That One Time I Auditioned for A Musical…

Originally Written March 2015. And yes, this all actually happened. 

When I’m nervous about something, I have a few tricks that I do to calm myself down–basically, I just sit in my car and talk to myself in my dashboard mirror like a militantly upbeat life coach. I might even be able to out self-talk Oprah. (Maybe that can be a future reality show for OWN–”Motivational Coach Melee”…take like 5 motivational coaches, lock them up somewhere, and whichever is the first to be negative & show self-doubt is off the island.)

But the thing I’ve been learning about nerve-wracking situations is that most of the time, they’re completely self-inflicted. If you did something illegal and you’re sitting in an interrogation chair at the police station, you’re probably nervous as hell–why? Because you did something bad. If you’re about to go on a promising first date with an actually fun accountant (apparently those exist) and you’re 30 minutes early and wandering around the nearby Target like a dazed person who just came off an acid trip, it’s YOUR own fault. You scheduled the date! You murdered the person! You didn’t have to do anything.

And that’s exactly where I found myself this morning: in another completely self-inflicted nervous situation and even worse–coated in other people’s dance sweat. Not my own dance sweat. Other people’s.

I was at an audition–my first in over ten years–and by the first six minutes there, I immediately knew that I was not competing anymore. I was in it for fun. Everyone there had dance shoes and impressive resumes and actually laminated headshots…I was wearing old tennis shoes, carrying a headshot printed on cardstock (I couldn’t find glossy paper and was, frankly, too lazy to buy any), and sporting a resume whose crowning glory was playing “Mary Sue Betty Bob” in the gloriously underrated children’s musical “Dear Edwina.” I’m clearly no “Broadway Baby”–maybe a cousin once or twice removed.

My nerves were soon soothed by the utter ridiculousness I felt learning choreography for the musical numbers we had to learn for the judges. For the first song–”Money Money” from “Cabaret”–the choreographer was constantly calling out instructions with phrases I wasn’t familiar with, things like “Show your Fosse arms” and “Look seductive.”

My audition group had eleven others, all older and more experienced than me, but, like Fanny Bryce, I soon found my place as the “wise-cracking funny girl.” These quips came in handy when we got to the second number we had to learn: “New York, New York,” which came complete with jazz hands, jazz squares, and jazz regrets on my part. My eleven comrades and I were even forced to do a Rockettes style kick line. Kicking isn’t really a problem for me, but remembering choreography is another story. We were to do three alternating kicks and then add a “kick ball change” and repeat the previous foot. For those of you unfamiliar with dance terms, kick ball changes are just another way of saying “Kelsy will forget the direction and accidentally kick the people standing next to her every single time, especially when the judges are watching.”

I’m very positive that I will not be asked for a callback for this musical; I mean, would YOU ask back the girl who accidentally maimed two of her fellow auditioners? Maybe I could chalk it up to the spirit of competition, like “All About Eve,” but I still don’t think that would help my prospects.

Through all this, I learned a very important lesson. I prefer comedy FAR above acting. Those little moments making everyone around me laugh were far more gratifying than that one millisecond of remembering the correct choreography–give me a laugh over a jazz square any day!

Update: I did not, in fact, get a callback. Because duh. 

Don’t Feed the Feelings

So, maybe I’m just like a walking Hallmark card generator (thank you, advertising degree), but as previously established last week in this ever-growing “LIFE, man” series (title pending), being an adult is super hard sometimes. And when the going gets tough, the tough/me make up a ton of motivational sayings to help them survive.

Don’t feed the feelings.

….and it’s really, really difficult not to try. Annoyance, anger, sadness, pity, self-loathing, jealousy, whatever–these are all feelings that easily flame from a tiny spark to a huge fire if entertained longer than necessary. And I for one feed these feelings until they’re torturous, terrible beasts.

Overthinking a tiny misstep at work until I’m certain I’m getting fired.

Hating myself for not getting over a guy from like 100 years ago (Spoiler, I’m Benjamin Button).

A slight annoyance at a friend turning into a huge deal.

Well, I usually feed these thoughts and feelings. But then I listened to a podcast one day that changed my perspective forever. Insert dramatic yet heartwarming music.

(Have you listened to NPR’s “Invisibilia” podcast? If not, you really ought to check it out.) I was listening to an episode called “The Secret Life of Thoughts,” which explained that according to one theory in psychology, the Cognitive Behavior Theory, thoughts…really don’t have meaning and should NOT be taken nearly as seriously as we do.

