Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 

 

Designing for “Little Women”

I’m the type of person who prefers dark room photography over digital photography. I enjoy shooting a roll of film, the terrifying process of developing that roll, and the tedious cycle of getting a perfect print. I feel that the work it takes to get that wonderful satisfaction of a single print is so often underrated and taken for granted. The same can be said for technical theatre at times. There isn’t the rush of receiving a standing ovation after a show-stopping performance. Instead, there are hours upon hours of staring at your sketches, trying an idea, throwing that idea out, debating with directors and fellow designers, trying new ideas, and wondering if what you’re doing is truly worth all the effort. But when you get something just right, you feel like you’re on top of the world. When you know that you have constructively contributed to a performance with your design, it makes the countless hours of the process worth it.

It wasn’t until high school that I discovered that I could have a viable career in the technical and design aspects of theatre. I had grown up performing in four to seven shows a year, so I was constantly surrounded by new designs. As I began to research where to go after I finished my associates degree, I initially looked at art schools in the Kansas City area. The problem with this plan was that I was going to lose the theatrical outlet I had become so used to while growing up. During my last few years of high school, I was given the opportunity to experiment in set, lighting, prop, and costume design while also performing in shows at our local community theatre. I loved the collaboration that happened between directors and designers; it was a whole new world to what I had known from just being an actor. A few directors who had seen my studio art over the years suggested that I look into theatrical design more seriously.

It was a wonderful change of plans that I ended up at Missouri Western, where I have been able to not only major in theatre, but also gain a minor in animation. Since transferring, I have had the opportunity to do my first projection design project in which I created all the content during, “Little Women: The Broadway Musical.” The set of animations included eleven digital backdrops that were designed in such a way that drawings would appear to be sketched onto the screen and then filled in with watercolors. There was also an element of typography work that was used during the song, “Fire Within Me.” While the main character, Jo, writes multiple stories throughout the course of the show, it is during this number that she is finally writing from her heart, which is why I wanted the words to be visually written out while she gave her monologue. Along with the text, I provided sketches of every cast member with various symbols that represented the character. I used these as the content to create a set of images that would cycle through during the pre-show and intermission. I spent three months in pre-production, five months in production and spent the two months leading up to the performances polishing my work. I have yet to experience a more gratifying feeling than seeing my art on stage in such a way, and I am itching to go through the process again.

I believe that there is so much to be discovered in the digital media side of theatre. Having the opportunity to grow as an artist throughout this process was character building and stretched me in more ways than I ever could have imagined. It was a happy accident that my original pitch for the backdrops was for them to be from Amy’s sketchbook, since I got to portray her while going through the design process. Creating the art for the show in a way was a chance for me to do character work for Miss March. Getting to dive into the world of projection design with a show that is near and dear to my heart was a fantastic learning experience, and I can’t wait to work on my next project!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Here’s a video that shows everything I created for Little Women; enjoy!

Revisits: Watson

This Revisit goes out to my best friend, Avery: the Thor to my Loki, the Watson to my Sherlock, and the most wonderful coffee pal a girl could ever ask for. I wrote this two years ago when I was getting over a cold, and the feelings remain the same. For reference: the original 2017 text is in bold, and my 2019 commentary is in italics. Enjoy!

January 10th, 2017

    There are certain people you meet that you know will go the distant distance in the friendship department. I’ve come to the realization that I won’t be in contact with the friends I see frequently now forever (how true, how true), but if there was one person I could count on to be a friend for life, it would be Watson. When I first started writing this document in 2017, I had the idea that I would publish it once the year was over. Because of this, I changed all my friends’ names. Fun fact: Avery is in my phone as “Watson” because it’s really satisfying to tell Siri to, “Call Watson.” While there have been times where we’ve fallen out of each other’s lives, we always manage to find our ways back to each other and pick up right where we started. YEAH LIKE WHEN YOU ONLY GET TO FACEBOOK EACH OTHER ONCE WHILE SHE’S IN INDIA FOR FOUR MONTHS.

