I can't believe everything that's happened this year. I want to go back over the things that were important to me and see just how much things have changed!
The Wide Open tour took up a large chunk of my year, being from January to April. It also brought me to many realizations; I am good at working with others. I am independent. My relationship didn't deal well with distance.
It also solidified a lot of things that I know I knew about myself, but didn't fully understand; I desperately do not want children and they, in masses, are gross to me. I am a very hard worker, often at my own expense. I will do what I can to make something go well as opposed to fighting for something that I know I probably won't get. I like to be silly sometimes. I need more sleep than I get.
It also brought me to more communities than I would otherwise get to see. Especially, heading to the northern border of the province was an eye opening experience. I saw some of the things that the Indigenous people of the prairies have to endure specifically because the government doesn't do right by them, and I now feel more conviction in my calls for better leadership. I got comfortable with driving in a way I had never been before (my tourmates will tell you that I am still the most defensive driver ever) and I learned to appreciate individual children without being grossed out (but seriously, the fact that I agreed to do a school tour fully knowing that I don't really like kids is a bit ridiculous).
If doing a children's tour was a strange move for me, producing my first show by myself in one week was even stranger. I think it's because I always want to do things that seem impossible, just to say "screw you and your preconceived notions, universe!". My tourmates and I had a week break from the tour in April and I thought "hey, let's do a show" so we did! Women of Broadway was a success for me in many ways- I did everything production wise by myself, I got to work with my mom for the first time, I succeeded at creating a compelling show. There were also some downsides, like few people came, we were ten dollars short of breaking even, and I wasn't always clear in communicating my needs to my collaborators. In the end, though, the goal of the piece was achieved: I taught an audience of people that I both knew and didn't know about the women of musical theatre who have inspired me and people went away with more knowledge than they had had on the topic. Plus, we all sang and laughed together and that was super fun for me!
The whole month of May this year was really intense and way too much for me, emotionally. I got a wisdom tooth out right before I was running a French show in Prince Albert (doing a series of vignettes written by people in elementary school with virtually no production money is an interesting feat, let me tell you) with some of my favourite folks in the world, and every night we would come back into town and I would go to rehearsal for Tightrope. So for those three back-and-forth performance/rehearsal days, I was worn right out. I then almost immediately had a minor medical procedure that was the worst pain I have ever experienced (I didn't hurt so much at any point after being hit by a car, but I didn't have the benefit of shock this time either. I took three Advils around this procedure and zero during my whole injury/recovery process). Then, tech for Tightrope proved to be stressful for me in a lot of ways. I wasn't happy with my work. I then had a conversation with a fellow performer that really lifted my spirits and gave me a sense that I could do it. I worked hard to get Tightrope the audience it deserved, but sadly, it was the most missed thing of the season. I know that lots of people regret not getting to see it- if nothing else, it was incredibly different than anything else on offer in the city. May was the month I started doing puzzles. My boyfriend was living with me at the time and one night I didn't go to bed because I just started doing this puzzle. I don't even remember where I found it, and Boyfriend was worried that I was ignoring him and not sleeping, but the fact was I was just incapable of doing anything else in that moment and needed to escape.
Now we're into June! Life changing, mind blowing, wonderful time June! June began with me headed to Ottawa for the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. The people I met there have such huge influence on my life, even from very far away and I will be grateful to them forever and ever. I can't wait to travel the country and see them all again soon! I saw so much theatre, talked so much theatre, and lived so much theatre. It was like my perfect life for a week! The only downside to June was that when I was in Ottawa I realized my relationship was toxic, but I didn't know what to do about it, so I repressed those feelings. My friends were the most supportive and I remember distinctly the conversations we had in our pyjamas in our hotel room. I wasn't ready to hear what they were telling me but did it come in handy later to know I had people like them to support me. Then I had three weeks of work, boring, not up to much time, and then
I wrote all about my experience with Tom here, but it was certainly a highlight of my year and I will remember it forever! It was also the first big thing that I did in spite of Boyfriend's asking that I not. And then, he and I moved in together (I know, I know, but hey, I only lived there for three days technically).
Another life changing event of 2015 was Dry Streak. The experience of living with everyone that you're working with (it's not like tour, tour you spend literally all of your time together crammed in a hotel room or in a car, and travel is more stressful than anything really) was so enjoyable for me. The board games, the group walks down the middle of a street, the eating together, the trips to the beach, all amazing experiences that would not have been without the people in that cast and crew. I spent the weekends there when almost everyone else was gone and bonded with the one or two folks that remained. I would stay up til three in the morning to talk to my roommate about everything. I got way more comfortable with my body, and I worked out six days a week. I learned to walk away from the internet (it was only available in one room, and not a room that I lived in) and most importantly, I realized what my relationship had become and I got up the courage and left. It would not have been possible without the people who were with me on this show. To this day I miss them all and cannot express enough my appreciation for them.
To talk about life changing events, leaving a two year relationship is pretty much the most life change-iest thing I could have done. I would have to move back in with my parents for a while. I would have to discover what being single was like again (awesome, by the way. It's awesome). I have been more myself in these past five months than I have been in the past two years. So that's pretty great. Though you may believe this is a bit too personal to discuss on the internet, it is important to me to be vocal about my experiences of this nature because reading other people's stories was the thing that made me realize that I needed to make a change. I hope that whoever is reading this knows that they need not be alone!
September brought me a lot of things: finally forming the friendships my ex partner had actively prevented me from having, developing a new position with On the Boards Staging Company and starting to produce (like fore real) with Embrace Theatre. I had been involved with the company for a long time, but I ended up being heavily involved in The Wild Dog Waits on the Concrete path and Macbeth that we produced in September and November, respectively. In September I was working so much that I was really ill for about two weeks and it was really quite bad. But then I got to breathe a bit more in October and really get stettled into my new place. Still, in the after math of Macbeth (which took another toll on me) I stepped down from my position at the company, knowing that I needed to work on other things and mostly, spend time with myself.
Perhaps the largest thing that's happened to me over these fall/winter months is...
Crouton. What an affectionate, needy, anxious, perfect pet he is. Despite the fact that I had to clean up his puke this morning, I love this dude to absolute bits. He's going to a new home on January 11th because I'm not able to keep him while I work out of town so much. I'm very sad just thinking about it. He's the best. He makes me feel better all the time.
The final highlight of the year was going to Moose Jaw in November to do A Year with Frog and Toad! I had such a blast working with the crazy talents that were also on this show and was really honored to be there working on my first professional musical! It was also good for me to get some distance and gain perspective on my life, friendships, relationships, and all the other stuff I had been bottling up for a long time.
This year I worked an insane amount, mostly in the theatre. I also did 35 puzzles. I took charge of my life. I dedicated my energy to things that I value. I changed the way I live over and over. I didn't give up. And I won't.