A Month on Prozac

On December 14th, 2018 I started taking Prozac. For those of you who don’t know, Prozac is a synthetic compound which inhibits the uptake of serotonin in the brain and is taken to treat depression. In other words, it’s an antidepressant. Two years ago, I almost began taking a medication to help my mental state, but for a number of reasons, I decided against actually getting the prescription filled. Fast forward to the end of this past semester, I’m crying in the doctor’s office, my pride finally broken down and hesitantly agreeing to spend my four weeks off of school getting used to this new tool in my life.

The first few days, I was mad. I didn’t want to be medicated. I felt defeated. Why couldn’t I have taken care of myself before now, doing the things that would make me feel better without the help of these new chemicals being added to my system? I have had people in my life express that they didn’t believe medication did more good than they do harm. While no one ever told me to my face that they would be disappointed, there was always a little voice in the back of my head that worried my closest friends would judge me for having to use medicine to be a happier person.

Most of the time, the first few weeks of a medication are a little rough, and I can attest that this is true. I hosted a Christmas party five days after I began the meds and let me tell you, I felt super nauseous in the middle of the get-together after taking it. (Shout out to Avery for being my emotional rock during that party.) Then, for about eight days, I lost my appetite. While I still made myself eat something throughout the day, I ended up losing five pounds. I also began dealing with dryness in my throat, which, as a singer, scared me to death (Biotene is a life saver).

However, after all of this, my follow-up appointment with our family doctor was much different than the first (the only tears that happened were when I had to get blood work). After regaining my appetite and beginning to have motivation to actually take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, life was becoming so much more bearable. In fact, it was so much more than bearable. It was full of joy and expectancy towards the future. I wasn’t scared about going back to school. I was having a much easier time communicating to the people I love. Little things that used to really bug me were becoming less bothersome.

My classes started back up on January 14th, one month after beginning the medication. A month before, any thought of school, work, or the shows I’m working on would make me feel panicky and want to hide away from the world. Beyond any expectation I could have had for myself, that first Monday back at school was marvelous. It was by no means perfect. Several instances popped up that threw off my uncommonly good mood. This time however, there was so much more clarity for how to deal with these annoying happenstances. The next morning, I fully processed how miraculous it truly was how I handled the curve balls that were thrown at me.

So, it’s been a month. And frankly, I feel great right now. I am more at ease with daily troubles that arise. I am able to recognize when I need to take time for myself to recharge. I am now much more aware just how truly blessed and loved I am by the people God has put into my life. I am fully aware that things will get tough again, possibly very soon, but I am abundantly grateful for this past month of rest, recovery, and rediscovery of myself.

I write this to the person who is being stubborn about getting help, to the one who is scared of what others will say, and to the one who doesn’t think it’s worth the trouble: getting help does not make you weak. You are a valuable human being and modern medicine is an incredible thing. While I don’t believe that all problems can be solved with medication, I am now a firm believer that they can do major good. A dear friend of mine once explained it to me this way: you wouldn’t tell a diabetic to pray harder for their illness to go away. While there are good foods that can help a diabetic and exercise can do wonders for anyone, but you wouldn’t tell a diabetic not to take their medication. The same applies to mental illnesses. There’s natural ways to treat depression and anxiety, but sometimes, your brain needs some extra help to function fully.

And to the Christian who is on the fence on starting a medication, I have one last nugget for you: God wants you to feel better, and He’s not gonna be mad at you for not praying more to Him to take your depression away. We live in a world of brokenness and unrest, but praise the Lord for His gift of knowledge that He has given to modern physicians. Use your resources, and know that you are not alone in your struggle. If you want, I’ll let you use some of my washi tape to wrap up your orange bottle.

