Flygirl

 

Flygirl

The air was cold and cutting up here, ripping past my face and through my hair, tangling knots that I would never forget. Stirring up, lifting up, until I thought I couldn’t go any farther. But I didn’t stop. It was exhilarating and addicting. Every moment was filled with fear, but I never fell. The air was pure up here, tasting like ice crystals from a fresh fall of snow, and I inhaled it slowly so as not to freeze up my lungs. My skin prickled everywhere in the thrill of the speed. I pushed ever so slightly, pushing forward, going faster. I hovered horizontal, then shot vertical, and horizontal again, pulling farther and farther from the ground. You can’t have me, I said. I’m too far from you now.

“You’ll fly someday,” she said, “but not today.”

I vaguely remember her. She had long black silk hair, sharp features, wide black eyes, and was very tall. At least it seemed that way from a child of six years. She would wake me at six in the morning sometimes. This was not easy for a six year old girl who was born a night person.

“We’ll get donuts,” she said to me as I grumbled in bed. “And then we’ll walk to school.”

That did it. That always does it for a child. Sugar. Well, why the hell not! I’ll get up. I didn’t even hear the school part. She’d brush my long golden hair with slow and gentle strokes. She was always careful with me, as if she was afraid she’d snag a knot somewhere and force a cry of pain from me. Then we’d walk to the donut shop a few blocks away from home. The donut shop was through the tall green trees and across the busy street. I was never allowed to cross the street by myself. But Gretchen was with me. It was okay this time.

She held my hand tight as we crossed, her long fingers wrapped around my tiny hand. Her fingers, long and thin. I would look up at her, her hair flowing long and black and straight. She was always so pretty, I thought.

We walked into the donut shop and ordered a box of donuts, some cake, frosted, crème-filled, bearclaws, and my favorite, glazed rope twist. We sat down on a bench near a park by my school and she handed me my glazed rope twist. I finished it in seconds. I was about to reach in for another donut—I had my eye on the chocolate frosted one—but she held me back.

“These are for everyone else,” she said. “You have to share.”

I pulled my hand back silently. I was tempted to say that nobody else eats donuts, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of guilt. I could have eaten the entire box, and the idea of sharing was so frustrating.

I looked up at my aunt. She didn’t have a donut. She never ate, not that I saw. She sat quietly, with one arm around my shoulders, staring across the park. The park was empty, which was something I rarely saw. Normally it was filled with kids running, playing tag, with bouncing backpacks on their backs. There was nobody out this early. This’ll be my first day not late for class, I thought vaguely. My father usually took me to school. I always got up too late and we always arrived too late…or barely on time. I’d always be the last to walk in.

Not this time! I thought happily. But it would be my last time.

“You know something?” Gretchen said, breaking the silence. I almost forgot she was next to me.

“What?” I responded.

“We are very special,” she said, but she didn’t look at me. “You know why?”

I shook my head no.

“We are flyers,” she said. “You fly sometimes.”

I opened my mouth to say something, to say how did you know?, but shut my mouth. I always felt like I could fly, and that I did sometimes, but never told anyone. How did my aunt know that I could? But she said she could too.

“I’ll be flying again soon,” she continued, still staring across the empty park. “But I won’t be coming back.”

“Where are you going?” I asked curiously, looking up at her. Her face was pale, always pale and colorless.

She didn’t answer. Her black eyes glazed over and I didn’t understand.

I followed her gaze, across the thick green grass, the soft brown dirt outlining a child’s baseball field, the silver metal swings, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. My aunt continued to stare, however.

“I want to fly there too,” I said absently, if for no other reason but that I didn’t know what to say.

“No,” she said, turning to look at me finally. But her body remained still and cold. Her arm around my shoulders never felt soft, but boney and hard. “You can’t go there. Not yet.”

“How come you’re going then?” I said.

“Because it’s my turn,” she said. “I don’t belong here. Neither do you, but that’s okay. I just can’t stay anymore. You’ll understand, someday.”

“But where are you going?” I pushed. I hated never having all the answers.

“Far away,” she said. “Just for a little while.” But that last comment seemed like an after thought, as if she was saying it just for me.

A blew out a puff of air in frustration. Bad enough I couldn’t eat another donut, but now my aunt wasn’t giving me straight answers. Adults always did that. And I hated it. I crossed my arms in defiance.

