Push on

So I have really wanted to get back into writing lately. I used to write poetry, stream of consciousness kind of stuff but for whatever reason I stopped. I have also been thinking a lot about journaling lately and how important it is for any artist to do. I learned a really cool style at a workshop once that involved stream of consciousness, prose-type writing where you just write whatever comes to your head, completely without stopping to think about it. It’s crazy how stuff just comes out. Sometimes I will even go back and not even remember writing certain things. So, tonight as I rode the subway, I let the pen take over and here’s what came out. Also, I tend to rhyme…. Not sure why, it just comes out that way …hah!

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34, 42, 50 etc, counting numbers up and down on a grid-locked grid we call Uptown, Downtown, stay away from Midtown, if you can, sardines jam, jelly-packed like a bunch of rats. Lookout. Beware. There’s a scare of disease that can spread to your skin,, burning your soul. It burns out of control, like the need the hear. Anywhere but here. The sky is never clear. We love. We fear; a rainbow of emotion, an ocean of feelings ebbing and flowing, like at Chelsea Piers. Chelsea queers, walking pups in their Sperry’s, pounding pavement and concrete in boots and heels and toes, head and shoulder, eyes and ears and mouth and nose: a whole factory, olfactory, filling each and every sense. Can you spare some change, a few coins on the corner for the man seeking shelter from this crazy, crazy weather, ever changing, ever fading from black to white, where North meets South. Can you open your mouth and shout and holler and hail a cab to drive you away from your scabs and scars that are engrained so far inside, outside, any side of the island is like paradise, roll the dice to decide your fate. Are you lucky today? Is it yes or no? Rejection or show? Move on or move out, because theres absolutely no doubt that this city is no place for you if you can’t take the hits and blows way below the belt in the gut and deeper in the inner most private place where you store your treasures and prizes, your disguises, the masks that you wear to hide all the tears that you won as consolation prizes, battle wounds. But soon it will heal. It will shine. Open your light to the world and don’t hide behind the falsities that you are made to believe: You’re not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tough enough. Can you take it? Not rich enough, fast enough, rash enough? Will you just toughen up because you are YOU enough, and that’s all that matters. Be “Who You Are” says the British pop star who shoots across the radio waves, static, straight, ball change your identity, or better yet your mindset south of 59th street to the Great White Way that someday you WILL play, if you keep holding on to what is engraved inside of you since you were Peter’s height. You can fly second to the left or right no matter your frights. Toss it away. Sink it down. Let it drown. Destroy the weight keeping you on the ground, because earthbound is no way to live, no way to be. Be free. Fly free. Fly high above you and me, above all the rest, digest the struggle and regurgitate the answer to the test which is to strive and be alive, truly feel alive no matter what spiders, monsters, creatures, enemies, daggers trying to stab you or pin you where you clearly don’t belong. Breakout in song. Bust a move. Dance. Wear crazy pants. March like ants, one after one, driven to build their empire, climbing higher and higher up the tree of life, up to pride rock. Knock off the socks of the jocks, judges, pharisees, and the rest. Do better than your best. Express. Progress. Don’t regress but press on. Let the coffee wake you up to each new day. Take a whiff, fly away. Swing through this concrete jungle like Tarzan, with your courage like a sword in your hand to slay all your doubts and fear, because the path is clear. So don’t stumble on the pebbles but push. Push. Push. Push on and on until the fruit of your loins joins you here in this town, this city, that sometimes is shitty but exists like a microcosm of irony swirling like a twister, in the midst of bright lights, big city, smelly concrete, hobos urinate, dancers kick, singers thrive, just trying to stay alive doing what they were called to do, where it’s beg, play, jog, dance, study, film, paint, explore or try and try and I-think-I-can and try. Because it may not seem like a ballgame or a walk through Central Park but the Times and my mother and my gut tell me that it’s worth it. I’m worth it. I’m worthy of it. So stay. Endure. Stay pure. Push on.

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So that’s it. Hope you enjoyed! =)

…Hopefully more to come…

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New Chapter in New York

I am trying not to start all of my blogs by saying, “Wow I am so behind on writing in this blog. I swear I will keep up better.” Sooo…

Wow…I am so behind…. etc etc. You know the rest.