I mean think about it, how DO we know that our feelings are even true or logically sound? CBT says to challenge the feeling–don’t trust it. Test to see if it’s real. Because most of the time, feelings–and especially those terrible negative ones that always seem to pop back up in your mind when life gets a little off balanced– aren’t indicative of anything; They’re just emotional reflexes. Why spend so much energy trying to find meaning in chaos?

When people are in distress, their perspective is often inaccurate and their thoughts may be unrealistic. Cognitive behavior therapy helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy defined 

I’m trying to not feed my negative, chaotic feelings. And you know what? Life has been a lot more peaceful and way less dramatic. Which reminds me of another phrase I’m coining…drama is dumb. (Just kidding, could you see that on a t-shirt? SO anticlimatic.)

Full Time Jobs: NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

College didn’t prepare me for how a full time job would be; honestly, “The Office” has been more handy in figuring out workplace situations than my “Please submit a PAPER portfolio because we’re all in denial that the Internet is a thing” internship seminar class in college.

And don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely, abundantly fortune to actually be working at a job I LOVE. I know a lot of people don’t have that same feeling about their job.

My fellow job people (employees?), I’m sure you feel me on this:…waking up on Mondays is hard, y’all. Due to my early/reasonable bedtime, I’m constantly called a grandma by my grad school friends (with the emoji and all, as if words alone weren’t painful enough). Dealing with people in the workplace isn’t always all waffles & instant friendship like “Parks & Rec” (although I would love to get an office dog/dog in general and name him Lil’ Sebastian). Having a daily organizational system of choosing your clothes on labeled daily hangers & being made fun of because of it (although it’s a VERY GOOD SYSTEM, okay!?!) is truly a burden I have to carry.  And to be perfectly honest, this whole “Do I pack a lunch? Do I not?” situation is still a daily conundrum.

I’m not sure what I expected…in college, everyone I knew who was 24 and working seemed so effortlessly cool and put together, with apartments full of beautiful candles and luxurious rugs. I have one candle and one rug and live in my parents’ house (where, arguably, they have more of each, but it’s just not the same.) Maybe I equate candles with success, but really, WHO DOESN’T?

I think I’m maybe speaking for everyone here, but we’re all just trying to figure it all out, even with the “security” of a full time, grown up job. And I don’t have answers and nobody really does.I feel way more like Taylor Swift’s “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time” than I ever did when I was actually 22.

The only thing I know for sure is this: seriously, a daily organized system of your clothes really IS awesome. Haters will hate.

What “Serial” Taught Me About Break Ups

Serial-2

Warning: I kind of talk about the end of “Serial”? So… don’t read this if you haven’t listened? 

So…the first season of podcast phenomenon “Serial” concluded yesterday. And it just…ended. There was no big twist or surprise “gotcha” moment. No shock factor. The ending was as much of a proverbial question mark as the beginning episode.

And this really, really bothered me (and many other listeners I’ve commiserated with!) People felt like they were strung along, only to be disappointed by the lack of finality. However, doesn’t it just come down to an entertainment factor?

We’re used to 22 minute moralisms. For foibles cleaned up and turned into fables with “made for TV” endings. Messy, unanswered, or open-ended questions are scary because…well…anything could be lurking in the unknown. Interacting with insecurities, ugly truths, answers we don’t really want to hear–in the silence, “there be the dragons.”

Real life answers are NOT entertaining, because for the most part, they’re anticlimactic, unsettling, or just sad.

Why do we crave closure so much?

Recently (also, hey, this is my first post in like 6 months, so recently refers to like anything from July onward, okay? Okay.), I went through a terribly un-fun breakup. The circumstances were sad, I was sad, everything was sad. However, I wanted more closure. I wanted a “bow ending.” A perfect, coherent speech that summed up my feelings and was pithy and smart–the ultimate Cool Girl finale speech. Of course, this didn’t happen, because I’m not living in a 2003 Reese Witherspoon movie. But I wanted that closure more than anything else.

Through that (and I guess “Serial” haha), I’ve realized though that sometimes answers come from lack. I’m learning to be okay with the mystery and dealing with the fact that finality doesn’t show up in ways we like sometimes.

The ending of “Serial” was just…real. We don’t get to have nice answers most of the times and really, bow endings are not real closure, but platitudes.

(And who knows, maybe Mail Chimp had something to do with it. My job is starting to use them now actually.)