She laughed and pulled me close then. “It’s okay, hunny,” she said. “You’ll fly someday. But not today.”

Later, not long after, she died. Shot herself. At least that was what I had heard. A part of me imagined she wasn’t really dead, that she had flown off like she said she would, and that the body in the coffin was just her doppelganger or something.

She flew away to the other side, wherever that may be.

At six, I decided I’d try to follow. It was windy out, so that would help lift me, I thought. The trees’ branches swayed and brushed against the roof of the house. I stood on my bed, leaning out the open window. The wind, warmed by the summer sun, gently played with my long golden curls. My blue-green eyes widened in anticipation. I stepped out the window, my bare feet gripping the rubbery black-blue shingles, and jumped.

I didn’t need a running start, like I thought I would. I hovered a few inches above the roof of my house. I felt heavy, like the ground was trying to pull me back down, but I pushed away with my hands and lifted higher. I pushed again and again until I was a good distance above my house and the trees. I averted my gaze from the ground to the sky, overcast in grey-white clouds, as was typical of Chicago. The sun glowed brightly behind them.

That’s where I was heading. The sun. I pushed hard this time with my arms and flew straight up. The air instantly cooled around me, tugging at my hair, clothes, stinging my eyes as I flew faster. I was aware that I had stopped breathing and couldn’t catch my breath as I continued farther up. I didn’t care. I didn’t need to breathe. I had the air lifting me instead. I pushed through the clouds. Cold moisture immediately layered my body, prickling my skin. The clouds slowed my progress, so I pushed even harder until I broke through the grey and into the bright gold light of the sun’s rays.

Warmth engulfed my body, drying my wet skin and hair. The air was barely a whisper up here just a few feet above the roiling clouds. I stared at the sun.

“You can’t come here,” she said. “Go back.”

“But I can fly there and fly back,” I said.

“No,” her voice echoed from somewhere all around. “It’s not your turn.”

“But I don’t belong here either!” I shouted to the sky. “I want to leave and go where you are!”

“It’s not your turn. Not today.”

“I can’t stay here! I can’t stand it! I’ll fly far, I will!” My feet brushed the tops of the clouds as I said this, briefly catching moisture on my toes. That’s when I realized I was sinking. The pull was strong on my ankles, and then it reached my knees and soon I was waist deep in the grey clouds.

“No! Don’t take it from me,” I cried helplessly, trying to push away from the deep of the clouds, flailing as I was falling through. “I want to go too, I want to go too!”

“You’ll fly someday…but not today…”

And I dropped. I fell backwards, watching the sun vanish behind the roiling grey-white clouds, watching as the puffy moisture swirled as I cut a path through its travels, watching as I broke through only to see a darkening layer of rain cloud forming above me. I reached out as if to grab a hand, but there was nothing there to grab. I continued my fall, my hair clinging and whipping my face as if it were desperately trying to reach out to the sky as well. The air was colder now, cutting through me like icicles. And then I finally landed, flat on my back, in the cushion of green grass. I laid motionless for what felt like forever.

Then a little droplet of water fell into my eye, strangely warm and soothing. I blinked it away and propped myself on my elbows. I was in the park near my school. And it was starting to rain.

But I didn’t care. My wings were gone.

The rain came hard then, soaking my gold hair to dark, sticking my clothes to my skin. And I sat there in the green-brown grass, letting the rain flood my eyes, staring up into the sky, waiting for the day when I could fly again. Someday.

Being sick never hurt…

Except when auditions are around the corner. Being an actress/singer, getting a cold is one of the worst things that can happen to you. Getting to auditions and booking a role is hard enough without coughing up pieces of your lungs or having your nose run like Niagara Falls.

I almost never went to my Annie audition because of my cold. But I decided testing out my ability to sing well while being under the weather would be a fun personal challenge. I love challenges. So I sang with a slightly melted Halls cough drop in my mouth, cherry flavored—yum, and thankfully got called back for the role of Lily St. Regis and one of the Boylan sisters. The role of Lily called for a nasally singer, and nasally was definitely working out for me that day.

