mirandy -- ball 1

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I had an audition last week. It was my first since moving to New York last August, actually. It wasn't for anything particularly impressive, just a non-union, unpaid production of a musical in Brooklyn, but it's something. Even though it's not a professional production, that doesn't mean that the people auditioning aren't professional quality. The kid who went before me honestly wouldn't have been at all out of place in anything on Broadway; his vocals were phenomenal and he was a great actor. And the girl before him? She knocked her song out of the park, though I'm not sure how her reading went, as I arrived just as she was wrapping up.

When I got there, I glanced around at the resumes scattered on the table in front of their respective owners, and it became immediately apparent that I was the only one at the table who lacked serious professional training. I was surrounded by people with degrees from Michigan, BoCo, Carnegie Mellon, and CCM, just to name a few. At that point I realized I was way out of my league, but I couldn't just walk out. So I stayed. I sang, I read sides, and then I re-read them after notes from the director. When they asked questions, I was up-front about my training and my abilities. They thanked me and said they'd be in touch. I left knowing I'd done my best and expecting to find a "thanks, but no thanks" email in my inbox or voicemail on my phone the next day. Well, the next day, I heard nothing. I didn't hear anything the day after that, either. Six days later, I woke up to an email inviting me to callbacks the next day. I was pretty sure it was a mistake, but I replied to the email and confirmed my attendance anyway

Last night, I attended that callback. Apparently my email wasn't a mistake, because when I arrived, there was a nametag waiting for me and I struggled with where to put it so that it was visible but not awkward. I looked around, and only one girl from my group of auditioners was there as well. For the nametag, I settled on my leg, which ended up not being a great idea, because the callback started with a dance call. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a dancer, so I was expecting this to be a disaster, especially when I learned that it was modern dance with an emphasis on "undulation."  Somehow, and I cannot explain it at all, I made it through the dance portion in one piece. Not only that, but I picked up the dance quickly and asked questions that actually made me sound like I knew what I was talking about. We moved on to the vocal portion, which was odd, but it went well (though I wasn't concerned about looking like an idiot there, since singing is one thing I DO know how to do) and after that, I was done

For the first time in my life, I felt great about a dance call. I have never been so confident leaving a callback before. I mean, as a serious non-dancer, when I woke up this morning, my entire body hurt, but that just confirmed that I gave that dance call everything I had. No matter how this turns out, I'm okay with the result. I held my own against a group of people who have far more talent and experience than I do, and being called back over so many of those talented performers is, to be honest, a serious ego boost. From now on, I can go into auditions with my head held high, knowing that I DO have what it takes.

mirandy -- ball 1


  I find it difficult to believe that it's been ten years since the 9/11/01 attacks, partially because I still remember that day and some of the days following so, so vividly, and partially because it's kind of weird to me that I have such clear memories of something that happened a decade ago. 

I was in 5th grade. Mr. Fitzpatrick's class. Since it was the beginning of the year, we were seated alphabetically and I got stuck next to a new girl who I hated almost immediately. I don't remember why. The day started like any other; we were all seated in a circle on the floor for some sort of morning meeting. When we went back to our seats, we started our day with math, like always. It was only the second week of school and already I dreaded going because I hated starting my day with math. 

I don't quite remember when it happened, but sometime early on that morning Mr. Fitz told us he'd be back in a minute and went to the principal's office, just like every other staff member. Normally that would've been an opportunity for us to break every rule we could think of until he got back, but no one did anything besides read whatever it was Mr. Fitz had assigned to us before he closed the door. I think we all knew something was up, not that any of us really knew. 

When he came back, Mr. Fitz was visibly shaken. He was trying not to show it but whatever he'd been told had really gotten to him, but it was apparent that he didn't want us to know whatever it was and we all knew not to ask. Through the rest of the day, Mr. Fitz had his cell phone in his pocket and he would periodically excuse himself, apologizing every time. And every time he'd come back with a sort of unreadable deadpan expression and he'd pick up with our lesson like nothing had happened. 

At the end of the day, during what usually would've been the last fifteen minutes of class, Mr. Fitz pulled his chair out from behind his desk and placed it at the front of the room before sitting down and asking us all to sit on the floor in front of him. He stared at all of us for a minute or two before one of the secretaries started making an announcement over the PA system; all after-school activities were cancelled. CCD, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, everything. It was all cancelled. 

When the announcement finished, Mr. Fitz again sat in silence before finally finding words. "Something really big happened today, guys," he said. "You're going to need to talk to your parents about it when you get home. I'm not in a position to say anything more, but we'll talk about it tomorrow morning, okay?"

Pete O'Hara, who was sitting next to me, raised his hand. Mr. Fitz sort of nodded towards him, giving him permission to speak. 

