. Just live until I die."
-Keith Haring.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

If You Just Smile


I woke up this morning fully prepared to go through the motions of my work week. You know, living in the rut I have happily created for myself, and completely satisfied to stay confined within it. I had no expectations of greatness. I knew that I would wake up, get ready, go to work, and then come home. Very simple. Very mundane. Very routine. I had no intention of having a day to write home about, but that's the fun thing about life, it finds you when you least expect it.

In fact, today was more of a down day for me. I woke up not feeling well, and ended up having to pep talk my way to work, because that's what adults do. They go to work even when they don't feel like it. Once I got to work there were piles and piles of things on my desk that needed to be done, and done today. I knew that it was going to be not only a daunting task, but probably and impossible one. I watched $210.00 go down the drain as I paid for my speeding ticket over the phone (at the VERY last minute might I add) and learned that I have to take a four hour traffic course to keep my insurance down. I stayed over time to try and attempt to finish my back logged work and still didn't even come close. I gave myself a migraine. I had to pay another bill. By the time I got home not only did I really not want to talk to anyone, I wanted to sit in my room alone and pout. For the rest of the night. But leave it to my loved ones to come to the rescue, even when they have no idea that they are doing it.

My Shannon decided that tonight we would be having a movie night. I recently found her a job through the employment agency I work for and we are both already worn out from work this week. So we decided that along with just enjoying each other's company, we could relax and just watch a Disney movie. These plans were made when I wasn't jaded by life, so by the time I had become completely sour I wanted so desperately to just stay home, but I couldn't day no to Shan. So after procrastinating as much as humanly possible I hopped in my car and drove to her house, armed with Aladdin and a not so great attitude. I figured I would cheer up when I got there somehow, but if I didn't she would understand.

When I got to her house I was surprised to see that Dawn was already there, another "new" fun friend in my life. They were just chillin out in her room watching youtube videos. So I just joined in. Soon I was hearing myself laugh. Cackle even. Then I felt that pain in my stomach that is only caused when you can't catch your breathe because you are laughing so hard. Tears stung my eyes. And it wasn't really anything spectacular that we were laughing at. We were all just bent over in a fit of giggles, and it was the best cure for a poor attitude ever. That and donuts. You can't forget about the donuts.

Soon there were several more people that joined us at Shannon's house... she's a popular gal and we all like to get together when we can. More of my new and favorite people came, and there were even some people there I hadn't met yet. As the group grew, so did the laughter. Soon it was way past my bedtime, and I wasn't even concerned. I was laughing. A lot. And with the people I most want to share laughter with... and I was even making more friends. I soon realized that I had been without my phone the entire night (which is a HUGE thing for me) because all of the people I would be begging my phone to tell me that they had called were already sitting next to me. For those few hours the only concern I had was making sure that I breathed in between fits of laughter.

However, at some point I had to be responsible and go home because tomorrow is a work day. After saying goodbye to everyone, I jumped in my car and began the easy drive home. While sitting there in silence I marveled at how simple it was to turn my day around. Life is too short to just get by. Each day is precious, why settle for routine? Find some way to surprise yourself. Life shouldn't just live in the middle, and every day you should find the excuse to just smile, and if at all possible share that smile with someone else.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Simple Love Story


My days have started to run together. Which isn't an entirely bad thing. In fact I'm not sure it's a bad thing at all. My days have become so full that even the sleep that breaks them up seems to disappear and I am just living in one giant day. In my case, this is a nice change of pace for me. Not only are my days full which makes me feel satisfied and accomplished, they are filled with exactly what I want them to be filled with. Work that I love, friends that I cherish, family I don't take for granted, and smiles that I treasure. I am loving where life is taking me, but just for a second, I wanted to take a time out and make sure that all this magical euphoria was real.

So I took a trip to my favorite place in the world. The Creek House. The Creek House is the name that my three year old self gave to my grandparent's house (my then house as well) when the lot of us all moved in. Now, like many of my "memories" from that time, I don't actually remember the origin of them since I was so small. All I know is, is that the name of the house is The Creek House, and I am credited for it. There is even a plaque by the front door proudly displaying the name. It's just where I know I can go and be me, whoever that may be at that moment, and not have to worry about who is watching me and telling me that I am wrong. I always know that I can go there and find a good old cup of sweet tea, some home cooking, lots of love and sometimes even a glimpse of who I want to be when I re-enter the real world.

