All posts by Abby Wolff

About Abby Wolff

As far back as I can remember, I have been creating. I was blessed to grow up in Kansas City into a family that encouraged me to pursue my passions in the arts. I am currently on track to double major in Animation and Theatre/Cinema at Missouri Western State University. Some of my favorite moments on stage have been playing Ruth in Blithe Spirit (MWSU), Genie in Aladdin (CYT-KC), and Anybody's in West Side Story (CYT-KC). Behind the scenes credits include Dramaturg and Scenic Charge for The Great American Trailer Park (MWSU), Prop Designer and ASM for The Addams Family (TitP-Shawnee Mission), and Prop Designer for The Drowsy Chaperone (OCTA). Along with working on and off stage, I also serve as the Vice President of the Alpha Psi Omega- Xi Eta cast. When not on stage or in the animation studio, you can usually find me either working in the Missouri Western scene shop, working on short films, or writing and doodling in coffee shops. Life is too short to be boring. We have been given the opportunity to live extraordinary lives, and I want to use the time I have to make art that matters.

Revisit: A Month on Prozac

A few weeks ago, the link for a post I put up a little over a year ago popped up in my memories section on Facebook. It’s titled, “A Month on Prozac,” and I was slightly surprised to see it come up in my feed. Not because I was embarrassed that I had posted something so vulnerable on the Internet, but surprised that it’s been so long since I was processing through this new habit in my life. In honor of the year (plus a few weeks) anniversary of this post, I’ve decided to do a Revisit. Words that are in italics are the text from my original post, and words in bold are from 2020 me. Enjoy! 

 

On December 14th, 2018 I started taking Prozac. For those of you who don’t know, Prozac is a synthetic compound which inhibits the uptake of serotonin in the brain and is taken to treat depression. Confession: totally Googled that to look cool. Don’t ask me to tell you this fact off the top of my head; I cannot do it. In other words, it’s an antidepressant. Two years ago, I almost began taking a medication to help my mental state, but for a number of reasons, I decided against actually getting the prescription filled. I always wonder what would have happened if I had started the medicine when I was in high school. If I could only pass along one piece of advice about medication it would be this: do not let anyone make you feel like a bad person for taking a prescription from a doctor that you trust. Fast forward to the end of this past semester, I’m crying in the doctor’s office, my pride finally broken down and hesitantly agreeing to spend my four weeks off of school getting used to this new tool in my life. Ah, 2019 Abby, I am so proud of you for calling your meds what they are: a tool. 

The first few days, I was mad. Still get mad every now and then. I didn’t want to be medicated. I felt defeated. Why couldn’t I have taken care of myself before now, doing the things that would make me feel better (E.I., exercising consistently, taking water, staying away from people who are toxic for me and not compromising my personality to be liked, you know, healthy habits) without the help of these new chemicals being added to my system? I have had people in my life express that they didn’t believe medication did more good than they do harm. While no one ever told me to my face that they would be disappointed, there was always a little voice in the back of my head that worried my closest friends would judge me for having to use medicine to be a happier person. 

Most of the time, the first few weeks of a medication are a little rough, and I can attest that this is true. Just because it’s tough though doesn’t mean you should give up on medicine. I hosted a Christmas party five days after I began the meds and let me tell you, I felt super nauseous in the middle of the get-together after taking it. PRO TIP: If you are taking a medicine that can make you feel icky so you take it at night to avoid wanting to throw up, it’s okay to adjust the time that you usually take your meds. For example, if you usually take your meds at 10pm but there are people in your house for a Christmas party, you can wait until they leave your house to take it so you don’t feel like you’re going to throw up on your friends. (Shout out to Avery for being my emotional rock during that party.) Then, for about eight days, I lost my appetite. While I still made myself eat something throughout the day, I ended up losing five pounds. Now, I’m trying to lose five pounds. It’s funny: when you’re happier, you’re more likely to eat food that makes you happy. I also began dealing with dryness in my throat, which, as a singer, scared me to death (Biotene is a life saver). 

However, after all of this, my follow-up appointment with our family doctor was much different than the first (the only tears that happened were when I had to get blood work). BLOOD WORK IS THE WORST. After regaining my appetite and beginning to have motivation to actually take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, life was becoming so much more bearable. In fact, it was so much more than bearable. It was full of joy and expectancy towards the future. It was awesome and it only got better! I wasn’t scared about going back to school. I was having a much easier time communicating to the people I love. For example, when I’m irritated and snap at Sweet Ben, I am usually able to quickly identify why I am so grumpy. 99% of the time, it had nothing to do with him. God bless him for dealing with my moods. Little things that used to really bug me were becoming less bothersome. I still like the way I walk through Blum better, Ben. 

My classes started back up on January 14th, one month after beginning the medication. A month before, any thought of school, work, or the shows I’m working on would make me feel panicky and want to hide away from the world. I spent a lot of time in bed over that winter break. Beyond any expectation I could have had for myself, that first Monday back at school was marvelous. It was by no means perfect. Several instances popped up that threw off my uncommonly good mood. Mondays, am I right? This time however, there was so much more clarity for how to deal with these annoying happenstances. The next morning, I fully processed how miraculous it truly was how I handled the curve balls that were thrown at me. 

So, it’s been a month. And frankly, I feel great right now. And still do, praise the Lord. I am more at ease with daily troubles that arise. I am able to recognize when I need to take time for myself to recharge. I am now much more aware just how truly blessed and loved I am by the people God has put into my life. I am fully aware that things will get tough again, possibly very soon, but I am abundantly grateful for this past month of rest, recovery, and rediscovery of myself. Amen, sister. 

I write this to the person who is being stubborn about getting help, to the one who is scared of what others will say, and to the one who doesn’t think it’s worth the trouble: getting help does not make you weak. PREACH. You are a valuable human being and modern medicine is an incredible thing. God blessed people with amazing wisdom to create things that help us. While I don’t believe that all problems can be solved with medication, I am now a firm believer that they can do major good. A dear friend of mine once explained it to me this way: you wouldn’t tell a diabetic to pray harder for their illness to go away. While there are good foods that can help a diabetic and exercise can do wonders for anyone, but you wouldn’t tell a diabetic not to take their medication. The same applies to mental illnesses. There’s natural ways to treat depression and anxiety, but sometimes, your brain needs some extra help to function fully.

And to the Christian who is on the fence on starting a medication, I have one last nugget for you: God wants you to feel better, and He’s not gonna be mad at you for not praying more to Him to take your depression away. We live in a world of brokenness and unrest, but praise the Lord for His gift of knowledge that He has given to modern physicians. Use your resources, and know that you are not alone in your struggle. If you want, I’ll let you use some of my washi tape to wrap up your orange bottle.

It’s been 425 days since I started taking Prozac. I recently got new headshots taken and when I sent a few to my mom, she commented that I look so much happier, specifically in my eyes. She thought she might be over analyzing it, but after looking through my camera roll, I thoroughly agree with her. I am a happier lady! It’s awesome! I love not dreading getting out of bed. I love having the motivation to speak my mind. I love not being terrified that every single person hates me. I feel lighter; a huge weight has been lifted for me over the past year. 

November 2018 vs February 2020

Do I still have issues? Oh my word, yes. Fighting off depressive episodes can be the worst. However, I now have the knowledge to deal with them. On top of that, I have amazing people in my life who are a fantastic support system. A year ago, I was hoping that maybe I would stop taking the meds. It’s 2020, and I’m still taking Prozac every evening around 11pm. The main difference is that I do not dread it every evening. I have accepted the fact that I could very well need to keep using this tool for the rest of my life. Over this past year, I have been reminded that I am incredibly blessed. While some days are hard, life is so worth the living. I am grateful to be here and am eagerly looking forward to the future. 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Sports on Stage

Growing up, I tried sports. They were not my thing. I did find, however, that theatre was my thing. Since discovering this, I’ve been on a path that has led me to now: finishing my final semester of my undergraduate degree in theatre (94 days till graduation as of the original date of this post). I have found, however, that many of my favorite scripts involve stories that center around sports. Specifically, one of my all time favorite plays is The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. I first read the play in Spring of 2017 and it became one of my dream shows. I want to be in it. I want to design for it. I want to direct it. I want to get my hands on this script as many times as possible. So, when I saw that Normandale Community College was performing the show at KCACTF Festival 52 in Region 5 this year, it became my top priority show to see. I was also intrigued to see the show Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker, which was being performed by the same school. At first glance I thought, “Okay, a football version of The Wolves, this should be cool.” But oh man, I was dead wrong, and glad to be wrong. When I sat down in the theater to experience the play for the first time, I pulled out my notebook to help me remember details so I could write about the show later. Sixty-five minutes and six pages of notes later, I left Colossal extremely moved. It was about the same with The Wolves: I left the theater in tears with so many thoughts and notes that I am still processing days after seeing the performance. But what made these shows so good? Well, dear reader, I am glad you asked. 

Before diving into the details of Normandale’s productions, let me give you a quick summary of the two plays. Colossal follows a man who was once a record breaking college football player who suffered from a career ending injury. Mike is now in a wheelchair and is in physical therapy. Throughout the show, a younger, pre-injury version of himself talks to Mike and takes the audience back in time to see him at the peak of his athletic ability. Through this nonlinear storytelling, we are able to see his love for his teammate, Marcus, grow, while his relationship with his father becomes more broken. Mike’s relationship with his father, Damon, was disrupted by Mike’s desire to play football. Damon, who owns a dance company, was furious that his son would choose to play a sport that could potentially destroy his body.   What I found most interesting about this show was that while there was the romantic subplot between Mike and Marcus, the true love story came from Mike finally reconciling with his father. In an age where LGBT+ representation is becoming more prevalent in contemporary scripts, I appreciated that it flowed seamlessly through the plot. It was not forced in the writing and the on stage intimacy and beautifully handled (hats off to the directing team). Overall, the story between Mike and Damon is the relationship you are rooting for to be healed throughout the course of the play. The ending of the show was the most satisfying ending I have seen on stage in a long time and put in me a spot where I could have immediately sat down to watch it all again.   

The Wolves follows a girl’s high school soccer team as they warm up for each of their games throughout their competitive indoors season. The girls are only distinguished by the numbers on their jerseys, and many of the conversations that they have overlap each other. This makes the audience focus in to try and pick up every detail that is being said. DeLappe’s script is written in such a way that the truly important, plot driving moments are punctuated by the fact that they are not being overlapped by other conversations. There are a wide range of conversations that happen amongst the very diverse group of girls, from ghost stories to why the “R” word is not okay to the rumor that #7 had an abortion. We see teammates who were best friends deal with a major rift, a captain who is doing her best to be an authority figure for her peers even though she is uncomfortable, sheltered girls, and a player who deals with a major anxiety disorder. Throughout the course of the show, the team is dealt a devastating blow and because of this, learn that the biggest battles are won as a team. Ten minutes into the play, I wrote down the note, “Man, I don’t miss high school.” However, by the end of the piece my mind was right back in the mindset of being 16. I remembered the wonderful highs, the horrible lows, and all the levels in between that came with being a teenager trying to figure out life. The Wolves is written in such a way to remind those in the audience who are long past high school just how dynamic and emotionally driven that period of life once was. It also is a great example of how teenagers deal with grief, how adults dealing with grief behave in front of teenagers, and what happens to the teenagers when they see the adults in distress. There are so many layers of psychology through this character-focused show and the gals of Normandale pulled it off wonderfully. 

Every performance an actor takes has its own physical demands, but shows involving sports have their own special challenges. The casts of The Wolves and Colossal took this challenge to the extreme. The girls’ soccer team was constantly doing warm-up stretches and ran drills that are used regularly in the actual sport. Each cast member held themselves in such a way that made it seem as if they truly had been playing soccer since they were little. They also had to have an extreme amount of mental focus to be able to carry on separate conversations happening simultaneously.  While The Wolves was very impressive physically, Colossal took it up about ten notches when it comes to physical dedication on stage. The twelve cast members who played football players were astounding. Twenty minutes before curtain, they were on stage doing warm ups that you would see at any pregame. Accompanied by a stellar drumline, the actors did passes to each other in the center aisle of the theater, push-ups, and contact choreography, aka, tackle exercises. Throughout the preshow, Damon was stretching and doing several different contemporary dance combinations, foreshadowing his character’s role in the show. What I found most astounding though was when present-day Mike was watching a video recording of his past self playing football. The actors would run the play and Mike would “pause” the recording, and then press “rewind” on his remote AND THE ACTORS REWOUND ALL OF THEIR ACTIONS. Not to mention the half-time show, which was a contemporary dance piece accompanied once again by the drumline that communicated the battle of traditional masculinity and the bonds/struggles between a father and his son. The amount of strength, grace and control that was displayed throughout Colossal was the single most impressive physical performance I have seen on stage in my whole life. 

I strongly believe that the best thing that comes from doing shows about sports is the empathy building that comes with it. Theatre as an artform is intended to create empathy, but there is a special kind that comes from stepping into the world of sports. It’s stereotypical that theatre people are not sports people. They didn’t play “sportsball” because they were in rehearsals. People who grew up playing competitive sports spent all of their time doing their respective games. Taking on shows like Colossal or The Wolves gives people who didn’t grow up playing organized sports a chance to gain a new perspective on what others find joy in. Likewise, I strongly believe that a person who loves sports but isn’t super keen on theatre could watch one of these two plays and walk out with a slightly higher appreciation of the arts. As theatrical artists, it is our job to build connections through the work we create. Sometimes, those connections are meant to make the audience grow, but more often than not, those connections are intended to shape you into a better storyteller, artist, and overall human being. 

I was deeply moved by the work put on by the casts and crews of Normandale’s productions at KCACTF. They were bold, innovative, physically and emotionally impressive, well-done, and handled with grace by everyone involved. There’s usually at least one show a year that will re-fan the flame for my love of theatre and I am blessed to have gotten two for the price of one so early on in 2020. Bravo, Normandale. I wish your school nothing but the best in your future productions. Thank you for sharing your gifts at Festival 52 this year. 

 

Go see theatre, y’all. It makes you a better person. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Rome Highlight Reel

Hello, 2020! Woof, we’re only two weeks into this year and life is C R A Z Y! However, it’s the best kind of crazy. It’s only 43 days till the opening night of my final performance at Missouri Western, 73 days till my 22nd birthday, 108 days till graduation, and 217 days till I marry my best friend. Life is bonkers, y’all. 

I was blessed to end 2019 and ring in 2020 in Italy with my future-in-laws. For those who don’t know, Sweet Ben’s mom is at the Nato Defense College in Rome and will soon begin her next assignment in Naples, Italy. Ben’s sister and dad are also abroad with her, so this trip right after Christmas was the first time we had all been together since August when Ben and I sent them off at the airport. Over the course of eleven days, I got to have so many wonderful adventures in a country I had always dreamed of visiting. Here is an abridged version of the eleven days I got to spend with Ben and his family in Rome! 

Day 1 (12/27)

Highlight: After three flights (one of which was eight hours long), we landed in Rome and got to hug Ben’s parents and sister. Once Ben and I had a nap after lunch to battle jet lag, we took the Metro to a cozy little pizzeria. Little did I know that the first thing you see once you exit the station that leads to the restaurant is the Colosseum. Yeah, that was a pretty nifty sight to behold before dinner. 

Favorite Taste: Salami Pizza. Honorable mention goes to the shot of Limoncello after dinner. 

Fun Fact: It’s super common for Europeans to have coffee after dinner. This is a cultural norm I can totally get behind. 

 

Day 2 (12/28)

Highlight: Sant’Eustachio is said to be one of the best coffee shops in Rome. Judging by the crowd that was crammed into this relatively small space, a lot of people thought it was really good. If you’re ever in Rome, go check out this place. While it was a bit overwhelming, my Romeo e Giulietta was delightful. 

Favorite Taste: Gnocchi and Mozzarella in Tomato Sauce at this little corner restaurant we found by wandering down the wrong street 

Fun Fact: In 609, The Pantheon was the first temple that once honored Roman gods to be transformed into a church. This saved this brilliant piece of architecture from being destroyed during the Middle Ages.

 

Day 3 (12/29)

Highlight: On the first Sunday of the month, it is free to enter into Vatican City, which causes a TON of people to come out to visit. After going through the museum (which includes the jaw-dropping Sistine Chapel), we found a shortcut to go into St. Peter’s Basilica. Wandering through the gigantic church and praying with Ben for our future marriage was a beautiful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

Favorite Taste: Cappuccino after visiting Vatican City

Fun Fact: Michelangelo, the artist who painted the Sistine Chapel, originally said “no” to painting the massive room because he reasoned that he was a sculptor, not a painter. The Sistine Chapel is considered to be the greatest masterpiece ever created. You aren’t allowed to take photos of the chapel, so enjoy this doggo statue that we found. 

 

Day 4 (12/30)

Highlight: Enjoying a lazy day and taking Star and Carebear on a walk. 

Favorite Taste: The richest hot chocolate I have ever tasted with the espresso I mixed into it because mochas do not exist in Rome

Fun Fact: People take their dogs EVERYWHERE. It was so funny to see so many different dogs out and about, including in the malls and some restaurants!  

 

Day 5 (12/31)

Highlight: We spent the last day of the year exploring an apartment complex that has sixteen murals on the sides of the buildings. There were so many moments throughout this trip where I would turn to Ben and say, “Can you imagine looking out your window every day to see *insert amazing sight*?” My personal favorite was the wall with rainbow squares. We were also able to find a coffee shop that put a bit of chocolate in coffee, which made me quite happy. 

Favorite Taste: French champagne with apple juice to ring in the New Year

Fun Fact: Many Italians wear red underwear to ring in the New Year. It’s said to bring good luck!

 

 

Day 6 (1/1)

Highlight: There’s sight called the Aventine Keyhole on a hill in a village in Rome, where you have a breath-taking view of St. Peter’s Basilica. We waited in line for almost an hour to take a look through this keyhole, and boy, was it worth it. (Photo credit of the view goes to Google, as my little iPhone wasn’t able to do the view justice)

Favorite Taste: Mini tiramisu at a 95 year old coffee shop 

Fun Fact: The keyhole is part of the property owned by the Priory of the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic religious order of crusader knights that was formed in the 11th century. It is the oldest surviving chivalric order in the world and is a sovereign entity under international law.

 

Day 7 (1/2)

Highlight: Climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a TRIP, y’all. The climb is worth it though for the amazing view you get of the city. 

Favorite Taste: Lemon and Strawberry Gelato in the train station 

Fun Fact: Keith Allen Haring was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work was inspired by NYC streets. One of his works can be found in Pisa, Italy! 

 

Day 8 (1/3)

Highlight: Ben and I took a walk with his mom in search of coffee. Afterwords, I played Monopoly for the first time in about eight years. The game took three hours, and because of my stubbornness and negotiation skills, I somehow won. Ben was proud. 

Favorite Taste: Chicken dumplings at an Italian Chinese restaurant 

Fun Fact: Monopoly was first published in 1935. It’s been causing fits of rage and strain on every sort of relationship around the world for 85 years. 

 

 

Day 9 (1/4)

Highlight: Van Gogh and Monet are two of my favorite painters ever. We got to have a VR experience where the viewer got to tour through the world of the some of the works created by these two artists. Not gonna lie, it was a bit emotional for me to get to be immersed in paintings I’ve admired my whole life. 

Favorite Taste: Fresh bruschetta mmmmm so good. Know what’s not good? Green Apple Limoncello. It’s like drinking battery acid. 

Fun Fact: You can trace the origin of bruschetta back to Ancient Roman times. It’s popularity has spread a lot since then and is still a classic favorite in Italian restaurants. 

 

Day 10 (1/5)

Highlight: While we were wandering around the ancient ruins of Ostia, I saw a large black cat just doing his thing. I followed him to take a picture and, naturally, he ran away because some weird American was being annoying. When we went through the bookstore, we found the same cat and his friend just chilling out in the shop! We saw a few other cats when we were leaving to head back home, which was probably the largest population of cats we saw on the whole trip. We happened to see another cat during our night tour of the Colosseum. It was quite funny to see people be more interested in the cat living in the ancient architecture than the stunning building itself.  

Favorite Taste: Marble cake at the café in Ostia

Fun Fact: Ostia was a port and commercial center of republican Rome. The ruins of the city include an amphitheater that could seat up to 4,000 people. Bonus fact: there are signs outside the Colosseum telling guests to not disturb any cats that are on sight. Apparently, there is a kitty colony in the stadium! 

 

Day 11 (1/6)

Highlight: There were some ridiculous seagulls we encountered during our final day in Rome. It’s almost as if they were posing for people as they took photos of them. Ben and I spent a lot of time trying to translate what these weird birds were squawking at each other. 

Favorite Taste: Bubble Toffee from my La Befana stocking

Fun Fact: The story of Pinocchio originated in Italy and the character is a common souvenir you can find on just about any corner. When we were walking through the city, we found a real life Geppetto!

 

I have always been of the belief that everyone needs to leave their home country at least once in their life. Traveling expands your worldview, reminding you how much bigger this planet is outside of your hometown. I am so thankful that I got to satisfy my travel bug urge in Rome with the Smiths, and look forward to more travels in the future!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

The End of the Decade Post

Huzzah, it’s another end of the decade/year post. Woo. So original. Bet you’ve never seen one of these before!

Anyway

During one of my flights on the way to Rome to visit my future in-laws, I looked back at the start of the journal I have been on-and-off writing in since December 3rd, 2018. It affectionately was nicknamed, “Break Up Journal #2” (thank you for the purchase, Mom.) It is astounding to see how quickly life changed over the course of those first few months of that journal. Beginning a relationship with my best friend from the scene shop was not in the plan. But as I have said before, God always has better plans than we do.

Throughout the course of this decade, I have learned so much about life. Sometimes, there are people who are only in your life for a short season, and that’s okay. There are times where it is best to stay quiet and do your job, even when you work with difficult people. There are times where you must stand up for yourself. There are times where the right course of action is the unpopular one. People change, and so do you. You must know when to apologize. You must know when you are at fault, but more importantly, you must also know when you are not at fault. It is okay to protect yourself. It is vital to love yourself. Your health is more important than pleasing others. Just because you fail does not make you a Failure: it makes you human. You are blessed with gifts in a unique way. No one can live your life for you; do not waste it.

There is so much more I have learned, yet there is even more I have yet to discover. I am eager for this new decade, as there is so much to come already. I’ll be getting married. Lord willing, I will begin grad school. Maybe even have kids, who knows. No matter what happens, life is never boring. No matter what comes my way, I look forward with hope and joyful anticipation.

As far as goals go, my main writing goal is to spend more time creating pieces that I actually am proud of. I got close to my goal of posting a blog every week in 2019, and even though I fell off the wagon over the last few weeks of this year, I’m still happy that I mostly stuck to my goal. However, posting weekly is not practical with the life I am living at the moment. I’m about to begin my final semester of undergrad. I’m planning a wedding. I’ll be applying for grad school. Life is bonkers. So, instead of hurriedly scraping together a post every week to hit a deadline, I will be posting on a bi-weekly basis in 2020. Twenty-six posts during a year of massive life change seems like a pretty solid goal. Perhaps 2020 will finally be the year I successfully complete a year long personal writing challenge!

First post of 2020 will be up on January 12th! I look forward to sharing about my trip to Rome. Fun fact: this entire post was written while waiting in line to see the Vatican. My feet are numb and there is an insane amount of people. Life is bonkers. Best wishes to all as you begin this next decade!

 

Until next time,

Abby

 

Processing

My best friend proposed to me on Tuesday night. As I type this, I keep glancing down at the perfect token of love that he offered to me and I accepted in front of some of our dearest friends. I didn’t think it was possible to love a person this way, but as I write, my heart feels as if it’s going to burst. 

 

Life is weird. 

 

I find myself crying happy tears randomly throughout the day.

 

Dumb things that pop up throughout the day don’t bother me. 

 

I want to show my left hand to everyone I know and let them know what a good man my future husband is. 

 

Even though we’ve been talking about marriage for months and I’ve known that a ring had been purchased, I thought I knew how I would feel in this moment. However, things are so much different than I ever thought they would be. I feel as if the relationship has started over with a fresh joy. There is an extra bit of magic around this Christmas season. The outpouring of love we have received is encouraging and makes me so excited for the future. 

 

I cannot pinpoint an emotion other than joy at this time of life. I don’t know how long it will take to figure it out, and honestly, I don’t know if I ever will. It is astounding to me how much the Lord has turned my life completely upside down in the best possible ways over the years. This time has truly opened my eyes to how God loves us. It is humble, passionate, gentle, zealous and bigger than we can ever understand. I am so grateful to be blessed with Sweet Ben, who reminds me who I am everyday: a cherished daughter of the King. 

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will do my best to not be distracted by this gorgeous ring while I take my Spanish final. 

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

When You Feel Like You Are Letting Everyone Down

Hi, my name is Abby, and I deny the fact that I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. But alas, I am both of these things. On the enneagram scale I am a 3w2, which is a combination of “The Performer/Achiever” and “The Caregiver”, as well as being an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs scale. If you look up basic traits of these personality types, you find these major points across the board.

  • Basic Strength: leading and serving other people.
  • Basic Fear: failing and being unworthy of love. To avoid this, they set and accomplish goals to feel successful and worthy. They also fear having a bad reputation
  • Basic Desire: to be admired and accepted. They seek value through accomplishment, which may push them deeper into their work, which sometimes leads to being a workaholic.

Now, you may not subscribe to personality theory, but over the past five years of learning more about various theories, I have come to better understand myself and others. The biggest thing I have learned about myself is that I am my own worst critic. Seriously, I am probably one of the most self-critical people you will ever meet. However, my mindset tells me that I must be hard on myself in order to achieve and not let others down. This ends up being horrible counterproductive and a hole that I have a hard time escaping.

No one is perfect. There are times when you will mess up. You will need to ask for forgiveness, and 95% of the time, if you truly communicate your remorse, the other party will forgive you. I have found though that often times it is easier to forgive another person than it is to forgive yourself. Sure, the other person can say, “What you did upset me, but I forgive you.” But with me, the fact that I have upset another person destroys my soul. I feel that I need to keep punishing myself, even if I have already dealt with the consequences.

Here’s the kicker though: I am saved by grace. The God of the Universe came down from heaven to die for my sins so that I didn’t have to pay for them. Jesus took all the blame so I don’t have to suffer the eternal consequences. The fact that we are commanded by God to forgive one another is to be a representation of His love for us. If God forgave all of mankind, then we are supposed to offer that same kind of love to others. Just because God forgave us though, doesn’t mean the task is complete. It takes the other party to accept forgiveness to make the transaction complete.

When you beat yourself up after someone has forgiven you, you have thrown that person’s grace out the window. More often than not, people move on. When you dwell on the fact that you messed up two weeks ago on something, you are hindering yourself from moving forward. You cannot expect yourself to be perfect. It is foolish to think that you will never let someone down. But when you realize 1) that you are not a disappointment to everyone in your life, and 2) that you must give yourself grace when you mess up, you are able to be a much happier person.

I’m currently about to begin finals week. I am stressed. I’ve shed many tears over the past week. I have felt like I have disappointed every single one of my professors and that I’ve been a bad friend and a crappy girlfriend. But to anyone who feels this way (myself included): STOP. These are lies. You are not a failure. You are not a disappointment. You are not a bad person. You are not defined by your mistakes. You are human. Every person that you feel you are letting down? Yeah, they have all screwed up in the past too. Give yourself some grace. Dust yourself off and keep going. More often than not, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Embrace the chaos, remember to breathe, and keep moving forward.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

Things Change

Things change. 

“Yeah, duh. Come on, Abby. We all know this, what the heck are you getting at?” That’s what I’m guessing you’re saying at least. But you know what? I just watched “Frozen 2” and I have T H O U G H T S, OKAY?

*deep breath* Sorry y’all, I’ve been going through an emotional roller coaster over the last week and a half. Watching this gorgeous movie has made me sit down with a cup of coffee and process the jumble of thoughts I have been pushing aside for the past ten days. 

 I am not the same person I was a year ago. To be honest, I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the summer. And as I have changed, the people around me have changed as well. Some of those people have stayed in my life while others have drifted away. Along the way, new faces have entered into my life and friendships have grown that are now divine blessings. Others have left deep wounds in my spirit that have left scars. While healing as happened, there are still reminders of pain that have come from change. 

A year ago, I was mourning the loss of what I thought was my future. The “ideal” that I had created in my mind was gone. But, praise the Lord, I was surrounded with good people. While I was struggling with my grief, I was presented with opportunities to let my burdens to be carried by others. I also was given the chance to pour into the people I cared about most. I was able to witness miraculous life changes that I might not have seen if my life hadn’t been flipped upside down. 

Without giving away the plot of “Frozen 2,” let me just say that this is a great example of showing how even when things seem to be the worst that they can possibly be, you can still choose to move forward. When you accept the fact that change is a normal part of life, it allows you to be on the lookout for the good things that are coming. Life often does not turn out the way that we think it will, and more often than not, it’s for the better that things change. 

Over this past year, I have learned to loosen my grip on plans. Slowly but surely, the grip is becoming an open palm. I strive to let my life be an offering, regardless of whether or not my plans go the way I think they should go. So, as I travel deeper into the unknown, I will be holding on tight to the thing that never changes: the love my Heavenly Father has for me. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

Writing Q&A

Woooooooo Abby is drowning in homework and studying and memorizing scripts, so she decided to do a Writer’s Q&A she found online. Enjoy! 

What type of writing do you do? I used to want to be a novelist. Like, that was my dream career. While I still would love to do that, my favorite thing to write at the moment are plays! I also am an avid journaler. 

What genres and/or topics do you write about? In this season of life, I have been writing a lot about mental health. However, I used to write an insane amount of Star Wars and Marvel fanfiction. I plan to get back into the Star Wars storylines I was working on at some point soon. 

How long have you been writing? Last time I cleaned my room, I found a “book” I wrote in second grade. 

Are you published? On the internet? Yes, hello, this is my blog. 

What was the first story you ever wrote? I think it was about an island girl named Maya or something about Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Why do you write? A lot of the time I feel like my brain is spinning with a billion words. I write to get them out. 

How do you find time to write? At the moment, panic procrastination is how I have been writing. Ideally, I would like to spend time in the mornings writing after I spend time reading my bible. Hopefully we will be able to get back into that routine soon. 

When and where are the best times to write? When: when I don’t have Spanish homework. Where: give me a local coffee shop with decent wifi and we’re in business. 

Favorite food/drinks while writing? See above (just give me hot coffee and I’m set)

Your writing playlist? The “Monsters Inc.” and Star Wars scores are my long time favorites, but I recently got into Alec Benjamin’s work. 

What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing? I think they like it? 

Parts of writing you enjoy the most? I love writing fight scenes and witty banter scenes. 

Parts of writing you find challenging? I hate writing transitions, man. 

What do you write with and on? I prefer writing in a notebook, but I have recently become addicted to Google Docs as my saving grace. 

How do you overcome writer’s block? Ha ha. 

How do you motivate yourself to write? Freaking deadlines. I thrive on deadlines. 

Writers who inspire you as a creator? John Green, JK Rowling, Stephen Edmond, Christine Riccio, David Auburn, Alex Hirsh, Rachel Hollis, W.T.R. Shaw (Sweet Ben) and Nathan Gonder

Books that inspire you as a writer? “Winter Town,” “Again, But Better,” “Turtles All The Way Down” and the Harry Potter series. 

Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer? Never stop writing, even when you don’t like your work. 

Writing goals this year: In 2020, I want to write a new short play and have a friend at Missouri Western direct it. 

 

Life is crazy, but writing is always a wonderful escape, even if it’s just a self-reflection on the craft. 

Thank goodness for Fall Break. 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Hard Days

There are mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. I lay burrowed under my blankets and stare at the alarm on my phone. I know all of the things that I have to be responsible for and wonder who would notice if I didn’t show up for those responsibilities. I pull myself up and sit on the edge of my bed, looking down at the floor as I try to decide if I want my feet to touch the floor. I look back at my pillow one last time, wanting to head back to blissful sleep. But I don’t, because I know there is joy to be awake for, even in the hard days.

 

There are afternoons when I find myself wondering why I am doing what I am doing. I feel as if everything I am doing is absolutely wrong and that everyone around me thinks I am a huge idiot. I feel that I will never move forward because whenever I make progress I seem to also take steps backwards. I often times consider giving up on the plans I’ve made and the dreams I’m chasing. But I don’t, because I know I am capable of pressing on, even on the hard days.

 

There are some nights when I just stare at my open pill bottle. I hold it as I stand barefoot in the bathroom and I glance up at my reflection in the mirror. I sigh. I look back into the bottle wrapped in washi tape and begrudgingly take a dose. The whole time I’m thinking, “I don’t want to take this. I shouldn’t need to take this. I hate taking this.” There are nights I want to dump all the little white pills into the toilet and send them swirling away. But I don’t, because I know they help with the hard days.

 

There will always be hard days. I accept that there are periods of life where there will be more hard days than easy ones. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself on hard days is remind yourself that they will pass. It may take time, but our hard days show us how great that easy days are. To anyone dealing with a difficult season: keep pushing forward, even if it means just taking one step each day.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Revists: What Else is Good?

We have reached the point in the semester where I am starting to give less of a crap about passing my classes, which is quite dangerous with my Spanish class. When this starts to creep in, I have learned that I must snuff it out quickly before it destroys any chance of me being productive. One way of doing this has been writing. However, I have no creative energy to spare. So I started going through my old blog posts. I found an entry from 2015 where I talked about a faculty advisor who would always ask us, “What else is good?” So, in the spirit of my other “Revisits,” I decided to look back on my list from 2015 and make a new list for 2019 to compare what was good then and what is good now. The items in italics are from 2015, and the items in bold are from this year. 

 

  • I haven’t gotten lost yet in my math class.
  • While I am frustrated in my Spanish class, I have a solid 75% as my overall grade right now and that makes me super happy.
  • While my meteorology class is super boring, I have over 100% in the class because my teacher gives so much extra credit.
  • I love my Directing 1 class. It’s such a solid group of students who are going to put on a fantastic showcase in December.
  • I am growing as an artist in my Drawing class this semester.
  • I have lined up two projection design jobs outside of school.
  • Cinderella opens next week and this show is gonna be awesome!
  • Right now, I am stage managing for five short plays and today our technical director said I was doing a good job.
  • I made the Improv team again! This summer, I get to travel to San Diego with nine other super awesome, talented funny CYT students to compete in a comedy competition called Improvaton.
  • I have dates set to visit Lubbock, Texas to check out the grad school I will hopefully be attending in Fall 2021.
  • My car works in the snow, thank the Lord.
  • My dear, temperamental car is still running.
  • Walking Dead starts again on Sunday.
  • Sweet Ben and I have started season 4 of Yugi-Oh!
  • I got four new piano students!
  • Over the course of five years, I had the opportunity to teach 25 kids music. Right now, I currently only teach my professor’s daughter on a weekly basis, but it is still so rewarding to be able to pass along musical knowledge.
  • My Mac doesn’t restart every ten minutes anymore.
  • I have figured out how to make my iPad keep a charge.
  • Art Club at school is going great! It’s been so much fun so far, and I can’t wait to see what this awesome group of people do this spring.
  • Our pledge class for Alpha Psi Omega this year is so stinking big and it’s awesome.
  • One of my paintings sold at the Juice shop that I sell art at this week.
  • In a few weeks I get to go back and work at Songbird.
  • While I love doing shows, after next week, I’m going to have a month and a half off from rehearsals. I’ll be able to catch up on school stuff and get a handle on my big research project.
  • Ha, what is a break? However, I love all the scripts I am working on right now and all the peers I get to create with.
  • I have a free drink to go get at Starbucks tomorrow.
  • I have kept a promise to myself and have not had Starbucks for 40 days. It sucks but I am proud of myself.
  • I have a warm home, food in the fridge, running water, a toilet, wifi, and a wonderful family to come home to everyday.
  • I love my suitemates, my dorm is cozy and fun to be in, and have a trusty coffee machine.

 

What else is good in your life? Don’t forget to take time to remember what positive things are going on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have 26 Spanish verbs to go memorize. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby