As We Stumble Along | Teen Ink

As We Stumble Along

April 2, 2014
By ScreenName777 BRONZE, Grandville, Michigan
ScreenName777 BRONZE, Grandville, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No."-Rosa Parks

Life is a journey each and every one of us takes and throughout that whole journey we live and we learn. We see and we grow, we love and we laugh, we cry and we shout. But, most of all we change. Everyday, we’re constantly changing like the leaves’ colors in autumn as warm summer days fade into the past. We change for the better and we change for the worse, but at the end of the day all that matters is how you interpret that change yourself because if you don’t enjoy yourself for who you are first then who else is going to? Each day, you’re going down your own path-a path that you hopefully like taking. Whether it’s a dark one laden with sadness and mystery or maybe it’s full of sunshine and the light of joy and happiness, it’s yours to make. And like the leaves changing colors in the fall, sometimes the choice is not up to you, yet how you perceive the effect of those changes is the most important part. Like the leaf, I was caught by a new wind; a wind that blew me completely off course of where I believed I was affixed to. But, I’m happy to say that there’s not a single other path I would’ve liked to have taken instead of where I’m being whisked along to right now.

It’s a little bit funny how people have always told you that people change-your friends will change, your family will change, your teachers will change; all of them. But, what they didn’t really tell you all too well is that you’ll be hit with change too as a wind sweeps up an unsuspecting leaf off from its branch and into the sky. And in that sky I was brought to, I chose to fly.

6th grade. 6th grade was the year I started shaping into the person I am today. I wouldn’t even say year though, it was more like the last month or two. The details are blurry in my mind as if you’re trying to locate an object at the bottom of the pool when you’re gazing down from above. If y0u’d ask me, I don’t really remember what changed in my mind for sure. Although, it was most likely something along the lines of “that sounds cool”, or “that’d be fun”, but whatever it was, it was a decision that really did shift who I was as a person. I liked art, I hated anything remotely athletic, and I was pretty bad with my hands. Those statements all stand very, very true today. But, as I sat down in that computer lab I knew that I sucked pretty hardcore. I wasn’t particularly good at anything, I wasn’t really involved in anything (that I liked at least), and I certainly didn’t really have any friends to hangout with after school. I was kind of a loner and I never really realized it or cared at the time. So now, here’s the tricky part; what was I supposed to do then? Definitely not weight training (physical fitness was a laughable option and still is as I’m tiny in stature and size), art is only fun when you have free reign to create whatever it is that’s on your mind, communications sounded boring, and orchestra and band, which I decided to quit, were off limits. Additionally, a part of me didn’t want to blend in with the many Asians before who have chose to pursue an orchestra instrument or take piano lessons day after day. Haha, no. Oops, did that sound a little bit rude? Sorry, but that’s also a prime example of something I’d never had said just a few years back. Acting sounded intriguing, but not as a class really. What I wanted to do was put on a show and that’s exactly what I set out for; the beginning of a new area of interest; theater-”Musical Theatre” to be exact. With a prerequisite of a music class and an audition, I did the only thing I found manageable. I signed up for choir and an audition slot.

My “friends” at the time either did one of two things, they supported me and decided to audition as well or they mocked me about it. I didn’t understand what was so bad about it; there was certainly nothing I deemed wrong or out of the ordinary about what I chose to pursue and to this day there still really isn’t-there’s not a reason to criticize anybody’s interests if that’s what they enjoy doing. I remember being in some sort of meeting room, my auditioner a sort of hippie-indie looking rocker music teacher with bleach blonde hair, glasses, and a rather interesting name of Blithe. Miss flower child music lady-Blithe, sat on the other side of the room as I prepared my monologue. Fun fact:at the time I did not know what a monologue was :). Wow, just put me on Broadway then and there!
“Hi, I’m Sean.”
“Nice to meet you Sean, my name is Mrs. Brouwers.” Blithe Brouwers. Fun. “What do you have prepared today?”
“I’ll be singing a number from Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure and performing (“performing”) “Monologue #2”.” Welcome to the age when I had no idea what real musicals were and just assumed it included anything Disney created.
“Whenever you’re ready”, she smiled and continued to do so throughout my little show.
Therefore, I set off on my goal with a dry throat and lost voice, but still managed to sound decent enough in my opinion and launch myself into the course with a sore, soprano voice and a penchant for acting based purely on a monologue comparing the speaker’s feelings about salad and filet mignon.

As I continued along this new path I chose to be whisked away to, most everything I knew about myself started to shift and transform. Auditions were crude to say the least. Frozen in place on stage I gave the best performance I could bestow in my trembling body and croaked out as much courage I could showcase at the time. There was never a happier moment that year than when our cast list was passed around and I achieved the role I so longed to play; I was Jack (and the Beanstalk) and at the time was tasked with the then daunting task of performing two whole solo songs to myself. Eventually though, it almost felt to me as if I and my character were one; almost as if I wasn’t acting. As I stepped on to that stage and in the spotlight, “Giants in the Sky” never felt more relatable. For the first time, just like young Jack I saw through new eyes; eyes that showed me there was nothing to be afraid of when I come to this marvelous, magical, wonderful, fantastic place-the stage. The stage was my sky and I never sought to soar so high in my young life than that moment right there. Right there was when I realized that this is what I loved to do; where I could be free to be myself and really just embrace who I came to be. It gave me newfound bravery and personality. That was when I found out that it’s okay if I don’t travel along the same wind as the others and it didn’t really matter what anybody thought of me because I think for the very first time, I really did enjoy myself for who I was. I was Cinderella, my shy rags now sewn to a look of more confidence as I stepped into new slippers and became anew. And like Cinderella I ditched my “friends” as if they were just a shoe on the steps of the palace and found people who accepted me and liked me for who I was. Coincidentally, our middle school musical that year was Into the Woods. It sparked in me a new dream and passion that grows even stronger and more enthusiastic to this day. Seventh grade was like my glass slipper-where I found out this was a perfect fit for me; where my old visions and self shattered on to the floor as glass does itself. But, I never liked myself at that age more than I did that year and unlike Cinderella I willingly broke that one shoe on purpose.

Enough with that throwing back into my past though. You can never forget about your past no matter how hard you try; you’ll always keep it with you like a set of magic beans in your pocket. You hold them close to your heart. Like those magic beans, you’ll grow, maybe not into a giant beanstalk rising into the sky (that is if you’re me in that physical sense), but you’ll blossom and rise just the same. You morph into something even more fantastic than you could’ve ever believed in before. You grow stronger and better; essentially you change. That change can be either rejected or embraced as I did so with open arms.

Going back to my little Cinderella story, I in an essence transformed myself entirely. My rags shifted into a shimmering gown of a sort. Never before had I been laced with such confidence and emblazoned with an air of happiness and pure enjoyment. Without, theater I don’t think I’d ever be the person I am today typing this paper right now. I found a love for performance, both in the musical and acting worlds. My newfound passion and joy for these arts surges through me every time I can find myself able to be immersed into them. I can suddenly grab ahold of courage and submerge myself in a place where my utmost self can just shine through. In a way, it’s almost like I’ve found a place in this world-where I can fit in and truly just be whoever I want to be. That’s one part of the beauty of the art. It almost brings you back to the time as little children when you pretend to be a superhero or an astronaut or even a captain of a ship maybe (My absolute favorite part of this year so far). It’s what theater is. I think when you come up with a character and you can just dive right into their life-there’s nothing cooler to me and as you watch yourself and others just living different lives, you’re no longer you and they’re no longer who they are walking around in the hallways at school or checking out at the grocery store. It’s amazing to me. But, to sum it up, here it is:Music and theater gave me a voice. I received so many blessings as apart of my experience. I have a lifelong love for the performing arts, which I wouldn’t have found if not without the assistance and encouragement of some friends and family and as I go along I am constantly meeting more people that become so dear to my heart and just appreciate and look up to-they’re the best group of people I’ve ever met in my whole life. I’m still constantly growing and changing everyday, but I know for certain that these arts have really contributed much to who I am today. I still find it a little hard to believe that in those moments on that stage; as I stand bathed in the light from above inside the velvety fences of curtains, I’ve never felt more alive. I feel creative, happy, enthusiastic, confident, and just pure enjoyment every time I step upon that stage. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s no place I’d rather be than to absorb in the audience’s and castmates’ energy and just feel full of life. Theater and music have provided me with my present personality and friends; both gifts that are indescribably precious and special to me, both gifts that I love with all my being.

And as I wrap this paper up, I continue to be whisked on this path the wind of life is blowing me upon. I encounter others and face obstacles, every part of me able to be changed in an instant as I keep moving along. But, for now I’ve learned to enjoy who I really am and I’m not going to just let something or somebody change me that easily because that feeling is probably one of the best in the world. Once you accept and love yourself for you are, everybody else will. And as we stumble along on life’s funny journey, I say let me at whatever comes my way for I shall continue to journey into the unknown blue and learn and change along my way.

The author's comments:
I love the arts, most notably theater and they've shaped the person I am today greatly.

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