The Creek House is about 40 ish minutes away from my house, but it might as well be a world away. In the relatively short drive it takes to get there, I go from a miniature metropolitan area to the cow fields that most people thought didn't exist anymore. The house is on four acres of land, and used to be a functioning orange grove... Tropicana used to come and take (and by take I mean buy) our oranges. But over the years the grove has grown over, but what is left is still as stunning. Trees everywhere, creating this beautiful canopy over the property that just shields it from the rest of the world. Of course there is a creek... I wasn't a stupid child... and that leads out to the river. I spent so many of my days as a kid taking boat rides down that creek and out to the river. But once I got out there I was just happy to turn around. I liked the character of the creek, not the impersonal nature if the big river. I'm pretty sure that if I were any kind of artist I could map out for you every nook and cranny of that creek... that's how often I was out there.

But what I love most about the Creek House are the people who live there. My Poppy and Geema hold a very special place in my heart. They have loved me like there own, and have imparted wisdom to me that I hope to never take for granted. Each trip that I make out there is uniquely different but all so familiar. We eat, talk, pray and laugh together, and then I go back to what most people would deem as reality. It's where I go to center myself again, and to make sure that I still have my head on straight, cause trust me, if it weren't my Pop's would set it straight for me. In love of course.

Speaking of love, my grandparents have basically written the book on the subject. They have been married for half a century and have never betrayed that loyalty. Never have they looked in another direction, and they have always demonstrated not only the happy fuzzy feeling of love, but the lifestyle that love has to become for marriage to work. You don't always have to like each other, but you must always maintain respect for one another. Their story is one that Nicholas Sparks himself couldn't have written better. Geema was the only girl Poppy ever dated, and same with Geema. They fell in love, and stayed together while Poppy went away to architectural school for five years. As soon as he graduated, they eloped, and have been together ever since.

Well it was recently my Geema's birthday and we of course celebrated it with her all in our own way. While I was over at their house I saw the various cards that her kids had sent and the little gifts that we had given her, but there was one card that I did not recognize. So being the nosey little baby of the family that I sometimes am I went over, snatched it up and began to read it. It was from my Poppy. To his sweetheart. It touched me so much that it actually made me cry, and that is a feat. I even had to write it down so that I could write about it on here. Here is what the card said:

To my wife with all my love. Even when I first met you, I knew that somehow you would be the love of my life, and that's exactly what you are. No matter how many years go by, I'll still think of you as the person I want to share everything with. The person I most want to make happy. The one without whom life would never be the same. You are my world, my life, my everything. I love you with all my heart and I always will.

RIGHT?! And if that weren't enough, in Poppy's perfect, architectural block letter handwriting at the very bottom of the card were the words: Love you always and forever, Gene.

The lesson here is simple. Love is exactly what you make it to be. It can be small and pathetic, but if you let it, it can be that Nicholas Sparks, Disney Princess, love for the ages kind of fairytale but in real life. But even in its grander, it can be just as simple as a birthday card to your sweetheart, fifty years after you took your vows, and actually meant them.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Will Be Loved Tonight


People are infinantly shocking. I know that I shouldn't be shocked by outlandish actions anymore, but my sometime naive, innocent childlike mind usually fails to compute some of the out there actions people think they can get away with. But people are crazy. And if you are one of the people sitting there reading this and thinking that this doesn't apply to you, you just might be the crazies of us all. You know what they say, it's always the quiet ones :)

Today I was introduced once again to the species of human that does not think before they act, or before they speak for that matter. I know that everyone has the capability and sometimes even the occasion to exercise this talent, and this fellow may very well be a stand up guy. But to me he will always be a giant green hulk of a man that tried to bang down my door and made me want to crawl under my desk.

