Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Best Art

Note: I wrote this on January 1, 2016 while living in Minnesota. I prefer to share intense personal things after they have happened. Hindsight lets me know if something is worth sharing. Or safe to share.
And now, a year and a half later, I am to say that I am a bit calmer in my feelings described below, but also following them! Writing out my dreams allows them to manifest, and it's important to recognize that.
I have slightly edited the below since its initial draft:

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I was struggling with something when finishing my Acting BFA from the Guthrie- I wasn't sure if I wanted to be an actor. For a time, I thought it was because I didn't believe in myself. That awful imbecile of a discouraging voice is now gone. But the difficult realization still lingered months ago- I still didn't want to be an actor full time.

I have seen acting as a sacred, almost holy ritual. Mass is a performance, like a play. Seeking enlightenment, nirvana, or the Holy Spirit (whatever your fancy) is the pursuit of God, or truth, or oneness with the Universe (again, whatever your fancy). Not only as a practitioner, but as an audience member, I have zero patience for theatre executed on autopilot or without any thought or service to truth, mindfulness, commitment, and imagination.

Two of my greatest artistic successes (which had what I think were my WORST artistic attempts squashed between them: a very cowardly and surface-level performance as Tuzenbach in a dreadful Three Sisters and a downright crappy audition in London) happened in Winter 2012. I played Ned Blunt in The Rover at drama school and then sang the Meditation Song at Christmas Eve Mass a month later near my hometown. I will discuss the latter.

I flew into RI a day earlier than originally planned, and it so happened that I would make it to my aunts' choir rehearsal. They've been choir directors since long before my birth. One of them, Jo-Ann, called aunt by choice not by blood, was my voice teacher until I was 18. She called me up, and asked me be the soloist during the reflection time after Communion- "Oh, Holy Night." I said yes immediately, and got myself to rehearsal.

This was the year the Sandy Hook shootings happened in neighboring Connecticut. The country was really shaken by the death of so many little ones. And, in general, folks seemed on edge in our community. I had drifted from following strict Catholic doctrine, but still believed in something greater than ourselves. Like the reason we hang ornaments (to reflect), this moment of meditation is was meant to open up the heart and mind to peace.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining... the lyrics declared, and surprisingly topically.
The soul felt its worth...
Fall on your knees, Hear the angel voices...

At the mass itself, I stepped forward once everyone had received the Body of Christ. Annie on percussion, the full choir behind me, and Jo-Ann on piano and conducting, we collaborated to pray- to really tap into our souls and be mindful about the world around us. Using the skills I'd learned at drama school, like using language by luxuriating in its sounds, filling the space, and driving it all with intent.

When singing the song, all the self consciousness and tension I often felt when auditioning with a song was gone- there was a purpose greater than myself that night. The purpose was to SERVE the people in attendance, to inspire them to pray. To reflect. To meditate. I remember every moment because I was being mindful of communication and presence, but I didn't comment or force anything. The words, the intent- it all flowed through me. And when it ended, the church burst into the most thunderous applause that had, up to that point, followed something I took part in. I did not bow, nor did I smile. I breathed it in and tilted my head to thank them, and to share in what they were feeling.

After the mass, about ten different grown men walked up to me, weeping. Each of them shook my hand, quivering. They could not form words other than breathy "thank yous." I felt like one of the actors I have reached out to at the stage door, post performance My grandmother asked if I loved the applause. I said, "I do not love the applause. I appreciate its spontaneity as a signal I have fulfilled my artistic (aka spiritual) duty."

I mean this. And THIS is the only thing worth pursuing.

Though I do mourn that my current path makes it difficult to get an appointment audition to something I do believe in, like The Phantom of the Opera, I recognize that THIS humble, slow-moving path I am carving is MINE, and truest to myself. And one day, I will stand on a stage, whether it be in London's West End or a humbler stage in the regional scene, and share my soul and search for mindful revelation through that uplifting score.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Asking the Deepest Questions

About a year ago, I met for lunch with a pretty "important person," who said to me that I needed to just commit to one thing in the theatre business, because otherwise people wouldn't know what to do with me. I was seeking data from him and many to decide to give my life purpose or drive. In that instant, I realized that his advice was limiting and boxes one in.

Whilst I recognize the importance of commitment and saving money, being an artist requires me to be more than an actor or just an admin. It requires a joy and openness to always being a student, a teacher, and an actor, and a singer, and an administrator, and a writer.

