Friday, November 25, 2011

Wishing Stars and Painful Scars

Thankful for powerful lyrics and perfect harmonies, inside jokes and spontaneous dance parties; Flowers (both real and paper) and the smell of old books; Rocking out to Journey in parking lots in the middle of the night and friends to do it with; Leopard print slippers and other people's jackets to wear; Wishing stars and Shakespearean monologues; Eyes that look at you with sincerity and see you as you are, smiles that are infectious, and faces that can brighten even the darkest of days. All the beautiful people in my life, whether I've known you since birth or just met you a few weeks ago, thank you for being you and being here for me. My life would be a lot less worth it if I didn't have you.

These are the words I penned as my Facebook status this past Turkey Day. It was, in fact, rather difficult to pick just a few things to mention. I'm thankful for very much. I've done a lot of thinking as to what I intended to blog about for this festive holiday, and up until right now, I was going to go into more detail on the previous things and maybe tell a few stories behind them.

But the Muse has something else in mind.

Let me be honest, I'm not exactly sure what I'll be posting about but it'll be fun to see where this goes.

Basically, this holiday is predictable, as are most of them. But Thanksgiving I think takes the cake for tradition and repetition. Most families do the whole go-around-the-table-and-say-what-you're-most-thankful-for thingy, as does mine. And as is expected, every year the same things are mentioned: Family, friends, the house, the job, Jesus, good food, etc. You have all probably witnessed this yourselves. I make an attempt every year to be at least a little bit artistic and creative with my answer (see above). But you know what else I've noticed?

No one ever says that they're thankful for bad things.

This is probably a given, right? Why would anyone be thankful for bad things? The holidays are a time to try to forget the bad and make beautiful memories. But I think that's the problem. It's an excuse. An excuse to block out bad memories and hard times. But life isn't all Jingle Bells and stuffing.

Life is a tear-stained pillow and a massive purple scar too.

And that's what I intend to write about. As much as I too try to forget all the harsh things that have happened to me, I just recently realized that I need to be thankful for them too. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying you should be thankful for genocide and cancer. But I definitely believe that if there were no bad times, the good would feel a lot less sweet.

I'm thankful for a lack of money.

Crazy? Yes. But it's true. After I got home from Cambodia this summer, I realized how freaking rich we are in the states, and how freaking selfish we are because of that. Walking around shopping malls and department stores and even Walmart leaves me absolutely disgusted with the wealth-saturated, cushy, oh-ehm-gee-I-broke-a-nail society we live in. The kids in America cry when they can't have more than one soda a day. The kids in Cambodia were dancing with joy when we gave them a handful of bread. Being "poor" not only helps me relate to the beautiful people on the other side of the world, it makes me ready to become one of them. My Designer told me to move to Thailand for a year, and to be completely honest, I am counting down the days until I can abandon this whiny selfishness and be united with a singing thankfulness.

I'm thankful for fights.

I'm not talking war here. I'm talking about the ridiculous little spats you have with your brother because you don't want to take him the the park in the freezing cold, or the fifteen minutes that you don't talk to your best friend because she wants Starbucks and you don't. For one, they are so much fun to look back and laugh at. And for two, they make you realize how much you actually love those people, and how horrible your life is when you aren't getting along.

I'm thankful for embarrassing moments.

Mostly because when you're in them, you realize who your friends really are. They're the ones who will pick you up when you fall off the stage and make sure you're okay before they laugh at you. They send angry text messages asking where your work shoes are because you keep slipping. They're the ones who will sing off-key on purpose because they know you're sick and they don't want you to be alone. Plus, moments of awkwardness and dumb-blondeness are always fun to laugh at.

But mostly, I'm thankful for my scars.

And trust me, I have a lot of them. Most of them are stupid, like the one I have on my pinkie from when I cut myself with a plastic butter knife. But they're all unique and beautiful because each of them resemble an era or moment of my life when I messed up. They remind me of when I got hurt or when I made a fool of myself trying to perform a simple task. They're both emotional and physical. Some of them go really deep, and some still hurt if I touch them. But each one tells a story, and each one helped to mold me into the person I am today. I'm far from finished when it comes to discovering myself, and if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that I will collect far more scars in the years to come. But, just like my flaws, I've learned to love them, and I hope My Designer will let me keep them when I get to Heaven.

Because Jesus kept His scars too.

So I'm pretty sure that concludes my I'm-thankful-for-things-that-suck-but-can-be-awesome list. I'll close out by penning a new collection of things that I'm thankful for.
I'm thankful for the children in Cambodia, who even though don't speak my language can still indulge with me in worshiping our Designer; For flowers with ripped petals and climbing trees; For rolled ankles and popped jaws and overbites; For people with dimples and people who can't sing, who love you more than you ever thought was possible; For hands: old wise ones that feel like years of trial and victory, and gentle new ones that are ready to seize life by the bowlines and ride it to the end; For poetry and words that roll off the tongue like smooth stones; For moments that even Kodak can't capture. But mostly, for scars that tell the stories no novel ever could, and for the Designer with Whom I cannot wait to share those stories.
Happy holidays, lovelies. I hope your day was deliciously sweet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hair (And Some Of My Favorite People)

So I got my hair cut and dyed yesterday and I thought I'd post pictures for y'all. We also went a bit camera crazy after rehearsal so I thought I'd post some of those pics too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beautiful People: Discovering Emma (and Travis) Holiday Edition!

