Sunday, June 12, 2016

While I Was Sleeping

While I was sleeping safe and sound in my bed, people were attending a Latin party at a nightclub 20 minutes away. These people went out for a good time, to blow off some steam and meet new people most likely. These innocent people were dancing at PULSE, an LGBT club in Orlando. That's when one sick person with a gun walked into the club and started shooting. While I was sleeping, multiple people were massacred 20 minutes away from me. I woke up to the news of a mass shooting that at the time killed 20 people and injured another 40. Now the death toll is 50 people, with another 53 injured.  
I'm used to reading about these tragedies happening, but I never imagined that one would happen so close to home. I never thought my city would be the one hit. My hometown is so small, the possibility of anything like this happening is slim to none. But I'm not in my hometown anymore. I'm disturbed by this event. I'm shaken by the tragedy that has occurred. I've never been one to go out clubbing. Big groups of people who I don't know and are probably drunk has never really been my scene. But, I know people who that is their scene. I know people who very easily could've been there last night and thankfully weren't.
My heart aches with each new development in this horrendous event. So many people who have died or been injured that weren't expecting it to happen at all. So many families have been impacted. Seeing as this was an LGBT club, I can't help but wonder how many of those who didn't survive weren't speaking to their families. How many of them had been turned away and shunned just because they didn't fit the perfect mold that society and the religious communities around us have carved into our minds. So my heart aches for these families. The ones who were so headstrong and sure that turning their back on their loved one was the right thing to do. My heart aches because their loved one is now dead and they may never find out, or if they do it is too late for reconciliation. 
My heart aches for a city in distress after two fatal shoots one day apart. We live in a scary world and I never imagined something like this would hit this close to home. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims and their families, as well as the city. I am thankful to be safe, I know others are not.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Picture This

Picture this if you will. Picture a seventeen-year-old girl curled up in her bed sobbing those gut wrenching sobs, the kind that rub your throat raw. Picture her trying to calm herself down, telling herself everything is going to be okay. Picture her telling those voices in her head that they were wrong. The depression didn’t scare him away. Picture her convincing herself that the boy she’d been dating for the past two and a half months, the one who just broke her heart, hadn’t raped her. That he wasn’t using her just for sex. That he really loved her and that he would come to his senses and they’d be together again. Do you see it?
Picture that same girl three years later. She’s tried to pick up the pieces of what that boy did. She’s tried living a normal life, and failed. She’s seen countless guys up and leave once they find out she’s a rape victim. Picture that girl trying to keep the tears from falling every night, because not only does she have depression but now she has the title of Rape Victim to add to her various bags of emotional baggage she carries around.
Picture this girl trying to open up and trust again. Trying to trust that the boy she's dating won’t leave her broken and even more destroyed. Trying to trust that they aren’t just using her for sex.  She eventually gives up and moves on. She eventually realizes that sex is the only thing that makes them want to stay, and that that is not the kind of girl she is.
Picture this girl giving up. She is giving up on finding someone who cares. Someone who is patient enough to wait. Picture her giving up on being happy.
That girl is me. At times I feel I am broken beyond all repair. It feels like a normal life is too far away and that kills me inside. I want nothing more than to be normal. However, thanks to the selfish decision that was made by an ex-boyfriend on that day in May three years ago, a life that’s normal is not an option. I can’t help but to be angry at him for that. He broke my trust and ruined any chance I’d ever have at a normal relationship.
I know they say all things happen for a reason, but it’s not fair. If the reason for this happening was to make me stronger, it didn’t work. I am weak. I want to be strong. I want to say that I’ve gotten over what he did. That is not the case. I know they all say it takes time. I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about what he did. Do you know how hard that is when I meet a great guy and things are moving along, but I have to stop what we’re doing because it triggers a flashback to that horrible night? I know it’s not my fault and to be honest, I know that if he really cares about me it won’t annoy him. But still, I feel bad. I feel bad, because three years ago an asshole conditioned me to believe that guys hate it when you say no. He conditioned me to believe that saying no doesn’t work, so why should I waste the breath?

Three years ago I became permanently damaged. A normal dating life vanished before my eyes. I know one day I’ll meet someone who can mend the pieces, but I’ll always be scarred. Three years ago my life was changed in the worst possible way. I can't change the past, no matter how badly I want to. I can't go back to that night and run away from him. I can't tell him I didn't want to go on our date. I am a victim of sexual assault. That is now a badge that I have to wear. Whether I decide to wear it with honor or with shame depends on the day. I know I say I'm a survivor, but how can you be a survivor when you feel so weak? I thought I'd be over this by now but I'm not. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope that over time this all gets easier.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