Yes ladies and gentlemen. A scene was caused today. Whilst I was at work, a very angry and large man decided that he was going to come into my office, and that the very lovely and sturdy plexiglass front door was not going to stop him. He was unaware of whether or not anyone was actually in the office thank God, so when his polite knocks were refused, and his childishly loud ones were not chided, he decided that the best course of action was to scream through the mail slot. Luckly I was in the back where I couldn't be seen and I just prayed that the big scary monster would go away. Finally all out of steam he stomped away, and even later my heart rate returned to normal. It was a pretty scary moment, and I wasn't sure how to go back to work from that.

So I took to facebook for a moment. I posted a calm and witty, yet explanitory post of the prior moments of terror and then tried to bounce back to work. I immediatly got a call from my mom. All she said when I answered was "Are you OK?" Followed by a quick "I love you" then a "I'm gonna buy you some mace today." She talked to me for a few minutes to make sure I was truely OK, then left me to finish my work. Then I saw I had a post from Spencer. Not too long after that I had one from Shannon. Both were concerned. Then I got a call from Chris, who was ready to come to where I was and make sure I was OK. Even though it warmed my heart I declined, but he made sure that I knew I could call him at any time. Even one of the dear women I look up to from church made a comment expressing that she would pray for me and that she was just thankful that I was safe. I thought my heart was going to burst.

From this outpooring of concern you would have thought the jolly green giant had actually broken in and caused me harm. But that's not what happened. I am not glad that I had a moment of terror, but I appreciate the silver lining that it brought to me. It showed me once again that I am loved. I am loved not in a "I feel obligated to care about you way" but in a "I have chosen to care for you, and I want you to always know that I am here for you and on your side." It is such a comfort to know that the people I am sharing my life with, both old and new, are bold enough to tell me that I am loved, even if it's by their actions. And I have been told anyhow that actions speak louder than words. So now that I have the night to call my own, I will be spending it with the ones that I hold dear, and that return that embrace. I will be loved tonight.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting To Know You


Since moving back to Florida, I have been meeting quite a few people. I find this ironic, as I am currently living in my hometown where I was not only born, but bread. All of my family is here, however the life that I had here moved with me, and I feel as if I am literally starting over.

I am no stranger to meeting new people. I am a professional stranger of sorts, moving from place to place, taking job after job, and looking for those kindred spirits that you can not only have a working professional relationship with, but can also find some comfort in outside the job. But this kind of unfamiliarity rings familiar. I am used to making survival relationships to last me the duration of a show, or during a business function. Friendships with expiration dates. You fulfill the void of being alone, but you also know that you have control of absolutely everything that this person sees in you. You choose what to tell them and what to keep to yourself because hey, they aren't going to be around forever so why show them something that isn't sparkly. It's kind of like when you give a guest a tour of your home as opposed to showing the house to someone that's going to live there with you. Your guest has no right to look in the attic or rustle through your closet where you have thrown your dirty laundry. But if someone is looking to stay, eventually they are going to want to know what's behind that door you keep locked all the time, or why you won't allow them to look in your medicine cabinet. Sooner or later they are going to want to see everything, and you have no where to hide.

These are the kind of relationships I find myself creating. The kind where I know sooner or later something is going to fall out of my medicine cabinet, and someone is going to wonder what exactly I am keeping in there. At some point they are going to hear the skeletons in my closet and want to know why I have kept them there for so long. It has been a very long time since I have seen anything as permanent. I change my address as much as some women change their hair color, but I'm trying to turn over a new leaf. I am trying to spread some roots, and maybe even grow a few.

I find it ironic that most of the friends I am making have already passed through my life at some point. The people that I loved when I was so young have found me again, and are constantly telling me that I am exactly the same, but in such a different way. I am so blessed to be able to pick up where we left off, but at the same time there is a lot that has been missed... and I know that at some point I am going to have to fill in some blanks.

