theindiealto Half Shark
3 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
So this particular journal post has been rattling around in the back of my head for awhile now, but in light of recent events, I decided to go ahead and write it. Fair warning, this is going to get real. I'm going to tell a story that very few have heard. And those few have never quite heard the whole story. Honestly the only people who know the whole story are myself and my immediate family. But since I've become very involved with this site in the last year and I've become very close with a lot of you, I think it's time you learn a bit more about me.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Regan and I'm 21. I currently live in Delray Beach, FL and I've lived here for a little over nine months. But before Florida, I grew up in southern New Jersey and also lived in Ohio for five years.
I started college at a small liberal arts school in northern Ohio in 2012. I auditioned for and got into the college's musical theatre program, as theatre is something I have always loved and wanted to make a career out of.
My first year of college was your average first year of college; learning how to drink, learning how to function on my own, etc. My friend group was pretty much the other musical theatre majors. With classes, rehearsals, practice time, and sleeping, I didn't really have time to make other friends. So I found friends within the theatre department.
Now if any of you have ever met a theatre major before, you know they are a lot to handle. I know I can get pretty dramatic myself. So obviously, life in the world of drama is not a drama-free environment. There were arguments, break-ups, and rivalries. I mean think about it, a small group of overdramatic people are all squished together into one theatre building in a tiny college in the middle of a cornfield in Nowhere, Ohio and are forced to compete against each other for roles literally all of the time. There's gonna be some tension.
But here's the problem. The department amplified that tension tenfold. Faculty members chose favorites, awarding those favorites with roles and leaving the others with nothing, while at the same time demanding that all of the students be in X amount of shows by the time they graduated. The department also made being in shows the goal of everyone involved. You could miss a class or two no problem. But if you missed a rehearsal, shit would hit the fan. Students would start preparing their audition material six months before the auditions would take place. It was as if your status within the department depended on whether or not you got into shows.
The department's excuse for this competitive environment was always that they were preparing us for the professional world by treating us like professionals and holding us to professional expectations. But here's the problem: theatre professionals don't have class at 8am. Theatre professionals don't have to take a bunch of general education classes to complete their degree. Theatre professionals don't have to write two essays and study for three exams. We were in COLLEGE. We had other shit to do! But the department didn't see it that way.
I remember one of my first classes my freshman year was all about telling us what expectations the faculty had for us. They wanted us to go to all of our classes, go to rehearsals, get eight hours of sleep, exercise, eat a balanced diet, practice our songs for voice lessons, practice our scenes for acting classes, and have a social life...all on a daily basis.
So here's where it gets real. (Now these are rough estimates based on what others have told me.)
About 75% of that theatre department was on some sort of medication for mental health.
About 75% of that theatre department was seeing some sort of therapist or psychiatrist.
About 100% of that theatre department had at least one mental breakdown over the course of their four years there.
And then there was Regan.
I wasn't one of the favorites. I didn't get called back for lead roles, and I only sometimes got cast. I understood that obviously I wasn't going to be the star all the time. But after being one of fifteen people selected out of hundreds that auditioned for my school's program the year I auditioned, you start to question it. Why am I here? If they aren't going to put me in any shows, why did they want me here? I didn't feel like I was learning anything other than how to smile and congratulate my friends when they received the parts I yearned for.
I also wasn't one of the favorites amongst the students either. I had one or two close friends. I didn't get invited to sushi dinners or to get ice cream before rehearsals. I was sometimes accidentally invited to things, and then unceremoniously uninvited when I would text someone for clarification on a time and place and never hear anything back. And then see all the pictures the next day on social media.
So I went into a dark place. I stopped going to classes. I had no motivation to get out of bed. I drank a lot. One time at a party I drunkenly climbed out onto the roof of an apartment building in attempt to jump off, but realized I wasn't high enough up. There were several nights where I would just cry and cry and cry. By the first semester of my junior year, I had hit rock bottom.
