Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fab Five

Show choir is a very big thing in the Midwest. Many schools have show choir and it is very influential throughout our region. Ever since 1994, Cedar Rapids has been doing something called “Fab Five.” Fab Five is a performance put on by all five show choirs in Cedar Rapids. By doing this performance, we are able to showcase the talent within Cedar Rapids. It is amazing to see how much talent can lie within one town, and it is amazing how much the talent grows every year.
I have been attending Fab Five since I was four or five. My uncle was in show choir and that is where my love of show choir really began. For thirteen years, I dreamed about one day being up on that stage performing, just like all of the “big kids” I used to watch.  I loved to sing and I loved to dance and I knew I could do it, if I really tried, and if I was good enough.
My day came when I became an official “Fab Fiver.” The day I had been dreaming about finally came this month and I was performing for all of those people and kids, just like they used to perform for me. Now, I was the one those little kids with my same dreams were watching. It was the best feeling in the world to know that I finally accomplished what I had set out to do. The minute I walked out on that stage, a feeling came over me; a feeling of pride and achievement. I knew my mom and my grandma (who were sitting in the audience and who took me to the shows as a little kid) were just as proud watching me as I was having them watch me.
At the end of Fab Five, all of the members of all five groups come out on stage and we sing one song, all together. Because this is when the talent is all in one spot at one time, it shows the audience how much talent really lies within Cedar Rapids. The sound produced and the number of kids on stage singing together is such an amazing thing to watch, let alone be a part of. By doing this, it shows the audience as well as ourselves that we all are one together, and that we all come from the same place; we all share the same passion.
Witnessing 250 talented young people and finally being able to be one of those young people, is an experience I will never forget.

Middle School Friendships

As it would be expected, people change, and things change. People grow apart and some people grow closer together. During middle school, I had many friends. However, since my first day of sixth grade, I knew I would be leaving these friends I would soon make in three years because I was going to a different high school than they were. A majority of the kids at my middle school were going to Jefferson, and I was going to Kennedy along with the other ten people out of three-hundred in my class. This was a hard reality to face, but I knew I would someday have to face it. However, even through the school changes, I have lost and kept some friends from middle school. I know that I have been able to keep these friends because they are indeed true friends.
My friend Lindsey is one particular friend I have not lost contact with. I am so thankful that we have stayed friends because we have so much in common and her friendship means so much to me. We have both had to deal with a lot of the same stuff in our lives and the fact that we can relate and be there for each other through the thick and the thin says a lot. She was the person I had the hardest time saying goodbye to. I knew we would still be friends, but it wouldn’t be the same. We would be on complete opposite sides of town and we would both be leading separate lives. We both love the music and theater departments and therefore I knew we would support each other in those things. Even though we are both VERY busy, we always manage to find time for each other. She is very close with my mom and I am very close with her mom. I know that I can go to her and her family if I ever had a problem, and vice-versa. Whenever we get together, we pick up right where we left off, and it doesn’t seem like it has been months since we were last together. Lindsey is such a great person and I am so glad that I remained friends with her.
Sometimes you have to put that extra effort into a friendship in order to make it work. Lindsey and I have both put in that effort and I am so glad we have. I don’t know what I would do without my “Linds!” Even though we both live two completely separate lives, we both try in the friendship because we both really care about each other. Lindsey and I are an example of a true friendship, one that hasn’t always been easy, but it is one that is the best.


I have always been very involved in the theater department at my school, and recently I was cast in the play “Harvey” by Mary Chase. I hadn’t really ever heard of this show, but I knew it was going to be a fun experience. I was cast as Veta Louise Simmons, the female lead. I was so excited! The show recently ended this past weekend. It was bitter-sweet, mostly bitter because of how close I became with my cast members.

“Harvey” is a smaller casted show; there are twelve roles total. The thing I loved the most was that no one had a problem with anyone in the cast; we were all friends. As I was thinking last night (our last show was last night), I couldn’t have imagined a better cast with any other people. We were all great people who cared about making the show the best it could be, as well as caring about each other. Because there were only twelve of us, we became exceptionally close. I will never take for granted the friends I made and grew closer with through this experience. We were all great at the parts we played and we are all great people in real life as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast. Yes the shows are always fun, but what really makes the experience worthwhile, are the people you meet along the way.

Playing Veta was a very challenging part to play. Veta’s character has a roller-coaster of emotions throughout the whole show. Having to portray all of these in the right way was very difficult. However, it was amazing to see the transformation from our first read-through to our last show. It was crazy how much I felt like I improved as an actress. I feel like I reached a new level to my acting and my skills improved greatly. Although it was very challenging, I was so lucky to get this role and I will forever remember my screaming matches and my sobbing fits on stage!

Even though I basically lived at school this past month, I would never trade free time I would have had for this experience. The things I learned and the friends I made along the way were absolutely amazing, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Cleaning My Room

I have never been an “organized person” per say. My mother always gives me a hard time about this, but ultimately I believe that I get it from her! Even though I may not be the most organized or clean person when it comes to my bedroom, but I know exactly where everything is. Some might say that that makes no sense, but it I would call my room and organized mess. However, recently my room was TOO messy and it got to my breaking point as well as my mom’s. I was under house-arrest until my room was clean.