Some of the people I am allowing to put their foot through my door I can honestly say that that I wouldn't mind them poking around in my pantry and linen closets, but I'm worried about the day when they get to under my bed. I am forming relationships that I actually want to keep and I think knowing that is a really good first step. I haven't had butterflies over something new in a very long time. Tonight I felt them. I got goosebumps on my arms and a smile on my face that I couldn't wipe off even if I tried. And I like it. A lot. I am taking one day at a time like I normally do, but for the first time I am not stressed about how tomorrow will turn out, and I'm even trying to release the need of having to control the reactions to each of my actions. I am absorbing each moment for what it is, instead of wasting it wondering what the next one will hold. As I walked through the door after a really nice night tonight with a very nice someone I found myself singing under my breath the classic tune "getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me." And that's exactly what I'm doing. Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you. And hopefully you will want to get to know all about me too. All I can say is that I am very blessed by the ones that are making their entrances into my crazy story of a life, and I really hope that you stay for a while. "Getting to know you, getting to be free and breezy. When I am with you getting to know what to say. Haven't you noticed Suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new things I'm learning about you. Day by Day."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I've Got The Joy


So last night after spilling my proverbial guts out onto this blog in the most thoughtful way I know how, I felt a peace that has eluded me for quite some time. I am really a huge fan of peace, in really every setting that it can make an appearance. I like peaceful nights at home alone, I like peaceful conversations, I like peaceful politics and peaceful hearts. However, I think often time that peace can be confused with contentment, and contentment is often misconstrude as complacent. I never want to make such a vital mistake. To be content in the sense that I see it, is to give up and almost quit. I never want to feel that I have it all and can slow up. That's the day I know that I need to start over.

So I felt this peace. And of course it wasn't enough to just feel the peace, I had to understand it. So I took out my stethescope and blood pressure cuff and began taking the vital signs of my emotional state. As I began asking questions I shocked myself with several of the answers I found. I began to realize just how deep this river has flown.

I have been uneasy for quite some time about several of my major life choices. There comes a time in each and every one of our lives when we find ourselves getting ready to tackle a day in this life that we created and we catch ourselves looking at our reflection a second too long. We see a shadow fall across our eyes that the florecent beams in the bathroom could not have created, and we entertain the fleetin thought of "is what I'm doing enough?" I often wonder this. Am I doing enough? And then I do the worst possible thing I could do. I compare. But the best part is I don't compare myself to someone else. I compare myself to myself. I begin to think "am I as valuable as I was when I was at school or when I lived out of town? Have a settled by coming back here? Am I enough?" And then I throw a metaphorical martini in my face to jump back to reality and keep going with my day.

I know this is a jump but it will come full circle. I am a facebook junkie. I think my favorite part of it is getting tagged in pictures. Well I have been getting tagged in bountiful images recently due to Beehive and now that it's over, it is so comforting to see the images that were taken in the moment. In each frame without fail, I have been shocked by my apperance. My smile is so real in every single picture. Every single one. This goes from promotional pictures for the press, to the silly picture of Megan and I in our wig caps before the show. And it's not just happy. It's joy. And I have always been told by my wise mother that happy is a feeling. Joy is a lifestyle. I have found joy again.

So as I was taking count of my new discoveries I began to smile at myself. I have been living what I have been preaching to so many of my friends that are also watching themselves shape shift in the mirror. Everything I have done until this moment has made me who I am. And not a moment too soon. Now is always on time, and I am precicely on time to be who I am destined to be. And this goes for everything. From my day job, to my show schedules, to my family, to my car situation, to the possibility of moving out, to whom I choose to go on dates with, to who chooses to ask me out on more than one date. It's all fine. I am not in control, even though I want so desperatly to be. The first step is admitting the problem, and letting go. The second is grabbing onto something else. Well I have a grip on joy. I've got the Joy joy joy joy down in my heart. Down in my heart. Down in my heart to stay.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Silly Goose


When I was a little girl... and I mean actually a little girl in age not just in mindset, I had (and still do) a really special relationship with my uncle. From what I am told, (I was too little to actually know this for myself) my Bubby was going through a hard time in his life; one of those times where no matter how happy you want to be, your heart just won't let you because someone did you wrong. So here he was is this trench of broken promises and hurtful actions and a little chubby baby comes along that hasn't had the pleasure of knowing what mends a broken heart. Unknown to me, I carried the medicine for times such as these in my brand new little soul, and I helped usher him back into happy. He is and always will be my bubs, my special uncle/father figure/brother hybrid that I will always love and respect. But to get the point, in this very special and fun relationship he formed with me, I became his little protege. Most everything he did was silly. So everything I did in return was also silly. At every turn he would tell me I was such a "silly goose" And when that became to laborious to say it was shortened to "you are such a goose." Thus a legacy was born. I was crowned a goose.

