Category Archives: Me Myself and Abby

Thoughts and studies on the human that is Abby (aka, Me :P)

Life Goes On

I’ve had two weeks to write something. Anything. I’ve made three different outlines for blog posts about dealing with the grief of losing the last two months of a normal college experience, handling depressive episodes or how it’s okay to be sad when life gets turned upside down. But I couldn’t get anything to work. Processing has been brutal and I feel as if I am just now getting some stability in a severely unstable world. 

Everyone is dealing with this temporary normal differently. For some, it’s a major disruption that is causing a lot of anxiety. For others, it’s a much needed reset time. For me, it’s a bit of both. I love planning for future events. Having the knowledge of what is coming makes me feel more at peace with my busy life. I was so excited for the four different shows I was working on at school and in Kansas City. Within 48 hours, they were all canceled. On top of this, the wonderful things I had planned for the last few weeks of school is gone. While friendships remain, the chapter of my life as an on-campus college student is done. I was preparing myself to say goodbye, but having to leave the way we all had to was not the way I wanted it all to end. On the flip side though, being home has given me time to reconnect with myself. I was flirting with the line of burn out but when everything came to an abrupt end, so did the burn out. I have gotten time to rest, recharge and reassess. There are countless blessings in this insane time of life. 

I’ve done my best to take care of myself, and the best way I know to do that is having structure. I was offered a job at Walmart which now has me working 32 hours a week serving my community. I’m able to reconnect with old music students as well as new ones as I explore the amazing world of Zoom teaching. Side bar: I literally had three Zoom meetings within five hours of each other yesterday and it was the trippiest thing ever. I have time to work with the social media team of my department to make our Theatre, Cinema and Dance pages engaging for everyone stuck in their homes. I’ve made exercising a high priority and I can tell that my body very much appreciates it. While this is not how I would have liked my last semester of college to go, life still goes on, and life is good. 

My biggest pro-tip for this season (or any season): allow yourself to feel. If you need to cry, do it. If you need to laugh, find some funny youtube videos. If you need to be angry, call a friend you trust. However, do not buy into the lie that you shouldn’t feel a certain way. Your feelings are valid and you need to allow yourself to process them. 

Life is uncertain and that’s okay. We’re all in this together and no matter how scary things seem, we will make it through.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Leap Day 2020 Time Capsule

I think it’s fun that 2020 is a Leap Year. It makes the year all the more exciting! Four years ago, I made a “Leap Year Time Capsule” on this blog, so I went back to the original post to see what I wrote. Now it’s time to update the time capsule in hopes that I am still writing on this website in 2024 (that does not seem like a real year). 

 

2016 Abby’s Leap Day List

Favorite Color(s): Green and Purple

Favorite TV Show: Right now, The Office

Favorite Movie: Star Wars

Favorite Musical: HAMILTON

Favorite bible verse: 1 Timothy 4:12

Favorite show I’ve been in: Tie between Mulan and Godspell

Favorite Class: Dark Room Photography this semester, but Design last Fall was amazing.

Favorite Teacher: Carlos Bass

Favorite art medium: Graphite and really good colored pencils

Favorite show you saw this past year? Newsies

Currently reading: “Trust me, I’m Lying” and “Taming of the Shrew”

Best place you’ve traveled: San Diego (TAKE ME BACK)

Education so far: About to finish my associate’s degree at Maple Woods this spring.

Biggest achievement?: Almost finishing my associates degree before I turn 18

Top 5 favorite pieces of art you’ve done?

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 5.04.43 PM

Lowest time?: October 2014-July 2015

Highest time?: New friendships during Mulan

Present Goals? Finish raising money for my missions trip; Get my portfolio ready for art school; figure out exactly how I’m going to get my BFA; not fail College Algebra

 Favorite thing about Abby?: I haven’t given up and I won’t quit now 🙂

Let’s see what has changed!

 

2020 Abby’s Leap Day List

Favorite Color(s): Green, Blue and Red

Favorite TV Show: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (You’re currently watching the final season on Disney Plus!)

