Adventure in Back to Who I Was

In January a friend approached me about running auditions for a show his studio was having for Valentine’s Day. By the time Valentine’s Day rolled around we had a completely different show, a completely different band, and a completely different cast. I was directing, organizing, and acting as well. But by the end of it I also had 6 amazing friends supporting me and participating. I had a band that makes me cry pretty much every time I hear them. I had the support of a community. All in all, I had a success. A big success. I had something I’m proud of, which is new for me. You can read more about it here, just know that Matt and Brian could not have given an opportunity like this to a more appreciative human.
simon and simonLately, my life has sort of been a disgusting state of flux, but something about this show sparked something in me again, and I decided I couldn’t let it die again. To the surprise, I’m sure, of many of my college professors this month I hosted my first Shakespeare reading. Nothing elaborate. Just 12 people sitting around my living room drinking wine and beer and soda, eating cheese and reading through The Twelfth Night.

It was perfect, and it filled my head with so many new and exciting ideas. I’d forgotten all about how my heart races when a group of people who have little or no connection to each other come together for one purpose. It’s why I love theatre. It’s why I love collaborative art. It doesn’t have to be friends, but by the end of it, it’s hard not to feel even the smallest connection to the other people involved. They too just experienced the same things you did, produced the same product you did, and are now going through the same successes and failures. It’s a binding thing, and it’s beautiful.

For now, it’ll stay simple and living room bound, but that doesn’t change the value of it for my heart and my head.

Maybe some times regress is better than it sounds.

Adventure in Speaking Up

A little over a week ago a friend came over to interview me for his podcast. I can’t deny this was an odd experience. I do not find myself interesting enough to be interviewed by anyone for any reason. In the process he asked me some pretty good and hard questions. Questions about things I haven’t told many people. Things that will be available for anyone to hear starting tomorrow. Because maybe it’s time for me to start talking about it, or at least stop hiding it or feeling like everything about me is a lie because I can’t be honest about this one thing. So tomorrow you can hear it. Tomorrow I have to be okay with knowing that people I love are going to know, and people I barely know are going to know. People who have hurt me are going to know.

If tomorrow you find yourself wanting to hear it, know that you can. Know that it scares the shit out of me, but you can hear it. You can hear it here.

And if you are someone who has to respond to it, to shut me down or give false pity or who has genuine questions, that’s okay too. And I’m going to work on being okay with that. Please, be patient with me. Please, be gracious. And might I just recommend doing that with everyone you meet. It’s a hard world.

For a preview.
https://soundcloud.com/guerrilla-bio/episode-035-hayley-johnson-preview

Unrelated, I went to Chicago this weekend.

I went to the Art Institute when it opened and alone, which meant I got to spend about 20 minutes in a room filled with Van Gogh paintings all by myself. No one was there. Which also means I cried openly in a room alone. I was transfixed. I could not look away from his eyes. The man could have painted himself anyway he wanted to, but he chose to convey every single ounce of pain he had in him. I looked into his eyes, and he looked into mine. And centuries apart we had a moment.hayley 5 hayley 6

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But then I couldn’t stop staring at people’s eyes. Seeking out similar pains. No one carried quite the same sincere hurt.hayley 8hayley 7hayley 15

I kept expecting her to move. She was so flawlessly realistic. I couldn’t handle it.hayley 13hayley 14hayley 16

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Oh, and it was my birthday.
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And my friends are perfect. Far better than I deserve.