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Until Next Time,

Abby

 

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Becoming an Unapologetic Taylor Swift Fan

Two years ago, I was sitting on the couch amidst the chaos of Meltonshire Christmas. My dear friend Suz, whom I used to follow around as a starry eyed ten year old when she 49814843_2295867917315745_5896481448726102016_nwas a colorful, outgoing thirteen year old, was talking about the upcoming Taylor Swift Reputation Tour. I had recently begun listening to the new album and was finding that I truly enjoyed it. I hadn’t listened to Taylor’s tunes consistently for a few years, but was finding myself getting pumped in the morning by this new album. Then Suz, the best gift-giver I have ever met in my whole life, offered to buy me, her sister-in-law and our Taylor-Swift-expert friend tickets to the stop in Tampa. With Suz living in Orlando year round, it was the perfect excuse to go down and visit my “sister”, while getting to experience my first actual concert. Let me tell you, committing to a trip down to Florida eight months in the future was one of the most spontaneous choices I’ve ever made in my life, but a choice I will forever be grateful for.

 


Here’s the deal with Taylor for me: I’ve always liked her. I remember in being in sixth
50255259_2281043228805055_4998270209354629120_ngrade and singing “Love Story” at a karaoke event, and some of the first songs I learned on guitar were ones that she had written. But as seventh grade rolled around, Taylor Swift became less cool. The “popular” girls now rolled their eyes at the country/pop singer. Me, being a confused and very nerdy middle schooler, began to listen to the voices of my peers’ opinions, and in turn, began to listen to the music I enjoyed less and less. Even when I started homeschooling and went to community college, I found myself floating away from the music I liked because of how other people talked about the artists. I was focused on others’ opinions instead of forming my own.

 

Fast forward to August 2018. The anticipation of the trip made my heart race every time 49343010_2270982129815967_3729155219322306560_n.jpg
my brain wandered to it. Samantha and I made crafting runs to create my “Feelin’ so Gatsby” look. I have the “Reputation” album on repeat as I drive between jobs. I’m scrolling through hashtags previous concert goers had used to see a glimpse of what I was in for. Still though, I’m not an open fan. Truth be told, when certain people asked me what I was most excited about for summer break, I would be slightly embarrassed to say, “I’m so hyped to see Taylor Swift live!” A part of my brain was sent back to middle school, where girls who set all the trends that flooded the halls declared that only weirdos listened to that stuff.

 

 


50223045_275772673116648_5145700386333523968_nAmong my close gal pals on the trip though, I felt truly safe to be open. My friend Marri is one of my biggest role models in being an unapologetic fan. I swear, this woman knows Taylor Swift better than most people know themselves. And here’s the thing about Marri: she doesn’t give a crap what you think of her, at least, she’s led me to believe this is the case. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been loud and proud about her opinions, and people listen to her due to her confidence. She probably doesn’t know this, but her unyielding passion and exuberance for the things she enjoys has inspired me, especially as I enter further into my 20’s (Marri, if you’re reading this, hi, you’re great and I love you).

 


Florida was a dream. The Dampa Squad (yes, I meant to type Dampa, not Tampa; if you’ve been to Florida you understand why) graced the streets of DisneyWorld in mouse 39186571_2100793379973259_8932990053886459904_oears and glitter, enjoyed the wonders of a moon sand beach (right before getting caught in a rainstorm), and dressed to the nines at the Taylor Swift tour. Throughout the week, I grew relationships with girls I had known and looked up to for years and grew new friendship with a gal who quickly become a wonderful counsel (Hi, Caileigh). And let me tell you, I cannot do justice to the emotions I felt while at that concert. Lyrics that I didn’t even know I knew by heart were being shouted as I danced like no one was watching. There were multiple times words from songs brought tears to my eyes as I reflected on how far I’ve come in life. As dumb as it can sound, going to the concert made me realize I wasn’t alone in my appreciation of this talented artist.

 

img_3639The semester following the concert was full of extreme highs and lows. Through successes and heartbreak, I was beginning to listen to Taylor’s music consistently as I once had. Her words inspired me and pushed me forward. In the midst of a breakup, I did such a stereotypical thing that makes even me chuckle now: I began playing music again. Being a busy theatre and animation student, playing piano or guitar was an activity that I never made time for. During a much needed snow day though, I picked up my precious green guitar and spent an hour playing some of my favorite Taylor Swift songs. Let me tell you, my fingers hurt like HECK after not playing for months, but the joy my soul felt after making music was infectious to my overall mood.

