Category Archives: Life

I’m Sorry We Haven’t Talked

I’d like to tell you a little story.

 Once upon a time, there was a girl named Suzie.

Suzie was an only child, the very loved and very lucky girl of two good families.

She grew up with a few select friends, but for the most part enjoyed playing imaginary games by herself. Most of her games included a cast of stuffed animals or pets to play all the roles she could not.

Soon she grew into a young lady. Suzie still had few friends, and still enjoyed activities by herself, such as computer games and reading.
One day, Suzie’s parents questioned, “Suzie, why do you always lock yourself in your room? Don’t you want to spend time with us? Are you upset? What’s wrong?”

And Suzie didn’t know how to respond.
She just really liked her alone time.

Over the years, she thought she might have something wrong with her. Maybe she was depressed. Maybe she was unhappy. Maybe she was lazy.

Over the years she decided on the excuse that her alone time was her need to “escape.”

Some people accepted this. Others did not.

Suzie still could not articulate why she always came home and refused to talk to her family or friends, choosing instead to be alone in her room.

Soon high school and University caused Suzie to interact more with the outside world. Soon she faced twelve hour days of work, having to work and focus and converse with others. And while she loved to do this, she also felt trapped.

When she came home, she would be impatient, aggravated, upset, tired. She thought something was still wrong with her. Perhaps mentally? Perhaps physically? Suzie didn’t know.

All Suzie knew was that she felt better when she was alone.

Suzie could only handle so much human interaction in a day. Some people thought of her as stuck up. Some people thought she was socially selective. Others could not understand her reservations around strangers.

People thought, “Suzie is in Theatre! She HAS to be outgoing! So she can act on stage in front of people, but not be able to socialize with them too?! How ludicrous!”

Suzie knew it was one thing to perform on stage, and a whole different story when it came to actually putting yourself out there to meet strangers.

Suzie started to screen her calls. And texts. AND emails. Sometimes she just didn’t have the mental energy to socialize with anyone, no matter what kind of communication they tried to reach her with.

Sometimes Suzie would stare off into space, thinking deeply about a new project or idea or situation, and would be interrupted by someone. Suzie was not good at handling these interruptions, and would seem irritated.

Suzie would have her moments where she could socialize, and moments when she could not. Large groups made her uncomfortable. Strangers made her uncomfortable. Idle chitchat was unfavourable compared to deep meaningful conversation and ideas. Books became more important than people, video games an escape.

All she wanted to do on her days off were hole up in her room and relax. No human contact, just for one day.

Soon she realized she was not a broken person. Soon she realized she was never upset, or unhappy, or mentally ill, or anti social.

Suzie is just an introvert.

 

I guess by now you’ve realized that Suzie represents me, you smart reader you.

I have only started to identify as an introvert in the past two-ish years. Before that, I had no idea what was wrong with me. All of my extroverted family and friends thought I was broken. Now I know better, but it’s still very hard to explain just what exactly I go through with introversion.

Let me try and give you an accurate comparison. You know when you’ve had a really hard workout at the gym? When you’ve drank five cups of coffee, and during this caffeine high, you’ve managed to do an hour on the treadmill at full running speed, lifted a crap ton of weights, and stretched as much as a contortionist? Then you get home, and your body is exhausted, you come down from your caffeine high, you can hardly muster the strength to think…then you eat some food. Glorious, glorious, post work out food for the gods of all things fitness. And you feel better again, hallelujah!

Well, for some introverts, socializing is like doing this workout. Every. Single. Day.

We get home and we are physically and mentally exhausted from being around people. And our glorious post-workout food is our alone time. We recharge on alone time. We need it to survive.

Introverts are not all shy. We can socialize like normal people. We don’t have to be self-centered, stuck up, or anti social. It’s rather unfortunate that these connotations are so widely linked to the definition of introversion. All introversion means is that we refuel by being alone, and prefer to focus our thoughts and ideas inwards rather than out.

I like to view my introversion like a blanket. Soft, warm, comfy, appealing. While extroverts go out on Friday nights, introverts are reminded of their beautiful blankets. “Go out? Nah. This blanket is super comfortable, and warm, and soft. I’d rather go snuggie it up at home.” I wrap myself in my blanket to shield me, let me recharge.

So if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m sorry. I truly hope this may explain why I am the way I am. I have never meant to hurt anyone, or for anyone to take any of this personally. It has nothing to do with you or whether or not I like you, but all to do with me just trying to live a happier life.

At school, I had to be fully charged and on at all times for the last four years. Now it’s time I can step away, refocus my energy, and try to find a healthy balance for my sanity. I’m sorry if this means I drop off the face of the earth for a bit. Please know that I love all my family and friends. I don’t screen your texts out of spite. I don’t read your facebook messages and then refuse to respond out of malice. Sometimes it takes me days to gather my thoughts and know how I want to respond. Please don’t take it personally. I just need to find out how I function in the real world, now that I’ve finished living in the cocoon of University.