So I just wrote a post on my DCP blog here about what I'm thankful for, but I wanted to do one on here that wasn't as Disney related. I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my wonderful family. Next week I will get to see my dad's parents as well as my biological father, Jeff, and my brother and sister. They're coming up to see me perform in Dicken's Festival. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better family. My parents have been amazing. They're letting me live with them to save money for the Disney College Program. Throughout my entire life I've never had a support system better than that of my mom and dad. It's going to be so weird not to have them right up the road when I'm living in Florida, but my mom is constantly reminding me I'm doing what's best for my future and it's her words of support that help me when I'm second guessing my choice.
I am also so incredibly thankful for my beautiful best friend Ashley. This girl has been a life saver the past four years that I've known her. She's been there through every big moment of mine it feels like. Every breakup, she's been there with ice cream, an open ear and a shoulder to cry on. When I'm feel the depression start creeping in, I call her and it goes away. When I start freaking out and overthinking, she's there to calm me down. I'm seriously going to be so lost without her being a drive away while I'm out at Disney. I feel so blessed to have known her and it's an honor to call her my best friend.
I also feel like Olivia needs her own section in this post. Next to Ashley she has been another incredibly close friend of mine. Watching her grow and change into the woman she's become has been so amazing. And now she's married with a baby on the way and I'm so excited for this next chapter in her life. I'm so thankful that we had that theatre class together all those years ago that brought us together. We may be apart in distance but we will always be together in heart.

I'm also thankful for theatre. For all the teachers I've had that have helped shape me into the actor I am today. I wouldn't be the person I am today without theatre's influence. And I never would've found that passion if it hadn't been for Mrs. Broadhead. I owe everything I am today to her. Theatre has been my biggest escape from reality. Theatre has always been my safe place and that will never change. 

I have so much to be thankful for today, and I hope you do too. Have a very happy Thanksgiving and be safe today folks!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DCP Update

So a few weeks ago I applied for the Disney College Program. It's an amazing opportunity and I did a post on that here. Well I was checking my email the other day and I saw this beautiful message:
I am beyond ecstatic to announce that I will be attending the Disney College Program for the Spring Advantage 2016. It was not an easy decision, but I know that if I turn this down I will regret it for the rest of my life. I can't wait to see what this experience has in store for me. In less than four months I will be working for one of the most magical places on earth. I feel incredibly blessed and lucky that everything worked out in the end.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another Show, Another Closing Night... Or Two.

When I auditioned for Fiddler on the Roof at a local theatre here in town, I never thought that I could get cast in the children's show Bridge to Terabithia. Imagine my surprise when I was approached by the director to be an understudy for Miss Edmunds, as well as an Assistant Stage Manager. I eagerly agreed, and thus began one of the craziest summers I've experienced so far. While I was disappointed to have not made it into Fiddler, I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to have worked on Bridge to Terabithia. Because it is a children's show, most of the roles were double cast meaning we have two closing nights. Tonight was the final performance ever of Bridge to Terabithia at Brigham's Playhouse.
Closing night is always a bittersweet feeling. I'm anxious to move on to the next show, or to even have a break from shows and have a chance to breathe for a little while before jumping into the next production. But on the other side of that, I'm never ready to say goodbye to my cast members who most of the time have become my second family over the weeks on end that we've worked together. Closing a show never gets any easier, even with shows I've felt no real investment in. I still struggle to wrap my mind around the fact that after this show, I won't get to spend every evening with these people, some of whom I've become very close to in the time we've worked together.
This show has taught me so much, and I've been very lucky to have worked with the amazing cast and crew that we have. I kept telling myself I wouldn't cry and I failed, I always do. You know what they say, "when one show closes, another one opens." Bridge to Terabithia may be closing but there are more shows on the horizon and I can't wait to see what they are and what's in store for me.
I'm so thankful and blessed for every part of this experience and I would do it all again if I was given the chance. Dr. Seuss once said "don't cry because it's over, smile because it's happened." What a perfect saying to end this blog post and this show with. I am sad to say goodbye, but the memories will remain and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Red Cast Closing Night:
 Silly Faces!
 Me, Cameron and Barkley. Cameron played Jesse Aarons
 Me and Audra, one of the Leslie Burkes
 Stella!!!!!!! Stella was the adorable May Belle Aarons.
 Lindsay, who played Brenda, Jesse's older sister.


Thank you Red Cast for a great show.

Green Cast: There's not a lot of pictures, but you get the gist.

