You're from Big D, I could guess

By the way you drawl and the way you dress.

You’re from Big D, my oh yes

I mean Big D, little a, double l, a s

And that spells Dallas, my Darlin’ Darlin’ Dallas

Don’t it give you pleasure to confess

That you’re from Big D, my oh yes

I mean Big D, little a, double l, a s!

To be honest, that song was definitely one of my college audition songs. I literally sang it all across the country. I’m sure it sounded okay, but man- would I love to sing that song now at a Cabaret sometime. It’s a funny song. From Most Happy Fella, a Frank Loesser musical, Big D is just plain ol’ fun. And it speaks to my heart.

I’ll be honest again, I’m THAT Texas girl. Ask any of my college friends or my husband. I’m a tad on the obnoxious side. Examples: I own a pair of shorts that are of the Texas flag; I own my own life size Texas flag that I used to hang up in my dorm room; I kept my old Texas liscense plate and it is currently displayed in our office; and, I always criticize the barbecue and queso, wherever I’m at.

As the joke says: You can take the girl outta Texas, but you can’t take the Texas outta the girl.

#truth

But, I have a confession. And it’s a doozie. This October I’ll have been a Florida resident for TWO YEARS. I’ll also be voting in my first national Floridian election. A big milestone. My drivers license says I’m a Floridian. My taxes do too. And when people ask where I’m from. I now say I’m from West Palm Beach!!!

What is happening with my life!!!!

I feel like I’m betraying my best friend.

Okay, yeah that was dramatic. I know. But seriously, what is my life coming too? There will soon be a time where I will have lived outside of Texas more than I’ve lived in it. Then what? My parents aren’t from Texas. They moved there after they got married. Both moved around a lot as kids and never really called a certain state home. I loved being able to be that girl- the standard Texas girl in the room. “Well, let’s ask Texas” they’d say. Many of my sentences usually would begin with “Well, in Texas, we do…”. Everyone in the room would roll their eyes, but I didn’t care. I am proud to be where I’m from. Now, I realize that moving to Florida wasn’t a huge culture shock. I didn’t emigrate to a foreign land, or leave everything I know behind. But moving 2,000 miles from home at 18 years old is a big deal. In fact, it is not something that happens too often any more. More and more students who go to college usually stay within a 5-6 hour radius of their current home. I’m also noticing that more and more people return to their hometowns after they’ve gotten settled into their lives. And that is completely fine.

I envy them. Because for those of us who do go away and never return, it’s a bit of a challenge.

Examples:

  • When I was in school I never went home to Texas during Thanksgiving. Easter, or Spring Break. Just Christmas and Summer. Granted, that was my and my parents choice; however, let’s be realistic - for a four day break, the last thing I wanted to be doing was spending two days of it flying. It sucked, but I also made some amazing memories with new friends and family. Now though? I still only go back to Texas maybe twice/three times a year. For the important things. And when I go, I’m technically using vacation days. Talk about heartbreak.

  • My relationship with my parents changed real quick. I moved to Florida and they were not there to help me out if I got into a jam. Say I ended up in a hospital? It would have taken them over a day to get there by my side. Therefore, I learned real quick what independence was. Also certain adult things. Like managing my finances, learning about insurance, my social, etc. All the boring “adult” things that I find some of my friends two years after graduating still don’t know how to deal with. My parents also learned quick that they had to trust that I knew how to take care of mysef. Growing pains on both ends. Nowadays, as a married lady, my parents don’t “check up on me” as much. Our conversations are much more of ‘friend’ calls. It still sucks though, when I think that if I ended up in a hospital, it would take them over a day to be there.

  • You’re hometown changes and people move on without you. I think this is a real hard one. When I go back to Texas now, I play tourist. No longer is there a “oh she’s just back from school -let’s hang and pickup where we left off”. You have moved. And people have moved on. Sure there is family and those very few close friends. But there’s not a “welcome home” gang any more. Because you are not home.

  • Let’s also mention learning to settle down in a new area is DIFFICULT. Finding the right doctor, dentist, HAIR STYLIST, are important things. And it takes time. I think I’m about to go and see my fourth doctor so far. If anyone has any suggestions- hit a girl up.

