Imagine meeting an old group of friends or classmates. One person constantly belittled and even bullied others while growing up. Now, she listens well and even apologized for past actions. Another person, on the other hand, was shy and insecure. He still struggles to speak and usually complains about himself when he does speak.
Situations like this happen to me all of the time although not always in the same day. I meet people from the past who have changed tremendously while others are nearly identical. The questions arise, “Do people change? Can someone move on from the past? Are some people able to forget who they were?”
I am not even sure how to start this exactly. The wait between these posts (both for you reading and me writing) has been far too long.
Life has been a bit hectic and full of changes lately. Since my last post in June (forever ago, I know), I have been offered a new job which I will be leaving the country for in a few months. After years of dreaming and doubting myself, I am going to be teaching English in China. Better yet, the Disney company will still be my employer.
The joy of taking this new step in life comes hand-in-hand with the fear of change. Am I really moving to a country across the world that I have never been to before? How will I learn Mandarin that quickly? How will I survive without my family and friends? How will I ever be confident enough to teach?
I am learning to live a more normal life despite new challenges. Here I am at the Rose and Crown in Epcot.
Down in Florida, I am doing more on my own than I ever dreamed that I would. Paying for rent, food, and other needs on my own is one challenge. So is working overtime every week, commuting nearly three hours a day, and still maintaining friendships.
Yet, I am managing. Life is very difficult at times, yes, but nothing that I cannot handle.
Or so I thought. Sometimes life feels like wack-a-mole or running after a toddler; the minute that you are finished with one thing, you have to chase after another one.
As you maybe could tell from my title, I went to Fantasmic for the first time today and loved it. This show at Hollywood Studios was brilliant and breathtaking. I look forward to seeing it again and again.
Knowing that I can sit and watch a show full of bright lights and loud noises yet still enjoy it is wonderful. I have come such a long way. The little girl with great anxiety who could not be in crowds or watch fireworks is still me. However, I have grown and adapted.
With my lovely friends Daniela and Claudia at training
“I admire how you so easily talk with people and make friends.”
I was astonished by my roommate’s words. Is that true? Never in my life have I thought of myself as someone who attracted people or made friends easily. If anything, others saw me as a replaceable friend – good for when no one else was around but pushed aside when someone better came along the way.
My mouse ears and name tag from the Disney College Program
In Disney, we have lots of code words for things. “Earning my ears” means that this person is training. That is a cute, magical way to look at it, right?
This training is draining but good. I look forward to growing through this experience. Change is scary though. I do not want to become someone who is a totally different woman. Getting drunk, swearing, watching R-rated films – those are not who I want to be. Yet, I need to realize where I am holding myself back instead of allowing growth.
How do you respond to certain comments especially when they make you question your worth?
Preparing for my audition for being a Disney character or performing tomorrow has been very stressful. Although excited, I am terrified. After all, the other girls will be thinner, prettier, more talented, and sweeter than me. That keeps repeating in my head.
Hearing the responses of my friends and family to this big event has been both helpful and disheartening. Most people have given me great encouragement. Others promise to pray or think about me. Even my coworkers warnings about safety or horror stories all come out of a place of being helpful.
Still, I do not want to get my hopes to high. After all, this program will be amazing even if I am not a character. Sure, that is part of my dream, but I will love working attractions too. There is not a loss just because I am not cast as a princess. That is what I keep trying to remember.
One of the hardest comments that I have received regarding my mental health problems has been “Why can’t you just get over it?”
Other people I have spoken with throughout my treatment have echoed aggravations about similar responses from family or friends. Many variations of this question occur, and even more frequent are the people who treat me in this manner. Knowing how to answer is very difficult.
However, the more that I think about it, the more that I realize how often I ask myself the very same thing. My brain is constantly berating me for not “getting over” things. Anna Rose, why can’t you just be a big girl and ignore the pain? Can’t you snap out of the depression that you are in? Why don’t you just stop thinking about that topic and get a life?
On Tuesday and Wednesday, I auditioned for two different plays. One was Oliver! and the other is called Theater on Purpose. Although part of me wanted to do the musical, doing the second one was so appealing. The students work together to write a play on an important issue, research it, and then travel to schools and churches to perform it. How amazing is that?
Last year, the director stated how much he liked me but did not cast me. It was really difficult and rather saddening. Thus, I tried not to get my hopes up when auditioning. He remembered me, which was positive, and seemed excited to see me again. However, I was unsure what he thought about my audition.
“You have something really special,” he remarked before I left.
Perhaps because of my aspergers or perhaps just because of my personality, I am a very sentimental person. Each letter that has been written to me is kept in a bundle with similar notes. My room is filled with figurines and pictures drawn for me are taped across my walls. These help me to remember people who touched my life and helped me along the difficult journey of life.
However, having too much clutter will not bring back helpful memories. Instead, you will be overwhelmed, frustrated with yourself, or simply not be able to see what what you need. That is why putting certain items into memory boxes can be a helpful coping skill.