Fast forward about two decades and you will find this same girl being the same silly goose as she was back then. I have been watching myself shape shift like I was a super hero in training, and I can almost say I have become a spectator to my own life. Things have been happening so very fast. And not just in one area of my life. It seems as if someone pressed fast forward on all of the story lines going on in my life and I didn't wear my running shoes to set. Instead I am wearing a stylish yet completely cumbersome pair of fancy stilettos and if someone doesn't help me slow down I'm going to sprain my ankle... (which funny as it is I have actually just recently done this in real life. I had to do the entire run of Beehive on a very sprained ankle... but I did it)

To further elaborate and hopefully help you actually understand this nonsense I am speaking of, I will regale you of what my life has been as of late. My world began to run away from me about a month ago when I took a sensible weekend vacation to North Carolina with my family. The trip was lovely, the wedding we attended was stunning, but everything that happened was so out of my control. When we slept. When we ate. When I got home. Nothing had any fingerprints on mine on it anywhere. Then I began the rehearsal period for Beehive. Which is great. And fast. And by fast I mean head spinning. Before I knew it we had opened. I had completely switched gears from corporate hot shot (I had just received a promotion to assistant and branch manager before I left for rehearsal) to hair tossing leg kicking note belting diva.. well not diva but you know what I mean. My showgirl counter part arose and arose very quickly. I now was living a totally different life, with totally different people. Don't get me wrong I loved EVERY second of it because this is really my heart, but it was just such a fast shift. I was even letting some into my personal life... and that is a real rarity. I spent a lot of time with a few people, tore down some walls and let them see the meat and potatoes of what miss Courtney Whittamore was all about.

And then before I knew it the show was over. It came and went so fast that I thought I had dreamed the whole thing up. Everything about it was so positive. The people I worked with, the creative process I went through, the person I allowed myself to become, the feedback I received. Not a bad word could be said about any of it. But then I started to watch myself stomp all over all of it. And in the back of my mind I could hear my Bubs say "you are being such a silly goose, what do you think you are doing little one?" What do I think I am doing? I am putting pressure on things that were just fine without any of my "help" and now it may be ruined. I am criticising a performance that has already been given and thinking that in hind sight it wasn't what it should be, when I KNOW that it touched so many people in a positive way. I am constantly worried that now I'm not wearing the right hat at the right time, and that someone will see "the wrong part of me" and walk away from me, thinking that they made a mistake in taking the time to "get to know me." I am teetering between the line of "who I am" and "who I want you to see." And this whole time I am watching myself, hearing my wise Bubs say "goose... calm down. Everything is going to be fine little one."

So as I sit here typing out my short comings, I am shaking my head and scoffing at myself. No matter how old I get, or how successful I become, I will always be this silly little goose that slips up and worries too much and drives herself and everyone around her crazy because of this insane need to understand EVERYTHING. The thing I need to come to grips with, is not changing who I am, but allowing myself to find someone who is just as much of a silly goose as I am. I will always be the Little One with flinstone feet and chubby cheeks and drinks all the sweet tea at family functions and adores chocolate milk and must have everything as plain as possible and feels the most secure when she is with those who love her. And I'm starting to see just how amazing that privilege really is. This incessant need to know what others see in me is so futile... I'm a silly goose running around like a chicken with her head cut off, and you can't be a chicken and a goose at the same time. So I'm going to choose to stay this silly little goose that I have always been, and just hope that when you turn around, you see someone that is worth looking further into.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Makings Of A Showgirl


Being a professional performer comes with many advantages. You get to travel to places that would normally be out of reach. You get to make people happy, and forget about their problems. You get to sing and dance, and escape from your own life for a moment, and breath life into a character that are just words on a page without you. And... you get to act like an over the top showgirl from time to time.

I enjoy sweat pants. A lot. I would wear them to everything I possibly could if it were socially acceptable, but now that I am out of college and working in the real world I am learning that it is important to portray yourself as someone who actually owns clothes you shouldn't sleep in. I have been known to rarely ever wear makeup, my flip-flops are my shoes of choice, and I wear whatever is clean and makes me look skinny that day. Well. I am quickly discovering that this is not the ways of a showgirl.

