“Please wait,” says the British, robotic-sounding voice on the phone.

“Please wait.”

“Please wait.”

“Please wait.”

I’m waiting. I’m breathing. My head is doing the mental math of how expensive this international phone call is going to be after being on hold for two hours with the UK Visa office. Waiting.

The wait hasn’t just been two hours. It’s been three years.

Three years ago I start writing a list. The list says things like “Physical theater program” and “A program where I can explore mindfulness in my craft” and “Ideally London.” A lot changes between that first list and now, but the core Wild Child dream remains the same: How completely bonkers would it be to go get my MFA in London???

Fall 2020. That becomes the starting line, and I start planning everything around that date — sorting what would happen with my theater company, our house, our cat (of course we’re bringing Bean, is that even a question??). Everything is lining up nicely.

The universe has other plans.

I fly down to San Francisco to audition in February 2020. I come back to Portland, we do a show the first weekend in March, and the next weekend everything is locked down. Everyone is still thinking this is a temporary thing, so I still forge ahead with my plans. But by May, it’s clear we’re in it for the long haul. Jordan and I sit down at our kitchen table and we decide it just isn’t going to happen this year.

That summer I grieve. I say grieve because it felt like grieving. There is the initial big gulping, cathartic tears, and then there is Anger, and Depression, and Disbelief.

And then…

…there is the tiniest spark – What am I going to do with myself for a whole year while I wait? A whole year of my life just…waiting?


I ask my husband if we can remodel our bathroom. He says yes.

And I dive.

I dive head-first into the YouTube University of demolition, backer board, waterproofing, and tiling like a bear coming out of hibernation that’s just caught its first meal. I am HUNGRY. I am ANGRY. The pandemic rages and we are stuck at home and I feel helpless and so many people are hurting and dying and so I slam my chisel into our 1970’s bathroom and I stare at Pintrest and I stay up until 4am watching tiling videos and re-making my plan.

It is a rage-fueled drive destined to run out of steam but for the moment, it works.


In the middle of this, George Floyd is murdered. Black Lives Matter re-emerges with a new kind of fury. Portland marches. My investment in anti-racism is long-overdue, and here it is finally seeded. What can a theater do during a pandemic? Not much live theater. Instead, I pull my ensemble together and we meet online to talk about racism, all that summer, all that next year, and all the summer after that.

I put a match to my old, blinded way of seeing the world and I won’t ever see it the same way again.


That’s not enough matchsticks on the fire, right? So in September 2020, right when I would have been (should have been) going to graduate school, I start a 6 month Yoga Teacher Training. Aaaand I’d been wanting to try therapy for a while, so why not throw that in as well?


By Winter, I am working full-time, and in all my other hours of the day I am either pulling apart my complicity in white supremacist culture, uncovering deep personal truths in therapy, or using the insight and wisdom of the ancient and sacred practice of yoga to reveal shadowed parts of myself. I’m walking every single day up the 24-story hill next to my house because I am the Little-Fucking-Engine-That-Could-So-Bring-It-On-Universe-Goddamnit.

I am in the fire. And it felt like it.

January was crying every other day. Exhaustion. Stopped walking. I keep wondering, why am I feeling so bad? What’s wrong with me? I have no resilience. Zero self-confidence. I question everything I thought I knew and I feel like I’m losing my grip on who I am.

And then, somewhere in there, I have this tiny thought: Wow, I sure am doing a lot of self-searching right now. Kinda makes sense that everything feels hard right now.

It’s like I had been living with my eyes focused on my hand right in front of my face for months, and then suddenly my focus shifted, and I’m able to see the big picture again. Seeing that bird’s eye view allows me to exhale.


This is the part where writers will often say “And then it got better,” or something like that, and I am always frustrated that we don’t illustrate accurately just how slowly things get better.

Things get better. Slowly. So, so, slowly.

I remember thinking, “I wonder if there will be a time in the future again, where someone asks me, ‘When was the last time you cried?’ and I won’t be able to remember.”

There is a full morning without despair.

Then there is a full day.

And then there are two.

And then there is a full week of despair again.

And then an hour of sunshine.

This is how it goes. Good feelings, bad feelings, they come, sometimes we get snatched up in them, and then they pass. Evolutionarily, we are designed to cling to those bad thoughts and bad feelings, because we should remember the badness so that we can avoid it in the future and survive and pass on our genes.

We are very, very, skilled at feeling bad.

We are absolute shit at feeling good.

At least, I am.

Because even on the brighter days, I would notice that I was feeling good, and then I would think, “Oh, I’m feeling good. So that means I must be blind to the bad things that are around me right now. I’m just not seeing them. So let’s figure out what’s wrong, or we can go to our usual list of anxiety-producing thoughts and hang out there for a while.”

This is my very long way of saying: Slowly, I start to get back to my more “normal”, regulated self, which is filled with anxiety and attached to catastrophic thoughts BUT at least I am resourced enough to know how to navigate that. Most of the time.

Maybe a better way of saying “Slowly, I got better” would be: “Slowly, I got more resources.”

What I mean by that is, I got more sleep. Because I got more sleep, I was able to make healthier food choices. Because I was eating better, I had more energy, and I was able to exercise more. Because I was able to exercise more, I had more endorphins. The endorphins meant I wasn’t a raging clusterfuck of doom and emotion all the time, and I had an easier time letting go of those raging, clusterfuck-doom thoughts.

I was able to see the bigger picture.

And part of the bigger picture was: The graduate program I had auditioned for and gotten into wasn’t right for me anymore.

Cue Planner Panic.

Because now, it’s March of 2021, and I’ve no idea if an application to a new grad program at this stage is going to be accepted or is even possible. And what program am I even going to do in the first place??

I stumble across a course I had dismissed months ago. MFA in Actor Training and Coaching. I know how to teach, I’ve been teaching professionally for years, do I really want to read Stanislavski again?? There’s a video online of the professor from the course. She’s warm and welcoming. It’s only an information session with prospective students but she wants to know all of their names and pronouns, and within the first five minutes she’s talking about how this program is designed to dismantle harmful and oppressive structures in theater making and teaching and I’m already in love and I’m applying before the video wraps up.

I send it in. I interview. I’m accepted.

So now: okay, new path ahead of me! Feels good. Feels…untrustworthy. We’ve been here before right? What’s to stop the pandemic, or some other disaster, from preventing us from moving to London a second time?

What fresh hell is ahead?

I’ll tell you what fresh hell was ahead, in my next post.

Big exhale, my friends.


P.S. Goodness me, if you read this far…I mean, congratulations! and thank you. That’s very kind of you. Know that I’m thinking of you, and smiling, and knowing that you got here to the end just makes me all warm and fuzzy and tingly. Now go on you, get on with the rest of your day! You’ve got this.