well this sucks 

it’s 1:06 in the morning on january 20th, 2016. i’ve spent the past three hours trying to write about how i feel right now. i just read over what i wrote and i think it’s okay. i think it’s a little pretentious. it’s not as transparent as i would like. it’s hard to follow, even for me, and i wrote it. i definitely didn’t cover a portion of what i’m thinking and feeling. but this stuff, this politics stuff, it’s hard to write about. how do i put into words all the crap that’s going on in my head and also in the real actual world? i don’t know if i can. but i’m tired and i tried. because for me, i have three coping mechanisms when angry/anxious/sad/mostly sad; writing or crying or eating. i’ve already cried four times today and spring break is in a month so i’m on a ‘diet.’ writing’s my only other option so here’s what i’ve got.

politics has been the chosen topic of conversation in my family, my entire life. before sports, before broadway, before “what did you do at work today?” dinner, christmas, on the drive to school, waiting in line at disney world; i have been talking about – or hearing about, oftentimes against my own will – politics, forever. for me, it’s always been normal. what do you mean you didn’t spend your saturdays walking around neighborhoods, campaigning for obama, having the door slammed in your face by white men who only wanted a white president, at age 14? what do your mean your family doesn’t listen to sean hannity on long car rides, yelling at the inanimate radio, willingly filling themselves with rage, in an effort to stay awake?

i now realize, as i’ve been out of the house for a few years, that having a variety of 2008 inauguration memorabilia – pins&bags&shirts&posters- is not a very normal decor choice. most people don’t have a mom who calls you in sick to school so that you can watch the 2008 inauguration – and not because you ask her to, but because she is making you. it’s a little unusual that i spent multiple days of eighth grade wearing a terribly designed “obama wins indiana; we did it!” t-shirt. and proudly, i might add.

i was raised in a liberal disney world. i knew what my family believed in before i knew that a lot of people believed in different things. it took me a long time – and i’m still not really there – to recognize that many people, millions of people, think that everything i stand for, that an utterly inherent part of my mind & soul, is wrong. recognizing that what to me is so obvious and true, is delusional to others, that was really hard for me. before i left for college, i’d never been told i was wrong; i’d never been silenced. 

when i got to butler, i entered the gates eager and excited to find other people to talk about this stuff – politics, the wellbeing of our nation – with, and i came up short. when i started talking, people either didn’t care to talk about politics or they didn’t care to talk about my politics. and to be frank, i love being right and i think that i am mostly always right, so i wasn’t willing to talk about their politics either. i so badly wanted to be back in my bubble of agreement and solidarity. suddenly & abruptly, i was surrounded by people who weren’t raised with my same beliefs. so i stopped talking; i was silenced, not because of any one person, but because of my own invited yet unexpected insecurity.
not until this year, my senior year, did i really start talking about my beliefs totally transparently and totally openly to people i didn’t know all that well, to my best friends, to the twitter-sphere. i did it because there was a candidate i despised with my entire soul, a candidate i hated and distrusted and truly believed would be detrimental to all of the progress we’ve made. i also did it because there was a candidate i loved eternally, a woman who i admired not just because of her gender but because of her ambition and bravery and relentlessness and inclusivity and intelligence and beauty. i started talking about politics with the spirit and passion i was raised to embody because, to be honest, i just had to stop caring what all these white upper-class hoosiers thought about me. so i slapped that ‘i’m with her’ sticker on my laptop and i raised my voice.

and you know what happens when you talk to people  who don’t agree with you? you learn new shit! and you know what happens when you ask people if they want to hear what you think about obama or liz warren or trump in an as-quiet-as-someone-with-zero-volume-control-can-speak, semi-polite way? they listen! and maybe learn a little, too! the beauty of conversation and bipartisanship.

these conversations, these thoughts, these frustrations, they were all mine. i was in charge of what i read about, what i consumed, what i believed. it was interesting and albeit, a little terrifying, to not be safe under the umbrella of my parents. no one was helping me believe, it was all up to me. and you know what i learned about myself and about my country? i really love myself, i love that i’m passionate and i love that i am intentional in my opinions. i love that i was raised during a time like this, with this president, with this administration, with this progress. i don’t know if i would be so persistent in my knowledge had i been born without mr. obama as my commander-in-chief. without hillary clinton as my first vote.

