I will try my best to properly communicate what I am feeling at this moment. I've been wandering around my studio apartment in Brooklyn trying to find my thoughts -- place them somewhere and come up with some intellectual and insightful way to summarize my stay in London. At best, I can say that there are no real words in the forefront of my mind to describe the actual emotional and spiritual impact that land had on me. As I sit here, I am, without a doubt, changed.
When I was assigned the role of Queen Hermione in Shakepseare's The Winter's Tale for my LAMDA Four Week Shakespeare Scene Study class performance (wooosh that was a jumble of words), I felt far removed and intimidated. The performances were this past Friday and I remember waking up feeling all of the anticipation and excitement. When my scene came up (for those who are familiar with the play it's the trial scene), I tried to remind myself to breathe and to let the words, Shakespeare's beautiful words, and the previous work that we all did in class, to take me on the journey...and they did. I could pick myself a part and recall the few words I didn't properly annunciate or question why I was in tears at points that I feel I should have been a stronger queen, to serve the character better, but I learned something valuable during this experience and that is the power of acceptance. Acceptance of myself.
Many of us, I would offer all of us, know how detrimental it can be to love someone who doesn't love themselves. The same goes for acting, I think. My discovery has been that as an actor, my self-destruction can impede a living, breathing, character from coming to life. There is power in peace and knowing that the hard work set forth is enough when the going gets tough. That's to say, when the nerves kick in. At the end of that long day, I was lost in my thoughts of reflection and appreciation for the lovely people that I had the opportunity to meet within the five weeks total I was in London.
There is a functional angst that I have lived with -- I'm sure I have referenced this in all of my blogs -- but I am really learning the beauty of overcoming those negative emotions. Right now, I feel that this is the peace that surpasses all understanding. That peace I felt as a little girl full of innocence at church. You don't have to be religious to understand the innate desire to emotionally function at a place connected with the earth, grounded. I celebrate this emotional grace and I don't know what challenges may come my way in coming against such freedom but I do intend to keep this wonderful feeling close.
It's funny because in my original GoFundMe video, I spoke about wanting to use theatre to change the world. I neglected to see all the ways that I could improve upon myself. More than anything, this experience has shown me the beauty in humanity.
I observed how the Thames River stretches far and wide and there are many bridges to cross it, though it is shared by all who choose to enjoy its marvels be they from near or far. This reminds me of life. There are many ways to cross and connect with others and to connect with oneself, with the world. My friend Chlo, who I was staying with, asked me about what my favorite part of the entire trip was.
At the time, I was still in London and couldn't quite articulate what my favorite part was. I think I can say that after all the festivals, visits to Shakespeare's Globe, Stratford Upon Avon -- and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Warwick Castle, double decker bus rides through the city, clean public transit, pubs, afternoon tea, rehearsals, dance courses, singing courses...the best thing about my time in London was that in all of this activity, I found the power of being present and accepting peace. When I first arrived, I did not feel deserving to have a moment "off" to not be crowded by politics, the future of the USA, the troubles of twitter...I didn't feel deserving to focus on my art and on myself. Yet, I began to realize that I did have the option to return to America the same person as when I left. That would be easy. I challenged myself about two weeks into my trip to take the road less traveled.
I wanted to come back changed. Not forced change, but to just allow the experience to work itself upon me. Lean into the discomfort. Of course I didn't do this perfectly, but I know that by the Heavens above something miraculous happened. Now, I feel at peace.
My Dad has always told me to pursue peace, I can't remember the Biblical reference, but I remember that. Now I see why that is powerful, London brought me peace. Perhaps that is why I felt so called to travel there in the first place. Perhaps that is the ultimate change I needed in going forward with my life. <3