Showgirls are these lovely creatures that can manipulate the costumes they are given, no matter how ridiculous they are and make them look fabulous on stage. Even the most over the top stage makeup looks stunning on them. They can wield their brushes and their paste like make up and the moment they waltz on the stage eyes go directly to them. Sequins, feathers, skimpy outfits and fake eyelashes are the staples of a showgirl's wardrobe... and I have come to the realization that as an up-and coming showgirl I must dive into this unknown world of glitz and glamour head first.

I received this wake up call when I went on as Tracy in Hairspray about 5 months ago. After my whirlwind costume fitting and running places and choreography, I went into the dressing room and began to "get ready." As I sat at my mirror, I glanced at the showgirl veterans around me and realized I was so out of my league. Of course, this was not my first professional show by any means, but in shows past we had either had make-up done for us, or it was a period piece and no make-up was used at all. Well, I quickly learned that both if these instances were a rarity and that I had to learn how to make my face stage ready, not just my voice... and I had about 5 minutes to engage in a crash course. I faked my way through getting the basics down, but when it came to my eyes and cheeks I was obviously lost. When I was asked where my fake lashes were, I just kind of shrugged, chiding myself for not having known that I should have them. I have been in the business for almost two years... how could I have overlooked false eyelashes! Thank goodness the costume shop had an extra pair... but then I had to put them on. When all of the other amazon goddesses (who really are lovely) left the room I went to my dear Negdra who played Motormouth Mabel and bashfully told her I had no idea what I was doing. She put those things on faster than I could hike up my tights. And that's when I realized... I am still a young grasshopper, and I have MUCH to learn.

With my new show coming around the bend, I have taken it upon myself to be more prepared. I can't really get away with not knowing how to do these things anymore, as I am very blessed and my resume is steadily growing. So with each paycheck I have been updating my wardrobe with more appropriate clothing (bargain shopping to the max for sure), frequenting the Mac store and purchasing stage makeup and practicing applying it once everyone else has gone to bed.. and last night, I tackled the false eyelashes.

I went to my local sally's to by the cheapest pair I could find as they would only be used for practice and went home to begin my lesson for the day. I watched several tutorials on youtube and once I felt that I could tackle the unknown, I tried to do it myself. Well the first try was horrid. I thought that they were at my lash line when in reality they were in the middle of my eyelid. I looked like a first time drag queen. So I tried again. While it was better that time, they wouldn't stay on, so the third time I just applied more glue so they would stay. Well I got glue happy I guess and that's when the horror ensued. I glued my eye shut. Utterly shut. It took me twenty minutes to pry my eye back open and get all the glue out of my natural lashes. And even then every time I blinked there was a delay when my eyes were supposed to open again. Needless to say I was discouraged. And scared. So I threw in the towel and thought I would try again another time. But several hours later I was frustrated enough to try again. Its false eyelashes for goodness sakes. I have gotten jobs in some of the best regional theatres without much help, and I couldn't apply my own lashes? It was time I looked the part I have been playing and hope to play for years to come. After many many more tries and careful amounts of glue I did it. I applied a now lifeless pair of false eyelashes on my lids. 3 times. And I am very proud of myself.

I know that clothes and makeup and lashes and sequins aren't what the business is all about, trust me if it were I would get very bored and be actually rather disgusted with it. But it is a part of it. And I want to be the very best that I can possibly be in everything I do, whether that's creating a character, or gluing on some lashes. Not to mention in kind of makes me feel pretty. This is the beginning of a legitimate showgirl in the making, and I can't wait to see where it takes me!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Star Is Born... I Guess...


New York City and Hollywood are the headliners of dreams for millions. As children, many of us grow up in small towns or just say we did because we all know the most fabulous success stories start humbly, and proclaim that we will make it to "the big city" one day and be stars. Daily we fed ourselves on the performances of the icons that shaped our world. Performers like Gene Kelly and Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. We beg our families to buy us tap shoes or acting lessons instead of groceries, and if that doesn't work we find another way. Whether that's getting involved in the arts at school or bartering with teachers for lessons, we find a way to become the leading lady or man we are when we close our eyes at night. But the one way that never fails, is studying these stars that came before us, and just hoping that we absorb some of their sparkle.

