The Most Amazing and Out-of Body Experience Ever

After a long sleepless weekend and ten hours on my feet, I can finally say I was in Liquid Latex. The week of stressing led up to what was an unbelievable experience and an amazing result. On the day of the show, something inside me clicked and I didn’t let anything stress me out.

In the weeks leading up to the show, I was sure that I was going to be having a mental breakdown in the corner, cry, refuse to go up on stage, my list went on and on.  I will be the first person to say that I am thrilled this did not happen once. As the day progressed, I got more and more excited and every time someone came over to check on me, I was fine.

By the end of the day, the only thing that bothered me was my legs and back. Looking back on Tuesday, now that I am finally rested, nourished and still unbelievably proud of myself, I could not have envisioned it going any better. I had an amazing time and am beyond excited for next year’s show. I already have a friend who wants to choreograph and we are brainstorming ideas. I know once I see the pictures and get the video, I won’t stop looking at them!

I have to say, the five and half minutes on stage felt like one. Even so, it was an unforgettable experience. Looking back, I can’t believe I did it. Since then, it has done wonders for my confidence.  I feel better about myself and hold my head slightly higher when I walk around campus. I feel awesome. From the moment everyone in the room started getting painted to the moment when we were watching the crowds of students fill up the ballroom, I can remember every moment of it. People who have done it in the past have said it’s a bonding experience. That statement is 100% true.

It has been a whirlwind adventure these past few months and now that it’s over, I’m sad but it’s time to move back into real life.  It’s time to buckle down with school, work on the other projects I have going on, generate some new writing content, and start thinking about my finals and homework for my classes.

Expectation Versus Reality 

When I signed on with my four other roommates, I didn’t sign on for a semi-permanent live-in girlfriend or two other roommates on the weekends. This was one of my many experiences of having an expectation but then a different reality. I need to say before I go any further, I have absolutely no hard feelings toward either of them, it’s just the fact that on weekends this house gets very full, very fast.

I have lost count of the times I felt overwhelmed in my own room because of all the people in the kitchen. I cherish when I get home and have the house to myself for hours. A few weekends ago, I had a mini vacation and stayed at my family’s apartment in the city.  After I got over the creepiness of the large, empty apartment, the silence was beautiful. Coming back to a house filled with noise and socialization would normally not push my buttons, but with what my stress level was, it sent me over the edge.

When we signed the lease I was excited to have a kitchen and live in a drama-free situation.  The reality was also not quite as I had anticipated. Instead, I ended up with a housemate who has managed to find ways to push all of our buttons in the worst way possible and pick fights about practically anything. I thought living with three guys and one girl would alleviate drama. Silly me. This sounds crazy but I think next year will be so much simpler.  I’m living with four girls and one guy and we are all going to be student teaching.

The kitchen is an exercise in frustration whenever I walk into it because of the clutter.  I am secretly an obsessive compulsive cleaner and a control freak, but I guess that isn’t really a secret anymore. I have to restrain myself from cleaning the kitchen every hour of the day. Instead, I settle for rearranging my bedroom.

I have learned some valuable lessons about what you hope for and what you actually experience: the expectation never matches the reality. If it happens the way you envision it, you are lucky. Chances are, there will be something totally off that you never saw coming, like a dramatic roommate, an extra housemate, or two, and so many other scarring moments.

7 Days Until Showtime

It’s finally here, the last home stretch before the show. These next seven days are the most critical ones: we need to get the minor but key supplies so the show can run smoothly.  We need to pick up duct tape so we don’t wreck the carpets, we need to pick up acrylic paint to have in addition to the latex paint, we need to get brushes so the models can actually be painted and we need to finalize everything.

The good news is, that tickets have already been sold, posters are up all over campus, our Facebook promoting has exploded, our volunteers are starting to come in by droves and my A-team is cranking out the things that need to be done. I have gone from not at all anxious, to a stressful mess, to a tired, nonfunctional human in the span of three weeks. That tired nonfunctional human is making it very difficult for me.

The fact that I was ready to crash at 8:30 last night means I need sleep. My schedule has thankfully lightened up so I have a lot of free time but if the next few days are going to be anything like yesterday, Latex will eat that up. In the two hours between my classes yesterday, instead of doing homework, I met with one of the board members, put up posters and made more lists of things to get done.

I finally started this morning off right: I was productive. With the show eating up so much free time I need to prep homework for Sunday today, when I have hours without commitments, because Sunday is our first un-dress rehearsal. Sunday starts the longest three days of my life. I have hit the phase of excitement. Maybe it’s because so much has started to fall into place over the span of one day, or maybe because for the first time in almost a week, I got sleep.

Regardless of what has caused this inner shift in me, I am no longer stressing out, on the verge of screaming at everyone, and am actually genuinely excited for next week. My mom and two older sisters are coming to the show, my piece is really coming together, and little details are getting finished. As of now, life is good.

When Life Gives You Lemonade…Drink It

I learned at a fairly young age, young being eighth or ninth grade, that when life gives you opportunities, taking them doesn’t make you a bad person. For the longest time, I would be hesitant to take opportunities given to me with the fear that someone would resent me for it. It took a lot of convincing on my parents’ part that going after something you want is not a crime.

I’ve lived by this mentality since the idea finally sunk in. I learned when your parents interject, it doesn’t mean you are spoiled; it means that you have parents who are so supportive they will do anything they can to help. Since then, there are few opportunities I have turned down, some not by choice, application processes are not always in my favor. Those I have been fortunate enough to be offered, I jumped at.

A few weeks ago, after meeting with the senior vice president of our school, I was given a unique offer. I was asked to assist him in reorganizing our school’s Jewish life and its presence on campus. I was nothing but honored. If this had been me years ago, I would have turned it down because of the fear of others’ resentment. I’ve learned something else in these past few years: when you have the right friends, they will be supportive and happy for you. The wrong types of friends to have are those that resent, are jealous of you and unhappy for you.

I am excited about this possibility and the undying support from my friends and family further encouraged me to go after what I want. I’ve learned to not be nervous if someone else will be unhappy.  That is probably a given, but there are things I can’t let bother me. and that is one of them, not when such an amazing opportunity is waiting for me.

Going Gluten Free

Over the past few months, my family slowly began cutting gluten out of their diets. Up until a week ago, my nine-year-old niece has called her and me the last remaining soldiers. After getting some news from my doctor that same morning, I too started a gluten free diet.

I am that kid who when she was little would ask for plain pasta with nothing on it, especially no “green stuff” that we all now know as parsley. My favorite food has forever been Italian. Pasta or pizza was always a good go-to for meals with friends or first dates. Needless to say, going gluten free will be a major life change.

Last Thursday, after a day that felt like it would never end, I, with the help of my roommate cleared out my kitchen cabinet and my shelf in the fridge of anything I couldn’t eat. There was not much left once we finished. I had to plan a meal for the first time in a while for a friend and me. I ended up making meatballs, rice and asparagus and I’ll be honest, it was pretty delicious.

Fortunately for me, I have two sisters and a mom who have become experts at cooking gluten free. I’m nervous to do this.  My whole life has been eating pasta. I was that girl who ordered pasta at a restaurant that didn’t serve it and they made it for me. Now, I’m starting to realize how hard it will be to eat out.  Since kosher meat is not readily available at restaurants in Boston, I will be very limited.

This is going to be an adventure and while I’m looking forward to it, I am sad to give up so many foods I went to for comfort. I know that I am doing this for a good reason, because if I can solve this medical issue with a diet change, I am game.

After one week of going gluten free, I have definitely struggled at points, but my energy level is higher, my sleep is better, my stamina working out lasts longer and my medical issue has practically cleared up. Menu planning is not nearly as hard as I had anticipated and shopping for ingredients or snacks that are gluten free is relatively easy, especially at Whole Foods. Going gluten free still scares me, but I can see it’s doable, which makes the adventure less hopeless and more of a, well, adventure!

Two Weeks to Go and Counting…

This has been an incredible adventure so far. I have lost my cool with people, been on the verge of tears with others, and have gone into silent stress comas where I speak to no one. Now, with two weeks to go, my piece has finished the dance and we are polishing steps.  Seeing it come together has been the coolest thing of all; I’m sure in two weeks, once I see the entire show come together, that sensation is going to be heightened drastically.

I’ve had projects in my life I have completed and been proud of, but I think watching the show going from the planning stages to a final performance will be my biggest one yet. Never in my life have I been in charge of organizing over 100 students, and following up with nine separate performance pieces, all while working on a student run board with so many different personalities.

Stress and an adrenaline rush have replaced all the anxieties I had last week. My workouts are in full force, my diet has drastically changed, but there is still so much to get done. I’ve been motivated to get to the gym more often because I know it is the one thing that will bring my stress level down so I don’t snap at anyone again.

The list of things that need to get done runs through my head hourly. I trust the board and the students organizing their pieces to make it the best show possible.  I already lined up someone in my piece to keep me from fully freaking out the day of the show, and he has promised to keep me from bursting into tears. I’m praying that the adrenaline will keep pumping throughout the six long hours of getting painted because if not there will be a big problem.

Dance steps, things to get done before the show and school work run through my head on a regular basis. These past few weeks have been the hardest ones I’ve experienced in college but I am loving it. I’ve had to have hard conversations with people, give tough love to friends, and organize and designate. It’s a good thing I can multitask. I can’t wait for these next two weeks. I am looking forward to the day of the show and this once in a lifetime experience!

Failed Relationships Make for the Best Teaching Moments

For some reason, whenever I write about something for a creative writing class, my past relationships come to mind and paper. I don’t know if it’s because they’re the easiest subjects to vent about or they help me escape the present drama. They are far from happy topics to talk about.  Obviously, every girl loves going back over her failed relationships.

When I think about my breakups, the word nostalgia comes to mind. For some reason, when I hear “21 Guns” by Green Day, I still think of my long-term high school boyfriend. When I pass the dorm on campus I slept in on most nights I think about my first, failed college relationship.  When I drive through or hear someone talk about Harvard University, I remember that fond month and half I hung out there every weekend with my ex-boyfriend, my second failed college relationship.

Nostalgia is a funny word. I feel like people throw it around, add it to hashtags on instagram and don’t really think about it. One part of me thinks the term is so overused, so by the time someone says it with meaning, there is little left. The other part of me loves it, it sounds sophisticated and beautiful. It makes me sad that no one in our generation talks like that anymore; it’s either “aww” “throwback” or “classic”.

I am starting to understand why breakups are such an easy subject matter for writers, and why there are so many stories written and published about failed relationships. In the first few weeks of my creative nonfiction writing class, we’ve written about scars, our parents, and, you guessed it, breakups. Our teenage and adolescent angst we have about those relationships that ended so wrong can come out and rear their ugly heads in writing, in a safe space.

The best thing is, people sympathize with you! After writing about a relationship that has gone so far down the toilet this year and reading it aloud, I got back comments like “we are so sorry” or “that is so awkward, that must suck”. For me, it was validating. Maybe that is why people write about them, it makes the guy look like the bad one in the relationship.

Sometimes I wish I had other inspirations in my life than failed relationships. I’m tired about writing about the same breakup and that same weekend when things were still good. The one good thing about continuously writing about these experiences is that somehow, every time I learn something new about myself. That is the most important part about inspirations: they are teaching moments. If they can’t be happy memories, let them be teachable.