The Little Fox

When I was in high school, my life more or less revolved around the drama department. I was an actress (I was not very good), I created the programs (they had a lot of fonts – it was early Microsoft Word days, after all), I was an officer (secretary, then president), I made publicity t-shirts, I competed in district and state competitions, I was a friend, a coach, a listener. Basically, drama was everything to me. I knew I wouldn’t do it in college (though, crazy enough, I did for a bit), but that didn’t matter. I loved it. I created my identity around it.

As is with most drama teachers, my teacher was crazy. She was this little ball of spiky-haired energy that would literally throw shoes at us when she was upset (or, sometimes, when she was proud). She was a mother, a friend. She knew the right roles for us. She knew what we needed to hear, and, sometimes, what we needed to do. She loved each and every one of us.

Every year when members  graduated, she would give them a copy of The Little Prince, casting them in a role that most suited them. When my year came, I met it with joy and trepidation. I always wanted my own copy, but what was next? What lay on that overwhelmingly large space ahead of me? But during my final drama end-of-the-year party, when I got my copy, I knew i’d be okay. I had friends. I had family.

I met college with that same amount of hesitance and passion. I tried. I joined clubs. I found myself. But…I never forgot what my teacher wrote. Interestingly, I think it’s what led me towards becoming a teacher, and now, a librarian. I’m not sure how she knew it back then, when I was 17, but what she wrote still rings true. Still guides me and pushes me to be the Fox she always knew I was.

Lauren – You are the Fox who teaches all the Little Princes in your life how to live.. Remember your gift always…”

I won’t forget. Ever.

I’ll Cover You

In high school I was the drama girl. I wasn’t planning on that life, but after signing up for Drama 1 freshman year, I was kind of hooked. It was within that crowd that I met some of my best friends (fun fact: 2 of which were my test readers for TNWSY!), and became, well, me. I loved the people, and I loved the ability to turn into someone else completely just by reading a few lines.

I wasn’t a terrific actress but I was okay enough to score a monologue for district/state competition, and get a few decent roles throughout my four years. (favorite: Simba in The Lion King. Because…sure, I can be a lion cub.) But my singing? My singing was atrocious. And I’m not saying that in a “please don’t make me sing” Kristin Wiig character sort of way, but more so in a I was called back for the role of Baby Louise in Gypsy solely because of my terrible singing voice kind of way. Seriously.

Anyway, drama helped me open up a bit more and towards my senior year I became more comfortable within myself. One day in the drama room, with a few people still milling around despite the fact that the school day ended an hour prior (we had a tendency to just stick around), a friend (note: my first gay best friend, of which I’ve had many) started singing “I’ll Cover You” from RENT. He took the Angel part, swung me around, and demanded I be his Collins.

But, yeah, remember my voice? Right.

But in that moment, with him twirling me around, I just couldn’t help it. So I took a leap, and bubbled out the lyrics. (Because, let’s be honest, I love that song.) People were around, but they didn’t notice. He was there, and didn’t care about my voice. And for a second, I just lost myself in lyrics and melody and laughter. Because we were having so much fun, and ability didn’t even factor into it. Why hadn’t I thought of that sooner?

I can’t say I became a dedicated singer after that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really sung in public since (with the exception of karaoke nights and shouting out lyrics with my friends in cars – who doesn’t do that?), but that one moment was exciting and – as it turned out – memorable.

I think my writing is a bit like that. I kept it private, untouched for so long. But once I finally braved an audience and put it out there, I felt great. Sometimes you just need a little push to do something that’s frightening. Or, I guess, a twirl.