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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