I was determined to make a change when it came to my bedroom. I had clean clothes in piles on my floor, I had Christmas and birthday presents still in bags unwrapped in my room, lying on the ground, and I had over-night bags with clothes in them lying all over the place. I felt like my room was closing in on me and on the whole house. I started by making room in my closet and taking my room one area at a time. I made sure to have many garbage bags going at the same time, because Lord knows I needed them.  As I took my room step by step, I would find things that I had been missing for months; things I thought I had lost, I found! It is always great to get something back that you thought you lost! However, when I would find these things, I would think to myself, “Wow, and I thought this was an ORGANIZED mess!” When I found multiple things that I had been missing, and when I had multiple garbage bags full at the end of cleaning, I knew a change needed to be made and that this change needed to stick for a while.

I have been making an effort to hang up all of my clothes, or to fit them into my drawers. This has been helping to keep my clothes off of my floor. I have limited the things that I am “allowed” to put on my ground. By doing this, I have been able to keep my floor clear; ultimately, not having anything on the floor doesn’t make me feel like my room is encroaching on me! Even by the slightest extra effort I have been putting into to keep my room clean, it has made me feel better emotionally and physically because I feel like I can breathe again. It has also gotten my mom off my back, which is always a good thing!

Church Buddies: Part Two

Ian. Ian and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. We have been friends ever since we were little, but as we’ve grown up and grown into our persons, we have drifted apart. This makes me sad in a part because we have been friends for so long, but then again, we are both two completely different people. When we were little, he and I both had semi-crushes on each other. However, we never liked each other at the same time, therefore we were never an “item.” His parents sometimes tell me that they would like to see the two of us get married, but I don’t think that will ever happen. Even though we aren’t as close as we were, we are still friends and I still cherish his friendship. Like Robert and Jarett, I know Ian will always be there for me when I need him, and I am thankful for that.

Bailey. As you can tell, I have always been close with the guys. However, there was one girl I was close with, and that is Bailey. We used to be involved in everything in church together, but then she got tired of it all, and she left me. I was still as involved and then I became the only girl, with all of the guys. Even though we weren’t together all of the time anymore, we stayed close with each other. We made sure to talk anytime we were together and made a point to go out of our way to stay friends. When we got to high school, we got involved in different crowds and different activities, but we still remained friends. To this day, we still find time to get caught up and hang out with each other. When we are together, it doesn’t feel like it has been a while since the last time we talked; we always find a way to pick up exactly where we left off.

These four people have always been my friends and I know they always will be. We were always spotted together, and we don’t take for granted the limited times at church when we all will be there. I swear, they happen once every blue moon. We are all talented and caring people. We care about keeping our friendships with one another. I know that when I am older and I think back on my childhood, my best friends will be the ones I met through church; the ones that were always there for me, through my ups and downs. I love Robert, Jarett, Ian and Bailey like they are my own family, because they truly are.

Church Buddies: Part One

I have always been actively involved in my church. I went to Sunday school, I would volunteer, I would attend church services, and I was in my church choir. While being involved in all of these things, I made many friends. These friends will forever be there for me, and I know I can count on them whenever I need them. I would be loss without them.

Robert. Robert is a year older than I am, but we have always been close. I am probably the closest with Robert out of everyone. He has such a kind spirit and he is the greatest friend a person could ever have. He is very talented and he knows how to be humble about it. Even with all of his talent, he appreciates everyone else’s talent and embraces it as much as we embrace his. I will admit that my freshman year, I had a hard-core crush on him. (It is no secret; I am pretty sure that everyone knew about that, even him!) He is such a nice guy, with a great personality, and great looks, that you would have to be crazy NOT to have a crush on him. However, looking back at freshman year now, and that crush I had on him, I realize that it was a bit odd. I have known him ever since I was five, and he has always been like my brother. Now, we are closer than ever. We try to spend time with each other whenever we can. Soon, he will be leaving for college, and I think saying good-bye to him will be the hardest thing to do. I know that we won’t forget about each other when we go our separate ways because once true friends, always true friends.

Jarett. Good ol’ Jarett is an acquired taste. Jarett and I have a love-hate relationship. It is mostly love, but we love to hate on each other. We have an interesting relationship. We are so close, and everyone knows it, but in the same token, we get on each other’s last nerve. This happens because we are so much alike and we don’t have a problem giving each other a hard time. I know that if I snap at him, he will snap right back, and I am not afraid to call him out on something he does that I don’t like, and vice-versa. To me, this is what a friendship is about. We have an honest relationship, and we don’t mind being real with each other. I love Jarett so much, even though he drives me absolutely crazy. He is a true friend, and I know he will always be there for me and he knows that I will always be here for him.

The Green Bay Packers

My love affair with the Green Bay Packers started the summer of 2009 when my family and I took a trip up to Green Bay, Wisconsin. My family members have always been die-hard Chicago Bears fans. I have never really been interested in football; to be honest, I really never understood it. (I still have some trouble to this day keeping updated on everything that is going on!) However, this one trip up to Wisconsin forever changed my view point of football. From that day on, I will forever be a Green Bay Packer Fan.

