As many of you know, heading to a Broadway show is one of my things to do. I usually spend at least a week in the spring and another one in the fall in New York City so that I can attend all of the new shows I’ve been stalking online researching. Turns out 2020 had different plans in mind as The Broadway League has made the decision to officially remained closed through the end of the year.
Luckily for all of us, especially this Broadway fanatic, Disney bought the rights to arguably one of the greatest musicals of all time, Hamilton, and released it in July. Not only did it brighten my spirits immensely, but it also helped to reinforce a mantra that I’ve been trying (key word, trying) to live by for the past 5 years.
Let’s Rewind (pun intended)…..
It’s December 2015 and I decided to take a solo trip NYC to see the city at Christmas time and catch a few of the Broadway shows on my watchlist, including this little show about one of America’s Founding Fathers. It had moved from the Public Theater a few months ago, where it had been a hit, and was creating tremendous buzz since it’s opening in August and already selling out for months. Since I was only looking for one ticket (which makes getting discount tickets so much easier), I was extremely fortunate to be in the Room Where It Happened at the Richard Rodgers Theater that holiday season to witness the amazing Original Broadway Cast. The pure joy I felt in that theater was indescribable and written all over my face (evidence below….)
Outside of Dear Evan Hansen, this was the only other show that has left me as awe struck and speechless walking out of the show. Not only was it so different, in terms of what musicals typically are, but the themes in the show were so relevant over 200 years later. (I know, I know – it’s not a fully historical representation of that time era and there are many layers built in within the context of the twenty-first century, but in the moment, it didn’t feel that way). While the initial shock of the show wore off, there was still one phrase from the show that continued to stick with me…
“If you stand for nothing Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
Phew, y’all – how impactful. Especially for me, who grew up believing that if “You don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” For 25+ years of my life, I would keep my opinions to myself unless asked specifically about something. And I would always try to be politically correct in how I phrased my responses. But, this one line from a 2.5+ hour long show absolutely shook my world. The lightbulb went off that it was OK to have an opinion on something that really mattered to me and I should share it.
Fast forward to 2020….
These past few years, I’ve found myself keeping more and more opinions to myself. I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to appear uneducated on a topic. I didn’t want to open myself up to the criticism of the opinion I held. These fears led me to avoid publicly commenting in a lot of arenas, including at work and even here (and my social media channels). Sometimes, this fear even paralyzed me from writing anything – controversial or not. It was just easier to keep silent. After watching (and possibly re-watching) Hamilton at home these past few weeks, this line keeps bouncing around in my mind. And I’m feeling the same way I did 5 years ago after seeing it for the first time – deep down inside, I need to speak up (as scary as that may be) about the things I care about.
Over the past few months, I’ve been taking small steps in my personal and professional life to speak up more. To not let the fear of rejection prevent me from sharing my perspective because that is how we connect with each other.
And so today, I want to speak up to encourage you to VOTE!!!
Make your voice be heard at the polls this year. Stand for what you believe in. In Texas, the last day to register to vote is October 5th, so you have just a few weeks to make sure to do it. (Other states’ registration dates can be found here)
If you believe you are already registered to vote, just quickly double check at Vote.org. It searches the registries to confirm that you are still an active voter. I wish I would have known about this in February during the primaries because I ended up spending about an hour at the polling location since I had recently moved and my registration hadn’t fully transferred over to my new address. I promise validating your registration takes all of 30 seconds and will definitely give you peace of mind. Plus, the website has a lot of other helpful information, including where your nearest polling place is and reminders to vote.
And last, but not least, make a plan to vote this year! With the pandemic the polls are going to look very different this year. Early vote, if you can. If not, try and make it to the polls on November 3rd.
Friends, I don’t know what fear you may be wrangling with right now, but I hope you know that you can overcome it and you are not alone. Let’s take baby steps together to conquer it each day. I’m rooting you on from Houston!
Green Puff Sleeve Tee (similar) | Tie Up Overalls | White and Gold Sneakers (similar) | Pearl Gucci Necklace via Old Soul Vintage Jewelry | Tie Up Overalls | Black (Slightly) Cat Eye Sunglasses (similar, another favorite) | Tie Up Overalls
Photography by L.A. Photography
P.S. After seeing my all time favorite show, Dear Evan Hansen, I wrote this blog post reflecting on a song from it, as well.