Courage, Lindsey

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welcome to new york

I’ve officially been at my internship for well over a month now, which is totally weird. It has been challenging and educational, and really nothing like I thought it would be. Having never worked for an arts company this size, the sheer magnitude of what happens on a daily basis here is quite a shock to my system. I am continually reminded of the diverse beauty of theatre, and all the hands it requires to make it happen.

Living in upstate New York has been its own shock… we really are in the middle of nowhere. I can count on one hand how many convenience stores are within twenty miles of my location, I instinctively know when to plug my nose to avoid sulfur smells, and worst of all, the ratio of rodents killed by my car to the ones still living is sadly widening each day.

I have, however, managed to meet some truly incredible people. I have never worked for a company that attracted such a high caliber of employees. The reputation of this company precedes it, and the fact that I get to share this incredible experience with so many of the best in the biz is truly humbling. (Heyo, someone get me a job on Broadway, please??)

In addition to working long days (thus is the life of an intern), I continue to search for what’s next. One of the downsides to working in the arts is that stability is almost non existent. You are almost always on the look out for the next opportunity, and you must be open to wherever it takes you. Though the past year has been a doozy moving wise, I continue to remember all the beautiful places I have been able to see and reside in. Yes, I miss having a “home base”, but for now, I’ll try to enjoy the thrill of the unknown.

older, bolder, and maybe just a little lost at 23

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“At 23, JK Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the Y.M.C.A. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. None of these wildly successful individuals could have predicted what was in store for them next but the one thing they all had in common was that they knew that there was more to them than what they were doing at the time. And that’s what you have in common with them, too. You know that there’s a bigger, better version of yourself to bring to life. You just haven’t gotten there yet.” – Heidi Priebe for [Thought Catalog]

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I have to try to keep my brain from exploding every time I realize that I have spent more time in Colorado than anywhere else this year. That this place is now home. My own home, in fact. And it’s adorable, if I do say so myself.

The past six months have been a trip. Graduation and goodbyes, summer internships and fleeting moments with dear friends. Saying adieu to the old and hello to the new. This year has been full of new things for me, some not so great and some incredibly wonderful.

I used to be afraid of change, as most people are. I selfishly believe that I have experienced enough change for the rest of my life. This year marks the ten year anniversary of my family moving into an RV for a year and traveling the entire country. No, they were not in it to sell drugs.

Ten years ago feels like a dream now, but I still remember glimpses of the wonderful things we saw on a daily basis. Mountains and skyscrapers and craters and oceans, just to name a few. Though I complained for years afterward about being forced to live in a fiberglass box during my critical pubescent years, I am so grateful. (Not so grateful about the fact that my most awkward year happens to be the most documented…) I am grateful because now, ten years later, I have done the same thing. Filled with the same desire for adventure and unencumbered wanderlust as my parents, I followed the tiniest inkling for something new. Completely unaware of the incredibly difficult future ahead of me, I drove cross country in search of my own life.

I adore how new places bring out different sides of you. Here, in Colorado, I have found an adventurous and ambitious Lindsey, one who doesn’t accept boundaries or complacency. This Lindsey challenges what she has been given and continually desires more for herself and those around her.

She is a fighter, and she is good at it.

 

narrative of a young person (or how I’ve managed to turn fruit snacks into a meal)

Picture this: a bright eyed and bushy tailed college grad, brimming with excitement, drunk on opportunity, and ready to take on the world.

Cut to: a twenty-three year old woman living in her brother’s house, sobbing in a heap of dirty clothes stained with spaghetti sauce, stressing about rent and eating Cheez-its for dinner.

Okay, it’s not that bad. But I would just like to address any younger-person-than-me reading this and say that GROWING UP IS A TRAP. RUN AWAY AND NEVER COME BACK. No degree, amount of education, or courses in anthropology will ever prepare you for the world that awaits after college. I repeat: you are but a CHILD until they throw you off the stage at graduation with nothing more than a handshake, a blank piece of paper, and a “good luck!”.

The following is my account of how I got from aforementioned Point A to Point B. Follow along closely. I’m sure it’ll sound familiar. If it doesn’t, then you must be independently wealthy or continuing your education. If that is the case, then I am sorry to say this fate will befall you soon enough.