  • Eventually, you forget the taste of that one specific food of your hometown and settle for what’s in front of you. For me, that’s margaritas. I’m ashamed to say that I will order a margarita here in West Palm that in Dallas would definitely have been returned to the bar. And I enjoy it too.


Don’t get me wrong, there are so.many.pros. of moving to a new place. All the new foods, friends, places to explore, and more. And really, what more is a home that a place that is filled with loved ones and your life’s passion? A home is not a city. Or a house. It’s a community, and part of your heart.

So I guess to answer the question: am I a Floridian now?

The answer: I am; HOWEVER, (because there will ALWAYS be a however) I am originally from Texas. I will always prefer beef ribs instead of pork. I will always rate Blue Bell Ice Cream as the best ice cream around. I will always miss having a frontage road, a garage that is specifically built to be used in case of hail, parking lots where I don’t have to parallel park , and I will always wish that high school homecoming girls wear mums.

Here’s to the great Lone Star State. May she be forever strong.


Song as Old as Rhyme....

Well....I hate to break it to every one but that song wasn't in the our version of Beauty and the Beast at Actors Playhouse. Nor was "Be Our Guest", "Gaston", and "If I Can't Love Her". I wasn't in a yellow dress - it was pink. We had talking portraits instead of talking clocks. We had a dog who had a magic mirror instead of a rose. We had an evil older sister. And our Papa (Maurice) was played by a women (but we called her Papa). Oh, and there was a talking knight?

But still, somehow, through all the changes, the children seemed to get it. They followed the story about a prince who was transformed into a beast, and how he could could only return to human form if he had a change of heart and learned to let people in. 

Back in February and March I had the pleasure of being that girl who the Beast got to learn to love every day, six days a week. Every time I changed into that gorgeous pink gown (which once was for an Anna in The King and I) and walked onstage, all the kids (and adults) sighed, clapped, and cheered for joy. I now understand why Laura Osnes will always be a princess. 

Being a Belle, or in my case a Bella, is wonderful. But wow, does it come with responsibilities! One = no understudies (this was a non-equity children's morning show). So off I went, leaving my house at 7am everyday, to make sure I avoided all the traffic so as not to be late. I would arrive, warm up in the car, then go in and get ready. And warming up at 8/9am for a 10am show is NO JOKE. There were some days when I'd open my mouth to sing the opening number and go "woof...I needed half an hour more!". Sleep, eating healthy, working out were all things I did to make sure I was ready to be there those 6 days a week. 

Two= Energy and Positivity. This one is different. Everyone knows that the lead of a show is a lead, but that doesn't mean they are the best or most seasoned actor. In my case, I joined a troupe that had been working together for many years doing children's productions. It was strange at first, coming in and working with them. But quickly they took me in as family. I LOVED going to work every day to chat, laugh, play, and perform with these talented folks. They are all so talented in so many different areas of life. And while they certainly brought their A-game everyday, I knew that as the lead (and the person who started the show off) I set the tone. So I made it my mission to try to be positive, try to have fun every day, be thankful to the girls who helped me quick change (who literally did so out of the kindness of their own hearts), and get that sparkle in everyone's eye. It's easy for things to become repetitive. It's easy to only give 90%. It's easy for a group to become negative. But if one person can bring positivity, good work ethic, or even just a simple laugh- everyone can get behind it. 

Finally, it takes a lot of energy and patience to stand and hug every little girl who's in the audience wearing a yellow dress. After each public performance we 'signed autographs'. Sure, sometimes I had places to be, but it's my job (and in the contract). But in the end the responsibility is not about how long you stand there, it's about the passion that you bring. And it was so easy to have that passion. There's nothing more inspirational than little girls running up to you and hugging you tight. There's nothing more empowering than seeing an austistic child sitting through a whole musical because they are captivated. There very little that compares to the feeling you get when you realize you are the one who is providing these kids with their first theatrical experience. Because of that, staying till the very end never bothered me that much. 


We had such a great sold out turnout in the spring that the Playhouse asked us to come back in the fall!!! Unfortunately,  I will not be able to return to my favorite girl this time around, but I will be supporting all those crazy castle folks from the audience. All I can say is that that ride was one filled with joy, learning, laughter, and immense appreciation. Rarely do you leave work every day saying "Wow, I am so lucky to get to do what I do". But every day, I did just that. Till next time Bella <3