Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: March 2009

happy endings happen all the time

Well Spring Break has (basically) come to an end. By this time tomorrow, I will be back on campus to hack my way through the rest of the semester.

Never before have I felt more apathetic, or even angry, about going back to campus after a break. It’s quite odd, mainly because I’ve never felt like this before.

I remember very intensely after Winter Term last year how much I didn’t want to go back because I knew I’d be homesick (I spent last Winter Term doing an internship in Chicago, so I spent seven weeks with my family concurrently). This is an extremely different feeling…I just feel done with it all (and not in a “I’m so above this” sort of way). I’m tired, emotionally, physically and mentally.

And yet, I know I can’t stay here at home. It’s almost not real. I got to sit through three hours of being patronized and lectured by my voice teacher from here and realized that, if I were here, I’d have to continue getting this kind of treatment. This is not to say that I don’t love or appreciate my teacher for what she’s done for me- I mean, without her, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now. In fact, I haven’t a clue what I would be doing, so I am grateful for that.

It’s times like these that I’m reminded of what I’ve heard so many times from my mom- that, in a weird way, everything seems to work out for the best. I believe in God, heck I even go to church every week, but I still find it odd how things play out sometimes. Maybe if my faith was stronger, I would default to the mindset that everything’s going to be alright, but it’s not, which is probably why I find it so weird.

“Look to God, do not be afraid” is what I think at times like this, when I get all “woe is me” in a funk. It’s from one of my favorite church songs. I can still remember the first time I ever heard it, I was singing with my church choir and we performed it before the service on Thanksgiving Day (it’s entitled “In the Lord, I’ll be ever thankful”, so that only makes sense).

There is a light at the end of the tunnel…I just have to learn how to enjoy the time in the tunnel itself 🙂

-MJ

Advertisements

the one thing I believe

Finally made it to Spring Break, and realized that I hadn’t been here in a while.

One of the hardest things to fathom is that, in about 8 weeks, I will have completed my second year at DePauw, my half way point. I’ve learned, laughed, grown and spent time with wonderful people.

Yet, somehow, I find myself in the midst of emotional turmoil that I am so unsure of it scares me. It’s not even the turmoil itself that bothers me, but the fact that I just don’t know what to do.

I’m hoping this week away from DePauw allows me to clear my head, my thoughts, sort out my feelings and come back renewed to take on the world again. I want to rest, run, practice, learn, laugh and just relax (doesn’t really sound like relaxing if I put it all like that, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out along the way).

I’ve always believed that I could figure things out along the way, and yet that’s not always true. Just spending two years at DePauw has shown me how valuable preparation is to anything one does, and I’m constantly in awe of those people who are aware of it enough to do it and do it well. 

The funny thing about emotions is how mercurial, fickle and changing they can be. It’s never as clear cut as we all wish they could be. We spend time in gray areas, not knowing what to do, where to go and how to react. Sometimes these gray areas are defining in our lives,  sometimes they are agonizingly confusing, leaving us to wonder at what we’ve done (or not done) and sometimes (to quote U2) it leaves us stuck in a moment we can’t get out of.

The ironic thing about that song is that it ends with “It’s just a moment/This time will pass”. At times, it’s really hard to see the light at the end of that tunnel, to think that things will be different than the way they are, mainly because of the unknown that comes with that change-if the difference will be good or bad.

Let’s see where this journey takes us…Spring Break ’09.

Signed Sincerely,
Me

-MJH

Alas, poor fool, how have they baffled thee

Today marked the end of what I consider to be one of my greatest experiences as an actor ever.

Today was the last performance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a special morning matinee for Greencastle High School students. I can honestly say that it marked the end of what was an amazing (yet short) run for the troupe personally referred to as “The Twelve”.

There’s so much to be said about the abilities and talents of the eleven people that I acted with, grew close to and honestly love. The sense of camaraderie and ensemble among us made the work that we did truly magical, and I think typifies what a theatrical performance should be: the live embodiment of a work of art; a living, breathing thing that you can watch and wonder at, and see develop and grow and change and, at the end of the day, be very proud of. 

I cannot say that I have done anything significant (on a large scale) in my life as an actor thus far, but I can say that this is an experience that goes so much further than acting. It extends to life, love, personality, character and internal growth.

 But, as the beautifully talented Amy Gaither Hayes put to us in song, there is no need to say goodbye. I would rather think of it as a “see you later”, with fervent hope that we never forget the beautifully magical work that we shared together.

Food for thought:  A quote from Public Theater founder Joe Papp, that encapsulates the beauty of ensemble, “You have to work with people who are compatible if you’re really going to create something.”

-MJH

dealing with loss

Today I received news that the husband of a very good friend of mine from home had died. I knew this man fairly well and had sung with his wife in my parish choir for four years. Needless to say, he meant quite a bit to me, and his loss hit me hard. My heart goes out to his wife and their family, as I know that this is a huge loss and may seem to be extremely unfair.

To an extent, it is unfair. It’s hard to believe that, the next time I go home, I won’t see him, and I know his wife will still be in a state of distress. It’s times like this that I wish I could be at home, or that home was a bit more accessible than it is. It pains me so much to not be able to be there for her and all of those affected by his loss.

Unfortunately, we all have to find a way to move on with our lives. The world kind of sucks like that; thinking that one can just “move on” from such a horrible loss is awfully mind-boggling. And yet, I know that tomorrow I’m going to have to get up, go to class, go to rehearsal and try to not let it get me down.

I can’t even imagine the loss that their family is feeling, and yet I am constantly aware of the fact that I will have to deal with loss like that some time in my life. (If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I can be morbidly depressing at times). Sometimes it scares me to think that I will lose the people close to me in my life; I really wish I didn’t entertain such thoughts, or even give it any thought at all.

But that’s always been a problem of mine: I overthink things. I take things and blow them up so much, or tear them down so much, that I practically drive myself crazy. 

A friend brought up personality tests recently, and I found one that I took at the beginning of school last year; apparently I am an ESFJ (Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging). I was looking over the descriptors and I found one that was especially poignant at this time: “ESFJs are easily wounded. And when wounded, their emotions will not be contained. They by nature ‘wear their hearts on their sleeves,’ often exuding warmth and bonhomie, but not infrequently boiling over with the vexation of their souls. Some ESFJs channel these vibrant emotions into moving dramatic performances on stage and screen.”

I was watching our performance of Twelfth Night tonight and saw the beauty of the love story; that, in spite of misunderstandings, love conquers all. I realized something else at the end as well:

The Fool ends up alone.

-MJH