and now that i feel all confident and cool, it’s changing, and it’s way weird.

today is january 19, 2016. barack obama is my president. joe biden is my vice president. michelle obama is my first lady.

tomorrow is january 20, 2016. barack obama will no longer be my president. joe biden will no longer be my vice president. michelle obama will no longer be my first lady.

as this day has loomed closer and closer, i’ve grown more fearful, more anxious, more heartbroken. i just feel really sad, like pit in the stomach, can’t think of anything else, nothing can distract you from it, sad.

the feeling mirrors how i feel about graduation, oddly enough. something that, for a long while, was far away. something that you think about for a second, in the car, in the shower, tipsy at dinner with friends. but it’s not here yet, so let’s go back to talking about ‘la la land’ okay?

i really thought today was going to be a celebration, a party for the ages. champagne would be popped, ‘freedom’ would be blasted, happy tears would be shed. all of this was a dream, a far off thought, like graduation, like the tony awards [june 11 on CBS], like the day when i finally start drinking water, like, consistently. i thought about the inauguration for so long, anticipating it with glee, preparing my heart&mind&soul to experience it for real, in real life, in real time – not just in my head.

and then the election happened.

from november 8 until today, i’ve still thought about the inauguration just as much as i did before. with just as much interest as i carried with me throughout this year. but with this new wave of reality comes anxiousness and an overwhelming need to wish away the future and sit happily in the past.

and as much as i’d love to stay in the past, with ellen and michelle dancing on my screen, with obama lifting a baby to the sky in the oval office, with biden wearing aviators and looking all sauve; that’s not our reality anymore. it’s all a beautiful and magical memory.

so what do we do now? i don’t know. right now i’m very sad. sad for what was, sad for what could’ve been, sad for what is. i’m going to the women’s march this weekend in d.c. because i’m craving community in this climate. i know the march won’t fix everything, i know writing about it isn’t the solution, but i do know that both of those things are better than sitting by and doing nothing. this is going to be really hard but we can’t turn our anger and sadness into stagnation. we’ve got to be proactive. we’ve got to get to work.

today is january 20, 2016. barack obama is my hero, joe biden is my surrogate uncle, michelle obama is my inspiration and hillary clinton is my everything else.


today, i am sad

when i was in junior high, i wore a “hillary clinton for president” button on my backpack.

yesterday, at 21 years old, i voted for the very first time. yesterday, at 21 years old, i clicked that box next to hillary clinton’s name and chills spread through my body. a smile crept across my face. my feet danced with glee. i felt complete joy, for my little junior high self, for what i thought my country was about to become.

i will never forget that moment. that moment can never be taken away from me.

the second i realized that we may not win – the second i realized that our nation had chosen to elect a bigot, a sexist, a racist, an evil human being over a woman – my heart broke.

i am devastated.

my sadness runs deep. i go from tears to silent disbelief to tears to silent disbelief. i am numb.

i feel sad for my family. my parents have spent my whole life helping me believe and find the good in everyone. encouraging me to speak up, to have a voice, to be informed, to be proud of my thoughts and feelings. we were so excited for hillary. we had tickets to the inauguration. we were so charged and ready to go celebrate our first female president. as a family, as a nation.

reading my family’s text messages from last night break my heart all over again. we go from excitement to determination to shock to horror to hope to devastation.

i just can’t believe this happened.

i feel sad for women, for people of color, for the lqbtq+ community, for the disabled, for non-christians. my mom told me that a muslim student in her class came to her crying today because last night – last night – people were yelling at her. this woman is scared for her safety, in her own home.

i feel sad for hillary. i feel so sad for hillary. she has worked tirelessly, for years, as a public servant. not a day goes by that this woman does not face the most intense hate from the most despicable people. and she always – always – responds with grace and kindness. she always – always – pushes onward and upward, committed to fighting for us. i am so incredibly devastated that we let her down. i didn’t want to let her down. i really didn’t think we were going to let her down.