I hope you can understand this.
And know when I reach out to you it’s because I’m ready, and I appreciate you in my life.

Why I Chose a Theatre Degree

I’m sick of hearing the question: “What’s next?”

I guess you should expect it after graduating University. You come out of a four year program with some hoity-toity piece of paper telling the world you know your shit. Then suddenly people want to know what you’re doing with your life like it’s some first world crisis splashed all over the front page news. You just spent four years of your life sitting in a classroom instead of working, getting money sapped out of you by Student Loan mosquitos instead of saving up for grown man things like cars and houses. Your friends who didn’t choose to waste away in a lecture hall are already moving up in their chosen careers, buying condos, creating spawn, etc.

Stop me if I’m sounding bitter. Because I’m not bitter. Not one bit. And this is not sarcasm, incase your silent-reading brain determined it as so.

People are curious by nature. So when you graduate from some esteemed post-secondary institution, they are curious as to what your next move is now that you have some knowledge in whatever field. A lot of the time they want to know how your degree is relevant to what your end-goal career is. Or they want to know what kinds of jobs people can acquire with certain degrees. Whatever the reason they have when they ask you, it’s still annoying to answer. Because if I were to tell them my honest answer of: “I really don’t know. I’d rather ride the rollercoaster of life right now and see where the ride takes me,” then I would get polite nods with judgmental glances. Yes, I may have a few ideas of where I want to go, whether it be my Master’s or another graduate program, but if another door opens for me that I like, I just might walk through it.

University is just a stepping stone. Not many people nowadays will jump right out of University into their dream job.

But I guess the main reason I’m writing this blog post is to emphasize that I do not regret anything, and am in no way bitter about my choices. But when I feel the need to defend my choice of degree, that’s when things get rough.

About a month ago, I had called a cab to take me home from the University theatre. The ride started out as per usual, with the cab driver asking me how my night was and if I go to the University. But then things started to spiral out of control. I explained to him that yes, I did attend the University and I was currently working towards the end of my degree in Theatre. He proceeded to ask me all sorts of questions: Can you justify your choice of getting a theatre degree? How is theatre relevant to society? How will your degree help you get a job in your field? Oh, you’re okay with NOT getting a job in your field? So you just spent four years and boat loads of money to go and work in a box office the rest of your life? You want to teach theatre? So you want to teach others how to not get a job in their field too? Don’t you think we should nix arts education at Uvic and put the money towards something more useful, like engineering? Science? Something we can actually use? Maybe cut government funding to arts in general and put it into better things?

In the most – erm, – polite way I could muster, I responded with my defense. One I had weaved from many other similar conversations with different people. The conversation most theatre students have at least once in their life. Probably way more than once. The conversation that demands you to justify your choice of profession. Why teachers, doctors, and athletes don’t get called out on this question, may be obvious to some. But for me, I think we can question anyone’s choices. Why the arts get shit on far more is beyond me.

You see, my answer was layered. When really, it shouldn’t have been.

I have multiple reasons for choosing theatre. I love the community I find in theatre. I’ve made friends I never would have met through theatre in Victoria. I go for the artistic atmosphere, the collaboration, the visual feasts, the amazing people, the beautiful art, the poetic words. Four years of studying theatre has taught me that art is integral to culture and society. When cultures have been most successful, they have gained so much and more from their arts.
My four years at the Phoenix has taught me a long list of transferable skills I can apply to any job: communication, team work, time management, leadership, initiative, written and verbal skills, the list goes on.

But honestly, my answer should have simply been this:
My theatre degree has taught me how to be a better human being.

Our Chair of the theatre department, Warwick Dobson, reminded my graduating class of this a few weeks ago. And that is the truth of any arts degree.

While my friends who chose to skip post-secondary education and work straight out of high school have respected jobs, homes, cars, or children, I have invaluable experiences.
I’ve learned the art of empathy, how to work with people I love and hate, how to build a team and lead it, how to create something from the heart, how to utilize my body and mind to produce amazing work, how to lead a life of joy and satisfaction, how to connect with people on different levels, how to be present in the moment, how there are many ways to view life, how to overcome challenges, how resilient I can be when pushed to the limit, how appreciated I am, how creativity works, how strong I can be, how to be confident in myself and my work, how to trust people, how to appreciate who I am and what I have, how to appreciate others in my life, how to live my life the way I want to and have fun doing it.

I’m not content with the daily grind of work and human existence. I don’t want to work a 9-to-5 job, only to come home through rush hour traffic to make dinner and go to bed just to get up the next day and do it all over again. I want to live my life the way I want to. I want to travel, explore, inspire, create, connect. My experiences have allowed me to open my eyes and see life for what it should be. To experience it as I choose to, not as I have to.

These things are worth more than any degree.

 

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