    Her spirit and go-with-the-flow attitude is something I aspire to obtain. I’m Type A to the letter. I don’t think this is actually a phrase… *goes to Google* Yeah, I don’t think people say that. I want plans and structure in my life. Due to friends like her though, I am beginning to understand that it’s okay to relax and just let life happen at times (hence the only way I’m getting through this bed rest situation). OH YEAH. Okay, so backstory: I wrote this after having a doctor’s appointment where they told me I was having issues with my voice because I was overly exhausted. The good doctor told me the only thing I could really do was, “actually rest.” Ha. Ha. It took me another two years to actually figure out how to chill out. She jumps into adventures head on, it’s so awesome. ‘Tis true. She has done a lot of adventurous things in her life. I was the buzz-kill mom friend who was afraid of getting in trouble, so I didn’t have as many adventures.

      Ah, here is where we admit one of our biggest insecurities. There have been times where I’ve gotten upset because I’m never really a part of her social media presence. Yep. It’s kind of a really dumb thing to get upset about though. Let me explain myself a bit though. If you haven’t figured out yet from previous blogs, I am a very sentimental person. I take photos all the time and scrapbook like it’s a sport. I often go out of my way to capture selfies with friends even when they poke fun at me for it because I want to hold onto memories in as many ways as I can. However, not everyone is like that, and that’s something I’ve had to accept. While there are a the occasions where I’ll feel a little bummed to not be present on someone’s social media feed, it’s not something that should mess up a solid friendship. Ten years ago, that wasn’t even a thing, and I’m pretty sure that’s how long we’ve known each other. You don’t need to validate friendships through social media. Though I enjoy posting photos with my friends, a relationship is not validated by how many snapshots you have with someone on the internet.

    Today, Watson brought me coffee. I remember this day so distinctly, which is ironic to me because I was half-dead to the world. The last few days, I’ve been trapped in the house due to this stupid cold. We were supposed to go get coffee this afternoon at this neat place in Liberty, but I had to cancel due to the fact that it feels like there are baby elephants sitting on my sinuses. Wow, creative comparison  Abby. After texting her, she decided to bring me some yummy coffee from Caribou. It was quite delightful, and made me feel good that I had a friend who would do that for me. Honestly, it’s really easy to make my day. A sure fire way is to bring me a coffee, but literally, if someone brought me a rock and said, “Hey, I was walking, saw this rock, and thought you would think it was cool so I brought it to you,” I would be grinning for the rest of the day.

    You know who’s going to stick around for the long haul. There are going to be times where friends leave to move on to live their own lives. As we all should do, to be honest. That’s okay; people come into our lives when we need them, and sometimes, you drift apart as you grow into different people.  It can be good even. I mean, look at La La Land. Actually, no, I don’t want to think of that movie. I have a few friends who will make fun of me for this, but I love that film and at some point, I will be writing about it. Stay tuned.

    My point is, Watson is a friend that I feel like will always be there. We might be a world away from each other, but when we grow up, we’ll be able to go get coffee or look around a thrift store just like we used to. She’s a thrifting queen and I wish I had her skills. We could both have our babies on our hip and we’ll still make fun of the boys in our lives. She’s gonna laugh at that sentence. You just know, you know?

    Friends are important. The people we surround ourselves with shape us into the person that we become. I still regret the times that I blew off Watson to hang out with the “popular” kids. Ugh, being a people-pleaser to the unhealthy people in my life throughout high school was rough. It was so much time that was wasted where we could have gotten even closer. But, you can’t live in regrets. My sorrys have been said, and I have a wonderful friend who has my back, even when my face is stuffed up. She’s a quality human, that one. I’m glad I have her in my life as my partner in crime.

    God designed us to have community with one another. There are some people who are only there for a season, but others that will stick with you for years upon years. Be weary not to waste your precious time on people who are not looking out for your best interests. Not everyone will be your friend, and that’s okay. We would go crazy if we had to maintain friendships with every single person we ever encountered! However, with those friends we do hang onto, we have a responsibility to nurture them to the best of our abilities. I hope to never stop learning how I can be a good steward of the relationships God has blessed me with over the years. Avery, thank you for your friendship over the years: I am so grateful for you.

Cherish the people around you; they truly are a gift.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Lessons from Chad and Rachel

Today, twenty five years ago, my parents Chad and Rachel committed to spending the rest of their lives together. For the past two decades, I have had the blessing of having them as my parents, and over this time, I have learned so many things from them that have shaped me into the person I am today.