It was a chilly August day and we were on our way out of Green Bay, Wisconsin. My stepdad (who is a Minnesota Vikings Fan) wanted to drive by Lambeau Field. As we were driving by, we saw a bunch of people standing outside, crowding the fences. As it turns out, the Green Bay Packers were having a practice! How cool! We decided to get out of our car to go and watch. At first I was like, “Really? Is this necessary?” But as we got closer and got to see the players up close, I was instantly hooked. We got to see the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, (who might I add, is VERY attractive)! We stayed for about an hour, and my parents had to literally drag me away because I was so intrigued.

As we drove out of town, I couldn’t stop thinking about what just happened! I got to see a REAL, professional football team practice! I get to watch them on TV! It was such an amazing experience that I will never forget, and to top it off, Green Bay won the Super Bowl that following February.  I told everyone that I was their “good luck charm” and that my love for them is what ultimately helped them to win!

This past season, I was convinced that my Packers were going to go to the Super Bowl again. They had such a great season and they were kicking everyone’s butt! However, then, that awful day came: the day when the New York Giants beat my Packers, and knocked them out of the running to go to the Super Bowl. I was crushed and I went into mourning for about an hour. How could this happen? They were so good! But, I couldn’t do anything to change it, they had lost; they weren’t going to the Super Bowl.

However, Super Bowl Sunday came, and I was bitter. I decided that I was going to root for my Packers, even though they weren’t playing. I went to watch the game all decked out in my Packer apparel. I had my hat, my t-shirt, my pins, and my “coozie.” I was ready for the game! Even though my Packers weren’t actually in the Super Bowl, they truly won in my eyes. They were such a great team, and they played such a great season, they really did deserve to go to the Super Bowl! Hopefully next year!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Death: Part Two

Is death painful? This is a question that is always in the back of my mind. I feel like my biggest fear when it comes to death isn’t what will happen after I am gone, but how I will die. I do not have a high pain tolerance, and I am scared of the pain that it might cause me. Television has somehow warped our minds and we see death in many ways. We see people getting shot, getting murdered, dying of cancer or passing peacefully. I have only had one person who was extremely close to me die before. She meant the world to me, and thankfully she died a peaceful death. I have a fear of someone coming into my house, taking me, and then killing me; stabbing me, shooting me, drowning me. Yes, these are all irrational, but they still do exist, and they are always in the back of my mind. We would all like to die a peaceful, calming death. But realistically, there will always be some sort of pain that comes along with it. Whether it is a little or a lot of pain, it is still going to hurt mentally, physically, or both.
No one likes to acknowledge that death exists, but it is a fact of life. I am afraid to die. But as I get older, I feel that my fear will go away just like my grandmother’s fear has gone. If I accomplished what I was set here on Earth to do, I think I will be fine dying. But as of right now, being seventeen years old, I am not ready to leave; I haven’t accomplished everything I have set out to do; I haven’t met everyone I am supposed to meet; I haven’t lived my life to the fullest yet. Still, I am not sure of what is to come after death, but then again, is anyone?

Death: Part One

I am not afraid to admit it; I am scared of death. But what is it exactly that I am so afraid of? I am afraid of leaving the people I love. I am afraid of leaving the life I live. I am afraid of what life will be like after I die, if there is a life afterwards. I am afraid that life will just keep on going, as if I never existed. I am afraid people will forget about me. And most of all, I am afraid of how it is going to happen.
We all have to die at one point or the other. Some die young, and some die old. The thought of death seems to be scarier the younger we are because we have not gotten the chance to live our lives to fullest. I have asked my grandmother (who is seventy) if she is afraid to die. Her response, “I used to be afraid, but now I realize that I have lived a great life and that I have nothing to be afraid of.” I understand where she is coming from…sort of. She has lived for seventy years; she had two children and one of those children gave birth to me. She has five grandchildren and gives them so much. She has loved so many in her life and she has also been through a lot. It is almost as though she has given as much as she can give and shouldn’t that be our life goal? By no means am I ready to have her leave us, and I don’t think she is quite ready, but the fact that she has made peace with it means a lot and makes me feel like death won’t be as scary. If my grandma can be okay with it, I can be okay with it.
I have been going to church all my life. I was baptized and was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. (Many are unaware of this religion but I like to describe it as a “mellower” Catholicism, mixed with Lutheranism.) In the Episcopal Church we believe in heaven. If you do right, you will go to heaven. But what is heaven? What is it like? When I think of heaven, I think of gold rails, white puffy clouds, white clothing, and love. How do I know for a fact that heaven is real though? I believe in it and I believe that I will meet my family member there one day, but is it really what I am expecting? But what if I die and nothing happens? The heaven I have always pictured isn’t there? I am just dead; I am just a body in the ground, while the world keeps happening above me. We have no way of knowing what heaven is like because you can’t die and go there, and come back to report on what it was like. (Now, wouldn’t that be nice?) It would be like a “sneak preview.” I feel like if we were able to get a “sneak peak” as to what it was like, we wouldn’t be as scared to leave everything we love.