 

Here’s my overarching point to this ramble: don’t let other people’s opinions keep you 50248155_2195147897414057_8624359927403511808_nfrom enjoying the things that make you feel alive. There’s always gonna be someone who thinks what you enjoy is silly (let me refer you to my Twilight post for a direct quote). However, we are all created unique, including our different interests and passions. Can you imagine if all of us liked all the same exact things? UGH! So boring! As you dive deeper into 2019, I challenge you to be unapologetic in what you love; you never know how it could affect people. For example, while sitting in a coffee shop furiously typing this post to meet my deadline, I ended up wandering around to give my brain a break. This led to a conversation with a lovely barista, who I not only found out liked Taylor Swift, but Doctor Who as well, a show near and dear to my heart. I’ve decided that we should be best friends. Be proud of your passions, my friends. You never know when they could possibly change your life.

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

 

Some of my favorite tunes:

“New Years Day”

“All Too Well”

“Love Story”

“Mean”

“Long Live”

 

 

Another New Year’s Post| Ft. Love

Heeeeeeelllooooo 2019! Let me tell you something, New Year, your buddy that just retired was ROUGH. It seems like everyone and their dog was ready for 2018 to fly away so we could all get a fresh start. If you know anything about me, you know I love goals and, more specifically, accomplishing said goals. I’m the kind of person that has at least two planners at all times and is motivated by stickers. So you’d expect that I’d start this new year out with a post about my resolutions, right? It’s not like I haven’t done it before! (Woooo 2015) Well, despite my track record, this year, I don’t have a formal “2019 Resolutions” list (at least not yet). Yes, I still have my to do lists that seem to never end, but over the past few weeks, I have been reminded of something that I didn’t realize I had become apathetic towards: God’s Greatest Commandments.

I became clear of this message that God has been trying to get through to me on Sunday morning via a sermon by one of our wonderful pastors. A little background: in chapter 22 of the book of Matthew, a group of religious leaders were questioning Jesus to try and catch Him saying something that they could use to get rid of Him. Now, these guys have spent their whole lives memorizing the law. In fact, there are  613 laws that they had to know. Well, they decided to ask the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” in hopes that Jesus would finally slip up. There were 613 to choose from, after all! Which one would Jesus say?

Catch what He says: “37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.” This is kind of a no brainer for the religious leaders. A devout Jew would recite this commandment from Deuteronomy at least twice a day. But then catch what Jesus says as a follow up: 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Go back and read that again, cause I had to a few times myself. Notice how Jesus didn’t say that going to church every sunday, or memorizing the most scripture, or raising your hands the most during worship time was the greatest commandment. He’s not wanting us to be the best looking holy Christian rolling into the sanctuary on a Sunday morning. In fact, it was the “holy” people Jesus was calling out time and time again. Jesus told us to love our neighbor, meaning every other being that has been created in the image of God. This doesn’t just include your best friend, your boyfriend, or your favorite aunt. This includes that boy that hurt you. This includes the girl who you know is talking behind your back. This includes the family member you can barely stand to be in the same room with at times. Regardless of religion (or lack thereof) a person professes, we as Christians are called to love God and love other people.

I know I have people who read this blog who do not share the same faith as me, and if you’re still reading this, hey, I appreciate you! For a moment though, let me talk to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

*deep breath*

GUYS!!!!! Sometimes we need to flippin’ CHILL OUT. There are times when we can feel as if we are proclaiming Christ to be siding with a certain political party on Facebook or avoiding certain types of people in order to keep ourselves from stumbling. However, we immediately follow this up by shouting at others and “sharing prayer requests” for our wayward friends (aka, gossiping). I know so many people who have grown up in a church environment and have completely dropped God because of how negative Christians can be. There are times we need to get off our holy high horses and realize that regardless of whether or not a person is Muslim, Hindu, Agonistic or whatever other spiritual stance still has a soul. Jesus didn’t just die for people who believe in Him: He died for all of us. Yes, there is time where tough love is needed (I’m thickheaded, I need it often), but so often, we miss the point of our mission on earth. Genuine love has been thrown out the window, and we as the church must reclaim it and better represent the One we claim to be following.

