Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bewilder Yourself

Well, friends, we are now halfway into the month of August and I'm having trouble grasping how we are already here. This summer scurried right past me, just as I knew it would. The past few months have been filled with joyful revelations, a couple of heartbreaking trials, and some darling adventures. I have immersed myself in new surroundings and I've been able to watch some of my far off dreams come alive right before my eyes.

I had the most incredible opportunity to spend the month of July in New York City completing an internship with Broadway Teachers Workshop. I lived in a small studio dorm room in the Upper West Side, perfectly located in between Riverside Park and Central Park. I had no prior knowledge about the neighborhood I would be living in, so I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and realized how iconic (for me) this area really is. Just blocks from my front step, were locations where my all time favorite movie You've Got Mail had been filmed. I fell in love with this Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy as just a little girl. And at that same time, I fell in love with the idea of New York City. I would watch that film on repeat, quietly telling myself that maybe one day I might get to take a trip to this abyssal city that I was so infatuated with. I wished so terribly to simply walk the same paths that Kathleen Kelly does in the opening credits. What a thrill it was for me, fifteen years or so later, to dwell for just a few short weeks in the city I had dreamt about.

I loved every moment I spent at my internship. Every day was packed with opportunities, engagements, and moments that can only be described as surreal. In just a few short weeks, I was able to meet and connect with some of the biggest names in the Broadway industry. Whether it was a one on one conversation, just a handshake in passing, or sitting in the back of the room observing them speak, I slowly got over my "geeking out energy" and was able to take them in as just another human trying to make it in this world. We can all be learning from each other constantly, and this opportunity gave me the chance to learn from a vast variety of bright, talented, and driven human beings.

I leaped into this summer opportunity because I wanted to learn & grow. I gratefully accomplished both of those things, but in ways that surprised me. I was enthralled to see that I was learning and growing in immense ways by simply watching and listening. I was taught so much about my craft solely by sitting in the audience of beautiful and thought provoking Broadway shows. During my breaks or days off, I would sit in the park or on a sidewalk bench and just watch each person that passed by, observing and understanding more about the world and the people around me. I would hear a stunning quote from a working professional at a Q & A or talkback and instantly write it down in my journal, and try to put it into practice. There was something so humbling and serene about learning and growing while just taking in each moment with an open and present mindset. I stepped far out of my comfort zone, reached and surpassed limits that I had thought I had. New York City gifted me the chance to survive and thrive.

The final week of July, I had completed my internship, and my sweet roommate Bradley came to explore the Big Apple with me. We had the absolute best time seeing shows, walking miles (and miles), and seeing some sights and sounds of the city. We created some incredibly fun memories; most of which were captured through lenses of various cameras (as seen throughout this post) but all of them were captured in my heart, where they'll stay for a long time. It was the perfect way to end my time in New York. I'm pretty sure my mom bought Brad's plane ticket solely to be sure someone would drag me onto the plane when the month drew to a close. Which he did, with a smile on his face.

Each time I reflect on July 2017, one theme continues to circle back through my mind. "Little Ashlyn would be absolutely bewildered if she knew what I just did." If I could have a conversation with the shy, secret dreamer that Little Ashlyn was, I would. I want to tell her that she would not only get to visit New York City, but she could call it her temporary home for a few short weeks (and might actually be able to call it her real home one day). I would love to share with her that not only would she see a Broadway show in her lifetime, but thirteen Broadway shows in four measly weeks. But most importantly, I want to tell her that the tiny dream she has tucked in the corner of her heart, is a great one to follow. I think it is so important that we continually check in with ourselves and question, what would younger me think of who I have become? Yes, our dreams and passions change every time we acknowledge them, but there are some dreams that adhere to us our entire lives. And what a beautiful and thrilling thing to see those dreams become reality.

Friends, now is the time to tackle that dream that has been tickling your heart for years and years. Set all insecurities and doubts aside because every dream is valid and so very possible. Muster up some courage, and make tiny little you proud.

1 comment:

  1. I never got the chance to meet Little Ashlyn, but I know she'd be beaming to meet the person you've become. xo!