In all honesty, the most valuable/insightful assignment I completed was writing a personal manifesto for a business class. The prompt asked us to answer two simple questions:
1.Who am I?
2. What do I want?
My 21 year old self was like...
There were no restrictions on how you answered these questions. You could use words, pictures, video, songs, anything you wanted. Well, I recently dug up my finished assignment. Almost two years later, it's still pretty spot on.
And here it is for all of you to take what you need from.
30 January 2014
Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever. – Walt Disney
I lived in a land of make-believe growing up. My younger brother and I were constantly at play. One day we would be Native Americans of the Great Plains exploring the world on horseback, building forts in the woods, and fishing alongside a rushing creek. In reality, we were kids riding our bikes around the cul-de-sac, our forts were made out of beach towels and patio furniture, and our rushing creek was just the pool. My mother didn’t believe in gaming systems and we weren’t allowed to watch sitcoms so we would spend hours in various worlds of our creation; our imaginations went wild, our laughter was uncontrollable and we dreamt big. Every day was a new adventure and for that day, the adventure became our reality.
That spirit of imagination is what led me straight into the open arms of the theatre. Along with her crusade against all personal electronic gaming devices, my mother also showered my brother and I with Broadway musical recordings. When I was six years old and my younger brother was four, we sat through the entire 3-hour production of The Phantom of the Opera, completely riveted and probably lip-syncing the words to every song. It was a few years later that the family took a trip to New York City where I saw my first Broadway show, The Lion King. From that point on, I was a goner. I made my performance debut in the school talent show that year and the rest is history. I gave up my dreams of being a professional tennis player and going to Stanford for a life in the theatre.
Now here I am – a musical theatre major in one of the best programs in this country. I want a lifetime of make-believe. I want to transport people to a different world for those three hours that they’re in the theatre because I remember what it was like to get swept up as a kid and there is nothing better than getting carried away with your imagination. Nothing. And if I can give that to people, there is nothing more rewarding for me as a performer. I want to take that unrestrained childhood imaginative energy and use it every day to create performances that touch people’s lives in ways they never expected.
I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. – Vincent Van Gogh
Love is hard and my definition of love is constantly changing but there is nothing more beautiful or inspiring that can also be so painful or debilitating. And despite all the wretched heartache of my past, I refuse to give up on love. I have loved deeply and lost but it will not stop me from loving again. Love is so damn hard but it’s so damn worth it.
A small crack does not mean that you are broken; it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart. – Linda Poindexter
When life pushes me to the breaking point, I will not break. I will push back. I will not sit back and wait for someone to save me.
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind – C.S. Lewis
Move forward. You cannot move forward if you are looking back. You cannot change things that have already happened so you have to let them go. Once the audition or interview or bad date is over, forget about it. Life is going to be full of rejection but it’s all in the past and there is no room in the future for it.
Get up, dress up, show up and never give up. – Genevieve Rhode
I will face the challenges of each new day with my best face forward and I will never stop trying. Even if I fail, I will fail having tried everything I could and I will learn something I didn’t know before.
You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.
I will surround myself with people who make me better. I will eliminate negative energy.
Gratitude changes everything.
It’s all about perspective. We can choose to see the bad and let it consume us or we can turn things around. Positive thoughts are so much healthier than negative. I will continue to remind myself of all the good things in my life.
Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it.
Now just because I want to give people something to talk about doesn’t mean I am going to run around like a fool. I will become a better person every day in the smallest of ways. Any little bit of improvement is still an improvement. Nobody expects perfection and I know there will be lots of mistakes in my future. But I will embrace the mistakes with grace rather than let them destroy any progress I have made.
Be silly, be honest, be kind. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I will be the type of person I want to meet.
Children and art.
The only two things we can leave behind. So, make them worthwhile.
If you've made it this far into this post, you deserve a drink. I also think everyone owes it to themselves to take a minute to slow down and answer those two deceivingly simple questions.
Who am I?
What do I want?
Especially since moving to the city, it's been so easy for me to lose sight of my manifesto. There are things in my life right now that don't align with what I want and now that I know what they are, it's time to let them go.