Archive | January 2015

The Solitary Road

When I asked a mentor about my failures and upsets in what I wanted, she told me that I was walking a lonely path, well not lonely, but rather solitary. That the oath that I was walking would likely take me away from what others think and what others do. I will never be popular. And that’s a hard thing to hear. In my profession,we externalize validation towards an audience, often of our peers. Then we live on that razors edge trying to expand our own horizons. I don’t know. But rather, I think that I can live outside of that paradigm because that is what my parents have done. What I need to develop is my confidence in my own ability to make work that speaks to me.

Damn that feels cliche. It feels like I just want to do whatever I want to do and have other people tell me that it’s go

od. I need to separate myself from what others think is good. I need to stop caring what other people think. But that is so difficult for me because I care about people so much. Maybe it’s possible to care about people and not care what they think. I think that’s what Rives does at some level. A callous caring. A woeful countenance pared with a loving heart. I shouldn’t care for the approval of others, but rather the approval of myself.

But isn’t that just the damn hardest when I don’t think I do a very good job, nor do I think I give myself over for my projects as well as I should. I am my own worst critic. And a critic who hates me is not who I want to be my own guide. Maybe I should learn to love myself and love what I do, regardless of what it could be because I am the only one in my corner.

But I am working on things that are important to me. I’m working on Everything I Do. That feels right, even if I’m momentarily stymied on that. I’ve only missed two rehearsals. We can get back on the horse. We have the time. I should meet with Clayton and figure out the transition. We need a producer because I cannot and will not do that by myself. I think a reading of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart would be a fabulous project for Spring, especially if I worked with the people from the Knot to make it a fully immersive production. I’m taking fascinating classes that I’m definitely smart enough to understand and do well in. That is something I can be sure of.

Why I meet with people

I’m a collector of people. I look for who people are, tease them out of their shells, offer bits of myself as bait, and once they’re fully out, I take their picture. And then into my mental catalogue I enter my observations and their image. I say to myself, I know you. I understand you. I have your shape. Maybe I’m a shape shifter, assuming the forms of people I have known. Maybe I use the catalogue as my mirror, looking for myself in the pieces of the people I have known. Maybe I collect people because everyone needs a hobby and stamps are expensive.

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, I have taken to collecting people simply because I can no longer stop.

I met with Kevin today and have taken the first step towards understanding my audience, how I am to take the course, how I will learn from him, how he might be able to learn from me.

I met with Christy today because I know that there is so much more that I can learn from her.

I met with Paul today because I am fascinated by his fur.

I met with Rives yesterday because I think that he’s still hiding himself and I refuse to let anyone hide in my presence.

I met with Aaron yesterday because I want to be able to assume his shape and his negative space.

I met with Dr. Panning today because I am crazy and that is what crazy people do. I keep hoping we’ll uncover something about me that I don’t want to know. That I’m secretly much deeper than I perceive myself. That I’ll learn to be a better person through working with her. If sociopaths can become more adept at hiding through therapy, I hope I’ll stand out brighter through my skin.

I met with people. I will continue to meet with people. I’ll collect my souls and squirrel them away.

An Autobiography of Sorts

My Name is Andrew Hitzhusen and I am a theatre/history double major at Northwestern University. Andrew, according to the folkways of my parents, means Lion of God. Andrew was also the name of the hurricane that landed the same year of my birth and remains the costliest hurricane in United States history, according to Wikipedia. I like to think I exist somewhere between the two.

I grew up in Worcester MA, a son of two Midwestern transplants, both doctors, both Methodists, both voracious word eaters. My father is a gentle man, who in another life would probably have been a minister. My mother, intelligent as she is fierce, lives up to the Hitzhusen name, which, according to more family folk myths, means Hot House. I proudly bear my mother’s name and occasionally the Hitzhusen family temper. But I like to think I exist somewhere between the two.