  1. Always have cookies ready for company.
  2. Grief is different for every person, and it’s okay to take the time you need to work through emotions.
  3. When going on a road trip, stopping at the gas station for snacks is important.
  4. There is a specific way to grip a golf club.
  5. You have to do different voices for each character when you read books out loud.
  6. Learning bible verses is easier when you have a song to learn them.
  7. Mom is a better driving teacher (sorry Dad :P)
  8. It’s good to seek out help when you need it.
  9. Singing while making breakfast go hand in hand.
  10. Being creative is worthwhile.
  11. Know when and how to say you’re sorry.
  12. People will break your heart, but your family will always be there for you.
  13. When faced with difficult circumstances, never stop persisting.
  14. Use candy canes as a stir stick for coffee.
  15. Make sure to add seasoned salt to scrambled eggs.
  16. Do not forget to say, “Uno” when playing said card game. There is no mercy.
  17. Being present is vital.
  18. Do not send snapchats that embarrass your family members.
  19. You are not defined by grades (because math is hard).
  20. If you do something, make sure to get a picture.
  21. Your husband should never stop pursuing you.
  22. As a wife, being submissive does not mean being a mouse; it means being a loyal life partner.
  23. Find a man who will be a good father to your kids.
  24. Be a woman who never stops learning and growing.
  25. Most importantly, at the end of the day, the best lesson my parents have taught me is that God loves me and wants a relationship with me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

There are so many other things I could have added to this list. I am so blessed to be part of the Wolff Pack, and I will never be able to fully express my thanks to the two who have never stopped supporting me. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.
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Until Next Time,

Abby

Thoughts on Twilight…About Ten Years Late

“There’s things you don’t do after a break up: 1) Start doing drugs 2) Start smoking                       3) Read f***ing Twilight.” -A dear friend of mine in the middle of a snow storm

 

Unless you were living under a rock in the mid-2000’s, you probably heard the term, “twilight” thrown around all the time. It wasn’t because society had suddenly found interest in this specific time of day; it was due to the wild popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s romance series Twilight that had recently begun being adapted to film. I was ten years old when the first film was released, but I remember clearly my middle school friends all gawking and fangirling over either the guy who played the vampire or the guy who played the werewolf as the movies gained popularity. Fast forward to my almost 21-year-old self, who has just recently completed the book series and has a few thoughts on this polarizing saga.

48406840_1926730457443444_6715674713009422336_nFirst though, a bit more background. I grew up in a Christian household with loving parents who knew I was an avid reader that inhaled stories. However, as Meyer’s books began to rise in the ranks of pop culture, so did the Christian Blogger Moms rise to write against the story. The wrote posts saying that people shouldn’t be reading these books because they had *gasp* vampires in them (sparkly ones at that). My mom, wanting to do her best for her dorky middle schooler, didn’t let me read the book series. Personally, I had no problems with this. I wasn’t into romance and was more interested in my growing love for Star Wars. Ironically, after letting me read all the Left Behind books (which by the way, REALLY INTENSE), my parents allowed me to read Harry Potter as I would avoid reading the vampire books. So I guess, Thanks Stephenie, cause I really like the child wizard books.

IMG_3785.JPGRecently though, my mom decided to start listening to Twilight books on the Libby app, which is this nifty little thing that my local library is linked through. After listening to her talk about them for a few weeks, I rolled my eyes and started reading the first book before bed. Now, let me remind you all I am a full time college student and was working three jobs at the time when I started reading this, so it wasn’t until about two weeks after starting the book that I was able to focus on it over Thanksgiving Break. I had a long car ride and was able to finally get the idea as to why so many people liked the series. In an odd way, the mediocre romance between the klutzy human girl and the attractive vampire dude was fun and a way to let my brain relax and enjoy reading for fun again, which I haven’t gotten to do in a hot minute.

As finals creeped closer and life kept throwing massive curve balls at me, I began listening to the audio books for the last three books. Let me tell you, when you’re spending hours on end at a computer animating or walking about a half mile to the fine arts building every day, it’s nice to have an engaging story to listen to through the day. Over the course of three weeks, I managed to complete the series and I can honestly say I don’t feel like I wasted brain cells on these books. Yes, the writing isn’t the greatest; we all know this. But it was fun and something I was able to use as an escape from what seemed to be constant chaos around me. And a lot of fun things came from me reading the books in my relationships.

