This door has closed (but not locked)

And it’s done. The Sandbox Collective’s first original production, No Filter, officially closed its first run last night to a packed house that was laughing and crying and giving our cast so much energy that they didn’t just crank it up a notch — they gave it everything they got and then some.

What a wonderful experience and what a magnificent way to grow as an artist and as a person. Everything from inside me was turned inside-out and I’ve learned so much about myself throughout this whole process. I learned what I can give up and what I would die for. I learned about my strengths and my weaknesses and I learned that there is still so much love in my heart to include over thirty people who have worked so hard on No Filter that they have become my new family.

And the audience. We wouldn’t be what we are without them. There was no reason to get together on an idea and work so hard if they weren’t there and they came, they came in droves, and they gave us just as much as we put out there for them.

It was only right that we took a selfie, with the audience of our closing show, a packed house filled with such a loving, giving, generous audience.

August 8, 2015: the closing show of our first run of No Filter with a packed house and as much as the production who were present and can fit on that stage. This is what epic is made of.

August 8, 2015: the closing show of our first run of No Filter with a packed house and as much as the production who were present and can fit on that stage. This is what epic is made of.

What remains: over 300 pictures in a folder called “No Filter,” Tweets and Instagrams littered all over social media with the hashtag #SandboxNoFilter about all the people who were part of the production and who have joined us in the journey as our audience, a No Filter t-shirt, a No Filter mug with my name on it, a floatation device, a beautiful card with a handwritten note, a key chain, a piece of paper with a paw print on it, a CD mixtape, two No Filter flyers, new friends/family, and a completely new perspective over who I am and what I want for myself for the remainder of my life.

Like everyone, I was feeling a little sad that it was over. But when someone from the group said they didn’t want it to be over, I would say something like, “No, it has to end. Because only when it ends can we define it properly, can we say that it was one of the best things that has ever happened to us. How could we if it wasn’t over yet? This way, now that it has ended, we can grab it in its entirety and hold it close to us for what it is.”

I also said, “And because we have all grown because of this experience. It needs to end so that we can use that growth in the other things that we do. If it doesn’t end, we’ll stop growing. Or what we’ve learned, we cannot share or bring to the other things that we do. Why grow if it’s just for us? We have to share that with others; with the other things we do.”

It sounds wise. I believed it too when I said it and I meant every word. But, now that it’s been 24 hours since we closed our show, I am feeling quite naive to think that those words could make me feel any better from this sinking feeling of loss.

But then again, a line from our play: “Don’t sink. Don’t sink.”

It’s done, for now. The door has closed but when we opened it, we opened so many others. And we never locked it shut. We can open it again anytime. It’s up to us.

Last rehearsal ever of the first run of No Filter. This is love.

Last rehearsal ever of the first run of No Filter. This is love.

It’s amazing, how I keep finding myself over and over again, in the strangest of places and with totally unexpected company, but the best company nonetheless.

We closed the show. But No Filter will still go on. It’s still going on. It’s not done yet. It’s just… it’s just beginning.

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