Detox Tea Talk: April 2019

Happy almost end-of-April! Since I’ve been writing and posting more this month, I don’t feel the need to catch you up on a bunch of stuff in a stream of consciousness post, and that feels like a nice change. Instead, I thought I would just process some of the stuff that has been floating around in my brain the last few days, and dump it all here.

This week has been a long one. It’s been beautiful, and funny, and messy, and good, but it’s been long. I’ve gone to bed exhausted every night, and I’ve woken up unsure of how I will make it through the day. I made decisions that will affect the rest my year, and I procrastinated on everything else. I had deep conversations and many reflective moments. I cried after rehearsals for A Wrinkle in Time (both because of how I’m kinda stressed, but also just because I love it so much and I’m really unsure of how to put it into words), and tried to stuff as many lines as possible into my head beforehand. I tried to break through mental hurdles and figure out how to get through my insecurities. And that, my friends, only brings us to Tuesday.

So yeah, it’s been a long week. This morning I woke up at 8:00, met a dear friend in the lobby at 8:30, and we drove into middle-of-nowhere-Oregon and sat on tree stumps trying to process ourselves. I searched for epiphanies and found none, and tried to pray but continually got distracted. It was good to escape to the woods for a little bit, but I wouldn’t say I came back to school with any newfound clarity. If anything, I’d say I’ve come away with even more questions than I had before, many having to do with theatre and religion.

I grew up in church, and I grew up loving theatre. Both communities have been incredibly important to me at different times of my life. Theatre has been more constant, but church has had it’s place. The thing is, I wouldn’t say church is important to me now. Back in October, when I wrote my letter to the Adventist church, I was deep in a culture that I thought I had to be in to find God. I still wholeheartedly stand by everything I said in that letter, but it does not accurately depict my relationship with the Adventist church, and it does not accurately depict who I think I am. That said, it still 100% accurately depicts who I think God is. I still believe God is a God of love, I just don’t think the Adventist church represents that love. Not all of it, at least.

When I think of theatre, I think of love. I think of community, and I think of family. I think of people who have lifted me up on some of my darkest days, and people who have made me into a better person. When I describe my love of theatre to others, I often catch myself saying phrases I have heard others use to describe their love of their church. To put it simply, theatre- and, more specifically, my school’s drama department- has become my church. My acting classes and my rehearsals, while sometimes difficult, are a spiritual experience for me. For those hours, I am entrenched in a very deep connection with people. (To be clear, I do not see “church” and “God” as being the same thing. So when I say theatre is my church, I am not saying theatre is my God. I’m saying that theatre is where I feel closest to people, and through them I feel closest to God.)

I believe that I was put here on earth to help people and to love them unconditionally, and, for me, those are hard things to do through church. Especially when I believe I was put here to help and love people through theatre, and the church I grew up in constantly tells me theatre is unnecessary. So yeah, I have been struggling with figuring out how to reconcile my time in church and how intensely it shaped my childhood with my love for theatre and how studying it and living in it is intensely shaping everything else.

I could go into how A Wrinkle in Time has been challenging me in terms of my many insecurities, or how my mental health hasn’t been fantastic this month, or even how I’m really happy about the warmer weather, but I think this is where I’ll close out. It’s 10:30, and I have a busy day tomorrow. One of the things I love about this series is how the posts often serve as almost public journal entries. And the thing about my journal entries is I rarely come to a neatly tied up conclusion at the end. As you can guess, I still have plenty to process. But thank you for reading, and I’ll talk to you soon <3

~ Claira

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Detox Tea Talk: March 2019

I cannot believe we are already in the middle of March. When you read this, I will be about to head right on into finals week, though oddly enough, I’m not feeling the stress that I felt last quarter. I think it has to do with having felt a sense of peace all throughout the last ten weeks, which is something I did not have last quarter. That being said, I am definitely still feeling pressure to end this quarter strong, which has been hard ever since the end of the Festival of Shorts. I have a strong case of the post-show blues, and gaining enough motivation to open a History or Sociology textbook has certainly not been easy.