Favorite Movie: “Marriage Story” and “The Empire Strikes Back”

Favorite Musical: “Come From Away”

Favorite Play: “Proof” 

Favorite Bible verse: 1 Timothy 4:12

Favorite show I’ve been in: “Crazy for You” as Polly Baker

Favorite show I’ve designed: Projections for “Newsies”

Favorite Class: Directing 1 last semester 

Favorite Teacher: There are way too many good ones, but as far as classes for this semester go, it’s a hard tie between Manon Halliburton and Paul Hindemith.

Favorite art medium: Adobe Photoshop Sketchbook with my moody Apple Pencil

Favorite show you saw this past year? “The Lighting Thief Musical”

Currently reading: “A Challenge for the Actor” by Uta Hagen

Best place you’ve traveled: Rome, Italy to visit Sweet Ben’s family

Education so far: Getting ready to graduate with the BA in Theatre/Cinema (63 days!)

Biggest achievement?: Designing and performing in “Little Women”/ The second to last performance of “Crazy for You”

Top 5 favorite pieces of art you’ve done?

Lowest time?: Spring 2019

Highest time?: Being engaged (so now!)

Present Goals? Manage my many design projects; Get my portfolio ready for grad school; figure out exactly how I’m going to get work after undergrad; not fail Spanish 

Ten Year Dream/Goal: To be a PhD in Theatre and enjoy the work that I am doing. 

 

Favorite thing about Abby?: I have endured so much and truly am thriving. No matter how low life gets, I never stop pushing forward. I am so happy that I am not where I expected to be four years ago. In fact, I am so much better off than I ever could have imagined. 

 

 

It’s fun to see how much things have changed in four years. Enjoy your extra 24 hours this year! 

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

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

 

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

 

Broken Streak

For the past 43 weeks, I have uploaded a blog post to this site every Friday in a way to keep a promise to myself that I could keep a habit going for a whole calendar year. Ideally, I like to finish these posts by Wednesday night/Thursday morning so I can have time to sit on them and process what I have written. However, it’s 11:30pm on Friday night at Applebees and this is my first time all week sitting down to write. It’s been a stressful week, but a show has been opened and I survived my Spanish test. 

 

There is nothing profound in this blog post. In fact, it’ll be late. I have broken my streak. Whenever I break a streak, I usually give up completely. But here I am, chugging away at a post, trying to keep a promise to myself. 

 

This post is not for anyone else but myself. It’s now Saturday afternoon, and while my streak of having a post every Friday has been broken, I still intend to keep this promise to myself. Abby, it’s okay to slip up. However, just because you slip up doesn’t mean you have to quit completely. Life is insane, but you’re tough and have conquered so much. Brush it off and keep going. 

 

*Deep breath* See you next week. 

 

Until Next Time, 

 

Abby

 

Lessons from the Year

Ah yes, one of those reflective posts about the past school year. A riveting expose on the major life lessons I have learned over the past nine months. An insightful analysis of how the human spirit can overcome all odds. Or, you know, just a fun little diddy to celebrate the fact that the hardest school year of my life has come to an end.

 

Upon returning to my home in Kansas City, I flipped through my completed 2018 scrapbook planner in comparison to my current 2019 one (here). Here are some highlights of the countless lessons I have learned this year.

 

August- Memorizing with songs is super helpful for Spanish. I only got a half point off on that first Spanish quiz because I forgot an accent on one of the names. Somehow, I must relearn everything this summer as to not fail my last two Spanish classes.

September- I very much enjoy film acting. God bless James for texting me early in the year when I wasn’t in rehearsals to come act in his directing project. Special shout out to his precious cat princess who enjoyed running between my legs during intense bits of dialogue.

October- Gypsy jazz is a blessing. Thank you, Nathan; I’ve got your playlist running through my headphones as I write this.  

November- Doing an overnight shoot after an all night sleepover is rough. It’s funny how I said I would never do another overnight shoot again and ended up ending my 21st birthday walking into the studio to do another one. Regardless, Andy is one of my favorite people and I would do a hundred more overnight shoots if it meant being able to keep making great films with him.