Yes we can learn valuable lessons from Hollywood legends gone by, but how can we take advantage of the stars that shape our today? Well, let us take a look at the icons that have risen throughout the last few years.

Let us begin with the recording industry. Music is the soul of all inspiration and transcends words when we can no longer find them. One of today's greatest artists is Kim Kardasian. Her voice is pure and powerful, showcasing her perfect pitch. No need for auto tune here folks, because Kim's voice is one of the angel's. And her songs are so meaningful and genuine. In a sea of one hit wonders catering to a crowd that just wants to move on the dance floor, Kim has found meaning once again. She puts her soul in each syllable and her heart in each measure. I hope one day that I can be half the artist that she is.

Now we move on tho the Broadway Star. The Show Girl. The Triple Threat. These fierce singer actor dancers do it all, every night at 8 o'clock, and they bring the house down with every curtain call. Whether they are belting G's, twirling triples, or fiercely monologuing, they are giving you not only the best of the best, but the best of themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the very definition in human form of the Broadway Star... Ashley Simpson. In her stint as Roxy in the well know show Chicago, Ashley was all of this and more. Gone were the days of her lip syncing on live television... she actually had to sing live for the very first time! And did she ever. Her commitment is unprecedented as well. She put her life into the lead role of this iconic show for an entire 10 weeks. This is the longest run in the history of Broadway actors. She shined. She glimmered. She danced and didn't trip once. She belted, twirled, and acted so well that people actually couldn't stand it. Not only do I commend the industry for showcasing such talent, but I hope that I one day can parallel such a spotless and persistent run.

Next is the Movie Star. They grace not only the silver screen, but our news channels, radios, and even the checkout lines where we purchase our groceries. We envy them, and we pity them all at once. We long for their life of fortune and pity the invasion of their privacy. We look to them as role models on not just how to dress and how to behave, but how to view the world and to really prioritize what is important. Who better demonstrates spotless priorities and actual talent than Lindsay Lohan. I will forever look to her for not only what to wear when I go to court, but how to successfully shoplift, go through rehab, and still have my priorities right where they belong. To put my family first and make good movies. She has made such strides in groundbreaking movies such as The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, and who could forget Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (which also spawned her hit single of the same name and catapulted her unforgettable album) and Mean Girls (Where she also have a spotless vocal performance)? These movies have moved me so deeply, that each time I watch them, I know that I am watching something special, and walk away from them deeply changed.

The last form of modern star I will touch on in the once Movie Star now T.V Icon. This is a very rare breed of actor. Most actors start on T.V then try and jump the gap to film, but this character decided that feature film was dead, and the sitcom was where the revolution lies. He conquered the small screen in a big way, and began to look for creative ways to continue his success. He was no longer satisfied with entering the homes of millions on one of the biggest networks on television as the highest paid actor in sitcom history. He craved more. By now you know I am talking about the great mogul Charlie Sheen. He decided to broaden his horizons by doing benders of cocaine, and keeping a harem of "goddesses" handy at all times to feed his creative process. So what if it lead to him getting fired? He can become his own brand by coining witty sayings and produce his own show from the comfort of his own home that gets just as good of ratings! So what if he is behind on child support? He can just adopt some of his goddesses and makes those his new kids. Clearly Charlie Sheen has the right idea on how to achieve stardom, because every network has aired a feature piece on him in the last month.

I give you the stars we have catapulted to stardom in the last twenty years. Not only are they brimming with talent, but they are an inspiration and individuals that I strive to not only model my career after, but to shape my life like. These are the stars that the next generation of young dreamers have to look up to...

Am I the only one that thinks this is pathetic?
Disclosure: These are extreme cases, I am aware and look up to all of the professionals in the industry that are incredible at what they do. But you have to admit, this breed of star is becoming more frequent, and that is a trend that not only disappoints me, but scares me. I have my siblings that I love with all of my heart, and this is the last thing that I want them looking up to, and it's the last thing I want to model my career after.