Megan Minutillo

Little Shop of Dreams

There's something about an empty theater that soothes me. Revives me. Inspires me. Sure, it's beautiful when each of those seats are full -- but there is also a certain magic that occurs in those moments after the show has started...when the dust has settled and the ghost light is on, and the story that has just been told still lingers in the air.

That is, by far, one of my favorite moments in any run. For the magic that has undoubtedly happened onstage cannot ever be repeated, no two performances are ever completely identical. That's the beauty of this artform - it forces us to remember & to embrace change. It demands that we cherish moments of connection and intensity and collaboration, moments that, despite the pictures and videos that may have been taken, can only really be repeated in our memories.

🌿

I just wrapped up a prduction of Little Shop of Horrors. The entire production involved almost 90 teenagers.

TEENAGERS.

I just worked with 90 teenagers, and yet, I'm still living.

But all kidding aside - I just watched 90 teenagers work together for three months. They all had different skills. They all had different weaknesses. They all had different strengths. They all were different.

And yet, their differences came together for a greater good.

Those differences came together to create a piece of art that will last in their hearts and souls for as long as they live.

Those differences came together, and united a group of people.

Perhaps our politicans should take a theatre class, eh? Not for public speaking - but to understand what it means to work with someone whom you do not like. To work with someone that has a different set ideals than you. To work for something bigger than your immediate universe.

I've heard it said that actors and artists have the biggest egos in the universe.

Instead I'd say this - perhaps they have the smallest ones, for a true artist is more concerned about the work at hand than his or her own ego.

To the cast, crew, & pit of Little Shop of Horrors - I hope these memories stay with you for the rest of your life. I hope you always remember of a time when a group of young adults came together for something bigger than themselves. I hope you remember that with hard work, love, & passion, all things are possible. I hope you know how proud I am of each and every one of you.

Promise Me That

As the winter is rapidly approaching, and our doses of sunshine get less and less, I know all too many people who fear the winter months. 

Originally this piece was published on HelloGiggles, but I suppose it should live here, too.

. . .

They say that loss is part of life.

Okay, I can get that. I can wrap my head around that…sort of.

The problem comes when I start to try and wrap my heart around that. And then things just do not compute.Do. Not. Compute.

To lose a person that you love, it kills you a little bit. A lot. I know, I’ve been there. You just try to understand how things happen. Why things happened. How things could’ve gotten so bad.  How could he betray you?

HOW?

It echoes in your head until you just want to scream. You’ll do anything to block it out.

I know, I’ve been there.

It’s not fun. It’s actually a hellish ordeal. It’s that bone sadness that you cannot shake. The kind that seeps beyond the tears and into your heart and into your heart and your bones and you’d just give anything to just make it stop. You become tired. You are past the point of sadness. Sleep is what you crave, sleep is what you need. Sleep is welcome. Sleep is a savior.

I know, I’ve been there.

Depression is like this black abyss that just takes you in. It clings to you. It covers you in its think blankets and does not want you to come up for air.

I know, I’ve been there.

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise you, that at one point, that thick blanket starts to thin, and streams of light start coming through. They prod you to cling to something else, something better, and something greater….

When that blanket starts to smother you, let those that love you lie next to you. Let them be your shoulder to lean on, let them catch the tears that fall, and yes, the tears will fall.

But it’s okay; I promise it’s okay.

There are people there who love you. There are people that will bring you up. Know that you do not deserve the pain; you do not deserve the darkness…

You deserve the love. All of it.  Every single piece of it.

Promise me you’ll never apologize for the depression. Promise. I know that you’re not doing it for attention, you’re not doing with intention…you can’t control it. You wouldn’t wish the cold numbness on your worst enemy.

I know, I’ve been there.

But….

Promise me you’ll take the hands that come to help. Promise me you’ll lean so that you don’t fall. Promise me you’ll cry, so that you may begin to heal.

Promise me that.

WAIT FOR IT.

I'm willing to wait for it...

Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it...

It's interesting how life ebbs and flows sometimes...

See, the shooting Oregon has disturbted me a great deal. 

I mean, I hope it's disturbed everyone a great deal.

But when tragedies like this happen at a school…it cuts me a bit deeper. Perhaps it's because I've been in a classroom for my whole life. Perhaps it's because, even if I'm out of the classroom - I will always think like a teacher. 

So when there is a school shooting - the faces of my students flash before my eyes. The faces of my colleagues become burned in my brain. I think of how many familiies will be effected - how many lives will be changed. How many hearts will be broken.

Lin Manuel Miranda's new musical, Hamilton opened this summer. And I've been trying to not listen to the soundtrack yet, because I want to hear the music for the first time when I see the show. 

I tend to listen to music when I write.

And as I opened  iTunes just now - something made me want to search for the Hamilton soundtrack.

