Saturday, March 24, 2007


I just realized that the last few posts (excluding the happy one about my brother) have been rather negative.

Maybe I'm going through a phase. Huh.

It bears some thinking about, that perhaps it isn't all the people around me, and maybe it's me.

Although I'd rather it wasn't.


I am so frustrated with school right now. Not with the work – that feels quite manageable for once. No. I'm frustrated with the institution itself and the people who are running it.

It feels like the Educational Directors are on a warpath and I don’t know why. It’s sudden, too. One day I’m going along my life, making my own decisions and organizing things my way, and the next day the phrase ‘mandatory’ gets thrown in my face and I have to abide by a new set of rules. Rules that I haven’t been aware of for three months now, but that apparently have to be added to my life for this last month of school or the world will come to an end.

The thing I really don’t understand is that the class they are raising Cain about is dance, which is a fucking audit for me. I’m not getting any credits or being marked or evaluated in any way. I didn’t get the option of choosing this class – if I had I would have turned it down. It’s exactly the same class that I took last year and since I passed, I don’t see why I have to take it again. But suddenly I have to attend and catch up on what I’ve missed so that I can participate in the presentation that is happening in three weeks.

They say they want me to stay in practice with dance and I can understand that. But the majority of the class time is spent warming up and stretching. I do that on my own every morning. I lead a deliberately active lifestyle. I keep my tools ready to work. As far as the idea of keeping dance moves fresh in my mind…the way I see it, if I ever go out for a dance audition I’ll be doing it cold. Taking dance classes outside of school doesn’t interest me. I know that I learn basic choreography at an average speed. I’m not a dancer, but I can learn choreography. If this class taught me how to pick up choreography quickly I’d be there in a heartbeat, but instead we spend 85% of the class time warming up to spend 15 minutes going over and over the same dance moves – dance moves that I’ve never seen used in musical theatre anyway. It’s a waste of my time.

The whole ‘mandatory audit’ thing is really just the tip of the iceberg. Recently the Student Life Advisor sent an email to all of the students who are living in student housing, reminding us all that a) we aren’t allowed to have alcohol in our houses and b) boys aren’t allowed to be in our rooms past midnight. I know these rules – well, I knew the alcohol one. I knew that technically we weren’t allowed to have boys in our rooms unless the doors were open but that rule has never been enforced so I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I certainly didn’t remember that they had to be out of our house by midnight. When S.’s schedule means that he isn’t free to come visit me until 11 o’clock at night it seems ridiculous that he would have to leave after an hour, particularly if neither of us has anything the next morning, but fine. We’ll hang out at his house if it’s really that big of a problem. It pisses me off that I can’t live my own life in my own house.

I’ll admit I was breaking the letter of the law on the alcohol thing. I had a bottle of wine in my closet. I had no intention of drinking it in the dorm – I am waiting to open it until R. and I move into our new not-student-housing suite. I didn’t think having a bottle of wine in my closet would be a problem but after I got the email I moved it to S.’s house. He lives in a private residence and is allowed to make the adult decision to drink or not to drink. I can’t wait until I live in a house where my landlord will actually assume that I can act my age (23) and where I can make my own life choices – where all I have to take into consideration is whether or not I’m being respectful to my roommates and whether I’m taking good care of my house. That is what an adult, living on their own, should have to think about. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether my lifestyle is meshing with someone else’s moral structure, but thanks to the nature of student housing that is my reality. I hate it.

It’s made me realize that I have control issues when it comes to my room. The email stated that members of the Educational Team would be conducting random house checks, looking for alcohol and asking whether guys were staying over. The idea of having someone go through my stuff in my room, looking for non-existent alcohol, asking me about aspects of my life that shouldn’t be their business in the first place, makes me instantly angry. Unreasonably angry, in fact. I thought about it a lot and I realized that my bedroom has always been the only area of my life that I have had complete control over. I have always controlled my room completely and implicitly. I have been anal-retentive about who comes in and when, the contents and where they go. I rule my room and no one else has any authority therein. It has always been that way, and I just can’t let that go. I’ll let them in my room if they must check it, but only if I’m there. I’d prefer it if they could just take my word for it that there’s no alcohol in there. They have to take my word for it that S. isn’t sleeping over, after all.

