Ignorance is No Longer Bliss

Ignorance is No Longer Bliss

I was going to write about something much different, until the political posts and the news of today's mass shooting took over my newsfeed. 

We boast that we are a collective community that has more access to knowledge than previous generations. That we are more understanding and more accepting. We have communication and information at our fingertips. Yet I challenge you to imagine that as a society we may be more unaware, and less accepting than we have been before.

I am a very political person, I do not claim to know everything, but I do my best to research everything I post and everything I back. I try to post more facts than opinions. And I am always open to calmly and respectfully discuss things. Lately, however I have been trying to not jump into the clickbait arguments people post just to get a reaction. Am I perfect? No. So I apologize for my past, present, and future posts that aren't as accurate as they could be. 

Today you cannot open a form of social media without seeing someone posting something negative. You cannot scroll through your feed without seeing someone posting hate towards another. Have you noticed that we as people are being more and more divided? We bring to light the popular issues but leave all the others at the door. We have been told to hate others because "they are the ones responsible". Yet we do not acknowledge our own faults and difficulties. I'm guilty of it as much as anyone, so I am not meaning to cast the first stone. 

The thing is we as a collective group of people need to realize that our society and our planet are in distress. We keep ignoring water crises, environmental changes, jet streams disappearing, the amount of trash in our oceans, the everyday hate crimes, the everyday sexual/verbal/emotional assaults. We make fun of mental illness. We bully. We see someone we barely know on facebook post a status that goes against our opinion, and instead of talking we call them names. We let social media and people of power tell us what is important. We quickly blame authorities for that; when we are the ones screaming for more details on Kylie Jenner and how to get tickets to Hamilton. We read headlines and repost without reading the whole article and checking our facts.

As human beings we find issues with putting any blame on to ourselves. We want to say that the politicians, celebrities, media, etc. have made us who we are and tell us what is important; when in reality it is the other way around. We want information in short sound bites. We don't want to read long articles, or do our own research. When things go wrong we don't want to acknowledge that it is all our fault, instead we want to put blame on the easiest scapegoat.

We live in a state of ignorance. We no longer want to get to know people, we no longer want to reach out, we no longer want to learn. We are more scared than we have ever been. We are scared of not knowing things and offending people. We are scared of asking questions. I don't know a single person who would hate to explain something to you, especially if you ask in a respectful way. The problem is that ignorance leads to hate. Hate in ourselves and hate in others.

Did you know that hate isn't an emotion on it's own? It's true. You can not actually hate something unless you love or care about it or something it directly affects. My favorite example of this is when it comes to relationships. Most people say they "hate" their exes. Why? Because someone you loved hurt you. Something you cared about caused you harm. Something broke your trust. But when you actually accept what happened, or no longer love that person; your hate tends to dissolve as well. So why do you hate someone of a different religion, ethnicity, culture, sex, orientation, etc.? Really look at where your fears and hate come from. 

I could talk about this topic for hours, or probably days but I leave you with this challenge. Show love. It is what we instinctively want to show to others. Show kindness. Do your research. Learn. When something scares, or confuses you, don't turn it into hate; instead ask questions. Use that big beautiful brain and heart of yours.

Song of the week:

Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop 2016

Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop 2016

About a year ago I fell into the wonderful world of Stage Combat. A year ago I met DC Wright and Melissa Freilich both of which told me that I would be attending The Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop the following year. At that time, I wanted to attend but didn't really see how it was going to happen. I was planning on moving by now, as well as having a fight internship or summer stock job this summer. I went on my journey this year and even when I ran into DC at the Winter Wonderland Stage Combat Workshop I still didn't think I would be able to attend. Funny thing is that first day of that workshop DC comes running up to me with a business card about CisCo and a few days later I would when the raffle prize of a discounted tuition. DC handed it to me and told me it was a sign. It wouldn't be until April that I fully made the decision to continue my combative training and attend both CisCo and Nationals this summer. 