The Festival of Shorts ended a week ago tomorrow, which means my time as Dorie also came to an end. For whatever reason, no matter how much I prepare for the end of a show, it’s still so heartbreaking when it ends. I’d like to say I let myself sit with the bittersweetness, but in reality I was simply too busy to let myself focus on the end. I had so much family come see the show, which was lovely, but it definitely made for a lack of reflection time. So, I carried the bittersweetness with me all of last week, and I’m only now trying to leave it behind.

Over the course of this quarter, quite a lot has changed. My major is now Global Communications with an emphasis in Spanish, along with my double minor in Drama and Psychology. I’ll tell the whole story of the switch soon, but for now let’s just say that God has a funny way of getting things figured out when they are supposed to be figured out, and not a moment sooner.

This has been a bit of a hodgepodge post, but much of what I still want to say deserves it’s own post. I sense a lot of change coming up in the next few months, and I have a feeling those changes will make their way into what this blog looks and feels like. Please accept this post as my check in for the month, and I’ll be back soon <3

~ Claira

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Detox Tea Talk: February 2019

Happy February! It feels like this year is going by so fast. I’ve been doing this little series for a year now, and even though I’ve missed a month here and there, I still enjoy doing a stream of conscienceless blog post every once in a while. Last February, I wrote that the month had always been a bit of a filler. I wrote that I never put much hope in it because nothing exciting usually happened. I wrote that I was craving spontaneity, and I was very ready for March to roll around.

This year, those words could not be further from the truth. March is my favorite month, so of course I’m still excited about it. And I’m also very ready for all the snow to melt and warmer days to return, but the 16 days I’ve spent in February so far have been amazing. Tomorrow morning, I will be in a car with four friends on our way to Oregon for something called KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival) where we will attend workshops and classes and spend an entire week learning more about theatre. When we return, we’ll be thrown into tech week for the winter quarter show, and then February will be over.

As the weeks of winter quarter swiftly pass me by, I find myself wanting to hold onto each day for as long as possible. Last quarter, I mentioned that I wasn’t feeling happy, but I was content. I was going through my classes and my little routines, and I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with it, I just wasn’t excited about life. Ever since returning to Washington after Christmas break, however, my life has been filled with so many beautiful things I almost don’t know what to do with it all. I had a temporary job in a theatre where I met amazing people (and got to sign my name on the wall!). I work with a lot of kids and have multiple circle times. I have play rehearsals, and Thursday dinners, and best friend conferences. I swim, and laugh, and talk every day. I am surrounded by creative, intelligent, and genuinely lovely people and I don’t think I could possibly be happier with my life right now. I wake up excited (and maybe a little tired!), and I go to bed happy (but definitely tired!).

Yes, I do have an off day every once in a while, but overall my mental health has been really good this month. The cloudy days haven’t affected my mood as much as they usually do, and ever since I started to prioritize my mental health everything else has gotten a lot better, too. This month has been a wonderful one, and when I start to think about it ending I definitely feel a little ache in my chest. Once February ends, I’ll go into performances of my play, and then I’ll be thrown into dead week, finals, and then spring break. March is looking like it will be another wonderful month, but once that’s over a happy period of my life will come to an end.

Going into winter quarter, I wasn’t expecting it to be extraordinary. If anything, I was expecting to struggle through some classes, audition for the play before working tech backstage, and spend a lot of time alone. Yeah, not the most optimistic. I’m trying to look ahead to a wonderful spring quarter, but I’m also holding on to the last few weeks of winter quarter. The past six weeks have been the best of college so far, and I would even go so far as to say they have been some of the best of my entire life. So thank you, February, for being a pocket of sunshine in my life. And thank you, dear reader, for sticking around while I’ve been out making memories that will inevitably become stories for you.

