do you ever use a quote on an earlier post that you later realized is perfect for your farewell post? and regret it immensely? so you quote the play you kept quoting all summer because it's brilliant and you've wanted to work on it for months? me too.
*this post is really honest*
i left bada five days ago, and it feels like i never went in the first place. from the drive home from the airport, i felt like i'd never left new york-- everything was so familiar, and nothing felt different. i'm definitely not the same person i was when i left, but i wasn't reborn or anything profound like that. i wasn't expecting to be, but i didn't feel terribly new in my skin.
i can tell you one thing has changed-- my tolerance. for my friends, for the way i'm treated, and for the people i work with, whether i chose them or not. the longer i was in oxford, the shorter my patience became with people from back home became. i can't tell if this is because long distance makes me so anxious that i lash out at my close relationships, or because i was shown vast amounts of love that validated that i am worth more than i often give myself credit for. now that's not to say that i'm some goddess that needs to be put up on this pedestal-- because, trust me, i know that i am not-- but i came back with the clearest intentions to cleanse my life of people that made me feel like less of a person than i should ever feel.
i often stayed up late making big plans: plans to cut so-and-so out of my life, plans to call so-and-so up and tell them that i wanted or needed more from them, plans to produce this-and-that. in hindsight, 85% of these big plans were far fetched, and should definitely never be carried out. bad ideas, truly. however, 15% of the plans made sense, and still do.
times are a'changin', kids.
i left england certain that i know more than i give myself credit for, but i also really don't know much. about shakespeare, about theatre, and about people/life in general.
i've always known how sheltered my life has been. i've always been conscious of my privilege. i've always been conscious of prejudice and sexism in the world. however, i can honestly say that i've never been exposed to it in my everyday life, though.
i grew up in miami, and then i went to nyu. now that's not to say that being the good wife who cooks and raises the kids isn't the unsaid rule of the city i grew up in, but i went to an all-girls school that promoted independence and dedicated our senior year to feminist literature. so the cooking and cleaning definitely wasn't left to me. (do i even need to tell you how liberal nyu is?)
*mom and dad, this will probably make you uncomfortable*
while in england, i was disrespected intimately, told off for believing in my rights, and grabbed when i didn't want to be. i don't need to spend much time on my disappointing hook up, or on being pinned against a wall because a drunk man needed to explain something to me. unfortunately, most women i know all have stories like mine.
i will, however, talk about being reprimanded for (this is not an exaggeration) 25 minutes by a guy who was upset that i defended myself when one of my classmates tried to shut me down. i was reprimanded for using buzz words in response to my sexuality being attacked. i was reprimanded for sarcastically using "cis-gendered male" as a retort to my classmate telling me to "stop caking all of that bronzing shit" on my face. i was reprimanded because, "he's from the midwest, so if he doesn't believe in abortion rights, then we have to cut him a break". and all i could get out in those 25 minutes was the word "no" in response to "do you have a problem with me being cis-gender?".
i could go on, and on, and on about this. but i don't care to. i think i've made my point. i've already spent hours writing about it. i've already spent hours not sleeping because i was buzzing with anger, both at him and at myself for only being able to say "no" in response to "do you have a problem with me being cis-gender?" because i don't deal with being reprimanded very well.
i was really excited to come back to liberal-minded new york, to say the least.
my last week in oxford was somewhere between euphoric and chaotic. i was at my wits end with a lot of people. i have very little patience for complaining and unprofessionalism (do you really need to get up to go to the bathroom right now while your classmates are working?). i never understand why actors in school complain so much about being actors, or about being in acting school-- if you really hate it, why are you here? you have the choice to leave. no one is making you become an actor. i promise your parents would prefer that you became a doctor or a lawyer or something that will pay your bills.
but anyway. i digress
shopping during the last week of school was so much fun. i found a new brand that i love (jack wills!!!!), and i got an adorable dress at topshop that makes me feel like a flower sprite. i also had fudge for the first time in my life from fudge kitchen, and it was unbelievable. i finally stopped eating at the dining hall, because it was seriously messing with my digestive system, and i got a good dinner with my parents, cousin, and granny when they came into town for my share day.
my last lesson at old manor was kind of all over the place. i felt scrambled, and i wasn't sure where my brain went. i started spiraling at the beginning of my lesson, and i never picked myself back up. we had to end the lesson on a low course with one big jump at the end. i think i spent too much time chasing heights in the lesson, and rushing to putting the jumps up higher and higher, and not enough time thinking about me and my horse. but i learned my lesson and i'm trying to keep staying patient and humble. i'm definitely not looking forward to keeping the jumps low back in the states, but i am looking forward to seeing tanner.
the tempest was such a joy to perform, and although i didn't get where i wanted to with it in the two weeks we had to work on it, i still felt good walking away from it. the deep blue sea also went well, despite someone opening the door in the middle of my scene and hitting it against me to get in the room twice before almost knocking me to the ground. i wish my scene partner hadn't needed so much prompting during my second scene, and i wish i hadn't rushed into my first scene. but it wasn't a show. it was an open rehearsal, and a learning experience.
it was strange to come home and feel like i never left, because oxford was the cleansing experience and wakeup call i needed. i still get scared of playing roles that i think are perfect, and i'm still not scared of auditioning. i need to keep reminding myself that no matter how much research or table work i do on a role, no matter how many lines i can quote or relevant facts i can spit out, i can't act how knowledgable i am. i still have plenty of blocks, but i've also learned how to be much more open than i ever was at atlantic. i've learned to share all of my parts-- good and bad-- with the people who want to share them with me, because the bad stuff doesn't scare away the good ones, only the ones who needed to be scared away in the first place.
more than anything, though, my best moments at oxford came when i watched people learn and grow. nothing beats the feeling of watching someone to care so deeply about fail, and fail, and fail... and then succeed. nothing beats watching the quietest girls you sit with at dinner roar with a fire unimaginable when they step on stage. nothing beats watching your favorite people play kate, lady ann, lady percy, beatrice, benedick, macbeth, constance, or macbeth. there is no greater joy in the world than being able to give your attention and life to someone for their brief moments on stage, while they throw their hearts over the fence and jump over it to the other side, where they have no idea what they're going to encounter.
this career-- this craft-- takes heart. it takes grit and bravery. it takes stamina and a willingness to give everything you have for as long as it takes to tell the story.
mom and dad-- thank you so much for trusting me to go away and work my butt off in another country. thank you for sending me abroad for the second time. thank you for always believing in my passions, and supporting me in everything i love. thank you for always letting me go where i want, and trusting me to be an adult. thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me be an actor.
thank you to my company. thank you bada. thank you midsummer.