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  • I was able to bond with my roommate over how frustrated I would get over fictional characters.
  • I was able to make one of my buddies laugh many times with my overview of the series.
  • My suite mates watched the first movie with me the day before a much needed snow day, and enjoyed a lovely pizza night while watching New Moon.
  • Making observations with my parents on the films, such as, “Wow, that CGI wolf truly is a better actor than the actual guy.”

 

Twilight is not a masterpiece. However, the themes of sacrificial love and the power a woman has truly were inspiring to both read and watch on screen. Granted, I am thankful I did not read these in my formative years. The obsessive love between Edward and Bella is *not* healthy in the dating stage of a relationship. Our culture is saturated with the idea of the “perfect partner.” Think of Jim in the hit TV show, The Office. He’s the dream guy, right? He’s funny, cute, charming, smart, chases after the girl he’s in love with… and has a script. People don’t talk like they do on screen or in books. There are times when we can get caught up in looking for the picture perfect match when we really need to be searching for the other flawed human being that can weather the storms of life with you faithfully. However, the love that Edward and Bella share is a love that should be strived for with your spouse. While it takes time to achieve, this love comes after intentionally learning the other person, through better or worse. On top of all this, Bella is not a damsel in distress. In all four books, she is the hero who always puts the needs of others above her own. She and Edward complement one another, working as a team when things get tough, but in Meyer’s narrative, the author shines a light on how powerful a woman can be. I feel that the books do a wonderful job of showing that a woman can be powerful while also working alongside a man, which is how God intended us to function in our married lives.

There’s so many more words I could write about this series, but I will choose to leave it here for now: a fun adventure I dove into during a hard time in my life. And hey, finding biblical truths from books about blood sucking dudes that sparkle in the sunlight? Not a bad way to spend Christmas break. Twilight made me excited about reading again, and I look forward to spending more time enjoying a pastime that has shaped me into the person I am today.  

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

P.S. Alice is the best character in the whole dang series and I will fight anyone who tells me otherwise.

Hi again.

It’s been a year and a half, Blog. Sorry about that.

This isn’t gonna be a pretty post. It’s really more of a check point to motivate myself to get back into this habit I used to enjoy so much.

I’d like to say thank you. To my family, for never ever ceasing to support me. Even when I feel like I’m drowning and my brain is telling me no one cares, my Mom, Dad and brother Jeremy have never stopped loving me. They’re the best. To my friends, for loving me at my best and worst. Even when I’m frustrated and gloomy or hyper and obnoxious, I have people who I know will have my back through thick and thin. To my professors, for challenging me to be better. Even when I don’t think I can achieve something, I have been encouraged by my educators to think creatively and defy even my own expectations. To people who have hurt me, for making me stronger. Even when it sucks, I know it’s for the best. And to my God, for never letting me go. Even when I’m a thousand miles in the opposite direction and don’t desire an ounce of His love, He’s always there.

I’m a pretty open book. People can usually tell when something is off because a good chunk of the time, I have on a, “Wow, life is so miraculous, let’s make things awesome?” attitude. But literally NO ONE EVER could be like this 24/7. However, because of how my darn brain is working at the moment, I feel the need to be a ball of sunshine all the time for everyone else’s benefit. I don’t do a good job of taking care of my own needs and emotions; I’d rather listen to your problems than deal with my crap. That needs to change.

A lot of stuff happened in 2018. A heck of a lot of good, and a dumpster truck load of bad. I feel like I can say though, after a lot of warring with myself, that I finally have accepted that I need to take better care of myself. So, I’m getting help. It’s humbling and frustrating but also rewarding and calming.

One of the ways I hope to work on healing is picking up writing again. I’ve got some pals who I’ve asked to keep my accountable, so if anyone is still reading my pieces of the internet, Hi again. I hope I can spread some form of positivity, knowledge or insight as I work through some road bumps.

Know that you are never alone. You are loved. You are valuable. You are important.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

 

How to Feel a Little Bit Better in 1 Minute or Less

This past week and a half has been really weird. I’ve been lacking motivation and have been having some really weird moody spells. Sometimes, when I get down, I like to sit down and think about all the good things that I have going on. By having that list, I’m able to see how many awesome things are going on, and that often chases away some of my down-in-the-dumps thoughts.