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I graduated in May this past year with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. (Useful, I know!) I was extremely proud to not only have balanced several jobs throughout my education, but graduate with honors after having been homeschooled my entire life. And these were real life honors with latin names and everything, not just a superlative my Student Life boss gave me. I wrote a thesis, performed at my commencement ceremony, and actually managed to receive my housing deposit back.

Thankfully, life immediately after graduation wasn’t all too grim. I had a buffer: the highly coveted title of “intern”. Ah yes, this is laughable to anyone who’s actually been an intern. It is often brutally hard work and usually doesn’t pay that much, if anything at all. (I was fortunate enough to have a fabulous internship that provided housing AND a stipend, but I was lucky, I admit.) For some reason, post grads will fight to the DEATH to say that we have a “summer internship” after college. Because honestly, what else are we gonna do?? Never mind the fact that we just completed TWENTY TWO YEARS OF SCHOOLING. No, we certainly don’t deserve a break for that. We need MORE WORK.

After my two month internship in Colorado, I decided to move there. For the first time ever, I was free from obligation to live in a certain place, so I picked. I moved in with my brother and now currently share a bathroom with a six and an eight year old boy. Yes, I’ve truly moved up in the world.

Enter the painful yet necessary floundering stage of the narrative familiar to all. The stage which many of us reach eventually, no matter how many internships or jobs you’ve lined up. Up to this point, you’ve done everything you were supposed to do; you moved to the city you love, you found a temporary place to live, all that is left is to find a job! But not just any job. No, it has to be THE job. A magical position that culminates every single skill you’ve ever learned in school, pays decently, and offers benefits! Yes!

No.

In all likelihood, this “dream” job ends up being a part-time gig. (And one that takes you months to find.) Something with angry customers who like to rip on the little guy, despite them knowing FULL WELL that you are merely there to make a buck. (And to climb the corporate ladder, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.)

So now, after a few months, you realize you need a second job because though you have actually started to like your first job, you absolutely need to make sure that you aren’t eating fruit snacks (or gelatinous globs shaped like fruit) as a meal every single night. You also need to find a place to live and pay a lovely invention called rent, or as I like to call it, the killer of all dreams. You get up, you work, you eat, you go to your second job, you sleep, and then you do it all over again. Suddenly, the closest thing you have to performing (though you have a degree in it) is singing to your steering wheel or entertaining your extremely reluctant co-workers. You know it won’t always be like this, but the very near future seems terribly monotonous.

This scenario is my life. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Don’t you lie, I know it does. It is practically a post grad cliché. Please, someone give me my own TV show or movie deal already so everyone can laugh at how extremely average my life has become. I’m almost positive my facial expressions alone are worth a slot on network television. Or at least TLC.

Truly, I know everything will be okay. I should also state that I am grateful for where I am. I mean, I get to see mountains EVERY DAY!! That’s pretty cool. And I know, eventually I’ll have my own place and eventually, I’ll be able to enjoy Netflix again! Maybe! For now, I continue on the grind each and every day. (What does that phrase even mean??) I am “paying my dues” even though I don’t think I’ve ever settled up a single library fine.

Yes. Growing up is indeed a trap and I’ve fallen right into it.

Graduation and other happenings

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Graduate college. Check.

Within the last month I have finished a major thesis, graduated college, and moved back home. The insanely slow seconds that pass by in comparison to my life back at school are deafening. I no longer have to be up by a certain time, and deadlines don’t haunt my dreams. The cleanliness of my room alone is proof that I clearly have no better way to spend my days. I check my phone every two minutes to see if anyone has called but my R2D2 text tone remains silent– nothing. Nada. Not even a snapchat.

No one prepares you for the postpartum depression after college. One minute you’re in the fetal position on the library floor, crying over your thirty page thesis and then you’re… not. You move out of your apartment just as you are finishing your last exam and then BAM. You walk across a stage and become a permanent fixture on your parent’s couch. How did that happen again?

Now it’s only eight more days until I make yet another move. Ha, and I thought graduating meant I got to stay in one place for once. Boy, was I wrong. My internship is only temporary. Come August, I’ll be in the exact same place I am now, but hopefully a little more experienced and prepared. Maybe. Probably not.

