i just can't get enough.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

when i was little i used to spend hours upon hours dancing and singing in the entry way of our house. there was what i'd like to think of as a stage in my make believe land, but really it was just a single stair that served as a platform looking out onto my mom's fancy living room. i pretended {oh i pretended!} that i had an audience - a full house - watching me perform. of all the time spent dancing on that step {blasting amy grant, spice girls, and mariah carey to name a few}, the moments performing scenes from the broadway musical, a chorus line, are the ones that stand out to me the most.

since moving to new york, i've added three more broadway shows to the list... the book of mormon, jersey boys, and most recently, annie. i love them all {jersey boys might be my most favorite of all time}, but there was something about annie that brought me back to the days of being a kid, channeling my inner clara, and truly dancing like no one was watching on that foyer.

there is a song in annie entitled nyc in which daddy warbucks serenades annie as he prepares to take her out for her first time in new york. its goes something like this...

what is it about you 
you're big 
you're loud 
you're tough nyc 
i go years without you 
then i 
can't get 
enough of the cab drivers answering back 
in the language far from pure 
enough of frankfurters answering back 
brother, you know you're in nyc 
too busy 
too crazy 
too hot 
too cold 
too late 
i'm sold 
on nyc 
and the chorus...
you crowd 
you cramp 
you're still 
the champ 
amen for nyc

as i sat up on the second balcony peering down at the stage, i smiled. not because it was funny, but because there i was, all grown up, seeing a show that took me right back to being a kid. and, here i was listening to these lyrics all about this new city i am living in, which couldn't ring more true. it's tough... too this and too that, and yet, i just can't get enough

that bright eyed and bushy tailed dancer i was, never would have thought i'd be here. never would have imagined i'd be spending my friday nights in times square, or my tuesday nights at a jazz class in midtown. but, here i am. what was once a big scary place is becoming my home for now. that smile had every bit to do with the fact that i'm digging deep to embrace my inner dancer, the one with spirit and charisma and charm who believed that she didn't need an audience to dance, she just did it because she loved to.

{photo sent by a dear friend. thank you. at the time i had no idea this post would come out}.

this one's for the wedding montage.

Monday, October 14, 2013

on october 12th, 2013 my bestest friend got married. and i wrote a speech. speaking in front of others isn't something that comes naturally to me... writing here feels much more comfy. but, it was an absolute thrill so i wanted to share it with you. cheers to love stories!

hi, everyone. for those of you i don't know, i'm gina, one of alexis's maids of honors and very best friends. i'm so excited to be up here tonight because i've pretty much been looking forward to this moment since the very first day i met alexis. so, please know it is an absolute gift to be standing here.

i do actually remember the first day i met her {if you don't count the time we serendipitously attended the same info session at usd in the spring of 2003}. it was in the common area of our freshman year dorm at ucsb before school started. she was in a gray sweatshirt, maroon juicy sweatpants, and rocking a bun on top of her head. high school ladies, i'm sure you know the exact look i'm talking about here. it was the freshman year uniform.

and i, ironically enough {while i have no idea what i was wearing} was walking into the dorm with a friend of hers. it was he who initially introduced us, and while i hesitate to give him any credit since we learned shortly thereafter that we were to live directly across the hall from each other, it was this torrey pines mutual friend who bridged that first gap, and i will forever be grateful for that rare moment.

alexis was the first real best friend i ever had. she taught me what it meant to have a supportive, compassionate, trustworthy, loyal, and true person by my side. we were in a scary and unsure phase of life, going off to college... both the oldest of two siblings leaving our families for the first time, both timid to be in a new place... one that consistently made the list of top 10 party schools in the nation, and both very much connected to people and aspects of our home.

i think, looking back on it all, that god sent me alexis as a guardian angel. the closest thing to a sister, aside from my own, that i'd ever have.

in prepping for my speech tonight, i re-lived some of our college days by going back through every facebook message we had ever sent to each other. i don't know if any of you guys have ever done this, but you should because it is a real treat! anyhow, it turns out that i had been writing this speech all along...

the message string began with a message from me on september 16, 2004, which would have been fall of our sophomore year of college, the first of our 3 years living together as roommates.

the subject line read: theta.
the message: theta love!

from there begins an epic coming of age story of two girls navigating college and then transitioning to the real world. the stress, the angst, the insecurity, but also the pep talks, the silliness, and the inspiration that exist in this chain are a true symbol of two friends being there for each other every step of the way in such unchartered territory.

the facebook messages even revealed to me the first time i met brian. it was february 16th, 2008. a saturday. right after they became official. we were at robby and elizabeth’s in la jolla and did a quick stop-in to meet brian before heading to see our favorite tristan prettyman in la. what i remember most about that first encounter was just how clear it was that brian knew he was meeting someone important. and i don't mean that in a self-boasting kind of way, i mean it genuinely, in a this-is-the-real-deal kind of way. my second time hanging out with brian was the day after. it was a night spent sitting at his kitchen table - with james - in fits of laughter about gosh knows what now, but i remember laughing so hard it hurt and many an inside joke were born. the thing was, it all came so easily. the comfort was there from the beginning.

one of the biggest gems i discovered in this facebook correspondence came from a message sent on november 14th, 2007.

me to alexis: 
i can't believe you are like going to get a boyfriend... what? where did he come from?

and alexis in response: 
i'm not getting a boyfriend, gean. it was one movie, one kiss, and two tattoos.

well, friend, i guess you were wrong about that one.

i once emailed brian in the winter of 2009 when i knew alexis was going through a bit of a rough patch. since i couldn't help solve the problem with a therapy walk to sands like we'd done countless times before in college, i reached out to him as he was the person who was her greatest source of love.

in more words than this, i wrote:
i know you are, but please take care of my little alexis. you are such a positive influence in her life... one of her role models and inspirations and sources of love. i'm so glad she has you.

and in brian's response he said:
i will do everything in my power to help her regain that spirit and that spark. gina, i promise i will take care of alexis. i love her too.

bri, you've always been a keeper. always. you let me sit in the front seat and you in the back when alexis drives. you let me have the bed while you sleep on the floor. you get on the phone too when I call for advice and weigh in with your own. you let alexis and i name your tattoo mitchy without even getting mad about it. but, most importantly, you love my best friend the way she deserves to be loved, and for that i will be eternally grateful.

alexis, i remember when we were in hawaii with my family in the summer of 2006 snapping photos on the beach. after one in particular you said to me this one's for the wedding montage. for some reason, that always stuck with me. like we were in this together. like we'd be looking out for each other on this road to falling in love and getting married. so, here we are on your wedding day, and in this moment i could not be happier for you.

i'll end with a quote that i once wrote to you, soulmates are people who bring out the best in you. they are not perfect, but they are always perfect for you.

so here's to brian and alexis, the kind of soulmates who will always bring out the best in the other. and, here's to a lifetime of being perfect for each other.

i love you both!

ps. for more on the characters in this tale see here and here
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