Summer is officially over, and for the first time in my adult life, I don’t want it to be. The summer of 2018 has been one of the most defining seasons of my life. I’ve grown in surprising ways, discovered strength and swagger I didn’t know I had, experienced highs and lows of pretty epic proportions… it was a summer I will never forget.
These gorgeous gals have gotten me through so much. This night was pretty shortly after I had started adjusting to living on my own, and a concert/night on the town was such a great way to start my summer.
Then there’s these two… I could not be more blessed than I am to have these amazing women in my life, let alone in my band. The Dog Moms played the Mainstage at Indy Pride, and it was kind of surreal. I was stage managing the whole stage that day, but for a few moments I got to put down my clipboard and sing. Jacci and Nicole are more than my sister and sister-in-law, they make me want to play music for the rest of my life, and are a loving example of kindness, generosity, and how to care for other humans (and fur babies).
Stage Managing Indy Pride was definitely a highlight of my time in Indianapolis so far. Months before the event I doubted myself and asked our producer if maybe we should find someone else for this gig. He reassured me that it would way less scary than it seems, and I’m so thankful he was right. It was just an incredible day of feeling in control and supported and loved, and I needed that so badly! The day included a mandatory evacuation, hunkering down in a trailer singing with friends, Queens, and performers, adding last-minute belly dancers, fire dancers, curve balls, drag queens, a killer sound and backline crew, rainbows, color, music, and love love love everywhere I looked.
So many crafternoons! I made so much stuff with Gwen and (sometimes) Libby this summer. Teaching Gwen how to make something and then seeing her take what she’s learned and putting her own spin on it- Proud Auntie Moment!! She is so naturally creative and artistic, I love nurturing that part of her any way I can.
This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it’s HUGE for me- I wore shorts and skirts and rompers this summer, and LOVED the hell out of how I looked! I’ve never felt very comfortable in summer clothes, but I was truly surprised to feel so sad when the weather started getting cooler, and my wardrobe started to change accordingly.
My INDYPROV family grew bigger!! To say these crazy people have impacted my life would be an understatement of the highest degree. Improv is a necessary therapeutic joy-bringer to me, and getting to do it with these smarties (and many more not pictured here) is truly an honor. They floor me.
I was struck with the idea of a photo shoot, and I collaborated with two incredible women to see it through. (See the post “Finding My Wings” for the full scoop) I am thrilled with how cathartic and beautiful the whole thing turned out to be. The wings are now my headboard and look over me while I sleep.
I spent my former wedding anniversary (July 4th) with my improv family. I woke up dreading the day, unsure of what feelings would bubble up and how I would deal with them. I don’t think I even told many of the people I was with what the day used to be for me. Nevertheless, we partied, cooked out, watched fireworks, and went to Olly’s after. I felt beautiful and loved and supported just as a result of being surrounded by these remarkable souls. The picture above was captured by a friend on a day when I wasn’t sure if I could even smile, let alone glow like I was in this moment. But the thing of it is- when you glow like this, you’re reflecting the light that others are shining on you. I am incredibly grateful for all the light my friends shine on me.
Family vacation!! Spending a week in Michigan with Mom, Dad, Ness, Rodney, Gwen and Liberty was so good for my heart. We had crafternoons and living room dance parties and discovered the joy of Snapchat filters. We spent time on the beach and ate at new places, and Gwen even swam in the lake! It was the week before I went back on contract at IRT, so the rest and relaxation was so nice.
The Dog Moms played three nights at White River State Park as the opening act for Indy Shakespeare Company’s production of Coriolanus. Again, playing music with these ladies is my favorite thing ever. Our voices come together so well, there were songs that gave me chills in the middle of singing them. We had great crowds and met lots of dogs after the shows at our dog watering station. Beyond thankful for these two and the opportunity to play there.
I spent some quality time with my INDYPROV gal pals, and danced several nights away.
Exploring the dark side as GOTHPROV for a scavenger hunt all around Indy. It was a great time, but dang wearing all black on an August day may have been a mistake… nah. Worth it.
More INDYPROV madness!! My summer nights spent with them singing karaoke on patios and performing together are just priceless. Couldn’t ask for a better group of friends.
This guy has been full of surprises. I didn’t expect to feel comfortable dating anyone for a while, let alone being this happy. Seth is thoughtful and sweet, and goes out of his way to get to know my friends, family, and pets (despite not being a huge fan of birds, he makes sure to talk to Charlie my parrot and it’s really cute). He is an amazing guitar player (he would say I’m over selling it) and a hard-working man with a kind heart. He makes me smile every single day.
The Dog Moms (&Jeff) got hired to perform at one of the stops along The Indy Ultimate urban obstacle course. We played in the lobby of the brand new Phoenix Theatre. It was raining nonstop, but the runners seemed absolutely thrilled to see us. We had a few dance parties and made it into several selfies. Such a fun experience.
I made my bio-Queen drag debut! This is Ola Cray, special host for the ladies of Pink Slip – the Midwest’s only improv drag troupe.
MOMENTS NOT PICTURED:
One week after I couldn’t get off the couch for three days, I got up, got dressed, and auditioned for one of my favorite shows of all time with the encouragement of my friends Jim and Nolan. I wasn’t called back, but I showed myself what I was capable of on my own. I’m so glad I pushed myself to do something for me, even when I felt at my lowest. It was kind of like a starter pistol for my unforgettable summer.
Summer Conservatory Props Class- I taught four different groups of young actors (ages 8-18 I believe) how you can develop characters using objects (props) found in their environment. They had such vivid imaginations and didn’t hesitate to jump into the exercises at all. They supported each other’s ideas and built such fascinating characters in a short time. Their brightness gave me joy and hope for the next bunch of theatre artists.
I guess my main takeaways from this summer were –
- Leave room for surprises (from others and from myself)
- I am strong, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need my support system
- Karaoke is more fun outdoors, as is live music
- I’m going to be okay, even if that looks like something a little different every day.
- Music, improv, and crafty creativity are necessary
It still feels like summer here in Indiana for another day or two, but fall is just around the corner. I’m looking forward what this season brings.