1) What kind of holidays does he/she celebrate, if any? Both: All of them.
2) What is he/she most thankful for? Emma: The people in her life who help her to stand on her feet when the rest of the world is convinced she'll fall down. Travis: Second chances, Heidi, dance.
3) Does he/she have any family traditions? Emma: Her family was always poor, so they never had very elaborate holidays, but her mom always made sure they ate dinner as a family on days like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Travis: The Waters family always gathers at his parents house and spends the holidays together. They make sure to choreograph a special piece for the Christmas season.
4) What is his/he most memorable holiday memory? Emma: The first Christmas without her Uncle Ben. Travis: His first Christmas as Heidi's legal guardian.
5) What is the most memorable gift he/she has ever received? Emma: Her first pair of jazz shoes. Travis: The Waters School of Dance.
6) Does he/she consider it important to be with family during celebrations? Emma: Not so much since she left home. Travis: Very much.
7) Does he/she usually wait until the last minute to purchase gifts or does he/she buy them ridiculously early? Emma: She collects little things for people as she finds them throughout the year and buys the special gifts closer to the holiday. Travis: He loves to go Black Friday shopping and buy all the gifts then.
8) Favorite Christmas song? Emma: Silent Night. Travis: All of them.
9) Does he/she celebrate for religious reasons? Emma: Yes, she grew up that way. Travis: Yes, and he makes sure Heidi knows why they celebrate too.
10) How does he/she celebrate the beginning of the New Year? Emma: She typically takes care of the twins or hangs out at home with friends. Travis: He goes to the annual New Years Eve party at his parents house.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


So y'all know that I really love this song right? It's basically about a third grade boy who brings home his class gerbil and later finds him dead in the washing machine. And guess what Ma, my second grade brother brought home from school yesterday?

Two gerbils. Luckily for us though, neither of them are named Jorge. They're Sleepy and Brownie and hopefully won't end up in my brother's jeans pockets anytime soon.

Strange coincidence? I think so. But you can never be too careful. Especially when dealing with a couple of gerbils and a song sung by Aaron Tveit.

Worth It

So as most of y'all know, I have a job now. But as most of y'all didn't know, it's a lot of work. Okay so maybe that was a dumb statement but I mean it. I'm never at home anymore. I go to school from 7:45 to 3; I go to work from 4 to 11; I have three four hour rehearsals a week; I go to church; I attempt to have a social life. As you can probably assume, this does take a toll on my physical (and mental) health.

Well yesterday I was running on about three hours of sleep (with four hours the night before) and I was terribly ill. Ill enough to be allowed to sleep during both choir and theatre class. I was (once again) scheduled to work from 4 to 11. So I showed up at work and my manager told me that if I really wasn't feeling well, I could go home. I called my parents and ma mere arrived to fetch me around 5:45.

However, instead of going home to read Shakespeare and eat soup, I went to rehearsal, which I was going to have to miss because of work. I had to bring Ma with me because the rest of my family wasn't at home but he just chilled out and played with his DS in a comfy little nest I made him in the back.

Upon arriving I made sure that everyone knew that I was exhausted and sick and that if I wasn't functioning properly, I had a very valid excuse. They responded like most best friends do. Katie let me have her seat, Dallas let me have his shirt so I wouldn't have to wear my work uniform, and they did their best to make me laugh and make me feel better.

I. Flipping. *Adore*. Those. People.

You know how when you're in a cast, you're just automatically best friends with everyone? Well that is beyond true in our cast. Our inside joke list is becoming never-ending, and I'm pretty sure we spend more time laughing than we do actually rehearsing.

But isn't that how life is supposed to be?

Free and loud and bright and brilliant and intoxicating and invigorating and alive. Where people aren't afraid to say what they mean and do what they feel like doing, regardless of what others think or how against the rules it is. Where there is no fear of rejection or loneliness because you have a beautiful support system who has always got your back no matter what it might cost them.

Who will slap people who insult you so you don't have to do it.

Who will give you compliments on things you didn't know you do well.

Who make life worth it.

I'm pretty sure I need to write a song about these people. They've shown me a whole different side of love that I didn't even know existed. They've proven to me that not everyone is the same, and though man is inherently evil, he can overcome that and be the best group of friends you never knew you needed.

There are many different kinds of love. My favorite is that divine redeeming love that my Designer has for me. But I've discovered another kind of love that I'm not sure what I'd do without.

The love of a cast for each other.

I've been in several casts before but I can say with the utmost honesty that I have never been so attached to a cast as I am to this one. They are the most gorgeous, selfless, hilarious people I've ever met in my life and if I didn't have them, my life would be a lot less worth it.

Love is a funny thing. It's a welcome home hug and a paper mache flower and the words whispered soft and sweet, "I've got you." In the words of a song I just recently finished, love is a weather-stained evening and a cold fist full of sand.

But love can be a collection of inside jokes and The Cupid Shuffle too.

I went home last night dead tired, but with an extremely joyful heart. I didn't even have time to change into my pajamas before I fell asleep. So I curled up under some quilts my Abuela made me, in Dallas's sweatshirt, with the biggest smile that I've worn in a very long time. Sick and tired as a person may be, a night with a cast like mine really does make everything worth it.

My life is perfect because of these beautiful people.
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