Angela and I

Angela and I

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to Return Home

Well here we are folks, 2014.  5 days in to the year that, according to social media at least, everyone has huge plans for!  Myself included.  2013 was a strange one, and not one I would be very happy to repeat.  It did have it's great moments.  I, along with three others, put on an incredible production of Miss Julie by August Strindberg all by ourselves!  I went to Florida and performed in my dream show, Spring Awakening!  I went to Disney World!  I moved to New York!

Because I try to focus on the good and positive things in life, I won't get in to the bad stuff that happened.  Honestly, it will probably pop up here on this blog once I get more comfortable in this little cyber-home I've created for my thoughts, but until then, just know that 2013, in one way or another, kicked my butt. So when I packed up my things in New York and schlepped down to Chinatown to get on a 12 hour bus to Cincinnati, I could barely contain my excitement.  I was so happy to be returning home to my family's open arms.

It's all the same except the girl in the hallway
where she's been and who she will ripen into 
your childhood's on the other side of a sprawling divide
too wide
Take a silent breath, hold in the change
tell yourself you still live here...

I got home the day before Christmas Eve, and the Holiday Proper was fantastic.  It was exactly everything I had hoped for: full of family and friends and virtually stress free.  We even all got to go visit my Grandma together, something that hasn't happened in a few years due to the siblings always being in different places.  It was a few days after the magic air of Christmas had settled that I started feeling a little strange.  I kept thinking of the Kerrigan and Lowdermilk song "How to Return Home" and I frankly started to panic.

The personal goal I set for myself when I moved to New York in October was to finally become an adult.  To blossom into the 23 year old woman that I am capable of becoming.  I have always felt like a little girl.  Partially's difficult not to when only last summer people were asking me every day if the theatre I was working for found me at Lanesboro Middle School.  I just look young, a fact that is a blessing when it comes to my work onstage!  So yes, other people have something to do with it, but honestly up until this point in my life I have completely played into it.  I took the role as the charming, fun-loving, family fixing little girl off the stage and into my real life because that's what I thought people wanted me to be.  All of the time.  I continued to emulate Annie, Little Mary, and Dinah Lord because in some strange, sick, corner of my brain, I truly believed that's what would make the people around me happiest.

It seems so simple now, but realizing that is not what makes me happiest was a huge revelation, and a huge game changer.  I was walking down Central Park East, on my way home from work, shivering in the city wind, when I realized that I have never been happier than when I was directing Spring Awakening my senior year of college.  I was in charge, I knew exactly what I was doing, no one could tell me I was doing a bad job, and I felt like an adult. For the first time, and the last time since, I had complete and utter confidence in myself and in my work.

There's no written guidelines on how to come back
How to show up and unpack
How to show up
How to grow up
How to take a breath. 

I have to grow up.  We all do.  I feel as if my generation is experiencing some pretty severe emotional growing pains right now being out of college and trying to navigate this terrifying "real world" we were all so excited to enter. I'm sure I'm not alone in the feeling that when I come home I put huge pressure on myself to fall back into the youngest child/little sister role.  I fell back in to old habits quickly, so much so that I was given a huge reality check.  Yet in that moment, I felt my family's support holding me up more than ever.  And that is something that will never change, no matter how long I am away from home or how many years go by.  I will always have their undying love, and will always be able to return home to a safe and welcoming environment.

I won't bore you with details of my resolutions, but the overriding goal of all 8 (yes 8...dream big, I guess) is that by this time next year I will be 100% myself.  Nothing lurking underneath the surface, silencing my BELTING, and clouding my happiness.  Because Katie Berger has NO time for that.

Berger, out.  Happy New Year, everybody!! I hope all your resolutions lead you to a happier, healthier you.  Let's take this ride together!

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