Excited, scared, and almost feeling exactly how I did BEFORE I got a degree. Now I’m just way poorer and even more clueless, but at least I have a fancy piece of paper! 🙂

singing competitions are hard, y’all

My current state of being is the usual one after having returned from a competition the night before: sprawled out on my couch with a cup of joe after having rammed my leg into the coffee table.

It’s starting to swell.

Before I describe to you the events of my weekend, I guess I should start off by clarifying what a “singing competition” is. It is not anything like the “The Voice” or “American Idol”. (Though I still like the idea of having my own video montage being played to the tune of “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter after getting cut.) It happens within the span of two terribly grueling days and instead of hearing pop tunes seeping out of practice rooms, you hear high C’s and Mozart arias reverberating off the walls. The halls are usually filled with the scent of sweat, hairspray, and maybe a few stress farts. It’s intense, and I hate that I love it.

My particular division was the Senior girls, a.k.a, the Big Leagues. Yep, this was my year to whip out a big aria, complete with B flats and coloratura passages. (To those of you who don’t know what this means, it basically translates to REALLY DIFFICULT MUSIC.) I am usually fairly out of breath before I am done singing my three pieces, so obviously I was a little nervous to get through them.

Our tour bus full of anxious singers left with their bags full of Emergen-C and hairspray at 10am. We were supposed to sing at 5pm. Plenty of time to get to our hotel, change, and warm up for our performances, right? Well, almost. We arrived at the hotel at 3pm.

I have never curled my hair so fast.

After a frenzy of curling irons and blush and fake eyelashes, we scrambled to the university to find our rooms and warmup. (At this point, we hadn’t sung at all yet.) I was a mess–running and tripping in heels and trying to mask the fact that I really just wanted to cry after a terrible run through with my accompanist. But hey, at least my dress had pockets?

By some gracious act of God, I heard the girl before me sing and was relieved. (She was pretty terrible. I know, I’m an awful person.) After having sung in this same competition three years in a row, I realized this was my last shot. I sang my heart out to the three judges who were clearly not in a great mood, despite the fact that I was literally the third person to sing that day.

Performing is a funny thing. It’s an outer-body experience. It’s a beautiful experience. It’s a lot of flailing arms, and funny noises, and flapping lips and poofy dresses, and a whole lot of it doesn’t make any sense. But it is wonderful.

Usually, I never remember my performances. I like to think of them as cosmic occurrences– they just happen. But I remember this one happening well. I felt extremely good about how I sang, and left the still-ringing performance hall with confidence.

If you have ever had some sort of talent of yours judged, you know that it can be a very personal and emotional process. If you don’t mind me saying, I think for singers it is even more so. The voice is something that is attached to us. We can’t trade it in or buy a new one– it is ours and no one has another like it. We produce music from our body, y’all. And if the idea of your body being judged isn’t terrifying, then maybe you should take my place and be a singer. For realsies.

I got cut after the first round, but I wasn’t mad. I got some terribly mean comments on my evaluation sheets, but I could tell the judges were cranky to begin with. Perhaps they smelled my stress farts from the stage? C’mon, guys. You can’t hold that against a girl.

As much as I am not thrilled with such practices as singing competitions, they get me thinking. A lot. Mostly how much I love to sing, and perform, and how I want to do it so badly for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the reminder that I am a creator of art. That I can make beautiful things with my body, and that I can share my story with others in a beautifully transformative art form. That I can always push myself to be better. That I am not done yet.

At the end of day two, I got to see some of my beautiful friends sing in the finals. I am so proud of them. I am lucky to have such supportive and talented friends that I can look up to. They have no idea how much their courage inspires me. These are the brave souls that inspire me not to give up. I wish I could tell you that I haven’t, but it’s a choice every day to pick yourself up and start again. We are on a road of many rejections, only to find that one yes. It’s coming.

I know it is.

justice + mercy

For over a year now I have been battling my beliefs. I have held on to bitterness and resentfulness and disaffiliated myself entirely from a place I used to call home. Suddenly, the curtains of self-righteousness I put up didn’t seem so attractive anymore. Instead, I decorated with shame, and painted over the foolishness I called the Christian Faith.

