What a difference one year makes. I found the blog entries from this summer when I felt like I was getting crushed by social issues and didn’t think I’d be able to make friends or keep the ones I previously had. That summer was very rough, and it set up my school year to be a rebirth in a way. This summer has been something completely different, and something beautiful all the same. It seems to me that the result of this summer was the product of the entire year cycle that has happened.
The 200 block was something that I didn’t know I could actually do; I had never needed to sit in class at one time for more than a couple of hours. So 4 days a week being in class for six hours with, at the most, an hour break seemed like something I couldn’t do. I also had auditioned for Ragtime and received the role of Booker T. Washington in the piece, which would meet for up to four hours a night 6 out 7 days a week at around the exact same time classes started. So, lined up after only being out of school for a week was three large projects, four days of observations, a gigantic Broadway musical to be learned and performance ready in four weeks, moving from one apartment to another, and then another. “Shoot me in the face” was all I could think the first week.
As both things evolved concurrently, it felt like I was just not going to be able to do one or the other at a high level, and I could feel my mental strength and fight slipping away with each day. I talked to my parents and all I could really do was complain (which in hindsight was not very fair to them). So, finally, as I began to fall into a pit of self-loathing, a very wise and very good friend sat me down and gave me the kick in the ass I needed and deserved. And so from that, my outlook changed and my approach to living was made a lot simpler: treat every day like a new tennis match, and every day is a chance to win.
So the next day rolled around, and I was excited to work my tail off, and all the projects that I thought I couldn’t do suddenly were completed. Booker T’s mature voice began to fall into place, as well as his intensity.
But the greatest thing about turning that feeling around was that I got to realize how amazing the people around me this summer really were. From the friends I’ve had since I entered college to the ones I made this summer in Ragtime, I am happy to say that I have a fantastic circle of people and support, and that I would never want to change this for the world. You all have made me feel so amazingly blessed and happy, and I am grateful and honored to be called your friend.
And now, as the people move out and go on their final vacations or their band camp tours, I am still here in Athens…the era of Ragtime has run out, as if this summer were no more than a tune on a player piano. But I did not know that then.