Ever since I can remember, I have been infatuated with the performing arts. I believe it started at the age of four, watching E.T. in the movie theater, but regardless of when it began, performing has been ingrained in my soul ever since. From weekly, prepubescent performances of Michael Jackson's "Beat It," garbed in the finest Superman Underoos Target had to offer, to this day, my love of film and theater has shaped nearly every decision in my life. The road has been difficult, and often not visibly rewarding.
What is clear to me, though, at times when I have the patience to sit back and consider my life thus far, is that I am blessed beyond all human measure. Resilience and determination aside, I have been surrounded by angels every step of the way.
I have sat down to rewrite this on so many different occasions, and once again, here I am, starting all over again. My life has changed more than could have ever dreamed possible. The journey here has been incredible, and I can only imagine what the coming years have in store. Every day I feel more alive and more connected to such an infinite ocean of wisdom, inspiration and creativity, that I cannot help but stare in awe at the world I’m creating around me.
I find myself more and more like the child who closed his eyes and tried walking into the back of his closet after reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time. I ended up running into the back of my closet, for those who want to know how the story ends. I see things I haven't seen in a long time, and I’m now seeing things I’ve never had the opportunity to see. And I am unambiguously excited again about my art. I am excited about what I have to give, and I am amazed by my own powers, by my own gifts that have been here all along. At slightly over a quarter century old, I am presented with infinite choices and opportunities. It's a very humbling place to be.
Most importantly, I am profoundly grateful for every person that has helped me along my journey.
For my father, who though he may no longer be with me physically, has unconditionally continued to support me in his absence. No words can ever express the gratitude that I have for him and who he still is to me.
He taught me how to fly.
For my mother, who has never flagged in her support for me. In times of doubt, in times of pain, and in times of utter despair, she has been the voice that says to me, "Get up." And I do, and now I am here.
She taught me how to bounce.
For my brother and sister, who have never said to me, "You can't." Who have always been there faster than I ever thought possible, always with an outpouring of heart that catches me off guard. Who have challenged me to grow in ways I never imagined.
They taught me how to truly look at myself.
For all those artists who continue to create uninhibitedly, working against every doubt and obstacle that stands in their way. For their unparalleled dedication to creation in a world that seems bent only upon its own destruction. For their unconditional and underappreciated gift of self, that inspires me to give more and more every day.
They taught me how to give from every fiber of my being.
For all my teachers, who have shared with me their passion for their art. The gleam in their eye can pierce more deeply than a thousand lessons.
They taught me how to say Yes.
For God. Most importantly for God, who knows no religion, color, identity or creed. A God whom I have come to know more deeply than I ever believed was possible. For a God who helped me throw out my old ideas, and showed me the truth: that true creativity can only exist without fear. For a God who will never give me any reason to fear. Only abounding creativity and endless grace. For a God who loves unconditionally, who time and again teaches me the true meaning of the word; Who continually gives me the power to create my own reality. For the God who has opened the doors to this perfect moment.
God taught me simply how to Be.
To everyone in my life, thank you. I could say it a million times, and I would fall short. I am here because of you. Because of your willingess to say yes. Because of your love for me.