Sunday, February 25, 2018

God is literally never going to stop laughing at our plans

if there's one thing i've learned from this week, it's that things don't always go to plan.

i started off the week strong. i was in a show, thoroughly modern millie, playing the lead. this meant a heck-ton of singing and talking. i wasn't overly worried, we'd been rehearsing for two months and my voice was fine.

the first school show came and went with rough bits here and there but for the most part it went smoothly. we finished the whole30 on tuesday so, having missed eating cereal, i had a bowl of cheerios for breakfast on wednesday (with almond milk, dairy is a no-go when singing). i completely blame them for the events that follow.

the wednesday school show went pretty much the same. we had a better audience than the first show on tuesday, although my throat felt a little phlegm-y but i chugged some water and went on for gimme gimme. backstage, i started to feel a little bit of a cough coming on. looking back, i don't know why i wasn't a bit more concerned. anyway, after the show i went home, made pasta, and did some school on the deck because it was 70 entire degrees outside and february. in new england. what the heck. i drove to dance that night and i was feeling a little under the weather. my voice felt strained and i was definitely getting a cough. this is when i started to panic a little bit. on the way home i had a bad headache and as soon as i got back i took echinacea, ibuprofen, and went to bed.

i had so much stress about trying to get myself healthy again, it took me about an hour to fall asleep (i'm normally out in a few minutes) only to wake up again at 4:30, feeling terrible, and go downstairs. i tried steaming my voice and studying psychology before i texted the youth group chat asking for prayers and went back to bed.

thursday morning i felt even worse so i stayed home from co-op in a panic, still trying to fix my voice. all day i steamed, drank tea, and looked up laryngitis cures. my friends surprised me and came to the house, announcing that they were going to be at the show again to 'cheer me on'. everyone told me it was gonna be fine and i think i wanted to believe them, but i really didn't.

fast forward to thursday night, approximately 7:30. i walk onstage, admiring the scenery, and start to sing. it sounds fine. everyone backstage relaxes. however, they relaxed too soon. i can feel the delicateness of my vocal cords and i know what's coming. i get through maybe a minute of the opening number before it happens.

my voice stops working.

it didn't cut out on me, although i would have almost preferred that. instead it dissolved slowly but surely into a sound that very much resembled that of an elephant being trampled and strangled at the same time.

trust me, i wish i was joking.

i finished the song because what else was i going to do? and went right into the next one before rushing off for my 43 second quick costume and wig change. as soon as i'm off, i break down. "i can't freaking do this!" i whisper-scream, on the verge of tears. my voice sounded awful, it hurt to sing, and i'm sure the audience was horrified that they had spent 12 bucks on a ticket to see a girl's voice give out mid-song. they assure me (completely untruthfully) that it didn't sound as bad as i thought it did and that i needed to keep going. i don't know how i finished the scene, but i did.

by the time i reached my 'home base' backstage (my costume rack) both joes had found me and encouraged me. i was still almost in tears, so disappointed in myself and upset that i couldn't fix it. the director came back, also crying a bit at my distress. she told the hysterical wreck that was me that there were lines of songs i could speak instead of sing, but that i would have to finish the show. it was the last thing i wanted to do, but i didn't have a choice.

i'll spare you the gory details of the rest of the show, but know it was full of cough drops, almost tears, and uncountable hugs and whispers of encouragement from everyone backstage. we were a team that night, more than we've ever been before. the mission was to just make it through, and somehow we did. i just know i literally could not have made it without them. (i may have gone home and cried a bit over the get well soon cards all the little girls made me during the show)

i rested my voice on friday, trying to get it so that i could at least speak my lines and lipsync my songs. unfortunately, when i got to the theater i had essentially no voice at all. this led to us almost throwing another girl on as millie with a script to have her do my part before the director and my friends encouraged me enough and i decided i could do it. i don't think i've ever felt prouder of myself than i did when i finished that show.

then there was saturday night. oh, you thought the roller coaster was over? guess again, suckers.

we found out saturday morning that one of our secondary leads was throwing up. he, however, said that he would still be there, it would just be 'little rough'. unfortunately, it kept getting worse and he couldn't even keep down water and was throwing up every half hour. we ordered him to call the director and stay home.

so now we have a millie lipsyncing her songs and barely able to speak her lines without sounding like she smokes 20 packs a day, and no trevor graydon. brilliant. what do we end up doing?

we throw my little brother on as graydon.

he had roughly two and a half hours to memorize the lines (luckily he already knew the songs) this awkwardly left me to play opposite my own brother for a few scenes until i fell for the other guy. not ideal, but what else were we gonna do? not much.

i woke up this morning to a text that our miss flannery is throwing up. we then got to the cast party today and i found out from the director's husband that not only is our poor director home sick with whatever cough/laryngitis/fever monstrosity i have but also the stomach bug. fantastic.

overall, a 10/10 production. no stress, no tears, absolutely no backstage breakdowns whatsoever. absolutely fine.

moral of the story:
don't expect things to turn out perfectly because probably they will not and you will be humiliated and God will laugh at you but it will all turn out okay in the end. probably.

and that is the end of my literal nightmare week. if you're reading this on email my web address is please go there and give me pageviews because pageviews = validation and i need to feel loved

Sunday, December 31, 2017

twenty-seven things i learned in twenty-seventeen

  1. sharing does not get any easier as you get older.
  2. if you stop comparing yourself to others, everything will get way easier.
  3. some days, you feel like crap and you just need a dance party in the kitchen. that's okay.
  4. no drama is worth it.
  5. sometimes people love you when you don't deserve it, and those are the best people.
  6. just because you think you failed does not mean you actually did.
  7. letting go of someone is not the end of the world. there will be others.
  8. accidents happen. it's okay.
  9. pointe still aint easy.
  10. crying is normal, especially if you've just lost a pet.
  11. you will mess up, things will not go as you planned. it doesn't mean that you're bad or that others are better than you.
  12. there is no better feeling than realizing that a teacher is proud of you.
  13. being genuine once in awhile is a good thing for both parties.
  14. surprise!! people can actually care about you.
  15. spreading love is amazing. whether it's a passing compliment to a stranger or an anonymous comment, or praising someone in the dressing room after class, it's great for both people. never stop.
  16. sometimes scary is good.
  17. laughter is a great way to deal with problems. just laugh the pain away. you'll be fine. probably.
  18. it's okay to have feelings. they're there for a reason.
  19. moving isn't easy but you will get through it.
  20. you can always turn a bad day around, but not always a bad pointe class. it's okay, everyone has dead shoes sometimes. go easy on yourself.
  21. tea and yoga are the recipe for the best night.
  22. there is nothing that can rival the literary genius of one sentence stories written at midnight. 
  23. you will eventually have to say goodbye to people you care about and you will grow apart.
  24. when you no longer share a bathroom with your mom, if you don't change out your washcloth, it never gets changed out.
  25. life is so freaking incredible and i am so, so lucky.
  26. these are some of the best days of your life, right now. appreciate them.
  27. the only way to go is forward.
rip this was supposed to be posted on new years eve but i'm stupid and forgot so this is what you get

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.