"I know what happened." Mr. Fitz looked stunned and tried to interject before Pete could continue, but he was already talking again. 

"The Pope died." We all looked around at each other, nodding in silent agreement. That was the only reason CCD would be cancelled. Ever. Right?

A look of surprise mixed with relief and a little bit of amusement passed over Mr. Fitz's face before he spoke. "Ahhh, not quite. Um. It's bigger than that."

We were all in disbelief. What could possibly be bigger than the Pope dying and CCD being cancelled?


  My mom picked me and my brother up from school that day; I was supposed to have a Girl Scout meeting after school so I wasn't surprised. When we got in the car, I asked her what had happened that day, saying that Mr. Fitz said that we needed to talk to our parents. I was in the backseat and my mom glanced in the rearview mirror before saying anything. "Several planes were hijacked today, and they were flown into two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, as well as the Pentagon in Washington, DC."

I didn't get it. "So? That's New York and Washington DC. This is Pennsylvania. Why is Girl Scouts cancelled?"

"A lot of kids' parents work in New York, maybe even in the World Trade Center. People need time to find their families and make sure everyone's okay." I still didn't get it. 

It wasn't until we got home and I saw the footage on the news that I truly began to understand what had happened. 


The impromptu staff meeting earlier that day had been to inform the staff of what had happened, and to ask them not to tell their students. It took me several years to really understand the rationale; but in retrospect it makes sense. I live in an area where many, many people commute to NYC daily for work, and if the student body had been told that there was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, anyone whose parents worked in New York would've panicked, especially the younger kids who didn't necessarily know WHERE their parents worked, just that it was in New York City. It was also in deference to our parents; they should be the ones who choose when and what to tell their children about an event like this. 

Mr. Fitz's repeated phone calls were because his brother was at a meeting in the financial district that day, and no one in his family could get a hold of him, just like no one could get a hold of anyone in the area immediately following the attacks. Mr. Fitz was receiving periodic updates from his father about what they knew and what was to come. 


It is incredible to think how everyone's lives changed in an instant because of the same event, but how differently everyone experienced it because of their location or personal circumstances or anything, really. 
mirandy -- ball 1

Why the Fixation?

Recently I got to see a friend for the first time in couple of months. As we hugged on a street corner, the first thing she said to me, even before a hello or another similar salutation, was "You've lost weight!" I was slightly taken aback; my instinctive response was "I haven't, but thanks? And hello to you, too!" as she hugged me tighter and told me how good it was to see me again. She later apologized for opening with a comment about my weight, saying that it's not usually something she would've commented on but she genuinely thought I'd dropped a few pounds and that I looked good, not that I hadn't before, and not that she thought I needed to lose weight or anything, et cetera, and I smiled and told her it was fine before she inserted her foot even farther into her mouth. The comment truly hadn't bothered me and I hadn't even considered any negative connotation until she suggested it, but it's something I've been thinking about ever since.

What is with our fixation on weight? Why are the two or three numbers that stare back at us from the scale so important, and why do we let them rule our lives and define who we are? I'd be lying if I didn't admit to thinking, at times, that things would be better/easier/whatever if I just lost five, ten, fifteen pounds, if I could just get back to what I weighed when I started high school. I'm not saying that if you're 5'5" and you weigh 400lbs that there isn't a problem, or that if you're 5'5" and you weigh 75lbs that there isn't a problem, but if your weight teeters on either end of the spectrum of what's healthy for your height (with all other factors taken into consideration) or if it's somewhere in between, why are we always so concerned about it?

Before people start getting up in arms and spouting off their heights and their weights and defending themselves (because god knows I'm going to offend people with this), I want to say that as long as you are happy and healthy, fuck everyone else. If you are 100% comfortable with what you weigh, etc, then more power to you.

In today's society we're taught that unless you're rail thin and perfectly proportioned, you're not attractive, etc. "Plus sized" models wear sizes eight through twelve. That's not plus-sized, that's a healthy weight/size for these women who are 5'9, 10, 11" and on. That's not to say that women who are tall can't also wear a size two and be perfectly healthy, but wearing a double-digit size doesn't mean they're fat, either.

I feel hypocritical posting this, because I would be lying if I didn't say that my weight/clothing size is a constant concern of mine. Hell, I've even promised myself professional headshots as a reward for reaching my "goal weight" within the next few months. Even so, I hate that this fixation is the norm for American girls and women today. I wish it weren't something that was constantly on my mind, but it is, and that's something that I have to accept for now.

It is my sincere wish that everyone who reads this someday becomes completely comfortable with who they are if they aren't already. It's something I'm working on, and maybe something you should, too.