December- Prayer works. Sometimes it takes a long, long time, but man, when you see the Lord transfer someone’s life, it is absolutely miraculous and beautiful.

January- I have missed doing improv more than I knew. I had the opportunity at KCACTF to do a long form improv workshop with students from across the region, including a gal who is an incredible scenic painter that I idolized last summer. Our team still has the Loopers group chat going semi-strong; it was a good time.

February- I truly could make a career doing projections for theatre. I cried during the first tech rehearsal while I was standing backstage waiting for my entrance. Seeing my months of animation actually work on stage was amazing and I look forward to the next opportunity I have to tackle this art form again.

March- It’s possible to almost lose an eye and get frostnip in the span of 16 days. (See this post for the story about me getting whacked in the face with an ice skate during “Little Women” here) Pro Tip: when doing an outside shoot in the woods when it’s cold, constantly move your body, or your sweet fella might have to carry you through the woods to your producer’s car, where you will throw up because of how much pain you are in due to how cold you are, which will lead the two of them to taking you to urgent care. The best thing to come from that situation was getting a solid nap in the waiting room. Hot dang though, that film looked GOOD.

April- Giving a bad performance does not define you. You’ll have stellar performances and ones that you wish no one had witnessed. Regardless of how each performance goes, you go in the next day and breathe out the character once again with a fresh mind and heart.

May- God provides. I spent weeks trying to nail down a part time job for the summer. I was ready to give up until I went to a bridal shower and ended up having a conversation with a long-time friend of the family. As I type this, I am looking out over Downtown Kansas City with a cup of coffee, waiting for 10:40am to hit so I can walk down the street to one of my favorite places for an afternoon of work. This is the kind of life I relish, and totally beats working in a department store.

 

It’s astounding to see how much growth I have gone through since August. I thought that flipping though last year’s planner would be a lot harder. There’s memories in there that are bittersweet, but I’m getting to a point where “bitter” is starting to fade away as an adjective. I know that there will be years that will be tougher and that there are countless things I still need to work on with myself, but the future is bright, which is something I wouldn’t have said three months ago with confidence. Bring on summer and one more year of undergrad, Life: I’m ready for you.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

 

Crazy Calendar Lady

I love my planner. When I say love, I mean it’s basically my favorite possession and if some guy snatched my backpack, I would care about getting my planner back more than my wallet. Why do I have so much affection for this book that is supposed to just hold dates and assignments? Because I am a calendar-scrapbook-addict. And a sticker-addict. And a mega- washi-tape-addict. When I’m stressed out, I reorganize my tape storage box.

I can’t claim credit for coming up with the idea of scrapbooking my planner. Four years ago, my dear friend Suz introduced me to the wonderful world of scrapbooking her Erin Condren planner. I dabbled with sticking random photos into my planner, but it wasn’t until the January 2017 that I started decorating the pages on a weekly basis. Let me tell you, those first few months of spreads were ROUGH, but around March, I finally got into a system of creating my weekly layouts. Now, I’ve got it down to a creative science.

This year, I made the switch from Erin Condren to Plum Paper (which was one of the stupidest difficult choices I have ever made in my life). What’s nifty about Plum Paper is that you can get extra pages added to your personalized calendar. I’m a sucker for grids, so I got a checklist insert at the end of each month. I also got some swanky dotted paper, because who doesn’t love this magical type of paper? With these additional pages, I have dipped my toe into the water of bullet journaling via making daily goal and mood tracker sheets. It’s something I’m still perfecting; I consult Pinerest on the daily.

Whenever someone lays eyes on my planner who hasn’t seen it before, there is usually a list of questions I receive 95% of the time.

