After the Bubble bursts: Maria Giere

Maria Giere

For me, the Lawrence bubble burst gradually. After graduation, I jumped in my fabulous Subaru loaded with everything and drove across the country to sunny California, like the Joads without the Great Depression. I really should have written the next great American novel, but it only took five days to get here. It was only when I crossed state lines and merged onto the craziest freeway heretofore seen by me, that the bubble finally exploded, and it hit me that I needed to figure out how to be a “grown up.”
I came to California with only two things set in stone, and internship that paid me no money whatsoever and a summer theatre gig that paid the same lucrative salary. Problem? No! I had long been preparing myself for the life of a starving artist. Once I arrived, however, I began saying yes to every potential opportunity that came my way. I applied to Starbucks. I won’t lie, it was for the healthcare and of course, it lets me be a pretty good stereotype too. Theatre major plus Starbucks equals made-for-TV movie. It has actually, surprisingly, turned out to be a lot of fun, and good practice for the anthropological side of my education. Every day is fieldwork!
Among the other things I said yes to: freelance grant-writing, doing technical theatre and teaching very tiny hyperactive and hyper-shy children about the wonders of theatre. This grazing has been both really intense and incredibly good for my psyche. I always knew I could never do just one thing, and all of these activities allow me to make a living while still auditioning all the time and taking the “starving” out of “starving artist.”
As I write this, I am looking over the rehearsal schedule for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that will be happening in February — why February? Not sure. — at a theatre that is below an amazing pizza parlor. In fact, their motto is “Pizza. Beer. Plays.” It’s a motto I can most definitely get behind. After a summer production of the same show that totally bombed, it will be nice to actually be in a good rendition of this Freshman Studies classic. Even better, it is set in the drug culture of the 80s. My hope is for side ponytails and flour pretending to be cocaine.
I have found that my first few months of post-graduatsyopm life have been a lot like Freshman year. I wanted to say yes to every club (job), and realized that sometimes, saying no is what keeps you sane. I was trying to figure out who the California me I wanted to put out there was. I felt awkward and had no one that I really knew. It’s been tough, but there has been so much joy in the new struggle, and a completely new way of life. Auditioning all the time, alternating between rejection and validation is a rollercoaster that makes me nauseous, but it is also a ride I can’t imagine leaving either.
It turns out that constantly putting yourself out there is a lot of fun once you relax into it. That has been the biggest thing I have learned post-graduation. Putting myself out there all the time — even though it is difficult and tiring sometimes — is what opens up the world of new people, places and opportunities.