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Dear Diary: Jomarie Apelt

“Dear Diary,

Since you and I are going to be great friends, I will start by telling you about myself….”

Now, I am no Anne Frank. I can not begin to understand her struggles or the struggles of those people who lived and suffered through occupied Europe. The thing I can empathize and identify with is the fear and uncertainty of “staying in for two weeks to flatten the curve”. When Anne and her family were smuggled into the annex, they thought they would only be there a couple of weeks.

Almost exactly one year ago the United States of America shut down so that we could “flatten the curve” of this GLOBAL pandemic and come together to keep each other safe. We brought our immunocompromised brothers and sisters groceries, and prescriptions. We utilized our Amazon Prime accounts to handle the rest… Everything changed.

IT IS NOT THE SAME, Covid-19 didn’t seek to hurt one race/creed/sub-set of HUMANITY, it was out for everyone on the globe. I am lucky enough to not have lived/fought/died during a fascist empire that wanted to eradicate people from this earth. However, at the beginning of COVID, weren’t we also a bit terrified that history was trying to repeat itself? That fascism and the acceptance of social injustices were gaining a scary level of support? I won’t speak for you, but I was.

So why a diary entry? Well, Winston Churchill urged the humans living through World War II to write about their experiences. To write firsthand accounts of what was happening and these are my current thoughts on MY quarantine experience:

I haven’t spent this much time with my own family ever in my life. Two working parents on top of two children schooling all under one roof for many many months… it’s hard. Nerves are shot, tensions are high, anxiety and depression rear their ugly head. Also, there is loss. Loss of income, loss of friends, loss of family, it’s all been so hard for all of us.

However, we can all choose to find a silver lining. It’s been almost one year since a man on the street or in a grocery store has told me to smile. The mask I wear to keep me safe from COVID-19 has allowed me to remove the mask I normally create to shield my emotions from the world. I have big feelings. I love hard, I cry hard. I sing loud, I shout…loud. This is why I love being a part of theatre.

This is why I need theatre in my life to be able to express myself in healthy and very true and real ways. I can be as much and as big as I want and RARELY am I told to dial it back. Covid tried to take that away from me, but not just me, all actors. But the thing about show people? We’re resilient. Life always finds a way. We turned to zoom, and to virtual theater, and THANK THE LORD, 35% capacity LIVE audiences.

The stage is cathartic. You can lay anything out on those boards and LIVE. That’s what we do. We live, and we tell a story, worth being told, to people who want to share in life’s experiences. Support live theatre, especially Music Mountain Theatre. It is a safe place, not just from Covid with the air scrubbers and the guidelines… but a safe place for the performer’s bodies, minds, and souls.

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