I did it! I survived another trip around the sun! Being 23 was wonderful. I had a lot of successes in my career this year and I feel more comfortable in my personal life than ever before. Last year my goal was to pursue balance between all the different parts of myself: the right balance of me time and friend time, creative work time and relaxing with a book time, family time and independent time, mental health time and fighting with the resistance time. I kept a facebook photo diary of my year called “I am not a star. I’m the whole galaxy.” It’s from a Girl Blue song. I have star qualities but I also have darknesses and empty spaces that make up the whole of me. Ultimately, the galaxy is way cooler than a single star. It’s our brightness and our darkness that make us human, that make us strong, that make us uniquely us. Well, I did okay with my goal. My balance still feels totally off and funky. Every time I’m like “my career is going AWESOME” I simultaneously think “what happened to my social life?”. And when I think “Daaang, this book is so good” I also think “Crap, I could have used that time to write a curriculum!” And when I think “gosh, rehearsals are so fun and fulfilling” I also think “the Avengers movie came out 2 weeks ago and I haven’t seen it!” I’m incredibly busy and incredibly lucky. I have a bright future but the path towards it feels dark and muddied. That’s why I’ve named my new photo album “Getting lost in the dark is my favorite part” -It’s from a Janelle Monae song (LOVE HER) and I’m using it to inspire me this year. The journey towards my future often feels like being lost in the dark but each year I feel better, closer to my dreams, more fulfilled, and happier. So I’m going to try to enjoy this lost feeling as best as I can this year. Here are some epic things that happened to 23 year-old me:
- I spent my 24th birthday in Disneyland and met TIANA!
- I taught TONS of classes at Studio East, YTN, ACT, and STG and became Studio East’s Education Associate.
- I hiked the BEAUTIFUL Ozette loop, a 3-day backpacking trip, with family & Devin.
- I spent a week in Boston, saw some amazing sites, and visited some great friends.
- I saw the ECLIPSE.
- I celebrated my 2 year anniversary with Devin!
- I went to the Washington State Brewers Festival with my dad for Father’s Day.
- I had a blast at Gay Day at Wild Waves
- I played Lear 1 in Lear(s) with Shakspeariment
- I went to PAX West and cosplayed as Jigglypuff and Tubbs.
- I saw Leslie Odom Jr. live in concert!
- I went to the Legend of Zelda Symphony.
- I cosplayed as Indiana Jones at Geek Girl Con.
- I went pumpkin patching.
- I helped carve some DOPE jacko-lanterns.
- I made children scream for a very happy Halloween.
- I read some amazing books!
- I directed my first mainstage play: Rikki Tikki Tavi at Youth Theatre Northwest.
- I went to Seaside, Oregon for a beautiful holiday getaway.
- I celebrated a white Christmas with the fam.
- I picked up knitting and crocheting again (I didn’t make the penguin hat but I made the other 2)
- I marched in the Seattle Women’s March.
- I went to a Saint Vincent concert.
- I saw Hamilton!!!!!!!!!!!!
- I cosplayed as Kate Bishop at Emerald City Comic Con
- I played Catfish in Tortoise and the Hare with Storybook Theater
- I saw lots of great theater (some featuring super talented friends!!)
- I threw the first pitch at a Mariners game at Safeco Field on May the 4th.
- I drank lots of craft beer.
- I ran a few 5k’s with my mom (including the Mardi Gras 5k!)
- I directed The Jungle Book with STG’s Disney Musicals in Schools Program
- My cat and my girlfriend moved in with me.
- I played Grumio in Taming of the Shrew at SecondStory Rep
- I celebrated Mother’s Day by going to a Pierogi Fest and hanging with the family.
I read 4 books in February that were all across different genres. Be sure to follow my adorable book model on Instagram: @tonksreads
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
finished February 3rd, 2018
First Sentence: “My parents found out I liked girls, and they kicked me out.”
My take: Bingo Love tells the story of two young women falling in love in a place and time that was not accepting of queer relationships. The story follows their lives as they grow apart and then back together again. The art in this story is stunning. I loved that the main characters were both queer women of color. The story had a ton of heart, but it also felt rushed, simplified, and void of nuance and layers. I wanted their story and their personalities to be flushed out and deep and instead what I got was a predictable plot line. I think maybe if the writer and artists had told this story over a series of books it could have been more effective. There is so much potential here and I enjoyed reading it but I wished for more.
Pages read: 92 pages
My rating: 3/5 stars
If At Birth You Don’t Succeed by Zach Anner
finished February 3rd, 2018
First Sentence: “It’s 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning and I’m bouncing on a trampoline surrounded by a film crew, shouting jokes into a camera.”
My take: Zach is freaking FUNNY. I audibly laughed a lot during this book. At the same time, I felt bogged down with so many details. It often felt that Anner was sharing the the names of every person he’s ever worked him, the names every show he has written and acted in, and the names of every woman he has ever had a conversation with. I felt the book could have been edited and condensed into a more effective, hilarious, and uplifting package. That being said, I am a bigger fan of Anner’s after reading this and I am charmed and uplifted by his message. I’m realizing I’m done with the “celebrity essay” genre unless something particularly remarkable and new comes around.
Pages read: 338 pages
My rating: 3/5 stars
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
finished February 13th, 2018
First Sentence: “People who move to New York always make the same mistake”
My take: WHAT?! For a book that was so unknown and so short I’m thoroughly horrified and thoroughly impressed. This novella is dark, gritty, mysterious, gory, unforgiving and unforgettable. A retelling of a racist Lovecraft “The Horror at Red Hook”, this book is told with lens on past and modern racism and brutality This is a mythical horror fantasy (or weird fiction) for our age. It begs the questions: “What makes someone a monster?” and “Who should we really be afraid of?” Chills everywhere.
Pages read: 149
My rating: 5/5 stars
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
finished February 22nd
First Sentence: “In the beginning, you lived inside the Egg”
My take: MaddAddam is the third and final book in the MaddAddam trilogy. The first book, Oryx and Crake, totally shook me up and made me want to read more. The second book was not as good but still interesting. MaddAddam, to me, was the least interesting of the three books but Atwood is such an incredible writer that I couldn’t hate it. It reads as another expansion pack to the first and most interesting book. In the story the God’s Gardeners and the Crakers rebuild society together and tell the stories of the past, passing them down to future generations. It still had very fascinating and well-written sections but ultimately did not live up to the excellence of the first book. I would highly recommend Oryx and Crake to other readers but I hesitate to recommend the whole series
Pages read: 394
My rating: 3/5 stars
6 six years ago John Green released his bestselling book, “The Fault in Our Stars”. I pre-ordered the book and had it delivered to my doorstep the day of its release. I finished the book within 24 hours and within the next two days I had written a song about the book and uploaded it to YouTube. This would go on to become my most popular song (thanks to some help from the Green brothers themselves) so I thought I’d do the same for John’s next book Turtles All the Way Down……..
Except, life’s a lot different now than it was six years ago. I’m no longer a student and have tons of grown up responsibilities and challenges including, ya know, a job and chores and grocery shopping and having a social life and trying to balance everything and AAAAAAAHHHHH ADULTING IS HARD. So, I was not as quick to write and upload the song. (It’s been 4 months instead of 3 days) BUT! I DID IT!!! The song is available for the world!
I love this book and I connect deeply to it. It’s exploration of mental health through the main character Aza is heartbreaking and uplifting and I connect with it on a personal level. I highly recommend this book. My song has TONS of quote spoilers so read the book first. HAPPY READING!! Here’s the song. Lyrics are below!
I’m learning that life is a story about you
It’s not a story you tell
I don’t control the people around me
I barely control myself
If the thoughts that I think are not penned by me
am I truly the author of my own story?
Am I a fictional me?
And can you see the same world I see?
And the thoughts in my head spiral round and around
Ever tightening, gripping, a deafening sound
Can I rise to the surface? Am I destined to drown?
Is my story mine for the telling? Is it turtles all the way down? (x2)
If I can’t choose the picture, then I choose the frame
I choose love. I choose friendship. I choose to battle my brain.
You can love and be loved. Nothing deserved except love.
And when I wonder, when I question, when I laugh, when I cry,
I know love is how you become a person and why
You are the fire and the water to extinguish
You’re the narrator and the sidekick and the protagonist
You’re the storyteller and the story told
Things grow better, worse, better, worse
As you grow old
And we all do.
You are somebody’s something but you are also your you. (x2)