I arrived excited to train, and excited to see old friends. I mean I was getting ready to play with swords for three weeks, of course I was excited. I expected to grow and work towards my goals, but i didn't expect this workshop to influence me as much as it has. I wanted to wait to write about the experience until it was completely done. So here is my recap:

Week One: Week one was filled with the normal workshop dizziness and playfulness that it always is. We started out learning Single Rapier from Zack Meyer for Dueling Arts International, our first week of training for Quarterstaff and Knife( led by DC and Amie Root) with the Society of American Fight Directors and our Theatrical Firearms Safety course. It was a long hard week, but each day we all collectively woke up early each day eager and ready for the adventure. It was very apparent early on that this was a group of people with a lot of enthusiasm as well as a lot of compassion for the people they we were working with. We learned Akito and Tai Chi movement techniques to build an even stronger level of partnering and connection with each other. Each day of playing, training, and eating together feeling like a summer camp adventure. We all were even singing "Hamilton" at breakfast each morning. My body was sore, and covered in tiger balm, but each day was a new and exiting one filled with learning. At the end of the week we recorded our "Zoro" fight scenes for our level one Single Rapier test with DAI and tested for our Theatrical Firearms Safety course. And we celebrated our evening at Chicks on the square.

Week Two: Week Two started out a little rough. The previous weekend I had a severe panic attack that led to getting medical treatment. That plus not feeling good about my DAI single rapier test ( I was beating myself up for my acting and my stance, and everyone knows I am my biggest critic.) I was starting to doubt a few of my goals when it came to the fight community. However, my teachers and fellow classmates unknowingly re boost my confidence over the entire week, and by the end I was wanting those goals more than when I arrived at CisCo. Week Two Dan Klarer took over our DAI classes, and started teaching us Rapier and Dagger. We also started finalizing our choreography for Knife and Quarterstaff. We also got to experience and amazing master class with Orion Couling about Bartitsu. And yes that is the martial arts you have read about in Sherlock Holmes. I have to say his tiny workshop class that one evening inspired me so much as an actor combatant. It was amazing to hear him talk. And with his and Amie's help I finally was finding my stance, and what it meant to work form mother earth in my fighting. Something I will forever be grateful for. We ended this beautiful week playing Murder, testing for DAI level one Rapier and Dagger (where yours truly got to play Benvolio) and picking out our scenes with our newly found out partners for our SAFD tests. 

Week Three: Week Three was a week of crazy and scary stress as well as play. It was a week of prep for our SAFD Knife and Quarterstaff tests, as well as the week Scott Russell taught us a fun class on Single Sword through DAI. So parts of our mornings were spent learning about stock phrases from old movies, and channeling Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone; while our afternoons and evenings were filled with rigorous rehearsal and character development. We did a Mock adjudication mid week and got notes on everything from our perrys and targets to our acting and our slate. It was both terrifying and helpful. I was extremely thankful for the patience of both my teachers and my scene partners as we worked on these scenes and fights. Without them I wouldn't have gotten through the week or those tests. Friday we tested and I officially can say that I am now "renewed" in knife and that I received a recommended pass in Quarterstaff. I couldn't have done it without the amazing people I was partnered with. 

Before I came to CisCo I had plans of becoming an Advanced Actor Combatant with SAFD and hopefully fight directing one day. I wanted to still primarily act. And I was going to look back at grad school in a couple of years. After talking to these people and going through this process, I realize more and more how much I want to do this more than anything. I hit a point of highly doubting myself, especially when comparing myself to other fighters in the SAFD that I knew. But then I realized, that if it's what I want, it is attainable. A recommended pass is proof of that. It just takes the right training and discipline to get there. This process also solidified my want to go to Grad School and to eventually teach at the university level or with a theatre company as well as fight direct/act. Will I apply again next year? I'm not sure yet. Do I know what I want to spend my time focusing on? Yes. All I know is after this workshop I am more inspired and driven than I have been in awhile. And whatever journey I take to get there is worth it. So thank you for the fun, for the stress, for the skills, the stress, the encouragement, the quotes, and the ever expanding fight family. My tribe I love you. 


CisCo song:

Broadway Boys Luca Padovan (School of Rock), Joshua Colley (Les Miserables) and Douglas Baldeo (Kinky Boots) are looking for a mind at work, work in their rendition of 'The Schuyler Sisters' featuring Ana Villafañe (On Your Feet!) at MCC's annual Miscast '16 gala.