I have an older brother and a younger sister. Matt, my elder brother, is 13 years older. He’s been my idol and my inspiration for much of my conscious life. He graduated from college and law school at the top of his class, and followed his passion for physical fitness into opening his own gym and being a personal trainer. He’s exacting, witty, and passionate. My younger sister was adopted from Romania when I was three and she was two. She has Reactive Attachment Disorder, dyslexia and ADD, and struggled growing up. But she has worked incredibly hard to achieve a high school diploma and now she’s attending college part time and on the Worcester Rollerderby team. She’s open hearted, emotionally intelligent, and stalwart in her faith in Jesus, magic, and fairies. I definitely exist between the two.

As you might be able to tell, I use the idea of divergent dichotomies often in my self-identity. Part of me has always done this, but I have found it specifically useful after I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. What this means for me is that I often exist between two extremes. When I’m feeling up, I feel like I can conquer the world. And when I am feeling down, it feels like the world has conquered me. I have always felt things deeply, crying and laughing in equal measure, but now I know to be careful with both my ups and downs. With the help of my Pillars, I like to think I exist between the two.

At Northwestern, I have the opportunity to study two of my favorite subjects: Theatre and History. For me, both are about telling stories. Both give the opportunity to explore the human condition and the lives of people. They both offer a chance to imagine the possibilities of the future and tactics to approach our own everyday lives. They are also just incredibly fun.

This love of stories and fun brought me to Creative Drama. But there is another reason which is rather pressing on my mind. I’m at a point in my education where I get to take the leap out into the world and into a profession. And I’ve thought a lot about teaching High School Students. When I took time off from NU during my sophomore year, I assisted a ceramics class at the Worcester Craft Center where I worked with 6 freshmen girls. They were at a moment of discovery in their lives, when they were starting to put together their identities. And that seemed like magic to me. I want to be part of that process, help them feel confident and safe as they experiment with who they will become. But I’m terrified. I want to be part of all of that, but I don’t know how. And that’s why I wanted to take Creative Drama.

Happy 2015

2014 is gone and it has been a year. A exciting year. A hard year. A year that has taken me through a lot of highs and lows and to exciting places. And there will be a time to reflect on them, but that time is not now.

New Year. 2015. That is what interests me. This is a new year. A year not yet formed. A chance and an opportunity and a challenge. What do I want out of this year? I’m unsure, but I’m damn sure I want something. A lot of people do New Year’s Resolutions. They declare that they are resolved to reach a resolution. I’m not sure I feel that same way. But I do have goals. I do have things that I want to keep in mind as the new year opens.

I would like to lose weight. I want to feel attractive in my own body. I want to feel like I live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

I want to taken EID and Anti-Play to the farthest reach of my powers as an artist. I want to feel satisfied with my work and their outcome

I want to feel that I’ve done everything I can for my classes and haven’t cheated myself out of part of my education.

I want to set myself up for 2016, so that my final year of college can be as satisfying as it can be.

I want to set up my adaptation process for Dangerous Laughter.

I want to write more frequently in my journal.

I want to return to my identity as a potter.

I want to feel proud of myself and that my parents, friends, and colleagues are proud of me.

I want to act again and feel like I’ve gotten myself back into part of my identity that I’ve tried to squash for years.

I want to be better friends with those that I have. And be more receptive for friendships with those that aren’t formed yet.

I wish…

I know I shouldn’t start the new year with cynicism, but what can I do. Having just watched Into the Woods I’m struck by the danger of wishes. Wishes are stories. Wishes are magic. Wishes are children. Well, I’ll leave the magic in the hands of my sister, but stories and children are both loves near and dear to my heart. With both, you need to have responsibility. They are living, breathing things in your hands that cry and laugh and make a mess and generally require more from you than you think could ever be possible for something so small. But could there be anything more rewarding than watching something grow? Whether it be a story, or a child, or a wish? I dedicate myself this night to go after my wishes with a strong constitution and a humble heart. I’m going to go for it, with my feet on the brakes. Does this sound like a contradiction? Yes it is. But isn’t that something that I’ve learned this year. That we’re all living on lines of contradiction? Doesn’t that make us stronger? I think it does.

Something else that makes us stronger is simply allowing ourselves to live. I want to live out the promise of my tattoo, with one foot planted firmly in front of the other, simply walking where my path takes me. Live simply. Live fully. Live with joy as my sister would tell me. I think I can do that. I’m certainly going to try.

Much love and all the best 2014

Bring it on 2015

Andrew