Monday, November 24, 2008

Who Am I?

Might seem like an intense title for a blog post. Inspired by Zoolander, of course it rings of depth and profundity. The answer to the question Derek poses to himself? "I don't know. I guess I have a lot of things to ponder."

I have justifiably been taking Derek Zoolander as an example in my life and pondering the same subject. Who am I? You might be asking yourself why, and rightfully so, someone as confident and humble as myself would need to reflect on such a topic. Here's why:

We all know that media portrays only truth, and there are obviously situations in which people transform personalities/physique completely. While I have yet to turn into a steroid-eating, woman-chasing monster (my man-hunting has not yet reached monster qualification levels), I do feel that I occasionally experience the duplicity of personalities this movie so clearly portrays. In this film, drugs are the transformation catalyst. In my life? Stress.

Here I sit in Houston, having finished the opera, my Masters recital, and a series of stressful auditions, and I find myself a calm and overwhelmingly pleasant individual. While in Michigan under the strains of graduate school, I tend to feel more like the woman pictured below. No, it is not actually me, though I do tend to react to stress by dressing in a similar fashion.

I admittedly let stress get the best of me on occasion. I become more abrupt, less conversational, and make appallingly racist jokes. When I leave the pressure of my program, I look at my planner without hyperventilating, I do crazy things like read for pleasure, and I still make racist jokes. I mean, a girl's got to be a little consistent...

While it's clearly not ideal to be at least two individuals (I want to name at least one side of me Bon Qui Qui in tribute to my "outta da hood program" sistah), I feel comforted in knowing I am not the only one who finds it difficult to cope with the stresses placed upon me (primarily by myself). My dear friend Michael Scott understands the realities which I face. Some of you may recall the Season 3 Episode entitled "Safety Training." This is the plan he develops to more effectively help the Dunder Mifflin office understand the dangers of stress in the workplace, depression being the primary side-effect in his example.

"You may be asking yourself, "What am I doing on a trampoline?" Well, I thought I'd bounce here for a while, relieve some stress, and then move on with my day. Not! Here's the plan. Dwight, is going to gather all of the office workers and all of the warehouse guys, we're going to have another safety seminar. Only this time, where's Michael? Oh my God! He is on the roof! Now I have got their attention. I... tell them, about the cold hard facts of depression. And then I say, "Hey! You ever seen a suicide?" And I jump. And they freak out. And they get to see... the dangers of depression with their own eyes. Nice side note: They might think "Hey, I should have been nicer to Michael." But that's... not why I'm doing this... Then, I land on the trampoline, take a couple extra bounces for fun. I climb off, walk around the corner... Ta-freakin'-da."

I have no immediate plans to implement such an example in my life, as I am content with my current reflections. Simply recognizing my dual-personality and my poor habits in coping with stress have inspired me to make some changes in my life. I don't know what they are yet, but hopefully those inspirations will follow shortly.

Observations aside, I got the job I flew to NYC to audition for last week! It's in San Francisco and I'm psyched! (But not in the crazy way I've been discussing in this post). "Ta-freakin' da!" Here's hoping I get a year round job next....:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How sweet it is...

I love what I do. Even more importantly, I love that there are people who love me and support me in what I do. I just spent a wonderful weekend with my parents who came to visit me, see the opera I've been working on all semester, and listen to my second Masters recital. I'm afraid I was a bit stressed over the weekend with a research paper hanging over my head and a recital to play on Monday, but I loved having them here.

It was also an amazing sensation to play a recital for a hall filled with so many of my friends from the various aspects of my life: church, school---I guess those are the only aspects of my life, but still...:) I loved walking out from the green room following the performance and seeing so many of the people who make my life possible in one place. Thank you to all those who put forth so much effort to be there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do svidaniya

At this point in the semester, survival is the objective. Successful survival is the ideal. Life starts feeling a bit like a video game: I have to beat a level and in order to do that I have to first destroy the freaky little monsters, then jump over a lake of fire, and finally kill the big bad creature at the end. (So what if I haven't played video games since the original Mario Bros when I was 8!) Point being, with each obstacle you pass successfully you're one step closer to winning. Or surviving in this metaphor.

Well...I totally made it past the freaky little monsters! I played my piano dress rehearsal for Eugene Onegin today and now I get to bow out and let the orchestra step in. I'm finished with the opera.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I believe that in today's society one must be wary of the acronym. When the need arises to mask the complexity of an operation behind a series of capitalized letters, the validity of such an organization is drawn into question. In truth, I reference only one specific acronym---UPS. For those of you who spend time on, let me clarify: I am referencing United Parcel Service, and not Underwater Photographic Society as you may have initially suspected.

I wage an ongoing war with UPS. It consists of me purchasing articles online (I'm actually an Amazon Prime member, and make good use of that membership), and UPS attempting to deliver them. I miss the initial delivery, as I tend to be away from home ALWAYS, and they leave me an official notice which says they'll try again the next day. Sometime between the hours of 8-11, 11-3, or 3-5. So could I possibly arrange my schedule so they can deliver it in that time frame? Needless to say, I miss the package, they repeat the process, refusing adamantly to leave anything at our house without a signature. My free 2-day shipping becomes free 2-week shipping while my packages gather dust in a warehouse 20 minutes away.

I occasionally make the sojourn to Ypsilanti, taking my knife with me of course, and brave the UPS facility. As I did today. The forces of Utterly Pathetic Service were aligned against me and just as I handed over my package slip, all the power died in the building. This left me stumbling blindly about in the darkness (with knife in hand of course), knocking over towers of packages, and eventually taking shelter in a vacant brown delivery truck. Or maybe not---BUT in the twenty minutes I waited for the computer system to reboot this wouldn't have been an impossibility. I was thrilled when I could finally learn the status of my package. As the Unhurried Product Salesman pronounced my package sentence, I could do nothing but gaze at him in horror and disgust. My package had been returned?!?! Without me receiving notification? (For the record, UPS claims they informed me on a postcard. But delivery was most likely attempted somewhere within a 24-hour time when I was expected to be patiently waiting at the door for a delivery). And thus passed my Ultimately Pointless Sojourn.

The acronym won this round. But thankfully I am not alone in dealing with the complexities of UPS.

Please stay tuned for updates concerning the status of my package which was supposed to ship my PowerbookG4 to the magical land of CA for repairs: UCTSOMPWWSTSMPTTMLOCFR. I mean, what good is only a 3-letter acronym anyway?
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