Thursday, March 26, 2009

College is a Fitting Room

In a fit of nostalgia whilst ignoring the new ABC show "In The Motherhood" (terrible by the way) I typed in the web address to my old alma mater: Miami University and mosied my way to the theatre department's page. I clicked around a little bit- scanned pictures of recent shows, read the latest department news, then stumbled onto the alumni pages where I read the latest goings on in the lives of my classmates - some of them anyway. For the most part, because the information is self submitted- not many from my class have posted their information- I mean it has only been a handful of years since graduation we still have years until we feel established enough to brag about our accomplishments- am I right?

Let me start by saying two things:

A: Though my official grad date was in 2007 I really consider myself c/o 2006 as I "stayed behind" a 5th year to complete a late added minor. I say, "stay behind" in quotes because I actually moved out of town and in with Bennyboo around the start of my 5th year and only took a handful of classes that last year and worked two jobs more than full time. I started with c/o of 2k6 and completed my theatre classes with those people- I'm 2k6.

B: I had a love/ hate relationship with MU. I feel as though my work life and my constant need fo additional dollars prevented me from becoming fully ensconced in college life. I also feel as though this particular school catered to a certain breed of people. Conservative, right wing, Lacoste wearing snobs. Not all of them...certainly not the ones in the theatre department but believe me I certainly met my share of snobs.

Anyhow I flipped through these pages and found myself surprisingly sad and nostalgic. Not because of the theatrical things my peers are accomplishing in their lives after college- I do miss acting- but realized while typing my own bio that I am quite proud of what I've accomplished and feel that I am absolutely doing the right thing for me at present.

It's not that- its the memory of young Amber. Barbie blonde 18 year-old Amber in 2002. Tanned and thin (ner). So excited to be at Miami, so proud to be a drama student- I was after all "going straight to Broadway"! She was the Amber who knew the best was yet to come: leading rolls, amazing dates, sorority life, themed parties, friends, frat boys. She was the Amber before deaths of loved ones, abuse from boyfriends, and financial independance before I was ready. The Amber who didn't know the difference between Nine West and Louis Vuitton- Cover Girl and MAC- and that my family didn't have the money to afford the latter (and the girls in my dorm did). She was the girl who thought that theatre was about the performance and the glitter and the glamour who didn't realize that there was entirely different breed of people who lived and breathed and died by Brecht and Stanislovsky (and though I can appreciate fine theatre I'm not going to hump its leg or become an elitest). She was a girl who didn't know better.

I pressed on - I learned and grew. I changed- most things for the better and some things for the worse. I learned that sorority life wasn't for me - and frat boys either for that matter. I fell in love with the man that I'm going to marry after only a few not so amazing dates and one that scarred me fo life (even if I'll never admit it aloud) . I now know the difference between designers and imitations- though sometimes I wish that didn't- because truth be told- I still can't afford them really. All of the expectations I set up then- so long ago whether failed or realized make me the woman I am today and I can only be thankful because after many years of a sour taste in my mouth for MU I've learned to appreciate it for what it really was: a fitting room.

Through my 5 years I tried on many outfits: flag girl, drama queen, workaholic, sorority princess, roommate, girlfriend, friend, makeup artist, social butterfly, cynic, customer, loner, party girl.
One by one I discarded them and came to realize that what I'm most comfortable in- is my own skin- even if from time to time it is covered by some fabulous duds. The rest of the outfits were re-racked for the next hopeful 18 year old to try on and discover what fits best on her.

I may not have come out of college a Broadway star, a makeup designer, or even a stage hand. A sorority president, homecoming queen, or graduate maga cum laude. But I sure as hell came out strong, confidant and know just who I want to become and I'm well on my way to being her.

Yet somehow tonight- and I'm sure it will be fleeting- I'm missing Miami- the place and the familiarity it offered and longing just a little bit- for that hopeful, innocent girl who I used to be.

So tonight for nostalgia, though they will mean nothing to any of you (unless I have any MU stalkers) I leave you with the sensory images I recall tonight fondly and wish, if only for a a few moments to be back there again.

-The chill of the early morning air walking to 8am classes and the feel of dewey grass brushing across my bare ankles
-The glow of the CPA from the reflecting pool on performance nights- and the slight spray from the fountains that got caught up in the wind and brushed my skin
-Late night pasta bar after rehearsals
-Mid day naps between classes
-The friendships gained during shows
-The long walk up town to hit the bars or back from up town AFTER the bars (much more challenging)
- Meetings at the libary
- The chime of the bells on cook field from my freshman dorm
- Erickson food
- Football game days
- Trips to Alabama and New York, and Toledo, and Russia, and Taiwan
- Working at Fin. Aid
- Sitting in the grass talking after a night of wine and weed (past tense on the latter FYI)
-Walking distance from any and everywhere
-Staying up and talking with friends so late you just crash there ( I miss sleep overs with friends)
-The thrill of drinking underage/ sneaking liquor into the bars
- Julie and when Brickstreet was still First Run
- The summer of the sparkely shoes and The Tiffy incident (Shawdee you know what I'm talking about)
- The belief that anything, is possible and that the moments that you are in- are going to last forever
-And so on and so on and so on....


Miss Amber Lane

Tonight I'm Feeling: Sleepy, Nostalgic, Relieved (Tomorrow is Friday and THE LAST day of my 7 day stretch)


Ellegant said...

Having read parts of your journey through college, this is an amazing post to read. So relatable also, as I feel we both share some similar traits and points of view. You're right - college is a fitting room. We constantly evolve and change into different "costumes" to find the perfect one. And while I'm not sure it ever really stops, it's nice to take a step back, be nostalgic towards the past, but know you've come such a long way also.

You've done a fantastic job. I'm proud of you :)!!

Rachel Ann said...

"I pressed on - I learned and grew. I changed- most things for the better and some things for the worse."

NONSENSE. You are flipping awesome and I wouldn't change a thing about you, therefore, nothing has changed for the worse.

So There.

Also, great post. It's got me all nostalgic for Ohio State, and summers with sparkly shoes. For old times sake, we should put on our sparklyest shoes and go to the backdoor when I'm in town. We'll drink our butts off and puke in the tub. And just to make it authentic, I'll have a stranger call you Ashley ;)