Saturday, November 11, 2017

maybe saying goodbye is okay -- an unorganized smorgasbord of writings to my house

alternate title: emma needs to chill the heck out about endings

---

I hate goodbyes.

I suck at them, the words get twisted in my throat and never come out as they've been rehearsed. I guess that's why I'm typing this now, several weeks before we leave instead of the day we move.

I hate emotions. I hate crying. I hate feeling exposed or weak or pitied. I don't want to cry when we leave but my brain may have other ideas. Sure, I'm excited for the new place, don't get me wrong. But the truth is that leaving anywhere is hard after you're used to it.

This will be hard.

It is just now starting to sink in that soon I will walk out of the doorway and never walk through it again. I know it's just a house, that I'm getting too emotional over this but its been my home for my entire life so what do you expect me to do?

There are memories layered into these walls like paper mache—each coat of paint brings its own story of laughter. Of Christmas mornings and birthday songs and movie nights and sleepovers minus most of the sleeping. Each room tells its own story. The time I slipped on a potato peel in the kitchen and years later, when I tried for a hitch-kick and ended up on my butt. Or when we played apples to apples with my 4-H group and I laughed like a maniac the whole time to the point where they asked me if I was feeling alright. Or when the kittens were born in my closet on Easter, or when Joe fell off the top bunk into the chest at the foot of the bed.

It feels like too much to take at points—leaving everything behind. But then I remember that I am doing the same to someone else's house. We are making a new life in a new house that once belonged to new people that I have never met.

---

It's weird to think that in my lilac-colored room, there will be so much more laughter, so many more sleepovers and jokes and secrets shared

but they won't be mine.

They will belong to a new kid—a new delinquent with a bright smile and tousled hair tearing through the house, chasing siblings around the walls and dodging breakables with the intent of one only there to have fun

and it's weird

because this has been my house for my whole life, from the moment my parents brought me home from the hospital til now--

and it seems like it always will be mine—that when I am asked about my house, this will be the one that comes to mind--

but its not

not anymore

because eras end and houses sell and new beginnings happen and guess what, its all happening at once.

---

I find myself wanting to tell these new people everything. I want them to appreciate this house, to memorize each squeaky patch of floor and step as I have. I want them to play in the climbing tree in the side yard and know about the time my sister got stuck in it and we had to bring her a rope ladder to get her down. I want them to pretend to fish in the tiny pond next to our driveway and I want to tell them how I once made a 'real' fishing pole out of a stick, fishing line, a tack, and an old hook.

I want to tell them about every sleepover, how one time we watched a movie in my room and went to brush our teeth and when we got back upstairs, my brother had fallen asleep on my floor, wrapped up in all the blankets from my bed. I hope they have their first sleepovers in this house. I hope they share a big air mattress and push each other off and laugh too hard. I hope they are the type of kids who need a parent watching their sleepovers at night because they will just not go to sleep. I hope they realize that those will be some of the best nights of their life.

I hope they have pets in this house. And yet I hope they never find the tear-soaked patch of dirt behind the house where I had to bury my rabbit one Wednesday morning. I hope they never have to make one themselves.

I hope they have parties. I hope they have their cousins and aunts and uncles over and I hope that one day they will get embarrassed and start hitting their cousin over the head with a box of dress-up toys. I hope that they will laugh about it years after.

I hope they dance. I hope that one rainy afternoon, they will put on their nicest clothes and insist that their mom plays Canon in D major so that they can waltz around the kitchen to it. I hope that when they get older there will be dance parties in the kitchen when the parents are gone, blasting music and singing and rocking out like there is no tomorrow. I hope they know how special those times are.

I hope they spend a day crying in their room when they don't get a part in something. I hope they understand that it's things like that that thicken their skin. I hope they know that even if it seems hopeless the sun will rise and they can try again. I hope they know that it will be okay, that nothing lasts forever—even the painful crush they just can't seem to let go of.

I hope they love this house like I have. I hope they spend hours just staring at their ceiling thinking about life. I hope they learn to appreciate the quirks and squeaks and dents. I hope that that during college this will be the place that they think of. I hope that this becomes their home, like it is mine.

---

The seventeenth is coming closer. Joe counts down the days, "This is our last Friday night in this house...the last Saturday night..."

As much as I want to hold onto it, to force time to a standstill, I can't. It's like I'm trying to scoop water with a colander but the harder I try the faster the water drains out. 

There is nothing I can do to change anything, nothing I can do to stop time speeding past me. And that's okay. I will let it pass at its own speed. I will let my life change in this way, and I will make the best of it. 

This new family will come and make this place their own. That is okay. We will make our new house our own. That's okay, too. I am nervous, and I will miss this place. That's okay. 

Saying goodbye will not be fun, and it will not be easy. 

But maybe it will be okay.

Friday, October 27, 2017

the anatomy of a pointe class


  1. you start with your basic ups and overs at the barre. these warm up your toes, feet, and ankles. start in parallel and then move to first.
  2. after ups and overs, move straight into relevés in first and then into elevés. they continue to warm up your feet and ankles. they also numb your toes so nothing hurts them during the actual class. 10/10 would recommend.
  3. if your teacher is feeling evil, she may have you go down to demi and then back up over your box. multiple times. it strengthens the toes. also hurts like heck.
  4. echappes. not particularly painful, but often awkward if the floor or your shoes are sticky with rosin or humidity. 
  5. move to center. usually eight passés coming back and eight coming forward. gets you over your center for turns. make sure to use your arms or the teacher may yell.
  6. echappes in the center. often croise to en fasse to croise on the other side, into a plié and pirouette.
  7. from the corner. typically piques to start off, occasionally some soutenus, chaines, or stepovers thrown in. go on both sides and suffer on the left. if your classmates are mean they will force you to go in front. don't make eye contact with the teacher.
  8. more from the corner. sometimes a pique arabesque combination, sometime fouettés, sometimes a manege. i'm sorry.
  9. for the end of class, you could do many things. these often include grande battements in the center, en pointe. or a zig zag. the latter is fun, the former is hard. good luck.
  10. no matter how badly you think you did, curtsey to the teacher and thank her.
  11. always remember that you will have good days and bad days. do not beat yourself up over a failed class, there is always next week. keep your chin up.



a note:
i use a good amount of sarcasm and dry humor in this. it may sound like i hate ballet or pointe. i do not. i enjoy them and my teacher and classmates a lot, this post is a humorous way for me to look at the basic structure of a pointe class at my studio. debs, if you read this, please do not hate me i love your class and how hard it is.



"you have to run with passion, and if you fall,
you fall. get up and keep dancing."
-my ballet teacher

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

So.

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)

(Bye)