So, it's been a couple weeks since I've updated you all on my journey. A tumultuous and busy month so far, August has me desperately seeking more time to finish projects, see all my loved ones, show up at important events, pack and unpack and repack suitcases. But I also find myself beyond ready to be in Bristol. While I'm never one to ask summer to end, September has always possessed a most captivating allure for me. The excitement of back-to-school possibility and the concentrated clarity of crisp Fall air always feels like a new beginning. This beginning has been long awaited, and when people ask me "Are you ready to start school?" I respond, "I've been ready. Baby, I was born ready."
(Who doesn't look forward to Tartan Topper season?)
And it's true, as much as this has been a very conscious path with many challenges and hard work in getting to this place, there is a driving force as loud as the voice that has always told me "You are an actor" propelling me to my first day at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. My love affair is young, and fresh, but resonates with everything I've ever known about soulmates. There is a sense of belonging, a sense of balance, and a sense of eager, delightful, anticipation in every exchange and encounter. I am still working out of the nervous stages of hoping that it loves me back, that after saying yes to a first and second date, that the third one goes as well. But somehow, I also have absolutely no doubt that it will. I know that the school—the community built in and around it's walls—and I are in the infancy of a grand affair that has always been like stars aligned in the sky.
And now I'm laughing at myself waxing poetic, like the Edgar soliloquy from King Lear that I just recorded as a reward for my fundraiser backers, I find myself a "fool by heavenly compulsion". But be it foolish nonsense or fate, what I am already learning is that wildly embracing your heart's true calling is empowering, intoxicating, and effective. I have trudged through a thickly weeded summer of paperwork, international mail, fundraising, crunched deadlines, logistics, and much anxiety surrounding it all with a wings on my heels pushing me forward towards this new (and old as can be) love. In fact, I feel more like Ferdinand than Edgar as he describes his toil through rose-colored glasses in The Tempest:
There be some sports are painful, and their labor
Delight in them sets off. Some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone. And most poor matters
Point to rich ends. This my mean task
Would be as heavy to me as odious, but
The mistress which I serve quickens what’s dead
And makes my labors pleasures.
Today I'm exactly one month away from getting on that plane that will take me to my new heart song. I'm also only $1600 short of my mini goal ($10k by the start of school) and I know a great source of those wings carrying me forward this summer has been the astounding, constant display of generosity from friends, family, and strangers urging me forward with both fund and kind words. It truly is amazing to feel lifted up by others.
Last Friday I started a new weekly tradition for myself. This whole crowdfunding thing can sometimes feel like an all-consuming doozy of an effort, like it's the only thing I can focus on, and worst of all, it sometimes makes me feel extra stingy... because here I am asking you all for money so who would I be to spend on someone else's passion project or good cause?
BUT I really don't believe that's how generosity and growth work.... everything I've witnessed says we should lift each other up and support each other so that we can all go further and create more goodness and beauty in this world. And we all have these platforms to share the things we're excited about with each other, sooo I've started posting someone else's crowdfund every Friday.
Last week I started with with fellow storytellers, BROTHERS: The web series. BROTHERS is the first narrative series to not only feature stories about transgender men, but also to cast trans male actors in the main roles. It's like 'Girls,' but with trans guys. They are telling a very important story, bringing much needed representation to our media, and are SO close to their goal. Consider lending them a helping hand (they are on Seed and Spark so there are lots of ways to help... not just donating!) Visit seedandspark.com/fund/brothersseries to be a part of more representation!
Today I'm sharing fellow Berkshire-raised pal, Rody Lipson's, valiant fundraiser to "send the message that America stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees" by creating and donating a sustainably-built & designed tiny house to a refugee family in need of a home. This is Rody's thesis project at Hampshire College, and is a great way "to send a powerful message of welcome" in this moment of American History when kindness, support, and an active voice against xenophobia and racism are long overdue! Visit https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/tiny-house-big-impact--3 to support this important and impactful project!
If you, or a friend, are trying to raise money for something awesome message me or tag me so that I can spread the word and #PayItForward ✨❤️
Every Friday on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts I will feature a new crowd fund for a great cause. I will also continue to post updates about featured crowd funds on this blog and link to them directly through my own #BringGailToBristol crowd fund updates.
Thanks for reading, caring, sending much needed love into the world of today, and encouraging the growth of art and storytelling in the world of tomorrow.