 

Planner Scrapbooking FAQs

  1. When did you start scrapbooking your planner? As I said before, I played around with scrapbooking my 2016 planner a little bit, but it wasn’t until 2017 that I started doing it consistently. I am currently on my third year of the scrapbooking adventure, and hope to go back to finish the 2016 planner someday.fullsizeoutput_2ff3  (March 25th-March 31st 2019 Spread)
  2. How do you get the little photos?-My process is copying and pasting my photos from the week into a Word document and making them all 1 ½ inches wide. I end up with a grid of photos that I print and cut out! God bless my roommate Indigo who has been printing them for me on a weekly basis this year. fullsizeoutput_3011(Photo sheet for April 22th-April 30th)
  3. How do you make your spreads? I decide a color scheme with four roles of washi tape. I’m a weirdo who has to stick to patterns or it bugs me to no end. I consult the photo gallery on my phone to layout all the photos to cover up the ridiculous schedule I had to adhere to for the week. From that color scheme I have picked out, I go through the dozen or so sticker books I have to fill in the extra space.fullsizeoutput_3015 (My beautiful collection of washi tape)
  4. How long does it take you to do a spread? Usually about 20-45 minutes, depending on how complex I want make the spread that week.fullsizeoutput_2ff2 (April 15th-21st 2019 Spread)
  5. Why do you scrapbook?  Two main reasons: It’s a great way to forget about the stress of the week by covering up my schedule with cute photos and fun stickers. It’s also a great way to practice gratitude. Even when I’ve had an awful week, looking back at silly snapshots from the week makes me remember that life isn’t all that bad.fullsizeoutput_2ff1 (Antigone Highlights)
  6. What’s the deal with your mood tracker? This school year was full of extreme highs and lows. From major disappointments to triumphant successes and seasons of deep despair and radiant joy, I have been all over the spectrum. I had heard about people who journaled about their moods on the daily, and I decided to try and make a visual chart for myself to keep track of my own. I make a key of colors that correspond with certain moods, and also use stickers to track things like spirals, when I’ve felt encouraged, and The Red Baron (you can figure that one out for yourself). I’m only on my second month of mood tracking, but it’s already helped a lot when I communicate with loved ones or my counselor.fullsizeoutput_3017 (April Mood Tracker and Daily Goals)
  7. How do you set up your bullet journal? I started doing my daily goals in bullet journal form this January with a set of goals that I thought I needed to improve on. Over the course of February, March, April and May, some of those tasks has stayed the on the list every month, some have been consolidated, and others have been taken off the list for now. It all depends on what’s going on that month. For example, I always have “Jesus Time” at the top of my page, but for the month of May, I’ve got “Practice Gentleman’s Guide Music” as a daily goal to prepare for the show I will be performing in June.fullsizeoutput_2ff4 (May Mood Tracker and Daily Goals)
  8. I don’t how to do something like this; how do I start? It’s all a matter of starting without having any expectations. My planner looks so different from Suz’s planner and ours both look super different from ones you can find online. Pinterest is a great resource for getting inspiration, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. Come over and hang out with me; I have many stickers to spare!

 

Scrapbooking my planner has been one of the best forms of self-love I have done over the years and I can say with confidence that it has helped improve my mental health. Maybe the washi tape life isn’t for you, and that’s okay! Find something that makes you happy and use it to decompress. It’s amazing what 30 minutes of sticking mini photos down with sparkly stickers does for the soul.fullsizeoutput_2ff5

 

Until next time,

Abby

 

21 Life Lessons

Last year when I turned twenty years old, I had an existential crisis in a Starbucks in St. Joe. I have wonderful memories of that day, and also some not so great ones. I have to say, my year of being twenty was a lot like my birthday last year: full of wonderful memories, along with some not so great ones. The past 365 days have been some of the most character building days of my life. On this day of starting up a new year of life, I’d like to share twenty-one life lessons that I have learned over the course of my time here on earth thus far.

Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. However, that does not give you an excuse to not be kind.

Breathe. It’s something I don’t do nearly enough. Breathe to support yourself when you are singing. Breathe when you’re on stage delivering lines. Breathe through the stress that will at some point pass.

You deserved to be treated like a queen; settle for nothing less. 

You can’t take words back; think before you speak.

Learn to apologize, but do not apologize for things that are not your fault.

