Surprisingly, the mustache was real, but the hair was fake. (From a production of Don’t Drink the Water, with Katie Snyder)

Lately, I’ve been feeling very wistful about my time in high school, and specifically about my time in high school theatre. In spite of how I described myself at the time, I was 100% a theatre kid. I was in multiple shows, I took all the drama classes, I hung out around the drama room, hell, I even was a member of the Thespian Troupe! How in the world could I not have been a theatre kid?

That feeling hit me especially hard today as I was going through stuff in my parents basement. While down there, I came across posters for both shows that I was a part of, and shows that I had nothing to do with (what can I say, I’m a fan!). Seeing those posters, along with posterboards with show photos that my mom had made for my high school graduation party, really made me miss being a part of that community.

Sure, I was involved with theatre at Marquette, but it always felt different. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t actually studying theatre, while everyone else was working towards that degree, or maybe it’s because I put up some sort of imaginary boundary to keep myself separated from people, but I never felt the same sort of bond or connection in college as I did in high school.

Now, thee paragraphs in, I’m going to mention journaling for the first time, finally answering the question “What in the world does theatre have to do with journaling? What is he talking about?” This blog, however infrequently updated it may be, is basically a public journal. The only way that I can hold myself accountable is to make this public, otherwise I would buy a new notebook, write in it for a couple of days, then end up throwing it out, like I have countless times before. Like I did in high school.

I tried to journal in high school. It never stuck though, mainly for two reasons: I was really busy, so I didn’t have all that much time to journal, and I didn’t want to take the time to self-reflect or actually write things down. It’s more the second thing. Now, the things that I do remember from high school, I remember because I see a picture that someone posted on Facebook. But it’s a rose-colored glasses memory.

I’m feeling wistful for the sense of community that I had with my high school theatre department, and I’m remembering the enjoyable times. Sure, sometimes the bad experiences pop up too (I’ll never forget you, R** C*********), but they are few and far between. I wish I had a diary or something so I could read what I was thinking in the moment. Or remember things that have slipped my mind in the years since graduation. Or even to see what minor things I was stressing out about in the moment.

Right now, as I mentioned before, I’m really missing the sense of community that I had back then. I had the privilege of seeing my friends basically every day, and it was so easy, and now it’s not. Now, I talk to like 5 people a week. Keeping up a community, especially as people move away and grow as people, is difficult. It’s even harder when you don’t make the effort to communicate. Which I didn’t. And that saddens me.

Is this blog post really about journaling? Meh, not really. Having a journal would be nice, but it would be nicer to have that sense of community back. Or any sense of community. After a year of being stuck inside, I want to be a part of something again. What’s disappointing is that, right now, I have no journal to look back on, nor a group to be a part of.

But I do have this blog.

And that’s a start.


Dan O'Keefe

Dan O'Keefe is the head chef at 21 in New York City. He has never cooked before in his life. You can find him on Twitter @danokeefe86 or on Instagram @dlraar

1 Comment

Annah · April 23, 2021 at 2:26 PM

I’m really glad you shared this. I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling this way and hopefully it helps others.

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