So many new things have happened since the last entry but we will leave those things be and move on to the present.

Ben and I are officially New Yorkers! We made the big move May 31 to NYC! We are living in Astoria, which is in Queens. It is lovely. Everything is within a block of us and not as expensive as Manhattan. It’s been about 3 months and we are settling in fine, Mellie and Lily included. Mellie misses the grass a lot but I think she is getting adapted.

Ben is still working for Entertainment Cruises, but he is working on the Atlantica which is the more upscale version of the Spirit with no singing. Just his cup of tea!

I had a dream job this summer. I worked as an usher and on the promotional team for Spiegelworld for their show Empire. It was basically a burlesque circus of awesomeness! I miss it so much. I met some really lovely and talented people. Half of them will forget me or perhaps they never even knew my name, but I will forever remember them and my summer at Spiegelworld. I was so inspired in so many ways by the show. I often was moved to tears even though I saw the show 150 times and worked 60 hr work weeks. I was always happy to go to work! That is rare. But all good things come to an end (bad things tend to do that too I guess but let’s keep that cliche phrase for the sake of the story). I am currently unemployed but searching high and low for a job. It is really hard to follow working at Spiegelworld but one must move on I suppose….

Living in New York is a much different vibe than living in Boston. They are both “big cities” however, people are wayyyy nicer in New York. Let all of the debates be put to rest! Whether if it’s because of all of the transplants here in New York or not, it is a much friendlier city than Boston. Boston is very beautiful though. It at least has that on New York though New York has it’s own unique beauty. Who thought that graffiti could be so beautiful? It really is! Concrete, beams, metal, and grime all put together with very little vegetation somehow has it’s own way of being truly beautiful.

One thing that I really experienced here that has been really rough is how people won’t think twice about ignoring you. No matter what anyone says, as a living, breathing, and feeling human being, it is very painful to be flat out ignored. A friend once said that at the core of every human is a need for acceptance; it’s what we all have in common. I totally have experienced that this summer more than normal. I worked on the flyering team for Empire which is basically fancy language for “the girl standing in her underwear in Times Square handing out flyers.” There were times where I would look someone straight in the eye and say, “2 for 1 for Empire”  and they would look away like they didn’t even hear me!  I don’t understand! How can you just flat out ignore someone who has said something directly towards you? It is a very painful thing to experience over and over. I will say, that is one part I will not miss about my summer job. Anyway, I have concluded that maybe because of technology, or for whatever reason, people nowadays cringe at the idea of human interaction. That is one of the saddest things to me. How hard is it to turn and say, “No thank you.” Or even, “No.” Heck, I would even be satisfied with a “No lady! Screw off! Don’t talk to me ever again you crazy hooker!” At least it shows that that person can connect with me. The disconnect that exists in largely populated areas is such an interesting dynamic. Maybe it’s technology. Maybe it’s the overstimulation of the city and the shear number of people that is overwhelming.not sure of the answer… I always make a point to acknowledge people’s existence. It’s so depressing to me to think that our society has come to a point where we don’t know how to communicate. I have such an interest in language and communication. I mean my degree is basically in human interaction, behavior and communication. That’s what acting is right??

In other news, working at the Circus all summer has really inspired me to get back into silks. I have been training a few times a week and I am having a blast. I don’t quite feel marketable as a music theatre performer so I am trying to add some more special skills to my toolbox. I have always been very physically moved (no pun intended). Silks is a really satisfying way for me to engage in that. It also incorporates drama, dancing, and music. We will see where it leads.

Overall, the first 3 months as a New Yorker have been quite a roller coaster. The fact that I live here is still very overwhelming and somewhat surreal. I find myself thinking about how many things happen here in New York that seemed like the stuff of the movies. Living thousands of miles away my whole life, it never seemed accessible or real. I am living amidst Times Square, the Empire State Building, movie stars, the subway, Broadway, fashion, amazing food, and so much history. And here I am writing this blog in New York City 11 years after the tragic events of 9/11 and I think it is all finally sinking in. Those horrific events that were tiny snapshots on a fuzzy analog TV in my 8th grade classroom are now life size and easily seen from the roof of my building. I am living here in the center of the world, the big apple, where wonderful and horrible things happen simultaneously everyday, even every second. I can’t wait to leave my print on this city. I am so scared to endure the low times. I am equally anxious and excited to see what the future holds for me in my new chapter of life in New York City.

Oops

So the bad news is, I have totally sucked at this for the past few weeks.

The good news is that nothing really exciting or notable has happened!

This has been my life for the past few weeks:

Wake up feeling like crap, go to work, struggle to have energy and stand up for 5+ hours at a time, drink lots of tea, pee a lot, come home eat noodles with butter and salt or cereal, blow my nose 1,000 times, go to rehearsal, get winded from dancing for 2 minutes because I’m sick and my lungs are infected, come home, eat something chocolatey, watch mythbusters probably, try to sleep but fail because I feel so crappy, finally fall asleep then do it all over again.

There! Caught up!!! But today is a new day!

Neil is coming in town! I am finally not feeling sick after weeks of hacking up my lungs and blowing my nose. We cleaned up the apartment and picked Neil up from the airport and rode the Odyssey! It was a blast!!!!!! I would have lots of wonderful pictures but I forgot to put the memory card in my camera….ooops. We had great food and drink and enjoyed the company of a crazy gay couple, a couple getting engaged, and most importantly DeeDee Martin, who changed our lives. She was the singer of the band that was playing and she was a genius!!!! Her speaking voice was like a muppet, but her singing voice was gold! We were more than thoroughly entertained for the whole cruise! Neil and I kept saying the same thing and finishing each others sentences…it’s going to be a long week for Ben! haha! Sorry Ben! I am so excited though! It’s nice to have a friend that you can not see for months and years and still act like you just saw each other yesterday. : ) I am so thankful for that! I love hearing his opinion about the city and the culture here. Sometimes I think I am crazy and biased but I am not alone in my perceptions. He said something along the lines of “I didn’t realize it would be this much culture shock.” THANK YOU! My thoughts exactly when we first moved here. We also rode the B line last night so it wasn’t  great first impression…. Anyway, we have a busy and exciting week ahead! I can’t wait!!!

Workin Through the Cold

Day 34-37 – February 3-6, 2012
Workin Through the Cold

Feb 3 – Worked at Teavana all day. Getting more comfortable with the whole sales process. My sales were a lot better today for sure! Benni met up with me after work and we had a cute little dinner date in the mall food court. It is one of our favorite spots because we don’t like a lot of the same food (well, I don’t like a lot of the food Ben likes) and we can both get whatever we want and it’s cheap! We don’t have to tip and we can sit down and eat together away from the house and both enjoy our meals. I like our food court dates. Afterwards, we are always too full to move so we end up sitting there and talking for about an hour. This time we  talked a lot about the show that he is currently writing. I think we sorted out a lot of things as far as structure goes. It’s going to be a great show once everything is all on paper! He is having a few songs performed Feb 20. I am really excited for him. I think people will like it a lot. It’s relatable, funny, sad, real, relevant, all those good things. I also enlightened Ben that the show is autobiographical. He was completely shocked! I thought he knew! When the shock came over his face, I thought he was joking. Nope….he had no idea. I guess that sort of thing is a bit unavoidable for writers. He knew that much. But he didn’t realize how close of a parallel it was to his life. Silly Ben! I will post videos from the show after the concert.

When we got home I made a great discovery myself. The Wizard of Oz ON ICE!!! Who knew?????? It happened in 1996 starring Oksauna Bauil! How did I not see or hear about this before now?????  Anyway, all is well because I watched it and it was brilliant.

Here is the link for those curious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gm55VXGZY4&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL4129A1534CCC103A

You definitely should check it out. It’s pretty much pure genius!

Feb 4 – Talked to Neil for a while this morning about his trip! I am sooooooo excited he is coming! Boston is not even ready. We are also going to New York for a few days. We are going to christen our friendship by seeing not 1, but 2 Broadway shows! Our plan is to see War Horse at the matinee and Anything Goes in the evening. It’s going to be a blast!

On a less exciting note, I had rice for lunch today. That’s it. just rice. We are poor and have no food. There has been a lot of rice, pasta, and pancakes around the Harrell place the past few days. I don’t mind so much but Ben doesn’t understand what it means to have a meal without meat. It’s like the meal is void if there isn’t at least a tiny piece. He is getting used to it though. Although, I think he is sick of my pancakes…but they are so easy to make!!! And cheap! I don’t know how so many people my age eat so well. It’s really expensive. I guess we could go to the grocery store and find some good deals and use coupons…that’s a thought…..oh well! Rice it is today.

We watched a really interesting documentary today called The Rape of Europa. It is about the the effect of WWII on art. Hitler and his cronies went around looting famous art from museums throughout Europe, stealing for his own personal collection. Interestingly enough, he was an artist himself. He applied to an art academy but didn’t get in. The other students that applied that get in were Jewish. Hmm. It is a really dark but really interesting documentary. It sheds a light on a part of the war that we don’t often hear about. It’s one of those things where you think, “Hmm. I never though about that.” I am so fascinated by the history that surrounds that era. I also like seeing the causes for certain events; the origin of people, ideas, and movements. It is really clear why art became what it did shortly after WWII. Basically, I just love documentaries. I am THAT guy. When I turn on Netflix, I go straight to the documentaries section. I want to watch them all! But, the clock ticks and I realize it’s time for work….

I had work on the boat tonight. Crazy right? It was a random indy cruise with just Mitch and I as the servers. I was looking forward to some good tips but these people were awful. I hardly got 10% in some instances. One table gave me $2 on a $50 tab after I did so much them!!! I gave them a refill on one of our fishbowl drinks, with the manager’s approval, when we are really not supposed. I expressed to them that we made a special exception and they gave me 2 dollars!!!! GRR! It’s hard not to focus on the financial outcome at that job, especially right now when I am eating plain rice for every meal. To top it all off, I am starting to feel a little bit sick…Times is hard…

Feb 5 – Woke up today with my allergies attacking me full force! I really need to get my medicine refilled but we have to pay bills first. What a world, where I have to choose paying bills or breathing. Lame. I didn’t really do a lot today. I felt awful. I lounged around with toilet paper stuck up my nose watching Mythbusters all day.

In spite of most of the world stopping because of the Super Bowl today, the circus folk go on. I had silks tonight and it was a lot of fun! We worked on some back balancing, a new knee hang, and we did some improv. Basically, we were given choreography that was very simple. We did the combo 3 times, each time with a different mood and intention to some music. It was so much fun to get to play around in very simple positions, to experiment with different ways to get in and out of tricks that we know really well depending on the character and mood we were given. I can’t wait to be able to perform an actual piece. It is still a while down the road but I am excited. Maybe since this whole theatre/musical theatre thing isn’t working out so well, I will just run away with the circus. Sounds logical. At least it will be nice to have a gimmick. Then they have to hire me!!!! Muahahahaha!

After class I headed over to Mitch and Maura’s for the rest of the game. Waiting for the bus was a bit twilight zoneish. I was the only person in sight for miles! Harvard Square was like a ghost town. I am pretty sure I was the only person in the city not watching the game. I caught the last 2 quarters. It was a fun game to watch. I could really care less about the outcome but it’s always fun to be in good company and eat some football game food complete with a chocolate football cake. We watched the ADORABLE puppy bowl after and the first episode of The Voice. I have never seen it before but I really liked it! Too bad we don’t have cable. I might try and catch it online this season. It seems a lot more legit than American Idol. They actually let GOOD trained singers compete. Who knew??

Still not feeling too great so I am going to bed asap! Ben gets paid tomorrow which means I get medicine! YAY!

Feb 6 – Slept in way late today. Still not feeling great. I couldn’t sleep at all last night. My throat hurt so bad but it was so hot in our bedroom that I needed the fan on but it was hurting my throat to have the fan on and whine whine whine complain whine ouch. When I woke up my throat was on fire. I put on some Silver Needle tea and made pancakes. I also have recently discovered Jeff Blumenkrantz’s podcast. I know I am a bit behind the times, but he has a ton of his music on there to listen to for free including his most recent series, Month Upon a Time. He has been writing a song for each month starting last June. It’s pretty good stuff.

Worked at Teavana today. I tried so many different tea concoctions to try to help my throat. So far nothing has really helped. I think I finally caught what Ben had. Or my body just hates me and I have terrible allergies and sinus problems all the time. We had a competition at work today. We often do. I am terrible at them. Some of the other people are really competitive. I just like to do my job with no other added pressures. If I win, I win. The end. By the time my shift was over I was feeling pretty awful. I got some Qdoba with my lousy tip money from the boat and headed home.

I started reading An Actor Prepares today. It is so good!!!! I am hoping it inspires me be a brilliant actor. Here are a few great quotes that I have highlighted in the first chapter and a half.

“The actor, no less than a soldier, must be subject to iron discipline.”

“It drives you into such a state that all you can do is long for your turn to get through with the thing that you are afraid of.”
(Speaking on the feeling of watching someone on stage just before you go on)

“But the minute the curtain rose, and the auditorium appeared before me, I again felt myself possessed by its power.”

“You may play well, you may play badly; the important thing is that you should play truly.”

“The fundamental aim of our art is the creation of this inner life of a human spirit, and its expression in an artistic form.”

“Plan your role consciously at first, then play it truthfully.”

“Our aim is not only to create the life of a human spirit, but also to express it in a beautiful, artistic form.”

“In our art, you must live the part every moment you are playing it, and ever time.”

Good stuff. I am excited to read more of the book and the other two in the series.

When I got home I talked to Neil for a while on the phone. Basically, I have decided that we are the same person. We live on the complete opposite sides of the country, yet we are the same person! I love it. I can’t wait for him to be here in 12 days 🙂

 

Mediocrity is My Middle Name

Day 33 – February 2, 2012
Mediocrity is My Middle Name

Today was the most infuriating day! UAWDFHAWEIFJ#(UADJSOFvqnur89iowaekdjf jflkd

I had an audition at 11 this morning. It was probably the first true dancer call I have gone to. It was a disaster! I was slightly worried about it going into it but I had no idea how bad it would. We were in a room the size of my bathroom, on the most slippery floor and we learned 6-8 8 counts in a matter of minutes. Oh and just about every move was the exact same. A lot of weight and direction changes etc….There was nothing I couldn’t do but there was no way I was going to learn it that fast. And on top of all of that, squeeze out a smile! Nope…didn’t happen. Not a lot of the other people got it either but they were better dancers technique-wise so their messing up looked a lot better than mine. I rely on my performance so outweigh the technique and well…none of it existed. It was so embarrassing and depressing. To make matters even worse, all the people that were there that were worlds better than me were all in Emerson and BoCo students. I have a DEGREE AND I STILL SUCK! UUgghhhh!! I am just at so much of a loss as to what I should do. What is the next step for my career? For me life? Not to be dramatic but what is the point of pursuing a career in something I am mediocre at??? I am going up against 18 yr olds that are way better than me. It seems like the simple answer is to keep training and keep taking more classes. Was the couple hundred grand I already paid for training and classes not enough?  We can not afford all the classes I need to get to the level I need to be. Since we moved to Boston, I have been marketing myself as a dancer. I am really not a strong enough singer or actor for those things to carry me through auditions and now apparently not a good enough dancer. I am exhausted. I am out of options. I am truly at a loss. I have no idea what to do with myself. I am almost 25 and I am not at a professional level of ANYTHING! I feel like I have just royally screwed myself over because I listened to so many people lie to me and tell me that I was talented enough to pursue performing as a career. I am so angry at all of those people. at myself, at all of the stupid 18 year olds who are way better than me and 100 other things. The worst part is that every few weeks when I am paying the bills for my “education” I am constantly reminded that I am not good enough AND just in case that isn’t enough damage, I get to damage my pocketbook as well that I am spend 90% of my time filling with stupid filler jobs that I am also, ironically enough, MEDIOCRE AT! I am stuck somewhere in between decent-ish community theatre and theatre that pays the bills………Not a fun place to be. I have this little “I suck” epiphany every so often but I have never felt so certain about actually quitting as I feel today. It is just about the point of no return…

So as a result of all of this, I decided the rest of my day would be spent in bed in comfy clothes eating girl scout cookies. Believe it or not, this didn’t really end well either. I felt pretty sick after all those cookies but they were delicious DAMNIT and I deserved them.

