Friday, October 6, 2017

why i dance pt. 2

Hi, my name's Emma, and I'm addicted to dance.

Like any addiction, it brings some pain. Right now, I have a bruise under each knee, and one of them is accompanied by a snazzy floor burn. Both my toenails are bruised, too, and one of them is almost completely purple from pointe. (sorry, I tend to overshare when it comes to dance injuries) And yeah they hurt--each time I stub my toe I am faced with the wrath of hours of pointe--but honestly, nothing makes me happier than looking at those bruises and floor burns and knowing that it was my hard work and passion and drive that gave me them.

I'm coming off of a dance high right now. I had recital pictures on Wednesday, and then we've been at the theater since Friday for dress and the shows. Our last show was last night. Since it's all I've been doing for the last several days, all I want to do right now is dance, but summer classes don't start for a couple of weeks and I can't even take the first half of classes.


That's a snippet of a post that I started to write back in June the day after our last recital. Only a few things have changed since then--the floor burns and bruises have disappeared (and I've gained a few new ones) Also I lost a toenail. Fun, man.

I wanted to write this maybe for myself if I ever feel a bit burned out, as a reminder of why I love dancing so much.

There come a point in every ballet class where I ask myself, "why the heck do you do this to yourself for four hours every week?"

It's usually after tendus during the first balance we take in first. The sweat has started to set in by this point, my feet are cramped, and my calves are burning. I want to quit.

The first ten minutes or so of class always seems the hardest to me, going through plies and then tendus, my body despises getting back into the swing of things in class.

But I keep going back.

And it's at that point that I ask myself, "Why? Why are you still here if it hurts everything and you lost an entire freaking toenail from it and you get home and only want to eat ice cream and go to sleep? Why have you stuck with it?"

And I guess it's just the little things:

that perfect double, when you leave pointe and think, 'that actually went decently', when the teacher commends you in front of the whole class, or just when you completely lose it in improv and the music takes over and you just move--

It's those things that keep me going even if it hurts and I'm sweating a ridiculous amount and my toenails are falling off.

I love that there are things my body and mind will never be rid of now-- the constant, pounding rhythm of 8, 8, 4, 4, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1

I love the reckless feeling that comes during improv or when you reach the point in a inversion or shoulder stand where you go weightless and realize that it's too late to back down now.

So I guess I dance because I really do love it. I love the sweat, the tears, the blood, the mutual panic that circulates the dressing room when someone says, "crap, I forgot shorts, does anyone have an extra pair?" and everyone scrambles to find a pair for them to use. I love the community that has been formed, even if the gossip and drama tears it down a bit sometimes.

These are my people, the ones who don't look at me weird when I mention being at the barre, the ones who congratulate you if your hips cracks really loudly and laugh with you, not at you if you fall on your butt in the middle of a combo.

Because really, all of us are tied together by the same bond--even if some like ballet, others prefer hip-hop, and another may be a tapper--but it's the love of dance that keeps us together,

that keeps us going back when we're sore and everything hurts,

that makes our lives brighter.

Yeah, dance is what keeps me going, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

things that remind me of fall bcuz it's being stupid and it's still really hot

  • leaves? everywhere?? i don't know man, it's really comforting
  • staying up late not by choice but because you have to finish co-op homework (hello darkness, my old friend)
  • last-minute sleepovers before school starts as you try to cram memories into short spaces of time
  • the fall smell?? i can't describe it but i love it
  • this song
  • okay don't judge me i'm embarrassed but i got really into Dan and Phil this time last year
  • nutcracker!!!!! auditions and waiting (which is where i am now, the cast list comes out tomorrow)
  • a great big world
  • entire pints of cookies and cream lactose-free ice cream on wednesday nights during homework
  • easterns and the smell of fairs
  • new socks
  • my two lovely OC's Sarah and Micah i'm so sorry for all i put you through
  • comfy sweaters
  • hot cocoa
  • raking leaves unhappily
  • oversized scarves and sweatpants
  • rehearsals every weekend
  • the underlying fear as i lie in bed that i forgot to do something
  • okay again no judging but shout out to my ex by little mix. i know i don't have an ex but the song is so catchy fight me
  • soccer from back when i was an athlete (now i just spend like 4 hours at the studio every weekend for nutcracker, totally not the same thing)
  • sleeping with the windows open and three comforters
  • fuzzy socks
  • coffee in the morning
  • character shoes and packed lunches at the studio
  • layers of clothing and stage makeup and bad covers of thinking out loud
  • yoga and candles at night
  • pain bcuz pointe shoes are a thing
  • lol say goodbye to grass because it's all dead now
  • (not like we had any grass in our yard in the first place)
  • a p p l e  p i c k i n g 
  • that sunniness that happens when you're in an orchard in the afternoon and the light is filtering through the trees and it smells like apples and joy and everything is perfect
  • baking anything 
  • i'm really excited about fall can you tell
  • man i just love it so much
    here, have a stereotypical picture of beautiful fall leaves because they actually don't look like that yet because the weather has decided to throw more humidity and hot weather at us pls stop i want to not suffocate in my warm clothes

Friday, August 4, 2017

there was a child went forth

Now, a few of you reading this have probably already either heard me read this in class or read it yourself. For those of you who have no idea what this is, however, I'll explain.

In my literature class last year, we compiled a 'book of memoirs'. These were various pieces of writing about us, our interests, or childhood, along with any pictures or such you wanted to include. The final piece we wrote was this one--based off of Walt Whitman's There was a child went forth poem. This is my poem that I wrote, edited a bit with some things added that I missed out the first time. It's full of memories and inside jokes and pretty much my entire life story. Enjoy!


There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object she look'd upon, that object she became;
And that object became part of her for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or a stretching cycles of years.

The father who came from Massachusetts to visit a high school friend but found much more,
And the mother who traveled from Florida to a school that wasn't her first choice,
And their meeting and constant love still after four children became part of this child.

The early morning-glories and bright birdsong, summers at the lake and Harry Potter in the hot car became part of this child.
And frozen noses with vanilla hot cocoa and Mr. Rogers, Lord of the Rings marathons and putting socks on younger siblings,
And damp leaf piles and oozing pumpkins, new daffodils and Easter kittens born in the closet,
And first sleepovers, and second sleepovers, and kicking each other off the bed because somebody needed leg room,
And gym class and science experiments, museums and picnics and Wayne from Maine, became part of this child.

The towering beige house with red shutters, the friendly neighborhood and dogs across the street,
Dogs that they walked and fed and loved.
And the tiny yard that held too many parties and slip'n'slides, too many hours of playing homemaker in a plastic house,
And the large, bright room with scattered color that the two girls shared until one left and the other got the small room—cramped and smushed, but her own,
And the dining room and kitchen with the piano and dusty sheet music, and the endless farm wallpaper,
And the lake down the road, often crowded with what seemed like the entire town; the one with swim lessons and playdates and summer lunches, became part of this child.
The yearly camping trips—high-stakes hide and seek, hot cocoa at 5am, and dutch oven food,
The trips to North Conway and Storyland, with moose hats and ultimate frisbee and hikes up huge mountains,
And a week at Disney when Maggie took literally all of the grape flavored water,
And yearly church retreats with their apple juice and braided hair and getting stuck in cabin bunks,
The history class at the Hewetts where every week was a new adventure, became part of this child.
And the baseball field with hours of friend dough and audiobooks and boredness as a brother practiced, and the fireworks of July, and gummy bears and friends,
And falling in love with Orlando Bloom, and youth group mission trips and home videos and hitting cousins over the head with a box of princess dress-up costumes—all of these things became part of this child.

Late nights, not filled with laughter of friends but with uncertainty and fear became part of this child, as she learned that life is not always fun,
But God found her in these moments and held her, wiping the tears even if she couldn't feel it.
These nights became part of this child.

Procrastination became part of this child: the late nights that turned into early mornings hunched over a laptop writing, and dinners at 10pm and cartons of lactose-free ice cream at 1am.
The constant shows overlapping all the way from September to May, hours of rehearsal and nerves at first kisses,
And trips to New York and first Broadway shows and too many M&Ms and pigeons everywhere,
And too many games involving “Draw four!” and frustrated yells followed by laughter,
And evenings after dinner on the computer, raging at games with friends that she wanted desperately to feel accepted by
and eventually, she did, and these things became part of this child.
The subtle roasts, not-so-subtle insults, and accidental jokes from those friends became part of this child—things that she will not easily forget, for they have been to her what she didn't know she needed.
And the other group, too: the wholesome ones that she loved in a way she couldn't love those others, that comforted her when stressed or upset and listened when she didn't want anyone else to—they became part of this child.
She discovered a new favorite sound--pointe shoes clacking on the cold marley, and learned to love that noise above all others. That, and the soft panting of dancers as they caught their breath from a fast petit allegro, became music to her ears. 
She watched actors onstage through videos (some legal, some not) and realized how much she wanted that--how desperately she needed to be performing, 
and she knew suddenly, how much she wanted to make a difference, to be known for doing amazing that could change lives, the way that hers has been changed by this music and community.
It was in these years that she discovered how easy it was to fall in many ways, but that sometimes falling was okay.
And all of this became part of this child.

The child learned that the world is not always nice,
that sometimes people overreact and make others feel bad about themselves for little things.
She learned that contrary to popular belief, opposing viewpoints aren't always bad.
She learned that allies can be found in unlikely places.
She learned that one decision can tear apart people and friendships and countries.
But she found hope in the small things—the deeds of ordinary, everyday people. News of strangers helping strangers and people defending those who couldn't defend themselves.
She was still angry about the injustice that remained, but slowly, maybe, she could see the world getting better.

These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who goes now, and will always go forth every day.


you're welcome, nobody asked for that. have an emu.

Friday, June 9, 2017

things that remind me of summer (seeing as how it refuses to show up)

  • birds singing unreasonably loud
  • windchimes
  • homemade ice pops
  • hot, sticky car rides listening to harry potter
  • walks in the evening where the sun filters through the trees and leaves patterns on the pavement
  • smoothies on the deck
  • red by taylor swift
  • evenings in the modern studio where you come out and everything is quiet and still and peaceful
  • this song called shower that was my only jam for like three months
  • also this one
  • and pretty much any owl city song
  • the smell of pools
  • kombucha
  • the smell of paint
  • trips to dairy queen and overfilled blizzards
  • hot cocoa early in the morning
  • reading on the beach
  • sunburns just everywhere
  • loud vbs music
  • blueberries and disney music
  • "tombe pas de bourree glissade saut de chat" yelled from the front of the studio
  • carrying cameras everywhere
  • fresh juice
  • training wheels on bikes
  • early morning swim lessons
  • sleepovers on weekdays
  • sleepovers on weekends
  • who needs sleep, seriously
  • les mis at midnight
  • chinese food at 10pm
  • overhearing awkward conversations in bathhouses
  • kickball
  • homemade ice cream
  • bonfires
  • card games and musicals
  • "okaytenminutethankyoubye"
  • nancy drew
  • blueberry cobbler and breaking ceiling fans
  • sandcastles
  • level placements
  • baking cupcakes
  • bike rides
  • the smell of grass
  • strawberry picking
  • watching youtube whenever wifi was available
  • the olympics
  • hall of fame

Friday, May 26, 2017

a confusing ramble that has no structure and I am not proud of but oh well


Hi, I guess.

It's currently 10:12 pm. I've just gotten home from a show, and my eyes hurt. The makeup that's caked across my face burned a bit going on, but now just feels like a second skin.

Maybe I should get rid of that foundation.

Anyway, I've been in a production of Just So, Mr. Kipling for the last several months. It's an adaptation of The Jungle Book, and I absolutely love it.

I have to admit, I wasn't overly thrilled at first. By the time we got the cast, it was nearly show week for Singing in the Rain, Jr, and I was just trying to get that done before thinking about anything else. I couldn't completely put it aside, of course, as we memorize monologues to present at auditions.

The cast list came out when another family involved was over at our house for dinner and games. I remember staring in confusion at my phone as my eyes slid over the words:

Kaa: Emma Molloy

"How...?" I asked, looking at my brother and our friend. You see, I am short. Like 5'0" short. I was not expecting this role at all. All throughout the night, I just kept asking, why? Why me? I'm the shortest girl in the group, surely there were other, taller, girls more capable of this role. It just wasn't what I wanted. 

It wasn't until rehearsal last month or so that I understood. I overheard the director tell the stage manager that I could do it "...because she's a dancer." Suddenly, I was flattered. Last night, my mom told me that the role seemed to be tailor-made for me. I guess that mystery's been solved. Kaa is fun, but my personal favorite is Carrie. 

Carrie Kipling. She's the wife of Rudyard, the author of the story. The way that the script is written, it draws parallels between the son of the author, John, and Mowgli. Carrie has been my first chance at playing something so emotional onstage, a thing I've always wanted to do. Her big scene is when she finds out that Rudyard has helped get John into the Irish Guard to help fight the war, something he's not physically fit to do (he's got some bad eyesight.) In the scene, she storms into the room, demanding Rudyard listen to her and see reason. There's lots of yelling and angst involved, and a few tears. There's nothing like screaming onstage and running into the wings, knowing that you won't be facing retribution for yelling at someone. It's my goal to make someone cry with that scene, but with one show left I'm not sure if I'll achieve that.

Wow, I got off-track. My point with all of that about not initially liking my part was that my other acting group is very different. It's a completely different dynamic, the people are vastly different and so are the shows. It often takes me awhile to adjust to my homeschool group in this show after my other friends. 

But if I don't connect with someone at rehearsal over three months, I'll get to know them in the week we spend at the theater in one way or another. One of the girls, Becca, is one I've gotten sort of close to only in the last day. 

We had walked into the dressing room around the same time, and she commented that she liked the dance scene (me and my two friends dance at the beginning of the show, being the only dancers in the cast). She then said that she wished she was a dancer. I remarked, "Well, it's never too late to start." 

She laughed but seemed to dismiss it, saying she was too old to start now. I asked her how old she was and she answered, "Twelve."

"I was twelve when I started," I shrugged. 

She told me this morning that she had talked to her mom, and was going to try a class. I wanted to cry a bit, because everyone deserves to feel that passion and love for dance at some point. I was thrilled that I had maybe been able to share that with someone. 

Earlier tonight, when we clustered together in the cool air after being evacuated (yes, that happened, I'll get to that eventually,) she told me, "I wanted to tell you, ever since you said that about dance you've sort of become my role model,"

That made me so unbelievably happy. I hugged her and told her how happy I was. After we went back inside, we talked for a bit about different styles and dress-codes. Just thinking about it now makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, that maybe I made a difference in someone else's life, maybe I planted a seed of joy through dance. I never feel super well-known in the cast, out of my close friends I tend to be the least outgoing one at rehearsals, with them giving and receiving hugs from the newer girls and me standing awkwardly in the background. But now that we're in the theater, the friendships are formed doubly fast and I've gotten really fond of all of the cast, especially the new talent that joined this year.

Now to the evacuation. Yeah, so, a fire started in the building next to the theater and we had to leave in the middle of a scene. We were outside for a little while, maybe ten minutes or so. Once we filed back inside, the director informed us that we would start at the top of Act 2 (we stopped mid-way through the first scene.) It was certainly an adventure. 

Anyway, yeah. I'll probably write another post tomorrow once we have our last show and traditional ice cream party where everyone nearly falls asleep in their bowls. Hopefully it'll be a bit more poetic, instead of just, "Here you go, a huge dump of everything that happened in one confusing jumbled mess"

Just remember that friendship is one of the bare necessities of life.

(Did you see what I did there)

(Cause John didn't)

(Get it, cause he has bad eyesight)


Saturday, February 25, 2017

I'm sorry all I write about is endings

One night.

You've got two one night before all this is over, before everything changes.

One more night with these costumes

with these songs

with these people.

One night before it's done, another year in the books.


I have a problem living in the moment. I seem to always be looking forward to things, giving them a big build-up. But then they actually happen and they just go so fast that suddenly it's all over and there I am, not wanting to slow down and appreciate what just happened.

Instead, there I am looking forward to the next thing.

I guess it's not that huge of a problem, There's nothing wrong with being excited about what's going to happen in your life. I just personally feel like with me, I'm constantly not appreciating whatever's currently happening.

I always look forward to this show. 10 months out of 12, I'm waiting for auditions, waiting for the call from the director, waiting for rehearsals to start. January and February are always busy and I'm so happy, but those two months go so fast.

I don't want this to end. I have friends graduating this year.

The amount of memories I've made this year is ridiculous. I've made some mistakes that I'll never live down, met some new people, and reconnected with old friends.

I'm not ready for the last show.

I'm not ready for the goodbyes that'll be said at the cast party, the almost inevitable tears that will happen.

These nerds that I somewhat hate have become so important to me that I'm not sure what I'll do after this is done. I have another show that's already started, The Jungle Book. It'll help the transition from one show to another, but it's always hard. The two acting groups are such polar opposites that they can't really be compared. One does musicals, the other classic plays. One has a huge cast, the other a tiny one. One secular, one Christian. One homeschool, one for everyone.

My life is full of great opportunities that I can't wait for. But it's always hardest when they end. And I know I talk a lot about endings but I think it's because that's when I feel the most and have something to write about. Because writing helps me process what's going on and helps ease the sadness when it's over. I want to save these feelings, and putting them into words helps a little

I perform for the feeling when I completely lose myself in the character and I'm no longer Emma. I perform for that moment when I turn around in the aisle, illuminated by a spotlight and I can see the audience turn to look at me. I perform for the feeling I get when it's done, a mixture of sadness and longing and pride, exhilaration and wistfulness and satisfaction that I've done it. I perform for when the stranger tells me I've "done Debbie Reynolds proud."

So yeah. Singin in the Rain is ending. It's been great, making memories and learning these songs and dances I'll have stuck in my head for the rest of  my life.

It's almost done, and imma make it the best ever.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

twenty-six things I learned in twenty-sixteen

  1.  It's okay to get angry sometimes
  2. It's normal to not immediately like everyone you meet
  3. The first step to hearing God is to be quiet and listen
  4. It doesn't hurt to swallow  your pride and stubbornness once in awhile
  5. Friends are worth more than sleep
  6. Nothing is ever quite as bad as it seems--whether it's your appearance, your skills, or that thing you've been dreading
  7. It's normal for feelings about someone to keep changing
  8. Sometimes, you just need to cry after months of not
  9. Just because something is painful or difficult doesn't mean you should give up
  10. If you truly love something, never let it become a chore
  11. Find the people that you love and that love you, and never let them go
  12. Failing is okay
  13. Little kids say the funniest things
  14. Ballet is a tough sport for tough people
  15. Sometimes, places you've never been feel more like home than anywhere
  16. Cats are the best cuddlers
  17. The internet is great, but so is Shakespeare
  18. If you pretend to be patient with someone, eventually you won't have to pretend anymore
  19. Nobody ever said pointe was easy
  20. Sometimes you just gotta sit, listen, smile, and nod
  21. Everybody is a person, don't forget to treat them like one
  22. Don't pay attention if someone criticizes your taste in anything
  23. If at first you don't succeed, stubbornness and determination work wonders
  24. Everyone has 'bad' days, and 'bad' is relative
  25. If you want something, you'd better be willing to work hard and be more determined than ever
  26. Try new things that terrify you. You might like it, you might not. What matters is that you tried.

This is a list I started writing in the end of November to share on here. Looking back on this year, it's been such a year of growth for me--in some good and probably some not so good ways. 

2016 has been a curveball I don't think anyone was expecting. We lost a lot of people that everyone loved. There were shootings and attacks and simple matters of old age. 

But there were good things that came out of 2016, too. New books that rekindled old joy, reboots of old tv shows, new albums, new movies, new Olympic athletes that kicked butt, new musicals, actors that finally won oscars. 

And great things happened for me, personally. I'm on pointe now, since February. I got to act and dance and dabble in the arts more than usual. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and realized that some things are just not for me, but that that's okay. I had sleepovers and late-night talks that all of us needed. I got to know people more. I started wearing lots of sweatpants and sweaters, which was one of the best decisions of my life. I discovered new people that made me smile. I went to New York for the first time. I started writing more. I found new music tastes. New things to do with my hair. It's been a great trainwreck of a year. 

So here's to 2017-- that it's a better one, 
that we grow as a nation and as individuals, 
that people find God and how great he is, 
and that those who already have come to appreciate it more. 

2017, may you be a good one.