Art. I live for art. I hope to make art. I crave an existence enveloped in art, and I am convinced that I was made to be a part of art. So, I create.
And recently I have been so blessed to delve into various platforms of art, to reflect upon my own words, the stories that have filled my heart, and I know that I am where I’m supposed to be despite the uncertainty of my future. But for now – for now I can trust I am where I’m supposed to be.
Years ago I took a chance to hop on the Theatre Train. And I do not regret it. I do not regret coming back to it after a two year hiatus. If anything, I am more convinced this is who I’m supposed to be. Last night, as I sat reflecting on my current circumstances, I became more grateful for my summer job, determined to overcome any opposition or discouragement, and hopeful that I can walk this journey to a great end.
My freshman year of college, at a time when my life choices were more influential to my future than I thought, my dad wrote me a letter. Attached to the letter was a photo of him at nineteen in Germany. On the back: “Follow your dreams.” And I think of these words almost every day.
At that point in my life, I thought I would become a journalist, an English teacher, and a Director of a high school theatre. But those were someone else’s dreams. Without the words of my father, I would not have made the choices I have made in my life, some that may seem impossible to explain at times – graduating with a BS in Theatre Arts and a minor in Psychology, joining a ministry for a year where I worked as a farmer, and leaving Tennessee for Louisiana. These are just a few examples. But as strange as this journey seems, it has its purpose despite my lack of foresight and knowledge of the end.
I reflect upon the cheerful thoughts of a freshman Justin in 2012 who took the first steps in this direction.
“I like where I am and who I am and who I see myself becoming. I like where God has taken me and where He is taking me.
Here I am a Theatre major with a Music minor, studying two things I never thought I’d be studying.
People always say, “I never saw myself being here five or ten years ago,” and we shrug it off. But we never realize that it’s usually the case for most people, until it actually happens to us.
As most things go, Theatre is tougher than it seems, and I really like it when people who aren’t involved with Theatre say things like, “I can’t imagine all the work that goes into a show.” It’s like they get it without getting it.
On the other hand, there are people who are completely ignorant and say, “That’s gay,” or, “You have no future,” or, “I bet I could do that. It’s so easy.” To those people, I propose a challenge: I dare you to memorize a series of notes of five different versions of the same song, lyrics, dance steps, and blocking. Let’s not forget lines and being in front of people when anything could go wrong. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done with my life, but it’s also one of the hardest. Show people dedicate their lives, and I was recently told their souls, to the craft. It’s not a joke, and I would never treat it as such. (Although the soul thing was a joke, show business is not.)
Monday, I think, I had two hours of music practice, then three hours of dance practice. . . Dedication creates a great work ethic, I guess.”