Keaton, who played Jesse Aarons.
Silly Faces are my favorite pictures
Thank you Green Cast for a great show!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disney College Program

So about two months ago, I started looking into attending the Disney College Program. What the Disney College Program is a chance for college students to take the semester and go to either Walt Disney World  Resort in Florida or Disneyland in California and do an internship. This is a great opportunity, and it's piqued my interest. I'm a huge Disney fan, I love everything that Disney is. I would give anything to work for one of the most magical companies out there. I've been reading blogs and watching YouTube videos and with each new view I get more and more excited for when my turn comes. I've decided that I will most likely do the program in the fall of 2016, due to conflicts with school. I'm Assistant Director for one of the shows we're doing in the spring and I'm working under one of my favorite professors, an experience that I am beyond ecstatic for. Not only that, but I'll finally have my Associate's Degree this spring. I've put graduating with my Associate's off by a year, and I'm not about ready to extend that even longer. Regardless of all the reasons why I can't do the DCP in the spring, I still decided to apply. I want to see if I have what it takes to get accepted into what's apparently one of the most selective programs out there. If I get accepted for the spring, then I know I'll have what it takes to get accepted in the fall.
I submitted my application on the first day the applications opened, and today I checked my email to see I've been selected to move on to the Web Based Interview. I read that email and started jumping up and down in my living room. I was anxious, because I've heard the WBI is hard to pass, but guess what? I passed! I am moving on to the phone interview! I know I probably shouldn't get excited because there is no way I can back out of my commitment to be Assistant Director, but I can't help it. I can schedule my phone interview tomorrow, and I guess I'll just go from there. Even though I'm not going in the spring, now I know what I can expect for the when I apply for the fall semester. I'll just take things one day at a time.
The two best things I've read on a screen in a long time :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Stop the Shaming

It's been a while since I've posted but there's something I just can't seem to shake off my mind. When I first broke the silence regarding my rape, I thought I was strong enough to share my story. That thought was quickly turned down three days later when I had a level 10 meltdown, I couldn't speak, it was hard to breathe and the tears were horrible, genuinely nasty sobs that choke your throat and leave your face covered in snot. The suffocation continued to grow worse until I finally wrote a letter to my rapist and let my relief come through my writing as it always has. In the months since these posts I like to think I've grown and learned more about myself through these experiences. I'm slowly starting to find my voice again. I'm no longer afraid to tell my story to others, in fact I'll gladly share it with anyone who asks and even those who probably could've carried on their lives never knowing that information. I'm still nervous to share my story but it's no longer from the fact that I'm afraid of the consequences I'll have to face when my ex finally does find out. I know what happened that night and even if he wants to deny it, that will never change the fact that he continued to have sex with me when I very clearly told him to stop, multiple times at various stages of the evening including during the moment. That my friends is what we call rape. I'm nervous because I don't know how people will respond to my news and whether or not it will be support or shame.
What happened that night was not my fault. The woman who wore provocative clothing and teased her rapist on but said no and tried to stop him, it wasn't her fault. The girlfriend who may have slept with her boyfriend in the past but said no to his advances yet he forced himself on her, it's not her fault either. The man who told a woman (or man) no, yet still had sex forced on him, yep not his fault either. It is never the victims fault. I am going to repeat myself because this concept is so hard for people to grasp, it is never the victims fault they were raped, ever. It doesn't matter if they've had sex with the person before, if they misled their rapists, if they wore a dress that was too short or even if they were walking around bare butt naked. Having sex forced upon a person is called rape, end of story. If at any point that person has said no and the sex continues to happen, that is rape. Rape is nobody's fault but the horny bastard who refused to take no as an answer. End of freaking story. Please stop slut shaming rape victims! (Actually stop slut shaming period, seriously people get a life and mind your own freaking business.)
We already feel ashamed for what happened and we don't need your derogatory comments making us feel worse. If someone is bold enough, or trusts you enough to confide in you the dirty little details of what happened when they were raped be supportive. Rape is the most unreported crime, do you know why? Because there is such a stigma attached to it. If you can't prove it didn't happen, don't bother reporting it because who knows if people will even believe you. While that previous statement may not exactly be true, that is exactly how we feel. We don't need your criticism or your crude remarks, what we need are your support and kind words. If you can't think of what to say, that's okay! You can tell us that you don't know how to respond to what we've told you. You can tell us you're sorry, you can tell us that sucked. But what we don't want to hear are things like "I'd never do anything like that." My reaction to that comment is usually along the lines of "I'd hope you'd never rape someone you asshole." My personal favorite response to my story in particular is, "well yeah, but hadn't you guys already slept together?" Um, no we hadn't actually and so what if we had? I said no, he still had sex with me. That is rape, rape is rape. Rape is many things, but one thing it's not is the victim's fault. No means no. Just because someone was raped does not mean they were asking for it. I know I certainly was not asking to lose my virginity in a way like that. I hope that one day the ignorance people have regarding rape will be vanished and this issue will be taken seriously. Ignorance isn't always bliss, especially in the eyes of the countless victims you are shaming when you make comments about the outfit she was wearing or the way a person acts around others. Stop the ignorance and the shaming. End the stigma attached to rape. How will the victims ever heal if we're heistant to discuss what happened to us because we're afraid of being judged? Just food for thought.