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BWW Blog: Faith and Trust, Not Pixie Dust

I won’t grow up.

Over the break, I bid a temporary goodbye to my apartment at college and came home, back to my childhood bedroom with Broadway posters on the walls and drawers cluttered with childhood memorabilia.

One of my favorite parts about returning home is the opportunity to spend time with my family, and I especially love watching musicals with my mother. She inspired my love of showtunes from a young age, and I was hooked. I loved everything, from "Cats" to the "Sound of Music." I was even reprimanded in kindergarten for singing the lyrics to "Greased Lightning."

One afternoon, my mother and I decided to splurge and finally purchase a subscription to BroadwayHD, a streaming service that provides professional recordings of some Broadway shows, including a childhood favorite of mine: "Peter Pan" starring Cathy Rigby. We ordered lunch and settled onto the couch to watch it.

Of course, I cringed through the racist portrayal of indigenous people. Still, I was able to find sentimental joy in revisiting fond memories of watching it as a child, enjoying Rigby's incredible gymnastics and giggling at Paul Schoeffler's truly stellar performance as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling.

One of my favorite parts of the show is the iconic song, "I Won't Grow Up." I used to sing it at the top of my lungs, and I recall performing it with my school's choir as a child. The rousing melody and lyrics are enough to make someone of any age want to stomp their foot and defiantly announce, "I will stay a [child] forever!"

If only it were that simple.

I admit, I'm somewhat jealous of Peter. When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to grow up. I wanted to be treated like an adult and make my own decisions and be able to go to bed whenever I wanted. And even in the early part of my college experience, I remembered my childhood fondly but never felt a desire to go back to that age. But now, I long for simpler times. I miss believing in pixie dust.

Given the traumatic, whirlwind events of the past year-or, really, four or five years-any one of us might wish we could fly to Neverland. Simply being a person, especially someone at such a critical, decisive stage in their life, can be exhausting.

Mental health issues can affect anyone at any age or time but being a young adult in 2020 and 2021 is particularly challenging. I know people, both older and younger than me, who have struggled significantly with depression, anxiety and more. But it was a problem long before this "unprecedented" year. Since graduating high school, my friends and I have even seen a handful of our former classmates and peers tragically take their own lives as a result of their struggles with mental health.

We all cope differently. Those who have the resources might use therapy or medication, while others use journaling, meditation, self-help books and other methods of managing their mental illness. Escapism helps, too. Reading, listening to music, watching a TV show or movie and going on social media are all effective ways of distracting ourselves.

There are some musicals about teenagers and young adults. Of course, some are campier and more lighthearted, such as "Grease," "Bring It On" and "Mean Girls." Others are cathartic and more relatable for those looking for an outlet for their negative emotions, such as "Heathers," "Next to Normal," "Be More Chill," "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Spring Awakening."

I used to see myself in Wendy, but lately I find myself relating more to Veronica and Natalie. But I suppose that's how it's supposed to be. Maybe, as Peter says to Wendy at the end of the show, I'm "too grown up."

Winter break is over. I write this from my apartment at school, procrastinating on all the chores and homework I still have to do. I still don't know exactly how I'll finish it all, but I know I will. Like the Lost Boys, I must accept the fact that adulthood is inevitable, and it will be mentally taxing at times-but, also like them, I can rely on my friends to help me along the way. Because while I might be too old for pixie dust, I still have faith and trust, and those are pretty magical.

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