I randomnly clicked on the song, "Wait For It", and the words just hit me like a thunderbolt.

You see...

I'm willing to wait for it.

I AM waiting for it.

Unfortunately, at this moment in our lives,  life doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints...

But I'm going to wait for it. I'm going to hope for it. I'm going to do my part in making that day come. 

There must be a time when we stop arguing with one another. When we stop hating one another. When we start to love more than we hate -- when lifting another person up is more favorable than tearing each other down.

I'm not saying that there will never be differences - our differences is what makes this life we lead more interesting, more bright, more full.

What I am saying, is that I'm waiting for the day when our differences are not the thing that tear us apart. Our differences cannot be the thing that warrants murder.

And so…I wait.

I wait for the day when mass murders aren't commonplace. I wait for the day when we learn how to get along as brothers and sisters. I wait for the day when the answer to problems or strife or anger or grief is NEVER solved with a gun. But with a pen. With a conversation. With an ear to listen…or even shoulder to cry on.

We all cry the same salty tears.

We all bleed the same red blood.

When are we going to get that?

I wait for the day. 

I wait for the day when we stop hurting one another. I wait for when we stop caring about who we marry. I wait for when we stop trying to dictate each others medical care. I wait for when we focus on issues outside of our comfort zone. I wait for when we think globally, rather than egocentrically.  I wait for the day when we care more for our fellow man than a celebrity break up. I wait for the day when we rationalize away the taking of innocent lives in a mass shooting. 

I wait for when we judge one another for our characters and our hearts. 

Call me naiive,

Call me silly,

But as Lin Manuel Miranda so expertly wrote...

I'm willing to wait for it.

A Man Named Sam

At one point this year, I remember telling someone that I was 29. And she looked at me, horrified, and said - don't ever say that again. You look like you're 24.

Yesterday I'm stood by my best friend as she buried her father.

Today I'm going to turn 30.

And you know what? 

I'm going to shout it from the rooftops.

Bear with me here. I promise I'm going somewhere with this.

If it's one thing I've realized this week, more than ever, is that life is something to be celebrated.

Life is a gift. One that should be treasured. 

My best friend, well, we've been friends since we were ten. It's twenty years of friendship that I've loved and cherished, twenty years of fun and laughter, heartbreak and growing pains - we've seen it all. We've been through it all...

And through it all, our parents have been fixtures in our lives. Rocks. Anchors. Our compass when we needed it the most.

So, it's hard to imagine him not being here, sharing in our milestones as he always has - for her father was a great man. 

And even as I type this, the words seem to fall short….for, it's in those times of heartbreak that, sometimes, words just don't seem to be enough.

But, I'll try.

You see, her father was the type of man who made everyone around him feel included. Important. Loved. As my own father said this week - Sam was the type of man who was warm. Loving. He was a guy who you may not have seen everyday, but once you did get together, it was as if time hadn't stopped. He made you feel welcomed. 

I've spent the past 72 hours in a funeral home.

…and yet, I've never seen so much love. People came out of the woodwork, it was as if they couldn't do enough to honor and celebrate of the life of this father, son, brother, husband, uncle, nephew, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and friend. 

And as heartbreaking this has been, it's also been an extraordinary reminder about what a beautiful life he has led. The past 48 hours have been such a beautiful testament to a great man and a wonderful life.

Lately I've been stressing out about work...

…am I working enough? Am I making the right career decisions? What's the right life/work balance?

If the past 48 hours have taught me anything, it's that I hope to have lived a life like Sam, a life that has touched so many people. 

Because at the end of the day, it's not about the success in ones career. It's not about the degrees you earn, the books your publish, the shows you produce, the money you make...

…it's about the lives that your are a part of. The ones that will never be the same after you take your last breath.

…it's about the relationships you make on this earth. Those relationships cause a ripple effect - people are different because they knew you. 

See, life will continue, and they'll go on, but they'll fight harder and love stronger because they knew you, but they'll never stop missing you, not for one second. 

"Uncle Sam" - he's taught me more about life in this past week than I have learned in my thirty years on this earth...

…so here it goes:

Life is but a fleeting moment. Cherish those that make your heart happy. Never wait for a reason to celebrate - make the reasons for a celebration. Family and friends come before anything else in life - love them. Protect them. Encourage them. Lift them up so that they may be the greatest version of themselves.

Live…and enjoy this life you were given. Never give up on it, never settle for anything less than what makes you happy.

Explore. Adventure. But know the compass that gets you home. 

Admire strength, but know that true strength comes from knowing how to let others in - for there is a beauty in the friendship that allows one another to be there in his or her bleakest moments.

Never hesitate to show you love for those who matter most. Love, honor, commitment - these are precious jewels that have no price tag. 

We all will miss you.

We all will think of you.

You shall never be far from our hearts.

And if it's one thing I know for certain - the world is better because of man named Sam.