Hello 2016

Dear 2016:

You have a lot to live up to.

2015 was ushered in with a heart full of hope, but very much still on the mend after the roughest year I hope to ever experience. What I had no way of knowing was that my heart needed to be so deeply torn in 2014 in order to build up the smooth, strong, new strands of muscle capable of withstanding the amount of overwhelming love 2015 would bring. Without that tear down and build up, it may have burst or collapsed when flooded with so much good or repelled the notion that such grand, luminous, REAL love was possible.

I will forever be grateful to 2015; it was a year of boldness and it was the year that I came home to my own bones. I said “yes” often – and often to things that scared me or that seemed impossible; and in return, 2015 taught me that everything is possible.

In 2015, I found myself traveling confidently alone in daily adventures and across the country.


Hello, Pacific Ocean!

For the first time, I performed a piece of my own writing and did so for a sold out crowd.


A Brief Dating History

I also “bust the bust out of boob jail” and twirled tassels for 900+ people over the run of The Last Burlesque in a triumph over my history with body battles.


The Last Burlesque: Ryan Maxwell Photography

I saw many dear friends marry and was honored to stand up with not just one, but two couples of my favorite humans as they vowed to journey this life together.

I sent homeless animals to forever homes and helped care for them while they waited to find their families.


I put myself back into the dating pool and created community around the horrors and atrocities that accompany that dive. I became fully transparent publicly and personally regarding my sexuality and interest in both men and women. I performed one show under the most difficult of circumstances and came through it not unscathed, but knowing that I can handle myself on stage while under personal emotional pressure.

I made good art with really good people.

And in 2015, I fell in love.

I fell deeper in love with my brilliant, beautiful friends for their huge hearts, kind souls, and open minds.  I fell more in love with theatre – with the art of storytelling; with the community in DC; with my artistic teams and casts; and with incredible characters that I so luckily was entrusted to portray. I fell back in love with *my* life – not the thought of what my life could be some day, but with the life I am leading.

And – as if 2015 wanted to solidify its rank as a landmark year – this fall I fell madly in love with the most phenomenal woman who makes my every cell dance. My world is brighter and more joyful than it has ever been in large part due to her presence. And I could not be happier.


So, 2016, I am entering your year feeling incredibly whole-hearted and excited for all you may have in store.

Welcome. Let’s be friends.

Definition Part II: When “ish” gets slightly more personal and hippy-dippy

After writing the last post, I’ve been musing over “definition” in a much more personal and detailed way.  A ton of thoughts have been rocketing around my brain and something I’ve struck that I think is worth sharing (even though it means two posts in one day) is that no matter how you define yourself, I hope a piece of your personal definition includes some echo of “I am worthy.”

Part of the reason I think I am gravitating towards thoughts/discussion around the theme of definition is because in the last several years, my life had settled in a sense and I began defining myself in ways that meant I stopped thinking I was worthy of greater things and adopted definitions that negated important parts of my personhood.  This was easy to slip into because in some arenas of my life, I was directly being told or shown that I was not valued as worthy – and that started slowly and gently so by the time it was blatant and loud, I was accustomed to feeling unworthy and accepted it as truth.  In other areas, I wasn’t getting the validation or opportunities I craved in order to believe that I was worthy, supporting the “truth” I had learned elsewhere. So even though I continued defining others I loved as infinitely worthy – I lost that personally and slowly took myself out of the running for greater, better things. And it’s taken some time and work to come back to something that once sat in my bones so strongly and heavily that I didn’t question it or even need to say it:

I am worthy. I am worthy of the good I seek. I am worthy of the love I wish to give and receive. I am worthy as an entity unto myself just because I exist and breathe and dream and am.

You are worthy. And you don’t need others to show you or tell you or give you attention or opportunities that seem to validate your worth.

You are worthy. You are worthy of the good you seek. You are worthy of the love you wish to give and receive. You are worthy as an entity unto yourself just because you exist and breathe and dream and are.

So no matter what definitions you hold to your person, I hope there are vibrations of “worthiness” in there somewhere…whether hiding or in plain sight.


I like definitions. Of words. Of roles. Of boundaries. Definitions lend clarity. Definitions make me feel safe. Definitions give a sense of sure-ness to something; and even if that something is not-so-sure, labeling it as such makes it OK.

When it comes to people, there are so many things that define us as human beings, so many roles each of us play and so many things each of us do that make up the whole of the person each of us are. So I find it interesting the definitions that we cling to as being “it”; as being our personal definitions.  As in:  “I am (a) _______________.”  Mom, daughter, son, brother, father, sister, artist, CEO, tennis player, dog person, cat person, yogi, lifeguard, coach, teacher, lover, fighter, Irish, Italian, New Yorker, black, white, straight, gay, bi-sexual, asexual, liberal, conservative, scientist, Catholic, Methodist, atheist, ugly, pretty, tall, short, fat, skinny, athletic, writer, reader, painter, introvert, extrovert, Libra, Gemini, old, young, single, spouse, caregiver etc. And following up on that, even more interesting to me is the: “I am a _____________ and therefore it means that I do _____________. And I like ___________. And I dislike _______________.”

I was recently #SouloAdventuring and was wandering through a part of town I rarely visit.  After two hours of walking around and passing a particularly inviting tavern several times and feeling a pull to enter each time, I went in.  There were only 2 seats at the back of the bar and I was surprised to find a high school buddy who I hadn’t seen in 11 years sitting there.   We didn’t get to chatting much because he was there on business, but in my head, I was thinking of how much I’ve personally changed and grown since high school and how much he probably has, too.

In school years, I defined myself by numerous external factors that are probably not representative of who I am now.  You can track certain things I do – like theatre – back as far as pre-school, sure. And I am who I am in part because of lessons and compounding experiences over years of my life – very much including school.  But who I am at my essence has nothing to do with being in student government or in different clubs or homecoming queen or not making the basketball or field hockey teams or getting solid Cs (almost sometimes Ds) in math. However, at the time, I found those failures and achievements and roles to be absolutely defining.

In that same tavern, I ended up sitting between two older men – both who had lived in town for stretches of time a while back and both were feeling particularly chatty so we became pals for the night.  One was in his 60’s the other probably in his 70’s.

The 70’s something man told me about studying for the bar exam at this tavern and how he eventually owned a Porsche and would zip around in that car – according to him there is a stop sign on Rock Creek Parkway dedicated to his recklessness and police chases he zoomed out of.  He talked about money and success and DC-back-in-the-day and living in Georgetown.  These were the things he wanted me to know about him. He took out his phone later in our time together and the background had a dog on it. So – of course – I asked about the dog. Then he started telling me about all the different dogs he has owned; this one is a service animal and he takes it into the retirement homes to spend time with elderly people. His girlfriend is jealous of the attention he gives the dog because he loves it so much. A completely different side; a completely different definition than the Porsche-zooming, money-focused, power-man he presented earlier.

The 60 year old is from Colorado and has a young son who volunteers at the local animal shelter. He was glad to be in DC and comes back often on business. He said he enjoys this time of year – tourist season – because you get to see all the kids in DC on school trips; his son’s trip is coming up. He is a father. He asked me a bunch of questions about myself and when I told him I do theatre he said: “Believe it or not, I like theatre.”  “Can I ask you something?” I said “Why did you say ‘believe it or not’? I’m just curious what made you think I may not believe that you like theatre?”   And he went on to say how he has always been a jock and that people don’t think that jocks like theatre.  He said that back when he was in high school he was on the football team, but he still went to see the shows that his high school put on and that people were always surprised by that.  I asked him what his favorite show was and he listed off a ton of musicals that he’s seen on Broadway or in London or in Colorado.  He even told me about one time when he and his friend were on a ski trip but the lifts shut down because it was too windy; they found out that a local high school had a show going on, and because they couldn’t ski, they popped in on a whim to check it out and it ended up being a good show.  Clearly this man truly enjoys theatre but because he played football in high school, he still – at 60 – finds it weird to tell people “I like theatre.”  Even someone in a bar who has no awareness of his history.

Definitions are powerful. How we define ourselves matters because it does dig into our person and affects the way we handle ourselves in the world and even how we handle ourselves in private.  And – in life – of course there are events that change our lives forever; then there comes the question of whether or not we define ourselves by specific events or our actions in trying times.

I don’t really know how I am defining myself these days…I feel like it’s been changing so much lately.  Sometimes I am a theatre artist. Sometimes I am a communications employee. Sometimes I am a *good* friend. Sometimes I am a *bad* friend. Sometimes I am a productive member of society.  Sometimes I am an extreme procrastinator.  Sometimes I am lost … and sometimes I am just searching. Always I am a lover and a fighter and a believer and a journeyer and very, very human.

Or maybe the lesson here is that people really aren’t able to be defined.  Maybe the definition of a person is just “I am a person and therefore it means that I do things that my soul/personhood calls me to do.  And I like the things I like. And I dislike the things I dislike.”  Maybe it’s just that broad.