this morning, i wasn’t angry yet. the sadness was too big to conquer, the sadness was in charge.

i spent my day ridding myself of the sadness, as best i could. i laid in bed, i ate an entire bag of cheddar popcorn, i watched my favorite shows, i took a long walk along the canal. i scrolled through twitter, for hours, soaking up the support. so many comedians and writers and politicians that i admire were vocalizing their sadness, almost welcoming it, in a way. they reminded me that it was okay; that my sadness was warranted. i’m thankful for that. i watched hillary’s beautiful speech. and barack’s. i cried a lot. i hugged my friends. i texted my sister. i let the darkness sit for as long as it needed. we fought hard, and we lost. that hurts.

the sadness is not gone, it won’t be for a long time. but with relief, with grief, comes space for a new emotion. and the new emotions that my body and mind and spirit have chosen are conflicting, but they’re there, together. one is loud and one is soft. anger and hope.

last night, our nation elected a man who does not believe in climate change to be our next president. our nation elected a man who is endorsed by the kkk to be our next president. last night, our nation elected a man who has proudly scammed millions of citizens through his businesses and fake universities to be our next president. our nation elected a man who has sexually assaulted women, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women to be our next president. last night, our nation elected a man with zero political experience, with zero years of public service to be our next president.

all that, and so much more, makes me disgusted. it makes me sick to my stomach. it makes me scared.

this anger, it will fade. i know it. it’s temporary, it’s involuntary, it’s allowed, but not for long. i won’t let it stick around. i won’t let it consume me.

the hope on the other hand – it’s small right now. a little light. a tiny flicker. but it will grow. and with it will come determination, will come community, will come prosperity.

today, i am sad and angry. tomorrow, i will be sad and angry and hopeful and strong.

we will be okay. [right?]

i’m confused!!!

mike birbiglia, a human + comedian i admire tremendously, recently wrote an article for the new york times entitled ‘mike birbiglia’s 6 tips for making it small in hollywood. or anywhere’ and it’s really good and contains a big piece of reality pie.

[before i continue rambling about my personal problems and posting them on the internet, i want to write a quick love letter to birbiglia’s new movie. it’s called ‘don’t think twice’ and it’s about an improv group struggling with one another’s simultaneous successes and failures. i love mike birbiglia, i love his stand-up, i love his debut feature ‘sleepwalk with me’, so naturally i was giddy for this film. i saw it with my brother a few weeks ago and when the credits started rolling, i turned to tommy and said ‘i’m so sad that’s over i never wanted it to end.’ it was a perfect movie. not a totally happy movie, but a perfect one. please go see it and treat yourself to some cinematic joy.]

back to the nyt’s article. #1 on birbiglia’s list of advice is as follows; don’t wait. write. make a short film. go to an open mike. take an improv class. there’s no substitute for actually doing something. don’t talk about it anymore. maybe don’t even finish reading this essay. 

i spend a lot of my awake hours talking about what i’m going to do when i grow up. thanks to my inherent inability to keep my mouth shut, particularly when feeling distress, everyone is aware of my aspirations. i want to write for a television show, i want to produce, i really enjoy writing prose, i’ve recently uncovered tangible careers in the theater industry and now i’m looking into that too.

i talk about my future a lot because so much of what i want to do in the future is important to me in this current moment. i willingly, actively, and eagerly read the hollywood reporter vanity fair variety every day. i have happily watched nearly every video produced by broadway.com. i re-watch my favorite tv shows [most recently ‘crazy-ex girlfriend’! go watch! it’s on netflix!] and study them and laugh to them with gusto. i love a lot of stuff; i especially love being an audience member to a lot of stuff.

because of that, i’m struggling to determine which of my interests to keep to myself, to enjoy solely as a spectator, and which ones to seek professionally, to throw myself into, full force. so while i really want to listen to birbiglia’s call to action, i don’t know how to practice + pursue something when i don’t know what thing i want to practice + pursue.

should i be writing? if the answer is yes, should i be writing scenes or essays or poems or what? what should i be doing? should i be filming? how do i practice producing when i don’t have access to a set? should i be backstage? how do i get backstage when all of my time is spent in communication classes, writing research papers?

