Friday, July 29, 2011

Still haven't found (you guessed it) what I'm looking for-

My facebook profile picture is a still from ISU's production of Rock 'n' Roll.

I look at it and have to look away immediately.

Two reasons:

1) I cannot fathom how much larger my waistline has gotten in only three months, and

2) sadness crashes into my sternum like a wrecking ball every time I think back to those happiest moments of my life.

How does this make sense?

The joy, the fulfillment, that pain, the beauty, the struggle of that show- it was palpable. It was tangible. It still is. I don't know why- I don't think any of us that were a part of it understood what was happening to us- but even up there on that stage, I could feel it slipping away from my grasp- the purity and meaningfulness of what was happening.

There was a tangible loss the moment that show closed. How can something so joyous- so bright- so perfect- bring such an awful hurt with its memory? Isn't that the antithesis of art?

Please understand that I don't mean anything as far as the performance was concerned. Think what you will about the final product- that's your right, and I wholeheartedly encourage it- but the experience, for me, was so life-alteringly beautiful that I weep like a two-year-old denied his post-dinner ice cream every time I hear U2 play that damn song over the speakers at CVS.

But that's the problem. It was life-altering.

I'm still living my life. And it's been altered. But I don't know how to let that change manifest itself.

I spoke to Jake the day after the show closed. Over breakfast, I said to him, "I can't live a life that's not beautiful anymore. I can't spend nine hours a day on the couch. I need to live a beautiful life."

And I meant it. The issue I've found is that it's extremely hard to live beautifully when you're clocking in 40+ hours a week and worrying about your bad credit score.

I'm here. I made it to Chicago. I've been on a few auditions. I've been blessed enough to have been given a beautiful project to work on with a dear friend. What I'm terrified of is that I'll spend the rest of my life looking for what I had for that brief moment.

Go ahead. Say it. Tell me I just have to go for the dream. Tell me I have to audition like it's my job. Tell me we all have to start somewhere.

I know. You're right. I know.

But, please, dearly beloved, tell me how to do it when I don't have the energy to walk back from the El.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things I Learned from Gary

Over the last few weeks, I've found myself much more prepared than expected for life post-college. Looking back over the classes I took, I realized that they couldn't possibly have helped... I skipped most of them. I'm not street-smart. I don't have shocking good looks or unusual amounts of money to help me get by. So what was the source of my uncanny adaptability?


Gary Alcorn, the custodial mastermind behind the theatre facilities at Illinois State University, has taught me a great deal of useful things. I, in thanks to him, would like to pass a few of them on.


Things I've learned from Gary:

1. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they leave a room when they think someone else is going to clean up after them.

2. Mountain Dew is, in fact, a food group.

3. Fact: it's actually pronounced "thee-AY-durr."

4. You should never take more than you can afford to lose on a casino boat.

5. Art isn't about being clever.

6. Fun-sized candy bars can actually help diets. It's science.

7. Bourbon and Windex are delicious over ice.

8. It's stupid to walk home alone in the dark because you don't want to inconvenience anyone. Just plain stupid.

9. Work isn't work if you love what you do.

10. It's all about who you know. Just not who you think you should be getting to know.

***Disclaimer: The author of this blog in no ways condones the mixing of alcoholic beverages and cleaning supplies for purposes of consumption.

Friday, July 15, 2011

We are such stuff as reality television is made of.

Firstly, I'd like to point out that my title ends in a preposition.

More importantly, I'd like to find a way to connect back to loved ones who aren't within arms' reach anymore- and who, heaven knows, I'm awful at connecting with any other way.

The goal of this blog, I suppose, is to find a way to get all of my musings/inappropriate thoughts/hopes/confusions out and into a better, useful place. This way, I can unload while sharing, maybe grapple with things in a way that better serves personal growth.

Let the games begin.

I work for a fantastic salon: when I say fantastic, I don't mean "I say it 'cause they pay me to," I mean "fantastic." Think best-haircut-you-ever-had, mentioned-in-magazines, can't-take-walk-ins-cause-we're-booked-solid kind of place. The pay and perks are wonderful. My coworkers are kind, complex people who love what they do, and who have swooped me up, slapped some dye in my hair and called me one of their own. The only issue? I work for the front desk.

The front desk=the front lines.

I'll set the scene:

Lights up on a motionless salon foyer. Stainless steel glistens, wood counters shine, pencils have been sharpened to pointy perfection. A girl, 23, rests against the counter behind the massively structured front desk.

It's 8:29am on a Tuesday. The schedules have been printed. The drawer has been counted. There is peace.


Phone switches automatically from "night ring" to "in office."

Phone rings. Pick up. Appointment request. Computer system suddenly- and irreversibly- down. Second phone rings. Apologies and message-taking. Third phone rings. Apologies yet again and correction of message. Hang up phone. Attempt to pick up another call. Accidentally hang up on two calls in queue. Spill coffee over message book. Three phones ring at once. Pick one up. Speak. "Yeah?" Shit. "Sorry, um, thanks for calling, this is-"  consider lying about your name, "Brynne. How can I help you?" Appointment request. Phones all ringing. System still down. Explain that the system is down. Develop a sudden and inexplicable lisp during explanation. "I'm thorry, the computerth theem to be down right now, but I'd be happy to take your information and call you ath thoon as they're back up." Wait for response, which is a wet-sounding sigh. "No." Click.

No moment to collect yourself. No quiet time to reflect on the first time you've been hung up on- in, come to think of it, years. Instead, the steady ring if phones, the assaulting WHACK of the automatic stapler that has begun to eat your morning paperwork, and the dripping of lukewarm coffee onto your slightly odorous and too-tight shoes.

Welcome to adulthood.

If this weren't the norm, I suppose I wouldn't think so much about it.

I should specify: what astounds me is not the type or amount of work that comes with the job. I like sharpening pencils- in an almost unhealthy way. I like taking calls, and I even enjoy the pressure that stems from complications at work. I work well under pressure. Just not the kind applied by seven-figure salaried, big ringed, injected-and-perfected middle-aged women with tinfoil in their hair.

It's only a few a day, but they're there every day: the future candidates for "The Real Housewives of Chicago."

We have some wonderful clients, but their kindness is easily overshadowed by the downright cruelty of others. In four weeks of working at the salon, I've had a credit card thrown at me, been hung up on multiple times daily, had a woman tell me she would (I shit you not) kill herself if I couldn't get her the appointment she needed, and ,on the whole, been looked at as an office supply instead of a person with any sort of value.

The response from my coworkers, who have been very supportive but have grown tired of my shock: "You just need a thick skin."

A thick skin? A thick skin. I get it. I know what they mean. They mean, eventually, that I'll have to stop noticing that people look right through me, and that people throw things, that someone can lie through their teeth and blame me for their scheduling mistakes- and that I have to smile at them and tell them to have a wonderful day in response. I'll stop noticing and start not caring, if I try hard enough. The thing is, I don't know how to not feel badly when someone willingly tries to make me feel bad. Again, not all of them- most of the clients are WONDERFUL- but the beasts- I feel an overwhelming urge to let fly a "Listen, lady, you're the one who fucked up, here. I'm doing my best to correct your mistake, but if getting your hair done is this a matter of life-and-death to you, for god's sake,  go buy a box of Garnier and be miserable near someone else."

Does that mean I'd win? No. That would be cruel, too. I'm just not used to tending to wounds this deep on a daily basis.

We are such stuff...