I'm Here

by Caitlin WItty

Hi Hey hello peace out! People of the world!  I’m Caitlin!  I want to fly.  I love elephants and water skiing. Hugs are my favorite- and food.  I love food.  I want to use my voice and body to physically touch people in ways that will shake and push their comfort level and beliefs.  That’s what I know I’m here to do- in addition to love laugh and learn of course.    I am an avid tree climber, I love bodies of water- specifically lakes and rivers.  I find people fascinating. In my life, I want to open a few hearts and soften some guards, including my own. I’m not a fan of florescent lighting; I think the moon and stars are mind boggling.  It’s a rare day when my socks match, but I can guarantee they are always the same height.    My full name is Caitlin Alexandra Mckinnon Witty- I am allergic to gluten, you can never have too much reduced fat creamy Jif peanut butter,  and,  if you can’t tell, I love life.  A lot. I’m not going to lie: being an emerging adolescent and artist at the same time is um….exhausting? Confusing? Invigorating.  Fire-ey?   Daunting?  Many ocean-deep feelings of desire and passion...LUST FOR THOSE WARM, BRIGHT LIGHTS AM I RIGHT?  Lonely.  Love filled.  Frustrating. Intense. Interesting.   

There are jars of tears at my feet and clouds of laughter above my head. My heart is full one minute- bursting.  Then hollow the next and, you know what, I often couldn’t tell you why.  But that’s life.  I think I spend WAY too much time trying to figure out why and that keeps me from embracing now...which is frustrating.   

I used to be the kid who walked into a room wearing the same brown “Grumpy” sweatshirt five days in a row, with dark blue basketball shorts and brown skater shoes and my hair unwashed, BUT a big ass smile on my face, intense energy to play and boundless love to share and feel.   

NOW that I shower daily, have a beautiful body, opinions and people who truly know and love me: I restrict my words and sounds, and question my ability to give and take love because my brain realized how vulnerable that is.  Isn’t that silly?  But hey that’s sort of where I’m at right now.   

Lately, I understand what “the box” is and what it feels to be inside of it.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve burned the box and am flying around and above it... but other times I feel like I’m pushing on cardboard from the inside.  I can feel the freedom of being out, but I can’t quite seem to get myself there.  

I think people are responding to Cynthia Erivo’s “I’m Here” so ferociously because we want to see each other feel beautiful and confident.  Loud and proud.  That is something precious we don’t necessarily see often.  The most attractive quality in a person, in my opinion, is when he/she loves her/himself.  Truthfully.  There is a huge difference between ego and confidence.  It is so important to remember that people want to hear what you have to say- they want to know about you and how you feel and what you do.  We are all doing this crazy thing called life together.  

I’m really good talking in an interview/audition situation because the challenge is to be and share myself fully; but in normal life, I have a really hard time communicating with people.  I tend to assume I am holding people up.  I do forget that people actually want to listen.  I’m often surprised when I’m having a conversation and the person doesn’t end it when there’s an opening....I find I search for the closings of things.  For example: I went to ride my razor scooter tonight and I was thinking about how when I was younger, I’d leave my house at noon, go into the woods, and come home at 8 without realizing how much time has passed...talk about being present am I right?  Tonight I was super aware of how long I was on my razor scooter, where I went, etc.  It’s like there’s constantly a narration of life in my brain- BUT there were a few gorgeous nostalgic moments where I was brought back to being 8 and feeling completely free.  I want to find and be able to access that freedom from my brain...the level of presence and just pure joy is so precious and valuable...something I want to re-find and never lose.   

I just completed my first year at Webster University’s Conservatory studying musical theater. It was a very interesting and scary, at times, switch; theater went from being 110% my release to the work and source of much stress.  Classes started at 8:30 and there were days I didn’t get back to my dorm until 2 am.  I had to find things outside of theater...which was awesome!  I totally am slowly reconnecting with the part of myself that LOVES the outdoors and challenges.  It’s super exciting.  And, I mean, of course it’s incredible to spend all day acting, singing, dancing and moving.  So all in all it was an incredible first year.

My favorite nugget I learned from this year is communion.  Did you know that if you look into another person’s eyes for 4 minutes straight you will be closer automatically???? IT”S AMAZING!!!  I’ve spent literally hours looking into the eyes of my classmates there. Literally.  My AB scene partner Bek and I spend 9 hours doing Meisner script repeats one weekend.  This is not a drill.  

It sounds crazy but I couldn’t possibly put into words the beauty found in the unspoken conversation that occurs within the energy circulation that forms when having communion.  After a whole year of doing that and jump roping for 45 minutes and all other crazy things that we take extraordinarily seriously, we are a family over there.  Theater people...we really do know how to get close to each other.   

It’s been weird being home because I feel like we developed a different way of speaking about the world together.  Even in just the way we look at each other- my best friend Vivienne and I will look at each other, quickly establish communion and have a strong idea of how the other is doing.  There was one time we were having communion and both started crying out of nowhere- it was purely a release and the communion made us feel safe to be vulnerable.  It is a beautiful thing. 

Now to be home surrounded by mostly non-artists brained people is kinda hard.  There aren’t many people to relate to about my breath being high or jaw feeling extra tense etc.   

The first week I was home, I went to a friend’s house with my group of friends from high school.  Everyone was on these high, wooden chairs but I was sitting on the pool table because...well it’s more fun than chairs :o) and my friend’s foot was beside me; he apologized for having his feet so close to me.  I laughed and continued to stick my finger between his big and second toe to show him how completely comfortable I was with his feet...impulse.  This action was such a huge deal to them!  Not necessarily in a negative judgmental way...more like they couldn’t believe I just did that.  I miss my family at Webster where we literally lay on top of and hold and listen to each other.  This, I think, ties into my feelings of being in the box a bit at home...I’m not surrounded by “out of the box” people any more.  I mean, the box I’m in is by no means a normal box...but I do feel my brain and a bit of self-consciousness limiting my instincts more than they did at school.  I feel I am constantly in a place of conscious incompetence...I think it’s time I focused on more conscious competence.  

Lately I have been forgetting that I DO have 110% control over how I look at life.  I’ve been walking around with a bit of a dark cloud over my head and I’m so much more than ready to get rid of that.  It’s been exhausting to always look at life through the lens of “how can I be/do better” and being disappointed in myself.  My drive to be extremely productive makes me over complicate and stress...but it’s much more productive to just enjoy the moment, act according to impulses and instincts, and just laugh.  Easier said than done but in the words of Nike, Shia LaBeouf, and my dear friend Spencer, we gotta JUST DO IT. but actually.  Life is happening now so what the heck am I waiting for.   

So yeah, that’s me pretty much right now.  Bits and pieces.   

Peace and love.