May 2016 Bloomington Indiana

May 2016 Bloomington Indiana

So I have to start off with the fact that one of my favorite things about indiana may have been my drive into Bloomington from Lexington, Kentucky.  It is incredibly beautiful and full of so many surprises. 

To start off your journey you pass through this gorgeous green mountainscape. And there is this longer section where you literally have walls of rock on both sides of you and all these green trees above you. I've seen pictures of stuff like this, but in person, Wow. You pass rivers, and natural landmarks. You even drive on a tiny section of the Bourbon trail. There are speed trap towns, and abandoned general stores. There were so many times I wanted to jump out of my car and just take pictures. I think one of my favorite things was the amount of fellow travelers I saw on the road. There were license plates from so many different states. I saw ones from California, and Ohio, South Carolina, and even Florida. The cars were also as characterfully different as well. There were trucks, and vintage cars, Bernie Sanders stickers, and Trump stickers. It was a real melting pot on the highway.

Now Bloomington is this amazing college town (more city) in the middle of absolutely nothing. It is the craziest thing. Ten minutes on either side of it and you are going to think you will be in a small one stoplight town, but then BAM one of the biggest universities I have ever seen. It is absolutely beautiful too. I luckily had an amazing friend give me a tour of parts of campus. It's crazy. Like I always thought State's campus and ECU's campuses were big campuses, but not now. The campus has some of the most beautifully architectured buildings I have ever seen. Not to mention beautiful huge trees all over. They even have an arboretum where the old Football field use to be in the middle of campus. I only saw a tiny part of it, but was in shock at what a huge university actually looks like.

The rest of my trip was full of catching up with a good friend and good food. (Seriously you can't go wrong with the food around there). And I honestly wish I had had more time to spend with them. But today I had to pack up and leave early for my drive to Illinois. And I am currently at my last stop before Macomb Illinois and The Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop! So with that I will write to you all next Sunday about my first week fighting in the North, because now I need some much needed sleep.

May 2016 Lexington Kentucky

May 2016 Lexington Kentucky

So from White Sulphur Springs my mother and I drove to Lexington Kentucky. The drive there was absolutely beautiful. If you ever get a chance to drive through the Appalachian Mountains in that part of the country, I highly suggest it. It is so green and so fresh. Also you will get a really cool view of coal mining still happening in this country. We didn't really have a whole lot of time to stop on the drive, but there are also tons of historical landmarks as well as natural landmarks you should check out.

When we arrived, by the grace of God we missed a huge storm by about 20 minutes. We had planned on checking out a restaurant when we fist arrived, but due to the storm decided to wait until the next day. And I have to say it was worth it.

The next morning my mother and I got up early and drove to The Shakespeare and Company restaurant in Downtown Lexington. No you know me, if it's breakfast, Shakespeare, or Whiskey I'm going to love it. And this place had breakfast and Shakespeare. Now this worldwide restaurant chain is super cute on the inside. They have old victorian furniture and lamps and wall decorations. And there are pastels EVERYWHERE. And if you want you can sit on couches near the window to eat. Now if I wasn't sold enough the breakfast i got was amazing. I got a chocolate, strawberry, banana, and hazelnut crepe. It was bigger than my head, and tasted absolutely incredible. Not to mention their mocktails. Can I just say YUM. 

After that we went to the worst place in existence. Do not go to the Kentucky Chocolate Factory, unless you want to be physically ill from the smells of Mint Juleps and baking chocolate mixing together. 

However, the rest of the day was quickly turned around. For Mother's Day (yes a couple of days late) I took my mother to the Kentucky Horse Park. We didn't go at a very busy time, but it was still a wonderful experience to have with my mother. We went around to all the horse barns (there are about five), and also toured the museum exhibits. It was nice seeing my mom in her element and having a good time. 

Soon after we went to Evan's Orchard and Cider Mill. If I had children, that is where I want to take them. It is covered in tons of outdoor climbing and trampoline and bounce house type stuff. It is hard to explain. But the fresh fruit and jellies are amazing. If it hadn't been 80 degrees out I would've tried the cider.

After the full day my mother and I did what anyone would do, order room service in the hotel and watch movies on the TV together. ANd the next morning after a full breakfast the two of went our separate ways. Mom back to good ole Caroline and me headed north to Bloomington Indiana.