Setting it aside and moving forward

Theater has allowed sophomore to break out of shell

Sophomore+Connor+Powell%27s+fateful+experience+with+joining+theater+has+given+him+new+opportunities+for+growth+and+artistic+expression.

Photo by Dawson Kelley

Sophomore Connor Powell's fateful experience with joining theater has given him new opportunities for growth and artistic expression.

Story by Connor Powell, staff writer

My heart thumps so hard in my chest that it feels like it might burst out and land on the ground before me. Sweat pools in the palms of my hands, and my mouth turns to cotton. The mere thought of having to be in front of people was enough to make me want to melt into the floor.  

The week before my freshman year was to begin, I received my class schedule. My eyes wandered down the page, and to my horror, Theatre 1 was listed as my first period. When we decided on our classes the year before, I had made a point to avoid selecting theater, because being in front of anyone was, in my mind, a fate worse than death.

I went to my mom and protested, insisting that it must have been a mistake. She simply said I could get it changed. A wash of relief flooded over me when I learned this, but oddly enough, so did a twinge of curiosity.

I wanted to be rid of the shyness that was a curse to me. I would have loved nothing more than to feel like I could approach someone else and be confident in doing so. But I had become accustomed to hiding in the background. Just blending in.

Everything in me screamed to change it, to stay in my shell, to stick to what I was good at. I stopped listening for just a moment, and in that moment, I decided. To most, it would seem like a small and unimportant choice, but to me, it meant everything.

I decided to do the unexpected and declared it as my attempt to fix something about myself that I despised. Making the choice to simply stay in one class was just the beginning of me turning a new leaf.

However, actually facing the outcome that my decision had led to would be a different story. It was the first day, and the blood in my veins had been replaced with dread. My anxiety pulled like a loose string, slowly becoming tighter and tighter, threatening to break in two. I walked into the classroom and shuffled to a desk near the wall.

Theater has allowed me to become a different person and to explore a side of myself that I never knew existed. Since last year, I have been in three different shows, two of which I actually had speaking roles.”

— Connor Powell

I glanced around the room briefly, praying to God that I would at least know one other person. To my delight, I recognized two of the people in the classroom and offered a forced grin to them.

The teacher introduced herself as Mrs. Lisa Newton, and she encouraged us to the center of the classroom to participate in the customary first day icebreakers. The first day wasn’t easy, and neither was the second or third, but I was beginning to forget about my anxiety slowly but surely.

Coming into theater everyday meant not completely losing my shyness, but setting it to the side in a way. There are still moments when it is very present and difficult to deal with, but it’s manageable.

Theater has allowed me to become a different person and to explore a side of myself that I never knew existed. Since last year, I have been in three different shows, two of which I actually had speaking roles.

It has also allowed me to be surrounded by a group of people that I feel truly support and care about me. There is no better feeling than walking into a place where you feel like you belong.

One small decision has ultimately impacted my entire outlook on high school. I am no longer confined to being the quiet and timid person I once was, and for that, I am forever indebted to theater.