Many months of anguish, darkness, and bitterness ensued. I hated everything that I used to affiliate myself with. How could I have been so ignorant? How could I have believed in an “unconditional” love that was only given to those worthy of it? Those who fit a certain mold, and type. I yearned to seek justice for those closest to me. To tell them that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Gradually, everything I had known felt strange and foreign. I sought the answers to the wrongs questions, and ultimately let hatred rule me while innocently trying to seek justice. Ashamed and guilty of the things I used to believe, I tucked them away. Turned out the light.

But then something happened. Just this past week, I was introduced to a church that did things differently. I was reunited with people who seek out the purpose that I had long forgotten– to love mercy, and seek justice. Things I had known to be apart of my faith all along, but had not been fully explored, and applied to my own life.

It’s taken me all this time, but now I realize that God and justice and mercy are not separate entities, but one and the same. God is light and love and truth and hope, and somehow, somewhere, that message was lost.

So now I am letting the light in. I have torn away my dusty curtains, I have shed away the blankets and shame, and I am ready for the fresh and new. I am letting love fill every part of me, and holding on to the promise that it is all I need.

my story // battling with depression and anxiety

I am writing this because I believe in hope, I believe in love, and I believe in myself at times when it is the most difficult thing to do.

I also believe that the world’s view of mental illness is terribly messed up, so I am adding to the discussion. I do not write on behalf of all who struggle with these types of disorders, but instead I am sharing from my own personal experience in hopes of encouraging others to share.

To those of you who are hearing about this for the first time, I am truly sorry. I am trying harder to be more open and lean on those who love me most.

This is my story.

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When I was 17, I had my first anxiety attack. I was in the midst of filling out college applications and preparing for college auditions. I was also in the middle of performing in a scholarship competition, the likes of which I had never done before. The stress was extremely difficult on my body, and I had an episode while running on a treadmill. I couldn’t breathe. I went to the doctor and got an EKG (for fear of my heart having issues.) The doctor said I was fine and gave me a clean bill of health. I had no idea what had happened, so I ignored it.

Four years later, things got much worse. I experienced the most stressful school year of my life, and all my commitments  seemed like insurmountable tasks. Things that I even used to enjoy doing (like performing,) became extremely difficult. It was unbearable at times.

For several months I isolated myself and didn’t tell anyone. I felt embarrassed and confused. I was faced with the comment “You aren’t acting like yourself” so often, I felt like there was something wrong with me. Of course, people know me as the bubbly and extremely loud one, and I never wanted them to think otherwise. I shut out some of my closest friends, and avoided social gatherings. I vomited regularly due to anxiety attacks, and I found myself extremely tired and exhausted all the time. I couldn’t understand why my body was revolting against me, but I did everything within my power to hide it. Eventually, a close friend found out and encouraged me to go to counseling.

I spoke to someone once a week for four months. It was then I realized that I struggled with mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Going to see a therapist was one of the hardest and bravest things I had ever done. My prideful self could not believe that I had to sit down with a counselor and discuss my feelings, and until recently, only three people knew about my weekly visits. I greatly improved, and have managed to keep my anxiety attacks on the wayside. Traveling to Europe was a feat of its own, but I managed it relatively unscathed.

Just a week ago, I took another leap and told my family about my anxiety and depression. Having never talked to my parents in depth about mental illness, I was not sure how they would respond. Thankfully, their reaction was full of love and support. I know they would drop everything in a heartbeat to help me. I am so grateful for them and their love.

Thankfully, I find myself currently on an up turn. I haven’t had an attack in months, and once again I find joy in the things that I love. I know it is temporary, but it’s times like these that I need to relish in. Moments of love, friendship, and family are what get my through.Today, I choose joy. But sometimes, it’s not a choice. I have realized that it’s okay to recognize your feelings, and it’s okay to be sad. It’s also okay to realize that you are more than just “bubbly” or “introverted” or “depressed”. You are a human: multifaceted and multidimensional. Your feelings are valid, and they matter.

