Friday, November 22, 2019

on being back at sea world

Throwback to WWOI 2018.
Hey friends.

Today marks two weeks since rehearsals began for Sea World's "Winter Wonderland on Ice" 2019! We had our approval show yesterday, today off, and then we open tomorrow! I am so excited, and honestly, I feel amazing.

Don't get me wrong: rehearsals, as always, are tough. This time around, I've been dealing with a horrible blister (like bleeding every time I'm in my skates kind of horrible), and a cold that led to lots of interrupted sleep, headaches, and now a cough that I can't quite conquer. Compared to how I felt this time last year, though, everything is going just fine. Being here last year was my first professional show, and I loved it. Timing wise, though, it also marked the early stages of the depression and anxiety I've been dealing with throughout 2019. To be honest, I felt really raw and emotional most of the contract last year.

WWOI 2018.
This time around, I feel so much more grateful, inspired, and most of all, ready to actually enjoy this. It's so much more fun to not be new. While there's a lot of factors as to why I feel more grounded and happy this year, I thought it would be fun to share some contract-specific things I'm loving this time around.

Having a car. Driving down was the best decision I could have made. Not only was the roadtrip itself tons of fun (I'll share more about that soon!), but being able to run to the grocery store without making a whole morning of it is amazing. Having a car means I can go to church, train at the local rink, and even go downtown just to get coffee, all of  which I had to really limit last year due to the price of Ubers.

Arriving with friends. The day I rolled into Orlando, I immediately went to the rink and picked up a friend I'd met at another contract to grab dinner. It was the best welcome I could have asked for. I can be really shy, and already knowing a huge chunk of the cast has been so peace-giving.

Daily yoga. I'm attempting to commit to doing yoga every day while I'm here, and I'm finding it is so incredible for my mental clarity. Between the sunshine and the constant rehearsals, I've honestly felt extremely healthy since I've gotten here, and yoga is the icing on the cake.

Dinner with a friend night one. Check out Kayla's blog!
Planning parties. Speaking of cake, I've been having a blast planning fun things to do with the cast this season. We have so much to look forward to: opening night, Thanksgiving, Christmas, a joint birthday party with another cast member. Next week I'm watching one of my friends cats, and will have the option to use her oven (our hotel rooms only have a stovetop). I am so excited to bake, and am planning to make a lasagna and have a a cast lasagna party for the hotel crew.

Going to church. I love the local church down here. It feels incredible to be worshiping with a big, healthy body of Christians, but it also feels amazing to get away from hotels and theme parks and the show itself and focus on something so much bigger than all the noise. I'm so grateful attending regularly is an option this year.

Training at a real rink. While we do have ensemble ice available to us, it's only a half hour on show days. Though the blister has made getting started tough, I'm loving driving to the real rink a few times a week to really move my body and keep myself trying new things.

Having tools to heal. I know I keep mentioning the blister but it's been horrible, guys. Here's what I've been using to heal: makeup pads in my skates to help cushion it, applying Neosporin every night to soothe it and prevent infection (because it's been an open wound for a week and a half now), and spraying it with New Skin every morning and before and after every time I'm in my skates. The New Skin has really helped it re-open less frequently, so overall it's much less swollen and painful. Also, special shoutout to Biofreeze: I could never get through rehearsals without you.

Natural skincare. My skin doesn't love makeup and we wear a ton of it here. This year, I've been using the Burt's Bees Micellar Cleansing Water to take my makeup off after shows, and it is so cooling and refreshing. Plus, I've been using some special Burt's Bees oil for breakouts, and moisturizing with witch hazel. All of it feels fantastic.

I am so grateful to be here, and to keep gaining these show experiences. Most of all, though, I'm excited to really be here. To soak it in. Embrace every inch of it. And celebrate everything it took to get here. I never want to forget that a year and a half ago, none of this felt attainable. Life is so crazy that we get to do things like this, guys!

These are the days, let's enjoy them.
xoxo Gillian