Middle school was a dark time for me. Confusion, lack of identity, and isolation were common elements. I didn’t know what to do with myself or how to act. Theater changed all that. It made me confident, passionate, and happy. I believe in the overwhelming power of theater.
At first, I never gave a thought or care to acting. In the summer of 2004, I traveled to Europe with a group called “People to People.” One afternoon, I was in my hotel room listening to music and singing my heart out. Little did I know, one of the chaperones and coincidentally my orchestra teacher Mrs. Dosch was listening. When we returned home, Mrs. Dosch told my mom she heard me sing and enjoyed hearing it. My mother discovered that my middle school was performing “Seussical” and encouraged me to try out. At first, I thought she was crazy. Why would I want to be in a play? Reluctantly, I tried out. I could never know that this series of flukes and coincidences would change my life forever.
Theater opened up my personality. Before, I was quiet and mediocre. Being in a show made me more social and a more interesting person. I learned how to talk to people. This may sound silly, but small talk was something I genuinely didn’t know how to do. Before drama, I was boring in conversation and just stood there not knowing what to say. Surrounded by talented and unique people, I finally learned how to be myself and speak up.
Over time, I developed a strong passion for theater. I never felt this zeal with the activities I had previously tried. Drums, viola, swimming, soccer, and karate were all fun for a while, but they didn’t feel right. When I’m acting, I feel like life is worth living. The energy of being on stage feels incredible. It is a high unlike any other. It transports me to another time and place where I can be someone else for a little while. The feeling is unlike any I’ve ever experienced.
More than anything, acting gave me confidence. I finally understood who I was, and it felt good. I was a happier person and was no longer afraid of talking to people. I made friends and developed relationships in ways I didn’t know I could. Drama gave me the confidence to live life to the fullest.
A friend of mine who has acted for many years once told me an interesting metaphor regarding her theater experience. She said drama is like an abusive husband. It can be mean, cruel, and painful or nice, sweet, and fun. You can try to leave it, and you might get away for a little while, but you always end up getting back together because you still love it. However, I don’t entirely agree with her. Drama and I have been happily married for almost three years now, and we are still going strong.
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