Christians, I Judged You.

When you rallied behind syllogisms rather than Scripture, I judged you.

When I saw the hurtful things you wrote about depression & suicide, I judged you.

When you refused to love people different than you, preferring stereotypes to relationships, I judged you.

When you made ignorant political comments under the name of Jesus, I judged you.

When you said really thoughtless comments about other people’s appearance choices, I judged you.

When you ignored, alienated, and judged the gay community, I judged you.

When you made fear-mongering movies based on false stereotypes, I judged you.

When you put down women in favor of patriarchy, I judged you.

And…I should have loved you. And remembered that none of us are perfect.

Loving those who don’t know God, that’s easy. Loving those who do know God but who I disagree with politically, doctrinally, and spiritually? That’s SO difficult.

How can I say that I love others & want to err on the side of loving others too much when I’m judging those who I deem are judgmental? This is hypocrisy, pure and simple.

Honestly, it comes down to pride–believing I’m more in tuned spiritually to how Jesus would act. HA–what’s that verse about removing the log from my own eye, again?

May I err on the side of loving too much–for EVERYONE. I need to take off my superiority blinders & give more grace. (Thank you to everyone who gave ME lots of grace during this time.)

Living Mindfully (versus Monastically)

So, three weeks or so ago, I read the book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” and felt compelled to reduce my own major area of excess, my closet, by around 25%. I ended up giving away 58 items of clothes and shoes, which was an awesome start.

I was explaining all this to someone I work with and I realized that it sounded a little crazy and extreme–so I’m going to explain my motives a little more. This isn’t about punishing myself for the privilege that I have received by living in a first world country. I mean, since the experiment last month, I’ve purchased three more pairs of shoes (which I needed for work, as I got a full time job in the time in between.)

I’m not trying to live monastically, but mindfully.

Mindful of the true cost of that cheap item I’m buying–of the child labor, the trafficking, the injustice that just isn’t worth the money.  Mindful of the fact I don’t need most of the things I buy. Mindful of the responsibility that I have as someone whose voice has not been silenced by oppression or because of desperation.

I can speak with my money and my purchases.

That’s a great thing about money–you can use it to better your own life, sure, but when you have the ability to help others, wouldn’t you?

Check out Kiva, a non-profit loan organization that does SO much good around the world. For $25 (aka one shirt at Target), you can sponsor a loan to a budding entrepreneur around the world. You are empowering them and helping them create sustainability in their lives & communities. Plus, you get repaid, so it’s really the easiest way to help someone ever.

My words are nothing compared to all the injustice happening in the world. I just hope to be on the side of justice rather than convenience and ease.

You Know You’re a Christian Blogger When:

Ironically the first image found when one googles "Christian Blogger"

Ironically the first image found when one googles “Christian Blogger”

CLEARLY, this post is self-referential, as I am both of these things. I’m making fun of myself, of blogging in general, and the trends I see out there. If you can handle a little tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, please indulge me.

 

You know you’re a Christian blogger when:

1) You use the occasional four letter swear word to show that you’re just as edgy and cool as your “secular” writer friends, while also implying that you mean serious business. (Clearly, if you say “shit” in your blog, you’re letting your readers know that you’re a world-weary Christian, tiptoeing that blurred line of “in the world & not of it” with the grace and poise of a blogging ballerina. You’ve been around the block and just have to prove it, damn it.) Although, you would never, ever say “the f word,” just variations when you get really heated on an issue. Hey, if the King James version of the Bible says a word, it’s okay to say it, right?

2) You are the voice of a generation. Who else can accurately describe the plight of the millennial better than you? No one? That’s what I thought. Nobody else can write about purity or church culture better than you–nobody else read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” or had a purity ring, of this you’re 97% certain.

3) Your blog topics are mostly about: Harry Potter, sex, purity culture, dating, abstinence, sex, churches, sex, modesty, the Church versus the church, homosexuality, sex, pop culture, dating in the church, and the occasional current political/social event to spice things up. And then when you run out of topics, you just write more about sex again. Because of…reasons.

4) You have a severe case of whiplash: sometimes you love everything about the church (note: little c, because knowing that difference is also a sign you’re a Christian blogger) and other days you are to the point of extreme frustration with every aspect. Being jaded is pretty normal.

5) Sometimes it’s hard to discern the difference between actually having valuable something to say and adding to the cacophony of meaningless rants.