I wrote this post over the course of two days, and in between those two days, I was hit with a situation that made me step back and reevaluate how I treat others. I was faced with a choice of whether or not to be hard-hearted or to extend the love I have been taught for years. Thoughts of, “I have no obligation to show love right now,” and “Someone else will take care of this; you don’t have to try and reach everyone” ran through my head. I had been hurt and had finally gotten over the pain I felt in high school, I was not about to step back into a realm where I could feel burned again. But then I remembered how unworthy I am of the love that has been lavished on me by my Heavenly Father. I remembered how God has brought people into my life over the past year to build me up when I have been at my lowest. I recalled how my Saviour suffered pain and heartache on my behalf. If Jesus decided to die for a messed up person like me, shouldn’t I be able to extend a humble love to my fellow man? So I got up, and did the best I could to love as I knew how. I don’t share this story to stroke my Christian-ego; I share it as an example that a person who has spent over twenty years in church still has issues with being active in loving others. Anyone who tells you being a Christian is easy is a liar and you should run far, far away from them.

Regardless of your beliefs, I am of the conviction that we need to do a better job of loving one another. I challenge you today: if you need to mend a bridge or reach out to someone you have had on your mind, stop ignoring that task. Be slower to anger and quicker to loving the people you cross paths with in life. I don’t know about your 2019 goals, but I know mine is this: to love more often as Christ has loved me.

 

Thanks for the inspiration, Steve.

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

 

Lessons from Chad and Rachel

Today, twenty five years ago, my parents Chad and Rachel committed to spending the rest of their lives together. For the past two decades, I have had the blessing of having them as my parents, and over this time, I have learned so many things from them that have shaped me into the person I am today.

  1. Always have cookies ready for company.
  2. Grief is different for every person, and it’s okay to take the time you need to work through emotions.
  3. When going on a road trip, stopping at the gas station for snacks is important.
  4. There is a specific way to grip a golf club.
  5. You have to do different voices for each character when you read books out loud.
  6. Learning bible verses is easier when you have a song to learn them.
  7. Mom is a better driving teacher (sorry Dad :P)
  8. It’s good to seek out help when you need it.
  9. Singing while making breakfast go hand in hand.
  10. Being creative is worthwhile.
  11. Know when and how to say you’re sorry.
  12. People will break your heart, but your family will always be there for you.
  13. When faced with difficult circumstances, never stop persisting.
  14. Use candy canes as a stir stick for coffee.
  15. Make sure to add seasoned salt to scrambled eggs.
  16. Do not forget to say, “Uno” when playing said card game. There is no mercy.
  17. Being present is vital.
  18. Do not send snapchats that embarrass your family members.
  19. You are not defined by grades (because math is hard).
  20. If you do something, make sure to get a picture.
  21. Your husband should never stop pursuing you.
  22. As a wife, being submissive does not mean being a mouse; it means being a loyal life partner.
  23. Find a man who will be a good father to your kids.
  24. Be a woman who never stops learning and growing.
  25. Most importantly, at the end of the day, the best lesson my parents have taught me is that God loves me and wants a relationship with me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

There are so many other things I could have added to this list. I am so blessed to be part of the Wolff Pack, and I will never be able to fully express my thanks to the two who have never stopped supporting me. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.
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Until Next Time,

Abby

Thoughts on Twilight…About Ten Years Late

“There’s things you don’t do after a break up: 1) Start doing drugs 2) Start smoking                       3) Read f***ing Twilight.” -A dear friend of mine in the middle of a snow storm

 

Unless you were living under a rock in the mid-2000’s, you probably heard the term, “twilight” thrown around all the time. It wasn’t because society had suddenly found interest in this specific time of day; it was due to the wild popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s romance series Twilight that had recently begun being adapted to film. I was ten years old when the first film was released, but I remember clearly my middle school friends all gawking and fangirling over either the guy who played the vampire or the guy who played the werewolf as the movies gained popularity. Fast forward to my almost 21-year-old self, who has just recently completed the book series and has a few thoughts on this polarizing saga.