~ Claira

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Detox Tea Talk: January 2019

It’s been 2019 for only 24 days, and it already feels like so much has happened. I came back to Washington on the sixth, and had quite the flight back (but that’s a whole post in itself, so…). On my first full day back at school, I wound up moving to a different dorm. Later that week I auditioned for the drama department’s winter production, and got a few callbacks. I went to them and spent the Thursday night staring at my phone waiting for it to ring. Around 9:30 I got a call asking if I would take a part in the production. This began the craziness that has been January.

The next Monday, me and my new roommate got roped into working with a nearby theatre as dressers (I say “roped in” but really I said we’d do it without realizing how busy we both are). This week is tech week, which means we’ve both been going slightly insane for four days straight. It’s be great.

The Tuesday after agreeing to help with the nearby theatre, I got a call from my director saying the guy who had been cast in our two person play had backed out. I then spent the next week trying to find a new actor. Luckily, with the help of my roommate, someone was found. Rehearsals have not started yet, but here’s hoping it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

Since returning to school I have gone to my classes and gotten fairly used to them. I’ve read a lot of books for school and read no books for fun. I’ve run many miles, studied for lines backstage at work, and done my best to stay calm amidst the busyness that has become my year.

So far 2019 has been busy, but so far only a good busy. I’m working with a lot of people and a lot of theatre. I’m studying things I actually love, and I’m laughing more than I did at the end of 2018. I haven’t been writing as much because I’ve been living a little bit more. I’m still not very good at finding the balance between writing and living, because I do tend to live in my head a lot. I hope you’ll accept this haphazard post as a mini life update. I’m happy, I’m laughing, and I’m busy. Life is really, really good right now.

~ Claira

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Detox Tea Talk: December 2018

When you read this I will be on Christmas Break, the stress of finals and the end of Fall Quarter fully behind me. I will be three days deep in candy canes, Christmas lights, and countless covers of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Unfortunately for me, as of writing this I am two weeks deep in study sheets, essay drafts, and dried up highlighters due to all my note taking. Nevertheless, I am trying my best to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Part of that includes loads of reflection, especially on my college experience thus far.

Earlier this month I went to church for the first time in a little while. As we were singing I was reminded of my first couple of weeks here. Everywhere I went I was bombarded with new things I didn’t yet understand. A new state with new weather, new people with new stories, and new classes and new teachers with new expectations. Still, no matter how overwhelmed I felt I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to be here. On that first weekend, when my mom and I walked around the campus for the first time (because the first time I saw my university was when I arrived to unpack), she stopped and said that I was supposed to be here and it would be a good place for me. I believed her, and over the course of Fall Quarter those words continued to ring loudly in my ears.

As the quarter progressed, a lot of things happened that made me wonder if maybe this or that was the reason I was supposed to be here. Maybe I was meant to meet a particular person, or maybe I needed a certain class or teacher to help me grow in ways I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Perhaps I got the job I had because I needed to learn… something. Or even still maybe I needed to be here so I could see how good another school would be if I switched. Of all these ideas, I tended to latch onto the people the most. One person in particular made me wonder if perhaps I needed to be here simply so I could meet him.

On this blog I have never explicitly talked about the more, for lack of a better word, romantic side of my life, and I don’t plan to now. That’s what my poetry is for. But the month of November was certainly an… interesting one for me. I was getting to know someone and things seemed to be going well. We talked a lot, and I was really happy. Unfortunately, with that came me wondering if I was here simply so this could happen.

Boy oh boy was I wrong.

To make a short story even shorter, I am not here simply so that could happen. What I have come to realize is there is not going to be a single reason why I am supposed to be here. Maybe I did need to meet that person, but maybe I also need my acting class. Maybe I need my job, but maybe I also need my Saturday evenings of swing dancing. There is not a doubt in my mind that I am where I am supposed to be. I may not know exactly why that is quite yet, but I know it’s true,

~ Claira

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“There’s no where you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” ~ John Lennon