Today, I decided to set a timer for a minute to see how many good things I could think of, as opposed to thinking about my soul-crushing homework. Here’s what I wrote:

Seven Brides Rehearsals

Hanging out with Suz

New Dresses

Finding a good new book

Finally getting my print right in photography

Rewatching the Clone Wars with Grant

Toby being home from the vet

Ice Cream

Starbucks Mornings

Jesus Time in the Morning

Carlos’s Backwards To-Do lists

In just 60 seconds, I was able to come up with 11 things that were positive in my life. While things on my list or your list might not make sense to other people, knowing for yourself that there is still light during icky times is really important. Give this a try yourself! You don’t even have to do it for a minute; try 30 seconds to get yourself started. Or, set more time aside to write down things that make you thankful to be alive 🙂

Now, I’m back to the constant battle of Abby vs. Homework. Hoping that the homework won’t beat me 😛

Until Next Time,

Abby

Dear 2016 Abby

Hey! It’s me, 2015 Abby. You may or may not remember writing this while watching Sherlock for the 27th time, but I’m sure you’ll run across it again a year from now.

You’ve had a lot of “firsts” during 2015. You flew in an airplane. You got your first of four bridges to fill the spaces in your smile. You swam in the ocean. You got your first (and hopefully last) college “C”. There were some bummer times, but there were also some really great times too. You learned how to use oil paints and build canvases. You got to play your favorite Disney character on a CYT stage. You saw “Star Wars Force Awakens” on opening night after bugging Mom and Dad for days.

During 2015, you saw a lot of changes, too. You met new friends, strengthened old friendships, and let some go. One of the biggest things you learned was that people are  so important, and while not everyone you love is going to stay in your life, it’s vital to love those around you while you can. You never know when it’s your last chance to show someone that you care.

Art and writing is something you decided you wanted to do seriously. I hope that when you’re reading this a year from now that you’re still working you tail off to reach your goals. Don’t give up on that; you’ve worked hard, so keep pushing. If things go as planned, right now you’re working on transferring to a new school. Hopefully, you’re taking good advice and finding the place that is the best suit for you. Don’t let the older kids scare you off 😉

Most importantly, I hope that a year from now, you’re still striving to build a stronger friendship with Jesus. Over the course of this year, your joy has been found by having Christ as the root of your life. When things started to unravel, you often strayed away from God, but when you went running to Him, there was always a silver lining. Don’t ever forget that He is in your corner and will always welcome you into His presence.

 

2016 Abby, I hope you are well. While things may be crazy, there’s great, big, wonderful things happening all around you 🙂

 

 

Have a Happy New Year Folks!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Five Things You Should Not to Say to an Art Major

There are certain things that you just shouldn’t say to a student pursuing an art degree. Whether they’re an Illustration major with a teaching minor or a Ceramics/Photography double major, there are a handful of phrases that will make any art major want to dump paint over your head.

(Disclaimer: This is a slightly angsty post due to the fact that I have two weeks to finish three paintings and two drawings for the semester XD)

5) You just sit around drawing all day, right?

Yeah, no. Different art classes require different things, but you are never just sitting around drawing the whole time. You move around. You confer with your fellow class mates. You make a pot of coffee. You go cut paper with the monster paper slicer. You spend 30 minutes mixing colors for your next layer of paint. You make another pot of coffee. And then you go off and solve 23 other problems that just popped up. There’s a lot more to being an art major than drawing all day.

4) I could do that and/or your major is so easy.

Some people walk into a museum, look at a piece of art work and say, “I could do that.” Everyone has the ability to do art, but not everyone chooses to be an artist. There is so much that goes into every piece of art, many of which you don’t notice when you are just looking at it. Just because we get to do a lot of fun stuff doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

3) Did you know you have paint/clay/ink/etc. on your ________

Yep. We tend to be messy. Sorry.

2) There are a million other people just like you.

This is just kind of an overall nasty thing to say to anyone. Don’t shoot down a person’s dreams. You might think that you’re helping someone by being realistic, but how would you feel if someone came and stomped all over your goals?

1) Have you thought about how you’re going to pay the bills?

Oi vey, this is the worst. Yes, the art world can be quite difficult to get ahead in, and at the beginning it can be hard to make money. You don’t go into art for the money, but in recent years, there have been a lot more opportunities for artists in the realm of business. For future reference, yes, it’s something that crosses our minds and haunts our dreams, but we’re gonna figure it out.

 

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to bang my head against the wall as I do math homework instead of drawing.

 

Until next time,

 

Abby