Girl Gone Smart: Lydia oh Lydia...yes, I've heard that one
How goes it, friends? My name is Lydia. I’m a 30-year old actor, writer, antiques enthusiast, and unashamed cat lady currently living in Clifton Park, NY. I’m excited to write for Girl Gone Smart because I think I can bring a couple of interesting perspectives to the table.
One has to do with my academic background. Not like degrees matter, but I’m sorta proud to hold a rather weird combination of them: a Bachelors in Theatre Arts Performance from SUNY New Paltz, and a Masters in Public History that I got eight years later from SUNY Albany. Somewhat predictably, I now find myself writing plays about historical events that intrigue me, or completely losing my mind when I get cast in a period play or film. Even when I’m not “in” anything, I have lots of friends who do lots of shows in the area, and the historically themed ones routinely draw me in. I’m also always up for a local museum, or a lecture, or a walking tour of Albany or Troy that highlights a new facet of the city’s history. And I’m very happy to report back on any of these events!
The only type of tour I don’t do anymore are the pub tours/crawls, which brings me to my second, relatively new perspective. A little over a year ago, on December 22nd, 2018, I gave up alcohol for good. I did this for a number of reasons, the most prominent one being that I am an alcoholic. There’s really no way around that term. It is what it is, and it sucks. But honestly, admitting that fact, seeking help, and getting sober was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Aside from the obvious benefits of being hangover-free and saving a TON of money, I’ve also gotten back in touch with my emotions, developed deeper connections with people, and made some amazing friends in the recovery community. And like a well-known alcoholic once said, it’s all about helping the next person, which I would love to do through GGS.
Finally, you know what’s even better than an alcoholic? A bipolar alcoholic! Yup, Bipolar Type 1 has been my reality for almost ten years. I got a really good grip on it about four years ago, and with the help of medication, good habits, and a freaking fantastic therapist, I’m doing objectively great. But it was a very long road to where I am today. Six inpatient stays at Four Winds, at least a dozen different meds over the years that didn’t work, several dud therapists, and sixteen rounds of electroconvulsive therapy got me standing on a foundation that was almost immediately jeopardized by my alcoholism. Thank God for rude awakenings and good people, is all I can say. But I firmly believe that true stories of struggle can change hearts, and I want to say more about mental health in the Capital Region and beyond. If I can do even a little bit of that through GGS, it might make a difference to someone out there.
So here I am: Lydia, 30, antiques, cats. Here’s what I love: theatre, history, recovery, awareness. If you’re into any of those things, you might dig what I have to say. Here we go!