The day of the callback, I managed to kill the sickness, but the cough, as coughs do, stuck around in my lungs like an insatiable itch. So, mouth full of cherry flavored cough drops, I sang for Lily, danced for Lily, and cold-read for Lily. Then I had to stay around to sing for one of the Boylan sisters and do another round of dancing for ensemble. I ended up staying at the callback for about five hours. Near the end of the night, the director sent everybody home but me and one other girl. We were both going for Lily. We knew each other from working in another show together, and I was well aware of how talented she was. Gorgeous and talented.

I have to interject a random thought here. In a tight battle of auditioning, my brain usually starts wandering off in other directions in order to keep my nerves down. So I’ll admit, while the girl and I were sitting anxiously in the hallway waiting to be called into the rehearsal room to learn a song we didn’t know, I was thinking about guys. That’s right. Guys I really like. And there’s not that many…so my brain really was tempted to distract me into daydream mode.

And then the director finally called us back in to sing again. This would be our third time singing. We both sang the best we could with how unfamiliar we were to the song. Later the director asked me to come back the next night to read for Grace Farrell.

Grace Farrell?! I thought. I didn’t even think I had even the slightest chance for that role. When viewing the audition breakdown, I knew they were looking to cast an Equity actress in the part, so I completely disregarded auditioning for Grace at all.

The next night, I showed up and sat with all the other Grace potentials. It was one of those moments where we were all sizing each other up. Each one looked very different, but very specific. Beautiful women and all apart of the union, and all of which have played many a leading role with major theater companies. Being new to California, I hadn’t had the chance to up my role credits as of yet. I have played leading roles in the past, just not in California. A couple of the actresses discovered my non-union status and eyed me curiously.

So I started thinking of guys again…all the while attempting to keep my itching cough at bay.

The director brought us in, we sang, we read and we waited. Then the director let everybody go, but asked me to stick around for a while longer. That’s when my gut flipped over. When the director asks you to stay, usually that’s a really good sign. But you can’t ever know in this business. Everything is so unpredictable, you can’t EVER assume anything.

The last few minutes of the night were spent with me reading with the only other man there reading for Oliver Warbucks. It was just the two of us. Then we were let go as well, with unanswered questions. We were told we’d hear by Friday, and I couldn’t wait!

Friday came and I got a voice mail from the director saying that he didn’t want me dangling, but that he just wanted me to know that they do want me in the show, just can’t figure out what role to offer me. That was tough to hear. Not a yes, not a no. An “I don’t know.” I can’t STAND “I don’t knows.” Those answers eat away at me until I start scratching my skin off. Every day after that, I waited by the phone like I was waiting to hear from a guy I really liked after a great first date and that he said he’d call me soon, BUT HE DIDN’T!!!!

Yes, that’s exactly how I felt. Auditioning is just like dating. Stressful.

I counted the days and started to think I didn’t make the cut. I was also seeing people on Facebook announcing their roles in Annie, one of them being the actress who was with me on the first night of callbacks. She landed Lily, which she would be amazing at! But it really started making me feel very discouraged. So I began planning for future auditions and a possible showcase that I had to register soon for. It wasn’t until the fourth day did I finally get the call.

“Hello, Christanna?” the director said.

“Hi, how are you?” I said.

“Good. Sorry this has taken so long. We had a lot of things to work with. But listen, we’d like you to play Grace.”

“Are you serious?” That was my first response. I couldn’t help it.

“Uh, yes. I am.”

Then an explosion of yeses and absolutelies tumbled from my mouth as I paced the living room in my underwear (because I was in the midst of changing clothes when I got the call and now didn’t have the mental ability to continue dressing…). I’m pretty sure I blasted the director’s ears off as well.

And there you go. It’s almost been two years since I moved to California, I’ve done four shows, and I’ve finally booked my first lead here.

I guess I should be sick more often…

Eh, maybe not.

Annie-CMT-Logo

Being twenty-six. Going where no twenty-something has gone before.

There have been only a few stages of my life where I noticed a massive physical and mental change occur. At thirteen I knew my life from there on out would be hugely different. At eighteen, I knew my childhood had gone and I panicked. I truly felt I wouldn’t survive as an adult. The transition was terrifying.

But I made it to twenty-six. And, again, I sense another major shift in my body and mind. I have confidence now that I can survive the adult world and be happy in it. At twenty-six, working is addicting, even though I am worn out faster. Going out is less appealing as it is to going home and spending time with myself. Of course, this is surely the result of being ridiculously busy.

