Stephanie Howell's blogospheric pep talk inspired by 3

Stephanie Howell as Janeal in "Community Standard." part of Eric Samuelsen's 3

Stephanie Howell as Janeal in "Community Standard." part of Eric Samuelsen's 3

Stephanie Howell has previously appeared in Plan-B’s BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS, THE ALIENATION EFFEKT, THE END OF THE HORIZON, all 10 SLAMs and Eric Samuelsen’s BORDERLANDS.

Sometimes I think I’d like to move to a desert island. Raise my kids far from the external pressures of modern society. Away from photoshopped models and the social media frenzy – where everyone questions and compares and desperately hopes to come out “on top.”

The quest for perfection has reached stratospheric levels. Spend 5 minutes with a group of college-bound high school kids desperately racking up volunteer hours, AP classes and better-than-4.0 GPAs, (all the while angling to post the cutest selfies) and it becomes clear that the situation is not unique to adults. Or Mormons. Or even women, for that matter. It’s utterly pervasive.

But alas, a desert island is not in my future. And so, I push back against the craziness. Resist the temptations of a world obsessed with appearances and comparisons and unrealistic expectations and ideals. Which brings us to my “Blogospheric Peptalk.” Addressed to whom? My kids? Myself? Brandie and Janeal and Sherilynn – my characters in 3? Who knows. But here it is.

Life is messy. Even when it looks like it’s black and white, scratch the surface and you’ll find grey and green and purple and orange and violet and a splotchy jumble of splattered colors. Embrace the mess. Accept the chaos. Colors are pretty. Even when they’re not easy.

Make your own choices. Sometimes you’ll be right and other times you’ll be wrong. And sometimes (because life is messy . . . see above) you’ll be right and wrong at the same time. But it turns out that some schoolhouse rules hold fast; in life you can’t cheat off your neighbor’s paper.

Resist the temptation to judge, yourself or others. Evaluate, yes. Be discerning, yes. Judge, no. There is a difference.

Go easy on yourself. — You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are stronger than you think.

Last but not least, remember what really matters. And when a friend needs a hug, open your arms. Pull her close. And don’t let go.

Eric Samuelsen’s 3 receives its world premiere as part of Plan-B’s #SeasonOfEric March 27-April in the Studio Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.  Featuring Stephanie Howell, Teresa Sanderson and Christy Summerhays, directed by Cheryl Ann Cluff.  Click here for more information and tickets.

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