Your casting in a show, your position in a job, your grade on a math test or your GPA do not define who you are as a person.

Being a Christian is not easy, and anyone who tells you that all your problems will go away when you accept Jesus is a big old liar.

When you’re frustrated, take ten seconds to step back and think as to why someone else is thinking differently than you.

Meekness is not weakness. Meekness actually shows are strong you are.

Know where your personality flourishes and find a work environment that best suits you. I do not belong in an office setting. It makes me go bonkers and I feel so unproductive when I am trapped behind a desk.

The arts are so important and no matter what others tell you, never stop creating.

Do not hold onto your plans with tight fists. Instead, hold them with open palms, allowing them to be remolded or tossed out if needed.

God wants you to be happy and enjoy life. He created so much awesome stuff; He wants us to enjoy it!

There is no shame in seeking help to improve your mental health.

Not everyone is going to support you. Listen to your opposition, but do not allow it to sway you. Instead, listen to the people who are in your corner rooting you on, and encourage them to succeed as well.

Sometimes, you have to be the bad cop. When you do so, do it with grace and understanding. No one is perfect; deliver correction with gentleness.

Practice makes permanent.

Sometimes, you need to do a better job of trusting your gut feeling.

Reading out loud is one of the best ways to share community with another person.When someone walks into your home, offer them a beverage. If they’re sad, offer a hot one, making sure to add an extra spoonful of sugar.

No matter how badly I mess up, I am still loved beyond my own understanding.

Never stop learning, my friends. Whether you’re eight or eighty-eight, there’s still so much to life that is left to be discovered. I look forward to seeing what all I’ll be learning over this next 365 days of life!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

I Remember

I remember the first time sitting in a college class, wishing I didn’t have braces.

I remember the first time I walked into the art lab in the humanities building.

I remember the first time I was in love.

I remember the first time I was kissed.

I remember the first time my heart was broken.

I remember the second, third, and fourth time, too.

I remember the first time I knew I truly loved performing.

I remember how it felt to be labeled incorrectly.

I remember the first time I thought about him in a different light.

I remember the first time I drove a car.

I remember the first time I felt the utter shock of paralyzing fear.

I remember the first time my heart skipped a beat when he said, “I love you” for the first time.

I remember the first time I got a C in a class.

I remember the first time I realized that my grades don’t define me.

I remember the first time I felt the shame of sharing my darkest secrets.

I remember the first time I felt truly empty and broken being touched by a guy.

I remember the first time I felt truly safe while he held my hand.

I remember the first time I felt worthless.

I remember the first time I felt like I mattered to someone else.

I remember the first time I let go of my plans.

I remember summers of coffee runs and jam sessions.

I remember matching converses and sunglasses.

I remember throwing up in Applebee’s from stress.

I remember the thrill of being cast in my first college show.

I remember the first time I wandered into the scene shop and learned how to build stairs.

I remember saying no in the doctor’s office.

I remember saying no again.

I remember caving and getting a little bit of help.

I remember the argument that followed.

I remember the first time I felt the guilt that plagued me for almost a year.

I remember the first time I cried under the tree outside of Potter.

I remember the first time I thought, “You have to tell him about Jesus.”

I remember the first time I went up to the prop loft.

I remember the first time I saw myself on screen as a film actress.

I remember the first time a person told me I had a beautiful soprano voice.

I remember the second time I felt blindsided by heart break.

I remember the first time we got snowed in.

I remember the first real hug I received from him.

I remember the last time a gospel conversation occurred.

I remember the first time I was truly honest with my doctor.

I remember the first time I wrapped a pill bottle with washi tape.

I remember the first time in years I felt truly in love with the Lord.

I remember running around the house with the pure joy of celebration.

I remember the sound of Taylor Swift and the smell of burning polaroids on New Year’s Day.

I remember the first time we held hands while walking across campus.

I remember the first time we talked about Potter Prayer.

I remember the first time I felt scared to continue.

I remember the first time I thought about swallowing all my antidepressants in one go.