Only two people noticed. One professor and one student. Of course when my professor confronted me about everything, I was embarrassed. So I lied to him and told him I was getting better when I was really getting worse.
The second person that noticed was my closest friend on that campus. He was in a bad place too. He was worried about me, and I'll always love him for that.
My parents had no idea anything was going on. They knew that I had issues with friends and missed a class here and there but they had no idea how bad I really was.
There was a point when I realized it was easier to pretend everything was okay and smile and hide the darkness. Because if I made a big deal about what was going on with me, multiple things could happen. People would fake caring. They would feel obligated to wish me well but they wouldn't mean it. I decided that I would rather have people not give a shit about me that pretend to give a shit about me. Also, it would make disappearing more difficult. I had already decided by that point that I wasn't going to be around much longer. I hadn't decided on a date, but I was thinking right after we finished our holiday show that year. I didn't think it was fair for them to have to find an understudy for me, especially since I was only in a few numbers in the background. So out of respect I was going to wait until then.
I was still in the process of deciding how I was going to do it when I broke out of the trance I was in. The final weekend of our holiday show was when we got our final secret santa gifts. My secret santa got me a six pack of Mike's Hard lemonade and a bunch of candy. My one close friend had gotten some alcohol as part of his gift too and another girl I sometimes hung around with had gotten some peppermint schnapps. So between shows that day, we had a drink or two during our break.
Somehow word got out about how we spent our break, more specifically, how I spent my break. After the second show ended I found myself being dragged into my tiny dressing room by the head of the musical theatre program. She chewed me out for drinking between shows and made me give up the names of the other people who participated. The next day the three of us got chewed out again by the head of the department and a few other faculty members. They went on and on about how they "thought of us as leaders" and would have "never expected this behavior from us".
I decided that night that I wasn't going to let that piece of shit department kill me.
I spent the next week trying to get my shit together. It was like I woke up from a bad dream. I called my mom and told her I wanted to leave school and confessed to everything that I had been doing and feeling, right down to the fact that I had a bottle of pills waiting for me in my bathroom.
So I left. Less than twelve hours after my roommate found out I was leaving she had already found a replacement roommate. Most people didn't say goodbye. That same head of the program who yanked me into a room and screamed at me for drinking gushed and gushed about how much she was going to miss me and how she had no idea things were so bad.
And there lies the problem. She had no idea. She had no idea that one of the students she was supposed to be advising had serious mental health issues and was days away from taking her own life.
She told me that I was welcome back if I ever wanted to return. That was the first time I laughed out loud in weeks.
About a year later, I'm working in a full time job, saving up to move to either Orlando, FL or Austin to do theatre professionally. I have a great group of friends and I still love to perform.
I got lucky. I put an end to my suffering by removing myself from a toxic environment. I didn't let that place ruin my love of performing and my love for life.
But not everyone is so lucky.
I got a call a few days ago from that friend I mentioned earlier who is now a senior at the school. He called me because he had just found out that one of the freshman musical theatre majors had taken her own life. Now I don't know this girl and my friend didn't know her that well either. We can never be sure what was going on in her head. But I can't help but feel for her. I can't help but wish I was there to tell her to hold on. Maybe it's inappropriate for me to think those things since I never met her. But yeah.
So yeah. That's my story. Most of the people I'm close with on here met me after I had already left the school. So you all only know me as how I am now.
I'm thankful that I held on. I'm thankful that I found a group of people who cares about me and my well-being. And I'm thankful for the experiences I've had in the past year.
Finally, I'm thankful to you for reading. (:
3 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
So not too long ago, the first episode of the second season of The Strangerhood went up on the website and they announced that we get the rest of the episodes this week. SO I'm going to take this opportunity to talk about The Strangerhood and why it is so important to me.
Sure, The Strangerhood is kind of a running joke within the community. It's not RT's most popular series (although can we talk about Nature Town tho), but it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first Rooster Teeth production I ever watched.
