Alyssa Sellers


4 Comments

Coming Out of the Clarkson Closet

closetI was a closet Kelly Clarkson fan.

American Idol premiered my senior year of college. I saw pieces of a few episodes and saw enough to know I hated it and everything it stood for. My friend Dee, on the other hand, was a huge fan, so I heard Kelly beat out Justin via the TV in Dee’s Mom’s minivan while we were stuck in traffic moving out her college stuff.

Dee, of course, bought her first CD and I rolled my eyes every time we listened to it that summer. But by album number two, Kelly was winning me over. And I found myself, a few years later, one slow Friday afternoon admitting to my cubemate, Casey, that there was that one Kelly Clarkson song I kinda liked. He, in turn, begrudgingly admitted to digging one of her tunes, too.

Casey and I are both music snobs and so this mutual admission was sorta a big deal. And the follow up online search to figure out which two songs we actual liked was on the side of scandalous. So much so, that when a team manager walked in and ask us what we were doing, we both averted our eyes and turned brilliant shades of red.

I came out of the Clarkson Closet in 2011.

Continue reading

Advertisements


4 Comments

Boromir and the Portland Summer

f3868-summer2012

When spring officially faded into summer on Thursday evening I was walking through the South Park Blocks listening to The Classic Crime song Vagabonds. It’s a song about loving a city and loving living in it.

“People can’t get enough
Of living in the darkness and the rain
But when the sun comes out
The streets are filled with songs
And people playing it loud
So the whole world can sing along”

OK, I know that this song is about that other Northwest city, but it still applies. I LOVE Portland and the streets WERE filled with song as I left my friend’s apartment and walked the 10 blocks home in the twilight. Summer is here and the sun will soon come out and stay out for three long glorious months. We have been waiting. We are getting kinda stoked. Continue reading


3 Comments

I’m a Liberal and other Admissions

My Name IsIn a conversation with a friend this fall, she admitted to me that she was a lesbian. I admitted to her that I was a liberal. “Feels good to say it out loud, doesn’t it,” she said. Later that evening I sent a text message to a mutual friend that read, “We tossed around a couple of L words this afternoon, mine was liberal.”

The deal is that I knew this about my friend, not because someone outted her to me, but I just kinda knew. None of us are as good at hiding our true selves from one another as we like to think we are.

Still, my friend didn’t have to tell me, but it was good that she did, for both her and me. I don’t know why, but there is something powerful about verbally admitting who you are, even if everyone else has known for a long time. So here I go: Continue reading


1 Comment

Would I Lie to You

Mephistopheles

I saw Portland Opera’s production of Faust in 2006 and it sort of changed my life. In the story Faust sells his soul to Mephistopheles (Satan) for youth. Faust in his new youth sees, lusts for and has sex with young Marguerite. This one night stand results in a baby. Marguerite’s brother returns from war and finds his sister dishonored. He loses a duel with Faust and with his final breath curses Marguerite. Completely destroyed she runs to the church for forgiveness and refuge, but Mephistopheles trails behind her, and employs a chorus of demons to drive her into insanity by telling her she is damned. In this state she murders her baby. 
 
In the final act Marguerite is in jail and Faust comes back to rescue her from execution by asking her to join him and Mephistopheles. As Faust and Mephistopheles try to convince her to flee with them, she sees Mephistopheles for the demon he is and cries out to God, giving herself to him and asking to be carried to heaven. As she is executed Mephistopheles yells, “Judged!” Immediately an angelic choir gloriously resounds, “Saved!” The scrim is lifted and the truth of salvation is shown.

Throughout the entire jail scene a scrim had been between the audience and the actors. Scrims are a tool of the theater. They are used to aid in suspending disbelief. When lit from the front, the scrim looks like a solid wall. If it is lit from behind, it is transparent and the audience is unaware that it exists at all. They have no idea they are missing something. They see the stage and the scene with the actors in costume and the set decorated. Motion happens, lines are spoken, all seems normal. And then it happens, the scrim is lifted, and you see the truth behind it. Imperfections and details of the actors, their costumes, and their surroundings that you never noticed before are suddenly blindingly obvious.

I was looking at life through a scrim. I was moving in my own jail, being accused by Satan. I was being told that I was alone, isolated, that no one else was as insecure or as insignificant as me. I was being told a lie. When the chorus of angels broke out in song from the balcony, it was as if God had sent them down for me. It was as if truth was falling on me with every note of the finale. The truth is I was not alone in my life or in my insecurity.


There is a good chance that Portlanders are insecure to the highest degree. It could be because we are a self proclaimed city of geeks. I mean, we have the largest independent bookstore, our library has the busiest circulation for a city its size and the metro area houses offices of the likes of Intel, Tektronix and other technology marvels. I’m pretty sure that in high school most of us did not sit at the cool table.

But here, now, we have made a new geek-chic cool table and yet, we are still not quite sure we should be sitting at it. We think that this could be a “Carrie” moment and any second, any false move, could end with pig’s blood all over us.

Somehow in the depths of my depression Satan’s lies had temporarily obscured God’s truth. I am loved by God, I am worthwhile. No one has it all together; no one. I think God had been slowly pulling up the scrim for awhile. I think my time with him and with wonderful, supportive Jesus loving friends had gotten me closer to the point where it could be lifted completely.

I now saw the world differently. Like the way a three-year-old sees her closet in the daylight as opposed to night. The coat is not a monster anymore, it is just a coat. That commuter isn’t judging me; he is covered in a scrim being accused by Satan, judging himself.

Portland Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly open this Friday at the Keller Auditorium. Check it: http://www.portlandopera.org/operas/2011-2012/madame-butterfly


Leave a comment

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

Yorktown Battlefield ~ October 4, 2011
Sometimes I deny my inner history nerd. Then, one day while traveling across the country, I find myself totally engrossed with every little thing the tiny village of Yorktown has to offer and I realize I LOVE HISTORY. Well, really, I love a good story and that pretty much is what history is. It is a little over a month since I took a National Parks tour of the Yorktown Battlefield and I find myself on the Library of Congress website reading a few of General George Washington’s letters.
I blame it on the entertaining and informative National Park Ranger who told us that six months before the United States’ victory at the Battle of Yorktown, George Washington declared in a letter that, …we are at the end of our tether, and that now or never our deliverance must come.

Now, having read a few of Washington’s letters it appears that the man could be quite the Debbie Downer. After five years of writing about this brutal war, I imagine him hunched over his desk trying to find a new way to describe the state of bad he was currently in and choosing “end of our tether.” It is quite the dire description when you think about it.

I never realized how overwhelming it must have been for Washington and the men of the revolution. They were in the middle of something where, for the most part, the outcome was not in their favor and, by many accounts, was fairly foolhardy. They had absolutely no guarantee of success.

Nonetheless, Washington and his men tenaciously held on to that tether and six months later saw the tide turn in their favor when on October 19, 1781 General Lord Cornwallis of the British Army surrendered in Yorktown. With this victory United States independence was secured and the course of world history was changed significantly. Two years later the war officially ended and Washington became the first president of this baby nation.

So, I’m in the middle, or maybe more accurately in the second third, of my history and, Mr. First President of the United States of America, you inspire me to hold on. I wonder if you also inspired the ladies of Wilson Phillips.



PS: Veteran’s Day is Friday. You should thank one.