48406840_1926730457443444_6715674713009422336_nFirst though, a bit more background. I grew up in a Christian household with loving parents who knew I was an avid reader that inhaled stories. However, as Meyer’s books began to rise in the ranks of pop culture, so did the Christian Blogger Moms rise to write against the story. The wrote posts saying that people shouldn’t be reading these books because they had *gasp* vampires in them (sparkly ones at that). My mom, wanting to do her best for her dorky middle schooler, didn’t let me read the book series. Personally, I had no problems with this. I wasn’t into romance and was more interested in my growing love for Star Wars. Ironically, after letting me read all the Left Behind books (which by the way, REALLY INTENSE), my parents allowed me to read Harry Potter as I would avoid reading the vampire books. So I guess, Thanks Stephenie, cause I really like the child wizard books.

IMG_3785.JPGRecently though, my mom decided to start listening to Twilight books on the Libby app, which is this nifty little thing that my local library is linked through. After listening to her talk about them for a few weeks, I rolled my eyes and started reading the first book before bed. Now, let me remind you all I am a full time college student and was working three jobs at the time when I started reading this, so it wasn’t until about two weeks after starting the book that I was able to focus on it over Thanksgiving Break. I had a long car ride and was able to finally get the idea as to why so many people liked the series. In an odd way, the mediocre romance between the klutzy human girl and the attractive vampire dude was fun and a way to let my brain relax and enjoy reading for fun again, which I haven’t gotten to do in a hot minute.

As finals creeped closer and life kept throwing massive curve balls at me, I began listening to the audio books for the last three books. Let me tell you, when you’re spending hours on end at a computer animating or walking about a half mile to the fine arts building every day, it’s nice to have an engaging story to listen to through the day. Over the course of three weeks, I managed to complete the series and I can honestly say I don’t feel like I wasted brain cells on these books. Yes, the writing isn’t the greatest; we all know this. But it was fun and something I was able to use as an escape from what seemed to be constant chaos around me. And a lot of fun things came from me reading the books in my relationships.

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  • I was able to bond with my roommate over how frustrated I would get over fictional characters.
  • I was able to make one of my buddies laugh many times with my overview of the series.
  • My suite mates watched the first movie with me the day before a much needed snow day, and enjoyed a lovely pizza night while watching New Moon.
  • Making observations with my parents on the films, such as, “Wow, that CGI wolf truly is a better actor than the actual guy.”

 

Twilight is not a masterpiece. However, the themes of sacrificial love and the power a woman has truly were inspiring to both read and watch on screen. Granted, I am thankful I did not read these in my formative years. The obsessive love between Edward and Bella is *not* healthy in the dating stage of a relationship. Our culture is saturated with the idea of the “perfect partner.” Think of Jim in the hit TV show, The Office. He’s the dream guy, right? He’s funny, cute, charming, smart, chases after the girl he’s in love with… and has a script. People don’t talk like they do on screen or in books. There are times when we can get caught up in looking for the picture perfect match when we really need to be searching for the other flawed human being that can weather the storms of life with you faithfully. However, the love that Edward and Bella share is a love that should be strived for with your spouse. While it takes time to achieve, this love comes after intentionally learning the other person, through better or worse. On top of all this, Bella is not a damsel in distress. In all four books, she is the hero who always puts the needs of others above her own. She and Edward complement one another, working as a team when things get tough, but in Meyer’s narrative, the author shines a light on how powerful a woman can be. I feel that the books do a wonderful job of showing that a woman can be powerful while also working alongside a man, which is how God intended us to function in our married lives.

There’s so many more words I could write about this series, but I will choose to leave it here for now: a fun adventure I dove into during a hard time in my life. And hey, finding biblical truths from books about blood sucking dudes that sparkle in the sunlight? Not a bad way to spend Christmas break. Twilight made me excited about reading again, and I look forward to spending more time enjoying a pastime that has shaped me into the person I am today.  

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

P.S. Alice is the best character in the whole dang series and I will fight anyone who tells me otherwise.

Hi again.

It’s been a year and a half, Blog. Sorry about that.

This isn’t gonna be a pretty post. It’s really more of a check point to motivate myself to get back into this habit I used to enjoy so much.

