It’s a weird time. We’re transitioning…again. I normally adore the fall. I live for it. The apple-picking, the cozy sweaters, the changing leaves, libra season *wink*…such a fun time of year. But I find myself in September of 2020 dreading it slightly, and I’m not 100% sure why. It could be the craziness that this year has held already and the complete unknown of what’s to come - wondering what exactly might be around the corner. It could be the sadness of time slipping away all too quickly and the inability to get that back - missing what 2020 could have been and also cherishing what it was…still is. It’s probably all of the above, and then some.
I look back on how the year started - with hope, ambition, excitement, and stress. Another decade starting and another year in this busy city pursuing my dreams, pounding the pavement, making it work, and pushing ahead. Waking up at 6am and trekking ten pounds of stuff down to midtown to wait in line (usually outside - yes, in January), get my name on a list, put on a full face of makeup before 9, tote everything between multiple buildings, wait anxiously for my number to be called (at usually more than one audition in more than one location), warm up vocally or physically (usually both), find lunch and a place to eat it, change my clothes back and forth many times, mentally prep and center myself, and then finally get to sing (and/or dance) my heart out for all of two minutes - if I’m lucky enough. (And that’s when I’m not turned away due to them running out of time.) Then, it’s packing up everything again and going to my “day” job at night - waiting tables. Very original, I know, but it works for me. It truly does. The organization, the multi-tasking, the salesmanship and customer service of it all. I can be outgoing and ambitious (while making my rent, usually) in a fast-paced, high-stakes, and passionate environment…all while waiting for that next gig to break through. These were my days for a while. Trying to line up some work, make an impression in the industry, expand my skills, clean my apartment, catch up with friends, maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep my sanity, and figure out what my year would hold. It’s a lot, and it’s certainly a big transition after the holidays, but I love it…most days. It’s why I’m here after all, in this concrete jungle - this city of dreams. And it’s why this crazy, beautiful melting pot holds my heart.
Then…March 16th happened - a date with which you are very familiar I’m sure. My restaurant shut down, all auditions were halted, panic attacks started to set in, and we escaped upstate to my parents’ house (of which you know the rest). I was faced with transition yet again, over and over. New space, new “roommates”, a new source of “income” (hello disorganized unemployment system), new familial dynamics, new health struggles (thanks Covid), new impulses, and a new routine. Time flew by and stood still simultaneously, things were scary, and we were all just trying to survive - to cope. Everyone on the planet was in the same boat and we had no idea which direction we were going…or who even was at the helm! We just prayed daily that we’d stay afloat.
All of the sudden summer was upon us like a smack in the face - extra heat, extra time, extra adjustment to what a summer would look like without traveling, rooftop bars, and all of our friends surrounding us, and an extra weird welcome back to the city for my boyfriend and I. Things were distant, things were quiet, things were unsettled. The city was in the midst of multiple transitions once again…as was I. As were we all. I missed the city I knew. The one I rang in the New Year with. The one of long days, packed schedules, and heavy bags. I missed the hubbub, the vibrancy, the noise. The goals I had convinced myself were the end all be all and the dreams I had yet to fulfill. As the year continued to barrel ahead, I was forced to mourn what I thought 2020 was going to be and transition into what it was actually meant to be - a year of stillness, gratitude, trust, growth, and faith. I had to accept, and I had to adapt. I had no choice.
Summer was great, despite the changed plans and added regulations. We found our new normal. Our flow. I went back to work, adjusting to outdoor work conditions, mask-ne, and being around strangers again. I found other outlets for my creativity and expression (enter ScarrGazing) and re-adjusted to small-space city-living. I cooked numerous meals at home and found many a new show on Netflix/Hulu/Bravo/Disney+/you-name-it to enjoy. We found times to bask in the sunshine whenever we could, whether it be a masked walk through the park or a socially distanced beach visit and a wade in the salty waves. We ventured out into the cityscape once more, eating on sidewalks, loading menus onto our phones, and purell-ing every five minutes. We made it work because we had to. And it was good. No…it was great.
But now here we are, again. Another season, another transition, and I find myself scared, and apprehensive. Schools starting (kind of), routines adjusting (yet again), culture and society still hurting, and the restaurant industry (among many others - including my first love, theatre) unsure of its fate. It’s discomforting. It’s unnerving. It’s truly terrifying. And feeling that way is totally okay. It is completely understandable, and to be expected. Just know that you are not alone. I am not alone. We are not alone.
We are all doing our best to figure this out…whatever this is - day by day and season by season. For that’s what we do as human beings. One of the reasons for which we were created. We move forward the best we can. We evolve and we grow - in faith and (hopefully) also in love. That is our unifying quality. In the moments of upheaval and change, we draw close to what's at our core, our home base, our people, our safety net - the things that can never be taken away from us - but we also continue to fight for what we need and what is lacking. We live in the moment and feel the pain, of course, but we don’t settle or get lost in it. We can’t. We mustn’t. Instead, we adapt, we adjust…and we re-adjust, whether we want to or not, whether we expect it or not…and we make it out on the other side. We always do. And you always will. I'm sure of it.
So as the temperature drops and we find ourselves (again) in this in between, this uncertainty, I just want to remind you to be kind to yourself, and to your humanity. Allow yourself the time you need to sit in that re-adjustment, that change. Be understanding and be patient with yourself. You’ve gone through a lot this year. And none of it is normal. This constant flow of change and adaptation is very much unprecedented, and it's all uncharted territory. Sure, there might not be an end in sight yet…BUT, you are resilient. You are strong. You are made for this.
It’s okay to be scared of what’s the come. To fear the changing of the tides, the leaves, the season. To just simply not know what’s up ahead. But you can choose to be free of any expectations - the ones given to you by yourself, your peers, society. The ones that make you feel bad for crying or feeling or procrastinating. You can be free of the goals you once clung to and the mask you’ve hidden behind for God-knows how long (the figurative one, mind you, not the literal - you should definitely keep the literal mask on for sure). You can live and breathe in the unknown. It will be okay. You can feel it all and still survive, the ups and the downs. I give you permission. This fall, allow yourself to fall…and allow yourself to be free.
I posted this on my IG last month, but I wanted to share the sentiment again on here because I feel like it really ties in with this entry.
Change comes only after we’ve pushed ourselves to grow. After we’ve settled into the uncomfortable. I know this world is fatiguing right now, but it’s change. Change for your future. Change for your soul. Change for the better. It’s fatigue and it’s difficult, yes, but it’s change. It’s growth. And, it’s strength. You are getting stronger. I promise. Step by step. Breathe it in and trust it.