I took my purse, cell phone, the house keys, my iPod, and three outfits, including the one I left the house with. Little did I know that these few things would be the only things I owned for the next few weeks. As the day went, the sun embraced the sky with an ironic presence of charm and allure, unknowing of the following day, which would erupt in the madness of an extraordinary disaster. The strange assortment of the music on my iPod kept me comforted through many excruciating hours on the road as I traveled from one anonymous city to another. As I finally settled into the tremulous metropolis of Atlanta, I was constantly reminded of how my life had diminished into the things I carried. In the days following my escape, I remember thinking that I had lost everything; although I had taken CD’s and the most important of my material items, I had left behind some of the most memorable possessions one could ever have. I immediately thought of all the trophies and plaques I had received. I had images of them floating away in the intensifying toxic waters of the Big Easy. I pictured my baby photos and music compositions dissolving into the waste that had infiltrated my home. I had lost everything! But in the months following Hurricane Katrina, I realized that all I was and all that I would ever become lay within me; I discovered that the things I carried weren’t things after all—they were emotions, memories, and dreams. They were the types of things that grew into me, and I into them. Life had abruptly begun for me and the things I carried would transform me forever.
Today (December 1st, 2020), Facebook reminded me that 5 years ago, I wrapped up a 5-week run of Ain't Misbehavin' at Portland Center Stage in Oregon, and flew back to New York City to re-enter my life there. I had just applied to seminary a few days before Thanksgiving and was excited about the possibility of leaning into this strong calling I felt to deepen my theological knowledge. I was still under the illusion that I'd be able to maintain some sort of performance career, so I kept my manager, Greg, and he'd continue sending me out on auditions. I was becoming very picky about what I'd say "yes" to-- Would I go on that national tour of Hamilton that he wanted to send me on or would I go to seminary? Would I leave to do a 9-month stint in After Midnight on an international cruise ship or would I go to seminary? That was the question over and over again. I decided that I'd still do local stuff in NYC or short stints in other cities. Even as I ente