Monthly Archives: July 2019

50 Ways to Love Another Human

There’s been a ton of “yuck” circulating as of late. It seems as if we’re spending a lot more time being angry with people instead of loving them. Regardless of race, gender, religion, political views, or whether or not the new “Cats” movie trailer gave you nightmares, all of us crave love in one way or another. A man named Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called “The Five Love Languages” which talks about how there are five different ways that we express and receive love: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Touch, Gifts, and Quality Time. Everyone accepts and gives love in different ways. Some people feel more loved when you give them a hug over you giving them a gift. While you can transfer affection to others in many different ways, it is always good to know which of the five is most prevalent in the people you interact with on the daily. This is super helpful in romantic relationships, but you can apply it to friendships and even work relationships. I’ve devised a list of 50 ways you can show love to another person  within the five categories of the love languages. That being said, let’s kick it off with…

 

Words of Affirmation: Expressing words to build someone up

*Note: Words can go a long way, whether positive or negative.*

 

1) Compliment their outfit (this works for girls and guys, friends)

2) Post something awesome about them on social media 

3) Make them a playlist that reminds you of them 

4) Text them motivational quotes 

5) Write them fun messages on sticky notes

6) Spam their Snapchat 

7) Remind them of what makes them unique and awesome

8) Encourage them to pursue their passions

9) Validate their emotions 

10) Tell them you’re proud of them 

 

Acts of Service: Doing things to serve another person that take effort

*Note: When doing an act of service, positivity is key. Tasks done negatively or out of obligation don’t come across as loving.*

 

11) Wipe down their kitchen counter 

12) Cover the bill

13) Make them a hot beverage

14) Offer to drive

15) Help with laundry

16) Watch their favorite show/movie

17) Untangle headphones 

18) Make them a home cooked meal

19) Do the dishes (even when they aren’t yours)

20) Ask, “How can I make your life better today?”

 

Touch: Sharing a connection physically

*Note: Just because a person has Touch as their top language does not mean they only want sexual touch*

 

21) Make up a super cool handshake

22) Be intentional with hugs 

23) Give high fives 

24) Pat their back 

25) Play with their hair 

26) Sit close to them

27) Quick kiss on the cheek

28) Make eye contact when in conversation 

29) Respect boundaries 

30) If you know they are not a touchy person, ask if it’s okay to touch them before hugs/pats on the back, etc. 

 

Gifts: Giving a meaningful gift that makes another person feel thought of

*Note: This does not mean a person is materialistic if they have Gifts as their primary love language.*

 

31) Bring something home from a vacation 

32) Surprise them with their favorite candy

33) Find a cool rock? Give that to them and say, “I think you rock.” 

34) Pick wildflowers 

35) Fill a journal with photos and written memories with them

36) Purchase a book you know they would enjoy

37) Take them to a thrift store and find a second-hand treasure to give them

38) Bring them their favorite beverage

39) Frame your favorite photo of the two of you together 

40) Spend a quarter on one of those fun toy vending machines

 

Quality Time: Undivided attention 

*Note: Dedicating specific time for this person is important, which means canceling plans can really hurt.*

 

41) Read a book out loud together

42) Talk without phones present

43) Have a girl’s night complete with face masks and manicures

44) Play a board game

45) Go to the park

46) Try out a new coffee shop neither one of you have visited

47) Take a _______ class together (cooking, painting, etc.)

48) Run errands together

49) Watch a tv show together

50) Volunteer together 

 

Below, I’ve attached a link to the Five Love Languages Quiz. If you’re interested to know what your ranking of the five categories is, I strongly encourage you to check it out. I have found that knowing the love languages of people I care about has been super helpful in being a better friend and companion. Take time today to spread love to others. It’s important to remember that even though all of us have different opinions, we all still need to be loved by others. Just because someone thinks about the world in a way that you don’t agree with doesn’t mean that they are any less deserving of love and respect. 

 

Link to Quiz!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby 

 

How to Design for a Show

I’ve had the pleasure to work in projection, prop and set design over the past few years. You could say I’ve become somewhat of an expert at the design process. Today, I’d like to share with you my fool-proof method of how to successfully complete any design job. 

 

Let’s say you just got hired to do a projection design.

  1. Sit down with the director to get their vision for the show. This is best done with all the other designers present. 
  2. Read the script for fun. 
  3. Read the script, looking for themes throughout the text. 
  4. Read the script again as a designer. 
  5. Read the script one more time, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Keep in mind that you can go back and read the script at any time during this process (which you probably should do). 
  6. Doodle and research a lot, until you come up with as many awesome ideas as possible. 
  7. Ideally, you have gone through the script at least four months before the show goes up. Layout a timetable for yourself. Deadlines are super helpful. 
  8. Spend the first few weeks working super diligently on your designs. 
  9. Remember that you’re also a full-time student.
  10. Try and pass your Spanish class.
  11. Realize you have three months until the show opens, so you probably ought to start animating that really complicated piece now so that you don’t have to stress over it later. 
  12. Decide to blow off animating to go hang out with pals. You’ve got time. 
  13. Get assigned a group project in your Spanish class that you end up doing 90% of the work for because your partner is a slacker. 
  14. Spend an eight hour day animating a good chunk of your content. It is recommended to have a few cups (or gallons) of coffee to get you through the day. 
  15. Go to production meetings and realize that you’re both ahead and behind schedule. 
  16. Ponder how this is possible. 
  17. Flunk a Spanish test.
  18. Go to tutoring more consistently. 
  19. Realize the show opens in a month and you have a ton of work left to be done. 
  20. P A N I C
  21. Use the adrenaline that comes from procrastination to make some awesome content. 
  22. Program your designs. 
  23. Realize that there are about 9 ½ glitches in your designs. 
  24. Rerender those trouble spots. 
  25. Possibly cut some pieces of your design during tech week. 
  26. Possibly add some pieces to your design during tech week. 
  27. Cross your fingers and pray really hard during opening night that your design reads well on stage. 
  28. Collapse into your bed, resolving to do a better job planning and managing your time during the next job. 
  29. Accept the next job. 
  30. Repeat. 

 

Remember when I said I was an expert at the design process? Yeah, that was a big fat lie. To be quite honest, I don’t think anyone ever becomes a complete expert at this ridiculous process, especially when you’re still in school. Each show is its own beast, and the challenges you ran into during the last show most likely won’t be the ones you’ll deal with on the next job. You must be willing to constantly learn as you work; it’s part of the gig. The thing that’s really great about the theatre community is that there are a lot of really talented people to work alongside and learn from. No design process will be 100% smooth, but there’s a certain beauty in the rough spots. It’s from the rough spots that we become better artists and problem solvers, and because of this, we make better art. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Revisits: La La Land

Conversation between me and my best friend

 Me: Did I ever tell you the first time I saw “La La Land” was with Micah?

Avery: Wait what?

Me: Yeah, we didn’t realize it was a romantic comedy until we were watching it. 

Avery: And you saw it in theaters?

Me: Yeah.

Avery: Just the two of you?

Me: Yeah.

Avery: That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life. 

(Y’all don’t need context. Micah, if you’re reading this, I love you and I’m glad we have a solid enough friendship that we were able to go watch a movie musical together and have an intellectual chat afterwards about it without it being a date.)

 

I cannot tell you how many of my cinema friends are going to jump down my throat for writing about this movie, but who cares. I love this movie, maybe even more than I did when I first wrote about it in 2017. I thought it would be interesting to do a revisit to how I felt about this film two years ago. Words in bold are the ones I wrote in 2017, which have not been altered in any way. The writing in italics are from my 2019 self. Enjoy!

 

January 7, 2017

La La Land is a mean movie. It’s a beautiful piece of film, has catchy tunes, really fun dancing, costumes I wish were in my closet, and a wonderful score that I must find the sheet music for. One of my biggest stress relievers is to play through the songs in the easy version of the score I bought for someone else. As someone who doesn’t have a ton of time to practice consistently, it’s nice to have the easy versions of movie scores to sight-read. THE ENDING THOUGH WAS AWFUL. Okay, maybe awful isn’t the correct word. It ended how real life usually goes, which, sometimes, can be awful even in good circumstances. “Awful” was how I always used to describe the end of this film. Let’s see if I still feel that way. 

Some many people I know loved this film. Many of the posts in my Facebook feed have been the praises of La La Land and how it was so inspiring. It’s true; it is an inspiring film. Two people fall in love with each other and believe in each other’s dreams. They push each other to be better. They fight for each other’s goals. But the thing is, they don’t fight for each other. I didn’t get the idealistic/hopeless romantic ending I wanted. Here’s the thing about this movie: it is not about the love of two people. This film is a love letter to Los Angeles. While there is a depiction of a year long relationship, the story is  more so about the two lovers chasing their dreams, not each other. 

The montage that Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s characters have at the end of the movie of “what could have been” caused a huge stir of emotions. At the forefront of these emotions was what was happening right in front of me. These two, fictional people both had their own dream worlds, or La La Lands, where they both achieved greatness and kept the romantic bond between them. If they had made different choices throughout their life, sure, they could have ended up together at the end of the movie like how probably 95% of the audience wanted them to. Probably not 95%, but you get the idea.  Instead though, she pursued her acting career, got married to a caring husband and had a beautiful little girl, and he finally opened his pure jazz club, which is hugely successful and brought the fulfillment he was looking for. They’re lives are both good, but they let go of the relationship in order to chase dreams. 

I have my goals and dreams. Do I want to achieve them? Of course. As the credits started to roll though, I began to think of how one day, I will be parting ways with the people I love so much now. Take Doc (Micah; I used code names for my friends when I was writing in this document because I was paranoid someone would read it), who came to the movie with me after a lot of bickering over why I was willing to go to Lee’s Summit to ride out with him so we could talk instead of just driving to Kansas myself. Avery and I joke that my love language is “quantity time.” He’s one of the most brilliant people I know (still true), and one of the people I love most in my life. Come this Fall though, we’re going to part way. I went to St. Joseph, Missouri to study theatre at Missouri Western. He moved to New York City to study at King’s College. Doc is going to be extremely successful no matter what he ends up doing, but it hurts to think that I most likely won’t be as close to him as I am now to watch him succeed. 

The people I hold dear won’t always be there. My friends and I, we’re all growing up. We’re all gonna go to different colleges. We all have different dreams, and those dreams aren’t intertwined with other people. Correction: dreams are always intertwined with other people. They just might not be the ones that you think they are. Our goals are for ourselves, no one else, and that’s okay. God gave us all the drive to do our best at whatever we do. It hurts though to think about life without these people. The countless coffee runs, the banter and teasing, the walks, the laughs, the jam sessions; one day, those will be fond memories that we’ll tell our kids about. But will be all be together 20 years from now? Chances are, no, and it really, really sucks to dwell on. This used to be something that I would dwell on a lot and honestly really didn’t come to peace with until a few months ago. 

Which is why I will do my best not to dwell on it. See above; I wasn’t super successful with that. I will continue to encourage my friends in theirs dreams. If I can help them reach their goals, I’ll do everything I can to assist. If there’s an opportunity to tell one of them that they are so valued and loved, you bet I’ll take every chance I can to do so. I want to try and stick by Dickinson’s words in reference to the “nows”. I was referring to a poem by Emily Dickinson which says, “Forever – is composed of Nows.” Focusing on how life will change someday will absolutely ruin the fleeting time I have left. You can’t be stuck in your La La Land: the real world never works out exactly how you want it to, and that’s okay. 

Man, I really love my friends. 

Alright, two years later. I love this film still, and I love the people that were in my life in 2017. However, as I predicted, most of them are not in my life anymore. Sure, we float in and out of each other’s lives on a rare occasion, but my core group of friends now is very different from what it was in high school. I’ve become a new Abby. Not necessarily a different one, but an older and somewhat wiser one. I’ve learned to not have a death grip on relationships. I used to get very upset when faced with the fact that just about all of the people you encounter in your lifetime will not remain there forever. While yes, it is perfectly normal to grieve the loss of a relationship, this does not mean that you have tight fists on relationships or circumstances. If you spend too much time and energy on your current situation, you may find that you were blinded to a new path that is 100x better than what you already have. 

If you find that a relationship you thought was going to last a lifetime ends, an opportunity you really wanted falls through, or you just feel like life is at a standstill, remember that forever truly is composed of “nows.” Your La La Land dream might not play out like you thought it would, but I think you’ll find what ends up happening is better than your favorite Oscar-snubbed-musical film. It’s easier said than done (believe me, I know), but learn to hold your life with open palms instead of clenched fists. The less time you spend worrying about trying to control your ideal dream the more time you’ll have enjoying your beautiful life. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

 

Why Write?|My Influences

Since I was small, I’ve wanted to be a writer. That’s always been the dream. In fact, recently, while cleaning out my closet, I found a few of my first “books”. They were stories written on notebook paper accompanied by illustrations drawn with crayons. As I got older, I got more sophisticated tools of the trade. My grandma gave me my first laptop: a big clunker from the early 2000’s that she had gotten from the school where she taught Computer Science. Now, I scribble away in notebooks and transfer my brainstorming mess to an equally messy Google Drive. While my goals have changed many times over the years, one has always remained a constant: I’ve wanted to write things that impact others. 

I have had such a wide range of influences over the years. My mom was very encouraging of my reading habits. Early memories of Arthur, Berenstain Bears, and countless other picture books are still stuck in my head. I quickly caught on to the chapter book craze, taking out at least ten new books every time I visited the library. I’m convinced that about 70% of my upper body strength came from my reading addiction; carrying a huge stack can be tough when you’re 3’0” tall (still can be difficult when you’re 5’0”).

As I’ve grown up, I’ve found several writers that have really shaped my reading tastes and have inspired my own writings. C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series will forever be one of my favorites, followed closely by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The magical stories easily carry you off and make you forget about the rest of the world. On the opposite side of the spectrum, John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down and Stephen Emond’s Wintertown are two contemporary pieces that deal with real life issues in humorous ways. While both novels have heavy subjects in them, the reader is still able to relate to the characters, which is extremely important. As someone who struggles with mental health, these are two books I have come back to many times for a reminder that I am not alone.

The real influence for me though seems to be in adventure stories, particularly the ones that deal with extraordinary powers and/or circumstances. Books like Hunger Games, Rot and Ruin, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are so much fun to read because you feel as though you are part of the action yourself. Then there’s film and television writers like George Lucas (Star Wars) and Alex Hirsh (Gravity Falls). Finally, I can’t forget to mention comic books and graphic novels. As they rise in popularity, the more detailed and deep the stories get in this visual form of literature. Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics, is one of my writing idols. His dynamic and relatable characters have been some of my favorites for years. A good writer is needs to be able to create characters that will be loved for years, not just for a phase of time. Some books, movies, and shows are popular for a little while, but if the characters aren’t truly dynamic and grab onto the audience, the audience will move onto something new, forgetting them almost entirely. Characters from Stan Lee’s books like Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man have stood the test of time and are still as popular, if not more so, as when they first got published. 

As I grow older and surround myself with other creators, my new inspiration has come from my friends. I always get super hyped when my buddy Nathan sends me new drafts of his scripts. I’ve had the pleasure of acting in two of my pal Andy’s screenplays which provided great challenges to me as an actress due to their complexity. Sweet Ben has made me laugh, cry and laugh so hard that I’ve cried while reading his plays. Dozens of other peers have inspired me over the years. It’s astounding to see how my friends have become my writing influencers. I am grateful that I have people around me that inspire me to continue to better my craft and that have supported my ideas as I unscramble them from my head. Whatever you want to be good, whether it’s dancing, video gaming, cooking, running, singing, fishing or bowling, find people to share in the journey of learning. Life is so much better when you surround yourself with people who inspire you to be the best at what you love.  
Until Next Time,

Abby