Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Farewell, old friend.

Muad'Dib asked me an interesting question the other night on the way to see Les Mis at Northridge High (yay, we were on a date!!!).

"When was the last time you had a positive theater experience?"

About two minutes passed, without an answer. Images of my all my theater moments passed before my minds eye, concentrated on the last eight theatrical endeavors in the last eight years.

Going backwards looked like this:

Sound of Music: away from my husband. Purposly distracted from my kids.

Secret Garden: Emotionally volcanic. Separate from my husband. Focus not on my kids. Loads of travel time and money spent on uber expensive gas.

Merchant of Venice: The name of that play could well have been changed to: "The Seventh Circle of Hell filled with Dancing Imps of Death and Averous" and been more accurate a description for the time spent.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: away from son and husband. Shamed about my weight.

Hello Dolly: constantly arguing with my parents. Lemur crying as I left him for something that was more important. Husband looking . . . tired.

Romeo and Juliet: actually a great experience except . . . while picturing all that happened during that January, February, and March in 2004 something was disturbingly absent: my son!

Oklahoma!: worried about my weight and . . . pregnant. In the first trimester. I had no idea how to balance my theater, work and husband. Husband took a back seat. During this show we had our first and only fight. Luckily, Muad'Dib doesnt remember it.

Big River: worried about my weight. Didn't much care for the cast. Some depression here . . .

Then blinding me with it's incredible goodness was the memory of West Side Story, when I played Maria. I remembered friends, music, dancing, adventure, dedication, hard work, sweat and even tears.

What truly separated the memory of West Side from the other memories of theater since then?

Just like riding the waverunner at Lake Powell, I was attempting to REcreate good times and moments of thrilling achievement. What I failed to recognize in both situations was this: what is the point in REcreation, if it keeps you from NEW creation.

Looking back, it was as if my life changed, and I didn't. The difference between the two began to chaffe slowly, until I was emotionally raw and incredibly uncomfortable.

I have always said that my goals in life were simple: Marry and Mother.

So what was this other thing called Theater? It was the thing that shaped me and entertained me until my goals could be met. I had no control over when I met my "match." So I filled the time until then. I truly enjoyed it. And then . . . I didn't let go.

I kept thinking that theater was a part of me, that I was somehow defined by the terms "actress" or "singer" or even "TheaterGeek."

I'm not.

I feel my heart burst open with light at the realization. I am not this catagory alone. I am so much more. I made the mistake, as many in this line of 'work' do, that "Theater is life." I should have known all along - but how could I? - that more truly, "Theater is a hobby." I am just as passionate about MANY other things. In fact, my existence is RIDDLED with things I am or can be passionate about!!!

Shoot: I'm passionate about having the bed made in the morning, sorting beads, sitting in the grass, playing Settlers of Catan, or hating windsheild rivers!!

Cowboy Bob is right when he said that I have a great capacity to love. I have given over so much of that capacity to Theater.

Just as I have been able to love friends and yet gracefully leave them behind when they are no longer useful to me or I to them, I AM finally able - and aware enough - to do the same for that dearest of my friends: Theater.

He no longer needs me.

More importantly: I no longer need him. I don't even need the memories we made, but I will enjoy them from time to time. One day, perhaps I will enjoy him again, dancing, singing and performing within his well lit walls.

And today I mark down another heart sneeze: the burst of love that tells me truly: It's time to let this go.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Beware the Yellow Snow!!

A few funny things happened yesterday:

*Muad'Dib gave Lemur a grilled cheese sandwich, to which he replied, "What the sam hill?!"

*We visited DazzlingKira and the new Zman. And played Rock Band almost the whole time. I was amazing on guitar. I think that after cleaning the filth left behind by some tennants, I will buy myself this game and set up . . .

*We come out to the car to go home and I am greeted by my son yelling proudly: "Mom, I peed in the snow!"

*Walking through Walmart earlier in the day, I picked up some grapes for purchase. While I wasn't looking, Rivulet made her way into the bag and began eating some. Then Lemur began to follow her example. I asked him what he thought he was doing, to which he replied, "I'm pilfering the grapes! I'm a pilfer-stinker!"

Who says "pilfer"?! My son, apparently.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Put me in Coach! I know there's alot riding on it . . .

Today I am a credit to my Life Coach(s).

I recently decided to Assistant Direct The Sound of Music at the Playhouse with my mother as the director. We have had three rehearsals. One was bad, one was great and then tonight I sat at a music rehearsal with growing anger.

For anyone who doesn't know, Anger is my Thug. He is also my default negative emotion. I have always believed that anger is more "powerful" than other negative emotions, and therefore puts me in a higher position than I would be, say, cowering with guilt or shame. Just be angry.

So after realizing that I was not needed at this rehearsal, I packed up my daughter, anger still growing, and began the fifteen minute drive home.

And here is where I become a credit to my Coaches. While driving, I realized that I was angry. Instead of letting myself get swept up in the familiar rush of my chosen emotional drug, I calmed myself with breathing and tried to figure out what my anger was hiding. In my mind was the image of cutting through layers and layers of protective muscle to get to the spine of the reaction.

There I found guilt. Guilt for leaving my husband and son at home while I sat, unneeded at a rehearsal. Guilt for dragging my daughter to the theater against her will to sit unneeded at a rehearsal. Guilt for trying to distract my children from me so that I can concentrate on something that I have deemed to be more important than them. Guilt that I would have many nights over the next two months where my husband would come home to an empty apartment with no dinner. Guilt that I CHOSE this, knowingly, over my family. Guilt that I KNEW what made me happy, and I was continuing to NOT choose it.

Home brings me peace. Taking care of my home and my family brings me full joy (not always happiness, not always calm, but truly joy). Having focus on my children, my husband, my home, and myself brings me PEACE.

And I was ashamed that I was choosing to give that up in favor of a play. AGAIN.

Anyone remember my posts from Secret Garden? Anything positive there? Nope. I'd like to say that there was. After the show, I realized that I had created that experience to teach myself that I am most at peace when I am devoted to my current Soul Purpose: wife and motherhood. And although I LEARNED the lesson, I was choosing not to APPLY the lesson.

"Wisdom is doing." So tonight, I am exercising my WISDOM. Because I am no longer interested in learning this lesson. I no longer need to repeat this grade. I have graduated from my previous cycle.

Life Coaches: thank you for teaching me the tools that tonight allowed me to break free from my destructive and repetitive pattern. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me, so that I could recognize my own defenses and cut through them.

And to everyone who has been on the receiving end of my yuck during one of these lessons: I'm sorry. And thank you for being a part of my life lessons. I have no doubt that sometimes it has not been fun to be around me. Things are looking up: because I am growing. Up.