I remember driving down the highway blasting “Smoke and Guns.”

I remember joy.

I remember pain.

I remember both the good and bad.

I remember the countless times that people have told me that everything happens for a reason.

There are times I have wanted to give up, but then I remember that my mission is not yet complete: there are still more memories to be experienced. For better or worse, God is not finished with me yet, and He is a Father who remembers His people.

 

“For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.”

Deuteronomy 4:31

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

My Top Five Stage Injuries (As of March 2019)

I have found throughout my experience of almost twelve years doing live performances on stage year-round that I am a very sturdy human. More often than not, I end runs of shows with multiple bruises and a few good stories. Most recently, I closed “Little Women,” in which I got to portray Amy March (check out my most recent post for more insight). Out of all the roles I’ve played, I didn’t expect the scariest injuries I’ve ever gotten on stage to come from this one. After almost losing my right eye in the middle of Act 1, I thought it would be fun to go back and tell some my “battle” stories. So, here are my Top Five Scariest Injuries in my Acting Career (thus far).

Honorable Mentions:
“Narnia”: While doing a stage combat workshop for the giant battle at the end of the show, little Abby got smacked in the face by a very thin, metal pole of a sword.

Stage Combat Punches to the Face: One when I was playing Fred Weasley in a combat workshop, one when my scene partner was on top of me and did not aim well (or aimed a little too well I suppose), and once when I was 18 and a 14 year old uppercut my jaw. The 14 year old cried more than I did; it was funny.

Sword on hand: I don’t remember what summer it was, but one year, the skin between my thumb and pointer finger on my right hand got nipped by a sword during a rehearsal. I’ve still got a scar.

5) “Alice” – Abby’s Head vs. the Concrete
Middle school was when I really started getting into stage combat. We were doing a reimagined/modern version of Alice in Wonderland, and I was playing the Unicorn. Now, the Unicorn and the Lion come on stage while fighting each other, and the main character interrupts us. We help her figure out how to get home, blah blah blah…that’s not important.
My dear friend Brooke and I were trying to figure out a cool fight to do for our scene. Our dance room in the church we rehearsed in had very hard concrete floors, so everyone was pretty careful when they were in there. However, while trying to work out a lift, Brooke accidentally flipped me backwards, causing my head to crash super hard into the ground. This is the first time in my life that I’m pretty sure I got a concussion, but didn’t go to the doctor for it. Hindsight…probably should have. I had quite a large lump on the back of my skull for about a week. Thank goodness this was not on stage.
4) “Mulan”- Abby’s Shin vs. the Mountain
This next memory is one that happened on stage, but not during a performance. During my junior year of high school, I got to play my favorite/the best Disney princess ever. Our set was absolutely incredible: it was basically a huge mountain. It was about eight feet tall and had a bunch of levels so that we could have a lot of variation in blocking. Shout out to the parents who put together that beast.
During one of the first tech rehearsals, I was running up the mountain to save Shang from dying, as princesses do. This was at a time in my life where I was a lot more klutzy, and my foot slipped on the edge of one of the levels. My body went flying forward, and my shin connected HARD with the step. I still have a scar from the dent that was put into my leg, and I was always slightly nervous about staying on my feet during that scene.