i’m very aware that all these questions are coming from a place of fear. and laziness. but mostly fear.

i feel so much pressure to be practicing what i preach, to be practicing what i dream. and that pressure has kind of paralyzed my creativity. i’m paralyzed with fear. i don’t want to spend too much of my time doing one thing when i’m not even sure if that’s the thing i should be doing. when i’m not confident that i’m even good at that thing that i think i want to be doing [read it a few times, you’ll get it]. so lately,  i’ve kind of just been doing nothing. it’s my way of not choosing a path. i’ve decided, both consciously and unconsciously, to stay at the starting line.

and it’s not that i’m not doing anything. i am doing things. i’m back at school, i’m reunited with my people. i’m going out and going to class and catching up with the friends i missed the most, in a place i really love. i’m babysitting and i’m about to start working at a coffee shop. i’m doing things. my life is full. at least that’s what i keep telling myself.

but then i come across something like birbiglia’s article and i’m reminded that i’m not doing enough. that instead of filling my time with lazy nights chatting in the living room + drinking wine, i should be writing more. i should be filming more. i should be focusing on my future.

i feel really guilty that i’m not trying harder.

it’s funny [and annoying] that the second i feel fairly content + present in regards to where i am, i conveniently discover a reason to feel concerned + anxious about what i’m doing.

how do i get out of this slump? should i work towards reassuring myself that how i’m living my life, right now, is totally okay? or am i supposed to push myself further, make myself write more, remind myself of where i want to be in a year?

someone tell me what to do!!!

i think that i’m in a moment of transition. transition back into my world, and away from my eight months of crazy + wonderful + new. i’m very happy to be home, but i do think that this stagnation could be a reaction to being home. i just spent months filming + writing + editing + talking about television and broadway everyday, because that’s all i had to do. my assignments at tisch forced me to be creative, they made me challenge myself in a way that felt really good. the kennedy center will kick you out if you don’t talk about three broadway shows a day [not true but also i feel like it may be an undercover rule]. everything i’ve ever dreamed of doing was handed to me on a silver platter, welcoming me with open arms and a camera in hand. i didn’t have to go out of my way to try new things. they were right in front of me. my daily life was my future dream.

and now that i’m back at butler, i don’t know how to afford myself the same opportunities i had when i was away.

i had a friend who i really trust + admire reach out to me when i was just about to leave new york. he and i are interested in a lot of the same things, so i really value what he has to say about my future plans + how to go about achieving my goals. he said,

keep working. keep writing. keep directing. keep acting. it takes 10,000 hours to become professionally competent in a skill. start putting your time in now. get the hang of telling great stories. make sure that camera never leaves your hand. watch an immense amount of movies and tv shows with a critical eye. keep learning and working. 

i have his entire message saved on my desktop and i read it often. for a long time, it truly pushed me to keep writing + watching + learning. it was exciting. but right now, it’s kind of terrifying for me to read because i’m not doing any of this stuff. and i know i should be.

but should i be doing these things even if i don’t feel like doing these things? like if going out and randomly filming my friends and campus sounds like a glorified anxiety attack, should i be forcing myself to film? i know i want to film, eventually, in the right setting; butler just doesn’t feel like the right place to film.

and because i don’t want to film right now, does that mean that i’m serious enough about this whole thing? is it for me? according to people that i really trust and respect, i should be pushing my creativity, in all directions that interest me, always.

what if all of this worrying and planning and talking [i never stop talking] is for nothing? at this moment in time, i’m committed to moving to new york, i’m committed to applying for jobs, to fighting for a spot. but what if i don’t get a spot? what if i don’t get a chance? what will i do then?

i need a nap. xx abby


it’s a funny feeling missing a place you so desperately wanted to escape.

i miss indiana.

i miss the cornfields and the sunsets and the windmills. i miss walmart. i miss my house and my dogs and the couch in my living room, the best place for naps. the couch that i haven’t taken a nap on since december.

i miss home.