I’d like to say thank you. To my family, for never ever ceasing to support me. Even when I feel like I’m drowning and my brain is telling me no one cares, my Mom, Dad and brother Jeremy have never stopped loving me. They’re the best. To my friends, for loving me at my best and worst. Even when I’m frustrated and gloomy or hyper and obnoxious, I have people who I know will have my back through thick and thin. To my professors, for challenging me to be better. Even when I don’t think I can achieve something, I have been encouraged by my educators to think creatively and defy even my own expectations. To people who have hurt me, for making me stronger. Even when it sucks, I know it’s for the best. And to my God, for never letting me go. Even when I’m a thousand miles in the opposite direction and don’t desire an ounce of His love, He’s always there.

I’m a pretty open book. People can usually tell when something is off because a good chunk of the time, I have on a, “Wow, life is so miraculous, let’s make things awesome?” attitude. But literally NO ONE EVER could be like this 24/7. However, because of how my darn brain is working at the moment, I feel the need to be a ball of sunshine all the time for everyone else’s benefit. I don’t do a good job of taking care of my own needs and emotions; I’d rather listen to your problems than deal with my crap. That needs to change.

A lot of stuff happened in 2018. A heck of a lot of good, and a dumpster truck load of bad. I feel like I can say though, after a lot of warring with myself, that I finally have accepted that I need to take better care of myself. So, I’m getting help. It’s humbling and frustrating but also rewarding and calming.

One of the ways I hope to work on healing is picking up writing again. I’ve got some pals who I’ve asked to keep my accountable, so if anyone is still reading my pieces of the internet, Hi again. I hope I can spread some form of positivity, knowledge or insight as I work through some road bumps.

Know that you are never alone. You are loved. You are valuable. You are important.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

 

Sick Thoughts from January

Well hey, blog I haven’t touched in forever. How you doin’? I was looking through a different failed project and found this little diddy that I feel I need to reread over an over again so I don’t work myself to the point of this sickness again. I hope to be back in the blogging game for starting this month. There’s a lot to be said 🙂 Enjoy!

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Proof that I am alive ft. my Doggo and Bunny Filter Abby 

 

 

Having a doctor tell me that I need to actually rest for a few days is one of the worst things. I have stuff to do. I was supposed to teach 10 lessons today. I still ended up going to Black Box rehearsal tonight, even though my parents were very much against it. There are just certain things you have to do, right?

Okay, it’s not one of the worst things ever. Being prescribed laziness for a few days is probably what I need. BUT OH MY WORD, I HATE BEING LAZY. Letting my body heal is important, but I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better. Or if Bear would just tell me where that stupid time machine was, I could jump ahead to the “after” point of this sickness.

Literally, it feels like someone is tap dancing in my head. Maybe Maren got bored of my kitchen and decided to shrink down and tap dance on my brain. It’s to the point where my brain is so tired that I feel asleep, didn’t finish my train of thought, and decided to finish this page even though it’s the next day because I’m stubborn.

This honestly is the best week for me to be sick. I don’t HAVE to teach (even though I really want to because money), and classes don’t start until next Tuesday. There have been times where friends have told me to learn to “go with the flow” and just let things happen at times. It can be hard having easy going friends at times, because they function better when there aren’t plans. I, on the other hand, need plans to function properly. It just how I’m wired. So, when something like this happens and I am in a position where I can’t have plans, it’s very weird.

You know what the weirdest thing about congestion is? When you’re so stuffed up in your ears that you can’t balance well. Like, God wired our bodies in a way that if one thing is off, it throws off the whole production. Ah, look at that, I’ve just confirmed the body of Christ. If one person is off their game, it can affect the other people around them that make up the Body. Neat how spiritual revelations can come like that.

Being forced to lay around is a good time. Being forced to lay around is a good time. Being forced to lay around is a good time. The more I say it to myself, the more I begin to believe it. I guess I have to look at it from the perspective that my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. I don’t think a temple should have snot all over the walls of it. In order to make it a place that is good for God to dwell in me, I need to take care of it and let it repair itself. Ha, that’s kind of a funny mental picture. Picture this: little men like the ones who worked in the temples in Jesus’s time going around my sinuses wiping off the gunk. Then there are a few others laying out blankets on my brain in hopes that I’ll fall asleep. Plus, there are a few others sending the vitamins and medicine I’ve taken to different parts of my body to try and heal it.

