Guest Blogger Blog - Olivia!

14642436_607871986065659_2149670855167113524_nHello Acting Manitou loves!

It’s your resident punk fairy, Olivia Lilli. I hope all of you are enjoying or at least surviving the first few months of school, work, shows, etc. I know that personally I miss camp and would much rather be there then taking six classes. I miss my campers, and making magic happen in the woods of Maine, away from all of the craziness that is living in Portland. After my month and a half of peaceful, blissful silence that is being in nature, coming back to the city and immediately being cast in two shows, "Say You Love Satan" and "Beauty and The Beast", was exciting but also exhausting. I grew up in the rural woods of Maine and living in the city has been an adjustment. Being able to make art in an open environment has been an adjustment just as all things in life are always moving, I am continuing to move on.

After going back to AM as a first year counselor, spending time creating magical shows and discovering who I am and what I want to do a little more, I came back to school struggling with whether or not I wanted to stay where I was and continue with my Associates Degree in English Literature or to change schools and find another way to spend my time. I was an RA, school employee, and worked for Portland Stage Company part time. Quite honestly I was only happy with one of those things. With help from Michael Kevin Baldwin over the summer I decided to take an internship with ASTEP (Artists Striving To End Poverty) and go to teach Theater to impoverished communities throughout Maine. I’m currently the chapter president at my school. Partnering with AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) My chapter and I have dived into writing and creating a devised theater piece on the Mental Health Stigma. Which is a big problem in today’s society. We will be opening in January. Not only will I have directed my first self written play, but I will be bringing to life an experience on what it’s like to live with a hidden mental illness and the daily struggles people go through with different degrees of it. As this is something I’ve personally struggled with, I’m more than happy to give people insight to it. With this journey, I’ve happened to make some of the best friends I ever have and met the love of my life, Gabriel, who has stood by me and supported me in all of the difficult decisions I’ve had to make in the last few months.

It is only with this chapter in my life,with this beautiful group of misfit souls, that I think I’ve finally found what I want to do with my life. This spring I will be taking a semester off, my boyfriend and I will be working then transferring in the fall to Boston University to major in Theater and English Literature but to also minor in Developmental Psychology. Once I graduate, we will be starting a theater company specializing in the therapeutic aspects of the arts. Something that has been in the back of my head for years is finally coming to life. I can honestly say that without my community at Acting Manitou, I wouldn’t have the support, skills, or the courage to follow through with my dreams that are now goals.

So my advice and love to give you is the following:

Show up. You can't move on if you can't get out of bed.

Don't procrastinate, get it done soon and do it well, you'll have all the time in the world.

Listen to peer criticism, and use it to grow as a person.

Be nice to everyone, a smile or hug can change anyone's day around. Love every new day, it is a new experience and things will get better, if you feel stuck in the same spot, it will pass and you will move one.

Lastly, enjoy it. Take in every little experience whether negative or positive. Make happy memories and learn from mistakes. Try something new. Talk to someone new. Be yourself. Don't let anyone tell you different. You matter, whether you believe it or not. You are strong. You are loved. You matter.

Lots of love,

Olivia Lilli