Another big part of my frustration with the school comes from scheduling conflicts. This year has been the worst year for students being double-booked into things that anyone I’ve spoken to has ever seen. Students have been expected to be in two or three places at once, and when they choose which one of those places they are going to go, they are informed that they have to make up the other classes on their own time. It’s bullshit! I understand that the schedulers are human. I’m not asking for perfection. It would just be nice if when the problems are brought to their attention they would try to rectify them instead of shoving them off on the student.

Right now I’m stage managing a classmates’ final project. Part of this requires me to try to make the schedules of the various team members match up. It is not an easy job. I thought that the school would be helpful with this whole process. The Educational Team approved this project, after all.

I’ve since realized that that was a little too optimistic of me. There have been several ‘mandatory’ classes added to our schedule that are in direct conflict with rehearsals. I don’t understand it. They approved the fucking rehearsal schedule. They should know it, and if they foresaw problems with it they should have said something back then. Instead they approved it and are now kicking up a fuss about the classes that I won’t be attending.

I feel really angry about all of these things, and what makes it worse is that I feel like I’m not being heard.

I know I’m not the only student feeling this way. There are important things that the Educational Team isn’t hearing when we say them, and what can we do about it?


It pisses me off half the time and fills me with a horrible old feeling of resignation the other half. It makes me feel like closing up every time one of them talks to me. Why should I listen to you if you aren’t going to listen to me, I want to ask. But instead I sigh inside and try to be receptive.

How can I expect them to listen to me if I won’t even try to listen to them, after all?

I keep listening.

They keep ignoring the problems they are creating.

And so I am frustrated.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


That is to my middle brother, who asked his girlfriend to marry him.

She said yes. Otherwise this would be a sad little post, instead of a happy one.

I am really excited for them, and can hardly wait to welcome her into our family!

Congratulations, you two. Lots of love and best wishes your way.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Our household harmony is vanishing. Fast.

It started with the breakdown of the System. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly little resentments will pop up when the dishes aren’t being done. As soon as the dishes remained piled on the counter with loud declarations of “they aren’t mine and I won’t do other people’s dishes” everything else went to pot.

Secret resentment number one: I would put dishes here, but I’m not sure that dishes count as a ‘secret’ resentment since the entire household has articulated this one multiple times. And in reality, if M. would just do her damn dishes, this post would be over already.

Secret resentment number two: It is tech week for the Opera House show, which means that L. (who is the ASM) is under stress. To help her out, L.’s fiancé, K., has been here cooking for her so that she doesn’t have to worry about preparing meals during her short breaks. It’s awfully nice of him, but it does add another person to an already crowded kitchen. But hey – he washes the dishes he uses. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by the extra person in our kitchen but I’ve been dealing with it. I have S. over often enough, after all. M., however, is tired of having ‘the boyfriends’ over here all the time.
She doesn’t go speak to L. about this though. No. She talks to me, like I’m going to fix it for her.

Secret resentment number two: M. has been watching seasons one and two of Grey’s Anatomy. Not a problem until you realize that she has watched the entire two seasons over four days. While she watches film after film and episode after episode, she uses the upstairs bathroom – the bathroom that C. and I supply with toilet paper. Our supplies are vanishing almost as fast as the household harmony.
M. has always spent every spare moment of her life sitting in the living-room watching movies at high decibel levels, and while it has been getting on everyone’s nerves for a long time, it has reached a snapping point. It is understandable that we can only handle so much noise in the only common area in the house, and when you combine that with watching her sit there while her dishes pile up in negligent sloth, you get a fairly volatile situation.

