Friday, August 15, 2008

why the blue book bag?

      I think I am learning something about myself, something important.  See, it is easy for me to be judgemental.  Not about people, so much (I hope, I pray...)--more about any new situation in my life.

      Looking back, I realize that my first visceral reaction to almost anything new is to instantly dislike it--even hate it.  When I went to Chautauqua's summer dance program, I hated it.  Even though it was an honor to be accepted, I didn't want to stay at all.  I just wanted to go home.  And when I first went to YWAM for the summer, same thing--hated it.  Ballet Magnificat--hated it.  The Rock School, hated it.  New York City, rehearsing ACL--hated it. Even recently--going from L.A. to San Fran was difficult.  And the University of the Arts...(you guessed it)I hated it.  

   Jenna still makes fun of me for my first day at UArts.  See, I have always been drawn to bright colors, though I think I now understand that they have their place.  However, when this home-schooler attended college for the first time, I chose the brightest, biggest, most electric blue backpack I could find--that was probably in existence, in fact.  I distinctly remember thinking that looking at that azure wonder every day would make me happy.  It was as simple as that.  I didn't, however, factor in other people looking at the 8th wonder of the world securely strapped to my back.

   Anyway, my first day of school I actually cried driving into Philly because I was so darn scared.  Then, I strapped on that backpack--that stupidly, glaringly bright backpack--and walked on campus (if you could call that a campus; it was more like some buildings dedicated to the discipline of art that shared center city with some other buildings, but I digress...).  I felt terribly...normal.  I was surrounded by teenagers who were awesomely different, showing it in the way they died their hair colors that aren't exactly found in nature, the way their piercings reflected the sunlight as they sat on the steps and smoked their cigarettes.  In a horrible contrast, the only thing I was reflecting was my stupid decision to buy the brightest and largest book bag known to man.  

   But, my point is that, given a little bit of time, I grew to really love these changes.  They were places in which I grew and learned and became the person I am now.  They were challenges that cause me to become a stronger, surer person.  I understand this now, I think.  I am learning that I cannot be so quick to judge a situation "good" or "bad." It usually isn't that simple anyway.  I am learning to shove away that first cold feeling of fear and dislike when I find myself in a new place, because maybe, just maybe--it will end up being good for me.  Actually, I am beginning to realize that I can count on that.  I can rely on the fact that something new really does bring something good--if only I have the eyes to see.  

   Oh, but you better believe that I bought a new, sleek, black book bag the day I got home from school.  I never used that bright blue bag again. Yes, I am learning to embrace these new places in my life, but I don't have to look like a total nerd doing it!       


Peaj said...

Right there with you, sister.

I have found that when I am feeling emotionally depleted (like I was a few years ago), I tend to fend off any new thing. It's so easy to come up with reasons why something might be bad, rather than put out the emotional energy to imagine why something might be good.

I am struck with how your chosen profession - a performer - guarantees that you will keep running into new situations, at least in the short term. Is it your desire to play 6000 performances of one show on Broadway? or do a TV show for seven years? or sing for one record label through eight CDs? Because otherwise being a performer seems to be one new gig after another.

I guess it is good, given this, that you are learning to make peace with newness.

Oh, and You ≠ Nerd.

Mom said...

Obviously I knew you hated some of these experiences. That's why we spent vacation at Chatauqua (which we loved). But I didn't know that you learned to love these same experiences. I've always been amazed that given how you were in this area as a child and being such a homebody, you actually can travel and be away from home like you do. Who knew back then that you have such a capacity to make friends and embrace new experiences? It goes to show that a person's gifts do make room for her........

kathiek said...

Change/new experiences, are just friends you haven't met yet.

Hey, I would have picked the blue book bag, too!

Jessica Latshaw said...

to answer your question, Peaj--I am not sure that I do want to stick to the same thing, year after year. There are so many things I love to do--in the genre of performing, but not the same exact discipline--that I just keep trusting to open the right door for each new season.

And mom, I thought you did know that I ended up loving these things--at least, you knew I loved UArts, right?

And Kathie--maybe I can dig that blue bag up for ya--I think my mom might still have it!

Jessica Latshaw said...

oops--I meant to say I keep trusting GOD to open the right door for each new season...:-)