At twenty-six, all-nighters are no longer easy to do. Coffee no longer keeps me awake, but remains a comfort in the morning.

At twenty-six, I finally obtained a Victoria Secret body, something I had been obsessed with and working on since I was sixteen. And, although my body is stronger than it has ever been, it hurts more. My lower back is now a constant pain and my right knee is weak. Vitamins have become a part of my daily life. And I have high-cholesterol, shocking news that somehow made me feel old. And yet, at twenty-six, I’m still arrogant and carefree.

I’m much more curious and brave at this stage. I want more and more to go where I have never gone before and experience new things. If I can live through it, I want to do it.

Finally I feel a confidence in myself I had never had before. My beliefs and opinions on how to live one’s life is richer and more well-rounded than the days of being naïve and close-minded. I am more fascinated with the way people react and feel, and I’m always searching for newer information. I still feel like I haven’t learned enough.

Emotion is something I have FINALLY been able to make sense of and control. I can rationalize better than I’ve ever had. When I don’t like someone, or they me, I can accept and be okay with it. Because it is impossible to be universally liked. However, treating those you don’t get along with graciously is important.

I have FINALLY learned to be patient, something I’ve been working on ALL my life. That’s an accomplishment I’m really happy about.

I am no longer in need of being needed by a man, as if I thought that gave me some purpose in my life before. It really didn’t.

On the other hand, I have also for the first time, experienced what it was like to be in love, something that had eluded me before. I lost it, but I crave to have it again. Although, strangely, I have no interest in looking for it, I am genuinely excited about finding it. I know now that I have the capability to feel that way, and it is incredible!

At twenty-six, I have come to accept my obsessive compulsive behavior as a unique and intriguing quality, although I may be the only one who feels this way.

And, even though I feel like I am still sixteen years old, in that youthful, playful sort of way, I am now accepted and taken seriously by the adult world. Something that I’ve yearned for most of my life.

Probably one of the most shocking discoveries I had come to realize was that I now want a child. Being someone who never liked or wanted children, I am still puzzled by this sudden change. Maybe by twenty-seven, I’ll go back to normal.

And maybe the reason I’m writing this is to put a mark in time so that when I’m old, I will remember. Hopefully this blog will still exist somewhere in cyberspace by then.

At twenty-six, I still don’t know where I’m going in my life, but instead of being scared by it, I am thrilled. Someone once told me their twenty-sixth year was a good one. I got a feeling, they’re gonna be right.

Thataway

How do you choose the right vs the wrong?

When all is well and good, where I have successfully kept myself out of trouble, staying out of relationships, keeping myself safe from heartbreak, guarding my heart and controlling my feelings, I’ve realized that I let one slip through the gates.

What do you do when you’re faced with a difficult decision, confusing and depressing? Where you can’t make sense of what you’re feeling? When you don’t know what to do anymore, and the answer that once was so clear is now so skewed?

Making decisions can suck
Making decisions can suck

Human feelings can suck and screw with logic. No wonder Vulcans look down upon us so. When we are faced with something we don’t want to do, but know is best in the long run, we delay the inevitable. We hold on to what we know we’ll lose. We run from what we know is coming. All the while, we go on with our daily lives, pretending there’s nothing to choose from.

I’ve found that I am exactly in this annoyingly difficult situation. I always knew it would come some day, where I would have to let go of my best friend, but I don’t think I knew just how hard it would be. Considering I’ve been through a lot of hard “letting go” situations, I thought this one would be easier to deal with.

But of course, it’s not easy, and while I convince myself and my feelings that I don’t know what to do anymore, somewhere in the back of mind the answer is glaring at me. I just don’t like it. So I don’t listen.

I’ve always hated making the big decisions. I never feel like I’ll make the right one. There have been many times where I’ve felt like I made a big mistake. But I suppose that’s how it is in most cases. I seem to always choose the bumpy road versus the smooth one. Maybe it’s my personality. I like the challenge rather than the simple. Who knows?

So I’ll leave it all up to God. Won’t claim any responsibility… Just kidding. 😉

But things like this really are out of our hands, and we should just pray and hope the answer is near.