i’ve spent a lot of my life wishing the present away. actually, my entire life has been spent wishing the present away. it’s a characteristic about me that i’m working on, that i someday hope to remove from my psyche, but right now, it’s a big part of me. waiting and planning for the better, for the future. because the best is always yet to come, right?

when i was in high school i was thinking of college, during the school year i was thinking of summer, at camp tecumseh i was planning for butler, at butler i was dreaming of new york, in new york i was anxiously preparing for d.c.

and i’m exhausted. i want to go home.

this heartache for home is surprising and unexpected. i didn’t ask for it and frankly, it would be much easier if it went away. missing home makes things complicated. i don’t know what to do with this feeling, so sudden and new [shout out 2 u, glinda + elphie].

i think i miss indiana because i know that my time there is precious. because i know that once i graduate from butler, i’ll have no real reason to stay. i’ve spent my entire life planning [surprise, surprise] for a future that is very far away from west lafayette, and i don’t like when plans change.

i don’t want my big plans to change. really, truly. i still want to move to new york. i still ache for that city. because when it comes down to it, my time in new york was the most present i’ve felt, maybe ever.

at butler, i oftentimes play this mind game when i’m feeling a little stagnant, a little sad. i think of my house at home, and i ask myself ‘if you had the choice, would you rather be at home right now, or at butler?’ and most of the time, i would rather be at home.

in new york, i would sometimes play this mind game too. and every time i played it, i would think, ‘i’d rather be in new york.’ my response was always unexpected, no matter how often i confronted myself with the thought.

i was caught off guard because until new york, i was constantly yearning for the place that i wasn’t. i didn’t know how to be happy and content and in this moment, right now. being present is a very vulnerable thing to be. it took me a while to embrace it, to wrap it around me. but once i did, i kind of didn’t want to let it go.

and then i had to leave.

now i don’t think that new york is the only place that i will ever find peace in the present. at least i hope it isn’t. because i’d like to believe that living in the moment is something that isn’t dependent on a singular place. although i do think my experiences there—the people i was surrounded by, the places i could walk blocks to—i do think these things opened me up to this way of life. i was comfortable and i was doing the things i most wanted to do.

i was really happy.

when i left new york, i was forced to try and find a way to live the life i was living in new york…not in new york. in a whirlwind of weeks, i had packed my bags once again and was off on a new adventure. an adventure i was excited about, sure, but an adventure that plucked me from the perfect place.

i feel weird that i haven’t written about d.c. because lately, writing has been one of my most favorite parts of life. so i find it odd that i haven’t felt a pull to write about my real life, right now.

this summer has been good. it’s been really hard at times and really wonderful at times. i feel ever grateful to my sister for letting me share this summer with her. i’m thankful that wade hasn’t kicked me out of his office yet. i’m thankful that i’ve had this experience at the kennedy center. it’s shown me a lot, it’s taught me a lot, and i’m going to walk away from it with really fond memories.

and that’s kind of all i have to say about it. is that bad? should i have more to write?

a part of me thinks i should. a part of me thinks it’s imperative that i write down all of it, my whole summer, like i did in new york. i spent so long working towards this summer, planning it meticulously—as i do—and now i have nothing to say about it.

i struggled with that realization for a while, but i’ve decided that the adventures and the shows and the restaurants haven’t been the point of this summer. this summer has been about introspection. so while there have been plenty of adventures and shows and restaurants, that’s not what my fingers want to type about. and i’m okay with that. an experience is worthwhile even if i don’t write it all down.

i’ve been feeling some pressure lately.

this past weekend, i got the blissful chance to go home to camp tecumseh. it was everything i needed it to be. i was with the people i love most, in the place i love the most.

i’ve really been missing camp. a small part of me has been wondering if i should’ve stayed there this summer. [a bigger part of me—the part that is not an emotional mess—knows that d.c. was a good choice for me]. but because of the ‘i miss camp i cry just thinking about those bread sticks we get at dinner with cheese inside’ part of me, i went into this weekend so excited to fall back into the moves + grooves of camp, to pretend for 24 hours that this was my every day.

in my 24 hours at camp, a lot of people told me that my life seems really cool. that my semester in new york looked amazing, that the kennedy center is such an awesome place. and i agree with everyone. i do. my life is cool! and i’m very lucky to live it!

