Hello blog. It’s been awhile.
More on that later. This is important.
At the University of Idaho, there’s a phenomenal theatre program. Quality education that is about more than just theatre, but about LIFE. I learned more about who I was as a person and how to relate to others and the world than what you expect of the average college student. The connections and bonds that form during the classes, productions, and in between are life changing and informative, and despite the (emotionally and financially) difficult path I have chosen, I will never regret my decision to pursue a degree in musical theatre, especially at the U of I.
In our acting classes, we were asked to perform what are called “honorings”; generally speaking, we would prepare a presentation for the class to honor ourselves or to honor others. Those honorings were some of the most naked I have ever felt with my clothes on, but at the same time, unbelievably safe. Honorings are a beautiful mishmash of musical, homemade, kind, delicious, comforting, warm, LOVE.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to “perform” an honoring today on the bloggy blog. I wanted to acknowledge a friend after a hard weekend…I wanted to do something, and I realized what better than in a U of I Shoup Hall KQ class familiar sort of way.
(press play on this video before continuing, otherwise you’ll totally miss out…if I had a CD player, this is where I’d hit play OF COURSE)
First things first. You are, hands down, one of the kindest people I have ever met. You are beautiful inside and out, and your words, your journey, and YOU inspire me on the daily. To be the best, strongest, healthiest version of myself. And I know you do the same for so many others in your life. Your students, your friends, your family, your teachers, your blog readers. We are so lucky to know you, and in this month of thanks, I would like to say that I am thankful you are a big presence in my life, and thankful that I get to be a part of your life as well.
Pretty much my favorite photo of us.
This is the Ariana I met and fell in love with. Oklahoma ’07! We didn’t officially bond until the end of the run, during our themed movie marathon day with Melina (OLIVE JUICE), but we bonded nonetheless and vowed to remain friends as we were OBVIOUSLY kindred spirits!
A picture of my very first legal beverage on my 21st birthday. You picked me up and took me out, just the two of us, at midnight. Mainly cuz everyone else was lame. You, Chase, Mandie, and I had already formed our elite BFFFF status over many shots of tequila. And this was just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
And I would now like to honor you with a list:
TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU
(in no specific order)
1) The inside jokes. And the fact that I think of you every time I see anything squirrel related.
2) You insistence on taking a ridiculous amount of pictures.
Cases in point:
a) the camera game
b) atmosphere pictures
c) a picture with every person at the event
d) “action” shots
e) double chin retakes (they count because all us double-chin-photo-prone people are grateful)
3) Our ridiculous roommate compatibility
4) Your impersonations. Nothing more to say there… 😉 I love that you can always make people laugh (not just with your impersonations, but that’s probably my favorite…also your old voice mail message. “GIRRRRL! Leave a message!” I still hear it every time I get your voice mailbox.)
5) Your genuine WANT to be there for anyone that needs it, to take care of people, and your willingness to help out when you can. How you always want to make sure everyone is ok, and how you will always try to fix it.
6) Your artistic-ness and your love of performance. Your choreography is stunning, your performances are always beautiful and heartfelt. You exude so much joy when you are involved in performing, be it as a singer, dancer, actress, choreographer, director, teacher…I love that you have found your calling, pursued it, and been able to do it for a living. You are making the world a better place.
7) That fact that you are a beautiful emotional basketcase. That you cry when picking out cards. Or reading peoples’ inspirational stories. Or watching reality tv.
8) Your love of food and cooking (and your kitchenaid). I fully intend to spend a month eating my way through Europe with you. And I love that the above dinner date happened.
9) And the fact that THAT happened! Technically definitely a tie-in to #2, but our last Winco shopping trip deserved it’s own number for this list. Because a friend who finds joy in the so many of the same things as you, be them little or big, is hard to find. You are truly a kindred spirit.
10) Your tenacity, your bravery, your strength, and your heart. GIRL WHEN I MET YOU, YOU THOUGHT A HEALTHY MEAL WAS ADDING A DIET COKE TO YOUR LEAN POCKET!!!! You decided you deserved a healthier lifestyle and that you were worthy of more, and you went for it. You have worked your butt off and deserved everything you have achieved. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION. Regardless of what happened this past weekend, you are READY to run a fucking marathon. A MAR-A-THON. When I am feeling like a lazy ass, sitting on the couch, I think to myself, “Ari can run 26.2 miles. Now get the fuck out the door and run your two miles and stop being lazy.” (Director note: during the presentation, that would be read out loud with my attempt at a sassy black girl voice.)
Next year, New York won’t know what hit ’em. And with blog as my witness, I will do everything I can to be at the finish line. With pom poms, a sparkly “ARI” t-shirt, and cheerleader high kicks.
You are a beautiful shining star. Girl, I love you and I am SO PROUD OF YOU.
One more song for you. (Also because I totes want to see what you could choreograph to this, but also because it’s fitting.)