 

Unfortunately, not all people who deal with depression and anxiety are like me. Not everyone has “up turns”, and for some, the pain is chronic. Thankfully, there are people willing and waiting to help, you just need to ask for it. As school approaches, I become more and more anxious about the stress inducing environment I so willingly continue to put myself in. Almost everything school-related is a trigger, but I know I am not alone. I have found a support system at school that loves and encourages me. To them, I owe everything.

It has been difficult, but telling people about my issues with anxiety and depression has made a huge difference in my life, so I am coming out (quite literally) to everyone. I encourage those of you who also struggle with such disorders to let someone know about it. Find SOMEONE you can talk to that you trust. Don’t be afraid to tell people, and please don’t keep it to yourself. You can and will get through this. You can live with it, as many other people (like myself) do.

Nothing is hopeless. Especially you.

 

so tired, so sweaty, so full of love

College happens in waves. One minute you are so excited to be moving into your apartment, and the next you are sobbing because there is no place to put your eating utensils. That’s pretty much been my entire college experience, and now that I’m just finally starting to like it, I only have one year left to soak it all in.

Despite the 99 degree heat, I moved into my apartment yesterday and it is SMALL. And small is no exaggeration. It is TINY, people. And not only is it miniature sized, it’s a handicapped apartment, meaning everything has been moved/moderated to be functional at about 2 feet above the ground. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t as bad height-wise for us short people, but the fact that we have zero cabinets/drawers, a bathroom RIGHT off the kitchen, and absolutely no storage space ANYWHERE makes it a little challenging.

And I’m not complaining, but I AM a senior now, Webster. I’ve officially “paid my dues” as a student. So, thanks for this one.

Lea, my lovely roommate, RA, and cleanliest person ever has already installed about six wallflowers, so at least it doesn’t smell. I for one have never mastered the art of mixing wallflower scents, but I’m really hoping the oaky/pine/man scent I typically get for my own room won’t throw everything off. *crosses fingers*

My current challenge is just to figure out where to put everything. With so little storage space, many things have been placed in plain sight, something I absolutely detest. (I mean hello, no one wants to see your toilet bowl cleaner out in the open. Also, how do you not have at least ONE drawer for silverware??) But hey, at least the TV works…

Aside from all the apartment drama, (which is really just me yelling and kicking things since we have no place to put anything.) I am so so so happy to be back at Webster. After a whole six months of not being here, people don’t even remember I studied abroad, but that’s fine because they are excited to see me regardless. 😉

Truly though, after being in Nashville this summer, I’ve forgotten how much community I have built here. How many amazing people walk these streets. How many life changing experiences the walls of this school have seen. There is so much love and acceptance here, and now I only have one year left.

 

You bet I’m going to make the most of it.

 

 

In five years time

Life is not made in years at a time, it is made in moments.

Sometime in December of last year, I was asked out to dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I had developed a little crush for the guy and he was super cute, so I obviously said yes. I didn’t know him all that well, but I figured ‘why not?’ It had been a year since my last relationship, and I knew I was ready for something new.

Dinner was fine. I mainly talked about how overwhelming school is, and listened to his goals of someday becoming a music producer. I thought it was going great. Then, I was surprisingly posed with the question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” It stunned me. Amazing as it is, and as often as I am asked what I will be doing once I graduate, I have never heard the question phrased this way.

Five years?

Why, I could be doing anything in five years. I could be in grad school, I could be an artist, I could be singing background vocals for any number of my musical idols, I could be homeless, I could be a barista…

So I told him. And I think much to his dismay, the answer wasn’t “be married and have children.” He seemed to nod along at first, but I knew this was where our paths diverged. He clearly wanted something different.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this was a moment. Much like the moment when a stranger in Target told me to pursue music, and like the time someone told me to write songs– these moments have come to shape the life I currently have. A grouping of milliseconds that have molded me into the person I’ve become. A person I am proud of.

Interestingly enough, that guy is now engaged to be married. And I am so happy for him. Because I’m pretty sure in that moment, he was thinking the exact opposite. He was thinking, “I want a wife. I want children.” This moment was clearly something we both needed.

What are some moments that have shaped your life? Were they seemingly insignificant at the time, or did you know it was going to be a life-changer?

I have grown to love these moments, and realized them for the truth they have spoken into my life.