but the fact of the matter is, my cool life is kind of coming to an end. at least for a year or so. i’m leaving d.c. soon, my semester in new york is over—indiana is the next stop on my list. i have no other choice but to go back home.

and not only do i have to go home, but i want to go home. i want to go back to indiana and get arby’s curly fries and watch ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’ on my couch, the one in the living room. that’s what i want to do right now.

even my future—the one i’m trying very hard to not plan—involves indiana. i’m seriously considering going back to camp next summer instead of moving straight to new york.

and i’m afraid that all of this this stuff, this hoosier-filled-plan, makes me seem uncool. am i uncool?

i know the answer to this doesn’t matter, not really. being cool is not the goal of life. but—not going to lie—i don’t totally hate living a life that not many other people around me live. i don’t totally hate living a life that feels a little surreal. this feeling may be a little icky, but it’s definitely there.

which is why i feel so weird about missing indiana. i’m not supposed to miss indiana. i’m supposed to be living my cool life.

the secret’s out—i’ve strategically planned my life so that it goes down an unbeaten path. my dreams are incredibly authentic, promise, but i’m also not unaware that they’re unique. and—as much as i hate myself for admitting this— i’m not exactly mad that they garner a fun + proud response from friends and fam. being different can make you feel special. and who doesn’t want to feel special?

and now look at me, in all my efforts to be quirky + ambitious + brave, here i am, crawling back to the start, so excited to hang out with my mom.

i kind of feel like i’m failing myself. like i’m going against everything me, myself, and i had planned. because i did it—i went to new york! i’m in d.c!—and it’s all been so great, but now i just kind of want to be home. if only for a bit.

i’m going to work really hard to be okay with this feeling. that’s my new plan.

xx abby

a stupid handshake + an enthusiastic high schooler

warning: lots of word vomit, lots of feelings, lots of commas, very little organization.

i was nine years old and at day camp. we had just finished swimming and were walking back to the pine forest. my towel was wrapped around my neck and my shoes were not fully on; they were squishing, filled with water that i had failed to dry off. i was walking backwards, facing my counselor—some high school senior boy whose name i don’t remember but i do know started with a ‘m’. i was making him do the same handshake with me, over and over and over again. i was incessant.

it was the handshake crush—the turtle—does in ‘finding nemo’. the one that goes ‘fin, noggin’, dude’. i loved it. i thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world. it is the most hilarious thing in the world!

i have no doubt in my mind that my counselor was annoyed with my pestering. that a part of him dreaded each and every time he saw me running towards him to do a handshake made popular by animated turtles in a kid’s movie. and yet, he did it with me. every time. with so much excitement. his motions were big and silly and his delivery of the word ‘dude’ was truly impeccable.

this counselor—whoever he was, wherever he is now—made my nine-year-old self really happy. and really confident, too. because not only did he let me be weird—he celebrated my weirdness. he encouraged it, never letting me dim away or feel embarrassed. he met my level of enthusiasm for a handshake with more enthusiasm than i’d ever been shown before. about anything. and i’m so grateful for it.
Continue reading “a stupid handshake + an enthusiastic high schooler”

to poppa bien

happy father’s day!

as this day has drawn closer and closer, i’ve struggled to figure out what to get you – for a few reasons.

[one] you buy yourself all of the best gifts before anyone else has the chance to get them for you.

[two] i am a very poor human being.

with those two speed bumps in the road, i decided that i’d just write you a letter. because i think i’m pretty good at writing, because there’s many things i don’t tell you enough, and because this blog is free.

so here it is.

Continue reading “to poppa bien”

little blue bubbles of ideas

hi all! so it’s been close to a month since i wrote in this thing, and for that, i apologize. my last few weeks in the city were filled with a lot of stress + work + and this weird internal pressure to make my final days some of the best. the blog was just not a priority, although now that i’m home, i kind of wish it was because i already forget a lot. my memory is a butthead sometimes and it is very frustrating. nevertheless, i will try my best to fill you all in.

Continue reading “little blue bubbles of ideas”