I spent most of last week travelling back and forth between New York City and my current residence, Providence, RI, to take some classes with a deeply inspiring role model/mentor in my life, Alexandra Silber. I hadn't been in an acting classroom since 2013, and it was an important opportunity as a wiser, on-the-other-side-of-the-mountain 27 year old. To reacquaint myself with deep questions about who I am and how I execute my artistry.

I ask myself many of these questions on the regular, but to do it in a structured space with allies enhances and challenges one to go deeper. And it also inspired me to take charge of how I am actively executing my goals and embedding a positive mindset into my life habits. Because only through believing I, right now, can execute my loftiest dreams may I ever accomplish them. And I can.

When I left NYC in 2015, I wasn't ready to be there. The lifestyle and the expense wasn't something I could marry with my desire to make art. Right now, I am an active, deeply involved ensemble member with the fringe RI company OUT LOUD Theatre, where we challenge ourselves to expand and probe the concepts of performance and space. It is deeply satisfying and productive, and therefore I feel successful in it. When we presented Marat/Sade in March, I used ever tool in my kit and worked with a company so thorough in its work that I can't help but be proud.

Many more extraordinary opportunities are happening at OUT LOUD through to next summer, and I have been hired during my brief lulls at OUT LOUD by a company called 2nd Story for two of their productions. And it's happening because of the work I am putting in at OUT LOUD.

In addition, I am writing a musical with a friend. And there are so many other things I wish to do... and no one is giving me a permission slip to do them. I just have to do them. I sometimes think when I've just done something of my own volition, it's been a surprise to me I have at all. I believe the next step to greatness is purposefully doing the things.

And perhaps the biggest change in my mindset is that I say with intense confidence that I am an actor, but chiefly I also say I am an artist. Because the pursuit of serving pieces in different manners is paramount. Studying dramaturgy as a master's is likely the best thing for me to do by the time I reach my early 30s. I want to solidify a foundation of teaching or administration and then continue to expand and probe my artistic boundaries from there. But in the meantime, I make art and work for the RI Philharmonic and love every moment of it, At 5pm, I leave the office and rehearse or sing or write.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Living Artists: Elizabeth Welch

As part of an open-ended project, I am interviewing (mostly) theatre artists from the perspective of life beyond New York City pavement pounding. It's to perpetuate the concept that life is bigger than one moment or job. The Artist's Way (to borrow Julia Cameron's phrase) is filled with reflection, complexity, autonomy, and integrity.

American singer/actor Elizabeth Welch recently completed a season-long run as the principal Christine DaaƩ in the Oberhausen, Germany, production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, after years as the Christine understudy in the US Tour and Broadway productions. A mother and wife in Colorado who afterward found herself on the Great White Way, Elizabeth was kind enough to share highlights of her journey, which is beautifully, uniquely hers.

You studied voice and met your husband whilst working in Europe directly after school ended. What brought you to start your family life in Denver, Colorado, before ever pursuing an NYC career?

I was born and raised in Colorado. I love it there. We decided to live near family for when phantom-der-oper-oberhausen-tickets-15we had kids. My husband’s family was in Buffalo, NY and beautiful Colorado had much more appeal to us than the snow belt of Western NY. My husband always said, “It’s a great place to be from!” I can’t really tell you why we didn’t go directly to NYC, except that I am very much a Colorado girl, and it’s a hard state to leave behind!

Many actors start out on a career path without a partner or family, waiting usually until their mid-late 30s to “settle down.” You have arguably done the opposite. In what ways has this order of events contributed to the quality of your career?

I did do it backwards. Having a child and a family was important to me. More so than having a career in performing. I always knew I would perform, but I never put pressure on it being my “career”. It was my passion, and I would do whatever side job was necessary to give me the freedom to perform. I didn’t want the pressure of earning a living to be in anyway attached to my auditions. I do what I do because I love it. I think this lack of pressure helped my career, because I only brought fun into the audition room. I had nothing to lose, which brings a relaxed energy and therefore, a better audition.

I would also say, having a child grounded me. It gave me a deeper understanding of myself and the world. There is no substitute for life experience, and I take it all with me into every role I play and every audition I take.

Who knows what my career would have been if I’d moved to NY right out of college. But I assure you, I wouldn’t change a minute of my journey.

How did the opportunity to play Christine in Germany arise? Did you pursue it or were you asked?

It’s just crazy the way life works. I was in rehearsal in NY and I said something offhand in German. Nothing major, just a simple phrase. But our dance supervisor knew they were looking for a Christine in Germany. That small moment started this whole ball rolling. You just never know! But it’s a clear lesson on the power of our words!

In coming to the role “anew,” were there any particular scenes you deepened your research or intention for?

Having a month of rehearsal for a role I’d known for 7 years was such an amazing experience. I was able to look at everything from a new perspective, because I had the time. I had a new director. I had the freedom to explore and see things from different angles. In addition to that, there are variations in the German translation. It’s not a word-for-word translation, so I had new intentions in the text I was singing. Because of that, I was kind of seeing each scene for the first time. I know the character but she suddenly had a new way of expressing herself. It was awesome. I loved this process.

Are there any particular differences you’ve noticed with German and Broadway audiences? Has that affected the work in any way?

The main difference I noticed was the length of the curtain call! These German audiences love to applaud! They’re very generous and genuinely want to be here. Oberhausen is relatively small, so the audience comes from all over. People make a special trip to get here, which makes it even more special.

You are not a fluent German speaker, though your education background assuredly prepared you to do the work. In undertaking a principal contract in Germany, how did you begin to prepare to be a non-native speaker in a German-speaking country? Was a translation provided? And was it a literal translation?

My classical training was a huge help. I’m very well prepared to sing in other languages. However, I was signed on pretty late and only had a few weeks with the German translation, which is not word-for-word. I began translating it myself because I absolutely needed to know every word I was singing. I started with only Christine’s text. Luckily, just as I was starting to translate the rest, they sent me a “back translation”, which was the literal translation of the German text. That saved me a ton of time!

Did you do any physical or phonetic work for the language?

Oh yes. Absolutely. I had the best phonetics coach, and we spent a lot of time together! He wanted the best, and he knew I wanted to be perfect (or as close to it as possible) so we worked very hard on my accent. And we still meet every other week for an hour to keep it strong and clean.

While the intentions are likely the same, the literal words and thought structures are different. For example, on the rooftop, you’re not singing, “All I Ask of You,” but, “More Want I Not from You/I couldn’t want anything more from you.” How have these new images, regardless of language, affected your work in the role? Anything revelatory that surprised you?

Yes, there are differences! Which is exactly why I needed the word-for-word translation. It changes everything. The overall intention is the same, but there is a big difference between, “We had such hopes, and now these hopes lie murdered,” and “Piece by piece you broke my childhood beliefs/hopes.” WE hoped vs. YOU broke is an interesting difference.

Some of the German poetry is so lovely. I prefer certain phrases, actually. Some parts work better than others, of course. But overall, I really enjoyed this challenge. It’s wonderful to have a new way to express Christine’s feelings.

Opening your own company of Phantom must have some qualitative differences. How does the atmosphere of doing the show in a small German city with an international cast differ from doing the show with a mostly American company in a long runner?

I wish everyone could have the opportunity to work abroad. Nothing compares to that life experience. Working with people from every corner of the world opens your eyes and you heart to things you could never imagine. There are many cultural differences, which are beautiful, and give you a respect for history you couldn’t learn from a book. However, there are many more similarities than differences. Just a bunch of humans working on the same job. The world is so much smaller than we think. I wish airlines were as inexpensive as public transportation. The world would be a different place if everyone could come visit their fellow humans across the ocean.

This might seem too simple a question, but in what ways have the different costumes and wigs and spacing and even sets possibly affected your work in the show?

Not at all a simple question. Not much changes for me in character and intention. There are more changes from the translation than from the costumes and staging. However, the staging and costumes add physical and technical issues which took some getting used to. Especially since Christine is such a physical role. I had to learn how to run and get up off the floor in all new huge dresses. That’s not an easy task anyway!

What keeps you inspired during a long run? You’ve been involved with Phantom as cover (and now principal!) Christine for nearly a decade. Is it a work/life balance?

There is absolutely a balance between work and life, and that is a constant tightrope walk. For everyone, I believe. Staying balanced on that tightrope does help keep the show fresh. You can focus on work when you’re at work, and home when you’re at home. I feel like the audience can sense if you’re thinking about the load of laundry you might have left in the washer. It’s all about balance.

Also, we have a different show every night. Often, people are sick or on vacation, so we have a different cast every night. And even if the cast is the same, each audience brings its own special energy. Live theater is an ever-changing art form. Just like Live Life! That’s what makes it interesting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why Companion?

We shouldn't be looking for a happy ending. That's  folly, because the wedding day, the first kiss, the commitments- they are all a part of a story that won't end until death. And that story will have to move through loss and death to get to such an ominous ending.
I don't think I should be looking for a miracle or prince charming. I should be looking for someone who will face life with me. Together, we could extract ourselves from theory (daydreams), and accumulate experiences, the love resulting. Taking someone "in" as my companion is not a fairy tale. It is a decision that is made lightly and passively by, frankly, some I know. With that Someone, life will give us joyful serendipity and rough adversities. Therefore, I wonder why we'd only base courtship on just fun nights out or the most peppy versions of ourselves.
Those marriage vows- in sickness and in health. That's a big deal. Will I be able to look at a man and say (with or without marriage), "I respect your life, your inherent dignity, and what we share so much, that I will help you through that vulnerable, terrifying erosion of faculties?"
There are ups and downs, individuals/priorities change over the years, sex likely won't be consistent, events alter perceptions, and honesty is important. Shouldn't we be exploring a strong foundation, then, from the earliest stages? A foundation of unabashed truth and enriched discussion?
Plus- many people end relationships, they say, because they are not "fulfilled." I reckon they initially felt fulfilled by the companion... But that is an unfair expectation to place on anyone. Just like careers, projects, and homes, a person can only help us go so far- It's the active self-care that fulfills. If you cannot be alone with yourself (which, for some like me, I needed to learn through years), you will not at all know yourself. You will project self consciousness onto your partner, and look to them for every ounce of your identity. That is not a relationship, nor is it a spiritually and/or intellectually integrated collaboration. It lacks identity and clarity; it lacks decisiveness.
Here's a bullet version of what I am sketching out right now (sorry for some repetition):
  • On those first dates, you shouldn't be anyone but yourself, and no question should be answered embellished. That's because from the moment you don't lay a foundation from pure honesty, the house will be spoiled.
  • Face desperate loneliness square in the eye before you seek a partner. When we are looking for a partner to heal our loneliness, we are not collaborating with that partner; I believe that paints the partner as a "miraculous" object, not a person. Relationships are crippled when one or both the parties can't be on their own.
  • Love is a result, not the impulse, of a relationship. Often, we confuse love and lust. Let's get to the basic level- Time, intimacy, space, and activity result in the true revealing of the soul. I can say I'm loving all I want, but it's only when I can be loving through advice or action that I truly am so.
  • Every journey is different, but one thing the best relationships seem to have in common: Sex does not alone wield the relationship's cards. Sex dries up, it comes later, comes sooner, is frequent, or not (just like when you're single). There is a solace: sex is just one relationship element (and heck- of a person). That relationship can  have strengths in other intimacies, such as conversation, philosophy, and Netflix/snuggle fests. There is so much more to us, and reason to be with someone, than nights in the sheets.
  • The lust feeling, perpetuated as love, can confuse us from who our potential partner is at their most neutral level-the version of the person we are going to spend the most time with (let's be honest). When clouded with desire, even the most intelligent among us will say and do things that aren't truly honest. Lust goggles drive us to objectify our lover, perpetuating a relationship built on the moment we met in heat, rather than on the concept of growth and investment. We should see our love as who they are, not what we want them to do for us--- I'd hope we expect the same.
  • It's pretty clear from historical and literary records, that people do not like being told what to do. So, build a relationship as two individuals with concrete identities. Be whole, rather than one. Encourage and emulate the fact they have friends and hobbies outside the home. To go further, celebrate that they've had prior loves, successes and failures- all that has led them to the person who was eventually willing to take you in.
  • Understand there is no happy ending. Every time we decide to enter a relationship with someone, it is opening ourselves to both joyous and tragic possibilities. In other words: opening our heart to someone sets us on a path toward every potential human experience and expression that we may not yet have encountered. Very soon after marriage, my Someone could fall mortally ill, our child could have a chronic illness, our home could burn down, or one of us could lose a job. Since the realm of possibility is vast, I shouldn't just be looking for a prince or a miracle- I should be looking for someone who wants to experience life in all its highs and lows. Would I be able to hold their hand as they transition to death?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Why Baby?

Over the weekend, I was holding a high school friend's second baby, aged 11 months. At one point, when her older brother was instructed to "grab a grown up's hand" (meaning us), I said jokingly, "Do you know what mistakes I made last night?" A significant part of myself is thrilled that whilst I have changed, I still feel connected to my childhood self. That is some good continuity.
But this baby- I was holding her. My best friend Martha said, "Babies look good on you, David." She meant it as more than an accessory. Every time I engage with a young child, I sense that my root-self, a gentle person, is allowed practice.
I'm a single, 26-years-old gay man. Therefore, single and childless, there are elements of myself which are currently impossible to practice. It's a certain tenderness that I can't quite have with just my best friends (though we are very close, thank goodness). Instead, it can be practiced in only small, but meaningful doses. Holding my Grammy's hand, snuggling with a family dog, holding my best friends in my arms. Even being very actively present with whomever I am on a date with.
But my desire to raise a child should be larger and more important than simply, "I want a reflection of myself," or, "to feel good."  Over the past year as I have healed, I have considered some simultaneous aspects child rearing addresses. These aren't comprehensive; they are essentially sketches.
  • Raising a child is a humanitarian perpetuation from within the self. Our troubled world is rotted fruit, not bad seeds, as Charlotte Perkins Gillman once put it. For any baby, we believe they deserve respect, love, intimacy, opportunity, and enlightenment. By actively doing such, the hope is that the child will be instilled, later going forth into the world perpetuating it toward society.
  • Starting from there, I theorize I should recognize my child as a human being, autonomous from me, just at that initial stage vulnerable and impressionable. My duty to our entire social organism is to assist this human being in becoming as cared for, enlightened, and respectful as common sense would hope.
  • The challenge of parenthood is the self-drive to, along with one's partner, draw out our intrinsic humanity, especially in a society that denies that exact concept. I will have to navigate myself as a humanitarian toward my child and also my eventual partner (our actions will also result in teaching the sponge-minded child). This will require a constant practice of listening, letting go, reflection, and transparency.
Indeed, this will be tricky. Balancing intrinsic goodness with societal distractions and past adversity is a courageous task. It means that I must live my pre-parent life setting myself  and eventual child for success. That means choosing potential partners thoughtfully, and coming to love them, exercising habitually, and feeding my mind and experiences years beyond formal schooling. Clearly, I can not teach my eventual child to be an enlightened, loving human if I myself don't work toward being just that. I cannot allow myself to disillusion and believe that a child will imbue purpose onto myself, their parent. I have been faced with that burden in life; it is rocky, relentless, and unhelpful. Instead, my purpose comes beforehand. My self-care and partner relationship will teach just as much (if not more so) than my parental care.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Moment in NYC

With Pam Bradley and Nick Demos at Yum Yum, June 2016.
Last April, after 16 months in New York City, I left. I had been partying with celebrities, working front-of-house on Broadway, and assisting a beautiful soul named Nick Demos. But all that to say, I felt caught up in being the assistant and the usher. There was nothing wrong with these jobs, but the need to have a multi-faceted identity was really gnawing at me. I love assisting, but my creative brain wasn't able to find any of its own outlets at the time. I wanted to be seen as a creator, as well.

NYC is like that friend who loves to party with you. You like, it, too. But she doesn't bathe too often and smokes in your face. And sometimes you get tired of that. I took a breather the week after Cabaret closed, where I'd spent a whole year of my life telling people where to sit and begging them to respect others. During that respite in quieter environments, I thought to myself how important it was to be grounded. New York City is a storm, and you can't build a strong ship in a storm. The ship must be built in calmer weather before embarking through the rage.

Danny Burstein is a kind, generous man who happens to also be a generous actor. I got to watch him work as Herr Schultz in Cabaret roughly 380 times during our year there. Through what seemed like little effort, he shook hands, nodded hellos, and had a serenity about him. Everyone in the building was worth his time. Some of our bosses, some other "celebs" in the business, are not this way. They are a part of the storm. But someone like Danny is a ship in the storm. Being like that might take time, but it's time I'm willing to put in. And that long-term investment has led him to portray a stunning version of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Broadway Theatre. His sense of self and generosity translated on stage with impact. The character and the man both had something to share and explore about humanity. The ship had docked.

Seeing Danny Burstein triumph as Tevye
in June 2016.
Like him, and many others I respect, I want to be a ship in the storm.

I may have been back in NYC for just 3 days, which is different from living the grind full time, but I felt at least like a sturdy tug boat. Every goal I'd set for myself in leaving the city has been met, even if it was short lived or the result was unexpected. I acted in a play last summer to good notices, I was hired as a manager (though resigned due to policy differences), wrote a new play, and leaned up my body. I also dated... I overcame some mental anguish that was truly fogging my self care abilities.

