Well, the most excited thing that has happened to me lately is being cast in this summer's production of "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" by Introspect Dance Company! IDC is a performance group that forms every summer, made up of people between the ages of 15 and 25. The story is told through dance and music performed by IDC's band (past performances were "Waiting on the World to Change", which focused on showing that teenagers really do care about issues in our world and care enough to do something about them, and "How to Save a Life", which focused on teen suicide, its causes, and the necessity of facing issues in your life). This year's show is about five people with troubled pasts who meet at a diner in Rhode Island, and the idea that you have to meet your problems head-on and cannot let them define you. I was cast as Tina, a friend of one of the main characters, and will be doing a lot of contemporary pointe, mostly to music by Vanessa Carlton - I absolutely loved what we learned at the callback! I am sooooo excited about this!!!
And once again, I am reminded how everything always works out for the best. I auditioned for Footloose about two months ago, and it was a kind of big blow to my confidence when I didn't get cast. However, now I am so glad I didn't! I probably would have thought I was too busy to audition for Introspect, and I really think I'm going to get so much more out of this than I would have gotten from Footloose. It's going to be a chance to really grow as an artist and be a part of something that will really affect people. Plus, I think it's just going to be a lot of fun...everyone is so friendly and creative and I really look forward to working with them! The first rehearsal is this afternoon...I can't wait!
I've been doing a lot of growing up in the past few months. I'll be 18 in a week and a half, and it's beginning to hit me that I'm almost an adult. And like so many things, it's not quite how I imagined it would be, but it also doesn't scare me nearly as much as I always thought it would. It's such an interesting time...you really start to understand the world and the people in it, including yourself. I've changed so much just in the past few months, but I'm realizing that deep inside, I'm exactly the same "me" I've been my entire life.
If you come from a conservative, homeschooled upbringing, maybe you have noticed that when the teenagers in your group of friends get to be 17, 18, 19, they change a lot. If you're anything like how I was, this was a cause of major concern - to all appearances, they've really "gone off the deep end". But now that I've reached that age myself, I can assure you, don't worry too much about them. Maybe they'll get more piercings than you approve of, or starting dating someone who isn't from your church, or suddenly seem to be hanging out with people at all hours of the day. But fear not - this is just something they have to do, and you'll probably do it as well to some degree or another when you're that age. We have to do it because we are inhabitants of this world, and at some point, we are going to be on our own in it. Up until now, parents and other responsible adults have made most of your decisions for you. You had to ask their permission to go places, to buy things, to be involved in anything. And that is how it should be. While you're growing up, you simply don't know enough to make the right decisions in certain situations, and often you don't even want to. I didn't, at least. I was always pretty happy to just ask my parents about everything and rely on their judgment.
But one day, you realize that soon, very soon, you're going to be the one making your decisions. You will be fully accountable for your actions. It is your own judgment you will be relying on. The pattern of your world is shifting and your parents are now in the role of advisor. This freedom can be intoxicating, but you need it. You need to learn how to navigate the world and make the right choices, and the only way you're going to learn this is by trying. Some things you try might not be the smartest in the long run, but if you always stay true to yourself and the values and morals you were raised on, you'll be fine. Just remember, the best, most admirable people are without a doubt the ones who aren't afraid to laugh and act crazy and have a good time, and at the same time aren't afraid to stand up for their values and beliefs and God, even when it goes against popular opinion. Those are the strong people. Those are definitely the cool people.
Entering adulthood is an extremely confusing time. You start questioning things you were raised to believe, because now you know that if you're going to believe something, you have to be convinced it's true. Some things that were always very important to you just aren't anymore, and other things you though would never matter to you suddenly do. The fact that man is not meant to be an island is brought home to you strongly, and the loneliness you sometimes experience feels like it's going to completely crush you and all you can do is cry. Then you feel like you're being weak for feeling like you really need other people, but it's fine. You do need them, and they need you.
And when people, people you looked up to when you were younger and people you counted as friends, look at you and just think, "Wow, she's turned into such a rebellious teenager," it really hurts. Yes, you are a teenager, and yes, you are going through a certain rebellion. But it's not always a bad thing. I'm sure those very people who are judging you for it did the same thing in their younger days. I guess they don't remember that even though the outside person might seem very different, the true person, the one inside, is really and truly the same person. They are growing. They are changing, yes, but changes are not always a bad thing. They're probably suffering more inside than you'll ever know. And all of this is going to make them a strong person someday. They have to know the world, so they can know what to keep and what reject. They have to test and question their beliefs, so that they can be completely convinced that faith and reason are in agreement and what they believe is the truth. They have to know and love other people, because, to quote Les Mis,
"To love another person is to see the face of God."