I’m glad God gave us a sense of humor. Some of us are gifted with more of it than others, but I’m glad that He created an overall idea of humor for us to enjoy, even when we feel like crap.

Dear 2017 Abby

Dear 2017 Abby, 
At the moment I’m writing this, I’m in a Lincoln log motel and then ball just dropped in New York City. After scrolling through Facebook and seeing the letter that 2015 me wrote, I thought I might as well continue the tradition. So, here’s a very tired, possibly incoherent letter to you, 2017 Abby.  
This was a rough year. It was a year of loss. It was a year of stress. It was a year of confusion. But Abby, it was still a great year. 
You played two Disney characters, one of them being a role your child hood CYT hero played too. You got way more confident in dance. You finally went to Disney World and cried all over Mulan, Sulley, Peter Pan and Belle. You saw two Broadway tour shows (one twice, and both of those times in the front row). You learned to shoot film and took great classes that made you a better artist. You went to a different continent to love on the most precious kids in the world. You got another C in math, but you ended with a 3.76 GPA. You GRADUATED! 
You also continued to love people. You have an understanding that life is short and can be gone in an instant. There is no time to waste. While there was hurt, there is nothing to gain from shutting out the people who you love. This year, especially the second half of it, you thought a lot about Houston. Remember how he inspired you to do your best to spread love to everyone? Keep that in mind for your last few months of CYT and for the rest of your life. 
By this time next year, you have most likely finished your first semester at whatever school you landed at. I know you don’t know where you’re going at the moment, but that’s okay. It’s gonna work out; things always do. Keep working hard. You’re gonna make it!!!
This year, you lost Grandma Wolff. You had wonderful people around you to carry some of the weight while you were an ocean away from your family (keep Avery around forever). Be willing to be there for others like your Romania team was for you. Also, don’t ever lose sight of the legacy that Susan Wolff left to you. Strive to be a Woman of God like her; she was incredible. 
2017 Abby, I hope you have joy that flows through your whole being. You are loved by a wonderful God who always has your back. Life can be messy and crazy, but He’s got you. Keep at it, girl 🙂 

2016 Abby 

Cheers to 2017 🎉

Not Going Away

The last few months, I’ve been thinking about some of the choices I’ve made and where they have brought me. A big choice I’ve been milling over is the fact that I stayed at community college for one more year after graduating with my AA instead of going off to a four year school. I chose to stay. I chose to do two more semesters of classes that would help me when I transfer and one more year of CYT, the theatre company I’ve been a part of since 2010. There have been times where I wonder where I would be at if I had left this Fall to start my BFA. If it would have been better for me to have left.

In complete transparency, the past few months have been very hard. There is grief that looms in my family because their are faces that aren’t around the table at holiday get togethers. There is the pressure of making the right choices about school. There is worry of losing friends.There is the battle of feeling like I’m not a good Christian. A part of me has wondered whether or not life would have been better if I had not taken this “grade-less year.”

And then I remember the great things that have happened these past few months.

Being cast in a dream role that one of my childhood CYT idols played

Walking around the mall with a blue face

Receiving a very special award that was voted on by my fellow cast members from a show that is very  dear to my heart. 

Getting to spend time with my “sister” who has been gone from KC

Seeing my best friend play basketball during her senior year

Late night laughing fits with some of my favorite people

Coffee runs before rehearsals

Leading a group of energetic and awesome sixth grade girls

Seeing a Broadway show tour (twice) in the front row and getting to hug a CYT alum who has the coolest job ever 

Worshiping with precious voices

Taking photos in between shows with one of the most hilarious and beautiful people I know

Getting cast as a silly old lady who poisons old men

Steak and Shake with fellow cast members and awkward waiters after Black Box rehearsals

Encouraging a 14 year old to, “Get that tiara, because you’re a princess”

Doing spotlights with my brother

Being woken up at 6:47am to go get coffee at “Luke’s Diner”