AND just in case I hadn’t danced enough for one day, I had a dance rehearsal for Wild Party tonight. Just what I wanted to do. It was a lot better than the audition, that’s for sure. It just made me realize even more that I am doing theatre with people who are really good at other things and those things are their day jobs. I am one of the few people in the cast actually pursuing it as a career. I don’t have a day job that is my career. I am not good at anything else and the best I can do is community theatre….I think that is a sign that something is wrong. This probably isn’t the path for me. It’s a sad reality but sooner or later I need to be real with myself. No one else will tell me the truth so I think I just need to discover it for myself…I knew going into this show that I would discover how I really felt about this industry and career. I told myself before it started “However you feel during the process of this show will determine if this is really for you.” I still have a month and a half to really decide the outcome but so far, not looking so good.

There is really no point is the end-of-blog superlatives. I think we all know what they would be like……

Favorite: Cookies

Least Favorite: ….see above…

What I Learned: ….see above…

Thankful: Cookies

Do Differently: not suck…

yeah…something like that….

Now I Have to Do Math

Day 32 – February 1, 2012
Now I Have to Do Math 

I can no longer rely on the day of the month to know which entry I am on. It’s a sad day in Chelcy Harrell’s world of blogging. I must actually count and/or do math now. Or just look at the previous post and add 1. I think I like that better.

I had work allllll day today from 10-4. I am definitely getting a lot more confident with the sales process. I am loving drinking tea all day. I had Silver Yen Zhen Pearls (our  best white tea) blended with Lemon Lime Kampai. My throat was killing me and that definitely did the trick! I tried Six Summits Oolong today which is a raspberry flavored Oolong and I used the Tupelo honey to sweeten it! It was a hit! I was scared to veer away from sugar for fear that it wouldn’t be sweet enough for my delicate little southern belle taste buds but was I ever wrong! All of our honey is so delicious. I could eat it all day. A lot of the employees use it on toast and in baking. I think honey shall be my next purchase.

After work I headed to Porter Square for Cirque Fit. I got there way early so I wandered around Pier 1 for a bit. I have decided that I want everything in that store. Maybe some day I will have a house that I can decorate and I can buy out Pier 1. For now I just walk around and dream about one day taking a nap in a plush Papasan chair with my kitten curled up next to me….ahhh….Anyway, class was good tonight. Like silks on Sunday, I feel like I am actually progressing and not just being ridiculously sore and tired after workouts. We did some skill training working on handstands. I surprised myself with how long I could stay up and in the words of Seth Rudethsky I “still got it.”

Speaking of Seth Rudethsky and “getting” things, I bought the new Godspell CD. I really like it! I feel like Godspell is always being reinterpreted so it was fun to hear yet another version. There are some older versions that I will always love best but some of the new arrangements are a lot of fun. One of my favorite parts is in Turn Back O, Man  in the patter section where she says, “Turn back O, man – I’d like to see THEE more clearly – Turn back O, man – for the first time I feel….wicked”  So genius! I died! I also loooveee the new Finale! I definitely recommend checking out the CD. It’s always fun to hear a fresh new spin on old favorite tunes.

We finished up the evening watching the Mavs/Thunder game…it was stressful as always. What made it better was the delicious sweet potato tater tots we had! OMG! Sooo delicious! Sweet potatoes have a way of swooping in and making things that normally consist of regular potatoes 10x better.

Favorite Part of the Day: New Godspell CD

Least Favorite Part of the Day: Public Transit…grrrrr

What I Learned: Sweet Potato Tots exist and they are delicious

What I am Thankful for: My ipod 🙂 Sometimes ya just gotta tune the world out and listen to Godspell

What I Will Do Differently Tomorrow: Audition….really nervous…..

Another Day, Another Pancake Breakfast

Day 31 – January 31, 2012
Another Day, Another Pancake Breakfast 

Started off the day right…….with pancakes. I have pancakes for a lot of meals. They are very cheap and very easy to make. But today, I decided to mix it up a bit. I have been craving chocolate like a crazy person for the past few months so the answer was simple. Cocoa mix + pancake mix = delicious chocolate pancakes. They were delicious!!!

Ben hasn’t been feeling well the past few days so we laid low.

I had a short rehearsal tonight. We reviewed some dances and I got released early.

Pretty straight forward day. Not much to comment on. I work early tomorrow so time for beddd!!!