C. decided that taking the RCA cables away would solve the problem. It didn’t. It just made things worse. When M. came home and discovered that the television didn’t work, she felt like she was being punished (which she was) and accused C. of mothering her. To her face, which I must admit I was quite shocked to learn.

That brings us to secret resentment number three: M. treating me like I’m her personal intercessor. After raising her voice to L. when it was pointed out that she needed to do her dishes, and then yelling at C. for mothering her, she stalked up to my room and proceeded to fill me in on the entire afternoon in a highly controlled and angry voice.
In my bedroom. My private retreat from the entire house, the only private place I have in the entire town.

I had removed myself for a reason. Apparently that was lost on M. While she spouted off about how the entire house was treating her like a child, all I could do was stare at the top of my dresser and wonder why the hell I let her do this to me and wonder why she can’t seem to learn that her actions affect the people around her. She is very much like a child.

I felt like I couldn’t even tell her what I wanted to because I had to stop her from going and having it all out with L. right then and there. In the middle of tech week. This is the worst week in any show, particularly for L. M. has no sense of timing.

I wanted to tell her that none of us wanted the full-time job that mothering her would be. That we aren’t trying to mother her – we are only behaving like roommates behave when someone in the house isn’t pulling their weight. That pulling your weight means not only cleaning up after yourself (which she isn’t doing) but also pitching in to pick up the slack that is left when six people live together. That if she had a problem with somebody in the house she should go talk to them instead of dragging me into every fight she has. That she can’t come into my room. For any reason. Ever.

It irritates me that M. can’t recognize her dishes; that she doesn’t speak to the people that are angering her; that she can’t seem to realize that her problems aren’t my problems or my business; that she also has no sense of timing; that she can’t remember to be considerate of the people living around her; that she can’t see past what she wants and what she feels to the desires, needs and feelings of the people she has lived with for six months.

I am getting very tired of living with her. I know I said I could suck it up for another month and a half…but I think I was lying. A little part of me harbours a secret resentment against our student life advisor for placing her here in the first place. If she didn’t live here, my life would be so much easier.

And while the household harmony vanishes into the ether, I cling to the hope that somehow in all of this I have become a better person.

Because otherwise this was all a significant waste of my time.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The System: or, Flex Before Somebody Snaps

In our house we have a System when it comes to dishes. It’s quite simple. You do your own.

The System works pretty well. It’s the only way we’ve been able to keep the peace with six women using dishes in the house. It isn’t perfect though. It breaks down when someone doesn’t do their dishes for a week or when people forget which dishes are theirs. Confusion over ownership wreaks the most havoc on the System, and unfortunately the dishes are the ones who suffer, sitting unclaimed on the counter wallowing in their filth until someone breaks down and does them.

It wouldn’t be such a problem – or a topic for my blog – if this house wasn’t filled with such stubborn women. Let me introduce them to you –

First, we have L. L. refuses to do dishes that aren’t hers because she is of the firm belief that the dishes piling up belong to M., who she doesn’t really like and with whom any excuse to like her less is a viable reason to make life difficult for everyone around. She doesn’t see that aspect of it, but it’s true non-the-less.

Then we have the infamous M., of whom I’ve written before. M. is tired of all the extra dishes being blamed on her and likewise refuses to do any extra dishes – although she does tend to forget what she has actually used and blame her work on others, particularly L. and C.

C., the first one of us to live here and who thus lays claim (subconsciously or not) to the title of Alpha Bitch, has a good memory as to what she has and has not used for dishes. She rarely is a culprit when it comes to over-flowing counters. She usually has to play the role of dish-Nazi (the one who makes others do their dishes).

J. doesn’t do her dishes upstairs, and so has excluded herself from the System – although when a dish disappears for a month it’s usually because it has been wallowing in her sink downstairs.

R. adheres to the System. She does her dishes with OCD-like attention to detail, and thus avoids the perennial conflict when it comes to arguments of ownership.

I occasionally leave dishes and have been known to forget which ones are mine. However the System is so ingrained in me that when I was home for Christmas I used a plate and then washed it immediately, ignoring the pile of dishes from the previous meal (much to my mother’s irritation. She doesn’t understand the overwhelming influence of the System). I also will wash other people’s dishes if someone else will put them away – I hate putting dishes away but washing them doesn’t bother me. Much.

In this latest uprising of plates and cups half of the house was absent, leaving L. and M. to battle out the ownership issue. I had been observing the dishes and knowing their eating habits, I was pretty sure that they were the result of an even split between the two of them, but neither of them were willing to budge an inch to do any more than what they believed was their responsibility. Fuck, I hate legalism.

I finally got sick of the whole mess and took out my frustration at the breakdown of the System in the most passive-aggressive yet positive way I could. I did all of the fucking dishes and then cleaned the kitchen to boot.

I did receive gratitude in the form of lip-service, but that evening again I witnessed the strict adherence to the System to the exclusion of mercy or grace.

I think I hate the System too.

The problem is that I know that the System works. It isn’t the System that is broken. It’s the understanding of the System. There needs to be a bit of flex room, a place of grace where each member of the house will accept doing a few extra dishes now and then to help out a friend (or to stop an argument that will overflow onto friends – or the floor). There needs to be an understanding that no System works without flexibility to work outside the rules.

I discussed this with R. when she returned from her study break. I got quite worked up about it (the swearing in this post isn’t gratuitous; it accurately reflects my feelings on the subject). R. sensed my pent-up rage and asked me if we needed to have a house meeting. I said I thought it would be okay. I am the queen of taking deep breaths and taking things in stride. I can hold out until the end of term, when M. is leaving and L. will suddenly remember what it means to help out the people around her instead of doing her own fair share and letting everyone else take up the slack.

If this situation rises again before the end of March, though, I’m going to fucking flip out and it won’t be a pretty sight.

I just wish we could all just remember to have some flexibility within our Systems. Maybe then our lives would run a little more smoothly.

At least I’d have to find something else to snap about.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

22 - The Year of the Firsts

I had my birthday this week. I turned 23.

23 feels a lot older than 22. Someone told me it’s because 23 is closer to 25 than to 20. Perhaps that’s why.

I think the reason I feel older is because I am definitely an adult now. There is no way that a 23 year old is not an adult. I have no excuses now for any of my childish behaviour.

Maybe that should make me sad, but instead it makes me stand straighter, smile and look to the future.

After all, you can’t stop getting older. I think you might as well embrace it.

That said I’m not negating the difficulty people have in aging. I am sure that in spite of my best intentions I’ll find some years hard. Which ones I’m not sure of yet. After all, I wouldn’t have thought that turning 20 would be hard but it kind of was.

But whatever. I’ll accept the difficulty and still never lie about my age, no matter how hard I find it to be old. When I am, I mean. I’m still young, so it’s easy to have this ideal, but I am determined to keep it. Not everyone gets to be old, even as old as I am now, and I will not belittle the gift of life by denying how many years I have had it.

This last year has been one full of life, too. I experienced quite a few firsts – first leading role, first degree, first time ASMing, first boyfriend, first kiss, first time falling in love, first time making out, first time getting paid to sing in public, getting my first role in the main season, first close friend getting engaged, first time really fighting with the student loan people, first time getting drunk, first hangover, first laptop (thanks Dad and Mom!), first time acting in a final project, first time traveling overseas, first time seeing London, England and Wales, first time being sniffed down by a drug dog and being randomly checked by airport security people, first time being really, really late with the rent (and tuition…sigh), first play written and read publicly…not all in that order necessarily, but all this year.

I can’t help but be excited about next years firsts…along with continuations of this years discoveries, 23 should be a pretty good year.