3) “Little Women”- Abby’s Head vs. the Couch
These last three incidents were things that happened during a performance. In other words, large crowds of people witnessed these occasions. Imagine if you will; it’s opening night of the first musical you’ve performed in for over a year. You’re playing a very dramatically bratty character who often throws temper tantrums on stage. During one of these fits, you are blocked to fling yourself backwards onto a couch. Well, during the first time you have an audience to watch the show, your head connects very hard with the wooden beam of the arm rest on the couch. And let me tell you, the THUD is quite loud.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time I have actually heard an audience collectively exclaim, “oooooo” all that once. I could see the eyebrows of my music director, who was in the pit, almost fly off of his forehead. It is by the grace of God that my head hit at the fluffiest part of my wig and right where my braids were hanging out underneath my wig cap. If I had hit my head a little bit lower, things could have been a lot worse and much, much scarier. Good thing I have a thick skull!
2) “West Side Story”- Abby’s Foot (and the rest of her body) vs. the Fence
If you don’t know me in real life, let me paint a picture for you of what I look like: I’m five feet tall. That’s about all you need to know for this story. During my senior year of high school, I was playing a dream role of seven years: Anybody’s in West Side Story. Hanging out with some of my best bros, getting to dance and fight was extremely fun. Another thing that I got to do as this character was scale a 6 and a half foot chain link fence. While this was fun, it also was kind of terrifying every night, and sometimes impossible for me (which was SUPER embarrassing).
Whenever we jumped off the fence, we were told to jump forward a bit so as not to land on the “sidewalk” (a six inch platform on the stage). On one of the nights that I actually got over the fence, the arch of my foot landed on the edge of the sidewalk, causing a shock of pain to shoot up my leg. Luckily, it was a scene where I was supposed to be scared to death, so I was able to sort of play it off. At intermission, Officer Keary (one of my friend’s dad who is a police officer as well as a parent who is supportive of their child’s theatrical experiences) wrapped my foot, since the shock had left my ankle really sore. There was no visible mark left over, but man was that ankle sore for a bit.

1) “Little Women”- Abby’s eye vs. the Ice Skate
Again, I didn’t think that my scariest injury on stage would be during a show like Little Women, but alas, here we are. It’s the second to last show, and I am going through the scene in which I hit my head the week before. For some reason, my shoe is slightly loose, and for some other reason, I have a very difficult time getting the ice skates out of the box that they are set in. You would think that this would be the moment that an ice skate would fly up and hit someone in the eye, but oh no no, that’s not how my life works. I run over to my pal Libby, give her my sister stage hug, and then dash over to the coat rack that has my cape and bonnet. As I reach up for these props, the back corner of the ice skate swings up and smacks me in the eye. I half stumble off stage, dropping off the props as nicely as I could while also grabbing at my throbbing face. I feel a slightly squishy thing in the palm of my hand, and my first thought is, “oh man, is this part of my eye in my hand?” It wasn’t. It was just my contact. So, over the course of three minutes, the backstage team gets me contact solution, I miraculously get the tiny piece of plastic back into my eye, and get carried on stage for a scene in which I am crying after a near death experience. My mom just thought I really connected with the character that evening. I’ve never seen my peers that shocked on stage while still staying in character. It was super helpful to be able to actually cry during the scene, and you’d be amazed what performance energy can do for you when you have to do a happy-go-lucky production number.
After finishing my Act 1 scenes, I go downstairs, peel off my wig and curl up in Sweet Ben’s lap, waiting for one of the amazing ASMs, Elizabeth, to show up to clean my war torn eye. At this point, I’m laughing and making jokes already, and I think some of my peers thought I was a nut. Miss Elizabeth has excellent bedside manner and did a great job of doctoring the cut that was just below my eye and on my eyelid. Again, it is by the grace of God that injury was not so much scarier than it could have been. The next day, our stage manager asked me to keep cleaning the mess over the course of the day so as to prevent infection (because you can’t really put a bandaid on an eye). Me, trying to be tough or whatever, tried to clean it by myself, but ended up getting alcohol in my eye, which was quite counter productive. It was because of this that Ben ended up with the job of not only cleaning my eye every day, but also remembering/talking me into doing it. You can’t blame me for “forgetting”…it stung, okay! I didn’t like it. (However, it’s a week after that scare and the cut is almost completely healed. Huzzah for modern medicine and kind souls who are gentle and helpful.)

 
The biggest thing I have come to learn from all these injuries and every other bump and bruise I’ve gotten as a performer is to always get back up. You can’t let a misfortune scare you off from doing your best at your craft. To be completely honest, I’m sort of glad in a way to have dealt with these situations. They have made me stronger not only physically, but mentally as well. While I hope to not deal with anything more serious than I’ve already dealt with, I am grateful for the painful times that have helped me grow into a more resilient human being.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby