Certified 3am Protein Monster

I sat on the floor of a Holiday Inn Express in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, forking cold, well-seasoned steak into my sleepy mouth. Our lead instructor, Ivo, had explicitly told us to eat some protein in the middle of the night before our first physical test.

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Everything was in that delicious ‘just before’ moment you get, that bubble of ‘what could happen?’ We’d spent the day before knocking 4 states off my bucket list (New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) as we drove from LaGuardia to our destination an hour south of Boston.

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Let me briefly tell you about the women in this photo. The two in the backseat are Nicole and Michelle, both Doctors and the chillest marrieds ever. The woman on the far left is my training partner, Ashleyann, and I wouldn’t have wanted to test with anyone else, y’all. I love us and am so proud of our group.

Friday morning came and Ash braided my hair and we all tried to eat something as our butts were puckered in fear for the first day. Impressions mean a lot and we’d flown halfway across the country to do this instructor certification and represent our gym.

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We lined up with 18 other strangers, feeling the year and a half of instructor trainings and injuries and frustrations about to release in 3 days of mental and physical endurance.

What followed isn’t some secret society ritual, but I don’t know how to tell you how hard it was. It was exactly what I expected but also mentally harder and physically arduous. We all joked about how our other instructors told us they ‘just don’t remember’ their testing. Like when moms say ‘I forgot about the pain when they laid the baby on my chest.’ How do you not remember?!

I remember the testing. I’ve never sweat so much in my life. To the makers of Nuun tablets and Gu, well, goo, thank you. I would recommend you as official sponsors of Krav Maga Alliance instructor testing, if it was up to me (it’s not). Y’alls products truly saved me. 3 8-hour days of on/off/on/on/on/off/on/IT’S ON ON ON/off really gets to a body. If Ash wanted to troll me she’d have Tony’s voice wake me up as an alarm shouting “B’s! B IS ATTACKING GO GO GO” and it would have me fully dressed and on the Brown Line in 46 seconds flat.

You know your girl was in there taking mad Hermione notes too, going through pens and pencils like it was my J-O-B (it kind of is). When I look at my notes I remember the lecture where I discovered that I had blisters under my calluses. Isn’t the point of calluses to avoid blisters? I see the blurred ink on a page about ‘safety in warm ups’ and remember running TWENTY TWO separate 10 minute warm ups and flinch. On one of the pages it looks like a person with hand shakes wrote it BECAUSE I HAD HAND SHAKES from all the focus mitt rounds.

It was 3 days of sweat. Of grunts. Of looking Ashleyann in the eyes and us knowing we were gonna drag each other through it by the scruff of our necks if needed. Of some of the most disgusting laundry you’ve ever smelled. More sweat. Paging through the KMA manual after I accidentally taught a Level 2 technique on my first day. Eating anything at all because MY BODY WANTED IT (and frankly, had earned it). You want steak, body? I will put steak in there. You want a burger, body? Let’s put an egg on it, we fancy.

I wish I knew another way to tell you: it was tough. And we did it.

We made 18 new friends (20 if we’re counting Tony and Vinny). Look at our beautiful faces after Tony said Day 3 was complete.

There were 2 other guys from a different Chicago KMA gym, one of which Ashleyann had gone to high school with! SMALL WORLD Y’ALL; Joe & Nick, masters of their domains and I know in my cynical little improvisor’s heart that Joe must do stand up somewhere in this city and I.Will.Find.It. #artofmonkeypaws

We met Maddie from Krav Maga Detroit, who is welcome to have some adjunct training/traveling badass professorship at our gym all day any day.

And so many other people–the whole ABD family from multiple locations, you are wonderful, strong gargoyles and I’m proud to have sweat all over you and also to have bought one of your t shirts, even though I can’t teach in it.

My Oscar list of thanks is gonna get long, so pop in “Lose Yourself” because you know that was the song of the week and settle in.

Thank you to America’s Best Defense in North Attleboro for hosting us. You have an awesome facility and I’m 96% sure it’s weathered for the upcoming zombie apocalypse in that little woods nook; your people however, shine in that place and I’m so happy we got to meet and train with them.

To Soke Tony Morrison, who ran our test, thank you for pushing me/us. Thank you for letting me run Sunday warmups after my Saturday ones weren’t up to my standards. That was immensely needed and I appreciate it. We were warned that certifying instructors could be intense and sometimes difficult to testers; I’ve never been so happy to have received bad information. At all times we felt like you liked us, you wanted to see us succeed and gave us relevant, helpful feedback on our work. Thank you.

To our fellow testers: y’all fierce as HELL. There was no weak link. Everyone went hard and everyone is someone I would let sleep on my extremely comfortable couch. Thank you for the encouragement, the feedback, the laughs and the Boston food/drink recommendations we did not take because we discovered our hot tub had a jacuzzi and that was the end of ‘let’s go to downtown Boston.’ I would listen to your accents all day, every day.

Titan Gym: thank you for believing that I was a badass even when I didn’t. I’m still surprised you saw in me what I didn’t see in myself. I’m grateful for the sweat I have left and learned on your floors, the Romanian moonshine consumed in the wee hours and the students I am privileged to make run around, listen to Pitbull and grow in their skills. I promise to keep bringing you terrible puns and hearty grunts.

To Michelle and Nicole: Thank you for being badass lady doctors and my friends. Seriously, y’all are great. We teach at weird, different hours and don’t see each other a lot but this weekend I felt like we all 4 became a unit; we loved and supported even though I was scared out of my support leggings. I’m so happy to have been a part of your journey and to have seen that moment when Nicole’s eyes turned shark black and I almost lost a tooth. I couldn’t have asked for better people to have gone with Ashleyann and I and believe me when I say I would rub a lacrosse ball across your shoulders any day.

Ash: we did it. We damn well did it. There is no one in that gym that knows me better. That has seen me cry as much, sweat as much, nervously fart as much. We’ve spent hours talking and training and cleaning and I’m so happy that we went on this ride together. I’m a firm believer in arranged marriages after this year and a half. I love you and I love that you wouldn’t let me quit or run during this long season. You truly take joy in teaching and loving your students and Diamond and you inspire me to re-invest my heart in it too. I 100% love you and I am a better woman having done this with you.

This is Ash pulling apart her Gatorade plastic rings “for the turtles.” She’s the best.

My name is Alyssa Bailey and I’m now a Krav Maga Alliance certified Instructor of Krav Maga Level 1. I teach at 8am on Saturdays and 9am on Sundays at Titan Gym near Belmont & Western in Chicago, IL and dance terribly to ‘encourage’ my students during those times.

I have survived the most difficult testing of my life and the next person who asks ‘how was your vacation in Massachusetts?’ Better hope they know a 360 defense for a backhand slap. 💪🏻👯‍♀️👯‍♀️💕

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The KMA Way

Hair tightly braided, deodorant applied, electrolyte tablets packed.

3am wake up to eat steak and potatoes, back to sleep. Packed lunches, 3 sets of hand wraps, 2 sets of gloves. Headgear. Shin guards.

My internal dialogue is alternating between the Dune litany on fear, Psalm 91 and positive mantras like those on kitten posters.

Now the only way is through *insert kitten poster* 💪🏻🐱

#InstructorsOrBust

Mom.

Flowers have always made me think of my Mom. Any city, state, or country I’m in–I take photos of flowers and send them to her. If there’s a photo of a flower in my phone, I’ve sent it. Beautiful, fragile, smells good (or not at all), vibrant, weird, defiant; I’ll always associate flowers with her.

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I’ve been home for Mother’s Day once since I was 21. 22 I was in Morocco, 23 in Oklahoma, 24 in Arkansas, 25 I was actually home because I was in that transition 2 weeks before Korea, 26 & 27 in Korea, 28-30 in Chicago.

I remember as a kid that we always tried to do something to surprise our Mom. Countless sloshes of Lipton tea on the carpet trying to sneak up the stairs, flowers we’d cut out of her own flowerbed (lovingly frowned upon, but allowed because it’s the thought that counts) and trying to quietly clank dishes we as we attempted to make an edible breakfast.

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It’s strange to think of where my Mom was at 30. 3 kids (9, 6 and not-quite 3) and somehow keeping us all fed and clothed and the house in order and still kept flowers alive. Now that I’m 30 I realize a thimbleful of the sheer force of will and emotional labor that takes–and I say that as someone looking in, not someone who has lived through it.

I get frustrated at my own proclivity for laundry procrastination–I can’t imagine raising a 9-year old curious, sports-loving boy, a 6-year old bookworm who regularly stole all the batteries in the house to read books by flashlight under her blankets *raises hand* and a 2-year old who ate 97% Cheerios for breakfast-lunch-dinner (the other 3% was just milk in a glass). I would have had leashes on us in 30 seconds.

Balancing us and Dad and her own life and parents and groceries and church and cleaning house and a dog must have been hard. I never saw it though. I can break into tears at the mere thought of an Olympian ‘chasing their dreams’ commercial on NBC, but I don’t really remember my Mom crying often as a kid. Except for when I broke her mixing bowl trying to get my whole head in it to lick the bowl. That was a bad one.

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I outgrew my 5’3″ Mom in 5th grade and figured that was the end of looking like her. My coloring is my Dad, my height is my Dad, my humor is my Dad’s. If you see a picture of my Dad, it’s so clear. There was no hospital mix up. It’s harder for me to see my Mom in me. Other than our eye color (#teamhazel), there’s not as much physical resemblance as my other sisters have. She is small and rocks things with heels & pink & ruffles and I wear a size 11 shoe and own so many sweatshirts that I might/probably/definitely have a hoarding problem.

But sometimes I see it my actions rather than my body. I see my Mom in me when I do that laugh-so-hard-I-can’t-breathe-and-might-need-to-step-out-to-pee. I see my Mom when I grab someone else’s plate as I clean up. I see my Mom when I do a job until it’s done, even if it’s a gross/boring/mindless thing. I see my Mom in how I fold shirts and towels and socks. I see her in how I cook food or throw tupperware haphazardly in the cupboard and shut the door to not see the disorganization. I hear my Mom in every harmony I sing and every time Fur Elise plays anywhere–in an elevator, on a ring tone, in a store.

Sometimes I buy flowers for my house and it feels like a piece of her is here. I made spaghetti tonight and I could hear her telling me to shake in more dried onion. I’ll put on makeup and hear her imploring me to put a little color on my lips rather than just chapstick.

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It feels selfish to say I miss my Mom when I know I’m the one who leaves. I see my Mom 2, maybe 3 times a year if I’m lucky, and that is 100% on me and my itchy feet. But despite my choices, my Mom is always there at the airport (except when I surprise her). She is always going to pull my head onto her lap and run her fingers through my hair, no matter how grown I am. She is thoughtful and caring and tough in ways I will never know.

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There’s a lilac tree under my Mom’s window. It used to be in the flower mound at our old house, and that smell will always be home and Mom to me. There’s a lilac tree down the street from me in Chicago, on the walk home from the grocery store. I forgot about it until today. Spring is a little late in Chicago, what with it still snowing less than a month ago.

I stopped under the lilac tree this afternoon–which must have just recently bloomed–holding all my groceries. It’s perfectly the same. Exactly the same shade and smell. There was a plump purple bunch just above me. I pushed on my toes and closed my eyes and felt a raindrop from the earlier storm roll down my cheek as my nose touched the blooms and my whole body felt like I was home. Sitting under my Mom’s window, feeling the Washington rain and my heart wanted her near.

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If you are with your Mom today, squeeze her tight. I know I’ll get to FaceTime mine and hear that some of these aforementioned memories aren’t fully formed or that I gave her too much credit. My Mom is gorgeous, a dynamo, a force. She is short and beautiful and tough and loves her 3 grand babies and is cute as a bug rocking her bluetooth headphones.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I’ll love you forever and like you for always. I’m probably going to go stand under that lilac tree with my eyes closed, loudly sniffing until the owner sends his pet duck (yes, you read that right) out to shoo me away.

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Good feels.

It’s Western Washington summer weather in February in Chicago. 55 degrees, intermittent rain, just a whisper of wind as I sit here on my porch post-gym.

The last few days I’ve been looping a new song, “Wildfire,” by SYML. It came up randomly on a new music playlist recommended for me by Apple Music and damn, did they hit me right on my cute lil nose.

In good time, you’ll come to know

When you release, when you let go

You can find yourself where you belong

You’re not a curse, you’re not too much

You are needed here, you are enough

And nothing’s gonna hold you down for long.

 

Lately I’ve been feeling adrift, unfunny, uninspired, unwanted, undesirable, listless, without a path, hunting, searching. That’s not to say that people haven’t loved and talked and reached out to me. It’s how I’ve been feeling even with those things.

I’ve done a lot of walking in the past few days. The weather has been beautiful/snowy/wet and something about walking in rain and snow and this song has been healing my heart.

It sounds weird to type this but it helps to think about sitting in front of myself and saying the words. I grew up knowing there’s power in words and something about doing this is working.

Rain and the right song at the moment I need it most from a Washington artist. Seems right. Feels good.

🌧🌲✌🏻

Why I’m Not Scared Of Turning 30 Today

“Are you calling this your 30th or your second 29th?”

“Say goodbye to the best decade of your life!”

“Welcome to your dirty thirties–its all downhill from here!”

Y’all. This is some serious garbage. I’m as proud of turning 30 sitting here in the middle of Chicago’s Christkindl market surrounded by gluwine and sauerkraut as I was to turn 10 and go to Black Angus and get a steak (medium well; don’t worry, I’m better now).

Ending/beginning a decade is something to celebrate. I think about wide eyed, 20 year old ORU me and I look down at myself–purple black lipstick, wedges, gorgeous dress–we’ve come so far, baby.

My spheres of influence and love include people who are of different sexual orientations, races, nationalities, genders. I have voted with my heart in elections and firmly call myself a feminist. I stay too far from home but love hugging and cooking and sitting by the fire with my family.

I’ve lived in 4 states, 2 countries and haven’t been home for a Thanksgiving since I was 18 (although buy me a ticket and get a girl some green beans) but I have Thanksgiving every year with friends who open their homes.

I’ve loved and been loved and cried and laughed and eaten some of the weirdest, most wonderful foods with people who were gracious and had language barriers and still had open hearts for me.

I’ve followed dreams to Chicago and studied improv and sketch comedy at storied places and grown up with one of the best companies in the world and one of my coworkers got me an Edible Arrangement because I work with the best people.

I have tried and succeeded and failed and LIVED. I’m proud of me.

Plus I’m wearing a new thong I bought for my birthday (no, you may not see it) SO BOOM. Bring it, 30.

PS my roommates surprised me after seeing Star Wars with a cake and ice cream and a balloon and I love them. VIVA 30!

The Eyes Have It.

Three days ago I was in a building next to an elevator, talking to a coworker. And then I wasn’t. I was a kid, standing at the elevator in my eye doctor’s office in Bellingham, Washington, waiting with my mom to see Dr. Alan. And then I was back, standing on the 11th floor of a high rise in Chicago. The smell was so specific–I don’t even know what it was–some kind of elevator lubricant?

Smell is one of those weird, powerful things that can be so specifically linked to a memory. I remember walking in a mall once, smelling a perfume that took me to the house of a Bible Study teacher in 6th grade, remembering that she gave us chocolate covered peanuts and had blue toilet water, then flashed back to the moment at hand, walking past the Orange Julius/Wet Seal/Hot Topic mashups.

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Today I got an eye exam for the first time in almost 5 years. I’m turning 30 in less than 3 weeks but I still found myself pacing around the office, pretending to peruse frames, trying to hide the fact that I was scared. SCARED. In a doctor’s front office. A shiny, nice, totally open to the outside, good natural lighting, reputable (thank you Google ratings), office.

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There’s nothing wrong with me. I wasn’t there for a real reason, just 1) I feel like I need to do doctor-y things at this stage/to close this decade and 2) apparently vision insurance doesn’t roll over and I thought ‘maybe I should see *if* I need glasses.’ Tl;dr: I still have great vision, almost 20/20. Right eye is good, left has a small prescription. Mostly for anti-reflective coating and such.

But at that moment, some weird, repressed prehensile embodiment of my lizard brain was raging in my chest, knocking around violently as the (very nice) assistant blew puffs of air in my eye to check the pressure. I could feel my chin shaking as I tried to rest it in the…cradle? and pushed my forehead against the rest.

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I had to actively tell myself “this isn’t some pass/fail test. They are doctors, not SAT proctors.” Multiple times. Again, I’d like to say that this was a reputable, well-lit doctor’s office by my place, everyone was nice, everyone working there was female, no one made me feel stupid but something…something was going on with me, guys.

I talked to the doctor about how I look at screens all day, and how it feels great to softly press on my eyes with a warm washcloth and we did the ‘1 vs 2….how about 3 vs 4….5 vs 6….6 vs 2’ dance with different lenses. I got my eyes dilated, which I truly cannot ever remember doing; its the first time I saw my future as an anime doll was probably not going to happen. Although I think I would make a very cute stuffed owl. MY PUPILS WERE FATHOMLESS OLIVE PITS.

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I’ve now spent the rest of the day trying to figure out why I was so freaked out and trying to gently coax myself into relaxing. I took a bubble bath. I did a hair mask. A face mask. I watched 1997’s Cinderella and sang along with Brandi in said bubble bath. I tried, for the first time ever, self-waxing my armpits and was moderately? 60%? successful. And didn’t even scream once…although there was a moment of olive pit dark eye contact with myself in the mirror when I softly whispered “damn” after pulling a particularly vicious strip off.

I ate a fried chicken sandwich at a new restaurant I’d never been to in my neighborhood and tried to hide my ‘playing a demonic extra on a local tv show’ eyes from the waiter. I burned through a whole season of The Office (2) and cleaned out my nightstand, finding 4 different Nando’s punchcards, all with 1 punch.

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You know, I just can’t figure it out. I don’t recall ever having a bad experience at Dr. Alan’s office. I honestly don’t even know if it’s Dr. Allen, Alan, Allan (?). I was a kid…I guess I never saw any paperwork. That was just his name. I used to see him twice a year, then once a year and I don’t know that I’ve seen him in…probably over 10 years.

I have zero idea what the actual, medical diagnosis was, but this is what I know:

  1. My left eye tended to roam when I was tired. If I’m beyond the energy pale now, you might see it, just a little bit. My right eye would steer the ship and my left eye supported the peripheral but was like “don’t put me in, Coach, I prefer to support the team from the bench but still want to wear a jersey.”
  2. I sometimes had to wear a patch to try and strengthen the bench (left) eye. Also, once I had to have eye drops and I was so bad about getting them that I tried to crawl inside our corner cabinet lazy susan to get away (it was a single cabinet, I don’t know where I thought I was going to make my dramatic Steve McQueen exit) and one of my parents had to sit on me as the other held my eyelid open and I screamed and they had to try and drop EXPENSIVE MEDICINE in my squirmy eyes my god I was a terrible kid why am I telling y’all this, my poor parents deserve a medal.
  3. I had eye surgery at 2 and at 8 to correct this. Apparently at 8 they cut the muscle so my left eye has a very short leash to roam around at the dog park and can’t make my right eye work so hard. THEY ARE A TEAM WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT.
    1. I remember laying on our blue/green leather couch and eating saltines. However, this was also the MO for any season of sickness so I might just be remembering the general gig in our house.
    2. I remember the OR nurse told me to count backwards from 100 and I was trying to tell her about Ellie Mae, our dog—-
    3. My mom swears that I woke up post-op in recovery, shouting “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME” (repeatedly, loudly) and she to this day, has never been so embarrassed because, you know, we weren’t the only people in post-op and I am so proud of her because I would have straight up muzzled my kid with surgical tape and defiantly stared at anyone who looked at us.
  4. My glasses were green and purple and metal and I still have them in a jewelry box at my parents house. They are very round but not like, Harry Potter round. I had a very round face so this was like, circles on circles. But, green is still my favorite color, so that was a cool choice, young me.
  5. I only remember one person calling me ‘4 eyes’ and that dude was an asshat at the time, but apparently has grown up to be a lovely guy with a family, so I suppose we will forgive him. BUT NOT FORGET.
  6. Also, my BFF had (and has) glasses so really, her opinion was the only one that mattered.
  7. Dr. Alan’s office had a fountain outside and my mom would always let me throw a penny in the fountain. I actually really looked forward to my visits because 1) penny fountain wishes are awesome and 2) Dr. Alan was a nice doctor and as a kid that matters when large lenses/machines are in-between your face and his.
  8. My parents prayed for many, many years that I wouldn’t have to wear glasses and that my eyesight would be healed and not keeping me from pursuing any passions. I played basketball, volleyball and threw implements for Track & Field; I haven’t fallen off the front of a stage (yet) and I’ve never *needed* glasses since 12, so I feel happy to report that those prayers did their work. I’m just not supposed to pass cars on 2-lane roads because depth perception at high speeds is a lot harder than spacing for sports. Also, I feel slightly guilty going into an eye doctor’s office when I don’t *have* to because somehow it feels like I’m voiding prayers.

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Are most of y’all’s blogs just you trying to shrink yourself? Because I feel like mine is. Sometimes the moments I feel most alone are when I want to just rest my head on someone else, heartily sigh and watch more of The Office. The days when I hold myself so tightly and professionally together, when I’m scared or I’m challenged or I perform and then come home and I just want someone to take the (again, metaphorical) bags from my hands, guide me to the couch, pull my head on their chest and rub my back and murmur in my ear “you did so good. You held it together so well. I know that was tough for you but damn, you’re doing it so well” and feed me mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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That’s my tiredness right now. I feel there are so many bags to carry and I just want to set them down and have someone take care of me. Today’s eye exam, literally any kind of doctor stuff, the insurance choices, the rent, the utilities, choosing which way I want Comcast to screw over our bill, the phone carrier, the constantly changing job knowledge, the gym, the gym job, the comedy classes, the performances, the choosing if I want to squeeze myself into 14s or order 16s because I know they’ll be more comfortable, the picking of a tv show in the massive Hulu queue, choosing what type of coffee I’ll buy from the insanely large Jewel selection, what the hell is a 401k should I worry about it, do I get a new computer because mine is almost 5 years old but it’s still working good, do I need this other long underwear because I think this might be the next Snowpocalypse/Chiberia winter, do I wear my hair like this, what is investments/IRAs, do I try to put on makeup today or…it goes on.

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AND IT IS EXHAUSTING. I know we all have things. Every one of you who is a mom out there reading this is a champion. Full stop. Every dad. Every comedian, every friend I met overseas, every one I love. There are seasons where we feel more capable of handling the ‘bags.’ I just feel like I’ve been holding mine alone for a long time and am noticing that my fingers are a bit numb. It was my own choice not to share them, but I’m noticing that carrying them alone isn’t going to work out forever.

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Long blog post short: I am really excited to see my family in just over 2 weeks. Really really really really really really really really excited. And I hope it’s not too selfish to say that part of the reason is that I want to sit down. Just for 5 minutes. And have someone help me set down those bags, pull me close and murmur that they know. They know.

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—–

I just looked up ‘dr alan eye doctor bellingham’ and found Dr. Robert Alan, MD Ophthalmology IS FROM SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! #theofficeFOREVER

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Of Donuts & Talent Crushes

This city is full of all my talent crushes and I’m getting worse at not gushing at them. What? You’ve never heard that phrase?

A talent crush is when I don’t want to mush my mouth on yours I just want to sit at your feet, become your best friend and ask you how you do what you do and probably eat donuts together.

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Por ejemplo:

-Any improv musical director. Is there a Hogwarts for MDs? Because you are all wizards, I am convinced, and no one can tell me otherwise. From the first Musical Armando I saw in October 2015, I was (and still am) for sure that Dave Asher is a wizard. I spend more time at shows watching him than the show, waiting to see if 1) he has a secret wand in the piano or 2) when that inspiration strikes to begin music, if so, what kind of music, HOW THE HELL does he both lead AND follow AT THE SAME TIME. I’ve worked with Jeff Bouthiette and thought THE SAME THING while I was actually singing in his class watching him watch me and literally seen Aaron Graham write gorgeous melody to lyrics I wrote. IT. IS. WIZARDRY. I’m finally in a class Dave Asher is teaching and after 2 weeks I’m no closer to discovering the secret to any MD’s power.

-People who do convincing accents on stage and keep them THE WHOLE SCENE. I’m looking at you, John Sabine. I have seen The Late 90s at least 10 times and every.single.time that weird pseudo-Belgian accent causes me to lose my mind and your cast mates to break. Being in Susan Messing’s class was a constant side ache of laughter, but seeing her do a Franco-Russian accent in a “The Boys” show for 5 scenes as people kept tapping out her partner was so, so satisfying as she kept it consistent.

-People so good at object work that I’m convinced I can see the thing they’re doing, like some kind of stage synesthesia. I saw Micah Philbrook in a show 6 months before I ever had him as a teacher and it was a completely silent scene with another person and they were both butlers and I can still, to this day, describe it in detail to you, over 18 months later. I saw Scott Moorehead in Second City’s ETC show “A Red Line Runs Through It” and I have tried so many times in my house to convincingly lean like I’m on the train slowing down and I’m so jealous. TEACH ME, SENSEI. TJ & Dave made me believe they were at an actual bar during their show; I didn’t realize it until I was describing the COLOR OF A FAKE BAR to a classmate and then said, out loud, “OH MY GOD THERE WAS NO BAR THERE.” Just a blank stage and these people build a world.

-Any people who sing and improv AT THE SAME TIME. Every time I’ve seen Stacey Smith in a musical improv show, my jaw drops a little. Not only is she 1) improvising a scene, she’s also 2) making her partner look good, 3) writing beautiful, emotional poetry, 4) musically making gorgeous sounds and 5) MAKING IT LOOK EASY, all on the fly. It’s batshit. Sometimes she does it with puppets and I die, every time. From the laughter AND from the sheer skill.

If anyone has tips on approaching these people and stealing their life force/befriending them in a normal, human way, I AM OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS.

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