That's right friends, I didn't find RT because of RvB or Rage Quit or Achievement Hunter or anything like that. I found RT because of The Strangerhood.
(I may have told this story on here before, but here we go.)
Let's go back to the year of 2007, when TV writers were on strike and Shrek the Third was a thing. Back then,
seventh-graderRegan was a huge fan of The Sims series and played The Sims 2 almost religiously. On the old Sims 2 EA website, you could download pre-made houses and characters for your game, so I frequented the site. One day I ended up on a page of videos people had made using The Sims 2. And all 17 episodes of The Strangerhood were posted. Now this was still around the time when you had to download the videos instead of watching them on a player. So I downloaded all 17 episodes and watched them. And watched them. And watched them. And made my friends watch them. And made my sister watch them. And quoted them with my friends. And had inside jokes about them. The Strangerhood was like my thing for awhile. I even had the first three episodes on my iPod nano (which is why I can quote the first three episodes word for word. I KNOW IT'S SAD).
Eventually I was like, "hey, I wonder if these Rooster Teeth people make anything else." And then I found Red vs. Blue. I was hesitant to watch the series at first since I didn't own an Xbox and therefore had never played Halo and figured the series would go over my head. But eventually I sat down and watched the first season and I loved it.
And then I never got around to watching the other seasons (which I believe they were on season four at the time).
And then I kind of forgot about Rooster Teeth.
For like six years.
Fast forward to October of 2013. I started watching every Youtuber playing GTA V video I could find because I hadn't gotten the game yet and was living vicariously through those Youtubers. At some point I stumbled upon an AH Let's Play GTA V video and loved it. I started watching more of their videos and noticed on their Youtube page something about "Rooster Teeth." That name sounded familiar. A quick little Google search later, and HOLY SHIT THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE THAT MADE STRANGERHOOD.
And then I ended up deep into RT again and the rest is history.
So yeah, I was pretty excited when Strangerhood 2 was announced as a stretch goal for Lazer Team. I'm always down for some more shenanigans with Wade and Chalmers and Dutchmiller.
Also watching the series now that I know who all of the voice actors are is ten times more hilarious. Like the disembodied voice is fuckin Geoff and Gus crammed into a makeshift recording booth delivering their lines at the same time. That's amazing.
And then there's this moment from the Founding Fathers panel at RTX this year (watch 18:39-20:28). Yeah, I was that asshole who stood up with the Strangerhood DVD. Burnie ended up signing my DVD the next day and wrote "sorry" on it. Such silliness.
So yay for Strangerhood season 2! (Also shoutout to @Josho for powering through the machinimating process for this, I know he wasn't as excited for the series as I was.)
3 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I keep forgetting about it. But someone asked about my tattoo recently and it reminded me, so here it goes.
Fair warning, the first part of this post is me being a nerd about a television show. But I promise it will be really meaningful later.
A little over a year ago, I got my first tattoo. It looks like this:
Remember when I had long hair? lol
For those of you not aware, this set of Egyptian hieroglyphics is a reference to the television show Lost. "WOW REGAN YOU'RE OBSESSED WITH LOST, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM."
Don't. Just don't.
Whenever people have that reaction to my tattoo, I know they're just kidding around. But to me, this tattoo is not a joke, and my relationship with the show Lost is not a joke. But it's not fair to everyone to just read my mind and know that. So today I'm going to tell you why I got this tattoo and why it hurts when people make fun of it.
So here's a little explanation about this set of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Warning: THERE ARE LOST SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH. Of course the show ended five and a half years ago and the entire series is on Netflix, so theoretically I shouldn't have to worry about spoiling it. But if you haven't seen Lost yet and plan on doing so in the future, skip to the next paragraph. Anyway, in the second half of season one, the characters find a door to an underground hatch, and they are able to finally open the door in the season one finale. So, in season two we find a man named Desmond in the hatch who has to type in a code and push a button every 108 minutes or the world will end. Obviously, some of the survivors are like that's fucking bullshit while other survivors are like nah man, I totally get it, when's my button-pushing shift? One of the people who is adamant about pushing the button is John Locke, who is a man of faith. One of the people who is like fuck that noise is Jack Shephard, who is a doctor and man of science. The two of them argue a lot and Jack makes some interesting faces. Eventually, Locke starts to have some doubts about pushing the button, so one day he locks himself and Desmond in the hatch so they can see what happens when they don't push the button. The counter reaches zero, shit starts flying everywhere, the counter flashes some weird hieroglyphics (ohhhhhhhhh), the entire island starts to shake, and Locke says, "I was wrong." Luckily, Dezzy's got a key to a "failsafe" that ends up imploding the whole hatch, and (mostly) everyone makes it out okay. Ya know, because reasons. Here's a video of the whole sequence. The reason why this sequence is so important to the story is because this is one of the first times Locke starts to lose his faith in the island. His entire belief system is challenged. This is also important for Jack because the button he insisted wasn't real totally was real. His entire belief system is challenged too. For Jack, this event is one of the first steps on his road to becoming a believer later in the show. For Locke, this is one of the first steps on his road to being totally broken later in the show (niiiiiice). The struggle between the two of these characters is fascinating to me.
OKAY SPOILERS OVER. So now that you understand the importance of the hieroglyphics within the context of the show, now I get to explain why the show means so much to me. I had always heard that Lost was a good show. Back when it was still on the air, I remember seeing previews for it and hearing people at school talk about it. Of course, since Netflix instant streaming didn't exist when Lost was airing, the only way to see episodes was to either watch it live or purchase the DVDs. So I never got around to watching it.
Fast forward to a few years after the show had ended. Now I think I've mentioned this before, but the second half of my freshman year of college was rough (I mean most of college was rough for me, but that's a story for another day). I was going through a lot of issues with friends and school and family. I was at a really low point in my life. And then one night I was on Tumblr and I saw a gifset featuring different characters from Lost. So I thought, "hmm, I wonder if this is on Netflix." I stayed up until 2am that night watching episodes. I was hooked immediately. I was drawn in by the mystery of the show's lore and I stayed for the richness of the characters and their relationships. And it brought me back. If there's one thing I learned from that show its that if someone breaks into your house, your best defense is a Hot Pocket. Okay, kidding. But the one thing I learned was the importance of relationships in life. You have to surround yourself with people who love you because you need them and they need you. "No one does it alone, Jack."
So because this show helped me out of the dark place I was in so many years ago, I thought a symbol from the show would be a perfect first tattoo. And I still think it's pretty darn perfect.
In conclusion, tattoos mean something different to every person. While one person may get a tattoo because of something extremely meaningful to them, another person might get a tattoo because it's just fucking cool looking. You shouldn't assume anything about someone's tattoo. The fact that every time I tell someone my tattoo is a reference to Lost, I get that "wow you're obsessed" response caused me to stop telling people what it really was. I just say "it's a long story" so I can avoid being made fun of. Every time I get that response, to me it belittles the struggle I went through and reduces the thing that brought me back from my dark place to just a show that I'm too obsessed with. So let's just stop the judgements about what people do to their bodies.
Now that I'm done being a nerd and preaching about judging people, I leave you all with this.
4 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
4 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
I'm really liking the new site. It looks cleaner and sleeker (is sleeker a word?). And I'm really excited to see more and more things being added in the future.
My only complaint with the new site is the disappearance of a "newest" tab under the video player. It was the best way of keeping track of the videos I missed while I was away. Hopefully some sort of "newest" section will be added in the future, because I think it was a great way of keeping up to date with RT content.
Other than that, I love it! Can't wait for the chat to return <3
4 years agotheindiealto Half Shark
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