Taking my dog on lots of car rides

Having “squad” nights with wonderful girls

Sitting on top of the kitchen table to get art homework done

Playing a large role in setting up four gallery showings at my school

Helping younger CYTer’s with music during Joe Show rehearsals

So many rounds of QuipLash

Having important conversations

Getting Starbucks in the morning before school/work with my dad

Watching the Gilmore Girl’s special all day with my mom

Binge watching Gravity Falls with my awesome family

And other countless adventures and memories with amazing people

Has life been perfect? No. Has there been hurt? Yes. But oh my goodness, how great is our God in the fact that He gives new beginnings every single day (and sometimes throughout the day as well). I have made mistakes. There are things I wish I could do over. But I am confident in the fact that God is in control. While there are times I move my eyes away from Him and I worry about what tomorrow holds, I am thankful that God has a tight hold of me and will never let me go. There are many paths with can take in life, and I’m glad I chose to take a detour.

Thank you to all who made 2016 brighter; cheers to 2017!

Until Next Time,

Abby

Relating to Robert Mangold

Currently in the Kemper Contemporary Art Museum in Kansas City, there is an exhibit called, “Deconstructing Robert Mangold.” Mangold is a minimalist artist who was very profound in the Modern Art movement. On display are 7 woodcut prints titled “untitled A-G”, along with pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition brings together a very wide range of conceptual pieces that form some sort of connection with Mangold’s seven prints.

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untitled (A-G), 2000; from the portfolio of Robert Mangold Print

At a glance, these woodcuts are representations of geometric analysis’s, and no two prints are exactly alike in terms of structure. There are niches cut out of the prints that clash with the idea of artistic structural formulas. When walking around the gallery space, the viewer must interpret how the pieces made by generations of different artists relate to Mangold’s seven small prints.

Out of the many pieces in the gallery, there were three that stood out to me as truly relating to the inspiration for the collection, the first bring a piece called Murmur.

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Murmur 2014, Cheonae Kim; acrylic and graphite on canvas

I was drawn to the piece mainly due to how busy it is; the shapes made by dozens of tiny squares create a piece that feels as though it is vibrating on the canvas. From far away, the lines seem crisp and perfectly straight, but when you get a closer look, you are able to tell how loosely Kim creates her abstract paintings. While this piece is almost overly simulating compared to the simplicity of Mangold’s prints, there is a connection between the use of loose, structural lines. The print series and the painting are both logical and playful at the same time; one invoking a simple whimsy in geometric shapes, and the other reminding the viewer of the popular game Tetris. 

The second piece that I feel connects with Mangold is Movement in White, Umber and Cobalt Blue. 

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Movement in White, Umber, and Cobalt Blue 1950; John Marin

This piece is much different from Murmur in the sense that the overall subject matter is much looser. You don’t have to get close to the canvas to see how loosely Marin used his three colors to create the composition. What does tie this piece to Mangold’s is how even though the subject matter is more free form, there is still a sense of structural unity in the piece. The background is full of squares and crossing lines than create a subtle frame work that relates to Mangold’s structurally sound woodcuts. There is also a relation through the low key color choices of both artists. The colors are calm, yet are boldly added on top of the cream background, creating strong compositions.

The final piece that stuck out to me as truly connecting with the original seven is Study for Self Portrait. 

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Study for Self Portrait, 1982, Francis Bacon; color lithograph

Out of all the other pieces in the exhibit, this seemed the most out of place at first glance. It is one of the only pieces with an organic form as the main subject of the work. But after studying it more carefully, the viewer can connect the geometric structure of the background to Mangold’s prints. There is also a square-like quality to the figure itself; it is closed off and could easily be broken down into a box-like form. The color choice also connects in the same way that Movement does, with the low key quality of the image really pushing out the idea of the form and lines, rather than making bold choices with color. The softness of the human figure also ties in with the rounded lines in Mangold’s prints, but doesn’t take away from the sharpness of the straight lines in the background.

 

Artists are constantly pulling inspiration from other artists. It’s not cheating to use an idea that dawns on you while looking at the art of someone that you admire. Art is constantly evolving, and with exhibits like this, we are able to understand how our work relates to our fellow peers and people we aspire to be like. “Deconstructing Robert Mangold” is an exhibit I will more definitely spend more time in during future visits so that I can better understand the art of inspiration that moves throughout the artistic community.

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

 

 

I’m back! Excuse the leave of absence; stick around for more future posts!