I graduated on the 31st.
That's a weird sentence to be typing.
The days have passed pretty slowly. Not a hint of anything really wrong until last night.
This morning I went to get coffee with a friend. We talked about theatre, life after high school, old friends, and all the other things.
But mostly, I came to the realization that theatre fucked me up. Pretty bad.
The last time I wrote a daylog, I revealed the few things that were in my future -- a musical in April, a club initiation in May, and my directorial debut 4 days later.
The musical went fine. I was head of publicity -- that meant house crew, ticket booth, social media, the like. It did not go quite as smooth as I'd hoped -- but in the end, it was fine. Not much to comment on, really.
The initiation, I should probably explain. During my senior year, I was president of our local ITS troupe. ITS (International Thespian Society) is kind of like the club for the really dedicated to theatre. Initiation is kind of the big event; there are certain requirements that you have to meet in order to join, and those that are able and willing are initiated in, and they get to go somewhere fun to celebrate. This year, it was my responsibility to plan it, and so we did the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Did you know that they have that? I didn't. It was 10x better than Universal. You actually got to walk onto the sets they had on the lot. We were on the set of All-American -- some sports show I don't really care about, but we were the first group to have been on the set. Walking in to a darkened, abandoned high school hallway, with only a couple of work lights to keep the paths visible, was... well. It felt incredible. Like I was supposed to be here, and all the same an alien in a foreign land. I wish I could've taken photos; but alas, contractually forbidden to do that. Still, one of my favorite parts of the whole tour. Someday I'll go back, I know this for sure, to take the Big Extended Tour and see the technical aspects far more closely.
And then, my own show. My senior project was a two-parter; teacher's aide, and direct my own show with the kids in the class I TA for. I picked a dramatic one-act that dealt with life, death, and morality. I then made the pretty bad decision to handle all technical aspects by myself. Big mistake! The show came together really last-minute. But it was beautiful. I never wanna do anything like that again, though. There were literal punches thrown on dress rehearsal. Frankly, I'm done dealing with most anyone under the age of 16. I can't blame them for being the way that they are, but I also don't have to like them for what they do.
Those events came and went, through all that I was feeling and doing and thinking. And then, suddenly, it was the 19th -- my last day in school. I came to the realization that I finally knew what I wanted to do in life. And that it was kind of a little too late.
A week passed. I attended senior-only events. Mostly moped around my room, doing nothing in particular. Truth be told, I haven't been adjusting well to having nothing to do. Last night was tough. I think I'm the only one of my friends not going to college immediately after high school. It was hard, feeling like you've been left behind because you gave your life to something for four years at the expense of everything else. This last year especially has been, mentally and emotionally, the end of my rope. I don't want to have to sit back and heal, recover, from the damage. The stress, the anxiety, the paranoia. Things said that should never have been said to me. Things I did that I shouldn't have done. It's hard, coming to the realization that what you dedicated your life to wasn't really what you wanted in the end. No denying that I learned something from it -- but that lesson was "Never do theatre again."
Everything went better than I expected, though. I suppose I should be grateful. But really, I'm not feeling much of anything. Not much more than just... sad. And relieved.
The one thing I didn't expect to happen this year was for things to get worse after I left. But this morning I learned quite a lot. I had been hearing rumors, after new theatre officers were elected, of a coup. Yes, a coup! A movement, to remove the newly elected president and VP! What the hell is this! But it wasn't until this morning that I heard the full extent of what happened after I left. A petition was formed. A whole class signed it. Words were exchanged, at a very loud volume. The year ends, on a terrible, terrible note.
It is terrifying that such pettiness caused this. I won't elaborate any further (I can barely understand it myself), but suffice it to say that all the values we wanted to instill at the end of lockdown and quarantine seem to have been thrown right out the window. Cliques at each others' throats, hypocrisy and dishonesty, he-said-she-said, and the truth remains obscured.
It reminds me of an incident that happened junior year. At the end of that year, we put on one more show -- Property Rites. A vaguely unnerving show about humanity, death, and what constitutes sentience and life. At the end of our one-night run, I found out that the playbill had been printed without any mention of me. That's right! A whole page was missing, which had me and two other actors on it. For a whole year, I heard conflicting stories as to whose fault it was. I still am not really sure. It seemed to have been forgotten amidst the new school year.
But a lot of the same things keep popping up -- the blame game, no one taking responsibility, the lies and everything -- and I don't think I realized it then, but that was the downhill moment. The end began there.
I am so glad to be merely a passive, if opinionated, observer in all of this. The stress of that would've been too much. But it's saddening still. I genuinely fear they will not survive the year if this is how it's going to be. And things like that make me very glad that I am where I am now, instead of there. Being immersed in civil war is not what I signed up for. It's not what anyone signed up for. It's worse than I thought, and I just... I don't know. It's way too much to even comprehend. I'm glad to be focusing on myself now, away from that.
I'll be looking for a job this summer, and working towards a driver's license. Then, community college. Maybe I'll get in, maybe I won't. Hopefully, I'll be able to join that friend I mentioned earlier. Join a music program, resume my music education, learn Vietnamese and immerse myself in my own culture. There's a little more control now, in my life.
I survived. Barely. But soon, I'll be back on my feet and ready to go. I'm optimistic.
I'll see you all soon. I have more writeups planned. I might even finish them soon.