It's not rejuvenation. That sounds temporary. Rather, it is a revelation. A tectonic plate moved within me, and it's settled into a new terrain. It's what made the Pacific Northwest and now me. There is always another earthquake possible, but that's not something we can dwell upon. Let's enjoy and take precautions in what is made from failure and growth, and have good building codes with relationships and our faith in the self and the greater good.

New ventures are on the horizon. And it's going to be good.

Thanks, NYC, for not changing. It helped me see how much I have changed.

I don't need you, anymore. Instead, I want you.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Heartache Burger

So. This is what I call the Heartache Burger. It's a burger I bought on April 11th during a creative team meeting for an upcoming May project. I announced to the table that it was the Heartache Burger. Rightfully, it was medium rare and had an over-easy egg on top. Duh.

Notice, I requested a side salad, rather than FRIES. I have limits when it comes to comfort food. I must. I have a figure to attempt maintaining.

I'll be fine. The Heartache Burger is over someone I have not actually been dating, but rather someone I have, in my usual way, just naturally built the strongest of feelings toward (openly made apparent, mind). Is there something wrong with affinity building? I'm not so sure there is...But that might be my past life as a Victorian heir talking... Just call me David Wuthering Heights Marian Halcombe Nando Emily Dickinson Jane Eyre Bronte Rodgers.

You know, I like to think I have "standards." And I do- for relationships. Yes, I've been a naughty guttersnipe from time-to-time when reactionary loneliness feelings settle in. But, oh, do those quick fixes feel empty, and shallow. They feel great in an instant, like a cheap bandaid from the Dollar Tree that slides off the moment you take a shower. These are without rapport and love and kindness; they are not integrated within my whole self, though I acknowledge they are a part of myself. The whole self actually aches for collaboration and revelation, and that takes certain types of folks.

My body is like a can. It's an aluminium can, softened by the elements, and it peels open over my heart, my stomach (specifically on my left side), and my eyes. These areas are portals to emotions held inside areas of the body. I remember five years ago around this date was the first time I experienced true heart break (though unfortunately embellished with self worthlessness, which wasn't that boy's fault). The day after the inciting incident, I was so open, I could not handle a single sentence or breathed utterance in my direction. Thoughts were things, and those "things" swam within my body, compulsively torturing me and wishing to fall out like a flood, my intestines and soul in their hands. It's as if my soul had bold, Arial font words explaining my deepest secrets. Obviously this isn't something one can rationalize from a solely human way of thinking. I am humble enough to believe that there are things about our nature truly more mysterious, powerful, and downright spiritual than we can ever hope to comprehend.

My ex-best friend, who became increasingly distant and unable to communicate as the years pressed on, once articulated to me over the phone, "It's very difficult for people to want to hang out with you. Not because you are mean or cruel. Actually, many people like you. But you expect so much honesty and forthrightness from yourself and others, that they can't help but be afraid of processing those feelings when in your presence." She fell victim to this fear she herself had defined in others. Not necessarily because of me. It was another example of a relationship I should have ended sooner, but, because I had seen her, I refused for too long to write her off (lacking a better term, here).

Years later from the heartbreaks, this quote defines my search in life for peace. It's what I believe to be a key ingredient of the most successful friendships and partnerships-
"Beyond your challenges, beyond your successes, beyond the events with which life has molded your spirit, there is a placeless place within you. It is a place of peace. It is a place of freedom. It is the place where the Self you have been seeking resides." -Barbara De Angelis, PhD
It's not that I lack self-love (that's something I worked on for FIVE years), but it's the maddening effect of not collaborating with someone on this enlightenment that dampens me. I seek and ponder and downright pray for guidance as a single person. I don't know if I can accept, like some Catholic leaders I knew in high school purported about themselves, that I am "called to a single life." What does that mean? And what does it entail? Is it a life of sacrifice? And why such a sacrifice? I don't have the answers. Perhaps I should embrace that mystery...

But this self awareness doesn't make me perfect. In fact, it implicates my fault for being placed in heartaching situations. And my self-awareness is off-putting to many, as noted above. However, at the same time, is an unexamined life worth living? And is a life without risk or attempts of particular interest?

I grew up in a family of absolutes, and, generally, what I perceived at the time to be conditional love. Some children copy their parents, others try to be the total opposite. At this point in my young adult life, I have attempted to be the polar opposite. The problem is that I embrace the gray of the human spirit too intensely, too patiently, and to the detriment of my own self respect and sanity. I cling to the exquisite potential in a man, and, because I want to practice patience and be intentional, I have yet to draw a clear line as to when enough is enough and to understand he's just. not. it.